4 – Hebrews 3 our profession and those who fell because of unbelief

Heb 3:1  Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Heb 3:2  Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. Heb 3:3  For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. 

In Chapter 3, He’s going to start talking about the high priesthood of Jesus.  But Chapter 3 and 4 also talk about entering the rest of God and the reasons why people can’t enter in.  Notice the chapter starts with “Therefore”.  That means “in light of everything that’s been said thus far.”  So “therefore” refers to everything He’s said about Christ:

He is the subject and instrument of God’s speaking.

He is the son of God who purged our sins and who sat down on the right hand of the majesty on High.

In His His divinity He the One who created everything and outlasts everything.

 In His Humanity (as the seed of David) He resurrected and has been given the scepter that was promised (the rod of iron) and has sat down at the right hand of God (as a man) having all authority in heaven and on earth.

He Is the author of a “great salvation” and is the Captain of our salvation, and has become flesh and blood like we have so that He can become one with us. As such He is not ashamed to call us brethren, and is revealing the Father to us and is declaring us to the Father, and is carrying us into glory. 

Partakers of the heavenly calling

Because of all of these things which comprise the great salvation which we must not neglect – we are partakers of the heavenly calling.  We have a calling to be identified with the heavenly Christ. Remember, this is a revelation of Christ as the radiance of God’s glory and the express image of His person who upholds all things by the word of His power.  He created everything and is the heir of everything, and has incarnated and has passed through death and resurrection.  He been united with us in His resurrection and is seated at the right hand of God having purged our sins and is our High Priest.  Based on this all of this, He is bringing us into glory, and this is our calling.

 Our calling is to be identified with this One. This Person is much higher than even the Jesus that was revealed in the four gospels, and this is why Paul says we no longer know Him after the flesh. (2 Cor 5:16) We used to know Him according to the flesh, but now we know Him according to revelation.  We have a heavenly body of truth that has been revealed by the Father concerning His divinity, His humanity, His death and resurrection, and His great salvation which we are partakers and heirs of the kingdom that is to come. We are partakers of this heavenly calling.

 This heavenly calling is a matter of revelation, and Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:17-23 that we would receive a spirit of wisdom and revelation, that the our hearts would be enlightened and that we would know “what is the Hope of His Calling, what is the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power towards us who believe, which is according to the working of the strength of His might which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavens, far above all principality and power, and made Him to be head over all things to the Church, which is His Body, the fullness through which He will fill all things.”  The Heavenly calling is related to Christ being multiplied as God’s inheritance in the saints, who are the many sons that He is bringing into glory, who are His body and His fullness.  This is accomplished by the working of His power in resurrection, which Has already enthroned Him above everything in heaven and earth, and is now working to make Him head over all things to the Church! So we see the same “Pauline” heavenly calling outlined in Hebrews and Ephesians.

Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; 

The Apostle and High Priest of Our Profession

What is our profession?  Our profession is all of above.  With this all in view, you have a very high view of a Heavenly Christ that has been revealed by the Father.  Christ and His work, not just in the forgiveness of sins, but the entirety of His work by His life to produce the many sons of God who are His body – all of this makes up the content of our profession.

We are told here to consider the Apostle of our profession.  Did you know Jesus is an apostle?  Some people say there are only 12, but Paul said that Epaphroditus was the church at Philippi’s apostle to minister to his need.  What does that mean?  They sent Epaphroditus to minister to the needs of Paul and in doing so, he was their apostle – their “sent one” (which is what apostle literally means), their representative and their ambassador.  That’s what an apostle is. 

There are many apostles.  Yes, there is the magnified office of Apostle that Paul and the others held – the special capital “A” Apostle, but then there are little “a” apostles – “sent ones” that represent churches and represent Christ. 

This Jesus Christ is the Apostle of our profession.  He is our “sent one”.  Where?  In the Holy of Holies! He is the ambassador and the representative of our profession in the heavens!  We hold a profession concerning the revelation we have received of the Heavenly Christ – the Enthroned Christ. We believe in His divinity, humanity, incarnation, death for our sins and resurrection for our justification.  We believe He purged our sins and sat down at the right hand of god indicating that this whole work was finished, and we believe He is working in this age to build up the Church and will bring us into glory to be as He is before the throne.  This is our profession, and now He represents us saying “Yes Father, those who have this profession are My Sheep and of them I will have none.  They are mine to take care of.”  In fact this is the nature of His prayer in John 17. Consider:

Joh 17:5  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. Joh 17:6  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Joh 17:7  Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. Joh 17:8  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 

Here Jesus is praying in His High Priestly Role as the Apostle of our profession.  He tells the Father “I have revealed you to them and I have given them the words you gave me, and they have kept these words.”  By these words, we know that He came from the father. These words have revealed Him to us, and have become our profession.  That profession is what saves and qualifies us in the courts of heaven, and He is our representative there testifying that this profession is ours. 

