Hebrews 3:1
Why, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) Wherefore.—The address which here begins (the first direct address in the Epistle) bears the same relation to all that has preceded, as Hebrews 2:1-4 bears to the first chapter. In particular, the contents of the second chapter are gathered up in this verse, almost every word of which recalls some previous statement or result.

Holy brethren.—United in one brotherhood in virtue of a common sonship (Hebrews 2:10) and of a common brotherhood (Hebrews 2:11) with Jesus, Him “that sanctifieth” (Hebrews 2:11).

Partakers.—Through Him who “took part” of our earthly nature (Hebrews 2:14) we are partakers of a “heavenly calling” (Hebrews 2:10) as God’s sons.

The Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.—The best MSS. omit “Christ”; and it is impossible not to feel how fitly the personal name “Jesus” is used after the later verses of Hebrews 2. Here only is the name Apostle directly given to our Lord; but the thought is present in Hebrews 2:3, and in the many passages in which Jesus designates Himself as the Sent of God, using the word from which Apostle is derived (John 3:17; John 5:36, et al.; especially John 17:18; John 20:21). There is very little difference between Apostle and Prophet, thus applied; but the one brings into relief the mission, the other the office and position. Each presents a thought complementary of that contained in high priest: “as Apostle Jesus pleads the cause of God with us; as High Priest He pleads our cause with God” (Bengel). The next verse renders it probable that the two terms contain a reference to the special mission of Moses and the priesthood of Aaron; our Christian confession looks to One mediator.

Hebrews

CONSIDER JESUS

Hebrews 3:1THE kinds of consideration enjoined in these two exhortations are somewhat different. The former of them is expressed by a word which means fixed attention and close scrutiny. It is employed, for instance, by our Lord in His injunctions to consider the ravens and the lilies, and by Peter in his account of his vision of the great sheet let down from heaven, upon which, when he had fixed his eye, he considered. Such a fastened gaze of awakened interest and steady contemplation, the writer would have all who are partakers of the heavenly calling to direct upon Jesus.

The other exhortation refers to a specific kind of contemplation. The word might almost be rendered ‘compare,’ for it means to weigh one thing in relation to another. It is the contemplation of comparison which is meant. What or whom is the comparison to be drawn between? Jesus, as the Leader of the great host of the faithful, and ourselves. The main point of comparison is to be found in the difficulties of the Christian life. Think what he has borne and what you have to bear; how He bore it and where, having borne it, He is now. The Captain has sustained the whole brunt of the assault and has conquered. Think of Him and be brave, and lift up the hands that hang down, and confirm the feeble knees.

So, then, throwing these two injunctions together, we may regard them as impressing upon us an all-important exercise of mind and heart, without which there can be no vigorous Christian life, and which, I fear me, is woefully neglected by the average Christian to-day.

I. I ask you to think first of this gaze of the Christian soul ‘Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.’

I have said that the word implies an awakened interest, a fixed and steady gaze; and that is almost the Alpha and the Omega of the Christian life. So to live in the continual contemplation of Jesus our Pattern and our Redeemer is the secret of all Christian vitality and vigour. There must he no languid look, as between half-opened eyelids, as men look upon some object in which they have little interest, but there must be the sharpened gaze of interested expectancy, believing that in Him on whom we look there lie yet undiscovered depths, and yet undreamed-of powers, which may be communicated to us.

There must be not only the sharpened look of contemplation, but there must he a very considerable protraction of the gaze. You will never see Jesus Christ if you look at Him only by snatches for a moment, and then turn away the eye from Him, any more than a man who comes out from some brilliantly lighted and dazzling room into the darkness, as it at first appears, of the midnight heavens, can see their glories. The focus of the eye must be accommodated to the object of vision, before there can be any real sight of Him. We must sit before Him, and be content to give time to the gaze, if we are to get any good out of it. Nobody sees the beauties of a country who hurries through it in an express train. These passing glances, which are all that so many of us can spare for the Master, are of little use in revealing Him to us. You do not feel Mont Blanc unless you sit and gaze and let the fair vision soak into your souls, and you cannot understand Jesus Christ, nor see anything in Him, unless you deal with Him in like fashion.

But if there be this steady and protracted contemplation of the Lord, then, amidst all the bustle of our daily life, and the many distractions which we all have to face, there will come sudden flashes of glory and the clouds will lift often, and let us see the whole white range in its majesty and sublimity. They who know what it is to come apart into a solitary place, and rest awhile with Him, will know what it is to bear the vision with them amid all the distractions of duty and the noise of the world.

There is no way by which we can bring an unseen person to have any real influence upon our lives except by the direction of our thoughts to Him. So if you professing Christian men and women will give your thoughts and your affections and the run of your minds to everything and everybody rather than to your Master, there is no wonder that your religion is of so little use to you, and brings so little blessing or power or nobleness into your lives. The root of weakness lies in the neglect of that solemn and indispensable duty to consider Jesus, in patient contemplation and steadfast beholding.

Now such thoughts as these, as to the relation between the protracted gaze and a true realisation of the Master’s presence, cast light upon such a question as the observance of the Sunday. I do not care to insist upon anybody keeping this day sacred for devout purposes unless he is a Christian man. I would not talk about the obligation, but about the privilege., And this I say, that unless you have a reservoir you will have empty pipes, and the water supply in your house will fail And unless you Christian men and women use this blessed breathing time, which is given to us week after week, in order to secure that quiet, continuous contemplation of the Master, which is almost impossible for most of us amidst the rush and hurry of the week day, your religion will always be a poor thing.

I know, of course, that we may be taunted with concentrating and clotting, as it were, devout contemplations into one day in seven, and then leaving all the rest of the week void of Christ, and may be told how much better is worship diffused through all life. But I am sure that the shortest way to have no religion at all is to have it only as a diffused religion. If it is to be diffused it must first be concentrated; and no man will carry Jesus Christ with him throughout the distractions of daily life who does not know what it is to be often in the secret place of the Most High, there in the silence of fixed spirit, to ‘consider Jesus Christ.’

Then let me remind you, too, that such a gaze as this is not to be attained without decisive effort. You have to cut off sidelights; just as a man will twist up a roll of paper and put it to his eye and shut Out everything on either side, if he wants to see the depth of colour in a picture. So we have to look away from much if we would look unto Christ, and to be contented to be blind to a great deal that is fascinating and dazzling, if we would be clear sighted as to the things that are far off. The eye of nature must be closed if the eye of the Spirit is to be opened. And if we are to see the things that are, we must resolutely shut out the false glories of the things that only do appear. For these are perishable, and the others are real and eternal.

