The Letter to the Hebrews
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Ridgefield,
Chapter 3[ 1 ] shows that Jesus, as Apostle and High Priest, is superior to Moses.
Christians are encouraged to be faithful to Him. They are admonished not to fall
into sin as did the wilderness generation of Israelites (see chart HEBREWS 3
HEBREWS 3 OUTLINE
1. As Apostle and High Priest, Christ is superior to
Moses (Heb 3:1-6).
2. Christians admonished by wilderness-generation of
Israelites (Heb 3:7-19).
CONSIDER JESUS, APOSTLE AND HIGH PRIEST
3:1, 2 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider
the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, 2 who was faithful
to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
Therefore [wherefore].[ 2 ] "Therefore" calls the reader back to chapter 2:9-18.
Those verses dealt with the humiliation and perfection of Christ plus the
deliverance He brings in His office of faithful and merciful High Priest. The
present chapter, especially verses 1-6, graphically demonstrates the superiority of
Christ over Moses.
Holy brethren.[ 3 ] The term "holy brethren" is a distinguished and honorable
name for the original readers of Hebrews. In chapter 2, Christians are set forth
as the brethren of Christ (Heb 2:11, 12, 17). This in itself is enough to classify
them as "holy brethren." They have been baptized into Christ and have put on
Christ (Ga 3:27). They are holy, sanctified and consecrated to Christ (Heb 2:11).
They are saints (Heb 6:10). They are a holy nation that belongs to God.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own
special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out
of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are
now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained
mercy (1Pe 2:9, 10).
Even though the Hebrew readers were holy, they may still have had a problem
with "fleshly lusts which war against the soul" (1Pe 2:11).
Partakers of the heavenly calling [sharers of, who share in, a heavenly
call].[ 4 ] Christians are "fellow-citizens with the saints, and members of the
household of God" (Eph 2:19). The calling[ 5 ] They have received is an invitation
by the gospel to be redeemed by Christ (2Th 2:14). Their calling is heavenly
because it came down from heaven. Their hearts are filled with heavenly joys.
They are called to be saints (Ro 1:7; compare Heb 6:10), according to His purpose
(Ro 8:28, 30). Those who respond to the gospel call are seeking the continuing
city that is to come (Heb 13:14). The heavenly calling affects behavior and leads
But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct (1Pe
By definition, the church is God's called out. Christians are called out from the
world into the kingdom of Christ. Their "citizenship is in heaven" (Php 3:20).
They set their minds on heavenly things (Col 3:1, 2). They have come to Mount
Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem" (Heb 12:22).
1. God's invitation to man to accept the blessings of
salvation (Ro 11:29; 1Co 1:26; 7:20).
2. His calling (Eph 1:18).
3. The upward call (Php 3:14).
4. Heavenly calling (Heb 3:1).
5. The calling with which you were called (Eph 4:1)
6. In one hope of your calling (Eph 4:4).
7. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make
your call and election sure, for if you do these things
you will never stumble (2Pe 1:10).
DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO JESUS
Consider [consider Jesus, even Jesus].[ 6 ] "Consider" is a key word. Its
importance cannot be over-emphasized. It implies that Christians are to fix their
thoughts upon the Lord. They are to regard Him thoughtfully. They are to give
Him complete attention. They are to study about Him carefully and seriously.
They are to maintain a close and constant regard for Him. When becoming a
Christian, they confessed Him as Lord. From day to day, they continue to read
the Word and think about Him. When they do this it helps to maintain a healthy
faith (Ro 10:17; Col 2:7; 1Th 5:9, 10). It prevents discouragement.
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against
Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart (Heb 12:3).
Consideration of Christ will give several other blessings: (1) It will increase
love. (2) It will cause a greater regard for His word. (3) It will fill one's heart
with gratitude and appreciation. (4) It will make one's worship richer. (5) It will
cause one to desire to be like Him. (6) It will engender a desire to spend eternity
with Him. (7) It will help guard against falling away.
CONSIDER CHRIST (A)
1. Consider His Deity.
2. Consider Him as Creator.
3. Consider His humanity.
4. Consider His love.
5. Consider His apostleship.
6. Consider His teachings.
7. Consider His example.
CONSIDER CHRIST (B)
1. Consider His sufferings.
2. Consider His death.
3. Consider His resurrection.
4. Consider His ascension.
5. Consider His priesthood.
6. Consider His glorification.
7. Consider His heavenly reign over His church.
8. Consider His return.
1. The Apostle and High Priest of our confession,
Christ Jesus (Heb 3:1).
2. Now consider how great this man was, to whom
even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the
spoils (Heb 7:4).
3. And let us consider one another in order to stir up
love and good works (Heb 10:24).
4. For consider Him who endured such hostility from
sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and
discouraged in your souls (Heb 12:3).
5. The issue of the lives of those who have the rule
over you, whose faith follow (Heb 13:7).
The Apostle [the One sent]..[ 7 ] An apostle is someone who is sent with a special
commission. Moses was sent as God's messenger. He was more than an apostle
in the general sense of the word. He was God's apostle in the OT age. At the
burning bush, God said to him:
Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring
My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt (Ex 3:10; compare 3:12, 14,
15; 4:28; 5:22; 7:16).
The sacred writer implies that Christ is God's NT Messenger just as Moses was
a messenger of the OT (see Mal 3:1). Although this is the only passage in the NT
where Jesus is called an Apostle, it is a very important concept. He was an
Apostle in the sense that God sent Him so that the world could be saved (Lu
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that
the world through Him might be saved (Joh 3:17).
Jesus' works bore witness that God sent Him (Joh 5:36). It is important to
believe that. Belief itself is a work of God that is performed by man. "This is the
work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent" (Joh 6:29; compare Joh
12:49). In fact, to know the Christ whom God has sent is essential to eternal life.
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom You have sent (Joh 17:3).
He accomplished the work He was sent to do (Joh 17:4). In summation of His
work, John wrote:
And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of
the world (1Jo 4:14).
And High Priest [the high priest].[ 8 ] The High Priesthood of Jesus will be
developed more fully in Hebrews 4:14-7:10 (see chart OUTLINE in Introduction
to Hebrews). In those chapters, His priesthood is shown to be immensely superior
to the high priesthood of Aaron. Although Moses, being Aaron's brother, was of
the tribe of Levi, he was not a high priest.
Of our confession [of our profession, whom we confess].[ 9 ] The words
"confession" and "profession" mean exactly the same thing in the present verse.
Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before
My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him
I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven (Mt 10:32, 33).
Peter confessed, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt 16:16).[ 10 ]
To confess Christ is to acknowledge belief in Him and what He stands for. The
confession, in this context, by metonymy, embraces acceptance of the entire
system of Christianity.
Christ Jesus [Jesus, even Jesus]. The sacred writer looks back upon the
conversion of the Hebrew Christians to whom he writes. At that time each one
of them confessed or professed his faith in Jesus Christ as Lord (compare Ro 10:9,
10). Timothy made the good confession before many witnesses (1Ti 6:12). The
confession of Christ as Lord implies recognition of Him as Supreme Ruler.
Christians listen to what He says in the NT and obey. The priesthood of Christ,
when understood, gives a strong motivation to remain faithful.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the
heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession (Heb 4:14).
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who
promised is faithful (Heb 10:23; see also 2Co 9:13).
Although, not under primary consideration here, as our High Priest, Christians
confess sins before Him as He intercedes to God (Heb 7:27).
LIKE MOSES, JESUS WAS FAITHFUL
[3:2] Who was faithful [He, who, was faithful].[ 11 ] The writer begins a
discussion of Moses and Christ in order to show the superiority of the latter. The
corollary of this truth is that the gospel is superior to the Law. John phrased it
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through
Jesus Christ (Joh 1:17).
Emphasis is placed upon the faithfulness of Moses and Christ. An example of
Moses's faithfulness is seen in the erection of the tabernacle according to the
pattern God gave to him in the mount. He followed God's plan faithfully.
Thus Moses did; according to all that the LORD had commanded him, so
he did (Ex 40:16; compare Nu 12:7).
Moses is not derided even though because of sin he was not allowed to enter
Canaan. Nevertheless, he was still considered faithful (see verse 5). The
particular transgression that kept him out of Canaan occurred at the waters of
Meribah when he did not believe God to treat Him as holy. Striking the rock
instead of speaking to it was enough to not treat God as holy.
Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe
Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall
not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them" (Nu 20:12;
compare Nu 27:14; De 32:49-51).[ 12 ]
Although Moses was considered faithful, the emphasis is upon the faithfulness
of Christ. He said, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to
accomplish His work" (Joh 4:34; see chart CHRIST IS FAITHFUL).[ 13 ]
CHRIST IS FAITHFUL
1. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it
2. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and
guard you from the evil one (2Th 3:3).
3. A merciful and faithful High Priest (Heb 2:17).
4. Faithful as a Son over His own house (Heb 3:6).
5. He who promised is faithful (Heb 10:23).
6. The faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead
7. Called Faithful and True (Re 19:11).
To Him who appointed Him [to him that sent him].[ 14 ] Christ was appointed
by God Himself (Heb 1:2; 7:17, 21, 28). Some have tried to make the Scriptures
teach that Christ was "eternally begotten" by the Father. Others apply it to His
incarnation. My view is that it simply refers to the appointment of Christ as
Apostle and High Priest.
The Lord appointed Moses. Afterward, Samuel said to the people:
It is the LORD who raised up Moses and Aaron, and who brought your
fathers up from the land of Egypt (1Sa 12:6).[ 15 ]
These are the same Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said, "Bring out
the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies" (Ex
In Mark 3:14, we read that Christ EPOIESEN appointed the twelve. God
appointed or made Jesus to be Apostle and High Priest. The Greek present tense
indicates that He was faithful then and continues to be faithful.
As Moses also was faithful [even as, as also, was Moses, Moses was, just as
Moses also, was faithful].[ 16 ] God vindicated Moses as leader of His people more
than once. First, He endorsed him before Pharaoh with powerful signs. For
example, at the stretching forth of his rod, the Red Sea parted. When his own
relatives questioned his authority, God spoke personally to Aaron and Miriam:
Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. 8 I speak
with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and he sees the
form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My
servant Moses? (Nu 12:7, 8).
Moses was told to build the things for the tabernacle "according to the pattern"
shown to him on the mountain (Ex 25:40). If he had been like some modern
liberals, he would have rejected "patternism" and would have built according to
his own aspirations, if he built at all.
After the Israelites made and worshipped the golden calf, God desired to destroy
them. Moses fell down before Him forty days and nights (De 9:18). He entreated
the Lord and He changed His mind.
