FOR WE WHO HAVE BELIEVED ENTER THAT REST: eiserchometha (1PPMI) gar eis
ten katapausin oi pisteusantes (AAPMPN):
(Heb 3:14; Isaiah 28:12; Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 11:28,29; Romans 5:1,2)
For only we who believe God can enter into His place of rest. He has said,
"I have sworn in my anger that those who don't believe me will never get
in," even though
he has been ready and waiting for them since the world began. (TLB)
For (because) explains or reinforces the Heb 4:2 that faith is
the manner in which one possesses the promises of God, be they rest in a
land (Promised land of Canaan) or rest in a life (the Messiah).
We who have believed - So you say that you understand His offer of
rest and the writer's urgent call to enter this blessed state, but you might
still wonder "How do I enter?". This verse (among others in this section,
e.g., He 4:2) tells us we enter by trusting, and in context, that trust is
to be in the Messiah. Joining a church won't bring you rest (in fact most of
us who have been in churches for a while would sadly have to testify to
quite the opposite experience!) any more than being a member of the 12
tribes of Israel guaranteed entrance into the Promised Land. It is not
enough simply to hear the gospel (which sadly is becoming more and more
"watered down" in the American evangelicalism!) or even to understand the
gospel. The gospel must be received by grace through faith or you
will not enter into God's spiritual rest of salvation. In fact, if a person
hears the clear announcement of God's good news and refuses to combine the
hearing with personal believing, those very words,
which He 4:12 (You may never have considered this "familiar" passage in its
full context and it's immediate significance!) describe as "sharper than
a two-edged sword" will become the source of condemnation instead of
salvation! As our writer affirms if one hears but does not believe,
regardless of what else they do the Lord Himself makes the pronouncement "As
I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest" (He 4:3)!
Faith is the condition
for entering God's rest
refers not just to head knowledge (the "dead" faith of James 2:17, 26) but a
belief that is shown to be genuine saving faith by the fruit of a changed
life (not a perfect life but at least some evidence that there is a new life
which manifests a new heart). Saving faith
is dynamic and holds fast,
obeys, endures, brings forth fruit and conversely does not shrink back, drift away
or fall away.
In secular Greek literature, as well
as in the New Testament, pisteuo (pistis, pistos) has a basic meaning
of an intellectual assent or a belief that something is true. However belief
that gains interest into the rest of salvation is not mere
intellectual assent to divine promises, no matter how correct is one's
doctrine. This assent is insufficient, because it rises no higher than faith
of the unsaved, unregenerate demons (cp Jas 2:19)!
walked life's path with "Worry,"
Disturbed and quite unblessed,
Until I trusted Jesus;
Now "Faith" has given rest.
Bruce Metzger adds that...
According to [James and Paul], a man
is saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is not alone—it is
followed by good works which prove the vitality of that faith. (B M Metzger,
The New Testament. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1965)
is derived from
pistis [word study];
pistos [word study].
(See related studies on
the faith, the
obedience of faith)
and means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s
trust. It means to accept as true, genuine, or real and so to have a firm
conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone.
Vincent notes that pisteuo...
means to persuade, to cause belief, to
induce one to do something by persuading, and so runs into the meaning of to
obey, properly as the result of persuasion
that this use arose during the Hellenistic period. During the struggle with
skepticism and atheism, it acquired the sense of conviction concerning the
existence and activity of the Greek gods. Thayer calls this the intransitive
use of the word which conveys the idea of to be sure or be persuaded that
something is a fact. This kind of faith does not require any action on the
part of the believer but only an intellectual acceptance. As discussed ,
James used this type of faith as an example of a dead faith stating that
"The devils also believe, and tremble" (Jas 2:19).
The other secular Greek meaning that
is the more common use in the New Testament is the transitive or active use
which means to "put faith in" or "rely upon" someone or something. Sometimes
it has even stronger meaning: "To entrust something to another." In
classical usage it denoted conduct that honored a previous agreement, such
as the honoring of a truce between opposing armies (Iliad 2.124). The
meaning of entrusting something to someone is found in Xenophon (Memorabilia
4.4.17). An example of this use in the New Testament is 2Timothy 1:12. Paul
I know whom I have believed, and
am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him
against that day (2Ti 1:12-note)
Comment: Here pisteuo means to
trust in or rely upon Christ to save us.
Pisteuo then means to entrust
oneself to an entity in complete confidence. To believe in with the
implication of total commitment to the one who is trusted. Christ is the
object of this faith that relies on His power and nearness to help, in
addition to being convinced that His revelations or disclosures are true.
RESTING YOUR WHOLE WEIGHT
ON JESUS YOUR REST!
was translating the
Scripture for the South Sea islanders (New Hebrides islands), he was unable to find a word in their
vocabulary for the concept of believing, trusting, or having faith. He had
no idea how he would convey that to them. One day while he was in his hut
translating, a native came running up the stairs into Paton's study and
flopped in a chair, exhausted after a long jungle hunting excursion. He said to Paton
something like this...
