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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Hebrews 3

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-6

Jesus and Moses as Servants of God Lead God's Children to Rest - The author gives us an example of both Jesus Christ and Moses as faithful servants over the ministry that the Lord gave to them ( Hebrews 3:1-6). Moses was a servant by leading the children of Israel out of bondage and through the wilderness towards their eternal rest; and Jesus Himself became an Apostle and High Priest in order to lead mankind into his eternal rest in fulfillment of Psalm 8:5-7. As Moses was faithful over the Israelites, Jesus was faithful lead mankind into rest.

Jesus the Son Compared to Moses the Servant - Hebrews 3:1-6 explains that Jesus Christ, the Son of God has been set over the house of God, which is the Church, in the same way that Moses, God's servant, was set over the house of Israel. However, the Son (Jesus) has more honor than the household servant (Moses). If we consider the two offices that Jesus held as the Apostle and High Priest of our profession ( Hebrews 3:1), we are told in this passage of Scripture that He was faithful in His office as an Apostle, and He is now faithful in His office as our Great High Priest. Just as Moses was a faithful servant who led the Israelites through the wilderness for forty years, so will Jesus Christ lead us throughout spiritual journey in this life and bring us to our eternal home in glory. However, the Israelites did not "consider" Moses as their divine leader. They murmured and complained against him and brought upon them the wrath of God.

Hebrews 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

Hebrews 3:1"Wherefore" - Comments- Craig Koester correctly notes that the Greek word ὅ θεν (because of this) shows us that the author "is in the middle of an argument rather than at the beginning of a new section." 204]

204] Craig R. Koester, Hebrews , in The Anchor Bible, eds. William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 2001), 224.

Hebrews 3:1 — "holy brethren" - Comments- Our holiness is bestowed upon us because of the Apostolic and High Priesthood offices of the Lord Jesus Christ. His suffering on Calvary and resurrection provided our initial justification, and His High Priesthood allows us to maintain this position of holiness as we confess our sins before the Father. Our relationship with Jesus Christ as our brother is established by the fact that He partook of flesh and blood by His incarnation.

Hebrews 3:1"partakers of the heavenly calling" - Comments- The author is addressing those who have partaken of the high calling, or the calling from above as described in the preceding exhortation ( Hebrews 2:1-18), which exhortation the author refers to as the "heavenly calling." We have become partakers of this heavenly calling because Jesus Christ came in the flesh and went before us and now calls us brethren. This means that he is speaking to Christians, in particular converted Jews. This heavenly calling is mentioned in Hebrews 2:1-18 by which we are called by the preaching of the Gospel to believe in Jesus Christ as our Saviour, which is the first exhortation of this Epistle and emphasizes the initial part of our spiritual journey described as "calling."

Note that in at least four passages of the book of Hebrews , the recipients are referred to as saved people, and not to the lost ( Hebrews 1:9; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 12:8). This Epistle is addressed to the Church, and not to the world. Song of Solomon , why the stern warnings in Hebrews 6:4-6; Hebrews 10:26-27 about falling away: simply because believers can fall away from Christ Jesus and out of His saving grace and miss Heaven.

Hebrews 1:9, "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."

Hebrews 3:14, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;"

Hebrews 12:8, "But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons."

Scripture Reference - Note another reference to our heavenly calling in 2 Peter 1:10, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"

Hebrews 3:1"consider" - Word Study on "consider" - Strong says the Greek word "consider" ( κατανοέ ω) (G 2657) means, "to observe fully." BDAG says it means, "to notice, observe carefully, look at (with reflection), consider, contemplate," and in this passage it means, "to fix the eyes of the spirit upon." Strong says it comes from the root word νοέ ω (G 3539), which means, "to comprehend, heed."

Comments - The request to consider means that the author is about to teach his readers something in regards to Jesus Christ as our Apostle and High Priest. Thus, seems to open this passage of Scripture as a doctrinal discourse rather than an exhortation, which typically begins with "Let us…" Note a similar statement in Hebrews 7:4, "Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils." We find a similar statement again in Hebrews 12:3, "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds," which begins a discourse on perseverance. However, we find this word used in an exhortation in Hebrews 10:24, "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:"

In light of our calling to heed the Gospel, we are to consider Jesus Christ's calling as an Apostle (through His Incarnation and Atonement) and High Priest (through His Exaltation). When we consider Jesus Christ as Hebrews 3:1 tells us to do, we must consider the fact that He partook of flesh and blood like us ( Hebrews 2:17) and that He was tempted in all ways as we were ( Hebrews 4:15). Therefore, He also had to learn obedience by the things that He suffered "in the flesh" ( Hebrews 5:8).

Hebrews 2:17, "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."

Hebrews 4:15, "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

Hebrews 5:8, "Though he were a Song of Solomon , yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;"

The author will expound upon Jesus' role in our perseverance so that we will be able to "consider" Him in his role as the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. Thus, the book of Hebrews guides us into an extensive "consideration" of the role of Jesus Christ in our perseverance of faith.

Hebrews 3:1 — "the Apostle and High Priest" - Comments- The word "apostle" literally means, "one who is sent." Jesus was sent from heaven. God sent his Son into the world to save the world. Jesus was sent to bring the Gospel message of salvation ( Hebrews 2:14-16).

The office of the high priest was to intercede for the sins of the people. Only the high priest could enter into the holy of holies and make atonement for the sins of the people. Jesus is now our high priest and intercessor to God ( Hebrews 2:17-18). Jesus Christ now lives to intercede for us, His church. This is His present-day office and ministry.

John 17:9 "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine."

