Hebrews 4:6
Seeing therefore it remains that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) The substance of the preceding verses may be thus expressed: There is a rest of God, into which some are to enter with God,—a rest not yet entered at the time of the wandering in the wilderness, and therefore not that which followed the work of creation,—a rest from which some were excluded because of unbelief. These five particulars are repeated in substance in the present verse: “Seeing, therefore, it is (still) left that some should enter in, and they to whom formerly glad tidings were declared entered not in because of disobedience, He again,” &c. “Disobedience”—though Hebrews 4:2 speaks of unbelief as the cause: see Note on Hebrews 3:18. In John 3:36, the transition from “believeth” to “obeyeth” is equally striking.

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.Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein - That is, "Since there is a rest spoken of in the Scriptures, implying that it is to be enjoyed by some, and since they to whom it was first promised did not inherit it, it follows that it must still be in reserve." This is the conclusion which the apostle draws from the argument in the previous verses, and is connected with Hebrews 4:9, where he says that "there remaineth a rest to the people of God" - the point to which the whole argument tended. The statement in Hebrews 4:7, Hebrews 4:8, is to be regarded as an "interruption" in stating the conclusion, or as the suggestion of a new thought or a new argument bearing on the subject, which he sets down even while stating the conclusion from his argument. It has the appearance of being "suggested" to him as a new thought of importance, and which he preferred to place even in the midst of the summing up of the argument rather than omit it altogether. It denotes a state of mind full of the subject, and where one idea came hastening after another, and which it was deemed important to notice, even though it should seem to be out of place. The "position" in this Hebrews 4:6 is, that it was a settled or indisputable matter that some would enter into rest. The implied argument to prove this is:

(1) that there was a "rest" spoken of which deserved to be called a "divine rest," or the "rest of God;"

(2) it could not be supposed that God would prepare such a rest in vain, for it would follow that if he had suited up a world of rest, he designed that it should be occupied. As he knew, therefore, that they to whom it was first offered would not enter in, it must be that he designed it for some others, and that it "remained" to be occupied by us now.

And they to whom it was first preached - Margin, "The Gospel." Greek "Evangelized;" that is, to where the good news of the rest was first announced - the Israelites. "Entered not in because of unbelief;" see the notes at Hebrews 3:19.

6. it remaineth—still to be realized.

some must enter—The denial of entrance to unbelievers is a virtual promise of entrance to those that believe. God wishes not His rest to be empty, but furnished with guests (Lu 14:23).

they to whom it was first preached entered not—literally, "they who first (in the time of Moses) had the Gospel preached to them," namely, in type, see on [2546]Heb 4:2.

unbelief—Greek, rather "disobedience" (see on [2547]Heb 3:18).

The Spirit having demonstrated, that God’s rest sworn to believers in the gospel, and mentioned by David, could not be the seventh day’s rest; proceeds to prove likewise, that it could not be the rest of Israel in the land of Canaan, since that was entered into four hundred years before he wrote by the Spirit of this better rest, since those unbelieving Israel that entered into Canaan never entered into this rest.

Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein; forasmuch then as a rest to come is spoken of, and that some believers must have a real and full possession of the glorious rest offered to them in the gospel, as David foretold: see Hebrews 4:9-11.

And they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief; the unbelieving Israel, who had the glad tidings of this rest preached unto them by Moses and by David, &c., yet entered not into it, though they entered into and lived in Canaan, because of their disobedience and unbelief. Then it follows Canaan’s rest and this cannot be all one, and the latter only is intended by David here. Seeing therefore it remaineth,.... It follows by just consequence,

that some must enter therein; for God's swearing concerning some, that they should not enter into his rest, supposes that others should: and

they to whom it was first preached; to whom the Gospel was first preached, namely, the Israelites in the wilderness: entered not in because of unbelief; See Hebrews 3:19.

Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 4:6-7. The author, founding his reasoning, on the one hand, on the truthfulness of God, and on the other, on the actual state of matters declared from ἀλλά, Hebrews 4:2, to κατάπαυσίν μου, Hebrews 4:5, now returns to the statements: καταλειπομένης ἐπαγγελίας, Hebrews 4:1, and καὶ γάρ ἐσμεν εὐηγγελισμένοι καθάπερ κἀκεῖνοι, Hebrews 4:2, in order, by means of the opening words of the psalm cited, to render clear the truth contained in these statements concerning the non-fulfilment of the promise as yet, and also the necessity for not closing the heart against the same.[65]

