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Hebrews 3

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1


(Christ the Son better than Moses, the Servant)

1) "Wherefore, holy brethren," (hothen adlephoi hagioi) "Whence(from which experience) holy brethren," This case of direct address as "holy or sanctified brethren" or companions, was perhaps directed or written to the church of Jerusalem where there were numerous brethren who, though believers, still wanted to hold to the Law of Moses, Acts 15:1.

2) "Partakers of the heavenly calling," (kleseos epouraniou meto chi) "Sharers of an heavenly calling," a sublime calling, a calling from above, an higher calling than any on earth. These brethren were Divinely called and separated to the commission of our Lord under what is known as The Great Commission, Matthew 28:18-20; John 15:6; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:9.

3) "Consider the Apostle and High Priest," (katanoesate ton apostolon kai archierea) "You all consider the Apostle (one having been sent) even the High Priest," the one presiding over spiritual matters, the offering of sacrifices to God in worship and praise and service thru his church, John 3:17; John 20:21; Luke 19:10; Hebrews 7:25.

4) "Of our profession, Christ Jesus," (tes homologias hemon lesoun) "of our confession, Jesus (Christ)," as obedient believers committed to his worship and service in and thru the church, John 20:21; Ephesians 3:21; Our High Priest, Apostle (sender), is the Christ who is the Sanctifier who has sent his church into all the world to bear his redemptive message and praise, Hebrews 2:11; John 15:16; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8.

Verse 2

1) "Who was faithful to him that appointed him," (piston onta to poiesanti auton) "As being (or existing) faithful to the one making him," to be an High Priest - He, Jesus, was and is faithful to the Father. He said to his church, whom he had chosen (John 15:16) "as my Father hath sent me, so send I you," John 20:21. He was faithful to the Father in trials, suffering, and obedience, in life and death, till he had finished his work, John 8:29; John 17:4; John 19:30; Daniel 9:24.

2) "As also Moses was faithful in all his house," (hos kai Mouses in (olo) to oiko autou) "Even as Moses (was faithful) in all his household," Numbers 12:7; Deuteronomy 4:4-6, his duties and responsibilities to his people in obedience to his Divine call to lead and serve them in establishing and overseeing the program of Divine Law Worship, Isaiah 5:7; Our Lord’s house is the church of the living God today, Mark 13:34-37; 1 Timothy 3:14-15. As such it is a visible, physical, earthly assembly of scripturally baptized believers who are in covenant fellowship to carry on a program of worship, soul winning, and teaching for the Lord, Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 3:21.

Verse 3

1) "For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses," (pleionos gar houtos dokses paro Mousen eksiotai) "For this one (Jesus Christ) has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses," the lawgiver, Prophet, and priest or intercessor for his people, Israel. Why? Because The Church (new covenant of worship and service) is greater than the Law covenant of worship, Matthew 5:13-17; 2 Corinthians 3:6-17.

2) "Inasmuch as," (kath’ hoson) "Just as or by so much as," to the same extent as; As the master is greater than the servant, so Christ the Son of God, Moses Redeemer, was greater than Moses, Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:9; Acts 4:12.

3) "He who hath builded the house," (tou oikou ho kataskeuasas auton) "The one having built it (the house)," the Architect, Jesus Christ; This house he built (the church, Matthew 16:18) is a greater witness than was the Law which it displaced just as Jesus, the founder and purchaser of the church is greater than Moses, Mark 13:34; Mark 13:37; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:25; 1 Timothy 3:15.

4) "Hath more honor than the house," (pleiona timen echei tou oikou) "Has more honor than the house;” Jesus, the better High Priest and the better law-giver, giver of the New Testament, builder of the New Testament house of God (the church) merits greater honor and glory than Moses. This is the essence - the sum total of consideration here, 1 Timothy 3:15-16; Ephesians 3:21. Gentiles were barred from full worship and service in the Law worship, of Moses, but Jesus removed the worship barrier so that Spiritually none is debarred from worship or service in his house (church), .

