Hebrews Lesson 31 October 27, 2005
NKJ Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!
We are in Hebrews 3 starting a new chapter in Hebrews. I don't know about you but I am having a great time in this study of Hebrews. I have never taught my way through the book of Hebrews before and there is so much in this book. It is so exciting to go back and see how things connect to the Old Testament and bring things forward. It pulls everything together to understand all the nuances, all the shades of meaning and all the innuendo that underlies the teaching in Hebrews. This is a tremendous, tremendous book.
Now as I have said just to give us a little focus as we enter into a new paragraph which is 3:1-6, I want to go back structurally and think about where we are going. The writer starts off in the first 4 verses by giving us a basic orientation to the fact that it is in these last days, that is the Church Age that God has finally completely fully, completely, sufficiently spoken through His Son. The Son's qualifications are emphasized in reference to His deity being the exact caricature or exact representation of the Father. He is the express image, the hupostasis of His person. He upholds all things by the word of His power and He has been elevated to the right hand of the Father on High. So within the structure of 1:3 there is an emphasis on His deity on the one hand and His humanity on the other. The humanity comes through that He sat down at the right hand of the Father. Deity doesn't sit down. In His humanity He has been elevated above the angels. Embedded within this is the outworking of the nuances of the word "Son". He is a Son of God indicating full deity. He is the Son of Man indicating true humanity. He is the Son of David, His royal title that relates to the Davidic Covenant and prior to that the Abrahamic Covenant. In His humanity He has gone through the trials, the tests, and the suffering of the First Advent which qualified Him to go to the cross. It is His victory on the cross that qualified Him for the resurrection and promotion to heaven and advance above all the angels.
In verses 5 down through 14 there is an emphasis on His superiority to the angels. Again this emphasizes more the humanity side of the sonship. As the Son of God, as full deity He has always been in authority over the angels. He has always been superior to the angels. But in His humanity as the Son of David, as the Son of Man who has gone through the sanctification process, He has passed all of the tests. In His humanity He is elevated above the angels and qualified for the position to rule and reign over the angels. Right now He is in a holding pattern awaiting the coming or the giving of the kingdom. Daniel 7, Psalm 110
NKJ Psalm 110:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."
All of that from verse 5 down through the end of chapter one functions as the first point in the sermon. That first point comes to a conclusion with a warning and a challenge to us that we must not drift away because of the significance of everything that is going on.
NKJ Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,
Salvation here has that idea of ultimate glorification, the goal or the direction of our salvation in terms of where God is taking us toward the future. It is like the first step. So we have taken this first step up. The Son in His humanity is elevated above the angels. In His humanity He as accomplished something that is, as we developed on the second step, related to His being a pioneer in our sanctification. So we have the concluding challenge of chapter 2:1-4.
Then we go to the second point. The second point unpacks the whole idea of His role as the pioneer and the precedent setter for our spiritual life. The first verses from 5-9 focus on that. He is the one that as a man as the Son of Man fulfills everything that God designed man to do. Thus because He completes everything, He is elevated over the angels emphasizing that the world to come in verse 5 is going to be in subordination to Him as a man, not to the angels. This emphasizes the whole process of how He got there. What qualified Him for that ruling and reigning position in the future? The mechanics of that come into play in verses 10 through 18 where we see that He who sanctifies (That's the Lord Jesus Christ) and those who are being sanctified (That's us.) are all of one nature. It is an emphasis on His hypostatic union. He is accomplishing all of this in His humanity.
NKJ Hebrews 2:14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,
In His humanity He goes through these tests and trials. As the captain of our salvation back in verse 10, He would be brought to completion through suffering. Where that takes Him is that He then becomes our merciful and faithful high priest.
