Yeshua’s Rest Is Superior To That of Moshe and Y’Hoshua ~ Part 2

Messianic Jews 3:12-19
Letter to the Messianic Jews

In my last post, we began an introduction to the topic of Yeshua Rest Is Superior To That of Moshe and Y’Hoshua.  In this post, we continue to explore that concept of the necessity of persevering faith to enter Yeshua’s rest contained in Messianic Jews 3:12-19.

12 Watch out, brothers, so that there will not be in any one of you an evil heart lacking trust, which could lead you to apostatize from the living God! 13 Instead, keep exhorting each other every day, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you will become hardened by the deceit of sin. 14 For we have become sharers in the Messiah, provided, however, that we hold firmly to the conviction we began with, right through until the goal is reached. 15 Now where it says, “Today, if you hear God’s voice, don’t harden your hearts, as you did in the Bitter Quarrel,” 16 who were the people who, after they heard, quarreled so bitterly? All those whom Moshe brought out of Egypt. 17 And with whom was God disgusted for forty years? Those who sinned — yes, they fell dead in the Wilderness! 18 And to whom was it that he swore that they would not enter his rest? Those who were disobedient. 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of lack of trust.” ~ Hebrews 3:12-19 (CJB)

I have previously dealt with the subject of apostasy in my series on Eternal Security and would refer you back to Eternal Security Part 4; Part 5; and, Part 6.

In urging his readers to keep exhorting each other, the author is exemplifying the principle that the Messianic life pattern is not one in which the vast majority of passive believers let a few “ministers” do all the work. Rather, Yeshua gives His followers leaders whose task is “to equip God’s people for the work of service that builds the Body of the Messiah” (Ephesians 4:11-16). He will reiterate this point in Messianic Jews 10:24-25.

In effect, the author is saying, “While there is yet time, while you can still speak of ‘today’ give God the trust and the obedience that he must have.” For the individual “today” means “while life lasts” and the author is saying, “While you have the chance, give God the submission you ought to give. Give it to him before your day closes.”

There are three significant warnings here. [1]

  • God makes humanity an offer. Just as He offered the Israelites the blessings of the Promised Land, He provides us the benefits of a life which is far beyond the life that we can live without Him.
  • To obtain the blessings of God two things are necessary.
    • Trust is necessary. We must believe that what God says is true. We must be willing to stake our lives on his promises.
    • Obedience is necessary. In any realm of life, success depends on obedience to the word of the expert. God is the expert in life, and real happiness depends on obedience to Him.
  • There is a limit to God’s offer. That limit is the duration of our life here on earth. We speak easily about “tomorrow” but for some of us, tomorrow may never come. All we have is today. Someone has said: “We should live each day as if it were a lifetime.” God’s offer must be accepted today; the trust and the obedience must be given today ~ for we cannot be sure that there will be a tomorrow.

Here we have the excellent offer of God, but it is only for absolute trust and full obedience, and it must be accepted now, or it may be too late.

In my next post, we’ll explore Messianic Jews 4:1-13 containing a warning against missing Yeshua’s rest as typified by Canaan rest.

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[1] Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT) by William Barclay.

Yeshua’s Rest Is Superior To That of Moshe and Y’Hoshua ~ Part 1

Messianic Jews 3:7-11
Letter to the Messianic Jews

In my last post, we explored Messianic Jews 3:1-6. That passage relates to Yeshua as Lord is better than Moshe as a servant. In this post, we begin to explore that concept that Yeshua Rest Is Superior To That of Moshe and Y’Hoshua.  This post deals with an introduction to this topic.

7 Therefore, as the Ruach HaKodesh says,  ‘Today, if you hear God’s voice, 8 don’t harden your hearts, as you did in the Bitter Quarrel on that day in the Wilderness when you put God to the test. 9 Yes, your fathers put me to the test; they challenged me, and they saw my work for forty years! 10 therefore, I was disgusted with that generation ~ I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, they have not understood how I do things’; 11 in my anger, I swore that they would not enter my rest.” ~ Messianic Jews 3:7-11 (CJB)

The writer of Messianic Jews has just been striving to prove the unique supremacy of Yeshua, and now he leaves argument for exhortation. He presses upon his hearers the inevitable consequence of this exclusive supremacy. If Yeshua is so uniquely great, it follows that complete trust and complete obedience must be given to him. If they harden their hearts and refuse to provide Him with their obedient faith the consequences are bound to be terrible.

