SO THERE REMAINS A SABBATH REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD: ara apoleipetai (3SPPI)
sabbatismos to lao tou theou:
(Heb 4:1,3; 3:11; Isaiah 11:10; 57:2; 60:19,20; Revelation 7:14, 15, 16, 17;
21:4) (Heb 11:25; Psalms 47:9; Matthew 1:21; Titus 2:14; 1Peter 2:10)
So there (686)
(ara) means so, then, therefore, as a result - It conveys the idea of drawing
The sentence begins with the inferential
ara ("so," "as a result").
The statement following so there (ara) is a logical consequence of the preceding argument.
Henry Alford feels this is a "Consequence from the proposition in Heb
Bengel says "For this reason, because He speaks of another day."
So there remains -
In other words, Today, the
rest is still open.
THE DOOR OF FAITH
John Piper elaborates writing that passage forms...
the foundation of God's message to you today: There is a rest open to you
today. God offers rest. The door is not shut. The time is not past. You have
not missed your last opportunity. Hear the words of Heb 4:9:
"There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God."
The door is open. The time
is now. Ah, but someone says, "Yes, a rest remains for the people of God --
but not for me." But I answer, do not rule yourself out. Look at He 4:3
-- our last word,
"We who have believed enter that rest."
There is one door to
the safe, peaceful, happy rest of God -- the door of faith. Anyone who puts
faith in God's promises bought for us by the blood of Jesus, and is diligent
not to throw that faith away, is a part of the people of God. So on behalf
of God, I call you this morning, put your trust in the promise of God's
the full message by John Piper - Hebrews 4:1-11 Be diligent to
enter God's rest)
[word study] from apo = from, marker of dissociation, implying a
rupture from a former association + leípo = lack, be deficient
or wanting) means to leave behind in the active sense and in to remain in
the passive sense (as used in this verse).
Paul uses it in the active voice to describe
leaving behind of his cloak (2Ti 4:13-note
cp the two other uses of the active voice - 2Ti 4:20-note;
as used here in Hebrews means to be reserved or to remain,
to be left over.
Apoleipo in the present verse conveys the idea that the promise of
rest remains over from past times. The
indicates that it continually remains. In
other words, even though the promise of rest had not been appropriated (by
faith) by most of Israel in the wilderness, the promise of rest still holds
good to the Hebrews who are reading this epistle.
A T Robertson says...
This left-over promise is not repealed, though not utilized by the
Israelites under Moses
Apoleipo is apparently a technical term in wills in ancient Greek
Remains - The "rest"
that remains was not the land Israel was to receive along with
rest from wars (Dt 25:19), for Israel had been in their land several
centuries when David penned Psalm 95 and especially in Ps 95:11 alluded to a
rest yet not entered, implying that there was a component or aspect
of rest Israel had not yet obtained. In fact, the rest that remained was a
soul rest (a "life" not a "land"!) offered by Jesus to all who
would come to Him (Mt 11:28, 29, 30). It is interesting that even the Jewish
rabbis (not necessarily believers in Christ) had a similar idea for in their
Mishnah we read their "commentary" on Psalm 92 ("A Psalm: A Song for the Sabbath")
A Psalm, a song
for the time that is to come, for the day that shall be all Sabbath and
rest in the life everlasting (Tamid 7:4).
Here in Hebrews 4:9, the writer
associates his concept of rest with the original Sabbath, the
idea being that what God did
when He finished Creation (rested from His works) is what Christians are called
CANAAN REST = SHADOW
SABBATH REST = SUBSTANCE
Stedman explains why there remains a Sabbath rest writing
Though Jesus is not compared here with Joshua in terms of relative
greatness, it is apparent from Hebrews 4:8, 9, 10 that the work of Joshua in
leading Israel into the rest symbolized by the Promised Land was far
inferior to the work of Jesus. He provides eternal rest to all who believe
in Him. The fact that God repeats His promise of rest through David in Psalm
95, centuries after Israel had entered Canaan, is used to indicate that
Sabbath-rest is the substance and Canaan-rest but a shadow. There was an
experience of rest for Israel in Canaan (from armed invasion, natural
disasters, failure of crops) when they were faithful to God. But even at
best that rest was outward and essentially physical, and could not satisfy
the promise of rest to the human race which was intended from the beginning.
The author specifically states, There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for
the people of God. (Hebrews 4:8-11 Rest Obtained -
The writer mentioned two different “rests” found in Old Testament history:
(1) God’s Sabbath rest, when He ceased from His Creation activities
(Ge 2:2; He 4:4); (2) Israel’s rest in Canaan (Dt. 12:9; Josh 21:43,
44, 45; He 3:11). But he saw in these “rests” illustrations of the spiritual
experiences of believers today. The Sabbath rest is a picture of our
rest in Christ through salvation (He 4:3; see Mt 11:28). The Canaan rest
is a picture of our present rest as we claim our inheritance in Christ
(He 4:11, 12, 13; note the emphasis on the Word of God). The first is the
rest of salvation; the second is the rest of submission. (see
table below). But there is a third rest that enters into the
discussion, that future rest that all believers will enjoy with God. “There
remains, therefore, a rest to the people of God” (He 4:9)...When the saints
enter heaven, it will be like sharing God’s great Sabbath rest, with
all labors and battles ended (Re 14:13).
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor
Comment: The table below (the historical past, present,
future) should not be confused with the three tenses of salvation
Three Tenses of Salvation)
-- (1) Past tense salvation = justification by faith = "Salvation
Rest" in the table. (2) Present tense salvation = sanctification
= "Submission Rest" in the table - Submission rest is descriptive of
the "rest" believers experience as they surrender or yield to the control of
the Holy Spirit, ceasing to try to live the Christian life in their own
strength. This surrender is a moment by moment, day by day, choice. Each
trial, each temptation, each test, provides an opportunity for our
to rise up and take control (with loss of the sense of "rest", cp the "peace
of God", "a clear conscience") or to choose to allow the Spirit to control
us and empower us through the trial, temptation or test (remembering 1Co
It is not simply a passive "letting go and letting God", but an active
working out of our salvation in fear and trembling (Php 2:12-note),
fully confident (walking by faith, not sight - 2Co 5:7) that God's Spirit in
us will give us the desire and the power to be "victorious" in the moment of
decision (Php 2:13-note,
cp Jn 6:63, Ro 7:6-note,
This description is the essence of the process of sanctification, of
learning to walk by the Spirit (Ga 5:16-note),
filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (Ep 5:18-note),
keeping in step with the Spirit (Ga 5:25-note).
As we conduct ourselves in such a worthy manner pleasing to the Lord (even
motivated by our sure hope of an even greater future rest), we will
experience the reality of God's rest ("Submission Rest") in this present
life. May our Father graciously
grant each of us both the desire and the power through His grace and His
Spirit to continually experience His presence and His rest, for our good and
His glory, all possible through the finished work of His "resting" Son,
Christ Jesus. Amen.
