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Hebrews 4:1-16

August 15, 2009
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Heb 4:1-16

4:1 THEREFORE, WHILE the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid [to distrust it], lest any of you should think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it.

1.       Since the Israelites lost the rest of Canaan through unbelief, let’s take care that we don’t miss this rest in this life, (all that salvation and being born again means, and also the heavenly  rest that is to come.

2 For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).

1.       Faith in the word preached, in reference to that God who sent it, is the means that the power of God will fulfill its purpose. 

2.       Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void , but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (KJV)

3 For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world. [Ps 95:11.]

1.       The great spiritual blessings, which were typified by the rest the ancient Israelites could have had in the promised land, we enter by faith in Jesus Christ.

2.       When God said “they shall never enter my rest”, He was referring to that 40 years in the desert.

3.       Creation (or foundation) of the world: Means the completion of the work of creation in six days. 

4 For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works. [Gen 2:2.]

1.       He set apart the 7th day as a day of rest for man.

5 And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest. [Ps 95:11.] 

1.       This was a 2nd rest which the Lord promised to the believing, obedient seed of Abraham, spoken in the days of David, when the Jews actually possessed this long promised Canaan.

2.       Therefore it’s evident that was not the rest which God intended, as the next verse shows.

6 Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience,

1.       Disobedience: unbelief: Gr. Apeitheia: disbelief (obstinate and rebellious.

7 Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts. [Ps 95:7,8.]

1.       God in His mercy has instituted another day-has given another dispensation of mercy and goodness by Christ Jesus.

2.       God speaks now as he spoke before: His voice is in the Gospel.

8[This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day.

1.       The writer shows that although Joshua did bring the Israelites into the Promised Land, this could not be the intended rest, because long after this time the Holy Spirit, by David, speaks of this rest, the writer therefore concludes, (Vs. 9)

9 So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;

1.       A rest: Gr. Sabbatismos: not only a rest from labor, but a spiritual rest: body, soul, and spirit as  outlined in the Gospel blessings, and all that it entails.

10 For he who has once entered [God's] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own. [Gen 2:2.]

1.       He that has believed in Christ Jesus has entered into his rest.

2.       Human labors or his own work: Man no longer depends on the observance of the Mosaic rites and ceremonies, (the law) for his justification; He rests from all these works of the law as fully as God has rested from His works of creation.

3.       This Greek word for rest is: katapausis; reposing down, or to settle down.

4.       Here God’s rest is used vs. Sabbath rest in verse 9.

11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].

1.       No one may fall: fall off from the grace of God, from the Gospel and its blessings, and perish forever. (One can “shipwreck his faith, and be lost forever.)

12 For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

1.       Two-edged sword: The law, and the word of God in general , is repeatedly compared to a two-edged sword among the Jewish writers, “the sword with the two mouths.

2.       With this sword a man himself lives, and by it he destroys his enemies. (This is implied in its two edges.

3.       The sword cannot cut unless it has an experienced teacher using it, hence applied by the Spirit of God, it separates soul and spirit, joints and marrow.

13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do.

1.       To whom we must give account: He is our Judge, and is well qualified to be, because all our hearts and actions are naked and open to Him.

14 Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him].

1.       The Jews were trying to get the Christians of to return to the temple, the “human high priest, and the temple sacrifices for sin; (the Jews were saying that without this there is no religion, no sacrifice for sin); The apostle says that now we have new High Priest who passed into the heavens.

2.       The apostle states:

a.       That we have a high priest.

b.      That this high priest is Jesus, the Son of God; not a son or descendant of Aaron.

c.       Aaron and his successors could only pass into the holy of holies, and that once a year;  but our High Priest has passed into the heavens, of which that, (Aaron going into the Holy of Holies), was only a type or shadow.

3.       There is an allusion here to the high priest going into the holy of holies on the great day of atonement:

a.       He left the congregation of the people.

b.      He passed through the veil into the holy place, and was not seen even by the priests.

c.       He entered through the second veil into the holy of holies, where was the symbol of the majesty of God.

4.       Jesus, our High Priest:

a.        Left the people at large.

b.      He left his disciples by ascending up through the visible heavens, the clouds, as a veil, screening him from their sight.

c.       Having passed through these veils, he went immediately to be our Intercessor: thus he passed ouranous, the visible or ethereal heavens, into the presence of the divine Majesty; through the heavens.

5.       Hold fast: Gr. Krateo: to use strength, seize or retain.

6.       Profession:  Gr. Homologia: acknowledgment, to assent, covenant

15 For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning.

1.       Though Jesus was, and is the Son of God, having partaken of human nature, and submitted to all its temptations and tests, just like us, but didn’t sin, or give in to those temptations.

16 Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].

1.       When the high priest, (under the old covenant), went into the holy of holies, he went with fear and trembling, but if he didn’t go in with the proper sacrifice for himself, he could be struck with death.

2.       Now we Christians can come boldly: Gr. Meta parrhesia: amid all outspokenness, frankness, bluntness, assurance.

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