II. Secondly, notice here a little more particularly the object of the Christian gaze.

We may dwell briefly in this connection upon the predicates of our Lord in these two verses. According to the true reading of the first of them we are to consider Jesus. The first thing that is to rivet our interested and continuous contemplation is the manhood of the Lord. That name Jesus is never used in this epistle, and seldom in any part of the New Testament, without the intention of especially emphasizing the humanity of Christ. It is that fair life, as it is unrolled before us in the pages of the Gospels, to which we are to look for illumination, for inspiration, for pattern and motive of service, and for all companionship in suffering and victory in warfare. ‘Consider Jesus,’ our Brother, the Man that has lived our life and died our death.

Note that we have to consider Him in His offices, ‘the Apostle and High Priest of our profession.’ This is the only instance in scripture in which the name ‘Apostle’ is given to our Lord. And of course it is here employed not in its technical, but in its wider and etymological sense. It means ‘one who is sent.’ The contrast floating in the writer’s mind is apparently between Jesus and Moses; the two men both of whom, though in different fashion, were God’s messengers to found a polity. Perhaps another contrast is floating in his mind, such as he has drawn out at length in the first chapter of this great epistle, between those by whom ‘at sundry times and in divers manners God spake unto the fathers’; and Him ‘by whom in these last days, He has, once for all, spoken unto us.’ Possibly there is also a contrast between Jesus Christ the Lord of the angels, and the ministering spirits who, the previous context tells us, ‘are sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation’ The name thus lifts Christ above Moses, prophets, angels, and sets Him on a pedestal, as the sole and single Revealer of the will of God to the world. The Father sanctified and sent Him into the world to be the one communicator of His perfect Name. The completeness and uniqueness of our Lord’s revealing mission are expressed in that title.

The other side of what is needful for communion between God and man is expressed in the other designation, ‘the High Priest.’ Two things go to make complete communion - God’s revelation to us and our approach to God. Christ is the Agent of both. As the subsequent context - where this idea of High Priest is more fully developed - distinctly shows, the main ideas connected with it in the writer’s mind here, are intercession and sympathy. So on the one hand, as Apostle, He brings God to us; and on the other hand, as Priest, He brings us to God; and makes the golden link by which heaven and earth are united, and God tabernacles with man.

It is this Christ - not merely in His manhood, but in that manhood interpreted as being the medium of all revelation possible to the world, and as being, on the other hand, the medium of all the access that sinful men can have to God - it is this Christ whom we are to consider, not merely in the sweetness and gentleness and holiness of His lovely Manhood as recorded in the gospels, but in these mighty offices of which that Manhood was the discharge and the expression, whereby God dwells with man, and sinful men can dwell with God.

We hear a great deal in these days about Christianity being Christ and not doctrines. I say, too, Christianity is Christ, but I say it is the Christ whom these great truths proclaim to us that we have to grasp. And it is not enough to consider Jesus from a mere humanitarian point of view, nor will the consideration of Him be peace and power and holiness and life to men, unless they consider Him as the ‘Apostle and High Priest of their profession.’

And again, we have to consider not only the Manhood in itself, and the offices which that Manhood discharges, but also the sorrows through which it passes. That is the force of the second of my two texts. We have to think of that Lord, who is the Leader of all the great host of the faithful, whose praises have been sung in the magnificent roll-call of the eleventh chapter; and to turn away from their lesser struggles, and paler beauties, and less complete victories. We have to think of what Jesus Christ bore, of what was laid upon Him, of how He bore it, and of how He has been exalted now to the right hand of God. Compare our difficulties and trials with His, and think that these are the pattern for us; and that we have to tread the path which He trod. Then consider how insignificant ours are in comparison with His. The whole fury of the tempest broke upon Him. It is only the tail of the storm that comes to us. The whole force of the blow was sustained unfalteringly by the steadfast Christ. It is only the blunt sword which has glanced off His strong shoulder to smite us.

‘We need not seek a resting place

Where He we loved had none.’


And if we will ‘consider Him that endured,’ sorrow and difficulty and opposition in our Christian life will dwindle into a very little thing, and will become a token that as is the Master so is the servant.

III. Lastly, notice the blessings of this gaze.

First, let us consider Him for calmness amidst a world full of noise and confusion. We live in a time and in a city where life is very crowded; and the pressure of every day is almost more than some of us can bear. There is no relief from the continual agitation about trifles, from the hurry and bustle of this community and this country, as continuous, and in the truest point of view as aimless and insignificant as the running of ants upon an ant hill - except we live in the daily contemplation of Jesus Christ. Nothing will quiet a man like that. It gives a certain sense of remoteness, and a very positive conviction of insignificance, to what else is intrusively and obtrusively near, and fallaciously appears to be important to us. Christ’s voice quiets the storm.

‘On my soul

Looks Thy fair face and makes it still.’


If you would have inward calmness, without which life is busy slavery, ‘consider Jesus.’

Again, that gaze will help us to a fixed confidence amidst the fluctuations of opinion. We live in a day of unrest, when the foundations are being re- investigated, and the Tree of Life can scarcely grow because men are digging it up to look at its roots. Let us try to remember that the vital centre of all is Jesus, that faith is independent of criticism, and that if we can realise His presence in our lives in these great capacities of which I have been speaking, and as the Companion of our difficulties who has trodden the same path that we have to tread, then we can look very quietly upon all the unsolved questions which are important in their place, but which, however they are answered, do not touch that central fact and our possible relation to Him. ‘Consider Jesus,’ and then you will be able to say, ‘The things which can he shaken are removed that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.’ Ceremonies, churches, creeds, have all of them a human element, which will go. The divine Christ is the permanent in Christianity.

I might turn the word of my text in another direction for a moment, though it is a digression. After unbelieving theories have done their worst, I would say to the men who advocate them, ‘Consider Christ.’ Look at that fair vision. Where did it come from? Account for Him on any hypothesis but the truth of these four gospels. Account for His influence in the world on any hypothesis but His divine mission. You may talk till Doomsday, but you have to reckon with Jesus Christ, and to explain Him. Until you do, you have not established your negations. The reef on which so many goodly ships of unbelief have struck, and where their hulls lie broken and covered with the drifting sands of oblivion, is waiting for many a flaunting theory of today. ‘Consider Christ.’ That shatters anti-supernatural religion.

And, last of all, let us do it for diligence in service and patience in suffering. If we lay that fair image upon our hearts, it will lead to love, and love will make us toil in His service. If the sensitive plate be laid in the sunshine it will receive the image of the sun. If we consider Him, thereby, and not without such consideration, shall we become like Him.

