Hebrews class 5, Hebrews chapter 3, Revised

February 4, 2009

These notes will be revised as needed

Tod Kennedy

Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 3

  1. We are to carefully think about the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus Christ and hold to what we say we believe in order to faithfully serve Him in our priestly ministries. He was faithful to His Father; Moses was faithful to God and his ministry; the same ought to be true for us (3:1-6).
  2. Do not harden our hearts against God by not believing his word. This leads us away from God (3:7-12).
  3. Encourage each other in the faith daily while we can (3:12-13).
  4. We become companions with Christ and participate with Christ in our priestly ministry if we hold fast to Him instead of revolting against God by not believing His word (3:14-19).

Outline

  1. Think Christologically (3:1-6).
  2. Watch out for unbelief and encourage one another in the faith (3:7-13).
  3. We can become companion, participants with Christ (3:14-19).

Study of Hebrews 3

  1. Think Christologically (3:1-6). We are to carefully think about the apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus Christ. This means to know who He is, what he does for believers, and what he expects of us. He was faithful to His Father. Moses was faithful to God and his ministry. We must hold to what we say we believe in order to faithfully serve Him in our priestly ministries.
    1. Verse 1. “Therefore” goes back to the clearly demonstrated facts about Jesus from chapters 1 and 2. Chapter 2 ended by teaching that Jesus is the “faithful and merciful high priest” (2:17). As high priest He tasted death for all everyone (2:9), brings many sons to glory (2:10), sanctifies believers (2:11), defeated the devil (2:14), freed believers from the fear of death 92:15), helps believers (2:16), propitiates the Father (2:17), and was tempted and suffered and so can help us when we are tempted (2:18).
      1. The verb “consider” κατανοέω katanoeo (aorist active imperative 2 plural, to observe well, consider, think about, understand) instructs us to learn abut Jesus Christ and to think thoroughly about Him so that he directs our lives.
      2. He is the apostle (sent for us and the authority over us) and high priest (His work for us) of our confession (ὁμολογία, ας, ἡ homologia, our statement of allegiance or acknowledgement of what we believe). He is head of the body of believers.
    2. Hebrews 3:2-6. Verse 2 introduces the subject of verses 2-6, holding firmly to our confession by faithfulness in service. Jesus was faithful to the Father. The author gives Moses as a comparison to show that Jesus is greater, has more honor, and has a greater ministry. Honor introduces reward. Jesus had the highest honor. Moses had honor. Certain believers will have honor.
      1. A critical word in this section is “house.” To what does it refer? The word is used 1862 times in the NASB. When one look sat the uses there are some choices for the meaning. The main options are 1. a person’s house, 2. family or household, 3. clan, tribe, or descendents, 4. the tabernacle and by extension the priesthood or people who served in the tabernacle, 5. property, possession, estate.
        1. Hebrews uses “house” οἶκος, ου, ὁ oikos, 11 times in 8 verses: 3:2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 8:8, 10; 10:21. Hebrews 3:6 seems to make people the meaning in this passage, since there is a comparison between Moses’ house and the people who served in it and Christ’s house, and Christ’s house is people. Hebrews 10:21 has “house of God.” Hebrews 8 uses “house of Israel” and “house of Judah.”
        2. House in Hebrews 3:2-5 is about the tabernacle and the faithful priests and their service in that house which God created and built. Moses was a faithful servant in God’s house (4-5). Moses was from the tribe of Levi—the priest tribe. He received the instructions about the tabernacle (e.g. Exodus 38:21). Moses was the authority over Aaron and the priest service, and Moses consecrated Aaron and Aaron’s sons to the priestly service (Leviticus 8-9). The conclusion is that Moses faithfully served in his house—the tabernacle, the priests, and the priestly service (2:2-4). He took orders from God and faithfully carried them out. Scripture recorded his service (5).
        3. House then refers to the place and people God has one serve. Jesus was successful. Moses was successful. When we follow Jesus by remaining confident in Him we are His house—the people and place God the Father has Him serve.
      2. Verse 6 is not about gaining or loosing eternal life. This verse is about holding fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end of our life. If we do that we will be Christ’s house. Compare verse 6 with verse 14 for the similar teaching. See 1 Peter 2:5 where believers, a spiritual house, are being built up for priestly service. Verse 6 says that Christ was not a servant, but a Son. He is greater. The comparison and parallel with Moses and priestly service indicates that Christ’s house is the author’s name for believers who concentrate on Jesus (3:1) and hold fast the confidence and hope (3:6) and so carry out their priesthood of service for God.