So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His
people (Ex 32:14).
Moses interceded for the Israelites another time (Ex 32:31, 32). After the spies
returned, the congregation set out to stone Joshua and Caleb (Nu 14:10). Again
Moses successfully pleaded with God (Nu 14:13, 20).
In all His house [in God's house, household].[ 17 ] Jesus was faithful even as
Moses was faithful. Moses was faithful in God's house,[ 18 ] the Israelite nation.
Jesus is also faithful over God's house which is His church (Heb 3:6). Moses was
faithful in all God's household. He was a servant in the Israelite nation. Christ
is over God's household, the church (see chart THE CHURCH AS GOD'S
THE CHURCH AS GOD'S HOUSE
1. A holy temple (Eph 2:20-22).
2. The temple of God (1Co 3:16, 17).
3. We are the temple of the living God (2Co 6:16).
4. The house of God, which is the church of the living
God (1Ti 3:15).
5. You also, as living stones, are being built up
a spiritual house (1Pe 2:5).
WORTHY OF MORE GLORY THAN MOSES
3:3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses,
inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house.
For this One has been counted worthy [for he, this man, yet Jesus, was, hath
been, counted worthy].[ 19 ] In comparison to Moses, Jesus is worthy of more
honor and glory. He is more glorious than Abraham, David or any human being.
Of more glory than Moses [of as much more glory than Moses, of greater
honor than Moses].[ 20 ] In the Jewish mind, Moses was elevated to great
prominence. He was the giver of the Law of God. To them the Law was noble
and majestic. As its giver, Moses received honor at least equal to it. The Hebrew
writer points out that Jesus is greater than he. Angels were involved in the giving
of the Law (Heb 2:1). In Hebrews 1, 2, Jesus' superiority over angels was
shown. Moses is now set forth as an example of faithfulness. Moses was faithful
in Israel, in God's house. He was greater than the prophets to whom God spoke
in figures, visions and dreams. God spoke to him "face to face" (Nu 12:7, 8).
Christ is greater than Moses. His faithfulness as a Son over His house (the
church of Christ) is emphasized. He came down from the very presence of God.
Since Christ is infinitely greater, there should be much greater reverence for Him
and His name. To deny Him, ridicule Him or neglect service to Him is to commit
a great sin (compare Ex 32:30). To sin against the church of Christ is to sin
against Christ (implied from Ac 9:5; Ga 1:13).
Inasmuch as [as, by so much as, even as].[ 21 ] "Inasmuch as" introduces an
argument that Moses, as a leader in setting up the OT regime, was inferior to
Christ. Moses was simply a servant in His house.
He who built the house [he that hath builded, the builder of, the one who
builds, a house].[ 22 ] The house in which Moses served was the nation of Israel.
The pre-incarnate Christ was the builder of that nation. He is also the builder of
the church, the NT house of God (see 1Ki 5:5; Mt 16:18). Nathan said to David
regarding the perpetuity of His throne:
And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you.
Your throne shall be established forever (2Sa 7:16).
The same prophet foretold to David the following concerning one of his sons
And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his
throne shall be established forever (1Ch 17:14).[ 23 ]
God is the builder of "all things" (verse 4).
Has more honor than the house [hath more honor than the house].[ 24 ]
ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN
3:4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.
For every house is built by someone [every house, is builded, was built, by
some man].[ 25 ] The founder and builder of every edifice on the earth is either a
man or woman.
But He who built all things is God [but he that built, but the builder of, all
things is God, but all things were built by God].[ 26 ] Jesus, God the Son, is the
builder of God's house, His church (compare Mt 16:18; 1Ti 3:15). Since He is
builder and God is builder of all things, it may be inferred that either God built by
the agency of Christ or that Christ is God or both. The Hebrew writer is
presenting the famous argument from design. Everything built demands a builder.
The design of the universe demands an intelligent designer, that is, God who built
all things. David made a similar argument when he wrote:
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His
handiwork (Ps 19:1).
MOSES WAS FAITHFUL IN ISRAEL, GOD'S HOUSE
3:5, 6 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.
And Moses indeed was faithful [now Moses verily was faithful].[ 27 ] The
faithfulness of Moses in carrying out God's directions was absolutely necessary.
Without it, what "was written for our learning" (Ro 15:4), would become quite
confusing to Christians (see notes below under For a testimony of those things and
Which would be spoken afterward).
In all His house [in all God's house].[ 28 ] Translations rendering the Greek as
"God's house" are fitting inasmuch as Moses was only a servant, not the owner
of the house, the Israelite people.
As a servant [as a servitor].[ 29 ] In the present verse, Moses is not called a
DOULOS bond-servant, nor a DIAKONOS servant, deacon, nor PAIS child,
attendant, nor OIKETEES house-servant, nor HUPEERETEES minister, officer.
He was THERAPEUO servant, healer, attendant, a term of freedom and dignity.
God called him "My THERAPOON servant Moses" (Nu 12:7, 8). He was
"Moses the THERAPOON servant of the Lord" (Jos 1:1).
For a testimony of those things [to testify to the things, of things].[ 30 ] In
addition to building God's house, Moses' task was to bear witness to others. It
was important for him to make all things according to the pattern showed him in
the mount. One important reason for this was so that people in the church age
may look back upon what he did and see his testimony. They observe the perfect
types of NT events, institutions and persons. No one with a correct understanding
of types and antitypes can possibly deny the hand of God in both testaments.
MOSES' TESTIMONY THROUGH THE LAW
1. The Law was added because of transgressions
a. Civil and criminal regulations for Israel (1Ti 1:9).
b. To convict men of sin (Joh 5:45).
c. To finish the transgression, to make an end of
sins, especially idolatry (Dan 9:24).
d. To show the need for a better covenant
2. To tell of Christ and His work (De 18:15-18;
Joh 1:45; 5:46, 47).
3. By types and shadows to give profound evidence of
the divine origin of the church of Christ.
Which would be spoken afterward [which were, that were, to be spoken
after, later, which were afterward to be spoken].[ 31 ] Moses was a servant for
a testimony of the things that became future reality. His work in giving the Law
was typical, consisting largely of types. Much of what he wrote is fulfilled NT
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very
image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer
continually year by year, make those who approach perfect (Heb 10:1).
CHRIST IS FAITHFUL OVER GOD'S HOUSE, THE CHURCH
[3:6] But Christ.[ 32 ]
As a Son.[ 33 ] Both Moses and Christ were faithful. Think of Moses' problems
and responsibilities when he led the Israelites through the wilderness. However,
Jesus the Son faced greater challenges than merely being a servant (see Heb 5:8,
Over His own house [is faithful over, his, all his, God's, house].[ 34 ] As a Son,
Christ is faithful over the NT house. God's OT house was Israel. By that
analogy, the house of Christ is the church. I repeat, the church is God's house.
We have a "High Priest over the house of God" (Heb 10:21; compare 1Ti 3:15).
TWO HOUSES OF GOD
(Heb 3:5, 6)
1. The OT house of God (nation of Israel).
a. Moses was a servant in His house.
b. For a testimony of those things which would be
spoken afterward (Heb 3:5).
c. Temporary, typical.
2. The NT house of God (church of Christ).
a. Christ is a Son over His own house.
b. Whose house we are (Heb 3:6).
c. Antitypical, permanent.
Whose house we are [and we are his house].[ 35 ] Some say "the house we are"
has to be God's house and not Christ's. I disagree. Think for a moment. The
house of God is also the house of Christ (see Joh 15:16; 17:10). The house of
Christ and the house of God are God's called out people (see 1Co 3:16; 2Co 6:16;
Eph 2:19-22; 1Ti 3:13; 1Pe 2:5). If the church is the church of Christ (Ac 20:28;
Ro 16:16), and the house of God is the church (1Ti 3:15), then the church of God
is Christ's house. The sacred writer is implying that the marvelous church of
Christ is the house of Christ, His temple, His building, His kingdom! Every saved
person on earth is a living stone in that temple, a member that household, the
family of God.
If we [if only we][ 36 ] One would never get the idea of "once saved, always
saved" from the present context. In fact, verse 6 gives a condition of remaining
in the house or church of the Lord (see Eph 5:25-27; 1Ti 3:15) It is implied that
"we" have something to do with our remaining faithful to Christ. Human effort
is indicated. With that implication comes responsibility.
Hold fast [hold on to].[ 37 ] The message of the Holy Spirit here is that Christians
are to hold fast in order to receive the fulfillment of their hope. A condition of
remaining in the house of God (the church of Christ) is to hold fast. Paul said,
"For we are saved in this hope" (Ro 8:24). The hope is in Christ. It is not some
vague, mystical, undefined expectation. It has as its center the literal resurrection
of the dead. It was in Paul's famous speech before Agrippa and others at Caesarea
that he said:
And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to
our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they
earnestly serve God night and day. And for this hope, O King, I am being
accused by Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if God
does raise the dead? (Ac 26:6-8; compare 1Co 15:19).
Notice that it is confidence in the hope of the bodily resurrection of the dead to
which we must hold fast (see notes on 1Co 15:19-23). "Hold fast what you have,
in order that no one take your crown" (Re 3:11).
The confidence [our confidence, our boldness].[ 38 ] The word "confidence"
denotes assurance, courage or boldness with cheerfulness and joy without
vacillation or fear. This same Greek word PARREESIAN confidence appears in
1 Timothy 3:13:
For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a
good standing and great PARREESIAN boldness in the faith which is
in Christ Jesus in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
And the rejoicing of the hope [and glorying, pride, in, of, our hope].[ 39 ]
Boasting of the high hope of Christians is an optimistic and delightful activity.
Believers are happy and joyful when they talk about it. With enthusiasm, they tell
others of Christ and their hope of the glorious resurrection of the dead. They give
thanks for their hope. Several songs reflect the hope that Christians enjoy.[ 40 ]
Through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we
stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Ro 5:2).
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we
ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the
redemption of our body (Ro 8:23).
HOLD FAST FIRM UNTO THE END
1. Abide in my love (Joh 15:9).
2. Continue in the grace of God (Ac 13:43).
3. By patient continuance in doing good seek for
glory, honor, and immortality (Ro 2:7).
4. In due season we shall reap if we do not lose
heart (Ga 6:9).
5. Continue in the things which you have learned
6. Run with endurance the race (Heb 12:1).
7. Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be
brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ
Firm to the end [firm unto, until, the end].[ 41 ] I realize that there is some
technical doubt about the genuineness of these particular words. My Greek text
footnotes them. There is no doubt about the necessity of remaining faithful to the
end of life (see Heb 10:39; Re 2:10). If one keeps himself in the love of God
(Jude 21), nothing "shall be able to separate" him from the love of God which is
in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ro 8:39).
