Agonizomai: Heb 3:1-4 - Christ the Creator of All

Friday, November 13, 2009

Heb 3:1-4 - Christ the Creator of All

Heb 3:1-4 - Christ the Creator of All

Heb 3:1-4 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. 3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.)

On account of all that has been said so far, then those who are holy brothers on account of God’s calling (that is, on account of his effectual call) ought to have this Jesus foremost in their minds. It is this Jesus who is the true and eternal high priest of all the chosen ones. He is missionary and messenger, establisher and founder, priest and sacrifice of and to all that are in Him through faith. We confess - it is our confession - but we confess what He has accomplished in our behalf. We confess, we witness, to His finished, satisfactory and exemplary atoning work. He is both priest and propitiation, as stated in verses 17-18 of the last chapter. He intercedes on our behalf and He turns away the fierce wrath of God upon our sin forever because He is eternally accepted as our substitute.

There are parallels. There are always parallels and figures and types and symbols. The former analogies were given so that when the perfect of which they spoke actually came, He would be recognized for what He is. The sacrificial system, the priestly system, the kingdom - all these pointed with historical facts to the Person they prefigured. It’s almost as if history was a sort of throw-away draft of the final product in Jesus Christ. I say "almost," because God is more than able to make history meaningful on one level and the Son’s incarnation into history meaningful on another, infinitely higher, level.

Moses was a "type" of Christ. He was appointed as the intermediary and the guardian of the God’s chosen nation. And, in his fallible human way, he was stunningly faithful in fulfilling the charge given to him by God. This, the nation of Israel always understood - giving honor and recognition to the greatness of the man in his service to God on their behalf. But what the writer is saying here is that Moses was but a mere shadow of He who was to come. The Christ was of an entirely different order, and his work was in a completely different dimension. Moses and Christ shared their humanity, but the Lord Jesus Christ was infinitely more than a mere human being. He was not less than human. He was not non-human. In his humanity he was not super-human. But he was eternal Son of Almighty God living in human flesh; not living in a human suit that had been somehow pulled over his eternal frame (if that were possible), but God living as fully human, having both natures simultaneously and completely.

The writer expresses it simply by casting Moses as the work of Christ’s hands and Christ as the creator of all things, including Moses. In other words, Moses is only a part of God’s creation and his faithfulness, great thought it was, was owed to his Creator and Redeemer. God made Moses faithful. Moses walked in it, but God chose, equipped, guided and upheld Moses throughout. Moses was, therefore, beholden to God for all that he was and did. He was, in fact, the humblest man that ever lived because he understood precisely what is being asserted here, namely - if it is good, then God did it.

The focus is upon Christ, as it should be. In Christ, the Living Word, God was at work reconciling the world to Himself - and in the process he was creating something heretofore unimagined. God spoke in the complete and completed incarnation of the Living Word - and it was. God spoke redemption, reconciliation, propitiation and regeneration in the Person and work of his Son and, just as in Genesis, it was so. But this focus is upon Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised and foreshadowed in God’s dealings with Israel.

I think care needs to be taken with the concept of Christ having been "counted worthy" - a thought also found, for example in Revelation {Re 5:9,12}, though not expressed in the same words. Christ is certainly "counted worthy" by we who have been redeemed. Our eyes have been opened to His eternal worthiness, which He always possessed. His nature is and always was and will be "worthy" of all praise and honor and glory, but we have had our eyes opened to that by our redemption and rebirth.

There is also a sense in which I suppose that the Father counts the obedient life and death of His incarnate Son as "worthy" for the purpose for which it was given. Christ came for a purpose, fulfilled that purpose completely and, on account of that, He was counted worthy to be the eternal representative of (redeemed) humanity. His worth was expressed in human form and utterly human obedience on behalf of all who would believe in Him. He did not become more worthy in His divine essence, but He walked worthily in His humanity.

Christ’s perfectly obedient human life was infinitely valuable on account of the fact that it was God the Son living it. Moses’ imperfectly obedient ministry was valuable only insofar as God was at work in Him bringing about faithfulness in a fallen creature.


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