Lesson 16 - Chapter 4:4-9

Lesson 16 - Chapter 4:4-9

Lesson for September 14, 2014

The Book of Hebrews

Chapter 4:4-9

Verse 4-5

“For He said somewhere concerning the seventh day, ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’ and again in this passage, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’”

Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament and communicated this in Genesis 2:2. God restored the earth in six days for man’s occupancy. In six days He provided everything that man would need in the Garden of Eden. And on the seventh day He rested. Why did God rest? On the seventh day God rested because He had completed His work. He had restored everything that needed to be restored. And He had actually created for man a perfect environment. So we read in corrected translation, “Therefore on the seventh day God completed his restoration work which he had produced out of chaos and He rested.” Perfect environment was provided on restored planet earth and nothing could be added to it. This was all God’s grace. God does the work; man does the benefiting. Man does not earn or deserve what God provides. Man rested on the seventh day in Israel to remind him that you can’t work for salvation, you can’t work for divine provision, and you can’t work for God’s grace. Grace and works are not compatible; they are mutually exclusive. Therefore in Israel they had to rest on the seventh day so they would remember the principle of grace. Six days God worked; on the seventh day, God rested. (Romans 11:6)

The Doctrine of the Sabbath

  1. The original Sabbath of Genesis 2:2 was designed by God to teach grace. God rested because everything had been provided in grace for man on the first six days. The seventh day was always a memorial to God and His grace provision. It was a memorial to grace.
  2. In Exodus 16:14-36 the Sabbath had to be called to the attention of the Jews. And it was called to their attention in a special way. Manna represented divine provision. Manna was the food that God provided for the Jews in the desert. And Exodus 16 said, “Look, you will always gather manna on day one, day two, day three, day four, day five and day six. And on day six (Friday) you will gather a double portion because on day seven I will provide no manna and you will not gather manna.” So this was the first specific reference to the Sabbath day since God rested in the restoration of earth in Genesis 2:2.
  3. The Jewish Sabbath had to be reinstituted. The Jewish Sabbath is the fourth commandment of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15). It was designed with one purpose in mind: to commemorate grace by doing no work on the Sabbath day. This was in fulfilment of the concept of Genesis 2:2 where God rested. The Sabbath was designed to be a time of rest, relaxation and tranquility; a reminder of grace.
  4. In the Age of Israel observing the Sabbath began to be distorted into rules and regulations (traditions) that were ridiculous and had nothing to do with grace. One thing that happened when the Church Age superseded the Age of Israel was that the Sabbath was no longer designated as a day of rest.

The Exodus generation failed because they had no usable doctrine in their souls. Having no usable doctrine in the soul, they couldn’t appreciate the Sabbath day and its significance of grace. Therefore, God said in essence, “I am not God if they enter into my rest.” God does not give greater blessings to those without capacity. No matter what a believer has in life, it is totally meaningless unless he has doctrinal capacity of the soul. God does not withhold any good thing from those who love Him, but “those who love Him” is the qualifying factor. Only maturing believers truly understand what it means to love God. Everything you ever wanted and then some is waiting for you.

The failure of the Exodus generation is analogous to the failure of every believer in any dispensation of time who lives his life on this earth in reversionism. God has grace provision for all believers. But this grace provision is not based upon volition. You get it whether you want it or not. God gives us all time, food, clothing, shelter, the necessities of life, and whatever else is necessary. But God also has greater blessings based on positive volition toward Bible doctrine and increased capacity.

Verse 6-7

“Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.’”

Since therefore it remains uses the Greek word “apoleipo” for remains, which means to be left over. The conclusion is that even though people have failed to enter it in any specific generation, like the Exodus, it’s still open for the next generation. Enter what? is the question and the answer is faith-rest in God. In other words, God still has greater blessings for all believers in the next generations. Believers in any generation can reap what God sows through spiritual maturity and capacity. Even though others have failed this does not have anything to do with you and me. We can be in the midst of a whole generation of failures and still receive greater blessings.

Some refers specifically to the younger generation (who were not a part of those who came out of Egypt) who did enter the land. No matter how a generation fails there are always those who get to enjoy greater blessings. No matter how a generation fails there is always someone in every generation who realizes that Bible doctrine is more important than anything else in life. Disobedience means disobedience to the mandates and commandments of God which were evidenced by their complaining and ungrateful attitude. The Exodus generation failed to enter the Promised Land because they were negative toward God, His Word and His spokesmen.

