Amplified: [This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: If Joshua had actually brought them into rest, God would not then after that be speaking about another day. (Westminster Press)
KJV: For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
NLT: This new place of rest was not the land of Canaan, where Joshua led them. If it had been, God would not have spoken later about another day of rest. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: For if Joshua had given them the rest, we should not find God saying, at a much later date, "today". (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: For if Joshua had given them rest, then would He not have spoken of another day afterward. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.
FOR IF JOSHUA HAD GIVEN THEM REST: ei gar autous Iesous katepausen (3SAAI): (Acts 7:45) (Heb 11:13, 14, 15)
Journal Articles on Rest - (Note however that there is an annual $50 fee to view entire article which (my opinion - no remuneration received) is well worth the cost if you frequently consult theological journals for this gives you access to 1000's of conservative articles that are fully searchable - see Theological Journal Subscription info. See the List of journals representing over 500 yrs of articles searchable by topic or verse! Incredible Online Resource
Note - Articles below in bold are the complete article available free online
The Old Testament is filled with shadows which foretell of the coming Messiah, the Substance of all the shadows, types, symbols, pictures, etc (Col 2:16, 17-note, cp He 10:1-note). The following table is an attempt to summarize the OT shadows of Moses and Joshua as they relate to the substance. The study of typology is rightly regarded by discerning readers with some hesitation because it has been subject to fanciful interpretations by some who in my opinion have failed to rightly divide the Word of Truth (See discussion of Typology - Study of Biblical types)
MOSES or JOSHUA
Nu 14:33, 34
Dt 12:10, 25:19, Josh 23:1
Mt 11:28, 29, 30
Josh 11:23, 12:1, 2
Ro 6:17,18, He 2:14, 15, Ga 6:14
For (gar) is a term of explanation (always take a pause and ask what is being explained) and here the writer explains why introduced the statement from David. David lived centuries after Joshua so the fact that God still spoke of the need for the ancient Hebrews to enter the rest (Ps 95:7) signifies there was still a need to enter God's rest and it also implies that this was not a literal but a figurative (spiritual) rest.
Spurgeon comments on God's warning in Psalm 95:7…
But what is this warning which follows? (referring to Ps 95:7) Alas, it was sorrowfully needed by the Lord's ancient people, and is not one whir the less required by ourselves. The favored nation grew deaf to their Lord's command, and proved not to be truly His sheep, of whom it is written, "My sheep hear my voice": Will this turn out to be our character also? God forbid!
Today if ye will hear his voice. Dreadful "if." Many would not hear, they put off the claims of love (God's love for them), and provoked their God. "Today," in the hour of grace, in the day of mercy, we are tried as to whether we have an ear for the voice of our Creator. Nothing is said of tomorrow, "He limits a certain day," He presses for immediate attention, for our own sakes He asks instantaneous obedience. Shall we yield it? The Holy Ghost says "Today," will we grieve him by delay?
Barton Bouchier - If ye will hear his voice. Oh! what an if is here! what a reproach is here to those that hear him not! "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me"; "but ye will not come to me that ye might have life." And yet there is mercy, there is still salvation, if ye will hear that voice. Israel heard it among the thunders of Sinai, "which voice they that heard it entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more"; so terrible was the sight and sound that even Moses said, "I exceedingly quake and fear": and yet they heard too the Lord's still voice of love in the noiseless manna that fell around their tents, and in the gushing waters of the rock that followed them through every march for forty years. Yet the record of Israel's ingratitude runs side by side with the record of God's mercies -- "My people would not hearken to my voice, and Israel would none of me."
Bernard and Hugo Cardinalis, in Neale and Littledale - If ye will hear his voice. And yet, as S. Bernard tells us, there is no difficulty at all in hearing it; on the contrary, the difficulty is to stop our ears effectually against it, so clear is it in enunciation, so constant in appeal. Yet there are many who do not hear, from divers causes; because they are far off; because they are deaf; because they sleep; because they turn their heads aside; because they stop their ears; because they hurry away to avoid hearing; because they are dead; all of them topics of various forms and degrees of unbelief.
Thomas Cole (1627-1697) in the "Morning Exercises." - It will be as difficult, nay, more difficult, to come to Christ tomorrow, than it is today: therefore today hear his voice, and harden not your heart. Break the ice now, and by faith venture upon your present duty, wherever it lies; do what you are now called to. You will never know how easy the yoke of Christ is, till it is bound about your necks, nor how light his burden is, till you have taken it up. While you judge of holiness at a distance, as a thing without you and contrary to you, you will never like it. Come a little nearer to it; do but take it in, actually engage in it, and you will find religion carries meat in its mouth; it is of a reviving, nourishing, strengthening nature. It brings that along with it, that enables the soul cheerfully to go through with it.
The rest that God promised through Joshua was a land filled with "milk and honey" in which they would experience rest from external enemies (Read these passages - Dt 12:9; 25:19; Josh 1:15; 22:4; 23:1; Ps 78:55; 105:44)
Jamieson writes that this is the writer's "Answer to the objection which might be made to his reasoning, namely, that those brought into Canaan by Joshua… 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. (Jamieson, R., Fausset, & Brown)
If (1437) is a so called second class conditional (determined as unfulfilled). The form of the Greek sentence indicates a contrary-to-fact condition. Specifically, here is the idea…
If Joshua had given them rest [which he did not], God would not have spoken later about another day [which he did in Psalm 95].
The Greek word Iesous is also the word for "Jesus"; and both the writer and his original readers would have been mindful of the connection of Iesous with the name of Christ, even though the emphasis in context is clearly on the man Joshua. In a sense, the author recounts the fact that there had been a "Jesus" (Joshua) who could not lead his people into the rest of God as another "Jesus" would be able to do.
Joshua (2424) (Iesous) is a masculine proper noun transliterated from the Hebrew word Yeshua (03091) which means "Jehovah his help". Iesous can be rendered as Jesus or Jehoshua and is contracted to Joshua in 219 of the 247 OT uses. The KJV renders it Jesus (He 4:8KJV) but context would supports that it is more accurately rendered Joshua, . It is somewhat surprising that this is the only mention of Joshua in the NT (he is not even in the Hebrews 11 "Hall of faith" although clearly he was a man of great faith). The man Joshua could never have given Israel rest outside of the enablement of the God-Man Jesus (Son of David), so interpreting this passage as descriptive of Joshua the man (son of Nun) makes the most sense. One other way to explain it as actually a reference to Jesus, is to consider it a reference to the Angel of the LORD the One who led Joshua and Israel (cp Joshua 5:13 where the Angel of the Lord = the Captain of the hosts). However, the context argues against such an interpretation.
Henry Alford writes on the translators who render this with the English name "Jesus" - It does not appear that any parallel between the typical and the great final Deliverer is intended: but it could hardly fail to be suggested to the readers. Our translators, in retaining the word “Jesus” here, have introduced into the mind of the ordinary English reader utter confusion. It was done in violation of their instructions, which prescribed that all proper names should be rendered as they were commonly used.
To some extent, the Old Testament Joshua (Jesus) son of Nun led Israel into the land of Canaan was but a faint shadow or picture or type (See related discussion - Typology - Study of Biblical types) of the real rest prophesied by David in Ps 95:7. This rest was not a land but a life which was ultimately fulfilled in the "greater Joshua", Jesus the Son of God! Jesus is the "Pioneer and Perfector of our faith" (NET Bible He 12:2-note) the ultimate Joshua (cp He 2:10 - Author = Pioneer in RSV-note).
Dost ask Who that may be?
Christ Jesus it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
(Martin Luther, 1529)
The following passage would have been familiar to the Hebrew readers of this epistle and might have even been quoted by them to suggest that a rest was no longer available.
Now it came about after many days, when the LORD had given rest to Israel from all their enemies on every side, and Joshua was old, advanced in years (Joshua 23:1)
To reiterate what was stated earlier, the Greek construction conveys the following thought which would serve to counter any arguments that the rest had been consummated in the time of Joshua…
If Joshua had given them rest [as he did not], God would not have spoken later about another day [as he did in Ps 95].
The point is that according to Psalm 95 (Ps 95:7) God was still offering His rest in the time of David (long after Israel had been in the Promised land and long after Joshua 23:1 was written) which indicates (1) the rest of God was still available to the Hebrew readers and (2) that the rest was not a "land" but a "life"; i.e., the rest that was now available was a spiritual rest not a promised land! And this is the same rest the writer of Hebrews desires for his readers to enter! And to do so "Today"! It is the same rest every sinner need to enter in order to experience rest in their souls from the power and fear of the penalty (eternal death) of sin.
As the OT promises point beyond Moses to Christ, so the rest of God in Ge 2:2 (quoted in the next verse He 4:9) points beyond Joshua and David to the final rest to which believers in Christ will attain if they hold fast their confidence and the beginning of (their) assurance firm until the end (He 3:6-note, He 3:14-note, cp Mt 24:13). Their holding fast is not a "work" that merits salvation but a work that is enabled by salvation! The point is that only those with genuine faith in the Messiah will be able to hold fast or persevere to the end.
Spurgeon - While the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they were constantly moving to and fro, dwelling in tents, and enjoying but little comfort. Notwithstanding all the blessings with which God enriched them in the wilderness, it was a wilderness, and Moses truly called it “a howling, desert wasteland” (Deut 32:10). They had no rest there, and they were always looking forward to the land flowing with milk and honey where they were journeying. Their eager longing was for a land where they could settle down, and build houses, and plant vineyards, and dwell in quiet resting places. Canaan is, therefore, the type of the rest that God intends to give his people here. It is not the type of heaven, except very imperfectly, for in Canaan there were Canaanites to be fought, and to be gradually driven out, and there were some that never were driven out of their fastnesses, but we thank God that there are no Canaanites to trouble the saints in heaven. Canaan is the true pattern and type of the believer’s condition upon the earth. We who have believed in Jesus have crossed the Jordan. He has divided it for us, and we have entered into rest. It is true that the Canaanites are still in the land, but the Lord also is in the land; and, by His grace, we shall surely drive them all out.