“It’s so good to stretch myself out and rest my whole weight in
Paton had his word: Faith is resting your whole weight on God. That
word went into the translation of their New Testament and helped bring that
civilization of natives to Christ. Believing is putting your whole weight on
God. If God said it, then it’s true, and we’re to believe it. By faith, the
weary sinner stretches out to rest on Jesus Christ, upheld by His glorious
gospel. Substituting Paton's translation, the loose paraphrase would sound
something like this...
"Stretch yourself out" on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (Acts
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever
"stretches out" on Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)
As noted pisteuo can refer to a "heart belief" (saving faith, genuine belief that leads
to salvation, this believing involves not only the consent of the mind, but
an act of the heart and will of the subject) or an intellectual belief
(mental assent, "head" knowledge, not associated with bringing salvation if
it is by itself), both uses demonstrated by Jesus in the gospel of John...
John 11:26 Everyone who lives and
believes (pisteuo - Jesus uses pisteuo here to refer to genuine saving faith) in Me shall never die. Do
you believe (pisteuo - intellectually - The idea is "Do you believe
My teaching?") this?
James 2:19 You believe
(pisteuo) that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe
(pisteuo), and shudder.
Comment: In this passage, James explains
that not all believing will result in salvation (for in depth discussion
on what constitutes a "faith that works" or that truly saves, see notes
beginning with Jas 2:14-note
through Jas 2:26-note). The belief
which the apostle James is
describing in this passage is mental or intellectual belief unassociated
with any change in one's heart and one's behavior or actions.
Belief in the New Testament sense that effects the new birth denotes
more than a "demonic" like, intellectual assent to a set of facts or truths.
The demons believe but they clearly are not saved. Yes, genuine belief involves an intellectual assent and consent of one's mind
to truth, but also includes
an act of one's heart and will. Biblical saving faith is not solely passive assent
but is an active staking of one's life on the claims of God in the Gospel. The respected
Greek lexicon author W E Vine defines belief as consisting of...
(1) a firm conviction which produces full
acknowledgment of God's revelation of Truth - (2Th 2:11 -"in order that
they all may be judged who did not believe [pisteuo] the truth, but
took pleasure in wickedness.")
(2) a personal surrender to the Truth (Jn
1:12 "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become
children of God, even to those who believe [pisteuo] in His name")
(3) a conduct inspired by and consistent
with that surrender (see notes on the
obedience of faith
relationship of faith and obedience)
- Emphatic (first word in Greek) and in the
idea that we continue to enter that rest. The
adds the idea that is our own choice and we participate in the
results/effects of the entering. So the rest of God does not cease when you
enter into salvation, but is a dynamic entering, even as walking in the
Spirit is a continual need (present
lest we walk in the flesh.
I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
by Horatius Bonar
heard the voice of Jesus say,
‘Come unto me and rest,
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down
Thy head upon my breast.’
I came to Jesus as I was -
Weary, and worn, and sad:
I found in Him a resting place,
And He has made me glad!"
[word study] from
katá = intensifies the meaning of the following word or signifies "down"
which figuratively conveys the sense of permanency + pauo = make to
cease) describes literally a ceasing from one's work or activity. Thayer
cites a use in the active sense of a putting
to rest as used in the sentence "a calming of the winds".
Metaphorically as used in the present verse, katapausis speaks of the
spiritual fulfillment God provides for His people.
Katapausis is a ceasing from one
form of activity IN ORDER TO give oneself to a wholly new enterprise, in the
context, to believe God's promise. (See excursus on
Rest in Hebrews 4)
Barclay has the following
analysis of katapausis in Hebrews 3 noting that...
In a complicated passage like this it is
better to try to grasp the broad lines of the thought before we look at any
of the details. The writer is really using the word rest (katapausis) in
three different senses. (i) He is using it as we would use the peace
of God. It is the greatest thing in the world to enter into the peace of
God. (ii) He is using it, as he used it in He 3:12-note,
to mean The Promised Land. To the children of Israel who had wandered so
long in the desert the Promised Land was indeed the rest of God. (iii)
He is using it of the rest of God after the sixth day of creation, when all
God’s work was completed. This way of using a word in two or three different
ways, of teasing at it until the last drop of meaning was extracted from it,
was typical of cultured, academic thought in the days when the writer to the
Hebrews wrote his letter. (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster
Since the Israelites were already established in Canaan when David
wrote the Psalm 95 (Ps 95:11), its warning about missing out on God's rest must refer
to something beyond the possession of literal property.
Matthew Henry elaborates on this temporal distinction (ie, written in
the time of David, some 400 years after the Exodus and wilderness wandering
and at a time when Israel was now in the physical land of Canaan, "the land
of milk and honey") commenting that...
this case of Israel may be applied to those of their posterity that lived in
David's time, when this psalm was penned; let them hear God's voice, and not
harden their hearts as their fathers did, lest, if they were stiff-necked
like them, God should be provoked to forbid them the privileges of his
temple at Jerusalem, of which he had said, This is my rest. But it must be
applied to us Christians, because so the apostle applies it.
