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Galatians 5:16-23 teaches that at any moment we are either walking by the Holy Spirit or according to the sin nature. Walking by the Spirit, enjoying fellowship with God, walking in the light are virtually synonymous. During these times, the Holy Spirit is working in us to illuminate our minds to the truth of Scripture and to challenge us to apply what we learn. But when we sin, we begin to live based on the sin nature. Our works do not count for eternity. The only way to recover is to confess (admit, acknowledge) our sin to God the Father and we are instantly forgiven, cleansed, and recover our spiritual walk (1 John 1:9). Please make sure you are walking by the Spirit before you begin your Bible study, so it will be spiritually profitable.

Thu, Dec 08, 2005

36 - Rest and Rewards [b]

Hebrews 4:1-10 by Robert Dean
Duration:54 mins 41 secs

Hebrews Lesson 36  December 8, 2005

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

 

Hebrews 4

 

We're in Hebrews 4. Hebrews 4 is part of this second major section in Hebrews. Hebrews 4 is part of the conclusion. As I have stated before (and I say this so much at the beginning of every tape) that the writer of Hebrews writes this message with 5 major points each ending with an exhortation or challenge or application in which there is a serious warning to pay attention to certain things related to the Christian life and not to take lightly what is said in the Word. 

 

This section began back in 2:5 and extends down through the end of chapter 4. From 3:7 through the end of chapter 4 we have our warning section, our exhortation section or challenge or application and warning. It is based upon a quote from Psalm 95:7-11 that is based upon the events that occurred to Israel at Kadesh Barnea where Israel had the opportunity to go into the land that God had promised them. They failed to enter the land because they failed to trust God. They followed the human viewpoint advice of ten of the spies. They said, "We just can't do it. There are too many walled cities. There are too many people. There are giants. We can't do it." They did not trust God as Joshua and Caleb did. 

 

So God after this whole series of events of disobedience which we have studied finally lowered the boom and said that they would not enter the land. They would all die in the wilderness except for Caleb and Joshua. "You have now forfeited your right to enter into My rest." This is a technical term for the Promised Land. 

 

So there are three key ideas that we studied and developed in 3:7–19. These are foundational to understanding the thrust of this exhortation. Since we have spent so much time studying them in detail, it allows us to move a little faster in chapter 4 because it develops the argument. Now that we have done the homework necessary to study the significance of technical terms and background and all of that information, we can move through the main challenge in verses 1-10 fairly rapidly. We have to remind ourselves of three points.

 

  1. The focus of the writer in this section is on future rewards for believers. It is very important to understand that. He's focusing on the future, not on the present. I want to show you why we say that. First of all this comes from our understanding of Hebrews 1:14. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

 

That word salvation is the word soteria. When you and I talk about salvation we think of justification. Remember justification is what happens at the instant we put our faith alone in Jesus Christ. At that instant God the Father imputes to you the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. He looks at you in possession of and covered over by the perfect righteousness of Christ. He declares you to be just before His justice. Because you possess the perfect righteousness of Christ, God pronounced you justified. So the technical term that Paul uses for this in Romans is justification by faith alone. Modern Americans and modern evangelicals have taken the word "salvation" to be the equivalent of justification. But that is very unusual in the Scripture. The word group sozo the root verb simply means to be delivered. So it can mean to be delivered from a physical malady. Then it has the idea of being healed. It can have the idea of being delivered from a tragedy. It can have the idea of rescued from danger. Or it can have the idea when it is applied to eternal condemnation of being rescued from eternal condemnation. That's the way in which we use it. But the way the noun is used by the Apostle Paul, by James and by the writer of Hebrews is not to refer to what we talk about as phase 1 justification, but the word soteria meaning salvation or deliverance usually has a future orientation. You have to look at the context to see when that future event occurs. In the context of Hebrews 1:14 I pointed out that inheritance comes at the Judgment Seat of Christ. So therefore the focus of soteria in Hebrews 1:14 relates to our deliverance and final glorification and appearance before the Judgment Seat of Christ. When we understand that word in Hebrews 1:14 to have that future meaning then in Hebrews 2:3 which is in the middle of the application or exhortation of that first chapter we read the following. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,

 