A BETTER REST
The rest into which Joshua led Israel was…
Temporal, Physical, and Natural
The rest provided by the greater Joshua (Jesus) is…
Eternal, Spiritual, Supernatural
H ad given them rest (2664) (katapauo from katá = intensifies + paúo = make to cease) or caused them to cease from activity and enjoy a period of cessation from work. So in this verse one may paraphrase it "If Joshua had caused them to cease from their labors and so rest."
NIDNTT adds that…
katapauo means to stop, put an end to; with reference to persons, to put an end to, hinder, depose, kill (Homer, Il. 16, 618; thus often with an unpleasant undertone); but also, to appease, calm (Homer, Od. 4, 583). In Judaism the term was taken up in the sense of to give someone a good rest (LXX). (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
HE WOULD NOT HAVE SPOKEN OF ANOTHER DAY AFTER THAT: ouk an peri alles elalei (3SIAI) meta tauta hemeras:
Not (ou) signifies absolute negation.
He would not have spoken - Or "he would not be speaking" (picture of speaking over and over and over). The argument of the writer is that if Joshua had given Israel a complete and final rest in Canaan, then God would not, five hundred years afterward, have been spoking of a rest for Israel as He did through David in Psalm 95.
Of another day after that - But in fact he did speak of another day after that as Ps 95:7 indicates.
In this verse the writer is building his case to prove to his Hebrew readers that Jesus the Son of God is better than Joshua the son of Nun since He provides a better rest than Joshua provided.
"We which have believed do enter into rest."--Heb. 4:4.
"Ich bleib bei Dir! wo koennt ich 's besser haben."
transl., Jane Borthwick, 1855
I rest with Thee, Lord! whither should I go?
I feel so blest within Thy home of love!
The blessings purchased by Thy pain and woe,
To Thy poor child Thou sendest from above.
Oh! never let Thy grace depart from me:
So shall I still abide, my Lord, with Thee.
I rest with Thee! Eternal life the prize
Thou wilt bestow, when faith's good fight is won;
What can earth give but vain regrets and sighs,
To the poor heart whose passing bliss is done?
For lasting joys I fleeting ones resign,
Since Jesus calls me His, and He is mine.
I rest with Thee! No other place of rest
Can now attract, no other portion please.
The soul, of heavenly treasure once possest,
All earthly glory with indifference sees.
Poor world, farewell! thy splendors tempt no more--
The power of grace I feel, and thine is o'er,
I rest with Thee! with Thee, whose wondrous love
Descends to seek the lost; the fallen raise,
Oh! that my whole of future life might prove
One hallelujah, one glad song of praise!
So shall I sing, as time's last moments flee
Now and for ever, Lord, I rest with Thee!
Amplified: So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God; (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: So a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. (Westminster Press)
KJV: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
NLT: So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: There still exists, therefore, a full and complete rest for the people of God. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Therefore there remains over a rest for the people of God,. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
SO THERE REMAINS A SABBATH REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD: ara apoleipetai (3SPPI) sabbatismos to lao tou theou: (Heb 4:1,3; 3:11; Isaiah 11:10; 57:2; 60:19,20; Revelation 7:14, 15, 16, 17; 21:4) (Heb 11:25; Psalms 47:9; Matthew 1:21; Titus 2:14; 1Peter 2:10)
So there (686) (ara) means so, then, therefore, as a result - It conveys the idea of drawing a conclusion. The sentence begins with the inferential ara ("so," "as a result"). The statement following so there (ara) is a logical consequence of the preceding argument.
Henry Alford feels this is a "Consequence from the proposition in Heb 4:6."
Bengel says "For this reason, because He speaks of another day."
So there remains - In other words, Today, the rest is still open.
ENTER BY THE DOOR OF FAITH
John Piper elaborates writing that passage forms…
the foundation of God's message to you today: There is a rest open to you today. God offers rest. The door is not shut. The time is not past. You have not missed your last opportunity. Hear the words of Heb 4:9:
"There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God."
The door is open. The time is now. Ah, but someone says, "Yes, a rest remains for the people of God -- but not for me." But I answer, do not rule yourself out. Look at He 4:3 -- our last word,
"We who have believed enter that rest."
There is one door to the safe, peaceful, happy rest of God -- the door of faith. Anyone who puts faith in God's promises bought for us by the blood of Jesus, and is diligent not to throw that faith away, is a part of the people of God. So on behalf of God, I call you this morning, put your trust in the promise of God's rest. (See the full message by John Piper - Hebrews 4:1-11 Be diligent to enter God's rest)
Remains (620) (apoleipo [word study] from apo = from, marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association + leípo = lack, be deficient or wanting) means to leave behind in the active sense and in to remain in the passive sense (as used in this verse). Paul uses it in the active voice to describe leaving behind of his cloak (2Ti 4:13-note cp the two other uses of the active voice - 2Ti 4:20-note; Titus 1:5-note)
The passive voice as used here in Hebrews means to be reserved or to remain, to be left over.
Apoleipo in the present verse conveys the idea that the promise of rest remains over from past times. The present tense indicates that it continually remains. In other words, even though the promise of rest had not been appropriated (by faith) by most of Israel in the wilderness, the promise of rest still holds good to the Hebrews who are reading this epistle.
A T Robertson says - This left-over promise is not repealed, though not utilized by the Israelites under Moses
Apoleipo is apparently a technical term in wills in ancient Greek writings.
Remains - The "rest" that remains was not the land Israel was to receive along with rest from wars (Dt 25:19), for Israel had been in their land several centuries when David penned Psalm 95 and especially in Ps 95:11 alluded to a rest yet not entered, implying that there was a component or aspect of rest Israel had not yet obtained. In fact, the rest that remained was a soul rest (a "life" not a "land"!) offered by Jesus to all who would come to Him (Mt 11:28, 29, 30). It is interesting that even the Jewish rabbis (not necessarily believers in Christ) had a similar idea for in their Mishnah we read their "commentary" on Psalm 92 ("A Psalm: A Song for the Sabbath") - A Psalm, a song for the time that is to come, for the day that shall be all Sabbath and rest in the life everlasting (Tamid 7:4).
Spurgeon - God has provided a Sabbath, and some must enter into it. Those to whom it was first preached did not enter in because of unbelief; therefore, that Sabbath remains for the people of God. David sang of it; but he had to touch the minor key, for Israel refused the rest of God. Joshua could not give it, nor Canaan yield it: it remains for believers.
Here in Hebrews 4:9, the writer associates his concept of rest with the original Sabbath, the idea being that what God did when He finished Creation (rested from His works) is what Christians are called to do!
CANAAN REST = SHADOW
SABBATH REST = SUBSTANCE
Stedman explains why there remains a Sabbath rest writing that "Though Jesus is not compared here with Joshua in terms of relative greatness, it is apparent from Hebrews 4:8, 9, 10 that the work of Joshua in leading Israel into the rest symbolized by the Promised Land was far inferior to the work of Jesus. He provides eternal rest to all who believe in Him. The fact that God repeats His promise of rest through David in Psalm 95, centuries after Israel had entered Canaan, is used to indicate that Sabbath-rest is the substance and Canaan-rest but a shadow. There was an experience of rest for Israel in Canaan (from armed invasion, natural disasters, failure of crops) when they were faithful to God. But even at best that rest was outward and essentially physical, and could not satisfy the promise of rest to the human race which was intended from the beginning. The author specifically states, There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God. (Hebrews 4:8-11 Rest Obtained - New-Creation Rest)
William Newell - Note (1) that this “rest” is for “the people of God”—here meaning especially the Christ-confessing Hebrews, in view of the past history of their nation. But of course including all “partakers of the heavenly calling.” Note (2) this rest “remaineth”: that is, it is future—not present rest in Christ’s work, blessed as that is. For rest in Christ’s atoning work for us is constantly attacked by Satan; and often also by reproofs and disturbing of conscience. There must also, as we have seen, be watchfulness against “an evil heart of unbelief.” And real rest in Christ’s atoning work is accompanied by a godly walk; where the enemy’s “devices” must be watched against. The “rest” itself is here called sabbatismos, a “state-of-rest” (cessation from labor or employment). Not in the sense of a weekly occurrence, but in the sense of that eternal state entered into by those who, already new creatures in Christ, enter that New Creation of Revelation 21–22; to which they already belong, where all things are according to God, where God Himself is at rest: For this is what is meant by God’s rest! (Hebrews Commentary)
The writer mentioned two different “rests” found in Old Testament history: (1) God’s Sabbath rest, when He ceased from His Creation activities (Ge 2:2; He 4:4); (2) Israel’s rest in Canaan (Dt. 12:9; Josh 21:43, 44, 45; He 3:11). But he saw in these “rests” illustrations of the spiritual experiences of believers today. The Sabbath rest is a picture of our rest in Christ through salvation (He 4:3; see Mt 11:28). The Canaan rest is a picture of our present rest as we claim our inheritance in Christ (He 4:11, 12, 13; note the emphasis on the Word of God). The first is the rest of salvation; the second is the rest of submission. (see table below). But there is a third rest that enters into the discussion, that future rest that all believers will enjoy with God. “There remains, therefore, a rest to the people of God” (He 4:9)… When the saints enter heaven, it will be like sharing God’s great Sabbath rest, with all labors and battles ended (Re 14:13). (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos)
Comment: The table below (the historical past, present, future) should not be confused with the three tenses of salvation (See Three Tenses of Salvation) -- (1) Past tense salvation = justification by faith = "Salvation Rest" in the table. (2) Present tense salvation = sanctification = "Submission Rest" in the table - Submission rest is descriptive of the "rest" believers experience as they surrender or yield to the control of the Holy Spirit, ceasing to try to live the Christian life in their own strength. This surrender is a moment by moment, day by day, choice. Each trial, each temptation, each test, provides an opportunity for our old flesh to rise up and take control (with loss of the sense of "rest", cp the "peace of God", "a clear conscience") or to choose to allow the Spirit to control us and empower us through the trial, temptation or test (remembering 1Co 10:13-note). It is not simply a passive "letting go and letting God", but an active working out of our salvation in fear and trembling (Php 2:12-note), fully confident (walking by faith, not sight - 2Co 5:7) that God's Spirit in us will give us the desire and the power to be "victorious" in the moment of decision (Php 2:13-note, cp Jn 6:63, Ro 7:6-note, Ro 8:13-note). This description is the essence of the process of sanctification, of learning to walk by the Spirit (Ga 5:16-note), filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (Ep 5:18-note), keeping in step with the Spirit (Ga 5:25-note). As we conduct ourselves in such a worthy manner pleasing to the Lord (even motivated by our sure hope of an even greater future rest), we will experience the reality of God's rest ("Submission Rest") in this present life. May our Father graciously grant each of us both the desire and the power through His grace and His Spirit to continually experience His presence and His rest, for our good and His glory, all possible through the finished work of His "resting" Son, Christ Jesus. Amen.
