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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Hebrews 4

Verses 1-11

Applying the Story of the Wilderness Journey to the Christian Faith Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 offers a doctrinal discourse to support his claim that Jesus Christ is the Apostle and High Priest of this heavenly calling. He provides the readers with a sobering example of the children of Israel who fell in the wilderness and later never entered into its true rest with Joshua, all because of disobedience. In this passage of Scripture the author warns his readers not to miss their opportunity to enter into rest as Israel missed theirs under the ministries of Moses and Joshua (Jeremiah 31:2). God provided Joshua as a type of “saviour” who failed to lead Israel into their rest, and He has provided Jesus Christ as our Saviour to bring us into our eternal rest.

Jeremiah 31:2, “Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.”

The Unbelief of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness - The major event referred to in Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 is found in Numbers 14:1-35, at the peak of Israel’s rebellion, where they tempted the Lord by wanting to turn back to Egypt and stoning Moses for telling them not to rebel. It is at this point that the Lord decided to destroy the entire congregation and begin anew with Moses; but the servant of God interceded in their behalf and God cancelled His wrath against them. Instead of destroying them, God swore that none of them would enter into the Promised Land.

Note that Hebrews 6:4-6 does not describe the only person that will go to hell after backsliding, because all backsliders will go to hell, but this passage describes the only type of backslider who cannot repent and be restored back to God. It is a person who backslides willfully and knowingly after rising to maturity in the faith. The author has given us the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness whom God destroyed (Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:10), and he will later give us the example of Esau who found no repentance, though it sought it with tears (Hebrews 12:16-17).

Exegesis and Commentary on Psalms 95:7-11 Hebrews 3:7-11 is a quote from Psalms 95:7-11, while in Hebrews 3:12 to Hebrews 4:10 the author offers an exegesis and commentary on this Old Testament passage.

Psalms 95:7-11, “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”

Here is a summary of the author’s exegesis of Psalms 95:7-11.

Hebrews 3:12 warns the readers to not depart from God

Hebrews 3:13-15 exegetes Hebrews 3:7 b

Hebrews 3:16 exegetes Hebrews 3:8-9

Hebrews 3:17 exegetes Hebrews 3:10

Hebrews 3:18 to Hebrews 4:6 exegetes Hebrews 3:11

Hebrews 4:7-10 serves as a commentary to this exegesis

There is a progression of events in Hebrews 3:16-19. (See Numbers 14:1-35 as a reference to the events described here.)

1. They (Israel) provoked God (Hebrews 3:16).

2. God became angry (Hebrews 3:17).

3. God punished them (Hebrews 3:18).

It is important to note that the children of Israel started their journey in faith. All those who put the blood of the Passover lamb upon their doorways were spared from God’s judgment upon Egypt. This was an act of faith on each individual’s part that identified him and his family with Moses, the servant of God. This act of faith positioned them under the same blessings of Moses. The emphasis upon their lack of faith in this Epistle is in reference in their failure to persevere in their faith, not in their initial decision to believe and obey the Lord. The author of Hebrews is using this event of their failure to warn “believers” to not turn back as the Israelites did. Both began in faith, but not everyone continues in faith.

Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,

Hebrews 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Hebrews 3:8 Comments - The two phrases used in Hebrews 3:8 “in the provocation,” and “in the day of temptation in the wilderness,” probably refer to the same event recorded in Numbers 14:1-35. This is typical poetic Hebrew parallelism, in which the author states the same thought twice in two different ways.

Hebrews 3:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

Hebrews 3:9 Comments - Hebrews 3:9 probably refers to the entire forty-year period, and not just a particular incident in the wilderness, such as in:

Exodus 15:23, “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.”

Exodus 17:7, “And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?”

Numbers 14:0 and Numbers 20:2-5

Hebrews 3:10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Hebrews 3:11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Hebrews 3:11 “They shall not enter into my rest” Comments - This same Greek construction is used in Mark 8:12.

Comments The first generation of Israelites in the wilderness did not enter the Promised Land. This privilege was given to the next generation. A 40-year journey was necessary in order to eliminate the first generation of Israelites who left Egypt.

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Hebrews 3:12 Comments In Hebrews 3:12 the author begins his exegesis of Psalms 95:7-11 with a warning for his Hebrew readers not to depart from the living God. The reference to those among the believing Hebrew recipients who have “an evil heart of unbelief” cannot mean unbelievers who have joined these congregations, but have never been saved, since they would have to depart from God after having been close to Him. Hebrews 3:14 supports the view that the author is warning believers when he says shortly, “if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14); thus, the author was exhorting them all to remain steadfast in their faith and not to depart. The author is drawing an analogy from the children of Israel in the wilderness, who were all baptized unto Moses, but many of them hardened their hearts in unbelief after beginning their journey in faith by departing Egypt with Moses.

Illustrations - The examples listed in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 regarding Israel’s departure from God illustrate Hebrews 3:12 well.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:13 “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day” Comments - The word “Today” in Hebrews 3:13 refers back to the Old Testament quote in Hebrews 3:7, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,” a quote from Psalms 95:7-11. This word refers to a day of rest for God’s children (Hebrews 4:7-9).

Hebrews 4:7-9, “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. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

Hebrews 3:13 “lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” - Comments - Hebrews 3:13 warns every believer to beware lest their heart becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. We see a similar statement of such hardening in Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” We must also interpret Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:28-29 and Hebrews 12:25 as being similar statements.

The sins of Samson are a good illustration of the deceitfulness of sin. The heart is deceitful above all other things. Note:

Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

When we see the unbelief of the children of Israel (Heb. 4:19), we must check ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5), since we, too, have the capability of sinning in the same way they sinned (Hebrews 4:11).

Hebrews 3:19, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Hebrews 4:11, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Hebrews 3:14 Comments - As long as we are trusting in Jesus’ high priesthood to deal with our acts of sin and we have not forsaken our faith in Christ, then we are “partakers of Christ,” sharing in manifold spiritual blessings; but this position of grace is conditional to our confidence and trust in Him being steadfast in our heart and lives until the end (of the day), or when our life on this earth ends. A person’s confidence is an attitude of the heart, which has placed its trust in something. Within the context of this passage of Scripture, our confidence is in the redemptive work of Christ Jesus on Calvary.

Hebrews 3:15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Hebrews 3:13-15 Comments Exegesis of Hebrews 3:7 b - Hebrews 3:13 serves as an exegesis of Hebrews 3:7 b, “To day if ye will hear his voice.” The word “Today” refers to a day of rest for God’s children (Hebrews 4:7-9).

Hebrews 3:16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

Hebrews 3:16 Comments In Hebrews 3:16 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:8-9 regarding Israel’s rebellion, “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.” As some believers heard the Gospel preached to them and let it slip past them with neglect (Hebrews 2:1-4), so did many of the children of Israel fall away from the words of Moses through neglect.

Hebrews 3:17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

Hebrews 3:17 “was it not with them that had sinned” - Comments - From Numbers 14:29, it seems to be that the men who were twenty years old and above were responsible for sin in the congregation.

Numbers 14:29, “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,”

The women and children were not directly in sin, although they shared in the punishment of these sins.

“whose carcases fell in the wilderness” - Comments The first generation of Israelites died in the wilderness because God swore in His wrath that they would not enter the Promised Land.

Hebrews 3:17 Comments In Hebrews 3:17 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:10, “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.”

Hebrews 3:16-17 Comments The Contrast Between Those Who Came Out With Moses and Those who Died in the Wilderness Hebrews 3:16-17 makes a contrast between the fact that these Israelites came out of Egypt with signs and wonders and with the faithful words of Moses, the servant of God, and between the fact that they dies in the wilderness because of their sins. This contrast is clearly stated in Hebrews 4:1-2.

Hebrews 3:18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

Hebrews 3:18 Comments In Hebrews 3:18 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:11, “So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.”

Hebrews 3:18 Scripture Reference We find this oath from the Lord recorded in Numbers 14:28-30.

Numbers 14:28-30, “Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.”

Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebrews 3:19 Comments Hebrews 3:19 serves as a conclusion to his exegesis of Psalms 95:7-11. The children of Israel did not enter into the Promise Land and find rest because they refused to trust and obey the Lord by following Moses their leader. God has always required faith in the heart of man (Luke 18:8). Without faith, a person cannot please God (Numbers 14:11, Hebrews 11:6). The children of Israel withdrew their confidence in the Lord’s redemptive work for them in the wilderness.

Luke 18:8, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

Numbers 14:11, “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?”

Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Scripture References - Note other references to unbelief:

Matthew 13:58, “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

Matthew 17:20-21, “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Mark 6:6, “And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.”

Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

John 16:9, “Of sin, because they believe not on me;”

Romans 3:3-4, “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”

Romans 11:20, “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:”

Romans 11:23, “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.”

Unbelief and disobedience are closely related.

Hebrews 4:6, “Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:”

Hebrews 4:11, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

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.

Hebrews 4:1 “Let us therefore fear” Scripture Reference - Note:

Romans 11:20, “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:”

Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Hebrews 4:1 “lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest” Comments - While walking in this rest of God, we can still have occasions where we are troubled in our spirit. Note:

2 Corinthians 2:13, “I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.”

2 Corinthians 7:5, “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.”

Hebrews 4:1 “any of you should seem to come short of it” - Comments - Many, today, try to find rest by seeking comfortable homes, jobs, financial securities, retirement benefits, etc. Illustration:

Luke 12:19, “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease , eat, drink, and be merry.”

Hebrews 4:1 Comments - The children of Israel who failed to enter into rest were those whose carcasses fell in the wilderness. We are to follow the example of God’s original intent for them. That is, God did not intend for them to spend forty years in the wilderness. However, God wants us to avoid that, and march right on to the Promised Land by faith. The forty years in the wilderness is not a type of God’s will for us today, even though some Christians have chosen that for their lives. God’s will for you is to go in possess the land of promise.

Hebrews 4:1 Comments: The Call to Enter into Rest - A key word in Hebrews 4:1-10 is “rest.” It is used a total of nine times, six times as a noun and three times as a verb in Hebrews 4:1-11.

Hebrews 4:2 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.

Hebrews 4:2 “but the word preached” Comments - The Greek text literally reads, “the word of hearing.” This phrase reminds us of Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Hebrews 4:2 “did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” Comments - Why did this preaching not profit the children of Israel in the wilderness: because they were not obedient to the commands of God. In other words, they did not mix faith with hearing. Note:

Romans 2:13, “(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Hebrews 4:3 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.

Hebrews 4:3 “For we which have believed do enter into rest” Comments - Kenneth Hagin says that when you trust God with all of your heart, a quietness and a peace comes into your spirit. “Our hearts takes courage as we read the Word. As we meditate in God’s Word, our assurance becomes deeper. This assurance in our spirit is independent of our human reasoning or human knowledge. It may contradict human reasoning. It even may contradict physical evidence. Believing God with the heart means to believe apart from your body or your mind.” [205] So, we are, as believers, presently entering into and living in God’s rest right now.

[205] Kenneth Hagin, “Ten Times Better,” The Word Of Faith Magazine, 20 February 2003.

Scripture Reference - Note a similar verse:

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Hebrews 4:3 “as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest” Comments - BDAG says that this is a Hebraistic used in oaths, so a strong negative “certainly not” should be used here in translating (see εἰ IV). Example, “if they do enter in, then...” The apodosis is left out of this conditional sentence. [206] For this reason, the NASB, NIV, and RSV omit “if” and translates this passage as a quote with “not,” although the KJV and YLT keep its literal translation.

[206] See also A.T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, c1934, 1994), 1023-24.

ASV, “ They shall not enter into my rest.”

NIV, “They shall never enter my rest.”

RSV, “ They shall never enter my rest.”

Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Hebrews 4:3 quotes from Psalms 95:11, “Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”

Hebrews 4:3 “although the works were finished from the foundation of the world” Comments - Even though the work was ended, Israel did not enter into its rest.

Scripture References - Note similar verses about God’s works being finished from the foundation of the world:

Revelation 13:8, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world .”

Revelation 17:8, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world , when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

Hebrews 4:4-9 God’s Seventh-Day Rest - Hebrews 4:4-9 explains why the quote in Hebrews 4:3 means that we have a rest for believers.

Hebrews 4:4 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.

Hebrews 4:4 “For he spake in a certain place” Comments - That is, “he spoke somewhere in the Old Testament.” The author of Hebrews refers to Old Testament passages a number of times in this epistle as “a certain place” (Hebrews 2:6; Hebrews 4:4) or “another place” (Hebrews 5:6) or “in this (place) again” (Hebrews 4:5). This is because there were no chapter or verse divisions during the first centuries of the Church, which were a later addition to the Holy Bible. Therefore, the author of Hebrews refers to these passages without a reference.

Hebrews 4:4 “of the seventh day on this wise” Comments - That is, he spoke “concerning the seventh day in this way, or thus.”

Hebrews 4:4 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Hebrews 4:4 is a quote from Genesis 2:2.

Genesis 2:2, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”

God’s seventh-day rest is also mentioned in:

Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Exodus 31:17, “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

Hebrews 4:5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

Hebrews 4:5 “And in this place again” Comments - That is, he refers to the passage he just quoted in Hebrews 4:3. He quotes Psalms 95:11 again, “Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” Thus, “again.” This is a re-quote from a part of the quote in Hebrews 4:3 in order to emphasize the fact that God has provided mankind with a place of rest since the time of creation, but Israel did not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

Hebrews 4:6 “therefore” - Comments - Or, “because.” This is the reason why Hebrews 4:7 comes in.

Hebrews 4:7 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.

Hebrews 4:7 “Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David” - Comments - At Kadesh-barnea God fixed a certain day for Israel’s rest (Numbers 14:0). Now, through David in Psalms 95:7-8, God has fixed day for us, the people of God (Hebrews 4:9). In the previous quote of this passage of Psalms in Hebrews 3:7, the author of Hebrews says the Holy Spirit made this statement. Now, in Hebrews 4:7 the author says David is making this statement because he is emphasizing the second time God has ordained a rest for His people. The children of Israel failed to enter into rest under the leadership of Joshua, so now God has appointed a second day under David.

Psalms 95:7-8, “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:”

Why did God designate another day for mankind to enter into His rest: because those who were preached to the first time did not believe.

How can anyone take salvation so lightly after seeing how God has entered into rest and has fixed a day for us to enter in this rest, and after seeing so many people in unbelief, although they know God’s plan of salvation?

Hebrews 4:7 “To day, after so long a time” - Comments - From the Exodus of the children of Israel to King Solomon was 480 years (1 Kings 6:1).

1 Kings 6:1, “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.”

Hebrews 4:7 “as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” - Comments - In the book of Numbers and in the forty years in the wilderness, they did not believe God’s Word, especially God’s command to enter into rest. Jesus Christ gives the same call to us today.

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Hebrews 4:8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

Hebrews 4:8 “For if Jesus had given them rest” In the Old Testament the Hebrew name Joshua ( יְהוֹשׁוּעַ ) (H3091), means “Jehovah is salvation.” In the New Testament the Greek name Jesus (I ησοϋς ), means “Savior” (Matthew 1:21). Therefore, the Greek word for the name “Joshua” is Jesus. The name “Jesus” in this verse is a reference to Joshua. Twice in New Testament, Joshua is referred to as Jesus, both here and in Acts 7:45.

Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Acts 7:45, “Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;”

Hebrews 4:8 Comments - Moses referred to the Promised Land as Israel’s “rest” and “inheritance” (Deuteronomy 12:9-10). If Moses had led the children of Israel in the Promised Land and given the people a complete rest, there would have been no need to allow Joshua to serve as their leader. However, because of Moses’ failure in the wilderness, Joshua was raised up to bring Israel into rest through the conquest of Canaan (Deuteronomy 31:7, Joshua 22:4). However, Israel did not obtain a complete rest with Joshua, for Israel soon fell away from the Lord during the time of the judges and lost their land and their possessions. Therefore, David speaks of another rest in the book of Psalms. Also, Moses serves as a type and figure of the failure of the Law, while Joshua serves as a type and figure of Jesus Christ, who is able to bring all people into eternal rest.

Deuteronomy 12:9-10, “ For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you . But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;”

Deuteronomy 31:7, “And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.”

Joshua 22:4, “And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.”

Hebrews 4:8 Comments - Hebrews 4:8 is a contrary to fact sentence in the Greek text.

Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

Hebrews 4:9 Comments - Hebrews 4:9 gives us a conclusion to the explanation given in verses 4-8. Because the first generation of Israelites failed to enter into the Promised Land, there is a Sabbath rest that awaits the children of God. This Sabbath rest for God’s people was prophesied in the Old Testament (Isaiah 11:10, Jeremiah 6:16, Exodus 34:14-15).

Isaiah 11:10, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”

Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls . But they said, We will not walk therein.”

Ezekiel 34:14-15, “I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down , saith the Lord GOD.”

Old Testament Application - The Greek word “rest” ( σσββατισμός ) is used only one time in the New Testament. This word literally refers to a Sabbath rest, or observation, commanded by Moses under the Law (Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 31:12-17).

Exodus 20:8-11, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

New Testament Application - Just as God called Israel to a Holy Sabbath rest on the seventh day, God also calls us to cease from our work, to put off the works of the flesh and to walk in the Spirit of God. We, as Christian, do now enter into the Lord’s Sabbath every day as we walk in the Spirit. We serve Him with our spirit (Romans 1:9), and yield our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).

Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice , holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Romans 1:9, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;”

Believers still observes particular days as unto the Lord (Romans 14:5-6). Sunday is the day many Christians observe unto the Lord (John 20:19, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2, Revelation 1:10). However, we should conduct every day as the Holy Sabbath.

Romans 14:5-6, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”

John 20:19, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week , when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

Acts 20:7, “And upon the first day of the week , when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”

1 Corinthians 16:2, “ Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

Revelation 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day , and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”

Eternal Application - This word “Sabbath rest” has an eternal meaning. There will be an eternal unrest to the lost (Revelation 14:11). There will be an eternal rest to those who are saved (Revelation 14:13).

Revelation 14:11, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

Revelation 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:10 “For he that is entered into his rest” - Comments - Note these comments from Frances J. Roberts that tell us how to enter into the Sabbath rest.

“My ageless purposes are set in Eternity. Time is as a little wheel set within the big wheel of Eternity. The little wheel turneth swiftly and shall one day cease. The big wheel turneth not, but goeth straight forward. Time is thy responsibility Eternity is Mine! Ye shall move into thy place in the big wheel when the little wheel is left behind. See that now ye redeem the time, making use of it for the purposes of My eternal kingdom, thus investing it with something of quality of the big wheel. As ye do this, thy days shall not be part of that which turneth and dieth, but of that which goeth straight forward and becometh one with My great universe.

“Fill thy days with light and love and testimony. Glorify and honor My Name. Praise and delight thyself in the Lord. So shall eternity inhabit thy heart and thou shalt deliver thy soul from the bondages of time. Thou shalt experience a liberation from the pressures of time and shalt in thine own heart slow down the little wheel. So shall ye find a new kind of rest. Ye shall have a foretaste of the Sabbath rest , into which the whole earth shall enter before long. When this time comes, I Myself will slow down the little wheel of time, and there shall be an adjustment, and it shall be as it was in the beginning.

“The pressures of time have increased as sin has increased, and all too often My children have been found living more in the little wheel than in the big. This happens whenever the flesh is in ascendancy to the Spirit. Whenever the opposite is true, ye have always experienced a fleeting but glorious freedom from the racing little wheel. Is it not true? Ye have found the Spirit always unhurried, and ye have marveled to find how oblivious ye had been to the passage of time whenever ye have been truly in the Spirit.

“Ye can live here as much as ye choose. Ye can enjoy this rest and disengage thyself from the little wheel as often and as long as ye desire. Ye shall lose nothing and gain much. Try it as a therapy for thy physical body. Always it shall most certainly be a tremendous source of energy and vitality for thy spiritual life!” [207]

[207] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 31-2.

Hebrews 4:10 “he also hath ceased from his own works” - Comments - Our works are works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). The author of Hebrews will again refer to our works of the flesh in Hebrews 6:1, when he refers to the doctrine of “repentance from dead works”. As children of God we are to put these fleshly works aside and live and walk in the spirit and in holiness (Hebrews 12:14).

Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

Hebrews 4:10 “as God did from His” Comments - God set the example by entering into the first Sabbath rest (Exodus 31:17).

Exodus 31:17, “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

Hebrews 4:10 Illustration When a father prepares for his retirement from a family-owned business, he hands over its management to his son. He does so by giving this son a charge that encompasses the purpose and mission of the business. Adam, the first man, failed to faithfully execute his office as the manager of the earth that God the Father had handed to him. Thus, Adam was unable to hand this task over to his son and himself enter into rest. However, Jesus Christ was obedient to this divine commission, so that He can now bring His brethren into eternal rest. As we follow Christ in obedience, we find rest and inner peace in this life and hope of complete rest in Heaven. We have the potential to walk in a large measure of rest in this life while awaiting deliverance from our mortal bodies, from the sufferings that this world brings upon all of mankind.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:11 “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest” Comments - This may appear at first as a paradox; but, the fact is, we have to labor to gain access to our spiritual rest. We see the same wording in Hebrews 12:1 when it says, “run with patience.”

Hebrews 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

The words “labour” (Hebrews 4:11) and “run” (Hebrews 12:1) reveal that we have a purpose and course to follow in this life. It means that we must pursue this course with intensity, not becoming distracted with the cares of this world. On the other hand, the words “rest” and “patience” reveal that there is a rest in God that removes the anxiety of striving for the goals that are set before us. We are to learn to wait upon the Lord daily and become strengthened by Him; otherwise, fatigue will overcome us as we run. This is not an easy lesson in life to learn, nor an easy balance to manage.

Note that the land of Israel, in the time of Joshua and King Solomon, had rest because of the battles fought by Joshua and David.

Joshua 21:43-45, “And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about , according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”

1 Kings 8:56, “ Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel , according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.”

Hebrews 4:11 Comments - Just as Moses called Israel out from Egypt into Canaan, God is calling the believers in Hebrews 4:11 to strive to enter into that spiritual rest. We as believers have entered into this rest (Hebrews 4:3). Therefore, Hebrews 4:11 is exhorting us to maintain this position of rest in the midst of persecutions. We lose this place of rest through disobedience, as did the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Hebrews 4:3, “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.”

In Hebrews 10:32-33, we see that these Hebrews had endured afflictions and reproaches. Thus, their rest was not necessarily outward physical comforts, but an inner rest of the soul in the midst of life’s challenges.

Hebrews 10:32-33, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.”

Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls . But they said, We will not walk therein.”

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

Verses 1-11

Applying the Story of the Wilderness Journey to the Christian Faith Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 offers a doctrinal discourse to support his claim that Jesus Christ is the Apostle and High Priest of this heavenly calling. He provides the readers with a sobering example of the children of Israel who fell in the wilderness and later never entered into its true rest with Joshua, all because of disobedience. In this passage of Scripture the author warns his readers not to miss their opportunity to enter into rest as Israel missed theirs under the ministries of Moses and Joshua (Jeremiah 31:2). God provided Joshua as a type of “saviour” who failed to lead Israel into their rest, and He has provided Jesus Christ as our Saviour to bring us into our eternal rest.

Jeremiah 31:2, “Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.”

The Unbelief of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness - The major event referred to in Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 is found in Numbers 14:1-35, at the peak of Israel’s rebellion, where they tempted the Lord by wanting to turn back to Egypt and stoning Moses for telling them not to rebel. It is at this point that the Lord decided to destroy the entire congregation and begin anew with Moses; but the servant of God interceded in their behalf and God cancelled His wrath against them. Instead of destroying them, God swore that none of them would enter into the Promised Land.

Note that Hebrews 6:4-6 does not describe the only person that will go to hell after backsliding, because all backsliders will go to hell, but this passage describes the only type of backslider who cannot repent and be restored back to God. It is a person who backslides willfully and knowingly after rising to maturity in the faith. The author has given us the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness whom God destroyed (Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:10), and he will later give us the example of Esau who found no repentance, though it sought it with tears (Hebrews 12:16-17).

Exegesis and Commentary on Psalms 95:7-11 Hebrews 3:7-11 is a quote from Psalms 95:7-11, while in Hebrews 3:12 to Hebrews 4:10 the author offers an exegesis and commentary on this Old Testament passage.

Psalms 95:7-11, “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”

Here is a summary of the author’s exegesis of Psalms 95:7-11.

Hebrews 3:12 warns the readers to not depart from God

Hebrews 3:13-15 exegetes Hebrews 3:7 b

Hebrews 3:16 exegetes Hebrews 3:8-9

Hebrews 3:17 exegetes Hebrews 3:10

Hebrews 3:18 to Hebrews 4:6 exegetes Hebrews 3:11

Hebrews 4:7-10 serves as a commentary to this exegesis

There is a progression of events in Hebrews 3:16-19. (See Numbers 14:1-35 as a reference to the events described here.)

1. They (Israel) provoked God (Hebrews 3:16).

2. God became angry (Hebrews 3:17).

3. God punished them (Hebrews 3:18).

It is important to note that the children of Israel started their journey in faith. All those who put the blood of the Passover lamb upon their doorways were spared from God’s judgment upon Egypt. This was an act of faith on each individual’s part that identified him and his family with Moses, the servant of God. This act of faith positioned them under the same blessings of Moses. The emphasis upon their lack of faith in this Epistle is in reference in their failure to persevere in their faith, not in their initial decision to believe and obey the Lord. The author of Hebrews is using this event of their failure to warn “believers” to not turn back as the Israelites did. Both began in faith, but not everyone continues in faith.

Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,

Hebrews 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Hebrews 3:8 Comments - The two phrases used in Hebrews 3:8 “in the provocation,” and “in the day of temptation in the wilderness,” probably refer to the same event recorded in Numbers 14:1-35. This is typical poetic Hebrew parallelism, in which the author states the same thought twice in two different ways.

Hebrews 3:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

Hebrews 3:9 Comments - Hebrews 3:9 probably refers to the entire forty-year period, and not just a particular incident in the wilderness, such as in:

Exodus 15:23, “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.”

Exodus 17:7, “And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?”

Numbers 14:0 and Numbers 20:2-5

Hebrews 3:10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Hebrews 3:11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Hebrews 3:11 “They shall not enter into my rest” Comments - This same Greek construction is used in Mark 8:12.

Comments The first generation of Israelites in the wilderness did not enter the Promised Land. This privilege was given to the next generation. A 40-year journey was necessary in order to eliminate the first generation of Israelites who left Egypt.

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Hebrews 3:12 Comments In Hebrews 3:12 the author begins his exegesis of Psalms 95:7-11 with a warning for his Hebrew readers not to depart from the living God. The reference to those among the believing Hebrew recipients who have “an evil heart of unbelief” cannot mean unbelievers who have joined these congregations, but have never been saved, since they would have to depart from God after having been close to Him. Hebrews 3:14 supports the view that the author is warning believers when he says shortly, “if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14); thus, the author was exhorting them all to remain steadfast in their faith and not to depart. The author is drawing an analogy from the children of Israel in the wilderness, who were all baptized unto Moses, but many of them hardened their hearts in unbelief after beginning their journey in faith by departing Egypt with Moses.

Illustrations - The examples listed in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 regarding Israel’s departure from God illustrate Hebrews 3:12 well.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:13 “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day” Comments - The word “Today” in Hebrews 3:13 refers back to the Old Testament quote in Hebrews 3:7, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,” a quote from Psalms 95:7-11. This word refers to a day of rest for God’s children (Hebrews 4:7-9).

Hebrews 4:7-9, “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. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

Hebrews 3:13 “lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” - Comments - Hebrews 3:13 warns every believer to beware lest their heart becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. We see a similar statement of such hardening in Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” We must also interpret Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:28-29 and Hebrews 12:25 as being similar statements.

The sins of Samson are a good illustration of the deceitfulness of sin. The heart is deceitful above all other things. Note:

Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

When we see the unbelief of the children of Israel (Heb. 4:19), we must check ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5), since we, too, have the capability of sinning in the same way they sinned (Hebrews 4:11).

Hebrews 3:19, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Hebrews 4:11, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Hebrews 3:14 Comments - As long as we are trusting in Jesus’ high priesthood to deal with our acts of sin and we have not forsaken our faith in Christ, then we are “partakers of Christ,” sharing in manifold spiritual blessings; but this position of grace is conditional to our confidence and trust in Him being steadfast in our heart and lives until the end (of the day), or when our life on this earth ends. A person’s confidence is an attitude of the heart, which has placed its trust in something. Within the context of this passage of Scripture, our confidence is in the redemptive work of Christ Jesus on Calvary.

Hebrews 3:15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Hebrews 3:13-15 Comments Exegesis of Hebrews 3:7 b - Hebrews 3:13 serves as an exegesis of Hebrews 3:7 b, “To day if ye will hear his voice.” The word “Today” refers to a day of rest for God’s children (Hebrews 4:7-9).

Hebrews 3:16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

Hebrews 3:16 Comments In Hebrews 3:16 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:8-9 regarding Israel’s rebellion, “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.” As some believers heard the Gospel preached to them and let it slip past them with neglect (Hebrews 2:1-4), so did many of the children of Israel fall away from the words of Moses through neglect.

Hebrews 3:17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

Hebrews 3:17 “was it not with them that had sinned” - Comments - From Numbers 14:29, it seems to be that the men who were twenty years old and above were responsible for sin in the congregation.

Numbers 14:29, “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,”

The women and children were not directly in sin, although they shared in the punishment of these sins.

“whose carcases fell in the wilderness” - Comments The first generation of Israelites died in the wilderness because God swore in His wrath that they would not enter the Promised Land.

Hebrews 3:17 Comments In Hebrews 3:17 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:10, “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.”

Hebrews 3:16-17 Comments The Contrast Between Those Who Came Out With Moses and Those who Died in the Wilderness Hebrews 3:16-17 makes a contrast between the fact that these Israelites came out of Egypt with signs and wonders and with the faithful words of Moses, the servant of God, and between the fact that they dies in the wilderness because of their sins. This contrast is clearly stated in Hebrews 4:1-2.

Hebrews 3:18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

Hebrews 3:18 Comments In Hebrews 3:18 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:11, “So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.”