NKJ Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
That brings us to the concluding part of the second step. We conclude it with verse 6. Then we go to the challenge, the exhortation, the warning. That's a long section. The last warning was four verses. This warning extends from 3:7 down through the end of chapter 4. So it is a much longer challenge. If you don't understand the argument that he is laying out here, the position that he is laying out that Jesus Christ in His humanity sets the pattern and precedent as the pathfinder of our salvation and that He is brought as the one who completes; then we don't understand where this warning is going to go. The transition or the connection comes in the next few verses.
NKJ Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
He is addressing believers, not just them. He is addressing them primarily; but he is addressing us, all believers in the Church Age through that initial first century audience.
That is only a starting point. This is all part of one sentence. Verse 1 and 2 are one sentence. The reason I emphasize this is that there is a lot of additional detail in these two verses; but the main idea is given in the mandate, the command of verse 1.
The command is to consider Him. That's the main idea. Everything else is the frills and whistles and bells on the main idea. So if you keep your focus on that command then everything else down through verse 6 actually supports that mandate.
Now let's take it apart exegetically. The first word "therefore" isn't really an inference conclusion like therefore. It is an inferential particle but it has the idea of referring to the cause or the ground or the motive of something. It is a type of inference.
The mandate here becomes the ground for everything that comes after it. This becomes a foundation. Everything else in the next few verses supports the base of what is in verse 1.
Then we are addressed as holy brethren. The word hagios doesn't mean that we are perfect, morally pure, or that we are without sin. Holy or hagios means to be set apart to the service of God. The reason that we can be called holy is that we are positionally sanctified because of our identification with the one who sanctifies. "He who sanctifies" is the phrase back in verse 11. According to Romans 6:3-6 at the instant you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ one of the 40 things that happened to you at the instant of faith alone in Christ alone is that God the Holy Spirit took you under the direction of God the Son and identified you with the Son's death, burial and resurrection. That is called the baptism by means of God the Holy Spirit. It is also termed positional truth. That is our position in Christ. We are placed in Him by means of God the Holy Spirit. That positionally sets us apart so that we can now serve God. It distinguishes us from everyone else in the human race. So we are holy and set apart. It doesn't refer to experiential morality. It refers to positional righteousness.
We are holy brethren. The term adelphos is often used to refer to fellow members of the royal family of God. This connects this verse, 3:1, back to 2:11.
NKJ Hebrews 2:11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,
That is supported by a verse from Psalm 22.
NKJ Psalm 22:22 I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
My brethren are referred to as children in verse 13.
This is a form of address. He addresses believers as holy brethren. This tells us (This gets important when we get into some of these warning passages.) that he is addressing them as believers. He has no doubt that they are believers. There is not a question that they are believers. There is not a question that they could lose their salvation. He addresses them as believers. The verbiage itself, the nomenclature, ties the whole section together conceptually.
The second thing they are called is "partakers of the heavenly calling." The word for partakers is the noun metochos. It's in the plural, metachoi. It means companions or partakers or partners or fellow workers. It is another term to describe the members of the body of Christ, who are all in partnership, all members of one another in the body of Christ.
That's one of the interesting dynamics of the body of Christ. We are not a bunch of Lone Rangers our there trying to live the Christian life on our own. I know that there are people who are in unusual circumstances and all they have got is their tape recorder or a MP3 player, but the body of Christ is not designed to be a Lone Ranger operation under normal circumstances. It is designed to be the interaction of a body of believers meeting together in a local church. There is this interdependency. The Scripture says that we are members of one another in Romans 12. There is this interdependency in the body of Christ. We are companions. We are partakers. We participate together in everything that the Lord Jesus Christ has provided. He is the head of the body of Christ. So we are partakers of the heavenly calling. Heavenly has to do with its destiny. The calling has to do with our response to the gospel and the gospel call. The adverb heavenly relates to its ultimate destiny. We are partakers. We participate in a future destiny. So the backdrop idea here has to do with that eternal sense of destiny. We are headed for heaven. We are not going to be left here on the earth. It's not all about our time of the earth. Our time of earth is related to our heavenly calling, our heavenly destiny.
