Heb. 3:1-6 The author states that Jesus is also greater than the Jews’ great ancestor Moses. Moses was a faithful servant in God’s ‘house’ – the chosen people of God – but Jesus is the Son who has been put in charge of God’s ‘household’.
Heb. 3:7-19 So the believers should hold fast to the confidence they had when they first believed in Jesus Christ. They shouldn’t rebel against God like those who were led out of Egypt by Moses (see Exodus 16:1-3, 32:1-4 & Numbers 14:1-4).
Heb. 4:1-13 God offers the believers a promise that he withheld from those who rebelled. He promises them ‘rest’ – peace and fulfilment (see Matthew 11:28-29) – if they have faith in his word.
His word is “sharper than a double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) and cuts through the body to where the soul (the ‘life’ of an individual) and the spirit (the indwelling Spirit of God) meet. Nothing can be hidden from God and all believers will have to give an account of their actions to him.
Heb. 4:14-5:10 The author compares Jesus – who has gone into the very presence of God – to a high priest who has entered the ‘Holy of Holies’ in the Jewish Temple.
The Holy of Holies in the Jerusalem Temple (Hebrews 4:14)
Jesus – the High Priest
In the fourth chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews, the author tells his Jewish Christian readers that Jesus – who is now in the presence of God – is like a Jewish high priest who has gone into the Most Holy Place in the Temple in Jerusalem (see Map 12).
High priests, like Aaron, were called by God (see Exodus 28:1). In the same way, Jesus Christ was appointed to be a priest like Melchizedek (see Genesis 14:17-20 & Psalm 110:4).
In the seventh chapter, the author develops the comparison between Jesus and Melchizedek, the King of Salem (Jerusalem) who was a priest during Abraham’s time (see Genesis 14:17-20), long before Aaron. He argues that Jesus has entered the presence of God as a priest like Melchizedek – and has replaced all the priests descended from Aaron (who was the first in a long line of Jewish priests and Levites descended from Levi – see Exodus 40:12-15).
The author (who may well have been a Levite himself) argues in this way because, like Melchizedek, Jesus wasn’t qualified under the Jewish law to be a priest, as he wasn’t a descendant of Levi. (Jesus was a member of the tribe of Judah – see Matthew 1:1-2.)