Verse 4

1) "For every house is builded by some man," (pas gar oikos kataskeuazetai hupo tinos) "For every house is prepared by someone;" none originates without order, design, intelligence, and skillfully directed constructive energy. As surely as houses and men on earth exist by supernatural design and power for specific functions, so does the church, The New Covenant program of worship that Jesus established, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Mark 13:34-37; 1 Timothy 3:15.

2) "But he that built all things is God," (ho de panta kataskeuasas theos) "Yet, God is (exists as) the one who constructed (or prepared) all existing things:" "From nothing came to be nothing," but from nothing (a time when nothing completely existed) God (through Christ) created, made, built, or prepared all things, John 1:1-3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16-19.

Verse 5

1) "As Moses verily was," (kai Mouses men) "And Moses was (existed), on the one hand," in one area of factual consideration, Exodus 32:9-14. Greatness exists in compassionate care for others. As those of the Law showed it for lost brethren how much more should we emulate that compassion of Christ for the lost and his church Luke 19:10; Matthew 11:28; John 6:37; Ephesians 5:25; .

2) "Faithful in all his house," (pistos en holo to oiko autou) "Faithful in his whole household," in his duties over the household of his people, Israel," very faithful, even to stand in the breach in intercession for them, when God would have blotted them out of existence, Psalms 106:23. Tho they murmured against him and God, Moses interceded.

3) "As a servant," (hos therapon) "As a special kind of servant," Numbers 12:7; Deuteronomy 4:4-6; Isaiah 5:7. Jesus taught that the Greatest in the church must be willing to be servant of all," Matthew 20:25-28; Matthew 23:11; Mark 10:42-45.

4) "For a testimony," (eis marturion) "For a martyr-willing testator," or testimony. Moses offered to die in the stead of Israel who had sinned so obstinately against God, Exodus 32:30-32. Paul expressed this love also for his sinning kinsmen, Romans 9:1-3.

5)"Of those things which were to bespoken after," (ton ialethesomenon) "Of the things being spoken, with reference to the future;” that were yet certain to be fulfilled, Deuteronomy 18:15-18; The repeated sacrifices of Moses’ house of law-worship never cleansed any person of sin, Romans 3:21-22, else they would not have to be offered repeatedly, year after year, and Jesus would not have had to die, if remission or sins could have come by those offerings, Hebrews 10:1-3.

Verse 6

Exhortation Against Doubt or Unbelief)

1) "But Christ as a son," (Christos de hos huios) "Yet Christ as a son," as, or in an heir-manner; as one presiding over an heritage which he purchased with his own blood, Acts 20:28, Ephesians 3:21; Ephesians 5:25.

2) "Over his own house," (epi ton oikon autou) "Over his household;’ his program of worship, praise, and service (the church) in the midst of which he walks, over which he is the head, for which he will one day return; He left his house, . It is the pillar and the ground of the truth, 1 Timothy 3:15.

3) "Whose house are we," (hou oikos esmen hemeis) "Whose house (household, church) we are;” The "we" to whom Paul wrote as "Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling," were, like Paul, members of His church body, or house, perhaps at Jerusalem, Hebrews 3:1.

4) "If we hold fast," (ean kataschomen) "if we hold fast or steadfastly," if we hold to, embrace, and espouse the work Christ left for us to do in his house, , 1 Timothy 3:14-15; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:9-10.

5) "The confidence and the rejoicing of the hope," (ten parresian kai to kauchema tes elpidos) "The confidence (the Trust, commission of his work, Matthew 28:18-20) and the (kauchema) "the occasion of our boasting," that as he went away with outstretched hands, blessing his church, his bride, even so he will return; This is our hope, Acts 1:11; Titus 2:13-15; Hebrews 6:19-20.

6) "Firm unto the end," (mechri telous bebaion) "Firm, holding infidelity, until the end of the household era of the church," when he shall return, as he went away, Acts 1:10-11; Revelation 22:11-12; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:5-9. Special Glory awaits every faithful member of the Lord’s church, at his coming.

