A Study of "the rest" of God

(Chapter 4)

Fred R. Coulter—January 5, 2002

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I think Hebrews is really fitting for our day, because we are reaching a time very similar in our day to what they were going through in the time when Paul wrote this epistle—which is really a sermon, which I'm sure, he really perfected by preaching many, many times. We need to understand that the section from Hebrews 3:1 thru 5:10 all fits together and is a continuous thing.

Hebrews 3:7 thru 4:13 is a subsection that is sandwiched in between about the faithfulness of Christ as the Builder of the house and then when we come to the last part of chapter four and into five, we are talking about the High Priest Melchisedec. All of the things from the beginning of Heb. 1 clear up to 5:10 are leading the brethren to point them to looking to Christ Who is the High Priest in heaven above, how He got there:

  • through His sacrifice
  • through participating in human flesh
  • by being faithful to God
  • by dying on the cross
  • by being resurrected
  • by building His Church
  • He is the Head Apostle over everything

Then we come to Heb. 3, and we've gone through it, where today the theme is today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your heart! This carries over into Heb. 4. There are some very important things for us to understand. Heb. 4 is completely misunderstood by the theologians of the world when they say that Christ is our 'rest' and Christ is our 'Sabbath,' therefore, 'we do not have to keep the Sabbath Day'—which goes absolutely contradictory to the meaning of the Greek text here in Heb. 4.

Principles to always remember:

  • Christ died for our sins—which is true!
  • Christ was resurrected!
  • Through the power of the Holy Spirit, and God the Father sending it, we are called—which is true!
  • We have the forgiveness of sin through the sacrifice and belief in the blood of Christ—which is true!
  • Christ did not keep any commandment in our stead!


  • in Christ keeping the Sabbath does not relieve us from keeping the Sabbath
  • in Christ being obedient does not mean that we are relived from obedience

That is the implication that is given in the lawless religions of this world, which proclaim that Christ is our 'rest' and if we 'rest in Christ' we have nothing to do! That is absolutely a false doctrine, and why they use Heb. 4:9 is only because of the translation in the King James.

Let's start by going to Heb. 4:9 and then we'll do like we should in the Fourteen Rules of Bible Study and read the verse before and the verses after. Because this is a convenient translation, which we will show is entirely and utterly wrong.

Hebrews 4:9 (KJV): "There remains, therefore, a rest to the people of God." They all know that this was translated from the Greek word 'sabbatismos.'

Let's read it the way it should have been translated, and we will see the vast difference in it. What they are doing, they are making 'sabbatismos,' which means Sabbath-keeping to assume the equivalency of 'katapausis,' which means rest. It does not assume that meaning.

Hebrews 4:9 (FV): "There remains, therefore, Sabbath-keeping for the people of God." While it is true we are to rest on the Sabbath from our work as it commands, it is not true that we are relieved from Sabbath-keeping because we rest in Christ.

Let's read the verses before and after. We'll just read it through so we get the context and then go back and analyze it and we will see that there is a connection between faith and obedience and unbelief and disobedience. This is what we are talking about and it is all centered on Sabbath-keeping.

Verse 1: "Therefore, we should fear, lest perhaps, a promise being open to enter into His rest, any of you might seem to come short. For truly, we have had the Gospel preached to us, even as they also did; but the preaching of the Word did not profit them because it was not mixed with faith in those who heard. For we who have believed, we ourselves are entering into the rest, as He has said, 'So, I swore in My wrath, "If they shall enter into My rest—"'…" (vs 1-3). Which actually shows that entering into the 'promised land' is conditional and also entering into the Kingdom of God is conditional. That's why it is left hanging.

"…although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He spoke in a certain place about the seventh day in this manner: 'And God rested on the seventh day from all His works'; and again concerning this: 'If they shall enter into My rest'— Consequently, since it remains for some to enter into it, and those who had previously heard the Gospel did not enter in because of disobedience, again, He marks out a certain day, 'Today,' saying in David after so long a time (exactly as it has been quoted above), 'Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.' For if Joshua…"(vs 3-8)—not Jesus (KJV), because that contradicts the statement that if you 'rest in Jesus' you have rest.

If you read it as Jesus "…had given them rest…" it would make no sense. That's a contradictory statement.