As for our suffering and toils and difficulties, how they dwindle, and how easy patience is when we think of Him! Simon the Cyrenian had to carry the Cross after Christ, but we have only to carry a very little, light one, when compared with that which He bore and which bore Him. We compare our suffering with His, and are silent. We have to think of what He deserved and we deserve, and the blush comes to our cheeks. We have to remember how He bore, and how we have borne, and we are ashamed of our fretfulness and petulance. We have to think of Him at the right hand of God. The poor fighters in the arena can lift their eyes to the place where the Emperor sits between the purple curtains, and with the flashing axes of the guard round Him, and remembering that He, throned there, was once wrestling here as we are, and that we shall be throned with Him, the thought will make us bear the blows, and run the race, and face the lions. So, dear brother, the sure means of calmness amidst agitation, of confidence amidst the fluctuations of a restless age, of strenuous warfare, of diligent service, and patient endurance, lies here in the consideration of Christ. If we try to keep Him before our eyes life will be blessed. The secret of joy and peace on earth is the consideration of the Master by faith, and to see Him as He is will be the heaven of heaven. Here, the condition of holiness, joy, peace, power, is ‘consider Jesus’; and yonder the Charter of new felicities and new capacities will be, ‘Behold the Lamb.’ If we set Him at our right hand we shall not be moved, and shall walk in the light of His countenance on earth, and He will set us at His right hand in the heavens, where His servants shall serve Him and see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.Hebrews 3:1. The apostle, in the first chapter of this epistle, having affirmed that Jesus of Nazareth, by whom the gospel revelation was given to mankind, is God’s Son, in a peculiar sense; a sense in which no man or angel is his son; and having proved, from the Jewish Scriptures, that God had constituted this his Son the Heir or Lord of all things, because by him he made the worlds; and in the second chapter, having answered the objections which were, or might be, brought for invalidating the claim of Jesus to be God’s Son, and having thereby given full effect to the direct proofs which established his claim; he, in this third chapter, proceeds to show what is implied in Christ’s being the Heir or Lord of all things; which is the third fact on which the authority of the gospel revelation depends. A proper account of this matter was necessary; 1st, Because the title of Jesus to remove the Mosaic economy, and to substitute the gospel dispensation in its place, was founded on the power which he possessed as the Son of God and Heir of all things; 2d, Because many of the Jews, in the persuasion that the law of Moses was of perpetual obligation, and that its sacrifices were real atonements for sin, rejected Jesus as an impostor for pretending to abolish these institutions.

Wherefore — Seeing the author of the gospel is so excellent a person, (Hebrews 1,) and so highly advanced above all others, men and angels, (Hebrews 2:7-8,) holy brethren — By giving this appellation to those to whom he wrote, it is evident he addressed his epistle, not, as Macknight supposes, chiefly, if at all, to the unbelieving Hebrews, but principally, if not only, to such as had embraced the gospel, and were really made new creatures in Christ; partakers of the heavenly calling — The calling of the gospel, which came from heaven, and is intended to bring men to heaven, including the preaching of the word, and the various means of grace, whereby men are brought to believe in Christ. Consider the Apostle — The messenger of God, sent immediately from him to preach that gospel to you which you profess to believe; the highest office this in the New Testament; and High-Priest — This was the highest function in the Old Testament church. As an Apostle, or God’s messenger, he pleads the cause of God with us; and as High-Priest, he pleads our cause with God. Both are contained in the one word Mediator. He compares Christ as an apostle, with Moses; as a priest, with Aaron. Both these offices, which Moses and Aaron severally bore, he bears together, and far more eminently; of our profession — Of the religion we profess, of which Jesus is called the Apostle, because he was sent by God to reveal it; and the High-Priest, because we receive its blessings through his mediation. By thus calling upon them to consider Christ Jesus in these characters, the apostle seems to intimate that the believing Hebrews had not sufficiently adverted to the nature and quality of the person and offices of Christ, and for that reason were kept in the entanglements of Judaism; therefore he exhorts them to fix their minds attentively on the sublime subject.3:1-6 Christ is to be considered as the Apostle of our profession, the Messenger sent by God to men, the great Revealer of that faith which we profess to hold, and of that hope which we profess to have. As Christ, the Messiah, anointed for the office both of Apostle and High Priest. As Jesus, our Saviour, our Healer, the great Physician of souls. Consider him thus. Consider what he is in himself, what he is to us, and what he will be to us hereafter and for ever. Close and serious thoughts of Christ bring us to know more of him. The Jews had a high opinion of the faithfulness of Moses, yet his faithfulness was but a type of Christ's. Christ was the Master of this house, of his church, his people, as well as their Maker. Moses was a faithful servant; Christ, as the eternal Son of God, is rightful Owner and Sovereign Ruler of the Church. There must not only be setting out well in the ways of Christ, but stedfastness and perseverance therein to the end. Every meditation on his person and his salvation, will suggest more wisdom, new motives to love, confidence, and obedience.Wherefore - That is, since Christ sustains such a character as has been stated in the previous chapter; since he is so able to succour those who need assistance; since he assumed our nature that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest, his character ought to be attentively considered, and we ought to endeavor fully to understand it.

Holy brethren - The name "brethren" is often given to Christians to denote that they are of one family. It is "possible," also, that the apostle may have used the word here in a double sense - denoting that they were his brethren as "Christians," and as "Jews." The word "holy" is applied to them to denote that they were set apart to God, or that they were sanctified. The Jews were often called a "holy people," as being consecrated to God; and Christians are holy, not only as consecrated to God, but as sanctified.

Partakers of the heavenly calling - On the meaning of the word "calling," see the notes at Ephesians 4:1. The "heavenly calling" denotes the calling which was given to them from heaven, or which was of a heavenly nature. It pertained to heaven, not to earth; it came from heaven, not from earth; it was a calling to the reward and happiness of heaven, and not to the pleasures and honors of the world.

Consider - Attentively ponder all that is said of the Messiah. Think of his rank; his dignity; his holiness; his sufferings; his death; his resurrection, ascension, intercession. Think of him that you may see the claims to a holy life; that you may learn to bear trials; that you may be kept from apostasy. The character and work of the Son of God are worthy of the profound and prayerful consideration of every man; and especially every Christian should reflect much on him. Of the friend that we love we think much; but what friend have we like the Lord Jesus?

The apostle - The word "apostle" is nowhere else applied to the Lord Jesus. The word means one who "is sent" - and in this sense it might be applied to the Redeemer as one "sent" by God, or as by way of eminence the one sent by him. But the connection seems to demand that; there should be some allusion here to one who sustained a similar rank among the Jews; and it is probable that the allusion is to Moses, as having been the great apostle of God to the Jewish people, and that Paul here means to say, that the Lord Jesus, under the new dispensation, filled the place of Moses and of the high priest under the old, and that the office of "apostle" and "high priest," instead of being now separated, as it was between Moses and Aaron under the old dispensation, was now blended in the Messiah. The name "apostle" is not indeed given to Moses directly in the Old Testament, but the verb from which the Hebrew word for apostle is derived is frequently given him. Thus, in Exodus 3:10, it is said, "Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh." And in Hebrews 3:13, "The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you." So also in Hebrews 3:14-15, of the same chapter. From the word there used - שׁלח shaalach - "to send." The word denoting "apostle" - שׁליח shaliyach - is derived; and it is not improbable that Moses would be regarded as being by way of eminence the one "sent" by God. Further, the Jews applied the word " - שׁליח shaliyach - "apostle," to the minister of the synagogue; to him who presided over its affairs, and who had the general charge of the services there; and in this sense it might be applied by way of eminence to Moses as being the general director and controller of the religious affairs of the nation, and as "sent" for that purpose. The object of Paul is to show that the Lord Jesus in the Christian system - as the great apostle sent from God - sustained a rank and office similar to this, but superior in dignity and authority.

