Son is Better Than Moses
By Charles A. Ratz
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. Therefore, as the
Holy Spirit says: Today, if you will hear His voice,
It is well to remember in reading the epistle to the Hebrews,
that it was written in the first century of Christianity. Many
of the Hebrews to whom this letter is addressed had embraced
the Messiah. They were enjoying the blessings of the New Covenant.
However, they were suffering severe persecution from the non-believing
Hebrews in an effort to force them to renounce their professed
faith in the Messiah and return to the Old Testament sacrifices.
The writer, realizing the danger of these persecuted Hebrews,
sets forth the superiority of the New Covenant over the old
by directing their attention to the Messiah Who is the Mediator
of the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was mediated by prophets,
angels, Moses the lawgiver, Joshua who succeeded Moses, and
Aaron the high priest.
Messiah, who is the Son of God, is superior to all Old Testament
mediators. Having shown the Son to be better than prophets and
better than angels, the writer now demonstrates the Son to be
better than Moses. "Consider the Apostle and high Priest
of our confession," says the writer. It is his purpose
to direct their attention to the Son: He must get his hearers
to dwell upon, to observe carefully the Son who is the true
Apostle and high Priest. If he can succeed in getting them to
behold Him, there will be little danger of these persecuted
Hebrews renouncing their confession.
"Wherefore," says the apostle. It is like the word
'therefore' in Romans 5:16, connecting the former statements
to clinch his argument. It draws a conclusion from the preceding
Because of the Son's superiority over prophets and angels;
because of the Son's condescension and incarnation, thus made
for a little time, a little lower than angels for the suffering
of death; and because through His death and resurrection He
might bring many sons unto glory, present to God a sanctified
people, becoming a merciful and faithful high priest, having
made atonement for the sins of the people, the writer exhorts
his hearers to consider Him in relation to Moses.
'Wherefore, holy brethren'. The phrase 'holy brethren' is not
used by the apostle to indicate relationship of race, as brethren
in the Hebrew race, but the relationship of believers in Christ.
They are brethren in the sense of Hebrews 2:11,17. There, our
Lord declared Himself not to be ashamed to call us brethren.
The word 'holy' here means 'set apart for God.' It does not
have particular reference to a holy walk, but to a position
in salvation, "sanctified in Christ Jesus." It is
the position of the believer secured by the redemptive work
of Christ on the cross. This is borne out in Hebrews 2:11. "He
that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one,
for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren."
What a glorious position! Set apart for God by the Son. Because
of this position and privilege the Holy Spirit enables us to
walk in holiness.
"By that will we have been sanctified
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for
all. ....For by one offering He has perfected forever those
who are being sanctified." (Heb 10:10, 14)
The apostle continues by addressing his hearers as 'partakers
of the heavenly calling.' What a contrast we have here. The
Hebrew race had an earthly inheritance. God had declared His
purpose to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Canaan was to be their
portion. They were looking forward to the promise of God in
connection with their portion. They were looking forward to
the promise of God in connection with their earthly calling.
But what superior inheritance for the believing Hebrews who
had accepted the Son of God, their Messiah. They no longer are
partakers of an earthly calling, but are partakers of the heavenly
calling. Wonderful as their earthly blessing may have been,
with Jehovah;s dwelling in their midst, Jerusalem and the temple,
the Aaronic priesthood and Levitical ritual, yet it was not
to be compared with the heavenly calling. The sins of the nation
had driven Jehovah from the temple. It was destroyed and the
people were taken into exile. Although the people returned later
and another temple was built in which they worshipped at the
time this epistle was written, they were still under Gentile
domination. Though not nationally forsaken, they were not nationally
forgiven. "God hath not cast away His people. (Romans 11:2)
and He will one day forgive them, when they, in their repentance,
"shall look upon Him whom they have pieced." (Zechariah
These individual Hebrews were partakers of the heavenly calling.
The word 'partakers' could be translated 'partners.' they were
partners or associates of the same calling, a heavenly calling,
which is from above. The church has a heavenly calling and a
heavenly destiny. The Hebrews here are addressed as belonging
to the church and are distinct from the nation Israel. What
encouragement for these individual believers who were persecuted
and rejected by the unbelieving mass. They no longer had the
privilege to enter the Temple in Jerusalem. Though suffering
great affliction, nevertheless, they gladly knew in themselves
that they had in heaven a better and enduring substance. (10:32-34)
no longer would they need to be taken up with a priest in an
earthly sanctuary and its carnal ordinance. They are now interested
in a better Priest, who is now entered in the heavenly sanctuary
bringing spiritual realities to the trusting heart.
"Consider." Observe closely, be fully occupied with
Him, who is described as the 'the Apostle and High Priest of
our confession.' The Christ is both Apostle and High Priest.
