Scripture quotations taken from the NASB

Sabbath Rest

"In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that was in them" (Ex 20:11). "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good . . . and there was morning, the sixth day" (Ge 2:2). "By Him all things were created . . . visible and invisible" (Col 1:!6). "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor and was refreshed" (Ex 30:17). He "rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy" (Ex 20:11). Then God instructed "'the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work" (20:10). It was the cessation of construction because there is a peace associated with having completed the plan. "'It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls; it is a permanent statute'" (Lev 16:31).

Historically God said, "'I have come down to deliver them [Israel] from the power of the Egyptians . . . to a good and spacious land'" (Ex 3:8). It would eventually transpire "'for you have not has yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you'" (Dt 12:9). God then promised Moses, "'My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest'" (Ex 33:14). Furthermore, "'I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way to bring you into the place which I have prepared'" (23:20). He will "'bring you into the land of [several nationalities] and I will completely destroy them'" (:23).

God at Mt.Sinai

In the third month after exiting Egypt "on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai" (Ex 19:1). God said, "'You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I . . . brought you to Myself'" (:4). He then proposed they "'obey My voice and keep My covenant'" (:5). When Moses presented it to the people they responded "'All that the Lord ha spoken we will do!'" (:8). God then gave Moses the Ten Commandments but when Israel experienced God's presence they responded "'let not God speak to us, or we will die'" (:19) Moses replied it was "'in order that the fear of Him remain with you, so that you may not sin'" (:20).

God then instructed Moses about worship according to the Feasts of the Lord and how to prepare the Tabernacle of Moses. Eventually when everything was functioning properly "the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of testimony, and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire" (Nu 9:15). "Whenever the cloud was lifted . . . Israel would then set out . . . and where it settled down . . . [they] would camp" (:17). "Whether it was two days or a month or a year . . . Israel remained camped" (:22). "They kept the Lord's charge, according to the command of the Lord through Moses" (:23).

Israel's journey to destination

"Now in the seond year, in the second month, on the twentieth" (Nu 10:11) "they moved out for the first time" (:13). The tribes were referred to "according to their armies" (:14). Moses explained to his father-in-law that "'We are setting out to the place of which the Lord said, 'I will give it to you' . . . for the Lord has promised good concerning Israel'" (:29). They proceeded "with the ark of the covenant of the Lord journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out a resting place" (:33). A concordance says it is a place providing comfort and security. But it is noted that "you have not as yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you" (Dt 12:9). The Hebrew word is used in a larger sense in "'Arise, O Lord, to your resting place'" (Ps 132:8) for "'This is My resting place forever'" (:14). "'If your sons will keep My covenant'" (:12) "'Her priests also I will clothe with salvation'" (:16). Nevetheless "now the people became like those who complain of adversity" (Nu 11:1).

Next the Lord told Moses, "'Send out for yourself men so that they may spy out the land of Canaan'" (Nu 13"2). "They returned from spying out the land at the end of forty days" (:25) and reported "'We are not able to go up against the people'" (:31) for it "'is a land that devours its inhabitants'" (:32). But God had promised "'I will completely destroy them'" (Ex 23:23) and "'drive them out before ou little by little'" (:30). "'I will send My terror ahead of you'" (:27) and "'you will drive them out before you'" (:31).

Israel's negative response

The author of Hebrews writes, "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus" (3:1) . . . "whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence" (:6) . . . and it is, "Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says" (:7). The author quotes, "'They tried Me, though they had seen My work for forty years'" (Ps 95:9-10). God said, "'Therefore I was angry'" (Heb 3:10) and that "'They shall not enter My rest'" (:11). Born-again Jews are the audience and the Spirit is the source, and logically the word "therefore" is accordingly used here three times. Is "rest" used as a type for Canaan representing heaven? Then how do you enter? With the New Covenant you experience salvation through repentance and confessing Jesus as Lord. But as "holy brethren" they were already saved having "entered" their salvation destination. "We who have believed enter that rest" (Heb 4:30).

Perhaps many of these Jews were becoming disenchanted and asking, as Israel did, "'Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword?'" (Nu 14:3). They proposed, "'Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt'" (:4). What was causing these doubts? God had already explained his intentions because that is why it is called the "promised land." The author subtly asks if they are actually listening to God by questioning "'If you hear His voice'" (Heb 3:7,:15,4:7). However, maybe they were aware of God speaking but had closed their ears. That could be why the author warns, "'Do not harden your hearts'" (3:8,:15,4:7) three times.

Israel failed to enter

The author encourages to "boast in our hope firm until the end" (Heb 3:6) since "we have become partakers of Christ" (:14). But there is the danger of "any one of you [with] an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God" (:12). "There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God" (4:9) "therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall" (:11). "Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness" (3:17)? "Let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it" (4:1). There are those "who have been enlightened . . . and made partakers of the Holy Spirit" (6:4) "and then have fallen away" (:6).

"His works were finished from the foundation of the world" (4:3) "'and God rested on the seventh day from all His works'" (:4). "The one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His" (:10). However God's works were finished, but yours are still taking place, so you'd have to wait a little longer to enter your rest. Perhaps entering "His rest" (:10) supercedes yours which inherits the qualifications of the former. By resting God relies upon that which was created in the first six days. Therefore someone who "enters His rest" (4:10) is depending on God's covering for his own ongoing functioning. That would incorporate God's guidance and provision.

