For every house is built by some man; but he that built all things is God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For every house is builded by some man.—Rather, by some one: the thought of the house leads at once to the thought of the builder of it. The meaning of the several parts of this verse is very simple; but it is not easy to follow the reasoning with certainty. The second clause seems to be a condensed expression of this thought: “But He that built this house is He that built all things, God.” “Moses is possessed of lesser glory than the Apostle of our confession, as the house stands below its maker in honour. For this house, like every other, has its maker:—it is He who made all things, even God.
(1) Every family must have a founder; every dispensation an author; every house a builder. There must be someone, therefore, over all dispensations - the old and the new - the Jewish and the Christian.
(2) Paul "assumes" that the Lord Jesus was divine. He had demonstrated this in Hebrews 1:1-14; and he argues as if this were so, without now stopping to prove it, or even to affirm it expressly.
(3) God must be over "all things." He is Creator of all, and he must, therefore, be over all. As the Lord Jesus, therefore, is divine, he must be over the Jewish dispensation as well as the Christian - or he must, as God, have been at the head of that - or over his own family or household.
(4) as such, he must have a glory and honor which could not belong to Moses. He, in his divine character, was the Author of both the Jewish and the Christian dispensations, and he must, therefore, have a rank far superior to that of Moses - which was the point which the apostle designed to illustrate. The meaning of the whole may be thus expressed. "The Lord Jesus is worthy of more honor than Moses. He is so, as the maker of a house deserves more honor than the house. He is divine. In the beginning he laid the foundation of the earth, and was the agent in the creation of all things; Hebrews 1:2, Hebrews 1:10. He presides, therefore, over everything; and was over the Jewish and the Christian dispensations - for there must have been someone over them, or the author of them, as really as it must be true that every house is built by some person. Being, therefore, over all things, and at the head of all dispensations, he must be more exalted than Moses." This seems to me to be the argument - an argument which is based on the supposition that he is at the head of all things, and that he was the agent in the creation of all worlds. This view will make all consistent. The Lord Jesus will be seen to have a claim to a far higher honor than Moses, and Moses will be seen to have derived his honor, as a servant of the Mediator, in the economy which he had appointed.
For every house is builded by some man; for every earthly artificial building, a material house built for habitation, though it may metaphorically and analogically be understood of a commonwealth, or political one, which is contrived, framed, and raised by some man; yet an effect cannot produce itself, nor a house raise itself; both must have a cause, both the house wherein Moses was faithful, and Christ’s house.
But he that built all things is God; but he who built his church in all ages, whether the Israelitish or Christian, and all things about it of which we speak, and all things else, Matthew 16:18 John 1:1,3 Col 1:20; he is God essentially; and Christ, doing God’s work and building all things, is not by name only, but by nature, God. The whole world is his workmanship, but the church is the most rare, curious, and excellent piece of it. Christ is not part of the house, as Moses is, but the builder of it; he is the Creator and builder both of the church and him, and so infinitely above him.
But he that built all things is God; Christ has built all things, and therefore he is God, and must be infinitely above Moses; for this is not to be understood of God and of the creation of the world, and of all things in it by him; but of Christ, and of his building the church, and of his ordering and managing of that, and all affairs relating to it; such as the constitution of it, settling the worship of God, and the ordinances in it, the redemption and salvation of the members of it, and its rule and government; all which prove him to be God, and above Moses.For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Hebrews 3:4. The author has spoken, Hebrews 3:2, of the house of God, and yet, Hebrews 3:3, has ascribed the founding and preparing of the same to Christ. For the justification of this apparent contradiction does the remark, Hebrews 3:4, serve. Although every house has its special preparer, yet this notwithstanding, it is God who has prepared all things. That special foundership of Christ does not exclude the universal higher foundership of God. The proposition Hebrews 3:4 is incidental to the main argument. It is not, however, to be enclosed in a parenthesis, because αὐτοῦ, Hebrews 3:5, refers back to θεός, Hebrews 3:4.
In the second clause, θεός is subject, and ὁ δὲ πάντα κατασκευάσας predicate. Wrongly has θεός been ordinarily taken by others as predicate, and as subject either ὁ δὲ πάντα κατασκευάσας or merely ὁ δέ, since πάντα κατασκευάσας was taken as a defining adjunct. The second member of the proposition was then referred to Christ, and the statement found therein that Christ is God. So Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Clarius, Beza, Estius, Jac. Cappellus, Cornelius a Lapide, Cameron, Piscator, Owen, Seb. Schmidt, Wittich, Braun, Akersloot, Calmet, Bengel, Cramer, Whitby, Stuart, Baumgarten, and many others; also still Woerner. But with this thought the sequel is not in keeping. For not of Christ’s being God, but of His exalted relation to the house of God as the υἱός, while Moses was only a θεράπων, does the author speak, Hebrews 3:5-6.
πάντα] denotes not the universality of all created things, thought of as a unity, but in general: each and all, that exists.Hebrews 3:4. πᾶς γὰρ οἶκος … θεός. “For every house is built by someone, but he that built all is God.” Over and above the right conduct of the house there is a builder. No house, no religious system, grows of itself; it has a cause in the will of one who is greater than it. There is a “someone” at the root of all that appears in history. And He who planned and brought into being πάντα, “all,” whether old or new, is God. The present development of this divine house as well as its past condition and equipment is of God. And Christ, the Son, naturally and perfectly representing God or the builder, and by whose agency God created all things (Hebrews 1:2) is therefore worthy of more honour than Moses. The argument is not so much elliptical as incomplete, waiting to be supplemented by the following verses in which the relation of Jesus to God and the relation of Moses to the house are exhibited. “It is argued that a household must be established by a householder; now God established the universe, and therefore he is the supreme householder of the universal household or Church of God, and in that household Jesus, as His perfect representative, is entitled to receive glory corresponding” (Rendall).4. For every house is builded by some man] The real meaning would perhaps be better expressed by “Every household is established by some one.” The establisher of the Old Dispensation as well as of the New was Christ, but yet, in some sense (as an instrument and minister) Moses might be regarded as the founder of the Old Covenant (Acts 7:38), as Jesus of the New. The verb (kataskeuazo) is rendered “prepare” in Hebrews 9:6, Hebrews 11:7; Luke 1:17.
he that built all things is God] In His humanity Jesus was but “the Apostle” of God in building His house, the Church. “He (the man whose name is the Branch) shall build the temple of the Lord,” Zechariah 6:12. God is the supreme, ultimate, and universal Founder.Hebrews 3:4. Ὁ δὲ, but He) Christ. The article points out the subject, and also possesses in this passage a relative meaning, as in ch. Hebrews 7:6. Θεὸς, GOD, is the predicate.—Θεὸς, GOD) absolutely. Moses was a ‘god’ to Aaron, but he was not GOD absolutely.Verse 4. - For every house is builded (or, established) by some one; but he that built (or, established) all things is God. Of the second clause of this verse "God" is rightly taken by modern commentators as the subject, not the predicate, though the Fathers generally take it otherwise. Thus Theodoret, regarding as a ὁ πάντα κατασκευάσας designation of Christ, views this clause as an assertion of his Deity on the ground of his being the Founder of all things. But this view introduces an idea out of keeping with the argument, and especially with the preceding expression, "faithful to him who appointed him," in which Christ, in his office as the Christ, is distinguished from the Creator of all who appointed him to that office. The verse seems to be interposed in elucidation of the preceding ὁ κατασκευάσας αὕτον, to make it clear that the Founder of the house spoken of is God himself, and thus to give full effect to the proportionate glory of Christ in comparison with that of Moses. Thus: the glory of Christ is greater than that of Moses by so much as the honor of the founder of a house is greater than that of the house; - of the founder, we say; for every house has some founder: but God is the original Founder of all things, and therefore of necessity the Founder of this house of his own in which Moses was a servant. The verse, thus interpreted, seems (as intimated there) to fall in with the train of thought mere naturally than it can be shown to do if Christ is 'regarded as the Builder. Possibly "all things" may be purposely used to denote the house itself over which Christ, as Son, is Lord. For, though the expression seems too wide for the limited house in which Moses was a servant, it is net so for the expanded and consummated house over which Christ in glory reigns; cf. Hebrews 1:2, "Whom he appointed Heir of all things;" and Hebrews 2:8, "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet;" the last being said in especial connection with the "glory and honor" wherewith Christ "has been counted worthy" to be crowned. It is not necessary to confine the meaning of "God's house" to the Mosaic dispensation, or to assign to it (as some have done) two separate meanings in the cases of Moses and of Christ. It may be regarded as a comprehensive term, including in its general meaning the Law, the gospel, and the final consummation the whole dispensation of redemption, beginning with the Law, and completed at the second advent. Moses held office in its early stage, and there only as a servant; in its ultimate development it comprises "all things," and over "all things," thus comprised, Christ, as SON, has been shown to be by inheritance absolute Lord.
The verb includes not only erection, but furnishing with the entire equipment. See Hebrews 9:2; 1 Peter 2:10. The verb oP. The application of built or established to Christ (Hebrews 3:3) is guarded against possible misapprehension. Christ is the establisher, but not by any independent will or agency. As the Son he is he that built, but it is as one with God who built all things. The special foundership of Christ does not contradict or exclude the general foundership of God.
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