COVID-19 Disclaimer:

COVID-19 is highly contagious and is known to spread mainly from person-to-person contact. By attending West Houston Bible Church, you agree to abide by the procedures established by the church to protect attendees and staff, and you voluntarily assume the risk that you and your family may be exposed to or be infected by COVID – 19 at the church, in the church worship services or while on church property. You agree to assume all the risks of attendance and participation for you and your family, and waive any liability against the church and any other parties.

Thank you for your consideration and cooperation.

West Houston Bible Church

Click here to prepare for the study of God's word.

Galatians 5:16-23 teaches that at any moment we are either walking by the Holy Spirit or according to the sin nature. Walking by the Spirit, enjoying fellowship with God, walking in the light are virtually synonymous. During these times, the Holy Spirit is working in us to illuminate our minds to the truth of Scripture and to challenge us to apply what we learn. But when we sin, we begin to live based on the sin nature. Our works do not count for eternity. The only way to recover is to confess (admit, acknowledge) our sin to God the Father and we are instantly forgiven, cleansed, and recover our spiritual walk (1 John 1:9). Please make sure you are walking by the Spirit before you begin your Bible study, so it will be spiritually profitable.

Hebrews 3:5-7 & Numbers 14-15 by Robert Dean
Duration:54 mins 42 secs

Hebrews Lesson 32  November 3, 2005

 

NKJ Psalm 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

 

It never fails. Somebody comes to Bible class, hears a lesson, and has a question of clarification. The next week you are ready to clarify and they're not here. It always happens. You can bet on it. That's ok. I know they'll get the tape. 

 

We're in Hebrews 3. The question came up last time related to understanding the meaning of the concept of house in this passage.  That is the interpretive crux of this passage. Perhaps I went through verses 5 and 6 a little too rapidly last time so I want to go back and make sure we have clarification. Let's pick up the flow of the context. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,

 

Therefore is a conclusion. He is building. The word therefore in the Greek focuses on what is coming. It focuses on the application. 

 

Both of those terms emphasize for us that he is addressing believers. That is so important in these warning passages. Verses 3:1-6 are not considered a warning passage but it comes up starting in verse 7. This is one of the major warning passages. There are people who want to take these as indicating that either the readers aren't saved or they can lose their salvation. Of course neither of those options is true. They are saved. It is clear that the writer is addressing them as believers – justified believers. 

 

Holy emphasizes positional sanctification. 

 

That is they are partners with Christ as every believer is. First of all, because of our position in Christ. At the instant of salvation we are identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. That is called the doctrine of positional truth. That is our reality. It is different from our experiential position.  It is our legal position. When we sin we are out of fellowship, not experientially sanctified or set apart. The Holy Spirit's ministry is quenched or shut down. We have to confess our sins to get back in fellowship. 

 

Then we have the main command here which is to consider. It means to give thoughtful attention to, to focus on, to concentrate on, and to pay careful attention to. 

 

That is our body of beliefs of Christ Jesus. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:2 who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.

 

That is a causal adverbial participle. It is not a relative. It should be translated as a causal participle. We are to pay attention to Him because He was faithful to Him who appointed Him. That is the point of this whole section. In verses 1-6 the point is that Christ is faithful. It's a comparison of the faithfulness of Christ to the faithfulness of Moses. That's the point of comparison. 

 

This establishes the basis for the warning that begins in verse 7. So we follow the author's flow. Verses 1-6 start the transition from the emphasis on Christ as the pioneer, the pathfinder, the precedent setter for our experiential sanctification to the challenge that comes in the warning section. 

 

So we have as I pointed out again and again these sections in Hebrews that are more didactic, they are teaching various principles and then there is a movement to application or exhortation. So this section in verses 1-6 is going to compare Jesus with Moses. It is laying the foundation for the warning that begins with a therefore in verse 7. 

 

Three comparisons are developed in the coming chapters between Jesus and Moses or the Levitical system

 

  1. The Old Covenant is surpassed by the New Covenant. It is replaced by the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was never intended to be permanent. 
  2. The limited access you had to God through a human mediator in the Mosaic system has been replaced by direct access to God for Church Age believers. So you had limited access through a mediator in the Old Testament through a priestly system.  In the New Testament you have direct access. So there is a comparison and contrast between the priesthood. So now we have every believer as a priest with immediate access to God.
  3. Moses was a faithful servant in the house whereas Christ is a faithful Son over the house. That is crucial for understanding where the writer is taking them. 

 

So we start off with the command to pay attention to Christ as the Apostle and the high priest of our doctrine. 

 

Just as - it is a comparison. Christ is being compared and contrasted to Moses. The writer is not denigrating Moses. He's not putting Moses down or saying anything negative. He's pointing out the superiority of Jesus rather than the inferiority of Moses. He goes back to two key passages that we referenced last time. Deuteronomy 15:18 is where there is prophecy that God will raise up a prophet in the future that is like Moses. That prophecy is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. Several times in the gospels there is an allusion to Christ as the prophet. 

 

NKJ Numbers 12:3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.)

 

We saw that whole chapter in Numbers emphasize Moses. In the midst of that third complaint that is recorded in Numbers where Miriam and Aaron are leading a little mini gripe session toward God, they say, "Why is Moses in charge and not us?"

 

Moses is humble. I pointed out that humility is authority orientation. In God's response to their complaint He says that Moses was a faithful servant in his house.  That became the Old Testament backdrop for the comparison. 

 

Why should we focus on Jesus in comparison to Moses?

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:3 For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house.

 

This explains why we should focus on Him. 

 

If you read between the lines here there is an allusion to Jesus' deity because He is the creator going back to Hebrews 1:1-4. So Moses had glory. In fact in first century Judaism and even later in the Judaism that developed after the Babylonian captivity Moses was so revered and honored that he's just barely removed from deification in Judaism. They elevate Moses above everything. He is just short of worship. He's even more significant in Judaism than the angels were. This is one reason why in the flow of thought in Hebrews, the writer of Hebrews starts off first by showing that Jesus is superior to the angels. And then he shows that Jesus is superior to Moses. Jesus is the Son of God, the Son of David and the Son of Man. As such He is worthy of all of our worship. As full deity, being in the exact representation of God, He is the creator. As the creator He is worthy of more glory than Moses.  The analogy is that as the creator He built the house. Moses isn't the home builder. He's just in the house. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.

 

This brings us to the interpretation of the meaning of the word "house". I didn't go through all of this last time. Even today I was scratching my head because almost every person you study on this comes up with a different conclusion. But what I really love about commentaries is that if they can't figure it out, they don't address it. So you read through what they say and they skip over important things like who the "his" refers to. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,

 

If you break the term house down and go to the lexicons and do your word study, what you discover is that it has basically a literal meaning and then a more figurative meaning. The literal meanings relate to a house or a dwelling. That can refers to somebody's home or it can refer to the temple or tabernacle or the dwelling of God. We will by pass that because this isn't talking about a literal dwelling place. 

 

Figuratively it has four senses. 

  1. It can refer to a dynasty. For example the house of David would continue forever. That is using the term house as a dynasty.  It emphasizes descendents, a clan perhaps or in some cases even a nation. But it has the idea of a descendents.  It is used to refer to a dynasty, a clan or in sometimes a nation. 
  2. As you read through this, maybe a house describes all of creation. That's an interpretive possibility. House describes all of the human race. I don't think that is what it is because of what is said in verse 6. That is really the key phrase. You have to go to verse 6 to get the concept down. We'll eliminate a couple of other options before we get there. So it doesn't refer to the human race. 
  3. The third possibility is that the house refers to all of the saved without dispensational distinction. That means it refers to all believers - Old Testament, New Testament, Israel, Gentile Old Testament, New Testament Church Age believers. House is a term used in analogy to describe as it were in a generic sense the household of God – all believers. If you take it that way, it is obvious this is how the sum of how the translations take it because they capitalize the word His. So Moses would be faithful in God's household. So this is just a universal house. This has some support because in Numbers 12:7 God says that Moses is faithful in all MY house. That seems to be a point of support for that particular position. By My house there can be and should be understood to be Israel in that Old Testament context. 
  4. House really refers to dispensationally distinct groups. Thus the "his" the third person singular pronoun should be lower case referring to the individual. If you look at some Bibles and some translations, the move today in style books has been to never capitalize the H in a pronoun when it refers to God, whether it is He or His. You get into more modern translations and they don't capitalize. So it really gets confusing. I was looking at one commentary today (a new commentary by Arnold Fruchtenbaum on Hebrews) and it's all lower case. And he never identifies who the "He" is. So you are really left confused because you don't get there. If it's lower case his then it is referring to Moses being faithful in his house.  That is his sphere of responsibility. That is what I am going to end up with as a definition.  House refers a sphere of responsibility.  So it is the fourth option of dispensationally distinct groups. 