The writer then quoted from Psalm 95, which refers to the fact that capacity must precede blessing, and blessing was still available in David’s day. David was a man after God’s own heart, and he holds the most phenomenal of all records for grace blessings from God. God was more impressed with David than anyone else, not because God was impressed with David but because God was impressed with His Word in David’s soul. And God must vindicate His Word in the soul of any believer who possesses it. There is no greater possession in life and there is nothing for which we should have greater desire than the Word of God.

The Greek word for fixes is “orizo” and means to appoint, to set up limits, to mark out, to designate boundaries, and it even means to determine or to decree. There never was a believer in all of human history who did not have for him designed in eternity past the most phenomenal blessings. Even though most believers may fail to acquire these blessings, they are still available. The failure of one generation never cuts it off for the next. The failure of one generation certainly has an effect upon natural life and definitely has been demonstrated historically to put the generation succeeding in jeopardy of failure. But this is not true in the spiritual realm. The failure of our parents, the failure of our grandparents, or the failure of our forefathers does not in any way limit us or keep us from God’s blessings. Anything that the system of the world offers today, God offers it in better quality, in more quantity, and the capacity to enjoy it. God appoints or decrees the continuation of blessings for every generation of believers.

A certain day is the day when you arrive at the point of occupation with Christ because of Bible doctrine in your soul, because of the construction of the edification complex. It is the point at which you love Jesus Christ more than you love anything else in life. It is the point at which Jesus Christ Who is absent from the earth right now is more real to you than things on the earth. It is a point that you reach where your priority in life is to really know Jesus Christ. It isn’t emotional, it isn’t any type of a pseudo love, but it is the real desire of your heart.

Psalm 95 will never be taken out of the Bible, it will be there for your children, your grandchildren and your great grandchildren to see. After all of the failures of Israel for over 400 years it does not hinder the grace of God in David’s day. It was just as available after 400 years of failure as it was at the time of Moses. It is always available, that is the point. It is available to you and me right now. If we will listen to and concentrate on God’s Word we have the opportunity to enter a place of mental relaxation that only a few have or experience as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you will hear His voice means listening to and applying the teaching of accurate Bible doctrine.

Do not harden your hearts means persistence in not hardening your hearts toward doctrine. You have to persist in it. The progressive tense says you can’t just say today I’m not going to harden my heart, or I’m not going to become negative. You have to persist through all kinds of testing and pressure and difficulties and not allow them to distract you from Bible doctrine. It is persistence under all kinds of situations that counts. The more time you log in the study and application of Bible doctrine the stronger you will be, spiritually speaking, and the more equipped you will be to handle any situation in life.

Verse 8

“For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.”

This verse is speaking of the generation immediately following the Exodus generation. The Exodus generation is often designated by its leader, Moses. The generation that followed is called the Joshua generation after its leader, Joshua. So this verse is speaking of the Joshua generation which succeeded the Exodus generation and actually entered the Promised Land. The Joshua generation entered Canaan but did not have capacity for Canaan as indicated by their incomplete conquest of the land. They did not take all of the land that God had promised them. So the conquest was incomplete. It was the generation of David that finally came through and conquered all of the land God had given to them.

The entire generation of Joshua spent many years fighting and conquering but many of them lacked capacity and therefore received no blessings in the Promised Land. Their parents died the sin unto death outside of the land, but they didn’t have capacity so they didn’t have blessing in the land. A prosperous environment without capacity is just as miserable as adversity without capacity. Environment makes no difference. Either you have doctrine in your soul or you do not. And it is not your environment, it is the capacity of your soul that counts. It is the capacity of soul that makes the prosperous items of life enjoyable, and the people who enjoy prosperity are the same people who hold up in adversity because it is capacity of soul that counts. They failed to enter God’s rest spiritually because of reversionism. However, this state of reversionism did not close the door to blessing for future generations, as pointed out in verse nine.

Verse 9

“There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.”

Here we have the conclusion regarding the rest of God. The conclusion is that entering the rest of God and receiving its accompanying greater blessings is still available to us today. However, it is potential only based on our attitude toward Jesus Christ and Bible doctrine.

In eternity past God wanted you to share in His perfect happiness, and He combines that with defeating Satan in time. By giving you greater blessings as a spiritually mature believer, God fulfils His desire from eternity past to make you happy. And God found a way not only to save you but to reward you. The rewards in eternity come from being blessed in time via your capacity to receive them.

Greater blessings from God are open and available to you right now in spite of any past spiritual failures, but it’s up to you to access them.