There is a spiritual and eternal rest set before us, and promised to us, of
which Canaan was a type; we are all (in profession, at least) bound for this
rest; yet many that seem to be so, come short and shall never enter into
it. And what is it that puts a bar in their door? It is sin; it is
unbelief, that sin against the remedy, against our appeal. Those that,
like Israel, distrust God, and His power and goodness, and prefer the garlic
and onions of Egypt before the milk and honey of Canaan, will justly be shut
out from His rest: so shall their doom be; they themselves have decided
it. Let us therefore fear,
C H Spurgeon wrote the following comments regarding Psalm 95:11...
There can be no rest to an unbelieving heart. If manna and miracles
could not satisfy Israel, neither would they have been content with the land
which flowed with milk and honey. Canaan was to be the typical resting place
of God, where His ark should abide, and the ordinances of religion should be
established; the Lord had for forty years borne with the ill manners of the
generation which came out of Egypt, and it was but right that He should
resolve to have no more of them. Was it not enough that they had revolted
all along that marvellous wilderness march? Should they be allowed to make
new Massahs and Meribahs in the Promised Land itself? Jehovah would not have
it so. He not only said but swore that into His rest they should not
come, and that oath excluded every one of them; their carcasses fell in the
Solemn warning this to all who leave the way of faith for paths of
petulant murmuring and mistrust. (Ed note: Spurgeon is not saying
one can "lose salvation" but that their "faith" was not genuine saving faith
in the first place.) The rebels of old could not enter in because of
unbelief, "let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering
into his rest, any of us should even seem to come short of it."
One blessed inference from this psalm must not be forgotten. It is clear
that there is a rest of God, and that some must enter into it: but "they to
whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief, there
remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." The unbelievers
could not enter, but "we which have believed do enter into rest." Let
us enjoy it, and praise the Lord for it for ever. Ours is the true
Sabbatical rest, it is ours to rest from out own works as God did from His.
While we do so, let us "come into his presence with thanksgiving, and make a
joyful noise unto him with psalms." (Bolding added)
Spurgeon in his hints to pastors and laypersons on Psalm 95:11 adds
Verse 11. The fatal moment of the giving up of a soul, how it may be
hastened, what are the signs of it, and what are the terrible results.
Verse 10-11. The kindling, increasing, and full force of divine
anger, and its dreadful results.
Spurgeon - Do
not tell me that there is no rest for us till we get to heaven. We who
have believed in Jesus enter into rest even now. Why should we not do so?
Our salvation is complete. The robe of righteousness in which we are clad
is finished. The atonement for our sins is fully made. We are reconciled
to God, beloved of the Father, preserved by his grace, and supplied by his
providence with all that we need. We carry all our burdens to him and
leave them at his feet. We spend our lives in his service, and we find his
ways to be ways of pleasantness, and his paths to be paths of peace. Oh,
yes, we have found rest unto our souls! I recollect the first day that I
ever rested in Christ, and I did rest that day. And so will all of you who
trust in Jesus as I trusted in him.
JUST AS HE HAS SAID, "AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY
REST": mou kaitoi ton ergon apo kataboles kosmou genethenton (AAPNPG):
Again he quotes from Psalm 95:11 (which he had already quoted in He 3:11)
(ereo) is in the
which emphasizes the permanent value of
God's word (the
is used in Heb 1:13; 4:4; 10:9; 13:5). The point is that God has spoken. That
settles it! What He said endures forever.
Hebrews 1:13 (note)
- But to which of the angels has He
ever said, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A
FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET "?
Hebrews 4:4 (note)
- For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: "AND GOD
RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS ";
Hebrews 10:9 (note)
- then He said, "BEHOLD, I HAVE COME TO DO YOUR WILL ." He takes away
the first in order to establish the second.
Hebrews 13:5 (note)-
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content
with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT
YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,"
(omnuo) means to affirm the truth of a statement by calling on God to
execute sanctions against a person if the statement in question is not true.
However in the present context it is God Himself takes an oath and by doing
this, His divine being is then regarded as validating the statement.
Hebrews has six of the 21 NT uses of omnuo as shown in the following
Hebrews 3:11 (note)
AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH (orge),
'THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST'
Hebrews 3:18 (note)
And to whom did He swear that
they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?
Hebrews 4:3 (note)
For we who have believed enter that
rest, just as He has said, "AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, THEY SHALL NOT
ENTER MY REST ," although His works were finished from the foundation of the
Hebrews 6:13 (note)
For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no
one greater, He swore by Himself,
Hebrews 6:16 (note)
For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath
given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.
Hebrews 7:21 (note)
(for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through
the One who said to Him, "THE LORD HAS SWORN AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS
MIND, 'YOU AREA PRIEST FOREVER' ");
Commenting on the fact that God swore in Psalm 95:11 Robert
South writes that...
