SUMMARY.--Our Apostle and High Priest. He Above Moses, as the Builder is Above the House. Moses a Servant in the House; Christ the Son. Lessons Drawn from Israel Under Moses. How the Israelites Provoked God in the Wilderness. How He Refused Them Admission to the Rest. Unbelief Caused Their Fall.
1, 2. Wherefore. Seeing Christ is so exalted as the first and second chapter show. Holy brethren. Christians made holy by being purged of their sins. Partakers of the heavenly calling. Called by a gospel which came from heaven and which will lead those who obey it, and thus become partakers, to heaven. Consider the Apostle and High Priest. Christ. An apostle is one sent. Moses, in this sense, was an apostle. Christ was sent from heaven. The Twelve were sent out by Christ. He is not only Apostle, but High Priest; superior to both Moses and Aaron combined. Our profession. More correctly, "Our confession," that is, of all confessors of Christ. The confession of Peter (Matt. 16:16) was the confession of primitive Christians. 2. Who was faithful. As Moses was faithful to his trust, so has Christ been. In all his house. The house of Israel, the nation, the congregation of God. Israel, a type of the church, is spoken of under the figure of a building. In Numbers 12:6-8, it is declared that Moses was faithful in his house.
3-6. For this man was counted worthy of more glory. Jesus, the house-builder, the builder of Israel, as well as of the church, the Divine Savior, is more glorious than Moses, a member of the house of Israel, even as the builder of the house is superior to the house. 4. Every house is builded by some one. The word man does not occur in the Greek. The meaning is "every house has a builder, but the Builder of all things is God." He built the house of Israel, but Christ is God manifest to us, the Divine personality at work in human redemption; hence, the builder of the typical church, as well as of the antitype. 5. Moses was faithful, etc. See Numbers 12:7. As a servant. Not as the builder, or as the master, but as a waiting man in the house. For a testimony. The whole ministry of Moses was a "testimony" to what would follow after, a shadow of what was to come. This will be brought out more fully in subsequent chapters. 6. But Christ as a son. Moses was a waiting man in the Lord's house, but Christ, the Son, is Lord over the house, his own church. Whose house we are. "Ye are God's building" (1 Cor. 3:9); "My church" (Matt. 16:18). If we hold fast the confidence. We Christians, are Christ's house, and will continue to be Christ's house, if we hold fast, etc. The possibility of falling away, as Israelites fell away from God's house of Israel, is pointed out in the following verses.
7-11. Wherefore. Take warning from the fate of Israel. As the Holy Ghost saith. The words quoted are found in Psa. 95:7-11. David there exhorts his brethren to learn a lesson from Israel in the wilderness, and not to provoke God. To-day if you will hear his voice. At that very time. So to-day, and ever, God wishes us to hear him, to-day, not to-morrow. 8. Harden not your hearts. To harden the heart is to reach such a state that God's voice makes no impression. As in the provocation. The Hebrew of the Psalm says Like Meribah. The meaning is "Harden not your hearts as our fathers did at Meribah." See the account in Exod. 17:1-7. See also Num. 27:14, where Kadesh Meribah is named. Both may be referred to. Day of temptation. Day of trial. 9. When your fathers tempted me, proved me. Tempted me by proving me. Seeing how much murmuring and sin I would endure. Saw my works forty years. All his mighty manifestations in their behalf during all the period of their sojourn in the wilderness. 10. Wherefore I was grieved. The word more nearly means "disgusted." They do alway err. Not simply by making mistakes, but their hearts are wrong. 11. So I sware in my wrath. A figure of speech which means that God, indignant at their unbelief and sin, declared they should not enter Canaan. See Num. 14:20-35. Shall not enter my rest. Canaan, while the Israelites were yet in bondage, was promised as a land of rest. On the weary journey in the wilderness it was still looked to as the rest. To prohibit from entering the rest was then to prohibit from entering Canaan. It is, however, a type of heaven, the land of eternal rest. Hence, the warnings that are pointed out in the next verses.
12-19. Take heed . . . lest, etc. They fell from unbelief, which led them to depart from God. Take heed, lest you Hebrew Christians seeking the heavenly rest, should so fall. 13. But exhort one another daily. Continually stir each other to duty, lest you be hardened against God's voice by the deceitfulness of sin. How sin does deceive us by making false promises of happiness and of safety. 14. Partakers of Christ. In fellowship with Christ, partakers of his benefits and glory. If we hold, etc. If we persevere to the end. The Israelites started well, but did not persevere. The only final perseverance of the saints is to persevere until the work of life is over. 15. While it is said. The thought and connection are, "You are partakers of Christ, if you remain steadfast, and listen to the exhortation, To-day if ye will, etc." 16. For some, when they had heard, did provoke. Some in the wilderness heard God, but refused to listen, and did not provoke him. Howbeit not all. There were a few exceptions; Joshua and Caleb, Eliezer, and perhaps some more of the Levites. 17. With whom was he grieved forty years? With what sort of persons? The answer is, with them that sinned, all of whose bodies were left in the wilderness. 18. To whom sware he? etc. It was to them who sinned because of their distrust of God. See Num. 14:20. 19. So we see . . . because of unbelief. It was unbelief that kept them out of Canaan. Hence, the lesson which is given more fully in the next chapter. These warnings show us that the Hebrew Christians addressed were subjected to trials, and some of them in danger of apostasy, falling away through unbelief. Hence, the fate of Israel in the wilderness is pointed out. If unbelief shut out the Israelites from the rest in Canaan, unbelief will shut the gates of heavenly rest to those who have started on the way.