Lesson 11 - Chapter 3:1-3

Lesson 11 - Chapter 3:1-3

Lesson for August 10, 2014

The Book of Hebrews

Chapter 3:1-3

In verses 1-6 we meet the Apostle and High Priest of believers in the Church Age. In verses 7-18 we see the signs of reversionism. So this is a chapter of signs of both spiritual maturity and reversionism. The sign of spiritual maturity is recognizing the lordship of Christ as our Apostle and High Priest. The sign of reversionism is the breakdown of faith-rest.

Verse 1

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession.”

Therefore would be better translated “for which reason.” The reason is stated in the previous verses: Jesus Christ is able to help those being tested, having been tested in the same matter as we are tested. Brethren means that we are members of the royal family of God. We are brethren, we are members of the family of God, we are all born into the family of God, and we are in the same family. Holy is a correct translation if you understand that holy means to be in union with Christ (set apart to Him). The only reason that any of us are holy is that we are in union with Christ, not because of what we do or don’t do.

Partakers of a heavenly calling means heavenly in respect to Whom we are related. We are related to God through the Doctrine of Election (calling). The emphasis is placed on the fact that every believer is a priest in full time Christian service. And some serve better than others and some do not serve at all. The avenue of this service is determined by knowledge of doctrine and spiritual growth. Christ is our High Priest; he was appointed on the Cross at the point when He satisfied the righteousness and justice of God by His spiritual death (propitiation). We as a kingdom of believers are appointed priests at the moment of our salvation. So all appointments depend on the Cross. And you cannot have a universal priesthood of believers as long as you are dealing with shadow worship as it existed in the Age of Israel. So now we have the reality, the Cross. When the reality replaced the shadow, then the universal priesthood of the believer replaced the Levitical priesthood.

Remember there were Jewish believers living in Jerusalem and the surrounding territory, and they were three years from the fifth cycle of discipline. They had begun to become negative toward accurate Bible doctrine and were becoming religious by trying to hold on to the Law of Moses and Jewish tradition. This was the condition of the people to whom the writer addresses the book of Hebrews. It was imperative for them to break out of this negativism. So the writer devoted part of Hebrews — chapters three through six — to getting them out of negativism by comparing them to their forefathers (the complaining Jews of the Exodus who failed to utilize the Faith-Rest Technique).

Consider is the Greek word “katanoeo.” “Kata” means a norm and standard; “noeo”refers to thinking. Together they mean to think according to a norm and standard, to think in terms of concentration, to bear down with your mind on something, to perceive, to understand, or to concentrate. It means to be occupied with someone in your mind, therefore in your soul. Every believer is to be occupied with Christ to the point where their heavenly calling becomes a reality. Our heavenly calling is serving God on a full-time basis by the intake and application of Bible doctrine. The first command therefore is to get out of reversionism and move toward spiritual maturity.

The Greek word for apostle is “apostolos,” which means sent one. In this verse it is used for the highest authority in the priesthood, it is used for the High Priest of believers, Jesus Christ. “Apostolos” indicates the uniqueness of Jesus Christ among high priests in that He has received the highest commission and greatest responsibility that any high priest ever had from God the Father. All priesthoods which are bona fide must come from God the Father as the source. He does the appointing. We have the Greek word “kai” for the word and, used as a conjunction to connect the same thought or concept. The writer is connecting the word Apostle and High Priest as one thought or concept. A better translation would be “the Apostle, even High Priest of our confession.” Translation: “For which reason, holy members of the family of God, associates of the heavenly vocation, concentrate on the Apostle even High Priest of our acknowledgement, Jesus.”

There is a principle involved here. While the believer is appointed to the priesthood at the moment of salvation he does not properly function as a priest until he begins to advance in the spiritual life by way of the Edification Complex. The objective of the Christian life is to reach spiritual maturity where you will fully function as a believer-priest. This is achieved by the consistent study of Bible doctrine where that doctrine is taken into the human spirit and made understandable by the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit. Faith transfers accurate doctrine from the mind into the human spirit where it becomes doctrine that can be applied. This type of doctrine enters the frame of reference, memory center, vocabulary categories, norms and standards, and is then ready for use. Application of doctrine begins the construction of the edification complex of the soul. Once the edification complex is built, a believer enters the first stages of spiritual maturity where capacity for life, for love, for happiness, and all objectives of the Christian Way of Life begin to become a reality.

However, as the edification complex is being constructed there is always a danger. The danger is sliding back into reversionism. Reversionism is negative volition toward and neglect of Bible doctrine which opens up a vacuum through which satanic doctrine can come. Satanic doctrine attacks your frame of reference, your memory center, your norms and standards, your vocabulary categories with human viewpoint. If you succumb to the attack of satanic doctrine, it eventually produces scar tissue on the soul which leads to emotional revolt of the soul. Then comes the destruction of the edification complex and causes you to be in a state of reversionism.

