Thursday 19 December 2013
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Read Hebrews 4 at Bible Gateway.
The greater portion of this chapter forms a chiastic structure:
1a) Heb 4:1-2, The promise of rest, lest any come short of it + the gospel preached/ the word they heard:
— 1) Heb 4:1, A promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any come short of it;
— 2) Heb 4:2, The gospel was preached to them + the word they heard not mixed with faith;
1b) Heb 4:3-6, We who have believed do enter that rest:
—- 1a) Heb 4:3a, For we who have believed do enter that rest;
—- 1b) Heb 4:3b, As He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest;’”
—- 1c) Heb 4:3c, Although the works were finished from the foundation of the world;
—- central axis) Heb 4:4a, He has spoken of the seventh day: “And God rested on the seventh day;”
—- 2c) Heb 4:4b, “From all His works;”
—- 2b) Heb 4:5, And again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest;”
—- 2a) Heb 4:6, Some must enter it /those did not enter because of disobedience.
1c) Heb 4:6, It remains that some must enter it/ those did not enter because of disobedience;
1d) Heb 4:7, He designates a certain day, “Today,” after such a long time;
central axis) Heb 4:8a, For if Joshua had given them rest;
2d) Heb 4:8b, Then He would not afterward have spoken of another day;
2c) Heb 4:9, There remains therefore a rest for the people of God;
2b) Heb 4:10, For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His;
2a) Heb 4:11-12, Enter that rest, lest anyone fall + the word of God living + powerful:
— 1) Heb 4:11, Let us be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall by the same disobedience;
— 2) Heb 4:12, The word of God is living + powerful/ discerning the thoughts + intents of the heart.
The writer of Hebrews is making the point, that the rest established on the seventh day from the foundation of the world, is prophesying of a future rest, which Joshua did not fulfill by bringing Israel into the Promised Land. There remains, therefore, a rest for the people of God to enter.
Sabbath rest is prophesying of a future rest. When Adam sinned and disobeyed God, he earned painful labor by the sweat of his brow until the day of his death for himself. Painful toil until death is the reward of sin. But God by His grace, established a day of rest from painful toil until death even before Adam sinned. Rest from the reward of sin is the gift of God by grace, not what we earn or deserve.
Sabbath rest then, is prophesying of the gospel of grace. The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, not by works, lest any man should boast. We cannot earn life in Him by works, but it is given to us freely as a gift, because God is a gracious and merciful God from the foundation of the world.
Sabbath rest is also prophesying of the millennial reign of Jesus our Lord as King of kings and Lord of lords. It has been close to six millennia since Adam fell and consigned the natural universe under sin, to decay and death, the wages of sin. But the seventh millennium will be a millennium of rest from sin under the kingship of Messiah Yeshua. He will rule the nations with a rod of iron, and the Law of God is the Law of His Kingdom (Psa 2, Rev 2:27, Isa 66). He is the Living Torah which has put on flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth (Joh 1:1, 14).
The people of God enter His rest. They are believers, who receive the Word of God with faith. Their obedience to His Word flows from their belief in His Word from their hearts. So they enter salvation by faith through grace, yet while still here on this earth, they do good, they seek peace and pursue it. They do not abandon good deeds and revel in wickedness just because they do not receive salvation by good deeds. Likewise they rest on the seventh day from Adam’s painful toil, since it is a commandment of God, to remember Him as God and Creator, worthy of service and worship, on the seventh day. They do not abandon rest and worship on the seventh day just because they do not receive salvation by that rest. But as long as it is called “Today,” they continue to prophesy by their seventh day rest of the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the millennial rest He will establish for the earth.