BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
JESUS IS GREATER THAN MOSES
(CHRIST is our HIGH PRIEST)
The builder of the house is always greater than the house itself. In Hebrews chapter three, the author of GOD turns his focus to proving that JESUS is greater than GOD’s great servant Moses, who led the Israelites out of Egypt, during the great exodus. It is a call for faithfulness among the chosen people of GOD, as the writer now addresses his readers as “holy brothers” who share in the Heavenly calling. Here, the author is obviously thinking of the privilege of their own high calling of being able to participate in the future dominion of CHRIST JESUS in HIS coming earthly “Millennial Kingdom”.
In this passage, Moses is praised for his faithfulness as an honored servant, who was himself, high above the status of a slave. But he points out that JESUS too, was a faithful servant of HIS FATHER GOD, and was far superior to Moses in every respect. In relationship to GOD’s household, Moses was never more than a member of the family. However, JESUS is the architect, or builder of the family of GOD. HE deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself.
As far as roles in the house of GOD are concerned Moses was an important servant, however, JESUS is the SON and HEIR of the OWNER of the house, GOD. And even in relationship to ministry, Moses himself spoke of what would happen in the future, when he prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:15, to his fellow Israelites, that, “The LORD will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites, and you must listen to that PROPHET”. In every way imaginable, JESUS was superior to Moses, who was a towering figure in Jewish history, and in fact, is greater than any other human being who has ever lived.
GOD’s voice is represented by any of the directives that are given to us through the Holy Scriptures, and, through the HOLY SPIRIT WHO is at work in all believers. True believers will always hear, recognize, and seek to obey that voice. The word “today” in verse 7, reminds us that GOD’s voice has a current expression, and we can know HIS will, and hear HIM speak to us, right now, in this current day and time, through HIS Holy Word, and SPIRIT.
The key to our personal relationship with GOD is to remain steadfast and sensitive to HIS HOLY SPIRIT, and always be ready to respond in the right way when HE does speak to us. We must take care that we do not find ourselves in the position of the Israelites, who were made, by GOD, to wander in the desert for forty years, and never was able to experience GOD’s “rest” in the new “promised land” of milk and honey, because they disobeyed HIM. In the same way, if we disobey and move against GOD’s will today, we ourselves will never experience GOD’s rest, which HE has had specially prepared for us in Heaven, from the foundation of this world.
For whosoever the book of Hebrews was originally intended, it is truly a treasure for modern-day Christians as well. It helps us to somehow sense the intimate bond between Old Testament faith, and our own faith in CHRIST JESUS. It also helps us to appreciate just “how great of a salvation” we have in GOD, through HIS greater SON. GOD’s promise of salvation, or, entering into “HIS place of rest”, is still valid, and should make us tremble with fear for those who might fail to reach it at the end of this earthly struggle.
In chapter 4, the writer of Hebrews continues his discussion of “rest” that he began in chapter 3. He reminds us that GOD’s word has already come. It has, in fact, been with us since the beginning. It came to us just as it did to those in Moses’ time with a similar promise of rest to those who choose to hear and respond by faith. The very concept of “GOD’s rest” is rooted in creation itself, and, even today, still has vital meaning for believers.
We, as Christians, know of GOD’s place of rest, because scripture tells us that on the seventh day, GOD rested from all of HIS labor. And so we see GOD’s place of rest, is just like HIS word, and it has always been there for us to enjoy following our earthly experience. And even though many have failed to make it to that place of rest over the generations, it still remains to be enjoyed by those who listen to, and obey CHRIST JESUS.
This place of rest is not like the land of Canaan, where Joshua led the people, following their struggles on the desert all those years ago. God has spoken since that time about another place of rest that is still waiting for those who believe, in this day and time. We will find rest from all of our labors, just as GOD rested after creating the world. But anyone who disobeys GOD in this day, as the Israelite people did, who died in the desert long ago, will also experience a death that will eternally separate them from GOD.
