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Does the rest in Hebrews 4:11 refer to the Sabbath?

The verse reads, "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" There are four rests in this chapter, they are as follows; rest in Christ Hebrews 4:1, the Sabbath rest in Hebrews 4:4, the rest of Canaan Hebrews 4:8 and the millennial rest of 1,000 years in Hebrews 4:9. You will notice that the rest in Christ is a PRESENT rest to be entered into now. The Sabbath rest is spoken of in the PAST TENSE in Hebrews 4:4. The rest in the land under Joshua is PAST and it failed. The millennial rest is FUTURE Hebrews 4:9.

Now the rest in question in Hebrews 4:11 is a NOW rest that we are to enter into by faith and is the same rest spoken of in Hebrews 4:1. Our present rest in the Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew 11:28-29 makes it clear. Jesus said, "Come unto me...and I WILL GIVE YOU REST. This is not Sabbath rest or future rest; but a rest from the heavy burden of sin. This is rest that must be entered in by faith in the finished work of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; but once you are saved from your sins there is a further rest to find, for we read on in Matthew 11:29, ..take my yoke upon you and learn of me...and ye shall FIND REST unto your souls. This is the rest the Hebrew Christians had failed to enter into. They were exhorted to "labour to enter in." The word means to give "diligence or heed", that is "take His yoke upon you and learn of Him." This is entering into that rest. It is learning to trust and obey, and that brings His rest into every circumstance of life. It is a reclining, leaping, a sweet repose in Jesus Christ for every thing and care of life.

Now this rest you cannot find in the Sabbath. The Sabbath was day of physical rest from the six days of labour. Hebrews 4:11 is talking about a spiritual rest entered into by faith. The initial rest in Christ comes by coming to Him in true repentance from sin and putting your trust completely in His saving blood that was shed at Calvary. Have you entered into this REST? If not why not today?

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen