Hebrews 3:1-19

 

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.  For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.  For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.  And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.  Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:  when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.  Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.  So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; while it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.  For some, when they had heard, did provoke:  howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.  But with whom was he grieved forty years?  was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?  And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

 

“We’ll go onto chapter 3 now, and begin to follow the train of thought.  As we said, we believe Paul wrote this, and I’ve always analyzed Hebrews from the way Paul reasoned and we see in chapter 3 a graphic example toward the end, of Paul’s reasoning and his effective inductive use of questions to drive a point home.  The Book of Hebrews is also, as some commentators point out, one of the greatest Christological books, meaning that it is the study of Christ, Christology.  And it describes his attributes and his accomplishments extensively.  He’s the heir of all things, chapter 1, verse 2, he’s the one whom through God [the Father] made the worlds, also chapter 1, verse 2.  He’s the brightness of God, that would be the Father’s glory, and the express image of his person, that’s chapter 1 verse 3.  In fact, chapter 1, verses 2 and 3 have an awful lot of that.  Upholding all things by the word of his power, Christ sustains things, chapter 1, verse 3. [Comment:  and that sustenance of the universe is ongoing, continuous.  He didn’t just create the universe, sort of wind it up like a watch and then step back and let it run on it’s own.  His sustaining is ongoing and continuous.  The power and strength of God is something we as humans just cannot comprehend, and I don’t think we even in the resurrection to immortality will ever be God in that sense.]   Ah, I’m getting down to chapter 3 here in a moment, but it just shows you how many different things in this Book are extolling the attributes and accomplishments of Christ.  He’s seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High, chapter 1, verse 3, he is better than the angels, chapter 1, verse 4, captain of our salvation, we covered that in chapter 2, verse 10, and the destroyer of the devil, chapter 2, verse 14, a merciful high priest, chapter 2, verse 17.

 

Jesus Christ Is Our Apostle and High Priest

 

And now finally one in chapter 3, that he is worthy of more glory than Moses, an important element of the Book itself.  It appears that there were many, and we know this from history, there were many of the original members of the Body of Christ, the true Church of God in the first century, which is when this would have been written, that were Jewish, by background.  Paul was one of them.  [See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm for some real historic proof of this.]  Paul was one classic example of this, he was an Israelite of the Israelites, he was of he tribe of Benjamin.  But it was Judah and Benjamin, the two tribes that formed the House of Judah back in about 970BC when Solomon died, and his son Rehoboam became king, and there was a division within the country.  The northern ten tribes broke off and formed the house of Israel, and Judah and Benjamin, and a great part of Levi (but Levi didn’t have any land inheritance), Judah and Benjamin formed the southern kingdom of Judah.  So Benjamin was a part of that.  The reason it was Benjamin was because the city of Jerusalem itself actually was in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin.  Thus being the capital city, they allied themselves with the Jews, the Jews from Judah.  The term Jew is derived from Judah, it is simply the first syllable.  [For a more complete history of the House of Israel and the House of Judah, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html]  But there were many, in fact, most of the early Church in the early years of the Church were Jewish, and they came to recognize Christ as the Messiah.  And then it appears, by the time that this book was written there were heresies flying about, and some were beginning to weaken in their faith in recognizing Christ as their Messiah, pressure from the Jewish society they lived in perhaps, or whatever it happened to be, they were Judaizing as Paul used the term sometimes.  They were leaning toward Judaism again [not the true form of God’s Old Testament Word of God, but the Judaism of Christ’s day, with all it’s thousands of oral traditions and the Oral Law, which was viewed by the religious Jews (doctors of the Law, the Pharisees and Sadducees) as carrying more weight than the actual Law of God given to Moses].  And they were beginning to discount the Messiahship of Jesus Christ.  We’ll see more of that as we get into the chapter.  Starting in verse 1 then of chapter 3, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”  And the word “partakers” is the same word that is used in chapter 1 and verse 9, which says, as the end of verse 9, “with the oil of gladness more than your companions,”  “Partakers” is the same word as “companions.”  [King James has, “with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”]  So we can then see the connection, even in English, between the two words, why it can be rendered one place one way, and one place the other, they’re very similar words.  “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers [or companions] of the heavenly calling,” and the calling isn’t to go to heaven, the calling comes from heaven, from where the Father and the Son presently are.  There are three heavens in the Bible, there’s the atmosphere we’re breathing, the first one right now, the first heaven, where the birds fly and the jets fly.  And then there’s the second one, which is the deep space in the universe, where the stars and galaxies are.  And then there’s the third heaven, which doesn’t have a physical address, it’s spirit, that is the spiritual realm of where the Father and the Son are, where the angels come and go, where the throne of God is, and the cherubim are there, wings covering the throne of God [cf. Revelation 4:1-11].  We know it’s the third heaven, Paul called it that in 2nd Corinthians chapter 12.  He had a vision, he in vision was in the third heaven.  He’s not the only one, the apostle John was there, and the Book of Revelation is all about that.  Isaiah was there, in vision, likewise Ezekiel and certain others.  So we have a heavenly calling, in the sense that it comes from the Father and the Son down to us.  And he says, “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”  Now here we’re getting into, re-evaluate how you look at Christ,’ “consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus.”  This is the only place in the Bible where Christ is referred to as “the Apostle.”  So we have the 12 apostles, and yet there is a preeminent Apostle even above them, because that Apostle is Christ himself.  He holds that position, that title.  Apostle simply is “one sent, one who is sent,” as if with a message.  And Christ is called “the Messenger” in Malachi chapter 3, I think it’s verse 1, he is the divine messenger carrying the New Covenant down to earth, and the sacrifice for all sin, which is a great part of what this Book is about.  So he is called “the Apostle” here, and “the High Priest of our confession.”