Hebrews 3:18 Scripture Reference We find this oath from the Lord recorded in Numbers 14:28-30.

Numbers 14:28-30, “Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.”

Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebrews 3:19 Comments Hebrews 3:19 serves as a conclusion to his exegesis of Psalms 95:7-11. The children of Israel did not enter into the Promise Land and find rest because they refused to trust and obey the Lord by following Moses their leader. God has always required faith in the heart of man (Luke 18:8). Without faith, a person cannot please God (Numbers 14:11, Hebrews 11:6). The children of Israel withdrew their confidence in the Lord’s redemptive work for them in the wilderness.

Luke 18:8, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

Numbers 14:11, “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?”

Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Scripture References - Note other references to unbelief:

Matthew 13:58, “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

Matthew 17:20-21, “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Mark 6:6, “And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.”

Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

John 16:9, “Of sin, because they believe not on me;”

Romans 3:3-4, “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”

Romans 11:20, “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:”

Romans 11:23, “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.”

Unbelief and disobedience are closely related.

Hebrews 4:6, “Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:”

Hebrews 4:11, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

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.

Hebrews 4:1 “Let us therefore fear” Scripture Reference - Note:

Romans 11:20, “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:”

Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Hebrews 4:1 “lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest” Comments - While walking in this rest of God, we can still have occasions where we are troubled in our spirit. Note:

2 Corinthians 2:13, “I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.”

2 Corinthians 7:5, “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.”

Hebrews 4:1 “any of you should seem to come short of it” - Comments - Many, today, try to find rest by seeking comfortable homes, jobs, financial securities, retirement benefits, etc. Illustration:

Luke 12:19, “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease , eat, drink, and be merry.”

Hebrews 4:1 Comments - The children of Israel who failed to enter into rest were those whose carcasses fell in the wilderness. We are to follow the example of God’s original intent for them. That is, God did not intend for them to spend forty years in the wilderness. However, God wants us to avoid that, and march right on to the Promised Land by faith. The forty years in the wilderness is not a type of God’s will for us today, even though some Christians have chosen that for their lives. God’s will for you is to go in possess the land of promise.

Hebrews 4:1 Comments: The Call to Enter into Rest - A key word in Hebrews 4:1-10 is “rest.” It is used a total of nine times, six times as a noun and three times as a verb in Hebrews 4:1-11.

Hebrews 4:2 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.

Hebrews 4:2 “but the word preached” Comments - The Greek text literally reads, “the word of hearing.” This phrase reminds us of Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Hebrews 4:2 “did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” Comments - Why did this preaching not profit the children of Israel in the wilderness: because they were not obedient to the commands of God. In other words, they did not mix faith with hearing. Note:

Romans 2:13, “(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Hebrews 4:3 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.

Hebrews 4:3 “For we which have believed do enter into rest” Comments - Kenneth Hagin says that when you trust God with all of your heart, a quietness and a peace comes into your spirit. “Our hearts takes courage as we read the Word. As we meditate in God’s Word, our assurance becomes deeper. This assurance in our spirit is independent of our human reasoning or human knowledge. It may contradict human reasoning. It even may contradict physical evidence. Believing God with the heart means to believe apart from your body or your mind.” [205] So, we are, as believers, presently entering into and living in God’s rest right now.

[205] Kenneth Hagin, “Ten Times Better,” The Word Of Faith Magazine, 20 February 2003.

Scripture Reference - Note a similar verse:

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Hebrews 4:3 “as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest” Comments - BDAG says that this is a Hebraistic used in oaths, so a strong negative “certainly not” should be used here in translating (see εἰ IV). Example, “if they do enter in, then...” The apodosis is left out of this conditional sentence. [206] For this reason, the NASB, NIV, and RSV omit “if” and translates this passage as a quote with “not,” although the KJV and YLT keep its literal translation.

[206] See also A.T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, c1934, 1994), 1023-24.

ASV, “ They shall not enter into my rest.”

NIV, “They shall never enter my rest.”

RSV, “ They shall never enter my rest.”

Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Hebrews 4:3 quotes from Psalms 95:11, “Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”

Hebrews 4:3 “although the works were finished from the foundation of the world” Comments - Even though the work was ended, Israel did not enter into its rest.

Scripture References - Note similar verses about God’s works being finished from the foundation of the world:

Revelation 13:8, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world .”

Revelation 17:8, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world , when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

Hebrews 4:4-9 God’s Seventh-Day Rest - Hebrews 4:4-9 explains why the quote in Hebrews 4:3 means that we have a rest for believers.

Hebrews 4:4 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.

Hebrews 4:4 “For he spake in a certain place” Comments - That is, “he spoke somewhere in the Old Testament.” The author of Hebrews refers to Old Testament passages a number of times in this epistle as “a certain place” (Hebrews 2:6; Hebrews 4:4) or “another place” (Hebrews 5:6) or “in this (place) again” (Hebrews 4:5). This is because there were no chapter or verse divisions during the first centuries of the Church, which were a later addition to the Holy Bible. Therefore, the author of Hebrews refers to these passages without a reference.

Hebrews 4:4 “of the seventh day on this wise” Comments - That is, he spoke “concerning the seventh day in this way, or thus.”

Hebrews 4:4 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Hebrews 4:4 is a quote from Genesis 2:2.

Genesis 2:2, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”

God’s seventh-day rest is also mentioned in:

Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Exodus 31:17, “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

Hebrews 4:5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

Hebrews 4:5 “And in this place again” Comments - That is, he refers to the passage he just quoted in Hebrews 4:3. He quotes Psalms 95:11 again, “Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” Thus, “again.” This is a re-quote from a part of the quote in Hebrews 4:3 in order to emphasize the fact that God has provided mankind with a place of rest since the time of creation, but Israel did not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

Hebrews 4:6 “therefore” - Comments - Or, “because.” This is the reason why Hebrews 4:7 comes in.

Hebrews 4:7 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.

Hebrews 4:7 “Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David” - Comments - At Kadesh-barnea God fixed a certain day for Israel’s rest (Numbers 14:0). Now, through David in Psalms 95:7-8, God has fixed day for us, the people of God (Hebrews 4:9). In the previous quote of this passage of Psalms in Hebrews 3:7, the author of Hebrews says the Holy Spirit made this statement. Now, in Hebrews 4:7 the author says David is making this statement because he is emphasizing the second time God has ordained a rest for His people. The children of Israel failed to enter into rest under the leadership of Joshua, so now God has appointed a second day under David.

Psalms 95:7-8, “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:”

Why did God designate another day for mankind to enter into His rest: because those who were preached to the first time did not believe.

How can anyone take salvation so lightly after seeing how God has entered into rest and has fixed a day for us to enter in this rest, and after seeing so many people in unbelief, although they know God’s plan of salvation?

Hebrews 4:7 “To day, after so long a time” - Comments - From the Exodus of the children of Israel to King Solomon was 480 years (1 Kings 6:1).

1 Kings 6:1, “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.”

Hebrews 4:7 “as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” - Comments - In the book of Numbers and in the forty years in the wilderness, they did not believe God’s Word, especially God’s command to enter into rest. Jesus Christ gives the same call to us today.

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Hebrews 4:8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

Hebrews 4:8 “For if Jesus had given them rest” In the Old Testament the Hebrew name Joshua ( יְהוֹשׁוּעַ ) (H3091), means “Jehovah is salvation.” In the New Testament the Greek name Jesus (I ησοϋς ), means “Savior” (Matthew 1:21). Therefore, the Greek word for the name “Joshua” is Jesus. The name “Jesus” in this verse is a reference to Joshua. Twice in New Testament, Joshua is referred to as Jesus, both here and in Acts 7:45.

Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Acts 7:45, “Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;”

Hebrews 4:8 Comments - Moses referred to the Promised Land as Israel’s “rest” and “inheritance” (Deuteronomy 12:9-10). If Moses had led the children of Israel in the Promised Land and given the people a complete rest, there would have been no need to allow Joshua to serve as their leader. However, because of Moses’ failure in the wilderness, Joshua was raised up to bring Israel into rest through the conquest of Canaan (Deuteronomy 31:7, Joshua 22:4). However, Israel did not obtain a complete rest with Joshua, for Israel soon fell away from the Lord during the time of the judges and lost their land and their possessions. Therefore, David speaks of another rest in the book of Psalms. Also, Moses serves as a type and figure of the failure of the Law, while Joshua serves as a type and figure of Jesus Christ, who is able to bring all people into eternal rest.

Deuteronomy 12:9-10, “ For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you . But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;”

Deuteronomy 31:7, “And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.”

Joshua 22:4, “And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.”

Hebrews 4:8 Comments - Hebrews 4:8 is a contrary to fact sentence in the Greek text.

Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

Hebrews 4:9 Comments - Hebrews 4:9 gives us a conclusion to the explanation given in verses 4-8. Because the first generation of Israelites failed to enter into the Promised Land, there is a Sabbath rest that awaits the children of God. This Sabbath rest for God’s people was prophesied in the Old Testament (Isaiah 11:10, Jeremiah 6:16, Exodus 34:14-15).

Isaiah 11:10, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”

Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls . But they said, We will not walk therein.”

Ezekiel 34:14-15, “I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down , saith the Lord GOD.”

Old Testament Application - The Greek word “rest” ( σσββατισμός ) is used only one time in the New Testament. This word literally refers to a Sabbath rest, or observation, commanded by Moses under the Law (Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 31:12-17).

Exodus 20:8-11, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

New Testament Application - Just as God called Israel to a Holy Sabbath rest on the seventh day, God also calls us to cease from our work, to put off the works of the flesh and to walk in the Spirit of God. We, as Christian, do now enter into the Lord’s Sabbath every day as we walk in the Spirit. We serve Him with our spirit (Romans 1:9), and yield our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).

Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice , holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Romans 1:9, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;”

Believers still observes particular days as unto the Lord (Romans 14:5-6). Sunday is the day many Christians observe unto the Lord (John 20:19, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2, Revelation 1:10). However, we should conduct every day as the Holy Sabbath.

Romans 14:5-6, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”

John 20:19, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week , when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

Acts 20:7, “And upon the first day of the week , when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”

1 Corinthians 16:2, “ Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

Revelation 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day , and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”

Eternal Application - This word “Sabbath rest” has an eternal meaning. There will be an eternal unrest to the lost (Revelation 14:11). There will be an eternal rest to those who are saved (Revelation 14:13).

