Hebrews 4:9
There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.
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(9) There remaineth therefore.—Or, therefore there is (still) left: the word is the same as in Hebrews 4:6. It is tacitly assumed that no subsequent fulfilment has altered the relation of the promise. Few things in the Epistle are more striking than the constant presentation of the thought that Scripture language is permanent and at all times present. The implied promise, therefore, repeated whenever the “to-day” is heard, must have its fulfilment. The rescued people of Israel did indeed find a rest in Canaan: the true redeemed “people of God” shall rest with God.

A rest.—As the margin points out, the word is suddenly changed. As the rest promised to God’s people is a rest with God, it is to them “a sabbath-rest.” So one of the treatises of the Mishna speaks of Psalms 92 as a “Psalm for the time to come, for the day which is all Sabbath, the rest belonging to the life eternal.”



Hebrews 4:9-10WE lose much of the meaning of this passage by our superficial habit of transferring it to a future state. The ground of the mistake is in the misinterpretation of that word ‘remaineth’; which is taken to point to the ‘rest,’ after the sorrows of this life are all done with. Of course there is such a rest; but if we take the context of the passage, we cannot but recognise this as the truth that is taught here, that faith, and not death, is the gate to participation in Christ’s rest - that the rest remained over after Moses and Judaism, but came into possession under and by Christ.

For the main scope of the whole passage is the elucidation of one of the points in which the writer asserts the superiority of Christ to Moses, of Christianity to Judaism. That old system, says he, had in it for its very heart a promise of rest; but it had only a promise.

It could not give the thing that it held forth. It could not, by the nature of the system. It could not, as is manifest from this fact - that years after they had entered into possession of the land, years after the promise had been first given, the Psalmist represents the entrance into that rest as a privilege not yet realised, but waiting to be grasped by the men of day whose hearts were softened to hear God’s voice. David’s words clearly, to the mind of the writer of the epistle, show that Canaan was not the promised ‘rest.’ David treats it as being obtained by obedience to God’s Word; and as not yet possessed by the people, though they had the promised land. He treats it as then, in his own ‘day,’ still but a promise, and a promise which would not be fulfilled to his people if they hardened their hearts. All this carries the inference that the Mosaic system did not give the ‘rest’ which it promised. Hence, says the author of the Hebrews, that ‘rest’ held forth from the beginning, gleaming before all generations of the Jewish people, but to them only a fair vision, remains unpossessed as yet, but to be possessed. God’s word has been pledged. He has said that there shall be a share in His rest for His people. The ancient people did not get it. What then? Is God’s promise thereby cancelled? ‘They could not enter in because of unbelief,’ but the unbelief of man shall not make the faith of God without effect. Therefore, as the eternal promise has been given, and they counted themselves unworthy, the divine mercy which will find some to enter therein, and will not be balked of its purposes, turns to the Gentiles; and the ‘rest’ provided for the Jews first, but unaccepted by them, remains for all who believe to partake.

And, still further, the writer establishes the principle that the rest promised to the Jew remains yet to be inherited by the Christian, on a second ground: ‘For,’ says he, in the tenth verse of the chapter, ‘for He that is entered into His rest, He also has ceased from His own works, as God did from His.’ How is that a proof? It is not a proof that there is a rest for us, if you interpret it as people generally do. But it is so if you give to it what seems to be the correct interpretation - by referring it to Christ and Christ’s heavenly condition. ‘He that has entered into His rest - that is Jesus Christ, ‘He has ceased from His own works’ - His finished work of redemption - ‘as God did from His’ His finished work of creation. And there is the great proof that there is a rest for us: not only because Judaism did not bring it, but because Christ hath gone up on high. We have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens. Christ our Lord has entered into His rest - parallel with the divine tranquillity after Creation. And seeing that He possesses it, certainly we shall possess it if only we hold fast by Him. ‘There remains a rest’ - proved by the fact that Christ hath gone into it, and carrying the inference, ‘Let us labour, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.’

