Important Grammatical and Content Keys from Hebrews 3:1 – 4:13
|Key(incl. verse #)||Major or Minor?||Notes|
The writer urges the Hebrew Christians to consider the implications of the superiority of Christ and his message to that of the angels. It is not merely head knowledge but demands an active response of faith.
The author begins a comparison of Moses to Jesus, and just as he showed his superiority over angels, Jesus is more superior to Moses, the greatest prophet of the Old Testament. While Moses was merely a servant, Jesus is the Son and therefore is worthy of greater honour.
The Hebrews are called to respond by believing the voice of God and not rejecting it as their forefathers did. Just as they perished for their faithlessness, the Hebrews will also meet the same fate if they turn away. What follows (3:7-19) is an exhortation to faith les they fail to enter the true rest, i.e., heaven just as their ancestors died in the wilderness and failed to reach Canaan.
Seeing that Jesus is superior to even Moses, the Hebrews are to strive on in faith if they hope to enter into his rest. Canaan was a mere shadow of the rest that God promised. The Israelites never obtained the rest that was promised if they had obeyed – instead it was marked with wars, strife, suffering, exile and eventually, the destruction of the whole nation. Therefore, the true rest lies in the future but is obtained through faith in the present.
The Outline of Hebrews 3:1 – 4:13
|Major Point||Minor (sub) Point|
|Jesus is greater than Moses as a son is greater than a servant (3:1-6)||Jesus is their ultimate apostle and high priest (3:1-2)|
|–||Jesus has greater glory than Moses since Moses was only a servant while Jesus is the Son (3:2-6a)|
|–||In the same way that Moses built the Israelites into a dwelling place of the presence of God, Jesus is building a greater house which the Hebrews are a part of, if they continue to believe (3:6b)|
|The Israelites failed to enter God’s land of promise, Canaan, because they refused to believe in the word the came through Moses (3:7-19)||Their ancestors rebelled and did not believe in Moses (3:7-9)|
|–||Therefore God made them wander in the desert until all those who did not believe had died (3:10 – 19)|
|The Hebrews will also miss out on God’s final rest if they do not believe in the greater word that comes through Jesus (4:1-13)||The true rest is yet to come (4:1-10)|
|–||Therefore, the Hebrews must work hard by faith to enter that rest (4:11)|
|–||Those who do not will be judged by the same word that they are rejecting (4:12-13)|
The Summary of Hebrews 3:1 – 4:13
Just as Jesus is greater than angels and spoke a better message than they did, he is also greater than Moses. Moses was the greatest prophet of the old covenant but Jesus is an even better messenger and intercessor between them and God because he is the Son of God while Moses was only a servant. As a result, they will not escape God’s judgment if they reject his work and his word just as the Israelites who did not put their faith and trust in God failed to enter the promised land of Canaan.
Even though those who survived the desert ordeal did enter Canaan as they were led by Joshua, it was not the final place of peaceful rest that God had promised. It was only a shadow of the true Canaan that was yet to come and which God promises to everyone who believes now and continues in faith until they finally enter the place where God’s grace and peace is found. Because this rest still awaits them and is found only through faith in Jesus, the Hebrews must continue holding on to him and not reject him if they are to enter heaven, the place of God’s final and true rest.