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Fulfillment of Sabbath rest

Fulfillment of the Sabbath rest

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people. For the person who has entered his rest has rested from his own works, just as God did from his. Hebrews 4:8-10 CSB

In this section, the author then prepares to counter their reader’s potential rebuttal, in that Moses was unable to lead the nation of Israel to rest, but Joshua did. If that’s the case, then in the readers’ minds, they may be asking, “So why then is David writing about rest to come in the future?” Well, the rest that the nation of Israel experienced under Joshua was temporary, as seen in Joshua 23:1, “After a long time had passed and the Lord had given Israel rest from all their enemies around them, Joshua, by then a very old man.” We can see from future generation after Joshua, the nation of Israel eventually splits into Israel and Judah and is taken into captivity with the temple destroyed during the time of Jeremiah. The nation of Israel would then go back and forth between following God and disobeying Him. Therefore, a permanent type of rest was provided by God, “for if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.” We can see that spelled out in verses 9 and 10. “Therefore, a Sabbath rest remains for God’s people.” People who have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ experience the same rest that God did after creation as seen in verse 10, “for the person who has entered His rest has rested from His own works, just as God did from His.” Jesus Christ completed the plan of salvation on the cross, exclaiming in John 19:30, “It is finished.” When believers express their belief in the Savior, they are completed, as seen in Colossians 2:10, “and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” Therefore, if you are a believer, you can experience rest and completeness today, being assured of your salvation, and will experience rest as well in the future in heaven, when our bodies are made perfect, as seen in Romans 8:23, “Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” The rest of which God speaks is a spiritual rest and has much greater significance than living safely in Canaan. The rest that God intended for His people transcends the temporal and attains the eternal. It is a spiritual rest that is the result of believing the message of the gospel, whether proclaimed in Old Testament or New Testament days. It is a rest from sin and evil. Observing Sabbath, the day of rest, is when we experience the presence of God where we offer Him our worship and praise. During our life span on earth, we celebrate the Sabbath and realize only partially what Sabbath-rest entails. In the life to come, we shall fully experience God’s rest, for then we will have entered a rest that is eternal. “‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘so they will rest from their labors, since their works follow them’” (Revelation 14:13).


Isaac De Guzman

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