 He is the apostle representing us in the throne room just as Epaphroditus was representing the church at Philippi to Paul, and the apostles were here to represent Christ to the Church. Christ is representing us in Heaven. He is our sent One.  He went in as the captain, as the forerunner for our salvation, into the Holiest of all, sprinkling His blood, and now He stands there as our representing advocating for us, saying “no accusation can come to them.  They have the profession!”  How are we identified with Him?  By our profession of faith! 

 Not only is He the apostle of our profession, but He is the High Priest of our profession.  What does a High Priest do?  He perfects and maintains it the profession.  He maintains our position before God by keeping that profession alive and bearing witness in us.  As the Apostle, He represents us before God. As the High Priest, He identifies with us and helps us and keeps us in the faith, supplying Himself to us and declaring the Father’s name within us, “Abba Father” and making intercession for us to bring us through everything that the enemy and the flesh and the world might throw at us and keep our faith intact.

He’s there to be our high priest to help us when we are falling into temptation.  The temptation in Hebrews is to shrink back, fear God, think He’s a hard master, go back to the law and reject the Gospel.  He is there for those who have professed faith in Him to maintain their profession and to help them in their temptation and in their time of need.  That’s what we really need the mercy for – that we would not fall away.  We will not fall away, because He is keeping us as our High Priest.  He is not like the priests that went before that couldn’t continue in their office.  He ever lives to make intercession for us in the power of His incorruptible Life. He is faithful to maintain us before the throne and maintain us in our profession.

He urges us to consider this one. Since we are partakers of the heavenly calling to be identified with Him, let us consider Him. Consider that He is the apostle representing you and the high priest maintaining this profession.  He is faithful to Him that appointed Him.  Who appointed Him?  God did.

Heb 3:2  Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.  Heb 3:3  For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. 

The Son Faithful over His House

So, Moses was part of the house, but Christ built the house.  Moses was a servant, and he was faithful.  Christ is a Son of God, faithful over the house He built (which is us.)!

Heb 3:4  For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. Heb 3:5  And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; Heb 3:6  But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end

Everything Moses did was to setup a pattern and a foreshadow of the reality that Christ ushers in.  We are the house over which Christ is faithful as a Son.  So, there’s a profession, and a confidence and a rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.  What hope?  The hope of glory.  The hope of this great salvation.  He is maintaining us in that as a Son over His house. We are that house! If we are continuing in that confidence, we know that it is because He is faithful over us.  The evidence of His faithfulness over us is that we continue in the faith.  If it weren’t for Him, I wouldn’t believe tomorrow!  Someone could come and argue me out of it. 

Some read this verse “if we maintain the confidence and the rejoicing of our hope firm to the end” and think that this is a warning not to fall away from the faith.  Somehow when we read a word in the scripture we always want to think it’s saying the opposite.  “It says ‘if we maintain’, therefore I might not maintain.”  But the point he is making is that our confidence to which we are holding fast is tended to and supplied by the Son of God Himself.  He is the one who is charged with faithfulness over His house, and we are His house if we remain in our confidence.  The fact that we have the profession shows that we are in the faith, and that we are of His house, and we can rest assured that He is faithful over that house.  That’s the point He’s making.  Again you might say “yes but I’m not all that confident.  I don’t rejoice that much.”  That is because we have a treasure in an earthen vessel.  When we are full of the spirit and full of faith and our eyes are on Jesus, we are full of confidence.  When we are weak and focused on ourself and feeling condemned, we don’t have that much confidence, but we still have our profession.  We cannot deny what we believe about Him.  And He maintains that profession and it qualifies us before God.  Meanwhile this is why He is our High Priest.  Because we are weak.  Because we are faithless and vascilatory and lack confidence and tend to shrink back and are tempted in this way, we need the High Priest.  So God has recognized this weakness and not counted it against us, but proved us with a Great High Priest because of this very weakness which we all have!