And High Priest - One great object of this Epistle is to compare the Lord Jesus with the high priest of the Jews, and to show that he was in all respects superior. This was important, because the office of high priest was what eminently distinguished the Jewish religion, and because the Christian religion proposed to abolish that. It became necessary, therefore, to show that all that was dignified and valuable in that office was to be found in the Christian system. This was done by showing that in the Lord Jesus was found all the characteristics of a high priest, and that all the functions which had been performed in the Jewish ritual were performed by him, and that all which had been prefigured by the Jewish high priest was fulfilled in him. The apostle here merely alludes to him, or names him as the high priest, and then postpones the consideration of his character in that respect until after he had compared him with Moses.

Of our profession - Of our religion; of that religion which we profess. The apostle and high priest whom we confessed as ours when we embraced the Christian religion.

CHAPTER 3

Heb 3:1-19. The Son of God Greater than Moses, Wherefore Unbelief towards Him Will Incur a Heavier Punishment than Befell Unbelieving Israel in the Wilderness.

As Moses especially was the prophet by whom "God in times past spake to the fathers," being the mediator of the law, Paul deems it necessary now to show that, great as was Moses, the Son of God is greater. Ebrard in Alford remarks, The angel of the covenant came in the name of God before Israel; Moses in the name of Israel before God; whereas the high priest came both in the name of God (bearing the name Jehovah on his forehead) before Israel, and in the name of Israel (bearing the names of the twelve tribes on his breast) before God (Ex 28:9-29, 36, 38). Now Christ is above the angels, according to the first and second chapters because (1) as Son of God He is higher; and (2) because manhood, though originally lower than angels, is in Him exalted above them to the lordship of "the world to come," inasmuch as He is at once Messenger of God to men, and also atoning Priest-Representative of men before God (Heb 2:17, 18). Parallel with this line of argument as to His superiority to angels (Heb 1:4) runs that which here follows as to His superiority to Moses (Heb 3:3): (1) because as Son over the house; He is above the servant in the house (Heb 3:5, 6), just as the angels were shown to be but ministering (serving) spirits (Heb 1:14), whereas He is the Son (Heb 3:7, 8); (2) because the bringing of Israel into the promised rest, which was not finished by Moses, is accomplished by Him (Heb 4:1-11), through His being not merely a leader and lawgiver as Moses, but also a propitiatory High Priest (Heb 4:14; 5:10).

1. Wherefore—Greek, "Whence," that is, seeing we have such a sympathizing Helper you ought to "consider attentively," "contemplate"; fix your eyes and mind on Him with a view to profiting by the contemplation (Heb 12:2). The Greek word is often used by Luke, Paul's companion (Lu 12:24, 27).

brethren—in Christ, the common bond of union.

partakers—"of the Holy Ghost."

heavenly calling—coming to us from heaven, and leading us to heaven whence it comes. Php 3:14, "the high calling"; Greek "the calling above," that is, heavenly.

the Apostle and High Priest of our profession—There is but one Greek article to both nouns, "Him who is at once Apostle and High Priest"—Apostle, as Ambassador (a higher designation than "angel"-messenger) sent by the Father (Joh 20:21), pleading the cause of God with us; High Priest, as pleading our cause with God. Both His Apostleship and High Priesthood are comprehended in the one title, Mediator [Bengel]. Though the title "Apostle" is nowhere else applied to Christ, it is appropriate here in addressing Hebrews, who used the term of the delegates sent by the high priest to collect the temple tribute from Jews resident in foreign countries, even as Christ was Delegate of the Father to this world far off from Him (Mt 21:37). Hence as what applies to Him, applies also to His people, the Twelve are designated His apostles, even as He is the Father's (Joh 20:21). It was desirable to avoid designating Him here "angel," in order to distinguish His nature from that of angels mentioned before, though he is "the Angel of the Covenant." The "legate of the Church" (Sheliach Tsibbur) offered up the prayers in the synagogue in the name of all, and for all. So Jesus, "the Apostle of our profession," is delegated to intercede for the Church before the Father. The words "of our profession," mark that it is not of the legal ritual, but of our Christian faith, that He is the High Priest. Paul compares Him as an Apostle to Moses; as High Priest to Aaron. He alone holds both offices combined, and in a more eminent degree than either, which those two brothers held apart.

profession—"confession," corresponds to God having spoken to us by His Son, sent as Apostle and High Priest. What God proclaims we confess.Hebrews 3:1-6 Christ is showed to be more worthy than Moses.

Hebrews 3:7-19 We must be careful therefore not to follow the example of

the obstinate and unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness.

Several uses the Holy Ghost makes, from the beginning of this chapter to the end of chapter four, {Hebrews 3:1-4:16} of the gospel doctrine of God the Son incarnate, set by the Father in office, to deal for sinners towards God as their great Prophet. The counsel he giveth is comprehended in; {Hebrews 3:1-6} and as directing these Hebrews to their duty, so further explaining and confirming his office to them, by comparing of him with Moses, and setting him as above angels, so above him; and to be so valued, esteemed, and preferred by these Hebrews: seeing this great gospel Prophet was for a little while made lower than the angels in his humanity, and it was infinitely beneficial to us upon the account of what he suffered in it in our stead, and purchased by it for our good; therefore should those who are partakers of it, being related in the flesh to him as Hebrews, descending with them from Abraham, consider, but much more as Christians, believing and adopted in him to be God’s children, and sanctified by his Spirit, 1 Peter 1:1-5 2 Peter 1:1.

Partakers of the heavenly calling; and made thus a Christian fraternity by the heavenly calling of them out of the world by the gospel; when by his Spirit he enlightened their minds, and renewed their wills, and made them obedient to it, so as for the temper of their souls they are made holy, and for their condition happy; the work of God’s power and mercy eminently appearing in it: God therein preventing man, so as he influenceth him to hear him from heaven, walk worthy of heaven, and at last to rest in heaven for ever.

Consider; katanohsate imports not a bare single act of the mind, to think on, or understand, but a repeated one, to think again and again, expressed by that periphrasis of laying it to heart, pressing on their spirits the due effort of faith and obedience arising out of this observation, Isaiah 52:15.

