Jesus, the Son of God, is greater than Moses, a servant, and He is certainly greater than Elijah. We will do well if we first start with the teachings of Christ and use them to "interpret" the rest. He is the Chief Cornerstone (Isaiah 28:16; Ephesians 2:20). Upon Him, everything hangs.
In Hebrews 3, Paul admonishes us to hold fast to what Jesus taught us (see also Revelation 3:11). If we do, he writes, we also will be sons and daughters in His house. We will no longer be servants, but heirs, actual children of the Father (Romans 8:16-17).
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Why the Transfiguration?
Christ is greater, better, superior to Moses! Whoever the author of the book of Hebrews was, he handled this very delicately. He could have caused offense by seemingly putting Moses down, as Moses was held in high regard by the Jews. Yet, he was able to get across the fact that here was One greater than Moses in such a way that he showed that Moses, indeed, was faithful. However, he was faithful as a servant within the house of which Jesus Christ is the Builder.
Notice the word "confidence" in Hebrews 3:6. In Hebrews 4:16, the exact same word is translated as "boldness" These Hebrews were no longer rejoicing, nor were they bold. Their apathy had them just lying there, taking life in. They were observers, not doers, neglecting what had been given to them. Thus, the exhortation to be bold and confident in overcoming and growing, and to rejoice in the greatness of the message that has been given.
We could not have received a greater message than the one that we have been given. It is just not possible to hear any news greater than what God is preparing for His children.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Hebrews: A Message for Today
Apart from Jesus, the quintessential biblical leader among men is Moses. The author of Hebrews chooses him from a fairly long list of possible candidates to compare most favorably to Jesus. It should be of great interest to us that the overall characteristic that the author chooses to encompass Moses' leadership is faithfulness.
As the author of Hebrews develops his theme of the greatness of Jesus Christ, he undoubtedly chose Moses as his human example because the people to whom he was writing already considered Moses to be the greatest leader in their more than 1,700 years of history, beginning with Abraham. Jesus Christ, though, is incomparably greater than even Moses.
The “house” to which the author refers is not a building but people within an institution, the nation of Israel that descended from the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However, God used Moses, born into the family of Levi, son of Jacob, several generations later, as the human instrument through which the Patriarchs' descendants were formed into a nation.
In the record God gives us of Moses, how many situations do we see that are jam-packed with the need for clear and unambiguous leadership? Moses was God's prophet, giving the Word of God to those being formed into a nation. He also served them as priest, being the intermediary between them and God, establishing the functions of the Levitical priesthood. Moses delivered God's laws to the Israelites and led them into making what we call the Old Covenant with God.
It was also Moses who served as Israel's first political leader, the one to whom the nation looked for governance. He is nowhere called a king, but the Bible testifies that he functioned, under God, as Israel's human governor and judge both in its internal needs and in its dealings with other nations as it proceeded to the Promised Land. In addition, Moses was a military leader when hostilities called for his guidance.
In every area in which guidance is needed for a nation, Moses' example of greatness under God is superior. One of his greatest characteristics is often overlooked because his other more visible characteristics seem to overshadow it. But God did not pass over it, noting it for our guidance:
Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” And the LORD heard it. (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.) (Numbers 12:1-3)
None of his outstanding qualities, high-ranking positions in the nation, or obviously correct decisions in behalf of all concerned ever “went to his head.” He consistently remained kind, moderate, and even-handed toward those under him, and just and fair in his dealings. He was approachable.
With these excellencies in mind, we must not overlook Deuteronomy 18:15, which records of Moses: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.” In the inspired sermon that Peter delivered to those Jews listening on the Day of Pentecost when God gave of His Spirit to mankind, he drew on this verse to pointedly reveal that this verse applies directly to Jesus Christ. In this case, Jesus was “like Moses” but far greater because, as the apostle Paul later wrote, Moses was merely a servant in the house, while Christ is its Builder. The apostle chose well in naming Moses as his comparison to Christ. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to find a human leader greater than he.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Two)
How would we like to be accused as Moses was, then witness God Himself make a dramatic entrance and hear His voice boom out in poetry in our defense, saying that we are without peer amongst all the people? God says to Moses, "There is no one like you." He was without peer among the holy. That is pretty impressive! It has not happened very often in mankind's history.
But, on the other hand, there has only been one Moses. There were a number of ordinary prophets, who had to be content with visions and dreams, but God spoke to Moses personally. Moses was in a class by himself. Nobody on earth was more intimate with God than Moses, and, as a result, Moses was entrusted with God's estate. And Hebrews 3:2 comments, "Moses also was faithful in all His house."
"All His house" is a figure of speech, indicating that "house" is put for itself (that is, the building) and everything in it. What is normally in a house is a family. Moses, then, was faithful—he was without peer—in all of God's Household, God's Family.
Nobody was faithful like Moses was faithful, therefore he could interpret God's will to Israel with full authority. God backed His prophet up, saying that Miriam and Aaron were completely out of line. This is why He says, "Why were you not afraid to speak against [or, accuse] My servant Moses?"
It is clear what set Moses apart from others: He was faithful. This can be seen when he is contrasted to the rest of Israel, the very people that he was leading, who comprised God's Family at that time. They were anything but faithful! In fact, the reason that the Israelites failed was because of their lack of faith. And without faith, of course, one cannot be faithful.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Conviction and Moses
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Hebrews 3:2: