Messianic jews, Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern
1. Therefore, brothers whom God has set apart, who share in the call from heaven, think carefully about Yeshua, whom we acknowledge publicly as God’s emissary and as cohen gadol.
Yeshua, like Moshe at Sinai, was God's emissary, conveying God's truth and God's wishes to the people of Israel. In this respect, Yeshua fulfills the role of being a prophet like Moses, as predicted in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 (see Ac 3:22&N). Also, like Moses, Yeshua intercedes for the people (7:25), and as such he is fulfilling the role of acohen, a priest, just as Moses did when the people worshipped the golden calf (Exodus 32:32) and at other times.
2. He was faithful to God, who appointed him; just as "Moshe was faithful in all God’s house" (Numbers 12:7).
3. But Yeshua deserves more honor than Moshe, just as the builder of the house deserves more honor than the house.
4. For every house is built by someone, but the one who built everything is God.
But Yeshua is not merely on the same level as Moses, the paragon of virtue within Judaism (faithful in all God's house), but better than Moses —just as he is better than angels (1:4&N) and better than other human beings in general (2:8,4:15). Thus Yeshua deserves more honor than Moshe. Note the author's poetic play off the word "house." The idea that the Messiah is better than Moshe Rabbenu can be inferred from traditional Jewish sources.
'"And the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters.' This phrase from Genesis 1:2 alludes to the spirit of the Messiah, because Isaiah 11:2 says, 'And the spirit ofAdonai will rest upon him' [that is, upon the 'shoot of Jesse", which is a name for the Messiah]. Also we learn from the same text in Genesis 1:2 that this spirit of the Messiah comes through the merit of repentance; for in Lamentations 2:19 repentance is likened to water: 'Pour out your heart like water.'"(Genesis Rabbah 2:4)
This passage is also notable in that it equates the "spirit of the Messiah" (a term used at Ro 8:9&N) with the "spirit of God," who is the same as the Ruach HaKodesh ("Holy Spirit"; Ep 4:30&N).
"At the beginning of the creation of the world king Messiah had already come into being, because he existed in God's mind even before the world was created." (Pesikta Rabbati 33:6)
Nothing like this is said in any Jewish source about Moses, but the same is taught about Yeshua by the New Testament (for example, at Yn 1:1-18&NN, 8:58-59&N; Co 1:15-17&NN).
The logic of vv. 3-4 leads to the conclusion that Yeshua is to be identified with God, since he is the one who built everything (compare 1:2). As usual, the New Testament does not state outright that Yeshua is God but makes this identification indirectly (see l:6b&N, Co 2:9&N).
5. Also, Moshe was faithful in all God’s house, as a servant giving witness to things God would divulge later.
6. But the Messiah, as Son, was faithful over God’s house. And we are that house of his, provided we hold firmly to the courage and confidence inspired by what we hope for.
A second reason why Yeshua is better than Moshe is that the latter was a servant but the former is a Son. For a comparison between son and servant, see Ga 4:1-7; alsoYn 15:15.
For an extended comparison of the Messiah with Moses from a non-Messianic Jewish viewpoint, a comparison which is striking in how well it fits Yeshua, see Section 6 of the Introduction to Raphael Patai's The Messiah Texts.
7. Therefore, as the Ruach HaKodesh says, "Today, if you hear God’s voice,
Today, if you hear God's voice (literally, ".. his voice"). Psalm 95:7 is also used in a famous midrash about when the Messiah is to come: "Rabbi Joshua ben-L'vi met Elijah and asked him. 'When will the Messiah come?' 'Go and ask him!' 'Where is he?' 'At the entrance [to Romel, sitting among the lepers.' So he went, greeted him, and asked, 'Master, when will you come?' 'Today,' he answered. Upon returning to Elijah, Rabbi Joshua said, 'He lied to me. He told me he would come today, but he has not come.' Elijah replied,
'What he said to you was: "Today, if you will hear his voice......(Condensed from Sanhedrin 98a)
So it is with the real Messiah, Yeshua, and with all the greater poignancy. Yeshua will come today to anyone who will hear his voice and not rebel like the Israelites in the wilderness.
8. don’t harden your hearts, as you did in the Bitter Quarrel on that day in the Wilderness when you put God to the test.
9. Yes, your fathers put me to the test; they challenged me, and they saw my work for forty years!
10. Therefore, I was disgusted with that generation — I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, they have not understood how I do things’;
11. in my anger, I swore that they would not enter my rest" (Psalm 95:7–11).
12. Watch out, brothers, so that there will not be in any one of you an evil heart lacking trust, which could lead you to apostatize from the living God!
To apostatize. This transliterates the Greek word "apostenai" ("to go away, desert, stand apart, become apostate"). On whether it is possible for true believers to become apostate, see 6:4—6N.
13. Instead, keep exhorting each other every day, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you will become hardened by the deceit of sin.
In exhorting his readers to keep exhorting each other, the author is exemplifying the principle that the Messianic life pattern is not one in which the vast majority of passive believers let a few "ministers" do all the work. Rather, Yeshua gives his followers leaders whose task is "to equip God's people for the work of service that builds the Body of the Messiah" (Ep 4:11-16). Compare 10:24-25.
Every day, as long as it is called Today (as in Psalm 95). Between 1891 and 1904 the Institutum Delitzschianum in Leipzig, Germany, published a commentary on the New Testament by Yechiel Lichtenstein. So far as I know it is the only commentary on the entire New Testament by a Messianic Jew, apart from this one. It was written in Hebrew, with the Scripture text printed in block letters and the comments in Rashi script, like any rabbinic commentary. In it he points out that the urgency Sha'ul communicates in this verse is echoed by a well-known exhortation found in the Talmud:
"Rabbi 'Eli'ezer said, 'Repent one day before you die.' His talmidim objected, 'Does one know in advance the day of one's death?' He replied, 'AH the more reason to repent today, lest you die tomorrow! In this way, your entire life will be one of repentance.'"(Shabbat 153a)
14. For we have become sharers in the Messiah, provided, however, that we hold firmly to the conviction we began with, right through until the goal is reached.
15. Now where it says, "Today, if you hear God’s voice, don’t harden your hearts, as you did in the Bitter Quarrel,” (Psalm 95:7–8)
16. who were the people who, after they heard, quarreled so bitterly? All those whom Moshe brought out of Egypt.
17. And with whom was God disgusted for forty years? Those who sinned — yes, they fell dead in the Wilderness!
18. And to whom was it that he swore that they would not enter his rest? Those who were disobedient.
19. So we see that they were unable to enter because of lack of trust.
See 3:6b-4:16N above, and compare especially Numbers 14:26-35.
v. 3:6-4:16 The second exhortation (see 2:1-4N), to enter God's End-Time Shabhat rest (4:9-10) by having a heart filled with courage, confidence and trust (vv. 6b, 12), makes use of a new passage of Scripture, Psalm 95:7-11, while retaining the Mosaic context of vv. 1—6a. As Yeshua was compared with Moses there, so here Yeshua's followers are compared with the people who followed Moses. The Bitter Quarrel or "rebellion" was when Israel repeatedly complained against God as Moses was leading them through the wilderness. These repeated "murmurings" are described in Numbers 11-16, from which the text in v. 2 was quoted. Verses 15-19 bring out the connection between the two Tanakh passages.
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