Romans 8:26 — "Likewise the Spirit also helpth our infirmities: for we know what we should pray for as we ought: But the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.

Romans 8:27 — "Aid He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God"

Romans 8:34 "It is Christ that died, ye a rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us"

Hebrews 7:25 "where for He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.

In addition, in order to serve in his office, the high priest himself must be holy. Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus Christ Himself to be sinless ( Hebrews 9:14, 1 Peter 1:19).

Hebrews 9:14, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

1 Peter 1:19, "But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:"

Hebrews 3:1 — "of our profession" - Comments- Jesus now serves the role as the High Priest of our profession, or as we say in modern English, our confession. During the time when Paul wrote this Epistle to the Hebrews , which many scholars believe was the mid to late 60's, the first persecutions had begun against the Church. Nero blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome, and launched an assault against anyone who professed Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Thus, a believer's confession of faith in Christ could cost him his life, and it did for many Christians during this early period in Church history. This Epistle, called a "word of exhortation" ( Hebrews 13:22), will encourage the Hebrew Christians to hold fast to their confession of faith ( Hebrews 10:23).

Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 10:18 teaches us about the High Priesthood of Jesus Christ. Then, a new section begins in Hebrews 10:19 to Hebrews 13:17 by telling us our role as recipients of this High Priesthood. It begins by telling us that our job is to hold fast the profession (or confession) of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised;" ( Hebrews 10:23) We are then given a multitude of examples of how to hold fast our confession of faith in Hebrews 11:1-40. This great chapter of faith reveals that each of the patriarchs held fast to a confession of faith and we bear witness to their confession because of the life that they lived.

For example, Abel's testimony still speaks today of his sacrifice that pleased God. Enoch's testimony was that his life pleased God. Noah's confession was that a flood was coming to judge the earth and he prepared for it. Abraham kept his confession on a heavenly city whose builder and maker was God. They all had the confession that they were just pilgrims and strangers on earth and that God had something better for them ( Hebrews 11:13). Abraham said that God would raise his son Isaac from the dead. Isaac, Jacob and Joseph all confessed and prophesied of better things to come. Moses held fast to his confession that he would rather suffer with God's people in order to receive a greater and eternal reward. Thus, this passage teaches us that we are to hold fast the confession of our faith in God's Word in order to persevere as did the patriarchs.

Since the foundational theme of the book of Hebrews is the perseverance of the saints, our faith within the context of this epistle is to be expressed by holding fast to our words of faith in God's Word. Jesus was put in the office of High Priest to help us in every time of need. Thus, we lose our opportunity to receive God's help when we lose our confession of faith in God's promises.

Hebrews 3:1Comments- Hebrews 3:1 echoes the offices of Jesus Christ the Son of God as it relates to mankind's redemption. It says that in light of Jesus being the eternal Son of God (chapter 1) and in light of His redemptive work on Calvary by partaking of flesh and blood and dying for our sins (chapter 2), let us look at his present day ministry as High Priest at the Father"s right hand ( Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 10:18). Note:

Hebrews 4:14, "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession."

Thus, Hebrews 3:1 echoes the three-fold office of Jesus Christ regarding man's redemption in this passage. Jesus Christ was the Word of God in creation. He was the Apostle sent from God for our salvation, as mentioned in Hebrews 2:14-16. Today he is the Great High Priest who stands at the Father's right hand interceding for the saints, as mentioned in Hebrews 2:17-18. Hebrews 3:1 only refers to Jesus as the Apostle and High Priest because these are the two offices that involve man's redemption back to God.

As we examine the Old Testament, we see a type and figure of these two offices in the lives of two individuals with the name "Joshua." We see how Joshua , the son of Nun, led God's people into the Promised Land just as Jesus Christ has led us forth from bondage into victory. In addition, Joshua the high priest, who served in Jerusalem after the return from Babylonian Exile, serves as a figure of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the vision of Zechariah , the angel of the Lord rebuked Satan and declared that Joshua high priest was qualified to intercede for the people of Israel ( Zechariah 3:1-10).

Hebrews 3:2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

Hebrews 3:2 — "Who was faithful to him that appointed him" - Comments- Hebrews 3:2 says that Jesus Christ was faithful to the one who appointed Him over His house, which is the Church. His act of faithfulness is described in the previous passage of Hebrews 2:1-18, which tells us that Jesus Christ partook of flesh and blood, preached the Gospel to us, then tasted death in behalf of every man.

Hebrews 3:2 — "as also Moses was faithful in all his house" - Comments- Numbers 12:7 tells us that Moses was faithful to execute his office over the children of Israel, despite their choice to disobey and rebel.

Numbers 12:7, "My servant Moses is not Song of Solomon , who is faithful in all mine house."

The office and ministry of Moses stands out unique in the Old Testament in many ways:

1. An enormous amount of God's works and demonstrations of miracles was wrought through Moses.

2. There is a high frequency of references to Moses throughout the Scriptures.

3. Moses alone spoke with God face to face:

Numbers 12:7-8, "My servant Moses is not Song of Solomon , 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?"

Deuteronomy 34:10, "And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,"

How was Moses faithful?

1. He was a faithful intercessor in times of need.

2. He was faithful to speak God's commandments to Israel.

3. He was faithful to judge Israel in their disputes with justice.

Illustrations of Moses as:

A teacher:

Deuteronomy 4:5, "Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it."

An intercessor:

Exodus 32:11, "And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?"

Numbers 14:19-20, "Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now. And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word:"

A judge:

Exodus 18:13, "And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning unto the evening."

