Hebrews Chapter Three
I. Content of the Chapter
Christ is the Apostle, Who is More Excellent than Moses
A. Jesus is counted worthy of more glory than Moses (v.1-6);
1. Christ is the apostle, who was faithful as Moses (v.1-2).
2. Christ who built the house has more honor than Moses who is the house (v.3-4).
3. Christ is the Son, who is more excellent than the servant Moses (v.5-6).
B. The people of
1. The people of
2. If we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, we will become partakers of Christ ---- namely, enter into the rest (v.12-15).
3. The people of
II. Verse by Verse commentary
Heb. 3:1 “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,”
YLT: “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the apostle and chief priest of our profession, Christ Jesus,”
Meaning of Words: “holy”: sanctified, separated; “consider”: think with one’s heart; “Apostle”: the ambassador, the one who is sent;
Literal Meaning: “therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling”, “therefore”, the word unveils that the following exhortation is based on the previous words.
“Partakers of”, it contains a meaning of having part of a particular privilege and blessing; “heavenly calling” carries two meaning: 1) the calling comes from the heaven; 2) the calling that calls us to the heaven; “partakers of the heavenly calling”, the author of this book seems to purposefully make a comparison between we believers and the people of Israel who followed Moses out of Egypt. What they shall receive is earthly inheritance, and what we believers in the New Testament shall receive is heavenly unshaken inheritance (see Heb. 12:22-28).
“Holy”, the word originally describes the holy nature of God, and then it is used to describe all men or things that are of God, e.g. the saints, the holy temple, and the holy day etc. Here the word is applied to describe brethren; “brethren” refer to believers who are of God and have the divine life (see Heb. 2:11). “Holy brethren”, it indicates that we have not only the objective sanctified position ---- saints (see 1Cor. 1:2) but also the subjective life potential (1Thess. 5:23).
the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus”, “consider”, it is
an emphatic and strong word in the original, which means concentrating on one
certain thing. Therefore, we have to consider seriously and carefully with
heart; “our confession”, it is not only believing with heart but also
confession with mouth (see
“The Apostle”, who is sent by God, and represents God before men or brings God to men; “High Priest”: represent those who are of God and bring us to God and fulfill the ministry of the mediator (see Heb. 7:21-15; 8:1, 6); “the Apostle and High Priest”, there is only one definite article “the”, which indicates that the two nouns describe the same person, namely, Jesus, for He has two ministries with different nature.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The purpose of “the heavenly calling” is making us press forward and become a heavenly man. Things on the earth are merely for the purpose of keeping our living so that we will be enabled to run the heavenly race. Therefore, we shall not always be occupied by earthly things so as to change our goals of pursuit.
2) We Christians are those “who are called by the heavenly calling”. Though our status and occupations on the earth are different, we have the same “heavenly calling”, namely, taking the will of the one who called us as our “heavenly occupation” throughout our life and work for His will.
3) All those who are called by “the heavenly calling” have obtained heavenly life and power and lived out the heavenly life. If we desire to be real people of the heavenly kingdom, we shall apply the heavenly life and power that we have received.
4) “Holy brethren”, it is not only a kind of respectful address but also the experience that we believers are supposed to have in spirit and life.
5) The salvation of Christ separates us from the world so that we are not of the world though we are still in the world (John 17:14-19), and that we shall be sanctified and serviceable to the Master (2Tim. 2:21).
6) We must understand we have been sanctified in Christ, which makes us enter into the Holy of holies with boldness so as to be ruled by and filled with the holiness of God.
7) Many saints feel anguished and hate them and do not know how to live out the holy and heavenly life. Their mistakes consist in seeing themselves and relying on their own power instead of meditating upon Jesus. The only way of us is meditating upon Jesus everyday.
8) For as he thinks in his soul, so is he (Pro. 23:7). The faith of Christians shall be fulfilled in our works from “mind” first.
9) We do not consider ourselves, but consider our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not consider things on the earth, but consider what He has fulfilled for us. The more we consider Him, the more will we be like Him. The more we consider what He has accomplished, the more will we have boldness and not be discouraged.
