Study Notes

Hebrews 3:2-19


The author of Hebrews has compared Jesus with the prophets and with the angels. Now, as we finish the rest of chapter three, we see a third comparison - this time with Moses.

3:2-6 Jesus And Moses

Verse one told us to consider Jesus as an apostle, having been sent out by God with the message of the gospel. Also, we were to consider Jesus as our high priest. In these offices, He was comparable to Moses, because Moses, too, was an apostle, having been sent out as God's ambassador. Moses, too, acted as a priestly intercessor for the people of God. But there was a big difference. Moses was the servant of God, and Jesus is the Son of God.

You recall that there was a time when Jesus called Peter, James, and John up to a mountaintop to pray. Unfortunately, while Jesus was praying, the three other guys were sleeping. Up on that mountaintop while He was praying, Jesus was transfigured -

Luke 9:29-31 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing {became} white {and} gleaming. And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

At this point, Peter, James and John woke up. Never the one to observe in silence, Peter said,

Luke 9:33-36 ..."Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah " - not realizing what he was saying. And while he was saying this, a cloud formed and {began} to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, {My} Chosen One; listen to Him!" And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone...

God had informed Peter that Jesus was higher than Moses and Elijah. These were servants of God, but Jesus was the Son of God.

God's House

Notice that the writer is not belittling Moses' place in God's kingdom. He did prove to be faithful in God's house. But while Moses was IN God's house, Jesus BUILT God's house.

What is God's house? We are. Biblically, a person's house is not just the building he lives in. It also is those who live in the building - his family. As an example, we see David telling Saul's daughter, "The Lord...

2Sam. 6:21 ...chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel..."

Saul's house included all of his children. God's house, too, includes all of His children.

If We Hold Fast

Two times in this chapter, we are told that we are Christians IF we hold fast firm until the end (verses 6 and 14). A debate has raged for centuries regarding the security of the believer. Are we eternally secure, meaning that once we're saved, we're always saved? Or is there a chance we might lose our salvation? There is no simple answer. The Bible appears to validate both of those positions.

For the broken man who struggles against his sin, the Bible proclaims,

Rom. 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;

And yet, for the one who enjoys his sinful life, thinking, "I'm saved by grace, everything is forgiven," the Bible sternly warns,

1John 3:6-8 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil...

So, both sides are represented throughout the Scripture, and for good reason. The sinner needs to know that he can return to God, but God cannot allow us to believe that we have a free license to sin.

We are told very plainly here that we are Christ's house IF we hold fast. That tells me that the answer to the debate between eternal security and perseverance of the saints is this: If I persevere until the end, I am eternally secure in Christ. Biblically, I have full assurance if I stand firm.

Now, remember our context - the author is writing to Hebrew Christians that were in danger of abandoning Christianity to go back to their old religious, Jewish ways. With that in view, the rest of chapter three and all of chapter four will make much more sense to us.

3:7-11 Do Not Harden Your Hearts

The writer quotes from Psalm 95, which speaks of the time in the history of Israel when Moses was leading the people from Egypt to the Promised Land. They had seen incredible miracles - even experiencing the blessing of receiving manna from heaven on a daily basis. But still, they did not trust the Lord.

When they camped at Ref-ee-DEEM, there was no water to be found. The people, instead of praying, began complaining against, grumbling about, and arguing with Moses.

Exod. 17:4-6 So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, "What shall I do to this people? A little more and they will stone me." Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pass before the people and take with you some of the elders of Israel; and take in your hand your staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Moses struck the rock, and water poured forth. Once again, God proved Himself to the people who doubted His faithfulness. But the continued in unbelief.

And so ultimately, that entire generation of Israelites was not allowed into the Promised Land, where they would rest from their wilderness wandering. When they complained, "God just brought us here to die," the Lord responded,

Num. 14:28-30 "...just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you; your corpses shall fall in this wilderness, even all your numbered men, according to your complete number from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me. Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you..."

Even though they were part of the group, even though they had come out of Egypt, they would not enter the Promised Land, they would never enter into the rest of God.

3:12-19 Falling Away

The author very pointedly warns these Hebrew Christians, "Don't repeat the sins of your ancestors. Put your faith in God. Don't let unbelief harden your heart so that you fall away from God."

Encourage One Another

Notice that he says, "Encourage one another." Christianity is not supposed to be done solo - it is a team sport. We need to encourage one another when someone starts to falter. We need to lift up one another when someone starts to weaken. Solomon wrote,

Eccl. 4:9-10 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.

If you're trying to live the Christian life as the Lone Ranger, you're not going to succeed. You need to get plugged into fellowship, encouraging others when they're having a tough time, and allowing them to do the same.


If you're struggling with unbelief today, thinking, "I don't know that God is going to provide; I don't know that God is in control; I don't know if I can keep walking this walk," then allow us to encourage you. The elders are down here in front, waiting to encourage you and pray for you. Don't let your heart be hardened, but be encouraged, stand firm, hold tight until the end.

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