Morning Bible Study
This Thursday we have a treat for you all…
We don’t know for sure who wrote the book of Hebrews, but we do have a
pretty good idea of who it was written to.
Hebrews was written to Jewish believers.
The author expects the
readers to be well acquainted with Levitical worship and sacrifice.
He will constantly quote the Old Testament in a way that expects that the
reader understands what he’s talking about.
We also know that these believers were encountering very strong
Times were so bad that some were beginning to wonder if they shouldn’t quit
We will see three elements woven throughout this letter to the Hebrews.
1. Both Testaments
Even though the Old Testament has become “obsolete” (Heb. 8:13), the entire
book of Hebrews is built upon the clear foundation of the Old Testament.
(Hebrews 8:13 NKJV)
that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what
is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
You aren’t going to understand Hebrews, or even the New Testament correctly
unless you learn the Old Testament.
2. Jesus is superior
He’s superior to angels.
He’s superior to Moses and the Torah.
He’s superior to the Levitical priests and their sacrifices.
3. Don’t quit
The ultimate goal of the book is to encourage those who are struggling with
difficult times, and help them to endure.
There’s much to find strength from and not quit.
3:1-6 Better than Moses
:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider
the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
:1 holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling
holy – hagios – most holy thing, a saint
partakers – metochos – sharing in, partaking; a partner
Here is a definition of the believer – one who has a share in the call to
:1 consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession
The author challenges his readers to look even closer at Jesus, whom he
calls both an “apostle” and “high priest”.
He’s an “Apostle” in that He’s “sent” from heaven.
consider – katanoeo – to perceive, remark, observe,
understand; to consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind upon
Apostle – apostolos (“away” + “send”) – a delegate,
messenger, one sent forth with orders
The twelve apostles were the “sent ones” from Jesus.
Jesus was “sent” with a message from heaven.
High Priest – archiereus – chief priest, high priest
confession – homologia – profession; subjectively: whom we
profess to be ours; objectively: profession [confession] i.e. what one
We will look closer at Jesus being a “high priest” in the coming chapters.
:2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful
in all His house.
faithful – pistos – trusty, faithful; of persons who show
themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands,
or the discharge of official duties; one who kept his plighted faith, worthy of
trust; that can be relied on
appointed – poieo – to make; to (make i.e.) constitute or
appoint one anything, to appoint or ordain one that; to do
Both Jesus and Moses were “faithful”.
Jesus was faithful to the Father. He
could be counted on to obey the Father.
In this, Jesus was just like Moses.
They were both faithful.
The writer is now going to compare Jesus and Moses.
: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
counted worthy – axioo – to think
meet, fit, right; to judge worthy, deem, deserving
house – oikos – a house
built – kataskeuazo – to furnish, equip, prepare, make
ready; of one who makes anything ready for a person or thing; of builders, to
construct, erect, with the included idea of adorning and equipping with all
:4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is
:3 He who built the house
In comparing Jesus and Moses, the writer is calling Moses “the house”, and
Jesus as the “builder”.
Moses is worthy of honor, but Jesus is worth much more honor because He is
the Builder of Moses.
Also … Jesus is God.
:5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for
a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,
: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.
servant – therapon – an attendant, servant: of God; spoken
of Moses discharging the duties committed to him by God; the voluntary
performer of services prompted by duty or love.
:5 faithful in all His house as a servant
This is a quote from the book of Numbers, where God is rebuking Aaron and
Miriam for complaining about their brother Moses, as if he was just an ordinary
prophet. Then God says,
(Numbers 12:7 NKJV)
so with My servant Moses; He is faithful in all My house.
son – huios – a son
the confidence – parrhesia –
freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech; openly, frankly, i.e without concealment; without ambiguity or
circumlocution; without the use of figures and comparisons; free and fearless
confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance
rejoicing – kauchema – that of which one glories or can
glory, matter or ground of glorying; a glorying or boasting
the hope – elpis – expectation of evil, fear;
expectation of good, hope; in the Christian sense; joyful and confident
expectation of eternal salvation; on hope, in hope, having hope
firm – bebaios – stable, fast, firm
the end – telos – end;
termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some
act or state, but not of the end of a period of time);
that by which a thing is finished, its close, issue; the end to which all
things relate, the aim, purpose
hold fast – katecho – to hold back, detain, retain; to hold
fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of; to get possession of, take; to
:6 but Christ as a Son over His own house
Moses was called a “servant”, but Jesus was called a “son”.
