A Warning from the Past

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As one studies the book of Hebrews one of the things he will be impressed with is the superiority of Jesus. Specifically, we see the superiority of Jesus over one of the most influential individuals in the Old Testament, Moses. Moses was the author of the first five books of the Bible—the Torah. He was the deliverer of God’s people from Egyptian bondage and the giver of God’s law to the people. Yet, in spite of all these great accomplishments, the Hebrew writer’s intention was to demonstrate that Jesus was greater and thus worthy of more loyalty and obedience.

Why is Jesus greater or better than Moses? He is greater, not just because he was more faithful in His service to God, but because of who He was and what He did. Jesus is greater, because He is the builder of a greater house (the Church) and as such He is head over the house. Moses, however, was a servant in the house and the things he did were in preparation for the coming of Jesus. Jesus is greater because He is the giver of a greater rest. Moses was to lead the people of God to the Promised Land where they would receive rest, but it was an earthly rest. It was Jesus that made possible through His death on the cross, a heavenly and eternal rest.

That brings us to the second warning in the Book of Hebrews—a warning against departing from the living God through unbelief. In Hebrews 3:6, we find that we are the house of Christ, which is the Church, of which Christ is the Head. Those in Christ are now members of the Household of God and together with the faithful saints of old (including Moses) we are now fellow-citizens in the spiritual house or commonwealth of Israel. However, our status as members of the house is conditional, to remain in the house we must “hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of hope to the end.”

Thus, the need for the constant warnings or admonitions found throughout the book. The first showed the danger or drifting and now we shall consider the danger departing. To warn against the danger of departing from God and the consequences that would come with such a departure the Hebrew writer appeals to an example from the past in Hebrews 3:7-19. These stories of the past recorded in the OT are not just there for our reading entertainment, they are there because they teach us lessons that we need to learn.

In this case they teach us the very real danger of falling away from God through unbelief, so that we might avoid a similar fate that was realized by the Israelites in the wilderness. In our efforts to remain steadfast we must then encourage one another to remain strong in our faith and obedience, trusting in God until the end of our lives and then receiving the reward of faithfulness.

Brian Mitchell
Jackson church of Christ
Jackson, MO

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