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Hebrews Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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

Apostle. This is the only time Christ is called an Apostle (meaning literally “one who is sent”). He was sent by the Father as the Apostle of our profession (John 17:18; 20:21).

High Priest. As an Apostle, Christ represents God to man; as our High Priest, He represents man to God.

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

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

For every house. By the universal scientific law of cause and effect, it is obvious that a house must have been “caused” by a builder of the house. But that builder must have been “caused” by his parents and his education, etc. And so on. Every effect must have a cause. But ultimately there must either be an infinite string of secondary causes (and what caused that?) or an uncaused First Cause. The latter is far more reasonable. Thus, the “Builder” of “all things is God!”

built all things. From Hebrews 3:3, it is evident that Christ is the builder of the cosmic house; from this verse, therefore, it follows that Christ is God. He is the one who created and made all things (Colossians 1:16; John 1:3).

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 3:6 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.

if we hold fast. The Word of God provides adequate assurance of eternal salvation for every genuine believer, but no warrant for arrogant presumption. See note on Matthew 24:13 and note on 2 Peter 1:10.

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

Holy Ghost saith. Psalm 95:7-11 is under discussion in the section from Hebrews 3:7-4:10, with the author (possibly Paul) drawing an analogy between the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness under Moses and the professing Jewish believers of his own day, who were being tempted back into Jewish legalism. Specifically he is quoting this passage here (Hebrews 3:7-11) as an assertion of the Holy Spirit Himself. In Hebrews 4:7, he indicates that the author of the words was David, even though Psalm 95 carries no superscript of authorship (the same situation occurs when Psalm 2:1-2 is quoted in Acts 4:25-26 as written by David). It is thus a significant characteristic of divine inspiration that a section of Scripture is attributed both to David and the Holy Spirit, even when the section seems officially anonymous.

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

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

forty years. It possibly was no coincidence that God gave Israel forty years to repent after Christ's crucifixion, before He sent the Roman army under Titus in a.d. 70 to destroy Jerusalem and its temple.

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.)

So I sware. See Psalm 95:11 and Numbers 14:28-32.

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

evil heart. Note that an “evil heart of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12) is also an erring heart (Hebrews 3:10) and a hardened heart (Hebrews 3:8).

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.

one another. There are many “one another” passages in Scripture, and it is important to practice them daily. Not only should we “exhort one another daily,” but also “edify one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:11), “pray one for another” (James 5:16), “comfort one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:18), “be kind one to another” (Ephesians 4:32), and especially “love one another” (John 13:34). There are many other such admonitions in Scripture.

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

partakers. The word “partakers” in this verse is used in the sense of “fellows” or “partners.” Those who hold their confidence in Christ until the end demonstrate that they were true believers in Christ from the beginning, rather than shallow professors of faith without real understanding or commitment. Note xTerm 2:19.

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

To day. The writer makes it clear that the use of “today” in Psalm 95:7 was applicable to any time, not just to David's time. “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

provocation. “The provocation” refers to the rebellion of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah (Exodus 17:5-7; Numbers 20:7-13), when the Lord provided water out of the rock for them. The word for “provocation” in Psalm 95:8, from which this is quoted, is the Hebrew Meribah.

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

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?

carcases. One of the difficulties posed by skeptics is that, if a million or more Israelites perished in the wilderness during their forty years in the desert, why have none of their graves been found by archaeologists? This verse suggests that the bodies may not have been buried at all, but simply left to decay and return to dust under the desert sun. These all died “because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19), without seeing the promised land.

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

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