|God's Sabbath Rest||Salvation Rest||Millennium|
|Israel's Canaan Rest||Submission Rest||Heaven|
Sabbath rest (4520) (sabbatismos from sabbatízo = keep the Sabbath) literally means a keeping of a sabbath or a keeping of days of rest. It is used in this passage not in the literal sense (meaning to keep a specific day, the "Sabbath" day) but to describe a period of rest for God’s people which is modeled after and is a fulfillment of the traditional Sabbath.
W E Vine adds that "sabbatismos, “a Sabbath-keeping,” is used in Heb 4:9, rv, “a sabbath rest,” kjv marg., “a keeping of a sabbath” (akin to sabbatizo, “to keep the Sabbath,” used, e.g., in Ex 16:30, not in the NT); here the sabbath-keeping is the perpetual sabbath “rest” to be enjoyed uninterruptedly by believers in their fellowship with the Father and the Son, in contrast to the weekly Sabbath under the Law. Because this sabbath “rest” is the “rest” of God Himself, He 4:10, its full fruition is yet future, though believers now enter into it. In whatever way they enter into divine “rest,” that which they enjoy is involved in an indissoluble relation with God. (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
Wuest - The writer uses here a different Greek word for “rest.” In his previous references to the idea of rest, he has used katapausis, meaning “a cessation from activity,” thus “a rest,” a general word for the idea of rest. Now, he uses sabbatismos, the word used of the Sabbath rest. The word points back to God’s original rest, and speaks of the ideal rest. It is a Sabbath rest because the believer reaches a definite stage of attainment and has satisfactorily accomplished a purpose, as God did when He finished the work of creation. It is not the believer’s rest into which he enters and in which he participates, but in God’s unique, personal rest in which the believer shares. (Hebrews Commentary
Vine in his collected writings adds this note - There remains therefore a sabbath rest [a sabbatismos, or sabbath-keeping] for the people of God.—no sooner had His handiwork been marred by sin than God began to work with a view to man’s redemption and to the restoration of the enjoyment of the rest of communion with Him. Hence all the pre-figurative sacrifices and types and shadows in the Old Testament. The work of redemption having been accomplished on the Cross, God raised Him from the dead, seated Him at His right hand and rested once more.
Man was now called not to keep a seventh-day rest,
appertaining to the old creation,
but an abiding rest in Christ.
In Him God rests eternally. The believer is called to apprehend what it means to enjoy His rest; and this as against the world, the flesh and the devil.
This is granted not one day in the week,
but a sabbatismos,
a sabbath-keeping all the days of the year.
This word sabbatismos has a Greek suffix added to a Hebrew word. This is used instead of katapausis (as in He 3:11, 18; 4:1, 3, 5, 10, 11), a cessation…
… As has been pointed out, our sabbath in this day of the indwelling Holy Spirit and His ministry, is not one day in the week; “there remains [i.e., abides continually] a sabbath rest [a sabbatismos, a sabbath-keeping] for the people of God.” Our rest is in the living and glorified Christ on the ground of His finished work at Calvary.
This rest does not depend on special days,
it is not intermittent.
If kept uninterruptedly as God designs it for us, then our delight is in the Lord and we may enjoy constant fellowship with Him. We are ever to refrain from doing our pleasure, pursuing our own ways and engaging in any business as if it was our own. If we do so we cannot enjoy the privilege of rest in Christ. We are ever to abstain from useless talk of the lips, which “tendeth only to penury” (Prov. 14:23). (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)
The Messianic Jewish writer Arnold Fruchtenbaum describes sabbatismos as…
the ideal rest. It is provided by God. It is available today and the readers of Hebrews can attain it by faith. It means reaching a definite stage of attainment after satisfactorily fulfilling God’s purpose for their life. God finished His work and He entered into Sabbath Rest. Sabbath Rest is a type of spiritual maturity. It was destined primarily for Israel in Ex 20:8, 9, 10, 11. Its symbolic meaning is that it remains for the true believer, both Jew and Gentile. This is a promise of rest available for every believer. If a believer persists in his faith, he will reach a level of spiritual maturity when he ceases to constantly struggle over the basics of the spiritual life. (The Messianic Jewish Epistles : Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter, Jude)
Thayer writes that sabbatismos refers to "the blessed rest from toils and troubles looked for in the age to come by the true worshippers of God and true Christians."
Marvin Vincent writes that "The sin and unbelief of Israel were incompatible with that (sabbatismos) rest. It must remain unappropriated until harmony with God is restored. The Sabbath-rest is the consummation of the new creation in Christ (Ed: Which will not be fully consummated until we enter into the state of glorification and into the presence of the very one Who Himself is the Source and Essence of Rest!), through whose priestly mediation reconciliation with God will come to pass.
Sabbatismos is used here to indicate the perpetual Sabbath rest to be enjoyed uninterruptedly by believers in their fellowship with the Father and the Son under the New Covenant in contrast to the weekly Sabbath under the Old Covenant of the Law. In this verse the writer is referring to a divine rest into which the believers enter in their relationship with God not just in eternity future but (in my opinion) also in the here and now while still on earth (albeit our spiritual rest will not be perfected until we reach glory in the presence of God).
Hagner - The rare Greek word for Sabbath-rest in this verse (sabbatismos) is deliberately used by the author in place of the word for “rest” used previously in his argument (katapausis) in order to emphasize that the rest of which he has been speaking is of an eschatological order-indeed, of the order of God’s own sabbath-rest. God’s sabbath-rest thus becomes a symbol for our rest. (New International biblical commentary: Hebrews)
The author of Hebrews admonishes Jewish Christians to enter God’s “rest” (Heb 3–4). The author infers from Scripture and Israel’s history that “there remains a sabbath rest [sabbatismos] for the people of God” (Heb 4:9).
The reference here is not to weekly Sabbaths or to any particular holy day, but to the eschatological fulfillment of God’s will.
At this time all believers will enter God’s rest, or sabbath. (Dictionary of New Testament Background : A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship)
Walter Elwell writes that "the author speaks of a Sabbath rest (Gk. sabbatismos) again to connect the rest that the believer will obtain with the rest of God (He 4:4; Ge 2:2, 3). It refers not to the weekly Sabbath but to eternal salvation as different from and following upon this life of work. It should not be thought that this rest is inactivity, however, for God’s rest is not (Jn 5:17). Again, note the author’s characteristic emphasis on the futurity of salvation. (Evangelical Commentary on the Bible)
The renowned Jewish author Alfred Edersheim in discussion of the feast in Jerusalem in John 5 has this note that relates to the accurate interpretation of sabbatismos…
While they (the Jews) were discussing the niceties of what constituted labour on a Sabbath, such as what infringed its sacred rest or what constituted a burden, multitudes of them who laboured and were heavy laden were left to perish in their ignorance.
That was the Sabbath, and the God of the Sabbath of Pharisaism; this the rest, the enlightenment, the hope for them who laboured and were heavy laden, and who longed and knew not where to find the true Sabbatismos!
Nay, if the Christ had not been the very opposite of all that Pharisaism sought, He would not have been the Orient Sun of the Eternal Sabbath. But the God Who ever worked in love, Whose rest was to give rest, Whose Sabbath to remove burdens, was His Father. He knew Him; He saw His working; He was in fellowship of love, of work, of power with Him. He had come to loose every yoke, to give life, to bring life, to be life—because He had life: life in its fullest sense. For, contact with Him, whatever it may be, gives life: to the diseased, health; to the spiritually dead, the life of the soul; to the dead in their graves, the life of resurrection. And all this was the meaning of Holy Scripture, when it pointed forward to the Lord’s Anointed; and all this was not merely His own, but the Father’s Will—the Mission which He had given Him, the Work which He had sent Him to do. (Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
"A REDEMPTIVE REST"
Unger commenting on Hebrews 4:9,10 writes that "Redemptive rest is available for God’s people. These verses refer to the rest called sabbath-keeping (sabbatismos, ‘a state of rest from labor’) which involves the believer’s resting completely in a perfect work of redemption (Heb 4:3,4) as God rested from a perfect work of creation, Heb 4:10. This rest of redemption reposes wholly in the work of the Cross, and ceases from all self-effort, human merit or legalistic claim as a means either to salvation or sanctification, 10 (cf. Ep 2:8, 9, 10). It projects the victory of faith in conquest over spiritual enemies (the world, the flesh and the devil). (The new Unger's Bible handbook)
Donald Guthrie - The description of the rest as a sabbath rest is important because it introduces a word (sabbatismos) which occurs nowhere else. It may have been coined by this writer (so MM), for it effectively differentiates between the spiritual kind of rest and the Canaan rest (the psalm has the word katapausis). (Hebrews: An Introduction and Commentary)
Spurgeon - The true rest of God lies higher than times and places. The Lord God rests in the person of Jesus: in Him He is well pleased. The Lord speaks of Him as “my chosen one, in whom my soul delights” (Isa 42:1). In the person of His Son, the heart of the Father finds perpetual joy: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” But we also behold His glory—“Glory as of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). By faith we see that in Him which gives rest to our heart. Therefore was Jesus given: “This one will be the peace” (Mic 5:5). The Lord Jesus is our true Noah, in whom we find safety and rest. He was both given in birth and given up in death to be the rest of weary souls. This rest, I believe, is partly enjoyed on earth. “We who have believed enter into rest” (Heb 4:3), for we have ceased from our own works, as God did from His. But the full fruition and rich enjoyment of it remains in the future and eternal state of the beatified on the other side of the stream of death.
