The Book of Hebrews Bible Study Chapter 4 Part 1

We go on to Hebrews 4:1-10

Throughout the book of Hebrews, the writer uses Old Testament history as a paradigm to teach us New Testament truth. This helps us to be better equipped to serve G-d. 

v1: Note: Almost all English translations drastically change the word order of this verse: placing the aspect of fearing in the middle of the text, rather than following the original Greek text, which places it at the beginning.  The reason for the English difference with the Greek is that instead of translating it literally, as an assurance of those who are truly in the faith, they rather ignore the assurance and interpret it as a warning.  This is a great example of how translators alter a verse from its literal rendering in order to support a theological perspective against the doctrine of eternal security.

  • We fear (not): We do not need to fear because those who are in Messiah have received a promise of entering into His rest. In the Old Testament this place of rest was the Promised Land, Israel. In the New Testament it refers to the Kingdom of G-d. In the Old Testament G-d said: ‘So I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest’ (Ps 95:11). This meant that the Israelites, in the wilderness, would not enter into the land of Israel. To the New Covenant people (who are in the world – a picture of the ‘wilderness’ that we have to go through ) our journey is an example/paradigm of the journey into the Kingdom of G-d. We need to make sure that we do not behave in the same way the congregation, that came out of Egypt, did. Rebelliousness is not rewarded but brings about death in the wilderness. 
  • Have come short of it: The writer makes a distinction between two groups of people:

1. Those who will enter into the Kingdom.

2. Those who fall short and will not enter into the Kingdom.

The writer speaks about these two groups throughout this fourth chapter. 

v2: The gospel was preached to us: We have been evangelized.

  • Preached to us as well as to them: Both groups have this in common
  • The word which they heard: The message. This second group lacked faith. We all hear the same truth but if we do not mix this truth together with faith it is not going to profit or benefit us (i.e. it is not going to bring about the desired results that G-d wants it to). 

v3: We who have believed: Those who have accepted the gospel, who understand the work of Messiah and who believe in Him.

  • Enter that rest: The group who believes are going to have a Kingdom experience. 
  • I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest: Talking of the faithless group. 
  • Although the works were finished from the foundation (beginning) of the world: The work, for the Kingdom to be established, has already been accomplished by Messiah (Rev 13:8). The work, from G-d’s perspective, was complete/finished/done from the time of creation. It was not because G-d was lacking, but it was because of a lack in the people. 

v4: Spoken in a certain place: i.e. Meaning, has been written previously in the Scripture. 

  • Seventh day: Also called Shabbat/Sabbath. It is a day that is set aside for rest – not a day set aside for worship, because worship is for every day of the week. In Judaism, when the Great Shabbat is spoken about it is referring to the Kingdom of G-d. 
  • G-d rested on the seventh day from all His works: Quoted from Gen 2:2. G-d laboured for six days, in creating the world, and at the end of those days everything was “good”. G-d then rested from His labour on the seventh day. Meaning this: He stopped doing everything for the Sabbath. The last part of G-d’s work was to create humanity. They did not labour and then earn a day of rest as a reward. Shabbat is a day where it is forbidden to do labour, but this has a purpose. Shabbat is about intimacy with G-d. It is a day set aside to discover and encounter G-d through His Word. In the same way that G-d worked to establish creation, getting it into the order and form that He wanted it to be in, He is working to establish His Kingdom (John 5:17). G-d was faithful to bring about the first creation. We can be assured that He will be faithful to bring about the second i.e. the Kingdom of G-d. 

v5: Again: In another place in Scripture (Ps 95:11). Also repeated from Heb 4:3.

v6: Every person has an opportunity to enter into the Kingdom. Some will and some, because of their disobedience, will not. 

v7: Today: There has been an emphasis and a repetition of the word “Today’. Originally G-d spoke it to the people in the wilderness but, when they rebelled, He swore that they would never enter into His rest (Deut 1:34-35).  Now it has also been spoken to us. David penned it long after the time in the wilderness (Ps 95:7-11). It was relevant for not only the people then but also relevant for us today, in Kingdom context. They never entered into His rest, and if we rebel today, we will not enter this Kingdom rest either. 

  • Saying in David: As David said in the Psalms.
  • Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts:  This is a decision we have to make. G-d is speaking about the Kingdom today. There are signs, today, that this Kingdom is rapidly approaching. There are times of darkness and delusion coming. We are approaching the last days, and, therefore, if we have not already done so, we need to respond to Yeshua (Jesus) today. 

v8: Yeshua: This speaks of Joshua son of Nun and not of Jesus son of David. In Neh 8:17 the name of Joshua is spelt like Yeshua/Jesus. Sometimes the name Joshua is spelt like Hoshea. The spelling changes in order to reveal truth to us. The name Yeshua appears in this form to underscore this paradigm. In the same way that Joshua led the people into the land of Israel, Yeshua (Jesus) is going to lead His people into the Kingdom. 

v9: It is not talking about another seventh day or the observance/understanding of that. Sabbath, here, personifies (with a different name) the seventh day. It is a day of rest, and rest is about the Kingdom. Entering into the land of Israel was rest from the Israelite’s journey in the wilderness. In that same way, entering into the Kingdom of G-d is going to be rest for us. An eternal rest. 

v10: When G-d had completed the work of creation He rested. There was no more creating to do. He maintains the world, but He does not recreate and recreate. In the same way, there is going to be only one creation of the Kingdom. When we enter into the Kingdom we cease from our labour and from our work. The opportunity we have to serve G-d, in this body, is right now – today. Now is the time to use our lives, and resources, for the Kingdom. Work is only necessary up until the Kingdom is established.  In the Kingdom of G-d we are going to be worshipping Him – which is an outcome of being in His Presence. 

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