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Monday, December 11th, 2023
the Second Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

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Verse 1

The Better Rest God’s Creation-rest Is A type

1) "Let us therefore fear," (phobethomen oun) "Therefore let us fear," have respectful awe; The "us" of this Pauline exhortation to fear refers to those "Holy brethren of the heavenly calling," called out and commissioned to carry the gospel to all nations, Hebrews 3:1, through the new covenant house of God, the church, John 15:16; 1 Timothy 3:14-15.

2) "Lest a promise being left us," (mepote kataleipomenes epangelias) "Lest being or having been left a promise;" the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in and with the church to the end of the world, Matthew 28:18-20; John 14:1-3; John 15-17. The fear in neglecting to witness and work for the Lord in his church is to be a fear of chastening for disobedience, as a child fears chastening in disobeying parents.

3) "Of entering into his rest," (eiselthein eis ten katapausin autou) "to enter his rest," that we might enter into his rest, as he promised "Where I am there you all may be also," John 14:3. It is in "taking the Lord’s yoke," (voluntary service) to do his bidding, that one in life and death finds the greatest soul rest, Matthew 11:29-30.

4) "Any of you should seem to come short of it," (doke tis eks humon husterekenai) "Anyone of you all seems (should seem) to come short;” For the greatest degree of soul rest to be found in life, a child of God experiences it in the field of total commitment to the will and work of Jesus Christ thru his church in this age. For it is in this our Lord asserts "My yoke is easy and my burden is light," Matthew 11:30. It is light and rest in comparison with the accusing conscience of a negligent, disobedient, unfruitful child of God, engaged in worldliness, 1 John 2:15-17; As surely as Israel was chastened and found no wilderness wandering rest for her disobedient children of God - those of his church especially shall be short or void of rest in life while living in disobedience.

Verse 2

1) "For unto us was the gospel preached," (kai. gar esmen euengelismenoi) "For indeed (certainly) we are having had good news preached (to us)," in our behalf, for us, or to meet our needs. We - the "us" to whom the gospel has been committed (the church) are to witness faithfully while in our world wide and age-long task till he returns, Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8.

2) "As well as unto them," (kathaper kakeinoi) "Even as (as well as) those also had it preached to then" Moses preached this gospel, Deuteronomy 18:15-18; Thru the story of sacrifices, types, and shadows he set it forth for men to heed, Luke 16:31.

3) "But the word preached did not profit them," (all’ ouk ophelisen ho logos tes akoes ekeinous) "But the word of heeding did not profit those;" The earthly rest in the promised land flowing with milk and honey did not profit the doubters, those who would not go forth to meet the Philistines at God’s bidding.

4) "Not being mixed with faith in them that heard it," (me sugkekerasmenos tes pistei tois akousasin) "Not having been mixed, mingled, or accepted by faith in those who were hearing," James 1:22. To enter Canaan offered a place of blessed rest from Egyptian slavery and the rugged desert and wilderness life, but many delivered by the blood, baptized unto Moses (identified with him) in the cloud and in the sea, who drank water from the rock, and ate manna (heaven’s food), did not enter the promised land, 1 Corinthians 10:1-11. Why? Because of unbelief, doubting, disobedience and discouragement in the flesh. They were all chastened, many died because of their unfaithfulness. Among them were Moses and Aaron, but they did not go to hell. They came short of that soul-life joy and rest found in obedient service, Mark 8:14-37.

Verse 3

1) "For we which have believed do enter into rest," (eiserchometha gar eis (ten). katapausin hoi pisteusantes) "For we who have and are believing enter into rest;" Let it be noted that the "we" to, and "of" whom Paul writes is a called people to a called New Covenant Commission Work, Hebrews 3:1-6; Matthew 4:17-20; Matthew 28:18-20.

2) "As he said," (kathos eireken) "Just as he has declared," our Lord promised peace and rest to the soul that comes to him for salvation, and further rest to those who bear his yoke of service gladly, 2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Corinthians 12:15; Matthew 11:28-30.

3) "As I have sworn in my wrath," (hos omosa enteorge mou) "as I swore or vowed in my wrath;” Those who never trust Him shall die in their sins, John 8:24; Those who sow faithfully shall. rejoice in life and at the judgement while that servant that willfully disobeys shall suffer stripes, John 4:34-36; Luke 12:45-48.

4) "If they shall enter into my rest," (ei liseleusontai eis ten katapausin mou) "if they, of their own accord, behalf, or choice shall enter into my rest;” to find and follow the will of God in life is to enter his soul rest while here, not in heaven after one dies, Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 11:28-30.

