I believe the first ten verses of Hebrews 4 will give us a much better definition of rest. Therefore, press forward in continued obedience and persevere in faith. Paul proclaims that this Sabbath rest has always existed—has always been available to anyone who was willing (Heb. They identified themselves with the old by clinging to it, while rejecting the new. 12:22). Have you experienced the rest which only Christ can give? Then we will concentrate on our text – the first ten verses of chapter 4. What was the sin of the Israelites which caused God to pronounce this inexorable judgment? There are foam mattresses with a memory (probably better than mine) and a plethora of others. There is still a “rest” that is available to us “today.” I would understand this to have present and future dimensions, just as salvation has. Unbelief leads to a hardened heart, which leads to rebellion and divine discipline. 4. Paul explains that God’s rest means ceasing from “our works”—our own righteousness—and trusting God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. This must be a different rest because the readers are now dwelling in the Promised Land, and “rest” is still being offered. And that way was the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ: 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. This is introduced in 3:1-6. Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5). Just as the “good news” the ancient Israelites received did them no good because of their lack of faith, so our “good news” is only profitable through faith. On one particular Friday night, one of the members of our work crew wasn’t to be found, so we decided to search the building to find him. First, verses 7-19 continue the theme of the superiority of Christ to Moses. That’s why they rest and why their ancestors since ancient times have rested. 11 Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you (Romans 7:25-8:11). One said he was trying to eat hay and another said he had got a bit of an old turnip and a third said he’d found a raw cabbage leaf. That’s what it means to “rest from our own works.” The Sabbath day is both a symbol and a sampling of this rest. Their greatest sin was not sexual immorality or idolatry or overt rebellion against God. 1 Copyright © 2008 by Robert L. Deffinbaugh. It is these repeated words and phrases which provide us with the key to understanding the author’s meaning of “rest.” Chapter 4 will conclude with an exhortation to strive to enter “God’s rest,” with an emphasis on the Word of God (verses 12-13) and on the high priestly ministry of our Savior (verses 14-16). 3:8-11). It was the rule, and not the exception. The ancient Israelites, along with those who lived in the days of the psalmist, had the promise of rest, a rest which could only be attained by faith. 29 Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. I am thinking here of the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in Numbers 16:1-35. Well, the warning certainly becomes more personal with the rendering of the NIV. While the “good news” that the ancient Israelites received was not the full-blown gospel that we have heard, it was nevertheless good news that did them no good because they failed to believe it and act upon it. 12 Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. Topic and guest posted here on Wednesday, link and passcode provided on Sabbath morning. It is available on the Internet at: www.netbible.org. Consider verse 8: “Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of testing in the wilderness” (Hebrews 3:8, NET Bible, emphasis mine). 4:9). So the whole point of Hebrews 3 and 4 is that the rest has not happened yet. The NET Bible provides us with the most literal translation of verse 8. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did! They believe they are still captive in a dark and filthy stable. Hebrews 4 speaks of Jesus as our Sabbath rest. Does debt affect giving in modern times in light of the Israelite tithe and slaves? 37 For just a little longer and he who is coming will arrive and not delay. A Lasting Legacy: Choosing A Wife For Isaac (Gen. 24:1-67). Or, (2) The good news did not do some any good because they did not personally embrace it by faith. Have you entered that “rest,” my friend? Are you resting in our Lord’s promises, or are you filled with doubts and worries? The NET Bible remains somewhat neutral by rendering the verse literally, allowing the reader to go either way. And so we need to believe God and enter this rest, rather than to refuse to believe and fail to enter, as did the ancient Israelites. In both instances above, the audience that was being condemned was Jewish. The subtlety of the argument is that Moses did not lead the Israelites into Canaan; indeed, he and Aaron didn’t enter the land either. Persecution is on the rise, not only in distant places, but in our own country. But, although the ancient Israelites “kept” the Sabbath, he tells us, they did not enter into the Sabbath rest (Heb. We are not that different from those ancient Israelites. If not, I urge you to do so “today” by acknowledging your sin and your inability to please God. They did not “rest from their works, as God did from His.” (Heb. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[a](A)just as God did from his. It must be seized while it is today, for a “tomorrow” is coming when it will be too late, just as there was for the ancient Israelites. A shadow or type suggests a fulfillment by Jesus that passes away. But they cannot recognize they are free. “Ah, but after all these millennia you still don’t get it!” sighs Paul, “You don’t understand what rest really means.” To show them, he carries them back to the very beginning—to God and His creation. The author cites the last half of Psalm 95, in which the psalmist warns the people of his day, based on the failure of the Israelites to enter Canaan. (Hebrews 3:7, citing Psalm 95:7b). And that rest was God’s “Sabbath rest,” a rest still available, a rest of ceasing from futile works in an effort to earn God’s favor. They killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become! Paul fashions a bridge connecting the old and the new for them to cross over. 33 But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25-33). They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Is he saying that those who are tempted to fall back into Judaism will also fall back into the sins of the past? Now we come to a controversial statement: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9 Hebrews 4:9There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.American King James Version×). He reassures and comforts these believers—demonstrating that their former beliefs as Jews were not mistaken or heretical, but that their ancestors had been led by God as surely as they themselves had been. To briefly summarize the benefits of the incarnation, it enabled the Son to die in the sinner’s place, paying the penalty for his sins, and restoring him (or her) to the glory and authority which God gave man at creation. 4:3) Everything that the human race would ever need had been created. Sabbath-keeping continues for Christians today who look forward to being in God’s Kingdom. The sin of the Israelites is vividly illustrated in C.S. There is the “rest” of entering the land of Canaan, which the first generation of Israelites failed to attain. Seventh, the offer of “rest” remains till “today.”, Eighth, the danger of failing to enter rest also remains till “today.”, Ninth, the fundamental problem is that of “unbelief.”. 10 For the one who enters God’s rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works (Hebrews 4:1-10).2, When I was in college, I worked on the night maintenance crew. 1 Therefore we must be wary that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it. Jesus is our rest from works now, just as He is the door to heaven, where we will rest in Him forever. 26 This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness (Romans 3:19-26). Hebrews 4 looks both backward and forward—backward to Creation and forward to the final Sabbath rest. Chapters 3 and 4 will establish the superiority of the Son to Moses. 4:6). 17). 4 They tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them” (Matthew 23:1-4). Hebrews 4:9 “ There remaineth therefore a [Sabbath] rest to the people of God. There are several terms on which the author builds his argument, so we will seek to define them, and then determine how these help us to understand what “rest” means for us. Jewish Christians also faced relentless pressure from their own Jewish community to abandon the “heretical” beliefs of the Christian faith and return to the fold of Judaism. That means the weekly Sabbath rest (along with the other rest commands in the Law of Moses) is a lesser expression—a shadow—of the true “rest” symbolically inaugurated at the seventh day of creation. Hebrews 4:9-11 New International Version (NIV) 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[a] just as God did from his. Second, these verses address the danger of falling back into Judaism. In chapter 4, the author will cite fragments of his quotation from Psalm 95 in chapter 3. The children try to convince them they are surrounded by flowers in a green, sunlit meadow—even hand them violets to prove it, but they believe the violets are foul-smelling refuse. That rest was not merely the rest of possessing the Promised Land, but a great rest, a “sabbath rest.” The source of this rest is God, who after having completed the work of creation, rested on the seventh day. 13:8). We can forsake our rest because of worries about our families and even about our ministries. Sabbath observance each week, he incorporated a dayto rest from our works in the rest of God. This makes the weekly Sabbath a metaphor of the Genesis “rest” of God, as was the Canaan rest. 14 You are the light of the world. Have you listened to the commercials for prescription drugs lately? 28 Why do you worry about clothing? How is Jesus our Sabbath rest? The promised land is a picture of God's ultimate rest, and their unbelieving rebellion excludes them from it. Like the dwarfs, the Israelites failed to enter God’s Sabbath rest because of their unbelief. 3: 8-11). This in turn implies that “There remains a sabbath rest for the people of God” (Heb. Community is not a term that is found in our text, or even in the Book of Hebrews. These are areas in which God desires to lead us to rest, rather than leave us to trust in futile works of the flesh. 9 Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. This is not the kind of “rest” we will be talking about in this lesson. It is the message of salvation to which we are exhorted to give much more careful attention (2:1-4). As Christians and as Jews, these people suffered persecution from within and without—from their own people, the Jews, and from the Romans outside. But the Dwarfs said to one another, ‘Hear that? Surely his method of interpreting and applying Scripture is instructive to us as to how we should understand and apply Hebrews 3 and 4 today. 21 So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me. The Son is characterized by a seven-fold description (verses 1-4), which is then buttressed by citations from Old Testament texts (verses 5-14). This is the edited manuscript of Lesson 9 in the series, Near to the Heart of God – A Study of the Book of Hebrews, prepared by Robert L. Deffinbaugh on September 7, 2008. 32 But remember the former days when you endured a harsh conflict of suffering after you were enlightened. Hebrews 4 Lack of faith caused failure to enter 1 Sabbath rest promised but people have not entered 4 Strive to enter because we have a great High Priest 11. 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