Revelation 14:11, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

Revelation 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:10 “For he that is entered into his rest” - Comments - Note these comments from Frances J. Roberts that tell us how to enter into the Sabbath rest.

“My ageless purposes are set in Eternity. Time is as a little wheel set within the big wheel of Eternity. The little wheel turneth swiftly and shall one day cease. The big wheel turneth not, but goeth straight forward. Time is thy responsibility Eternity is Mine! Ye shall move into thy place in the big wheel when the little wheel is left behind. See that now ye redeem the time, making use of it for the purposes of My eternal kingdom, thus investing it with something of quality of the big wheel. As ye do this, thy days shall not be part of that which turneth and dieth, but of that which goeth straight forward and becometh one with My great universe.

“Fill thy days with light and love and testimony. Glorify and honor My Name. Praise and delight thyself in the Lord. So shall eternity inhabit thy heart and thou shalt deliver thy soul from the bondages of time. Thou shalt experience a liberation from the pressures of time and shalt in thine own heart slow down the little wheel. So shall ye find a new kind of rest. Ye shall have a foretaste of the Sabbath rest , into which the whole earth shall enter before long. When this time comes, I Myself will slow down the little wheel of time, and there shall be an adjustment, and it shall be as it was in the beginning.

“The pressures of time have increased as sin has increased, and all too often My children have been found living more in the little wheel than in the big. This happens whenever the flesh is in ascendancy to the Spirit. Whenever the opposite is true, ye have always experienced a fleeting but glorious freedom from the racing little wheel. Is it not true? Ye have found the Spirit always unhurried, and ye have marveled to find how oblivious ye had been to the passage of time whenever ye have been truly in the Spirit.

“Ye can live here as much as ye choose. Ye can enjoy this rest and disengage thyself from the little wheel as often and as long as ye desire. Ye shall lose nothing and gain much. Try it as a therapy for thy physical body. Always it shall most certainly be a tremendous source of energy and vitality for thy spiritual life!” [207]

[207] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 31-2.

Hebrews 4:10 “he also hath ceased from his own works” - Comments - Our works are works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). The author of Hebrews will again refer to our works of the flesh in Hebrews 6:1, when he refers to the doctrine of “repentance from dead works”. As children of God we are to put these fleshly works aside and live and walk in the spirit and in holiness (Hebrews 12:14).

Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

Hebrews 4:10 “as God did from His” Comments - God set the example by entering into the first Sabbath rest (Exodus 31:17).

Exodus 31:17, “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

Hebrews 4:10 Illustration When a father prepares for his retirement from a family-owned business, he hands over its management to his son. He does so by giving this son a charge that encompasses the purpose and mission of the business. Adam, the first man, failed to faithfully execute his office as the manager of the earth that God the Father had handed to him. Thus, Adam was unable to hand this task over to his son and himself enter into rest. However, Jesus Christ was obedient to this divine commission, so that He can now bring His brethren into eternal rest. As we follow Christ in obedience, we find rest and inner peace in this life and hope of complete rest in Heaven. We have the potential to walk in a large measure of rest in this life while awaiting deliverance from our mortal bodies, from the sufferings that this world brings upon all of mankind.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:11 “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest” Comments - This may appear at first as a paradox; but, the fact is, we have to labor to gain access to our spiritual rest. We see the same wording in Hebrews 12:1 when it says, “run with patience.”

Hebrews 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

The words “labour” (Hebrews 4:11) and “run” (Hebrews 12:1) reveal that we have a purpose and course to follow in this life. It means that we must pursue this course with intensity, not becoming distracted with the cares of this world. On the other hand, the words “rest” and “patience” reveal that there is a rest in God that removes the anxiety of striving for the goals that are set before us. We are to learn to wait upon the Lord daily and become strengthened by Him; otherwise, fatigue will overcome us as we run. This is not an easy lesson in life to learn, nor an easy balance to manage.

Note that the land of Israel, in the time of Joshua and King Solomon, had rest because of the battles fought by Joshua and David.

Joshua 21:43-45, “And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about , according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”

1 Kings 8:56, “ Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel , according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.”

Hebrews 4:11 Comments - Just as Moses called Israel out from Egypt into Canaan, God is calling the believers in Hebrews 4:11 to strive to enter into that spiritual rest. We as believers have entered into this rest (Hebrews 4:3). Therefore, Hebrews 4:11 is exhorting us to maintain this position of rest in the midst of persecutions. We lose this place of rest through disobedience, as did the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Hebrews 4:3, “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.”

In Hebrews 10:32-33, we see that these Hebrews had endured afflictions and reproaches. Thus, their rest was not necessarily outward physical comforts, but an inner rest of the soul in the midst of life’s challenges.

Hebrews 10:32-33, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.”

Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls . But they said, We will not walk therein.”

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

Verses 1-11

Applying the Story of the Wilderness Journey to the Christian Faith Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 offers a doctrinal discourse to support his claim that Jesus Christ is the Apostle and High Priest of this heavenly calling. He provides the readers with a sobering example of the children of Israel who fell in the wilderness and later never entered into its true rest with Joshua, all because of disobedience. In this passage of Scripture the author warns his readers not to miss their opportunity to enter into rest as Israel missed theirs under the ministries of Moses and Joshua (Jeremiah 31:2). God provided Joshua as a type of “saviour” who failed to lead Israel into their rest, and He has provided Jesus Christ as our Saviour to bring us into our eternal rest.

Jeremiah 31:2, “Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.”

The Unbelief of the Children of Israel in the Wilderness - The major event referred to in Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 is found in Numbers 14:1-35, at the peak of Israel’s rebellion, where they tempted the Lord by wanting to turn back to Egypt and stoning Moses for telling them not to rebel. It is at this point that the Lord decided to destroy the entire congregation and begin anew with Moses; but the servant of God interceded in their behalf and God cancelled His wrath against them. Instead of destroying them, God swore that none of them would enter into the Promised Land.

Note that Hebrews 6:4-6 does not describe the only person that will go to hell after backsliding, because all backsliders will go to hell, but this passage describes the only type of backslider who cannot repent and be restored back to God. It is a person who backslides willfully and knowingly after rising to maturity in the faith. The author has given us the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness whom God destroyed (Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:10), and he will later give us the example of Esau who found no repentance, though it sought it with tears (Hebrews 12:16-17).

Exegesis and Commentary on Psalms 95:7-11 Hebrews 3:7-11 is a quote from Psalms 95:7-11, while in Hebrews 3:12 to Hebrews 4:10 the author offers an exegesis and commentary on this Old Testament passage.

Psalms 95:7-11, “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”

Here is a summary of the author’s exegesis of Psalms 95:7-11.

Hebrews 3:12 warns the readers to not depart from God

Hebrews 3:13-15 exegetes Hebrews 3:7 b

Hebrews 3:16 exegetes Hebrews 3:8-9

Hebrews 3:17 exegetes Hebrews 3:10

Hebrews 3:18 to Hebrews 4:6 exegetes Hebrews 3:11

Hebrews 4:7-10 serves as a commentary to this exegesis

There is a progression of events in Hebrews 3:16-19. (See Numbers 14:1-35 as a reference to the events described here.)

1. They (Israel) provoked God (Hebrews 3:16).

2. God became angry (Hebrews 3:17).

3. God punished them (Hebrews 3:18).

It is important to note that the children of Israel started their journey in faith. All those who put the blood of the Passover lamb upon their doorways were spared from God’s judgment upon Egypt. This was an act of faith on each individual’s part that identified him and his family with Moses, the servant of God. This act of faith positioned them under the same blessings of Moses. The emphasis upon their lack of faith in this Epistle is in reference in their failure to persevere in their faith, not in their initial decision to believe and obey the Lord. The author of Hebrews is using this event of their failure to warn “believers” to not turn back as the Israelites did. Both began in faith, but not everyone continues in faith.

Hebrews 3:7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,

Hebrews 3:8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

Hebrews 3:8 Comments - The two phrases used in Hebrews 3:8 “in the provocation,” and “in the day of temptation in the wilderness,” probably refer to the same event recorded in Numbers 14:1-35. This is typical poetic Hebrew parallelism, in which the author states the same thought twice in two different ways.

Hebrews 3:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.

Hebrews 3:9 Comments - Hebrews 3:9 probably refers to the entire forty-year period, and not just a particular incident in the wilderness, such as in:

Exodus 15:23, “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.”

Exodus 17:7, “And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?”

Numbers 14:0 and Numbers 20:2-5

Hebrews 3:10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

Hebrews 3:11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Hebrews 3:11 “They shall not enter into my rest” Comments - This same Greek construction is used in Mark 8:12.

Comments The first generation of Israelites in the wilderness did not enter the Promised Land. This privilege was given to the next generation. A 40-year journey was necessary in order to eliminate the first generation of Israelites who left Egypt.

Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

Hebrews 3:12 Comments In Hebrews 3:12 the author begins his exegesis of Psalms 95:7-11 with a warning for his Hebrew readers not to depart from the living God. The reference to those among the believing Hebrew recipients who have “an evil heart of unbelief” cannot mean unbelievers who have joined these congregations, but have never been saved, since they would have to depart from God after having been close to Him. Hebrews 3:14 supports the view that the author is warning believers when he says shortly, “if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:14); thus, the author was exhorting them all to remain steadfast in their faith and not to depart. The author is drawing an analogy from the children of Israel in the wilderness, who were all baptized unto Moses, but many of them hardened their hearts in unbelief after beginning their journey in faith by departing Egypt with Moses.

Illustrations - The examples listed in 1 Corinthians 10:1-11 regarding Israel’s departure from God illustrate Hebrews 3:12 well.

Hebrews 3:13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:13 “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day” Comments - The word “Today” in Hebrews 3:13 refers back to the Old Testament quote in Hebrews 3:7, “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,” a quote from Psalms 95:7-11. This word refers to a day of rest for God’s children (Hebrews 4:7-9).

Hebrews 4:7-9, “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. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.”