The Hebrew writer now begins a new section of thought (Heb 3:7-19). These
verses point out that rejection of Christ is even more tragic to Christians than the
rejection of Moses was to the Israelites.
WARNING: DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS
3:7-9 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice,
8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the
wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works
Therefore [wherefore].[ 42 ] "Therefore" looks back to what has been discussed
namely: God speaks through His Son (Heb 1:1, 2). Christ is above the angels
(Heb 2:5). He is a merciful and faithful High Priest (Heb 2:17). He has been
perfected through suffering to be a faithful and merciful High Priest. He is a
faithful Son over His house, and He is superior to Moses.
As the Holy Spirit says [even as, just as, the Holy Ghost saith].[ 43 ] The
human penman of Psalm 95 is not even mentioned. The Holy Spirit speaks! He
is the One who inspired the OT.[ 44 ] Is that anything less than verbal inspiration?
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man
of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2Ti
In the verses quoted (Ps 95:7-11), the Holy Spirit had an initial message for the
Jews, but the main thrust of it is for Christians. The point is that faithful
obedience is necessary. Obedience was essential for the Jews to enter Canaan.
It is imperative in order for Christians to enter heaven.
HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS IN WORDS
1. The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His word
was on my tongue (2Sa 23:2).
2. Whatever He hears, He will speak (Joh 16:13).
3. The Holy Spirit testifies (Ac 20:23).
4. Agabus related "Thus says the Holy Spirit"
5. These things we also speak, not in words which
man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit
teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual
6. Expressly says (1Ti 4:1).
7. Seven times John wrote: "He who has an ear, let
him hear what the Spirit says to the churches"
(Re 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).
Today, if you will hear His voice [To day when, ye will, shall, if you hear
His voice].[ 45 ] In the Hebrew Bible, Psalm 95:7 begins with, "Today, if you will
hear His voice." God's voice is heard throughout the Bible.
For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke
as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2Pe 1:21; compare Ps 95:1).
Sinner, will you hear the voice of the Holy Spirit today? "Today" is interpreted
by the same Holy Spirit who originally inspired the words. He applies it to the
church age, the day of salvation. Thus there is an important lesson in Psalm 95
for Christians. It is not enough to just read the OT account of lost Israelites and
say, "That's too bad."
WHY OBEY "TODAY"
1. Immediate obedience is easier.
2. Another opportunity may never come.
3. The desire to obey may fade.
4. Time spent in sin is a waste.
5. Problems may arise to make obedience difficult if
The proper hearing of the word of God prevents hardening of the heart. In the
present context, the voice of the Spirit is heard by the reading a Psalm. Reading
it will show that entrance into the promised land was conditional. Jews were not
predestined to enter Canaan. They had to obey in order to enjoy the promised
land. After inviting people to hear the voice of the Lord, the Psalmist gives the
people God's message: "If you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts."
We today are to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. We infer this is done by
reading or hearing the word of God.
The implication is that when one hears the voice of God, he or she should obey
it today. In other words, He demands immediate obedience. He does not want
long, drawn-out mourning for sin. He delights in quick and willing obedience.
In the NT, candidates for baptism were immersed the same hour of the night. God
gave no commands to be obeyed when a person gets good and ready. He never
urges people to procrastinate. "Now" is implied in every one of His
commands.[ 46 ]
The greater part of the quotation is in Hebrews 3:7-11. Here is the entire section:
For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of
His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: 8 Do not harden your hearts,
as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 When your
fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they saw My work. 10 For forty
years I was grieved with that generation, and said, "It is a people who go
astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways." 11 So I swore in
My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest" (Psalm 95:7-11).
[3:8] Do not harden your hearts [harden not your hearts]. [ 47 ] God only
commands that which can be obeyed. Not to harden the heart is a command that
one can obey. Because it is a command to be obeyed, we may infer that growing
stubborn or hardening the heart is a chosen response. It is a behavior the
individual may determine to do or not to do. When man does something in
obedience to God, it is never accomplished by a supernatural and irresistible action
upon the heart. Instead, the person himself elects to soften his heart and obey.
Or he may harden the heart in disobedience. There is always a choice. When a
Christian hardens his heart, he willfully disregards and neglects the revelation of
Christ. He decides he does not want to hear God's word and obey it. To reject
a command of God for a single minute is to harden the heart. To quickly and
agreeably obey God's commands is to soften the heart.
ISRAEL TESTED GOD TEN TIMES
1. When the Egyptians were marching after them
2. At the bitter waters of Marah (Ex 15:24).
3. In wilderness of Sin when they complained about
their lack of good food (Ex 16:2).
4. At Rephidim (Meribah, Massah) when they were
thirsty (Ex 17:2, 3).
5. When they made a calf (Ex 32:1).
6. When they became like those who complain of
adversity (Nu 11:1).
7. When they had "greedy desires" at Taberah
8. When they complained about Moses after he
married the Cushite woman (Nu 12:1).
9. After the spies brought back their report (Nu 14:2).
10. When they were thirsty and Moses failed
to regard the Lord as holy (Nu 20:1-13).
A COMPLAINING GENERATION
As in the rebellion [as in the provocation, as when they provoked Me].[ 48 ]
Early in the wilderness wandering, the children of Israel had camped in the
wilderness of Paran (Nu 12:15, 16). Moses sent twelve spies into Canaan. The
spies brought back a huge cluster of grapes but with the sweet grapes, ten of the
spies brought a sour report. The Israelites were still in the valley of Paran. They
were at Kadesh, to be exact (Nu 13:26). In spite of the fact that Joshua and Caleb
encouraged them to go on in and take the land, the congregation wept (Nu 14:1).
They rebelled against the Lord and were about to stone Joshua and Caleb (Nu
14:9, 10). They spurned the Lord, they did not believe in Him in spite of all the
signs He had performed before them (Nu 14:11). They had put God to the test ten
times (Nu 14:22). They were an evil, grumbling and complaining people (Nu
14:27). Because of their rebellion, they were not allowed to enter Canaan (Nu
14:29-32). Instead, they wandered as shepherds in the wilderness for forty years
(Nu 14:33; see chart ISRAEL TESTED GOD TEN TIMES).
Just as the Israelites provoked God by their unfaithfulness in the wilderness,
Christians anger Him by hard-hearted departure from His word.
MERIBAH NUMBER 1
There are two Meribah's. The first is near Sinai,[ 49 ] geographically
indistinguishable from Horeb.[ 50 ] This is the place where they provoked God.
This Meribah is at Rephidim (Ex 17:1) and thought to be to the northwest of
Horeb. The names Massah and Meribah (see footnote) were both assigned to this
location. It was there that the Israelites tempted God (see Ex 17:7). They tested
Him. They murmured because of lack of water. They asked, "Is the Lord
among us or not?" (Ex 17:7). This time Moses struck the rock in obedience to
God (see next paragraph). Water gushed out (Ex 17:6). Psalm 95:8 identifies the
place of this particular testing as Meribah.[ 51 ] MERIBAH NUMBER 2
In the day [on the day, as, like as, in the day].[ 52 ] The day of temptation was
actually a forty year period of wandering. Miriam is thought to have become
leprous in May of 1445 BC, some 37+ years after the primary incident of
provocation. Israel marched to Kadesh, about forty miles south of Beer-sheba
which in the southern border of the promised land.[ 53 ] There, Moses was
commanded to "speak to the rock." Instead, he went beyond God's command.
He disobeyed and struck the rock. In spite of that, water gushed out (Nu 20:11).
This site was also called Meribah. In spite of the fact that Moses and Aaron did
not treat God as holy in the sight of Israel, He proved Himself holy among them
(Nu 20:12, 13; compare 1Co 10:9).
This was the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended
with the LORD, and He was hallowed among them (Nu 20:13).
This particular Meribah was of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin (Nu 27:14). All
but two of the Israelites[ 54 ] died in the wilderness. Their children, along with the
two faithful spies, entered Canaan. Did some of the rebels eventually repent and
enjoy eternal salvation? Regardless, they never regained the right to enter the land
Of trial in the wilderness [of temptation, of testing, in the wilderness, the
desert].[ 55 ] One of the ten time Israelites put God to the test was at Rephidim (see
note above, MERIBAH NUMBER 1).
ISRAELITES SAW GOD'S WORKS FORTY YEARS
[3:9] Where [when].[ 56 ] The main place where the Israelites tested God was in
the wilderness. Actually, they began their murmuring while still in Egypt. There
they blamed Moses for increasing their quota of bricks (Ex 5:21; see chart
ISRAEL TESTED GOD TEN TIMES; compare Nu 14:22).
Your fathers tested Me, tried Me [where your fathers tempted me, proved
me, and tried me, put me to the test, tried me by proving me, by testing
Me].[ 57 ] Examples of testing God are when Korah, Dathan and Abiram revolted
(Nu 16:1-3). The people blamed Moses and Aaron for their deaths (Nu 16:41).
After Balaam's prophecy, the people played the harlot with the daughters of Moab
in idolatry (Nu 25:1-3).
And saw My works forty years [and saw what, the things, I did for forty
years].[ 58 ] In the [Greek] Septuagint this is connected with "saw my works." In
the Hebrew "forty years" begins the next clause.[ 59 ] It is difficult to believe that
the Israelites could have actually turned from God after seeing His wonders in
Egypt and in the wilderness. And yet, many people in this century even after
witnessing God's marvelous creation, disbelieve.
He brought them out, after he had shown wonders and signs in the land of
Egypt, and in the Red Sea, and in the wilderness forty years (Ac 7:36).
Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the
wilderness (Ac 13:18).[ 60 ]
CHRIST AND THE CHURCH IN EXODUS (A)
1. Christ's death was an exodus (Lu 9:31).
2. He is the true Passover (1Co 5:7).
3. A lamb without blemish, without spot (1Pe 1:19).
4. Crossing Red Sea a type of baptism (1Co 10:1).
5. Manna and water typical of Christian nourishment
(1Co 10:3, 4).
CHRIST AND THE CHURCH IN EXODUS (B)
1. The living rock that followed them was Christ
2. Church in the wilderness (Ac 7:38).
3. Canaan a type of heaven (Heb 4:1-11).
4. Jesus saved a people out of Egypt, destroyed those
who did not believe (Jude 5).
GOD'S ANGER WITH THE WILDERNESS GENERATION
3:10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, 'They always go
astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.'