Moses was God's spokesman throughout the Pentateuch. Samuel also was:

An intercessor and teacher:

1 Samuel 12:23, "Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:"

1 Samuel 15:11, "It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night."

God's spokesman:

1 Samuel 4:1, "And the word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and pitched beside Ebenezer: and the Philistines pitched in Aphek."

Jesus Christ is now our faithful intercessor:

Hebrews 7:25, "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

So we, as God's ministers, must take these as examples to live by.

Hebrews 3:2Comments - Moses was faithful over God's children Israel as he led them through the wilderness to reach their Promised Land. Jesus will be faithful to bring us to our eternal home in Heaven and restore us to our original place of dominion over the earth in fulfillment of Psalm 8:5-7 ( Hebrews 2:6-8).

Hebrews 3:3 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.

Hebrews 3:3 "inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house" - Comments- We are the house of God. Note:

Zechariah 6:12, "And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:"

Matthew 16:18, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Ephesians 2:20-22, "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

Hebrews 3:4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.

Hebrews 3:4 — "but he that built all things is God" - Comments- We are God's workmanship ( Ephesians 2:10).

Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

Hebrews 3:5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;

Hebrews 3:5 — "And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant" - Comments- In the Old Testament Moses is called "the servant of the Lord."

Joshua 13:8, "With whom the Reubenites and the Gadites have received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond Jordan eastward, even as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them;"

Hebrews 3:5 — "for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after" - Comments- That Isaiah , Moses' faithfulness serves as a future testimony about Jesus. Moses' office and ministry serves as a type and figure of the Lord Jesus Christ's ministry over the Church. Moses' faithfulness over Israel was a type of Jesus' faithfulness over God's people. Therefore, Moses was able to prophesy that One was coming "like unto me." ( Deuteronomy 18:15; Deuteronomy 18:18-18; Deuteronomy 34:10)

Deuteronomy 18:15, "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;"

Deuteronomy 18:18-19, "I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."

Deuteronomy 34:10, "And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face,"

We can find a number of similarities in the lives and Jesus and Moses:

1. The King sought to kill both Moses and Jesus when they were babies.

2. Moses tried in the flesh to deliver Israel at the age 40 by killing an Egyptian. He failed. Jesus delivered the children of God with His death and resurrection.

3. Moses" name means, "drawn out," or delivered (saved) from water.

4. Both were sent out by God. Moses was sent to the children of Israel, and then to Mount Sinai. Jesus was sent from heaven to earth.

Hebrews 3:6 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.

Hebrews 3:6 "But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we" - Comments- Moses as a servant, a man; Jesus as a Song of Solomon , the Son of God; Song of Solomon , Jesus receives more glory.

Hebrews 3:6"if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end" - Comments- Hebrews 3:6 reflects the underlying theme of the book of Hebrews , which is the perseverance of the saints. As God's children, we cannot lose our salvation because it is secure in Christ; but we can renounce it and walk away from our security in Christ and lose it.

"if we hold fast" - How do we hold fast? 1 John 2:28 explains that we hold fast by abiding in Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:28, "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming."

Also note similar verses:

Matthew 10:22, "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name"s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved."

Matthew 24:13, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

Romans 11:22, "Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off."

Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."

Colossians 1:23, "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;"

1 John 4:4, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

Revelation 2:7, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."

Revelation 2:11, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death."

Revelation 2:26, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:"

Revelation 3:5, "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."

Revelation 3:12, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name."

Revelation 3:21,"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."

Revelation 21:7, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son."

"the rejoicing of the hope" - BDAG translates this phrase, "that for which we are proud to hope" (see καύχημα 1). Literally, "a boasting." Note Romans 5:2.

Romans 5:2, "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

Also:

Hebrews 3:14, "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;"

We will not be ashamed of our hope in Jesus.

Romans 5:5, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

1 John 2:28, "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming."

"firm unto the end" - The phrase "firm unto the end" is not found in a number of important ancient Greek manuscripts, which suggests that it was added to those manuscripts which do have these words. It is possible that this phrase was borrowed from Hebrews 3:14, where it again occurs with unanimous textual support. In the study of textual criticism, the insertion of a phrase into the author's work is called an interpolation.

Hebrews 3:6Comments - In Hebrews 3:6 Paul is exhorting us to be steadfast in Christ, and to understand that His high priesthood is made available to us to deal with our sins. The author of Hebrews will follow this word of exhortation with an example of those children of Israel who rebelled and turned their hearts from following the Lord ( Hebrews 3:7-11). They serve as an example of those who did not hold fast their confidence and rejoicing steadfast until the end. The Israelites in the wilderness gave up "the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope" ( Hebrews 3:6). Paul will rephrase and expand his exhortation of Hebrews 3:6 again in Hebrews 3:12-14.

Hebrews 3:12-14, "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;"


Verses 1-11

Jesus Is Now the Author and High Priest of This Heavenly Calling - In Hebrews 1:1 to Hebrews 2:18 the author has revealed the ministry of Jesus as the pre-incarnate, eternal Son of God ( Hebrews 1:1-14) and the Apostle of our salvation sent from God to redeem mankind as the Son of Man ( Hebrews 2:1-18). He will now take up the bulk of the epistle of Hebrews with a lengthy discourse on His present-day office as our Great High Priest, who is now seated at the right hand of the Father ( Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 10:18). The lengthy passage in Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 10:18 reveals His third phase of ministry that is taking place today, as our High Priest who ever lives to make intercession for the saints. This Epistle introduced Jesus in His initial office as the eternal Word of God, creator of the universe, born as the Son of God ( Hebrews 1:1-14). Then it discusses His second phase of ministry as the Apostle sent from Heaven in order to secure man's salvation ( Hebrews 2:1-18). Jesus Christ is now in His third phase of ministry as our Great High Priest, coming to our aid so that we might persevere until the end. Jesus will enter into His fourth and final phase of ministry as He one day will rule and reign in Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. All the while Jesus Christ has been the eternal, pre-incarnate Son of God; and since partaking of flesh and blood He has now become our Brother.

