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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 4

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-16

7 The Hebrew of Psa_95:7-11 reads ''as at Meribah" and "the day of Massah", and the passage refers to the twentieth of Numbers. The quotation substitutes their meanings. Meribah is "contention," or "bitterness," Massah is "trial." Thus he brings before us the two great occasions which exhibited the unbelief of the people. They followed the report of the ten spies, and refused to go into the land (Nu. 13, 14). Jehovah proposed to wipe them out and make a greater nation of Moses. But He relented, yet doomed them all, but Caleb and Joshua, to die in the wilderness. At Meribah or Massah the people had no water and they murmured against Moses and Jehovah ( Exo_17:1-7 ; Num_20:1-13 ). All those in the wilderness had been redeemed out of Egypt, yet they failed to enter the land because of unbelief. The Pentecostal believers who are addressed here find themselves in precisely the same predicament. The Lord had come, offering the kingdom, but they had refused to enter in. Now again the kingdom had been proclaimed, and now those who had been redeemed murmur because the kingdom is not set up. This epistle is meant for those at Meribah. This quotation is the keynote of the warnings of this epistle. Despite them the bulk of the nation drew back, and we witness its wanderings to this day. Abraham was not an Israelite, nor a Jew, but his descendants who imitated his faith in obedience to the exhortations of this epistle are Hebrews indeed.

3 That the entrance into the land was only a typical suggestion of the reality is evident when the psalmist speaks of a future entrance. The word "rest" is not a correct rendering of the Hebrew "sabbath" or the Greek word here used. God was not tired when He first instituted the sabbath ( Gen_2:2 ). He stopped, not rested. So the unbeliever is not asked to rest from his works, to gather strength to resume them, but to stop because God has finished His work. Joshua (in Greek the same as Jesus) signifies Jehovah the Saviour. He brought them into the land. Hence, while Moses and Aaron are discussed at length, their ministry being in the wilderness, Joshua is barely mentioned. This shows how consistently this epistle clings to the wilderness experiences of Israel. It is not concerned with the entrance into the promises.

9 The sabbatism which remains for Israel is the millennial kingdom. Those who, like Caleb and Joshua, spy out the land, and have confidence that God will fulfill His promise, enjoy the sabbatism by faith. All the rest are strewn along the wilderness.

12 The soul has to do with the physical senses. It is usually confused with the spirit. The nation in the wilderness was soulish. They sighed for the flesh pots of Egypt. They were sensual. So too with the people in our Lord's day, who responded to the loaves and fishes, but could not digest His words. And this is the danger with these Hebrew believers. They sighed for the physical blessings of the kingdom. But when the signs which accompanied its proclamation in the Pentecostal era withdrew, they fell away. Only the word of God is able to judge whether an action is spiritual or soulish.

13 "Him to Whom we are accountable" is an impressive and suggestive description of God whose Word makes apparent every thought of the heart.

14 Priesthood is a standing symbol of distance and alienation. There was no priest in Eden. There is no temple in the new creation ( Rev_21:22 ). In the present economy of grace each one has unhindered access, by one spirit, to the Father ( Eph_2:18 ). The Aaronic priesthood arose out of Moses' inability to perform all the functions of a mediator. As Christ has no such disabilities He exercises all the duties pertaining to mediatorship, and thus becomes a Priest of a different order. From the time when no priest was needed, through Melchizedek, who was both priest and king, down to Aaron was a descent. The ascent is through Christ, Who is both Priest and King, to the last eon, when priesthood vanishes in reconciliation.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Hebrews 4". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/hebrews-4.html. 1968.
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