We find here, then, three main points. First, the divine rest, God’s and Christ’s. Secondly, this divine rest, the pattern of what our life on earth may become. And lastly, this divine rest, the prophecy of what our life in heaven shall assuredly be.

I. In the first place, then, we have here the divine rest.

‘He hath ceased from His own works, as God did from His.’ The writer is drawing a parallel between God’s ceasing from His creative work and entering into that Sabbath rest when He saw everything that He had made, and behold it was very good; and Christ’s ceasing from the work of redemption, and passing into the heavens to the Sabbath of His everlasting repose.

I need not dwell at any length upon a matter which, after all speech, remains for us but very dimly intelligible - the rest of God. ‘My rest’ - that rest belongs necessarily to the Divine Nature. It is the deep tranquillity of a nature self-sufficing in its infinite beauty, calm in its everlasting strength, placid in its deepest joy, still in its mightiest energy; loving without passion, willing without decision or change, acting without effort; quiet, and moving everything; making all things new, and itself everlasting; creating, and knowing no diminution by the act; annihilating, and knowing no loss though the universe were barren and unpeopled. God is, God is everywhere, God is everywhere the same, God is everywhere the same infinite, God is everywhere the same infinite love and the same infinite self- sufficiency; therefore His very Being is rest. And yet that image that rises before us, statuesque, still in its placid tranquillity, is not repellent nor cold, is no dead marble likeness of life. That great ocean of the Divine Nature which knows no storm nor billow, is yet not a tideless and stagnant sea. God is changeless and ever tranquil, and yet He loves. God is changeless and ever tranquil, and yet He wills. God is changeless and ever tranquil, and yet He acts. Mystery of mysteries, passing all understanding I And yet He says, ‘They shall enter into My rest!’ Now I believe, and I hope you believe, that the rest of Christ is like the rest of God, even in respect of this Divine and Infinite Nature. ‘He hath ceased from His works, as God did from His.’ Jesus Christ is ‘the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.’ Whatsoever you can predicate of the settled tranquillity, and stable, necessary, essential repose of a divine nature, that you can predicate of Christ our Redeemer, of Christ the Son of God.

But still further. Besides that deep and changeless repose which thus belongs to the Divine Nature, there is the other thought which perhaps comes more markedly out in the passage before us - that of a rest which is God’s tranquil ceasing from His work, because God has perfected His work. When we read in the Old Testament, that at the end of the creative act, God rested upon the Sabbath day, and blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, of course the thought that comes into view is not that of a divine nature wearied with toil and needing repose, but that of a divine nature which has fully accomplished its intent, expressed its purpose, done what it meant to do, and rests from its working Because it has embodied its ideal in its work. It is the proclamation, ‘This creation of Mine is all that I meant it to be - finished and perfect’; not the acknowledgment of an exhaustion of the creative energy which needs to reinvigorate its strength by repose after its mighty ,effort. The rest of God is the expression of the perfect divine complacency in the perfect divine work.

And, in like manner, as after that creative act there came the Sabbath, when He saw that it was all very good, and the morning stars sang together for joy;-so after the mightier new-creative act of redemption, the Christ, who is divine, ceased and held His hand, not because Bethlehem and Calvary had wearied Him, not because after pain He needed rest, not because the Cross had tasked His powers, and His suffering had strained His nature; but because all that had to be done was done, and He knew it-because redemption was completed. The Sabbath on which God rested from His work, and the new Sabbath on which Christ rose from the dead, the conqueror of death, the destruction of sin, are parallel in this, that in either case the work was done, that in either case the Doer needed no repose after His finished task. And just as God, full of all the energy of being, operated unspent after creation, needed not that rest for His refreshment, but took it as the pledge and proclamation to the universe that all was done; so Christ, unwearied and unwounded from His dreadful close and sore wrestle with sin and death, sprung from the grave to the skies, and rests - proclamation and token to the world that His work is finished, that the Cross is enough for the race for ever more, that all is complete, and man’s salvation secured. As God hath ceased from His works, Christ hath ceased from His.

