Sabbath Rest--Hebrews 3 & 4

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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.
 

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.

Blessings!
 
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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.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
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.

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

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
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?

Let's look at the text.

Hebrews 3:5-6 5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; 6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house-- whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

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.

Hebrews 3:7-12 7 Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, "TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, 8 DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME, AS IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, 9 WHERE YOUR FATHERS TRIED Me BY TESTING Me, AND SAW MY WORKS FOR FORTY YEARS. 10 "THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THIS GENERATION, AND SAID, 'THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY DID NOT KNOW MY WAYS'; 11 AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, 'THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.'" 12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

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.

Hebrews 3:13-14 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

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

Hebrews 3:17-19 17 And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.

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.

Hebrews 4:1-3 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 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. 3 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.

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.
 

PuritanCovenanter

The Joyful Curmudgeon
Staff member
From another post but I think it applies since we are discussing the different words for Sabbath in Hebrews.
You guys who are quoting the Colosians and Hebrew versess need to know that there are legitimate discussions and commentaries that support a sabbatarian view. I read an article by Robert P. Martin in the Reformed Baptist Theological review that he spoke on these verses. Here is just a quote.


vl. 1.2 A Sabbath Remains.. The Place of Hebrews 4:9 in the New Testament's Witness to the Lord's Day by Robert P. Martin
(Heb 4:9) There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

In it he notes the Word is used here is σαββατισμός and not κατάπαυσις

(rest).
G4520
σαββατισμός
sabbatismos

This is an obscure term evidently that is used in just a few other places outside of the scriptures but used only once in the New Testament. Robert Martin says,

"I think that it is of interest that "in each of these places the term [σαββατισμός] denotes the observance or celebration of the Sabbath," i.e., not "a Sabbath rest" as a state that is entered into but "a Sabbath-keeping" as a practice that is observed. This, of course, corresponds to the word's morphology, for the suffix -μός indicates an action and not just a state. see A. T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1934), 151.
Reformed Baptist Theological Review Vl. 1;2 p.5

Obviously the article consists of the surrounding verses but it is a good read and quotes John Owen who is one of my faves.

And the Colosians verse is tied to an old testament reference.
 
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