FROM A HISTORICAL
God's Sabbath Rest
Israel's Canaan Rest
from sabbatízo = keep the Sabbath)
literally means a keeping of a sabbath or a keeping of
days of rest. It is used in this passage not in the literal sense (meaning
to keep a specific day, the "Sabbath" day) but to describe a period of rest for God’s people
which is modeled after and is a fulfillment of the traditional Sabbath.
W E Vine adds that...
sabbatismos (σαββατισμός), “a Sabbath-keeping,” is used in Heb 4:9,
rv, “a sabbath rest,” kjv marg., “a keeping of a sabbath” (akin to
sabbatizo, “to keep the Sabbath,” used, e.g., in Ex 16:30, not in the NT);
here the sabbath-keeping is the perpetual sabbath “rest” to be enjoyed
uninterruptedly by believers in their fellowship with the Father and the
Son, in contrast to the weekly Sabbath under the Law. Because this sabbath
“rest” is the “rest” of God Himself, He 4:10, its full fruition is yet
future, though believers now enter into it. In whatever way they enter into
divine “rest,” that which they enjoy is involved in an indissoluble relation
with God. (Vine's
Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)
Vine in his collected writings adds this note...
There remains therefore a sabbath rest [a sabbatismos, or
sabbath-keeping] for the people of God.—no sooner had His handiwork been
marred by sin than God began to work with a view to man’s redemption and to
the restoration of the enjoyment of the rest of communion with Him. Hence
all the pre-figurative sacrifices and types and shadows in the Old
Testament. The work of redemption having been accomplished on the Cross, God
raised Him from the dead, seated Him at His right hand and rested once more.
Man was now called not to keep a seventh-day rest,
appertaining to the old creation,
but an abiding rest in Christ.
In Him God rests eternally. The believer is called to apprehend what it
means to enjoy His rest; and this as against the world, the flesh and the
This is granted not one day in the week,
but a sabbatismos,
a sabbath-keeping all the days of the year.
This word sabbatismos has a Greek suffix added to a Hebrew word. This
is used instead of katapausis (as in He 3:11, 18; 4:1, 3, 5, 10, 11), a
...As has been pointed out, our sabbath in this day of the indwelling Holy
Spirit and His ministry, is not one day in the week; “there remains
[i.e., abides continually] a sabbath rest [a sabbatismos, a sabbath-keeping]
for the people of God.” Our rest is in the living and glorified Christ on
the ground of His finished work at Calvary.
This rest does not depend on special days,
it is not intermittent.
If kept uninterruptedly as God designs it for us, then our delight is in the
Lord and we may enjoy constant fellowship with Him. We are ever to refrain
from doing our pleasure, pursuing our own ways and engaging in any business
as if it was our own. If we do so we cannot enjoy the privilege of rest in
Christ. We are ever to abstain from useless talk of the lips, which “tendeth
only to penury” (Prov. 14:23).
W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson
The Messianic Jewish writer
describes sabbatismos as...
the ideal rest. It is provided by God. It
is available today and the readers of Hebrews can attain it by faith. It
means reaching a definite stage of attainment after satisfactorily
fulfilling God’s purpose for their life. God finished His work and He
entered into Sabbath Rest. Sabbath Rest is a type of spiritual maturity. It
was destined primarily for Israel in Ex 20:8, 9, 10, 11. Its symbolic
meaning is that it remains for the true believer, both Jew and Gentile. This
is a promise of rest available for every believer. If a believer persists in
his faith, he will reach a level of spiritual maturity when he ceases to
constantly struggle over the basics of the spiritual life. (The Messianic
Jewish Epistles : Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter, Jude)
Thayer writes that sabbatismos refers to...
the blessed rest from toils and troubles looked for in the age to come by
the true worshippers of God and true Christians
Marvin Vincent writes that ...
The sin and unbelief of Israel were incompatible with that (sabbatismos)
rest. It must remain unappropriated until harmony with God is restored. The
Sabbath-rest is the consummation of the new creation in Christ (Ed:
Which will not be fully consummated until we enter into the state of
glorification and into the presence of the very one Who Himself is the
Source and Essence of Rest!), through whose priestly mediation
reconciliation with God will come to pass.
is used here to indicate the perpetual Sabbath rest to be enjoyed
uninterruptedly by believers in their fellowship with the Father and the Son
under the New Covenant in contrast to the weekly Sabbath under the Old
Covenant of the Law. In this verse the writer is referring to a divine rest
into which the believers enter in their relationship with God not just in
eternity future but (in my opinion) also in the here and now while still on earth
(albeit our spiritual rest will not be perfected until we reach glory in the
presence of God).
Hagner notes that...
The rare Greek word for Sabbath-rest in this verse (sabbatismos) is
deliberately used by the author in place of the word for “rest” used
previously in his argument (katapausis) in order to emphasize that the rest
of which he has been speaking is of an eschatological order-indeed, of the
order of God’s own sabbath-rest. God’s sabbath-rest thus becomes a symbol
for our rest. (New International biblical commentary: Hebrews)
The author of Hebrews admonishes Jewish Christians to enter God’s “rest”
(Heb 3–4). The author infers from Scripture and Israel’s history that “there
remains a sabbath rest [sabbatismos] for the people of God” (Heb
The reference here is not to weekly Sabbaths or to any particular holy
day, but to the eschatological fulfillment of God’s will.
At this time all believers will enter God’s rest, or sabbath. (Dictionary of
New Testament Background : A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical
Walter Elwell writes that..
he author speaks of a Sabbath rest (Gk. sabbatismos) again to connect the
rest that the believer will obtain with the rest of God (He 4:4; Ge 2:2, 3).
It refers not to the weekly Sabbath but to eternal salvation as different
from and following upon this life of work. It should not be thought that
this rest is inactivity, however, for God’s rest is not (Jn 5:17). Again,
note the author’s characteristic emphasis on the futurity of salvation.
(Evangelical Commentary on the Bible)
The renowned Jewish author Alfred Edersheim in discussion of the
feast in Jerusalem in John 5 has this note that relates to the accurate
interpretation of sabbatismos...
While they (the Jews) were discussing the niceties of what constituted
labour on a Sabbath, such as what infringed its sacred rest or what
constituted a burden, multitudes of them who laboured and were heavy laden
were left to perish in their ignorance.
That was the Sabbath, and the God of the Sabbath of Pharisaism; this the
rest, the enlightenment, the hope for them who laboured and were heavy
laden, and who longed and knew not where to find the
Nay, if the Christ had not been the very opposite of all that Pharisaism
sought, He would not have been the Orient Sun of the Eternal Sabbath. But
the God Who ever worked in love, Whose rest was to give rest, Whose Sabbath
to remove burdens, was His Father. He knew Him; He saw His working; He was
in fellowship of love, of work, of power with Him. He had come to loose
every yoke, to give life, to bring life, to be life—because He had life:
life in its fullest sense. For, contact with Him, whatever it may be, gives
life: to the diseased, health; to the spiritually dead, the life of the
soul; to the dead in their graves, the life of resurrection. And all this
was the meaning of Holy Scripture, when it pointed forward to the Lord’s
Anointed; and all this was not merely His own, but the Father’s Will—the
Mission which He had given Him, the Work which He had sent Him to do. (Life
and Times of Jesus the Messiah Christian Classics Ethereal Library)
"A REDEMPTIVE REST"
Unger commenting on Hebrews 4:9,10 writes that...
