1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus,
In verses 1 and 2 we have an exhortation. Verses 3 through 6 provide the basis for the exhortation.
The “therefore” gathers truths from chapter 2. Having demonstrated that Jesus is better than angels, the author moved to how He is better than Moses.
Christians have an empathizing Helper; it is necessary to keep that in mind or “consider” Him for our daily walk with God. It is the grounds for the coming exhortation.
holy [set apart] brethren,
These people were “brethren” because they had a common bond with Christ and with one another. The Greek word for “brethren” is generic and includes women as well.
The author called these people not only “brethren” but “holy.” These were those who had been set apart by God to be His own. He was dealing not only with Israelites as his blood brothers but Hebrews who had been saved by Christ. He was not ashamed to call them genuine believers (He 2:11). They were separate from the world system of belief, which does not have separateness unto God.
“Brethren” are “holy” because they are set apart as Christ’s own. The idea here is not that these brethren were personally holy but that they held status before God as set apart unto Him. They were set apart for God. They were completely sanctified and could enter the sanctuary of God’s presence.
It is important to notice that the subject to which this section refers is believers, not professors of Christianity. It is clear from the words “holy brethren” that the Spirit is dealing with genuine believers, not those without Christ, as some would make us believe.
partakers [companions, co-sharers] of the heavenly calling,
True believers partake in the heavenly calling because they were previously brought to the status of glory (He 2:10). These are people who have responded to God’s call of salvation and share in its common privilege. The bond pivots on what is shared and not in the persons themselves. Believers bear an intimate relationship forged in common spiritual reality; they are heavenly oriented. The word “partakers” shows the genuineness of their Christianity.
Christians share the “heavenly calling.” The calling to which believers respond has its source in heaven or God. Israel had an earthly calling, but the church has a heavenly calling. “Heavenly” is contrasted to earthly throughout this epistle (He 6:4; 8:5; 9:23; 11:16; 12:22). In each case the heavenly is superior. The Jews lived under an earthly calling, but New Testament Christians live under a heavenly calling.
The “calling” here is not a calling to heaven but from heaven. The call is not to accept the gospel but the New Covenant. Those who respond to the call participate in the messianic kingdom (He 11:16). They will share in the theocratic kingdom as king-priests. God’s purpose for Adam was to be a theocratic king on earth; he was to rule for God and gain dominion in the realm that God gave him.
Believers have a high calling from God.
Believers have at minimum two designations of identity: “holy” and “brethren.” Both of these terms carry dignity that God invested in them. Christians are set apart as God’s own; we are marked off as special. Second, we have this status in a group called brothers in the generic sense—both men and women. We are members of the same spiritual family sharing the status that Christ gave us, and that for eternity. God has called us to share this together for eternity.
There is a high privilege in participating in the future Kingdom of King Jesus. Believers will share in His dominion over the earth.