Verse 7

1) "Wherefore, (as the Holy Ghost saith," (dio kathos legei to pneuma to hagion) "Wherefore, just as the Holy Ghost says, affirms, or speaks with an appeal of yearning;” The idea is take heed or be cautious to these divine revelations, Hebrews 2:1-3; The Holy Spirit is personified as speaking or communicating knowledge to needy men, Acts 1:16; Psalms 95:7-11.

2) "Today if ye will hear his voice," (semeron ean tes phones autou akousete) "If you all hear his voice today," at this point in time, Hebrews 3:15; He speaks or communicates to the conscience and souls of men, reproving of sin, righteousness, and the judgement that is to come, John 16:7-11; Acts 24:25; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Hebrews 4:7; One day at a time in mercy, love, and compassion he calls, saying "Come to me," Revelation 3:20; Revelation 22:17.

Verse 8

1) "Harden not your hearts," (me skilerunete tas kardias humon) "Harden ye not your hearts," or do not suffer, harden your affections against the Holy Ghost’s appeal, plea. This is a warning formerly given, frequently repeated, in days of old, even as today, Proverbs 1:23-30; Proverbs 27:11; Proverbs 29:1. Men may harden their own hearts, affections by resisting the Holy Spirit or rejecting his call, Acts 7:51; Acts 9:5.

2) "As in the provocation," (hos en parapikrasmo) "As (your fathers did) in the provocation," questioning God’s judgement, love, goodness, wisdom, and power in bringing them out of Egypt, Psalms 95:7-11.

3) "In the day of temptation in the wilderness," (kata ten hemeran tou periasmou en te eremo) "In the day (period of time) of the temptation (testing) in the wilderness or desert travels," from or during the journey from Egypt to the Holy Land, when Israel repeatedly resisted the voice of the Holy Spirit of God’s bidding; 1) - at Meribah, Exodus 17:1-7; Exodus 2) - At the sending of the twelve spies, Numbers 14:11-23; Numbers 3) -Warned at the crossing of Jordan, Deuteronomy 9:7-8; These experiences of the house of Israel are object-lesson warnings to the New Covenant house of God - the church, today, 1 Corinthians 10:6; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 1 Timothy 3:14-15. One clay the Master of the House shall return and require an accounting of all his house, Mark 13:34-37.

Verse 9

1) "When your fathers tempted me," (hou epeirasan hoi pateres humon) "When the fathers of you," your own family-line, in the flesh, "tempted or tested me;” to their own daring hurt or harm, Exodus 17:1-7.

2) "Proved me," (en dokimasian) "In proving," or demonstrating, or testing me - my holiness and justice in judgement, because of their rebellion and disobedience, Joshua 5:11-15.

3) "And saw my works forty years," (kai eidon ta erga mou tessarakonta ete) "And perceived my works (for a period of) forty years," Exodus 16:35; Numbers 14:35; Psalms 95:10; Ezekiel 29:11.

The entire warning of Hebrews 3:7-9 is to be cautious about hardening ones heart or affections against the word and voice of the call of the Holy Spirit to obedience to God, test certain righteous calamity to the disobedient, whether saint or sinner, Proverbs 1:22-30; Proverbs 29:1; 2 Corinthians 6:2.


Many years ago the merchant-ship Lowell went ashore on the New England coast in a terrific gale. Her bows projected so far up toward the shore that the crew leaped off the bowsprit and were rescued, one by one, by the keeper of a neighboring lighthouse. All leaped off except the first mate, who had been in feeble health. The keeper shouted to him, "Jump ashore this tide or you are lost!" The poor man continued to tramp the deck, which soon crashed to fragments, and he was swallowed up in the wreck. What was the matter? The terrors of the scene had so deranged his weak nerves, that he had become insane and laughed at the idea of danger. Yet that unhappy officer of the sinking ship did not act more insanely than you do in persisting in risking the life of your precious soul. When Jesus calls, your salvation depends on prompt obedience. - T. Christlieb.

Verse 10

1) "Wherefore I was grieved," (dio prosochthisa) "Wherefore I was angry," aroused in judgement - justice emotions, displeased, Psalms 78:40-42; Ephesians 4:30.