An apostle is a messenger, a sent one. Angels are messengers
but they are not apostles. Angels are heavenly spiritual being,
and that alone. They are ministering spirits sent forth to minister
to those who shall inherit salvation. (1:14) An apostle is 'a
sent one' who has a commission to do something He is furnished
with credentials and comes with representative authority. He
comes as an ambassador. He is the Apostle sent from God. He
showed His credential while upon earth. Following His resurrection
He said, "All power is given unto me." As Apostle
He represented God to man kind. God spoke through Him. He was
God's last word to His creatures. "God hath in these last
days spoken unto us by His Son." (1:2)
He is not only described as Apostle, He is also High Priest.
Aaron had offered the blood of bulls and goats for sin. Aaron
had represented man to God. He had interceded. The Son is our
High Priest. He offered His own blood as an offering for sin,
making reconciliation for the people. He now intercedes in a
sanctuary which God pitched and not man. Moses, in type, represents
the Apostleship of Christ, just as Aaron represents the Priesthood
of Christ. Moses was God's Ambassador to Israel. Aaron, the
High Priest represented Israel before God. "Consider the
Apostle and High Priest of our confession." The word 'profession'
does not convey the true meaning. 'Confession' is a better word.
It is found six times in the new Testament, three times in Hebrews.
Christ before Pilate did not make a 'profession' but confessed.
(John 18:37) "The Apostle and High Priest of our confession"
is one whom we have confessed. It has reference to a testimony
that is at once clear and courageous. Paul said, "If thou
shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus." (Romans 10:9)
The writer now calls his readers' attention to the fact that
the Apostle and High Priest is faithful unto Him who appointed
Him. 'Is faithful,' not was faithful, is in the Greek text.
The faithfulness of Christ appears to apply to His present ministry,
not to His earthly life in the past. Moses was known to the
Jewish people as the highest example of fidelity. God had borne
testimony to his faithfulness in Numbers 12:7.
"My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine
house." It is the apostle's purpose in this epistle to
prove that Israel's Messiah is greater than Moses. They are
to consider the Apostle and High Priest, the Messiah. He must
fill their vision. The writer compares the Son with Moses, the
most faithful servant. Moses was looked upon as the great leader
of the Hebrew nation. They had said, "We are Moses' disciples."
(John 9:28) If these Hebrews can be made to realize that the
Son is superior to Moses, then the Old Covenant with its Levitical
system will no longer hold them.
The writer does not speak of the failures of Moses. He makes
no mention of Moses' smiting the rock which barred him from
Canaan. He did not relate the story of Moses' slaying the Egyptian
and burying him in the sand. Instead of speaking of his failures,
he speaks of his faithfulness. Now the writer boldly tells that
"the Son is counted worthy of more glory than Moses inasmuch
as He who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house."
(3:3) From verse two, a quotation from Numbers 12:7, we read
that Moses is in the house. That is he was a member of the house.
The 'house' unquestionably refers to 'Israel, the people of
God.' We speak of the House of Windsor, the House of Brunswick,
the House of David. We mean the family tree. So the House of
Jacob or House of Israel refers to God's people, Israel. Moses
was a member in the house. But the builder of the house has
more honour than the house. God built the house of Israel. God
built all thing. The Son of God built the house. Moses was not
the builder but the servant in the house. The Son was the builder
and Founder of the house of Israel.
The apostle does not stop here. He gives us another line of
proof. Moses was faithful in the house as a servant, but Christ
as Son over the house is faithful. A Son is worthy of more glory
than a servant. Therefore the Son is superior to Moses. The
Son is Builder; Moses a member in the house. The Son is superior
in position, for He is higher than a servant.
Moses had cried, "I beseech Thee show me thy glory."
(Ex 33:18) Fourteen centuries later, Moses and Elijah were with
the Messiah on the Mount of Transfiguration. The prayer of Moses
was answered. He saw God's glory, the Son 'crowned with glory
and honour.' The Son was transfigured and the Father testified
to the superiority of the Son. (Matthew 17:1-5 ) Moses
the lawgiver and Elijah the prophet were swept aside and the
disciples say no man save Jesus only. Oh, that Israel might
have the veil moved from their faces to behold their Messiah.
'Consider Him' cries the apostle. To behold Him the Author and
the Finisher of faith is to be freed from carnal ordinances
and empty rituals whether they be Jewish or church formalism.
The writer then reminds his hearers that Christ is over the
house and that we have the privilege of being in the house.
But this could not be fully realized unless there was faithfulness.
"Whose house are we if we hold fast the confidence and
the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (3:6) The house
of God in Moses' day had reference to Israel, God's people.
As the family of God it refers to all saints of all ages. We
are to hold fast our confidence. We are to be bold and courageous
in in spite of sufferings, persecution and trials;and thus enjoy
the privilege of being in the house of which the Son has the
oversight. It is essential that 'we hold fast our confidence
right to the end. Only those can hold fast who have already
laid hold of Christ. ( 1 Tim 6:12,19) Later in the epistle the
writer exhorts to not cast away our confidence. Consider Him
and you shall hold fast confidence!
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