10) The word “consider” stems from the word “star” in Latin, which means “observe” in the original. The astronomers have to observe with long patience and dedicated attention in quiet time in order to understand the stars in the heavens. Shall we not pay more attention to consider and observe the wonderful Jesus who sits in the heavens and live in us?
11) When believers live on the earth, we may often be confronted with many changeable environments (including various men or things), which make us not know what to do. However, we need not consider too much, but focus on Jesus.
12) The Lord Jesus Christ is “the apostle”. He is the supreme apostle. All the ministries of other apostles are of Him.
13) The Lord Jesus is the Apostle as well as High Priest. He represents God as well as believers. He is the mediator of God and men ---- fulfill the ministry God has entrusted to Him and bring believers into perfection.
14) The Lord Jesus is the Apostle as well as High Priest. He was sent to come to the earth and is still in the heavens (John 3:13). He is that heavenly ladder connecting the heavens and the earth (see Gen. 28:12; John 1:51), connecting God and men.
Heb. 3:2 “who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.”
YLT: “being stedfast to Him who did appoint him, as also Moses in all his house,”
Meaning of Words: “appointed”: commit, make, cause; “faithful”: trustworthy, trustful, sure; “house”: dwelling, temple, home;
Literal Meaning: “who was faithful to Him who appointed Him”, “Him”: Jesus (see v.1)”; “appoint”, here it expresses two characteristics of the Lord Jesus: 1) he was incarnated and came upon the earth and had perfect humanity; 2) His works are for the purpose of fulfilling what God has entrusted to Him.
“Who appointed Him”: God, who had appointed Him before ages of time (Heb. 1:2), and appointed Him again when he came upon the earth (Luke 2:16, 35), and made Him Lord and Christ when he was risen and ascended into the heavens (Acts 2:26); “was faithful”, it indicates that he is about the business of the Father who is in the heavens (Luke 2:48) and does everything according to the will of the Father, not His own will (Matt. 26:39).
“As Moses also was faithful in all His house”, “as”, it refers to the comparison between
Jesus and Moses. “Moses” was appointed by God to bring the people of
Note that the writer has mentioned “house” repeatedly from verse one to six (about seven times). The word in the original refers to the material house as well as family members. Here the writer purposefully directs the readers from materials to spiritual reality.
Moses and Christ are both “faithful”. The difference lies in their positions ---- Moses is the servant of the house of God (see v.5) but Christ is the Son.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The greatest characteristic of Jesus as the Apostle (see v.1) is faithfulness toward God. If our faith is established on His faithfulness, we will have perfect stronghold, for He must realize all the promises of God upon us faithfully and thus we will obtain the greatest power.
2) When we live in the world, “faithfulness” is the most important prerequisite of our walking. No matter in family or working group, everyone therein is demanded to be utterly faithful.
3) God demands His each child to be faithful. Though it is not each believer that has great talent, or wise mind or strong body, we are able to be faithful.
Heb. 3:3 “For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house.”
YLT: “for of more glory than Moses hath this one been counted worthy, inasmuch as more honour than the house hath he who doth build it,”
Meaning of Words: “house”: family, family members; “glory”: value, honor;
Literal Meaning: “for this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses”, “this One” refers to Jesus Christ; “than Moses”, it is the comparison between Moses and Jesus Christ; “worthy of more…”, it is not a comparison between good and bad, but a comparison of which is of more glory. “Glory”: the external brilliancy manifested out of the internal nature. “Of more glory”: be more appreciated by God (see John 5:44);
“Inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house”, “house”: the house of God (see v.2, 5, 6). Moses, a member of the house of God, is able to represent the house of God. “He who built the house”, it refers to the one who builds the house of God ---- the one who builds the church, namely, Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:18); “honor”: appraisal given because of the external elements; this verse presents the first reason why Jesus is worthy of more honor.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The walking of Christians shall be not only right or just, but also valuable and counted worthy in God’s sight.
2) No matter how spiritual a Lord’s servant is, he is merely member of the house of God. We shall in no wise take any servant of the Lord as a “super” man or even “idolize” him (Acts 14:11-15).
