Bibliotheca Sacra 155 (April-June 1998) 201-10.

          Copyright © 1998 by Dallas Theological Seminary.  Cited with permission.

 

 

               JESUS' SUPERIORITY OVER

                  MOSES IN HEBREWS 3:1-6

 

                                               Brett R. Scott

 

Hebrews 3:1–6 compares Jesus with Moses in order to lay

a foundation for the exhortation that follows in 3:7–4:11.1 The

comparison points up three important truths. First, the Old

Covenant has been surpassed and superseded by the New

Covenant. Second, the limited access to God through a human

mediator (only Moses was given face-to-face access to God) has

been surpassed by the provision of direct access to God for all His

people. Third, though both Moses and Jesus were faithful in their

positions, the access secured by Moses as a faithful servant of God

has been far surpassed by the access to God enjoyed by Jesus,

God's Son. The contrast between Jesus and Moses serves as a

rhetorical device to persuade the readers to accept the New

Covenant, to enjoy their direct access to God, and to recognize Je-

sus Christ as the faithful Mediator between God and humans.

            The contrast is not polemical in purpose,2 for that would den-

igrate Moses3 in order to exalt Jesus.4 Nor does the Book of He-

brews denigrate the Old Covenant; rather it seeks to exalt the New

Covenant, the subject of the discourse. Also rather than denigrat-

ing the access Moses had to God, Hebrews exalts the access be-

lievers now have to God. And instead of denigrating the faithful-

ness of Moses as servant, Hebrews exalts the faithfulness of

 

Brett R. Scott is a Teaching Assistant of Biblical Greek and New Testament,

Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio, and Instructor of Biblical Greek,

Hosanna Bible Training Center, Macedonia, Ohio.

 

1 Harold W. Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1989),

104.

2 David A. deSilva, Despising Shame: Honor Discourse and Community Mainte-

nance in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Atlanta: Scholars, 1995), 215.

3 Paul Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary on the Greek

Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), 203. Cf. William L. Lane, Hebrews, Word

Biblical Commentary (Dallas: Word, 1991), cxxviii; and deSilva, Despising Shame,

281.

4 Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 105.

 



202    BIBLIOTHECA SACRA   /  April—June 1998

 

Christ as Son both now and forever. "Christ's superiority to Moses

aims not at disqualifying the latter as a servant within God's

house, but rather at enhancing the honor of the former as Son over

God's house (Heb 3:5)."5 Moses' intimacy with the Law (the Old

Covenant), his face-to-face access to God, and his position as a

faithful servant in God's house served as a "type" of the One to

come who would be greater in all these areas.

            Structurally Hebrews 3:1–6 "is a very complex midrashic

treatment of a number of texts,"6 launching a larger section of

3:7–5:10, whose theme is the "high priestly character of the Son."7

The shift in 3:7 from exposition to exhortation shows the author's

skill in combining exposition with exhortation.8 Therefore "an

appreciation of the vital interrelationship between exposition and

exhortation is crucial to an adequate understanding of the func-

tion of either component of the discourse."9

            The rhetorical device of comparison (sunkri<sij) is used

prominently throughout the epistle (Jesus/angels, Jesus/Joshua,

New Covenant/Old Covenant, Old Testament sacrifices/Christ's

once-for-all sacrifice, and others) and is the main device used in

3:1–6 (Jesus/Moses).10 According to Aristotle, to achieve rhetori-

cal success the subject (here Jesus) must be compared "with illus-

trious personages for it affords ground for amplification and is

noble, if he (the subject) can be proved better than men of worth."11

This passage focuses the comparison "on a scriptural attested

quality of Moses (Old Testament: Exod, Lev, Num, Deut; New

Testament: Acts 7:17–44), his fidelity, which provides the basis

for the exhortation that follows"12 in 3:7–4:11.

 

BACKGROUND OF THE JESUS/MOSES COMPARISON:

                                       HEBREWS 3:1

At first, comparing Jesus to Moses may seem anticlimactic after

the author of Hebrews established Jesus' superiority to angels. "It

would seem to go without saying that he is greater than Moses."13

 

5 deSilva, Despising Shame, 215.

6 Mary Rose D'Angelo, Moses in the Letter to the Hebrews (Missoula, MT: Schol-

ars, 1979), 68.

