What the Bible says about
Comparison of Christ and Moses
(From Forerunner Commentary)
Hebrews 3:6 stands at the end of a paragraph in which we are asked to "consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus" (Hebrews 3:1). In the intervening four verses, the author of Hebrews, probably ultimately the apostle Paul, makes a comparison between Christ and Moses in terms of their faithfulness. Jesus is, of course, superior to Moses in many ways, but in the area of faithfulness, He is far greater because He is no mere servant, as Moses was, but the Son and Heir of His own house, the house of God.
A second distinction that the author makes is that, while Moses functioned as a faithful servant or steward of the house, Christ built the house. In other words, while Moses dutifully followed orders concerning the running of the house during his time of service, Christ gets all the credit for planning, designing, building, and maintaining the house, as He is its Creator. The author makes this plain in verse 4: "He who built all things is God."
So the author makes two major points: 1) Jesus Christ is the faithful Son of God and Heir of all things, and 2) He Himself is the Creator God, the One who made everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). For these reasons, He is worthy of all glory and honor.
In verse 6, the object of our comments, the author brings Christians, the church, into the argument. We are the house of God that Jesus has been building and that Moses faithfully served. The Son of God has been faithfully working on us both individually and collectively since the beginning to fit us into His house—whether we wish to look at it as a building or a family—in the place that most suits us and where we will function the best for His purpose.
The emphasis here needs to be on the fact that He, appointed by the Father to this task, has executed His responsibilities faithfully in every respect. He never shirks a job, never does shoddy work, and never fails to finish what He starts. Jesus Christ always does perfect work.
So, as the verse implies, we should have perfect confidence and joy in our Creator in bringing us to salvation and eternal life. We have no reason to doubt! Our responsibility, then, is to "hold fast," to stand firm, to endure to the end, through whatever assails us in the meantime.
There is nothing that can stop Christ from finishing His work perfectly—except us. We can fail Him (see Hebrews 6:4-8; 10:26-31); we can prove unfaithful, which is why the author's next section is an exhortation to be faithful and a warning not to follow the unfaithful, unbelieving example of the Israelites in the wilderness.
To this end, he repeats his encouraging remarks in Hebrews 3:14, "For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end." We have to keep hanging on, faithful and trusting that God, in His perfect work, has everything under control. So Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 24:13, "But he who endures to the end shall be saved."
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The author directly states that this idea is the primary reason for all he has written so far. Christianity is earth's only religion that is led by a spiritual High Priest sitting at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven. Within the material the author has written are two major points:
First, the qualifications of this towering Figure, who holds such an important office, make Him indispensable to the salvation of all God's sanctified ones. Indispensable? Absolutely! Jesus tells us Himself in John 15:5, “Without Me you can do nothing” in terms of producing fruit that glorifies God. He has much to offer. The epistle to the Hebrews identifies these qualities.
The second major reason is not named here. Some may consider it unimportant in comparison to the first. However, God, who knows precisely where His creation is headed and who sovereignly controls its direction and speed of advancement, never intended the Old Covenant to last forever.
Remember, God Himself publicly introduced the New Covenant six centuries before the writing of the book of Hebrews (Jeremiah 31:31-34). Its introduction within the flow of the history of the church and the world began to force key cultural changes to take place within Judea especially, but also in majority Gentile areas of the Middle East. Many Jews were being converted. Within the church itself, both the leadership and membership were asking many questions about what they needed to do to adjust to this new way of life. Those converts required direction from on high to secure them in living by faith in Jesus Christ.
The transition from Judaism to Christianity following Christ's crucifixion and resurrection and the church's receipt of the Holy Spirit—all in the early AD 30s—needed purposeful instruction from heaven to confirm to the church the direction that Christ wanted the daily, spiritual operations of Christianity to proceed. Just as the book of Leviticus contains detailed instruction for daily functions under the Old Covenant, so similar education was necessary under the New Covenant because of what God was working in the church—and is still working today.
The epistle to the Hebrews contains such instruction, enabling those who have entered the New Covenant with God to make the necessary adjustments to maintain their lives by faith and grow spiritually. In this way, they can glorify God by maintaining their relationship with Christ while preparing for the Kingdom of God.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part One)
This passage makes a distinct statement about the comparison between Christ and everything or everyone who came before He arrived on earth to complete the work of God. Jesus' teaching, leadership, and personal example is reality compared to the misty shadows cast by everything else.
The key term throughout Hebrews, then, is “better.” The author uses the comparative “better” a number of critical times: Hebrews 1:4 (“so much better than the angels”); Hebrews 7:19 (“a better hope”); Hebrews 7:22; 8:6 “(a better covenant”); Hebrews 8:6 (“better promises”); Hebrews 9:23 (“better sacrifices”); Hebrews 10:34 (“a better and enduring possession”); Hebrews 11:16 (“a better . . . country”); Hebrews 11:35 (“a better resurrection”); and Hebrews 11:40 (“something better”).
Not only is “better” emphasized, but “greatness” is also mentioned several times: Hebrews 2:3 (“so great a salvation”); Hebrews 4:14 (“a great High Priest”); Hebrews 7:4 (“how great this man was”); Hebrews 9:11 (“the greater and more perfect Tabernacle”); Hebrews 10:32 (“a great struggle with sufferings”); Hebrews 10:35 (“great reward”); Hebrews 12:1 (“so great a cloud of witnesses”); and Hebrews 13:20 (“that great Shepherd of the sheep”).
The author draws the Hebrews' attention to the contrast between what they gave up in converting and what they gained: Christians have “a great High Priest” (Hebrews 4:14); “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19); and an exclusive altar (Hebrews 13:10). Christians are also exhorted to look forward to “the world to come” (Hebrews 2:5); to “the age to come” (Hebrews 6:5); to the New Covenant being made with the united houses of Israel and Judah (Hebrews 8:10); to “the good things to come” (Hebrews 9:11); to Christ's second appearing for salvation (Hebrews 9:28); to the receipt of the promise at His coming (Hebrews 10:36-37); and to a future heavenly city (Hebrews 11:14-16; 13:14).
Everywhere a reader turns within Hebrews, by means of sheer repetition of comparisons revealing the superiority of Christ, Christianity, and the New Covenant, he or she is quietly but forcefully drawn to one overriding reality. The center of Judaism was the Temple, the priesthood, and the sacrifices, all of which were fine teachers and good experiences as God intended them. Even so, they are not what God desires for His children at this time within His purpose. They are not good enough for His children now. The author writes in Hebrews 8:4-6, 13:
For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. . . . In 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.
Though the Jewish converts were indeed deprived of the distinctive symbols of the past, they were but shadows, symbols, mere copies of heavenly things. Through God's calling and the gifts He provides, they were then, as we are today, dealing with realities and preparing for the realities of eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Three)
The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment
Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving each day.
We respect your privacy. Your email address will not be sold, distributed, rented, or in any way given out to a third party. We have nothing to sell. You may easily unsubscribe at any time.