Today, if you hear God’s voice is a quote from Psalm 95:7 which is also used in a famous midrash about when the Messiah is to come:

“Rabbi Joshua ben-Lʾvi met Elijah and asked him, ‘When will the Messiah come?’ ‘Go and ask him!’ ‘Where is he?’ ‘At the entrance [to Rome], sitting among the lepers.’ So he went, greeted him, and asked, ‘Master, when will you come?’ ‘Today,’ he answered. Upon returning to Elijah, Rabbi Joshua said, ‘He lied to me. He told me he would come today, but he has not come.’ Elijah replied, ‘What he said to you was: “Today if you will hear his voice.”‘” (Condensed from Sanhedrin 98a) [1]

So it is with the real Messiah and with all the greater poignancy. Yeshua will come today to anyone who will hear His voice and not rebel as the Israelites in the wilderness did.

Don’t harden your hearts, as you did in the Bitter Quarrel on that day in the Wilderness when you put God to the test. This is a reference to two stories told in Sh’mot 17:1-7 and B’midbar 20:1-13. These passages tell of a rebellious incident in the pilgrimage of the children of Israel. They were thirsty in the desert and railed against Moshe, regretting that they had ever left Egypt and forswearing their trust in God. In the B’midbar passage God told Moshe to speak to the limestone rock and water would gush forth. But Moshe in his anger did not speak to the rock; he struck it. The water came forth, but for this act of distrust and disobedience, God declared that Moshe would never be allowed to lead the people into the promised land.

My take away from this passage is that you must put all your trust and confidence in Yeshua. But you must do it now because the Lord may return at any time.

In my next post, we’ll explore Messianic Jews 3:12-19 where we begin to examine the necessity of persevering faith to enter Yeshua’s rest.

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[1] Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern.

 

Yeshua As Lord Is Better Than Moshe As a Servant

Messianic Jews 3:1-6
Letter to the Messianic Jews

In my last post, we continued to learn about Yeshua, the Son of Man ~ Part 4 in Messianic Jews 2:14-18. That passage concerned Yeshua’s as humanities true sacrifice. In this post, we begin to explore Messianic Jews 3:1-6. This passage relates to Yeshua as Lord is better than Moshe as a servant.

1 Therefore, brothers whom God has set apart, who share in the call from heaven, think carefully about Yeshua, whom we acknowledge publicly as God’s emissary and as cohen gadol. 2 He was faithful to God, who appointed Him; just as “Moshe was faithful in all God’s house.” 3 But Yeshua deserves more honor than Moshe, just as the builder of the house deserves more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the one who built everything is God. 5 Also, Moshe was faithful in all God’s house, as a servant giving witness to things God would divulge later. 6 But the Messiah, as Son, was faithful over God’s house. And we are that house of His, provided we hold firmly to the courage and confidence inspired by what we hope for.” ~ Messianic Jews 3:1-6 (CJB)

Let us remember the conviction with which the writer of the Messianic Jews starts. The basis of his thought is that the supreme revelation of God comes through Yeshua and that only through Him has humanity real access to God. He began by proving that Yeshua is superior to the prophets; he then went on to establish that Yeshua is superior to the angels, and now he proceeds to demonstrate that Yeshua is superior to Moshe.

Yeshua, like Moshe at Sinai, was God’s emissary, conveying God’s truth and God’s wishes to the people of Israel. In this respect, Yeshua fulfills the role of being a prophet like Moshe, as predicted in D’varim 18:15-19. Also, like Moshe, Yeshua intercedes for the people (Messianic Jews 7:25), and as such, He is fulfilling the role of a cohen, just as Moshe did when the people worshipped the golden calf (Sh’mot 32:32) and at other times.

Yeshua is not merely on the same level as Moshe, the paragon of virtue within Judaism (faithful in all God’s house), but better than Moshe ~ just as he is better than angels and better than other human beings in general (Messianic Jews 2:8, 4:15). Thus Yeshua deserves more honor than Moshe.

Barclay explains it this way: [1]

It might, at first sight, seem that this is an anticlimax. But it was not so for a Jew. For him, Moshe held a place which was utterly unique. He was the man with whom God had spoken face to face as a man speaks with his friend. He was the direct recipient of the Ten Commandments, the very Law of God. The greatest thing in all the world for the Jew was the Law, and Moshe and the Law were one and the same thing. For a Jew, the step that the writer to the Hebrews takes is the logical and inevitable step in the argument. He has proved that Yeshua is greater than the angels; now he must prove that he is greater than Moshe who was greater than the angels.

In fact, this quotation which is used to tell of the greatness of Moshe is proof of the unique position which the Jews assigned to him. “Moshe was faithful in all his house.” The quotation is from B’midbar 12:7. Now the point of the argument in Numbers is that Moshe differs from all the prophets. To them God makes himself known in a vision; to Moshe, he speaks “mouth to mouth.” To the Jew, it would have been impossible to conceive that anyone ever stood closer to God than Moshe did, and yet that is precisely what the writer of the Hebrews sets out to prove.

