What Does Hebrews 4:9 Mean?

So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

Hebrews 4:9(NASB)

Verse of the Day

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth and brought everything into being; time, matter, space, and life. God spoke, the Spirit moved, and in six days He not only established the world and breathed His life into Adam, but gave man dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every animal and creeping thing that moved on the face of the earth: "And God saw it was good," very good.

On the seventh day, amidst His flawless and undefiled creation, God rested from all His work and blessed this holy day and sanctified it. It was God's sabbath. Having completed His work, the Lord ceased from His labour and celebrated His sabbath-rest. But man sinned, the world was cursed, and the icy fingers of death gripped the throat of every living thing. And God began to work once again.

He began to work on His redemption programme, which would culminate in a new creation. There was to be a new creation with a new federal head and a future sabbath-rest for the people of God, an eternal sabbath in a flawless and undefiled world. Today, God's redemptive work continues as He works, night and day, on His new creation.

Years after Adam's fall, Israel was given a sabbath day and commanded to keep it holy, week after week after week - after month - after year - after decade - after century. It was to be a perpetual reminder of God's sabbath-rest, which had been interrupted by sin. Israel's sabbath day was a reminder of the evil of sin and the grace of God Who promised that one day He would give man rest from his labour. It was to provide great hope as they looked forward to God's promised rest, when He would once again cease from His labour and celebrate and sanctify His sabbath-rest, with all the redeemed. One day He will complete His work, which is to be brought to fruition when every enemy has been placed under His feet.

Hebrews 4 tells us: "There remains a sabbath-rest for the people of God," and every member of the Godhead is still working towards this future sabbath-rest. Jesus told us, "My Father is still working, and I am working also." God started His work of redemption in Eden, but it will not be concluded until He makes a new heaven and a new earth.

To achieve His redemptive work, God required the life of a perfect Man Who was willing to be our sinless Kinsman-Redeemer, and die for our sin. God's redemptive plan for fallen man included the Cross, the Resurrection, the Tribulation, and the Millennial Kingdom. It included a sinless Redeemer Whom God sent at the appointed to be the sacrifice for sin, Who will return to complete His work. All enemies have to be put under His feet and a new heaven and a new earth needs to be made, together with a new creation of man with Christ Jesus as the Head. 

The Sabbath-Rest in this verse is looking toward to the full and final inheritance promised to every believer when God's work on His new creation is complete. Old Testament believers and the Christian Church, together with Tribulation saints and those saved in the Millennium, will all be partakers of God's Sabbath-Rest which will be established when Jesus hands over the Kingdom to God the Father, after He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For Christ must reign until He puts all His enemies under His feet, including the last enemy - which is death.

Israel's millennial rest in the land promised to Abraham and his descendants, is one part of their promised sabbath-rest, and the 'rest' that Christians enjoy through faith in Christ's finished work on Calvary, is a down-payment for the full sabbath-rest in which we will one day participate: "So there remains a sabbath rest for the people of God," in the eternal ages to come.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for the 'rest' we already have by faith in Christ Jesus and for the full and final sabbath-rest that will one day be ours, when Christ finally defeats every evil principality and power. Thank You that the earthly kingdom which was lost through sin, will be handed back to You, and Your redemptive plan will be completed. Keep me looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, the Beginning and the End of Your creative work. Thank You in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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