The word swearing is very significant, and seems to import these two
First, the certainty of the sentence here pronounced. Every word of
God both is, and must be truth; but ratified by an oath, it is truth with an
advantage. It is signed irrevocable. This fixes it like the laws of the
Medes and Persians, beyond all possibility of alteration and makes God's
word, like his very nature, unchangeable.
Secondly, it imports the terror of the sentence. If the children of
Israel could say, "Let not God speak to us, lest we die, what would they
have said had God then sworn against them?"
It is terrible to hear an oath from the mouth but of a poor mortal, but from
the mouth of an omnipotent God, it does not only terrify, but confound. An
oath from God is truth delivered in anger; truth, as I may so speak, with a
vengeance. When God speaks, it is the creature's duty to hear; but when he
swears, to tremble. --Robert South.
from orgaô = to teem, to swell) conveys the picture of a
swelling which eventually bursts, and thus describes an anger that proceeds
from one’s settled nature. Orge does not refer to uncontrollable
anger to which men are so prone but to God's settled indignation and
controlled passionate hostile feeling toward sin in all its various
manifestations. Settled indignation means that God’s holiness cannot and
will not coexist with sin in any form whatsoever. Orge is not the momentary,
emotional, and often uncontrolled anger (thumos -
2372) to which human
beings are prone. Orge is used primarily of God's holy, righteous
wrath but occasionally refers to the wrath of men (Ep 4:31-note)
Orge refers to to an inner,
deep resentment that seethes and smolders. Orge as used of God refers to His
constant and controlled indignation toward sin, while thumos (which
originally referred to violent movements of air, water, etc., and
consequently came to mean “well up” or “boil up”) refers more to a
passionate outburst of rage. Thumos type anger represents an
agitated, vehement anger that rushes along relentlessly. The root meaning
has to do with moving rapidly and was used of a man’s breathing violently
while pursuing an enemy in great rage!
Orge is God’s settled
and displeasure with sin. God’s wrath is His
holy hatred of all that is unholy. It is His righteous indignation at
everything that is unrighteous. It is important to note that orge is
not God's uncontrollable rage, vindictive bitterness or a losing of His
temper (all of which characterize sinful anger so typical of fallen men), but the wrath of righteous reason and holy law.
Thomas Brooks sums up the danger of hearing and yet rejecting the
Reader, remember this: if thy knowledge do not now affect thy heart, it will
at last, with a witness, afflict thy heart; if it do not now endear Christ
to thee, it will at last provoke Christ the more against thee; if it do not
make all the things of Christ to be very precious in thy eyes, it will at
last make thee the more vile in Christ's eyes.
Those who sinned while wandering in the wilderness not only forfeited
Canaan. Unless they exercised personal faith in God sometime during the
forty years, they also forfeited eternal life-of which Canaan was only a
John: Hebrews. Moody Press
Other conservative, evangelical writers such as Ray Stedman agree
that although individual Israelites like
Moses, Aaron and Miriam who died in the wilderness did not enter Canaan,
their failure to enter the promised land did not indicate that they died
eternally. On the other hand Stedman feels that the majority of Israel who
came out of Egypt and physically died in the wilderness, not entering the
physical land of Canaan, did perish eternally because they did not believe
in the Messiah. (See Stedman's comments in
Hebrews: Commentary Part I)
As Dr Charles Ryrie rightly emphasizes in his comments on this
Only believers enter into salvation rest. (The
Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)
My rest - This phrase occurs 4
times in Scripture (Ps 95:11, He 3:11, He 4:3, He 4:5). It is the very rest
God Himself enjoys and which He Himself makes available to us by grace
through faith. This phrase is difficult to fully comprehend because it is
not just a relaxation of tensions, but a rest that is qualitatively the same
rest the Omnipotent God enjoys and is willing to share with
us! This truth should motivate a
deep love for Him and a strong desire to walk in a manner which is pleasing
God's rest is a "working rest" for even thought He finished His creation
work and rested, this did not a cessation from work, but rather the proper
repose that comes from completing a work. Jesus emphasized His Father’s
My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working. (John 5:17)
God’s repose is an active rest if you will. Yes, He rests, but in his
rest He keeps working.
MacArthur explains it this way...
God’s own rest from His work of creation,
and the rest that He gives us in Christ, are not the rest brought on by
weariness or the rest of inactivity, but are
the rest of finished work.
Rest (2663) (katapausis
[word study] from kata = prefixed preposition in its local use means “down,” and
speaks of permanency + pauo = Cease, stop, pause, make an end.
(See excursus on
Rest in Hebrews 4)
Applied to men entering God’s rest, this word speaks of no
self-effort as far as salvation is concerned. It means the end of trying to
please God by feeble, fleshly works. God’s perfect rest is a
based on free albeit costly grace laid hold of by genuine saving faith.
As has been alluded to
in previous notes on Hebrews 4 is possible to interpret God's "rest" in at
(1) The rest associated with
placing one's faith in Christ (see Mt 11:28, 29, 30). In the context of the
entire epistle, this
appears to be the primary meaning, that is, of coming to Jesus by faith and
entering His salvation rest where self effort is replaced (or at least
can and should be replaced) by Spirit initiated and empowered effort.