That is a phrase that many of us have heard most of our lives to refer to justification. That is neglect the offer of the gospel, neglect trusting Christ as our Savior, but that is not what it is saying in context. If salvation in context isn't talking about phase 1 justification but phase 3 glorification or some future fulfillment of the entire process from phase 1 justification to phase 2 experiential sanctification to phase 3 glorification, then what the writer of Hebrews is saying is how shall we escape that loss of reward as we have studied in I Corinthians 3 that those who have just wood, hay and straw before the judgment seat of Christ have it all burned up. So that is what he is talking about. How shall we escape judgment if we neglect so great a salvation? That has the idea of inheritance and destiny. These two verses together give us the idea that in the first section the focus is on future destiny and future rewards. Then in Hebrews 2:5 we see the same future orientation continue as the writer moves from the first point to the second point.

NKJ Hebrews 2:5 For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.

 

So what is he talking about? He is talking about the world to come, the future Millennial Kingdom. He is not talking about what is happening in the present Church Age, but his focus is on that future reign and destiny of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

  1. The second key idea that we have is, not only that we are talking the future orientation; but we have this background passage and warning based upon the event of the Exodus generation. So we have to decide there. Is the Exodus generation primarily justified generation (to be consistent with our terminology) (that is a generation of believers that are destined for heaven) or are they primarily a generation of unbelievers? Now if they are a generation of unbelievers, then the whole thrust of this next section is talking about not gaining salvation. That changes the whole understanding of these next verses. It really doesn't work in a number of passages as we will see as we go through it. What we did is we studied statements about belief in the Exodus generation demonstrating that at least in terms of trusting God in relationship to His messianic provision and ultimate deliverance and having a destiny in heaven His provision of a messiah. They were saved. They trusted God with the provision of the Passover lamb. They trusted God at the Red Sea when they passed through. All of these are pictures of phase 1 justification. In terms of their post salvation life, they were consistently disobedient which lead finally and ultimately to serious divine discipline including the forfeiture of all the blessings that they were promised entering the Promised Land.
  2. The third factor that pulls everything together is the idea of rest. Rest is the key word used in this passage. We studied the fact that it has several different meanings. So we had to address that. What is rest? If they are unsaved then there are those who would say that rest means entering into their heavenly destiny. They are not going to the Lake of Fire, but they are going to heaven. Is that really the idea of rest? We saw that rest has three ideas in the passage so you have to be careful which rest you are speaking of. The first rest has to do with the creation rest of God. After He completed His task in 6 days of creation after His labors were finished, He ceased from His work (It doesn't mean that He was tired) and He rested on the 7th day. This is a picture that the writer of Scripture used to portray the enslavement of Israel in Egypt and their deliverance from slavery, their movement through the wilderness and then entrance into the Promised Land which God called "My rest". So we saw that the second category of rest is called Promised Land rest. Then the third category of rest which is foreshadowed by both of the previous two concepts is millennial rest. Not the rest that comes because we are relaxed because we are in God's provision. Although it is a true concept that is not how the word seems to be used in chapter 4 of Hebrews. Rest has the main idea of cessation from labor or work – not working or laboring any longer. Now there are some of you that might think that Christ's work was finished on the cross. So we don't work for salvation. His labor was complete. So we can rest in His finished work. That's not the focus of the passage, is it? That would be going to an analogy that has not textual basis. You don't find that anywhere in the passage. It is a true statement that Christ's work is finished and because His work is finished we can rest in it, but it isn't in this passage. That would be taking a concept that is totally outside the structure, verbiage and content of Hebrews 4 and bringing it in here. That is called eisegesis – you read something into the passage that isn't there. What we see is that this chapter is focusing on unfulfilled and thus a future rest. Since the writer is clearly saved in the sense that they are justified and he views his readers as clearly justified; then if he is talking about resting in the finished work of Christ that would be a past tense, a completed action because we have all rested in that sense. We have rested in the cross. That is past tense. But he is talking to them as if there is something that is unfulfilled. There is a future rest. For example in verse 1 he says that a promise remains. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.

 

If you are already justified and that is what he is talking about then a promise wouldn't remain. It would already be fulfilled. 