7 Lane, Hebrews 1-8, 68.

8 Ibid., c, 69.

9 Ibid., c.

10 deSilva, Despising Shame, 33.

11 Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric 1.9.38-39.

12 Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 105.

13 Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 194.

 



           Jesus' Superiority over Moses in Hebrews 3:1-6            203

 

However, in first-century Jewish thought Moses was held in al-

most God-like esteem, even higher than angels. So contrasting

Jesus to Moses is a step beyond 1:5–13, not a step backward. The

comparison "was not simply a literary exercise that enabled the

writer to speak of the excellence of Jesus or to exhibit his own ex-

egetical skill. . . . He [the writer] chose to acknowledge the faith-

fulness of Moses because this appears to have been a significant

consideration to the men and women whom he addressed."14

            The comparison was also bound to arise in the minds of first-

century Christians, for the name of Moses appears more times in

the Old Testament and in fact in all of the Bible (847 total times:

762 in the Old Testament and 85 in the New Testament) than any

other proper name except for Jesus and David. Indeed the compar-

ison may go back to Jesus Himself (Matt. 5:21–48; Mark 10:1–12;

14:24), in addition to early Christian preaching (Acts 3:22–23;

7:17–44), Paul (2 Cor. 3; Gal. 3:19), and John (John 1:17; Rev.

15:3).15

 

MOSES' BACKGROUND

To the Jews, Moses was "the greatest person who ever lived: it was

through Moses that God delivered Israel from Egypt, constituted

Israel as a nation, and brought Israel the Law."16 Around 180 B.C.,

Ben Sira wrote of Moses' celebrated honor in the eyes of those liv-

ing in the first century. Ben Sira described Moses' "favor in the

eyes of all," his being beloved by all humanity and "by God and

people," and that he was made "equal of the holy ones in glory,"

that is, the angels (Sir. 45:1–6).17 The Wisdom of Solomon also

paints a rather exalted picture of Moses by referring to him as "a

servant of the Lord" (Wis. of Sol. 10:16) and a "holy prophet"

(11:1). And 4 Maccabees 9:2 refers to Moses as "our counselor."

Josephus wrote, "The wisest of the Greeks learnt to adopt the con-

ception of God from the principles with which Moses supplied

them."18 Barrett, commenting on this quotation, states, "The no-

tion that the best philosophy was plagiarized from Moses was cur-

rent long before Josephus (e.g. in the Jewish apologist Aristo-

 

14 Lane, Hebrews 1-8, 79-80.

15 Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 194.

16 Donald A. Hagner, Hebrews (Peabody, MS: Hendrickson, 1990), 60. However, Je-

sus said John the Baptist was the greatest man born of women (Matt. 11:11).

17 Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 194, and D'Angelo, Moses in the

Letter to the Hebrews, 96-149. The rabbinic tradition provides ample evidence for

the belief that Moses was held in higher esteem than the angels.

18 Josephus, Against Apion 2.164-71.

 



204    BIBLIOTHECA SACRA  / April–June 1998

 

bus)."19 Philo referred to Moses as king, lawgiver, high priest,

and prophet; the "best of kings"; a man of "special holiness"; "the

holiest of men"; and "the holy prophet."20

            In the words of Williamson, "Apart altogether from Philo's

eulogies, Moses was recognised by his countrymen to be their

great deliverer, the giver of God's holy Law, a unique prophet."21

Moses was regarded in the first century as "the supreme example

of perfection in the sense of immediacy and access to God,"22 a

man "bigger than life" in the eyes of the people at the time of the

writing of this epistle. As Lane wrote, "It is difficult to exaggerate

the importance of Moses in Judaism, and the veneration with

which he was regarded."23

 

JESUS' BACKGROUND: APOSTLE AND HIGH PRIEST

From the beginning of the Epistle to the Hebrews the author estab-

lished in the minds of his audience the supreme honor of Jesus.24

This rhetorical method of establishing the supremacy of the sub-

ject to be exalted is similar to the way in which the supremacy of

Christ is exalted early in Paul's letter to the Colossians.25

            In Hebrews 3:1 Jesus is identified as the believers' Apostle

(a]po<stoloj) and High Priest (a]rxiereu<j). These two titles are not

used of Jesus anywhere else in the New Testament.26 The high

priest was chosen by God to provide access to Him for humanity

and to represent God to humanity. According to Josephus the title

"high priest" is the "most honored of revered names,"27 and Philo

claimed that priests are invested with dignity and honor belong-

ing to kings.28 Jesus is also called high priest in Hebrews 2:17

and 10:21. Contrasts between the Levitical priesthood and Jesus'

priesthood are stated throughout the epistle. The title "apostle"

seems a bit more obscure. Though an unusual term to apply to Je-

 

19 C. K. Barrett, The New Testament Background: Selected Documents (San Fran-

cisco: Harper & Row, 1987), 284.