Still further: this divine tranquility - inseparable from the Divine Nature, the token of the sufficiency and completeness of the divine work - is also a rest that is full of work. When Christ was telling the Jews the principles of the Sabbath day, He said to them: ‘My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.’ The creative act is finished and God rests; but God, in resting, works; even as God, in working, rests. Preservation is a continued creation. The energy of the divine power is as mightily at work here now sustaining us in life, as it was when He flung forth stars and systems like sparks from a forge, and willed the universe into being. God rests, and in His rest, up to the present hour and for ever, God works. And, in like manner, Christ’s work of redemption, finished upon the Cross, is perpetually going on. Christ’s glorious repose is full of energy for His people. He intercedes above. He works on them, He works through them, He works for them. The rest of God, the divine tranquillity, is full of work. There, then, is a parallel: the rest of the Father, who ceased from His work of creation, and continueth His work of preservation, is parallel with that of the Son, who ceased from His work of sacrifice, and continueth His work of intercession and of sanctifying. These two are one. ‘My rest’ is the rest of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Father. That still communion and that everlasting repose are a prophecy for our lives, brethren. The ancient promise, long repeated, has come sounding down through the echoing halls of the centuries, and rings in our ears as fresh as when first it was spoken, ‘There remaineth a rest for the people of God,’ they shall enter into the stillness and the secret of His tranquillity!

II. Then, in the second place, the text gives us, The rest of God and of Christ as the pattern of what our earthly life may become.

Like Christ, like God - can it be? It can be, with certain differences; but oh! the differences drop into insignificance when we think of the resemblances. Whether a man is capable of knowing absolute truth or not, he is capable of coming into direct and personal contact with the absolute Reality, the Truth of Truth. And whether here below we can know anything about God as He is or not, this at all events the New Testament teaches us, that we can come to be like Him - like Him in the substance of our souls; like Him - copy of His perfections; like Him - shadow and resemblance of some of His attributes. And here lies the foundation for the belief that we can ‘ enter into His rest.’ We cannot possess that changeless tranquillity which knows no variations of purpose or of desire, but we can possess the stable repose of that fixed nature which knows one object, and one alone. We cannot possess that energy which, after all work, is fresh and unbroken; but we can possess that tranquillity which in all toil is not troubled, and after all work is ready for yet greater service. We cannot possess that unwavering fire of a divine nature which burns in love without flickering, which knows without learning, which wills without irresolution and without the act of decision; but we can come to love deeply, tranquilly, perpetually, we can come to know without questioning, without doubts, without darkness, in firm confidence of stable assurance, and so know with something like the knowledge of Him who knows things as they are; and we can come to will and resolve so strongly, so fixedly, so wisely, that there shall he no change of purpose, nor any vacillation of desire. In these ways, in shadow and copy, we can resemble even the apparently incommunicable tranquillity which, like an atmosphere that knows no tempests, belongs to and encircles the throne of God.

But, still further: faith, which is the means of entering into rest, will - if only you cherish it - make your life no unworthy resemblance of His who, triumphant above, works for us, and, working for us, rests from all His toil. Trust Christ! is the teaching here. Trust Christ! and a great benediction of tranquil repose comes down upon thy calm mind and upon thy settled heart. Trust Christ! and so thy soul will no longer be like ‘the sea that cannot rest,’ full of turbulent wishes, full of passionate desires that come to nothing, full of endless meanings, like the homeless ocean that is ever working and never flings up any product of its work but yeasty foam and broken weeds; - but thine heart shall become translucent and still, like some land-locked lake, where no winds rave nor tempests ruffle; and on its calm surface there shall be mirrored the clear shining of the unclouded blue, and the perpetual light of the sun that never goes down. Trust Christ! and rest is thine - rest from fear, rest from toil and trouble, rest from sorrow, rest from the tossings of thine own soul, rest from the tumults of thine own desires, rest from the stings of thine own conscience, rest from seeking to work out a righteousness of thine own. Trust Christ, cease from ‘thine own works,’ forsake thine own doings, and abjure and abandon thine own righteousness; and though God’s throne be far above thee, and the depth of that Being be incommunicable to and uncopyable by thee, yet a divine likeness of His still, and blessed, and unbroken repose shall come down and lie - a solid and substantial thing - on thy pure and calmed spirit. ‘There remaineth a rest for the people of God.’ Say then, my Lord rests and my Father: I Will trust Him; I will rest in the Lord, and He shall keep me in perfect peace, because my mind is stayed on Him.