Redemptive rest is available for God’s people. These verses refer to the
rest called sabbath-keeping (sabbatismos, ‘a state of rest from
labor’) which involves the believer’s resting completely in a perfect work
of redemption (Heb 4:3,4) as God rested from a perfect work of creation, Heb
4:10. This rest of redemption reposes wholly in the work of the
Cross, and ceases from all self-effort, human merit or legalistic claim as a
means either to salvation or sanctification, 10 (cf. Ep 2:8, 9, 10). It
projects the victory of faith in conquest over spiritual enemies (the world,
the flesh and the devil). (The new Unger's Bible handbook)
Donald Guthrie comments that...
The description of the rest as a sabbath rest is important because it
introduces a word (sabbatismos) which occurs nowhere else. It may have been
coined by this writer (so MM), for it effectively differentiates between the
spiritual kind of rest and the Canaan rest (the psalm has the word
katapausis). (Hebrews: An Introduction and Commentary)
The related word sabbaton is used in Colossians...
Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in
respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath (sabbaton) day-- things
which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to
Christ. (Col 2:16; 2:17-notes)
Jesus fulfilled the Jewish regulations and celebrations by achieving
perfectly the intentions they (and related to our present passage, the
Sabbath day in the OT) only pointed to. The Sabbath Day was like a "giant
finger" pointing to something far better. To go back to the old worn out
picture is to miss His available rest. How ironic and how tragic. The very
rest some attempt to attain by keeping legalistically the Sabbath they
actually lose because they miss God's true rest, which was not a day but a
Person, Christ Jesus! It is also relevant to note that the command to observe the Sabbath is the
only one of the Ten
Commandments not repeated after Pentecost.
The author here uses a unique word for rest (sabbatismos), translated
“Sabbath rest.” Some think that he coined the word.
It calls attention to the spiritual aspect of God’s rest. It goes beyond
observing the seventh day as holy. It goes beyond entering the physical
Promised Land. This Sabbath rest is a soul-rest.
It is what Jesus promised when He said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and
heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from
Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and You will find rest for your
souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mt. 11:28, 29, 30). (Hebrews 4:1-11 Cultural Christianity
versus Saving Faith)
rest [katapausis] in [Re
From the context this Sabbath rest
is one in which a believer can enter today (Re 14:10-note)
although obviously not as completely and fully as when we are in our future
state of glory (Re 14:13-note).
This Sabbath Rest for a believer is also described in the next verse as a
rest from one's own works. What keeps a person from entering this "Sabbath
rest"? (Re 14:11-note)
"Disobedience" (which in turn in the context is a manifestation of
unbelief - cp Hebrews 3:18, 19-note).
Hebrews anticipates an eschatological “sabbath rest” (sabbatismos) that
remains for the people of God (Heb 4:1-11). The term sabbatismos appears
nowhere else in the New Testament, and may be the writer’s own creation to
indicate the superiority of the coming rest to that of the seventh day.
Though a superior quality of rest, it is still marked chiefly by the
cessation of labor patterned after God’s rest on the seventh day.
(Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely
observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your
generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
Comment: Observe God's own interpretation of the meaning of the
Sabbath in this verse -- it is a sign. What is it a sign of? As Youngblood
writes "the sign of the Mosaic covenant is the observance and celebration of
the Sabbath day (Ex 31:13, 17)." The Sabbath marked Israel out as God’s
people. Observing the Sabbath showed that the Israelites were set apart
(i.e., holy) to God.
Ray Stedman...in his discussion of The Rest Obtained Is New-Creation
The use of the term sabbatismos (“Sabbath-rest”) suggests that the
weekly sabbath given to Israel is only a shadow of the true rest of God.
Paul also declares in Colossians 2:16–17 where he lumps religious festivals,
New Moon celebrations and sabbath days together as “a shadow of the things
that were to come, the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
Thus rest has
three meanings: (1) the Promised Land; (2) the weekly sabbath; and (3) that
which these two prefigure, that cessation from labor which God enjoys and
which he invites believers to share.
This third rest not only describes the introduction of believers into
eternal life, but also depicts the process by which we will continue to work
and live, namely, dependence on God to be at work through us. “It is God who
works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil 2:13-note).
This is in many ways the lost secret of Christianity. Along with seeking to
do things for God, we are also encouraged to expect God to be at work
through us. It is the key to the apostle’s labors: “I can do everything
through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13-note).
Also, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ
lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20-note).
Note, “I no longer live”—that is, I do not look for any achievement by my
own efforts. Rather “Christ lives in me” and the life I live and the things
that I do are “by faith”—that is, done in dependence on the Son of God
working in and through me.
This makes clear that truly keeping the sabbath is not observing a
special day (that is but the shadow of the real sabbath), but sabbath
keeping is achieved when the heart rests on the great promise of God to be
working through a believer in the normal affairs of living. We cannot depend
on our efforts to please God, though we do make decisions and exert efforts.
We cease from our own works and look to his working within us to achieve the
results that please him. As Jesus put it to the apostles, “Apart from me you
can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). They must learn to work, but always with the
thought that he is working with them, adding his power to their effort. That
is keeping the sabbath as it was meant to be kept!
Learning to function from a position of rest
is the way to avoid burnout in ministry or any other labor.
We are to become “colaborers with God,” to use Paul’s wonderful
phrase (cp 1Cor 15:10-note).
This does not mean that we cannot learn many helpful lessons on rest by
studying the regulations for keeping the sabbath day found in the Old
Testament. Nor that we no longer need time for quiet meditation and
cessation from physical labor.
Our bodies are yet unredeemed and need rest and restoration at frequent
intervals. But we are no longer bound by heavy limitations to keep a precise
day of the week. (Our
Pilgrim Journey and Entering God's Rest) (Bolding and color added
Dr Robert Morey discusses this passage as it relates to the argument
used by some (Seventh Day Adventists) to support the keeping of the OT
The Hebrews 4:9 Argument
In this chapter the author of Hebrews clearly states that there remains for
the Christian a Sabbath day of rest.
1. This argument’s greatest proponent was the Puritan, John Owen. But the
exegetical evidence against his Sabbatarian position is so great that no
classic commentator can be cited who agreed with his interpretation. Even
some of the Puritans, such as John Brown, rejected Owen’s interpretation.
With almost all the classic commentaries and exegetes against the
Sabbatarian position on Hebrews 4, this at once makes us suspicious of
2. A careful exegesis reveals that Hebrews 4 is teaching the exact
opposite of the Sabbatarian position. The context is clear on the
a. God’s “rest” in Hebrews 3:18 stands symbolically for the promised land.
Because of unbelief, most of the generation died in the wilderness instead
of entering His “rest” (Heb 3:16, 17, 18, 19).
b. From this Old Testament example, the author now informs his audience that
the promise of a greater “rest” stands before them (Heb 4:1a).
c. This “rest” is of such a nature that:
We can fall short of it (Heb 4:1b).
