HEBREWS 3:6 - 4:11

The introduction of the subject under consideration in the above verses is in the word "hope" found in verse 6 of the third chapter.  What is our hope ?
"In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." - Titus 1:2
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." - 1 Peter 1:3-4
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." - Rev. 14:13
In the above passages, we find that our hope is eternal life, and eternal life will be in Heaven (1 Peter 1:4), not upon this earth.  We also find that it shall be a rest according to Rev. 14:13.  And, because our hope is eternal, we conclude that our rest is an eternal rest in Heaven.  It is this rest that the writer centers his remarks upon, in the 3rd and 4th chapters of Hebrews.
In Hebrews 3:7-11, the writer quotes David in Psalms 95:7-11.  David there is recording the words of God.  God was speaking about Israelites who provoked Him in the wilderness, specifically about those who He did not allow to enter the land of Canaan.  He said in verse 11: "So I swore in my wrath.  They shall not enter my rest."  What did God mean by this statement?  Was God here referring to the fact that they would not enter the promised land, or was He saying that they would not enter eternal rest after their physical life?  The Hebrew writer deals with these questions as he reveals by inspiration the true meaning of this statement.  And, in so doing, he show's that God's statement made while the children of Israel were still in the wilderness, can be applied to us today if we have not the faith we should have, and are not obedient to God's law for us.  In chapter 3:12 he said, "Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."
We shall find that when God said: "my rest" ch. 3:11 and the scriptures said "His rest" verse 18, that the scripture is referring to eternal rest after judgment.  If this were not true, then as the writer begins the 4th chapter, he would not have said, "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left for us entering into His rest., any of you should seem to come short of it. 2. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them." chapter 4:1 & 2. Then, in further explanation of this statement, he says in verse 3, "For we which have believed do enter into rest."  He here shows that as those who served God back then were promised eternal rest; even  so today if we serve God faithfully, we are promised eternal rest. This is what is meant when he said "unto us was the gospel (not gospel of Jesus Christ, but the word gospel means glad tidings or good news:  in other words glad tidings or good news about eternal rest) preached, as well as unto them."  The promise of eternal life or eternal rest is not limited to the Christian dispensation. All men of all ages, from the dawn of creation up until now, could have the hope of God's rest if they served God. Now, we can clearly see that God was not talking about their entrance into the land of Canaan.  The writer was not telling the Hebrew Christians to fear lest they come short of entering the land of Canaan (verse 1).  This letter was written about 1500 years after that. Of course we do understand those Jews spoken of in our text were not permitted to enter Canaan.  But, our text is teaching that they also will not be permitted to enter eternal life.  They will not be permitted to enter God's eternal rest.
One point we want to notice here in the 1st verse of Chapter 4.  That is, this rest is "a promise being left us."  We do not experience it at the present, but we have the promise to enter that rest later.  That would not have been the case if he were talking about the keeping of the seventh day every week.  The thought that this rest is for us is yet in the future, not in this life, is repeatedly brought out in our text.
Now, the writer begins to explain about the words used by God, "my rest; and his reference to that term as "his (God's g.o.) rest" Psalms 95:11, Heb. 3:11 & 18; 4:1,3,5, & 10.  It is that of entering God's rest that we have been promised, 4:1.
Notice from the 3rd verse:  3.  "For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, as I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall (correction from the Revised Version: "They shall not" g.o.) enter into my rest:  Although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."
A.  "For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works." God's rest takes us back to the creation as the writer explains. He quotes from Gen. 2:1-3:

1.  "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the ___________ of them.
2.  And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his  works which he had made."