(2) The rest of those who
are believers in Christ, and who are living their Christian life in the
power of the Spirit, keeping short accounts, and thus experiencing the
"peace of God". This aspect of rest is that which is associated with
sanctification, our day to day living out of the Christ life. Ray
Stedman speaking of those who have entered this salvation rest by faith
explains that tragically many believers experience breakdown in their Christianity (not
referring to a loss of salvation but a loss of joy and sense of His presence
and power) under the pressures of stress or responsibility because they try
to work out their salvation in their power (cp Php 2:12-note,
and have not learned to "operate out of rest". (Stedman,
Ray: The Rest Obtained Is New-Creation Rest)
Hebrews 4:3 supports the premise that
rest is something we must enter into the the first time (salvation rest
by grace through faith) but is also a daily entering (also by grace through
faith) into God's rest in the process of sanctification, that growth in
grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pe 3:18-note).
So how does Hebrews 4:3 support this premise? Note that the verb enter is in the
present tense, which
believers we are in the process of entering. We are continually entering
into His rest, day by day, even moment by moment. Even our experience as
believers bears this out, for what believer when he or she has committed sin
and fails to confess quickly, does not sense an inner "restlessness" and
loss of peace. On the other hand when we can say as Paul said "I thank
God, whom I serve with a clear conscience" (2Ti 1:3-note),
we are surely experiencing some of the fruit of entering into His rest.
There is another sense in which we are in the process of entering God's
rest, for there is the sure hope of the future rest when we enter
(see below) and then finally into the New Heavens and New Earth, where
"there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or
crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Re 21:4-note)
Surely this describes in part the ultimate rest into which we are entering.
(3). Some who believe in a literal
1000 year kingdom (see
feel that the rest that is promised to
Israel (and applies to all believers) will be partially fulfilled in the reign of Christ on
earth ("the Messianic Age"), the "rest" of which Isaiah records...
Then it will come about in that day (when
Messiah takes His throne in Jerusalem after the
Great Tribulation - see
Daniel's Seventieth Week
- and the defeat of the Antichrist) that the nations will resort to the root of Jesse (the Messiah),
Who will stand as a signal (a banner lifted up to be a rallying point) for the peoples; and His
resting place (LXX
uses the related word anapausis) will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10)
(4). The rest associated with
the New Heavens and New Earth where righteousness dwells forever. John
alludes to this rest writing...
I heard a voice from heaven, saying,
"Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'" "Yes," says
the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow
with them. (Re 14:13-note)
ALTHOUGH HIS WORKS WERE FINISHED FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD: kaitoi
ton ergon apo kataboles kosmou genethenton (AAPNPG):
(Genesis 1:31; Exodus 20:11) (Heb 9:26; Matthew 13:35; Ephesians 1:4; 1Peter
The writer now introduces another Old Testament allusion to expand his
definition of salvation rest, this time making reference to God's
Creation in 6 days and rest on the seventh day, as he goes on to explain in
He 4:4 below. The writer obviously assumes that his Hebrew readers
understand that he his referencing the Creation in Genesis.
The providing of a rest is implied in the completion of God’s works. The
unbelieving generation which came out of Egypt did not enter into Canaan
rest, although God had provided that rest into which they might have
the processes we observe today are not creation or evolution but in
fact reflect devolution and disintegration (enunciated in the 1st and 2nd
Laws of Thermodynamics).
The spiritual rest which God gives was made available for us in
eternity past when He chose us in Christ and was made effective by His Son
on the Cross...
When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!"
And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.
It is God who saved us and chose us to live a holy life. He did this not
because we deserved it, but because that was His plan (NASB "His own purpose
and grace") long before the world began (NIV "before the beginning of
time")--to show his love and kindness to us through Christ Jesus. (2Ti
Comment: All that is left for the believer to do is to enter the
rest God prepared for us before time began and which His Son procured
for us with His finished work on the Cross.
from kataballo = to throw down from kata = down + ballo
= throw, cast) is literally a casting down or laying down. The original idea
was the laying down of the foundation of a house.
Katabole was a technical term for putting seed into the ground, it is
also used of the role of the male in impregnating the female and there is
one such use in
referring to the casting in or sowing of seed, conveying the idea of
TDNT adds that katabole meant...
“laying down,” is used for, e.g., the casting of seed, human begetting, the
sowing of war, and the establishment of government.
Ten of the 11 NT uses of katabole (there are no uses in the
LXX) are in the phrase "foundation of the
Matthew 13:35 so that what was spoken through the prophet might be
fulfilled, saying, "I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things
hidden since the foundation of the world."
Matthew 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come,
you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from
the foundation of the world.
Luke 11:50 in order that the blood of all the prophets, shed since
the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,
John 17:24 "Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me,
be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou
hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 1:4 (note)
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we
should be holy and blameless before Him. In love
Hebrews 4:3 (note)
For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, "As I swore
in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest," although His works were finished
from the foundation of the world.