The related word sabbaton is used in Colossians…
Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath (sabbaton) day-- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. (Col 2:16; 2:17-notes)
Comment: Jesus fulfilled the Jewish regulations and celebrations by achieving perfectly the intentions they (and related to our present passage, the Sabbath day in the OT) only pointed to. The Sabbath Day was like a "giant finger" pointing to something far better. To go back to the old worn out picture is to miss His available rest. How ironic and how tragic. The very rest some attempt to attain by keeping legalistically the Sabbath they actually lose because they miss God's true rest, which was not a day but a Person, Christ Jesus! It is also relevant to note that the command to observe the Sabbath is the only one of the Ten Commandments not repeated after Pentecost.
The author here uses a unique word for rest (sabbatismos), translated “Sabbath rest.” Some think that he coined the word.
It calls attention to the spiritual aspect of God’s rest. It goes beyond observing the seventh day as holy. It goes beyond entering the physical Promised Land. This Sabbath rest is a soul-rest.
It is what Jesus promised when He said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and You will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mt. 11:28, 29, 30). (Hebrews 4:1-11 Cultural Christianity versus Saving Faith)
From the context this Sabbath rest is one in which a believer can enter today (Re 14:10-note) although obviously not as completely and fully as when we are in our future state of glory (Re 14:13-note). This Sabbath Rest for a believer is also described in the next verse as a rest from one's own works. What keeps a person from entering this "Sabbath rest"? (Re 14:11-note) "Disobedience" (which in turn in the context is a manifestation of unbelief - cp Hebrews 3:18, 19-note).
Craig Slane - Hebrews anticipates an eschatological “sabbath rest” (sabbatismos) that remains for the people of God (Heb 4:1-11). The term sabbatismos appears nowhere else in the New Testament, and may be the writer’s own creation to indicate the superiority of the coming rest to that of the seventh day. Though a superior quality of rest, it is still marked chiefly by the cessation of labor patterned after God’s rest on the seventh day. (Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
Comment: Observe God's own interpretation of the meaning of the Sabbath in this verse -- it is a sign. What is it a sign of? As Youngblood writes "the sign of the Mosaic covenant is the observance and celebration of the Sabbath day (Ex 31:13, 17)." The Sabbath marked Israel out as God’s people. Observing the Sabbath showed that the Israelites were set apart (i.e., holy) to God.
Ray Stedman… in his discussion of The Rest Obtained Is New-Creation Rest (4:8-11)
The use of the term sabbatismos (“Sabbath-rest”) suggests that the weekly sabbath given to Israel is only a shadow of the true rest of God. Paul also declares in Colossians 2:16–17 where he lumps religious festivals, New Moon celebrations and sabbath days together as “a shadow of the things that were to come, the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
Thus rest has three meanings: (1) the Promised Land; (2) the weekly sabbath; and (3) that which these two prefigure, that cessation from labor which God enjoys and which he invites believers to share.
This third rest not only describes the introduction of believers into eternal life, but also depicts the process by which we will continue to work and live, namely, dependence on God to be at work through us. “It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil 2:13-note).
This is in many ways the lost secret of Christianity. Along with seeking to do things for God, we are also encouraged to expect God to be at work through us. It is the key to the apostle’s labors: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13-note). Also, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20-note). Note, “I no longer live”—that is, I do not look for any achievement by my own efforts. Rather “Christ lives in me” and the life I live and the things that I do are “by faith”—that is, done in dependence on the Son of God working in and through me.
This makes clear that truly keeping the sabbath is not observing a special day (that is but the shadow of the real sabbath), but sabbath keeping is achieved when the heart rests on the great promise of God to be working through a believer in the normal affairs of living. We cannot depend on our efforts to please God, though we do make decisions and exert efforts.
We cease from our own works and look to his working within us to achieve the results that please him. As Jesus put it to the apostles, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). They must learn to work, but always with the thought that he is working with them, adding his power to their effort. That is keeping the sabbath as it was meant to be kept!
Learning to function from a position of rest
is the way to avoid burnout in ministry or any other labor.
We are to become “colaborers with God,” to use Paul’s wonderful phrase (cp 1Cor 15:10-note).
This does not mean that we cannot learn many helpful lessons on rest by studying the regulations for keeping the sabbath day found in the Old Testament. Nor that we no longer need time for quiet meditation and cessation from physical labor.
Our bodies are yet unredeemed and need rest and restoration at frequent intervals. But we are no longer bound by heavy limitations to keep a precise day of the week. (Our Pilgrim Journey and Entering God's Rest) (Bolding and color added for emphasis)
Dr Robert Morey discusses this passage as it relates to the argument used by some (Seventh Day Adventists) to support the keeping of the OT Sabbath…
The Hebrews 4:9 Argument
The Sabbatarian Position
In this chapter the author of Hebrews clearly states that there remains for the Christian a Sabbath day of rest.
Examination of This Argument
1. This argument’s greatest proponent was the Puritan, John Owen. But the exegetical evidence against his Sabbatarian position is so great that no classic commentator can be cited who agreed with his interpretation. Even some of the Puritans, such as John Brown, rejected Owen’s interpretation.
With almost all the classic commentaries and exegetes against the Sabbatarian position on Hebrews 4, this at once makes us suspicious of its validity.
2. A careful exegesis reveals that Hebrews 4 is teaching the exact opposite of the Sabbatarian position. The context is clear on the following points:
a. God’s “rest” in Hebrews 3:18 stands symbolically for the promised land. Because of unbelief, most of the generation died in the wilderness instead of entering His “rest” (Heb 3:16, 17, 18, 19).
b. From this Old Testament example, the author now informs his audience that the promise of a greater “rest” stands before them (Heb 4:1a).
c. This “rest” is of such a nature that:
• We can fall short of it (Heb 4:1b).
• We fall short if we do not believe the Gospel (Heb 4:2).
• It is entered into by faith (Heb 4:3).
d. This “rest” is now drawn from another Old Testament example: God’s Sabbath rest (Heb 4:4).
e. The author combines God’s Sabbath rest with the “rest” of the promised land (Heb 4:5), and states that disobedience to the Gospel hinders anyone from entering “rest” (Heb 4:6).
f. Even now in the age of salvation, the age of “Today” (Heb 4:7; cf. 2Cor. 6:2), God calls us to enter a “rest”; a rest like God’s Sabbath rest; a rest like that in Canaan (Heb 4:9).The only reason for putting the word “Sabbath rest” (Greek, sabbatismos, Heb 4:9) instead of just “rest” as in the rest of the context is that the author had just used God’s “Sabbath” as an illustration or example.
g. The nature of the “rest” or “Sabbath rest” of Heb 4:9 is explained in Heb 4:10, 11.
• Just as God ceased forever from His works, even so we are to cease from depending upon or trying to produce works to merit salvation. The works we produce are elsewhere called “dead works” (Heb 6:1).
• Let us enter the “rest of faith” in the Gospel and persevere to the end. We must not fall into or rest upon dead works.
• The danger to which the author was addressing himself was apostasy, not which day was to be observed by Christians. The audience was tempted to return to Judaism, thus the author exhorts them to persevere in the faith, and he warns them of condemnation if they become disobedient to the Gospel.
The fact that this is the theme of the entire book and the thrust of chapter four is accepted by nearly all commentators. Why do the Sabbatarians ignore this broader and immediate context? The emphasis in Hebrews 4 is on a future rest that yet awaits all who persevere to the end in faith (cf. He 10:38, 39), and the author’s fear that by moving back under the Old Covenant they would fall short of that sabbatismos.
The conclusion of the author’s argument is given in Heb 4:14, 15, 16. In order to enter God’s rest, we must “hold firmly to the faith” (Heb 4:14) in Christ’s meritorious priestly atonement. Therefore, let us “approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Heb 4:16) in view of Christ’s work for us.
Conclusion - Hebrews 4 is a passage which shows that God’s Sabbath and the Promised Land were an eschatological foreshadowing of the believer’s rest of faith in the Gospel of salvation, accomplished by the sealing of the New Covenant by the blood of Christ. Heb. 4:9 does not say “Sabbath day” but rather “Sabbath-like rest” (sabbatismos). The context rules out the Sabbatarian interpretation, because the emphasis falls not on a day to be observed in this age, but on an eternal rest awaiting all who live by faith until the end (cf. Heb 3:14). (The encyclopedia of practical Christianity)
Charles Simeon writes of the glorious privileges that are entailed by the concept of rest…
They have already in some respect entered into rest—
They are freed from the terrors of a guilty conscience.
They feel a delight in ordinances and Sabbaths.
Their minds are fully satisfied with the Gospel salvation.