20 Of the Life of Moses 2.92; 187, 201; Of Cherubim 45; Allegories of the Laws 3.185.

21 Ronald Williamson, Philo and the Epistle to the Hebrews (Leiden: Brill, 1970),

461.

22 Lane, Hebrews 1–8, 74.

23 Ibid.

24 deSilva, Despising Shame, 211.

25 This rhetorical method is often used in modern worship services, in which the

supremacy of Christ is exalted through music as a precursor to the message being

presented.

26 Justin Martyr, though, called Christ an a]po<stoloj (Apologia 1.12.9; 63.5–10).

27 Josephus, The Jewish Wars 4.146.

28 Philo, Of Special Laws 1.142.

 



      Jesus' Superiority over Moses in Hebrews 3:1-6            205

 

sus, it alludes to His accepted role as the Messenger or "sent

one."29 In secular language an "apostle" is an ambassador,30 one

sent with delegated authority. Applied to Christ, it has a "plenipo-

tentiary" meaning as an ambassador with full powers, God's

ambassador.31 This reference to Jesus as "apostle" also connotes

that He bears God's revelation to humankind (1:1–2; 2:1-4).

            Under the Old Covenant Moses and Aaron would perhaps

have been regarded as apostle and high priest respectively, but

under the New Covenant the two offices are combined in the per-

son of Jesus Christ.32 The two titles complement each other: Jesus

is "the sent one" (a]po<stoloj) from the Father, and He is "the

provider of access to God" (a]rxiereu<j) for humanity.

 

EXEGESIS OF THE JESUS/MOSES COMPARISON:

                               HEBREWS 3:2–6

These verses emphasize three foundational themes: covenant,

access to God, and faithfulness.

            The theme of oi#koj ("house") is used throughout this passage:

the faithfulness of Jesus to the house of God is greater than Moses'

faithfulness (v. 2); the honor of Jesus as the builder of the house is

greater than Moses' honor (v. 3); a parenthetical extension of the

"house" analogy is introduced regarding God, the builder of all

things (v. 4);33 Jesus is the Son over the house whereas Moses was

a servant in the house (vv. 5–6); and believers are described as

"God's house" (v. 6). The author "could have stressed that Moses

was not faithful (Num. 20:12)."34 However, Moses' faithfulness is

acknowledged because of the high regard in which he was held in

the first century.35 The statement in Hebrews 3:5 that Moses was

faithful in all God's house alludes to Numbers 12:7, where God

said, "My servant Moses . . . is faithful in all My household."

Here God's house means the sphere of Moses' stewardship, the

household, comprising in this case the whole "family" of Israel.36

 

29 Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 107; and Lane, Hebrews 1-8, 75.

30 Paul Ellingworth and Eugene A. Nida, A Translator's Handbook on the Letter

to the Hebrews (New York: United Bible Societies, 1983), 52.

31 Ibid.

32 Philip Edgcumbe Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews

(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1977), 5.

33 Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 104.

34 Lane, Hebrews 1-8, 79-80. As stated earlier, to stress Moses' unfaithfulness

would have served a polemical purpose (a purpose the author of Hebrews did not

have in mind).

35 Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 105.

36 Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 130-31.

 



206     BIBLIOTHECA SACRA   / April—June 1998

 

            The metaphor of God's people as a household is widespread in

the New Testament. Paul and other New Testament writers used

the term "family" to include all people who believe on Jesus (Gal.

6:10; Eph. 2:19; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Pet. 4:17).

            The six New Testament references to "house" vary in mean-

ing between a building, a household, a family, and a nation.37

Throughout the Scriptures and other ancient writings the Greek

word oi#koj has several meanings: the temple (Acts 7:47; 1 Kings

3:2; 6:1–7:51; 8:16–18; and Josephus, The Jewish Wars 4.4.5,

281); various communal groups or "households" (Ps. 114:1; Jer.