Hebrews 9:26 (note)
Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the
world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested
to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Hebrews 11:11 (note)
By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the
proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised;
1 Peter 1:20 (note)
For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in
these last times for the sake of you
Revelation 13:8 (note)
And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not
been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the
Lamb who has been slain.
Revelation 17:8 (note)
"The beast that you saw was and is not, and is about to come up out of the
abyss and to go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth will
wonder, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the
foundation of the world, when they see the beast, that he was and is not and
Believers have entered into a finished work, something finished from the
foundation of the world…all that is necessary to rest has been provided.
[word study]) means the world with
its primary meaning being order, regular disposition and arrangement, here
referring in essence to God's creation of the heavens and earth that we know
God has finished His work. God has done it all, and for anyone who wants to
enter into His finished work and to share in His rest, it is available by
faith. When God had finished the creation, He said (briefly paraphrasing
Gen. 2), “It’s done. I’ve made a wonderful world for man and woman.
I’ve given them everything earthly they need, including each other, for a
complete and beautiful and satisfying life. Even more importantly, they have
perfect, unbroken, unmarred fellowship with Me. I can now rest; and they can
rest in Me.”
John: Hebrews. Moody Press
"We which have believed do enter into rest."--Heb. 4:4.
"Ich bleib bei Dir! wo koennt ich 's besser haben."
transl., Jane Borthwick, 1855
I rest with Thee, Lord! whither should I go?
I feel so blest within Thy home of love!
The blessings purchased by Thy pain and woe,
To Thy poor child Thou sendest from above.
Oh! never let Thy grace depart from me:
So shall I still abide, my Lord, with Thee.
I rest with Thee! Eternal life the prize
Thou wilt bestow, when faith's good fight is won;
What can earth give but vain regrets and sighs,
To the poor heart whose passing bliss is done?
For lasting joys I fleeting ones resign,
Since Jesus calls me His, and He is mine.
I rest with Thee! No other place of rest
Can now attract, no other portion please.
The soul, of heavenly treasure once possest,
All earthly glory with indifference sees.
Poor world, farewell! thy splendors tempt no more--
The power of grace I feel, and thine is o'er,
I rest with Thee! with Thee, whose wondrous love
Descends to seek the lost; the fallen raise,
Oh! that my whole of future life might prove
One hallelujah, one glad song of praise!
So shall I sing, as time's last moments flee
Now and for ever, Lord, I rest with Thee!
A sermon by Alexander Maclaren...
THE REST OF
‘We which have believed do enter into rest....’ — Hebrews 4:3.
‘Do enter’ — but on a hundred gravestones you will read ‘He entered
into rest’ on such and such a day, as a synonym for ‘He died.’ It is strange
that an expression which the writer of this Epistle takes pains to emphasise
as referring to a present experience should, by common consent, in popular
use, have been taken to mean a future blessing. If nominal Christians had
found more frequently that their faith was strong enough to produce its
natural effects, they would not have so often misunderstood our writer. He
does not say, ‘We, when we die, shall enter into rest,’ but ‘We who have
believed do enter.’
It is a bold statement, and the experience of the average Christian seems to
contradict it. But if the fruit of faith is repose; and if we who say we
have faith are full of unrest, the best thing we can do is not to doubt the
saying, but to look a little more closely whether we have fulfilled its
‘We which have
believed do enter into rest.’
I. So, then, the first thing to be noted here is the present rest of
I say ‘faith’ rather than ‘belief,’ because I wish to emphasise the
distinction between the Christian notion of faith, and the common notion of
belief. The latter is merely the acceptance of a proposition as true; and
that is not enough to bring rest to any soul, though it may bring rest to
the understanding. It is a great pity, though one does not quite see how it
could have been avoided, that so frequently in the New Testament, to popular
apprehension, the depth of the meaning. of that one requirement of faith is
obscured because it is represented in our version by the word ‘believe,’
which has come to be appropriated to the mere intellectual act. But if you
will notice that the writer of this Epistle uses two other words as
interchangeable with ‘belief,’ you will understand the depth of his meaning
better. Sometimes he speaks of our ‘confidence’ — by which he means
precisely the same thing. Sometimes he speaks of our ‘obedience ‘ — by which
he means precisely the same thing. So there is an element of voluntary
submission implied, and there is an element of outgoing confidence implied
in the word. And when he says, ‘We which have believed do enter into rest,’
he does not mean ‘We which acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,
and the Saviour of the world, But we who, acknowledging, let our hearts go
out to Him in trust, and our wills bow down before Him in obedience and
submission. We thereby do enter into rest.’ Carry with you these two
thoughts, then — ‘confidence’ and ‘obedience’ — as indispensable elements in
the New Testament conception of faith, and then you can understand the great
saying of my text.