The Apostle; God’s Messenger, his own Son sent from heaven to be incarnate, with authority to execute in his human nature his prophetical, as all his offices, and with authority to send forth his apostles to do their part, John 20:21; which is no more than is intimated in that title, the Messenger of the covenant, Isaiah 42:19 Malachi 3:1; that was, to propose it to and confirm it with them. This was he by whom Moses desired God’s message might be sent to them, Exodus 4:13; and whom he foretold should bring it, Deu 18:15 Acts 3:22,23.

And High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus: the Son is the great gospel High Priest, to deal in all matters with God for them, Hebrews 2:17. The offices divided among other persons in the Old Testament church were all united in his person, he doth transcend them all, being a High Priest peculiar to the called and sanctified ones of God, of which all preceding were faint resemblances and types; he, the most excellent Minister of the Christian faith and religion professed by them, being anointed unto all these offices in the flesh by the Father with the Holy Ghost, Hebrews 1:2; and being Jesus a Saviour, our Emmanuel, God on our side, saving his people from their sins, and re-uniting them to God, Matthew 1:21,23Jo 17:21-23.

Wherefore, holy brethren,.... The apostle calls the Hebrews "brethren", not because they were of the same natural stock and lineage, but because they were in the same spiritual relation; they all had the same Father, belonged to the same family, were the adopted sons of God, the brethren of Christ, of one another, and of the apostle; and they were "holy", not by birth, nor by their external separation from other nations, but through sanctification of the Spirit; and they were so by profession, and in the opinion of the apostle:

partakers of the heavenly calling; by which is meant not any business, or employment of life; nor a call to any office in church or state; nor a mere external call by the ministry of the word; but an internal special call of grace, to the enjoyment of the blessings of grace here, and to glory hereafter; and which is not according, to works, but according to the grace of God, and is by powerful, efficacious, and irresistible grace: and this is said to be "heavenly", because the grace by which the saints are called is from heaven, and it is to heaven they are called; and the means of their calling, the Gospel, is from heaven; and this epistle epithet is used to show the excellency of their calling, and to distinguish it from all others: and this the Hebrews are said to be "partakers of"; which shows, that God had not utterly cast off that people, and yet that they were not the only persons that enjoyed the grace of the effectual calling, they were but partners with others; and that the saints are alike sharers in this blessing, they are called in one hope of their calling; and it denotes the truth and reality of it: the duty they are exhorted to is,

to consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; the Alexandrian copy, the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions, read, only "Jesus"; who is called "the apostle", because he was sent of God to preach the Gospel, work miracles, and do the will of God, particularly to obtain redemption and salvation for his people, which mission does not suppose any inequality of persons, or change of place, or any compulsion or disrespect to Christ, but love to men; and is to be understood of him as in office as Mediator, and shows his authority, and that he was no impostor. The high priest among the Jews was, on the day of atonement, considered as "an apostle", or "messenger" (s); for so the elders of the sanhedrim address him on that day, saying,

"Lord high priest, we are the messengers of the sanhedrim, and thou art "our apostle", or "messenger", and the messenger of the sanhedrim.''

And it follows here, and "the high priest of our profession"; which may be understood either objectively, whom they professed, both by words or deeds; for a profession of him should be public, visible, and sincere; or efficiently, he being the author, sum, and substance of the religion, faith, and Gospel which was professed by them: and he is to be "considered" in the greatness and dignity of his person, as the Son of God; and in his wondrous grace and love in assuming human nature, and dying for his people; and in the relations he stands in to them as a Father, husband, brother, friend; and in his several offices, as Mediator, and particularly as sent of God, to be the Saviour of sinners; and as the high priest, who has offered himself a sacrifice, and ever lives to make intercession; and all this to encourage the saints to hold fast their profession of him.

(s) Misn. Yoma, c. 1. sect. 5.

Wherefore, {1} holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the {a} Apostle and High Priest of our {b} profession, Christ Jesus;

(1) Having laid the foundation that is to say, declared and proved both the natures of one Christ, he gives him three offices, that is, the office of a Prophet, King and Priest, and concerning the office of teaching, and governing, compares him with Moses and Joshua from Heb 3:1-4:14, and with Aaron concerning the priesthood. He proposes that which he intends to speak of, with a grave exhortation, that all our faith may be directed towards Christ, as the only everlasting teacher, governor, and High Priest.

(a) The ambassador or messenger, as in Ro 15:8 he is called the minister of circumcision.

(b) Of the doctrine of the gospel which we profess.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 3:1. Ὅθεν] refers back to the total characterization of Christ given in chaps. Hebrews 1:2. Wherefore, i.e. seeing that it stands in such wise with Christ, His nature and disposition. As regards its contents, ὅθεν is unfolded by the τὸν ἀπόστολον καὶ ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν immediately following, inasmuch as by these designations the preceding total-characterization of Christ is recapitulated in its two main features (vid. infra). For if the author says: “Therefore regard well Jesus, the ἀπόστολος καὶ ἀρχιερεὺς τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν!” that is only a Greek form of expression for the thought: “Therefore, because Jesus is the ἀπόστολος καὶ ἀρχιερεὺς τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν, regard Him well!”

ἀδελφοὶ ἅγιοι] belongs together. With Michaelis, to separate the two words from each other by a comma, would be permissible only if by the isolation thereof a gradation were obtained. But this is not the case; since then only two relations parallel to each other, namely, on the one side the relation of the readers to the author (ἀδελφοί), and on the other side their relation to the non-Christian world (ἅγιοι), would be rendered separately prominent.

ἀδελφοί] designates the readers not as brethren of Christ (so with an unwarranted appeal to Hebrews 2:11-12; Hebrews 2:17, Peirce, Michaelis, Carpzov, Pyle; comp. also Delitzsch, according to whom this is at least also to be thought of), nor does it express the brotherly relation in the national sense, i.e. the descent from the Jewish people common to the author and readers (Chr. Fr. Schmid), but has reference to the spiritual, ideal brotherly relationship, into which author and recipients of the letter have been brought towards each other by the common bond of Christianity.

κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου μέτοχοι] ye who are partakers of a heavenly calling. This second direct address—to which Grotius needlessly supplies “nobiscum”—strengthens the former, and the two forms of address explain the ground of the obligation to the κατανοεῖν, by pointing to the reader’s state of grace. κλῆσις stands actively. It denotes the call or invitation, which God[54] has by Christ given to the readers, to participation in the Messianic kingdom. This calling, however, is termed ἐπουράνιος, either because the blessings, the possession of which it promises, are existent in heaven and of heavenly nature (Grotius, al.), or, what is more probable, because they have come to men from heaven [so Owen], where God their supreme author has His throne, and whence Christ their proclaimer and procurer (Vermittler) was sent forth. It is possible, however, that both references are to be combined: “a calling which proceeds from heaven and leads to heaven.” So Bengel, Tholuck, Stuart, Ebrard, Bisping, Delitzsch, Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 693; Alford, Maier, Kurtz, and others.