We cannot maintain ourselves in revelation.  Only the high priest can.  Only the Son of God faithful over His house can.  He is the subject of these sentences, not us.  We will hold this hope all the way to the end, and He will maintain us in it.

Heb 3:7  Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Heb 3:8  Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: Heb 3:9  When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Heb 3:10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. Heb 3:11  So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.

Christ is our Rest

Remember, this is all about God’s speaking in Son.  In the first verses He said, “God having spoken in various manners at different times to the fathers through the prophets has in these last days spoken to us in Son.”  So now He’s saying He’s speaking, and this speaking is about Christ, and that speaking has become your profession and produced in you a living hope.  That hope will not disappoint.  No one who puts their faith in Him will be disappointed, because He is the Son faithful over His house. We are His house, and we can remain confident and rejoice in this hope. 

This goes right along with Romans 5:2, which says that we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, and this hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit which He has given to us (Romans 5:5). What backs that up?  It’s the High Priesthood of Christ. The Holy Spirit is ministered to us and supplied to us by the High Priesthood of Christ.  We learn in Romans 8 that this spirit eventually is the Spirit of Sonship which cries in us “Abba, Father”.(Romans 8:15)  We already saw in Hebrews 2 that He said He would declare the Father’s name to us.  That is His High Priestly ministry.  It is to declare the Father’s name to us.  As He does that, as He cries Abba Father within us, He supplies us with the witnessing Spirit that continually testifies concerning who He is and who we are as heirs.(Rom 8:16-17)

These verses concerning God’s rest and His wrath on those that provoked Him reference the story in Numbers.  The Old Testament Israelites (as a pattern) were all baptized into Moses through the Red Sea which was a picture of Baptism (1 Cor 10:2).  They went through the red sea and they followed the rock which was a picture of Christ, and they drank from the water from a Rock which is a picture of the living water which we now have. (1 Cor 10:4)

When were in the wilderness with Egypt and the Red Sea behind them and the Jordan the Good land in front of them, Moses sent 12 spies in to spy out the land God had promised them.  12 spies were sent in, and 10 came back saying there are “giants in the land”.  (Numbers 13:32-33) They were sons of the Nephilim. They were really grasshoppers in their sight, and it wasn’t an exaggeration.  However the Bible calls this an “evil report”.  However Caleb and Joshua said “We shall by all means take the land!”  Because of the unbelief of the 10 spies an those that stood with them, God said “These people are not ready to enter my rest.” (the land) They can’t enter the land because they’re full of unbelief. They won’t take it. He had to wait for that entire generation to die out.  He swore they wouldn’t enter His rest. That generation had to die out, and this took 40 years.  It was supposed to be an 11 day journey (Deuteronomy 1:2) but instead they wandered for forty years until that entire generation died and a new generation took their place, their children (Numbers 14:30-33).

The older generation died out in the wilderness and then the younger generation was led into the land by Joshua and Caleb, who were old men by that time, after Moses died.  They did possess the land!  That is the provocation.  They hardened their hearts in unbelief.  This was the day of temptation in the wilderness “when your fathers tempted me and proved me in the wilderness 40 years.  I was grieved with that generation and said they always err in their hearts and have not known my ways.  So, I swore in My wrath they will not enter My rest.”

Heb 3:12  Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. Heb 3:13  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Heb 3:14  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; Heb 3:15  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. Heb 3:16  For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. Heb 3:17  But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? Heb 3:18  And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? Heb 3:19  So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. 

Evil Heart of Unbelief

So he’s using that as a figure, to say “look, there are some among you who associated themselves with you and even seemed like they believed.  But they don’t. And as sin comes, they have an evil heart of unbelief.”  What is the root of this unbelief?  Verse 13 tells us it is the “deceitfulness of sin.”  What is the deceitfulness of sin?  It tells you “you are condemned and you cannot come near to God.  You need to go back and do something.  You need to make an offering.  You need to pay for that sin, or God will not have anything to do with you.” Eventually in Hebrews 9 this will also be referred to as an “evil conscience.”  It is related to the Evil Report of the unbelieving spies in Numbers 13, in contrast with our Profession of Faith that saves us.