"Therefore be diligent to enter" (Heb 4:11) since "those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience" (:6). They provoked, tried and tested God for forty years and hardened and went astray in their hearts and did not know God (3:8-10). "They were not able to enter because of unbelief" (:19) because they were "hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (:13). "The word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard" (4:2). Faith is required to believe. God asked, "'How long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst'" (Nu 14:11)?

Seventh Day Sabbath

Genesis summarizes, "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts" (2:1). But is this just an Old Testament historical reference? Actually, "these things happened as examples for us" (1Co 10:6). Also, Jesus "explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures" (Lk 24:27). Therefore, there is a continuity. These types in Genesis are built upon and apply today. "By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done" (Ge 2:2). "He ceased from labor" (Ex 31:17), which was effort applicable to "His works which God had created and made" (Ge 2:3). In it God was "refreshed" (Ex 31:17). It was separate and special because "God blessed the seventh day" (Ge 2:3). Furthermore, God "sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His works" (:3). It then became a "sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the Lord" (Ex 16:23). But it was not just a one-way requirement of man's responsibility to worship God. God said, "'It is holy to you'" (Ex 31:14), "'a sign'" (:17), and a celebration of a "'personal covenant'" (:16). It is, "'That you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies yoou'" (:12). It was so important that God used manna to institute a feast in the wilderness. They would eat it on a day they did not collect it because God said, "'Today is a sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field'" (Ex 16:25). "So the people rested on the seventh day" (:30). "'Everyone who profanes it will surely be put to death'" (31:14). "'Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day'" (16:29). "'It is a sabbath of complete rest'" (31:15). It is so "'They may see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness'" (16:22).

Place of Rest

There is a "resting place and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you" (Dt 12:9). God said, "'It is the place which I have prepared'" (Ex 23:20) and "'I will give it to you'" (Nu 10:29). Then the Psalmist exclaimed "Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place" (Ps 132:8) because "the Lord has chosen Zion . . . for His habitation" (:13). Furthermore, "'This is my resting place forever; Here will I dwell, for I have desired it'" (:14). It is prophesied that "in that day . . . His resting place will be glorious" (Isa 11:10). Resting is not just interpreted as being refreshed. It also means there is a presence of something. "The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him" (Isa 11:2). "When the Spirit rested [abided with] they prophesied" (Num 11:25). Also the quality of something can be present. "Wisdom rests in the heart" (Pr 14:33). Or otherwise "anger rests in the bosom of fools" (Eccl 7:9).

Also it might be said in a practical sense that God is in control because "He prevailed over" (Jud 3:10) a situation when the "Lord gave them rest on every side" (Jos 21:44). "The land had rest from war" (11:23,14:15) and "had rest for forty years" (3:11). Therefore "rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him" (Ps 37:7). Consider that "the promise of entering His rest still stands" (Heb 4:1). Even Paul had "no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus" (2Co 2:13). His "flesh had no rest" (7:5) and they were "afflicted on every side" (:5). But that can become a "sabbath of complete rest" (Ex 31:15) or "solemn rest for you, that you may humble your souls" (Lev 16:31). A humbling can be experienced when you are afflicted and submission can take place. "But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus" (2Co 7:6).

Enter into His Rest

God said it was "'the land of Canaan, which I am going to give to the sons of Israel'" (Num 13:2). So Moses sent twelve leaders to "spy out the land" (:2) "at the command of the Lord" (:3). But when they returned they gave out "a bad report" (:32). Then the people asked, "'Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword?'" (14:3). However, two of the spies replied, "'If the Lord is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us'" (:8). Then God asked, "'How long will they not bellieve in Me, despite all the signs?'" (:11). Therefore, God decided they "shall by no means see the land'" (:23). Who did He say this to "but to those who were disobedient?" (Heb 4:18). "They were not able to enter because of unbelief" (:19). The same applies today. "Be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience" (Heb 4:11). "Make every effort" (:11 NIV) and "labour therefore to enter" (:11 NKJV).

Today "a promise remains of entering His rest" (Heb 4:1). It is the promise of the eternal rest of salvation which God provides, because "'It is finished'" (Jn 19:30). "The one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His" (Heb 4:10). You don't have to fulfill the requirements of laws like Israel did, or earn it by being remunerated through the hard work of a job. You don't have to prove it to others to be successfully judged for your performance. You don't have to satisfy yourself taking credit by accomplishing it all on your own. When you rest from your own work you trust God for his provision, help and guidance. The offer is "'Come to Me all you who are weary [labour(NKJV)] and heavy-laden [burdened(NIV)] and I will give you rest'" (Mt 11:28).

It seems Jesus is talking to people who are overworked and exhausted. But that's what happens when you conform to the world's rules. He's actually advising to "'learn from Me'" (:28) to institute a new approach to "'find rest for your souls'" (:29). We are advised to be "casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you" (1Pe 5:7). Jesus says, "'Take My yoke upon you'" (Mt 11:29) "'for My yoke is easy'" (:30). A yoke is used for hooking up a plow animal. They call workers laborers who do hard, physical labor. But it doesn't mean that Jesus will get you an easier job. A job might be burdensome and demanding but Jesus says "'My burden is light" (:30). He also states he is "'gentle and humble [meek and lowly(NKJV)] in heart'" (:29). If you submit yourself you won't be bothered as much by pressure and "'you will find rest for your souls'" (:29)