Hebrews 4:8
For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
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(8) For, had the promise been fulfilled in Joshua’s conquest, the Psalm (God in the Psalm) would not be speaking of another day, saying “To-day” (Hebrews 4:7). (In one other place in the New Testament the Greek form of the name of Joshua is preserved. See the Note on Acts 7:45.)

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.For if Jesus - Margin, "That is, Joshua." The Syriac renders it, "Joshua the son of Nun." "Jesus" is the Greek mode of writing "Joshua," and there can be no doubt that Joshua is here intended. The object is to prove that Joshua did" not" give the people of God such a rest as to make it improper to speak of a "rest" after that time. "If Joshua had given them a complete and final rest; if by his conducting them to the promised land all had been done which had been contemplated by the promise, then it would not have been alluded to again, as it was in the time of David." Joshua "did" give them a rest in the promised land; but it was not all which was intended, and it did not exclude the promise of another and more important rest.

Then would he not - Then "God" would not have spoken of another time when that rest could be obtained. The "other day" here referred to is that which is mentioned before by the phrase "today," and refers to the time in which it is spoken of long after Joshua, to wit, in the time of David.

8. Answer to the objection which might be made to his reasoning, namely, that those brought into Canaan by Joshua (so "Jesus" here means, as in Ac 7:45) did enter the rest of God. If the rest of God meant Canaan, God would not after their entrance into that land, have spoken (or speak [Alford]) of another (future) day of entering the rest. This is the improvement of the former instance, Hebrews 4:7. If Joshua, by bringing Israel into Canaan, had given rest to all believers, then God would not by David have spoken of another day and state of rest to come. Joshua was a type of Jesus bringing believers into the true rest of the heavenly Canaan, as he did Israel into a literal one, Acts 7:45.

For if Jesus had given them rest; if that of Canaan was the full and perfect rest of believers, which was given them by him.

Then would he not afterward have spoken of another day; then God himself would not have spoken by David of a better and heavenly rest promised believers in the gospel; of which spiritual and eternal one, both God’s seventh-day sabbath, and the rest of Canaan, were but fainter shadows and types. The expostulation is vehemently denying it.

For if Jesus had given them rest,.... That is, Joshua; for Hosheah, Joshua, and Jesus, are one and the same name; or Jesus himself, as two of Stephens's copies read; and so Joshua is called Jesus by the Septuagint interpreters on Exodus 17:10 and other places where he is mentioned; and also, by Josephus (h), and Philo (i) the Jew. The Syriac version, lest any should mistake this for Jesus Christ, adds, "the son of Nun": who is certainly the person designed, as the apostle's reasoning shows; who was an eminent type of Jesus Christ: there is an agreement in their names, both signify a saviour, Joshua was a temporal saviour, Christ a spiritual one; and in their office they were both servants; and in their qualifications for their office, such as wisdom, courage, faithfulness, and integrity. Joshua was a type of Christ in many actions of his life; in the miracles he wrought, or were wrought for him; in the battles he fought, and the victories he obtained; in saving Rahab and her family; in receiving the Gibeonites, who came submissively to him; and in leading the children of Israel into Canaan's land, which he divided to them by lot: but though he brought them into a land of rest, into the typical rest, where they had rest for a while from their temporal enemies, yet he did not give them the true spiritual rest: had he,

then would he not afterward have spoken of another day; that is, God, in David's time, and by him, would not have so long after appointed another day of rest; meaning, not any particular day of the week, but the whole Gospel dispensation, in the times of the Messiah; wherefore the apostle concludes as follows.

(h) Antiqu. Jud. l. 4. c. 7. sect. 2. c. 8. sect. 46, 47, 48. & l. 5. c. 1. sect. 1. & passim. (i) De Charitate, p. 698, 699, 700.

For if {b} Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

(b) He speaks of Joshua the son of Nun: and as the land of Canaan was a figure of our true rest, so was Joshua a figure of Christ.

Hebrews 4:8. Justification of the πάλιν τινὰ ὁρίζει ἡμέραν, Hebrews 4:7. If Joshua had already introduced into the rest of God, God would not still have spoken in the time after Joshua of a term (period) of entrance into the same.

αὐτούς] sc. τοὺς πρότερον εὐαγγελισθέντας, Hebrews 4:6.

καταπαύειν] here (in accordance with the classic usage) transitive, as Exodus 33:14, Deuteronomy 3:20; Deuteronomy 5:33, al.: to lead into the rest.

ἐλάλει] sc. ὁ θεός.

μετὰ ταῦτα] belongs not to ἄλλης ἡμέρας (Hofmann, al.), but to ἐλάλει, and corresponds to the μετὰ τοσοῦτον χρόνον, Hebrews 4:7.

8. Jesus] i.e. Joshua. The needless adoption of the Greek form of the name by the A. V. is here most unfortunately perplexing to uninstructed readers, as also in Acts 7:45.

had given them rest] He did, indeed, give them a rest and, in some sense (Deuteronomy 12:9), the rest partially and primarily intended (Joshua 23:1); but only a dim shadow of the true and final rest offered by Christ (Matthew 11:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-6; Revelation 14:13).

then would he not afterward have spoken] The “He” is here Jehovah. More literally, “He would not have been speaking.” The phrases applied to Scripture by the writer always imply his sense of its living power and ideal continuity. The words are as though they had just been uttered (“He hath said,” Hebrews 4:4) or were still being uttered (as here, and throughout). There is a similar mode of argument in Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 8:4; Hebrews 8:7, Hebrews 11:15.

Hebrews 4:8. Ἰησοῦς) Joshua.—οὐκ ἂν) There is a similar mode of reasoning, ch. Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 8:4; Hebrews 8:7, Hebrews 11:15.—περὶ ἄλλης ἡμέρας, of another day) By observing which an access would be opened also to another rest.

Verses 8, 9. - For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. The conclusion is now drawn: There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God; the true nature of the rest intended being beautifully denoted by the word σαββατισμὸς, which refers to the Divine rest "from the foundation of the world," while the offer of it to true believers always, and not to the Israelites only, is intimated by the phrase, "the people of God." Hebrews 4:8But it might be said that under Joshua the people did enter into the promised rest. He therefore shows that Israel's rest in Canaan did not fulfill the divine ideal of the rest.

Jesus (Ἰησοῦς)

Rend. Joshua, and see on Matthew 1:21.

After this (μετὰ ταῦτα)

After the entrance into Canaan under Joshua.

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