October 30th Hebrews 4
1: Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2: For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3: For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4: For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5: And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6: Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7: Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8: For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10: For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 12: For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13: Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Superior to the old Priesthood
14: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15: For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Even now we see that this letter is not written to Christians as the other letters are but to Hebrews who have heard of Christ, saw his Messianic signs - heard the Apostles, yet they still teeter on the brink of rebellion as the generation did in the wilderness. It’s interesting that the Children of Israel marched for 40 years in the desert and the gospel of repentance went out for 40 years starting with the preaching of John and finishing at the judgement of God in AD70. The writer to the Hebrews says let us have a godly fear that leads to repentance, because if not, then the promise of entering into the rest (of the Kingdom) some of you will miss. The gospel was preached to us as well as Israel in the wilderness but the gospel had no effect on them because it was not joined to faith in those who heard it. Those of us who do believe in Christ do enter into rest. God has sworn an oath that they will never enter into the rest. (This explains the significance of Christ’s call on the last great day of the feast when he said, ‘Come unto me all you that labour and are heavy laden l and l will give you rest.) This was established before the foundation of the world. God said that He rested on the seventh day from all his works. Their must be some remaining that will enter into the rest And we know that those who first heard this call did not enter into the rest because of unbelief. David said, Today, after such a long time - today, If you will hear his voice do not harden your hearts. (We see the significance of Christ’s words to Israel after the Parable of the Sower. He that has ears let him hear) If Jesus had given them rest then there would be no need to say that there will come a day when they will enter rest. However there still today remains a rest for the children of Israel. The man who rests ceases to work, as God rested from his work. So then, you Hebrews, says the writer, work hard to enter into the rest that Christ gives and do not fall away like your fathers in the wilderness did. The Message of God is alive and mighty making itself known in the world and able to cut both to save and to destroy and cutting through to the your innermost being. It is able to judge the thoughts and motives of the mind. There is no creature on the earth that is not made clear to his sight. Everything is naked and open to the eyes of the God, who we are to obliged to obey. Our Great High Priest has passed into the heavens (The writer contrasts Christ to the Old Levitical Priests.) Christ is our ideal priest. He is the Saviour - the Son of God. So let us hold on to our confession of Jesus as the Messiah. Our High Priest is touched by the feelings of our weaknesses. He has stood where we stood. And he was tempted in all the ways that we are tempted yet he did not sin. So let us draw near with courage to the throne of grace that we may obtain restraint in the judgment of God and find overflowing kindness to us the undeserved to help us in times of need.
- What does the writer say that those who are the readers might fail to do?
- What is 'The Rest' that the writer is constantly referring to?
- What does the writer mean by 'labour to enter into this rest'?