The sense is: since then it still remains, i.e. is to be expected with certainty, that some enter therein (inasmuch, namely, as God carries also into effect that which He promises), and the earlier recipients of the promise did not enter in because of their unbelief, He marks out anew a definite day, etc. From this relation of the first half of the protasis to the second, as that of a general postulate to a special historic fact, is explained also the indefinite τινάς in the first clause. Wrongly Delitzsch, according to whom ΤΙΝΆς signifies: “others than those.” Some, again, find in ἘΠΕῚ ΟὖΝ ἈΠΟΛΕΊΠΕΤΑΙ ΤΙΝᾺς ΕἸΣΕΛΘΕῖΝ the meaning: since then the promise, of entering into His rest, is still left, i.e. awaits its fulfilment. So substantially Bleek: “since it now remains, that the divine rest has not yet been already closed by the complete(?) fulfilment of the prophecy relating thereto, in such wise that no more entrance exists for them.” Against this, however, pleads the fact that the author would then have illogically co-ordinated, the one with the other, the two protases Hebrews 4:6, since the first would surely contain the result of the second. For the sequence of thought would then be: the former recipients of the promise came short of attaining salvation, and the consequence thereof is that the κατάπαυσις stands open for others. It must thus have been written: ἐπεὶ οὖν ἀπολείπεται τινὰς εἰσελθεῖν εἰς αὐτήν, τῶν πρότερον εὐαγγελισθέντων οὐκ εἰσελθόντων διʼ ἀπείθειαν.

οἱ πρότερον εὐαγγελισθέντες] sc. the Israelites in the wilderness.

[65] Ebrard has here, too, entirely misapprehended the connection. He says: “Vv. 6–8, the author passes to a new thought, to a new point of comparison between the work of Christ and the work of Moses. The opposition between the work of the one and that of the other is twofold.… The first imperfection in the work of Moses consisted (Hebrews 4:2-5) in the fact that his work conferred no power for fulfilment,—did not combine by faith with the hearers,—and on that account did not avail to lead into rest; the second consists in the fact that the rest itself, into which the Israelites might have been led by Moses, and then by Joshua were led in, was only an earthly typical rest, whereas Christ leads into an actual rest, which intrinsically corresponds to the Sabbath-rest of God.”Hebrews 4:6. The writer now, in Hebrews 4:6-9, gathers up the argument, and reaches his conclusion that a Sabbatism remains for God’s people. The argument briefly is, God has provided a rest for men and has promised it to them. This promise was not believed by those who formerly heard it, neither was it exhausted in the bringing in of the people to Canaan. For had it been so, it could not have been renewed long after, as it was. It remains, therefore, to be now enjoyed. “Since, therefore, it remains that some enter into it and those who formerly heard the good news of the promise did not enter, owing to disobedience.” ἀπολείπεται, there remains over as not yet fulfilled. In Hebrews 5:9. σαββατ. is the nominative, here τινας εἰσελθεῖν might be considered a nominative but it is better, with Viteau (256), to construe it as an impersonal verb followed by an infinitive. From the fact that the offer of the rest had been made, or the promise given, “it remains” that some (must) enter in. But a second fact also forms a premiss in the argument. viz.: that those to whom the promise had formerly been made did not enter in; therefore, over and above and long after (μετὰ τοσ. χρόνον) the original proclamation of this gospel of rest, even in David’s time, again (πάλιν), God appoints or specifies a certain day (τινὰ ὁρίζει ἡμέραν) saying “To-day”. This proves that the offer is yet open, that the promise holds good in David’s time. The words already quoted (καθὼς προείρηται) from the 95th Psalm prove this, for they run, “To-day, if ye hear His voice,” etc. They prove at any rate that the gospel of rest was not exhausted by the entrance into Canaan under Joshua, “for if Joshua had given them rest, God would not after this speak of another day”. The writer takes for granted that the “To-day” of the Psalm extends to Christian times, whether be cause of the life (Hebrews 4:12) that is in the word of promise, or because the reference in the Psalm is Messianic. “This ‘voice’ of God which is ‘heard’ is His voice speaking to us in His Son (Hebrews 1:1) and this ‘To-day’ is ‘the end of these days’ in which He has spoken to us in Him, on to the time when He shall come again (Hebrews 3:13). In effect God has been ‘heard’ speaking only twice, to Israel and to us, and what He has spoken to both has been the same,—the promise of entering into His rest. Israel came short of it through unbelief; we do enter into the rest who believe (Hebrews 4:3)” (Davidson). At all events, the conclusion unhesitatingly follows: “Therefore there remains a Sabbath-Rest for the people of God”. ἄρα though often standing first in a sentence in N.T. cannot in classical Greek occupy that place. Σαββατισμός, though found here only in Biblical Greek, occurs in Plutarch (De Superstit, c. 3). The verb σαββατίζειν occurs in Exodus 16:30 and other places. The word is here employed in preference to κατάπαυσις in order to identify the rest promised to God’s people with the rest enjoyed by God Himself on the Sabbath or Seventh Day. [So Theophylact, ἑρμηνεύει πῶς σαββατ. ὠνόμασε τὴν τοιαύτην κατάπαυσιν· διότι, φησὶ, καταπαύομεν καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων τῶν ἡμετέρων, ὥσπερ καὶ ὁ θεός, καταπαύσας ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων τῶν εἰς σύστασιν τοῦ κόσμου, σάββατον τὴν ἡμέραν ὠνόμασεν.] To explain and justify the introduction of this word, the writer adds ὁ γὰρ εἰσελθὼν … as if he said, I call it a Sabbatism, because it is not an ordinary rest, but one which finds its ideal and actual fulfilment in God’s own rest on the Seventh Day. It is a Sabbatism because in it God’s people reach a definite stage of attainment, of satisfactorily accomplished purpose, as God Himself did when creation was finished. ὁ γὰρ εἰσελθὼν, whoever has entered, not to be restricted to Jesus, as by Alford, εἰς τ. κατάπαυσιν αὐτοῦ, into God’s rest, καὶ αὐτὸς κ.τ.λ. himself also rested from his (the man’s) works as God from His.”