Verse 8: "For if Joshua had given them rest He would not have spoken long afterwards of another day. There remains, therefore, Sabbath-keeping for the people of God. For the one who has entered into His rest, he also has ceased from his works, just as God did from His own works. We should be diligent therefore to enter into that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience" (vs 8-11).

Let's go back and analyze this—Hebrews Study Heb. 4:1-9 (guide with this series found at truthofgod.org):

"For He spoke in a certain place about the seventh day

Why talk about the seventh day if you're not talking about the Sabbath?

…in this manner: 'And God rested on the seventh day from all His works'…"

Why did God do that?

  • To show that the Sabbath was to be perpetually a day of rest and part of the commandments of God by creation!
  • To show His presence in the Sabbath Day and the Holy Days—not in any of the other days that other religions keep!

I was talking to a man who was in Jerusalem for a while and he said that it's a real circus from Friday through Sunday. He said that because certain parts of Jerusalem the Muslims have there is no work done on Friday. In certain parts where the Jews are, there's no work done on Saturday, and certain parts where the Catholics and Orthodox are, there's no work done on Sunday. So, essentially you have four days for shopping. That shows you why God did not leave it to the choice of men.

Now then, there is a connection between Sabbath observance and entering into the 'promised land' for the Israelites, and a connection between Sabbath observance and entering into the Kingdom of God for those who are Christ's. The Gospel that was preached to them was the Gospel of the good news of entering into the 'promised land' to receive the physical blessings given to the seed of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. The promise of 'rest' that we have is the promise of entering into the Kingdom of God. However, in both cases, the Sabbath Day was the key point of obedience necessary.

"…and again concerning this: 'If they shall enter into My rest.' Consequently, since it remains for some to enter into it, and those who had previously heard the Gospel did not enter in because of disobedience…

What did they do? As we saw, we went through all the points of disobedience. They made the golden calf, and the golden calf is a picture of the sun-god, because right between the horns of the golden calf is a big sun-disk. What did they do? Those rebels in the wilderness obeyed Sunday-keeping!

Let's look at a couple of Scriptures for that to put it into the record here, to show the connection between the Gospel then—as preached under the Israelites and entering into the 'promised land' and the Sunday-worship that they had right under the nose of God—and the Gospel being preached to us and the Sabbath Day in relationship to obedience to God.

Acts 7:37: "This is the Moses who said to the children of Israel, 'A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up for you from among your brethren, like me; Him shall you hear.'" A prophecy of Christ, just like we saw in the first part of Heb. 3. between Moses and Christ.

Verse 38: "This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the Angel Who… [Christ Who was leading them] …spoke to him [Moses] in Mount Sinai, and with our fathers… [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] …who received the living oracles to give to us; to whom our fathers would not be subject, but thrust him away, and turned their hearts back to Egypt" (vs 38-39).

Where does disbelief come from? From within! From the heart! Where does belief come from? Remember what the Eunuch said to Philip? 'What prevents me from being baptized?'Philip said, If you believe with all your heart that Jesus is Lord and Savior, it is permitted for you be baptized! He said, 'I believe!'

"…their hearts turned back to Egypt" (v 39). We read all that how they wanted the fleshpots, the onions, the leeks, garlic, fish and all those good things. Yea, the day is going to come—in our day—when it's going to happen; you won't have the supermarket and you can't get everything from all around the world to fill your table with a great delight.

Verse 40: "Saying to Aaron, 'Make us gods who shall go before us…'" This tells you a little bit of something about Aaron; he was kind of a wishy-washy weak person. But nevertheless, because God chose him He stuck with him; nevertheless Aaron was penalized.

"…for this Moses who brought us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.' And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their hands" (vs 40-41). Furthermore we know from the context in 1-Cor. 10 and that it was in their celebration a sex orgy. Or you might say in modern parlance today, 'a rock concert.'

Verse 42: "Then God turned and delivered them over to serve the host of heaven…" Please understand, this is true: If you don't want to obey God and you want your own way, God will let you have it. But don't be surprised when the judgment of God comes upon you.

"…as it is written in the book of the prophets, 'Did you offer slain beasts and sacrifices to Me those forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?'" (v 42).