κατανοήσατε] direct your view to Jesus, sc. in order to cleave firmly to Him; regard well what He is and what you have in Him!

τὸν ἀπόστολου καὶ ἀρχιερέα τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν] the Envoy and High Priest of our confession, is comprehended into a unity of idea by the article τὸν only once placed (“Him who is ἀπόστολος and ἀρχιερεύς in one person”), in connection with which τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν is then also most naturally referred in equal degree to both substantives. τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν, however, is not to be resolved into δν ὁμολογοῦμεν (Luther, Cameron, Calov. Wolf, de Wette, Maier, and others; similarly Delitzsch: “who is the subject-matter of our confession;” and Riehm, Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 427 f.: “who appertains to our confession”), but stands, like πίστις, Galatians 1:23, and ἐλπίς, Colossians 1:5, objectively: of our Christian confession (of our evangelical faith). Comp. Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 10:23; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Timothy 6:12-13. [So Calvin, Piscator, Owen (with hesitation), Stuart.] The opposition is to the pre-Christian or Mosaic confession, without, however, the emphasis, as Kurtz supposes, falling upon ἡμῶν, which is forbidden by the position of the words: The deputed One (sc. of God) for our confession, i.e. sent by God (comp. Galatians 4:4; Matthew 10:40, al.) in order to bring about our confession or Christian faith. The signification “mediator,” which Tholuck attaches to the word ἀπόστολος, after the example of Braun and others, appealing in favour thereof to the authority of Rabbinico-talmudic usage, the latter never has. The notion of mediator follows, alike for ἀπόστολον as also for ἀρχιερέα, only from the context. By ἀπόστολον, namely, is referred back to the main thought of the last and highest divine revelation (the λαλεῖν), contained in Christ, of which the writer has treated Hebrews 1:1 to Hebrews 2:4; by ἀρχιερέα, to the main thought of the reconciliation of sinful humanity to God by Christ, then further treated in the second chapter. Aptly, therefore, does Bengel distinguish ἀπόστολου and ἀρχιερέα as “eum, qui Dei causam apud nos agit” and “qui nostram causam apud Deum agit.”

[54] For God, as everywhere with Paul also, not Christ, as Delitzsch supposes, is thought of as the καλῶν.

Hebrews 3:1-6. Even above Moses is Christ exalted. By so much higher than Moses does He stand, as the son exercising authority over his own house has precedence over the servant of the house. This new dogmatic consideration, to which the discourse now advances, was indeed already contained implicite as the minus, in the preceding argument as the majus; it must, however, still be separately insisted on, inasmuch as, in addition to the angels as the suprahuman agents (Vermittler) in connection with the founding of the Old Covenant, Moses, as the human agent (Vermittler) in the founding of the same, could not remain unmentioned. Appropriately to the subject, however, the author treats of this new point of comparison only with brevity, blending the same with the exhortation, derived from that which precedes, to cleave firmly unto the end to Christ and the Christian hope; and then, from Hebrews 3:7 forward, further developing this exhortation in detail,—in the form of a parallel instituted between the people of God of the present time, i.e. the Christians, and the people of God of Moses’ time,—in their interest, with even a warning impressiveness.

On Hebrews 3:1-6, comp. Carl Wilh. Otto, der Apostel und Hohepriester unsres Bekenntnisses. An Exegetical Study on Hebrews 3:1-6, Leipz. 1861, 8vo.[53]

[53] This writer finds (comp. p. 96), by dint of a long extended chain of arbitrary assertions and erroneous presuppositions, the absolutely impossible sense in the words: “(Ver. 1) From this (Hebrews 2:10-18), beloved brethren, who, delivered from death, are presented a sacrifice to God, and have your right of citizenship in heaven, perceive that the Ambassador and High Priest, who in His own person has borne our confession to the heavenly goal, and as mediator continually introduces into heaven, namely Jesus (ver. 2), is one entrusted (an organ of confidence) of Him who made Him (such), i.e. (comp. p. 65) called Him into existence as Jesus, as was also Moses in the house of God, i.e. in the limitation and subordination, as this was presupposed by his position in the house of God. (Ver. 3) For (comp. p. 87) greater glory (i.e. higher position of power) has been vouchsafed to this man than to Moses, in which measure, as the house (sc. of God), so has He who has fitted it up, greater honour (sic!). (Ver. 4) For every house is fitted up by some one (but to correspond to all its requirements, no one is able); He, however, who has fitted it up with all things (sc. as Jesus the house of God, for time and eternity) is omnipotent, is of divine nature. (Ver. 5) And Moses, indeed, was trustworthy in all his house, as a servant, to testify what was to be revealed (ver. 6); Jesus, however, as the Christ (comp. p. 90), trustworthy as Son (sc. of God) over His (sc. God’s) house. Whose (sc. God’s) house we are and remain, if at any rate we retain the joyfulness and boasting of hope to the end.”Hebrews 3:1. Ὅθεν, “wherefore,” if through Jesus God has spoken His final and saving word (Hebrews 1:1), thus becoming the Apostle of God, and if the high priest I speak of is so sympathetic and faithful that for the sake of cleansing the people He became man and suffered, then “consider, etc.”. The πιστός of Hebrews 3:17 strikes the keynote of this paragraph. Here for the first time the writer designates his readers, and he does so in a form peculiar to himself (the reading in 1 Thessalonians 5:27 being doubtful) ἀδελφοὶ ἅγιοι, “Christian brethren,” literally “brethren consecrated,” separated from the world and dedicated to God. Bleek quotes from Primasius: “Fratres eos vocat tam carne quam spiritu qui ex eodem genere erant”. But there is no reason to assign to ἀδελφοὶ any other meaning than its usual N.T. sense of “fellow-Christians,” cf. Matthew 23:8. But there is further significance in the additional κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου μέτοχοι, “partakers of a heavenly calling” (cf. οἱ κεκλημένοι τῆς αἰωνίου κληρονομίας, Hebrews 9:15) suggested by the latent comparison in the writer’s mind between the Israelites called to earthly advantages, a land, etc., and his readers whose hopes were fixed on things above. “In the word ‘heavenly’ there is struck for the first time, in words at least, an antithesis of great importance in the Epistle, that of this world and heaven, in other words, that of the merely material and transient, and the ideal and abiding. The things of the world are material, unreal, transient: those of heaven are ideal, true, eternal. Heaven is the world of realities, of things themselves (Hebrews 9:23) of which the things here are but ‘copies’ ” (Davidson). κατανοήσατε, “consider,” “bring your mind to bear upon,” “observe so as to see the significance,” as in Luke 12:24, κατανοήσατε τοὺς κόρακας, though it is sometimes, as in Acts 11:6; Acts 27:39, used in its classical sense “perceive”. A “confession” does not always involve that its significance is seen. Consider then τὸνἸησοῦν “the Apostle and high priest of our confession, Jesus,” the single article brackets the two designations and Bengel gives their sense: “τὸν ἀποστ. eum qui Dei causam apud nos agit. τὸν ἀρχ. qui causam nostram apud Deum agit”. These two functions embrace not the whole of Christ’s work, but all that He did on earth (cf. Hebrews 1:1-4). The frequent use of ἀποστέλλειν by our Lord to denote the Father’s mission of the Son authorises the present application of ἀπόστολος. It is through Him God has spoken (Hebrews 1:1). Moses is never called ἀπόστολος (a word indeed which occurs only once in LXX) though in Exodus 3:10 God says ἀποστείλω σε πρὸς φαραώ. Schoettgen quotes passages from the Talmud in which the high priest is termed the Apostle or messenger of God and of the Sanhedrim, but this is here irrelevant. καὶ ἀρχιερέα, a title which, as applicable to Jesus, the writer explains in chaps. 5–8. τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν, “of our confession,” or, whom we, in distinction from men of other faiths, confess; chiefly no doubt in distinction from the non-Christian Jews. ὁμολογία, as the etymology shows, means “of one speech with,” hence that in which men agree as their common creed, their confession, see ref. As Peake remarks: “If this means profession of faith, then ‘the readers already confess Jesus as high priest, and this is not a truth taught them in this Epistle for the first time’.” [Carpzov quotes from Philo (De Somn.): ὁ μὲν δὴ μέγας Ἀρχιερεὺς τῆς ὁμολογίας, but here another sense is intended.] Ἰησοῦν is added to preclude the possibility of error. Ἰησοῦς occurs in this Epistle nine times by itself, thrice with Χριστός.

Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 4:13.—Chapters 3 and 4 as far as Hebrews 3:13, form one paragraph. The purpose of the writer in this passage, as in the whole Epistle, is to encourage his readers in their allegiance to Christ and to save them from apostacy by exhibiting Christ as the final mediator. This purpose he has in the first two chapters sought to achieve by comparing Christ with those who previously mediated between God and man,—the prophets who spoke to the fathers, and the angels who mediated the law and were supposed even to regulate nature. He now proceeds to compare Jesus with him round whose name gathered all that revelation and legislation in which the Jew trusted. Moses was the ideal mediator, faithful in all God’s house. Underlying even the priesthood of Aaron was the word of God to Moses. And yet, free channel of God’s will as Moses had been, he was but a servant and in the nature of things could not so perfectly sympathise with and interpret the will of Him whose house and affairs he administered as the Son who Himself was lord of the house.

He therefore bids his readers encourage themselves by the consideration of His trustworthiness, His competence to accomplish all God’s will with them and bring them to their appointed rest. But this suggests to him the memorable breakdown of faith in the wilderness generation of Israelites. And he forthwith strengthens his admonition to trust Christ by adding the warning which was so legibly written in the fate of those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses, but whose faith failed through the greatness of the way. It was not owing to any incompetence or faithlessness in Moses that they died in the wilderness and failed to reach the promised land. It was “because of their unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19). Moses was faithful in all God’s house, in everything required for the guidance and government of God’s people and for the fulfilment of all God’s purpose with them: but even with the most trustworthy leader much depends on the follower, and entrance to the fulness of God’s blessing may be barred by the unbelief of those who have heard the promise. The promise was not mixed with faith in them to whom it came. But what of those who were led in by Joshua? Even they did not enter into God’s rest. That is certain, for long after Joshua’s time God renewed His promise, saying “To-day if ye hear His voice, harden not your hearts”. Entrance into the land, then, did not exhaust the promise of God; there remains over and above that entrance, a rest for the people of God, for “without us,” i.e., without the revelation of Christ the fathers were not perfect, their best blessings, such as their land, being but types of better things to come. Therefore let us give diligence to enter into that rest, for the word of God’s promise is searching; and, by offering us the best things in fellowship with God, it discloses our real disposition and affinities.

The passage falls into two parts, the former (Hebrews 3:1-6) exhibiting the trustworthiness of Christ, the latter (Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:13) emphasising the unbelief and doom of the wilderness generation.1. Wherefore] The same word (ὅθεν) as in Hebrews 2:17, where see the note. It is an inference from the grandeur of Christ’s position and the blessedness of His work as set forth in the previous chapters.

holy brethren] This form of address is never used by St Paul. It assumes that they answered to their true ideal, as does the ordinary term “saints.”

partakers of the heavenly calling] Rather, “of a heavenly calling.” It is a heavenly calling because it comes from heaven (Hebrews 12:25), and is a call “upwards” (ἄνω) to heavenly things (Php 3:14) and to holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:7).

consider] The word means “contemplate,” consider attentively, fix your thoughts upon (aorist).

the Apostle] Christ is called an “Apostle” as being “sent forth” (apostellomenon) from the Father (John 20:21). The same title is used of Christ by Justin Martyr (Apol. i. 12). It corresponds both to the Hebrew maleach (“angel” or “messenger”) and sheliach (“delegate”). The “Apostle” unites the functions of both, for, as Justin says of our Lord, He announces (apangellei) and He is sent (apostelletai).

and High Priest] Christ was both the Moses and the Aaron of the New Dispensation; an “Apostle” from God to us; an High Priest for us before God. As “Apostle” He, like Moses, pleads God’s cause with us; as High Priest he, like Aaron, pleads our cause with God. Just as the High Priest came with the name Jehovah on the golden plate of his mitre in the name of God before Israel, and with the names of the Tribes graven on his jewelled breastplate in the name of Israel before God, so Christ is “God with us” and the propitiatory representative of men before God. He is above Angels as a Son, and a Lord of the future world; above Aaron as a Priest after the order of Melchisedek; above Moses as a Son over the house is above a servant in it.

of our profession] Rather, “of our confession” as Christians (Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 10:23; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Timothy 6:12). It is remarkable that in Philo (Opp. i. 654) the Logos is called “the Great High Priest of our Confession;”—but the genuineness of the clause seems doubtful.