They experience the truth of our Lord’s promise
But the rest which awaits them is far superior to that they now possess—They will enjoy a freedom from all labours and sorrows—They are constrained to labour as long as they are in the world. Their whole life resembles a race or warfare. They can obtain nothing without strenuous exertions: and of necessity they are encompassed with many sorrows. But in heaven they will cease from their labours: nor will their happiness have any intermission or alloy.
They will be exempt from all influence of sin or temptation—Sin now defiles their very best services. Satan is also unwearied in his endeavours to corrupt them. These are sources of much pain to them at present. But the souls of all in heaven are made perfect: nor can any unclean thing enter to defile them. Their triumph will be complete and ever-lasting.
They will dwell in the immediate presence of their God—Their capacity of enjoying God will be wonderfully enlarged: they will behold him not darkly, as now, but face to face. The Saviour’s glory will be the object of their devoutest admiration. Their delight in him will surpass their present conceptions. They shall know that their happiness will be eternal. Then will every desire of their heart be fully satisfied. (Hebrews 4:9 The Rest that Remains for God's People - Online)
Sabbath rest for the people of God - Since the Gospel is to the Jew first (this epistle addressed primarily to Hebrew readers), this phrase refers first to the Jews who would enter the Sabbath rest by faith. Christ Himself was the substance (He is Lord of the Sabbath [Mt 12:8, Mk 2:28, Lk 6:5] and the ultimate place of rest for the weary, sin sick soul = compare His invitation to "Come… find rest for your souls." Mt 11:28, 29, 30) of the shadow (the Sabbath day) (see Col 2:16, 17-note, He 10:1-note). How tragic that most of the Jews (and most Gentiles) fail to enter the "strait (small) gate" (cp Jn 10:9, Acts 4:14, Jn 14:6, Jn 8:24) and the true rest found only in Christ (cp Mt 7:13, 14, Lk 13:23, 24) And thus the writer's solemn, serious warning to be diligent to enter that rest! for once that "door" is shut there will be no second chance (cp Lk 13:25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)
Leon Morris adds that the writer…
sees the rest as for "the people of God"--an expression found elsewhere in the NT only in He 11:25 (though 1Pe 2:10 is similar, and expressions like "my people" occur several times). In the OT "the people of God" is the nation of Israel, but in the NT it signifies believers. (Jews and Gentiles) The rest the author writes about is for such people (Ed: I agree, but remember the writer's "target audience" is primarily Jewish readers). Others cannot enter into it. This is not so much on account of a law or rule denying them entrance as that they shut themselves out by disobedience and unbelief. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing or computer version)
A Rest Remaineth for the Weary
by Johann S Kunth
A rest remaineth for the weary;
Arise, sad heart, and grieve no more;
Though long the way, and dark and dreary,
It endeth on the golden shore.
Before His throne the Lamb will lead thee,
On heav’nly pastures He will feed thee,
Cast off thy burden, come with haste;
Soon will the toil and strife be ended,
The weary way which thou hast wended.
Sweet is the rest which thou shalt taste.
The Father’s house has many a dwelling,
And there will be a place for thee.
With perfect love His heart is welling
Who loved thee from eternity.
His precious blood the Lamb hath given
That thou might’st share the joys of Heaven,
And now He calleth far and near:
“Ye weary souls, cease your repining,
Come while for you My light is shining;
Come, sweetest rest awaits you here!”
O come, come all, ye weak and weary,
Ye souls bowed down with many a care;
Arise and leave your dungeons dreary
And listen to His promise fair:
“Ye bore your burdens meek and lowly,
I will fulfill My pledge most holy,
I’ll be your solace and your rest.
Ye are Mine own, I will requite you;
Though sin and Satan seek to smite you,
Rejoice! Your home is with the blest.”
There rest and peace in endless measure
Shall be ours through eternity;
No grief, no care, shall mar our pleasure,
And untold bliss our lot shall be.
Oh, had we wings to hasten yonder—
No more o’er earthly ills to ponder—
To join the glad, triumphant band!
Make haste, my soul, forget all sadness;
For peace awaits thee, joy and gladness—
The perfect rest is nigh at hand.
C H Spurgeon - Another reason why God rested on the seventh day was, that not only was the work finished, but all that was finished was good. We read that, at the conclusion of his six days, work, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good,” and therefore he rested; and oh, what rest a believer gets when he looks on the finished work of Jesus Christ, and after examining every part of it, is able to say of it all, “It is very good.” To see Christ’s work of covering sin, and to note how his substitutionary sacrifice has covered it so completely that even God himself cannot see it, is indeed “very good.” To realize that Christ has sunk our sins into oblivion, and made them cease to be, this also is “very good.” To look at Christ’s justifying righteousness, and to mark how perfect it is, not a thread missing, no part of the goodly texture having a flaw in it, this too is “very good.” To see Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, to view him in all his relationships and offices, this too is “very good.”
Yes, beloved, this is the way to get the Sabbatismos,
the true rest which remains for the people of God.
If we examine the work of Christ, both in its completeness, and in all its details, as God the Father looked at his works, and praised them all, if we let our judgement feel what a strong rock we have on which to build our eternal peace, then, like the ever-blessed Jehovah himself, we shall rest, and enter into his rest. Oh, that God would, by his grace, enable us so to do (The Believer's Present Rest)
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F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily - Devotional on Rest
Therefore I swore in My anger, Truly they shall not enter into My rest. Psalm 95:11
God’s Rest has been waiting for man’s entrance, since He rested from all the work that He created and made. To all other days there were evening and morning, but not to this. It does not consist in circumstances, or conditions of existence, but in disposition. It does not lie, as sacred poets have too often suggested, beyond the confines of this world — it is now, and here. Canaan is not primarily a type of heaven; but of that blessed experience which is ours when we have passed the Jordan of death to natural impulse or selfish choice, and have elected for evermore to accept, and delight in, the will of God.
Will you not take up this position today? Today! Oh that ye would hear his voice! To hear his voice speaking in the heart, in circumstances, and in nature, and to obey promptly, gladly, blithely, — this would bring the soul into the rest that remains unexhausted for the people of God. Are you hardening your heart against some evident duty to which you are called, but which you are evading? Are you hardening your heart to some appeal which comes to you through the ties of kinship and nature? Are you saying, "Can God subdue these Canaanites", instead of "God can"? Beware, for this is the sin of Massah and Meribah, which, being interpreted, means strife. Woe to those that strive with their Maker; let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. (Isa 45:9KJV) (Ed: Dear reader - In this paragraph Meyer seems to be placing the emphasis on the initial salvation experience, whereas in the following paragraph he clearly emphasizes the process of sanctification.)
Every one comes in the Christian life, once at least, to Kadesh-Barnea. On the one hand the land of rest and victory; on the other the desert wastes. The balance, quivering between the two, is turned this way by faith; that by unbelief. Trust God, and rest. Mistrust Him, and the door closes on rest, to open to wanderings, failure, and defeat. (Editorial comment: But not to loss of salvation if one is genuinely saved in the first place!) (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
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F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily - Devotional on Rest
As the cattle which go down into the valley,
The Spirit of the LORD gave them rest.
So didst Thou lead Thy people,
To make for Thyself a glorious name. (Isaiah 63:14)
It is the noonday glare in Palestine. The sun’s rays like spears of flame are striking down upon the parched sand-wastes, and all the land burns like a furnace. Away yonder is a sequestered glen, where mosses line the margins of streamlets and pools, and rich pasture keeps green in the shadow of the hills. Thither the cattle descend at noon. As the shadows creep down the mountain-sides they follow them, and presently the herd browses on the succulent herbage or reclines beneath the shadows of the spreading trees, while the brooks purl past clear and cool. Similarly Isaiah says God brought his people through the wilderness, leading them as a horse that might not stumble, and finally conducted them into the rest of Canaan.
But how fit an emblem is suggested of our Father’s dealings with us. The scorching sun of temptation shines around us. The glare of publicity, the fever of money-making, the strife of tongues, torment the children of men. But for God’s beloved ones there is a secret place by Him, a green and verdant nook, watered by the river of God. Over its portals these words are written: “I will give you rest.”
When once we learn to trust our Fathers unfailing love, we are caused to rest. Notice that forcible expression: the Spirit of the Lord caused them to rest. Here is anew thought of the omnipotence of love. It can so reveal itself that it almost compels rest. Cause us to lie down, O Lord, we pray Thee! Job speaks of Him as giving quietness: and then who can make trouble? Seek quietness as his gift! Lo! there is a place by Him, in the mountain-shadowed valley of his care, where disquieted souls are at peace. Seek it! (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
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F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily - Devotional on Rest
My people have become lost sheep;
Their shepherds have led them astray.
They have made them turn aside on the mountains;
They have gone along from mountain to hill
And have forgotten their resting place. (Jer 50:6)
These words may often be said of us. A time of emergency arises; the necessity for instant and vigorous action seems overpowering; we fail to see what course to adopt — and immediately we get flurried and excited; we run from one to another; we lose our sleep. All our earnest resolutions to abide in Christ and live in his fellowship are forgotten. We have forgotten our resting-place.
Or we are in the midst of a great campaign of work. From morning to night we are plunged in a mass of calculations and activities. There is no time to take our meals, much less to obtain opportunities for prayer and fellowship with God. Our rooms without, our souls within, are littered with the symptoms of the many absorbing interests which are monopolizing our attention. We have forgotten our resting-place. Or, perhaps, it is a time of great temptation. Hour after hour the foe returns to the attack. We have done our best to withstand him; but have hit out without precision, have fired at random. Again, we have forgotten our resting-place.
The place where we lie down to rest is under the shadow of the Cross. Whilst we remain there, we are perfectly safe and blessed. Return unto thy rest, O straying sheep! Back to the arms of Jesus, where only such frail ones as thou art are safe.