12:7; 31:31 [cited in Heb. 8:8]; Hos. 9:15; Matt. 10:6; 15:24; and

Acts 2:36); the Davidic dynasty (Luke 1:27, 69; 2:4); and various

Jewish and Christian communities (Qumran 1 QS 8:5–9; 9:6).38

            Hebrews 3:4 refers to God as the builder of everything (cf.

Gen. 14:19; Ps. 127:1). The greatest honor is to be paid to the one

who conceived, designed, and built the universe,39 namely, God.

The Epistle to the Hebrews is not suggesting that Jesus is the

builder of the house, but that God the Father is the builder of "all

things" (pa<nta, Heb. 1:2b; 2:10). Of course God created all things

through Jesus (1:2c).

            Three parallels serve as a background to the Jesus/Moses

comparison: Moses delivered the Israelites from the bondage of

slavery and Egypt, while Jesus delivered all believers from the

bondage of sin and damnation (2:14–15). Through Moses, God

constituted the Israelites as the people of God, while Jesus consti-

tutes all believers as the sons of God (2:10). Moses brought the Is-

raelites the Old Covenant, whereas Jesus brings all believers into

the New Covenant, establishing a greater access to God for them

(4:14–16), which had been only for Israel until Jesus came. In

Jesus' superiority He replaced—and exceeded—all Moses did.

            The three foundations are elaborated on in the following sec-

tions of this article. Each foundation is actually an integral part

of the entire' epistle. Hebrews includes fifty-six allusions to the

covenant (oath, Law, etc.), twenty-six allusions to access to God,

and fifty-four allusions to faithfulness.

 

THE "COVENANT" THEME

Jesus' superiority over Moses and the establishment of His high

priesthood leads to the bold conclusion that the Old Covenant has

 

37 Ellingworth and Nida, A Translator's Handbook on the Letter to the Hebrews,

53; and Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 196. "Two main ideas are involved,

that of community and that of structure."

38 Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 108-109.

39 Ray C. Stedman, Hebrews, IVP New Testament Commentary (Downers Grove,

IL: InterVarsity, 1992), 48; and Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 110.



            Jesus' Superiority over Moses in Hebrews 3:1-6            207

 

been replaced (7:12, 18; 8:6-7, 13; 10:9). To establish the New

Covenant and show it valid, the argument must be considered that

the One bringing in the New Covenant is greater than Moses, who

brought in the Old Covenant. Now that Jesus' priesthood replaced

that of Levi, the Law of Moses must also be replaced because it was

the legal basis of the Levitical priesthood (7:11–19). To the Jews,

the Law was given the highest honor over everything except God

Himself. Moses not only wrote the books of the Law, but Moses

and the Law are intertwined throughout the Scriptures, almost in-

separably. Twenty-one times in the Scriptures the Law is called

the Law of Moses, and in the New Testament, Moses' name is

used synonymously with the Law (Matt. 8:4; 19:8; 22:24; Mark

7:10; 10:4; Luke 16:31; 24:27; Acts 6:11; 15:21; 21:21; 2 Cor. 3:15).

            The connections drawn between the sacrifices and the Law

and between the offering of Christ and the will of God are extraor-

dinarily important. They also prepare for the revolutionary

statement that the Old Covenant has been annulled with the ar-

rival of the New. The author of Hebrews validated this bold

statement by appealing to the Old Testament (Ps. 40:6–8; Jer.

31:31-34). The Old Covenant was a necessary but provisional

episode in the accomplishment of redemptive history. However,

with the entrance of the New Covenant the Old was set aside.

            For both Jesus and the New Testament authors the prophecy of

a new covenant was of paramount importance.40 As Bruce writes,

"It is the Epistle to the Hebrews that chiefly presents the pattern of

promise and fulfillment in terms of the two covenants."41 Jesus is

referred to as the Mediator or Guarantor of a New Covenant in

Hebrews 7:22; 8:6; 9:15; and 12:24. The first covenant had a me-

diator (Gal. 3:19-20), but no surety is mentioned in connection

with it. The New Covenant has a greater Mediator who is a surety

(Guarantor) because by His blood His people are sanctified (Heb.