Trust brings rest, for the trust which grasps Jesus Christ, not only
intellectually, but with the reliance of the whole nature upon Him to do for
me that which my understanding believes that He will do — that trust brings
rest because it sweeps away, as the north wind does the banded clouds on the
horizon, all the deepest causes of unrest. These are our perverted relation
to God, and the alienation of our hearts from Him. Brother! there is no rest
deep as life which does not flow from rejoicing confidence in Christ’s great
sacrifice by which the innermost source of conflict and disturbance in our
souls has been dealt with. Most of us are contented if there be a
superficial appearance of calm, like the sunny vineyard on the slopes of a
volcano, whilst-in the heart of it sulphurous fires are bubbling and
boiling, and will burst out some day. What is the worth of a tranquillity
which only survives on condition of our ignoring the most patent and most
operative fact in our lives? It is only when you shuffle God out of your
consciousness, and when you wink hard so as not to see the facts of your own
moral condition and sinfulness, or when you sophisticate yourself into
illogical and unreasonable diminution of the magnitude and gravity of your
sins, that some of you know a moment’s rest. If the curtain were once drawn
aside, and we were brought face to face with the realities of heaven and the
realities of our own characters, all this film of apparent peace would break
and burst, and we should be left to face the trouble that comes whenever a
man’s relation with God is, consciously to himself, perverted and wrong. But
trust brings rest; rest from the gnawing of conscience, rest from the
suspicion of evil consequences resulting from contact with the infinite
divine righteousness, rest from all the burden of guilt, which is none the
less heavy because the man appears to be unconscious of it. It is there all
the same. ‘We which have believed do enter into rest,’ because our trust
brings about the restoration of the true relation to God and the forgiveness
of our sins. Trust brings rest, because it casts all our burdens on another.
Every act of reliance, though it does not deliver from responsibility,
delivers from anxiety. We see this even when the object of our trust is but
a poor creature like ourselves. Husbands and wives who find settled peace in
one another; parents and children; patrons and protected, and a whole series
of other relationships in life, are witnesses to the fact that the attitude
of reliance brings the actuality of repose. A little child goes to sleep
beneath its mother’s eye, and is tranquil, not only because it is ignorant
but because it is trustful. So if we will only get behind the shelter, the
blast will not blow about us, but we shall be in what they call on the
opposite side of the Tweed, in a word that is music in the ears of some of
us — a ‘lown place,’ where we hear not the loud winds when they call. Trust
is rest; even when we lean upon an arm of flesh, though that trust is often
disappointed. What is the depth of the repose that comes not from trust that
leans against something supposed to be a steadfast oak, that proves to be a
broken reed, but against the Rock of Ages? We which have ‘believed do enter
into rests’ Trust brings repose, because it effects submission. The true
reason for our restlessness in this world is not that we are ‘pelted by the
pitiless storm’ of change and sorrow. A grief accepted loses most of its
power to sadden, and all its power to perturb. It is not outward calamities,
but a rebellious will that troubles us. The bird beats itself against the
wires of its cage, and wounds itself, whereas if it sat still in its
captivity it might sing. So when we trust we submit; and submission is the
mother of peace. There is no other consolation worth naming for our sorrows,
except the consolation that comes from submission. When we accept them, lie
still, let him strike home and kiss the rod, we shall be at rest.
Trust brings repose, because it leads to satisfied desires. We are restless
because each object that we pursue yields but a partial satisfaction, and
because all taken together are inadequate to our needs. There is but one
Person who can fill the heart, the mind, the will, and satisfy our whole
nature. No accumulation of things, be they ever so precious, even if they
are the higher or more refined satisfactions of the intellect, can ever
satisfy the heart. And no endless series of finite persons is sufficient for
the wants of any one of the series, who, finite as he is, yet needs an
infinite satisfaction. It must be a person that shall fill all the cavities
and clefts of our hearts, and, filling them, gives us rest. ‘My soul
thirsteth for God,’ though I misinterpret its thirst, and, like a hot dog
upon a road, try to slake my thirst by lapping at any puddle of dirty water
that I come across in my path. There is no satisfaction there. It is in God,
and in God only, that we can find repose.
Some of us may have seen a weighty acknowledgment from a distinguished
biologist lately deceased which strikes me as relevant to this thought.
Listen to his confession:
‘I know from experience the intellectual distractions of scientific
research, philosophical speculation, and artistic pleasures, but am also
well aware that even when all are taken together, and well sweetened to
taste, in respect of consequent reputation, means, social position, etc.,
the whole concoction is but as light confectionery to a starving man .... It
has been my lot to know not a few of the foremost men of our generation, and
I have always observed that this is profoundly true.’
That is the testimony of a man who had tried the highest, least material
forms of such a trust. And I know that there is an ‘amen’ to it in every
heart, and I lift up opposite to all such experiences the grand summary of
Christian experience: ‘We which have believed do enter into rest.’
II. Note, secondly, the energy of work which accompanies the rest of
There is a good deal said in the context — a difficult context, with which
we are not concerned at present, about the analogy between a man’s rest in
God and God’s own rest. That opens wonderful thoughts which I must not be
tempted to pursue, with regard to the analogy between the divine and the
human, and the possible assimilation, in some measure, of the experiences of
the creature with those of the Creator. Can it be that, between a light
kindled and burning itself away while it burns, and fire which burns and is
not consumed, there is any kind of correspondence? There is, however dim the
analogy may be to us. Let us take the joy and the elevation of that thought,
‘My peace I give unto you.’