III. Finally: This divine rest is not only a pattern of what our earthly life may become, but it is a prophecy of what our heavenly life shall surely be.

I have said that the immediate reference of the passage is not to a future state. But that does not exclude the reference, unless, indeed, we suppose that the Christian’s life on earth and his condition in heaven are two utterly different things, possessing no feature in common. The Bible presents a directly reverse notion to that. Though it gives full weight to all the differences which characterise the two conditions, yet it says, There is a basis of likeness between the Christian life on earth and the Christian life in heaven, so great as that the blessings which are predicated of the one belong to the other. Only here they are in blossom, sickly often, putting out very feeble shoots and tendrils; and yonder transplanted into their right soil, and in their native air with heaven’s sun upon them, they burst into richer beauty, and bring forth fruits of immortal life. Heaven is the earthly life of a believer glorified and perfected. If here we by faith enter into the beginning of rest, yonder through death with faith, we shall enter into the perfection of it.

We cannot speak wisely of that future when we speak definitely of it. All that I suggest now as taught us by this passage is, that heaven will be for us, rest in work and work that is full of rest. Our Lord’s heaven is not an idle heaven. Christ is gone up on high, having completed His work on earth, that He may carry on His work in heaven; and after the pattern and likeness of His glory and of His repose, shall be the repose and glory of the children that are with Him. He rests from His labours, and His works do follow Him. He sitteth at the right hand of God ‘expecting’ - waiting patiently and in the confidence of assured triumph, ‘till His enemies become His footstool.’ But yet the dying martyr saw his Lord standing, not sitting, ready to help, and bending over him to welcome; and though He has ascended, and left the work of spreading the gospel to be done on earth, ‘the Lord works with us’ from His throne, nor is untouched by our troubles, nor idle in our toils. All the rest of that divine tranquillity, is rest in rapid, vigorous, perpetual motion. Ay, it is just as it is with physical things: the looker-on sees the swiftest motion as the most perfect rest. The wheel revolves so fast that the eye cannot discern its movements. The cataract foaming down from the hillside, when seen from half-way across the lake, seems to stand a silent, still, icy pillar. The divine work, because it is such work, is rest - tranquil in its energy, quiet in its intensity; because so mighty, therefore so still! That is God’s heaven, Christ’s heaven.

The heaven of all spiritual natures is not idleness. Man’s delight is activity. The loving heart’s delight is obedience. The saved heart’s delight is grateful service. The joys of heaven are not the joys of passive contemplation, of dreamy remembrance, of perfect repose; but they are described thus, ‘They rest not day nor night.’ ‘His servants serve Him, and see His face.’