The issue of chapter three is this: Is Jesus Christ the number one priority in your life or are you in a state of reversionism? The Jewish believers to whom this is addressed in Jerusalem in 67 AD were slipping into reversionism and this verse is a charge to consider (concentrate on, be occupied with) Jesus Christ and recover quickly from reversionism. You cannot love Jesus Christ and be occupied with Him apart from the consistent intake of Bible doctrine. This is where the capacity to love Him comes from – no other source. With Bible doctrine as the working object of faith, a believer will have a maximum response of love toward God causing him to be called the “Friend of God.” (James 2:22-23)

Occupation with Christ is based upon the glorification of Christ. (Colossians 3:1-2) Occupation with Christ is the standard operating procedure for the Christian life. (Hebrews 12:1-2) The function of intake and application of doctrine is how believers respond to Christ’s love. (James 1:21-22) Occupation with Christ brings believers into total dependence upon God’s grace provision. God’s grace provision for all believers existed in eternity past, and our response to that provision means linking up with what God did for us in eternity past. (Psalm 37:4-5) Occupation with Christ is related to both stability and inner happiness. (Psalm 16:8-9) Occupation with Christ is the basis for blessing amidst suffering. Occupation with Christ is based on the believer’s entrance into spiritual maturity. (Hebrews 3:1, 6)

Verse 2

“He was faithful to Him Who appointed Him, as Moses was in all his house.”

Jesus was trustworthy, dependable, and faithful to the maximum. There never was a time when Jesus Christ was unfaithful to you or His Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ is even faithful to us today because He was faithful to God the Father. He was faithful every step of the way, He fulfilled everything that the Father required of Him, including the Cross. Faithfulness took our High Priest to the Cross where He received His appointment.

The Greek word for appointed is “poieo,” which means to make, to do, and sometimes when you make something you appoint something. The Greek gnomic aorist tense means that this appointment is an absolute fact that the Father planned, it is an absolute fact that the Son executed. Therefore, it is an absolute fact that cannot be changed by God, by man, by Satan, by anyone or anything. He was appointed in eternity past; He fulfilled the appointment on the Cross. It was a part of the Father’s plan in eternity past and it was executed and fulfilled on the Cross.

Moses was considered by all Jews to be a great hero except by the Jews of his own generation. He was the most damned, the most cursed, the most despised, the most maligned, the most slandered man of his own generation. He was not appreciated; the children of Israel had a lot of complaining to do, and Moses was their target. But no matter how they maligned him, no matter how they hated him and despised his authority, they stayed under his authority.

What made Moses a hero? Not his human genius. What made him great was not anything that Moses could do. It was God’s grace. He was one of the most grace-oriented men of all time. God said he was the most humble man that ever lived. Being humble meant that he was the most grace-oriented man who ever lived. He was a spiritually mature believer, therefore a hero. The house of Moses refers to the entire time in which he lived, the dispensation in which he lived, and the generation in the dispensation in which he lived.

Verse 3

“For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.”

Christ received this permanent evaluation (counted worthy) from God the Father when He was told to sit down at the right hand of the Father. The resurrection, ascension and session of Jesus Christ forms a part of the permanent evaluation. Under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit and under the plan of God the Father the humanity of Christ was resurrected, the humanity of Christ went up to the third heaven, and the humanity of Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting for Operation Footstool. Moses was a hero in the dispensation of Israel, but Jesus Christ is the hero of all time. Moses was the hero of Israel; Christ is the unique Person of the universe. There is a glory that belongs to Jesus Christ that is absolutely unique. Since the writer of Hebrews was addressing those in danger of becoming reversionistic believers, he must pick someone who is an unusually great man, one of the greatest heroes of all Jewish history (Moses) for his comparison to Christ.

The Greek word for builder is “kataskeuazo,” which means not only to build a house but to furnish it. The builder does the furnishing. This is not referring to a house; it is referring to the structure of human history which is the dispensation of Israel. God the Holy Spirit tells us we are dealing here with a dispensation, not with a literal house. Moses operated in a house. That house is called the Age of Israel; it is actually divided into three parts. First we had the patriarchs from Abraham to Moses. Then we had the Law of Moses to Christ. Then there came an interruption of the Age of Israel called the Church Age in which we are still living. But there are seven years to go on the Age of Israel, which will begin at the Rapture. The Age of Israel will be completed during the period we call the Tribulation. This is a “house” which really hasn’t been finished yet but Moses lived in this house. He was a hero in the house of Israel during the Age of Israel, but Jesus Christ constructed the house. Jesus Christ is the author of the dispensation. Again, that makes Him superior. But in the house are some heroes and the one on whom the Holy Spirit focuses is Moses. So we have “the One having constructed and equipped the house” meaning that in eternity past the Lord Jesus Christ constructed the dispensations. Jesus Christ not only constructed it but furnished it. Christ constructed the dispensation therefore He has more honor than anyone in the dispensation. He has more honor than Moses because in eternity past He designed the dispensation of Israel.

This verse says that no matter in what age you find yourself, it has always been the same story without exception that Jesus Christ is the superior One in history. Jesus Christ constructed the dispensations and He furnished the dispensations with grace provisions. There are heroes within the dispensations and in this Church Age dispensation in which we live any believer who reaches spiritual maturity is a hero. But Jesus Christ is the Superior Hero of all eternity and deserves all honor and glory.