But the main point for which I refer to this possible analogy is in order to
remind you that the rest of God is dealt with in Scripture as being, not a
cessation from work, but the accomplishment of a purpose, and satisfaction
in results. ‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work,’ said Jesus Christ. And
modern speculation puts the same thought in a more heathenish fashion when
it says ‘preservation is continual creation.’ Just as God rests from His
creative work, not as if either needing repose or holding His hand from
further operation, but as satisfied with the result; just as He rests in
work and works in rest, so Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God in
eternal indisturbance and repose, in token that He has fulfilled His work on
earth. But He is likewise represented as standing at the right hand of God
in attitude to help His servants, and as evermore working with them in all
In like manner we shall much misconceive the repose of faith, if we do not
carry with us the thought that that repose is full of strenuous toil Faith
brings rest. Yes! But the main characteristic of Christian faith is that it
is an active principle, which sets all the wheels of holy life in more
vigorous motion, and breathes an intenser as well as calmer and more
reposeful activity into the whole man. The work of faith is quite as
important as the rest of faith. It works by love, and the very repose that
it brings ought to make us more strenuous in our toil. We are able to cast
ourselves without anxiety about ourselves, and with no distraction of our
inner nature, and no weakening of power in consequence of the consciousness
of sin, or of unconscious sin — into the tasks which devolve upon us, and so
to do them with our might. The river withdrawn from all divided channels is
gathered into the one bed that it may flow with power, and scour before it
all impurities. So the man who is delivered from restlessness is quickened
for work, and even ‘in his very motion there is rest.’ It is possible to
blend together in secret, sweet, indissoluble union these two partial
antitheses, and in the midst of the most strenuous effort to have a central
calm, like the eye of the storm which whirls in its wild circles round a
centre-point of perfect repose. It is possible, at one and the same time, to
be dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, and feeding our souls with
that calm that broods there, and to be up to the ears in business, and with
our hands full of pressing duties. The same faith which ushers us into the
quiet presence of God in the centre of the soul, pushes us into the
forefront of the battle to fight, and into the world’s busy workshop to
So the rest which is Christian is a rest throbbing with activity; and,
further, the activity which is based on faith will deepen repose, and not
interrupt it. Jesus Christ distinguished between the two stages of the
tranquillity which is realised by His true disciples, for He said ‘Come unto
Me... and I will give you rest’ — the rest which comes by approach to Him in
faith from the beginning of the approach, rest resulting from the taking
away of what I have called the deepest cause of unrest. There is a second
stage of the disciples’ action and consequent peace; ‘Take My yoke upon
you... and ye shall find rear’ — not ‘I will give’ this time — ‘ye shall
find’ — in the act of taking the yoke upon your necks — ‘rest to your
souls.’ The activity that ensues from faith deepens the rest of faith.
III. Lastly, to
consider the future perfecting of the present rest.
In a subsequent verse the writer uses a different word from that of my text
to express this idea; and it is rather unfortunate for the understanding of
the progress of the thought that our version has kept the same expression in
both cases. ‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God’ —which
follows a few verses after my text — had better have been rendered, ‘There
remaineth the keeping of a Sabbath to the people of God’; although probably
the writer is pointing to the same facts there as in my text, yet he
introduces a metaphor which conveys more clearly than the text does the idea
of an epoch of rest following upon a week of toil.
So I may venture to say that the repose of faith which is experienced here,
because the causes of unrest are taken away, and a new ally comes into the
field, and our wills submit, and our desires are satisfied, is but the germ
of that eternal Sabbath day to which we look forward. I have said that the
gift spoken of here is a present thing; but that present thing bears in all
its lineaments a prophecy of its own completion. And the repose of a
Christian heart in the midst of life’s work and worry is the best
anticipation and picture, because it is the beginning, of the rest of
That future, however it may differ from this present, and how much it
differs none know except those who are wrapt in its repose, is in essence
the same. Yonder, as here, we become partakers of rest through faith. There,
as here, it is trust that brings rest. And no change of bodily environment,
no change of the relations between body and spirit, no transference of the
man into new conditions and a new world will bring repose, unless there is
in him a trust which grasps Jesus Christ. Faith is eternal, and is eternally
the minister of rest. Heaven is the perfecting of the highest and purest
moments of Christian experience.
So, Christian men and women, the more trust the more rest. And if it be so
that going through this weary world you have but little confirmation of the
veracity of the great saying of my text, do not fancy that it is a mistake.
Look. to your faith and see that it is deepened.
And let us all, dear friends, remember that not death but faith brings
present repose and future perfecting. Death is not the porter that opens the
gate of the kingdom. It is only the usher that brings us to the gate, and
the gate is opened by Him ‘who openeth and no man shutteth; and who shutteth
and no man openeth.’ He opens to them who have believed, and they enter in
and are saved. ‘Let us labour, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any
man fall after the same example of unbelief.’