2) ’With that generation, and said,"(te genea taute kai eipon) "With regards to this generation, and I said;" Isaiah 7:13; Isaiah 63:10-14.

3) "They do alway err in their heart," (aei planontai te kardia) "They always err in the heart (their affections), the seat of gratitude and love, Romans 1:28; Exodus 14:11; Exodus 24:15; Psalms 106:13.

4, "And they have not known my ways," (autoi de ouk egnosan tas hodous mou) "And they recognized not my well marked out ways," the ways of truth in which he sought to lead them, Acts 7:51; Mr 7-3-13. The end of such presumptuous sin is the way of death, Proverbs 14:12; Psalms 51:13; Psalms 81:13; Revelation 15:3. Tho his ways are declared to be just and true.

Verse 11

1) "So I sware in my wrath," (hos omosa en te orge mou) "So (as) I swore (pledged my honor) in my wrath; Criminal obstinacy or resistance to the word and will and commands of God brings eventual fiery judgement to the offender. One can not do despite to the spirit of Grace without suffering the consequence, Romans 2:4-7; Luke 12:47; Numbers 14:28-38.

2) "That they shall not enter into my rest)," (ei eiseleusontai eis ten katapausin mou) "To the effect that they shall not enter into my rest," place of rest, the promised land, an earthly refuge from Egypt’s bondage, Numbers 32:13.

The promised land was never reached by many of the children of God, of the Israelites, because of their unbelief, doubting his promise of daily help. They lost earthly blessings, their influence, a good name, and their lives because of unbelief in or doubt of God’s power to give them victory over the Philistines. Tho their lives, like that of Moses, was cut short because of unfaithful testimony and doubt and discouragement, they died under the chastening hand of God, like Moses; But as he appeared as God’s servant on the Mount of Transfiguration so shall all believers in Jesus Christ, even those chastened to the point of death, appear with the Lord in The Resurrection, 1 Corinthians 11:31-32; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11; Hebrews 10:28-31.

Verse 12

1) "Take heed brethren," (blepete adelphoi) "Brethren, take heed, or caution," look quickly about you, or guard your impulses and conduct. Be warned by this example of God’s chastening his people for their doubt and unbelief or faithlessness, Hebrews 2:1-3.

2) "Lest there be in any of you," (mepote estai en tint humon) "Lest there exist in any of you all;" none is immune to doubt, uncertainty, a questioning of God’s word and goodness at times - Each should take heed lest he stumble or fall, 1 Corinthians 10:12.

3) "And evil heart of unbelief," (kardia ponera apistias) "A wicked (unregenerate) heart of unbelief;” This is a warning that a member of the church (the house of God), like Judas, might have an unbelieving, unregenerate heart. In addition to sometimes doubting believers, some become members of a church without being even saved, or with wicked hearts, Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:18.

4) "In departing from the living God," (en to apoatenai apo theou zontos) "in departing, the God of compassion who convicts and calls him to salvation, Proverbs 1:22-23; Romans 2 A 10:21; Isaiah 55:6-7. The rich young ruler did, Matthew 19:20-22; Felix did, Acts 24:24-25; King Agrippa did, Acts 26:27-29. This true God is the only true source of life and sure hope, Jeremiah 2:13; John 14:6.

Verse 13

1) "But exhort one another daily," (alla parakaleite heautous kath’ hekasten hemeran) "But (instead) exhort yourselves (each other) daily, each day;” Ere the day of opportunity of witnessing service is past and the day of someone’s conviction of sin to salvation is gone forever, Luke 19:44; John 12:35-36; Hebrews 10:24-25.

2) "While it is called Today," (achris hou to semeron kaleitai) "While it is being called today," While the opportunity of helping one another in the church fellowship still exists. For the time comes "when no one can work," John 9:4; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Romans 13:11-14.

3) "Lest any of you be hardened," (hina me sklerunthe tis) "In order that not anyone of you all be hardened;" (eks humon) "Out of your own household or congregation," be hardened, resist the call of the Holy Ghost until it is too late, Hebrews 3:7-8; Proverbs 29:1; James 4:17.