Those two phrases, holy brethren and partakers of the heavenly calling, indicate the recipients of this epistle.
Then we have the command - katanoeo in the Greek. Consider is how it is translated. Think about or concentrate on. It is an aorist active imperative, second person plural. Second person plural means all y'all. All y'all have to concentrate on something. That is the meaning of katanoeo. Kata is a preposition prefix that intensifies the meaning of the verb. The verb noeo has to do with thought. Once again the Christian life has to do with thinking and not emoting. It has to do with learning what God says and obeying His mandates. That is how we demonstrate our love for God, our personal love for God. The aorist imperative emphasizes priority. It is as if the writer is putting this in boldface type and underlining it. It is something to do NOW. He is not emphasizing the fact that it should be continuous. I am sure that it should be. It is emphasizing the priority. These readers need to do this now. Why? Because they are in danger of drifting away. That was the warning back in 2:1. They need to think now. They need to focus now. They need to carefully observe, concentrate, and contemplate who Jesus Christ is and what He has done. So the verb itself implies an object and the focal point of that thought is not just contemplating your navel or waiting for liver quiver. It is to focus on Jesus Christ.
There is unusual phraseology here for Jesus Christ. Two words are used. First, He is called the Apostle of our confession, the Apostle. The word apostle translates apostolos. This is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus Christ is referred to as an Apostle.
There are several different groups of people that are referred to as apostles in the New Testament. You have a group of eleven disciples that began the Church Age. They are designated as Apostles. They have the office of apostle. They have the spiritual gift of apostle. They were commissioned directly by the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. The qualifications to be an apostle were: number 1 they had to be a witness of His life and His teaching, number two they had to be a witness to the resurrection, and number three they had to be commissioned directly by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The twelfth apostle is the Apostle Paul. He was directly commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ when Jesus Christ appeared to Him as one born out of time when he was on the road to Damascus to go murder a bunch of believers.
When you look at the word apostelo (the verb form) it has to do with the act of commissioning someone. What is important to pay attention to in the context is who is doing the commissioning and what are they being commissioned to do. If you misidentify who is being commissioned and what they are being commissioned to do, then you will confuse the average normal everyday use of apostolos with what we would consider the upper case Apostle, those who are commissioned by Christ. You have another group of people such as Barnabas and others who are missionaries that are sent out from churches who are also called apostles. They are apostles in terms of the lower case "a" because they are not commissioned by Jesus Christ for the mission of the twelve. They are being commissioned by local churches for a temporary mission to carry the gospel to a specific group of people in terms of a missionary activity. The gift of apostle is not the gift of missionary. There is no spiritual gift of missionary. There is a gift of apostle and it was limited to the original eleven original disciples plus the Apostle Paul.
Jesus Christ is called an Apostle.
The word apostle in its root meaning has to do with being commissioned to perform a task, to be sent on a mission, to be a military or political envoy, or even an ambassador. Jesus Christ is an Apostle in the sense that He is commissioned for a task by God the Father. He is sent from heaven to earth on a mission. So He is referred to as an Apostle. There is a reason that the writer of Hebrews in this verse is referring to Jesus as a sent one, as an apostolos. That is because in these 6 verses there is going to be a comparison in contrast between Jesus Christ as the apostolos and high priest and Moses. In Exodus 3:10 God spoke to Moses.
NKJ Exodus 3:10 "Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."
In the LXX the verb apostelo is used.
As Moses was a sent and commissioned by God to go to Pharaoh and lead the people, so Jesus Christ was sent from God. There is going to be a development of this comparison to demonstrate the superiority of Jesus in the passage.
