Christ and Moses
Hebrews 3:2
Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

Every word here is an echo of something going before, and is instinct with persuasive virtue. "Brethren" of Him who in a fraternal spirit identified Himself with the unholy, and for their sakes took flesh and tasted death. "Holy," at least in standing, in virtue of the priestly action of the Sanctifier; and because holy in this sense, under obligation to make their consecration to God a reality by living a truly Christian life. "Partakers of a heavenly calling" — thus described, at once with truth and with rhetorical skill, with a backward glance at the greatness of the Christian's hope as the destined lord of the future world, and with a mental reference to the contrast between that glorious prospect and the present state of believers as partakers of flesh and blood, and subject to death and the fear thereof; reminding them at the same time of the blessed truth that as Christ became partaker of their present lot, so they were destined to be partakers of His glorious inheritance, the unity and fellowship between Him and His people being on both sides perfect and complete. The titles here ascribed to Jesus also arise out of the previous context, and are full of significance. Specially noteworthy is the former of the two, "Apostle," here only applied to Christ. The basis for the title is such a text as Exodus 3:10: "Come now therefore, and I will send thee [ἀποστείλω, Sept.] unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt." Moses was an apostle, as one sent by God on the important mission of leading the enslaved race of Israel out of Egypt into Canaan. Christ was our Apostle, as one sent by God to be the Leader in the great salvation. The Apostle of our Christian confession and the " Captain of salvation" are synonymous designations. "Consider the Apostle" means, consider for practical purposes a subject already sufficiently understood; "consider the High Priest" means, consider the doctrine of Christ's priesthood, that ye may first understand it. and then prove its practical value. Christ the Apostle is the immediate subject of contemplation. That aspect is in view throughout the third and fourth chapters, the priestly aspect being presented at the close of the latter, as an introduction to the long discussion which commences with the fifth chapter and extends to the tenth. "Consider the Apostle of our confession" is the rubric of this new section. To guide consideration, a point of view is suggested congruous to the practical aim. The aim being to promote steadfastness in the Christian faith and life, the selected point of view is the fidelity of Jesus our Apostle. God made Jesus by giving Him His unique place in the world's history, as the chief agent in the work of redemption. And Jesus was faithful to God by discharging faithfully the high duties entrusted to Him. What the Hebrews are invited to do, therefore, is to consider Jesus as the faithful Captain of salvation, who never betrayed His trust, shirked His responsibilities, or neglected duty to escape personal suffering, and who at the last great crisis said, "Not My will, but Thine be done." For of course the theatre in which Christ's fidelity was displayed was His earthly life of trial and temptation. He has already held up Jesus as Priest, as one who is faithful to the interests of those for whom He transacts before God, and therefore entitled to their confidence. The two views supplement each other, and complete the picture of the Faithful One. Faithful as Priest to men in virtue of sympathies learned on earth, faithful as Apostle to God in the execution of the arduous mission on which He was sent to the world; in the one aspect inspiring trust, in the other exciting admiration and inciting to imitation. The following comparison between Christ and Moses at once serves the general end of the Epistle by contributing to the proof of the superiority of Christianity to Judaism, and the special end of the present exhortation by affording the opportunity of extracting wholesome lessons from the fate of the people whom Moses led out of Egypt. In doing this, he simply does justice to the familiar historical record of the Jewish hero's life, and to God's own testimony borne on a memorable occasion, the substance of which he repeats in the words, "as also Moses [was faithful] in His house." "My servant Moses, faithful in all My house, he," God had said emphatically, to silence murmuring against him on the part of his brother Aaron and his sister Miriam. He lays hold of the suggestive words "house" and "servant," and turns them to account for his purpose, saying in effect, "Moses was as faithful as any servant in a house can be: still he was only a servant, while He of whom I now speak was not a mere servant in the house, but a Son; and that makes all the difference." Verses 3 to 6 are substantially just the working out of this thought. But it may be asked, the subject of comparison being the respective fidelities of the two apostles, is not a reference to their positions irrelevant? What does it matter whether Moses was son or servant, if he was faithful in all God's house, in all parts of his work as the leader of Israel? If one were comparing two commanders in respect of bravery and military genius, would it not be an irrelevance to say of one of them, he was the better man, for he was the king's son? The question is pertinent, but it admits of a satisfactory answer. Reference to the superior dignity of Christ is relevant, if His position as Son tended to enhance His fidelity. That it did the writer doubtless meant to suggest. Farther on we find him saying. "Though He was a Son, yet learned He obedience." Similarly he says here in effect: "Christ, though a Son, was faithful to His vocation amid trial." It is a just thought. Beyond doubt we have in Christ as Son a more sublime moral spectacle of fidelity than in any ordinary man called to play a great and responsible part in history. To the fidelities which He has in common with other men, the Son adds this other: resolute resistance to the temptation to use His sonship as an excuse for declining arduous heroic tasks. But there is more than this to be said. The reference to the dignity of Christ looks beyond the immediate parenetic purpose to the ultimate aim of the whole Epistle It is designed to insinuate the great truth that Christianity is the absolute, eternal religion. This idea casts its shadow on the page at three different points —

1. In the contrast between Moses and Jesus as respectively servant and Son.

2. In the representation of the Ministry of Moses as being for a testimony of things to be spoken afterwards (ver. 5).

3. In the representation of Christians as pre-eminently though not exclusively God's, Christ's, house (ver. 6). The assertion manifestly implies the transiency of the Mosaic system. It suggests the thought that the house aa it stood m the time of Moses was but a rude, temporary model of the true, eternal house of God; good enough to furnish shelter from the elements, so to speak, but unfit to be the everlasting dwelling place of the children of the Most High, therefore destined to be superseded by a more glorious structure, having the Spirit of God for its architect, which should be to the old fabric as was the "magnifical" temple of Solomon to the puny tabernacle in the wilderness. At verse 6 transition is naturally made from Moses to the lessons of the wilderness life of Israel. The writer is haunted by the fear lest the tragic fate of the generation of the Exodus should be repeated in the experience of the Hebrew Christians. He hopes that the powerful motives arising out of the truths he has stated may bring about a better result. But he cannot hide from himself that another issue is possible. For the future fortunes of Christianity he has no anxiety; he is firmly persuaded that it will prosper, though the Hebrew Church, or even the whole Hebrew nation, should perish. That fatal catastrophe he dreads; therefore with great solemnity he proceeds to represent retention of their position in the house of God as conditional: "Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the boasting of the hope."

(A. B. Bruce, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

WEB: who was faithful to him who appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house.

A Faithful Mother
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