Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 4

The Sabbath dayís rest

Hebrews 4:9

God has commanded that one day in each week is a special day for rest and prayer (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). This day is called the Sabbath. It is holy; it belongs to God.

The Sabbath began when God rested after his work to create the heavens and the earth (Hebrews 4:4). And God intended that people should rest too, in their relationship with him. The garden called Eden was a place of rest.

But people refused to have a right relationship with God, so they lost their opportunity to rest. God declared that they would have to work hard for their whole lives (Genesis 3:17-19). However, God had made the Sabbath day holy (Genesis 2:3). And what he declares holy, remains holy.

So God reminded Moses that the Sabbath day is holy (Exodus 20:8-11). Godís people should work only for 6 days each week. They give one day in each week to God. And by it, they show that the whole week belongs to him.

God often does that. He chooses part of something to be his special possession. And by that part, he shows that, really, he owns everything. So God chose one nation to show that the whole earth belongs to him (Exodus 19:5-6). He chose one tribe (group of families in Israel) to show that all Israel was his (Numbers 17:1-11). He told his people to give 10% (per cent) of all that their land produced to him (Leviticus 27:30). And by it, people showed that they owed everything to him.

In the present age, the part acts as evidence that God owns all. But it will be different in the future age, that is, after Christís return. Then God will make right those things that are not right now. He will complete the things that are not complete now. He will demand all that is due to him. Christ will rule the whole earth, not just one nation (Psalm 24:1). And God will make perfect his peopleís relationship with him (1 Corinthians 13:9-12).

As Christians, we already know rest in our relationship with him. Christ satisfies all that we need (John 7:37-38). We can be calm and content in any circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). But there is something that we lack. Our relationship with God is not yet perfect. And we eagerly desire the day when that is so (Romans 8:22-25).

When that happens, we will know the real meaning of the Sabbath. God will live among his people. And every day, not just one day, will be for Godís honour. (See Revelation chapter 21).

Our work on this earth will have ended. But our rest in the future world will never end (Revelation 22:1-5).

Next part: Rest and work (Hebrews 4:10-11)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.