A Journey Through The Epistle To The Hebrews 4.

Hebrews 4

King James Version (KJV)

3.19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

The writer has just finished up in the last chapter, establishing that along with the Angels, Christ Jesus is greater than Moses as well. Moses was a Servant within the House, Jesus Built the House!  He continued with an explanation of the Mission of Moses, and the fact that most got very close to the Promised Land, but fell short of entering because of the sin of Unbelief.  Moses did all that He could to lead them, and what a job that must have been.  God grieved over them for forty years, as well as Moses, for their unbelief during the entire journey. For their constant murmuring, complaining, and lack of trust for what God, and Moses, were trying to do, they were denied entry. Only those who kept the faith, and trust, were allowed to cross the river Jordan into the promised land. This was out of the hands of Moses, this was God who Blocked them from entry, and God who allowed those of faith to Enter IN.  We should make a concerted effort to Not make the same Mistake.

4.1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

See discussion Above.

2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

“For unto US was the Gospel Preached, as well as unto them.”  This is another revealing piece of information!  The Gospel was preached to the children of Jacob, that of being delivered from bondage, brought out by the Power of God, and being guided to a better land.  A land that, “flowed with Milk, and Honey.”  A land of their own, and a land where God would place His Holy Name.  The same Gospel was preached to the speaker (unless it is Paul), the writer, and to the Jewish Assembly being written to.  Though this would preclude the Apostle Paul, it would include Luke!  Who, if crafting this document from his notes shortly after the Apostle’s death, does not mention Paul, but includes himself (US). The writer makes a valid point, that the Word of God will not profit anyone with a heart of unbelief.  God honors, and is pleased by faith!

3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Notice the change here in the writers quote, it is the Converse of the actual statement.  “…They Shall Enter…”  here the writer is interpreting the scripture, very similar to the way the LXX was written.  This quote above is not found in the scripture, but in the Negative. However, if the Negative, “They shall Not Enter…” because of Unbelief is true, then the Converse is true also.  They Shall Enter with Faith!  The writer obviously believes that all of these things that happened, and stated, were in the mind of the Father from the beginning. Hence the phrase, “…I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End…” The phrase, “…from the foundation of the world…,” is one that is found all through the New Testament. It is found, in Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, 1 Peter, Revelation, Ephesians, as well as this document.  It seems a common thread all through the New Testament, in the belief that All was already completed in the forethought of God from the very beginning.  Everything was put in place, then all things would be destined to become reality by His Timing.

4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.

The justification, and reason for this belief apparently comes from the Above statement, “And God Did Rest The Seventh Day From ALL His Works!

2.2 Genesis

2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. (MT)

2 And God finished on the sixth day his works which he made, and he ceased on the seventh day from all his works which he made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he ceased from all his works which God began to do. (LXX)

5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

57.2 Isaiah, this is the closest to the statement above.  It does not seem that this verse is what the writer is referring to as God saying.

2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness. (MT)

2 His burial shall be in peace: he has been removed out of the way. (LXX). Very different, for the scribes interpreted here.

The writer is apparently “Expounding” here, which was how lessons were taught in the Synagogue!  He is not necessarily quoting, but continuing his teaching on the phrase, “…they shall enter into my rest…” the Converse of the actual statement by God.

6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

His rest is still available to be entered into, the door has not closed.  It can only be entered into with a heart of faith.  For He says above in verse 3, “for We which have believed do enter into rest!” While in this life we who believe can enter into his rest through the Holy Spirit of God, but their is a Greater (or more permanent) rest yet to come.  In the Gospel of John,

John 7:37-39

King James Version (KJV)

37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The rest, and the refreshing, is in the Holy Ghost.

Isaiah 28.12

To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to restand this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

Acts 3.19

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Notice this is the very first time the writer states from whom He is getting his information, “…in David…”.  He does not do this often throughout the whole document.  He continues to use the phrases, “…in another place…”, “…in a Certain place…”, “…and Again…”, and “…as it is said…”.  These are motifs, showing his particular style of writing.

For those who believed, and entered the promised land, though they did begin to have rest, there were many battles yet to be fought. This rest was a physical rest.  A natural rest in that they were no longer in the rugged desert, and had just begun to to claim their promised land. This writer is using this symbolically as a foreshadow of a Spiritual rest yet to come, and then finally a Permanent rest upon the return of the Lord Jesus, forever in His presence. So indeed, Today you can begin to experience the Spiritual rest with a heart of faith, and the presence of the Holy Spirit of God.

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

There was another rest to come, the writer proves his argument by saying that if this were not the case, then Jesus would not have spoken of another day! The Psalmist said “Today”, this was at least 300 years after the entrance into the first, and physical rest.  So the audience to which the writer is writing, could not say that it had already been completed long ago.

9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

This is his point!  Being that He is making quite an effort to very technically prove this, presupposes that this is another belief of which this assembly was letting go of.  For they were assimilating with quite possibly the Essenes, and falling back into Judaism.

10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

Once a life receives the Holy Ghost, and the rivers of living water begin to flow, one does cease from Their Own Works.  Upon being filled with the Spirit, your focus will begin to change, a New nature begins to take hold and you begin to do the Works of the Spiritual person.  This doesn’t happen overnight. It is a walk of Grace, Patience, Revelation, Learning, Faith,Trust, Mercy, and a new friendship to be enjoyed from, and by God for a lifetime, and after. Rest is found In His Presence where there is the Fullness of Joy. We are refreshed, renewed with strength, and revitalized, In His Presence! The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength, and that is found in fullness, in His Presence.  Remember though, our works cease gradually, this is not an immediate transformation. It’s the beginning of something very special between you and God.  There will ups and downs, successes and failures.  Do Not Give Up, keep your confidence steadfast.  Get Back Up On Your Feet, and Drive On Soldier for God! If you fall again, Get Back Up, and Drive On.

11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Walking with God is a true Labour, it is not easy!  It is however a Labour of Love.  He gives Grace that the mission can be completed in our lives, but not of our own strength lest we boast.  His is a Labour worth more than all the money the world has to offer.  It is a Spiritual Walk!  It is That Rest we should work to attain, not what this world can give.  The world cannot match it, Religion cannot match it, and all the wealth, and carnal pleasures of this life cannot match it. His presence is what will give you rest!  It takes faith to seek it, and it takes faith to receive it.

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The Children of Jacob were blocked from entry into the promised land, by the Word of God!  God knew their Hearts.  God knows the Hearts of this audience, the Hebrew Congregation as well.

13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

The writer is telling them that the God with whom we have to do knows what is going on in their hearts and minds.  They may be fooling themselves, but not God.  He is taking an account, and there is a line with God that should not be crossed because of Unbelief as they did in the desert.

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

The writer has shifted now to the fact that the Jewish congregation has an even greater High Priest, one that has entered the Heavens!  Not an Earthly High Priest to atone for our sins.  For the earthly atonement only pushed them forward for a year, the atonement was not complete.  It contained weaker elements for the work, and could not therefore be perfect to atone forever. Now that we have a Heavenly High Priest, who operates in Perfection, let us hold fast to this profession, as this priesthood is worthy, and able.

These were very difficult times, Jerusalem was probably already under siege by the Roman Army under the command of Vespasian, and then Titus his son. In 68 Nero committed suicide, and Vespasian was recalled to Rome to become Emperor.  This left Titus in command of the Roman Army.  From 66 to 68 Vespasian, and Titus, were “cleaning house” in Palestine under the direction of Nero.  The siege of Jerusalem began around 68 AD, and finally ended in 70 AD, with the sacking, and burning of the city.  Along with the climactic destruction of the Jewish Temple which also took place.  By this time starvation had reached a level that is hard to be described, and the Roman Entry into the city must have been merciful as compared to what was happening inside the walls.

Even if our timeframe is a little off for the writing of this document to the Hebrews, there was still a great deal of suffering taking place leading up to the siege of Jerusalem.  The timing has to be close however due to internal information contained in the last chapter of the Epistle, and the deaths of Peter, Paul, and Nero in 68.  Also the military campaign leading up to the siege of Jerusalem, and it’s eventual destruction in 70.

The city was being torn apart by the Rebels themselves. Things were in great despair, and disarray within.  There is an account written by Flavius Josephus, the great Jewish Historian, of just how bad it was. See:

http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/desolation/josephus.html

15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus is deeply compassionate for the Infirmities of His People! He will Help those of His children.  He is deeply moved by the problems and sufferings of his people.  In His earthly life He felt the infirmities of Man, and yet managed to complete the Father’s works without blemish.

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

I am sure they needed Grace very badly.  I am equally sure the Lord Jesus did help some of them, those who did not have a heart of unbelief.  We have the right to approach the throne of Grace Boldly to put forth our Petition to God, because He is Our God, and we are His people.  We can find Grace to help in the time of Need!

 

Opening Chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Opening Chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews.

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