We fall short if we do not believe the Gospel (Heb 4:2).
It is entered into by faith (Heb 4:3).
d. This “rest” is now drawn from another Old Testament example: God’s
Sabbath rest (Heb 4:4).
e. The author combines God’s Sabbath rest with the “rest” of the promised
land (Heb 4:5), and states that disobedience to the Gospel hinders anyone
from entering “rest” (Heb 4:6).
f. Even now in the age of salvation, the age of “Today” (Heb 4:7; cf. 2Cor.
6:2), God calls us to enter a “rest”; a rest like God’s Sabbath rest; a rest
like that in Canaan (Heb 4:9).The only reason for putting the word “Sabbath
rest” (Greek, sabbatismos, Heb 4:9) instead of just “rest” as in the rest of
the context is that the author had just used God’s “Sabbath” as an
illustration or example.
g. The nature of the “rest” or “Sabbath rest” of Heb 4:9 is explained in Heb
Just as God ceased forever from His works, even so we are to cease from
depending upon or trying to produce works to merit salvation. The works we
produce are elsewhere called “dead works” (Heb 6:1).
Let us enter the “rest of faith” in the Gospel and persevere to the end. We
must not fall into or rest upon dead works.
The danger to which the author was addressing himself was apostasy, not
which day was to be observed by Christians. The audience was tempted to
return to Judaism, thus the author exhorts them to persevere in the faith,
and he warns them of condemnation if they become disobedient to the Gospel.
The fact that this is the theme of the entire book and the thrust of chapter
four is accepted by nearly all commentators. Why do the Sabbatarians ignore
this broader and immediate context? The emphasis in Hebrews 4 is on a future
rest that yet awaits all who persevere to the end in faith (cf. He 10:38,
39), and the author’s fear that by moving back under the Old Covenant they
would fall short of that sabbatismos.
The conclusion of the author’s argument is given in Heb 4:14, 15, 16. In
order to enter God’s rest, we must “hold firmly to the faith” (Heb 4:14) in
Christ’s meritorious priestly atonement. Therefore, let us “approach the
throne of grace with confidence” (Heb 4:16) in view of Christ’s work for us.
Conclusion - Hebrews 4 is a passage which shows that God’s Sabbath
and the Promised Land were an eschatological foreshadowing of the believer’s
rest of faith in the Gospel of salvation, accomplished by the sealing of the
New Covenant by the blood of Christ. Heb. 4:9 does not say “Sabbath day” but
rather “Sabbath-like rest” (sabbatismos). The context rules out the
Sabbatarian interpretation, because the emphasis falls not on a day to be
observed in this age, but on an eternal rest awaiting all who live by faith
until the end (cf. Heb 3:14). (The encyclopedia of practical Christianity)
Charles Simeon writes of the
glorious privileges that are entailed by the concept of rest...
have already in some respect entered into rest—
They are freed from the terrors of a guilty conscience.
They feel a delight in ordinances and Sabbaths.
Their minds are fully satisfied with the Gospel salvation.
They experience the truth of our Lord’s promise
But the rest which awaits them is far superior to that they now possess—They
will enjoy a freedom from all labours and sorrows—They are constrained to
labour as long as they are in the world. Their whole life resembles a race
or warfare. They can obtain nothing without strenuous exertions: and of
necessity they are encompassed with many sorrows. But in heaven they will
cease from their labours: nor will their happiness have any intermission
They will be exempt from all influence of sin or temptation—Sin now defiles
their very best services. Satan is also unwearied in his endeavours to
corrupt them. These are sources of much pain to them at present. But the
souls of all in heaven are made perfect: nor can any unclean thing enter
to defile them. Their triumph will be complete and ever-lasting.
They will dwell in the immediate presence of their God—Their capacity of
enjoying God will be wonderfully enlarged: they will behold him not darkly,
as now, but face to face. The Saviour’s glory will be the object of their
devoutest admiration. Their delight in him will surpass their present
conceptions. They shall know that their happiness will be eternal. Then
will every desire of their heart be fully satisfied. (Hebrews 4:9
The Rest that Remains for God's People - Online)
Sabbath rest for the people of God - Since
the Gospel is to the Jew first (this epistle addressed
primarily to Hebrew readers), this phrase refers first to the Jews who would
enter the Sabbath rest by faith. Christ Himself was the substance (He
is Lord of the Sabbath [Mt 12:8, Mk 2:28, Lk 6:5] and the ultimate place of
rest for the weary, sin sick soul = compare His invitation to "Come...find
rest for your souls." Mt 11:28, 29, 30) of the shadow
(the Sabbath day) (see Col 2:16, 17-note,
How tragic that most of the Jews (and most Gentiles) fail to enter the
"strait (small) gate" (cp Jn 10:9, Acts 4:14, Jn 14:6, Jn 8:24) and the true
rest found only in Christ (cp Mt 7:13, 14, Lk 13:23, 24) And
thus the writer's solemn, serious warning to be diligent to enter that
rest! for once that "door" is shut there will be no second chance (cp Lk
13:25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)
Leon Morris adds that the writer...
sees the rest as for "the people of God"--an expression found elsewhere in
the NT only in He 11:25 (though 1Pe 2:10 is similar, and expressions like
"my people" occur several times). In the OT "the people of God" is the
nation of Israel, but in the NT it signifies believers. (Jews and
Gentiles) The rest the
author writes about is for such
people (Ed: I agree, but remember the writer's "target
audience" is primarily Jewish readers). Others cannot enter into it. This
is not so much on account of a law or rule denying them entrance as that
they shut themselves out by disobedience and unbelief.
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan
A Rest Remaineth for the Weary
by Johann S Kunth
rest remaineth for the weary;
Arise, sad heart, and grieve no more;
Though long the way, and dark and dreary,
It endeth on the golden shore.
Before His throne the Lamb will lead thee,
On heav’nly pastures He will feed thee,
Cast off thy burden, come with haste;
Soon will the toil and strife be ended,
The weary way which thou hast wended.
Sweet is the rest which thou shalt taste.
The Father’s house has many a dwelling,
And there will be a place for thee.
With perfect love His heart is welling
Who loved thee from eternity.
His precious blood the Lamb hath given
That thou might’st share the joys of Heaven,
And now He calleth far and near:
“Ye weary souls, cease your repining,
Come while for you My light is shining;
Come, sweetest rest awaits you here!”
O come, come all, ye weak and weary,
Ye souls bowed down with many a care;
Arise and leave your dungeons dreary
And listen to His promise fair:
“Ye bore your burdens meek and lowly,
I will fulfill My pledge most holy,
I’ll be your solace and your rest.
Ye are Mine own, I will requite you;
Though sin and Satan seek to smite you,
Rejoice! Your home is with the blest.”
There rest and peace in endless measure
Shall be ours through eternity;
No grief, no care, shall mar our pleasure,
And untold bliss our lot shall be.
Oh, had we wings to hasten yonder—
No more o’er earthly ills to ponder—
To join the glad, triumphant band!
Make haste, my soul, forget all sadness;
For peace awaits thee, joy and gladness—
The perfect rest is nigh at hand.
