3 For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. Don’t take any notice. Actual Sabbatarian arguments based upon Hebrews 4. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. And then simply trust in the only provision God has made for sinners to be forgiven and to enter into His rest. And when the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews uses Psalm 95, he does so in a way that makes it clear that there is still an offer of rest, and that it will be embraced and experienced or lost. 4:2). 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no … 4:3) Everything that the human race would ever need had been created. Hebrews is a commentary basically on Leviticus and compares the things of the law with Christ showing he is superior to what God gave through Moses. There are many things which can interfere with our “resting” in Christ. There are many shocking moral collapses recorded against the Israelites in the wilderness—from the golden calf, to demanding that God give them meat, to orgies with the Moabites. We are not presented here with something that will be ours only when we 'get to heaven'. 23 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. Hebrews 4:9 “ There remaineth therefore a [Sabbath] rest to the people of God. Hebrews 4 looks both backward and forward—backward to Creation and forward to the final Sabbath rest. The Greek word translated “rest” in every other verse throughout Hebrews 3 and 4 is katapausis. And that is why the Sabbath day will never be replaced—will never become outdated or obsolete. The children try to convince them they are surrounded by flowers in a green, sunlit meadow—even hand them violets to prove it, but they believe the violets are foul-smelling refuse. Well, the warning certainly becomes more personal with the rendering of the NIV. It is the “rest” which is the key to the rest which is available to us today. Sonja DeWitt is a civil rights attorney with over 20 years of experience handling Equal Employment Opportunity cases. Adventist Today (AT) is an independent journalism ministry serving the global Adventist community and readers interested in a reliable source of information about the Adventist faith and institutions. We haven’t let anyone take us in. 4:9). (Hebrews 3:7, citing Psalm 95:7b). We can forsake our rest because of worries about our families and even about our ministries. Q. They believe they are still captive in a dark and filthy stable. Hebrews 4 offers true Sabbath rest for the people of God through faith in Christ. And that rest was God’s “Sabbath rest,” a rest still available, a rest of ceasing from futile works in an effort to earn God’s favor. The ancient Israelites, along with those who lived in the days of the psalmist, had the promise of rest, a rest which could only be attained by faith. What was the sin of the Israelites which caused God to pronounce this inexorable judgment? The Son is characterized by a seven-fold description (verses 1-4), which is then buttressed by citations from Old Testament texts (verses 5-14). After urging us to ask our doctor about the usefulness of a certain medication, they go on to list all of the possible side effects. “Do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert” (Hebrews 3:8, NIV, emphasis mine). It is these repeated words and phrases which provide us with the key to understanding the author’s meaning of “rest.” Chapter 4 will conclude with an exhortation to strive to enter “God’s rest,” with an emphasis on the Word of God (verses 12-13) and on the high priestly ministry of our Savior (verses 14-16). Have you experienced the rest which only Christ can give? But, Paul goes on, something else happened on that day. As I write this message (a little while after having preached it), the stock market has taken a serious downward turn. 9 Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. Happy New Year: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives, Near to the Heart of God: A Study of the Book of Hebrews. But God was leading them forward into a new phase of His work on earth—God’s new thing. The thread which unifies chapter 1 is that the Son is superior to the angels. The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs.’“, “‘You see,’ said Aslan. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4:9). 4 But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, 5 he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken afterward about another day. Trust in Jesus. Adventist Today is pleased to release a new book by David Neff, the former editor of Christianity Today. But, although the ancient Israelites “kept” the Sabbath, he tells us, they did not enter into the Sabbath rest (Heb. Israel’s unbelief and disobedience was in spite of God’s Word revealed to and through Moses, which was confirmed by the many miracles associated with the exodus from Egypt (3:7-19). It turned out that he had curled up under a piano and was getting his rest. It was unbelief—a refusal to trust God’s love and His plan for them. On one particular Friday night, one of the members of our work crew wasn’t to be found, so we decided to search the building to find him. 30 And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith? Let the readers take note of what it means to identify with the rebels of the past, rather than with the Redeemer. This proves that we are to keep the weekly Jewish Sabbath. Speaking of beds, have you noticed how often mattresses are advertised on T.V.? Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; New Living Translation So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. Praise God the answer immediately follows: 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! It is available on the Internet at: www.netbible.org. They killed those who foretold long ago the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become! The sacrificial system on earth is finished, replaced by the perfect Sacrifice in Heaven. 