GOD'S ANGER AT ISRAELITES (A)
1. At the bitter waters of Marah (Ex 15:22-26).
2. When they grumbled because of the lack of bread
3. When thirsty at Massah and Meribah near Rephidim
(Ex 17:1-7; Ps 106:32).
4. At Horeb when they made a golden calf
(Ex 32:10-12; De 9:8, 19).
5. At Taberah, where the fire of the Lord burned them
GOD'S ANGER AT ISRAELITES (B)
1. At Kibroth-Hattaavah, rabble had greedy desires;
complained about lack of fish, cucumbers, melons,
leeks, onions, garlic. He gave them quail, became
angry with them while meat was still in their teeth
2. When they blamed Moses and Aaron for deaths of
Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Nu 16:46).
3. At Kadesh-barnea, after spies returned, accused God
of hating them. He was angry "at the sound of their
words" (De 1:27, 34).
4. From the day they left Egypt (De 9:7, 24).
5. At Taberah, Massah. Kibroth-hattaavah (De 9:22).
Therefore [wherefore].[ 61 ] Because they continued testing God, He was grieved
I was angry with that generation [I was grieved, provoked, displeased, with
this, at that, generation].[ 62 ] God was indignant with "that generation"[ 63 ] (the
wilderness-generation) for forty years. He was disgusted with them (see note on
And said [and I said].[ 64 ] The great Heart-Knower had a right to be angry and
speak out about His erring people.
They always go astray in their heart [they do alway, do always, err, in their
hearts].[ 65 ] The Israelites wandered away from God in their hearts. They turned
away in their minds. They questioned whether God was with them. David
described such straying people. "The fool has said in his heart, `There is no
God'" (Ps 14:1; 53:1). Paul spoke of others who "did not like to retain God in
their knowledge" (Ro 1:28). Also some "did not receive the love of the truth, that
they might be saved" (2Th 2:10).
And they have not known My ways [they, but they, did not know my
ways].[ 66 ] The Israelites knew about onions, leeks and flesh-pots. They knew
their own wandering ways. They knew all about of bondage, fleshly desires and
complaining. They knew little of God's ways of discipline and obedience. His
ways are of faith, obedience, love and life. His ways of trust and hope should
have prepared them for a grand entrance into Canaan. Sadly, they were unable
to discern His righteous ways.
THEY SHALL NOT ENTER
3:11 So I swore in My wrath, "They shall not enter My rest."
So I swore [as I sware, vowed].[ 67 ] On oath, God spoke to Moses:
Say to them, "As I live," says the LORD, "just as you have spoken in My
hearing, so I will do to you: 29 The carcasses of you who have complained
against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered,
according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above" (Nu
Every word of God word is just as strong as His oath. The figure of an oath is
used to emphasize the irreversibility of His judgment. Moses recounted this event:
And the LORD heard the sound of your words, and was angry, and took an
oath, saying, 35 "Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall
see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers, 36 except Caleb
the son of Jephunneh; he shall see it, and to him and his children I am
giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the
LORD" (De 1:34-36).
In My wrath [in my anger].[ 68 ]
They shall not enter My rest [they shall never enter into my rest].[ 69 ]
Heavenly rest is the main topic of Hebrews 4:1-11. Although the concept of rest
is alluded to in the discussion beginning in Hebrews 3:7, the present verse
introduces the topic. I believe that this is the first actual mention of it in the book
of Hebrews. It is generally thought that this verse contains an ellipsis.[ 70 ] The
idea of the figure with the understood words supplied is: God swore they would
not enter His rest and they did not. After the evil report of the ten spies, He said:
Because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did
in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten
times, and have not heeded My voice, 23 they certainly shall not see the
land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected
Me see it (Nu 14:22, 23).
The Israelites had heard God's word through Moses. Through him they had
received the Law. Because of disobedience they did not enter Canaan. However,
we may suppose that Moses, Aaron and others entered the heavenly rest. Moses,
for example, appeared with Christ on the mount of transfiguration and is listed in
the chapter of faith (Heb 11).
AN EVIL, UNBELIEVING HEART LEADS TO APOSTASY
3:12, 13 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of
unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily,
while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the
deceitfulness of sin.
FIVE POINTS IN HEBREWS 3
1. It is possible for Christians to fall away from the
2. Such a disaster is due to an unbelieving heart.
3. An unbelieving heart is evil (not merely "smart").
4. God is not a mere influence but a Living Person.
5. There are adequate means by which a Christian may
avoid falling away.
(Coffman 78, 79)
Beware, brethren [take heed, take care, see to it, brothers].[ 71 ] "Beware" or
"take heed" is a strong expression. There is little need to "beware" or "take heed"
to of a non-existent danger. The peril was real.
Lest there be [lest haply there shall be, there should be, that there not be].[ 72 ]
In any of you [in any one of you, that none of you].[ 73 ] The possibility of
unbelief existed in the heart of each and every person. No one today is anyone
immune from the ever-present danger of losing faith.
An evil heart of unbelief [an evil, a sinful, unbelieving heart].[ 74 ] An
unbelieving heart is an untrusting heart. It is an evil heart. Jesus pointed this out
when He said:
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and
men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil (Joh
3:19; see note on Eph 2:3).
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life (Pr
AN EVIL HEART (A)
1. Because the sentence against an evil work is not
executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of
men is fully set in them to do evil (Ec 8:11).
2. Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not
take your stand for an evil thing, for he does
whatever pleases him (Ec 9:3).
3. The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked; who can know it? (Jer 17:9).
4. I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even
to give every man according to his ways, according
to the fruit of his doings (Jer 17:10).
AN EVIL HEART (B)
1. A heart trained in greed may be full of extortion and
self-indulgence (Mt 23:25; 2Pe 2:14, 15).
2. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed
evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders
3. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,
for which some have strayed from the faith in their
greediness, and pierced themselves through with
many sorrows (1Ti 6:10).
In departing from the living God [leading you to fall away, in falling away,
in turning, from the living God].[ 75 ] We get our English word apostasy from the
Greek APOSTEENAI falling away. It means more than a gentle falling. It
includes the idea of desertion, rebellion and abandonment. Belief brings one
closer to God. Unbelief estranges. Belief inspires love and trust. Unbelief leads
to rebellion and abandonment of what is right and good. In the terrible falling
away from the living God, the unbelieving Israelites rejected Moses. The
Israelites did not go back into Egypt. They fell away because of unbelief and
disobedience right there in the desert.
Christ is counted worthy of more glory than Moses (Heb 3:3). Note that the
falling away was not just from Moses, but from the living God. Today, those who
turn away from Christ also reject God (compare Joh 14:1). It is He who warns
and judges mankind through Christ. If the Jews had returned to Egypt, it would
have been counted as a rejection of the Lord. If Christians go back into the
world, it is regarded as rebellion against God Himself. Fallen Christians may, for
outward appearances, remain in the church while they are lost because of unbelief
and disobedience. If any lesson is taught here, it is that there is a real danger for
Christians to fall away and be lost (see 1Co 10:12).
ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER DAILY
[3:13] But exhort one another [but encourage one another].[ 76 ] The value of
exhortation and encouragement is that it prevents falling away or apostasy.
Christians need to be constantly exhorted to faithful obedience to God's word.
Hope should be held out for weaker Christians. Confidence in His word should
be taught. Later, the writer of Hebrews takes up this essential theme again in
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25
not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of
some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day
approaching (Heb 10:24, 25).
"ONE ANOTHER" PASSAGES
1. Be kind one to another (Eph 4:32).
2. Forgiving one another (Col 3:13).
3. Be at peace among yourselves (1Th 5:13).
4. Exhort one another daily (Heb 3:13).
5. And above all things have fervent love for
one another 1Pe 4:8).
AVOID APOSTASY BY DAILY EXHORTATION
Daily [every day, day by day]. Christians have some daily work to do for their
family and for other members of the church. Dedicated, confident Christians who
teach the word are a source of great strength to others. They speak encouraging
words, write cards, give gifts, invite people for a meal, make telephone calls and
visits in order to build others up.
While it is called "Today" [as long, so long, as it is called Today].[ 77 ]
"Today" gives a time frame. One is to continue exhorting others as long as it is
called "Today." Since every day is "today," one is to continue this important
activity throughout life as long as it is possible to save another.
Lest any of you [that, so that, none, no one, of you, any one of you]. Some
weak brother or sister in the local church may be moving toward hardness of
heart. Encouragement is essential for the weak. It is important to the strong. It
also helps strengthen the one doing the exhorting.
Be hardened [may be hardened].[ 78 ] The heart may be hardened when
obedience to God is delayed. When that happens, one may lose the desire to do
God's will. The alien sinner who keeps postponing obedience loses the longing
to come to Christ. Hardening of a Christian's heart may be first noticed by an
apathy toward services of the church. When one neglects personal prayer time or
forgets to read the Bible daily, he should be alerted to a possible hardening of the
heart. Hearts are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Encouragement is essential
to prevent that. Nevertheless, Christians may opt to have a negative response to
the word of God (see verse 15).
Through the deceitfulness of sin [by the deceitfulness of sin].[ 79 ] Suppose a
Jew left Christ and went back in Judaism. He might trick his own mind by saying
to himself, "I am a God-fearing Jew. I still believe." Paul wrote:
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so
your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2Co
Paul goes on to list some of the deceitful ways of Satan: preaching another Jesus,
a different spirit or a different gospel (2Co 11:4). Sin's deceitfulness may be
presented in religious thought as well as in unbelief and deceitful lusts (Eph 4:22;
see chart DECEITFULNESS OF SIN; compare 2Pe 3:8-11).
DECEITFULNESS OF SIN (A)
1. It feels good; it must be right.
2. Anything done with love is right.
3. No worse than what other Christians do.
4. Rules are old-fashioned.
5. Wrong in NT times, but okay today.
6. Someone else made me do it.
DECEITFULNESS OF SIN (B)
1. Desensitized conscience:
a. I once thought it was wrong but not anymore.
b. The "grey area" is larger than it used to be.
c. It doesn't bother me.
2. Thinking of pleasure; forgetting the tragedy.
a. Substances offer a "high"; down-played are
misery, poverty and death.
b. Pleasures emphasized; down-played are jealousy,
broken homes, unwanted babies, diseases.
c. Sin is fun. Hell is far away and maybe non-
PARTAKERS OF CHRIST
3:14, 15 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."