 

Moses is faithful in his house which is the house of Israel. He is part of the house of Israel. The text says that he is in the house. In contrast when we look at verse 6, it says Christ is a Son over the house. The fact that He is over the house indicates His position of ultimate authority because Jesus is the head of the church. He is the head, the authority over the church. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:6 but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

 

That "we" would include the readers, the writer and Church Age believers. 

 

The slide indicates the contrast between the two. On the left side you see the house of Israel and the preposition in. Moses is in the house. He is part of Israel. Even though he is in an authoritative position and he is a leader, he is not the head of the house. 

 

Christ is over the house and inside the house you have Church Age believers. These are two distinct groups as presented in the Scripture. It is clear that this imagery of a house is used as a dispensationally distinct term. For example the church is referred to as a household in Ephesians 2:19. God is building a house in reference to the church in I Peter 2:5. This would be the house. So there are two distinct groups.

 

In conclusion let's try to do a comparison and contrast because that is what the writer is doing. He is comparing and contrasting the faithfulness of Moses with the faithfulness of Jesus. It is going to be out of this that he challenges us and challenges the readers and hits them right between the eyes. If you don't understand the Old Testament dynamics here then you won't get the point. 

 

Moses is described in the Scriptures as an apostle - a sent one. He is sent by God in Exodus 3:1-6 and he is described as a prophet in Deuteronomy 18:15. This is why in no other place do you have Jesus described as an Apostle than here. It is because the writer is drawing these comparisons. So he refers to Jesus as the Apostle because He is sent from God. 

 

As I pointed out last week, when you see that word apostle applied to somebody you have to ask a question. The basic meaning of apostle is a commissioned one, someone sent on a mission or assigned a task - sent as an envoy, sent as an ambassador. Who sends them and why are they sent and to whom are they being sent?  

 

Now the twelve that we refers to, the 11 disciples plus Paul, are commissioned by directly by Jesus to take the gospel to the world.  That makes them one of the Apostles. Jesus is sent by God. That makes Him an Apostle commissioned by God, sent by God, but not an Apostle like the 11 or 12. You have missionaries that are sent out or commissioned by local churches and they are apostles - not the gift of apostle, not the office of apostle, just a sent one. 

 

In that same sense Moses is sent by God in the same way that Jesus is sent by God. In John 3:34 you have the verb apostelo which is where we get the noun apostle referring to Jesus. It is used several other times in reference to Jesus being sent from God. John 3:34 

 

In Matthew 21:11, John 4:19, Acts 3:22, and Acts 7:37 the writer of Scripture makes it clear that Jesus is the expected Prophet in fulfillment of the Deuteronomy prophecy that there will be another prophet like Moses. Moses and Jesus are both sent by God and they both fulfill the role of prophet. Jesus of course is the ultimate. 

 

Moses is said to be faithful in the house which is Israel, but Jesus is faithful over the house which is the church. This makes Him superior. He is superior to Moses because He is a prophet, the fulfillment or antitype of Moses' type as a prophet. Jesus is faithful over the house. 

 

Moses failed at times. He wasn't always faithful. Specifically we remember the second time he was told that he was going to get water out of the rock; he was told to speak to the rock instead of hitting it. He got mad and he hit it. He was mad at Israel so he hit the rock. For that he was not allowed to enter into the land. But Jesus never failed. He was always faithful so He is superior to Moses in His faithfulness.