 

Paul Compares Jesus Christ To Moses---Christ is Far Greater Than Moses

 

Hebrews 3:2-6, “Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.  For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.  For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.  And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those thing which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”  “…Christ Jesus; who” and then going on to verse 2, “was faithful to him that appointed him,” that is the Father, “as also Moses was faithful in all his house.”  So now we suddenly find in chapter 3, and it’s going to go on until verse 6, Christ is compared to Moses.  And you think, ‘Well why Moses?’  Well because Moses was the most highly esteemed of the great men of old, who were virtually the most highly esteemed, most highly esteemed in the sense that the Law came through Moses, that Moses formulated Israel into a nation, bringing them out of Egypt under God’s direction.  So Moses was exalted in the eyes of Judaism, has always been.  And that wasn’t wrong, he was a great man.  You don’t want to idolize him, but he has been recognized for his greatness.  ‘But Christ was faithful to the Father who appointed him, as Moses was faithful in all his house.’  And you ask, ‘Well, what do you mean, Moses was faithful in all his house’?  That’s from Numbers chapter 12, Numbers chapter 12, we’ll show you what that says.  This is the incident where Miriam, sister of Moses, and Aaron his brother were complaining about ‘Why does Moses get to make all the decisions?  We know what we’re doing, too.’  “Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses, because of the Ethiopian woman he had married,” this is verse 1, “And has the LORD indeed only spoken through Moses?  Has he not spoken through us also?”  What Merriam and Aaron overlooked is that God hears everything they say.  “And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation.  And they three came out.” (verse 4)  So they came out, and the Lord came down in a pillar of a cloud, and he stood at the door of the tabernacle, and he called Aaron and Miriam, and they both went forward, and he said, “Hear now my words:”  I think we can tell by the dynamics and the example here, that the LORD God of Israel, who was Jesus Christ before his human birth, was actually very put out, very put out with Aaron, to put it in mild terms, and with Miriam.  “Hear now my words:  If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream.”  ‘If I’m going to communicate something, I communicate through dreams and visions, with my prophets.’  “My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.  With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches, and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold:  wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (verses 6-8)  because Jesus Christ before his human birth would manifest himself, and talk, as a man talks to his friend, with Moses in the tabernacle of meeting.  So now we come back to Hebrews, and we look at the dynamics, the issue that’s being addressed.  “As also Moses verily was faithful in all his house,” (verse 2b)  Moses was the most, very faithful, of all the leaders of Israel as a nation.  However, verses 3, “For this man” referring to Christ, “was counted worthy of more than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.”  So Judaism exalted Moses, but Christ is worthy of more glory than Moses, by far.  That’s why this is called Hebrews, because it’s written specifically to address these kinds of issues that were built into the Jewish question, questions that they were asking, or the doubts that they in some cases were having, as we’ll see.  “For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.”  So who built the Tabernacle?  You know, the Tabernacle itself existed, Moses oversaw the construction of it.  But God made everything, you know, Jesus Christ is the one who created everything, created everything that went into the house.  [i.e. Christ created all matter, all living things, wood, precious stones, precious metals etc., cf. Genesis 1:1-25]  Obviously he’s far greater than Moses.  Hebrew3:4, “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.”  He who built all things is God, Moses didn’t create the skins, the stones, the gold, the wood that went into the construction of the Tabernacle, which was a portable Temple, that served the purpose of worship for Israel for centuries, until Solomon built a stone Temple.  “And Moses” verse 5, “verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;”  In fact, when you go back and you read about Moses, he’s called ‘the servant of the Eternal, Moses, the servant of the Eternal.”  And finally, Joshua, as Joshua was maturing after Moses had died, eventually Joshua got to be called “Joshua, the servant of the Eternal” as well.  But Moses was called that all along, “Moses, the servant of the Eternal.”  So Moses was indeed faithful in all his house, as a servant, “for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (verses 5b-6)  You see, Moses was a servant, Christ was the Son, the Son of God, the Son of the Father.  ‘whose house we are,’ so the Tabernacle [and later the Temple of God] is compared here, when you follow along the imagery of this passage here is compared to the true Church of God [i.e. the Body of Christ, composed of whomever the Holy Spirit indwells], is the Temple or the Tabernacle of God today.  [Comment: We are the Temple Jesus is building, “whose house we are.”  See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/Zephaniah1.htm to see this theme fully developed in Scripture.]  “whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”  In other words, we’ve got to hang onto the faith we have received, the faith that was once delivered to the saints.  [Comment:  Faith, in the sense of the word as it is used “faith that was once delivered to the saints” means a set of beliefs, true Biblical beliefs and understanding.  The term “the hope” carries the same connotation here in these verses.]  In other words, we’ve got to hang on to the faith that we have been given, that we have received, “the faith that was once delivered to the saints.”  “rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end”  now when it says “firm unto the end” it brings to mind the Scripture that Jesus himself stated in Matthew 24, verse 13, Matthew 24, and verse 13 for reference.  But it simply says there, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”  It isn’t good enough to have once believed, ‘Oh, I used to believe the Truth, that’s good enough, I used to.’  No, it isn’t a “used to” religion.  God’s way of life is a way of life, the Way of life.  It’s  supposed to be the way of life to the end of our lives, or to the return of Christ, whichever comes first.  So we have here then, in these verses so far in chapter 3, we find that Christ is far greater than Moses was, far greater.  Moses was Christ’s servant, before Christ’s human birth, Moses was his servant.  Christ was a member of the Godhead that Moses sat and talked with, in the tabernacle of meeting, face to face, as a man talks to his friend, and Moses could see the form of Christ manifested. 