 

His main command that governs these whole ten verses is that we are to have a healthy sense of fear because we might lose something. If we are already justified and that is his topic, then we don't have to be afraid of losing anything. So he must be talking about something more than the acquisition of a heavenly citizenship and an eternal destiny. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,

 

It is still future. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

 

 We aren't there yet. It still remains. There is this future hope, this future destiny. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.

 

Now if the rest has to do with entering a heavenly destiny, then we don't labor to get there do we.

 

NKJ Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

 

NKJ Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

 

Obviously he can't be talking about something related to resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross - that is what we call phase one justification. He is talking about something that goes beyond that, something that is yet future and a potential for us. 

 

Titus 3:5 makes it clear that there is no place for works in our justification. No work of righteousness can earn for us God's approbation.  It doesn't gain any justification. There is nothing that we can do that can ever merit the work of Christ. This is something that it completely excluded. 

 

NKJ Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

 

There is nothing that we can do to gain phase 1 justification. But we have terminology that confuses people when we look at a passage such as Philippians 2:12.

 

NKJ Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

 

  Wait a minute. I thought Titus 3:5 just said that it's not by works of righteousness. I thought Ephesians 2:8-9 said it was not of works. It is. But you see what he is talking about here is not justification. That's the confusion that we enter into when we are defining our English theological terms like salvation differently from the way the writers of Scripture utilize those words. If salvation here which is the word soteria is not talking about phase one but an ultimate fulfillment of everything and has to do with the realization of all those potential inheritance blessings then what Paul is saying here is not related to phase 1 justification, but is related to phase two sanctification – spiritual growth. 

 

Secondly he says that salvation is worked out. He uses an intensified form of the verb for work. He intensifies it with the preposition kata so it is katergazomai. Ergon is the noun for work. Ergazomai is the verb for working. It is intensified with the preposition. So we are to be intensively working out the consequences of our justification toward the goal of that ultimate deliverance. So it is interesting that in Philippians 2:12 we have the juxtaposition of the concept of work or labor with soteria. Then we are to do it with fear and trembling. We haven't gotten there yet, but the main command of Hebrews 4:1 is to fear. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.

 

So the main command is "Let us fear." We have this connection of these key ideas of work and salvation in Philippians 2:12. So we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The focus of Philippians 2:12 is not the acquisition of an eternal destiny, gaining righteousness, or gaining approval from God. Now that we are justified, we are adopted into the royal family of God. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies. We have all of these different things – the 40 things that God gives us at the instant of salvation. That is our potential. We are to work that out and live on the basis of that so that we realize and actuate those contingent blessings both in time and in eternity that God has already reserved for us in grace. We are not earning them. We are developing capacity to enjoy them and capacity in order to fulfill the responsibilities that go with that. 

 

Then we go to another passage. We have the same kind of thing linked together here. Once again he is writing to believers. 

 

NKJ 1 Peter 1:17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;

 

Wait a minute. Work doesn't have anything to do with getting into heaven. So work here is related to what takes place at the Bema Seat, what takes place at the Judgment Seat of Christ. That is the evaluation of our work. 2 Corinthians 5:7-11 talks about the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Bema Seat of Christ, having our work evaluated whether good or evil. This is what I Peter 1:17 is talking about. 

 

That is in time – during phase 2. 

 

This is more than respect. It is just like when you were a kid. I don't know about you (most of you this is probably true of) but you knew that if you got in trouble at school, you got in even more trouble when you got home. So there was a healthy dose of fear there. Now that was aggravated in my case. I went to Bellaire High School. The assistant principal at Bellaire High School was married to my mother's best friend. They had been roommates together in college. So I couldn't do anything possibly wrong at school. Not only did he have permission from my parents to do anything short of taking my life, but when I got home my mother would complete the process. That is what is known as fear. You know that there are serious consequences that are definitely and certainly awaiting you if there is any infraction. Therefore it keeps you on the straight and narrow. That is the concept of fear. 

 

Another passage ties into our background for Hebrews 4.

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

 

Again it is talking to believers, those already justified. 

 

It could be a causal adverbial participle. 

 

Now what is that?  It is something we all know very well. This is simply related to I John 1:9. It is cleansing from sin so that we are cleansed from all sin and all unrighteousness. The challenge there is to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness. 