Here we a see a warning about departing from the living God.  This happens to people who don’t fully believe the gospel, because it wasn’t revealed to them.  There are many who have identified themselves with God’s people who are not God’s people.  The same case in the wilderness – if you look at the story, it was a “mixed multitude” that came out of Egypt (Exodus 12:38).  They wanted to flee the judgments and the plagues. They did, but they never appreciated – they erred in their heart.  Not all of them, but enough of them that it brought everyone into bondage. Everyone had to die in the wilderness because of those who did not believe!  That’s what it says: 

With whom was he grieved?  Was it not those that sinned?  Heb 3:16  For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.” In other words, not everyone provoked, but everyone had to wait because of those who did provoke. 

That’s the damaged caused by associating with a mixed multitude, a mixture of unbelievers and believers.  This is what we see in the institutional church. This is one of the reasons (and there are many) why there is almost no rest to be found in the institutional church.  You associate yourself with the mixed multitude. This can’t help but impact your walk!  Most people associating themselves with Christianity – we’re waiting for them to “die out”!  They don’t have the faith. 

However those who have the Profession will agree with every article of what was mentioned in Chapters 1 and 2, especially the redemptive work of Christ, and that He is identified with us, and is not ashamed of us, and we have boldness to approach Him. The Profession sides with and responds to Boldness and confidence, and a rejoicing of Hope that He is going to bring us into glory. He is the captain of salvation.  He is faithful over His house.  All of this is our faith. 

The Deceitfulness of Sin

Here is the deceitfulness of sin: when we sin, the temptation is to unbelief. Now, if you are His, He by His High Priesthood will be interceding for you and will cause you to eventually overcome so that you stand with the Profession and you stand with the confidence and rejoicing of hope. This is a process that we learn little by little at first, but with greater and greater confidence we learn to boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Through our experience we are taught how to be patient and how to believe the word and stand against the feelings and say “no, I’m forgiven, I’m cleansed, and I can approach boldly!” That’s what God loves, those who delight in the redemption of Christ and approach boldly even after they’ve sinned. 

You will sin, you have the flesh.  Anyone who says they have no sin is a liar and the truth is not in them.(1 John 1:8)  But we confess our sins when we are convicted, because we know that we can run to Him and He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us, and the more we do this the more confidence we have, and our faith and hope grows.  This is how to hold fast the profession.  If you are the Lord’s Sheep, as your Shepherd, as a Son over the House over which He is faithful, as the Apostle of Your Profession, and as your High Priest, He will keep you in this line. 

However, those who fall away – who provoke Him and harden their heart and resist and eventually do not believe but depart from the Living God, they did not believe.  You will find that those that stand with works – if you could get close enough to examine their theology about the humanity and divinity of Christ, they will eventually show that they are wrong on these things, because they are all revealed by the Spirit. Without the revelation of the Spirit they can’t get any of that right! They’ll be wrong in some area.  That’s why we had the Arians (like the Jehovah’s Witnesses today) who only stood with the humanity of Christ and said He was a created being. Or the Gnostics who said He couldn’t have come in the flesh because the material world is evil, and He is divine. 

They have so many different ways of having an unbalanced view of the Triune God and those who have an evil heart of unbelief will be wrong on the humanity and the divinity of Christ and His work. The first thing they reject is His work, and that is evidenced by the fact that they go back to their own works.  They try to cleanse themselves rather than letting the blood purge them and believing in Him. When they start to realize there are “giants in the land”, they say “no way we can’t do that.” Then they get bitter and offended.  They start out thinking they’re believers but eventually they become bitter and offended.  Murmuring and complaining sets in which is followed by accusing and slandering those who have the profession of faith.  They say we just want a license to sin, but really they are not believers.  Their slander is an “evil report” and evidence that they will not enter rest (unless they repent).  All that we can do is wait for them to “die out”.  As Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead. Follow Me.” (Matthew 8:22) Their true nature eventually shows.  In Exodus, there seemed to be no difference between those who believed and those who really didn’t believe God.  They all passed through the red sea and escaped the judgements.  But after a few tests, those that didn’t believe were exposed by their evil report, and those who did believe were revealed by their profession.  This is all a pattern to teach us about the situation today. These are the people that provoked and fell in the wilderness and will not enter the rest.  But we who have the profession will enter that rest and do enter that rest as we will see in the next chapter.

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