 

The Israelites Couldn’t Enter Into God’s Rest Because of Unbelief---A Lack of Faith

 

Now we come to verses 7-8 in Hebrews 3, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:”  Now, what we have here is a citation from Psalm 95, this section most modern copies, the New King James and other Bible translations, will typically put the Old Testament quotation in italics when it’s a large section of it, and if it’s poetry, which the Psalms are poetry, it will be set more or less in a poetic style.  “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness” this is an inspired Psalm, all the Psalms in the Bible were.  “in the day of temptation in the wilderness”  I’ll come back to “rebellion, day of temptation” and look at verse 8 again in a minute, but let’s just get the gist of this whole passage through verse 11.  “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:  when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.  Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.  So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)” (verses7-11)  It’s God speaking in this particular Psalm.  Some of the Psalms gave voice, God would inspire the psalmist, whether David or Asaph or one of the other psalmists that composed the Psalms.  David composed the bulk of them, and he would inspire them occasionally in his voice, as if he [God] was speaking.  Other times it was the psalmist himself who was speaking.  “Oh how love I thy law” for example, in Psalm 19 and 119, and David writing that, that’s David speaking.  But here it is God speaking.  Now let’s look at the rebellion [King James “provocation”] that is being talked about in verse 8, “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation,” and look back, if you would, to Exodus chapter 17, Exodus 17.  Israel had just crossed the Red Sea, they weren’t very far out into the wilderness of Sinai, verse 1, “And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim:  and there was no water for the people to drink.  Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, Give us water that we may drink.  And Moses said unto them, Why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD?”  I mean, well, they were thirsty.  But there’s more to the story, as we see.  So Moses said to them, ‘Why do you contend with me?  Why do you tempt the Eternal?  Why are you tempting God?’  “And the people thirsted there for water, and the people murmured against Moses, and said, Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?”  It seems to me, if the Israelites would have saved their breath, they wouldn’t have been quite so thirsty.  But this is the way they behaved.  So Moses in turn cries out to God, to the Eternal, saying, “What shall I do unto this people?  they be almost ready to stone me.” (verse 4)  That’s a pretty urgent prayer.  “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river,” that would be the Nile, “take in thine hand, and go.  Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink.”  So he was going to perform a miracle for them, he was going to provide water for them.  “And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.  And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?” (verses 5-7)  Most often it’s referred to the waters of Meribah, which means contention.  Those are the Hebrew words, Massah and Meribah, tempted and contentions.  They tempted the LORD and they contended with Moses.  Because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, ‘Is the LORD among us or not?’  You know, if God’s really God, he’d provide us with water!’  You see, they were taunting and challenging God.  Don’t ever do that.  That’s really, really dangerous.  So going back then to what we read from Psalm 95 here in Hebrews chapter 3, when it says in verse 8, “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness”, in the Psalm itself, in the Book of Psalms, Psalm 95, that word is Meribah, it became the name for, it became synonymous with “rebellion,” because they contended with God, and with Moses too.  For forty years they complained.  And Moses tried to lead them, but he goes on in verse 12.  But I’m going to point out something before I get to verse 12.  Let’s go back down to verse 10 and 11, “Wherefore I was grieved [angry] with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.  So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)”  And that generation, the older generation that went out with Moses in the Exodus, across the Red Sea, and wandered in the wilderness for forty years, they wandered until they died.  Because of their rebellious attitude, God told them that they would die in the wilderness, and they would never go into the Promised Land.  Now, when we look at verse 11 then, he says, ‘So I swore in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.’  The rest was God’s reference to inheriting the Kingdom of Israel, inheriting the land, the Promised Land that he would give them.  The Promised Land is not just the nation of Israel, because Abraham was promised a lot more than that, he was promised all the earth, and really the universe as part of the family of God, ultimately as the children of God.  But to inherit God’s Kingdom is the intent here. ‘they will not enter my rest.’ In their case the rest was for them the promise of the physical Promised Land.  But the intent of “my rest” as you go through the Book of Hebrews in effect refers to the Kingdom of God [and as it exists within us now through the indwelling Holy Spirit]. 