 

Doesn't that sound like sanctimonious language? Perfecting does not have the idea of flawlessness. This is a word that is so very familiar to us except that it is in a different form. It's epiteleo. We often look at telioo and telios and all the different cognates of this root word which means to finish, to complete, to bring to completion, to bring something to maturity. It doesn't have the idea of sinlessness or flawlessness or the concept of perfection. It has the idea of bringing something to completion. Now in phase 1 justification we also call that what? Another term we use is positional sanctification. We are entered into unity with Christ and we are positionally identified with Him and set apart to God. That is what sanctification means. It is hagiosune from the root noun hagios which means to be set apart to the service of God. So we are to be cleansed for the purpose of bringing to completion our sanctification. So this is talking about phase 2 which is spiritual growth. Phase one is positional sanctification where we are given our potential – everything we need for the Christian life. Phase 2 is where we learn the Word of God under the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit. By abiding in Christ, by walking by means of the Spirit, and by being filled with the Spirit we advance step-by-step day-by-day in our growth where we take the potential and actuate it to sanctification. So we are maturing our sanctification by means of the fear of God. It is part of the motivation. The instrumental indicates it is part of motivation. 

 

Sometimes people get funny ideas, sanctimonious ideas, self righteous ideas that I am not supposed to live my Christian life being afraid of punishment. That's not what the Word of God says. The Word of God says there should be a healthy dose of fear of punishment. We are going to get to is when we get down to Hebrews 12. That certainly is a motivation not to live in extended carnality because we know we are going to hit that serious divine discipline. All of these passages that we have looked at emphasize the concept of growth. It is related to fear. 

 

Now we come to Hebrews 4:1. All of that sets the stage, forms the background so that we can almost read through these verses without doing a whole lot of exegesis. We have laid the groundwork so that we understand the vocabulary, we understand the background, and we understand the Old Testament analogy. Now we can just put it together. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.

 

He starts off with a conclusion. Therefore draws an inference from the fact that the Old Testament Jewish Exodus believer completely failed to realize His promised rest. They could not enter that rest (verse 19) because of unbelief.

 

He is talking to 1st century believers. He has taken the events from the Old Testament in the 15th century BC and brought it up into the contemporary situation of his 1st century world. But the significant thing about this for us is that it is just as true for any believer in any decade all the way through the Church Age. That goes back to that phrase that is repeated three times coming out of Psalm 95:7. 

 

NKJ Psalm 95:7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice:

 

It brought it right back into the present. It is just as true for you and I as it is for anybody at any other time in the Church Age. 

There is still a promise that He is holding out there a potential for each to enter this rest. It's not entering into heaven because that is already secured. It is something different from entering into heaven. 

 

The word there for fear is a Greek word where we get our English word phobia. It is the word phobeo. It's an aorist passive subjunctive. The passive voice means that the subject receives the action of the verb.

 

Literal translation:  Let us become fearful.

 

It has the idea of fear, respect, and awe. 

 

That is really the beginning of the verse in the Hebrew. The first word is therefore. That is the emphasis. That is why we looked at the command first and then go back to the first clause in the English. What the writer of Hebrews is saying first and foremost is, "Let us become fearful." That is the emphasis. That is the main idea that controls everything down to verse 10. Everything else in this section is a development of the command, the exhortation of verse 1. 

 

Look at verse 2 for a minute in the English. The next sentence begins in verse 2. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

 

It starts with the word "for". It is an explanation of the previous statement. Verse 3 begins with the English word "for". It tells you it is an explanation of the previous statement. Verse 4 begins with for telling us that it is an explanation of the previous verse. So 2, 3, and 4 are explaining out like a telescope the meaning, the significance of the command to become fearful. Verses 4 and 5 are one sentence in the original. There are a couple of quotes from the Old Testament.

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,

 

So we are drawing another inference. The next inference develops out of what is said in verses 2-5. So in terms of the logical structure of the passage everything hinges on understanding the first verse.

 

Let us take this very seriously since a promise remains. 

 

This is the Greek word kataleipo. It is a present passive participle. It has that inferential sense to it. It is an adverbial participle meaning to leave behind, to forsake, to leave, to reserve something. In other words this is still there. He is not talking about the fact that this rest being something historical that the Jews had back in that previous generation but you can't get there now. It is still available.

