A quick recap: Paul starts off chapter 3 with these words… “partakers of the heavenly calling”.
This is the therefore he is referring to… and it is what WE are here for….
Later in the book/letter Paul will discuss the grafting in of all mankind to the faith ‘once delivered’ to the saints. Here, he is setting the stage for that very premise. John will echo these words in a way, for the “average Joe”, that catches their attention to this same grafting process.
- 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
So, why are we here, on earth, at this moment in time, to do what again? We are here to become partakers of the heavenly calling; and what exactly is the heavenly calling? Love God and to love mankind. This is how we will spend our time in heaven, with God and people.
- Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang [to support] all the law and the prophets.”
It is with these in mind that Paul makes his assertion, with much urgency, here in Hebrews….
Hebrews 3:7-8 “Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:”
Paul is passing along the same information that existed in the Garden. It is the same that was required of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is the same that Jesus exampled in His life. It is the very same that the modern church avoids at all cost. It is what they preach against.
- Deuteronomy 26:16-19 “This day the Lord thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. Thou hast avouched [made a covenant] the YHVH this day to be your God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people, as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments; And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as he hath spoken.
The reason the people wandered the desert for 40 years… they had Hard Hearts… an unwillingness to submit to God. The modern church constantly uses the following verse without the depth of its full understanding.
- 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Where is the submission? Where does the church humble themselves?
Hebrews 3:9-10 “When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.“
God was upset with the ‘church’ of that day why? Because they did not know His instructions [Torah]!
- Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
Another verse widely proclaimed and vastly misunderstood by the modern church…
Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
What word? ….. wait for it…. yep you guessed it … the same Word that existed “with God”, as John so perfectly penned, it is the TORAH! The very same mentioned in Deuteronomy 26, the same lived out by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the exact same that was given to Moses, by the hand of God, on Mt. Saini… TORAH! TORAH! TORAH!
A quick internet search found more than 30 people (both fictional and non) attributed to the saying “those uneducated to their past are destined to repeat it.” These obvious geniuses include the likes of talk show host Stephen Colbert, basketball owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban, the ‘always pious’ Lemony Snickets, and multiple Presidents and authors.
It doesn’t really take a rocket scientist, authors, or even presidents, to figure out this ‘sage advice’. We simply look at the attitudes and actions of the Hebrew nation and their waffling back and forth with their faith and trust in God. Every single time Israel stopped listening to God, stopped living the instructions… their nation went into bondage or captivity. It will happen, no, IT IS happening to America. The question now becomes… will we humble ourselves…?
The next verses nail this understanding…
Hebrews 3:11-12 “So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
Paul is pleading with the church to follow the instructions of God. His exhortation is that we live according to the faith that Jesus was calling the sinner to repentance, as well as, a call to obedience; and that we risk losing our heavenly rest because we no longer believe the instruction apply to those of us eligible for grace from our past indiscretions. That somehow Grace and Obedience are not capable of being a part of our relationship to God.
- Mark 9:23-24 “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
This should be the prayer of the church today. They believe that God is who He is, as do the demons, yet they fall for the belief that God somehow gave up, and is somehow ok with, what we have determined to be religious or church worthy. Paul is trying to convey this message to all the world… stop following the advice of men and follow the written Word, which he and many others, saw first hand.
- 1 John 1:1-3 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
Listen to Paul’s encouragement in verse 13 …
Hebrews 3:13 “But exhort* one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
- G3870 παρακαλέω parakaleo (pa-ra-ka-le’-ō) v. [from G3844 and G2564]
- (properly) to call near, to be very close to.
- to implore, entreat, to exhort, to urgently counsel, encourage or admonish.
Look at a modern word, that we should all be familiar with, paramedic. We can see ‘para’ or very close and that they are one to implore medical assistance. Paul is telling us to stay very close to the counsel which Jesus gave to us.
Matthew 5:17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil*.”
G4137 πληρόω pleroo (plee-ro’-ō) v.
- to fully, completely fill.
- (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow).
- (figuratively) to fully supply
In plain English, Jesus came to teach us the instructions! He got very close to mankind. He encouraged, admonished and counseled.
- Matthew 19:16-21 “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.”
If you are a member of the modern church…. I implore you to seek the truth while it still may be found. Listen to what the Spirit has to say to the church. His instructions are for our good. Paul said he could not even describe what sin is to another person without showing them the Torah! Paul said it taught him the things he needed to know in order to recognize the One … the Messiah!
I pray that God/Jesus/Spirit fully supplies, crams, levels up and just stuffs your head full of His Word, so that, you may be a well equipped vessel of the gospel message and a partaker in His eternal rest!