3) Someone says that the Lord’s servants are also those who build the house (see 1Cor. 3:10), so they are also different from common believers. In fact, all the saints have part in the building of the church (Eph. 4:12). Therefore, no matter the Lord’s servants or believers, all of them are the Lord’s vessels and materials that build the church without distinction.
Heb. 3:4 “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.”
YLT: “for every house is builded by some one, and He who the all things did build God,”
Meaning of Words: “house”: family, family members;
Literal Meaning: “for every house is built by someone”, “for”, it indicates that the “house” is different from “the one who builds the house”, because the house itself is not built spontaneously, but built by someone.
“But He who built all things is God”, “all things”: the totality of all things. This verse clearly points that the previous “house” is just “all things” here and the one who builds is God Himself.
Broadly speaking, the house is “all things”, and all the universe is the house that God dwells. However, this paragraph is spoken to “the holy brethren and partakers of heavenly calling” (v.1) and gives the exhortation that if we indeed hold fast the boldness and the boast of hope firm to the end, we are the house of Him (see v.6). Therefore, narrowly speaking, the house can also be explained as the church.
This verse explains that the Creator can not be confused with the created beings.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) All things exist for God. In other words, if it is not for God, all things have no value or necessity of existence.
2) All things are for the purpose of serving and manifesting Christ in the hands of Christians. If anything can not be used to know of or obtain Christ, it should be counted as filth and loss (Phil. 3:7-8).
Heb. 3:5 “And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,”
YLT: “and Moses indeed stedfast in all his house, as an attendant, for a testimony of those things that were to be spoken,”
Meaning of Words: “servant”: attendant, heat; “house”: family, family members; “testimony”: token, testify;
Literal Meaning: “and Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant”, it is quoted from the Book of Numbers (12:7); “servant”: it is a comparison with the “son” in verse six. It indicates the second reason why Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses (see v.3).
“Was faithful”, it corresponds to the “faithful” in verse two.
“For a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward”, “those things which would be spoken afterward”: things concerning Christ and the church in the New Testament. Things in the Old Testament are the type of things in the New Testament.
This verse means the service of Moses as a servant is merely preparing work, which typifies things in the future, namely, the testimony of the work of the coming One.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Augustinus said, “The Old Testament is manifested in the New Testament, and the New Testament is hidden in the Old Testament”. We shall read the Old Testament in the sight of the New Testament and find out the truth of the New Testament from the Old Testament.
2) The Lord Jesus said, “you search the scriptures, for you think that in them you have life eternal, and they it is which bear witness concerning me. And you will not come to me that you might have life” (John 5:39-40).
3) All thins happened to the people of
Heb. 3:6 “but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”
YLT: “and Christ, as a Son over his house, whose house are we, if the boldness and the rejoicing of the hope unto the end we hold fast.”
Meaning of Words: “house”: family, family members; “confidence”: frankness, assurance, boldness; “firm”: grasp closely;
Literal Meaning: “but Christ as a Son over His own house”, “over His own house”, it means governing and overseeing the house of God; “the house of God”: the church of the living God (1Tim. 3:15).
Note that the house of God has been mentioned four times from verse one to six, which shows that the salvation of Christ does not aim at any individual in the council of God, but will obtain a group of men to be joint heirs and a joint body and joint partakers of promise (Eph. 3:6), namely, the church.
“Whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the
rejoicing of the hope firm to the end”,
of the hope”, once we have
believed the gospel, we have the hope of glory on account of the indwelling
“Whose house we are”, “whose house”: the house of God composed of all the children of God (Eph. 2:19; 1Pet. 2:5);
The first six verses mentions four aspects of truth that Christ is of more glory than Moses: 1) Christ is the Creator, and Moses is a creature; 2) Christ is the Son of God, and Moses is the servant of God; 3) Christ is above the whole house of God, and Moses is in the house of God; 4) Christ is over the house of God, and Moses is faithful in the house of God.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Apparently, it is the workers, elders and ministers that are over the church. Actually, it is the Son of God Jesus Christ that is over the church. The church is in the hand of the Lord (see Rev. 1:20).
2) Christ as a Son is over the house of God. Not only the church but also every believer is the house of God (1Cor. 6:19). All those who are of Christ and are faithful in the house of God will be willing to devote them and let Christ rule them in them.