We need to understand that in the wilderness there were two services always going. That's why God removed Himself from the middle of the congregation and put the tent outside the camp. Moses had to go out there and the faithful had to go there, and they left the rest of them worship the 'host of heaven' right in the presence of God, because they already had the death sentence put upon them, that all of those over 20 would die. That's what it says here. They did it for 40 years in the wilderness.

Verse 43: "But you took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, even the images that you had made to worship them; and so I will remove you beyond Babylon." Now he's talking about the whole space of time:

  • what happened to them in the 40 years;
  • when they came into the 'promised land'
  • when they rebelled against God in the 'promised land'
  • when the Jews were sent off into Babylon

That's a condensing of history, but it's all based on the same thing: Sunday-worship. Beginning in the wilderness there was true Sabbath worship for those who believed God and were faithful, and there was Sunday worship for the disobedient and unbelieving, and they all died as a lesson that if you don't obey God you're not going to enter into the rest, be it the 'promised land' as with the Israelites or the Kingdom of God in our case.

Verse 44: "The tabernacle of the testimony was among our fathers in the wilderness, as He Who spoke to Moses had commanded, to make it according to the pattern, which he had seen; which also our fathers, who received it by succession, brought in with Joshua, when they took possession of the land from the nations whom God drove out before the face our fathers, until the days of David" (vs 44-45).

That is what it is talking about. We see the connection between belief, obedience and Sabbath-keeping and disobedience, rebellion and Sunday-keeping, right in the wilderness. This escapes most people. They don't understand that. What is the solution?

(continuing with Hebrews Study 4:1-9)

(v 6): "Consequently, since it remains for some to enter into it, and those who had previously heard the Gospel did not enter in because of disobedience, again He marks out a certain day, 'Today,' saying in David…

So, we came down to the same time in Acts 7. We came down to David, a man after God's own heart.

…after so long a time (exactly as it has been quoted above), 'Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.' For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken long afterwards of another day…. (vs 7-8).

Referring to another day in which the ultimate fulfillment of the Kingdom of God would be. Because entering into the 'promised land' was not the finalization of the plan of God.

…Therefore, there remains Sabbath-keeping for the people of God" (v 9).

We need to also understand that with:

  • the Spirit of God
  • loving and serving God
  • believing and obeying God

that He gives us protection from the forces of this world and Satan the devil! That's why in the model prayer, it says, 'Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one': Satan the devil! I truly believe that in keeping the Sabbath in faith, we are then given added blessing and protection, because we believe and obey God! Just think on that!

Paul did not write, "There remains Sabbath-keeping for the Jews."

Which is what the Protestants and other religionists say. Not true!
He clearly declared, "There remains Sabbath-keeping for the people of God." The people of God include the Gentiles, as well as the Jews (1-Pet. 2:10; Eph. 2:11-19).

I'll leave it to you to read those. In both cases it says, 'who were not a people, but who are now the people of God.' Who were cut off from the covenants and promises of God and were without God in this world.' They are the people of God today.

Now, let's get into a little technical study of the words:

The word translated "Sabbath-keeping" in the English is from the Greek word 'sabbatismos.' In the New Testament, 'sabbatismos' is only used in Hebrews 4:9….

Not any other Scripture. It is the only place! There's a peculiar Greek word to describe that, and that is called 'hapax legomenon' which means a one time use.

…It is a noun meaning Sabbath-keeping. It is entirely incorrect to translate 'sabbatismos' as rest as it has been translated in the KJV and other versions. However, it is apparent that those who keep Sunday have theological and political reasons to translate it as rest, so they may avoid the seventh day Sabbath question and continue to keep Sunday.

That is precisely why the King James translators did it that way. And they knew; no question about it! That was the seed that has led to the failure of the Protestant Reformation. Instead of coming out of the world and repenting and becoming God's people, they became no more than reformed Catholics. If you don't believe that, go back and re-read Rome's Challenge to the Protestants. That will tell you.

When the entire context of these verse leading up to verse nine are analyzed, it is apparent that the main subject is the "Seventh Day" and its relationship to entering into the rest of God [receiving salvation]…
which ultimately then is the Kingdom of God

…and entering into the weekly Seventh Day Sabbath as a day of rest.