C H Spurgeon...
Another reason why God rested on the seventh day was, that not only was the
work finished, but all that was finished was good. We read that, at the
conclusion of his six days, work, “God saw every thing that he had made,
and, behold, it was very good,” and therefore he rested; and oh, what rest a
believer gets when he looks on the finished work of Jesus Christ, and after
examining every part of it, is able to say of it all, “It is very good.” To
see Christ’s work of covering sin, and to note how his substitutionary
sacrifice has covered it so completely that even God himself cannot see it,
is indeed “very good.” To realize that Christ has sunk our sins into
oblivion, and made them cease to be, this also is “very good.” To look at
Christ’s justifying righteousness, and to mark how perfect it is, not a
thread missing, no part of the goodly texture having a flaw in it, this too
is “very good.” To see Christ as our Prophet, Priest, and King, to view him
in all his relationships and offices, this too is “very good.”
Yes, beloved, this
is the way to get the Sabbatismos,
the true rest which remains for the people of God.
If we examine the work of Christ, both in its completeness, and in all its
details, as God the Father looked at his works, and praised them all, if we
let our judgement feel what a strong rock we have on which to build our
eternal peace, then, like the ever-blessed Jehovah himself, we shall rest,
and enter into his rest. Oh, that God would, by his grace, enable us so to
Believer's Present Rest)
><> ><> ><>
F B Meyer
- Our Daily Homily
- Devotional on Rest
Therefore I swore in My anger, Truly they shall not enter into My rest.
God’s Rest has been waiting for man’s entrance, since He rested from all the
work that He created and made. To all other days there were evening and
morning, but not to this. It does not consist in circumstances, or
conditions of existence, but in disposition. It does not lie, as sacred
poets have too often suggested, beyond the confines of this world — it is
now, and here. Canaan is not primarily a type of heaven; but of that blessed
experience which is ours when we have passed the Jordan of death to natural
impulse or selfish choice, and have elected for evermore to accept, and
delight in, the will of God.
Will you not take up this position today? Today! Oh that ye would hear his
voice! To hear his voice speaking in the heart, in circumstances, and in
nature, and to obey promptly, gladly, blithely, — this would bring the soul
into the rest that remains unexhausted for the people of God. Are you
hardening your heart against some evident duty to which you are called, but
which you are evading? Are you hardening your heart to some appeal which
comes to you through the ties of kinship and nature? Are you saying, "Can God
subdue these Canaanites", instead of "God can"? Beware, for this is the sin of Massah and Meribah, which, being interpreted, means strife. Woe to those
that strive with their Maker; let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of
the earth. (Isa 45:9KJV) (Ed: Dear reader - In this paragraph Meyer
seems to be placing the emphasis on the initial salvation experience,
whereas in the following paragraph he clearly emphasizes the process of
Every one comes in the Christian life, once at least, to Kadesh-Barnea. On
the one hand the land of rest and victory; on the other the desert wastes.
The balance, quivering between the two, is turned this way by faith; that by
unbelief. Trust God, and rest. Mistrust Him, and the door closes on rest, to
open to wanderings, failure, and defeat. (Editorial comment: But not
to loss of salvation if one is genuinely saved in the first place!) (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
><> ><> ><>
F B Meyer
- Our Daily Homily
- Devotional on Rest
As the cattle which go down into the valley,
The Spirit of the LORD gave them rest.
So didst Thou lead Thy people,
To make for Thyself a glorious name. (Isaiah 63:14)
It is the noonday glare in Palestine. The sun’s rays like spears of
flame are striking down upon the parched sand-wastes, and all the land burns
like a furnace. Away yonder is a sequestered glen, where mosses line the
margins of streamlets and pools, and rich pasture keeps green in the shadow
of the hills. Thither the cattle descend at noon. As the shadows creep down
the mountain-sides they follow them, and presently the herd browses on the
succulent herbage or reclines beneath the shadows of the spreading trees,
while the brooks purl past clear and cool. Similarly Isaiah says God brought
his people through the wilderness, leading them as a horse that might not
stumble, and finally conducted them into the rest of Canaan.
But how fit an emblem is suggested of our Father’s dealings with us.
The scorching sun of temptation shines around us. The glare of publicity,
the fever of money-making, the strife of tongues, torment the children of
men. But for God’s beloved ones there is a secret place by Him, a green and
verdant nook, watered by the river of God. Over its portals these words are
written: “I will give you rest.”
When once we learn to trust our Fathers unfailing love, we are caused to
rest. Notice that forcible expression: the Spirit of the Lord caused
them to rest. Here is anew thought of the omnipotence of love. It can so
reveal itself that it almost compels rest. Cause us to lie down, O Lord, we
pray Thee! Job speaks of Him as giving quietness: and then who can make
trouble? Seek quietness as his gift! Lo! there is a place by Him, in the
mountain-shadowed valley of his care, where disquieted souls are at peace.
Seek it! (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
><> ><> ><>
F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily - Devotional
My people have become lost sheep;
Their shepherds have led them astray.
They have made them turn aside on the mountains;
They have gone along from mountain to hill
And have forgotten their resting place. (Jer 50:6)
These words may often be said of us. A time of emergency arises; the
necessity for instant and vigorous action seems overpowering; we fail to see
what course to adopt — and immediately we get flurried and excited; we run
from one to another; we lose our sleep. All our earnest resolutions to abide
in Christ and live in his fellowship are forgotten. We have forgotten our
Or we are in the midst of a great campaign of work. From morning to
night we are plunged in a mass of calculations and activities. There is no
time to take our meals, much less to obtain opportunities for prayer and
fellowship with God. Our rooms without, our souls within, are littered with
the symptoms of the many absorbing interests which are monopolizing our
attention. We have forgotten our resting-place. Or, perhaps, it is a time of
great temptation. Hour after hour the foe returns to the attack. We have
done our best to withstand him; but have hit out without precision, have
fired at random. Again, we have forgotten our resting-place.
The place where we lie down to rest is under the shadow of the Cross.
Whilst we remain there, we are perfectly safe and blessed. Return unto thy
rest, O straying sheep! Back to the arms of Jesus, where only such frail
ones as thou art are safe.
knew a man, who had to bear a thousand crosses belonging to others, and who
grieved himself into an illness because others did not love God as He
deserves, till all at once his own foolishness and sinfulness struck him to
the heart. He could do nothing then but cast himself and them into the
endless depths of the love of God; and he ended by having rest in his heart,
and a song on his lips. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
><> ><> ><>
F B Meyer -
Sabbath rest -
There is a rest for weary souls. — God speaks of it
as His Rest. He entered it, we are told, when He had finished His work; and
beheld it to be very good; and ever since the door has been standing open
for the travel-stained, weary children of men to enter it. To every other
creation-day there were evening and morning, but not to this; it partakes of
the nature of eternity in its timeless bliss.