        1. If is a third class condition expressing the possibility. We have choices to make.
        2. Hold fast, κατέχω katecho, to hold firmly, to keep in one’s possession, to hold the course, aorist active subjunctive.
        3. Confidence, παρρησία, ας, ἡ outspokenness, plain speaking, courageous, boldness.
        4. Boast, καύχημα, ατος, τό that which constitutes a source of pride.
        5. If we firmly keep in our possession or firmly believe that which we plainly and confidently claim about Jesus Christ we will faithfully serve God and be Christ’s house—that group of believers who believe what they say and faithfully serve God based on that. These believers please God.
  2. Hebrews 3:7-13. Watch out for unbelief and encourage one another in the faith. We are not to harden our hearts against God by not believing his word, and we are to encourage one another in the faith while we can to prevent hardening.
    1. Verses 7-11. This section begins with a warning reference from Psalm 95:6-11. This warning recalls the failure of Israel during the Exodus (Exodus 16-17 and Numbers 20). Israel refused to believe that God will provide. They rejected God’s promises and guidance and so were not allowed to enter Canaan until that generation died. The rest is life in Canaan under God’s direction.
    2. Verse 12. The warning to brethren, believers, is in verse 12. “Take care” so that no one has an evil unbelieving heart and falls away from the living God. This is a warning against unbelief. The result of unbelief is falling away from God in experience, not position.
      1. Take care. Βλέπω blepo, to see or to watch, to pay attention to, present active imperative, second plural. The idea is “watch out.” We all need to pay attention to how we are living the Christian life. Unbelief of God’s commands, principles, promises, and doctrines will harm us.
      2. Falls away. ἀφίστημι aphistemi, to move from a reference point, to revolt, to withdraw, aorist active infinitive, further explaining what an unbelieving heart does. The believer who will not trust God revolts or moves away from pleasing God and serving God.
    3. Verse 13 gives the positive side. We are to encourage one another while we can, that is, when opportunities arise and before another is firmly hardened against God. Jude 22-23 give further instructions about how to help those departing from the faith.
      1. Encourage. Παρακαλέω parakaleo, to call to one’s side, to appeal, to encourage, to exhort, present active imperative. We are to support and encourage believers, especially when we know they are spiritually slipping ( See Hebrews 2:1-3).
      2. Sin, especially unbelief which is the fountainhead of other sin, creeps up and hardens us against God and God’s word.
  3. Hebrews 3:14-19. We can become companion, participants with Christ. We become companions with Christ and participate with Christ in our priestly ministry if we hold fast to Him instead of revolting against God by not believing His word.
    1. Verse 14.Now the explanation of the benefits of faithfully holding to our confession, being part of Christ’s house, and believing God (14).
      1. “For we have become partakers of Christ.” The verb is a perfect active indicative of γίνομαι ginomai, to become, to come to pass, stressing the present state.
      2. Partakers is μέτοχος, ον metochos. It is used as a noun here and means partner, companion, accomplice. In Hebrews it is in 1:9, 3:1 and 14, 6:4, and 12:8. It does not refer to becoming a believer or maintaining eternal relationship with God. As we have seen in Hebrews, this refers to a believer trusting Christ, holding his confession, serving, and believing God. When one does that he is a companion or partner with Christ in the Christian life.
      3. “If we hold fast” is another third class condition expressing the possibility with the same word as in verse 6, Hold fast, κατέχω katecho, to hold firmly, to keep in one’s possession, to hold the course, aorist active subjunctive.
        1. Assurance is ὑπόστασις, εως, ἡ, hupostasis, nature, essence, reality, title deed. We are partners, companions with Christ if we hold firmly to the reality and essence of what we believed about Christ as presented by Jesus, his apostles, and the teachers of God’s word (See Hebrews 2:1-3).
    2. Hebrews 3:15-19 recall again the failure of the Exodus generation. God gave them clear guidance by the cloud and fire. He gave them his word, the Torah, through Moses and angels. He promised to take care of them during the exodus. He promised to give them Canaan. What did they do? They refused to believe God. The result was divine discipline. That first generation died before god took the nation into Canaan.
      1. The rest was the land of Canaan where they were to have the privilege of living as God’s people under his directions and blessing. All he asked was for them to believe him and obey him. They would not.
      2. So, verse 19, “and so we see that there were not able to enter because of unbelief.” This is the sad state of many believers. Too many distractions. No desire to think clearly about Jesus. Too much popular religion. Too little Bible doctrine and the application of the doctrine.

End of Hebrews 3 study.