Hebrews 4:6-8 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Hebrews 4:6
  • Hebrews 4:7
  • Hebrews 4:8

There remains a rest (inheritance) other than the one that was available to the Israelites.

The rest available to us is in the future, we have not yet gained it. Although the first generation of Israelites of the Old Testament did not believe God and missed out on the opportunity to gain their inheritance, the second generation did.  Likewise we have a similar opportunity. Paul quotes Psalm 95 to admonish the Jewish believers, today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. The opportunity to enter God’s rest is still available to us today. Today implies an urgency that Paul wants these believers to have in following God.

It is common for humans to vow to do the right thing tomorrow. But when it comes to making a choice to act, the only time that can occur is in the present – today. Paul is admonishing his readers to not vow to do better later and points out how those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience in their actions. He admonishes them to act in the only time action can be taken – now. Today.

Also, Paul does not want them to mistakenly think that the opportunity to enter God’s rest has passed. In Psalm 95, David is not referring to the opportunity the Old Testament Israelites had to enter the Promised Land, when this Psalm was written, the Israelites of the second generation had already taken possession of the Promised Land.

After Moses died, God chose his helper, Joshua, to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land (Joshua 1:1-9). Joshua was able to provide a rest for the Israelites when He led them into the Promised Land, and they completed the job God gave them. But that rest was not the perfect, final rest that God intended for all who believe in Him.  For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. Instead, God instructed His people to practice the Sabbath while living in the Promised Land. If the rest of the Promise Land had been enough, then there would have been no need for David to speak of a future rest in the Psalms. David wrote this passage long after Joshua led the people into the Promised Land, which demonstrates there is a rest that has not yet been entered into.

Paul is reassuring and reminding these Jewish believers that they have not yet received their full inheritance. Even now, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. This Sabbath rest God has for us is in the future, so today if we hear His voice, let us not harden our hearts. The inheritance of sharing the throne and ruling in partnership with and service to King Jesus (Revelation 3:21) is an infinitely greater reward than getting to own some ground in the land of Israel.

Biblical Text
6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 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.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

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