3) Christ is over His house by dwelling in us.
Therefore, we shall pay attention to the inner spiritual reality instead of
apparent things. He who does outwardly is not; but he who does inwardly is; in
spirit, not in letter (see
4) True faith makes one hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end in any tribulation or trial.
5) Christians shall not only stand by faith but also walk by faith. We shall live by faith everyday.
6) In spiritual war, the boldness of faith and the rejoicing of the hope are essential. He who has no hope of victory or faith can not conquer.
7) If we resist the enemy with boldness, we shall firstly have the rejoicing of hope and confidence. If our faith is filled with joy, our hope lies in the glory of God and we will more than conquer.
8) The reason of believers’ returning backward and being stumbled lies in their failure in “holding fast to the end”. The secrets and elements of believers’ victory are “holding fast to the end”.
9) Steadfastness and perseverance are characters that Christians are supposed to have. Many believers are raised by God and become zealous for a time. However, they will gradually lose the love toward God and be unable to hold fast to the end, for they have no perseverance.
10) “Perseverance” is the most important attitude and heart for us to have part in the house of God. He who holds fast to the end is the house of God.
11) The church is the house of God, and is the habitation of God. We also are built together in Christ for a habitation of God in spirit (Eph. 2:19-22).
Heb. 3:7 “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice,”
YLT: “Wherefore, (as the Holy Spirit saith, `To-day, if His voice ye may hear --”
Literal Meaning: “therefore, as the Holy Spirit says”, “therefore”, the following words are connected with the context. “As the Holy Spirit”, it indicates the words in the scriptures is the words in spirit; “says”, the original word is “voice”. The words from verse seven to eleven are quoted from the Book of Psalm (95:7-11).
“Today, if you will hear His voice”, “today”: when we still live in the world; when we still live in the world, everyday is a chance to us given by God.
“If”, it indicates that we may hear or not hear His voice. The decisive power lies in us. God needs our cooperation through our will.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “As the Holy Spirit says”, it indicates that the words in the Scriptures are the words of the Spirit. It is the Spirit that puts His will into those who wrote the Scriptures so that the holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (see 2Pet. 1:21).
2) Every scripture is given by inspiration of God (2Tim. 3:16). Therefore, every verse is the revelation of God so that we shall know the will and purpose of God. When we come to the scriptures, we shall hear the words and voice of God in fear and obey the guidance of God to us.
3) Only the Spirit is able to interpret the word of the Spirit (see 1Cor. 2:10-13). Therefore, if we desire to understand the word of the Spirit, we have to obey the Spirit and live utterly under the guidance of the Spirit.
4) The first lesson that the Spirit shall teach us is to open our doors of heart to hear His voice. The Spirit cannot teach His words to us until we listen to Him quietly. The Spirit can only teach those who are willing to hear Him.
5) He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 28; 3:6, 13, 22).
6) It is a great thing that the people of
7) Man really needs to have right response to the message that God has reveled in Christ ---- since this message is the highest revelation of God, the result of either obedience or disobedience will be more serious than that in the Old Testament.
8) “Today”, it is the day that God speaks, and that God manifests His love, and that God grants grace, and that God forgives sins and lets men live new days.
9) The past is our example, and today is our chance. Yesterday has passed away, and tomorrow is vague, and only today is in our hands.
10) God is a God of I AM THAT I AM and a God who lives forever and ever. In Him, there is no difference between the past and the future. Instead, everything in Him is at present. All the eternal blessings in Christ are determined by “today”. And believers receive and keep the word of God “today”. “Today” is the chance for believers to obtain all blessings of God.
11) The word of God puts emphasis on “today”, but the word of Satan pays attention to “tomorrow” and man also prefers to “tomorrow”. And even the children of God delay things that should be done today until tomorrow because of the lack of faith, thinking that it is easier to believe and keep the word of God tomorrow. However, the Holy Spirit says that we shall hear and obey “today”.
12) The Spirit speaks at all times and moves men to trust and obey God utterly, for the grace of God is at present, and the work of the Spirit is at present.
13) “Today, if you will hear His voice”, this is a very serious commandment that we have to hear and obey today rather than a privilege granted to us to make our own selection.