For we have become partakers of Christ [for we are made, are become,
partakers of Christ, for we share in Christ].[ 80 ] To be a "partaker" of Christ
implies a relationship similar to that of a brother or a child (compare Heb 2:11,
13, 14, 17). In the present context, however, being a partaker implies entering
into the promised rest. In this life, it surely involves suffering with Jesus (Ro
8:17). It involves close fellowship with Him. Jesus spoke of eating and drinking
at His table in His kingdom (Lu 22:30). Peter said he was a partaker of the glory
to be revealed (1Pe 5:1). Jesus also said:
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also
overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (Re 3:21).
PARTAKERS OF CHRIST
1. Partakers of grace (Php 1:7).
2. Partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light
3. Partakers of the heavenly calling (Heb 3:1).
4. Partakers of the Holy Spirit (Heb 6:4).
5. Partakers of His holiness (Heb 12:10).
6. That you partake of Christ's sufferings (1Pe 4:13).
7. Partakers of the divine nature (2Pe 1:4).
If we hold [if only we hold, if we hold fast, firmly].[ 81 ] "Test all things; hold
fast what is good" (1Th 5:21).
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the
heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession (Heb 4:14).
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who
promised is faithful (Heb 10:23).
We are to hold fast to the word, to faith and to an obedient life. "Remember
therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it" (Re 3:3).
The beginning of our confidence [our first confidence, our undergirding
faith].[ 82 ]
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
seen (Heb 11:1).
The sacred writer used a different Greek word when he said:
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 (Heb 3:6).
The expression "the rejoicing of the hope" in Hebrews 3:6 means free and open
acknowledgement of the assurance Christians enjoy. The Greek is rendered
"confidence" or "assurance" and surely implies the ground of basis of that surety.
According to Arndt and Ginrich, it is the frame of mind described in verse 6.
What is meant by "our confidence"? It has to do first with believing in Christ
as the Jews did on Pentecost (see Ac 2:36, 41).
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this
Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ (Ac 2:36).
Secondly, it means the grounds for hope, that is, the merits of Christ plus a
faithful, obedient life.
Steadfast to the end [firm unto the end].[ 83 ] There is much to be said for
endurance. Being faithful to the end may be until death or until Christ returns.
And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to
the end will be saved (Mt 10:11; see 24:13; Mk 13:11).
Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the
perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord-- that the Lord
is very compassionate and merciful (Jas 5:11).
Faithfulness is vital to receiving a crown of life. In order to enter heaven it is
imperative that Christians remain, hold on firmly, and be faithful to the end of life
(see Re 2:10).
[3:15] While it is said].[ 84 ] The Hebrew writer alludes to what he has just
Today [ To-day] (see note on verse 13).
If you will hear His voice [if ye will, if ye shall, when you, if you, hear his
voice]. This is one of many instances not to be taken literally. We do not actually
hear the physical voice of Christ. Yet, in a figure, He calls to each one of us
through the written or preached word. To illustrate this, look at Paul's sermon at
Antioch of Pisidia. He spoke of the voices or utterances of the prophets "which
are read every Sabbath" (Ac 13:27). The Pisidians did not actually hear the
prophets' literal voices. They heard them "second hand" as they were read by
men in the synagogues. The admonition is to those reading the book of Hebrews.
When they read it, they "heard" the voice of the Spirit. When we read God's
word we hear God's voice. He calls to us not to harden our hearts (see note on
HARDENED HEARTS (A)
1. Pharaoh hardened his own heart before God allowed
it to be ultimately hardened (see Ex 8:15; Ro 9:18).
2. Refused to listen, and did not remember Thy
wondrous deeds which Thou hadst performed
among them; so they became stubborn and
appointed a leader to return to their slavery
3. The wrath of God came against them, and slew the
stoutest of them, and struck down the choice men
of Israel. 32 In spite of this they still sinned, and
did not believe in His wondrous works
(Ps 78:31, 32).
4. Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he
who hardens his heart will fall into calamity
(Pr 28:14; see Pr 29:1).
5. But in accordance with your hardness and your
impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself
wrath in the day of wrath (Ro 2:5).
Do not harden your hearts [harden not your hearts, do not grow stubborn]
(see note on verse 8). Even Jesus' disciples were asked by Him:
Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive
nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? (Mk 8:17).
After a resurrection appearance to them, He reproached them for their unbelief
and hardness of heart:
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked
their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who
had seen Him after He had risen (Mk 16:14).
In summary, when hearts were hardened, people did not listen or pay attention.
They did not believe. They did not really want to do what was right. They were
disobedient. Although some repented, many never did.
HARDENED HEARTS (B)
1. Zedekiah "stiffened his neck and hardened his heart
against turning to the LORD God of Israel
2. You have stricken them, but they have not grieved;
you have consumed them, but they have refused to
receive correction (Jer 5:3).
3. Nebuchadnezzar's "heart was lifted up, and his spirit
was hardened in pride" (Da 5:20).
4. The people in Zechariah's day: "refused to heed,
shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so
that they could not hear (Zec 7:11).
5. He had looked around at them with anger, being
grieved by the hardness of their hearts (Mk 3:5).
6. But in accordance with your hardness and your
impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself
wrath in the day of wrath (Rom 2:5).
As in the rebellion [as you did in the provocation, in those days of rebellion,
as when they provoked Me]. See note on verse 8.
A DETESTABLE GENERATION
1. Would not listen to God's voice.
2. Hardened hearts.
3. Tested God.
4. Disregarded what they had seen.
5. No regard for God's ways.
6. Angered God.
7. Not able to enter God's rest. (Deaver 2.20)
WHO, HAVING HEARD, REBELLED?
3:16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out
of Egypt, led by Moses?
For who, having heard, rebelled? [for some, who were they that heard, after
they heard his voice, when they heard, had heard, did provoke, and yet were
rebellious].[ 85 ] Attention is called to the identity of those who provoked God.
They are the very ones who followed Moses out of Egypt. They were the ones
baptized in the cloud and in the sea (1Co 10:2). What a marvelous start they
made! These very ones provoked God. Christians ought not to think themselves
as being very different from them. They too, by falling away, provoke God. The
point is that since the great multitude of the Israelites fell, Christians should not
think the danger of falling today is only for the liberals or the conservatives, the
babes in Christ or the traditionalists. There is a danger for everyone! Dear
reader, please take heed.
Indeed, was it not [howbeit not, nay, did not, but not].[ 86 ]
All who came out of Egypt [all, all they, all those, that left, Egypt].[ 87 ] Of
the men who were twenty years and above, 603,550 came out of Egypt (Ex
38:26). The great majority of them missed Canaan because they provoked God.
He was not just annoyed or irritated. He was exasperated and disgusted. His
wrath was stirred against them. He said:
How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who murmur against Me?
I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel murmur against Me.
Say to them, "As I live," says the LORD, "just as you have spoken in My
hearing, so I will do to you: 29 The carcasses of you who have complained
against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered,
according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. 30
Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall
by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in (Nu
14:27-30; compare De 32:20, 21).
Led by Moses [by Moses, under the leadership of Moses, whom, those,
Moses led]. Did not all the ones who came out of Egypt led by Moses provoke
God? Could a greater pioneer have saved them? Not likely. Moses was an
outstanding leader. The Israelites fell in spite of having a great leader. Like the
Israelites, Christians today who even listen regularly to a powerful evangelist, may
still be in danger of being lost.
MANY ISRAELITES PERISHED
3:17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who
sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?
Now with whom was He angry forty years? [but with whom, and with
whom, was he grieved, provoked, displeased, vexed, forty years?].[ 88 ] God was
indignant with the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years.
Was it not with those who sinned? [was it not with them that sinned, that
had sinned?].[ 89 ] God did not dislike the Israelites personally. They committed
sin. They fell because of sin!
Whose corpses fell in the wilderness [whose carcasses, bodies, fell in the
desert].[ 90 ] The scene is very graphic. Bodies fell. The word bodies is literally
limbs. However, the Septuagint uses it for carcasses or corpses. "But as for you,
your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness" (Nu 14:32). The language seems to
suggest that bodies were left in the desert to decay and become disarticulated.
DISOBEDIENCE PREVENTED ENTRANCE INTO CANAAN
3:18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to
those who did not obey?
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest? [to whom
sware he that they should not, should never, enter into his rest?] (see note on
But to those who did not obey [but to them that believed not, were
disobedient, if not those who disobeyed].[ 91 ] Better translations have "did not
obey" or "were disobedient" instead of "believed not" (see note on Ro 11:30).
The same word is used in Hebrews 4:6, 11. Obedience is essential to salvation.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He
suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey
Him the source of eternal salvation (Heb 5:8, 9).
UNBELIEF PREVENTS ENTRANCE INTO GOD'S REST
3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
So we see [and we see].[ 92 ] The sad fate of the wilderness generation became
a reality because of hard hearts, unbelief and disobedience. This was the
explanation for their failure.
That they could not [that they were unable, not able].[ 93 ] There were two
noble exceptions who were able to enter Canaan: Joshua and Caleb, the two spies
who brought back an encouraging report.
Enter in [to enter, to enter in].[ 94 ]
BUT NOT FOR THESE REASONS
1. Enemies were too strong.
2. Poor leader.
3. God's Law not understandable.
4. Bad weather.
5. Unhappy childhood in Egypt.
6. Nobody noticed or complimented them.
7. Too many hypocrites in the land.
Because of unbelief.[ 95 ] Notice in verse 18 it was the APEITHEESASIN
disobedient who were kept out of Canaan. In the present verse, it is APISTIAN
unbelief. There is a close relationship between unbelief and disobedience.
He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey
the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (Joh
3:36 NASB; compare ASV, NAU, RSV, TEV).
Unbelief spread like wildfire in the hearts and lives of the wilderness generation.
They murmured and rebelled. Their hearts were hardened. They provoked God.
They led disobedient lives. The lesson is very plain. Christians are warned not
to let the same thing happen. It is possible to drift, to become weak in faith, to
harden THE heart--and, it is possible to be lost eternally!
NOT ABLE TO ENTER IN
1. Delivered from bondage by God's mercy.
2. Received the Law.
3. Heard the voice of God.
4. Did not enter Canaan (except two).
5. Died in the wilderness.
LESSON FOR CHRISTIANS
1. Delivered from sin by God's mercy.
2. Received the NT message of Christ.
3. Promised heavenly rest.
4. Like the Israelites, it is possible to fail to enter in
because of unbelief (Heb 3:19).
[ 1 ]The basic text in this chapter is the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version.
Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Alternate phrases in brackets are from ASV, ESB, KJV, RSV and occasionally another version. Greek
transliteration tends to follow the BibleSoft method.
