|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-10 The privileges we have under the gospel, are greater than any had under the law of Moses, though the same gospel for substance was preached under both Testaments. There have been in all ages many unprofitable hearers; and unbelief is at the root of all unfruitfulness under the word. Faith in the hearer is the life of the word. But it is a painful consequence of partial neglect, and of a loose and wavering profession, that they often cause men to seem to come short. Let us then give diligence, that we may have a clear entrance into the kingdom of God. As God finished his work, and then rested from it, so he will cause those who believe, to finish their work, and then to enjoy their rest. It is evident, that there is a more spiritual and excellent sabbath remaining for the people of God, than that of the seventh day, or that into which Joshua led the Jews. This rest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness, in the gospel state. And a rest in glory, where the people of God shall enjoy the end of their faith, and the object of all their desires. The rest, or sabbatism, which is the subject of the apostle's reasoning, and as to which he concludes that it remains to be enjoyed, is undoubtedly the heavenly rest, which remains to the people of God, and is opposed to a state of labour and trouble in this world. It is the rest they shall obtain when the Lord Jesus shall appear from heaven. But those who do not believe, shall never enter into this spiritual rest, either of grace here or glory hereafter. God has always declared man's rest to be in him, and his love to be the only real happiness of the soul; and faith in his promises, through his Son, to be the only way of entering that rest.
Verse 3. - For we do enter into the rest, we who have believed (οἱ πιστεύσαντες, the historical aorist, pointing to the time when Christians became believers; with a reference also to τῇ πίστει in the preceding verse: but the emphasis is on the first word in the sentence, εἰσερχόμεθα: "For we Christian believers have an entrance into the rest intended") even as he hath said, As I sware in my wrath, If they shall enter into my rest; although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. This seems to be a concise enunciation of the proof, unfolded in the verses that follow, of the true rest being one into which Christians have still an entrance. The idea is that, though God's own rest had been from the beginning, and man had not yet entered it, yet the possibility of his doing so had not ceased to be intimated: it had continued open potentially to man.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For we which have believed do enter into rest,.... Not eternal rest; all believers shall enjoy this, and they only; but this is not now, or at present enjoyed, unless things future may be said to be present, because of faith in them, and the certainty of them but spiritual rest in Christ under the Gospel dispensation, which is a rest from the burden of the law of Moses, and from all toil and labour for life, and salvation by works, and lies in an enjoyment of much inward peace of soul, notwithstanding the world's troubles and Satan's temptations; and such who believe the word or Gospel preached, and Christ in it, not with a general and historical high, or only in profession, but with the heart, and in truth, these enjoy this rest; they are kept in perfect peace, and have much spiritual ease and comfort: this character distinguishes them from the unbelieving Israelites of old, and from present hypocrites and formal professors:
as he said, as I have sworn in wrath, if they shall enter into my rest; the words are in Psalm 95:11, and are before cited in Hebrews 3:11; see Gill on Hebrews 3:11, they entered not in because of unbelief; none but believers enter into spiritual rest. The apostle applies this proof to his design, by removing all other rests, and particularly by showing that does not mean God's rest from the works of creation:
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world; that is, though the works of creation, that God designed to make, were finished and perfected within the first six days of the world, and then God rested, or ceased to work in a creative way; yet this is not the rest designed in the passage of Scripture cited, nor is it that rest which believers enter into.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. For—justifying his assertion of the need of "faith," Heb 4:2.
we which have believed—we who at Christ's coming shall be found to have believed.
do enter—that is, are to enter: so two of the oldest manuscripts and Lucifer and the old Latin. Two other oldest manuscripts read, "Let us enter."
into rest—Greek, "into the rest" which is promised in the ninety-fifth Psalm.
as he said—God's saying that unbelief excludes from entrance implies that belief gains an entrance into the rest. What, however, Paul mainly here dwells on in the quotation is that the promised "rest" has not yet been entered into. At Heb 4:11 he again, as in Heb 3:12-19 already, takes up faith as the indispensable qualification for entering it.
although, &c.—Although God had finished His works of creation and entered on His rest from creation long before Moses' time, yet under that leader of Israel another rest was promised, which most fell short of through unbelief; and although the rest in Canaan was subsequently attained under Joshua, yet long after, in David's days, God, in the ninety-fifth Psalm, still speaks of the rest of God as not yet attained. Therefore, there must be meant a rest still future, namely, that which "remaineth for the people of God" in heaven, Heb 4:3-9, when they shall rest from their works, as God did from His, Heb 4:10. The argument is to show that by "My rest," God means a future rest, not for Himself, but for us.
finished—Greek, "brought into existence," "made."
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