3. "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."
The writer of Hebrews is not teaching that God rested every week on the seventh day, But, he is showing that God "finished" (chapter 4:3) his work of creation as specified in Gen. 2:3, "all his work which God created and made."  He did this by the end of the 6 days, and he rested on the seventh day.  That seventh day is representative of eternity:  Since then, he has not and will not return to his work of creation.  The writer shows that that work was finished, completed; Compare the following words and passages: "finished":  Gen. 2:1 and Hebrews 4:3; and because it is "finished," he has "ceased" to perform it any more Heb 4:10.  Therefore, God "ended his work"  Gen 2;2; "he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made." Gen 2:2 and Heb. 4:4.
Now, the writer tells us how we enter into the rest in verse 10: "For he (notice this "he" is referring to "the people of God" verse 9) that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his." When God entered his rest, he had ceased from his work of creation.  "Also," we enter this rest, God's rest, when we cease from our own works. In other words, when this life of work is over, we then enter God's eternal rest.  Notice again Rev. 14:13, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." - Rev. 14:13.
Verses 6 - 9 shows that this promise was not limited to Israel in the wilderness, neither was it fulfilled when they entered the promised land.
My understanding of verse 6 is that since there is a rest spoken of in the scriptures, implying that it is to be enjoyed by some, and since they to whom it was first promised did not inherit it, it follows that it must still be in reserve.
Then, in verses 7 and 8, he makes the argument concerning David's use of the term "To day" in Psalms 95:7.  Thus David, who lived about 500 years after Israel was in the wilderness and then entered Canaan, showed that in his lifetime, "to day," there was an offer of rest.  It was then possible to receive the promise of entering into God's rest.
In verse 8, the word "Jesus" is properly translated from the Greek made for Joshua in the Hebrew.  It is by context we understand it is referring to Joshua.  What the writer is saying is that if Joshua brought Israel God's rest by leading them into the land of Canaan, then David would not have spoke of "another day," that is "To day," concerning that rest 500 years "afterward," If the promise had previously, already been fulfilled, then David would not have admonished the people living in his day to enter into it.
In verse 9, he mentions the conclusion of his arguments: "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." The Greek word here translated "rest" is "sabbatism". Its meaning is "keeping of a sabbath" or "a keeping sabbath".  Our eternal rest shall be the keeping of a sabbath.
Actually, eternal life after death is the true sabbath. We shall then rest as "God did rest" (verse 4).  He ceased from the stupendous work of creation.  He no more put forth creative energy, but calmly contemplated his own works in their beauty and greatness: Gen.1:31.  In carrying forward the great affairs of the universe, he always has been actively employed (Jn:5:17), but he is not employed in the work of creation. This is done, and the cessation from that constitutes the "rest of God".
During our life on this earth, we must labour for the Lord. As God worked 6 days in creating all things, we are to work, being faithful until death (Rev.2:10). This constitutes the 6 working days of God. Then , as God rested, we shall rest in an eternal sabbath. This is the 7th day of rest to us.
We have a sabbath of rest.  We shall observe our sabbath according to the will of God. But, it will be observed in heaven after our work here is ceased.
The Jewish weekly sabbath was a type of the true eternal sabbath.  There were many things in the law of Moses which were types and shadows: such as circumcision (a type of baptism); animal sacrifices (types of Christ as a sacrifice); the tabernacle (a type of the church and heaven); etc.  The "Seventh Day Adventist" Denomination would not think of observing the above parts of the Old Law, and yet they contend that we should keep the observance of the 7th day sabbath which was also a type of something more perfect, God's eternal rest for the saints of all ages.
The fact that God's rest mentioned in Heb. 3 & 4 is not the 7th day sabbath which was observed weekly according to the law of Moses, is made clear because God said that those who fell in the wilderness "should not enter into my rest." - Psalms 95:11.  Yet, those same Jews observed the 7th day sabbath in the wilderness.  If he was referring to the 7th day when he said "my rest" in chapter 3:11 and "his rest," verse 18, he would not have allowed them to keep the 7th day sabbath.
Another comparison to show that our keeping of the sabbath is yet in the future is in the meaning of the word remaineth found in verses 6 and 9.  "Apoleipo" the Greek word here is used in the Passive Voice.  In the Passive it means, "to be reserved , to remain".  The idea that this rest ( or sabbath) is being held in RESERVE for future use, is the meaning of the word as used here. This harmonizes with the concept, and as already pointed out in Heb. 4:1, "A PROMISE being left us of eternity into his rest ".
One reason the 7th Day Adventist give for keeping the 7th day sabbath today, is that they contend that the 10 commandment laws were not done away with the other laws of the Old Testament.
There are two passages which they can not answer with that position.  They are, 2 Cor. 3:3-16 and Heb. 9: 1-4.  2 Cor. 3 teaches that the 10 commandments as such were done away.  It specifies that which is " written and engraven in stones"  verse 7. In the context of Heb. 9, two covenants are under consideration: a " first covenant" chapt. 8"7, 13, chapt. 9:1, "old" covenant chapt. 8"13; compared with a "better covenant" chapt. 8"6;  a "new covenant" chapt. 8:8 & 13;   a "second" covenant chapt. 8:7,  In which of these two covenants does the writer of Hebrews place the 10 commandments?  The answer is found in chapter 9:4.  The ark of the covenant contained as the covenant the 10 commandments called here "The tables of the covenant".  And verse 1 makes it clear that he is talking about the "first covenant".
Another thought in our study of Hebrews and also when you study with the 7th Day Adventist: The word sabbath is not limited to the 7th day.  There were other days of the week at certain times in which the Israelites were commanded not to work.  These were also called sabbaths.
Article by Gayland Osburn
Submitted by Juergen Duetsch
Hit CounterHit Counter