[ 2 ]HOTHEN, whence (Marshall 858); drawing a conclusion from chapter 2:9-18 (Vincent 4.409);
therefore (Williams); hence (Lenski 100).
[ 3 ]ADELPHOI HAGIOI, brothers holy (Marshall 858); holy brethren (Lenski 100); my Christian
brothers (Williams); worshippers of God, taking the place of God's OT people, as called and
consecrated to ethical and spiritual service according to the Christian ideal (Vincent 4.409; see 1Th 5:26
[ 4 ]KLEESEOOS EPOURANIOU METOCHOI. calling of a heavenly sharers (Marshall 858);
METOCHOI partakers, the upward calling (Php 3:14). In Hebrews 2:5, it is implied that Christ is
ruler of the world to come, not the world of types and shadows, but the abiding, real world. The
calling comes from that world and is to that world (Vincent 4.409, 410); sharers of a heavenly calling
(Williams); [partakers is] properly an adjective, signifying sharing in, partaking of that calling, the
origin, nature and destiny of which are heavenly [the idea of invitation being implied]; used especially
of God's invitation to man to accept the benefits of salvation (Vine 157, 419).
[ 5 ]Properly, the calling is a noun derived from the verb KALEOO to call which, by metonymy,
indicates the state or condition into which sinners are called by invitation of the gospel, together with
the blessings enjoyed as a result of accepting that invitation.
[ 6 ]KATANOEESATE . . . IEESOUN, consider . . . Jesus (Marshall 858)l; KATANOEESATE is
second person plural, first aorist active imperative of KATANOEOO (Han 395); attentively,
thoughtfully (KATA) (Vincent 4.410); [KATA intensive, NOEOO to perceive with the mind, think
about], understand fully, consider closely, of considering fully the Apostle and High Priest of our
confession (Vine 222); fix your thoughts on Jesus (Williams); consider thoroughly . . . Jesus (Lenski
[ 7 ]TON APOSTOLON, the apostle (Marshall 858; Lenski 100); used of the Lord Jesus to describe
His relation to God (Vine 55); in calling Jesus apostle, the writer is thinking of Moses as one sent by
God to lead Israel to Canaan (Vincent 4.410); the Messenger (Williams).
[ 8 ]KAI ARCHIEREA, and high priest (Marshall 858)l the Divine institution of the priesthood
culminated in the high priest, it being his duty to represent the whole people . . . Christ is set forth in
this respect (Vine 883); and High Priest (Williams; Lenski 100).
[ 9 ]TEES HOMOLOGIAS HEEMON, of the confession of us (Marshall 858); confession, the apostle
and high priest whom we confess (Vincent 4.410); noun, denotes confession by acknowledgement of
the truth (Vine 217); whom we profess to follow [literally, High Priest of our confession (Williams);
of our confession (Williams).
[ 10 ]Early in the church of Christ, this confession became known as "the" confession and, throughout
the NT, the Greek article generally precedes it.
[ 11 ]PISTON ONTA, faithful being (Marshall 858); ONTA is the present active participle, accusative
singular masculine of EIMI (Han 395); more literally, as being faithful to Him that made him; the
present participle, being, indicates that fidelity to God is an abiding and perpetual characteristic of
Christ in his whole sphere of labor (Milligan 113); is faithful, a general designation of inherent
character. He is faithful as he ever was (Vincent 4.410); a verbal adjective, akin to PEITHOO, used
in the passive sense, faithful, to be trusted, reliable (Vine 402); how faithful He was (Williams); as
being faithful (Lenski 100).
[ 12 ]Aaron was kept out of Canaan for the same reason (Nu 20:24). He had also joined his sister
Miriam in criticizing Moses for marrying the Cushite woman (Nu 12:1, 2). Another problem he had
was compromise. He had tried to appease the people by making the golden calf (see Ex 32:1-6, 24)
Aaron died at age 123 on Mount Hor (Nu 20:22-29; 33:38, 39; De 10:6; 32:50).
[ 13 ]For an excellent listing of the comparisons between Christ and Moses, see Coffman 67-69.
[ 14 ]TOO POIEESANTI AUTON, to the [one] making him (Marshall 858); POIEESANTI is the first
aorist active participle, dative singular masculine of POIEOO (Han 395); constituted him apostle and
high priest (Vincent 4.410); done, made, rendered, "appointed" (Vine 61); made (Milligan 113); who
appointed Him (Williams); who made him [what he is] (Lenski 100).
[ 15 ]The footnote on 1 Samuel 12:6 reads, "Literally, made. In the Septuagint, the word is POIESAS
[ 16 ]HOOS KAI MOOUSES, as also Moses (Marshall 858); the highest example of human fidelity
known to the readers (Vincent 4.410); just as Moses was (Williams); even as also Moses (Lenski 100).
[ 17 ]EN [HOLOO] TOO OIKOO AUTOU,in all the household of him (Marshall 858); metaphorically
of Israel as God's house (Vine 566); in all the house of God (Williams); [was faithful] in his whole
house (Lenski 100).
[ 18 ]For support for this interpretation, see Numbers 12:7.
[ 19 ]EXIOOTAI GAR HOUTOS, for this one has been counted worthy (Marshall 858); used both
of reward which is due [1Ti 5:17] and of punishment [Heb 10:29] (Vincent 4.411); thought or counted
worthy, used "of more glory" of Christ in comparison with Moses (Vine 1249); is judged to be worthy
(Williams); for this one has been counted as worthy (Lenski 104).
[ 20 ]PLEIONOS DOXEES DOXES PARA MOOUSEEN, of more glory than Moses (Marshall 858);
of good reputation, praise, honor (Vine 483); of greater glory than Moses (Williams); of more glory
than [PARA in comparison] Moses (Lenski 104).
[ 21 ]KATH' HOSON, by so much as (Marshall 858; Lenski 104); by just so much (Williams).
[ 22 ]TOU OIKOU HO KATASKEUASAS AUTON, the house the [one] having prepared it (Marshall
858); KATASKEUASAS is the first aorist active participle, nominative singular masculine of
KATASKEUAZOO (Han 396); prepare, establish, furnish (Vine 148); for just as the man who builds
a house (Williams); as he who constructed it (Lenski 104).
[ 23 ]Compare the Messianic prophecy "He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the
throne of his kingdom forever" (2Sa 7:13).
[ 24 ]PLEIONA TIMEEN ECHEI TOU OIKOU, more honor has the house (Marshall 858); ECHEI
is third person singular, present active indicative of ECHOO (Han 396); honor, esteem, of that which
belongs to the builder of a house in contrast to the house itself (Vine 560); has greater glory than the
house (Williams); it has more honor than the house [he constructed] (Lenski 104).
[ 25 ]PAS GAR OIKOS KATASKEUAZETAI HUPO TINOS, for every house is prepared by
someone (Marshall 858); KATASKEUAZETAI is third person singular, present passive indicative of
KATASKEUAZOO (Han 396); plural, second aorist active subjunctive of KATECHOO (Han 396);
prepared, established furnished, built (Vine 148); for every house is built by somebody (Williams); for
every house is constructed by someone (Lenski 105).
[ 26 ]HO DE PANTA KATASKEUASAS THEOS, but the [one] all things having prepared [is] God
(Marshall 858); KATASKEUASAS is the first aorist active participle, nominative singular masculine
of KATASKEUAZOO (Han 396); but the builder and furnisher [word means furnisher as well as
builder] of the universe is God (Williams); moreover, he who constructed everything [is] God (Lenski
105); the verb includes not only erection, but furnishing with the entire equipment (Vincent 4.411); see
Hebrews 9:2; 1 Peter 2:10.
[ 27 ]KAI MOOUSEES MEN PISTOS, and Moses on one hand [was] faithful (Marshall 858); KAI
introduces the further development of the thought of verses 2, 3--fidelity, and the corresponding honor
(Vincent 4.412); now Moses was faithful (Williams); ;and Moses [is] faithful (Lenski 105).
[ 28 ]EN HOLO TOO OIKOO AUTOU, in all the household of him (Marshall 858); metaphorically
of Israel as God's house, where "his house" is not Moses', but God's; of believers (Vine 566); in all
the house of God (Williams); in his whole house (Lenski 106).
[ 29 ] HOOS THERAPOON, as a servant (Marshall 858; Lenski 106); a waiting-man (Milligan); in
classical and NT [Greek] the word emphasizes the performance of a present service, without reference
to the condition of the doer, whether bond or free. An ethical character attaches to it, as to the kindred
verb THERAPEUEIN: service of an affectionate, hearty character, performed with care and fidelity.
Hence the relation of the THEREPOON is of a nobler and freer character than that of the DOULOS
or bondservant (Vincent 4.412); akin to THERAPEUOO to serve, to heal, an attendant, servant, a term
of dignity and freedom, used of Moses (Vine 1020); yet only as a servant (Williams).
[ 30 ]EIS MARTURION, for a testimony (Marshall 858); to give testimony concerning those things
which were to be spoken [in the Messiah's time], that is, concerning the Christian revelation (Thayer
392); in regard to testimony (Lenski 106).
[ 31 ]TOON LALEETHEESOMENOON, of the things being spoken [in the future] (Marshall 858);
LALEETHEESOMENOON is the future passive participle, genitive plural neuter of LALEOO (Han
396); the revelations afterward to be given in Christ . . . the future participle requires a reference to
a time subsequent to Moses's ministry (Vincent 4.413); of the declarations and prophetic announcements
of God (Thayer 369); to the message that should be spoken (Williams); of the things that were to be
spoken (Lenski 106).
[ 32 ]CHRISTOS DE, Christ on the other (Marshall 858); the official name that marks his position
over the house (Vincent 4.413); but Christ (Williams); while Christ [is faithful] (Lenski 106).
[ 33 ]HOOS HUIOS, as a Son (Marshall 858; Williams; Lenski 106); in the highest sense Jesus Christ
is called HO HUIOS TOU THEOU as of a nature superhuman and closest to God (Thayer 636); see
Heb 1:2, 5, 8; 4:14; 5:5, 8; 6:6; 7:3, 28; 10:29).
[ 34 ]EPI TON OIKON AUTOU, over the household of him (Marshall 858); notice EPI over his
house, and EN in all his house, of Moses. For "his own house" render "his house," referring to God
(Vincent 4.413); set over the house of God (Williams); over his house (Lenski 106).
[ 35 ]OU OIKOS ESMEN HEEMEIS, of a household are we (Marshall 858); ESMEN is first person
plural, present active indicative of EIMI (Han 396); present tense, for the present and the future
(Milligan 118); ; and we are that house (Williams); whose house are we ourselves (Lenski 106); God's
house. The Church is nowhere called the house of Christ (Vincent 4.413; but see comments above.