 

To Lack Faith Is To Be Tampering With Evil

 

Now we come to verse 12, of Hebrews 3, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”  “evil heart of unbelief”, when you know God, and you don’t exercise faith, you’re rebelling.  [Comment: And faith is an attribute of the Holy Spirit, given to us by the Holy Spirit far above the human faith we at times can conjure up.  This entering into God’s “rest”, if you look at the spiritual elements of it in both Hebrews 3 and 4, seems to point to being under the influence of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and being actively led by God’s Holy Spirit.  In the final analysis, yes it does refer to entering into God’s Kingdom through a resurrection from the dead.  But the spiritual intent and meat of that rest comes into us by and through the influence of God’s Holy Spirit within us.  We’ll explore this important concept more as we get into Hebrews chapter 4.]  I mean, look at the Israelites as our example.  They knew who God was.  They saw the plagues that he miraculously unleashed on Egypt, and freed them.  They saw that over and over again.  But they didn’t believe that he could give them water.  He could turn the Nile to blood, he could open the Red Sea so you could walk across dryshod, he could do all those other things, but he couldn’t give them water?  Would you like ice cubes with that?  Remember he did give the Egyptians hail, really bad hail.  I don’t think they’d want that.  But ”an evil heart of unbelief,” quite frankly, to lack faith is to be tampering with evil.  Now maybe that puts a little more of a sober cast on it.  ‘Oh, my faith is weak, you know, but God understands if I go and sin.’  No, no, that’s an evil heart that you’ve got to get rid of.  Call it what it is, and this is what it’s called in the Bible.  “…in departing from the living God.”  “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”  The Jews, who had been called to the faith, the true faith of Jesus Christ, recognizing Christ as Messiah, some were trying to walk away from that.  [Again, that is a denial of the indwelling Holy Spirit, so by extrapolation, having the Holy Spirit indwelling one is to enter into God’s rest.]  Some Gentiles were starting to adopt the Jewish ways, that influence is a problem Paul had to contend with often as well.  In verse 13, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”  In other words, ‘Stir each other up, encourage each other, while it is called Today, while you have the opportunity.’  “lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”  Well how is it deceitful?  You know, isn’t it better to be more Jewish than Christian?  That is an argument that goes around.  That was the philosophy of Judaizing.  That’s why Paul had to contend with, when I say contend, I don’t mean contend like the Israelites contended with God, but he had to face off against some even in the ministry in his day who believed that Gentiles had to become Jews before they could become Christians.  But that was the big argument about circumcision in Acts chapter 15, the whole chapter was when that was resolved, or theoretically was resolved, but it continued on.  We have today, we have sometimes Jewish type thinking that enters the Church.  I’m reminded of one of our ministers who knew some Sabbath keepers whose beliefs are very much like what we have in the United Church of God from the Bible, but they didn’t understand the Annual Sabbaths, the Feast Days, the Annual Holy Days [cf. Leviticus 23:1-44], and he asked them about that, and he said, ‘Well we had some people who were interested in those some years ago, and they started out, they said Jesus is our Saviour, and when they went and began to keep those days, they’d come back and say ‘Ah, Jesus was a carpenter.’  Essentially what they did is they adopted Judaism [not Messianic Judaism, don’t confuse the two.  Messianic Jews are Jewish Christians, quite similar to the early Church in Jerusalem, they keep the Sabbath and Holy Days and believe Jesus Christ is their Messiah, and they have the indwelling Holy Spirit.  God has within the past 45 years restored the Jewish branch of the Body of Christ, which was historically killed off by Constantine in 325AD.  See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/messianicmovement.htm]  They begin to disregard Christ as their Saviour, and they made the same mistake.  And yet some I think, think ‘Well, if I was just more Jewish, I should look into how the Jews do things.’  Only up to a point.  They don’t recognize Christ as the Messiah.  And that’s a serious issue, their minds aren’t opened, ours are opened to the Truth of God.  To go backwards isn’t good.  It wasn’t good then, Paul was dealing with it here, and it isn’t good now.  Sin is deceitful, and can cause us to devalue Jesus Christ.  One of the heresies that we see float around the Church periodically is what is called in doctrinal studies Arianism.  Essentially the idea that Jesus didn’t exist before his human birth, or at least he was created, there are two variations, one that he didn’t come into existence until his human birth, which would make him a created being, and not a member of the Godhead, and number two, that he was one of the angels, and then became the Son of God by being born of Mary, and neither one is true.  [Comment:  To read a good article defining Arianism, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/What%20is%20Arianism.htm]  But that’s a heresy that devalues the divinity and the Messiahship of Jesus Christ.  “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; while it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.”  (verses 14-15)  Notice how that one gets repeated.  So we have those in Paul’s day, those who had been Jews and called to true Christianity, they need to remain in the faith, the confidence, stedfast to the end. 