 

This is brought out by the last verb I want to talk about in the last clause translated "having come short." It is the Greek word hustereo. It means to be last, to be behind, and to be posterior in either place or time. You can miss something by being in the wrong place or you can miss something because it is the wrong time. You can go to Hobby Airport instead of DFW and you have missed your flight because you are in the wrong place. Or you can get to the airport on time, fall asleep in the waiting room and miss the plane because you are late. What this is talking about is coming short in the sense of place. They are not missing it by time. That would mean that 15th century BC Jews had a chance to enter the rest but you are in the 1st century AD so you missed out. You were too late in terms of time. This is talking about not being in the right place. In other words, not being a mature believer in order to secure the potential. 

 

So he draws this conclusion. 

 

He shifted the meaning of His rest here. In the previous chapter, rest focused on entering into the Promised Land. Now it is something future. It's what that entrance into the Promised Land is a picture of. That is entering into the Millennial Kingdom. 

 

It is possible that you might miss out on fulfilling all of the promised blessings that we have for the Millennial Kingdom.

 

Now he is going to explain it.

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

 

By gospel he does not mean to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is simply the Greek word euangelizo that means to announce good news. 

 

We both had a message of promise. It is not the gospel in terms of how to get justified. It is simply a Greek word meaning the announcement of good news. 

 

The good news for them is that there is a Promised Land that I am taking you to. The good news for us is that we are headed for the Millennial Kingdom.

 

This is the Greek verb opheleo that means something that is profitable, something that is advantageous. It was something that would make a difference in the way they lived. They heard all of this about the Promised Land and it never made any difference. They saw God perform miracle after miracle after miracle and it never made any difference. They continued to disbelieve. They continued to grumble. They continued to complain. They continued to rebel against Moses and his leadership. So the writer of Hebrews says the following in building the analogy.

 

You are setting up a parallel between us (church age believers) and them (the Old Testament Exodus generation). 

 

They didn't believe it. That is the same thing he said in verse 19 of the previous chapter. They couldn't enter because of unbelief.  He gradually develops out the thought. Then he explains it further in verse 3

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,' " although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

 

He starts with a "for" that is an explanation. 

 

Now that sounds like a past tense there. This is where we have to deal with a little exegesis here.

 

Actually the text begins, "For we who enter that rest, the ones who believe."

 

The word for "enter" is the present passive indicative of eiserchomai which means to enter into. It is preceded by an aorist active participle of pisteuo. The aorist active participle of pisteuo is with an article. When you have the word believe with an article in the Greek, it virtually functions like a noun – the believers. For we believers enter that rest. That is how it should be translated it if you are going to be literal. But there is a meaning to the present tense that is called the futuristic or proleptic meaning or nuance. In other words it is using the present tense, but it has a future sense to it.

 

Literal translation:  We believers will enter that rest. 

 

It is not talking about simply being justified. Remember the context. He is talking about not believing in verse 19 but that unbelief in verse 19 is not related to gaining eternal life. Then in verse 2 he again talks about not mixing faith with those who heard. What's that?  It is talking about post salvation faith. So when he comes to verse 3, it's not talking about phase one justification. It is talking about believers in their post salvation life who are operating on the faith rest drill. Those who operate on the faith rest drill have such a certainty of entering the rest that he speaks of it as a present reality. That is the sense of a future nuance to a present tense. It is a future nuance of the present tense. So what is all of that saying? It is getting into some complicated grammar to try to explain all of that. The bottom line is that he is saying that we who continue to believe and are characterized by the faith in our post salvation life, we who are characterized by the faith rest drill and faith rest life will certainly enter that rest in the future. As he has said and now he contrasts it with that Old Testament generation again

 

 So we have Church Age believers who will be able to enter the rest and you have by analogy these Old Testament believers that can't enter the rest. He keeps going back and forth to this analogy. He is very repetitive here. He wants to make sure that everybody gets the point. They failed to enter the Promised Land and forfeited it because they didn't mix their understanding of God's Word with faith. They continued in unbelief. Don't you do it. Be fearful because you may forfeit future blessings the same way.

 

That's Psalm 95:7.