Heb. 3:8 “Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness,”
YLT: “ye may not harden your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of the temptation in the wilderness,”
Literal Meaning: “do not harden your hearts”, “harden your hearts”: it means that one hardens his heart without letting the voice of God work in his heart.
“Heart” not only refers to one’s emption but also the whole person of a man, including emotion, intellect and will according to the views of Hebrews upon heart. Therefore, “harden your hearts”, it refers to one’s antipathy to the voice of God in emotion, and disapproval of God’s voice in intellectually and opposition to God’s voice in will.
“As in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the
wilderness”, Meribah and Massah
mean “rebellion” and “trial” in Hebrew (see Ps. 95:8; 106:32). The people of
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Delays and excuses may most easily make man’s heart hardened. All those who delay the inspiration of the Spirit today (see v.7) till tomorrow are just making their own hearts hardened, because excuses and delays only make one more difficult to obey and thus lose faith.
2) “Do not harden your hearts”. If many things go through the ground of one’s heart, his heart will be trampled and hardened, thus becoming the ground “along the way” (Matt. 13:4) and leaving no ground for the word of God.
3) If the heart of believers is choked by the cares of life and the deceitfulness of riches and pleasures of life (Luke 8:14), they will lose softness and meekness and become hardened so that the word of God cannot bear fruit.
4) Christians that love the Lord have a crisis of putting more emphasis on knowledge than receiving every word of God with a meek spirit (see Matt. 5:3). Thus, they will become insensitive in spirit and be unable to hear the voice of God.
5) Someone tempts and tries God by His word to see how God accomplishes His word. Such motivation provoked God, and finally the word of God profits them nothing ---- it becomes the ground of their condemnation.
6) A hardened heart makes one lose chances because of neglect. And passive neglect tends to become positive opposition. The external environment only helps one to manifest his inner condition. And every one shall finally be responsible for the condition of his heart.
Heb. 3:9 “Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years.”
YLT: “in which tempt Me did your fathers, they did prove Me, and saw My works forty years;”
Meaning of Words: “work”: toil, doing, labor, deed;
Meaning: “where your fathers tested Me, tried Me”, “where”: in the
wilderness; “your fathers” refer to the fathers of the people of
“And saw My works forty years”, “saw”: look on coldly; “works”: the word in
Hebrew in the Old Testament is in the singular, and in Greek in the New
Testament is in the plural, which refers to God’s many works; though God has
many works, they are done for one purpose, namely, bringing them into the
“Forty years”, this number in the Scriptures
typifies temptation and trial. On one hand, they tempted God. And on the other
hand, God tried them. Finally, that whole generation except for the two men
could not enter into the
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) When we walk by sight instead of faith (see 2Cor. 5:7) and observe ourselves and environment by the earthly sight, it indicates that we have not trusted in God, but try to test whether God is worthy of reliance. Such mind makes God reject us and unwilling to work for us.
2) Possibly, we have followed God for “forty years” and have heard the voice of God and seen the works of God for many times. Apparently, we have known much biblical knowledge and experienced God’s guidance for many times, we are still “laymen” of Christ. How miserable!
Heb. 3:10 “Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, "They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.'”
YLT: “wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, Always do they go astray in heart, and these have not known My ways;”
Meaning of Words: “angry”: be grieved at, feel indignant at; “go astray”: err, wander, deceive, be out of the way; “ways”: journey, route, progress;
Meaning: “therefore I was angry with that generation”, “that generation”: the generation of the
“And said, "They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.'” “Always”: make mistakes unceasingly, not occasionally; “go astray”: totally lose the power of discernment; “have not known”: know not at all;
“Ways”, “works” in verse nine refer to labor
and deed, and “ways” in this verse relate to the principle of the works. The
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) All those who do not believe and despise the word of God are all those in whom God takes no pleasure and who are unable to enjoy the promise and good in God’s word.
2) If man falls into blindness in mind, he will utterly lose ability of judgment and be unable to know what he is supposed to know. Once the followers of the heresy falls into the trap, few of them will be able to awake and flee from it.