 

Moses had glory but as a therapon. This is the root word where we get the word therapy or therapouo which means to heal. Healers were viewed as servants, those who wanted to help and serve people in times of sickness. The therapon servant is different from the doulos servant. A doulos servant is a slave. A slave serves or helps because he has to. But the therapon servant is a higher order of service because he serves because he wants to. It is voluntary. Jesus on the other hand doesn't have glory as a therapon. His glory is related to His sonship and that He is the builder of the house. Once again He is superior to Moses because He has a superior glory. 

 

What happened to Moses was that the Jews rebelled against him at Kadesh Barnea. As a result, they lost their inheritance. The warning that is coming up in verse 7 is directly related to that. They are warned that if they continue in their move toward falling away as mentioned back in 2:1 then they too risk losing their inheritance – not their justification but their inheritance if they rebel.  Everything is driving towards this last point. Just as the Old Testament Jews of the Exodus generation were justified but they lost, they jeopardized, they failed to be able to enter into the Promised Land; we too as Church Age believers can be justified but if we do not stick with it and continue to grow as believers then what we risk is our inheritance blessings that we be distributed in the Millennial Kingdom. 

 

This demonstrates that they are both faithful, but Jesus is superior. He is superior as an Apostle and Prophet. Now you go back to 1:3. It also emphasizes that He is a high priest. That's developed after this section. Chapters 5 and 6 focus on the superiority of Christ's priesthood. The first major part of chapter 3 develops the comparison with Moses that Jesus is superior as an Apostle and Prophet.  He is superior in His faithfulness. He never failed. His glory is superior. Therefore the argument that is being presented here is that if the Jews of the Old Testament lost their inheritance blessing to enter the land because they disobeyed Moses and if Jesus is greater than Moses, how much more certain it is going to be that you we will lose your inheritance if you aren't faithful to Jesus. That's the point. If they lost inheritance privileges because they disobeyed Moses who is inferior to Jesus, how much more certain we can be that we will lose inheritance blessing if we are disobedient to Jesus and rebel against Him and not stick with it through spiritual maturity. 

 

That brings us up to Hebrews 3:7. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice,

 

He draws a conclusion. 

 

Now I want to stop here just a minute. Notice the writer's view of the inspiration of Scripture. It tends to slip right by you. He doesn't say, "As the writer of the psalms says" or "As David says." He says, "As the Holy Spirit says" recognizing that the ultimate author of Scripture in not the human author but the divine author. 

 

NKJ 2 Peter 1:20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

 

It is the Holy Spirit who is the ultimate source of revelation and inspiration of Scripture. So the writer of Hebrews quotes again and again from the Old Testament, but he doesn't emphasize the human author. In fact, most of the time he emphasizes the divine author. It is God the Holy Spirit who is speaking here. It is a reference from verses 7-11 and is a direct quote from the LXX translation of Psalm 95. So if we are going to understand what is going on here, we had better go back to Psalm 95. 

 

Now don't lose sight of what is happening as the background. The writer is saying that Jesus is more faithful than Moses thus He is superior to Moses. Therefore Jesus is due greater obedience and we must be more consistent in our obedience than the Jews of the Exodus generation were. That is the thrust of Psalm 95.

 

Now let's get a little background on Psalm 95.

 

Psalm 95 is one of several psalms that are called enthronement psalms. They are called enthronement psalms because they focus on the future enthronement of the future king - the Davidic king, the greater Son of David that will rule and reign over the nation. So these psalms are collected together in the Psalms – Psalms 93-100. The focus of all of these psalms is on the coming of the promised Son of David who will rule on the throne of David forever and ever. So Psalm 95 is essentially a call to worship God because He has provided the Messianic ruler. Now in Psalm 95 this didn't happen historically. It was a future oriented psalm. It looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. It is anticipating the coming of the Messiah. 

 

There is a call to worship in verse 1. 

 

NKJ Psalm 95:1 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

 

NKJ Psalm 95:2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

 

NKJ Psalm 95:3 For the LORD is the great God, And the great King above all gods.