Let us rejoice that this rest remaineth. — Of course, the
Sabbath, which was and is a type of it, could not exhaust it. And Canaan,
with its sweet plains and cessation of the wilderness wanderings, could not
completely fulfill it; because centuries after it had been given through
Joshua, in the Psalms God spoke of yet another day, as though his rest were
The rest may be a present experience. — The word
“remains” has diverted the thoughts of commentators who have supposed it
referred to heaven. There is rest, sweet rest, there. But “remains” means
“unexhausted, unrealized, by aught which has taken place.” The rest is for
us here and now. “We which have believed do enter into rest.” Where is it?
In the bosom of Christ: “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest.” It is in ploughing the furrow of daily duty — “Take my yoke; ... and find rest.”
This rest is compatible with great activity. — He that
enters into the Divine rest is not reduced to quietism. On the seventh day
the Creator rested from creation; but He works in providence. Jesus, on the
seventh day, rested from Calvary; but He pleads in heaven. Cease from your
own works, after a similar fashion; abandon your restless planning and
striving; by the grace of the Holy Spirit better service will be produced.
(Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
><> ><> ><>
F B Meyer Devotional on Rest
Now the Lord my
God hath given me rest on
every side. (1Kings 5:4)
God is the Rest-Giver. When He surrounds us on
every side with His protecting care, so that our life resembles one of the
cities of the Netherlands in the great war— inaccessible to the foe because
surrounded by the waters of the sea, admitted through the sluice— then
neither adversary nor evil occurrence can break in, and we are kept in
perfect peace, our minds being stayed on God.
Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can enter, never traitor stand.
Have you experienced the rest which comes by putting God
round about you, on every side—like the light which burns brightly on a
windy night because surrounded by its four panes of clear glass? Ah! what a
contrast between the third (1Kings 5:3) and fourth verse: Wars on every
side; Rest on every side. And yet the two are compatible, because the wars
expend themselves on God, as the waves on the shingle; and there are far
reaches of rest within, like orchards and meadows and pasture-lands beyond
the reach of the devastating water.
Out of such rest should come the best work. We are not
surprised to find Solomon announcing his purpose to build a house unto the
name of the Lord. Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus, anointed Him. Out of
quiet hearts arise the greatest resolves; just as from the seclusion of
country hamlets have come the greatest warriors, statesmen, and patriots.
Men think, foolishly, that the active, ever-moving souls are the strongest.
It is not so, however. They expend themselves before the day of trial comes.
Give me those who have the power to restrain themselves and wait; these are
they that can act with the greatest momentum in the hour of crisis. (Meyer,
F. B. Our Daily Homily)
><> ><> ><>
F B Meyer Devotional on Rest
A man of rest …
he shall build. (1Chronicles 22:9,10)
The men of rest are the builders of the most lasting
structures. Solomon builds the Temple, not David. Mary’s deed of
anointing, learned in much sitting at the Lord’s feet, fills the world with
its aroma. What is needed to make us men and women of rest?
First, a profound conviction that God is working.—
Never despair of the world, said the late Mrs. Beecher Stowe, when you
remember what God did with slavery: the best possible must happen. This
serene faith, that all things are working out for the best— the best to God,
the best to man— and that God is at the heart of all, will calm and still us
in the most feverish days. There is a strong and an experienced Hand on the
Next, an entire surrender to His will.— God’s will
is certain to mean the destruction of the flesh, in whatever form He finds
it; but it is our part to yield to Him; to will His will even to the cross;
to follow our leader Christ in this, that He yielded Himself without reserve
to execute His Father’s purpose.
Thirdly, a certain knowledge that He is working within
to will and do of His good pleasure.— What a blessed peace possesses us
when once we realize that we are not called on to originate or initiate, nor
to make great far-reaching plans and try to execute them; but just to
believe that God is prepared to work through our hands, speak by our life,
dwell in our bodies, and fulfill in us the good purposes of His will. Be
full of God’s rest. Let there be no burry, precipitation, or fret; yield to
God’s hands, that He may mould thee: hush thy quickly throbbing pulse! So
shalt thou build to good and lasting purpose. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily
><> ><> ><>
has a devotional entitled
Work Is Done
Rest in Him
provided a Sabbath, and some must enter into it. Those to whom it was first
preached entered not in because of unbelief; therefore, that Sabbath remains
for the people of God. David sang of it; but he had to touch the minor key,
for Israel refused the rest of God. Joshua could not give it, nor Canaan
yield it: it remains for believers.
Come, then, let us labor to enter into this rest. Let us
quit the weary toil of sin and self. Let us cease from all confidence, even
in those works of which it might be said “They are very good.” Have we any
such? Still, let us cease from our own works, as God did from His. Now let
us find solace in the finished work of our Lord Jesus. Everything is fully
done: justice demands no more. Great peace is our portion in Christ Jesus.
As to providential matters, the work of grace in the
soul, and the work of the Lord in the souls of others, let us cast these
burdens upon the Lord and rest in Him. When the Lord gives us a yoke to
bear, He does so that by taking it up we may find rest. By faith we labor to
enter into the rest of God, and we renounce all rest in self-satisfaction or
indolence. Jesus Himself is perfect rest, and we are filled to the brim in
Him. (Spurgeon, C. Faith's Checkbook)
><> ><> ><>
Morning and evening: Daily
readings (January 18 AM) by C H Spurgeon - How different will be the state of the believer in heaven
from what it is here! Here he is born to toil and suffer weariness, but in
the land of the immortal, fatigue is never known. Anxious to serve his
Master, he finds his strength unequal to his zeal: his constant cry is,
“Help me to serve thee, O my God.” If he be thoroughly active, he will have
much labour; not too much for his will, but more than enough for his power,
so that he will cry out, “I am not wearied of the labour, but I am wearied
in it.” Ah! Christian, the hot day of weariness lasts not for ever; the sun
is nearing the horizon; it shall rise again with a brighter day than thou
hast ever seen upon a land where they serve God day and night, and yet rest
from their labours. Here, rest is but partial, there, it is perfect. Here,
the Christian is always unsettled; he feels that he has not yet attained.
There, all are at rest; they have attained the summit of the mountain; they
have ascended to the bosom of their God. Higher they cannot go.
Ah, toil-worn labourer, only think when thou shalt rest
for ever! Canst thou conceive it? It is a rest eternal; a rest that “remaineth.”
Here, my best joys bear “mortal” on their brow; my fair flowers fade; my
dainty cups are drained to dregs; my sweetest birds fall before Death’s
arrows; my most pleasant days are shadowed into nights; and the flood-tides
of my bliss subside into ebbs of sorrow; but there, everything is immortal;
the harp abides unrusted, the crown unwithered, the eye undimmed, the voice
unfaltering, the heart unwavering, and the immortal being is wholly absorbed
in infinite delight. Happy day! happy! when mortality shall be swallowed up
of life, and the Eternal Sabbath shall begin. (Spurgeon, C. H.)
><> ><> ><>
Henry Bosch tells the following
story entitled "Oh Rest in the Lord" - Years ago
the English steamer Stella was wrecked on a rocky coast. Twelve women put
into a lifeboat, but the boisterous sea immediately carried it away. Having
no oars, they were at the mercy of the winds and the waves, and they spent a
fearful night being tossed about by the raging tempest.