 

Paul’s Jewish Reasoning Process Is In The Book of Hebrews

 

Now we come down to sort of the homestretch here in verse 16, and here’s what I think is a classic example of the apostle Paul’s reasoning process.  Verse 16, “For some, when they had heard did provoke:  howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.  But with whom was he grieved forty years?” (verses 16-17a) from the example we just talked about?  The Israelites rebelled.  was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?” (verse 17b)  He answers a question with a question.  Paul, as I pointed out was Jewish, and sometimes this is said to be a Jewish technique [which by the way Jesus Christ used all the time].  An old Jewish gentleman was once asked, ‘Well why do you Jewish people always answer a question with a question?’ and his response was ‘Why not?’  Makes you think.  Well Paul is making them think.  “But with whom was he grieved forty years?  was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?”  Ah, and then he answers a question with a question.  “was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?”  And they did.  Thousands of them, and ultimately an entire generation died in the wilderness, buried in the sands of Sinai.  “And to whom” now here’s the third question, sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?”  They will not enter his rest, and that for them was the Promised Land, for us it’s beyond the Promised Land itself, but the Kingdom of God, the spiritual existence of the Kingdom of God [which begins by having the Holy Spirit placed within you, giving you spiritual rest, and ultimately by entering into that Kingdom by a resurrection to immortality.]  They would not enter into his rest, because they wouldn’t obey him.  Verse 19, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” That is, enter God’s rest, and that becomes a theme in chapter 4, meaning the Promise Land and the spiritual fulfillment of it being the Kingdom of God.  They could not enter God’s rest because of unbelief.  They did not believe.  They lacked faith [which is an attribute of the Holy Spirit], active, dynamic faith.  So, again, as a summary, chapter 3 is showing that Christ is far superior to Moses.  And then we began to prove that Christ in what he has done for us and for all, is far superior that Israel itself.  And that theme actually goes on into chapter 4, which we will be covering in a future Bible study.  [transcript of Hebrews 3:1-19, given by a pastor in the United Church of God.]

 

Related links:

 

Many in the early New Testament Church were Jewish.  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/index3.htm

 

We are the spiritual Temple that God is building.  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophets/Zephaniah/Zephaniah1.htm

 

Messianic Jews of today are not Judaizers, but genuine Jewish Christians.  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/messianicmovement/messianicmovement.htm

 

Arianism is a heretical doctrine that denies the Divinity and Messiahship of Jesus Christ, and denies he is a member of the Godhead.  See:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/What%20is%20Arianism.htm