 

 

 Notice the emphasis on the uniqueness of God and on His being the creator. 

 

NKJ Psalm 95:4 In His hand are the deep places of the earth; The heights of the hills are His also.

 

NKJ Psalm 95:5 The sea is His, for He made it; And His hands formed the dry land.

 

As the psalmist is focusing and concentrating on God as a creator, he issues this call to come to worship. Then in the middle of this, he breaks with a warning. That warning is what is quoted in Hebrews 3:7-11. It's the same enumeration here in Psalm 95:7b-11.

 

NKJ Psalm 95:7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice:

So the psalmist is writing (We don't know who wrote it or when it was written) probably in the early monarchy. It may be David.  We don't know. I'm not going out on a limb to say any more than I would say who wrote Hebrews.

 

The psalmist is aware of the Davidic covenant and the promises of God. He is going to make application to his present readers. 

 

It is what James emphasizes – don't be a hearer only but a doer or applier also. The writer of Hebrews modernizes it and applies it in the context of Hebrews 3 meaning today at the time that he wrote in the first century. In the same way we can take it and apply it today in terms of application. Are you willing to listen to the voice of God?

 

Let's stop a minute. "Today, will you hear His voice?" What does that remind you of?  It ought to remind you of what was taking place in the first couple of verses in Hebrews.

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;

 

So the backdrop to a lot of what is being said in Hebrews is that God has revealed Himself. That revelation comes with an implicit mandate to listen, respond, and obey. So that becomes the background for the quotation from Psalm 37. Now the other thing that we note in Hebrews is that Psalm 37:7 isn't quoted just one time. This is the key thought in this whole section. It is quoted again in Hebrews 3:15 and again Hebrews 4:7. This is the running theme. "Today if you will listen, don't harden your hearts."

 

The writer of Hebrews is grabbing these people and saying to them, "Don't take your relationship to God through Jesus Christ lightly. Do not take your spiritual life lightly. Do not yield to antinomianism. Do not yield to the pressure to give up because you are under external adversity and persecution or because it is getting tough. Hang in there. Stay with it. If you give it up, there are blessings and future responsibilities and future realities that you will jeopardize if you give it up. This is the same idea that the psalmist has in Psalm 95. 

 

Now let me back up just a second. What did I say? Psalm 93 is an enthronement psalm. It is future oriented. What is future oriented?  It is oriented to the coming of the Messiah. When is the Messiah going to come? When He comes He is going to do what? He is going to establish the kingdom. The writer of Psalm 93 takes us from a call to worship in the first 6 verses to a challenge to be ready for the coming of the Messiah to establish His kingdom. When the writer of Hebrews wants to make the same point to Church Age believers, Jewish believers who are about to give is all up and drift away from the truth, he takes this same psalm and applies it; but the psalm is still being related to that future kingdom of the Messiah. We need to be prepared so there is a warning based on the historical event at Kadesh Barnea. 

 

NKJ Psalm 95:7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice:

 

NKJ Psalm 95:8 "Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness,

 

That almost becomes a technical term for what happened at Kadesh. The rebellion is what is referred to in Jewish literature. 

 

It is funny. I was doing some research on this today. It is amazing how many commentaries that say this is related to the first crisis at Massah and Meribah which occurred as they are coming out of Egypt and on their way to Sinai. It was the first time they complained about no water in the wilderness. Then Moses spoke to the rock and fresh water came out. Meribah and Massah are basically Hebrew words that mean strife and contention and griping and grumbling. Or they go to the second incident in Numbers 20 when Moses does the same thing. They complain about water again and he hits the rock. The point here is the crisis point. It doesn't identify the situation specifically, but it makes it very clear that it's the rebellion verse 8.

 

NKJ Psalm 95:9 When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.

 

NKJ Psalm 95:10 For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, 'It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.'

 

The result of this test is then given in verse 11. 