They probably would have lost hope if it had not been for
the spiritual stamina of one of the ladies, Margaret Williams, who was
well-known for her work in sacred oratorios. Calmly she prayed aloud for
Divine protection. Then, urging her companions to put their trust in the
Lord, she encouraged them by singing hymns of comfort.
Throughout the dark hours her voice rang out across the
water. Early the next morning a small craft came searching for survivors.
The man at the helm would have missed the women in the fog if he had not
heard Miss Williams singing the selection from Elijah. “Oh, rest in the
Lord, wait patiently for Him!” Steering in the direction of her strong
voice, he soon spotted the drifting lifeboat. While many others were lost
that night, these trusting few were rescued.
><> ><> ><>
Augustine in a frequently quoted
saying wrote of God that...
Thou have created us for Thyself, and our
heart cannot be stilled until it finds rest in Thee.
><> ><> ><>
Loosen the Bow -
According to a Greek legend, in ancient
Athens a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with
some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted
his time in such frivolous activity.
Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on
the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian,
"Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell
us what the unstrung bows implies."
The man looked at it for several moments
but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. Aesop explained,
"If you keep a bow always bent, it will
break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use
when you want it."
People are also like that. That's why we
all need to take time to rest. In today's Scripture, Jesus prescribed time
off for His wearied disciples after they had returned from a prolonged
period of ministry. And in the Old Testament, God set a pattern for us when
He "rested from all His work" (Genesis 2:3).
Shouldn't we take His example seriously? Start by setting aside a special
time to relax physically and renew yourself emotionally and spiritually. You
will be at your best for the Lord if you have taken time to loosen the bow.
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
><> ><> ><>
Rest is Not Cessation from Labor - A man named Frederick W. Taylor, may
provide some answers. Taylor worked for a large steel mill during the
Spanish-American War 1898.
He was an ambitious young executive and
was one of the first to apply scientific methods—as then known—to study the
productivity of manual labor. In those days there were no cranes to load
steel bars onto railroad cars. It was backbreaking manual work and, after
some experimentation, Taylor concluded that the men could do more work if
they took rest pauses at definite intervals.
He induced some of the workers to try his
new method. He offered a dollar a day more and flattered them by calling
them his “high-priced men.” Under this system, a whistle was blown after the
men had carried iron for twelve minutes. At this whistle they were to sit
down and rest. After three minutes’ rest, the whistle was blown again as a
signal for the men to resume work.
The result—the amount of iron carried
increased from 12 and a half to 47 tons a day! This seeming miracle ushered
in the era of rest pauses, the forerunner of today’s coffee breaks.
><> ><> ><>
Rest (Genesis 2:2)- IN large type
running the full length of the page were these words: Even God Took a Day
Off! The writers were referring to the seventh day of creation, when God
rested from all His labors.
The magazine advertisement stopped me short and made me think. I had never
thought of the seventh day as a "day oft" so that the Lord could get rested.
But it does underscore the work-rest principle that began in Genesis and
runs throughout the entire Bible.
In the Old Testament, Israel was commanded to honor the seventh day by not
doing any work. The Sabbath was to be a day of recovery as well as a day of
sacrifice and worship. The land was to be left idle every seventh year—a
principle modem agriculture has found to be essential for maximum yields.
And in the New Testament, we read that the Lord Jesus led His disciples to a
quiet place after a prolonged preaching tour so they could rest (Mark 6:31).
This new insight caused me take a look at my own schedule and make some
adjustments. When our calendars are crammed with activities, and especially
when Sundays are the most hectic of all, we need to slow down and take time
to rest. The Bible calls for it, and our bodies and emotions desperately
need it. Think of it this way: If it was important for God to do, how much
more so for us?—D C Egner
><> ><> ><>
F B Meyer
The Way Into the Holiest
discusses "The Gospel of Rest"...
THE keynote of this chapter is Rest. In
the second verse it is spoken of as a gospel, or good news. And is there any
gospel that more needs preaching in these busy, weary days, through which
our age is rushing to its close, than the Gospel of Rest? On all hands we
hear of strong and useful workers stricken down in early life by the
exhausting effects of mental toil. The tender brain tissues were never made
to sustain the tremendous wear and tear of our times. There is no machinery
in human nature to repair swiftly enough the waste of nervous energy which
is continually going on. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that the
symptoms of brain tiredness are becoming familiar to many workers, acting as
warning signals, which, if not immediately attended to, are followed by some
terrible collapse of mind or body, or both.
And yet it is not altogether that we work so much harder than our
forefathers; but that there is so much more fret and chafe and worry in our
lives. Competition is closer. Population is more crowded. Brains are keener
and swifter in their motion. The resources of ingenuity and inventiveness,
of creation and production, are more severely and constantly taxed. And the
age seem's so merciless and selfish. If the lonely spirit trips and falls,
it is trodden down in the great onward rush, or left behind to its fate; and
the dread of the swoop of the vultures, with rustling wings, from unknown
heights upon us as their prey, fills us with an anguish which we know by the
familiar name of care. We could better stand the strain of work if only we
had rest from worry, from anxiety, and from the fret of the troubled sea
that cannot rest, as it moans around us, with its yeasty waves, hungry to
devour. Is such a rest possible?
This chapter states that such a rest is possible. "Let us labor therefore to
enter into that rest." Rest? What rest? His rest, says the first verse; my
rest, says the third verse; God's rest, says the fourth verse. And this last
verse is a quotation from the earliest page of the Bible, which tells how
God rested from all the work that he had made. And as we turn to that
marvelous apocalypse of the past, which in so many respects answers to the
apocalypse of the future given us by the Apostle John, we find that, whereas
we are expressly told of the evening and morning of each of the other days
of creation, there is no reference to the dawn or close of God's rest-day;
and we are left to infer that it is impervious to time, independent of
duration, unlimited, and eternal; that the ages of human story are but hours
in the rest-day of Jehovah; and that, in point of fact, we spend our years
in the Sabbath-keeping of God. But, better than all, it would appear that we
are invited to enter into it and share it; as a child living by the placid
waters of a vast fresh water lake may dip into them its cup, and drink and
drink again, without making any appreciable diminution of its volume or
ripple on its expanse.
What is meant by God resting? Surely not the rest of weariness! "He fainteth
not, neither is weary." Though he had spread forth the heavens, and laid the
foundations of the earth, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills
in a balance, and had invented ten thousand differing forms of being, yet
his inventiveness was as fresh, his energy as vigorous as ever. Surely not
the rest of inactivity. "My Father worketh hitherto," said our Lord. "In him
we live, and move, and have our being." True, he is not now sending forth,
so far as we know, suns, or systems, or fresh types of being. But his power
is ever at work, repairing, renewing, and sustaining the fabric of the vast
machinery of the universe. No sparrow falls to the ground without him. The
cry of the young lion and the lowing of the oxen in the pastures attract his
instant regard. "In him all things consist." It was the rest of a finished
work. He girded himself to the specific work of creation, and summoned into
being all that is; and when it was finished he said it was very good: and at
once he rested from all his work which he had created and made. It was the
rest of divine complacency, of infinite satisfaction, of perfect content. It
was equivalent to saying, "This creation of mine is all that I meant it to
be, finished and perfect. I am perfectly satisfied; there is nothing more to
be done; it is all very good."