I knew a man, who had to bear a thousand crosses belonging to others, and who grieved himself into an illness because others did not love God as He deserves, till all at once his own foolishness and sinfulness struck him to the heart. He could do nothing then but cast himself and them into the endless depths of the love of God; and he ended by having rest in his heart, and a song on his lips. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
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F B Meyer - Sabbath rest -
There is a rest for weary souls. — God speaks of it as His Rest. He entered it, we are told, when He had finished His work; and beheld it to be very good; and ever since the door has been standing open for the travel-stained, weary children of men to enter it. To every other creation-day there were evening and morning, but not to this; it partakes of the nature of eternity in its timeless bliss.
Let us rejoice that this rest remaineth. — Of course, the Sabbath, which was and is a type of it, could not exhaust it. And Canaan, with its sweet plains and cessation of the wilderness wanderings, could not completely fulfill it; because centuries after it had been given through Joshua, in the Psalms God spoke of yet another day, as though his rest were still future.
The rest may be a present experience. — The word “remains” has diverted the thoughts of commentators who have supposed it referred to heaven. There is rest, sweet rest, there. But “remains” means “unexhausted, unrealized, by aught which has taken place.” The rest is for us here and now. “We which have believed do enter into rest.” Where is it? In the bosom of Christ: “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.” It is in ploughing the furrow of daily duty — “Take my yoke; … and find rest.”
This rest is compatible with great activity. — He that enters into the Divine rest is not reduced to quietism. On the seventh day the Creator rested from creation; but He works in providence. Jesus, on the seventh day, rested from Calvary; but He pleads in heaven. Cease from your own works, after a similar fashion; abandon your restless planning and striving; by the grace of the Holy Spirit better service will be produced. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
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F B Meyer Devotional on Rest
Now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side. (1Kings 5:4)
God is the Rest-Giver. When He surrounds us on every side with His protecting care, so that our life resembles one of the cities of the Netherlands in the great war— inaccessible to the foe because surrounded by the waters of the sea, admitted through the sluice— then neither adversary nor evil occurrence can break in, and we are kept in perfect peace, our minds being stayed on God.
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can enter, never traitor stand.
Have you experienced the rest which comes by putting God round about you, on every side—like the light which burns brightly on a windy night because surrounded by its four panes of clear glass? Ah! what a contrast between the third (1Kings 5:3) and fourth verse: Wars on every side; Rest on every side. And yet the two are compatible, because the wars expend themselves on God, as the waves on the shingle; and there are far reaches of rest within, like orchards and meadows and pasture-lands beyond the reach of the devastating water.
Out of such rest should come the best work. We are not surprised to find Solomon announcing his purpose to build a house unto the name of the Lord. Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus, anointed Him. Out of quiet hearts arise the greatest resolves; just as from the seclusion of country hamlets have come the greatest warriors, statesmen, and patriots. Men think, foolishly, that the active, ever-moving souls are the strongest. It is not so, however. They expend themselves before the day of trial comes. Give me those who have the power to restrain themselves and wait; these are they that can act with the greatest momentum in the hour of crisis. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
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F B Meyer Devotional on Rest
A man of rest … he shall build. (1Chronicles 22:9,10)
The men of rest are the builders of the most lasting structures. Solomon builds the Temple, not David. Mary’s deed of anointing, learned in much sitting at the Lord’s feet, fills the world with its aroma. What is needed to make us men and women of rest?
First, a profound conviction that God is working.— Never despair of the world, said the late Mrs. Beecher Stowe, when you remember what God did with slavery: the best possible must happen. This serene faith, that all things are working out for the best— the best to God, the best to man— and that God is at the heart of all, will calm and still us in the most feverish days. There is a strong and an experienced Hand on the helm.
Next, an entire surrender to His will.— God’s will is certain to mean the destruction of the flesh, in whatever form He finds it; but it is our part to yield to Him; to will His will even to the cross; to follow our leader Christ in this, that He yielded Himself without reserve to execute His Father’s purpose.
Thirdly, a certain knowledge that He is working within to will and do of His good pleasure.— What a blessed peace possesses us when once we realize that we are not called on to originate or initiate, nor to make great far-reaching plans and try to execute them; but just to believe that God is prepared to work through our hands, speak by our life, dwell in our bodies, and fulfill in us the good purposes of His will. Be full of God’s rest. Let there be no burry, precipitation, or fret; yield to God’s hands, that He may mould thee: hush thy quickly throbbing pulse! So shalt thou build to good and lasting purpose. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
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Work Is Done
Rest in Him
GOD has provided a Sabbath, and some must enter into it. Those to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief; therefore, that Sabbath remains for the people of God. David sang of it; but he had to touch the minor key, for Israel refused the rest of God. Joshua could not give it, nor Canaan yield it: it remains for believers.
Come, then, let us labor to enter into this rest. Let us quit the weary toil of sin and self. Let us cease from all confidence, even in those works of which it might be said “They are very good.” Have we any such? Still, let us cease from our own works, as God did from His. Now let us find solace in the finished work of our Lord Jesus. Everything is fully done: justice demands no more. Great peace is our portion in Christ Jesus.
As to providential matters, the work of grace in the soul, and the work of the Lord in the souls of others, let us cast these burdens upon the Lord and rest in Him. When the Lord gives us a yoke to bear, He does so that by taking it up we may find rest. By faith we labor to enter into the rest of God, and we renounce all rest in self-satisfaction or indolence. Jesus Himself is perfect rest, and we are filled to the brim in Him. (Spurgeon, C. Faith's Checkbook)
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Morning and evening: Daily readings (January 18 AM) by C H Spurgeon - How different will be the state of the believer in heaven from what it is here! Here he is born to toil and suffer weariness, but in the land of the immortal, fatigue is never known. Anxious to serve his Master, he finds his strength unequal to his zeal: his constant cry is, “Help me to serve thee, O my God.” If he be thoroughly active, he will have much labour; not too much for his will, but more than enough for his power, so that he will cry out, “I am not wearied of the labour, but I am wearied in it.” Ah! Christian, the hot day of weariness lasts not for ever; the sun is nearing the horizon; it shall rise again with a brighter day than thou hast ever seen upon a land where they serve God day and night, and yet rest from their labours. Here, rest is but partial, there, it is perfect. Here, the Christian is always unsettled; he feels that he has not yet attained. There, all are at rest; they have attained the summit of the mountain; they have ascended to the bosom of their God. Higher they cannot go.
Ah, toil-worn labourer, only think when thou shalt rest for ever! Canst thou conceive it? It is a rest eternal; a rest that “remaineth.” Here, my best joys bear “mortal” on their brow; my fair flowers fade; my dainty cups are drained to dregs; my sweetest birds fall before Death’s arrows; my most pleasant days are shadowed into nights; and the flood-tides of my bliss subside into ebbs of sorrow; but there, everything is immortal; the harp abides unrusted, the crown unwithered, the eye undimmed, the voice unfaltering, the heart unwavering, and the immortal being is wholly absorbed in infinite delight. Happy day! happy! when mortality shall be swallowed up of life, and the Eternal Sabbath shall begin. (Spurgeon, C. H.)
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Henry Bosch tells the following story entitled "Oh Rest in the Lord" - Years ago the English steamer Stella was wrecked on a rocky coast. Twelve women put into a lifeboat, but the boisterous sea immediately carried it away. Having no oars, they were at the mercy of the winds and the waves, and they spent a fearful night being tossed about by the raging tempest.
They probably would have lost hope if it had not been for the spiritual stamina of one of the ladies, Margaret Williams, who was well-known for her work in sacred oratorios. Calmly she prayed aloud for Divine protection. Then, urging her companions to put their trust in the Lord, she encouraged them by singing hymns of comfort.
Throughout the dark hours her voice rang out across the water. Early the next morning a small craft came searching for survivors. The man at the helm would have missed the women in the fog if he had not heard Miss Williams singing the selection from Elijah. “Oh, rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him!” Steering in the direction of her strong voice, he soon spotted the drifting lifeboat. While many others were lost that night, these trusting few were rescued.
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Augustine in a frequently quoted saying wrote of God that…
Thou have created us for Thyself, and our heart cannot be stilled until it finds rest in Thee.
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Loosen the Bow - According to a Greek legend, in ancient Athens a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity.
Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian,
"Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bows implies."
The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. Aesop explained,
"If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it."
People are also like that. That's why we all need to take time to rest. In today's Scripture, Jesus prescribed time off for His wearied disciples after they had returned from a prolonged period of ministry. And in the Old Testament, God set a pattern for us when He "rested from all His work" (Genesis 2:3).
Shouldn't we take His example seriously? Start by setting aside a special time to relax physically and renew yourself emotionally and spiritually. You will be at your best for the Lord if you have taken time to loosen the bow. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
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Rest is Not Cessation from Labor - A man named Frederick W. Taylor, may provide some answers. Taylor worked for a large steel mill during the Spanish-American War 1898.
He was an ambitious young executive and was one of the first to apply scientific methods—as then known—to study the productivity of manual labor. In those days there were no cranes to load steel bars onto railroad cars. It was backbreaking manual work and, after some experimentation, Taylor concluded that the men could do more work if they took rest pauses at definite intervals.
He induced some of the workers to try his new method. He offered a dollar a day more and flattered them by calling them his “high-priced men.” Under this system, a whistle was blown after the men had carried iron for twelve minutes. At this whistle they were to sit down and rest. After three minutes’ rest, the whistle was blown again as a signal for the men to resume work.
The result—the amount of iron carried increased from 12 and a half to 47 tons a day! This seeming miracle ushered in the era of rest pauses, the forerunner of today’s coffee breaks.
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Rest (Genesis 2:2)- IN large type running the full length of the page were these words: Even God Took a Day Off! The writers were referring to the seventh day of creation, when God rested from all His labors.