 

NKJ Psalm 95:11 So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.' "

 

When did that happen? It didn't happen at Meribah and Massah at Rephidim back in Exodus 17. It does not happen in Numbers 20.  It happened in Numbers 14 and 15 at Kadesh Barnea. In order to get the back drop to understand the warning and why it is so serious, let's go back and review what took place at Kadesh Barnea in Numbers 13.

 

Now remember the point. I don't want you to lose sight of this. The writer of Hebrews is saying that Jesus is more faithful than Moses. The implication is that if the Old Testament Exodus generation was disobedient to Moses and look what happened to them finally, how much more serious it is for us as Church Age believers if we don't stick with the Lord Jesus Christ and continue our growth? In Numbers 13 we find ourselves with the Jews as they come to Kadesh Barnea which is located on the extreme southern border of the land of Israel, the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula as they are about to enter the Promised Land. 

 

Just a year and two weeks earlier there had been the Exodus from Egypt. God brought them out of Egypt. With a strong hand He separated the waters of the Red Sea. They walked across on dry land. God then used the waters to completely destroy the armies of pharaoh. He brought them through the wilderness. He provided for them. He brought them fresh water despite their grumbling at Massah and Meribah. He also gave them victory over the Amalekites. I mean these were tremendous battles. In scale they were as large as any modern battle. Tens of thousands of soldiers were fighting. They defeated the Amalekites and then they went on to Sinai. Once they arrived at Sinai God appeared to them. He began to give them the law verbally. The people were scared to death.  They couldn't handle hearing the voice of God. So they said to Moses to go up and intercede for them. So Moses went up on the mountain and received the Mosaic Law. That is when they had the golden calf incident. Again you see a pattern of rebellion, rebellion, rebellion, rebellion. Moses came down. There is the punishment of those who wanted the golden calf. After that punishment is over with, Moses gives them the Mosaic Law. They begin to work on constructing the tabernacle, the furniture and all the articles clothing for the priests and the high priests. All of this took a year for them to prepare before they could leave Sinai and go to the Promised Land. It is a picture of how God was sanctifying the nation before they could enter into the land. Their positional sanctification as a nation goes between back to the Abrahamic Covenant. But once they received the Mosaic Law, the Mosaic Law gives all the mandates for cleansing that relates to experiential sanctification. 

 

They keep failing though. In fact according to our passage here in Numbers 14:22 there were ten specific incidences of rebellion in the wilderness. The last and most egregious of the bunch occurred here in chapter 13. So they finally arrived after eleven days of travel from Mt. Sinai. They arrive at Kadesh Barnea. The Lord gives Moses instructions.

 

NKJ Numbers 13:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

NKJ Numbers 13:2 "Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them."

 

Here is the point. God promised to Abraham that He was going to give him the land. That is positional truth. It is comparable to what happens in the believer's life at the instant of salvation. You are positionally blessed with all the heavenly blessing. It's ours, not experientially yet, but legally it is ours. We own all of those blessings. The issue is - will we move that from potential to actual by advancing experientially in the Christian life? Are those blessing that are never going to get distributed and end up being destroyed eventually in the Lake of Fire? We have studied that in the past. 

 

The analogy is that the Jews are given the land positionally, but they have to go in experientially and take the land. We are positionally sanctified at the instant of salvation. Nevertheless we still have to grow experientially and experientially sanctify our thinking and learn doctrine and renew our thinking and renovate our thinking so that we think Biblically instead of as the world thinks. That's the point of analogy. 

 

What happened back then is typical of what happens now. Moses is told to send men to spy out the land. In other words God isn't just going to give it to them. They have to follow specific procedures in order to take control of the land. That doesn't happen of course because of the failure here until the book of Joshua. 

 

What are God's instructions? Pay attention to the Word. This is crucial. The issue here fundamentally (though it is a lack of faith) is a failure to interpret God's command. God is not commanding these spies to go into the land to see if they can take the land. He sends spies to gather information. He has already promised them the land. He said, "This is the land that I am giving you." 

 

Christians too often have the same failure that the Jews of the Exodus generation had. We misinterpret God's mandates and we really don't think that God can give us victory in our Christian life, so we don't trust Him. What God is saying is, "I have already given it to you. I have already given you and blessed you with all the heavenly blessings." 