4) "Through the deceitfulness of sin," (apate te hamartias) "By the deceit of lawlessness, rebellion, or sin," against God, the Holy Spirit. 1 John 1:8-9; Even the sleep of indifference to the call and voice of God is a deceitful and hardening sin that every person should avoid, Ephesians 5:14-17; Galatians 6:7-8.

Verse 14

1) "For we are partakers of Christ," (metochoi gar tou christou gegonamen) "For we have become sharers of Christ," (as members of his household, the church, over which he is head); In such we are also daily to manifest his nature and attributes of holiness, love, mercy, compassion, forbearance and longsuffering thru the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-25.

2) "If we hold," (eanper) "If indeed or truly, in truth of commitment," not like Judas Iscariot, in deceit. As we hold to our profession we prove, demonstrate, or cause men to see our faith thru what we do, James 1:22; Ephesians 2:10.

3) "The beginning of our confidence," (ten archen tes hupostaseos) "The beginning of assurance (our undergirding) until the end or completion;" Believers prove, by their deeds of life, if and wherein their profession of faith is true; and "by their fruits ye shall know them," Matthew 7:16-17; Matthew 7:20; Matthew 12:33. Paul did, 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

4) "Steadfast unto the end," (mechri telous bebaian) "Firm (steadfast) until the end;” Faith and genuine Spiritual identity with Christ may be clearly seen in what the professor says, in association with what he does, John 13:34-35; Matthew 5:13-16; "Keeping the faith" or guarding the system of teaching of our Lord in testimony and in deed brings to each child of God a good reward, 1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; 1 Corinthians 15:58.

Verse 15

1) "While it is said," (en to legesthai) "While it is said," being said, declared as a state or fact of existent being, as a warning from God, based on his holy judgments on others in similar disobedience, 1 Corinthians 10:5-11.

2) "Today if ye will hear his voice," (semeron ean tes phones autou akosete) "Today if you all hear (presently hear) his voice," the voice of the Holy Ghost, Hebrews 3:7-8. He does reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and the judgment to come, John 16:7-11; Revelation 22:17 recounts the last call of the Holy Spirit.

3) "Harden not your hearts," (me sklerunetetas kardias humon) "Harden ye not your hearts;” as one may harden his arteries by eating excessively, drinking alcohol excessively or eating fatty foods, even so one is said to be able to harden his heart or affections by simply disregarding or procrastinating the calling voice of the Holy Spirit, Proverbs 1:22-31; Hebrews 4:7.

4) "As in the provocation," (hos en to parapikrasmo) "As in the time of (Israel’s) provocations," of God during the wilderness journey, when they embittered Him, despised or took lightly all that he had said, Psalms 78:41; Psalms 78:56-58; Proverbs 29:1; Romans 2:4-5.

Verse 16

1) "For some, when they had heard, did provoke," (tines gar alkousantes parepikranon) "For there were some who hearing (distinctly understanding), still provoked (God)" did they not? This is a rhetoric question suggesting an affirmative reply - They did, about 600,000 of them as adults, Numbers 14:26-38; Joshua 14:8-9.

2) "Howbeit not aII,” (aII’ ou pantes) "But (certainly) not aII,” who heard provoked him; Joshua, Caleb, the women and children of Israel did not; and the Levites, and those under twenty years of age did not provoke him to cut their lives short as did the others.

3) "That came out of Egypt by Moses," (hoi ekselthones eks aiguptou dia Mouseos) "Those coming up out of Egypt through Moses’ leadership," provoked him, did they? The answer is "no," Numbers 14:4-24; Deuteronomy 1:34-38, Joshua and Caleb did not provoke him to anger; They entreated the people to obey God’s voice, and were rewarded for it with long lives, useful service, and positions of honor; Numbers 14:37-38; Joshua 14:10-14; Joshua 15:14; Exodus 17:9; Exodus 24:13; Joshua 24:15.