The salvation which the writer has previously referred to as a glorious dominion is here spoken of as a Rest. The significance lies in its being God’s rest which man is to share. It is the rest which God has enjoyed since the creation. From all His creative work God could not be said to rest till, after what cannot but appear to us a million of hazards, man appeared, a creature in whose history God Himself could find a worthy history, whose moral and spiritual needs would elicit the Divine resources and exercise what is deepest in God. When man appears God is satisfied, for here is one in His own image. But from this bare statement of the meaning of God’s rest it is obvious that God’s people must share it with Him. God’s rest is satisfaction in man; but this satisfaction can be perfected only when man is in perfect harmony with Him. His rest is not perfect till they rest in Him. This highly spiritual conception of salvation is involved in our Author’s argument. Cf. the grand passage on God’s Rest in Philo, De Cherubim, c. xxvi., and also Barnabas xv., see also Hughes’ The Sabbatical Rest of God and Man.6. it remaineth] The promise is still left open, is unexhausted.

because of unbelief] Rather, “because of disobedience” (apeitheian). It was not the Israelites of the wilderness, but their descendants, who came to Shiloh, and so enjoyed a sort of earthly type of the heavenly rest (Joshua 18:1).Hebrews 4:6. Ἐπεὶ οὖν, seeing therefore) GOD does not wish that His rest should be empty (not filled with guests): Luke 14:23.—πρότερον, first) in the time of Moses.—εὐαγγελισθέντες) A rare use of the word applied to the men of old. He is no doubt speaking of the promise of the land of Canaan, but with a view to the Gospel-preaching of eternal life.Verses 6, 7. - Since therefore it remains that some should enter into it, and they to whom the good tidings were before preached entered not in because of disobedience, he again defineth a certain day, saying in David, after so long a time, To-day; as it hath been before said, To-day, if ye will hear his voice, etc. The continued openness of the rest, and the failure of the Israelites of old to enter it, are the reasons why a further day for entering was defined in the psalm. But here the thought is suggested that the Israelites had not finally failed, for that, though those under Moses did so, the next generation under Joshua did attain the promised land. No, it is replied; the rest of the promised land was but a type after all; it was not the true rest of God: otherwise the psalmist could not have still assigned a day for entering it so long after the arrival at Shiloh; - The rest was not appropriated by those under Moses, nor, in the full sense, by those under Joshua, nor in David's time.

It remaineth that some must enter therein (ἀπολείπεται τινὰς εἰσελθεῖν εἰς αὐτήν)

Ἀπολείπεται "remains over from past times." The promise has not been appropriated. It must be appropriated in accordance with God's provision. The rest was not provided for nothing. God's provision of a rest implies and involves that some enter into it. But the appropriation is yet in the future. It remains that some enter in.

They to whom it was first preached (οἱ πρότερον εὐαγγελισθέντες)

Lit. they who were first the subjects of the announcement of the glad tidings. It is desirable to avoid the word preached. See on Hebrews 4:2. The Israelites under Moses and Joshua are meant.

Because of unbelief (δι' ἀπείθειαν)

Rend. for unbelief, disobedience. Comp. Hebrews 3:18. Ἀπείθεια disobedience is the active manifestation of ἀπιστία unbelief.

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