Hebrews – Chapter Four I

by Ed Urzi

“Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it” (Hebrews 4:1).

Most of us can recall a period of physical exhaustion in our lives. Whether that fatigue was generated by hard work, a grueling athletic competition, a lack of sleep, or some other factor, we naturally look forward to an opportunity to rest whenever we are weary. This familiar illustration establishes a good foundation to begin our journey into Hebrews chapter four.

In this context, “rest” involves a cessation of labor or activity. In light of this, we can say that the promise of entering God’s rest has two aspects. The first represents a future state with God in heaven. Since God reigns in heaven, it possesses the characteristics of His leadership. Those characteristics include love, joy, peace, and righteousness. In addition to these things, there will be no more death, mourning, tears, or pain in heaven, according to Revelation chapter 21. We should also note the message of Psalm 16:11: “In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Heaven is also a place that is being prepared for us by Jesus Himself, for as John 14:2 tells us, “There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so” (GNT). This word translated “rooms” in John 14:2 refers to an abode, a dwelling or a stay in any place. (1)  Thus, we can say that Christ is preparing a home for us so we can dwell forever with Him and one another. We have Jesus’ personal assurance on this point: “… if it were not so, I would have told you.”

The Scriptures also associate heaven with the concept of eternal life. We can find one such example in the well-known passage from John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). In this respect, “eternal life” does not simply mean unending life; it also encompasses life in all its fullness without the sinful limitations or restrictions we encounter today.

Finally, we can say that our lives today involve work and labor as we seek to follow God and minister to others (see Hebrews 6:10). But here in the context of Hebrews 4:1, we can associate “rest” with a heavenly dwelling where we will cease from our labor in becoming everything God that created us to be.

(1) G3438 mone Mounce Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament https://www.billmounce.com/greek-dictionary/mone