Yes, my brother, heaven is perfect ‘rest.’ God be thanked for all the depth of unspeakable sweetness which lies in that one little word, to the ears of all the weary and the heavy laden. God be thanked, that the calm clouds which gather round the western setting sun, and stretch their unmoving loveliness in perfect repose, and are bathed through and through with unflashing and tranquil light, seem to us in our busy lives and in our hot strife like blessed prophets of our state when we, too, shall lie cradled near the everlasting, unsetting Sun, and drink in, in still beauty of perpetual contemplation, all the glory of His face, nor know any more wind and tempest, rain and change. Rest in heaven - rest in God! Yes, but work in rest! Ah, that our hearts should grow up into an energy of love of which we know nothing here, and that our hands should be swift to do service, beyond all that could be rendered on earth, - that, never wearying, we should for ever be honoured by having work that never becomes toil nor needs repose; that, ever resting, we should ever be blessed by doing service which is the expression of our loving hearts, and the offering of our grateful and greatened spirits, joyful to us and acceptable to God, - that is the true conception of ‘the rest that remaineth for the people of God.’ Heaven is waiting for us - like God’s, like Christ’s - still in all its work, active in all its repose. See to it, my friend, that your life be calm because your soul is fixed, trusting in Jesus, who alone gives rest here to the heavy laden. Then your death will be but the passing from one degree of tranquillity to another, and the calm face of the corpse, whence all the lines of sorrow and care have faded utterly away, will be but a poor emblem of the perfect stillness into which the spirit has gone. Faith is the gate to partaking in the rest of God on earth. Death with faith is the gate of entrance into the rest of God in heaven.Hebrews 4:9. There remaineth therefore a rest, &c. — Since neither of the two former rests is intended by David, and there was no new rest for the people to enter into in the days of David, and the psalm wherein these words are recorded is acknowledged to be prophetical of the days of the Messiah, it unavoidably follows that there is such a rest remaining; and not only a spiritual rest, in the peace and love of God, and in the enjoyment of communion with him entered into by believing in Christ, (Matthew 11:28-29; Isaiah 32:17-18,) but an eternal rest in the heavenly world. “The apostle having established this conclusion by just reasoning on the sayings of the Holy Ghost, uttered by the mouth of David, they misrepresent the state of the Israelites under the Mosaic dispensation who affirm that they had no knowledge of the immortality of the soul, nor of future retributions. They had both discovered to them in the covenant with Abraham, as recorded by Moses, and explained by the prophets. The apostle here, in this conclusion, substitutes the word σαββατισμος, sabbatism, for the word καταπαυσις, rest, in his premises. But both are proper, especially the word sabbatism, in this place, because, by directing us to what is said Hebrews 4:4, it showeth the nature of that rest which remaineth to the people of God. It will resemble the rest of the sabbath, both in its employments and enjoyments. For therein the saints shall rest from their work of trial, and from all the evils they are subject to in the present life; and shall recollect the labours they have undergone, the dangers they have escaped, and the temptations they have overcome. And by reflecting on these things, and on the method of their salvation, they shall be unspeakably happy, Revelation 21:3. To this add, that being admitted into the immediate presence of God to worship, they shall, as Doddridge observes, pass a perpetual sabbath in those elevations of pure devotion, which the sublimest moments of our most sacred and happy days can teach us but imperfectly to conceive. Here it is to be remarked, that the Hebrews themselves considered the sabbath as an emblem of the heavenly rest: for St. Paul reckons sabbaths among those Jewish institutions which were shadows of good things to come, Colossians 2:17.” — Macknight.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.There remaineth, therefore, a rest - This is the conclusion to which the apostle comes. The meaning is this, that according to the Scriptures there is "now" a promise of rest made to the people of God. It did not pertain merely to those who were called to go to the promised land, nor to those who lived in the time of David, but it is "still" true that the promise of rest pertains to "all" the people of God of every generation. The "reasoning" by which the apostle comes to this conclusion is briefly this:

(1) That there was a "rest" - called "the rest of God" - spoken of in the earliest period of the world - implying that God meant that it should be enjoyed.

(2) that the Israelites, to whom the promise was made, failed of obtaining what was promised by their unbelief.

(3) that God intended that "some" should enter into his rest - since it would not be provided in vain.

(4) that long after the Israelites had fallen in the wilderness, we find the same reference to a rest which David in his time exhorts those whom he addressed to endeavor to obtain.

(5) that if all that had been meant by the word "rest," and by the promise, had been accomplished when Joshua conducted the Israelites to the land of Canaan, we should not have heard another day spoken of when it was possible to forfeit that rest by unbelief.

