Sabbath Rest--Hebrews 3 & 4

Discussion in 'NT Epistles' started by JBaldwin, Dec 15, 2007.

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  1. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    After reading the poll about what we call the day of the week that we set aside for the Lord, I starting thinking about this idea of Sabbath Rest in Hebrews 3 & 4. To what does this refer? And in light of that, should we be using the word Sabbath to refer to the Lord's Day? Or does the word "sabbath" have a more broad sweeping meaning in the NT. After all the Jews, still insist that the Sabbath is on Saturday. Rather than make any more comments, I would like to hear what some of you scholars have to say about it.
  2. Bygracealone

    Bygracealone Puritan Board Sophomore

    Sister Baldwin, I don't pretend to count myself a scholar, but I readily admit standing on the shoulders of great teachers to better understand subjects such as this. So, I'll share what I have come to understand and trust that others will chime in as they find need.

    In Hebrews 4:1-10 says:

    Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, "As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter My rest," although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has thus 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." 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." For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through {following} the same example of disobedience.

    In this section of Scripture, we read about three distinct Sabbaths. One of them is the Sabbath that existed from the beginning of creation. Another is the Sabbath that was given to Israel upon their entrance into Canaan along with the other ceremonial Sabbaths. And a third that we read about in verse nine. In that verse, the "sabbath rest" which "remains for the people of God," is a reference to the rest not achieved by Moses' and Joshua's generations, but which, achieved by Christ in His resurrection, is still symbolized by a weekly rest.

    You see, throughout Hebrews 3:7-4:10, the word 'rest' (katapausis) is a different word from the one in 4:9 (sabbatismos). In 4:9, the word is sabbatismos and it’s a reference to the weekly Sabbath. The point here is that after the fulfillment of the Mosaic Ceremonial Law, there still remains a weekly Sabbath for the people of God.

    So, an eternal rest still remains for us in Heaven and it has been secured for us by the resurrection of Christ. Because Christ rose on the first day of the week, Sunday is the day we celebrate His resurrection. Furthermore, the celebration of the weekly Sabbath is also a sign which causes us to look forward with joyful anticipation to the final rest that we will one day inherit at the day of consummation.

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  3. holyfool33

    holyfool33 Puritan Board Freshman

    Christ is the believer's Sabbath

    I would say The Christian Sabbath is when the believer after being saved rests in Christ it is not a literal day.
  4. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis


    Where would your scriptural support be for that statement?
  5. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    Try From Sabbath to Lord’s Day « Green Baggins and Remember the Sabbath Day « Green Baggins
  6. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Let's look at the text.

    Besides the preeminence of Christ over Moses we are told that we are part of the household of the Son, "if we hold fast our confidence." The word for confidence denotes speech. In other words, if we hold fast to what we confess then we prove that we are of the household of faith.

    Why was Israel judged? Why did they experience the anger and wrath of God? Because of unbelief (v. 12). The writer of Hebrews is introducing a rest that is contingent on (1) belief (2) obedience.

    The principal of our obedience (hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end) is inexorably linked to being "partakers of Christ."

    Once again, unbelief was the reason why Israel did not enter into the physical land of rest. But we know the writer of Hebrews is not talking about a physical land - at least not directly.

    Hear is where the text becomes clear. We already understand the warning against unbelief in chapter 3. Here in chapter 4 we see that the rest is tied directly to the gospel. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard. The good news is the εὐαγγελὶον, the gospel. The rest of Hebrews 3 & 4 is being born from above. But it's not just being saved, it also has the idea of running the race set before us and finishing well (Hebrews 12). It is the hope that is set before us, the eternal state which is our true rest.

    I'll let others develop the Sabbath question more fully, but I will add that the Sabbath referred to may be a better Sabbath. Instead of an earthly Sabbath rest that could never provide complete rest; the Sabbath is perfected in glory when we will truly rest from all our earthly labors and enjoy Christ for eternity.
  7. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thanks Bill,

    That makes a lot of sense to me!
  8. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    From another post but I think it applies since we are discussing the different words for Sabbath in Hebrews.
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