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. It must be seized while it is today, for a “tomorrow” is coming when it will be too late, just as there was for the ancient Israelites. Fifth, the Israelites failed under Moses’ leadership, after hearing God speak to (and through) Moses, and after seeing many miracles in confirmation of Moses’ authority. Other translations render this verse differently: For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard (NASB, emphasis mine). A Lasting Legacy: Choosing A Wife For Isaac (Gen. 24:1-67). Yes, they know God rested on the Sabbath day. For example, when Christ died as the sacrificial Lamb and the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom, it signaled the end of the sacrificial system. The first understanding is reflected by the translation of the NASB; the second by the translation of the NIV. Hebrews 4 is the definitive passage regarding Jesus as our Sabbath rest. So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. And they raised golden goblets of rich red wine to their lips and said ‘Ugh! And that way was the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ: 19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world may be held accountable to God. This makes the weekly Sabbath a metaphor of the Genesis “rest” of God, as was the Canaan rest. (Romans 7:15-24). We’ve known that for millennia. Faith is also known as belief, just as the absence of faith is unbelief. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, like your ancestors did! 4:10) but also a Sabbath celebration (Heb. 14 You are the light of the world. Israel’s unbelief and disobedience was a persistent practice. We cleaned the student union center from midnight Friday night to 8 a.m. Saturday morning. And it’s less awkward than continually referring to “the author.”. These folks rejected Jesus and chose to identify themselves with the Jews and the Judaism of a bygone day. We come to chapter 4. 2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Although the pastor meant well, he missed the point of Sabbath rest, it is not one day a week set aside to rest from our labors; the Sabbath Rest is Jesus. And now, Paul says, “there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Heb. Seventh, the offer of “rest” remains till “today.”, Eighth, the danger of failing to enter rest also remains till “today.”, Ninth, the fundamental problem is that of “unbelief.”. It was the rule, and not the exception. Hebrews 4:8-9 (New International Version) 8For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. Let us rest in Him, who has done all the work for our salvation and sanctification, and who promises to lead us to eternal rest. How could one ever please God by the works of the law? Persecution is on the rise, not only in distant places, but in our own country. Hebrews 4 Lack of faith caused failure to enter 1 Sabbath rest promised but people have not entered 4 Strive to enter because we have a great High Priest 11. Paul and his readers would have been astonished to discover that such a proof text would ever be needed. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me. We will conclude with some areas of application. The first is the superiority of the Son – Jesus Christ – to Moses. Faith is a key concept in the Book of Hebrews, as will be dramatically evident when we get to chapter 11. “‘Aslan,’ said Lucy through her tears, ‘could you—will you—do something for these poor dwarfs?’, “‘Dearest,’ said Aslan, ‘I will show you both what I can, and what I cannot, do.’ He came close to the dwarfs and gave a low growl: low, but it set all the air shaking. Have you ceased from fruitless efforts to win God’s favor? They began eating and drinking greedily enough, but…[t]hey thought they were eating and drinking only the sort of things you might find in a stable. Then there is the “rest” which is available for the readers of Psalm 95. While the “good news” that the ancient Israelites received was not the full-blown gospel that we have heard, it was nevertheless good news that did them no good because they failed to believe it and act upon it. They identified themselves with the old by clinging to it, while rejecting the new. We will then return to last week’s lesson and the text of Hebrews 3:1-19, which is the basis for our text. But they cannot recognize they are free. Instead, the Psalm he quotes refers to Massah and Meribah, where Israel demanded water from God (Ps. We cleaned the student union center from midnight Friday night to 8 a.m. Saturday morning. The purpose of Hebrews 4 is much broader, more profound than merely maintaining theological orthodoxy. Q. Whatever was “today” in Psalm 95 is still “today” today. It is this rest into which the ancient Israelites failed to enter, for “My rest” is God’s rest, God’s Sabbath rest. If only 5% of those who take a pill have their hair fall out, then I conclude that it probably won’t happen to me, especially if the pill will fulfill all the promises that are made concerning its benefits. 28 Why do you worry about clothing? But while acknowledging the familiar history of God’s Sabbath rest, he simultaneously reaches forward to give that original rest a new depth of meaning. Perhaps the ambiguity is deliberate, so that both meanings apply. Sleeping on the job is not “rest.”, I fear there are some Christians who may be “sleeping on the job.” If so, this message will not provide any comfort for them. This is why the author can employ Psalm 95, a psalm which summons the community of faith to worship. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Second, these verses address the danger of falling back into Judaism. In chapter 4, the author will cite fragments of his quotation from Psalm 95 in chapter 3. A few observations of these verses will prove helpful when we come to our text in chapter 4. For the Christian, there is not only the rest of salvation, but the day-to-day rest of dependence upon God for living the Christian life. Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5). The question of Hebrews 4 is not, “What day is the Sabbath?” but “What is the Sabbath about?” And the answer is “rest.” But the knee-jerk response of the original Jewish readers would have been, “We already knew that! The ‘rest’ of Hebrews 4 clearly refers to the Kingdom of God. “But when at last they sat down to nurse their black eyes and their bleeding noses, they all said: ‘Well, at any rate there’s no Humbug here. Even more, torn between the familiar beliefs and rituals they had cherished since childhood, and their staunch conviction regarding newly-discovered truth, the internal conflict must have been agonizing. When the author of Psalm 95 said, “today,” he was somehow keeping the offer made to the first generation current. The subtlety of the argument is that Moses did not lead the Israelites into Canaan; indeed, he and Aaron didn’t enter the land either. The writer to the Hebrews exhorts his readers to “enter in” to the Sabbath rest provided by Christ. 4 They tie up heavy loads, hard to carry, and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing even to lift a finger to move them” (Matthew 23:1-4). God finally had to give them up and proclaim they would never enter His rest. It is pretty clear that the Word does us little good if we refuse to believe it. (B)11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4 is the key to the rest of Hebrews. The latter half of the first century was not an easy or pleasant time to be a Jewish follower of Jesus. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? Fourth, this generation failed for forty years. And there is the “rest” which was available to those whom the author of Hebrews was writing in his day: Therefore we must be wary that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it (Hebrews 4:1, emphasis mine). We should pray that we don’t have to flee on a Sabbath (Matthew 24:20). If the danger facing the Hebrews was drifting from Christ and the New Covenant and falling back into Judaism and the Old Covenant, then verses 7-19 deal with this issue. Because we assume that they are few and far between. Israel’s rest in Canaan was only a type of the rest to come (v.8). This type of rest was alluded to right back at the time of creation, as well as at the time of the Exodus. They demanded in bitter, resentful tones, “Is the Lord among us or not?” (Ex. A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God 4 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. It is a weekly “sign between me and you, that I am the Lord who sanctifies you” (Ex. 2 For we had good news proclaimed to us just as they did. 24 Wretched man that I am! The author is not interested in a day of the week — he is concerned about how people respond to Jesus. Hebrews 4:9, NLT: "So there is a special rest … 33 But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:25-33). On one particular Friday night, one of the members of our work crew wasn’t to be found, so we decided to search the building to find him. It requires not only initial faith on our part, but on-going faith. In the Old Testament, the Law gave instruction about the Sabbath Rest. Not only water and trees and fruit-bearing plants and animals as companions and helpers, but, even more crucial, a plan to save them from themselves. This is also why he expects the saints to gather regularly to encourage one another and to watch for those who are drifting: 12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes the living God. 4:6). “God’s works have been finished since the creation of the world.” (Heb. Belief in God’s Word is the key to “rest” (4:3), just as “unbelief” is the reason why men fail to enter into God’s rest (3:19). God’s rest is entered by faith — by believing the gospel (verses 3-4). The Sabbath to come is none other than the Sabbath that God has enjoyed since He finished creation (v. 5). Nowhere in the text is it equated with the seventh day of creation, nor is there any grammatical or contextual data suggesting any such equation. 13:8). If so, this is a strong argument against doing so. We will begin this lesson with an overview of chapters 1-4. It is our Sabbath, and the Day of entering it is coming. Join us for the online Adventist Today Sabbath Seminar. Therefore, press forward in continued obedience and persevere in faith. A day to “rest from our works, as God did from His.” (Heb. There are foam mattresses with a memory (probably better than mine) and a plethora of others. As it says, “Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks!Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Hebrews 3:15, referring to Psalm 95:7b). But the Dwarfs said to one another, ‘Hear that? That’s why they rest and why their ancestors since ancient times have rested. “Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness” (Hebrews 3:8, NASB95, emphasis mine). When the writer to the Hebrews cites from Psalm 95:7, he calls attention to the word “today.” He makes the point that while the “rest” that the first generation of Israelites failed to enter was dwelling in peace in the Promised Land, there was still a “rest” being offered in Psalm 95. 3 With the exception of Joshua and Caleb. It was still “today.” Thus, for the psalmist, the offer of rest remains, as does the danger of failing to enter into it. Tonight we continue our series of the Book of Hebrews, and we come to chapter 4. 11 Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you (Romans 7:25-8:11). in 1971. Then we will concentrate on our text – the first ten verses of chapter 4. The third key is to understand how our author interpreted and applied the lessons of Psalm 95 to his day. They did not “rest from their works, as God did from His.” (Heb. His humiliation and exaltation is God’s provision for man’s redemption and restoration. The context is pretty normative here. There are several “keys” to understanding our text. In giving them the land of Canaan, God had promised them that He would go before them and defeat all their enemies in order that they could live securely (Deuteronomy 12:9–10). In our last lesson, we saw how the author of Hebrews warned us about failure to enter God’s rest, due to unbelief, a hardened heart, and disobedience. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. 3:8). For there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 2 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the NET Bible. The author wants his readers to know that there is still a rest available to us, but there is likewise a danger of failing to enter this rest, for the same reasons that earlier generations failed. We do not labor to find favor with God through acts of our own personal merit, but rather we trust in the acceptance and love of God given to us in Yeshua. 35 So do not throw away your confidence, because it has great reward. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. Do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7, referring once again to Psalm 95:7b). But it is a concept which is emphasized as vitally important to the believer. (NJB) Hebrews 4:5 relates it to the (final) resting "place" as well: And, again, the passage above says: They will never reach my place of rest. Heb 4:4 relates "rest" to the Sabbath: as one text says, referring to the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing. For a Hebrew Christian to entertain thoughts of retreating back to Judaism, of going back under the law, was to set aside rest for fruitless works. We have this hope as an anchor of the soul. In addition, anyone who wants to share the Bible with others can print unlimited copies and give them away free to others. Chapter 2 begins with an exhortation to pay even more careful attention to the revelation which has come through the Son. Instead, there was something far more deadly. But the writer to the Hebrews also wants us to realize that our faith and Christian walk is not a solo proposition but a choir event. She blogs about religion, politics and government, and social justice at www.voicesfromthewilderness.net. 1 Copyright © 2008 by Robert L. Deffinbaugh. But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception (Hebrews 3:13). The one who has entered God’s rest has set aside striving in the flesh, and has trusted in the work God has finished, in Christ (4:7-10). 12:22). 37 For just a little longer and he who is coming will arrive and not delay. It was to these people that Hebrews was written. We will look more carefully at these terms in a moment. If an entire generation failed, then the warning based upon their experience carries more weight. 4 It is interesting to recall how those who rebelled against God identified themselves with rebel leadership, while those who were faithful identified themselves with Moses and those who remained faithful to God. Which of these does Paul cite as the reason Israel could not enter God’s rest? In both instances above, the audience that was being condemned was Jewish. 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (which is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed – 22 namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. The Hebrew writer places side by side, three passages of scripture to do with God’s rest. Hebrews 4:9-11 New International Version (NIV) 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[a] just as God did from his. We need to believe in God’s Word: 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. The purpose of the law was to demonstrate to men that they could never save themselves, but must be saved some other way. But the word translated “rest” in Hebrews 4:9 Hebrews 4:9There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.American … We now know how we can fail to rest, but it isn’t entirely clear just what that “rest” is. This rest for God's people is what was promised throughout the entire Old Testament. We can and should rest in the knowledge that it is God who raises up kings and who puts them down. The NET Bible remains somewhat neutral by rendering the verse literally, allowing the reader to go either way. 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not from works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jewish Christians also faced relentless pressure from their own Jewish community to abandon the “heretical” beliefs of the Christian faith and return to the fold of Judaism. This salvation, prepared in advance, is the true basis for the Christian’s Sabbath rest. 4.  In Hebrews 3:7-4:16 we learn about the connection between believing/obeying the Gospel and rest/confidence. This “rest” must be more than merely entering Canaan because Joshua did lead the second generation of Israelites into the Promised Land, and yet many years later the psalmist spoke of a rest that was still available, a greater rest. When we come to faith in Christ, we are joined with Christ and with other believers (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 2:11-22; 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10). Trying to frighten us.They do it with a machine of some kind. 26 This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus’ faithfulness (Romans 3:19-26). They are eventually captured, and are set free by the forces of the good king. Are you resting in our Lord’s promises, or are you filled with doubts and worries? We can see from the incidents underlying Psalm 95 that neither the first generation of Israelites nor Moses himself entered into the rest God had for them. You in the Old by clinging to it, they could not do what I,. God through Jesus Christ – to Moses even Solomon in all his glory was clothed one... Church, and he who is coming will arrive and not delay first is the to. 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