[ 36 ]EAN [PER], if (Marshall 858; Williams; Lenski 106); if only, if indeed (Thayer 163; see note
on verse 14).
[ 37 ]KATASCHOOMEN, we hold fast (Marshall 858; Lenski 106); first person plural, second aorist
active subjunctive of KATECHOO (Han 396); of holding one's course toward, bearing down for
(Vincent 4:413); hold firmly, hold fast [KATA down, ECHOO to have or hold], (Vine 553); we keep
up our courage (Williams); see note on verse 14.
[ 38 ]TEEN PARREESIAN, the confession (Marshall 858); fearless confession (Bruce 59); free
speech, outspokenness (Harrison 911); of the absence of fear in speaking boldly; hence, confidence,
cheerful courage, boldness, without any connection necessarily with speech (Vine 130); the assurance
(Lenski 106); freeness and boldness of speech, and that confidence which prompts any one to the use
of such freedom of speech (Milligan 118; compare usage in Hebrews 6:11; 10:19, 35.
[ 39 ]KAI TO KAUXEEMA TEES ELPIDOS, and the boast of the hope (Marshall 858; Lenski 106);
ground of glorying . . . ELPIDOS of the object of hope (Vincent 4.414); a ground of glorying (Vine
485); joyful hope (Bruce 59; KAUCHEMA means properly boasting, or a matter of boasting. And
ELPIDOS hope . . . the object of our hope, as in Ro 8:24 (Milligan 118); the joy that hope inspires
[ 40 ]Some songs that speak of hope in Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah, Blessed Assurance, Because
He Lives, Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, My Hope is Built On Nothing Less, Take the Name of Jesus
With You, Sweet By and By, I have Heard of a Land, When We All Get to Heaven, Bringing in the
Sheaves, Whispering Hope, Heaven's Jubilee.
[ 41 ][MECHRI TELOUS BEBAIAN], until [the] end firm (Marshall 858); firm, steadfast, secure
[BAINOO to go], of the maintenance of the boldness of the believer's hope (Vine 433); to the end of
life (Milligan 118); to the very end (Williams); to the end (Lenski 106).
[ 42 ]DIO, wherefore (Marshall 858); wherefore is connected with BLEPETE take heed, verse 12
(Vincent 4.415); therefore (Williams; Lenski 111).
[ 43 ]KATHOOS LEGEI TO PNEUMA TO HAGION, as says the Spirit Holy (Marshall 858); LEGEI
is third person singular, present active indicative of LEGOO (Han 396); a characteristic of LEGOO is
that it refers to the purport or sentiment of what is said as well as the connection of the words . . .
refers to the substance of what is said (Vine 995); as the Holy Spirit says (Williams); even as speaks
the Holy Spirit (Lenski 111).
[ 44 ]See Hebrews 9:8 where the Holy Spirit is presented as signifying information about the
[ 45 ]SEEMERON EAN TEES PHOONEES AUTOU AKOUSEETE, to-day if the voice of him ye
hear (Marshall 858); AKOUSEETE is second person plural, first aorist active subjunctive of AKOUOO
(Han 396); the Hebrew reads, O that you would hear his voice to-day (Vincent 4.415); if you but hear
His voice today (Williams); today if you shall hear his voice (Lenski 111).
[ 46 ]Of course, one must understand some acts of obedience are periodical such as observance of the
weekly Lord's Supper. Others are conditional, such as giving as prospered.
[ 47 ]MEE SKLEERUNEETE TAS KARDIAS HUMOON, not harden ye the hearts of you (Marshall
858); SKLEERUNEETE is second person plural present active subjunctive or first aorist active
subjunctive of SKLEERUNOO (Han 396); you must not harden your hearts (Williams); do not harden
your hearts (Lenski 111); warnings against the hardening of the heart: [do not] make [your hearts] dry
and hard (Vine 525; compare SKLEEROTRACHEELOS hard-necked or stiff-necked in Acts 7:51.
[ 48 ]HOOS EN TOO PARAPIKRASMOO, as in the provocation (Marshall 858); [PIKROS bitter,
pungent]; hence, stirred up to bitterness, irritated (Vincent 4.415); [translation from the Greek is] as
in the bitterness; the Hebrew rendered literally is as follows: Harden not your heart like Meribah, like
the day of Massah in the Wilderness (Milligan 120); [PARA amiss or from, used intensively,
PIKRAINOO to make bitter], embittered, provoked (Vine 900); as they did in provoking Me
(Williams); as in the embitterment (Lenski 111).
[ 49 ]The Hebrew word SINAY means uncertain.
[ 50 ]Horeb means drought, desert.
[ 51 ]Moses named that place Massah (test) and Meribah (quarrel) (Ex 17:7). It is the same as
Rephidim (Ex 17:1).
[ 52 ]KATA TEEN HEEMERAN, in the day (Marshall 858); KATA in a temporal sense as Ac 12:1;
19:23; 27:27, (Vincent 4.415); the period of natural light, but used figuratively, for a period [of time]
. . . the day of trial or testing (Vine 262); as on the day (Williams); on the day (Lenski 111).
[ 53 ]Zondervan 389, 526.
[ 54 ]That is, of the men twenty years and upward.
[ 55 ]TOU PEIRASMOU EN TEE EREEMOO, of the temptation in the desert (Marshall 858); [akin
to PEIRAOO to assay, to try] [in the] solitude, uninhabited place, in contrast to a town or village (Vine
289, 1167); of the temptation, referring to a definite event, the murmuring against Moses at Rephidim
(Vincent 4.416); in the desert they tested me (Williams); of the temptation in the wilderness (Lenski
[ 56 ]OU, when (Marshall 858; Thayer 456); where (Vincent 4.416; Williams; Lenski 111).
[ 57 ]EPEIRASAN . . . EN DOKIMASIA, tempted . . . in proving (Marshall 859); EPEIRASAN is
third person plural, first aorist active indicative of PEIRAZOO (Han 396); literally, tried [me] in
proving . . . tempted by putting to the test (Vincent 4.416); of trying or challenging God; the verb
DOKIMAZOO in some manuscripts, to test, prove, with the expectation of approving. The most
reliable manuscripts have the noun DIKIMASIA a proving (Vine 898, 1128); found I stood the test
(Williams); tempted me in a testing (Lenski 111).
[ 58 ]KAI EIDON TA ERGA MOU TESSERAKONTA ETEE, and saw the works of me forty years
(Marshall 859); EIDON is third person plural, second aorist active indicative of ORAOO (Han 396);
"they tempted and yet saw my works;" although they saw my works. The Hebrew is "tried me, proved
me, yea saw my works" (Vincent 4.416); in the Hebrew, the noun work is singular; but in the Greek,
the corresponding word is plural; in the Hebrew, the expression, forty years, is, according to the
Masoretic pointing, connected with what follows, as in the seventeenth verse of this chapter; but in the
Greek, it qualifies the preceding verb saw (Milligan 121); because they saw my works for forty years
(Williams; Lenski 111).
[ 59 ]Vincent 4.416.
[ 60 ]In Qumran literature there is a reference to the interval of forty years between the death of the
Teacher of Righteousness and "the consuming of all the men of war who returned with the Man of
Falsehood" (CD 20.14f., echoing De 2:14-16); the forty years after which the wicked are to be no more
(4Q p Ps 37, fragment A, i.6ff). In TB Sanhedrin 99a Eliezer ben Hyrcanus infers from Ps 95:10 that
the days of the Messiah will last forty years (Bruce 65).
[ 61 ]DIO, wherefore (Marshall 859; Lenski 111); = DIA HO [the neuter of the relative pronoun
HOS], on account of which [thing] (Vine 1222); the Hebrew omits wherefore (Vincent 4.416); so
[ 62 ]PROSOOCHTHISA TEE GENEA TAUTEE, I was angry with this generation (Marshall 859);
PROSOOCHTHISA is first person singular, first aorist active indicative of PROSOCHTHIZOO (Han
396); was angry with (Vine 509); I was grieved (Vincent 4.417); the corresponding Hebrew word
means to feel a loathing, to be disgusted with any person or thing (Milligan 121); I was indignant with
that generation (Williams); I was disgusted with this generation (Lenski 111).
[ 63 ]I wonder if the Lord intended a comparison to the wilderness generation when He often referred
to His contemporaries as "this generation" (see Mt 11:16; 12:41, 42, 45; 23:36; 24:34). Also note
Peter's mention of "this perverse generation" (Ac 2:40).
[ 64 ]KAI EIPON, and I said (Marshall 859; Williams); EIPON is first person singular, second aorist
active indicative of LEGOO (Han 396); have spoken, said, whether orally or by letter, with the words
spoken added in direct discourse (Vine 181); and said (Lenski 111).
[ 65 ]AEI PLANOONTAI TEE KARDIA, always they err in the heart (Marshall 859);
PLANOONTAI is third person plural, present passive indicative of PLANAOO (Han 396); [PLANEE
a wandering], in the passive voice, [were being] led astray, err (Vine 369); wandered, went astray
(Milligan 121); their hearts are always going astray (Williams); always they err with the heart (Lenski
[ 66 ]AUTOI DE OUK EGNOOSAN TAS HODOUS MOU, and they knew not the ways of me
(Marshall 859); EGNOOSAN is third person plural, second aorist active indicative of GINOOSKOO
(Han 396); [did not] become acquainted with, know, of the knowledge of God and Christ, and of the
things relating to them or proceeding from them (Thayer 117, 118; the word denotes approval by
experience, as well as knowledge in the ordinary sense (Brooks 245); and they have never come to
know my ways (Williams); moreover, they did know my ways (Lenski 111).
[ 67 ]HOOS OOMOSA, as I swore (Marshall 859); OOMOSA is first person singular, first aorist
active indicative of OMNUMI (Han 396); according as I sware (Vincent 4.417); used of affirming or
denying an oath (Vine 1111); so I took an oath (Williams); ;so that I swore (Lenski 111).
