By Tyson Thorne

March 13, 2018

Hebrews 05 Large

Chapter two ended with a reference to Jesus being our high priest, and chapter three picks up that thread in the very first verse. "Take note of Jesus," the author instructs, "the apostle and high priest whom we confess." Unfortunately, he drops the thread here and does not pick it up again until chapter four. We have to wait to learn of the significance of the high priest reference, but that doesn't mean we don't have something important to learn before then. Even as Jesus is superior to the prophets, angels, and the high priest of Israel, he is also superior to Moses.

If you recall, chapter two also began with a warning from the time of the Exodus. the exodus from Egypt and the wilderness wandering. Now in the second verse of chapter three the author again turns to Moses, telling us that while Moses was a servant of God's house — a reference to the tabernacle that Moses constructed for the Ark of the covenant — and Jesus is the master of that house. In addition, Jesus is the builder of all in creation so, as a builder and as the master of the house, Jesus is superior to Moses.

There is a deeper theology at work in this comparison. The Ark was kept in the tabernacle, but later was placed deep inside the temple in the holy of holies. Due to Jesus' sacrifice he ascended to the right hand of the Father, the holiest of places on heaven. Jesus; work on the cross opened to temple up to the universe, with the new temple being heaven itself. From the heavenly throne room, Jesus reigns over all. Therefore, when the Romans destroyed the earthly temple in 70 AD, it wasn't needed any longer.

Since then, through today, and continuing on to the time of Jesus' second coming the temple being built isn't made of wood and gold, but with the followers of the Messiah. This has lead some to conclude that those who "turn away from the living God" would lose their salvation. This is an easy mistake to make, but the house being built in this analogy is of a temple, not the kingdom. What those who turn away lose is their priestly role, not their eternal salvation. Just as an Old Testament Levi could turn away from his priestly obligations and remain a Levite, so too a Christian can turn away from their duty in this new temple order and remain a Christian.

Which brings us back to the Sinai desert. Just as the rebellion at Kadesh Barnea resulted in a 40-year wilderness wandering and a defeat of their faithfulness, we too are to avoid repeating such a rebellion on our lives. The author chose to quote from a psalm that discussed that tragic event. To keep this from happening, all believers should encourage (exhort) each other every day. In doing so we will develop a firm confidence that will see us through to the end.

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