Yeshua came in a body of flesh and blood in order to be our Redeemer and Savior, and also our great High Priest. An angel, a spirit, can not die, so God prepared a body of flesh and blood for His Son in order to be our sacrifice for our sins. (Heb 10:5) Because He became a human being like us (apart from sin) – and was humiliated and suffered and was a friend of sinners — He understands our lives, our sufferings, our temptations, our hopes, and can sympathize with us when we call upon His name for help at the throne of grace. He is our Mediator and Reconciler with God our Father. He died for us, shedding His blood on the cross to atone for our sins, and to remove them from condemning us as sinners. He knows what temptation is, and He stood faithful to God on our behalf: He came to redeem and to save us, not to be a sinner with us, who often give in temptation. God came to save us!
By faith in who Jesus Christ is and what God testifies about Him, and in what the Lord Jesus tells us, we are justified by the grace of God, and have the hope of eternal life with Him in the resurrection of the righteous. Praise the Lord!
Therefore, the author of this letter to believers on their way to the heavenly Zion, begins this chapter three with “Therefore, holy brethren….” Let’s read the passage:
v 1 “Holy brethren”: We are called to be holy, because our God is holy. We are separated unto Him, and are called to bring honor and glory to His name. “Partakers of a heavenly calling”: We are called to seek the city made by God, as did Abraham, in the Kingdom of Heaven, where God is all and in all. The hope given to Israel will be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom, when all will be very good under the rule of the Lord, King of Israel; the hope given to all who believe now in Jesus goes beyond the 1000-year reign of Messiah, to a perfect new heavens and new Earth, where love will be the reality. “Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession”. Yeshua fulfills in Himself the role of both Moses and of Aaron. He is greater than both of them.
v 2 Jesus was faithful to God His Father, who appointed Him, and Moses was faithful in the House of God.
v 3-4 Yeshua is worthy of more glory than Moses, for Yeshua built the house in which Moses was a servant. Every house is built by someone, but God has built all things.
A servant is not an heir; a son is an heir. This is what concerned Abraham when God told him that he would have an heir to pass on the promise to inherit the land of Canaan at a time when Abraham had no children, only a faithful servant in his house. Moses was a faithful servant who brought temporary redemption to Israel. Yeshua is the Son who brings eternal redemption to inherit our eternal home. Yeshua the Son is the builder of the house. If we are Jewish believers, Moses is no longer “our Rabbi”: Yeshua is greater and we listen to Him, and follow Him, just as John the Baptizer told his disciples to do. And Gentile believers should not dishonor the Messiah by becoming disciples of Moses!
Another way to understand how Jesus has more glory than Moses, and is to honored as such: what gives more light, a candle or electric lights, and which lasts longer? What gives more light, electric lights or the Sun? Do we need lights on when the Sun is shining where we are? What gives more light, the Sun or the moon? There is a glory to the moon, but a greater glory to the Sun. In all these examples, Jesus can be seen to have greater glory than Moses: the Son has more glory and honor than a servant. The Creator God has more glory than any of His created things, including humans.
v 5 Moses was faithful as a servant, for a testimony of things to come after. Again, a servant is not an heir. Israel is the people among whom God will dwell, once they acknowledge, accept, and confess their sin against YHVH their God and Father and King, and He forgives them for rejecting Him and His Son. (Ex 4:21-23; Lev 26:40-45; 1Sam 8:1-9; Hos 5:14-15 – 6:1-3; Lk 19:11-44; Mt 21:33-44; 23:37-39; Acts 3:11-26; Zec 12:1-14; Jer 31:31-37; Heb 8:6-12)
The High Priest under the Torah was responsible for the House of God – the Tabernacle first, and the Temples afterwards. The High Priest was the mediator between sinners in Israel and between YHVH, the God of Israel. Jesus as the Creator of a very good universe, and all according to God’s order, has also taken the place of the High Priest in the world that has become sinful. He is the Mediator and Reconciler between God and sinful Jews, sinful Gentiles, and sinful Christians. There is no other mediator between God and men. (1Tim 2:5)
The redeemed House of God is a greater display of God’s glory than the Creation itself. The atoning blood of Yeshua on the cross makes possible for YHVH to dwell in the praises of His people. We know God through His redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Millennial Kingdom will be much greater than the Garden of Eden; the everlasting new heavens and new Earth will be unimaginably greater than the best that this creation has to offer: the Millennial Kingdom, which in Judaism is “the world to come”. (1Cor 2:9) Adam and Eve did not really know their Creator until He entered in with both judgment and redemptive hope. We have a new song unto Him after we know that we are redeemed and saved.