The magazine advertisement stopped me short and made me think. I had never thought of the seventh day as a "day oft" so that the Lord could get rested. But it does underscore the work-rest principle that began in Genesis and runs throughout the entire Bible.
In the Old Testament, Israel was commanded to honor the seventh day by not doing any work. The Sabbath was to be a day of recovery as well as a day of sacrifice and worship. The land was to be left idle every seventh year—a principle modem agriculture has found to be essential for maximum yields. And in the New Testament, we read that the Lord Jesus led His disciples to a quiet place after a prolonged preaching tour so they could rest (Mark 6:31).
This new insight caused me take a look at my own schedule and make some adjustments. When our calendars are crammed with activities, and especially when Sundays are the most hectic of all, we need to slow down and take time to rest. The Bible calls for it, and our bodies and emotions desperately need it. Think of it this way: If it was important for God to do, how much more so for us?—D C Egner
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F B Meyer from The Way Into the Holiest discusses "The Gospel of Rest"…
THE keynote of this chapter is Rest. In the second verse it is spoken of as a gospel, or good news. And is there any gospel that more needs preaching in these busy, weary days, through which our age is rushing to its close, than the Gospel of Rest? On all hands we hear of strong and useful workers stricken down in early life by the exhausting effects of mental toil. The tender brain tissues were never made to sustain the tremendous wear and tear of our times. There is no machinery in human nature to repair swiftly enough the waste of nervous energy which is continually going on. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that the symptoms of brain tiredness are becoming familiar to many workers, acting as warning signals, which, if not immediately attended to, are followed by some terrible collapse of mind or body, or both.
And yet it is not altogether that we work so much harder than our forefathers; but that there is so much more fret and chafe and worry in our lives. Competition is closer. Population is more crowded. Brains are keener and swifter in their motion. The resources of ingenuity and inventiveness, of creation and production, are more severely and constantly taxed. And the age seem's so merciless and selfish. If the lonely spirit trips and falls, it is trodden down in the great onward rush, or left behind to its fate; and the dread of the swoop of the vultures, with rustling wings, from unknown heights upon us as their prey, fills us with an anguish which we know by the familiar name of care. We could better stand the strain of work if only we had rest from worry, from anxiety, and from the fret of the troubled sea that cannot rest, as it moans around us, with its yeasty waves, hungry to devour. Is such a rest possible?
This chapter states that such a rest is possible. "Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest." Rest? What rest? His rest, says the first verse; my rest, says the third verse; God's rest, says the fourth verse. And this last verse is a quotation from the earliest page of the Bible, which tells how God rested from all the work that he had made. And as we turn to that marvelous apocalypse of the past, which in so many respects answers to the apocalypse of the future given us by the Apostle John, we find that, whereas we are expressly told of the evening and morning of each of the other days of creation, there is no reference to the dawn or close of God's rest-day; and we are left to infer that it is impervious to time, independent of duration, unlimited, and eternal; that the ages of human story are but hours in the rest-day of Jehovah; and that, in point of fact, we spend our years in the Sabbath-keeping of God. But, better than all, it would appear that we are invited to enter into it and share it; as a child living by the placid waters of a vast fresh water lake may dip into them its cup, and drink and drink again, without making any appreciable diminution of its volume or ripple on its expanse.
What is meant by God resting? Surely not the rest of weariness! "He fainteth not, neither is weary." Though he had spread forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance, and had invented ten thousand differing forms of being, yet his inventiveness was as fresh, his energy as vigorous as ever. Surely not the rest of inactivity. "My Father worketh hitherto," said our Lord. "In him we live, and move, and have our being." True, he is not now sending forth, so far as we know, suns, or systems, or fresh types of being. But his power is ever at work, repairing, renewing, and sustaining the fabric of the vast machinery of the universe. No sparrow falls to the ground without him. The cry of the young lion and the lowing of the oxen in the pastures attract his instant regard. "In him all things consist." It was the rest of a finished work. He girded himself to the specific work of creation, and summoned into being all that is; and when it was finished he said it was very good: and at once he rested from all his work which he had created and made. It was the rest of divine complacency, of infinite satisfaction, of perfect content. It was equivalent to saying, "This creation of mine is all that I meant it to be, finished and perfect. I am perfectly satisfied; there is nothing more to be done; it is all very good."
This, then, is the rest which we are invited to share. We are not summoned to the heavy slumber which follows over-taxing toil, nor to inaction or indolence; but to the rest which is possible amid swift activity and strenuous work; to perfect equilibrium between the outgoings and incomings of the life; to a contented heart; to peace that passeth all understanding; to the repose of the will in the will of God; and to the calm of the depths of the nature which are undisturbed by the hurricanes which sweep the surface, and urge forward the mighty waves. This rest is holding out both its hands to the weary souls of men throughout the ages, offering its shelter as a harbor from the storms of life.
But is it certain that this rest has not already been entered and exhausted by the children of men? That question is fully examined and answered in this wonderful paragraph. The Sabbath did not realize that rest (Heb 4:3). We cannot prize its ministry too highly. Its law is written, not only in Scripture, but in the nature of man. The godless band of French Revolutionists found that they could not supersede the week by the decade, the one-day-in-seven by the one-day in-ten. Like a ministering angel it relieves the monotony of labor, and hushes the ponderous machinery of life, and weaves its spell of rest; but it is too fitful and transient to realize the rest of God. It may typify it, but it cannot exhaust it. Indeed, it was broken by man's rebellion as soon as God had sanctified and hallowed it. Canaan did not realize that rest (ver. 8). The Land of Promise was a great relief to the marchings and privations of the desert. But it was constantly interrupted, and at last, in the Captivity, broken up; as the forms of the mountains in the lake by a shower of hail. Besides, in the Book of Psalms, written four hundred years after Joshua had led Israel across the Jordan, The Holy Spirit, speaking by David, points onward to a rest still future (Psalm 95:7). Surely, then, if neither of these events has realized the rest of God, it remains still, waiting for us and all the people of God. "There remaineth, therefore," unexhausted and unrealized, "a Sabbath-keeping to the people of God."
And there is yet a further reason for this conviction of God's unexhausted rest. Jesus, our Forerunner and Representative, has entered into it for us. See what verse 10 affirms: "He that is entered into his rest; " and who can he be but our great Joshua, Jehovah-Jesus? He also has ceased from his own work of redemption, as God did from his of creation. After the creative act, there came the Sabbath, when God ceased from his work, and pronounced it very good; so, after the redemptive act, there came the Sabbath to the Redeemer. He lay, during the seventh day, in the grave of Joseph, not because he was exhausted or inactive, but because redemption was finished, and there was no more for him to do. He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High; and that majestic session is a symptom neither of fatigue nor of indolence. He ever liveth to make intercession; he works with his servants, confirming their words with signs; he walks amid the seven golden candlesticks. And yet he rests as a man may rest who has arisen from his ordinary life to effect some great deed of emancipation and deliverance; but, having accomplished it, returns again to the ordinary routine of his former life, glad and satisfied in his heart. Nor is this rest for Christ alone; but for us also, who are forever identified with him in his glorious life. We have been raised up together with him in the mind and purpose of God, and have been made to sit with him in the heavenlies; so that in Jesus we have already entered into the rest of God, and have simply to appropriate it by a living faith.
How, then, may we practically realize and enjoy the rest of God ?-( 1) We must will the will of God. So long as the will of God, whether in the Bible or in providence, is going in one direction and our will in another, rest is impossible. Can there be rest in an earthly household when the children are ever chafing against the regulations and control of their parents? How much less can we be at rest if we harbor an incessant spirit of insubordination and questioning, contradicting and resisting the will of God! That will must be done on earth as it is in heaven. None can stay his hand, or say, What dost thou? It will be done with us, or in spite of us. If we resist it, the yoke against which we rebel will only rub a sore place on our skin; but we must still carry it. How much wiser, then, meekly to yield to it, and submit ourselves under the mighty hand of God, saying, "Not my will, but thine be done!" The man who has learned the secret of Christ, in saying a perpetual "Yes" to the will of God; whose life is a strain of rich music to the theme, "Even so, Father"; whose will follows the current of the will of God, as the smoke from our chimneys permits itself to be wafted by the winds of autumn, that man will find rest unto his soul.
We must accept the finished work of Christ. He has ceased from the work of our redemption, because there was no more to do. Our sins and the sins of the world were put away. The power of the adversary was annulled. The gate of heaven was opened to all that believe. All was finished, and was very good. Let us, then, cease from our works. Let us no longer feel as if we have to do aught, by our tears or prayers or works, to make ourselves acceptable to God. Why should we try to add one stitch to a finished garment, or append one stroke to the signed and sealed warrant of pardon placed within our hands? We need have no anxiety as to the completeness or sufficiency of a divinely finished thing. Let us quiet our fears by considering that what satisfies Christ, our Saviour and Head, may well satisfy us. Let us dare to stand without a qualm in God's presence, by virtue of the glorious and completed sacrifice of Calvary. Let us silence every tremor of unrest by recalling the dying cry on the cross, and the witness of the empty grave.
We must trust our Father's care. "Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you." Sometimes like a wild deluge, sweeping all before it, and sometimes like the continual dropping of water, so does care mar our peace. That we shall some day fall by the hand of Saul; that we shall be left to starve or pine away our days in a respectable workhouse; that we shall never be able to get through the difficulties of the coming days or weeks; household cares, family cares, business cares; cares about servants, children, money; crushing cares, and cares that buzz around the soul like a swarm of gnats on a summer's day, what rest can there be for a soul thus beset? But, when we once learn to live by faith, believing that our Father loves us, and will not forget or forsake us, but is pledged to supply all our needs; when we acquire the holy habit of talking to him about all, and handing over all to him, at the moment that the tiniest shadow is cast upon the soul; when we accept insult and annoyance and interruption, coming to us from whatever quarter, as being his permission, and, therefore, as part of his dear will for us, then we have learned the secret of the Gospel of Rest.