The idea that the Messiah is better than Moshe can also be inferred from traditional Jewish sources. [2]

‘And the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.’ This phrase from Genesis 1:2 alludes to the spirit of the Messiah because Isaiah 11:2 says, And the spirit of Adonai will rest upon him’ [that is, upon the ‘shoot of Jesse’, which is a name for the Messiah]. Also, we learn from the same text in Genesis 1:2 that this spirit of the Messiah comes through the merit of repentance; for in Lamentations 2:19 repentance is likened to water: ‘Pour out your heart like water.'” (Genesis Rabbah 2:4)

The logic of verses 3-4 leads to the conclusion that Yeshua is to be identified with God since he is the one who built everything (compare Messianic Jews 1:2). As usual, the Brit Hadasah does not state outright that Yeshua is God but makes this identification indirectly (see Messianic Jews 1:6b, Colossians 2:9).

A second reason why Yeshua is better than Moshe is that the latter was a servant, but the former is a Son. For a comparison between son and servant, see Galatians 4:1-7 and Yochanan 15:15.

A third reason that Yeshua is better than Moshe is that he knew a little about God, but Yeshua is God.

In my next post, we’ll explore Messianic Jews 3:7-11 were we begin to examine Yeshua’s rest as superior to that of Moshe’s and Y’hoshua’s.

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[1] Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT) by William Barclay.

[2] Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern.

Yeshua, the Son of God

Messianic Jews 1:5-14
Letter to the Messianic Jews

 In my last post, we learned about The Deity of Yeshua in Messianic Jews 1:1-4.   In this post, we explore Messianic Jews 1:5-14 ~ Yeshua, the Son of God is higher than the angels. {I apologize in advance that this post is a little longer than I prefer, but it was just too difficult to break it into parts and keep the flow of the passage.}

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Also, God never said of any angel, “I will be his Father, and He will be my Son.” 6 And again, when God brings His Firstborn into the world, He says, “Let all God’s angels worship Him.” 7 Indeed, when speaking of angels, He says, “… who makes His angels winds and His servants fiery flames”; 8 but to the Son, he says, “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; You rule Your Kingdom with a scepter of equity; 9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore, O God, Your God has anointed You with the oil of joy in preference to Your companions”; 10 and, “In the beginning, Adonai, You laid the foundations of the earth; heaven is the work of your hands. 11 They will vanish, but You will remain; like clothing, they will all grow old; 12 and You will fold them up like a coat. Yes, they will be changed like clothing, but You remain the same, Your years will never end.” 13 Moreover, to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet”? 14 Aren’t they all merely spirits who serve, sent out to help those whom God will deliver?”  ~ Hebrews 1:5-14 (CJB)

In the previous passage (Messianic Jews 1:1-4) the writer was concerned to prove the superiority of Yeshua over all the prophets. Now he is interested in establishing His superiority over the angels. At that time belief in angelic beings was on the increase. The reason was that men were more and more impressed with what is called the “transcendence of God.”  They felt more and more the distance and the difference between God and man. The result was that they came to think of the angels as intermediaries between God and man. They came to believe that the angels bridged the gulf between God and man; that God spoke to man through the angels and the angels carried the prayers of man into the presence of God.

The writer of Messianic Jews goes to great lengths to ensure that the reader understands that Yeshua is clearly superior to the angels (and in further chapters to Moshe and the Levitical priesthood). The writer naturally assumes that angels exist and proceeds to prove the proposition of verse 4, that the Messiah, as God’s Son, is much better than angels, by quoting seven texts from the Tanakh, each of which has its richness of meaning. He sums up with the conclusion, in verse 14, that angels are “merely spirits who serve, sent out to help those whom God will deliver,” that is, Believers in Yeshua.

You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Wait a minute!  Wasn’t God always Yeshua’s Father? Why did He have to become His Father? In Judaism, Psalm 2:7, quoted here, has been variously held to refer to Aaron, David, the people of Israel in Messianic times, Mashiach Ben-David [Messiah son of David] and Mashiach Ben-Yosef. But the oldest reference, Psalms of Solomon 17:21-27, from the middle of the 1st century B.C.E., applies it to Mashiach Ben-David.

The angels, collectively, are called sons of God at Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7 and probably at Genesis 6:2; but to no angel did God say, You are my son, as he did to Yeshua at His immersion (Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22). Other parts of Psalm 2 are applied to Yeshua at Acts 4:25; Revelation 12:15 and 19:15.