It followed, therefore, that there was something besides that; something that pertained to all the people of God to which the name rest might still be given, and which they were exhorted still to obtain. The word "rest" in this verse - σαββατισμὸς sabbatismos - "Sabbatism," in the margin is rendered "keeping of a Sabbath." It is a different word from σάββατον sabbaton - "the Sabbath;" and it occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, and is not found in the Septuagint. It properly means "a keeping Sabbath" from σαββατίζω sabbatizō - "to keep Sabbath." This word, not used in the New Testament, occurs frequently in the Septuagint; Exodus 16:30; Leviticus 23:32; Leviticus 26:35; 2 Chronicles 36:21; and in 3 Esdr. 1:58; 2 Macc. 6:6. It differs from the word "Sabbath." That denotes "the time - the day;" this, "the keeping," or "observance" of it; "the festival." It means here "a resting," or an observance of sacred repose - and refers undoubtedly to heaven, as a place of eternal rest with God. It cannot mean the rest in the land of Canaan - for the drift of the writer is to prove that that is "not" intended. It cannot mean the "Sabbath," properly so called - for then the writer would have employed the usual word σάββατον sabbaton - "Sabbath." It cannot mean the Christian Sabbath - for the object is not to prove that there is such a day to be observed, and his reasoning about being excluded from it by unbelief and by hardening the heart would be irrelevant. It must mean, therefore, "heaven" - the world of spiritual and eternal rest; and the assertion is, that there "is" such a "resting," or "keeping of a Sabbath" in heaven for the people of God. Hence, learn:

(1) that heaven is a place of cessation from wearisome toil. It is to be like the "rest" which God had after the work of creation (Hebrews 4:4, note), and of which that was the type and emblem. There will be "employment" there, but it will be without fatigue; there will be the occupation of the mind, and of whatever powers we may possess, but without weariness. Here we are often worn down and exhausted. The body sinks under continued toil, and fails into the grave. There the slave will rest from his toil; the man here oppressed and broken down by anxious care will cease from his labors. We know but little of heaven; but we know that a large part of what now oppresses and crushes the frame will not exist there. Slavery will be unknown; the anxious care for support will be unknown, and all the exhaustion which proceeds from the love of gain, and from ambition, will be unknown. In the wearisome toils of life, then, let us look forward to the "rest" that remains in heaven, and as the laborer looks to the shades of the evening, or to the Sabbath as a period of rest, so let us look to heaven as the place of eternal repose.

(2) heaven will be like a Sabbath. The best description of it is to say it is "an eternal Sabbath." Take the Sabbath on earth when best observed, and extend the idea to eternity, and let there be separated all idea of imperfection from its observance, and that would be heaven. The Sabbath is holy; so is heaven. It is a period of worship; so is heaven. It is for praise and for the contemplation of heavenly truth; so is heaven. The Sabbath is appointed that we may lay aside worldly cares and anxieties for a little season here; heaven that we may lay them aside forever.

(3) the Sabbath here should be like heaven. It is designed to be its type and emblem. So far as the circumstances of the case will allow, it should be just like heaven. There should be the same employments; the same joys; the same communion with God. One of the best rules for employing the Sabbath aright is, to think what heaven will be, and then to endeavor to spend it in the same way. One day in seven at least should remind us of what heaven is to be; and that day may be, and should be, the most happy of the seven.

(4) they who do not love the Sabbath on earth, are not prepared for heaven. If it is to them a day of tediousness; if its hours move heavily; if they have no delight in its sacred employments, what would an eternity of such days be? How would they be passed? Nothing can be clearer than that if we have no such happiness in a season of holy rest, and in holy employments here, we are wholly unprepared for heaven. To the Christian it is the subject of the highest joy in anticipation that heaven is to be "one long unbroken" sabbath - an eternity of successive Sabbath hours. But what to a sinner could be a more repulsive and gloomy prospect than such an eternal Sabbath?

(5) if this be so, then what a melancholy view is furnished as to the actual preparation of the great mass of people for heaven! How is the Sabbath now spent? In idleness; in business; in traveling; in hunting and fishing; in light reading and conversation; in sleep; in visiting; in riding, walking, lounging, "ennui;" - in revelry and dissipation; in any and every way "except the right way;" in every way except in holy communion with God. What would the race be if once transported to heaven as they are! What a prospect would it be to this multitude to have to spend "an eternity" which would be but a prolongation of the Sabbath of holiness!

