Correspondence: Understanding Hebrews 4:1-2

Hebrews 4:1‑2  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Answer: The subject in Hebrews 3:7-4:117Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. 1Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:7‑4:11) is the rest of God, and who will enter into it. This rest is future. It is not like Matthew 11:28-3028Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28‑30), which presents two different kinds of rest, namely: 1. The laboring and heavy-laden ones are invited to come to Jesus, and He says, “I will give you rest.” Here the soul ceases to labor, for the finished work is complete that puts away the heavy burden, and gives present rest. The Lord Jesus gives the rest to those who come to Him, and He gives also the knowledge of the Father. Those who come and trust in the Saviour are God’s children.
“Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Here we find that the second rest is walking in the steps of Jesus, doing the Father’s will. It is only on these conditions that we can enjoy it, and this rest is also for the present.
The rest in Hebrews is future. Notice, it is His rest—God’s rest. These Hebrews were professing Christians (3:1), but no one could say they were all real. They are looked at in the wilderness, and if they hold fast their confidence steadfast unto the end, that will prove their reality (3:6, 14).
A Christian might get so far down as to say, “I am no Christian,” but could a Christian say, “Jesus is no Saviour”?
Moses, Joshua and David did not bring them into the rest; this is proved by the quotations. And as Israel’s faith was tested, so theirs would be, and they are told to labor to enter into that rest, lest any man, fall after the same example of unbelief (ver. 11). It is not laboring to save themselves, but it is laboring in fellowship with God against the evils of an ungodly world. It is only the real believers who shall enter that rest, and the Apostle had confidence that they were real (6:9).
God’s rest looks forward to the eternal state when
“All taint of sin shall be removed,
All evil done away;
And we shall dwell with God’s Beloved,
Through God’s eternal day.”
Paul and all the saints who have died, have entered into their own rest, as God did into His when He finished creation, but the rest of God has not come yet. Such verses as 1 Corinthians 15:24, 2824Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:24)
28And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:28)
; Hebrews 12:26, 2726Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26‑27); 2 Peter 3:12, 1312Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2 Peter 3:12‑13); Revelation 21:1-41And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:1‑4), allude to that time.
Again we notice that each epistle has its own view point and line of teaching. In Hebrews we are passing through the wilderness, and it is profession that is considered. Only the real believers will enter into the rest of God.
“A blessed rest remains for us, in which our hearts will repose in the presence of God, where nothing will trouble the perfection of our rest; where God will rest in the perfection of the blessing He has bestowed on His people” (Synopsis).