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Preparing to Enter His Rest - Hebrews Chapter 4

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

Galatians 1:3-5 “Grace be unto you and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins that he MIGHT DELIVER US FROM THIS PRESENT EVIL AGE, according to the will of our God and Father, unto whom be the glory for the ages of the ages. Amen.”

Acts 3:19 – 21 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, WHEN the TIMES OF REFRESHING shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he SHALL SEND Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive UNTIL the times of RESTITUTION of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

Hebrews 9:8 “so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation.”

Romans 8:18-22 “For I know with certainty that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory which shall be manifested in us. For the earnest hope of the creatures waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creatures were subjected to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected them, with the hope that the same creatures shall be delivered from the slavery of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. For we now know that all the creatures groan together and travail in pain together until now.”

I have listed the above scriptural references to help explain Hebrews the 4th chapter. The overriding theme of the book of Hebrews is to show the superiority of Yeshua. In Chapter 4 the promise of entering into His rest is addressed. Readers are reminded by the author of how the Israelites were not able to enter into the rest of Yahweh because of their unbelief. Their unbelief caused disobedience and rebellion and that is what kept them out of the promised land.

The author goes on to explain that a future day of rest is coming for those who trust and obey Yahweh's teachings and instructions. Warnings are given that the people of this age can fail to enter His rest just as the Israelites did previously. Verse 4:9 declares that “there remains” a sabbatismos (Sabbath Keeping) for the people of God. The Sabbath day represents the eternal Shabbat that is coming, in the future, when Yeshua returns and restores all things. That is one of the reasons why we are to keep His Sabbath Day; as a rehearsal for the 7th day that is coming in the future.

David Stern in His commentary on the New Testament comments regarding Hebrews 4:9:

"A Shabbat-keeping, Greek sabbatismos, used only here in the New Testament. In the Septuagint, the related Greek word "sabbatizein" was coined to translate the Hebrew verb shabat when it means "to observe Shabbat." The usual translation, "There remains a Sabbath rest," minimizes the observance aspect and makes the role of God's people entirely passive. Christians often assume that the New Testament does not require God's people to observe Shabbat and go on to claim that Sunday has replaced Saturday as the Church's day of worship (see 1С 16:2N). But this passage, and in particular v. 9, shows that Sabbath-observance is expected of believers. From Co 2:16-17, which says that Shabbat was a shadow of the things that were to come, but the substance comes from the Messiah, we learn that the essence of Shabbat-observance for believers is not following the detailed rules which halakhah sets forth concerning what may or may not be done on the seventh day of the week. Rather, as v. 10 explains, the Shabbat-keeping expected of God's people consists in resting from one's own works, as God did from his; it consists in trusting and being faithful to God (vv. 2-3). Although the specific "works" from which the readers of this letter were to rest were animal sacrifices (see 6:4-6N), by implication all self-struggle, in which one relies on one's own efforts instead of trusting God, is to be avoided; and in this the author is making the same point as Sha'ul does at Ro 3:19-4:25".

Referencing the language of Hebrews chapter 4 as well as the Scriptures above (and there are many more) one will find that we have not entered into the rest of Messiah as of yet, but this day still remains in the future. It is in the future, at His return, that Messiah will destroy death (I Corinthians 15:26, Revelation 20:14), restore all things as in the beginning, bring our salvation, and our crown, (2 Timothy 4:8), liberate us from our earthly sorrows and burdens and give us eternal life.

Although most people argue that Hebrews chapter 4 proves that we have already entered into Messiah's rest and that the Sabbath day is therefore obsolete, this thought process is incorrect. Scriptures state just the opposite. The “times of refreshing” and entering Messiah's rest is still clearly in the future. In this present age we are still bound down by earthly sorrows and hardships, tribulations, trials, evils of wicked people, evil laws, perverted justice, perverted teachings, persecutions, sickness and death. The Bible clearly states that after we enter into His rest, which is His earthly Kingdom, followed by the inheritance of the re-newed Heaven and Earth, that none of these awful things will ever plague us again. The Bible clearly tells us that we do not have salvation yet. What we have is a “born again” relationship with Christ but not the fullness of salvation. The journey has started but we must complete the race, as the Apostle Paul so clearly tells us.

Hebrews 4:11 tells us that we are to labor to enter into that rest with a warning given that we also can fail to enter it for the same reasons that they did in the past.

Many like to use the verse found in Hebrews 4:10 to prove that we have already entered into His rest in this present world and no longer have need for a Sabbath day keeping:

“For he that is entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his.”

Most take the “he” in this scripture to refer to “us” in this present age. The Greek word used for "he" denotes "one" person not "many" persons. Likewise, taking the scripture in context to the surrounding scriptures, the “he” in verse 10 should be “He” referring to Yeshua Himself or to Elohim (God) the Father.

For He (Yeshua) that is entered into His (Yeshua's) rest, He (Yeshua) also has ceased from His (Yeshua) own works, as God did from His (the Father).”

The preceding verses compare the “rest” that Father God had on the 7th day after completing His creative works; and He saw that they all were good. Verse 10 denotes that Yeshua has now completed the work that He was sent to do and He has now sat down at the right hand of God, having completed the mission that His Father gave for Him to do. Yeshua has now entered His rest from the works that He was sent to do on the earth, just as the Father completed His works.

In this present age, we have not entered His rest because we are still subject to a fallen world, because of sin. However, when Yeshua returns at the time of the restitution of all things, then we will enter our rest just like He has done. We will have completed our successful race on this earth and then our crown and eternal life will be waiting. Right now this process is an "already but not yet" situation as we are still labouring to enter that complete rest.

I understand that people like to argue that they have already entered His rest because they have a born again experience and they have His peace upon them in life's situations, but if you consider this evil world to have entered the rest that Yeshua or the Father promised to give, then something is wrong with you. This present age is extremely wicked and in no way represents the “rest” promised by God to give to His children. This doesn't even mention the fact that we must still face death, which was caused by sin, as long as we stay in this present age.

Hebrews 12:2 “with our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who having been offered joy, endured the cross, despising the shame and was seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

John 4:34 “Jesus said unto them, My food is to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.”

In the meantime—we must strive to enter “that rest” by being obedient, lest, as we have been warned, we fall short just as many others have.

I hold to a sabattismos (Sabbath Keeping) because it is a sign between me and God (Exodus 31:13-17) that I acknowledge His covenants, that I am keeping His Words, and that I am rehearsing every week for the eternal Shabbat (Sabbath) that I will one day enter into; where there will be no earthly sorrows, hardships, tribulations, trials, evils of wicked people, evil laws, perverted justice, perverted teachings, persecutions, sickness or death.

I hope that this lesson has shed light on the Jewishness of Messiah, His early disciples and the writings of the New Testament.


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