Hebrews 3:13 “lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” - Comments - Hebrews 3:13 warns every believer to beware lest their heart becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. We see a similar statement of such hardening in Hebrews 12:15, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” We must also interpret Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:28-29 and Hebrews 12:25 as being similar statements.

The sins of Samson are a good illustration of the deceitfulness of sin. The heart is deceitful above all other things. Note:

Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

When we see the unbelief of the children of Israel (Heb. 4:19), we must check ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5), since we, too, have the capability of sinning in the same way they sinned (Hebrews 4:11).

Hebrews 3:19, “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Hebrews 4:11, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Hebrews 3:14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Hebrews 3:14 Comments - As long as we are trusting in Jesus’ high priesthood to deal with our acts of sin and we have not forsaken our faith in Christ, then we are “partakers of Christ,” sharing in manifold spiritual blessings; but this position of grace is conditional to our confidence and trust in Him being steadfast in our heart and lives until the end (of the day), or when our life on this earth ends. A person’s confidence is an attitude of the heart, which has placed its trust in something. Within the context of this passage of Scripture, our confidence is in the redemptive work of Christ Jesus on Calvary.

Hebrews 3:15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Hebrews 3:13-15 Comments Exegesis of Hebrews 3:7 b - Hebrews 3:13 serves as an exegesis of Hebrews 3:7 b, “To day if ye will hear his voice.” The word “Today” refers to a day of rest for God’s children (Hebrews 4:7-9).

Hebrews 3:16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.

Hebrews 3:16 Comments In Hebrews 3:16 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:8-9 regarding Israel’s rebellion, “Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.” As some believers heard the Gospel preached to them and let it slip past them with neglect (Hebrews 2:1-4), so did many of the children of Israel fall away from the words of Moses through neglect.

Hebrews 3:17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

Hebrews 3:17 “was it not with them that had sinned” - Comments - From Numbers 14:29, it seems to be that the men who were twenty years old and above were responsible for sin in the congregation.

Numbers 14:29, “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,”

The women and children were not directly in sin, although they shared in the punishment of these sins.

“whose carcases fell in the wilderness” - Comments The first generation of Israelites died in the wilderness because God swore in His wrath that they would not enter the Promised Land.

Hebrews 3:17 Comments In Hebrews 3:17 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:10, “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.”

Hebrews 3:16-17 Comments The Contrast Between Those Who Came Out With Moses and Those who Died in the Wilderness Hebrews 3:16-17 makes a contrast between the fact that these Israelites came out of Egypt with signs and wonders and with the faithful words of Moses, the servant of God, and between the fact that they dies in the wilderness because of their sins. This contrast is clearly stated in Hebrews 4:1-2.

Hebrews 3:18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

Hebrews 3:18 Comments In Hebrews 3:18 the author is exegeting Hebrews 3:11, “So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.”

Hebrews 3:18 Scripture Reference We find this oath from the Lord recorded in Numbers 14:28-30.

Numbers 14:28-30, “Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.”

Hebrews 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebrews 3:19 Comments Hebrews 3:19 serves as a conclusion to his exegesis of Psalms 95:7-11. The children of Israel did not enter into the Promise Land and find rest because they refused to trust and obey the Lord by following Moses their leader. God has always required faith in the heart of man (Luke 18:8). Without faith, a person cannot please God (Numbers 14:11, Hebrews 11:6). The children of Israel withdrew their confidence in the Lord’s redemptive work for them in the wilderness.

Luke 18:8, “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

Numbers 14:11, “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?”

Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Scripture References - Note other references to unbelief:

Matthew 13:58, “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”

Matthew 17:20-21, “And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Mark 6:6, “And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.”

Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

John 16:9, “Of sin, because they believe not on me;”

Romans 3:3-4, “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”

Romans 11:20, “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:”

Romans 11:23, “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.”

Unbelief and disobedience are closely related.

Hebrews 4:6, “Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:”

Hebrews 4:11, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

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.

Hebrews 4:1 “Let us therefore fear” Scripture Reference - Note:

Romans 11:20, “Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:”

Philippians 2:12, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Hebrews 4:1 “lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest” Comments - While walking in this rest of God, we can still have occasions where we are troubled in our spirit. Note:

2 Corinthians 2:13, “I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.”

2 Corinthians 7:5, “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.”

Hebrews 4:1 “any of you should seem to come short of it” - Comments - Many, today, try to find rest by seeking comfortable homes, jobs, financial securities, retirement benefits, etc. Illustration:

Luke 12:19, “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease , eat, drink, and be merry.”

Hebrews 4:1 Comments - The children of Israel who failed to enter into rest were those whose carcasses fell in the wilderness. We are to follow the example of God’s original intent for them. That is, God did not intend for them to spend forty years in the wilderness. However, God wants us to avoid that, and march right on to the Promised Land by faith. The forty years in the wilderness is not a type of God’s will for us today, even though some Christians have chosen that for their lives. God’s will for you is to go in possess the land of promise.

Hebrews 4:1 Comments: The Call to Enter into Rest - A key word in Hebrews 4:1-10 is “rest.” It is used a total of nine times, six times as a noun and three times as a verb in Hebrews 4:1-11.

Hebrews 4:2 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.

Hebrews 4:2 “but the word preached” Comments - The Greek text literally reads, “the word of hearing.” This phrase reminds us of Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Hebrews 4:2 “did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” Comments - Why did this preaching not profit the children of Israel in the wilderness: because they were not obedient to the commands of God. In other words, they did not mix faith with hearing. Note:

Romans 2:13, “(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

Hebrews 4:3 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.

Hebrews 4:3 “For we which have believed do enter into rest” Comments - Kenneth Hagin says that when you trust God with all of your heart, a quietness and a peace comes into your spirit. “Our hearts takes courage as we read the Word. As we meditate in God’s Word, our assurance becomes deeper. This assurance in our spirit is independent of our human reasoning or human knowledge. It may contradict human reasoning. It even may contradict physical evidence. Believing God with the heart means to believe apart from your body or your mind.” [205] So, we are, as believers, presently entering into and living in God’s rest right now.

[205] Kenneth Hagin, “Ten Times Better,” The Word Of Faith Magazine, 20 February 2003.

Scripture Reference - Note a similar verse:

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Hebrews 4:3 “as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest” Comments - BDAG says that this is a Hebraistic used in oaths, so a strong negative “certainly not” should be used here in translating (see εἰ IV). Example, “if they do enter in, then...” The apodosis is left out of this conditional sentence. [206] For this reason, the NASB, NIV, and RSV omit “if” and translates this passage as a quote with “not,” although the KJV and YLT keep its literal translation.

[206] See also A.T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman Press, c1934, 1994), 1023-24.

ASV, “ They shall not enter into my rest.”

NIV, “They shall never enter my rest.”

RSV, “ They shall never enter my rest.”

Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Hebrews 4:3 quotes from Psalms 95:11, “Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.”

Hebrews 4:3 “although the works were finished from the foundation of the world” Comments - Even though the work was ended, Israel did not enter into its rest.

Scripture References - Note similar verses about God’s works being finished from the foundation of the world:

Revelation 13:8, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world .”

Revelation 17:8, “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world , when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

Hebrews 4:4-9 God’s Seventh-Day Rest - Hebrews 4:4-9 explains why the quote in Hebrews 4:3 means that we have a rest for believers.

Hebrews 4:4 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.

Hebrews 4:4 “For he spake in a certain place” Comments - That is, “he spoke somewhere in the Old Testament.” The author of Hebrews refers to Old Testament passages a number of times in this epistle as “a certain place” (Hebrews 2:6; Hebrews 4:4) or “another place” (Hebrews 5:6) or “in this (place) again” (Hebrews 4:5). This is because there were no chapter or verse divisions during the first centuries of the Church, which were a later addition to the Holy Bible. Therefore, the author of Hebrews refers to these passages without a reference.

Hebrews 4:4 “of the seventh day on this wise” Comments - That is, he spoke “concerning the seventh day in this way, or thus.”

Hebrews 4:4 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Hebrews 4:4 is a quote from Genesis 2:2.

Genesis 2:2, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”

God’s seventh-day rest is also mentioned in:

Exodus 20:11, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Exodus 31:17, “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

Hebrews 4:5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

Hebrews 4:5 “And in this place again” Comments - That is, he refers to the passage he just quoted in Hebrews 4:3. He quotes Psalms 95:11 again, “Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.” Thus, “again.” This is a re-quote from a part of the quote in Hebrews 4:3 in order to emphasize the fact that God has provided mankind with a place of rest since the time of creation, but Israel did not enter in because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

Hebrews 4:6 “therefore” - Comments - Or, “because.” This is the reason why Hebrews 4:7 comes in.

Hebrews 4:7 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.

Hebrews 4:7 “Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David” - Comments - At Kadesh-barnea God fixed a certain day for Israel’s rest (Numbers 14:0). Now, through David in Psalms 95:7-8, God has fixed day for us, the people of God (Hebrews 4:9). In the previous quote of this passage of Psalms in Hebrews 3:7, the author of Hebrews says the Holy Spirit made this statement. Now, in Hebrews 4:7 the author says David is making this statement because he is emphasizing the second time God has ordained a rest for His people. The children of Israel failed to enter into rest under the leadership of Joshua, so now God has appointed a second day under David.

Psalms 95:7-8, “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:”

Why did God designate another day for mankind to enter into His rest: because those who were preached to the first time did not believe.

How can anyone take salvation so lightly after seeing how God has entered into rest and has fixed a day for us to enter in this rest, and after seeing so many people in unbelief, although they know God’s plan of salvation?

Hebrews 4:7 “To day, after so long a time” - Comments - From the Exodus of the children of Israel to King Solomon was 480 years (1 Kings 6:1).

1 Kings 6:1, “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.”

Hebrews 4:7 “as it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts” - Comments - In the book of Numbers and in the forty years in the wilderness, they did not believe God’s Word, especially God’s command to enter into rest. Jesus Christ gives the same call to us today.

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Hebrews 4:8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

Hebrews 4:8 “For if Jesus had given them rest” In the Old Testament the Hebrew name Joshua ( יְהוֹשׁוּעַ ) (H3091), means “Jehovah is salvation.” In the New Testament the Greek name Jesus (I ησοϋς ), means “Savior” (Matthew 1:21). Therefore, the Greek word for the name “Joshua” is Jesus. The name “Jesus” in this verse is a reference to Joshua. Twice in New Testament, Joshua is referred to as Jesus, both here and in Acts 7:45.

Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Acts 7:45, “Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David;”

Hebrews 4:8 Comments - Moses referred to the Promised Land as Israel’s “rest” and “inheritance” (Deuteronomy 12:9-10). If Moses had led the children of Israel in the Promised Land and given the people a complete rest, there would have been no need to allow Joshua to serve as their leader. However, because of Moses’ failure in the wilderness, Joshua was raised up to bring Israel into rest through the conquest of Canaan (Deuteronomy 31:7, Joshua 22:4). However, Israel did not obtain a complete rest with Joshua, for Israel soon fell away from the Lord during the time of the judges and lost their land and their possessions. Therefore, David speaks of another rest in the book of Psalms. Also, Moses serves as a type and figure of the failure of the Law, while Joshua serves as a type and figure of Jesus Christ, who is able to bring all people into eternal rest.

Deuteronomy 12:9-10, “ For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you . But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety;”

Deuteronomy 31:7, “And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.”

Joshua 22:4, “And now the LORD your God hath given rest unto your brethren, as he promised them: therefore now return ye, and get you unto your tents, and unto the land of your possession, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you on the other side Jordan.”

Hebrews 4:8 Comments - Hebrews 4:8 is a contrary to fact sentence in the Greek text.

Hebrews 4:9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

Hebrews 4:9 Comments - Hebrews 4:9 gives us a conclusion to the explanation given in verses 4-8. Because the first generation of Israelites failed to enter into the Promised Land, there is a Sabbath rest that awaits the children of God. This Sabbath rest for God’s people was prophesied in the Old Testament (Isaiah 11:10, Jeremiah 6:16, Exodus 34:14-15).

Isaiah 11:10, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.”

Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls . But they said, We will not walk therein.”

Ezekiel 34:14-15, “I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down , saith the Lord GOD.”

Old Testament Application - The Greek word “rest” ( σσββατισμός ) is used only one time in the New Testament. This word literally refers to a Sabbath rest, or observation, commanded by Moses under the Law (Exodus 20:8-11; Exodus 31:12-17).

Exodus 20:8-11, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

New Testament Application - Just as God called Israel to a Holy Sabbath rest on the seventh day, God also calls us to cease from our work, to put off the works of the flesh and to walk in the Spirit of God. We, as Christian, do now enter into the Lord’s Sabbath every day as we walk in the Spirit. We serve Him with our spirit (Romans 1:9), and yield our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).

Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice , holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

Romans 1:9, “For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;”

Believers still observes particular days as unto the Lord (Romans 14:5-6). Sunday is the day many Christians observe unto the Lord (John 20:19, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2, Revelation 1:10). However, we should conduct every day as the Holy Sabbath.

Romans 14:5-6, “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.”

John 20:19, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week , when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”

Acts 20:7, “And upon the first day of the week , when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”

1 Corinthians 16:2, “ Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

Revelation 1:10, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day , and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”

Eternal Application - This word “Sabbath rest” has an eternal meaning. There will be an eternal unrest to the lost (Revelation 14:11). There will be an eternal rest to those who are saved (Revelation 14:13).

Revelation 14:11, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

Revelation 14:13, “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

Hebrews 4:10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Hebrews 4:10 “For he that is entered into his rest” - Comments - Note these comments from Frances J. Roberts that tell us how to enter into the Sabbath rest.

“My ageless purposes are set in Eternity. Time is as a little wheel set within the big wheel of Eternity. The little wheel turneth swiftly and shall one day cease. The big wheel turneth not, but goeth straight forward. Time is thy responsibility Eternity is Mine! Ye shall move into thy place in the big wheel when the little wheel is left behind. See that now ye redeem the time, making use of it for the purposes of My eternal kingdom, thus investing it with something of quality of the big wheel. As ye do this, thy days shall not be part of that which turneth and dieth, but of that which goeth straight forward and becometh one with My great universe.

“Fill thy days with light and love and testimony. Glorify and honor My Name. Praise and delight thyself in the Lord. So shall eternity inhabit thy heart and thou shalt deliver thy soul from the bondages of time. Thou shalt experience a liberation from the pressures of time and shalt in thine own heart slow down the little wheel. So shall ye find a new kind of rest. Ye shall have a foretaste of the Sabbath rest , into which the whole earth shall enter before long. When this time comes, I Myself will slow down the little wheel of time, and there shall be an adjustment, and it shall be as it was in the beginning.

“The pressures of time have increased as sin has increased, and all too often My children have been found living more in the little wheel than in the big. This happens whenever the flesh is in ascendancy to the Spirit. Whenever the opposite is true, ye have always experienced a fleeting but glorious freedom from the racing little wheel. Is it not true? Ye have found the Spirit always unhurried, and ye have marveled to find how oblivious ye had been to the passage of time whenever ye have been truly in the Spirit.

“Ye can live here as much as ye choose. Ye can enjoy this rest and disengage thyself from the little wheel as often and as long as ye desire. Ye shall lose nothing and gain much. Try it as a therapy for thy physical body. Always it shall most certainly be a tremendous source of energy and vitality for thy spiritual life!” [207]

[207] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King’s Farspan, Inc., 1973), 31-2.

Hebrews 4:10 “he also hath ceased from his own works” - Comments - Our works are works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). The author of Hebrews will again refer to our works of the flesh in Hebrews 6:1, when he refers to the doctrine of “repentance from dead works”. As children of God we are to put these fleshly works aside and live and walk in the spirit and in holiness (Hebrews 12:14).

Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”

Hebrews 4:10 “as God did from His” Comments - God set the example by entering into the first Sabbath rest (Exodus 31:17).

Exodus 31:17, “It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.”

Hebrews 4:10 Illustration When a father prepares for his retirement from a family-owned business, he hands over its management to his son. He does so by giving this son a charge that encompasses the purpose and mission of the business. Adam, the first man, failed to faithfully execute his office as the manager of the earth that God the Father had handed to him. Thus, Adam was unable to hand this task over to his son and himself enter into rest. However, Jesus Christ was obedient to this divine commission, so that He can now bring His brethren into eternal rest. As we follow Christ in obedience, we find rest and inner peace in this life and hope of complete rest in Heaven. We have the potential to walk in a large measure of rest in this life while awaiting deliverance from our mortal bodies, from the sufferings that this world brings upon all of mankind.

Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:11 “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest” Comments - This may appear at first as a paradox; but, the fact is, we have to labor to gain access to our spiritual rest. We see the same wording in Hebrews 12:1 when it says, “run with patience.”

Hebrews 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

The words “labour” (Hebrews 4:11) and “run” (Hebrews 12:1) reveal that we have a purpose and course to follow in this life. It means that we must pursue this course with intensity, not becoming distracted with the cares of this world. On the other hand, the words “rest” and “patience” reveal that there is a rest in God that removes the anxiety of striving for the goals that are set before us. We are to learn to wait upon the Lord daily and become strengthened by Him; otherwise, fatigue will overcome us as we run. This is not an easy lesson in life to learn, nor an easy balance to manage.

Note that the land of Israel, in the time of Joshua and King Solomon, had rest because of the battles fought by Joshua and David.

Joshua 21:43-45, “And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. And the LORD gave them rest round about , according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.”

1 Kings 8:56, “ Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel , according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.”

Hebrews 4:11 Comments - Just as Moses called Israel out from Egypt into Canaan, God is calling the believers in Hebrews 4:11 to strive to enter into that spiritual rest. We as believers have entered into this rest (Hebrews 4:3). Therefore, Hebrews 4:11 is exhorting us to maintain this position of rest in the midst of persecutions. We lose this place of rest through disobedience, as did the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Hebrews 4:3, “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.”

In Hebrews 10:32-33, we see that these Hebrews had endured afflictions and reproaches. Thus, their rest was not necessarily outward physical comforts, but an inner rest of the soul in the midst of life’s challenges.

Hebrews 10:32-33, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.”

Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls . But they said, We will not walk therein.”

Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest . Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

John 6:29, “Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

Verses 1-13

Calling: Jesus Christ the Son of Man Has Come to Lead Us into Eternal Dominion Hebrews 2:1 to Hebrews 4:13 serves as the second literary section of this epistle, emphasizing mankind’s “heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1) to the Gospel in light of Jesus Christ’s calling to make atonement for mankind. The author first exhorts his readers to heed the heavenly calling of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:1-4), then gives a doctrinal argument to support this calling (Hebrews 2:5 to Hebrews 4:11), and concludes with a warning passage of divine judgment for those who neglect this heavenly calling (Hebrews 4:12-13). The literary structure of the epistle of Hebrews is primarily built upon the pattern of exhortation, discourse, and warning.

Exhortation Hebrews 2:1-4

Doctrinal Discourse Hebrews 2:5 to Hebrews 4:11

Warning Hebrews 4:12-13

Thus, the exhortation and warning passage in Hebrews 2:1 to Hebrews 4:12-13 form a literary device known as inclusio, where the author offers his readers an exhortation (Hebrews 2:1-4) and concludes with a warning for failure to heed his advice (Hebrews 4:12-13). [134]

[134] David MacLeon says, “An inclusio marks off a literary unit by using the same word or phrase at the end of a discussion that was used at the beginning.” See David J. MacLeod, “The Literary Structure of Hebrews,” Bibliotheca Sacra 146:582 (April 1989): 185-197, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), 187

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. 1 st Exhortation: Heed the Heavenly Calling Hebrews 2:1-4

2. 1 st Doctrinal Discourse: God’s Original Commission Hebrews 2:5 to Hebrews 4:11

Verses 12-13

Conclusion to God’s Divine Calling: Warning in Failure to Heed the Gospel Call Hebrews 4:12-13 serves as a conclusion to the opening exhortation to heed God’s divine calling given in Hebrews 2:1-4, warning readers not to neglect this heavenly calling. Hebrews 2:1-4 exhorts us to give heed to the things that we have heard, explaining that we shall not escape if we neglect this call to salvation, just as the children of Israel in the wilderness did not escape divine judgment (Hebrews 3:1 to Hebrews 4:11). Thus, Hebrews 4:12-13 reaches back and grabs Hebrews 2:1-4 as its antecedent, so to speak. The author explains in Hebrews 4:12-13 that the Gospel of Jesus Christ speaks to man’s heart, so that God will be able to judge all of mankind based upon their response to the proclamation of the Gospel (Hebrews 4:12-13).