(6) let those who love the Sabbath rejoice in the prospect of eternal rest in heaven. In our labor let us look to that world where wearisome toil is unknown; in our afflictions, let us look to that world where tears never fall; and when our hearts are pained by the violation of the Sabbath all around us, let us look to that blessed world where such violation will cease forever. It is not far distant. A few steps will bring us there. Of any Christian it may be said that perhaps his next Sabbath will be spent in heaven - near the throne of God.

9. therefore—because God "speaks of another day" (see on [2548]Heb 4:8).

remaineth—still to be realized hereafter by the "some (who) must enter therein" (Heb 4:6), that is, "the people of God," the true Israel who shall enter into God's rest ("My rest," Heb 4:3). God's rest was a Sabbatism; so also will ours be.

a rest—Greek, "Sabbatism." In time there are many Sabbaths, but then there shall be the enjoyment and keeping of a Sabbath-rest: one perfect and eternal. The "rest" in Heb 4:8 is Greek, "catapausis;" Hebrew, "Noah"; rest from weariness, as the ark rested on Ararat after its tossings to and fro; and as Israel, under Joshua, enjoyed at last rest from war in Canaan. But the "rest" in this Heb 4:9 is the nobler and more exalted (Hebrew) "Sabbath" rest; literally, "cessation": rest from work when finished (Heb 4:4), as God rested (Re 16:17). The two ideas of "rest" combined, give the perfect view of the heavenly Sabbath. Rest from weariness, sorrow, and sin; and rest in the completion of God's new creation (Re 21:5). The whole renovated creation shall share in it; nothing will there be to break the Sabbath of eternity; and the Triune God shall rejoice in the work of His hands (Zep 3:17). Moses, the representative of the law, could not lead Israel into Canaan: the law leads us to Christ, and there its office ceases, as that of Moses on the borders of Canaan: it is Jesus, the antitype of Joshua, who leads us into the heavenly rest. This verse indirectly establishes the obligation of the Sabbath still; for the type continues until the antitype supersedes it: so legal sacrifices continued till the great antitypical Sacrifice superseded it, As then the antitypical heavenly Sabbath-rest will not be till Christ, our Gospel Joshua, comes, to usher us into it, the typical earthly Sabbath must continue till then. The Jews call the future rest "the day which is all Sabbath."

Here the Spirit concludes from his former proofs, that there is a more excellent rest revealed to faith in the gospel, which is remaining, future, and to come, and will surely and most certainly do so; though it be behind, yet it will be enjoyed. A sabbatism, which is a state and season of a most glorious rest, {see Hebrews 4:10} shall be enjoyed by sincere believers, the true Israel of God, of whom he is the Proprietor, and who are for their eternal state so excellently holy, and of so Divine a nature, that he is not ashamed to be called their God. They have an entrance here into the initials of this sabbatism in internal peace, and the glorious liberty of the children of God; and by it are secured of their full possession of it in the eternal inheritance of the saints in light, Colossians 1:12,13 1 Peter 1:3-5 Revelation 14:13. Tamid, c. 7. sect. 4. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 97. 1, Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 16. 3. Massecheth Sopherim, c. 18. sect. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 3. 1. (l) Zohar in Gen. fol. 31. 4. Shaare Orn, fol. 17. 1. Caphtor, fol. 64. 1.There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
Hebrews 4:9. Deduction from Hebrews 4:7-8, and consequently return to the first half of Hebrews 4:6. “Thus still remaining, still awaiting its advent, is a Sabbath rest for the people of God,” inasmuch, namely,—what the author in reasoning with the Hebrews might presuppose as admitted,—as from David’s time down to the present no one had entered into the κατάπαυσις of God. As Sabbatic rest the author characterizes the rest of God, in adherence to the thought of Hebrews 4:4. As a type of the everlasting blessedness do the Rabbins also regard the Sabbath. Comp. e.g. Jalkut Rubeni, fol. 95. 4 : Dixerunt Israëlitae: Domine totius mundi, ostende nobis exemplar mundi futuri. Respondit ipsis Deus S. B.: illud exemplar est sabbatum. R. D. Kimchi et R. Salomo in Psalms 92.: Psalmus cantici in diem Sabbati, quod hic psalmus pertineat ad seculum futurum, quod totum sabbatum est et quies ad vitam aeternam. See Wetstein and Schöttgen ad loc.