10:14, 29) and the eternal covenant (13:20) is established, never to

be superseded by another.42 Jesus presented Himself as an un-

blemished offering, following the Law's requirements for a sac-

rificial victim (9:14; Exod. 29:1; Lev. 1:3).43 However, even

 

40 Henry M. Shires, Finding the Old Testament in the New (Philadelphia: West-

minster, 1974), 111.

41 F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Development of Old Testament Themes (Grand

Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), 55. "Perhaps, however, it is going too far to conceive of the

contents of the Epistle solely, or even mainly, in terms of the covenant principle.

Yet the contrast between the old covenant and the new makes a substantial contri-

bution to the argument" (ibid.).

42 Ibid., 57.

43 Richard D. Nelson, Raising Up a Faithful Priest: Community and Priesthood

in Biblical Theology (Louisville: Westminster/Knox), 150.

 



208    BIBLIOTHECA SACRA   / April-June 1998

 

though both the Levitical sacrifice and Jesus' offering of Himself

have to do with providing satisfaction to God for sin, the Levitical

law never required a human victim.44 The New Covenant is es-

tablished by sacrifice, but it is a new and unique kind of sacri-

fice, namely, the death of Jesus Christ, as explained and vali-

dated by the author's quotation of Psalm 40:6-8.

 

THE "ACCESS TO GOD" THEME

For believers, Christ is their divine Mediator (or "broker" in

terms of the patron-client relationships that existed in the first-

century world). In the patronal society of the ancient Mediter-

ranean world, "those who dispense second-order resources [i.e.,

strategic contacts or access to patrons] are brokers."45 Seen in the

capacity of a "broker," Jesus secures favor from God on behalf of

those committed to Him.46 Believers have access through Christ,

their Mediator, to God, greatest of all patrons.

            To have access to the house of a patron through a servant is

good; however, to have access to the house through a son is far bet-

ter. A son, more than a servant in a house, would be sought after

as a mediator to the ruler of the house.47 "The role of a servant and

of a son in a house are worlds apart."48 The subject of servant and

son is taken up in greater detail in the section on faithfulness.

            The removal of the barrier between God and human beings is

an important theme in Hebrews. This removal involves the

cleansing of one's guilty conscience as a prerequisite for unhin-

dered access to God (Heb. 10:22).49 "The Jews then were not able to

see the face of Moses glorified, and this although he was their fel-

low slave and kinsman. But you have seen the face of Christ in

his glory. And Paul cries out: We with unveiled faces gaze upon

the glory of the Lord."50 Just as priests going in to sacrifice

"crossed the boundary lines into the perilous zone of the holy . . .

for the benefit of the whole people,"51 so believers have been al-

lowed to cross this great boundary between God and man through

the "once-for-all sacrifice" of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

 

44 deSilva, Despising Shame, 231.

45 David A. deSilva, "Exchanging Favor for Wrath: Apostasy in Hebrews and Pa-

tron-Client Relationships," Journal of Biblical Literature 115 (1996): 93.

46 Ibid., 95.

47 Ibid., 96.

48 Stedman, Hebrews, 49.

49 Lane, Hebrews 1-8, 261.

50 John Chrysostom, Catechesis 3.25, from Huit Catecheses Baptismales, cited in

D'Angelo, Moses in the Letter to the Hebrews, 263.

51 Nelson, Raising Up a Faithful Priest, 83.

 



          Jesus' Superiority over Moses in Hebrews 3:1-6          209

 

THE "FAITHFULNESS" THEME

In Hebrews, both Jesus and Moses are portrayed as faithful. The

statement that Moses was faithful in God's house (Heb. 3:2, 5) al-

ludes to Numbers 12:7, where God said, "My servant Moses . . . is

faithful in all My household."52 Jesus was faithful in God's house

in His superior position of Son. Thus the contrast is not between

the faithfulness of Jesus and Moses, but between the position in

which each was faithful. If the contrast had been the superior

faithfulness of Jesus over Moses, Moses' unfaithfulness in Egypt

(Exod. 2:11–12) and at the rock of Meribah (Num. 20:10–12)

would surely have been presented as evidence. In fact in He-

brews, Moses' faithfulness is commended (Heb. 3:2, 5; 11:23–28).