Better than Moses
These Jewish believers have been thinking about walking away from following
Jesus because life has gotten so tough for them.
If they left following Jesus, they’d go back to following Moses.
Yet Jesus is so much better than Moses.
Moses built the house of Israel
Jesus built Moses
In fact, Jesus is God
Moses was a servant of God.
Jesus is the Son of God.
Life is not always easy following Jesus, but once you realize who He is,
why in the world would you leave Him?
:6 whose house we are if we hold fast
There are various forms of conditional (“if”) statements in Greek, and they
convey differing amounts of certainty.
This is a “third class” statement, where there is some doubt as to whether or not we will “hold fast”, though the outlook is a
favorable one, that we probably will “hold fast” (A.T. Robertson’s Grammar,
pg.1016; it is third class because the “hold fast” is a subjunctive).
It is not a “first class” condition, which would translate, “if we hold
fast, and we definitely will …”.
It is not a “second class” condition, which would translate as, “If we hold
fast, and we definitely won’t…”
It’s a “third class” condition, which could be understood as, “if we hold
fast, and we probably will…”
One of the ongoing debates within Christianity is around the question, “Can
a Christian lose their salvation?”
There are two distinct views.
Those who say “Absolutely not!”
we might refer to as Calvinist.
Those who say, “Yes” we might call Arminian. (though this is
vastly oversimplifying a complex issue).
The Calvinist view is that you have been chosen by God and
He will never let you go.
The Arminian view is that you could let go of God and lose
“…We are God’s house if we do not play the traitor and desert…The author
makes no effort to reconcile this warning with God’s elective purpose. He is
not exhorting God, but these wavering Christians.”
Where the rubber really meets the road is when you look at the life of a
person who says they received Christ once, but now it doesn’t look like they’re
very close to Jesus. In fact, they’re
living in open rebellion to God.
The Calvinist might say they were never saved.
The Arminian might say they’re in danger of losing their salvation.
Don’t forget real issue – they need to get back to following the Lord. We worry too much about labels and neglect
the issue that the person needs to get right with God.
Even that great Calvinist, Jonathan
Edwards, once said that “the sure proof of election is that one holds out to
There is a technical theological term for this, the “perseverance of the
saints”. Saints will persevere, they
will continue to cling to Jesus.
On a commuter flight from
Portland, Maine, to Boston, Henry Dempsey, the pilot heard an unusual noise
near the rear of the small aircraft. He
turned the controls over to his co-pilot and went back to check it out. As he
reached the tail section, the plain hit an air pocket, and Dempsey was tossed
against the rear door. He quickly
discovered the source of the mysterious noise.
The rear door had not been properly latched prior to takeoff, and it
flew open. He was instantly sucked out
of the jet. The co-pilot, seeing the red light that indicated an open door, radioed
the nearest airport, requesting permission to make an emergency landing. He reported that the pilot had fallen out of
the plane, and he requested a helicopter search of that area of the ocean.
After the plane landed, they found Henry Dempsey - holding onto the outdoor
ladder of the aircraft. Somehow he had caught the ladder, held on for ten minutes as
the plane flew 200 mph at an altitude of 4,000 feet, and then, at landing, kept
his head from hitting the runway, which was a mere twelve inches away. It took airport personnel several minutes to
pry Dempsey's fingers from the ladder.
in life may be turbulent, and you may not feel like holding on. But have you considered the alternative?
What does “holding fast” look like?
Some envision it to look something like this:
Video – Mission
Impossible Rogue Nation – Flight Sequence
like the picture here of us holding “tight” to Jesus, it’s not like you have to pull off a stunt like Tom Cruise.
The truth is, Jesus also
holds on to us.
10:28 NKJV) And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither
shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
Maybe it’s like this…
Video: How to teach a baby to walk
holding on to us much more than we’re holding on to Him.
because of our “3rd class condition”, I can’t help but think that it
is possible for me to stop holding on to Him, and I might find myself wandering
want to be sure of your salvation?
keep holding on to Jesus, and you have nothing to worry about.
When we did our introduction to the book of Hebrews, we mentioned that
there are several of these “warning” passages throughout the book.
The warnings are not to make you afraid, but they are intended to make you
Are you holding firm to Jesus? Have
you lessened your grip on Him?
The writer supports this idea by taking us to an Old Testament passage to
draw out a few nuggets…
3:7-15 Keep Going
:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His
:7 the Holy Spirit says
The Holy Spirit was speaking through the writing of King David.
The Holy Spirit has personality.
David wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
The writer is going to be quoting Psalm 95:7-11 and then drawing his point
Keep in mind as we look at verses 7-11 here in Hebrews 3, that the writer
is quoting David in Psalm 95.
Today – semeron – this (very) day); what has happened
:7 Today, if you will hear
you will hear – akouo – to be
endowed with the faculty of hearing, not deaf; to hear; to hear something; to
comprehend, to understand.
The writer is now going to quote from Psalm 95:7-11
The verb is a “subjunctive” mood.
It’s a possibility you might be hearing God’s voice.
This would be another “third class” condition where there is some doubt as
to whether the reader is hearing, but it’s very possible that they might be
Two questions from this verse:
1) Is it “today”?
This is not yesterday. This is not
tomorrow. This is today.
2) Can you hear what I’m saying?
If so, then you’d better listen up, because this next couple of verses are
:8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of
trial in the wilderness,
harden – skleruno – to make hard, harden; metaph. to
render obstinate, stubborn. “Hardening of the arteries” is called
rebellion – parapikrasmos (“alongside” + “bitter”) – provocation
trial – peirasmos – an experiment, attempt, trial,
proving; the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy; an
enticement to sin, temptation, whether arising from the desires or from the
:8 as in the rebellion … the day of trial
In the original Hebrew text of Psalm 95, the words “rebellion” and “trial” are
translations of the names of places called “Meribah”
You see this in the NASB:
(Psalm 95:8 NASB95)
not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the
day of Massah in the wilderness,
David wasn’t just talking generally about the people testing God’s
David is talking about a specific incident that took place at “Meribah” and “Massah”.
:9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And
saw My works forty years.
:9 Where your fathers tested Me
The actual account is found in Exodus.
tested – peirazo – to try whether a thing can be done;
to attempt, endeavour; to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quantity, or what he
thinks, or how he will behave himself
tried – dokimazo – to test, examine, prove, scrutinise (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as
metals; to recognise as genuine after examination, to
approve, deem worthy
(Exodus 17:1–7 NKJV) —1 Then all the
congregation of the children of Israel set out on their journey from the
Wilderness of Sin, according to the commandment of the Lord, and camped in Rephidim; but there was no water
for the people to drink. 2 Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, “Give us
water, that we may drink.” So Moses said to them, “Why do you
contend with me? Why do you tempt the Lord?”
The issue isn’t one of recognizing needs, the problem comes with what you
do after you realize you’re out of water.
They started fighting with Moses and questioning God.
3 And the
people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and
said, “Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our
children and our livestock with thirst?” 4 So Moses cried out to the Lord,
saying, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!” 5 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go on before the
people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand
your rod with which you struck the river, and go. 6 Behold, I
will stand before you there on the rock in 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. 7 So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah,
because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted
the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
Massah means “testing place” and Meribah means “quarreling” (they’re forms of the words
“contend” and “complain”)
This is the event we don’t want to copy in our lives.
The Israelites doubted whether God was even with them, but let’s be real.
They had lived through the plagues in Egypt.
They had been delivered from Egypt.
They had crossed the Red Sea on dry land.
They had seen bitter waters made sweet.
They had been given manna in the wilderness.
God had shown over and over that He would take care of them if they would
trust Him, and yet they continue to grumble, complain, and question God’s love
This is something the Jewish readers of Hebrews need to think about.
Psalm 95 goes on to say…
:10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And
said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My
angry – prosochthizo – to be wroth
or displeased with; to loathe; to spew out; to be disgusted with
always – aei – perpetually, incessantly; invariably,
at any and every time: when according to the circumstances something is or
ought to be done again
go astray – planao – to cause to stray, to lead astray,
lead aside from the right way; to go astray, wander, roam about
in their heart – God was concerned about what was going on in the
heart more than the actual actions. It’s
the heart that’s important.
ways – hodos – a way; metaph. a course of conduct; a
way (i.e. manner) of thinking, feeling, deciding
If the people had been paying attention, they might have gotten a clue
about God’s concern for His children.
After all, they had been delivered from slavery from Egypt. God had supernaturally protected Israel
during the plagues in Egypt. They had
made it through the Red Sea, but the Egyptians all drowned. God had even started His free food program in
the desert, the “manna”.
Shouldn’t this tell them that God could be trusted? Why wouldn’t they trust God? Why wouldn’t they go to God and ask for help?
We see this also in the lives of the disciples. They, like us, were also prone to doubting
God’s care for them.
