Hebrews 4

The privileges by Christ under the Gospel are far greater than those enjoyed under the Mosaic law. The seventh day rest commemorating a finished creation, was but a type of heart-rest which is to be had by covenant relation with Jesus Christ, and which is offered to those who will renounce their own works as a means of salvation and put their entire trust in the finished work of the Great High Priest who has passed into the heavens.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hebrews 4:1-10 – ​The Rest That Joshua Could Not Give.

   The good news of Canaan’s rest was preached to Israel but availed nothing, because the hearers were destitute of faith. They said, Can God? instead of, God can! They thought of their enemies as giants and themselves as grasshoppers, because they left God out of account. Take God into account and we are giants and our enemies grasshoppers.
   To all of us Christ offers rest, not in the other life only, but in this (v. 3, 11). Rest from the weight of sin, from care and worry, from the load of daily anxiety and foreboding. The rest that arrives from handing all worries over to Christ, and receiving from Christ all we need. Have we entered into that experience? If we disobey, we cannot believe; but when we believe we are sure to obey. In v. 10 we are directed to our risen Lord, who has finished the work of Redemption and rests, as God did when he pronounced Creation to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31). When we understand what he meant by “It is finished” (John 19:30), we, too, shall rest. (Meyer)

Hebrews 4:3 – ​There is a rest that is given, a rest that is found, and a rest that remaineth to the people of God. The 1st brings relief to the troubled conscience, the 2nd to the troubled heart, and the 3rd brings to the believer the fullness of joy that is in the presence of the Lord, the pleasures that are at His right hand forevermore. The 1st is directly connected with the Son as the Saviour of sinners; the 2nd is more immediately related to the Holy Spirit as our abiding Comforter; and the 3rd is associated with the “Father’s house”, in which “are many mansions” (John 14:2). (Moody)

Hebrews 4:9—There remaineth therefore, a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

​   There is a rest for weary souls. — God speaks of it as his Rest. He entered it, we are told, when He had finished his work; and beheld it to be very good; and ever since the door has been standing open for the travel-stained, weary children of men to enter it. To every other creation-day there were evening and morning, but not to this; it partakes of the nature of eternity in its timeless bliss.
   Let us rejoice that this rest remaineth. — Of course, the Sabbath, which was and is a type of it, could not exhaust it. And Canaan, with its sweet plains and cessation of the wilderness wanderings, could not completely fulfill it; because centuries after it had been given through Joshua, in the Psalms God spoke of yet another day, as though his rest were still future.
   The rest may be a present experience. — The word “remaineth” has diverted the thoughts of commentators who have supposed it referred to heaven. There is rest, sweet rest, there. But “remaineth” means “unexhausted, unrealized, by aught which has taken place.” The rest is for us here and now. “We which have believed do enter into rest” (v. 3). Where is it? In the bosom of Christ: “Come unto me…and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). It is in ploughing the furrow of daily duty — “Take my yoke…and…find rest” (v. 29).
   This rest is compatible with great activity. — He that enters into the Divine rest is not reduced to quietism. On the seventh day the Creator rested from creation; but He works in providence. Jesus, on the seventh day, rested from Calvary; but He pleads in heaven. Cease from your own works, after a similar fashion; abandon your restless planning and striving; by the grace of the Holy Spirit better service will be produced. (Meyer)

Hebrews 4:9 – ​How sweet the music of this first heavenly chime floating across the waters of death from the towers of the new Jerusalem! Pilgrim, faint under thy long and arduous pilgrimage, hear it! It is REST. Soldier, carrying still upon thee the blood and dust of battle, hear it! It is REST. Voyager, tossed on the waves of sin and sorrow, driven hither and thither on the world’s heaving ocean of vicissitude, hear it! The haven is in sight; the very waves that are breaking on the shore seem to murmur – So giveth He His beloved REST. It is the long-drawn sigh of existence at last answered. The toil and travail of earth’s protracted week is at an end. The calm of its unbroken Sabbath is begun. Man, weary man, has found at last the long sought-for rest in the bosom of his God. (MacDuff)

Hebrews 4:9 – O weary sons and daughters of Adam! you will not have to drive the ploughshare into the unthankful soil in heaven; you will not need to rise to daily toils before the sun hath risen, and labor still when the sun hath long ago gone to his rest: but ye shall be still, ye shall be quiet, ye shall rest yourselves. Toil, trouble, travail, and labor are words that cannot be spelled in heaven: they have no such things there; for they always rest. (Spurgeon)

Hebrews 4:11-16 – ​Entered by Faith and Prayer.

   There is no escape for disobedience and unbelief, because we have to do with the omniscience of God. The conception of vs. 12-13 is of a victim appointed for sacrifice and thrown upon its back, that the keen edge of the knife may do its work more readily. The divine scrutiny is still sharper. There is so much of the soul in what we do, that is, of our opinions and activities. God distinguishes between these and those promptings of his Spirit which are really important and influential. Only what is born of the Spirit will stand the test of eternity!
   Shall we not fail in that scrutiny? Will he not detect in us that evil heart of unbelief? We need not fear; because our High Priest has passed the veil that hides the invisible and eternal and has entered the divine presence. “Mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (v. 16)! These will meet our supreme needs – mercy for our sins, grace for our helplessness and frailty. (Meyer)

Hebrews 4:12 – ​Cling to the whole Bible, not a part of it. A man is not going to do much with a broken sword. (Moody)

Hebrews 4:15 – All the saints must go to the proving house; God had one Son without sin, but He never had a son without trial. (Spurgeon)

Hebrews 4:16 – ​However early in the morning you seek the gate of access, you find it already open, and however deep the midnight moment when you find yourself in the sudden arms of death, the winged prayer can bring an instant Saviour; and this wherever you are. It needs not that you ascend some special Pisgah or Moriah. It needs not that you should enter some awful shrine, or pull off your shoes on some holy ground. Could a memento be reared on every spot from which an acceptable prayer has passed away, and on which a prompt answer has come down, we should find Jehovah Shammah, “the Lord hath been here,” inscribed on many a cottage hearth, and many a dungeon floor. We should find it not only in Jerusalem’s proud temple and David’s cedar galleries, but in the fisherman’s cottage by the brink of the Gennesaret, and in the upper chamber where Pentecost began. And whether it be the field where Isaac went down to meditate, or the rocky knoll where Israel wrestled, or the den where Daniel gazed on the hungry lions, and the lions gazed on him, or the hillside where the Man of Sorrows prayed all night, we should still discern the ladder’s feet let down from hearven – the landing place of mercies, because the starting place of prayer. (Hamilton)