Hi! I am Rabbi Reuben Rosenberg. I was born into a conservative Jewish family. No Gentiles had ever married into my family and there was nobody who believed in Yeshua. To us, the Gentiles were those who believed in a God that hated the Jews, so they killed our ancestors in the holocaust. I started my traditional Jewish education in a Hebrew school at our conservative synagogue. We learned Hebrew language, prayers, culture, and religious rituals, without regard to whether we had any real relationship to God.
As a youth, I loved the Shabbat services every Friday. At Jewish summer camps, we learned to sing Israeli folk songs, and there were skits and dances, and all kind of creative things going on to help us understand Israel and the Lord in spontaneous, non-conventional ways. At age 13, I had my bar-mitzvah (son of the commandments). I had no idea what it meant, except that my parents threw a big party for me at Sheraton and I received lots of money from the guests. I was well-trained and could read well from the Torah and from the haftorah prophetic reading.
I got my Law degree pretty early and earned a good living. Then, I started to feel a huge vacuum in terms of my relationship with God and attended synagogue regularly in the hope of satisfying my spiritual void. Even though I observed Torah, considered myself a good follower of Moses and our great prophets, active in Judaism, I still felt very unfulfilled spiritually. Then I went through the rabbinical course and was publicly ordained. But I still could not quench my thirst for seeking God. So, I started to read the “Forbidden Bible – the New Testament”. I was shocked to discover that Jesus was actually the Son of King David. He was also a Jew, who was perfect in keeping the Torah, who was circumcised and had a bar mitzvah, and his real name was Yeshua, which I knew meant “salvation’. Jesus Christ was God and came to fulfill the Law completely. Then I went back to the Old Testament and read Isaiah again. It was a perfect match to the prophecy of Jesus Christ in the New Testament! I was speechless!
Eventually, I started to see my own sins and realise that I was such a hypocrite, teaching others but could not even find the truth! I started to re-connect with God. Our ancestors brought animals into the Temple to atone for sin through animal blood. But those sacrifices were only temporal and imperfect. They did not cover our sins permanently. The one true God sent His Son, Yeshua, into the world, who made a perfect atonement in His own blood. There is no other way. God’s son is the way, the truth, and the life.
At last, I was converted and became a Messianic Jew! No victory could be gained through our prophets, Torah, or religious ritual. The greatest power of victory over spiritual emptiness is through simple faith in Adon Olam, the Lord of the World – Yeshua the Messiah!
Your Initial Response
Are you with me? Let’s all say “AMEN”!
1Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
2He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.
3Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.
4For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.
5“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future.
6But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
7So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness,
9where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did.
10That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’
11So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”
12See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
14We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.
15As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
16Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?
17And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness?
18And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?
19So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:1–19 NIV)
1) “Eye” (“i=Eye”)
iEXP Bible Study Method
1 Draw a question mark at the place where you have difficulty of understanding.
2 Find and circle all of the occurrences of “faithful.”
3 Put an asterisk next to “the Holy Spirit says.”
4 Find out the Old Testament quotations that the author used.
5 Number the questions that the author asked in ascending order.
2) “Expound” (E)
iEXP Bible Study Method
Jesus Christ is not only superior to the angels (Heb. 1:1-14), but He is the author of the great salvation as well (Heb. 2:3). Furthermore, Lord Jesus is superior to Moses in status.
1 Who are the “holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling” (Heb. 3:1)?
2 What is the similarity between Moses and Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:2)?
3 What are the differences between Moses and Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:2)?
4 What is meant by “rest” (Heb. 3:11)?
5 Why did the author ask a series of questions (Heb. 3:16-19)?
As to the Jews, they regarded Moses as the greatest person, and they reckoned he was superior to the angels. The Jewish rabbis spoke of students of Scripture as disciples of Moses in those days. The author of the Book of Hebrews sedulously compared Moses and Jesus Christ now, and proved that the Messiah was superior to their national hero (Heb. 3:1-6). He then followed by referring to the well-known history of the Hebrews – the unbelief of their ancestors, as means of warning the readers (Heb. 3:7-19).
The author of the Hebrews addressed their addressees as “holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling.” This designation not only speaks of their affectionate relationship, but it also speaks of them as people who have been set apart for the service of God. Jesus Christ not only is the Apostle, meaning messenger, but He is also the High Priest of the believers. The above titles that they addressed to Jesus Christ were their common confession, and the author reminded the readers to have a good reflection upon them now.
The author clearly stated Moses and Christ had a similarity, that is, both of them were faithful in all God’s house. The God’s House here was not a building, but the people of God.
