PARTAKERS OF HEAVENLY CALLING
Leslie M. John
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. 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. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God” (Hebrews 3:1-4)
In the preceding two chapters it was established that Jesus, who is exact image of the invisible God the Father, is the Son of God, and that He is superior to angels, yet He took a position lower than that of angels for the sake of reconciling man with God. In the last two verses of Hebrews Chapter 2 a glimpse of the greatness of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is faithful High priest, is shown.
Here, in these verses there is admonition for all the believers, whom God called as brethren of Lord Jesus Christ, to take note of the heavenly blessings they are bestowed with, and of being made partakers of the heavenly calling.
There is also warning to understand that Jesus is superior to angels and Moses, and therefore, not to rebel against Him, lest they should face rigorous chastisement than those children of Israel, who left Egypt for Canaan, could not make it to the Promised Land, but perished in the wilderness. Let everyone acknowledge that inasmuch as God is the builder of the house, wherein Moses was a faithful servant, and Lord Jesus, who was the Son of God, is worthy of more glory and greater than Moses.
While God chose Israel as a nation and as His people, and Moses as their leader, Lord Jesus is the head of the Church, and He is in the midst of the Church. The Scripture gives description of Jesus.
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:18-20)
Hebrews Chapter 3 begins with word “wherefore” indicating the importance of the previous narration in chapters that believers, who had heavenly calling and having responded to that call, are blessed and became the Lord’s brothers.
An interesting point next is to consider whether Jesus was an angel, or apostle or high priest. The book of Revelation shows that Jesus was the only one worthy to open the seven seals of the scroll. Angels had different roles, and Jesus was never presented as an angel. In Chapters 1 and 2 of Hebrews, it was established undoubtedly that Jesus was not an angel, but He was greater than angels. He did not take the likeness of an angel, or lived as a Spirit being; neither did He take the likeness of anyone below in dignity than that of a man. He took the likeness of man, in order to qualify Himself to purge man’s sins. He said on the cross “It is finished”, indicating that He finished the work assigned to Him by the Father, and thereafter ascended into heaven to sit on the right hand of the Majesty in high. It pleased the Father to bruise Him for our sake.
Seldom do we call Jesus as an apostle for the simple reason that it creates confusion and controversy in discussions. Nonetheless, in the light of few references it is not wrong to identify Jesus by the title “apostle”.
“And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (Matthew 21:27)
“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21)
Hebrews 3:1 is the only place in the Bible, where Jesus is called as an apostle. The word ‘apostle’ means ‘sent’. He was sent into this world as an Ambassador from heaven. God sent His one and only Son Jesus into this world that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Inasmuch as Lord Jesus Christ gave us a better covenant than that was in Old Testament, and also by offering His own body as sacrifice, rather than offering animals as sacrifice by the Old Testament high priest, Jesus is our High Priest.
After the fall of man he could not approach God just as he had fellowship with God in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden. God chose priests from the tribe of Levi, and it was from among them that the mediator Moses became the leader. Subsequently Aaronic order of priesthood was established.
While daily sacrifices were offered by priests, the sacrifice for the nation of Israel could be done only by Aaron the high priest, or his descendants, who alone could enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and sprinkle the blood of Lord’s goat on the mercy seat, and thereafter confess sins of the people on the scapegoat outside the Tabernacle, and from where the scapegoat was sent away to wilderness never to return again.
Greater sacrifice was made by Lord Jesus Christ. He offered His own flesh and body on the cross for our sake, and that is how He became our High Priest of the order of Melchizedek rendering easy access for every believer to approach God.
When the curtain in the Temple was rent from top to bottom by the power of the Almighty God, the privilege of worshipping and praying to the Almighty God straight in the name of Jesus Christ was given to everyone, whether of Jew or of Gentile. Jesus is our mediator and there is, therefore, no other priest is required to be in the middle between God and men. Thus Lord Jesus Christ has become superior to Moses.
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26)
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20)