God’s Rests

For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: ‘So I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,’ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place: ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, ‘Today,’ after such a long time, as it has been said: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:3-10).

The word “rest” is significant in Scripture.

On the seventh day of human history (Hebrews 4:4), God rested (i.e., stopped His creative work). From that point onward, the Second Law of Thermodynamics has ruled. God’s creative works were finished (Hebrews 4:3); matter has not been created or destroyed since.

In light of God’s example, a day of rest was given to Israel at Mount Sinai. The seventh (or Sabbath) day of each week was to be remembered and kept holy (Exodus 20:8). On this day, no one of the family, servants, strangers, or livestock was to work (Exodus 20:10-11).

Joshua, the leader of God’s people after Moses, led Israel into a land of rest (Joshua 22:4). This land—flowing with milk and honey—was not entered into by Moses’ generation because they came short of it by failing to mix the word of God they heard with faith (Hebrews 4:1-2).

Nearly five hundred years after Joshua, David speaks of a rest of God which Moses’ generation did not experience nor was it tied to the land of Canaan. It could be enjoyed by David’s generation if one would not harden his heart to God’s word (Hebrews 4:7).

With the coming of Christ, this rest of God spoken of by David is understood to be the wonderful Sabbath-like rest Christians can enjoy permanently in heaven (Hebrews 4:9-10). When those in Christ are blessed with death, they will eternally rest from their labors and their works will follow them (Revelation 14:13).

Not only does Jesus invite every spiritually harassed and heavy-laden person to enjoy the sweet rest of His yoke (Matthew 11:28-30), He also offers the realization of an eternal rest from your labors when your work for Him on earth is done.

“Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest…” (Hebrews 4:11).

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Author: jchowning

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