We Who Believe Enter The Eternal Rest
For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,” although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has thus said somewhere concerning the seventh day, “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.” Hebrews 4:3-5
The inspired writer of the Hebrew letter is still working on the principle of faithfulness, of holding “fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end” (Heb. 3:6) by heeding the voice of the appointed, ascended Son over the house of God, Jesus Christ.
In the previous two weeks we’ve worked through the penman’s quote of Psalm 95:7-11 and the lessons to be learned from the physical nation of Israel in not heeding first, the voice of Moses, the servant appointed over the house of God, and the greater blunder of not heeding the voice of Jesus Christ, the Son over the house of God. Those who are hard of hearing regarding the voice of the Father through His messengers, develop hardened hearts that results in missing out on the benefits of entering the Father’s rest. Conversely, those who have ears to hear, the faithful, are promised entrance into His rest.
The Father’s Rest
Here in Hebrews chapter four, the Holy Spirit continues to work on this critical promise of our faithfulness, eternal rest, by driving home the danger of disbelief, which begets disobedience, by disregarding His voice. In building upon the need to remain diligent in heeding the message because there yet “remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9), the author cites Genesis 2:2: “And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” NAS
When the writer of Hebrews refers to God resting, it’s associated with the works of creation. Six literal days (morning and evening) the Father labored to bring forth the physical creation culminating in man being made in His image. Upon completion of the sixth day, He saw that all He had made “was very good” (Gen. 1:31a). His work completed, He rested from “all His work which He had done.” (Gen. 2:2b) The importance of where this rest takes place, heaven, as well as its length, eternal, establishes the principle of entering into the true rest of the Father.
Israel’s rest-a foreshadow
The entire nation of Israel was delivered from bondage in Egypt with the opportunity to enter the Promised Land. However, the Biblical record is clear that only two from the generation over twenty years old that came of Egypt, Joshua and Caleb, entered the Promised Land. Aided by their faithful leadership, the second generation of those that came out of Egypt in the Exodus are spoken of as those who “the LORD gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers” by vanquishing their enemies. The Scripture states, “Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” (Josh. 21:45)
With the deaths of the last faithful men from that generation which took the Promised Land, the very next generation began the slide into idolatry and apostasy. The result? The blessings they had enjoyed were now devolving into the curses Moses had warned about. The LORD had given them rest from their enemies, yet they did not remain faithful. This is the history of Israel-lack of faithfulness-which resulted in them being cast out of the land. We see then why the Holy Spirit would move David to speak some four hundred years after Israel entered the land of another day, “Today”, being associated with remaining faithful. Each day His covenant people are given is the day they need to continue to “hear His voice”, to live by faith, in order to enter into His eternal, heavenly rest when they’ve completed their purpose upon this earth. As it is said of David, “after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep” (Acts 13:36)
The Christian’s Rest
The Hebrew writer states that “we who have believed enter that rest”. Those that obey the gospel, the ones immersed into Christ, are spoken of in the New Testament as those seated with Him in the heavenly places (Eph. 2:6) We have, by faith, gained our entrance into that spiritual Promised Land. This happened when we ceased attempting to save ourselves and placed our faith in the resurrection power of Christ to deliver us from death and the enemy of God, Satan.
One of the most dangerous doctrines of demons that has entered into the religious marketplace of so-called Christianity, and crept into the true church, is that of once saved, always saved. Its roots, brethren, are found in the attitudes that developed in Israel and Judah as they made their death slide into idolatry and apostasy after having entered and settled in the physical promised land of Canaan. They thought once they were in the land they were secure regardless. Some think immersion into Christ is a “one and done” proposition guaranteeing their eternal heavenly rest. Our immersion into Christ does not guarantee our eternal rest with Him, it gives us the opportunity. There is a danger for those that start out believing, in developing “an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.” (Heb. 3:12)
Heed the lesson foreshadowed in the nation of Israel. Remain faithful to His voice as revealed in the written word, don’t risk being cast out of the spiritual Promised Land akin to faithless Israel out of Canaan. There yet remains an eternal Sabbath rest for the people of God. Our faith in our eternal rest becomes sight when we’ve rested from the works God has entrusted to us-preaching the gospel to all creation…either in His coming or our passing.