 

That is your reality. Live in light of that. But you say, "I'm not sure we can do this. It seems so difficult. Look at my circumstances.  Look at my background. Look at what my parents did to me. Whatever it is, I can't quite manage to get over this problem of sin in my life." God has provided us with everything we need in terms of confession so that we can recover from sin

 

Back to the Jews. They select a spy from each of the 12 tribes and they send these 12 spies into the land. 

 

Skip down to verse 17.

 

NKJ Numbers 13:17 Then Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, "Go up this way into the South, and go up to the mountains,

 

The South is the Negev. The mountains are the hill country of Judah. 

 

NKJ Numbers 13:18 "and see what the land is like: whether the people who dwell in it are strong or weak, few or many;

 

Notice he does not say, "See if you can defeat them." He tells them to see what the land is like.

NKJ Numbers 13:19 "whether the land they dwell in is good or bad; whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or strongholds;

 

How are we going to take it? What is our strategy going to be?

 

NKJ Numbers 13:20 "whether the land is rich or poor; and whether there are forests there or not. Be of good courage. And bring some of the fruit of the land." Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes. 

 

They were to bring back some of the things that they found there to encourage everybody.

 

NKJ Numbers 13:21 So they went up and spied out the land from the Wilderness of Zin as far as Rehob, near the entrance of Hamath.

 

Zin is in the south. Hamath is up in the north.

 

NKJ Numbers 13:22 And they went up through the South and came to Hebron; Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

 

These were the giants in the land. If you have a New American Standard or NIV it identifies them later on as the nephalim. When you hear the word nephalim, the thing that comes into your mind is the product of the human plus angel or demon alliance back in Genesis 6. The root meaning of nephalim has the idea of a monster or perhaps a fierce warrior. It is a generic term that was applied to the descendents of the half-breed hybrid race back in Genesis 6. It can also be applied to these giants. It may not even mean giant. It may have the idea of a fierce warrior or monster or something of that type. There is some debate in the etymological literature over the meaning of the word. They are not the same. There is not a relationship between the two other than the descriptive meaning of the name. So these are the descendents of Anak. They lived down in the southern part of Judah in the center of the area in Hebron. They are going to be referred to again in Joshua 15:14. After this failure it will be 40 years but Caleb will eventually get to go into the land. 

 

He gets their city. He has to go in and defeat them. And he does. They have a few descendents that go and live in Philistia in the cities of Gaza, Ashdod and Gath. The descendents of the giants end up in a little town called Gath. That is where Goliath is from so that gives you Goliath's family tree. So they go in and they see these descendents of Enoch. There are these giants in the land.

 

NKJ Numbers 13:23 Then they came to the Valley of Eshcol, and there cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes; they carried it between two of them on a pole. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs.

 

They got some huge cluster of grapes there. They spent 40 days spying out the land. They come back and give a report in verse 26. 

 

NKJ Numbers 13:26 Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.

 

NKJ Numbers 13:27 Then they told him, and said: "We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.

 

NKJ Numbers 13:28 "Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there.

 

These are powerful people. 

 

They are a powerful, numerous people and they had fortified cities. 

 

NKJ Numbers 13:29 "The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan."

 

The Amalekites lived in the land. They are known as a fierce warlike people. They had already defeated them once coming out of Egypt a year earlier.

 

NKJ Numbers 13:29 "The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan."

 

Ten of the spies come back and they are scared to death.

 

NKJ Numbers 13:30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, "Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it."

 

They were about to revolt. 

 

Ten spies thought it was mission to find out if they could take the land. But two of the spies, Joshua and Caleb, realize that their mission wasn't to see if they could take the land. They properly interpreted the command and they realized that they were there to see how to take the land and to give a report of the land to the people.  So the people fail spiritually completely. This is the tenth of their various rebellions against God.

 

NKJ Numbers 14:1 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night.

 

NKJ Numbers 14:2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, "If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!

