Are you in need of rest?
Are you weary and longing for that rest? Does it seem distant and unreal to you?
In this study we will seek to learn about a rest that God is preparing for Believers.
I will use Scripture from the Amplified Bible (copyright - The Lockman Foundation) for this study.
Please turn in your bibles to Hebrews chapter 4:
Hebrews 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.
Hebrews 4:2 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).
You know that Joshua and Caleb had been two of the 12 spies sent into the Promised Land to scout it out prior to Israel’s entry after leaving Egypt. Do you remember how 10 of the 12 spies were afraid of the giants they had seen in the land? Only Joshua and Caleb were trusting God to deliver the Promised Land into their hands. Let’s return to this Scripture passage which is giving us the account of what happened.
Hebrews 4:3 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.
We know that this account is true. The whole generation of Israelites who refused to trust God and enter the Promised Land died in the desert during the next 40 years. Of the original group of God’s People only Moses, Joshua and Caleb survived these 40 years and only Joshua & Caleb were permitted to enter into the Promised Land. They were the only ones to trust God.
Hebrews 4:4 For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.
Hebrews 4:5 And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest.
God delivered them from the bondage out of Egypt, yet because of their unbelief, would not permit them to enter His rest.
Israel serves as an example for God’s people. We must look at what they did, how God dealt with them and how we can benefit from that experience. Let’s continue:
Hebrews 4:6 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,
In verse 6 we see that not ALL will enter that rest. Not all who hear the good news appropriates it.
Have you heard the good news and taken it by faith unto yourself?
Hebrews 4:7 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.
Hebrews 4:8 [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.
Hebrews 4:9 So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;
Hebrews 4:10 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.
We are a people of faith in Christ Jesus. We are trusting daily by faith. Do we not grow weary and have pain from human labors?
Do you remember something that Jesus said?
Matthew 11:28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls]
Matthew 11:29 Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.
Perhaps we are trying to do His work in our own strength. We should work in the strength of the Lord & I encourage you to do that Saints of God. Let God’s strength flow through you and let Him give you rest.
But there is another rest spoken of in these verses.
In verse 9 & 10 of the book of Hebrews we see that there is a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the true people of God. This is not just resting in Christ and letting His power work through you as you do good works.
Verse 10 speaks of God resting after His labors.
Does anyone remember God resting after His labors?
In 6 days, God created all that exists. On the 7th day, God rested. Now without additional Scripture, we would wonder why that is significant to us.
We have that Word from the Lord in 2 Peter chapter 3:
2Peter 3:8 Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape you, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.
This is the key for our understanding. There has been nearly 6 thousand years for mankind to labor on the earth. There remains 1 thousand years in which Jesus will reign on this earth.
The 6 days of creation are like the 6 thousand years for man to rule this earth. On the 7th day, God rested from His labor and He will give His people the final thousand years to rest from their labors.
We call this the Millennial Reign of Christ. Millennial means thousand. We learn more about this thousand years in the Book of Revelation.
Revelation 20:1 Then I saw an angel descending from heaven; he was holding the key of the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and a great chain was in his hand.
Revelation 20:2 And he gripped and overpowered the dragon, that old serpent [of primeval times], who is the devil and Satan, and [securely] bound him for a thousand years.
Revelation 20:3 Then he hurled him into the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and closed it and sealed it above him, so that he should no longer lead astray and deceive and seduce the nations until the thousand years were at an end. After that he must be liberated for a short time.
Revelation 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and sitting on them were those to whom authority to act as judges and to pass sentence was entrusted. Also I saw the souls of those who had been slain with axes [beheaded] for their witnessing to Jesus and [for preaching and testifying] for the Word of God, and who had refused to pay homage to the beast or his statue and had not accepted his mark or permitted it to be stamped on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived again and ruled with Christ (the Messiah) a thousand years.
Revelation 20:5 The remainder of the dead were not restored to life again until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed (happy, to be envied) and holy (spiritually whole, of unimpaired innocence and proved virtue) is the person who takes part (shares) in the first resurrection! Over them the second death exerts no power or authority, but they shall be ministers of God and of Christ (the Messiah), and they shall rule along with Him a thousand years.
Revelation 20:7 And when the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his place of confinement,
Revelation 20:8 And he will go forth to deceive and seduce and lead astray the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth--Gog and Magog--to muster them for war; their number is like the sand of the sea.
Revelation 20:9 And they swarmed up over the broad plain of the earth and encircled the fortress (camp) of God's people (the saints) and the beloved city; but fire descended from heaven and consumed them.
We see that for a thousand years, Satan will be bound and unable to deceive people. Christ will reign with the Saints. We will have rest from our labors. It is the Sabbath-rest that the Scriptures spoke of, because it will be the 7th of the 7 thousand years God has appointed for mankind. The Sabbath is always the 7th.
There are those who will disagree with this teaching. However, I must share what I believe God has shown me.
Now let us go back to our passage in Hebrews.
Hebrews 4:11 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].
Hebrews 4:12 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.
Hebrews 4:13 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.
The Lord sees our motives. He knows why we do good works, whether from pure motives or for selfish gain.
God is concerned about “why” we live the way we do. He wants us to live thankful lives because of all He does for us, to bless our lives. He wants us to care for each other because He cares for us so tenderly and affectionately.
God has shown us the quality of His love through the gift of His Son. He wants us to love because we are loved. He wants us to forgive because we have been forgiven.
Do you see the pattern? He did all these things for us, so we would know how to do them for others.
God has offered us rest in this life, through Jesus Christ and the power of His Holy Spirit. That power enables us to do good works without exhausting ourselves.
God has also reserved a Sabbath rest for His true people. That rest will be so wonderful. Free of temptation, guilt and labor. Can you imagine it?
Jesus Christ is coming soon. The proof is all around us and our spirits within us bear witness to this fact.
Let us do good works in the time remaining… with pure motives. Let us be servants to others, with kindness and willing hearts. The time is coming when we will rest from our labors and be given due reward for all we accomplish for Christ.
May God bless you and help you to be a servant and to have a tender, thankful heart.
Bible Study by InAwe