THE PROMISE OF A SABBATH
3:6 - 4:11
- The introduction of the subject under
consideration in the above verses is in the word "hope" found in
verse 6 of the third chapter. What is
our hope ?
- "In hope of eternal
life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." - Titus
- "Blessed be the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again
unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away,
reserved in heaven for you." - 1 Peter 1:3-4
- "Blessed are the dead which die in the
Lord from henceforth: yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their
labours; and their works do follow them." - Rev. 14:13
- In the above passages, we find that our
hope is eternal life, and eternal life will be in Heaven (1 Peter 1:4), not upon this earth. We also find that it shall be a rest
according to Rev. 14:13. And, because
our hope is eternal, we conclude that our rest is an eternal rest in
Heaven. It is this rest that the writer
centers his remarks upon, in the 3rd and 4th chapters of Hebrews.
- In Hebrews 3:7-11, the writer quotes David
in Psalms 95:7-11. David there is
recording the words of God. God was
speaking about Israelites who provoked Him in the wilderness, specifically
about those who He did not allow to enter the land of Canaan. He said in verse 11: "So I swore in my
wrath. They shall not enter my
rest." What did God mean by this
statement? Was God here referring to the
fact that they would not enter the promised land, or was He saying that they
would not enter eternal rest after their physical life? The Hebrew writer deals with these questions
as he reveals by inspiration the true meaning of this statement. And, in so doing, he show's that God's
statement made while the children of Israel were still in the wilderness, can
be applied to us today if we have not the faith we should have, and are not
obedient to God's law for us. In chapter
3:12 he said, "Take heed brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil
heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."
- We shall find that when God said: "my
rest" ch. 3:11 and the scriptures said "His rest" verse 18, that
the scripture is referring to eternal rest after judgment. If this were not true, then as the writer
begins the 4th chapter, he would not have said, "Let us therefore fear,
lest, a promise being left for us entering into His rest., any of
you should seem to come short of it. 2. For unto us was the gospel preached, as
well as unto them." chapter 4:1 & 2. Then, in further
explanation of this statement, he says in verse 3, "For we which have
believed do enter into rest." He
here shows that as those who served God back then were promised eternal rest;
even so today if we serve God
faithfully, we are promised eternal rest.
This is what is meant when he said "unto us was the gospel (not
gospel of Jesus Christ, but the word gospel means glad tidings or good news: in other words glad tidings or good news about
eternal rest) preached, as well as unto them." The promise of eternal life or eternal rest
is not limited to the Christian dispensation.
All men of all ages, from the dawn of creation up until now, could have
the hope of God's rest if they served God.
Now, we can clearly see that God was not talking about their entrance
into the land of Canaan. The writer was
not telling the Hebrew Christians to fear lest they come short of entering the
land of Canaan (verse 1). This letter
was written about 1500 years after that.
Of course we do understand those Jews spoken of in our text were not
permitted to enter Canaan. But, our text
is teaching that they also will not be permitted to enter eternal life. They will not be permitted to enter God's
One point we want to notice here in the 1st verse of Chapter 4. That is, this rest is "a promise
being left us." We do not
experience it at the present, but we have the promise to enter that rest later.
That would not have been the case if he
were talking about the keeping of the seventh day every week. The thought that this rest is for us is yet
in the future, not in this life, is repeatedly brought out in our text.
the writer begins to explain about the words used by God, "my rest;
and his reference to that term as "his (God's g.o.) rest"
Psalms 95:11, Heb. 3:11 & 18; 4:1,3,5, & 10. It is that of entering God's
rest that we have been promised, 4:1.
from the 3rd verse: 3. "For we which have believed do enter
into rest, as he said, as I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall (correction
from the Revised Version: "They shall not" g.o.) enter into my
rest: Although the works were finished
from the foundation of the world."
A. "For he spake in a certain place of the
seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his
works." God's rest takes us back to the creation as the writer explains. He quotes from Gen. 2:1-3:
1. "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the
___________ of them.
- 2. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and
he rested on the seventh day from all his works which he had made."
3. "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that
in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made."
writer of Hebrews is not teaching that God rested every week on the seventh
day, But, he is showing that God "finished" (chapter
4:3) his work of creation as specified in Gen. 2:3, "all his work which
God created and made." He did this by the end of the 6 days, and he
rested on the seventh day. That seventh
day is representative of eternity: Since
then, he has not and will not return to his work of creation. The writer shows that that work was finished,
completed; Compare the following words and passages: "finished": Gen. 2:1 and Hebrews 4:3; and because it is
"finished," he has "ceased" to perform it any more Heb
4:10. Therefore, God "ended his
work" Gen 2;2; "he rested on
the seventh day from all his work which he had made." Gen 2:2 and Heb.
the writer tells us how we enter into the rest in verse 10: "For he
(notice this "he" is referring to "the people of God" verse
9) that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his
own works, as God did from his."
When God entered his rest, he had ceased from his work of creation. "Also," we enter this rest, God's
rest, when we cease from our own works.