3) Though God had many different “works”, all of them are done according to certain “ways”, for God cannot deny Himself (2Tim. 2:13). The secret for believers to avoid God’s anger is to know more about God so as to grasp the ways of His works.
4) Believers shall know the ways of God’s works from the works and words of God written in the Scriptures so as not offend against God.
5) Spiritual babies are unskilled in the word of righteousness. Only those who have grown up have their senses exercised for distinguishing both good and evil (Heb. 5:13-14). Believers shall pursue the growth of life so as to know more about the ways of God.
Heb. 3:11 “So I swore in My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest."'”
YLT: “so I sware in My anger, If they shall enter into My rest -- !')”
Literal Meaning: “so I swore in My wrath”, “swore”: it is a serious declaration.
“"They shall not enter My rest."'” “Shall not”, it is very decisive and
negative; “enter My rest”: enter the
The Old Scriptures describe Canaan is a land
of rest for
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The salvation of God not only brings us “out
2) Those who have come out of
3) Believers shall seek to enter into the rest of God, which is very much better. Only can those who have entered in enjoy the rest. However, if we desire to enter in, we shall not go astray in heart or even provoke God’s anger (see v.10).
Heb. 3:12 “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;”
YLT: “See, brethren, lest there shall be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in the falling away from the living God,”
Meaning of Words: “beware”: watch, look at, take heed; “evil”: hurtful, grievous, malicious; “depart”: remove, refrain, draw away, withdraw;
Meaning: “beware, brethren”, “beware”: take care of not making the mistakes like
the people of
“Lest there be in any of you”,
“lest”, this is a word repeatedly used in
the words of exhortation in this book (see Heb. 2; 3:13; 4:1; 12:3, 15). “Of
you”: of believers; “any of you”: it is in the singular, namely, anyone of you;
this verse indicates that the mistakes that the people of
“An evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God”, “unbelief”: it is not only not believing but also refusing to believe. “Evil heart”: the wickedness of inner heart; “an evil heart of unbelief”: when evil and unbelief are jointed, there is no remedy. “The living God”, the living God is opposite to the idols made of wood and stone (Rev. 9:20); “depart”: turn away, apostatize;
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) “Heart”: it is man’s function of receiving or refusing God and drawing near or forsaking God. One’s heart can either believe or not believe.
2) One’s heart can be filled with either God or the world. The condition of our heart decides the life of our belief, because all that we enjoy and experience in Christ is decided by the condition of our heart.
3) If one has no God in his heart, the empty space will be occupied by wrong thoughts and evil ideas.
4) Unbelief is a kind of fault and will destroy life. Unbelief is a kind of evil as well as a kind of sin that leads men “to depart from the living God”.
5) If a Christian forsakes Christ whom he
believes, he shall take more responsibility than the people of
6) Many Christians have apparently not departed from God. However, the living true God (1Thess. 1:9) is not true in their sight. They put God outside of the sphere of their mind. Though they confess the existence of God by mouth, they walk as there is no God.
Heb. 3:13 “but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
YLT: “but exhort ye one another every day, while the To-day is called, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of the sin,”
Meaning of Words: “exhort”: encourage, comfort, remind near;
Literal Meaning: “but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today"”, “today”: when we still live in the world (see v.7), namely, “in the way” (Matt. 25:5); “daily”: often; “one another”: not one-sidedly; “exhort”: remind, encourage;
“Beware” in verse twelve is passive, and yet here the “exhort” is positive.
“Lest any of you … through the deceitfulness of sin”, “lest”, here it refers to the purpose of exhorting one another is to prevent the things that are mentioned as below; “the deceitfulness of sin”, here it is the personification of sin (see Gen. 4:7; Rom. 7:17) ---- sin has the power of deceitfulness.
“Be hardened”, it shows that the whole man has become hardened. “be hardened”, it contains a meaning that one has habitually caused such result on him, which indicates that one’s being hardened does not come into being suddenly, but is caused by his disobedience and rebellion against God for many times.
This verse has pointed out the knowledge about “exhortation” of believers for one another:
1) “But exhort”, it is the heavenly responsibility that believers are supposed to fulfill.
