We must keep in mind as we look at this book. It was written dealing with a uniquely Hebrew problem. The truths contained are timeless and for everyone. The application is for all times but the context is dealing with Hebrews who were saved out of the old Jewish religion of rites and rituals, then were being influenced to return to it. Paul quotes one OT passage after another. Very many references to the OT.
The Jews regarded their religion very highly. There were several reasons for this.
First, it had been given through some very distinguished prophets. They regarded men highly as being from God. Even though they would not obey them. Also it had been given through angels (David and the angel who was going to destroy Jerusalem.)
Second, it had been given by Moses, the most distinguished man in history. They looked on him with pride as the founder of their religion.
Third, they had high priests as the head of their religion. The Jews could not imagine any true religion without priests.
Paul has dealt with the issue of the prophets and angels showing that the prophets spoke of Christ and this Christ far superior than angels.
He has touched a little on the priesthood but now he is going to deal wit this in much more detail, showing Christ as the high priest and also how much superior Christ is than Moses.
3:1, "wherefore" what is it therefore. The reference is back to what has been said before this. We have seen a description of his character. He pointed out that Christ became like man in every way except the sinful nature so that he could be a merciful and faithful high priest. He is able to "succor them that are tempted."
holy brethren-- of course a reference to the saved. He could also be referring here to the fellow Jews but this could be only saved Jews.
Partakers of the heavenly calling-- God the Holy Spirit has called us, Eph. 4:1. Our calling is to be holy, I Pet. 1:15, 16.
Apostles, one sent, Matt. 15:24.
High priest, again, Paul reminding them that the Christian religion has the high priest.
V. 2. This high priest, who was sent by God the Father was faithful in all things which were given him by the one who sent him. I Cor. 4:2, are we faithful in our calling.
He compares Christ with Moses here, Num. 12:7. house=those people he was responsible for, the nation of Israel. Moses was very highly exalted in the Jewish religion. Jn. 9:28 gives us a hint of this regard which they had for Moses.
Paul again starts at a point on which they call all agree, that Moses was faithful in all his house. He then takes them where he wants them to be.
v. 3. This man Christ Jesus, he points out that Christ Jesus is as high above Moses as a builder is over a house. They honour Moses highly as the builder of the Jewish religion in obedience to God the Father--then how much more honour is due the one who "built" both Moses and the Jewish religion.
Another point here. Observe the OT reference which Paul is making, this is Zech. 6:12.
1.) Who is going to build the end-time temple of the Lord? He
2.) What will this person have, or bear, v. 13b? glory
3.) What will he do, v. 13c, sit and rule, see Eph. 1:20; Phil. 2:9.
4.) He shall be a priest, v. 13d.
5.) Who will help build this temple, v. 15. See Eph. 2:13.
6.) What is this temple built on, Eph. 2:20? What NT passage confirms this? Matt. 16:18.
Note Zech 6:15b, it is as we obey the word of God that the temple is built.
Now, if we will compare Zech. 6:12 with Heb. 3:1b, we see what the prophecy of Zech. is referring to. Look at all of the points which are alike. Paul did not have to remind these Hebrews what he was talking about. They knew. They could identify with the slightest reference, yet he had to tell Timothy to go back and search it out. We must do the same.
Also, Eph. 3:9 (Rom. 16:25), we see that the mystery of this building was hidden from the beginning. These OT authors could see nothing except what they were familiar with. The temple and all of its activities (and spender), in terms of what they knew.
Paul here in Heb. 3:1-6 is making the proper application of the OT temple prophecies for the benefit of these Jews. He not only does it here but in his other letters. Paul is very blunt that the house, temple of God, since Christ is, us, v. 6. The holy brethren of v. 1. Paul tells those of Corenth the same thing, I Cor. 3:16-17.
V. 4. Paul moves ahead, reminding them that even though Moses was a great man, who gave the ordinances for the temple worship as well as the moral law, civil law and temple law, Christ is much more.
Why? Because Christ made Moses and ordained all that Moses gave, Eph. 3:10. Moses did nt make this claim and neither did the Jewish religion which they regarded so highly.
V. 5. Reminds them again of Moses' faithfulness to all God told him in taking care of his house. Faithful in fulfilling all of his responsibilities to God and to man, yet he did it as a servant. The house was not his but it belonged to his mother.
Moses did not act on his own but on his Masters instructions. See LK. 12:41-48; Lk. 16:10-12.
We are not to act on our own but on our masters instructions. His word alone can be our rule of action.
V. 5b. Moses was faithful in all things. Now, he gives the reason for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after. (Christ spoke to them, Paul spoke to them.)
This is Deut. 18:15, 18, 19. Moses spoke of exactly what Paul is trying to tell these who knew the old Jewish religion.
There are more NT verses to confirm this than we could look up. One example is Deut. 18:18 and Jn. 17:8.
Moses faithfulness in these things was a foreshadow of Christ and his faithfulness. Again, all of these things happened unto them for examples for us. They are written down for our instruction and admonition, I Cor. 10:11. The things that happened to the OT saints were/is for our instruction. Everything is for a picture for us that we might know how to live.
V. 6. Again showing the similarity of Moses and Christ, yet the far greater than Moses in Christ.
Christ is the son of God and has his own house. Moses was only a servant of God who watched after someone else's house for them. This is I Pet. 2:5.
From this we see that the OT prophetic temple of God for the time after Christ is the church with Christ as the faithful high priest over it as well as king and ruler.
v. 6b. If-- Matt. 10:22-,32-33. I guess the best explanation of this would be I Jn. 2:19.
Now, this seems to be a break. The conclusion to the above would be Paul here has shown not only how much better than Moses Christ is, but also that Moses was only a foreshadow of Christ. Moses also spoke of Christ many times over. Proving that Christ is the fulfillment of all OT prophecies.
Paul also gives the proper application of the OT temple prophecies. He ties the house, building and temple of God all together in Christ, showing that it is the church. V. 6, cannot be avoided, whose house are we. The end-time temple which Moses and the prophets spoke of is Christ according to this passage and many like it.
Therefore the house which Moses was faithful over was a picture or a OT type of the church, the house which our Lord was faithful over, Acts 7:38.
V. 7. Wherefore--referring back to the far superior rank of Christ over Moses. We should listen for his voice and direction and dread his displeasure. He goes on to v. 12 which will carry on his thought. The warning is against failing to obey God. He goes much more into this warning in 10:28.
Now, he sticks a OT quote right in the middle of this. FATHERS= founder of a race, forefathers of a tribe. Same word as Rom. 4:1. Paul quotes Ps. 95:7-11.
Paul quotes Ps. 95:7-11. This is interesting. Paul here takes this passage which refers to Israel coming out of Egypt and their rebellion and applies it to the church. He uses the same term in I Cor. 10:1, FATHERS, applying the old Hebrew nation as the fathers of the church. This would be a reference to the roots of the NT church being in the old Hebrew religion. Moses would be a Father here.
Following through, this is a reference to the covenant family. We enter into it by faith, those who have gone on before would be our fathers. Those who have died in the covenant. The sheep of his pasture would also be another term for this.
We see from Gal. 3:29, that by us being the seed of Abraham, this makes not only him our father but also those who feel heir to this promise )covenant) to Abraham our fathers.
Paul tells us in Heb. 10:15, 16, that we re the heirs. (12:23) Deut. 4:13, gives us the law which govern this covenant. Therefore these covered in the "YOUR" of Heb. 3:7 would include all of those of Heb. 12:23 and not restricted to just the physical Jews, Hebrews or Israelites.
Gal. 3:27 also identifies those named in Heb. 11 as the fathers of the faithful, see I Pet. 3:6.
Paul identifies the author of this psalm as the Holy Ghost. He then quotes this passage and applies it to those whom this book is addressed to. Who would primarily be the early Hebrew Christians but includes the whole of the church of the first born. It applies to all that are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
Paul considers this just as important for the church as he did for the Hebrews. The original address in Ps. 95 was to the old Hebrew nation. Paul here though applies it as though it was addressed to the redeemed of all ages.
His warning is against the hardening of our heart, against the word of God by neglecting to hear and obey that still small voice.
Now let us look at what Paul warns us of.
V. 7. "Today" the command is to repent, to follow him today not tomorrow or off in the future. The requirement is to turn to him today. There are some obvious reasons for this. 1.) Duty is present tense. It is now. It is our duty to turn from sin and obey him NOW. 2.) Matt. 6:24, here we see that we have no guarantee of tomorrow. Our command is to advance his kingdom NOW. We will answer for our obedience to his word today, not how we will respond tomorrow to his desires but how we respond today.
If you will hear, if we are willing to listen and do he will speak. If we are unwilling to hear and do he will not speak until we are willing.
Once a person is willing to break old habits the rest is usually easy. If a person is unwilling he will find a thousand reasons why he either doesn't have to or why he can't.
Are we willing, if not we can pray for God's grace to make us willing. Are we willing but unable. Again, we can pray for his grace for strength.