v 6 But Messiah/Christ is faithful as a Son over His own house, whom He came to serve as a Servant/Slave, not to be served: He is the heir of all things, both of this universe, and of the new one to come. The Body of Christ is the house now within whom God dwells. We are the house of God if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. Do not give up on Jesus! The triune God is faithful and true! Whatever difficulties and suffering and perplexity we may experience in this world, there will be great joy for those who remain faithful till the end, overcoming the world by our faith in the One who died for us and rose again!
v 7 “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says”….: the author is going to begin a quote from the Old Testament/Tenach, and tells us that it is from the Holy Spirit, from God, and He is speaking in the present tense, even till today. “Today, if you will hear His voice”…
This is the second warning which is given us in this letter, the first one being that we must give earnest attention to the truth of the gospel, which is God’s grace to save us by the sacrifice of the Lord, lest we drift away from the faith. (2:1-3) Without an anchor, we will drift away. It may begin slowly, without causing any nervousness, but if we do not notice, we will be drifting farther and farther away from our secure place of hope, from the truth, even from Yeshua/Jesus Himself, our hope in Him being the anchor for our souls. The cost of our redemption is no small thing, and God insists that we give great value to it, as it was brought to us by the Son of God, not by angels, as the first covenant was.
Are we going to hear and obey, to show that we belong in God’s house and Kingdom, or we going to rebel, and disqualify ourselves? God is for us! The Holy Spirit is in us to help us grow in the faith, and to remain faithful to our Lord and Savior. Do we want to hear God, or do we harden our hearts so that, for example, we do not read the Bible, and so not hear Him speak to us through His word? We don’t listen to sound teaching, but prefer what tickles our ears, or to engage in social media while the teacher is teaching? God knows our hearts! Praise the Lord!
Obedience with faith is a condition for God’s blessings in our lives. Grace does not change this, but produces in us a new heart and a new spirit to obey God, with love. His law is within us. The Kingdom of God is within us.
v 8-9 “Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the desert, where your fathers tested Me, tried me, and saw My works forty years!” We, like God, do not like it when someone is always testing us, requiring us to prove ourselves, or to rescue them if they constantly do what they know they should not. (Dt 6:16-19) The word here is referring to a time in Israel’s history after they were brought out of Egypt and on their way to the promised land, and they had seen the mighty acts of God to bring out and to destroy their enemies. (Dt 7:9-11; 9:7-8) But, my Gentile brothers and sisters, Israel is given to you as an example to know who the true and living God is and what He is like. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever! We have seen the works of the Lord over many years in many ways. Why do we doubt so often whether He really loves us, and is really able to do all that He says and promises?!
God is faithful to the terms of the covenant which He cut (made) with our fathers – and, more than that, the New Covenant — both for blessing and for cursing. He blesses when we obey Him willingly; He will curse us if we harden our hearts against Him and rebel against His Word. I know of many people who like to pray, but they do not read the Bible very much. How do they know if their life and prayers are according to the will of God our Father?
v 10 “Therefore, I was angry with that generation, and said: ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’” Thank God that there is always a holy and faithful remnant among the majority of His people who go their own way! In a democracy, the majority determine outcomes: man’s will, not necessarily God’s. There is the majority on the wide road; and in the Torah we are warned not to follow the multitude to do evil, [but to fear the LORD]. (Mt 7:13-14; Ex 23:2) Am I making sure that I am among such a holy and righteous remnant, and helping other believers remain in the Way of YHVH?
v 11 “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest!’” If God swears to do, or not to do, something, you can be sure that whatever it is, it will certainly be as He says. God gives us rest when we obey Him so that He can do for us what He has covenantally promised concerning the inheritance. Yeshua has told us that He gives us rest when we learn from Him and become more like Him. Until today, Israel is not at rest: no security, no peace, many wars; and too many of us are not at rest in Messiah/Christ. Do not harden your hearts, but with patient endurance, remain faithful until the end.
v 12 “Be watchful, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;”
If we stop believing in who our God and Savior is; if we stop believing in what He has told us, then we will have doubts, we will not obey, and certainly not with thanksgiving; we will not love Him above all. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Yeshua told us that if we are embarrassed by His words and teaching in this evil and adulterous generation, then He will be ashamed of us when He comes again.
Do you want to follow the Lord in holiness and righteousness, or do you reallly want to “go back to Egypt”, to our old lives as slaves to sin and to this world’s rulers? Yeshua is greater than the best of them!
This article originally appeared on Streams in the Negev, January 21, 2023, and reposted with permission.