5) "Although the works were finished," (kai toi ton ergon genethenton) "Though the works were having come into being (existence);" God had created that promised land for his people during their natural lives, as a place for earthly rest in service to him, Numbers 13:1-2; Numbers 14:23-24.

6) "From the foundation of the world," (apo kataboles kosmou) "From the foundation of the world," originating from the time of (the) world foundation, in his purpose and will, Psalms 95:11. From the origin of the world or ages, the nature, purpose, and will of God has never changed. It is men who change as they respond to God’s calls and commands, 2 Corinthians 5:17; Malachi 3:6.

Verse 4

1) "For he spake is a certain place," (eireken gar tou) "For he has said (declared) somewhere;” though the book is not mentioned the quotation concerns God’s rest from six days of creation of the earth for man’s habitation and jurisdiction, Genesis 2:2.

2) "Of the seventh day on this wise," (peri tes hebdomes houtos) "Concerning the seventh (day) thus, or as follows;” Genesis 2:1-3, describes God’s finishing his formation of "the heavens and the earth and all the host of them," their created creatures.

3) "And God did rest the seventh day," (kai katepausen ho theos en te hemera te hebdome) "And in the seventh day God rested;” from his six days of creation as verified in the law of the ten commandments, Exodus 20:11.

4) "From all his works," (apo panton ton ergon autou) "From all of his works;” and he hallowed or set it aside, sanctified it as a day of rest, as a special day of soul rest and refreshment from sin’s toilsome burdens, Genesis 2:3; Exodus 16:23; Exodus 31:13; Exodus 31:17; Deuteronomy 5:14-15.

Thru obedient worship and service to God thru the church (the house that Jesus built and left) one enters into, or experiences "that rest," here on earth that will reach fruition in fullest, only when Jesus comes; See Mark 13:34-37; Ephesians 2:18-20; 1 Timothy 3:15; Ephesians 3:21; Matthew 11:29-30; Matthew 28:18-20.

Verse 5

1)"And in this place again,"(kai entoutopalin)"And in this matter again," he spoke again, of the deliverance and rest he had promised them from their weariness and oppressions in Egypt; Exodus 3:17-18. As the best in Israel’s experience of rest from life’s oppressions was found in obedience, worship, and service to God, so the idea is the highest life and soul rest and peace on earth may be found today in voluntary obedience to Christ in his New Covenant church call, Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Peter 2:5-10.

2) "If they shall enter into my rest," (ei eiseleusontai eis ten katapousin mou) "If they shall (of their own choosing) enter into my rest," God does not force salvation from sin and sufficiency for man’s daily care. He calls men to accept both for the rest of their souls from fear and their conscience from restlessness; but he forces his will or calls on no man to salvation or service, Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 55:1-3; Isaiah 55:6-7; Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 16:29; Luke 9:23.

Nothing brings life and soul rest like understanding and obeying the will of God, John 7:17; Ephesians 5:17; Matthew 7:2 Luke 6:46-49.

Verse 6

1) "Since therefore it remaineth," (epei oun apoleipetai) "Therefore, since it remains;" The "it" that was offered was rest in the Land of promise that flowed with milk and honey. And it yet remains in God’s promise to be possessed by Israel in peace as a place of rest when she is obedient at His second advent, Genesis 15:18; Genesis 17:8; Luke 1:32-33; .

2) "That some must enter therein," (tinas eisethein eis auten) "(For) some to enter into it;” Peace and rest shall cover the earth as waters cover the sea, at the second coming of Christ, when Israel receives her king, Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:9-12; Acts 15:15-17.

3) "And they to whom it was first preached," (kai hoi proteron euangelisthentes) "And those who formerly had the good news (gospel) preached (to them);” those who, the saved by the blood, protected and delivered thru the Red Sea, and fed and led by God’s man to Kadeshbarnea, yet refused to go into service and battle for him in Canaan, fell in the wilderness, short of that land-grant of promised earthly rest, Numbers 14:1-3; Numbers 14:21-31.

4) "Entered not in because of unbelief;” (ouk eiselthon di’ apeitheian) "They did not enter because of disobedience," or because they would not be persuaded of the word preached to them. This rest Israel forfeited and judgement and sorrow she brought upon herself was not eternal rest in heaven, but promised land rest from Egypt’s heavy burdens and her wilderness anxieties. To forfeit Sunday’s day of rest is to disobey God, to increase cares and burdens of the week following, but it is not to forfeit eternal life or eternal rest. Rest of body and soul are found by children of God, day by day, by obedience to God daily, Luke 9:23; Matthew 11:29-30.