[ 68 ]EN TEE ORGEE MOU, in the wrath of me (Marshall 859); originally any natural impulse or
desire or disposition, came to signify anger, as the strongest of all passions, of God's anger with Israel
in the wilderness, in a quotation from the OT (Vine 47); in my anger (Williams); in my wrath (Lenski
[ 69 ]EI EISELEUSONTAI EIS TEEN KATAPAUSIN MOU, if they shall enter into the rest of me
(Marshall 859); EISELEUSONTAI is third person plural, future middle indicative of EISERCHOMAI
(Han 396); literally, if they shall enter . . . a common Hebraistic formula in oaths (Vincent 4.417; in
classical Greek, denotes a causing to cease or putting to rest; in the NT, rest, repose, used of God's
rest (Vine 960); they shall not enter into my rest! (Lenski 111); EI EISELEUSONTAI, following the
Septuagint, represents an over-literal rendering of the Hebrew idiom 'IM YEBO'UN, rightly translated
"They shall not enter" (Bruce 61); they shall not be admitted to my rest! (Williams); see notes on
[ 70 ]An ellipsis is a figure of speech in which words may be omitted for a purpose, usually for
emphasis. The missing words are to be supplied by the reader.
[ 71 ]BLEPETE, ADELPHOI, look ye, brothers (Marshall 859); BLEPETE is second person plural,
present active indicative of BLEPOO (Han 396); see to it [brethren] (Vincent 4.417); look, see, usually
implying more especially an intent, earnest contemplation (Vine 540); see to it, my brothers (Williams);
see to it, brethren (Lenski 111).
[ 72 ]MEEPOTE ESTAI, lest there shall be (Marshall 859); ESTAI is third person singular, future
middle indicative of EIMI (Han 396); the indicative with ME lest shows that with the fear that the event
may occur, there is blended a suspicion that it will occur (Vincent 4.417); that no (Williams); perhaps
there will be (Lenski 117).
[ 73 ]EN TINI HUMOON, in any one of you (Marshall 859; Williams); they are appealed to
individually (Vincent 4.417); in someone of you (Lenski 117).
[ 74 ]KARDIA PONEERA APISTIAS heart an evil of unbelief (Marshall 859); [akin to PONOS labor,
toil], denotes evil that causes labor, pain, sorrow, malignant evil; unbelieving, untrusting [heart] (Vine
109, 380); unbelieving heart (Williams); a wicked heart of unbelief (Lenski 117); see Jeremiah 16:12;
[ 75 ]EN TOO APOSTEENAI APO THEOU ZOONTOS, in the depart[ine] from God a living
(Marshall 859); APOSTEENAI is the second aorist active infinitive of APHISTEEMI (Han 396);
defection, revolt, apostasy (Vine 403); rebellion, abandonment (Arndt 98); as shown by your turning
from the ever-living God (Williams); in apostatizing from the living God (Lenski 117).
[ 76 ]ALLA PARAKALEITE HEATOUS, but exhort yourselves (Marshall 859); PARAKALEITE
is second person plural, present active imperative of PARAKALEOO (Han 396); call on, entreat . .
. admonish, exhort, urge one to pursue some course of conduct [always prospective, looking to the
future, in contrast to the meaning to comfort, which is retrospective, having to do with trial
experienced] (Vine 390); but continue to encourage one another (Williams); yea, keep admonishing
yourselves (Lenski 117).
[ 77 ]ACHRIS OU TO SEEMERON KALEITAI, while the to-day it is being called (marshall 859);
KALEITAI is third person singular, present passive indicative of KALEOO (Han 396); literally, so long
as the to-day is being named . . . the day of grace, while salvation through Christ is still attainable
(Vincent 4.418; see note on verse 7); so long as today shall last (Williams); as long as it is called today
[ 78 ]SKLEERUNTHEE, be hardened (Marshall 859; Williams; Lenski 117); third person singular,
first aorist passive subjunctive of SKLEERUNOO (Han 396); be made dry or hard (see notes on verses
8, 15; 4:7).
[ 79 ]APATEE TEES HAMARTIAS, by [the] deceit of sin (Marshall 859); APATEE is rather a trick,
stratagem, deceit, than the quality of deceitfulness. The warning is against being hardened by a trick
which their sin may play them. Note the article, the or his sin--the sin of departing from the living God
(Vincent 4.418); ;by sin's deceiving ways [Greek, deceitfulness of sin] (Williams); by means of the
deceit of the sin (Lenski 117).
[ 80 ]METOCHOI GAR TOU CHRISTOU GEGONAMEN, sharers for of the Christ we have become
(Marshall 859); GEGONAMEN is first person plural, second perfect active indicative of GINOMAI
(Han 396); [META with, ECHOO to have], properly an adjective, sharing in, partaking of (Vine 419);
we are become fellows with Christ (Vincent 4.418); for we have become real sharers in Christ
(Williams); for we have become sharers of Christ (Lenski 117).
[ 81 ]EANPER . . . KATASCHOOMEN, if indeed. . . we have come (Marshall 859);
KATASCHOOMEN is first person plural, second aorist active subjunctive of KATECHOO (Han 396);
if only, if indeed (Thayer 163); [KATA down, ECHOO to have or hold], hold firmly, hold fast (Vine
553; for we have become (Lenski 117); see note on verse 6).
[ 82 ]TEEN ARCHEEN TEES HUPOSTASEOOS, the beginning of the assurance (Marshall 859);
literally, a standing under, support, hence an assurance (Vine 77); situation, condition . . . also
specifically frame of mind . . . the frame of mind described in Heb 3:6 (Arndt 847); confidence, firm
trust, assurance (Thayer 645); from HUPOSTASIS, that which stands under, supports, serves as a
foundation (see Heb 11:1). Since faith is the HUPOSTASIS of Hebrews 11:1, it is supplied here to
complete the thought (Littrell); the faith we had at first (Williams); the beginning of the confidence
[ 83 ]MECHRI TELOUS BEBAIAN, until [the] end firm (Marshall 859); firm, steadfast, sure . . .
of the beginning of our confidence. MECHRI TELOUS has much the same meaning as ACHRI
TELOUS even to the end (Vine 357, 433); to the end (Williams); firm to the end (Lenski 117).
[ 84 ]EN TOO LEGESTHAI, in the to be said: = While it is said (Marshall 859); LEGESTHAI is
the present passive infinitive of LEGOO (Han 396); the writer reverts to the previous citation. Connect
with if we hold fast. Render therefore, "We are fellows of Christ if we hold the beginning of our
confidence steadfast unto the end, seeing it is said" (Vincent 4.419); continues to be spoken (Williams);
in saying (Lenski 121).
[ 85 ]TINES GAR AKOUSANTES PAREPIKRANAN, for some hearing provoked? (Marshall 859);
AKOUSANTES is the first aorist active participle, nominative plural masculine of AKOUOO (Han
396); who, when they heard, did provoke? The interrogative TINES calls special attention to those who
provoked God (Vincent 4.419; for who was it that heard and yet provoked Him? (Williams); who, pray,
on having heard, made embitterment (Lenski 121); see note on verse 8.
[ 86 ]ALL' OU, yet not (Marshall 859); but not, yet not [if punctuated PAREPIKRANAN; ALL' OU]
for "but why do I ask? did not all," etc. (Thayer 28); Who were they? But (ALL') why do I ask?
(Vincent 4.419); was it not all? (Williams); yea, did not (Lenski 121).
[ 87 ]PANTES, all (Marshall 859; Williams); were they not all who came out of Egypt by Moses?
(Vincent 4.419); all they (Lenski 121).
[ 88 ]TISIN DE PROSOOCHTHISEN TESSERAKONTA ETEE, but with whom was he angry for
forty years (Marshall 859, 860); PROSOOCHTHISEN is third person singular, first aorist active
indicative of PROSOCHTHIZOO (Han 396); [PROS toward, or with, OCHTHEOO to be sorely vexed]
. . . grieved does not adequately express the righteous anger of God intimated in the passage (Vine
314); to be wroth or displeased with (Thayer 549); with whom was He disgusted forty years (Williams);
moreover, with whom was he disgusted for forty years? (Lenski 121).
[ 89 ]OUCHI TOIS HAMARTEESASIN, [was it] not with the [ones] sinning (Marshall 860);
HAMARTEESASIN is the first aorist active participle, dative plural masculine of HAMARTANOO
(Han 396); was it not with those who had sinned? (Williams); was it not with them who sinned? (Lenski
[ 90 ]TA KOOLA EPESEN EN TEE EREEMOO, the corpses fell in the desert (Marshall 860);
EPESEN is third person singular, second aorist active indicative of PIPTOO (Han 396); whose
carcasses fell in the desert (Williams); whose carcasses fell in the wilderness (Lenski 121); KOOLON
primarily denotes a member of a body, especially the external and prominent members, particularly the
feet, and so, a dead body. The word is used in Heb 3:17 from Nu 14:29, 32 (Vine 160); properly a
limb. The idea of dismemberment underlies the use of the word. The rebellious Israelites . . . were
strewn down along in the wilderness (Vincent 4.420; see Septuagint, Leviticus 26:30; Numbers 14:29,
32; Isaiah 66:24.
[ 91 ]TOIS APEITHEESASIN, to the [ones] obeying (Marshall 860); APEITHEESASIN is the first
aorist active participle, dative plural masculine of APEITHEOO (Han 396); to them that disobeyed
(Vincent 4.420); [A negative, PEITHOO to persuade], refuse to be persuaded, refuse belief, be
disobedient (Vine 311); from APEITHEOO to be uncompliant, to disobey (Littrell); who disobeyed
Him (Williams); them that disobeyed (Lenski 121).
[ 92 ]KAI BLEPOMEN, and we see (Marshall 860); BLEPOMEN is first person plural, present active
indicative of BLEPOO (Han 396); "and," not "so" (Howson 860); of mental perception discover, find
(Arndt 143, 144); so we see (Williams); and so we see (Lenski 121).
[ 93 ]HOTI OUK EEDUNEETHEESAN, that not they were able (Marshall 860);
EEDUNEETHEESAN is third person plural, first aorist passive indicative Attic of DUNAMAI (Han
396); they could not enter (Howson 860); that they could not (Williams); that they could not (Lenski
[ 94 ]EISELTHEIN, to enter (Marshall 860); the second aorist active infinitive of EISERCHOMAI
(Han 396); a form of EISERCHOMAI (Thayer 187, 188); enter (Arndt 233); be admitted to it
(Williams); enter in (Lenski 121).
[ 95 ]DI' APISTIAN, because of disbelief (Marshall 860); unbelief (Vine 109); because of unbelief
(Arndt 85; Lenski 121); want of faith, belief, in the power and promises of God (Thayer 57); from
APISTIA, unbelief; that it was unbelief, because of their unbelief (Littrell); because of their unbelief
[basic cause of failure] (Williams).
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington,
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The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise,
are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
All rights reserved. Used by permission. Bracketed alternatives are drawn from various
sources such as the ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV.
Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.
Published in The Old Paths Archive
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