(Mark 4:35–41 NKJV)
—35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us
cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the
boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great
windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already
filling. 38 But He was
in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher,
do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be
still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said
to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they
feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the
wind and the sea obey Him!”
Just like the disciples, sometimes we are going through the “storms” of
life, and it seems like Jesus is “asleep on a pillow”. It seems that He must not care for us.
What should we do? It’s okay to
“wake the Lord up”. But instead of
questioning His love for you, why don’t you simply ask Him for help? The disciples’ lack of faith wasn’t in that
they didn’t rebuke the storm, it was in their doubting of Jesus’ love for them.
God’s love for you does not mean that He’s not going to let you have difficult
times. But it does mean that you can ask
Him for help.
:11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
I swore – omnuo – to swear; to affirm, promise,
threaten, with an oath; in swearing to call a person or thing as witness, to invoke,
wrath – orge – anger, the natural disposition,
temper, character; anger, wrath, indignation; anger exhibited in punishment,
hence used for punishment itself
enter – eiserchomai – to go out or come in: to enter
rest – katapausis – a putting to rest; calming of the
winds; a resting place; metaph. the heavenly blessedness in which God dwells,
and of which he has promised to make persevering believers in Christ partakers
after the toils and trials of life on earth are ended
An entire generation didn’t make it into the Promised Land because of the
attitudes we see at Massah and Meribah.
Pay attention here. The writer is
going to draw a lesson from the fact that an entire generation of Israelites
did not enter into their Promised Land because of
their disobedience. The writer is going
to make this be the point to move us into action.
We’ll talk more about what it means to “enter into the rest” next week…
:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief
in departing from the living God;
:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you
Here’s where the serious warning comes.
Beware – blepo – to see, discern, perceive, discover,
to turn the thoughts or direct the mind to a thing, to consider,
contemplate, to look at, to weigh carefully, examine
It’s a present tense command. Keep
continually watching for this.
lest there be …
lest – mepote – that ... not, lest, whether perhaps, whether or not, in no way, perhaps
there be – the verb is a “future indicative” (not
subjunctive). There is no “might” or
“should” in this sentence (like NAS). It
is “shall”. “Lest there will be
in you …” This is a pretty
strongly worded warning. You
don’t want to be going down the road where you are in unbelief.
The verb here is a future indicative tense.
It’s not subjunctive (lest their
should maybe be…)
It’s future indicative (lest there WILL be…)
It’s a much more certain thing to keep an eye on.
The language here reflects a very real possibility that we could fall away,
and that we need to be on the lookout for it.
:12 an evil heart of unbelief in departing
evil – poneros – full of labours,
annoyances; bad, of a bad nature or condition; in an ethical sense: evil
unbelief – apistia – unfaithfulness, faithless; want of
faith, unbelief; weakness of faith
departing – aphistemi – to make stand off,
cause to withdraw, to remove; to stand off, to stand aloof; to go away, to
depart from anyone; to desert, withdraw from one; to fall away, become
faithless; to withdraw one’s self from, to fall away
living – zao – to live, breathe, be among the living
(not lifeless, not dead). God is not
dead. He is not just some kind of
philosophy. He does not exist only
because we “believe” in Him. He is a
living entity. Even if you doubt His
existence, that doesn’t change the fact that He is the Living God.
It can happen
The writer is warning us that just like the Israelites in the wilderness
turned away from God, we could to.
We are saved by believing, but we can “depart” by unbelief.
We too could develop wicked hearts that no longer believe.
Be careful of thinking it could never happen to you.
When Jesus told His disciples that they would soon be offended by Him and
26:33 NKJV) Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble
because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”
And yet Peter would deny Jesus three times.
When I see a believer fall into sin and run from God, I need to shudder and
realize it can happen to any of us.
But there’s something we can do about it…
:13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest
any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
:13 exhort one another daily
We’ll come back to this in a minute.
exhort – parakaleo – to call to one’s side, call for,
summon; to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the
way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.; to console, to
encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
daily – literally, “according to each day”
:13 while it is called “Today,”
Today – semeron – this (very) day); what has happened
Is it still “today”?
Keep in mind the writer is drawing from the quote in Psalm 95 –
“Today if you hear His voice, do not
:13 hardened through the deceitfulness of sin
hardened – skleruno – to make hard, harden; metaph. to render obstinate, stubborn
deceitfulness – apate – deceit,
deceitfulness; from apatao – to cheat, beguile, deceive
Sin is incredibly deceitful. Our
hearts are incredibly deceitful. If left
to myself, I can talk myself into just about anything.