We must follow our Shepherd's lead. " We which have believed do enter into rest" (Heb 4:3). The way is dark; the mountain track is often hidden from our sight by the heavy mists that hang over hill and fell; we can hardly discern a step in front. But our divine Guide knows. He who trod earth's pathways is going unseen at our side. The shield of his environing protection is all around; and his voice, in its clear, sweet accents, is whispering peace. Why should we fear? He who touches us, touches his bride, his purchased possession, the apple of his eye. We may, therefore, trust and not be afraid. Though the mountains should depart, or the hills be removed, yet will his loving kindness not depart from us, neither will the covenant of his peace be removed. And amid the storm, and darkness, and the onsets of our foes, we shall hear him soothing us with the sweet refrain of his own lullaby of rest: "My peace I give unto you; in the world ye shall have tribulation, but in me ye shall have peace."
Amplified: For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: He who has entered into this rest has rest from all his works, just as God rested from his works. (Westminster Press)
KJV: For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
NLT: For all who enter into God's rest will find rest from their labors, just as God rested after creating the world. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: for the one who entered His rest also himself rested from his works, even as God rested from His own works. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
FOR THE ONE WHO HAS ENTERED HIS REST HAS HIMSELF ALSO RESTED FROM HIS WORKS AS GOD DID FROM HIS: o gar eiselthon (AAPMSN) eis ten katapausin autou kai autos katepausen (3SAAI) apo ton ergon autou hosper apo ton idion ho theos: (Heb 1:3; 10:12; Revelation 14:13) (John 19:30; 1Peter 4:1)
Related Resource: Genesis 2:1-3 - The Rest of Creation - John MacArthur
For (gar) is a term of explanation which explains how the Sabbath rest of believers is similar to God's rest on the Seventh Day of Creation and provides a description of at least part of what the rest means. He is not advocating retention of Sabbath keeping in this verse.
Guzik explains Hebrews 4:10 this way…
This cessation from works as a basis for righteousness fulfills our “Sabbath rest.” God rested from His works on the original Sabbath of Ge 2:2 because the work was finished. We cease from self-justifying works because the work is finished by Jesus on the cross. (David Guzik. The Enduring Word Commentary Series)
A little humor: Man’s view: God made beast and man, then rested. Then He made woman, and no one has ever rested since, beast, man, or God.
To enter rest means to cease from one's own work, just as God ceased from his. There are uncertainties here. Some think the reference is to Jesus, who would certainly fit the description except for the "anyone" (which is a reasonable interpretation of the Greek). But the general reference is there, and we must take it to refer to the believer. The question then arises whether the rest takes place here and now, or after death, as seen in Rev 14:13 (note):
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord… they will rest (anapauo) from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.
Bruce thinks it is
an experience which they do not enjoy in their present mortal life, although it belongs to them as a heritage, and by faith they may live in the good of it here and now (in loc.).
I should reverse his order and say that they live in it here and now by faith (2Co 5:7), but what they know here is not the full story (cp 1Co 13:12, 13, 2Co 3:18). That will be revealed in the hereafter. There is a sense in which to enter Christian salvation means to cease from one's works and rest securely on what Christ has done. And there is a sense in which the works of the believer, works done in Christ, have about them that completeness and sense of fulfillment that may fitly be classed with the rest in question. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing or Pradis = computer version) (Bolding added)
The writer reverts to the word for rest (katapausis) he has been using earlier instead of the "Sabbath-rest" (sabbatismos) in Heb 4:9.
Rest (2663) (katapausis [word study] from katá = intensifies the verb + paúo = make to cease) describes literally a ceasing from one's work or activity. Thayer cites a use in the active sense of a putting to rest as used in the sentence "a calming of the winds". Metaphorically as used in the present verse, katapausis speaks of the spiritual fulfillment which God provides for those who trust in His Good News and enter His rest, the wonderful place where we desist from our futile fleshly efforts to please Him and instead submit willingly and wholly to His Spirit's control/filling, finding our adoption and acceptance in the Beloved (Eph 1:6-note).
Katapausis - 9x in 8v - Acts 7:49; Heb 3:11, 18; 4:1, 3 (2x), He 4:5, 10, 11
Not many wise has the dear Savior chosen,
Not many noble shall enter His rest;
Foolish, despised ones are heirs to His mercy--
Simple in faith, by His grace they are blest.
I agree with Bob Deffinbaugh's analysis of a rest that remains…
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. There is surely a “salvation rest,” a resting from our works in an effort to earn God’s favor, when we come to faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary.
And there is the eternal rest which all Christians will experience. (Ed: For literalist interpreters of Scripture such as myself this is a "two phase" experience - Phase 1 = The Millennium and Phase 2 = The New Heavens and New Earth - both will be times of rest!)
But there must also be what we might call a “sanctification rest,” a rest from striving as Christians in the power of the flesh, in a futile effort to attain godliness (Ed: And yet we see in the achievement of godliness a divine, mysterious paradox for elsewhere we as believers are commanded to discipline ourselves for godliness! 1Ti 4:7, 8-note).
I believe that we see this in Romans 7 and 8. Romans 7 is the description of a Christian trying to live up to God’s standards in the power of the flesh, and failing badly. Romans 8 is the solution. The Christian is to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that raised the dead body of Jesus from the grave (Jn 6:63). By the working of His Spirit in us, we are able, to some degree, to live a godly life (see Ro 8:1-17). This is resting in Him, or we might even say, abiding in Him (see Jn 15:1-14). This is the key to fruitfulness (Editorial question: How many productive fruit trees do you see laboring and groaning to yield their fruit? Our Christian lives are to rest and produce just like these fruit trees!) (Defining Rest Hebrews 41-10)
Katapauo - 4x in 4v - Acts 14:18; Heb 4:4, 8, 10
While there is a "rest" in this present age which the believer experiences in Christ, there is also the promise of a rest in eternity future (heaven), the apostle John recording…
And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them." (Rev14:13-note)
Tony Garland commenting on this verse: Immediately upon death, all those of the faith obtain rest (Is 57:1; Da 12:13; Lk 23:43). This book stands in complete agreement with the teaching of Paul: “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2Co 5:8); “For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Php 1:23). The martyrs attending the opening of the fifth seal are found under the altar in heaven (Re 6:9). The ones coming out of the Great Tribulation are immediately before the throne of God (Re 7:14). Those who overcome the Beast and his image (by death) are seen straightway in heaven (Re 15:1, 2, 3).
Has… rested from his works - Entering this rest does not mean the believer no longer needs to work nor that there is no longer any place for doing good works (see study of Good Deeds). The idea is that there is no longer any place for personal works performed in an attempt to merit God's acceptance or produce one's own righteousness (which is merely empty, useless "self righteousness" which God calls "filthy rags" - Is 64:6KJV).
Spurgeon - He says, “It is finished. I am no longer going to do my own works, I have done with them; I now trust the finished work of Christ, and that gives me rest. But as to all that wearied me before, and made life a continual task and toil, it is ended now.” God is not a cruel taskmaster to His people; He gives rest to those who trust in Him, and some of us have entered into that rest. The labor of love for Christ is only another word for rest. He says, “Take my yoke on you … and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:29). Carry Christ’s burden, and your shoulders shall have rest. We do not mean sleep or idleness when we speak of rest; that is not rest, but rust. Our rest is found in the service of God.
As (5618) (hosper) as indeed God did. The point is that if God chose to rest (He did not have to rest), then we should follow His example. This "rest" is not cessation of work (cp Jn 5:17), but rather (gloriously) a cessation of the weariness and pain in toiling in an attempt to please God.
Although the writer is speaking of God resting from His work of Creation in this passage, there is a New Testament parallel in Christ Who is the Lord of the Sabbath! (Mt 12:8, Mk 2:8, Lk 6:5) When Christ cried, It is finished (Jn 19:30), He forever rested from His atoning work. And yet the "resting Christ" still works, even as the "working God" still rests. When we believed, we finished (or at least we should have ceased) with our attempts at works based righteousness and entered God’s rest found only in Christ's perfect righteousness now imputed to our spiritual account. And yet like the Father and the Son (Jn 5:17) our rest is not to be one of inactivity but of a seeking to carry out good ("God") deeds (Jn 15:8) Ephesians 2:8-10 clearly affirms that when believers enter God's rest of salvation, they do not also discard "good works"…
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works (These are in fact the works which the writer of Hebrews says we are to "rest [cease] from"!), so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus (Why were believers made new creations in Christ? One purpose is… ) for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (What does "prepared beforehand" imply? Clearly that we must seek to enter into those works that are preordained for us to carry out. Abiding [dwelling, living] in the Vine [Jn 15:5] is a key to entering into fruitful works which stand in stark contrast to futile works that are self initiated and self empowered and self glorifying rather than God glorifying [1Co 10:31, Mt 5:16-note], 1Co 6:19-note, 1Co 6:20-note]!). (Eph 2:8, 9-note, Ep 2:10-note)
Kistemaker explains that…
From Psalm 95 the author has shown that the rest that the Israelites enjoyed in Canaan was not the rest God intended for his people. The intended rest is a Sabbath-rest, which, of course, is a direct reference to the creation account (Ge 2:2; see also Ex 20:11; 31:17) of God’s rest on the seventh day. For the believer the Sabbath is not merely a day of rest in the sense that it is a cessation of work. Rather it is a spiritual rest—a cessation of sinning. It entails an awareness of being in the sacred presence of God with his people in worship and praise. (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. NT Commentary Set. Baker Book or Logos)
John Newton alluded to this Sabbath-rest
Safely through another week
God has brought us on our way;
Let us now a blessing seek,
Waiting in His courts today;
Day of all the week the best,
Emblem of eternal rest.