It is important to understand that this passage of Scripture regarding Jesus' redemptive role for mankind ( Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 10:18) is described from the perspective of our need to continue in the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to obtain this redemption. Thus, the theme of the perseverance of the saints is emphasized. In contrast, the lengthy discourse in the epistle of Romans , which emphasizes Church doctrine, discusses our secure position of justification through faith in Jesus Christ once we believe the message of the Gospel. However, in Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 5:14 we are told that our justification is dependent upon our willingness to persevere in faith and not turn back in rebellion, as did the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Hebrews 3:1 picks up the theme of the second literary section, calling it the "heavenly calling." This passage of Scripture explains Jesus' role as the Apostle and High Priest of our salvation who is faithful to lead us to our eternal rest that God has promised from the foundation of the world, a charge that the children of Israel failed to heed under Moses as he led them through the wilderness. The author first tells us that Jesus Christ now serves as the Apostle and High Priest of this heavenly calling ( Hebrews 3:1-6). The author will support this statement with a doctrinal argument ( Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11), which is based upon the analogy of the faithfulness of Moses leading the children of Israel through the wilderness (taken from Numbers 12:7) and the unfaithfulness of many Israelites in considering Moses as their appointed leader (taken from Numbers 13-14).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus and Moses as Servants of God — Hebrews 3:1-6

2. The Wilderness Journey & the Christian Faith — Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11

Using Old Testament Analogies in the New Testament - Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 4:11 gives us the Old Testament analogy of Moses leading the Israelites in the wilderness as a servant of God as a type and figure of Christ, the Son of God, leading the Church to their eternal heavenly rest. Thus, we are given a Scriptural basis for taking events out of the stories found in the Pentateuch and applying them to our spiritual journey. This passage teaches us that since Christ is set over us as in a similar way that Moses was over the children of Israel, we should be careful not to walk in unbelief and rebellion as they, but make every effort to enter into the rest that God has prepared for us.

The Perseverance of the Saints Led by Jesus Compared to the Perseverance of Israel in the Wilderness Led by Moses - Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 4:11 establishes the topic of the perseverance of the saints, which is the underlying theme for the epistle of Hebrews , as well as that of the General Epistles. In establishing this theme, the author chooses to use the example of the wilderness journey of the children of Israel in order to illustration the need for saints to persevere. Why would the author of Hebrews use this illustration found in the book of Numbers? Perhaps if we examine the themes of the Pentateuch and compare them to the themes of the New Testament books, we may find an answer.

The theme of the book of Genesis is the founding of the nation of Israel, God's seed of righteousness, by which He plans to use to in order to accomplish the redemption of mankind. God will use several men who fulfilled their divine destinies to create the nation of Israel. These patriarchs, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, will play leading roles in the establishment of this nation in much the same way the Gospels and the book of Acts reveals the origin of the Church and how men like Jesus Christ, Peter, Stephen, Philip the evangelist and Paul the apostle played leading roles in the establishment of the early Church. Thus, the book of Genesis is structured around the genealogies of these men of righteousness in order to explain its theme of the founding of the nation of Israel. As the book of Exodus establishes the doctrines of the nation of Israel, so to the Pauline Epistles establish Church doctrine. As the book of Leviticus establishes the order of worship for the Israelites, so do the Pastoral Epistles establish Church order. As the book of Numbers explains the perseverance of the righteous, so do the Catholic Epistles explain the perseverance of the Church. As the book of Deuteronomy reveals how the nation of Israel is to enter in and to possess the Promised Land, so does the book of Revelation reveal to the Church how to enter into Heaven. Thus, the author of the book of Hebrews found it appropriate when discussing the topic of the perseverance of the saints in Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 4:11 to draw its parallel in the Old Testament from the book of Numbers , which shares a similar theme.


Verses 7-11

Applying the Story of the Wilderness Journey to the Christian Faith - Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 offers a doctrinal discourse to support his claim that Jesus Christ is the Apostle and High Priest of this heavenly calling. He provides the readers with a sobering example of the children of Israel who fell in the wilderness and later never entered into its true rest with Joshua , all because of disobedience. In this passage of Scripture the author warns his readers not to miss their opportunity to enter into rest as Israel missed theirs under the ministries of Moses and Joshua ( Jeremiah 31:2). God provided Joshua as a type of "saviour" who failed to lead Israel into their rest, and He has provided Jesus Christ as our Saviour to bring us into our eternal rest.

Jeremiah 31:2, "Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest."

The Unbelief of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness- The major event referred to in Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 is found in Numbers 14:1-35, at the peak of Israel's rebellion, where they tempted the Lord by wanting to turn back to Egypt and stoning Moses for telling them not to rebel. It is at this point that the Lord decided to destroy the entire congregation and begin anew with Moses; but the servant of God interceded in their behalf and God cancelled His wrath against them. Instead of destroying them, God swore that none of them would enter into the Promised Land.

Note that Hebrews 6:4-6 does not describe the only person that will go to hell after backsliding, because all backsliders will go to hell, but this passage describes the only type of backslider who cannot repent and be restored back to God. It is a person who backslides willfully and knowingly after rising to maturity in the faith. The author has given us the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness whom God destroyed ( Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:10), and he will later give us the example of Esau who found no repentance, though it sought it with tears ( Hebrews 12:16-17).