I may be on a diet and trying to lose weight, but if I’ve had a
particularly hard day, I’ll tell myself, “Hey, you deserve a big old hot
fudge sundae!” I’ll tell myself, “It
won’t hurt you to cheat just this once!”
But then one time becomes two times.
Two times become three. Before
you know it, I’ve gained another five pounds.
If we don’t learn to nip the temptation and sin in the bud, our hearts can
It’s like building up calluses on your fingers when you’re learning to play
guitar. At first it can be very painful
to push the strings down with your fingers, but as the calluses grow on your
fingers, you don’t notice the pain any longer.
Sin causes pain in our heart.
When I refuse to do anything about the conviction, I start to grow calluses
in my heart to the point where I no longer feel the pain of conviction or
I don’t think falling away happens each time we sin, or each time we have
But the more we ignore conviction, the more likely it is that we will fall
:14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our
confidence steadfast to the end,
:15 while it is said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
Note that the writer reminds us (vs.15) of the passage he’s been working
from, and quotes again from Psa. 95:7-8.
:14 we have become partakers of Christ if
partakers – metochos – sharing in, partaking; a partner
This is the same word that was used back in verse 1, where we were called
“partakers of the heavenly calling”.
Circle the word “partakers” here, and go back to verse 1, circle it there,
and connect the two circles with a line.
Becoming “partakers” of Christ is just like becoming “partakers of the
There’s a “condition” (third class).
We must “hold” on to Jesus.
Yes, we receive salvation by faith in Christ, but we must stay in that
condition of believing. We must “hold
we have become – ginomai – to
become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being
Perfect active indicative
We did it in the past and the results carry on into the present.
the beginning – arche –
confidence – hupostasis – a setting or placing under; that
which has foundation, is firm; the steadfastness of mind, firmness, courage,
resolution; confidence, firm trust, assurance
to – mechri – as far as, until
the end – telos – end;
termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some
act or state, but not of the end of a period of time)
steadfast – bebaios – stable, fast, firm; metaph. sure,
hold – katecho – to hold back, detain, retain; to hold
fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of; to get possession of, take
This is a subjunctive – another third-class condition.
Back in vs. 13 there was the warning about our hearts becoming hardened
through sin, but there was a remedy.
:13 exhort one another daily
exhort – parakaleo – to call to one’s side; exhortation,
entreaty, comfort, instruction
daily – literally, “according to each day”
There are two elements implicit in this instruction.
We can’t exhort one another if we’re not connected.
It can be an intimidating thing for some of us to form connections with
Some of us just prefer to be on our own.
Others of us have been hurt by other people and we’d like to stay as far
away as possible.
Yet God’s design is not for the believer to be a “Lone Ranger”.
As the Lone Ranger and Tonto were riding along towards the
north, they spotted a war party of about 50 Apaches coming at them. They turned
south, but another war party appeared. They turned east and met another party
of 100 braves. They turned west as their last remaining hope and saw a party of
500. The Lone Ranger turned to his friend and said, “Well, faithful friend,
this is the end, there’s not much we can do.” Tonto looked back at the Lone
Ranger. “What you mean WE, white man?”
God’s design for the believer is to grow through forming healthy
connections with other believers.
In the movie “Lord of the Rings”, Frodo Baggins takes on the mission of
destroying the “ring of power” in the fires of Mordor. He’s the only one who can do it. But he is not going to be able to do it
Video: LOTR –
Council of Elrond – Fellowship of the Ring
We too have a mission from God. We have things to do, people to talk to.
We have a cross (not a ring) to bear.
And if we’re going to be successful, we can’t go alone.
We need each other.
Where do we find this “fellowship”?
It probably doesn’t happen in this service.
You have to seek out the smaller groups, learn
names, go out to lunch with folks, serve others, pray with others.
We don’t need connection just for the sake of having someone around to keep
We need connection with others so that we can encourage each other to grow
in the Lord.
When David was being hunted down by his boss King Saul, Jonathan went to
(1 Samuel 23:16
NKJV) Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and
strengthened his hand in God.
The NASB reads that he “encouraged him in God.”
Jonathan told David that he was his friend and that he’d
do everything he could to help David.
When Barnabas first met the young Christians meeting in Antioch…
(Acts 11:23 NKJV) When he came
and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that
with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.
Towards the end of their quest, it’s just Frodo and his friend Sam…
We too can “hold fast” to Jesus.
One of our greatest tools is the connections we form with each other.