Although Moses and Christ had a similarity; he is far more inferior to God’s Son. The author continued to point out two things that Christ was superior to Moses. First of all, the author used a building as an illustration, pointing out that the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. Moses was only a part of the house but the Lord Jesus was the Builder of God’s house. By referring to God as the builder of everything, the author directly pointed out that Christ was God Himself (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2, 10). In that case, the status of Moses was beyond comparison with Christ.
The author spoke of Moses as a “servant.” The above choice of words conveyed the fact Moses was not a slave, but an honored servant. As Moses faithfully foretold the things pertaining to the Messiah to God’s people (John 5:46; Luke 24:27), thus his status was very honorable. However, the status of Christ was far more superior to Moses, for He was faithful as a son over God’s house. Moses was less superior to Christ, for he was only a servant, and the Lord Jesus was God’s Son.
“But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast.” (NIV) “Courage” can be interpreted as “confidence” (NASB). “Confidence” and “the boast of our hope” are not the requirements for salvation. Believers, who held fast their confidence and the boast of their hope firm until the end, were actually a proof that they were a part of God’s house. Moreover, “the boast of our hope” speaks of those who had a part in God’s house possessed hope, and it also served as a basis of their boast.
The Holy Spirit moved the author to quote Psalm 95:7-11. God used miracles and wonders to lead the Israelites to leave Egypt the land of enslavement, and promised to grant them the land of Canaan. However, God’s people tempted God on a numerous of occasions, and provoked God to anger (Ex. 15:22-25; 17:1-7; Chapter 32). The Israelites would have arrived Canaan in a journey that needed to take another 11 days (Deu. 1:2); however, owing to their disbelief in God’s promise, they received God’s punishment in return. Except Joshua and Caleb, all people who were above 20 years old could not enter the Promised Land as a result (Num. 14:29-30). Therefore, the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years (Num. 14:33).
“Rest” points to a place of blessing where there is no more striving but only relaxation in the presence of God and in the certainty that there is no cause for fear. In the Old Testament, the conquest of the Promised Land and the cessation of fighting in the land was viewed as a form of rest (Deu. 3:20; 12:9; 25:19; Josh. 11:23; 21:44; 22:4; 23:1). In the New Testament, it speaks of the believer’s everlasting home and the joy that one will experience in the Lord’s presence (4:1). Owing to their disbelief, the Jews could not enter Canaan to enjoy rest; therefore, the author of the Book of Hebrews referred to a reflective illustration to remind the Hebrews believers about the terrible aftereffect of disbelief.
According to the deduction of the scholars, the addressees of the Book of Hebrews were the Jews, and they could be the 3 distinct groups as follows: 1. Jews who believed the gospel; 2. unbelieving Jews who were intellectually convinced of the gospel; 3. unbelieving Jews who were attracted by the gospel and the person of Christ but who had reached no final conviction about Him. The author of the Book of Hebrews reminded the readers here: 1. do not turn away from the living God; 2. do not be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness; hold tightly to their faith until the end.
In ebrew 3:15, the author quoted the words of Psalm 95:7-8, and raised a series of rhetorical questions (asked merely for effect with no answer expected). By asking these questions, the author of the Book of Hebrews sternly warned the readers not to deny the Christian faith and return to Judaism, for the consequence of it could be disastrous.
By trusting Jesus Christ as Saviour, thus Christians attain an exceptional identity, and it is superior to the status of the Old Testament believers.
3) “Exercise” (X)
iEXP Bible Study Method
1 Let us be warned from the history that the Israelites provoked God to anger (Heb. 3:7-11).
2 Do not be hardhearted and tempt God (Heb. 3:7-9).
3 Memorise Hebrews 3:1-3.
1Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.
Many Christians are proud of being the student of a particular teacher or teacher; let us determine to follow Lord Jesus wholeheartedly and may have our joy originated from Him as He is our teacher.
4 Learn from Moses and be a faithful servant (Heb. 3:5).
5 Learn the lesson of encouraging one another (Heb. 3:5).
4) “Proclaim” (P)
By applying the biblical truths to their lives, believers would experience God. When the Bible students experience God and His truths, they should follow the example of the early Christians of testifying to non-believers and believers boldly. By means of speech, we witness to non-believing friends and to edify believers alike. The fourth step of the iEXP Bible study is “Proclaim”.
iEXP Bible Study Method
After finished studying the text, try to apply the truths to your daily living, family life and church life, and pray that you will experience the truthfulness and power of God’s Word. Grab the opportunity to share your experience with non-believers and believers, in family altar, small groups and social gatherings, as a way of witnessing the power of the gospel to non-believers and edification of believers.