In other words, when this life of work is over, we then enter God's
eternal rest. Notice again Rev. 14:13,
"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith
the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow
them." - Rev. 14:13.
6 - 9 shows that this promise was not limited to Israel in the wilderness,
neither was it fulfilled when they entered the promised land.
understanding of verse 6 is that since there is a rest spoken of in the scriptures,
implying that it is to be enjoyed by some, and since they to whom it was first
promised did not inherit it, it follows that it must still be in reserve.
in verses 7 and 8, he makes the argument concerning David's use of the term "To day" in Psalms 95:7. Thus David, who lived about 500 years after
Israel was in the wilderness and then entered Canaan, showed that in his
lifetime, "to day," there was an offer of rest. It was then possible to receive the promise
of entering into God's rest.
verse 8, the word "Jesus" is properly translated from the Greek made
for Joshua in the Hebrew. It is by
context we understand it is referring to Joshua. What the writer is saying is that if Joshua
brought Israel God's rest by leading them into the land of Canaan, then David
would not have spoke of "another day," that is "To day,"
concerning that rest 500 years "afterward," If the promise had
previously, already been fulfilled, then David would not have
admonished the people living in his day to
enter into it.
verse 9, he mentions the conclusion of his arguments: "There remaineth
therefore a rest to the people of God." The Greek word here translated
"rest" is "sabbatism".
Its meaning is
"keeping of a sabbath" or "a
keeping sabbath". Our eternal rest
shall be the keeping of a sabbath.
eternal life after death is the true sabbath.
We shall then rest as "God did rest" (verse 4). He ceased from the stupendous work of
creation. He no more put forth creative
energy, but calmly contemplated his own works in their beauty and greatness:
Gen.1:31. In carrying forward the great
affairs of the universe, he always has been actively employed (Jn:5:17), but he
is not employed in the work of creation. This is done, and the cessation from
that constitutes the "rest of God".
During our life on this earth, we must labour for the Lord. As God
worked 6 days in creating all things, we are to work, being faithful until
death (Rev.2:10). This constitutes the 6 working days of God. Then , as God
rested, we shall rest in an eternal sabbath. This is the 7th day of rest to us.
have a sabbath of rest. We shall observe
our sabbath according to the will of God.
But, it will be observed in heaven after our work here is ceased.
Jewish weekly sabbath was a type of the true eternal sabbath. There were many things in the law of Moses
which were types and shadows: such as circumcision (a type of baptism); animal
sacrifices (types of Christ as a sacrifice); the tabernacle (a type of the
church and heaven); etc. The
"Seventh Day Adventist" Denomination would not think of observing the
above parts of the Old Law, and yet they contend that we should keep the
observance of the 7th day sabbath which was also a type of something more
perfect, God's eternal rest for the saints of all ages.
fact that God's rest mentioned in Heb. 3 & 4 is not the 7th day sabbath
which was observed weekly according to the law of Moses, is made clear because
God said that those who fell in the wilderness "should not enter into my
rest." - Psalms 95:11. Yet, those
same Jews observed the 7th day sabbath in the wilderness. If he was referring to the 7th day when he
said "my rest" in chapter 3:11 and "his rest," verse 18, he
would not have allowed them to keep the 7th day sabbath.
comparison to show that our keeping of the sabbath is yet in the future is in
the meaning of the word remaineth found in verses 6 and 9. "Apoleipo" the Greek word here is used in the Passive Voice. In the Passive it means, "to be reserved
, to remain". The idea that this
rest ( or sabbath) is being held in RESERVE for future use, is the meaning of
the word as
This harmonizes with the concept, and as already pointed out in Heb.
PROMISE being left us of eternity into his
One reason the 7th Day Adventist give for keeping the 7th day sabbath
today, is that they
contend that the 10 commandment laws were
not done away with the other laws of the Old Testament.
There are two passages which they can not answer with that
position. They are, 2 Cor. 3:3-16 and Heb. 9: 1-4. 2 Cor. 3 teaches that the 10 commandments as
such were done away. It specifies that
which is " written and engraven in stones" verse 7.
In the context of Heb. 9, two covenants are under consideration: a
" first covenant" chapt. 8"7, 13, chapt. 9:1,
"old" covenant chapt. 8"13;
compared with a "better covenant"
chapt. 8"6; a "new
chapt. 8:8 & 13; a "second" covenant chapt. 8:7, In which of these two covenants does the
writer of Hebrews place the 10
commandments? The answer is found in
chapter 9:4. The ark of the covenant
contained as the covenant the 10 commandments called here "The tables of
the covenant". And verse 1 makes it
clear that he is talking about the "first covenant".
Another thought in our study of Hebrews and also when you study with the
7th Day Adventist: The word sabbath is not limited to the 7th day. There were other days of the week at certain
times in which the Israelites were commanded not to work. These were also called sabbaths.
- Article by Gayland Osburn
- Submitted by Juergen Duetsch