Verse 7

1) "Again he limiteth a certain day," (palin tina horizei hemeran) "Again he limits, restricts, defines a certain day;” One day at a time is all God requires of man’s obedience and response to his biddings. His commands and calls are just, fair, holy, and best for every person. And blessed is he who seeks to be in and do his bidding daily, Psalms 118:24; Proverbs 27:1; John 15:14.

2) "Saying in David, Today," (semeron, en David legon) "Repeatedly saying in David today," In David, the man after God’s own heart, God speaks to all men thru the Psalms, calling to confession of sins and upright daily living, lest joys of salvation be lost to believers, and soul winning rest, joy, peace and influence be lost, Psalms 51:1-14; Psalms 95:6-11.

3) "After so long a time," (meta tosouton chronon) "After such a time," a time of former disobedience; as David lost the joy of his salvation and daily soul rest because of guilt of sin, so all disobedient children of God are called to return to him from every erring way, Psalms 39:12-13; Psalms 51:11-13.

4) "As it is said," (kathos proeiretai) "Just as he has previously said," Hebrews 3:7; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Psalms 95:6-11.

5) "Today if ye will hear his voice," (semeron ean te phones autou akousete) "Today if you all hear his voice;” O that man might daily hear the Holy Spirit bidding them receive Christ as saviour and obediently follow him as Master of their lives, Revelation 22:17; Matthew 4:19; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23.

6) ”Harden not your hearts," (me sklerunetetaskardi as humon) "Harden ye not your hearts;” For the stiffened neck and often hardened heart shall come to inexcusable certain just judgement, Proverbs 1:22-30; Romans 2:1; Romans 2:4-5; Proverbs 29:1; Romans 10:9-10.

Verse 8

1) "For if Jesus had given them rest," (ei gar autous lesous katepausen) "For if Jesus had doled out to them rest," without first punishing them in the wilderness because of their disobedience, then later by the heathen tribes they failed to drive out of Canaan when they did enter, preventing the rest and peace God had offered them in the land, Joshua 16:10.

2) "Then would he not afterward have spoken," (ouk an elalei metatauta) "Then he would not, after these things, have spoken," thru the prophets and apostles of the coming era of millennial peace and rest, which the Israelites forfeited thru disobedience, Joshua 5:6; Luke 1:32-33; 1 Corinthians 15:23-28.

3) "Of another day," (peri alles herners) "concerning another day," a day’ of earthly peace, with Christ as king, and a day of heavenly rest, with the redeemed in glory, after the Prince of peace returns to rule and to reign over the earth, Revelation 5:9-10. Then shall "holiness unto the Lord," be written on the horses’ bridles, Zechariah 14:20. He shall then be obeyed as "King of kings and Lord of lords" as he sits upon David’s throne judging the "twelve tribes of Israel," Revelation 11:15; Revelation 19:16; Luke 22:30.

Verse 9

The Believer’s Spiritual Rest in Redemption

1) "There remaineth therefore a rest," (ara apoleipetai sabbatismos) "(There) then remains a sabbath rest," a progressive rest from earthly cares, sorrows, tears, burdens, and temptations - this "rest" is daily offered to, and expressed by, children of God who walk in paths of obedient service to God. The voluntary yoke of Christ is easy and burden of service is light, in comparison with the walk of a child of God in disobedience, Matthew 11:28-30; Jeremiah 6:16; James 1:22.

2) "To the people of God," (to lao tou theou) "To, or for, the laity (common people) of God;” A child of God does not have to wait until he dies to experience heavenly soul rest - he can experience it daily in relief and release from fear of death and hell and a guilty accusing conscience, enjoying perfect peace as his mind is fixed or stayed on God, Isaiah 26:3; Romans 8:15; 2 Timothy 1:7.

Verse 10

1) "For he that has entered into his rest," (ho gar eiselthon eis ten katapausin autou) "For the one who has entered into his rest;” The final rest of body and soul is reached thru the experience of death. Till that hour, however, let every child of God in his earthly sojourn recognize that soul and life rest are constantly available to Christian pilgrims in witnessing for their Lord, Psalms 37:7; Psalms 116:7.

