Letter to the Hebrews, Part 6 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

An Exposition

Hebrews 3:1-6: “Jesus Christ: Worthy of More Glory Than Moses”

“Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all his house. 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 every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, 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” (Hebrews 3:1-6, NKJV).

One of my favorite movies is Cecil B. DeMille’s production of “The Ten Commandments,” made in 1956. It featured Charlton Heston in what was probably his most noted role, that of Moses the Lawgiver, the most revered figure in the history of Israel, save for King David. It is a movie I never get tired of viewing, especially the magnificent scene where the waters of the Red Sea part for the Israelites to escape from the approaching army of the Pharoah of Egypt. It is still considered one of the greatest special effects in motion picture history. The entirety of the picture has a reverent tone and presents the acts and words of the LORD as holy and sacred, a far cry from the utter blasphemy the Hollywood system spews out today.

Mr. DeMille was a dedicated Christian whose father had been an Episcopalian deacon and who read the Scriptures to his family daily. If you go back to the early days of motion pictures, you will find that DeMille’s specialty was the “epic,” with a story that often focused on Biblical times or the life of a noted moral figure in American history. The Bible was held up as a standard of all that was good and noble about civilization, even if the actors or producers themselves were not moral in lifestyle.

The climax of the “Ten Commandments” is when Moses is on Mount Sinai and God gives him the foundation of all Law and Order, personally carving them out on the rock for him to take back to the Israelites. It is said that the actor who did the voice of God did not want to have his name placed in the movie’s credits because he wanted God Himself to have all the attention and honor due Him. Where is such reverence and awe today?

Mr. Heston always spoke of the role he played as Moses in a reverent and respectable manner. It was not a role to him, but something special. I would feel the same way if I were portraying a character from the Scriptures, not like today where the mention of God is rare, if at all, in the entertainment industry, and I dare say in most houses of worship today where the center of attention seems to be on causes and not of Christ Himself. The men and women whose lives and dedication to the name and work of the LORD we read of in the Bible are treated today like so much trivia and regulated to the bottom of the barrel in the thinking of modern America and the world in general.

It is bad when you need to tell people who have copies of the Bible in their homes who people like Moses, David, and the Lord Jesus are and that they were real people. We are not talking about some isolated pagan society somewhere in the plains of unknown lands, but right here in this nation. If Moses and the Ten Commandments were legends and mythology, then why have institutions and individuals over the past few years bent over backward to remove them from courtrooms, public lands, schools, and even the halls of Congress? If the Ten Commandments were not relevant or important, then why has modern “civilization” broken down, with people behaving like animals since we removed them and their influence on society, basically leaving us to wither and flounder aimlessly like a leaf in the wind?

Moses is revered by the Jews because it is he who gave the nation of Israel the foundation for their national and spiritual being and existence. By the hand of God, they were rescued from the tyranny of slavery in Egypt and chosen by the LORD to be His representative, showing the other nations that there was no one like Him and there is none who is His equal.

Israel was to be used by the LORD as the guiding light for other nations to emulate and to turn away from the false idols and deities they had made for themselves. The Tabernacle in the wilderness was a symbol that God was not aloof or separate from His people but was in their midst, visible in the flame at night and the cloud by day, to show them that He would be with them always, even when they were not faithful as seen in their history and behavior throughout the pages of the Old Testament. Israel is an object lesson for any nation that strays from the will of God and makes a mockery of His plans for them.

Any nation that decides it is too big to bow the knee to the Sovereign LORD of all creation soon finds itself in the dustbin and rubble of others who had thought the same thing. We do not teach history in our schools; therefore, we do not know the consequences of people or countries that throw away the things of God in order to chase after riches that will rot and rust just as the Lord Jesus said they would. The writer of Hebrews reminded the Jews who had decided to follow Jesus that as great as Moses was and still is in their nation, he was just as fallible as anyone else even though he is called the “Lawgiver.”

The Law was the guiding force for the nation, but it could only do one thing, and that was to show the Israelites and everyone else that we are guilty of breaking it every day, either in thought or deed. God’s standard is holiness, which we do not possess in our own strength. We are wicked, sinful creatures who rebel against God’s authority constantly; do not fool yourselves into thinking otherwise.

Throughout the Old Testament, God reminds His chosen people that their sins need to be confessed and atoned for continually so that they can have a relation with Him. But He also said to them through His prophets that there was coming a day where their sins and ours as well would be atoned for once and for all by the Servant of God, who would suffer the penalty of sin for us as well as be the Deliverer of Israel, the promised Messiah.

The Tabernacle, the Temple, and the daily sacrifices for sin by the slaughter of an innocent animal that the Israelites had lived by for thousands of years were symbolic of what the Promised One would endure, and thus would make Him greater than the sacrifices and the Law behind it. The Promised One would be able to keep the Law and obey it perfectly as well as fulfill the promises spoken of by the LORD’s prophets.

The writer of Hebrews tells his Jewish audience that it was Jesus Christ who fulfilled all these requirements and who was the One greater than Moses because He did keep the Law. Moses himself appeared on the mountain with Elijah to show the disciples that Jesus was the One whom God sent to let them know that they were following THE Messiah and the Chosen One, and they were to teach the people about this truth (Matthew 16:28-17:13; Mark 9:1-13; Luke 9:27-36; 2 Peter 1:16-18).

This is our task as Christians today. We are given the privilege as well as the responsibility to study the Scriptures (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15) in order to teach this generation and the next that Jesus is more than a figure of history; He is God Incarnate who did for us what we could not do for ourselves, and that was to atone for our sins and take upon Himself the punishment that we deserve for rebellion against God and the eternal hell that follows. The New Testament was written to show that Jesus is LORD and is the fulfillment of all the promises from God that He would not leave us alone nor forsake us. Even though our sins made us His enemies, He still forgave us through the finished work of Christ on the cross, never to be repeated (Romans 5:6-11).

We are not to conform to the world’s demands (Romans 12:1-2), nor approve or support their choice to reject the only hope they have for true peace (John 14:6). We are not to be a friend of the world system (1 John 2:15-17). The world hates us anyway, so why give in to them?

Hebrews was written to the Jews to remain faithful to Jesus the Messiah and to future generations to remain faithful to Him who rescued and redeemed us from the grip of sin and hell.

Jesus is greater than anything this world offers, so why not turn to Him today?