The second word is the word for high priest. When we look at the two words in their construction in the Greek we have an interesting phraseology. Just as in the English we have "the apostle and high priest". We don't have "the apostle and the high priest." There is no repetition of the second article. It is not a Granville-Sharp for a number of reasons. But it does fit the criterion for what is called a hendiadys. A hendiadys a figure of speech where there are two closely connected nouns that indicate the same thing. Usually you have the same kind of thing that you do with the Grandville-Sharp rule with an article-noun-conjunction-noun type of construction. What this means for example in Ephesians 4:10-11 where you have the term pastor and teacher is a pastoring teacher or a teaching pastor. That is how it should be understood. We often translate it pastor-teacher, but the two words work together as one main noun and the other modifies it. So it would be a teaching pastor or pastoring teacher emphasizing the two functions but as one entity.
You have the same thing here. This is the sent high priest, the commissioned high priest. So you pull the two words together where they have a similar meaning. We must consider the commissioned high priest. So Jesus Christ is sent as a high priest. Now Moses doesn't have that high priestly function. There is that difference between the two. So we are to focus on Him. We are to concentrate on Him. We are to think about Him. We are to meditate on Him. He is to be the focal point of our thinking – occupation with Christ.
It doesn't just say the apostle and high priest or the commissioned high priest Christ Jesus. There is this other word in there that He is the commissioned high priest of our confession. The Greek word for confession is the Greek word homologia which means to confess, admit, or to make a statement of belief. We often think of a confessional statement in church history which is a doctrinal statement or a creed such as the Apostle's Creed or the Nicene Creed or the Chalcedonian Creed. These are called confessions of faith or statements of doctrine. They summarize a body of belief. Here we see that Jesus Christ is the commissioned high priest of everything that we believe, everything that is foundational to Christianity.
Therefore holy brethren, partakers, participants, co-participants to the heavenly calling focus your attention and thought on the commissioned high priest of our belief system, Christ Jesus.
Then we come to another construction in the second verse. Remember the second verse is a continuation of the first verse. There is no verse number breaking this apart in the original Greek.
NKJ Hebrews 3:2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
The way it is translated in most translations is as a relative clause, "who was faithful". Here we get into a little stipulation of technicality of Greek grammar. The word for "was" is actually the present active participle of the verb eimi. It doesn't have an article with it. When I teach basic grammar and syntax of participles, I usually emphasize that it is easy to tell the difference.
Let's back up a minute. A participle is a verbal adjective. That means sometimes it acts like a verb and sometimes it acts like an adjective. The way you tell the difference is whether or not it has an article. Verbs don't have articles. So there is an article there that tells you it functions more like a noun or an adjective. When it does, it either functions as a noun or it functions as a relative clause like "who was". We don't have an article there. As soon as you don't see an article there, you know it's probably not a relative clause. If it lacks the article it is going to function more like a verb or an adverb. The adverb can have various shades of meaning. The one that fits this context is an adverbial participle of cause. So if we read the two passages together we would read…
Literal translation: Consider (or focus or concentrate) on Christ Jesus because He was faithful
That is why we focus on Christ in this context because He was faithful in the testing that God took Him through so that test after test after test after test, suffering after suffering after suffering He consistently relied upon the problem solving devices. He depended on God the Holy Spirit. He didn't try to solve the trials and testing in His personal spiritual life by falling back on His deity. He never sinned. He never committed a sin. He never disobeyed God. So because He was faithful throughout that spiritual growth process, we are to concentrate on Him. We are to focus on Him. He is our model. He is the precedent setter. He is the captain of our salvation as the New King James puts it back in verse 10. He is the precedent setter. He is the pathfinder. He is the pioneer. All of those nuances are part of that word. So you lose the thrust if you don't translate verse 2 correctly.
We are going to bring in Moses but before we do we have to run around in the Old Testament a little bit. When we see this first phrase (that He was faithful to Him who appointed Him or because He was faithful to Him who appointed Him) it takes us back to a phraseology in I Chronicles 17:14. The word in the Greek is poieo, the basic word for to do or to make or to appoint or to elevate. It has various shades of meaning. It takes us back to I Chronicles 17:14. God is speaking
NKJ 1 Chronicles 17:14 "And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever."