The word of GOD is full of living power. It cuts deep into our innermost thoughts and desires like the sharpest of two-edged swords. All things lay naked before GOD. HE sees all, hears all, and knows all that we do. And every one of us will have to make an account for the deeds done in our lifetimes. And weather, or not, we believe that HE exists, therefore, becomes totally irrelevant.
In Hebrews chapters 4:14-5:10, the author seeks to show us how JESUS easily qualifies to fulfill the essentials of the priesthood, as they are defined by GOD. He thinks of the compassion of CHRIST as being far richer than the gentleness he ascribes to other high priests. GOD declared and called CHRIST to be a Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. Earthly Priests were from the Levite line of Aaron, the line that was appointed by GOD to serve in the priesthood here on earth. Melchizedek, an obscure figure in Scriptures, was both a king and a Priest (Genesis 14:18-20), who ruled in Salem (now Jerusalem), during the time of Abraham.
Old Testament accounts make no mention of Melchizedek’s father or mother. He seems to be without genealogy and, where his life begins, or ends, is unknown. However, there is one thing that is certain, and that is that, GOD knew him, and he knew GOD, and Abraham, knew them both. He was qualified to bless Abraham as a Priest, and to receive a tithe from Abraham as a king, who also, evidently, ranked higher spiritually, than did Abraham, and, Melchizedek remains a priest forever also (Hebrews 7:1-3).
In Psalms 110, a messianic psalm by David, Melchizedek is seen as a type of Christ. This theme is repeated here in this book of Hebrews, where both CHRIST and Melchizedek are considered as kings of righteousness and peace. In citing Melchizedek’s unique priesthood as a prototype for CHRIST HIMSELF, the author is showing that CHRIST’s priesthood is superior to the old Levitical order of Aaron also. And so, we see that a different kind of Priest has come, who became a Priest, not by meeting the old requirements of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot, and will not be destroyed, “a Priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek”.
In Hebrews chapter 5, verse 2, as it is expressed in the original Greek, the word that the author of GOD uses for “compassion” is “metriopatheo” (met-ree-op-ath-eh-o), and it means “to be moderate in passion”. It is the only time in scripture that this particular word is used for “compassion”. We most often translate this word to mean, “to feel gently for”. It is said that, somewhere in the midst of any two extremes, there can be found, “the right way”. According to the Greeks, this is also where “virtue” can be discovered. They saw “virtue” as being the “midpoint” between two extremes.
Here in this passage the writer of Hebrews lists three important qualifications that any priest must satisfy;
· Compassion is one of those three essential qualifications. A Priest must be in full sympathy with others at all times, and ideally, should have gone through some of the same experiences as the people he seeks to council. If a person is not bound together with others in the trials that life brings, he will not be able to correctly sympathize with their plight, and therefore will not be able to grant sound advice.
· Secondly, Priests are appointed on behalf of others in order to deal with things concerning GOD. For instance, the earthly Priest was originally intended to be the link between the world and GOD. In the beginning, their primary function was to offer sacrifices to GOD for the sins of, first, himself, and then other people. The sacrifice was meant to restore a relationship with GOD that had been interrupted by sin.
· The third and most important qualification is that the Priest must be, “called by GOD”, and not just show up, and appoint himself. The priesthood is a call to glory by GOD HIMSELF, and is not an office that is appointed by men.
GOD speaks to us, through our many experiences in life. These experiences always, in some way, try our hearts and souls. We can only hear HIS voice when we tune our minds to HIM, with complete “reverence”. If we rebel against GOD, through our resentments, or “continuous sins”, our hearts will build up a resistance that will make us deaf, or, unable to hear HIS voice.
JESUS, among HIS many roles, also serves as our “Eternal High Priest”. HE has been exalted above the Heavens, and has no need to make sacrifices for us from day to day, like the old line of Levitical Priests had to do. Because of HIS vicarious sacrifice on the cross, HE, through GOD’s grace, was able to cover the sins of every human being, past, present, and future, with HIS “Eternal Life-giving Blood”.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website