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4. A Sabbath Rest for God's People

1Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. 2For indeed we have had good tidings preached unto us, even as also they: but the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with them that heard. 3For we who have believed do enter into that rest; even as he hath said,

As I sware in my wrath,

They shall not enter into my rest:

although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he hath said somewhere of the seventh day on this wise, And God rested on the seventh day from all his works; 5and in this place again,

They shall not enter into my rest.

6Seeing therefore it remaineth that some should enter thereinto, and they to whom the good tidings were before preached failed to enter in because of disobedience, 7he again defineth a certain day, To-day, saying in David so long a time afterward (even as hath been said before),

To-day if ye shall hear his voice,

Harden not your hearts.

8For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. 9There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God. 10For he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his. 11Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, that no man fall after the same example of disobedience. 12For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need.

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6. it remaineth—still to be realized.

some must enter—The denial of entrance to unbelievers is a virtual promise of entrance to those that believe. God wishes not His rest to be empty, but furnished with guests (Lu 14:23).

they to whom it was first preached entered not—literally, "they who first (in the time of Moses) had the Gospel preached to them," namely, in type, see on Heb 4:2.

unbeliefGreek, rather "disobedience" (see on Heb 3:18).

7. AgainAnew the promise recurs. Translate as the Greek order is, "He limited a certain day, 'To-day.'" Here Paul interrupts the quotation by, "In (the Psalm of) David saying after so long a time (after five hundred years' possession of Canaan)," and resumes it by, "as it has been said before (so the Greek oldest manuscript, before, namely, Heb 3:7, 15), To-day if ye hear His voice," &c. [Alford].

8. Answer to the objection which might be made to his reasoning, namely, that those brought into Canaan by Joshua (so "Jesus" here means, as in Ac 7:45) did enter the rest of God. If the rest of God meant Canaan, God would not after their entrance into that land, have spoken (or speak [Alford]) of another (future) day of entering the rest.

9. therefore—because God "speaks of another day" (see on Heb 4:8).

remaineth—still to be realized hereafter by the "some (who) must enter therein" (Heb 4:6), that is, "the people of God," the true Israel who shall enter into God's rest ("My rest," Heb 4:3). God's rest was a Sabbatism; so also will ours be.

a restGreek, "Sabbatism." In time there are many Sabbaths, but then there shall be the enjoyment and keeping of a Sabbath-rest: one perfect and eternal. The "rest" in Heb 4:8 is Greek, "catapausis;" Hebrew, "Noah"; rest from weariness, as the ark rested on Ararat after its tossings to and fro; and as Israel, under Joshua, enjoyed at last rest from war in Canaan. But the "rest" in this Heb 4:9 is the nobler and more exalted (Hebrew) "Sabbath" rest; literally, "cessation": rest from work when finished (Heb 4:4), as God rested (Re 16:17). The two ideas of "rest" combined, give the perfect view of the heavenly Sabbath. Rest from weariness, sorrow, and sin; and rest in the completion of God's new creation (Re 21:5). The whole renovated creation shall share in it; nothing will there be to break the Sabbath of eternity; and the Triune God shall rejoice in the work of His hands (Zep 3:17). Moses, the representative of the law, could not lead Israel into Canaan: the law leads us to Christ, and there its office ceases, as that of Moses on the borders of Canaan: it is Jesus, the antitype of Joshua, who leads us into the heavenly rest. This verse indirectly establishes the obligation of the Sabbath still; for the type continues until the antitype supersedes it: so legal sacrifices continued till the great antitypical Sacrifice superseded it, As then the antitypical heavenly Sabbath-rest will not be till Christ, our Gospel Joshua, comes, to usher us into it, the typical earthly Sabbath must continue till then. The Jews call the future rest "the day which is all Sabbath."

10. For—justifying and explaining the word "rest," or "Sabbatism," just used (see on Heb 4:9).

he that is entered—whosoever once enters.

his restGod's rest: the rest prepared by God for His people [Estius]. Rather, "His rest": the man's rest: that assigned to him by God as his. The Greek is the same as that for "his own" immediately after.

hath ceased—The Greek aorist is used of indefinite time, "is wont to cease," or rather, "rest": rests. The past tense implies at the same time the certainty of it, as also that in this life a kind of foretaste in Christ is already given [Grotius] (Jer 6:16; Mt 11:28, 29). Our highest happiness shall, according to this verse, consist in our being united in one with God, and moulded into conformity with Him as our archetype [Calvin].

from his own works—even from those that were good and suitable to the time of doing work. Labor was followed by rest even in Paradise (Ge 2:3, 15). The work and subsequent rest of God are the archetype to which we should be conformed. The argument is: He who once enters rest, rests from labors; but God's people have not yet rested from them, therefore they have not yet entered the rest, and so it must be still future. Alford translates, "He that entered into his (or else God's, but rather 'his'; Isa 11:10, 'His rest': 'the joy of the Lord,' Mt 25:21, 23) rest (namely, Jesus, our Forerunner, Heb 4:14; 6:20, 'The Son of God that is passed through the heavens': in contrast to Joshua the type, who did not bring God's people into the heavenly rest), he himself (emphatical) rested from his works (Heb 4:4), as God (did) from His own" (so the Greek, "works"). The argument, though generally applying to anyone who has entered his rest, probably alludes to Jesus in particular, the antitypical Joshua, who, having entered His rest at the Ascension, has ceased or rested from His work of the new creation, as God on the seventh day rested from the work of physical creation. Not that He has ceased to carry on the work of redemption, nay, He upholds it by His mediation; but He has ceased from those portions of the work which constitute the foundation; the sacrifice has been once for all accomplished. Compare as to God's creation rest, once for all completed, and rested from, but now still upheld (see on Heb 4:4).

11. Let us … therefore—Seeing such a promise is before us, which we may, like them, fall short of through unbelief.

labourGreek, "strive diligently."

that rest—which is still future and so glorious. Or, in Alford's translation of Heb 4:10, "That rest into which Christ has entered before" (Heb 4:14; Heb 6:20).

fall—with the soul, not merely the body, as the rebel Israelites fell (Heb 3:17).

after the same exampleAlford translates, "fall into the same example." The less prominent place of the "fall" in the Greek favors this. The sense is, "lest any fall into such disobedience (so the Greek for 'unbelief' means) as they gave a sample of" [Grotius]. The Jews say, "The parents are a sign (warning) to their sons."




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