The contrast is between the position of a servant and that of a son

and the difference in the resulting access (or mediation) pro-

vided. Moses as a faithful servant provided a certain level of ac-

cess to God. However, believers, as already stated, have the Son as

their Mediator of God's favor. Greater is the favor assured by Je-

sus, for He stands in closest proximity to God, actually bearing

the reflected radiance of God's glory (1:3).53 Moses was faithful

in (e]n) God's house as a servant (qera<pwn54), whereas Christ is

faithful as a son (ui[o<j) over (e]pi<) God's house (3:5-6). Jesus is

more highly honored than Moses, not because Moses' faithfulness

was in any way defective,55 but because Jesus occupies a higher

office,56 as Son, High Priest, King, and Mediator of a greater

covenant. "Each is pisto<j appointed/faithful as leader or head of

the people, but the former as servant, the later as son."57

            Psalm 116 extols God for His faithfulness, showing that

praise is the proper response to God's infinite faithfulness (vv. 14,

 

52 Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 130-31. However,

D'Angelo tends to think the reference here and elsewhere may also point to 1

Chronicles 17:14 (LXX) (Moses in the Letter to the Hebrews, 92). However, as

Ellingworth says, D'Angelo's suggestion may mean 1 Chronicles 17:14 is only a sec-

ondary allusion (The Epistle to the Hebrews, 194-95, 201). Furthermore references

to Moses as God's "servant" are plentiful in the Scriptures (Exod. 4:10; 14:31; Num.

11:1; Deut. 3:24; Josh 1:2).

53 deSilva, "Exchanging Favor for Wrath," 96.

54 qera<pwn occurs only here in the New Testament. The term normally used is

dou?loj ("bondslave"). "The term qera<pwn does not have the same pejorative connota-

tion of forced servitude as does dou?loj, which is used in those (other) passages"

(Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 111). Cf. Kenneth S. Wuest, Hebrews in the

Greek New Testament for the English Reader (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1947), 71.

qera<pwn speaks of service that is of a nobler and freer character than that of

dou?loj.

55 As noted previously, Moses' unfaithfulness is not considered in this passage.

56 Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 203.

57 D'Angelo, Moses in the Letter to the Hebrews, 92.



210    BIBLIOTHECA SACRA  / April—June 1998

 

18). Similarly believers today should respond to the faithfulness

of Jesus by expressing gratitude and by being faithful. In He-

brews 10:19–36 readers are challenged to "hold fast the confession

of our hope without wavering" (v. 23), to spur one another on and

encourage each other (vv. 24–25), to stand firm (v. 32), and to per-

severe (v. 36).

            Hebrews 3:1–6 points to Jesus' supreme honor, faithfulness, and

access to God the Father as a High Priest, and His position as

Apostle and Son. Therefore in view of His superiority, believers,

having entered a New Covenant with God, have gained greater

access to Him than was ever possible under the Old Covenant. In

response believers should be faithful to Him and should hold fast

to their confession of, their hope in, and their faith in "Jesus the

pioneer and perfecter of faith" (th?j pi<stewj a]rxhgo>n kai> telei-

wth>n  ]Ihsou?n, Heb. 12:2).

            Jesus did away with the Old Covenant and replaced it with a

new one only after He fully satisfied and fulfilled the Old

Covenant by His righteous death as a "once-for-all" sacrifice for

sins (10:10). As a "boundary crosser" who entered the holy place,

Jesus is also a "trailblazer" or "pioneer" (a]rxhgo>n) who leads

many sons and daughters into glory (2:10; 12:2).58 As a result be-

lievers have "confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Je-

sus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us

through the veil, that is, His flesh" (10:19–20). "When He said, ‘A

new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete" (8:13). If the ser-

vant's (Moses') prayers offered on behalf of the people were an-

swered, "how much more" will the prayers of the Son offered for

believers be answered. The closeness of the Son to the Father is

passed on to those who believe, so that they receive greater access

to God than Moses experienced. Believers enjoy "so much more"

the benefits of sonship now that they are heirs and adopted chil-

dren of God. Therefore the writer to the Hebrews exhorted his

readers, "Let us hold unswervingly [kare<xwmen] to the hope we pro-

fess, for he who promised is faithful" (10:23, NIV).

            Hughes suggests that these truths may best be "summed up for

us by Herveus, an expositor of the twelfth century: ‘For it has been

shown that Christ is far more noble than Moses, so that we should

cling to Christ alone, in whom we have all things.’"59

 

58 Nelson, Raising Up a Faithful Priest, 150.

59 Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 140.

 

This material is cited with gracious permission from:         x

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