His voice--- How does his voice speak? 1.) In his word. 2.) Through the preached word, I Cor. 1:21. 3.) To our heart, conscience. 4.) Through the events around us, the divine providence of God. 5.) Through relatives and friends. 6.) Through authorities.
Therefore we see that he speaks to us every day. The exhortation then is that every day we are to heed his word. He warns us daily not to harden our hearts.
V. 8. "Harden not your hearts." Here the blame for a hard heart is placed upon the individual, not on his circumstances, surroundings nor on other people. If a person's heart is hard it is his own fault and he is be held accountable for it. This would fit right in with Ja. 1:22.
We read of the conscience becoming seared in I Tim. 4:2. The truth no longer has any effect upon the person. What brings this one? (Knowing what to do and not doing it. Knowing how to please God and refusing to do it.)
In this also the preaching of the word of God is rendered powerless. The warnings of others have no effect.
Paul here ties the refusal to listen to the voice of God with the hardening of the heart. Also we see another way this refusal to hear his voice hardens the heart.
In order for men to resist the voice of God here they must harden their hearts. This is a voluntary hardening and they do this by setting themselves against the truth.
They also resist this voice offering excuses of why they cannot hear his voice, or why they cannot do what he requires of them.
They resist this voice by plunging into sin in order to avoid serious impressions by the Holy Spirit concerning what God wants them to do. This would apply also to God's voice concerning salvation.
Then there is the direct resistance to the Holy Spirit, just say not to God.
Another would be convincing themselves it does not concern them.
Example: I had a person sit and look me straight in the eye
and say, "I don't believe that passage of Scripture means
that because if I did I would have to do something about it."
The had hardened their heart to the voice of God. The Lord may speak to us where we are so we move in hopes he will leave us alone. We have seen this in Jonah.
There are numerous things a person (child of God, here), will do to avoid the word of God. We read more of this plea by God in Ezek. 18:30, 31.
"As in the provocation" their stubbornness and refusal to obey God here in this situation provoked God to wrath and anger against them. (v. 11.)
"In the time of temptation in the wilderness." They put God's patience and forebearance on trial. His long-suffering was put to the test by their stubbornness and sins.
They demanded bread in the wilderness of sin. They water at Mussah or Meribah. They tried his patience with the golden calf at Sinai, at Taberah they cried for flesh. At Kadesh they refused to go into Canaan. That was the end of God's patience and v. 11 took place.
Like refusals will prevent our entering into His rest.
V. 9. "Proved me" The Lord says here that our fathers seemed to run an experiment as to how far they could push him. They seemed to want to see just how much he could bear.
Our kids do this many times. My mother used to tell me, "You are trying my patience."
These fathers put His patience to a very through trial and found out how far they could go. Paul points out that since they already did it then we had better beware that we don't. Kids will try our patience. Must present a united front.
"Saw" They saw the Red Sea, they saw God descend on Mt. Sinai, the manna, the guail, the healing of the serpent, the water three times, even thought they saw the marvelous provisions of God they still rebelled against what the wanted them to do. They saw his goodness and plenty and still sinned.
Men are no different today. Even in the midst of the blessings of redemption we still provoke him.
V. 10. "I was grieved"offended, provoked, indignant. "Always---". For forty years they lived true to their character. For forty years their conduct showed their disregard for their redeemer and provider.
I had a preacher tell me not long ago that he could overlook and forgive a one time fall into gross immorality when the person gets up and makes it right and presses on. His problem though was when they stayed in it. That shows the character of the individual.
I might mention the same. A one time glance at a immodest picture (dirty picture), is excusable but to hide dirty pictures under the bed or hang them on the wall will reveal what the character of that person is.
While I am this close, young ladies, you had better avoid the follows who are hung up on dirty pictures. There is trouble ahead.
The consistent actions of a person reveals their character. The consistent gripping, complaining and unbelief revealed the character of these people and it will us also.
It showed their rebellion, it showed they did not know God nor his ways. This is confirmed by our Lord. He pointed this out several times while here on this earth. Matt. 3:10; 7:17-19; 12:33; Lk. 6:43-44, is the clearest statement of this. Anyone can (and will) fall int sin even the worst of sins but the one who remains in that sin is not HIS. Not everyone who claims to be his is his. His people will show that they are His by their character, their habits, I Ki. 2:3, 4, 19.
This is what God said about these people here. For these many years they showed their rebellion and stayed in it. God was fed up with it and cut them off.
V. 11. So I swear-- this is strong. Their character proved their lack of love for their God so God determines that they will not enter into the land of Canaan. They still had to fight but in Canaan all the had to do was obey and God worked and fought for them.