This, then, is the rest which we are invited to share. We are not summoned
to the heavy slumber which follows over-taxing toil, nor to inaction or
indolence; but to the rest which is possible amid swift activity and
strenuous work; to perfect equilibrium between the outgoings and incomings
of the life; to a contented heart; to peace that passeth all understanding;
to the repose of the will in the will of God; and to the calm of the depths
of the nature which are undisturbed by the hurricanes which sweep the
surface, and urge forward the mighty waves. This rest is holding out both
its hands to the weary souls of men throughout the ages, offering its
shelter as a harbor from the storms of life.
But is it certain that this rest has not already been entered and exhausted
by the children of men? That question is fully examined and answered in this
wonderful paragraph. The Sabbath did not realize that rest (Heb 4:3). We
cannot prize its ministry too highly. Its law is written, not only in
Scripture, but in the nature of man. The godless band of French
Revolutionists found that they could not supersede the week by the decade,
the one-day-in-seven by the one-day in-ten. Like a ministering angel it
relieves the monotony of labor, and hushes the ponderous machinery of life,
and weaves its spell of rest; but it is too fitful and transient to realize
the rest of God. It may typify it, but it cannot exhaust it. Indeed, it was
broken by man's rebellion as soon as God had sanctified and hallowed it.
Canaan did not realize that rest (ver. 8). The Land of Promise was a great
relief to the marchings and privations of the desert. But it was constantly
interrupted, and at last, in the Captivity, broken up; as the forms of the
mountains in the lake by a shower of hail. Besides, in the Book of Psalms,
written four hundred years after Joshua had led Israel across the Jordan,
The Holy Spirit, speaking by David, points onward to a rest still future
(Psalm 95:7). Surely, then, if neither of these events has realized the rest
of God, it remains still, waiting for us and all the people of God. "There
remaineth, therefore," unexhausted and unrealized, "a Sabbath-keeping to the
people of God."
And there is yet a further reason for this conviction of God's unexhausted
rest. Jesus, our Forerunner and Representative, has entered into it for us.
See what verse 10 affirms: "He that is entered into his rest; " and who can
he be but our great Joshua, Jehovah-Jesus? He also has ceased from his own
work of redemption, as God did from his of creation. After the creative act,
there came the Sabbath, when God ceased from his work, and pronounced it
very good; so, after the redemptive act, there came the Sabbath to the
Redeemer. He lay, during the seventh day, in the grave of Joseph, not
because he was exhausted or inactive, but because redemption was finished,
and there was no more for him to do. He sat down at the right hand of the
Majesty on High; and that majestic session is a symptom neither of fatigue
nor of indolence. He ever liveth to make intercession; he works with his
servants, confirming their words with signs; he walks amid the seven golden
candlesticks. And yet he rests as a man may rest who has arisen from his
ordinary life to effect some great deed of emancipation and deliverance;
but, having accomplished it, returns again to the ordinary routine of his
former life, glad and satisfied in his heart. Nor is this rest for Christ
alone; but for us also, who are forever identified with him in his glorious
life. We have been raised up together with him in the mind and purpose of
God, and have been made to sit with him in the heavenlies; so that in Jesus
we have already entered into the rest of God, and have simply to appropriate
it by a living faith.
How, then, may we practically realize and enjoy the rest of God ?-( 1) We
must will the will of God. So long as the will of God, whether in the Bible
or in providence, is going in one direction and our will in another, rest is
impossible. Can there be rest in an earthly household when the children are
ever chafing against the regulations and control of their parents? How much
less can we be at rest if we harbor an incessant spirit of insubordination
and questioning, contradicting and resisting the will of God! That will must
be done on earth as it is in heaven. None can stay his hand, or say, What
dost thou? It will be done with us, or in spite of us. If we resist it, the
yoke against which we rebel will only rub a sore place on our skin; but we
must still carry it. How much wiser, then, meekly to yield to it, and submit
ourselves under the mighty hand of God, saying, "Not my will, but thine be
done!" The man who has learned the secret of Christ, in saying a perpetual "Yes" to
the will of God; whose life is a strain of rich music to the theme, "Even
so, Father"; whose will follows the current of the will of God, as the smoke
from our chimneys permits itself to be wafted by the winds of autumn, that
man will find rest unto his soul.
We must accept the finished work of Christ. He has ceased from the work of
our redemption, because there was no more to do. Our sins and the sins of
the world were put away. The power of the adversary was annulled. The gate
of heaven was opened to all that believe. All was finished, and was very
good. Let us, then, cease from our works. Let us no longer feel as if we
have to do aught, by our tears or prayers or works, to make ourselves
acceptable to God. Why should we try to add one stitch to a finished
garment, or append one stroke to the signed and sealed warrant of pardon
placed within our hands? We need have no anxiety as to the completeness or
sufficiency of a divinely finished thing. Let us quiet our fears by
considering that what satisfies Christ, our Saviour and Head, may well
satisfy us. Let us dare to stand without a qualm in God's presence, by
virtue of the glorious and completed sacrifice of Calvary. Let us silence
every tremor of unrest by recalling the dying cry on the cross, and the
witness of the empty grave.
We must trust our Father's care. "Casting all your care upon him, for he
careth for you." Sometimes like a wild deluge, sweeping all before it, and
sometimes like the continual dropping of water, so does care mar our peace.
That we shall some day fall by the hand of Saul; that we shall be left to
starve or pine away our days in a respectable workhouse; that we shall never
be able to get through the difficulties of the coming days or weeks;
household cares, family cares, business cares; cares about servants,
children, money; crushing cares, and cares that buzz around the soul like a
swarm of gnats on a summer's day, what rest can there be for a soul thus
beset? But, when we once learn to live by faith, believing that our Father
loves us, and will not forget or forsake us, but is pledged to supply all
our needs; when we acquire the holy habit of talking to him about all, and
handing over all to him, at the moment that the tiniest shadow is cast upon
the soul; when we accept insult and annoyance and interruption, coming to us
from whatever quarter, as being his permission, and, therefore, as part of
his dear will for us, then we have learned the secret of the Gospel of Rest.
We must follow our Shepherd's lead. " We which have believed do enter into
rest" (Heb 4:3). The way is dark; the mountain track is often hidden from
our sight by the heavy mists that hang over hill and fell; we can hardly
discern a step in front. But our divine Guide knows. He who trod earth's
pathways is going unseen at our side. The shield of his environing
protection is all around; and his voice, in its clear, sweet accents, is
whispering peace. Why should we fear? He who touches us, touches his bride,
his purchased possession, the apple of his eye. We may, therefore, trust and
not be afraid. Though the mountains should depart, or the hills be removed,
yet will his loving kindness not depart from us, neither will the covenant
of his peace be removed. And amid the storm, and darkness, and the onsets of
our foes, we shall hear him soothing us with the sweet refrain of his own
lullaby of rest: "My peace I give unto you; in the world ye shall have
tribulation, but in me ye shall have peace."