ἄρα] at the beginning of a sentence is, in prose, foreign to the classics. Comp. however, Romans 10:17; 2 Corinthians 7:12; Luke 11:48; Winer, Gramm., 7 Aufl. p. 519; Buttmann, Gramm. des neutest. Sprachgebr. p. 318.

The expression σαββατισμός (from σαββατίζειν, שָׁבַּת, to observe the Sabbath, Exodus 16:30, al.) only here and with Plutarch, De Superstit. c. 3.

τῷ λαῷ τοῦ θεοῦ] to the people which appertains to God, is recognised and treated by Him as His people, since it has believingly devoted itself to Him. Comp. Galatians 6:16 : ὁ Ἰσραὴλ τοῦ θεοῦ.9. There remaineth therefore a rest] Since the word used for “rest” is here a different word (sabbatismos) from that which has been used through the earlier part of the argument (katapausis), it is a pity that King Jameses translators, who indulge in so many needless variations, did not here introduce a necessary change of rendering. The word means “a Sabbath rest,” and supplies an important link in the argument by pointing to the fact that “the rest” which the Author has in view is God’s rest, a far higher conception of rest than any of which Canaan could be an adequate type. The Sabbath, which in 2Ma 15:1 is called “the Day of Rest” (katapausis), is a nearer type of Heaven than Canaan. Dr Kay supposes that there is an allusion to Joshua’s first Sabbatic year, when “the land had rest from war” (Joshua 14:15), and adds that Psalms 92-104 have a Sabbatic character, and that Psalms 92 is headed “a song for the sabbath day.”Hebrews 4:9. Ἄρα, therefore) For this reason, because He speaks of another day.—σαββατισμὸς, sabbatism, rest) The word is changed for κατάπαυσις, rest; comp. the following verse. In time there are many sabbaths; but then, there will be a sabbatism, the enjoyment of rest, one, perfect, eternal. The verbal noun is extremely emphatic: it is not met with in the LXX. There will be no elementary sabbath in heaven; because earthly labour shall have passed away: but the rest will be perpetual, which, however, itself will again have its own various modes (ways, divisions), according to the different state of the priests and of the rest of the blessed in their resurrection bodies (carnis beatæ), and according to the intervals of the heavenly times to which the new moons and Jewish Sabbath corresponded: Isaiah 66:21; Isaiah 66:23.—τῷ λαῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ, to the people of GOD) He had said absolutely, of the people, ch. Hebrews 2:17, when he was treating of reconciliation: but now, when he is treating of eternal rest, he says, to the people of God, that is, to the Israel of God, as Paul speaks, Galatians 6:16. He therefore specially intends the Israelites (inasmuch as he is writing to the Hebrews), and them, too, believers.There remaineth therefore a rest (ἄρα ἀπολείπεται σαββατισμὸς)

Remaineth, since in the days of neither Moses, Joshua, or David was the rest appropriated. He passes over the fact that the rest had not been entered into at any later period of Israel's history. Man's portion in the divine rest inaugurated at creation has never been really appropriated: but it still remaineth. This statement is justified by the new word for "rest" which enters at this point, σαββατισμὸς instead of κατάπαυσις, N.T.o , olxx, oClass., signifies a keeping Sabbath. The Sabbath rest points back to God's original rest, and marks the ideal rest - the rest of perfect adjustment of all things to God, such as ensued upon the completion of his creative work, when he pronounced all things good. This falls in with the ground-thought of the Epistle, the restoration of all things to God's archetype. The sin and unbelief of Israel were incompatible with that rest. It must remain unappropriated until harmony with God is restored. The Sabbath-rest is the consummation of the new creation in Christ, through whose priestly mediation reconciliation with God will come to pass.

For the people of God (τῷ λαῷ τοῦ θεοῦ)

For the phrase see Romans 9:25; Romans 11:1; 1 Peter 2:10. and comp. Israel of God, Galatians 6:16. The true Israel, who inherit the promise by faith in Christ.

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