Exegesis and Commentary on Psalm 95:7-11 - Hebrews 3:7-11 is a quote from Psalm 95:7-11, while in Hebrews 3:12 to Hebrews 4:10 the author offers an exegesis and commentary on this Old Testament passage.

Psalm 95:7-11, "For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest."

Here is a summary of the author's exegesis of Psalm 95:7-11.

Hebrews 3:12 warns the readers to not depart from God

Hebrews 3:13-15 exegetes Hebrews 3:7 b

Hebrews 3:16 exegetes Hebrews 3:8-9

Hebrews 3:17 exegetes Hebrews 3:10

Hebrews 3:18 to Hebrews 4:6 exegetes Hebrews 3:11

Hebrews 4:7-10 serves as a commentary to this exegesis

There is a progression of events in Hebrews 3:16-19. (See Numbers 14:1-35 as a reference to the events described here.)

1. They (Israel) provoked God ( Hebrews 3:16).

2. God became angry ( Hebrews 3:17).

3. God punished them ( Hebrews 3:18).

It is important to note that the children of Israel started their journey in faith. All those who put the blood of the Passover lamb upon their doorways were spared from God's judgment upon Egypt. This was an act of faith on each individual's part that identified him and his family with Moses, the servant of God. This act of faith positioned them under the same blessings of Moses. The emphasis upon their lack of faith in this Epistle is in reference in their failure to persevere in their faith, not in their initial decision to believe and obey the Lord. The author of Hebrews is using this event of their failure to warn "believers" to not turn back as the Israelites did. Both began in faith, but not everyone continues in faith.

Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,

Hebrews 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Hebrews 3:8Comments- The two phrases used in Hebrews 3:8 "in the provocation," and "in the day of temptation in the wilderness," probably refer to the same event recorded in Numbers 14:1-35. This is typical poetic Hebrew parallelism, in which the author states the same thought twice in two different ways.

Hebrews 3:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

Hebrews 3:9Comments- Hebrews 3:9 probably refers to the entire forty-year period, and not just a particular incident in the wilderness, such as in:

Exodus 15:23, "And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah."

Exodus 17:7, "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?"

Numbers 14and Numbers 20:2-5

Hebrews 3:10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Hebrews 3:11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Hebrews 3:11 — "They shall not enter into my rest" - Comments- This same Greek construction is used in Mark 8:12.

Comments - The first generation of Israelites in the wilderness did not enter the Promised Land. This privilege was given to the next generation. A 40-year journey was necessary in order to eliminate the first generation of Israelites who left Egypt.

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Hebrews 3:12Comments - In Hebrews 3:12 the author begins his exegesis of Psalm 95:7-11 with a warning for his Hebrew readers not to depart from the living God. The reference to those among the believing Hebrew recipients who have "an evil heart of unbelief" cannot mean unbelievers who have joined these congregations, but have never been saved, since they would have to depart from God after having been close to Him. Hebrews 3:14 supports the view that the author is warning believers when he says shortly, "if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" ( Hebrews 3:14); thus, the author was exhorting them all to remain steadfast in their faith and not to depart. The author is drawing an analogy from the children of Israel in the wilderness, who were all baptized unto Moses, but many of them hardened their hearts in unbelief after beginning their journey in faith by departing Egypt with Moses.

Illustrations- The examples listed in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 regarding Israel's departure from God illustrate Hebrews 3:12 well.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:13 — "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day" - Comments- The word "Today" in Hebrews 3:13 refers back to the Old Testament quote in Hebrews 3:7, "Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice," a quote from Psalm 95:7-11. This word refers to a day of rest for God's children ( Hebrews 4:7-9).

Hebrews 4:7-9, "Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."

Hebrews 3:13"lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" - Comments- Hebrews 3:13 warns every believer to beware lest their heart becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. We see a similar statement of such hardening in Hebrews 12:15, "Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;" We must also interpret Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:28-29 and Hebrews 12:25 as being similar statements.

The sins of Samson are a good illustration of the deceitfulness of sin. The heart is deceitful above all other things. Note:

Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

When we see the unbelief of the children of Israel ( Hebrews 4:19), we must check ourselves ( 2 Corinthians 13:5), since we, too, have the capability of sinning in the same way they sinned ( Hebrews 4:11).

Hebrews 3:19, "So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."

2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"

Hebrews 4:11, "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."

Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Hebrews 3:14Comments- As long as we are trusting in Jesus' high priesthood to deal with our acts of sin and we have not forsaken our faith in Christ, then we are "partakers of Christ," sharing in manifold spiritual blessings; but this position of grace is conditional to our confidence and trust in Him being steadfast in our heart and lives until the end (of the day), or when our life on this earth ends. A person's confidence is an attitude of the heart, which has placed its trust in something. Within the context of this passage of Scripture, our confidence is in the redemptive work of Christ Jesus on Calvary.

Hebrews 3:15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Hebrews 3:13-15Comments - Exegesis of Hebrews 3:7 b- Hebrews 3:13 serves as an exegesis of Hebrews 3:7 b, "To day if ye will hear his voice." The word "Today" refers to a day of rest for God's children ( Hebrews 4:7-9).

Hebrews 3:16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

Hebrews 3:16Comments - In Hebrews 3:16 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:8-9 regarding Israel's rebellion, "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." As some believers heard the Gospel preached to them and let it slip past them with neglect ( Hebrews 2:1-4), so did many of the children of Israel fall away from the words of Moses through neglect.

Hebrews 3:17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

Hebrews 3:17 — "was it not with them that had sinned" - Comments- From Numbers 14:29, it seems to be that the men who were twenty years old and above were responsible for sin in the congregation.