We haven't gotten there yet but "house" is a major term in the first 6 verses of Hebrews 3.
What is the context of I Chronicles 17:14? The context is a reiteration of the Davidic Covenant. The Davidic Covenant establishes what? It establishes the sonship, Jesus Christ's sonship of David, that title. That is why I took the time to go back and gives us a little review that when you talk about the Son in Hebrews it brings to bear these titles that He is the Son of David and the Son of Man. That's the background.
Who is he writing to? Remember the audience is Jewish believers who are being tested, going through adversity and wanting to chunk their Christianity and go back to Judaism. So there are these connections going on and the allusion here in the first part of Hebrews 3:2 is to the appointment of the Davidic Son.
So we pick of the context of I Chronicles 17:13-15.
NKJ 1 Chronicles 17:13 "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. 14 "And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever." ' " 15 According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.
It is talking about the heir of David. The fact that he is talking about the heir of David - picking it up from the previous context - that indicates humanity doesn't it? He is a physical descendent of David. So right there we have the idea that this person is going to be a human being because He is a descendent of David.
That is an allusion to Saul because of his disobedience and rebelliousness.
This terminology "My house" is crucial to the interpretation of Hebrews 3:1-6. My house is that domain of people over whom God has authority.
The implication there is if this person is going to have a throne that is established forever then He must pick up some divine attributes otherwise as a human being He would die. The implication here is that not only that He is human but also divine. It is not the kind of implication that leaps right out at you. It is embedded within the terminology here.
So we see this concept of being appointed "in My house" as a backdrop for Hebrews 3:2.
That appointment has to do with his Davidic sonship.
There is an ellipsis. It leaves out the concept of faithful, but that is the comparison. Christ is faithful in His task. Moses is faithful in his task. That is the point of comparison.
The term house can have various meanings. It can refer to a dynasty; but here it has to do with a community of people, a community of believers. Christ is going to be faithful to His house. That is the community of believers that He is over which is Church Age believers. And Moses is faithful in his house. Some of your versions capitalize that. In the original the "his" isn't capitalized. So the question we have to answer is are we talking about His house being God's house or are we talking about his house being that domain that God has given – that realm of responsibility that God has given - to Moses? I believe it should be a lower case. It's up for debate, but I believe it should be lower case. Moses is faithful in his house. That is Israel. Christ is faithful in His house. Skip down to verse 6.
NKJ Hebrews 3:6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
That is where we pick up that sonship idea out of the Davidic Covenant.
It's in contrast to the house that Moses is over. That indicates that the Mosaic house is Israel and the house that Christ is over is the church. So the comparison picks up Moses and his faithfulness.
His house is in contrast to the house that Moses is over. That indicates that the Mosaic house is Israel and the house that Christ is over is the church. The comparison picks up Moses and his faithfulness.
Let's go back to the Old Testament and look at a key passage on Moses' faithfulness.
Here is a tremendous prophecy that God will give a prophet in the latter days that will be greater than Moses.
NKJ Deuteronomy 18:15 " The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,
Moses is speaking. That is a prophecy that was fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now if you turn to Numbers 12 you have to understand a little bit about the context. In the middle of the book of Numbers there are three complaints by Israel where they are griping and complaining against God and then there are three rebellions. The first complaint has to do with the people complaining in general towards God and God judges them with some sort of brush fire or grass fire around the camp. That's in Numbers 11:1-3. Then there is a second complaint where they complain about the food. They want to go back to the leeks and garlics of Egypt. They don't like the manna that they are having to eat on a daily basis. God punishes them by sending quail in their midst. They kill so many and eat so much that they become sick and God sends a plague of food poisoning or something like that among them. Then you have the third complaint that comes up in Numbers 12. This is the complaint of Miriam and Aaron. They start complaining about Moses being the head leader because of the Cushite or Ethiopian woman he marries. So he has taken another wife who is Ethiopian or Cushite and they have a problem with him getting married again. So they want to make an issue about that.