2) "He also hath ceased from his own works," (kai autos katepausin apo ton ergon autou) "Himself also rested from his works," from the moment of death, a blessed revelation from God, Revelation 6:11; Revelation 14:13. One enters into soul rest when he trusts Christ; It is a remaining, continuing rest thru the Christian life to the extent that one walks in paths of obedient service to Christ. But the final entrance of absolute body and conscience rest is reached or entered when one is present with the Lord, Psalms 16:11.

3) "As God did from his," (hosper apo ton idion ho theos) "As God rested from his own (works):” After God completed the whole of his creation he then rested, refreshed himself. Until our work as individual believers, church members, and New Testament churches is finished in death or at the coming of our Lord, we are to labor on, face the storm, battle the tide and current of sin, assaulting the ramparts of hell for our Lord and His church, empowered by his Spirit and encouraged by his continual presence in our obedient labors; Then his welcome words of "Well done" shall be worth it all, as we rest forever with him, Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; John 20:21; Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Verse 11

1) "Let us labor therefore," (spoudasomen oun) "Let us therefore be eager;” God’s children are saved and called to labor, Ephesians 2:10. It is in the daily pursuit of their calling, working for him that they find the greatest degree of rest or refreshment of the soul, John 9:4; Ecclesiastes 11:6.

2) "To enter into that rest," (eiselthein eis ekeinen ten katapausin) "To enter into that rest," also. The idea is "with view to" entering into that final rest when we, shall be judged for rewarding "according to our works," 1 Corinthians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11.

3) "Lest any man fall," (hina me tis pese) "In order that not anyone might fall," in order that or to avoid that none fall thru disobedience, murmuring, complaining, faultfinding, etc. against the call of God, as Israel did, which brought chastening death to so many, Psalms 95:8-11.

4) "After the same example of unbelief," (en to auto hupodeigmati tes apeitheias) "In the same (kind of) example of disobedience," or failure to be persuaded to believe and do the bidding of God for us, 1 Corinthians 10:1-14; 2 Peter 1:3-10. Faithful obedience by a child of God does not bring him salvation, but it does bring him an abundant entrance, "an entrance with great reward into the kingdom labors of our Lord," at his coming, 2 Peter 1:11-12.

Verse 12

1) "For the word of God is quick," (zon gar ho logos tou theou) "Because the word of God is living, life-energizing, or life-giving," referring both to Jesus Christ as a person and the word of truth, accompanied by the Holy Spirit, John 1:14; 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

2) "And powerful," (kai eneges) "And operative," works within, within the mind, heart, and emotions of men. It is called the 1) word of cleansing, John 15:3; John 2) word of salvation, Acts 13:26; Acts 3) word of faith; 4) word of wisdom and knowledge, 1 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Corinthians 5) word of reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:19.

3) "And sharper than any two-edged sword," (kai tomoteros huper pasan machairan) "And sharper beyond (even than) any (every) tow-edged, (two way cutting) sword," separating in distinction between right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral, ethical and unethical, the way to heaven and the way to hell, John 14:6; John 10:1; John 10:9; John 10:25-30.

4) "Piercing even," (kai diknoumenos) "Even piercing," penetrating, or passing through, by the accompaniment of the Holy Spirit to prick or convict the soul, Acts 2:36-37; Acts 9:5.

5) "To the dividing asunder of soul and spirit," (achri merismou psuches kai pneumatos) "As far as (or to the point of) a division of soul and of spirit;” causing conflict, trouble, or conviction, cutting conviction, Acts 5:33; Acts 7:54; Acts 24:25.

6) "And of the joints and marrow," (harmon te kai muelon) "Both of joints and marrow," causing soul and body to tremble in fear, Daniel 2:2; Daniel 4:5; Daniel 5:5-6; Acts 9:6; Acts 16:29.

7) "And is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," (kai kritikos enthumeseon kai ennoin kardias) "And (it) is able to judge (evaluate) (the) thoughts and intentions of the heart," Matthew 12:34; Mark 7:21; Romans 6:17; Romans 10:10; Luke 2:19.

Verse 13

1) "Neither is there any creature," (kai ouk estin ktisis) "Neither does there exist any creature," - "and there is (exists) not a creature," Psalms 33:13-15; Psalms 90:8; Psalms 130:7-8.

2) "That is not manifest in his sight," (aphanes enopion autou) "Unmanifested before the living word, Jesus Christ," John 1:14. For the eyes of the Lord are still everywhere "beholding the evil and the good;” Proverbs 15:3.