2) Exhort “while it is called ‘Today’”, it indicates that we have to catch the opportunity to exhort, for the chances will not return.
3) Exhort “daily”, this is what believers are supposed to do everyday.
4) Exhort “one other”, it reveals that each believer shall exhort others as well as receive the exhortations of others at the same time.
5) “Lest any of you”, if we do not do so, someone will be stumbled.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If we only care for ourselves, not only do others profit nothing but also that we ourselves will suffer loss. The spiritual conditions of each member in the body are closely related to other members.
2) The spiritual pursuit of Christians is not completed once for all. Therefore, we shall not stop exhorting one another all our life until we see the Lord.
3) We have chances to receive the provision of God and depart from God “everyday”. Therefore, believers’ exhorting one another shall be fulfilled daily.
4) “Daily” has great relation with “today”. Every day, we have to receive and obey the Spirit Whom we have received and obeyed today. Our spiritual life can be grown only if we hear the voice of God everyday.
5) “Exhort one another”, it is the privilege and duty of every believer. However, many believers regard it as a compulsive or dispensable matter. No wonder that they are indifferent to one another and the spiritual conditions of the whole church are rather low.
6) Christians are supposed to exhort and warn one another daily in faith and obedience lest they should be deceived by sins and fall into insensibility of conscience and hardheartedness.
Heb. 3:14 “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,”
YLT: “for partakers we have become of the Christ, if the beginning of the confidence unto the end we may hold fast,”
Meaning of Words: “partaker”: sharer, participant, partner, fellow;
Literal Meaning: “if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end”, “if”: in the original it is “if indeed”; “beginning”: the beginning of one’s faith; “confidence”: the confident faith that will not be submissive under any attack; “steadfast unto the end”: be not influenced by the vicissitudes and keep firm in faith ---- though one may severely lack strength, he still perseveres in standing, lest he fail for the lack of a final effort and perseverance.
“We have become partakers of Christ”, “have become partakers”, the tense indicates that we will always be in the state of His “partakers” once we have become partakers of Christ.
This verse shows that we are able to enjoy His rest only when “we have entered into His rest” (see v.11) and have become partakers of Christ. Otherwise, we cannot enter into His rest outside of Christ.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Nothing can replace faith in spiritual things, for without faith Christ has nothing to do with us and all our works have no value.
2) The faith of Christians is “the beginning of confidence”, which is not only living in the beginning but also keeps growing continually and remains vigorous.
3) True rest can be obtained only in Christ (see Matt. 11:28-30) by faith. Therefore we shall keep steadfast in faith.
4) Every spiritual blessing the in heavens are bestowed to us in Christ (Eph. 1:3). Therefore, we have everything as long as we are in Christ. Otherwise, we lose everything outside of Christ.
5) Many Christians have lost the joy and peace and power that God has given to them in Christ on account of the unwillingness of utter trust in and reliance upon God.
Heb. 3:15 “while it is said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion."”
YLT: “in its being said, `To-day, if His voice ye may hear, ye may not harden your hearts, as in the provocation,'”
Literal Meaning: “today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts”, note that this is the third time that the word “today” is mentioned in this chapter. Therefore, today is crucially important in the sight of the writer of this epistle.
“As in the rebellion”, “rebellion”: the days of the forty years in the wilderness (see v.8-9);
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) To all the Christians who are weak and fail to enter into the rest of God, whether they are able to overcome “despair” and “failure” is decided by their condition “today”.
2) Man can never neglect the calling of God. Man has no other choice ---- either receive or refuse.
Heb. 3:16 “For who, having heard,
rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of
“for certain having heard did provoke, but not all who did come out of
Literal Meaning: “for who, having heard, rebelled?” This is a rhetorical question, which is used to let readers think and obtain the same answer rather than answer the question.
“Indeed, was it not all who came out of
Heb. 3:17 “Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?”
YLT: “but with whom was He grieved forty years? was it not with those who did sin, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness?”
Meaning: “now with whom was He angry forty years?” “Forty years” manifested God’s forbearance
and long-suffering (see
“Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?” “Corpses fell in the wilderness”, they had no good end, which unveils that it is terrible of sinning against God (see Heb. 12:25).
