Greater than Moses. Bible Wit ness 17

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1 C h r i s t Greater than Moses h e b r e w s 3 : 1-6 From the opening lines of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the supremacy of Christ is established. He is the greatest and the ultimate prophet through whom God had revealed Himself (cf. Hebrews 1:1-2). This supremacy of Christ over the prophets is reiterated in Hebrews chapter 3 where Christ is proven to be greater than the prophet Moses. But why was Moses considered for comparison? To the Jews who regarded Moses as the greatest of all their prophets, the superiority of Christ over Moses would have been a startling message. The thought that someone was a greater prophet than Moses would be troubling enough to elicit from the Jews the question How can Jesus be greater than Moses? A brief look at the Jewish perspective on Moses would explain the reason why. Bible Wit ness 17

2 Moses is the most highly regarded figure in Jewish history. Being raised by God as Israel s great leader, his life was filled with God s special, providential and miraculous workings. While yet a baby, the hand of God preserved him when he was laid in an ark made by his mother in order to hide him from the soldiers of Pharaoh. Around the time of Moses birth, Pharaoh had decreed that all the male Hebrew newborns must be killed (cf. Exodus 1:22-2:10). Moses then grew up to be appointed by God to deliver Israel out of Egypt, where they had lived as slaves for 430 years. By his hand, God performed great miracles to weaken the mighty Pharaoh in order to secure Israel s liberty. After their exodus from Egypt, God continued to do mighty acts through Moses in providing for, protecting and directing millions of Israelites as they wandered in the wilderness for about 40 years. Such magnificent leadership earned for Moses a very high stature in Jewish history. It is written of Moses that the LORD spake unto him face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend (Exodus 33:11). Moses saw the glory of God (cf. Exodus 33:18-23); and the glow of the divine glory reflected from his face (cf. Exodus 34:30). Of greatest significance to the Jewish people was the fact that the law (Torah) came through Moses. In fact, the law became so identified with Moses that it was commonly referred to as the law of Moses. The law was at the heart of Jewish life; the Old Testament commandments and rituals were their highest priority. Paul even mentioned that the Jews boasted in the law (cf. Romans 2:17, 23). Moses had not only given them the Ten Commandments; he had also penned the entire Pentateuch. The Levitical priesthood and sacrifices were instituted through him. Finally, when he died, God Himself dug his grave (cf. Deuteronomy 34:5-6). The high honour that the Jews had rendered to Moses is not without basis as the Old Testament Scriptures has this testimony concerning him: And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face (Deuteronomy 34:10). Nonetheless, the Jews must know that there is one who is greater than Moses, even Jesus Christ. So the inspired writer of Hebrews presents two arguments to bolster the case for Christ s preeminence. 18 Bible Wit ness

3 Hebrews 3:1 1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Christ was no less faithful than Moses The passage calls the reader to consider the two offices which Jesus fulfilled. The two offices in which He ministered are the Apostle and the High Priest of our profession (3:1b). The term apostle means one who is sent forth, like an ambassador, with a message and authority. Christ is the Apostle, whom God sent into the world. In John s Gospel, Christ is frequently referred to as sent by God to make known His will unto His people (cf. John 3:34; 5:36). That was true of Jesus who said, "I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak" (John 12:49). He is the One, whom Moses and all other prophets of old had prophesied, to be sent by God. The Apostle Peter said to the Jews of Jerusalem, For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, and in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities (Acts 3:22-26). Summed up, Peter is saying unequivocally that Christ is the prophet whose coming even Moses and the rest of the Old Testament prophets had anticipated. Jesus Christ is also the High Priest of our profession. He was an infinitely better High Priest than all other high priests of Israel. It was already stated in Hebrews 2:17 that Christ is a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. As an High Priest, Christ is our supreme intercessor before God (cf. Hebrews 4:14-7:28). Hebrews 3:2 2 Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his In His offices, Jesus was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house (v. 2; cf. Numbers 12:6-7). That Christ is faithful to God the Father just as Moses was, simply affirms that Christ was not inferior to Moses at all. Here, the Jews who were so captivated by Moses, their prophet par excellence, are challenged to think of Christ above him. So the author of Bible Wit ness 19

4 Hebrews presents Jesus as an equal, nay, even a greater prophet than Moses was. Moses had lapses in his faithfulness but Jesus was absolutely and impeccably faithful to the Father who sent Him to the world. He always did the Father's will. Jesus said, I do always those things that please him (John 8:29). Hebrews 3:3 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 Hebrews 3:3-4 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 4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. Christ is more glorious than Moses Although verse 2 depicts Moses faithfulness in the same breath as Jesus', there is a difference. In verse 3, we read about Jesus that this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses. Here, the Spirit of God asserts that Christ is more excellent than Moses. The Gospel prophet, Jesus Christ, is far superior to Moses, the greatest of Jewish prophets! Moses face once shone with the glory of God, but it was only a reflection a transitory glory. On the other hand, Christ s glory is a glory that excelleth (2 Corinthians 3:10). The superiority of Christ s glory over Moses is further explained in verses 3 to 6 with reference to His position and person. Christ is the builder of the house which Moses is a part of It is said about Christ s greater glory that inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God (vv. 3b-4). Moses was a great leader in the house of Israel, but only by appointment of the One who built it, even Jesus Christ. In other words, Moses was called to be a servant of the house which Christ built. A renowned commentator puts it this way: Moses did not make men children of God; Christ does. Moses came to a people who were already the Lord s by covenant relationship; whereas Christ takes up those who are dead in trespasses and sins, and creates them anew. Thus as the founder of the family is entitled to the highest honour from the family, so Christ is worthy of more glory than Moses (A. W. Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews, p. 150). As an added emphasis to Christ s superiority over Moses, it is said in verse 4: For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. Christ has not only built the house but also all things. He created all things (cf. Hebrews 1:2; John 1:3), including Israel. That is evidence of His deity. Thus how much greater glory than Moses is He justly entitled to! 20 Bible Wit ness

5 Hebrews 3:5 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; Christ is the Son, but Moses a servant There was a special purpose for Moses role as a faithful servant in the house of Israel which Christ built. It was for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after (v. 5b). The word testimony (Greek: martúrion) means witness. All that Moses did as a servant in God s house were meant to be a witness of the things that would be revealed in the future. In other words, the law and the system of worship with all its ceremonies which Moses implemented in the house of Israel were a witness to the truths that were to be made plain afterwards. The law which Moses instituted was the shadow of good things yet to come in Christ. The Mosaic ministry prefigured the Messiah s atoning sacrifice and the heavenly tabernacle (cf. 10:1; 8:5). Moses served as a prototype of Jesus the Messiah that was to come (cf. Deuteronomy 18:15, 18). This is why Christ said to the Jews, For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me (John 5:46). The same truth is implied in Luke 24:27: And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. Moses life and ministry were dedicated to the greater glory of Christ. Hebrews 3:6 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. Unlike Moses, Christ was not a servant. They have vastly different positions in the household of faith. Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we (v. 6a). As the Son, Christ is over his own house. Moses served for a time in His house, but Christ reigns over it forever. In John 8:35, Jesus said, The servant abideth not in the house forever; but the Son abideth ever. Servants of the house of God would come and go, but the Son abides as its head forever. Moses had an important role in God s plan, but he was only a part of the Christ is the founder and heir of the household. The house of Christ is made up of believers, whether Jews or Gentiles. If you have believed in Christ, you are part of His household. As the household members of Christ, let us serve Him in faithfulness as Moses did. Likewise, hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (v. 6b). Bible Wit ness 21

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