 

They have no capacity for freedom coming out of slavery. All they want is security. They don't want responsibility; they want somebody to take care of them. They want Moses to take them back. Then they get so angry that they start to stone Caleb and Joshua and Moses and Aaron. At this point the Lord steps in and is ready to wipe everybody out and start over. Moses intercedes for them. In his intercession he functions as a go between for the people. He calls upon the Lord to pardon or forgive them of their sin. 

 

NKJ Numbers 14:19 "Pardon the iniquity of this people, I pray, according to the greatness of Your mercy, just as You have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now."

 

So the people are forgiven. They don't lose their salvation. They don't lose their position in the Abrahamic Covenant. What they lose is their privilege. God doesn't take away their position, but He is going to bring judgment on them because of their failure. 

 

NKJ Numbers 14:20 Then the LORD said: "I have pardoned, according to your word;

 

NKJ Numbers 14:21 "but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD –

 

NKJ Numbers 14:22 "because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice,

 

It is like they reached a point of no return. In other words there is still forgiveness, still grace. There is still restoration to fellowship, but there is a point in your spiritual life when you are going past the point of no return and at that point you will start forfeiting and jeopardizing blessing in time and blessings in eternity. That is what happened to this generation. They hit the point of no return.  They are still forgiven. They are still saved. They would not get into the land. The same thing happened to Moses. When Moses got mad and struck the rock instead of speaking to it, God lowered the boom on him and said to him, "You are going to see the land but you are not going to enter the land." At a certain point because of ongoing sin and carnality in the life, God in discipline will take away blessings that He has planned to give us. But because of our failures and because of sin it is jeopardized and taken away. 

 

This is the background. It is why the writer of Hebrews issues this tremendous warning in Hebrews 3:7f. Don't fall into the same trap that they did. When they disobeyed Moses, they finally reached a point that they lost the land and had to wander in the wilderness and go through as second class life and miss out on all of those tremendous blessings of the land and all of the opportunities that God would have given them because they continued to rebel against Him.

 

 

NKJ Numbers 14:23 "they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.

 

NKJ Numbers 14:24 "But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.

 

So there is blessing for those who are obedient and those who endure. This is what happens in the book of Joshua. The rest of Numbers is the picture of the believer who fails. Joshua is a picture of the believer who in experiential sanctification trusts God and goes forward. It is magnificent in the book of Joshua. When you come to Joshua 5 at Gilgal there is this ceremony where all the adult males in Israel are circumcised. None were circumcised during the wilderness wanderings. Circumcision is a sign not of the Mosaic Covenant but of the Abrahamic Covenant. So it is a picture their positional reality in relation to the Abrahamic Covenant.  That has to happen to sanctify them positionally before they can go into the land. 

 

The next thing that happens after the circumcision at Gilgal is they go into the land and start defeating the Canaanites at Jericho. So it is a perfect picture and analogy of what happens in the Christian life. Positionally we are identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. That positionally sanctifies us. But then there has to be experiential sanctification in doing the battles of the spiritual life. We are at war not with visible powers but with invisible powers. We are supposed to take every thought captive for Christ. This is a battle that we are in. 

 

The spiritual life is consistently described in military metaphor. The battle is sanctification. So when we sin which is what happened in Joshua 7, you have the sin when they destroyed Jericho. Rather than obeying the Lord and destroying everything and giving valuable to the temple, Achan hoarded some of the gold and silver in his tent. God disciplines the nation because it harbored sin. So there had to be this sanctification. 

 

God said to Israel in chapter 7, "Sanctify yourselves first and then we will identify the sinner." He had to be removed under the sin unto death as a picture of the removal of sin from the life before Israel could go on and have victory. All of this is a tremendous analogy of what takes place in the individual spiritual life of the believer. 

 

The writer of Hebrews picks up on all of these historical events in the life of Israel and brings them in to application. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: "Today, if you will hear His voice,

 

Do not waste time. Don't think that you can be complacent. Don't think that you can sit back on past victories. Do not harden your hearts.

 

The warning is that if the Old Testament Jews lost the privilege because they rebelled against Moses, what do you think will happen to Church Age believers if we aren't obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ?  We will forfeit eternal blessings and privilege in the Millennial Kingdom.