Heb. 3:18 “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?”
YLT: “and to whom did He swear that they shall not enter into His rest, except to those who did not believe? --”
Meaning of Words: “obey”: disbelieve, obstinate;
Literal Meaning: “and to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest”, “would not enter His rest”, it indicates that it is not that they would not enter into the rest, but they have surpassed the limit of God’s forbearance so that they have no chance any more.
“But to those who did not obey?” “Not obey” is worse than “not believe”. “Not believe”, it refers to one’s inner condition; “not obey” means that one shows his unbelieving by actions. Therefore, the latter is more serious of its extent.
Heb. 3:19 “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
YLT: “and we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.”
Literal Meaning: “so we see that”, this is the conclusion of the three verses from sixteen to eighteen.
“They could not enter in because of unbelief”, “unbelief”, it means that they are unable to hold the beginning of their confidence steadfast to the end (see v.13).
III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons
The Comparisons between the Lord Jesus and Moses
A. Both of them are apostles and are faithful to God (v.1-2).
B. Jesus is the One who builds the house, and Moses is only a part of the house (v.3-4).
C. Jesus is the Son of God, and Moses is the servant of God (v.5-6).
D. Jesus is over the house of God, and Moses is in the house of God (v.5-6).
E. Jesus is the reality of the coming things which would be spoken afterward, and Moses is for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward (v.5, 14).
A. He is the Apostle and High Priest (v.1).
B. He is faithful to Him who appointed Him (v.2).
C. He is the one who builds the house, who is counted worthy of more glory than Moses (v.3).
D. He is the Son of God over the house of God (v.6).
E. He is the object of faith. Those who hold fast in faith will be partakers of Him (v.14).
F. He is the rest of God (v.14, 18-19).
The Ministry of Christ is Building the House of God
A. Christ is appointed by God to build the house of God (v.1-3).
1. The house of God is a group of brethren who
are sanctified (v
2. The sanctification is for the purpose of
being partakers of the heavenly calling (v
3. Jesus as the Apostle and High Priest is for the purpose of building God’s house (v.2-3).
B. Only Christ is the true builder in the building of God’s house (v.3-4).
1. Moses is the house, and Christ is the builder of the house (v.3).
2. In the building of God’s house, all glory and status shall be given to Christ (v.3).
3. Christ builds the house of God, and God created all things through Christ (v.4).
C. The principle and way of the building of God’s house (v.5-6).
1. The principle of the building of God’s house is according to the pattern which has been shown to Moses in the mountain (v.5).
2. The content of the building of God’s house is the Son of God (v.6).
3. The way of the building of God’s house is going through death and unto resurrection (v.6).
D. We are the house of God if we hold fast the hope firm to the end (v.6b).
The Way of the Falling of Man’s Heart
A. Harden one’s heart and refuse to hear the voice of God (v.7-8, 15);
B. Go astray in heart not know the ways of God (v.10);
C. Be deceived by sins and be hardened (v.13);
D. Keep an evil heart of unbelief and depart from the living God (v.12);
How to Seek to Enter into the Rest of God for Christians?
A. On the negative side ---- do not:
1. Do not harden your hearts (v.8, 15);
2. Do not test or try God (v.8-9);
3. Do not go astray in their heart (v.10);
4. Do not be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (v.13);
5. Do not have the evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God (v.12).
B. On the positive side ---- do:
1. Hear the voice of God (v.7, 15);
2. Know the ways of God (v.10);
3. Beware (v.12);
4. While it is called “Today” (v
5. Exhort one another daily (v.13b);
6. Hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end (v.14);
Eight Reasons Why We Need to Exhort One Another Daily
A. The first reason: catch the opportunity ----
while it is
called “Today” (v
B. The second reason: someone may be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (v.13b);
C. The third reason: the salvation is conditional ---- hold the confidence (v.14);
D. The four reason: everyday is important ----
today, If you hear His voice (v
E. The five reason: someone may rebel against God (v.15b);
F. The six reason: the judgment of God shall come (v.16-17);
G. The seven reason: those who do not obey cannot enter into His rest (v.17);
H. The eight reason: unbelief will make men shut out (v.18);
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Mary Zhou