 

We are going to compare the Exodus generation to our present generation. Now the Exodus generation failed to mix faith with promises. As a result they were not able to enter God's rest, the Promised Land. The present generation are those who believe, who continue to trust in Christ. They trust in the faith rest drill and the post salvation spiritual life. Those will certainly enter into God's rest, the millennial rule. It is a very simple analogy. It is very easy to get caught up in complicated things, but when you boil it down it is a simple analogy. The Exodus generation failed to trust God to provide for them and their post salvation life so they didn't get to enter the Promised Land. If we fail to trust God in the post salvation spiritual life; we will forfeit rewards, responsibilities and millennial blessing.

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works";

 

Verses 4 and 5 deal with two Old Testament quotations. 

 

"He has spoken" indicates a completed canon of Scripture in the Old Testament. 

 

Notice now he goes back to the original prototype of rest – God's cessation from labor on the 7th day of the creation week. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:5 and again in this place: "They shall not enter My rest."

 

That is Psalm 95. So he goes back even further and builds the analogy that God has a rest that ceased from labor. The Exodus generation labored in slavery in Egypt, but they didn't get to enter rest because of unbelief. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,

 

But it remains for us to enter rest if we believe. That is verse 6. 

 

The word "must" is in italics because it isn't present in the original. There is still the potential for present Church Age believers to enter that rest. So he has shifted the meaning again to the distant analogy which is the Millennial Kingdom. 

 

So for the third time we are reminded that it was disobedience synonymous with disbelief that caused their failure to realize the promised rest of God. They completely forfeited it. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "Today," after such a long time, as it has been said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts."

 

That is Psalm 95:7. 

 

Notice how he drives the point home. He goes from verse 1 saying "Let us fear" to "Today, do not harden your hearts. " 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day.

 

What rest is this? This is back to the Promised Land rest. If the conquest generation that did enter the land had realized the full potential of this rest, he wouldn't have spoken of a future time. In verse 8 he is saying that the "rest" of the conquest generation and the "rest" of the Exodus generation were also prototypes or foreshadowings of the future millennial blessing. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

 

This is his conclusion. There is still a rest, a promised rest from labor. Now what are we doing in post salvation spiritual life today?  We are laboring. 

 

NKJ Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

 

We are working. We are perfecting our sanctification. This involves labor, not in the sense of earning righteousness or God's approval; but it involves the work of Bible study, the work of learning doctrine, the work of application of doctrine. It involves Christian service. All of this is involved in the concept of work. We are laboring in phase two to advance forward in the Christian life. But there is a rest promised for us in the future. That is our position of reigning and ruling as kings and priests in the Millennial Kingdom. 

 

NKJ Hebrews 4:10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

 

This concludes the paragraph in chapter 4 before we get into the final section. 

 

Who is that talking about? I think it is talking about the Lord Jesus Christ who has entered His rest. He is our model. Remember this goes back to the fact that He is seated at the right hand of God the Father. The "He" in verse 10 is talking about the model, the Lord Jesus Christ. He has entered His rest. He has ceased from His work that was done at the cross as God did from His. It takes us from that pattern that we saw with the Lord Jesus Christ as our model for sanctification back in verses 10 and 11. It is tying the exhortation of these verses 3:7 down through the end of chapter 4 back to the main topic of the didactic section, the teaching section that was focusing on the fact that Jesus Christ was tested in all areas just as we are. He is the one that is our model or the prototype for the spiritual life. That is where we head to in verses 14-16. So the last verse of this paragraph (vs. 1-10) sets us up with the challenge of verses 11-16 which is going to introduce us once again to the Lord Jesus Christ as our high priest.

 

So what is the conclusion from this? The conclusion is that we have to take the Christian life seriously. This isn't just about academics. It's not just about understanding the Bible. It's not just some interesting facts. There are serious consequences to what we do with what we learn. To whom much is given, much is expected. This is building something in our soul and that is the only thing that goes with us after we die physically. It is what we take with us into eternity. It builds a capacity for responsibility. It builds a capacity for righteousness. It builds a capacity for leadership and a capacity for wisdom that is the basis for our ability to rule and reign with Jesus Christ in the Millennial Kingdom.

 

This builds a case that we need be extremely serious about our responsibilities as Christians.