Christ Jesus] Rather, according to the best MSS. “Jesus” (A, B, C, D). Such a variation of reading may seem a matter of indifference, but this is very far from being the case. First of all, the traceable differences in the usage of this sacred name mark the advance of Christianity. In the Gospels Christ is called Jesus and “the Christ;” “the Christ” being still the title of His office as the Anointed Messiah, not the name of His Person, In the Epistles “Christ” has become a proper name, and He is frequently spoken of as “the Lord,” not merely as a title of general respect, but in the use of the word as an equivalent to the Hebrew “Jehovah.” Secondly, the difference of nomenclature shews that St Paul was not the author of this Epistle. St Paul uses the title “Christ Jesus” which (if the reading be here untenable) does not occur in this Epistle. This author uses “Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 10:10, Hebrews 13:8; Hebrews 13:21), “the Lord” (Hebrews 2:3), “our Lord” (Hebrews 7:14), “our Lord Jesus” (Hebrews 13:20), “the Son of God” (Hebrews 6:6, Hebrews 7:3, Hebrews 10:29), but most frequently “Jesus” alone, as here (Hebrews 2:9, Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 6:20, Hebrews 7:22, Hebrews 10:19, Hebrews 12:2; Hebrews 12:24, Hebrews 13:12) or “Christ” alone (Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 5:5, Hebrews 6:1, Hebrews 9:11, &c.). See Prof. Davidson, On the Hebrews, p. 73.Hebrews 3:1. Ὅθεν, whence) An urgent particle. From those very things which have been said in ch. 2, consideration ought to flow.—ἀδελφοὶ, brethren) He now for the first time addresses those to whom he is writing. And the title, brethren, from ch. Hebrews 2:11, has in it the idea of sanctity.—ἅγιοι, holy) There is a Chiasmus in this verse.—κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου, of the heavenly calling) made by the Lord from heaven, and bringing them on to that place, whence it was made, ch. Hebrews 12:25, of the calling of God from above (τῆς ἄνω κλήσεως), as Paul says, Php 3:14. The correlative of calling is ὁμολογία, confession; concerning which the writer treats presently: so Paul in 1 Timothy 6:12.—μέτοχοι, partakers) There is the same word, Hebrews 3:14, ch. Hebrews 6:4, Hebrews 1:9, Hebrews 12:8.—τὸν ἀπόστολον, the apostle) the Ambassador of God the Father; Him who pleads the cause of God with us. Thence we are said to be partakers of the heavenly calling.—καὶ ἀρχιερέα, and High Priest) who pleads our cause with GOD. On this account we are called holy. This Apostleship and High Priesthood are included in the one term Mediator. He compares Jesus as an apostle to Moses, and as a priest (and this appellation is taken up again, Hebrews 4:14) to Aaron, and at the same time prefers Him to both; He alone holds both dignities united, and in a more eminent degree, which those two brothers [the duumvirate of brothers] held apart. Here He is called in a relative sense πιστὸς, faithful, as ἀληθὴς, true, John 5:31, unverwerflich, a testimony which cannot be refused.—τῆς ὁμολογίας, of our confession or profession) The confession or profession is intended, not that which is made to men, but that which is made to GOD. This word admirably expresses the nature of faith, which is borne with a ready response towards (in respect to) the promise: GOD, who sent His Son and gave Him as a priest to us, λέγει, speaks: man ὁμολογεῖ, declares his agreement, assents, subscribes. So ch. Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 10:23. They did that most solemnly in baptism. The opposite is ἀντιλογία, contradiction, ch. Hebrews 12:3.Verse 1. - Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus (Ξριστὸν before Ἰησοῦν is ill supported, and to be rejected from the text). Reference to what has gone before is perceptible throughout this verse. The persons addressed are "holy," as being among the "sanctified" (Hebrews 2:11); "brethren," as being, with the writer, in this relation to Christ (Hebrews 2:11, 12, 13, 17); their calling is a heavenly one, being from heaven (Hebrews 1:1) and to heaven (Hebrews 2:10). Jesus is their" Apostle," as having been sent into the world, as above set forth, from God; their "High Priest," as implied, though not distinctly expressed, at the end of Hebrews 2, which led up to the idea. "Jesus" is added at the end in apposition, so as to fix attention on him, as the bearer of these titles, who was known by that name in the flesh. On the title "Apostle," we may observe that, though it is nowhere else in the New Testament applied to Christ, yet its idea with respect to him is frequent both in this Epistle and elsewhere (cf. Luke 4:43; Luke 9:48; Luke 10:16; John 17:3, 18, etc.). The word ὁμολογία (translated "confession;" in the A.V., "profession") is generally used for the Christian's avowal of his faith before men (cf. Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 10:23; 2 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Timothy 6:12). The genitive here depends on both the preceding substantives, its force probably being that Jesus, as Apostle and High Priest, is the object of our confession of faith. On Jesus, then, being such, the readers are called to fix earnestly their mental gaze, and in doing so take further note of his superiority to Moses, which is the subject of what follows. The leading ideas of the preceding section are echoed in this verse: brethren, of whom Christ made himself the brother: holy, in virtue of the work of the sanctifier.

Wherefore (ὅθεν)

Drawing a conclusion from Hebrews 2:9-18.

Holy brethren (ἀδελφοὶ ἅγιοι)

The phrase N.T.o. Ἀδελφοί brethren, in address, is not found in the Gospels. In Acts mostly ἄνδρες ἀδελφοὶ brother men. In Paul, ἀδ. ἀγαπητοί brethren beloved, or ἀδ. ἀγαπ. καὶ ἐπιπόθητοι brethren beloved and longed for (once, Philippians 4:1), ἀδ. ἠγαπημένοι ὐπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ and τοῦ κυρίου brethren beloved of God or of the Lord, and ἀδ. μου my brethren. In James mostly ἀδ. μου. In Hebrews, except here, ἀδελφοὶ simply. Holy brethren (see Hebrews 2:11) are worshippers of God, taking the place of God's O.T. people, as called and consecrated to ethical and spiritual service according to the Christian ideal.

Partakers of a heavenly calling (κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου μέτοχοι)

Μέτοχοι partakers only in Hebrews except Luke 5:7. See on μετέσχεν took part, Hebrews 2:14. The phrase heavenly calling N.T.o. Comp. τῆς ἄσω κλήσεως the upward calling, Philippians 3:14. The expression points to the lordship of the world to be (Hebrews 2:5); and the world to be is the abiding world, the place of realities as contrasted with types and shadows. The calling comes from that world and is to that world. See Hebrews 13:14.

Consider (κατανοήσατε)

Attentively, thoughtfully (κατὰ). See on James 1:23. The writer's habit is to use the communicative we or us identifying himself with his readers.

The apostle and high priest (τὸν ἀπόστολον καὶ ἀρχιερέα)

In calling Jesus apostle, the writer is thinking of Moses as one sent by God to lead Israel to Canaan. Comp. lxx, where ἀποστέλλειν to send is often used of Moses. See Exodus 3-7. Often of Jesus, as Luke 10:16; John 3:17; John 5:36; John 6:29.

Of our profession (τῆς ὁμολογίας ἡμῶν)

Rend. confession for profession. The apostle and high priest whom we confess. Comp. 1 Timothy 6:12.

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