3) "But all things are naked and opened," (panta de gumna kai tetrachelismena) "But all things are naked (bare), even having been laid open," Even hell and her occupants are open to his eyes continually, Job 26:6; as to lay on the back facing God.

4) "Unto the eyes of him," (tois ophthalmois autou) "To his eyes," before his eyes, so that he can behold them, all things, as the all-seeing-Master of his children, servants, and stewards; He beholds all continuously; Job 34:21 declares, "he seeth all."

5) "With whom we have to do," (proshon hemin ho logos) "Toward whom (with whom) is our account, our record of conduct, Proverbs 15:11; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

The eyes of this omniscient (all-knowing and all-seeing God) are symbolized by the seal on the American dollar bill where the eye overlooks the pyramid, Psalms 94:11; Psalms 103:14.

Verse 14

Believers Kept in Perfect Rest by Mercy and Grace

1) "Seeing then that we have a great high priest," (echontes oun archierea megan) "Having or holding therefore a great high priest," greater than the priests of the Levitical high priesthood, Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 3:1.

2) "That is passed into the heavens," (dieleuthota tous ouranous) "Who has gone through (even into) the heavens," even as the High Priest passed thru the veil into the holy of holies, Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:24; Hebrews 10:19-23; .

3) "Jesus, the Son of God," (lesoun ton huion tou theou) "Jesus the heir son of God;” Jesus is the Son (heir) of God, of the trinity; there he lives to make intercession, Hebrews 7:22-25.

4) "Let us hold fast our profession," (kratomen tes homologias) "Let us grasp, cling to, or hold tenaciously our confession," our profession, our commitment to God and to Jesus Christ and to his church as holy brethren of his church, New Testament covenant program of worship and service, Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 10:23-25. Note that this "love and good works" is to be performed thru "assembling together," ; Ephesians 3:21.

Verse 15

1) "For we have not an high priest," (ou gar echomen archierea) "For we have not (possess or hold not) an high priest," that is of unsympathetic disposition, Hebrews 2:18.

2) "Which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities," (me dunamenon sumpathesai tais astheneiais hemon) "Who is not able (capable) to suffer (empathize or sympathize) with our weaknesses;” For he has experienced the inhumanities of man, as a man, Isaiah 53:3; Psalms 22:6; Hebrews 5:2.

3) "But was in all points tempted," (pepirasmenon de kata panta) "But one who is having been tempted (tested) in all respects," Luke 4:2; Luke 22:28; John 4:6; John 11:33-35.

4) "Like as we are," (kath homoioteta) "According to our likeness," Isaiah 53:3-6; Luke 11:53-54.

5) "Yet without sin," (choris hamartias) "Yet he experienced (endured it) apart from or without engaging in sin," Hebrews 7:26, holy harmless, undefiled, and in a separate class from sinners, John 14:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5. This can not be said of other priests.

Verse 16

1) "Let us therefore come boldly," (proserchometha oun meta parassias) "Let us therefore approach (walk right up) with confidence," with faith and assurance, in assurance of answered prayer of whatever we ask in his name, according to, or in harmony with his word and will, Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12; Romans 5:1-2; Hebrews 10:19; Hebrews 10:22.

2) "Unto the throne of Grace," (to throno tes chariots) "To the central throne of Grace," to God upon the throne where Jesus Intercedes at his own right hand, Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2.

3) "That we may obtain mercy," (hina labomen eleos) “In order that we may receive mercy," for mercy may be requested, before the mercy-seat, that covers law claims, where Jesus now intercedes with his own blood, as the Publican did, Luke 18:13-14; Hebrews 8:12.

4) "And find grace to help,"(kai cherin heuromen)"And in order that we may find grace, to help," to strengthen, to sustain; Such is available at the mercy seat that covered the ark, hiding the law from vision. On the mercy seat blood was sprinkled for atonement of sins of law-breakers. This is grace, available grace, Exodus 25:21-22; Romans 3:24-25.

5) "In time of need," (eis eukairon bontheian) "With reference to a time (period) when help is needed," 2 Peter 3:18; Philippians 4:19; For his grace is sufficient for every need, 2 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Peter 5:5.


Mr. Howell tells of a cab driver in Florence, Italy, in whose cab at nightfall he sent home a child to the hotel, from a distance. Being persistent in securing the driver’s number, the cabman began to divine his reason, and so he replied to Mr. Howell, "Oh! rest easy; I, too, am a father."

-H. 0. Mackey.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Hebrews 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/hebrews-4.html. 1985.
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