The First Artist (Hebrews 3:3)

Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. (Hebrews 3:3)

I recently read G.K. Beale’s The Temple and the Church’s Mission. In this volume, Beale examines the importance of the Hebrew tabernacle and temple, finding them to be symbolic representations of God’s creation and the Garden of Eden. By ministering in the temple, the priests symbolically set right what was damaged in Eden, just as Jesus would ultimately set that problem right for all who call on him.

As I read today’s verse, I’m initially mystified. Obviously the maker of a thing, a house, is greater than the thing itself. It’s part of the old “You have to have more molasses than you pour out of the jar” thought. There was more to the Israelite craftsman Belazel than he put into the Tabernacle. That much of the verse seems crystal clear, but I’m left with one simple little thing. Jesus did not build the Temple or the Tabernacle before it. And for that matter, Moses was not the same as the Tabernacle, which is what the comparison seems to suggest. If you’re hazy on this, let me do the math.

Jesus’ honor > Moses’ honor
Builder’s honor > House’s honor, and so…
Jesus = Builder and Moses = House.

Was our writer simply being sloppy, or have I missed something? I go back to Beale’s book. Jesus didn’t build the Tabernacle. No, he did far more. Jesus built the Creation that the Tabernacle symbolized. How much more honor does that deserve than what we’d give to Moses or Belazel or Stephen Spielberg or Leonardo DaVinci. Lest we forget, Jesus is, among all his other aspects, the ultimate artist, the creator of mediums, the author of canvasses and palettes alike. All we can do is paint with his colors.