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Bible Commentaries

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament
Hebrews 4

 

 

Verse 1

The course of argument in this chapter, to verse Hebrews 4:11, is as follows: There is a rest promised to us, which we should be careful not to lose by our unbelief and disobedience, after the example of the ancient Israelites in the wilderness. This cannot be the rest upon which God entered after he had finished the works of creation, nor the rest which Joshua gave to Israel in Canaan, since long after both of these the Holy Ghost still speaks of a rest which he warns us, as he did the covenant people in David’s day, not to lose.

His rest; God’s rest provided for his people.

Should seem to come short of it; regarded by some as simply a softened way of saying, Should come short of it. Others render, Should appear-that is, at the last day-to have come short of it.


Verse 2

The gospel; good news of a future rest.

Unto them; the Israelites in the wilderness.

The word preached; the offer to them of a future rest.

Did not profit them; because they did not, by believing God, comply with its instructions.


Verse 3

Do enter into rest; literally, into the rest; that, namely, which the Holy Ghost, through David, warns us not to lose. There is a rest promised to believers now as really as there was to believers in the days of Moses; and true Christians have a foretaste of it. It is a spiritual, holy rest, like the rest of God on the Sabbath after he had finished the work of creation; and of which the right keeping of the Sabbath is to believers an emblem.

As he said; Psalms 95:11.

If they shall enter; a Hebrew form of expression, the same as in chap Hebrews 3:11, meaning, they shall not enter. See also verse Hebrews 4:5.

Although the works were finished; as the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, said this nearly three thousand years after God on the Sabbath rested from his work of creation, it is plain that this was not the rest referred to.


Verse 4

In a certain place; Genesis 2:1-3, showing that there is a rest upon which God entered when he had finished the works of creation.


Verse 5

And in this place again; showing that God has still another rest into which he invites us to enter.


Verse 6-7

Seeing therefore-harden not your hearts; some connect verse Hebrews 4:6 immediately with verse Hebrews 4:11, making the intervening verses a parenthesis. But the passage is plainer if taken without any parenthesis, thus: "Seeing therefore"-as has been shown by the preceding argument-"it remaineth"-long after God has entered upon his rest of the Sabbath-"that some must enter therein"; in other words, that it is a rest yet reserved for some, namely, for all those who accept it as it is offered; "and seeing they to whom it was first preached"-namely, the Israelites in the wilderness-"entered not in because of unbelief; again, he limiteth a certain day"-that is, he therefore again sets a certain day-"saying by the mouth of David, To-day; thus showing that to-day an offer is made to men of God’s rest-"after so long a time"-so long a time after the rest of Canaan had been entered upon-"as it is said"-rather, as it has been said before, in the quotation already made from Psalms 95:7 -"To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts" Of course, when David spoke of a time when men by believing might obtain rest, it was not the rest of Canaan, for that they had, verse Hebrews 4:8; nor was it the rest of the Sabbath, for that they had, verses Hebrews 4:3-4; but it was the rest of which these were emblems, the glorious, eternal rest of heaven.


Verse 8

Jesus; Joshua; Jesus being the same in Greek as Joshua in Hebrew, meaning Saviour.

Afterward; in the days of David.

Another day; or time when the rest spoken of could, by believing, be obtained.


Verse 9

Therefore; as the certain conclusion from the above-mentioned facts, the rest spoken of by God is one which is spiritual and future; the keeping of an eternal Sabbath, a holy, blessed rest in heaven. The rest promised to the faithful and obedient in the Old Testament, was not merely a temporary rest on the Sabbath, or in Canaan, but a spiritual, eternal rest in heaven; of which the rest of the Sabbath and the rest of Canaan were emblems.


Verse 10

His rest; in heaven.

Hath ceased; from his work on earth.

As God; ceased from his work of creation on the first Sabbath. God’s method of salvation was not designed, and is not adapted to encourage idleness, but great and persevering diligence in the discharge of duty.


Verse 11

Therefore; as there is such a glorious, heavenly rest, and many through unbelief have lost it, let us give all diligence by faith and obedience to secure it, lest through unbelief we also lose it.


Verse 12

The word of God; all his declarations, whether of law or grace, whether of promise or threatening. God, who is its author, imparts to it his own divine energy. It lays open every heart, and detects all hypocrisy and unbelief.

Quick; living, and powerful in its effects. John 6:63; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Two-edged sword; Ephesians 6:17; Revelation 1:16; Revelation 19:15.

Discerner of the thoughts; lays open the secrets of the heart, and shows a man to himself. Romans 7:7. Our faith, therefore, must be hearty, active, and persevering, or we shall fail of obtaining the promised rest.


Verse 13

In his sight; the sight of God the author of this word. In order to be saved, men must be Christians in reality as well as in appearance. God sees men as they are, and will treat them according to their works.


Verse 14

Profession; of faith in Christ.


Verse 16

The throne of grace; God on his gracious throne dispensing mercy to sinners. In God is help for men; and it is their duty to come unto him in the name of Christ, that for his sake they may receive it.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Hebrews 4:4". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/hebrews-4.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 6th, 2019
the First Week of Advent
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