22 September 2021

Son Surpasses Moses


The word of the Son is superior even to the word of Moses, the servant and Great Lawgiver in the house of Yahweh

Hebrews next demonstrates the superiority of the sonly word by comparing it to Moses. Implicit in its argument is the priority of the “word spoken in the Son” over the Mosaic legislation, and at this point in the letter, the comparison is most appropriate.

In the letter’s opening paragraph, it compares the “word spoken in” Jesus to the earlier revelations given “in the prophets.” Although Moses is the chief representative of this illustrious group, he is also more honored than all the others.

Unlike the other prophets, God spoke to Moses face-to-face, not through visions and riddles. And his greater rank now serves to emphasize the superiority of Jesus over the prophets that preceded him, including the Great Lawgiver himself.

  • (Hebrews 3:1-6) - “Whence, holy brethren, partners in a heavenly calling, attentively consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus, as one faithful to him who made him: as Moses also in his house. For of more glory than Moses has this one been counted worthy, by as much as, more honor than the house has he that prepared it. For every house is prepared by someone, but he that has prepared all things is God. Even Moses, indeed, was faithful in all his house as an attendant, for a witness of the things which were to be spoken; but Christ as a Son over his house, whose house are we, if the boldness of speech and boast of the hope we hold fast.

FAITHFUL SERVANT


The preceding passage designates Jesus as our “merciful and faithful high priest,” and this is here reaffirmed. As our “apostle,” he is the one sent from God to deliver His final word and lead His people. As our “High Priest,” he represents believers before God and intercedes for them.

The descriptions of Jesus as “one faithful to Him who made him,” and of Moses as one faithful “also in all His house,” allude to the following passage from the Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint:

  • (Numbers 12:5-8) - “Hear now my words, if there be a prophet among you, I, Yahweh, will make myself known to him in a vision, I will speak with him in a dream. MY SERVANT MOSES is not so; he is FAITHFUL IN ALL MY HOUSE: with him will I speak mouth-to-mouth, even manifestly, and not in dark speeches; and the form of Yahweh shall he behold: wherefore then were you not afraid to speak against MY SERVANT MOSES?

Moses is the only one to whom Yahweh spoke face-to-face; that is, until Jesus. In Jewish tradition, Moses received greater honor than even angels.

Since Christ is superior to the angels, and since disobedience to his word requires far greater punishment than disobeying the Torah, the superiority of the Son over Moses follows logically.

The words “faithful,” “priest” and “house” allude to the prophecy that Yahweh would “raise up a FAITHFUL PRIEST, and according to that which is in my heart and in my soul will he do. Therefore, will I build for him AN ASSURED HOUSE” - (1 Samuel 2:35).

Jesus is now presented as that promised “FAITHFUL PRIEST” who has been set over God’s “HOUSE” - (compare Hebrews 10:1-14).

GOD’S HOUSEHOLD


And Jesus is worthy of more honor than even Moses, just as the one who prepares the house is worthy of more honor than the house. He is associated closely with the “builder” of the house, God, and he is set over that very house. In contrast, Moses was a servant in His “house.”

The Greek verb rendered “prepare” or kataskeuazō means “to prepare, equip,” not to “build” (Strong’s - #G2680). In Greek literature, it is used for supplying furnishings to equip a household for habitation.

The word “house” points to the living community of God’s covenant people. Jesus is “over His house whose house we are.” Believers “are” (present tense) his household if they hold fast their “confidence and boast of hope,” namely, holding firmly to their confession and the “word of the Son.”

Nowhere does the argument denigrate Moses. However, though he gave Israel the Law at Sinai, he belonged to the past era that now is eclipsed by the Son, Jesus Christ.

The comparison with Moses prepares the reader for the next section concerning the generation of Israel that received the Mosaic “word” but failed “to hold fast to their confidence and hope.”

To now abandon the final revelation that God has “spoken” in His Son and return to the former and incomplete “word” will result in horrific consequences.


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