Numbers 14:29, "Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,"

The women and children were not directly in sin, although they shared in the punishment of these sins.

"whose carcases fell in the wilderness" - Comments - The first generation of Israelites died in the wilderness because God swore in His wrath that they would not enter the Promised Land.

Hebrews 3:17Comments - In Hebrews 3:17 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:10, "Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways."

Hebrews 3:16-17Comments - The Contrast Between Those Who Came Out With Moses and Those who Died in the Wilderness - Hebrews 3:16-17 makes a contrast between the fact that these Israelites came out of Egypt with signs and wonders and with the faithful words of Moses, the servant of God, and between the fact that they dies in the wilderness because of their sins. This contrast is clearly stated in Hebrews 4:1-2.

Hebrews 3:18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

Hebrews 3:18Comments - In Hebrews 3:18 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:11, "So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest."

Hebrews 3:18Scripture Reference - We find this oath from the Lord recorded in Numbers 14:28-30.

Numbers 14:28-30, "Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun."

Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebrews 3:19Comments - Hebrews 3:19 serves as a conclusion to his exegesis of Psalm 95:7-11. The children of Israel did not enter into the Promise Land and find rest because they refused to trust and obey the Lord by following Moses their leader. God has always required faith in the heart of man ( Luke 18:8). Without faith, a person cannot please God ( Numbers 14:11, Hebrews 11:6). The children of Israel withdrew their confidence in the Lord's redemptive work for them in the wilderness.

Luke 18:8, "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"

Numbers 14:11, "And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?"

Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he Isaiah , and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Scripture References- Note other references to unbelief:

Matthew 13:58, "And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."

Matthew 17:20-21, "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."

Mark 6:6, "And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching."

Mark 16:16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

John 16:9, "Of sin, because they believe not on me;"

Romans 3:3-4, "For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."

Romans 11:20, "Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:"

Romans 11:23, "And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again."

Unbelief and disobedience are closely related.

Hebrews 4:6, "Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:"

Hebrews 4:11, "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."

Hebrews 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

Hebrews 4:1 — "Let us therefore fear" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Romans 11:20, "Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:"

Philippians 2:12, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

Hebrews 4:1 "lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest" - Comments- While walking in this rest of God, we can still have occasions where we are troubled in our spirit. Note:

2 Corinthians 2:13, "I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia."

2 Corinthians 7:5, "For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears."

Hebrews 4:1 — "any of you should seem to come short of it" - Comments- Many, today, try to find rest by seeking comfortable homes, jobs, financial securities, retirement benefits, etc. Illustration:

Luke 12:19, "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry."

Hebrews 4:1Comments- The children of Israel who failed to enter into rest were those whose carcasses fell in the wilderness. We are to follow the example of God's original intent for them. That Isaiah , God did not intend for them to spend forty years in the wilderness. However, God wants us to avoid that, and march right on to the Promised Land by faith. The forty years in the wilderness is not a type of God's will for us today, even though some Christians have chosen that for their lives. God's will for you is to go in possess the land of promise.

Hebrews 4:1Comments: The Call to Enter into Rest- A key word in Hebrews 4:1-10 is "rest." It is used a total of nine times, six times as a noun and three times as a verb in Hebrews 4:1-11.

Hebrews 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Hebrews 4:2 — "but the word preached" - Comments- The Greek text literally reads, "the word of hearing." This phrase reminds us of Romans 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Hebrews 4:2"did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" - Comments- Why did this preaching not profit the children of Israel in the wilderness: because they were not obedient to the commands of God. In other words, they did not mix faith with hearing. Note:

Romans 2:13, "(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified."

James 2:17, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone."

Hebrews 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Hebrews 4:3 — "For we which have believed do enter into rest" - Comments- Kenneth Hagin says that when you trust God with all of your heart, a quietness and a peace comes into your spirit. "Our hearts takes courage as we read the Word. As we meditate in God's Word, our assurance becomes deeper. This assurance in our spirit is independent of our human reasoning or human knowledge. It may contradict human reasoning. It even may contradict physical evidence. Believing God with the heart means to believe apart from your body or your mind." 205] Song of Solomon , we are, as believers, presently entering into and living in God's rest right now.

205] Kenneth Hagin, "Ten Times Better," The Word Of Faith Magazine, 20 February 2003.

Scripture Reference- Note a similar verse:

Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Hebrews 4:3 — "as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest" - Comments- BDAG says that this is a Hebraistic used in oaths, so a strong negative "certainly not" should be used here in translating (see εἰ IV). Example, "if they do enter in, then..." The apodosis is left out of this conditional sentence. 206] For this reason, the NASB, NIV, and RSV omit "if" and translates this passage as a quote with "not," although the KJV and YLT keep its literal translation.

206] See also A.T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, c 1934, 1994), 1023-24.

ASV, "They shall not enter into my rest."

NIV, "They shall never enter my rest."

RSV, "They shall never enter my rest."

Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Hebrews 4:3 quotes from Psalm 95:11, "Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest."

Hebrews 4:3"although the works were finished from the foundation of the world" - Comments- Even though the work was ended, Israel did not enter into its rest.

Scripture References- Note similar verses about God's works being finished from the foundation of the world:

Revelation 13:8, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

Revelation 17:8, "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."

Hebrews 4:4-9 God's Seventh-Day Rest- Hebrews 4:4-9 explains why the quote in Hebrews 4:3 means that we have a rest for believers.

