Questions From Readers
▪ Hebrews 3:1-6 mentions Moses, Jesus and Jehovah God in connection with a “house,” but what “house” is meant?
Basically, the apostle Paul was referring to God’s people, or congregation, as a “house.”
Hebrews 3:1-6 reads: “Consequently, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest whom we confess—Jesus. He was faithful to the One that made him such, as Moses was also in all the house of that One. For the latter is counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who constructs it has more honor than the house. Of course, every house is constructed by someone, but he that constructed all things is God. And Moses as an attendant was faithful in all the house of that One as a testimony of the things that were to be spoken afterwards, but Christ was faithful as a Son over the house of that One. We are the house of that One, if we make fast our hold on our freeness of speech and our boasting over the hope firm to the end.”
Earlier, Paul had said that Jesus, as God’s Son, had inherited a name more excellent than that of the angels. The apostle also pointed out that if the word of the Law that God transmitted through angels to Moses merited attention, more so would the word spoken by the Son. (Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:1-4) Then, in Hebrews chapter 3, Paul continued to stress Jesus’ superiority.
As background, recall that after Miriam and Aaron complained over Moses’ major role in Israel, God called Moses ‘my servant entrusted with (“faithful in,” Greek Septuagint Version) all my house.’ (Numbers 12:7) Since Aaron as high priest had access to the tabernacle (even the Most Holy), God must have been referring to the nation, or congregation, of Israel as His “house” in which Moses was His servant. Paul evidently alluded to this in Hebrews 3:2. He said that Jesus was faithful to God, just as Moses had been “in all the house of that One.” But then Paul wrote that Jesus “is counted worthy of more glory than Moses.” Why?
Paul reasoned that “he who constructs it has more honor than the house.” Any man who has built a literal house would agree. Paul was saying, then, that Jesus, the Son of God, merited more honor than Moses because Jesus constructed a house, whereas Moses did not. Paul acknowledged, of course, that the ultimate credit for all things goes to God.—Hebrews 3:3, 4.
Extending the line of reasoning, Paul said that Moses was a faithful ‘attendant in the house.’ (Hebrews 3:5) Yes, Moses was himself in or was part of the congregation, or “house,” of Israel. But what of the One who would come later, the Messianic prophet whom Moses foreshadowed and foretold? (Deuteronomy 18:18, 19; John 1:21, 25; Acts 3:22, 23) That prophet would be more than a faithful attendant in the house of Israel. Paul wrote that Christ was “a Son over the house of that One,” Jehovah God. Over the house of Israel? No, Paul had in mind something greater.
Whereas Moses served in a “house” according to the Law covenant, Jehovah promised a better arrangement under “a new covenant.” (Hebrews 8:7-13; Jeremiah 31:31-34) The new covenant is with the house, or nation, of spiritual Israel. (Galatians 6:16) Thus Paul stated: “We are the house of that One, if we make fast our hold on our freeness of speech.”—Hebrews 3:6; compare 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Peter 2:5; Matthew 16:18.
So the “house” in which Moses served was the fleshly congregation of Israel, but the “house” that Jesus constructs and over which he serves is the congregation of spiritual Israelites who are maintaining their “hope firm to the end.”—Hebrews 3:6.