NKJ Numbers 12:2 So they said, "Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?" And the LORD heard it.
"We are as good as you are!" They don't recognize that everybody is as good as anyone else. But they don't recognize that there are different positions of authority for different people. So it's an authority issue. All through here we see that the Israelites fail to understand authority orientation. In their complaining and griping they aren't oriented to the plan of God.
Then following these three complaints there are three rebellions that take place. This is not a rebellion. This is just a complaint.
NKJ Numbers 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)
Now let me put it to you. If you have 2 ½ to 3 ½ million griping and complaining and spiritually carnal people that you are leading through the wilderness, you are not some mealy-mouthed, weak-kneed leader who gets pushed around by everybody. That is not what humble means.
People in our society have a hard, hard time defining the terms humble, humility or meek. All of these terms relate to one another and are often different words used to translate the root Greek words for humility and meekness. We think it means to be some sort of passive doormat that everybody walks over and walks on top of. But that doesn't fit Moses or anything that we know about Moses. So we have to correct our understanding of these words.
What does humility mean in the Scripture? Humility means proper authority orientation and submission to your authority in its context. It relates to the fact that Moses was more authority oriented (and his orientation is to the authority God) than any man on the earth. You have the same concept of humility in Philippians 2:5-11 where we have the famous kenosis passage that we covered recently. Jesus humbled Himself by being obedient to the point of death. What is humility mean in the context? Just think about it. He humbled Himself by being what? By being obedient. The core idea of humility and meekness is that you are oriented to proper authority and submissive to that authority. It doesn't mean that you are some weak wimpy person that has no backbone, no stamina, no strength, no conviction and you let people run all over you. The implication here is that Moses is the most authority oriented person on the face of the earth.
Now look what happens. The Lord calls for Moses. He has heard their wining and complaining. The Lord calls for a meeting. Trust me when the Lord calls for a meeting they ought to be shaking a little bit.
Let's go to the tabernacle.
NKJ Numbers 12:5 Then the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward.
I am having a tough time visualizing how Miriam and Aaron are standing there complaining about Moses and here comes this cloud that descends out of heaven. Just think of the special effects Hollywood could do with this. This has got to be an impressive scene. They want to stand up and complain. Carnality and arrogance know no bounds. It's just amazing how tenacious arrogance is.
God comes down to them.
NKJ Numbers 12:6 Then He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream.
In other words, the normal operating procedure for prophecy is that "I speak through a vision or a dream". But that is not how He does it with Moses.
NKJ Numbers 12:7 Not so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house.
Have we read that somewhere before? What is the comparison in Hebrews 3:2?
NKJ Hebrews 3:2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
Where do you think that came from? The writer of Hebrews is referring directly back to this episode in Numbers 12. Moses is the most authority oriented human being. But, Christ is higher. Moses is the highest prophet of all time. Deuteronomy 18 But Christ is higher. There is this implicit superiority in the person of Jesus Christ as the appointed Son.
So we go back to the Miriam and Aaron complaint. God speaks.
NKJ Numbers 12:8 I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant Moses?"
For the other prophets it was through a dream or vision. It is direct with Moses.
He sees the form of the Lord. It may be His backside, but he sees the form of the Lord.
He sort of slices them and dices them. Why weren't you afraid? Where was your humility?
The anger of the Lord is the judicial operation of His righteousness. It is an anthropopathism for the operation of His justice.
NKJ Numbers 12:9 So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed.
NKJ Numbers 12:10 And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper.
That is not the kind of leprosy that we have. It is a skin disease. We are not sure what it was. Aaron turns toward Miriam and there she was a leper. I wonder how Aaron handled that because nothing happens to Aaron. He turns and looks at her and she has just been covered in skin sores and her skin is about half eaten away. She has turned into the scariest, awful looking thing you can imagine. He is probably thinking, "What is going to happen to me next?"