I will be his Father and He will be my Son. This paraphrases 2 Samuel 7:14, because it speaks of God’s Son, and the next one, because it is introduced as referring to God’s Firstborn, both strengthen the identification, often made in the Brit Hadashah, between Yeshua the Messiah and the people of Israel (see Matthew 2:15). There is a parallel between God’s promise concerning the Messiah in v. 5b and His promise concerning Israel, I will be their God, and they will be my people,” quoted in Messianic Jews 8:10 from Jeremiah 31:32(33), but originally made, in slightly different words, to Moshe (Exodus 7:7). Earlier (Exodus 4:22) God had called Israel His son and also His firstborn. Furthermore, the Brit Hadashah is not innovating when it applies these concepts to the Messiah; the same is done in Psalm 89 (which recapitulates much of what is said in 2 Samuel 7):  “He will call unto me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.“I will also appoint Him firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” (Psalm 89:27-28)

When God brings his Firstborn into the world, that is, into the ‘olam hazeh, this is preparation for bringing Him also into the heavenly world to come, the olam haba. This is the thrust of Chapters 1-2, where Yeshua’s life on earth (the ‘olam hazeh) is the focus. But these lead us, through the Messiah’s death, to Chapter 7, where he is seen as our cohen gadol in heaven (the ‘olam haba).

Let all God’s angels worship Him. The Hebrew text of Psalm 97:7 says, “Worship Him, all gods (elohim).” Since Judaism allows that elohim sometimes means “angels,” the Septuagint’s rendering, “Let all God’s angels worship him,” is not surprising. What is surprising is that whereas in the original, the object of worship is Adonai, here it is the Son. This is another of the Brit Hadashah’s indirect ways of identifying Yeshua with God. Needless to say, if angels worship the Son, the Son is “better than angels.”

Who makes his angels winds and his servants fiery flames. This is the baseline against which is measured the portrait of the Son in this chapter’s remaining three citations from the Tanakh.

Greek pneumata, equivalent to Hebrew ruchot, is rendered “spirits” in v. 14 but winds here because the sense of Psalm 104:4 in Hebrew is usually given as “… who makes winds his messengers and fiery flames his servants.” However, Hebrew grammar allows the possibility of reversing subject and predicate, and Judaism takes cognizance of it. A first-century pseudepigraphic work states: “O Lord… before whom (heaven’s) hosts stand trembling, and at your word change to wind and fire….” (4 Ezra 8:20-21).

Barclay writes: [1]

There was one special belief, held only by some, which is indirectly referred to in this passage which we are studying. The common belief was that the angels were immortal; but there were some who believed that they lived only one day. There was a belief in some rabbinic schools that “every day God creates a new company of angels who utter a song before him and are gone.” “The angels are renewed every morning and after they have praised God they return to the stream of fire from whence they came.” 4 Esdras 8: 21 speaks of the God “before whom the heavenly host stand in terror and at thy word change to wind and fire.” A rabbinic homily makes one of the angels say: “God changes us every hour. Sometimes he makes us fire, at other times wind.” That is what the writer to the Hebrews means when he talks of God making his angels wind and fire.

You rule your Kingdom with a scepter of equity; you have loved righteousness. The same idea is found in two psalms: “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne” (Psalms 89:15, 97:2), as well as in the Messianic passage, Isaiah 9:5-6(6-7): “to establish [the government on the Messiah’s shoulder] with justice and righteousness, from henceforth for ever.”

The Messiah’s companions are those of us who have put our trust in Him (see 2:10-11, 3:14; Ro 8:17, 29).

Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you suggests Yeshua’s divinity.

In verses 10-12 in the Septuagint quoted above, God speaks these verses of Psalm 102 to someone whom he addresses as Adonai. In the Hebrew Bible as we have it now they are part of a personal prayer to God, and no one is addressed directly.

Moreover, to which of the angels has He ever said, “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet”?  Psalm 110:1 commences with, “Adonai said to my Lord,…” The most telling proof that the Son is better than angels is saved for last. This psalm is referred to also at v. 3; 5:6; 6:20; 7:17, 21; 8:1; 10:13 and 12:2.

In conclusion, they, the angels, are all merely spirits who serve, as opposed to the Son who rules. However, they help not only Him but His companions also, those whom God will deliver.

The writer to the Hebrews lays down the great truth that we need no man or supernatural being to bring us into the presence of God. At His resurrection, Yeshua ripped the parokhet [veil separating the Especially Holy Place for the rest of the Temple] to sunder and opened a direct way for us to God.

In my next post, we’ll explore a warning against rejecting God’s revelation of Yeshua in Messianic Jews 2:1-4 ~ Yeshua, the Son of Man.

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[1] Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT) by William Barclay