"rest" in Scripture terms rest means to be in God's perfect will. To be in the place which God has prepared here on earth for us doing what he has for us to do. Obedience to him and he taking care of the details. Matt. 11:28 gives us a good example.
We come in simple obedience to Christ and his word and we no longer have to labour for the results. We cease work in the sense of working for results and work to obey his every desire for us and he takes care of the results.
Rest is not as we think of it today. Rather rest is being in God's perfect will and not having to worry about the results.
These people had the chance. They continually tired God's patience and were barred from the promised rest in Canaan. Canaan does not represent heaven. It represents the promised blessings of this life which we have in Christ. To harden our hearts in one area will cost us the "fruit of the spirit."
Paul recounts the story of Israel. He applies it ot the modern church. In fact, it will apply as long as there is a sin nature. He has pointed out that His people ignored their Lord's (their Redeemer's) voice. He spoke to them and they refused to hear and obey.
1.) They tempted him with, "He is our Redeemer, he won't do anything. We'll obey if we feel like it, if we don't we won't." They "proved him" or tried to see how far they could push him.
2.) They saw his marvelous works for these many years and still gripped and complained. They provoked him to wrath. They knew what he could do and would, yet refused to allow him to do it.
a.) They proved by their actions they were not his.
Notice here then that the people of the covenant cut themselves off from the covenant. Deut. 7:12-Hosea 13:9.
This passage along with many others show what the covenant is. It was a promise to bring them into the land and give it to them.
This promise had laws attached to it that if they would serve God by obeying him they would have the promise. If they didn't, they would be cut off from the promise.
Paul points out here (and in Rom. 6), that the promises of God, (rest), are conditional. Just as sure as the unbelieving Israelites were cut off from the promises of God (removed from the covenant) by unbelief so will the Christian.
Deut. 4:26, the people of the inheritance are the people who believed God's word and acted upon it. Those who refused were cut off from the inheritance, Deut. 4:30.
Some would say, "That is not for us today. Covenants and
promises, etc." Paul makes it very clear here that it is
just as much for today's
people of God as it was when Moses spoke it.
Heb. 3:12, continues on with the thought with "take heed, brethren--." He is clearly addressing the brethren. He is writing to the Hebrew Church and dealing with the problem of them going back into the Hebrew rites and rituals even though they know better. God has spoke to them, yet they are in danger of refusing and of going back into Judaism.
He is reminding them of history and the results of refusing to follow the voice of the Lord. He reminds them of the wrath which came upon them who heard the voice of the Lord and refused to obey. He has warned and warned, yet they refused to heed the warning.
Remember, this passage is comparing Christ with Moses. How much more better, holy, and greater He is than Moses. He says here, "Look at what happened when God's people refused to listen to God's voice through Moses. Look at the results when they refused to obey Moses. The wrath, etc. Think of how much worse it is when we resist the voice of our Lord God himself."
But this warning is not restricted to only those who regarded Moses so highly, although it is written in that context. It is for all of God's people of all times. This is just as much for us at Linden Baptist Church as if it were addressed to us, v. 14 confirms this.
"Take heed Ovid, that you don't turn your back on what the Lord wants you to do. Look at what happened to God's people who ignored Moses. Think how much worse it will be for those who ignore God's voice through his word or through his Holy Spirit."
To harden our heart again what he has for us to do in one area will cost us our "rest" in him. Is there something lacking in our lives? Maybe it is because we have hardened our heart in something which we just don't want to do.
Heb. 3:12, take heed brethren - because these stubborn Jews paid a terrible price for refusing to obey the voice of The Lord through Moses. Be on guard that you don't get caught in the same feelings of rebellion, stubbornness and unbelief. We will miss what is ours in Christ.
V. 12. He identifies an evil heart among God's people. What is it? (Unbelief)
Notice it is not a immoral heart as we think of wickedness of the heart, but a heart of unbelief.
What is this heart of unbelief identified as? (Departing from the living God.) (See 12:16)
V. 13. Here we see Heb. 10:25. Paul expands much more on what he is talking about here over in Heb. 10, as he warns of God's people ignoring Him and what is for them in Christ. Over there he tells us of the necessity of the public assembly to encourage each other.
Notice here in v. 13. He says today. This would be a reference back to v. 7, today. Now is the time to obey. Now is the time to encourage each other in the Lord. Tomorrow will be to late. He uses this today to point Ps. 95 which he has just quoted, on all of God's people of every age. The principle will stand forever.