In the gloomy cell of an Indian jail a number of prisoners were attentively listening to a gentleman, who was earnestly entreating them to study the Scriptures. Wishing to ascertain if they possessed the precious volume, he put the question, "Have any of you the Bible?" After a considerable pause, a soldier, who was under sentence of death for murdering a black man, broke the silence, and amidst sobs and tears, confessed that he once had a Bible. "But," he said, “I sold it for drink. It was the companion of my youth. I brought it from my native land. Oh! if I had listened to my Bible, I should not have been here."

Verse 17

1) "But with whom was he grieved forty years?" (tisin de prosochthisen tesserakonta ete;) "Then with whom was he angry for a period of forty years?" To endure the anger of a friend or a loved one for a day or a week is hardly bearable, but consider the torment of the soul of one who must bear the grief and anger of God for forty years or eternity, Psalms 7:11-12.

2) "Was it not with them that had sinned," (ouchi tois hamartesasin) "Was it not with those who had and were repeatedly, continually sinning?" Judges 1:5; 1 Corinthians 10:5; Numbers 14:22; Numbers 14:29

3) "Whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?" (hon ta kola epesen en te eremo) "Of whom their corpses (dead bodies) fell in the wilderness?" Or in the desert, desolate, uninhabited places of their wandering; The death of those forty years of age and up was at the rate of forty a day for the forty years, Deuteronomy 32:40; Psalms 106:26; Hebrews 3:11; Hebrews 3:18. The chastening hand of God does fall upon obstinate ongoing doubters and skeptics, even those who are his children, Psalms 89:30-33; Hebrews 12:5-11; 1 Corinthians 11:28-32.


When, a few years ago, a steamer was burned on Long Island, and the hulk of the vessel was afterward beached, it was said that the bell of that steamer kept tolling through the day and through the night for weeks, solemnly and impressively, to those who passed by on the waters. And I have to tell you that God has so arranged it that right over the place where the soul goes down, or there is a moral shipwreck or awful spiritual catastrophe that right over it there is a warning that rings through the night, and through the years, saying, "Beware! beware!

Verse 18

1) "And to whom sware he," (tisin de omosen) "And to whom swore he," did he pledge with an oath, Numbers 14:30; Numbers 14:36-38.

2) "That they should not enter into his rest," (me eiseleusesthai eis ten katapausin autou) "That they would not enter into his (land of) rest," the promised land that flowed with milk and honey, Numbers 26:65; Luke 12:45-48.

3) "But to them that believed not?" (ei me tois apeithesasin;) "Except (or if not) to those disobeying or being unpersuaded?" Even after God led them and fed them from Egypt, across the Red Sea, through many trials and many hours of compassionate miraculous care, yet they doubted His word, believed not, Deuteronomy 1:28-38. O that men might "fear not" but "be strong," and of good courage" in doing all that they know God Commands them to do, Joshua 1:9; James 1:22.

Verse 19

1) "So we see," (kai blepomen) "And we see, behold, or observe," from this. This is an object lesson of warning to God’s children who might doubt, or hesitate to keep his commands, 1 Corinthians 10:5-9; to be a friend of Jesus one must do what he commands, Matthew 12:50; John 14:15; John 15:14.

2) "That they could not enter in," (hoti ouk edunethesan eiselthein) "That they were not able to go in or enter," the land of promise, or rest from bondage and wilderness wandering; How many blessings children of God forego or forfeit by failing to trust and obey him in his call to service and fruit-bearing; Matthew 7:24-29.

3) "Because of unbelief," (di’ apistian) "Because or on account of disbelief," because they, the leaders, doubted, discouraged the hearts of the people, the masses from going in to face the, obstacles, though God had promised to go before them. So the disbelief, doubt, and discouragement of leaders can infect followers to doubt, disbelief, and judgement from God. As Mary said, "Whatsoever he saith unto thee, do it," at the wedding in Galilee, John 2:5, so should every servant of God, Ephesians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10; For there is an accounting day of judgement for every doubting believer, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:20.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Hebrews 3". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.