The Author’s Word Play with λο ́ γος The double use of the Greek word λο ́ γος in Hebrews 4:12-13 is considered by some commentators to be a play on words by the author. λο ́ γος is placed as the second word in Hebrews 4:12 and as the last word in Hebrews 4:13, so that these concluding remarks open and close this passage. In essence, the author tells us that the One who has spoken His Word will require that we answer with a word. [208]

[208] David L. Allen, Hebrews, in The New American Commentary: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, vol. 35, ed. E. Ray Clendenen (Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group, 2010), 287.

Hebrews 4:12 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.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful” Comments - Webster says the English word “quick” means, “ Alive; living; animate.” The Word of God is living and eternal (1 Peter 1:23), and gives life to those who hear it. God’s Word is also powerful ( ε ̓ νεργη ́ ς ) in that it is actively at work on earth and effective in changing hearts and lives and in bringing mankind to repentance and salvation (Jeremiah 23:29).

1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

Jeremiah 23:29, “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

Hebrews 4:12 “and sharper than any twoedged sword” Word Study on “sword” The TDNT translates the Greek word μα ́ χαιρα (G3162) used in Hebrews 4:12 as the sacrificial knife of the Jewish priest or the surgeon’s knife. David Allen says the word is best translated “scalpel” in Hebrews 4:12.

Comments - The Word of God can serve two purposes. It brings health to our own spirits and it cuts down the enemy; thus, the description of the word as “two-edged.”

Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Isaiah 49:2, “And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword ; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;”

Ephesians 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God :”

Revelation 1:16, “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword : and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”

Revelation 19:15, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword , that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

Hebrews 4:12 “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit” Comments - Even though the natural mind (soul) doesn’t see itself as sinful, the Word of God pierces into a wicked heart, showing the man his sinful heart as separate from the rational mind (the soul). This convicts man as a sinner in need of salvation.

Hebrews 4:12 “and of the joints and marrow” Comments - The marrow refers to “the innermost part” of our makeup, which is analogous to the spirit of man.

Hebrews 4:12 “and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” Comments - BDAG says the Greek word “discerner” ( κριτικος ) literally means, “able to judge,” meaning that the Word of God is “able to judge the thoughts and deliberations of the heart.” Note John 12:48.

John 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day .”

We find another example of words judging the heart in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25, when prophecies judge men’s hearts, this time using the Greek verb ανακρινω .

1 Corinthians 14:24-25, “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all : And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.”

Hebrews 4:12 Comments - Within the immediate context of Hebrews 4:12, the Word of God that is mentioned in Psalms 95:7-8 warns God’s children not to harden their hearts in disobedience to His Word. Thus, the Word of God is defined as an instrument that penetrates man’s heart and knows its true motive in this passage. Regarding the issue of a deceptive heart and hidden motives, western civilization is built upon Judeo-Christian values of honesty and integrity. Such people grow up in a culture based upon integrity, honest and transparency of heart. However, Paul was not addressing a Jewish people who lived in such a culture. Rather, he was speaking to Christians who were in the midst of a corrupt culture of cleverness and deceit, where very little of what people say is the truth.

The author uses the example of the children of Israel in the wilderness as an example of a people who were not sincere in serving the Lord under Moses. They may have demonstrated outward signs of service, but they found a number of occasions to rebel against Moses and God’s Word.

Comments - The Word of God goes beyond a man’s outward actions and into a man’s inner soul. Thus, man can be judged by the Word of God (John 12:48) and he can be judged according to his works (Revelation 20:13), without these verses being in conflict.

John 12:48, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day .”

Revelation 20:13, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works .”

Comments The need to distinguish between the recreated heart of the born-again believer and his unrenewed mind will help these Hebrews understand why they were not walking in the fullness of their Christian life. The author is about to explain to them how the atonement of Jesus Christ paid for all of their sins and brought them into a right standing with God so that they now have free access to the throne of grace, no longer based upon their good works under the Mosaic Law, but based upon His mercy (Hebrews 4:16); for the blood of their Redeemer has been sprinkled once for all upon the mercy seat.

There are people today who believer that mankind is a two-fold creature and not a three-fold creature. We are made in God’s image as a triune man: spirit, soul, and body. Those who believe the spirit and soul of man refer to the same inner make-up of man find themselves struggling with walking in the liberties of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Such a mindset causes Christians to focus upon being led by their minds and academic educations rather than tuning themselves into their distinct spirit-man and learning to be led by their spirit. Such a distinction becomes difficult for those who believe that the spirit and soul are the same. This person has difficulty distinguishing between the voice of his spirit, his inner man, and between his soulish, mental reasonings. Yet, this distinction is critical in order for the author of Hebrews to tell these Hebrew converts “to enter boldly into the inner sanctuary through the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19) and to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22). Such boldness and confidence cannot be realized in the life of a believer without an understanding of the atonement of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7-9) in our spirit man apart from our soulish reasons that focus upon guilt because of failures in the Christian life.

Hebrews 4:13 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.

Hebrews 4:13 “but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him” Comments - In Hebrews 4:12, God’s Holy Scriptures lays our hearts open.

Hebrews 4:13 “with whom we have to do” - Comments - Wuest translates this phrase as, “with whom is our reckoning.” [209] The NIV reads, “to whom we must give an account.” Literally, “to (with) whom for us (is) a reckoning (an account).” The Greek word λογος refers to “an account” in Hebrews 4:13 and Hebrews 13:17, while in the rest of the epistle of Hebrews it is translated in the KJV as “a word” (9 times), “say” (1 time), “doctrine” (1 time) (Hebrews 2:2; Hebrews 4:2; Hebrews 4:12; Hebrews 5:11; Hebrews 5:13; Hebrews 6:1; Hebrews 7:28; Hebrews 12:19; Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:22). Luke uses λογος in a similar way in Luke 16:2.

[209] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies From the Greek New Testament for the English Reader, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c1973, 1977), 90.

The pronoun “we” refers specifically to believers. Christians will give an account of their lives unto the Lord whom they have served.

Scripture References - Note similar verses on the topic of man’s impending judgment:

Matthew 12:36-37, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

Matthew 25:19, “After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them .”

2 Corinthians 5:10-11, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”

Also:

Job 26:6, “Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.” (Job speaking)

Psalms 90:8, “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.”

Verses 14-16

Justification: Jesus Christ is the High Priest of Our Confession In Hebrews 4:14 to Hebrews 5:14 we find the third literary section. This passage contains the second exhortation in the epistle of Hebrews, exhorting us to hold fast to our confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by coming boldly to God’s throne in order to find grace and mercy to persevere; for the Jesus Christ our Great High Priest maintains our position of justification before God. Those who reject the Gospel will receive damnation, as stated in the conclusion of the previous section (Hebrews 4:12-13), but those who accept it will find access to God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:14-16). The author will then briefly mention the faithfulness of Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest (Hebrews 5:1-10) and conclude this section with a rebuke for their lack of spiritual growth (Hebrews 5:11-14).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. 2nd Exhortation: Hold Fast Confession of Faith in Christ Hebrews 4:14-16

2. 2 nd Doctrinal Discourse: The Priesthood of Jesus Hebrews 5:1-10

1. The High Priest Must Be a Man Hebrews 5:1-3

2. The High Priest Must Be Ordained by God Hebrews 5:4-10

3. Conclusion: Warning for Failure to Grow in Maturity Hebrews 5:11-14

The Theme of the Believer’s Perseverance in the Faith - Hebrews 4:14 to Hebrews 5:14 exhorts us to maintain the confession of our faith in Jesus Christ. However, this passage of Scripture regarding our faith in Jesus is described from the perspective of our need to persevere in the faith in order to obtain this redemption. Thus, the theme of the believer’s perseverance in the faith is emphasized. In contrast, the lengthy discourse in the epistle of Romans, which emphasizes Church doctrine, discusses our secure position of justification through faith in Jesus Christ once we believe the message of the Gospel. However, in Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 we are told that our justification is dependent upon our willingness to persevere in faith and not turn back in rebellion, as did the children of Israel in the wilderness.

Verses 14-16

Justification: Jesus Christ is the High Priest of Our Confession In Hebrews 4:14 to Hebrews 5:14 we find the third literary section. This passage contains the second exhortation in the epistle of Hebrews, exhorting us to hold fast to our confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by coming boldly to God’s throne in order to find grace and mercy to persevere; for the Jesus Christ our Great High Priest maintains our position of justification before God. Those who reject the Gospel will receive damnation, as stated in the conclusion of the previous section (Hebrews 4:12-13), but those who accept it will find access to God’s throne of grace (Hebrews 4:14-16). The author will then briefly mention the faithfulness of Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest (Hebrews 5:1-10) and conclude this section with a rebuke for their lack of spiritual growth (Hebrews 5:11-14).

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. 2nd Exhortation: Hold Fast Confession of Faith in Christ Hebrews 4:14-16

2. 2 nd Doctrinal Discourse: The Priesthood of Jesus Hebrews 5:1-10

1. The High Priest Must Be a Man Hebrews 5:1-3

2. The High Priest Must Be Ordained by God Hebrews 5:4-10

3. Conclusion: Warning for Failure to Grow in Maturity Hebrews 5:11-14

The Theme of the Believer’s Perseverance in the Faith - Hebrews 4:14 to Hebrews 5:14 exhorts us to maintain the confession of our faith in Jesus Christ. However, this passage of Scripture regarding our faith in Jesus is described from the perspective of our need to persevere in the faith in order to obtain this redemption. Thus, the theme of the believer’s perseverance in the faith is emphasized. In contrast, the lengthy discourse in the epistle of Romans, which emphasizes Church doctrine, discusses our secure position of justification through faith in Jesus Christ once we believe the message of the Gospel. However, in Hebrews 3:7 to Hebrews 4:11 we are told that our justification is dependent upon our willingness to persevere in faith and not turn back in rebellion, as did the children of Israel in the wilderness.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Hebrews 4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/hebrews-4.html. 2013.