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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: The Letter to the Hebrews

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Frameworks: Hebrews 3 & 4

 

(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a simple comment of what is happening)

GO TO Ch.4

 

FRAMEWORKS: Hebrews 3: Gospel greater than Law

 

v.1-6 Jesus Greater Than Moses
v.7-14 Beware Hard-hearted Unbelief
v.15-19 Remember the Example of Israel

 

 

v.1-6 Jesus Greater Than Moses

 

v.1 (focus on Jesus) Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.

v.2 (he, like Moses, was faithful to his task) He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house.

v.3-5 (but Jesus has more honour than Moses) Jesus has been found worthy of greater honour than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honour than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house,” [Num 12:7] bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future.

v.6 (Jesus was faithful in bringing us to God) But Christ is faithful as the Son over God's house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

 

v.7-14 Beware Hard-hearted Unbelief

 

v.7-9 (so don't follow Israel's example of unbelief) So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion,  during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me,  though for forty years they saw what I did.

v.10 (… who were chided by God) That is why I was angry with that generation;   I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,   and they have not known my ways.'

v.11 (so God promised they would not enter His rest) So I declared on oath in my anger,   ‘They shall never enter my rest.' ” [Psa 95:7-11]

v.12 (beware having an unbelieving heart) See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

v.13 (but exhort & encourage one another continually) But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

v.14 (our sharing in Christ is only meaningful if we hold to the end) We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.

 

v.15-19 Remember the Example of Israel

 

v.15-17 Israel's disobedience meant they didn't enter the Land (the rest)

v.15 (the warning against hard-heartedness is clear) As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice,   do not harden your hearts   as you did in the rebellion.” [Psa 95:7,8]

v.16 (and these were the ones who knew miraculous deliverance from Egypt) Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?

v.17 (and yet that generation died in the wilderness) And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness?

v.18,19 So disobedience prevents us receiving his rest

v.18 (so it was to them that God forbade their entry) And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?

v.19 (the lesson is very clear: disobedience = non-entry) So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.

 

[Comment: The Flow of Writing: Our focus as New Testament believers is to be Jesus, not Moses because, as great a shepherd as Moses was, he was still only a servant in God's dealings with Israel while Jesus, the Son of God, is over all. References to Israel remind us that the nation miraculously delivered out of Egypt, failed to follow through and so allowed their unbelief to disqualify them from entering the Land. With that warning in mind, in the next chapter the writer equates entering the Promised Land with entering a place of rest. When God ‘rested' on the seventh day, it was because He had completed the work of creation and there was nothing more to do. Similarly IF (original, older generation) Israel had entered the Land, there was just a life of taking fuller occupation of it. For us, entering into our salvation means there is nothing more we can do; we can't make ourselves more saved, more holy, more children of God. The work has been completed by Christ.]

 

 

 

FRAMEWORKS: Hebrews 4: Sabbath Rest

 

v.1-13 A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God

v.14-16 So let's come to God through Jesus the Great High Priest

 

 

v.1-13 A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God

 

v.1 (the promise still stands but we could fail to receive it) Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.

v.2

v.2 (the gospel has come to us but they failed to inherit their good news; what a warning) For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

v.3 (believers enter that ‘rest' but unbelievers won't) Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger,   ‘They shall never enter my rest.'” [Psa 95:11] And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.

 

v.4 (God's example – He rested on the 7th day) For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.” [Gen. 2:2]

v.5 (yet the warning is still there) And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

v.6 (so not everyone enters His rest, hearing the gospel is not enough, obedience is essential) Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience,

v.7 (it still remains available but so too does the warning ) God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice,   do not harden your hearts.” [Psa 95:7,8]

v.8 (Joshua taking the Land was only for them, there was ‘another day' of rest spoken of by David) For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.

v.9,10 (it's a rest still offered to all, to enter into the rest from ‘work' that Gpd offers) There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.

v.11 (so let's do all we can to enter it) Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

v.12 (let God's word have its effect) For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

v.13 (every one and every thing is visible to God- He knows the truth!) Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

 

v.14-16 So let's come to God through Jesus the Great High Priest

 

v.14 (remember Jesus our high priest is on heaven on our behalf ) Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

v.15 (he understands us, was our example of one tempted but not falling ) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

v.16 (so have confidence) Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

[Comment: The Flow of Writing: As we indicated previously, the writer equates entering the Promised Land with entering a place of rest. When God ‘rested' on the seventh day, it was because He had completed the work of creation and there was nothing more to do. Similarly IF (original, older generation) Israel had entered the Land, there was just a life of taking fuller occupation of it. For us, entering into our salvation means there is nothing more we can do; we can't make ourselves more saved, more holy, more children of God. The work has been completed by Christ. We now just rest in who we are. This has been achieved by Jesus who acted as a high priest on our behalf – the writer will work this out in more detail in the chapters to come. For the moment, the writer simply points out that Jesus coming in human form meant he experienced what we experience but triumphed in it.]

   

   

(CONTINUE to CHAPTER 5)