He continues on with the warning against hardening of our heart. What does he warn us of which will harden our hearts? (deceitfulness of sin)
What are some of the deceitful things which sin will use to harden us. Some of His devices, II Cor. 2:11: 1.) Confusion, I Cor. 14:33. 2.) Fear, II Tim. 1:7. 3.) Doubts, II Cor. 4:13. 4.) Lies, usually not bold face lies, but lies of doubts, Jn. 8:44. 5.) Emotions, I Jn. 4:1. (Try the spirit, if it is not of peace, then it is not of God.) 6.) Thoughts, imaginations, II Cor. 10:4-5. 7.) Motives, Matt. 6:1. 8.) Lusts, Rom. 13:14. 9.) Pride, Ja. 4:1-10. 10.) Parents sin, Ex. 20:5. 11.) Indifference toward Him and His word, I Cor. 15:34; Hosea 10:2. 12.) Bitterness, unforgiveness, Heb. 12:15. 13.) Covetousness, II Pet. 2:3. 14.) False doctrine which sounds like the truth, II Pet. 2:1-2; Jude 4. 15.) Just a little sin won't hurt, II Tim. 2:19-26. 16.) Counterfeit gifts. Either the gifts of the spirit (Gal. 5), or the spiritual gifts, Rom. 12. 17.) Preaching which doesn't emphasize Christ's atoning work and trust in that alone, II Cor. 11:4. 18.) Of course, there is the sin of presumption which Paul is warning us of from the experience of the Israelites at Kadesh-Barnea. 19.) He is also warning us of unbelief, Heb. 3:12. What is unbelief here? Is it refusing to believe in God? Is it refusing to believe in the death, burial and resurrection? Is it refusing to trust Christ as our Saviour?
Unbelief, (v. 15), provoked God to wrath. What is unbelief? (See v. 18)
This is probably the most deceitful of all sin as the world, flesh and the devil convince us of what? (It isn't really important that we obey him in the matter.) Also, Ecc. 8:11, will deceive us, or that he will take care of us anyway, Num. 14:44.
The longer it is put off the harder the heart becomes. Paul is pleading with the Hebrews here. "You know that Judaism is no longer valid. You know that Christ is the total fulfillment of Judaism, which Moses gave to you. You know it is not right to go back to it so don't go back. Obey God, leave it alone. It is now a sin to look to those sacrifices, rites and rituals for your communion with your heavenly Feather. If you keep it up you will be hardened and God's wrath will be against you even though you are saved. "He proved it with old Israel."
V. 14. I think this is I Jn. 4:17.
As we harden our hearts by refusing to obey his voice, word, I think we lose this position we have in Christ. The more we obey him by faith the more we are able to claim this place in him.
We are partakers with him as we walk in faith. As we exercise the confidence which we say we have in him.
V. 15. Here he does it again. Three times he uses the term today. You would think he is trying to tell us something. He now very bluntly applies Ps. 95 and what Israel did to the church. All of those who are made partakers of Christ. This could be no clearer of an application. What the Israelites did there was our instruction. What is the warning for us? (This is v. 8)
V. 16. Some, not all. There are at least two who heard God speak and in spite of all the opposition they wanted to obey God. There were somewhere around 600,000, who refused. Mainly though it was the ten who cause the fear and discouragement which led the rest to revel.
Note here, we had better get our orders straight from God and his word. If we base our obedience upon others we will be in the same fix as were these 600,000 who listened to the ten. We can almost rest assure that the majority (10 vs 2 here), will excite fear and discouragement when it comes times for us to obey God.
We had better spend our time alone with him and his word and get our orders from him and obey him. If we don't we will provoke him. We also will wander in the wilderness and miss what is for us in our relationship with Christ. Don't let the majority rob us of our peace and joy in the Lord.
V. 17. "Sinned", what was the sin that left their carcasses in the wilderness? Ps. 106:29, one of the references here is the sin of Baal-peor. They joined themselves to the things, gods of this world, the heathens around them.
V. 18. The main reference though here is what? Those who refused to enter in, Num. 14:22, 29.
V. 19. He has used from v. 7 to v. 18 to prove his point. What point has he proved?
That unbelief is to hear God speak, know what he desires for us and then refuse to do it.
He sums it all up with, "God's people in the past missed the promised rest blessings of God because they wouldn't act on his word. If those under Moses missed it and inherited the wrath of God for being stubborn and rebellious against Moses, then how much worse will it be for his people today who through stubbornness and rebellion refuse to give up sin or obey his desires for their lives?"
V. 18. "He sware," this is a very strong statement. God's patience will only last so long with his people, then, there is only judgment. His patience with unbelief will not last forever. Yet his blessings for faith is beyond description.