NKJ Numbers 12:11 So Aaron said to Moses, "Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned.
This is called remorse, but it seems like it is genuine repentance. He is instantly straightened out. He pleads with Moses to pray to God.
NKJ Numbers 12:12 "Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother's womb!"
God then intercedes for her in verse 13.
NKJ Numbers 12:13 So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, "Please heal her, O God, I pray!"
NKJ Numbers 12:14 Then the LORD said to Moses, "If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again."
That is the least punishment that she deserves, to be removed from the people. So she is. The point of this whole episode is to indicate the authority God has given Moses over his house. He was faithful in his house. That is the community of believers that God placed Moses over.
Let's go back to Hebrews 3.
NKJ Hebrews 3:3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house.
Remember, what's the main idea here? Don't lose the forest for the trees. The main idea is to focus on Jesus because He is faithful. He is writing to a Jewish audience. What about Moses? Moses was faithful. Moses was the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. What about Moses? The answer is that Jesus is superior to Moses.
This is a simple little analogy. Jesus Christ has more honor than Moses. If you take a home builder, the architect-designer-builder has more honor than what he produces. Moses is a creature. Jesus Christ is the creator. Therefore as the creator, He is worthy of more glory than Moses who is simply a creature. That creaturliness will be developed in verse 5.
The analogy continues in verse 4.
NKJ Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.
These communities, the community of Israel in the Old Testament, the community of Jewish believers, and the community of Church Age believers in the New Testament, are all under the authority of God. There are two separate communities here.
NKJ Hebrews 3:5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,
I believe that should be a lower case "his".
The word here for servant is not the word doulos that you normally find in the Greek. It is translated slave or servant. It is the Greek word therapon. A therapon was someone who served someone else out of his own free will. He is not a slave. He is not hired. He serves someone out of his own positive volition. It is a term of high praise for Moses. Moses isn't a servant as in the case of a slave. He is a servant as one who has freely given himself to the position of serving God. Moses can't be painted in higher praise than we have in these verses. But, above Moses there is Jesus Christ. That's why we focus on Jesus Christ because Jesus Christ is the pattern for our sanctification, not Moses or the Mosaic Law or the Old Testament. It is Jesus Christ who is the pathfinder, the pioneer, and the completer of our doctrine. Hebrews 12:2
So Moses was faithful. Moses was honorable. He should be praised. But he is only a free will servant in the house.
NKJ Hebrews 3:6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.
As the Son of David, He is over His house. He has His own people, His own community of believers. "… if we hold fast."
That is the key interpretive phrase that helps us understand all of this terminology about house. We are in that community.
Then there is a third class condition. The third class condition is kind of funny. Normally for simplicity's sake I will talk about the third class condition as maybe it is and maybe it isn't. But if you read the grammars, in the technical language of the grammars it says that it is a condition of more probability. So even in a third class condition, the nuance here is that whose house we are and we are even though it is a third class condition.
The implication is that we work out our position by holding fast that confidence, that future hope, to the end and not give up, not drift away as they were being tested to do in this particular community.
This brings us the end of this second section that emphasizes the role of Jesus Christ as our pioneer in establishing the pattern for the Christian life. It's not the Old Testament. It's not Moses. It's not the Mosaic Law. It's not the Ten Commandments. It's not the ritual of the Old Testament. It's not the morality of the Old Testament. It is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ who sets the pattern.
So we are to concentrate on Him because He was faithful to the one who established Him.
The warning strikes home starting in verse 7. There is a challenge and then there will be a warning.
This is a tremendous section. Once again it quotes extensively from the Old Testament. It relates to the wilderness wanderings. We will have to go back and walk around the Old Testament a little bit. It talks about Joshua as well and then it ties everything together in a concluding section in verses 4:14-16. We will start getting into that warning section next time.