Hebrews 4:4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

Hebrews 4:4 — "For he spake in a certain place" - Comments- That Isaiah , "he spoke somewhere in the Old Testament." The author of Hebrews refers to Old Testament passages a number of times in this epistle as "a certain place" ( Hebrews 2:6; Hebrews 4:4) or "another place" ( Hebrews 5:6) or "in this (place) again" ( Hebrews 4:5). This is because there were no chapter or verse divisions during the first centuries of the Church, which were a later addition to the Holy Bible. Therefore, the author of Hebrews refers to these passages without a reference.

Hebrews 4:4"of the seventh day on this wise" - Comments- That Isaiah , he spoke "concerning the seventh day in this way, or thus."

Hebrews 4:4 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Hebrews 4:4 is a quote from Genesis 2:2.

Genesis 2:2, "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made."

God's seventh-day rest is also mentioned in:

Exodus 20:11, "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them Isaiah , and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."

Exodus 31:17, "It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."

Hebrews 4:5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

Hebrews 4:5"And in this place again" - Comments- That Isaiah , he refers to the passage he just quoted in Hebrews 4:3. He quotes Psalm 95:11 again, "Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest." Thus, "again." This is a Revelation -quote from a part of the quote in Hebrews 4:3 in order to emphasize the fact that God has provided mankind with a place of rest since the time of creation, but Israel did not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

Hebrews 4:6 — "therefore" - Comments- Or, "because." This is the reason why Hebrews 4:7 comes in.

Hebrews 4:7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Hebrews 4:7 — "Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David" - Comments- At Kadesh-barnea God fixed a certain day for Israel's rest ( Numbers 14). Now, through David in Psalm 95:7-8, God has fixed day for us, the people of God ( Hebrews 4:9). In the previous quote of this passage of Psalm in Hebrews 3:7, the author of Hebrews says the Holy Spirit made this statement. Now, in Hebrews 4:7 the author says David is making this statement because he is emphasizing the second time God has ordained a rest for His people. The children of Israel failed to enter into rest under the leadership of Joshua , so now God has appointed a second day under David.

Psalm 95:7-8, "For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:"

Why did God designate another day for mankind to enter into His rest: because those who were preached to the first time did not believe.

How can anyone take salvation so lightly after seeing how God has entered into rest and has fixed a day for us to enter in this rest, and after seeing so many people in unbelief, although they know God's plan of salvation?

Hebrews 4:7 "To day, after so long a time" - Comments- From the Exodus of the children of Israel to King Solomon was 480 years ( 1 Kings 6:1).

1 Kings 6:1, "And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon"s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD."

Hebrews 4:7 "as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts" - Comments- In the book of Numbers and in the forty years in the wilderness, they did not believe God's Word, especially God's command to enter into rest. Jesus Christ gives the same call to us today.

Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Hebrews 4:8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

Hebrews 4:8 — "For if Jesus had given them rest" - In the Old Testament the Hebrew name Joshua ( יְהוֹשׁוּעַ) (H 3091), means "Jehovah is salvation." In the New Testament the Greek name Jesus (I ησοϋς), means "Savior" ( Matthew 1:21). Therefore, the Greek word for the name "Joshua" is Jesus. The name "Jesus" in this verse is a reference to Joshua. Twice in New Testament, Joshua is referred to as Jesus, both here and in Acts 7:45.

Matthew 1:21, "And she shall bring forth a Song of Solomon , and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."

Acts 7:45, "Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;"

Hebrews 4:8Comments- Moses referred to the Promised Land as Israel's "rest" and "inheritance" ( Deuteronomy 12:9-10). If Moses had led the children of Israel in the Promised Land and given the people a complete rest, there would have been no need to allow Joshua to serve as their leader. However, because of Moses' failure in the wilderness, Joshua was raised up to bring Israel into rest through the conquest of Canaan ( Deuteronomy 31:7, Joshua 22:4). However, Israel did not obtain a complete rest with Joshua , for Israel soon fell away from the Lord during the time of the judges and lost their land and their possessions. Therefore, David speaks of another rest in the book of Psalm. Also, Moses serves as a type and figure of the failure of the Law, while Joshua serves as a type and figure of Jesus Christ, who is able to bring all people into eternal rest.

Deuteronomy 12:9-10, "For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you. But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;"

Deuteronomy 31:7, "And Moses called unto Joshua , and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it."

Joshua 22:4, "And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan."

Hebrews 4:8Comments- Hebrews 4:8 is a contrary to fact sentence in the Greek text.

Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

Hebrews 4:9Comments- Hebrews 4:9 gives us a conclusion to the explanation given in verses 4-8. Because the first generation of Israelites failed to enter into the Promised Land, there is a Sabbath rest that awaits the children of God. This Sabbath rest for God's people was prophesied in the Old Testament ( Isaiah 11:10, Jeremiah 6:16, Exodus 34:14-15).

Isaiah 11:10, "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious."

Jeremiah 6:16, "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein."

Ezekiel 34:14-15, "I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD."

Old Testament Application- The Greek word "rest" ( σσββατισμός) is used only one time in the New Testament. This word literally refers to a Sabbath rest, or observation, commanded by Moses under the Law ( Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 31:12-17).

Exodus 20:8-11, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy Song of Solomon , nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them Isaiah , and rested the seventh day: wherefore — the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it."

New Testament Application- Just as God called Israel to a Holy Sabbath rest on the seventh day, God also calls us to cease from our work, to put off the works of the flesh and to walk in the Spirit of God. We, as Christian, do now enter into the Lord's Sabbath every day as we walk in the Spirit. We serve Him with our spirit ( Romans 1:9), and yield our bodies as living sacrifices ( Romans 12:1).

Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Romans 1:9, "For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Song of Solomon , that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;"

Believers still observes particular days as unto the Lord ( Romans 14:5-6). Sunday is the day many Christians observe unto the Lord ( John 20:19, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2, Revelation 1:10). However, we should conduct every day as the Holy Sabbath.

Romans 14:5-6, "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks."

John 20:19, "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you."

Acts 20:7, "And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight."

1 Corinthians 16:2, "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come."

Revelation 1:10, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord"s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,"

Eternal Application- This word "Sabbath rest" has an eternal meaning. There will be an eternal unrest to the lost ( Revelation 14:11). There will be an eternal rest to those who are saved ( Revelation 14:13).

Revelation 14:11, "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."

Revelation 14:13, "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."

Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:10 — "For he that is entered into his rest" - Comments- Note these comments from Frances J. Roberts that tell us how to enter into the Sabbath rest.

"My ageless purposes are set in Eternity. Time is as a little wheel set within the big wheel of Eternity. The little wheel turneth swiftly and shall one day cease. The big wheel turneth not, but goeth straight forward. Time is thy responsibility - Eternity is Mine! Ye shall move into thy place in the big wheel when the little wheel is left behind. See that now ye redeem the time, making use of it for the purposes of My eternal kingdom, thus investing it with something of quality of the big wheel. As ye do this, thy days shall not be part of that which turneth and dieth, but of that which goeth straight forward and becometh one with My great universe.

"Fill thy days with light and love and testimony. Glorify and honor My Name. Praise and delight thyself in the Lord. So shall eternity inhabit thy heart and thou shalt deliver thy soul from the bondages of time. Thou shalt experience a liberation from the pressures of time and shalt in thine own heart slow down the little wheel. So shall ye find a new kind of rest. Ye shall have a foretaste of the Sabbath rest, into which the whole earth shall enter before long. When this time comes, I Myself will slow down the little wheel of time, and there shall be an adjustment, and it shall be as it was in the beginning.

"The pressures of time have increased as sin has increased, and all too often My children have been found living more in the little wheel than in the big. This happens whenever the flesh is in ascendancy to the Spirit. Whenever the opposite is true, ye have always experienced a fleeting but glorious freedom from the racing little wheel. Is it not true? Ye have found the Spirit always unhurried, and ye have marveled to find how oblivious ye had been to the passage of time whenever ye have been truly in the Spirit.

"Ye can live here as much as ye choose. Ye can enjoy this rest and disengage thyself from the little wheel as often and as long as ye desire. Ye shall lose nothing and gain much. Try it as a therapy for thy physical body. Always it shall most certainly be a tremendous source of energy and vitality for thy spiritual life!" 207]

207] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 31-2.

Hebrews 4:10"he also hath ceased from his own works" - Comments- Our works are works of the flesh ( Galatians 5:19-21). The author of Hebrews will again refer to our works of the flesh in Hebrews 6:1, when he refers to the doctrine of "repentance from dead works". As children of God we are to put these fleshly works aside and live and walk in the spirit and in holiness ( Hebrews 12:14).

Galatians 5:19-21, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Hebrews 12:14, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:"

Hebrews 4:10"as God did from His" - Comments- God set the example by entering into the first Sabbath rest ( Exodus 31:17).

Exodus 31:17, "It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed."

Hebrews 4:10Illustration - When a father prepares for his retirement from a family-owned business, he hands over its management to his son. He does so by giving this son a charge that encompasses the purpose and mission of the business. Adam, the first Prayer of Manasseh , failed to faithfully execute his office as the manager of the earth that God the Father had handed to him. Thus, Adam was unable to hand this task over to his son and himself enter into rest. However, Jesus Christ was obedient to this divine commission, so that He can now bring His brethren into eternal rest. As we follow Christ in obedience, we find rest and inner peace in this life and hope of complete rest in Heaven. We have the potential to walk in a large measure of rest in this life while awaiting deliverance from our mortal bodies, from the sufferings that this world brings upon all of mankind.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:11"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest" - Comments- This may appear at first as a paradox; but, the fact Isaiah , we have to labor to gain access to our spiritual rest. We see the same wording in Hebrews 12:1 when it says, "run with patience."

Hebrews 12:1, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"

The words "labour" ( Hebrews 4:11) and "run" ( Hebrews 12:1) reveal that we have a purpose and course to follow in this life. It means that we must pursue this course with intensity, not becoming distracted with the cares of this world. On the other hand, the words "rest" and "patience" reveal that there is a rest in God that removes the anxiety of striving for the goals that are set before us. We are to learn to wait upon the Lord daily and become strengthened by Him; otherwise, fatigue will overcome us as we run. This is not an easy lesson in life to learn, nor an easy balance to manage.

Note that the land of Israel, in the time of Joshua and King Song of Solomon , had rest because of the battles fought by Joshua and David.

Joshua 21:43-45, "And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass."

1 Kings 8:56, "Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant."

Hebrews 4:11Comments- Just as Moses called Israel out from Egypt into Canaan, God is calling the believers in Hebrews 4:11 to strive to enter into that spiritual rest. We as believers have entered into this rest ( Hebrews 4:3). Therefore, Hebrews 4:11 is exhorting us to maintain this position of rest in the midst of persecutions. We lose this place of rest through disobedience, as did the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Hebrews 4:3, "For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."

In Hebrews 10:32-33, we see that these Hebrews had endured afflictions and reproaches. Thus, their rest was not necessarily outward physical comforts, but an inner rest of the soul in the midst of life's challenges.

Hebrews 10:32-33, "But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used."

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Jeremiah 6:16, "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein."

Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

John 6:29, "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Hebrews 3:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/hebrews-3.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 9th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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