The Greek word that is used in Heb. 4:9 is 'sabbatismos,' which means Sabbath rest, Sabbath observance (Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament). This definition of the Greek word 'sabbatismos' is confirmed by other historical works: "The words 'sabbath rest' translate the Greek noun 'sabbatismos,' a unique word in the New Testament. This term appears also in Plutarch (Superset .3 [Moralia 166a]) for Sabbath observance, and in four post-canonical Christian writings which are not dependent on Heb. 4:9" (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, vol. 5, p. 856).

So, there are some honest scholars out there. There are some who are honestly seeking the Truth. And lo and behold, when they honestly seek the Truth, they find it!

The Greek word 'sabbatismos' is a noun. The verb form of the word is 'sabbatizo,' which means "to keep the Sabbath" (Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament), The meaning of 'sabbatizo' is confirmed by its use in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament which dates from the third century B.C. It is called the Septuagint.

All of the quotes in Hebrews—every single Scriptural quote—comes from the Septuagint, Greek translation of the Old Testament.

The Apostle Paul quotes exclusively from the Septuagint in his Epistle to the Hebrews. When Paul used the Greek word 'sabbatismos' in Heb. 4:9, he knew that the meaning of this word was well known to the Greek-speaking believers of that day. The verb form 'sabbatizo' was used in Septuagint, which was as familiar to the believers of New Testament times as the King James Bible is to Christians today.

Exodus 16:23 (KJV): "And he said unto them, 'This is that which the LORD has said, "tomorrow is the rest of the Holy Sabbath unto the LORD. Bake that which you will bake today, and seethe that you will seethe; and that which remains over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.' And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade; and it did not stink, neither was there any worm in it" (vs 23-24).
God showed by miracle that that's proof. You know the old saying, 'seeing is believing.'

Verse 25 (KJV): "And Moses said, 'Eat that today; for today is a Sabbath ['shabot'] unto the LORD. Today you shall not find it in the field…. [that's the sermon message for the Sabbath] …Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, in it there shall be none.' And it came to pass that there went out some of the people on the seventh day to gather it and they found none" (vs 25-27).
Stop and think: If you were there and the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night were there, and you saw all these miracles and you were delivered from Egypt and you walked through the Red Sea, that you would believe God enough—through Moses—that if He said don't go out on the Sabbath and look for any because it's not there, you would say, 'Well, yeah, let's not go out.' But NO! that's the hardness of the heart; they didn't listen! It's like telling a child: 'Don't touch the stove, it's hot! I told you not to touch it, it's hot!' There's a penalty; same thing here. So, they went out and "…found none." Surprise! God said there wouldn't be any.

Verse 28 (KJV): "And the LORD said unto Moses, 'How long refuse you to keep My commandments and My laws?…. [we have here the unbelief and the disobedience tied together] …See, the LORD has given you the Sabbath… [always remember, the Sabbath is a gift of God!] …therefore He gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days. Abide every man in his place, let no man go out on the seventh day.' So, the people rested on the seventh day" (vs 28-30).

The word rest here is 'sabbatizo.'They sabbathized! That is a different rest than the other rest. To sabbathize means to keep it in a way that God intended. The other word 'katapausis' means to rest, which is also connected with the Sabbath Day. Here you have 'sabbatizo.'

…The use of the verb 'sabbatizo' in Lev. 23:32 in the Septuagint leaves no room to mistake its meaning. Here is the English translation of this verse in the Septuagint: "It [the Day of Atonement] shall be a Holy Sabbath [literally, a Sabbath of Sabbaths;] to you; and ye shall humble your souls, from the ninth day of the month: from evening to evening shall ye keep your Sabbaths" (The Septuagint with the Apocrypha, Brenton).

The clause "shall ye keep your Sabbaths" is translated from the Greek words 'sabbatieite ta sabbata,' which literally mean, "You shall sabbathize the Sabbaths."….

I want you to look at the second and third word: 'ta sabbata'—that is plural, Sabbaths. Sabbath alone is 'to sabbato'; whereas, this is 'ta sabbata.' The other is singular. Which tells us that all the Holy Days are Sabbaths. So, if there 'remain Sabbath-keeping for the people of God' that includes the Holy Days; no question about it!

…The Greek verb 'sabbatieite,' which means ye shall keep, is the second person plural form of the verb 'sabbatizo.' Since the verb 'sabbatizo' means to keep the Sabbath, this verb applies not only to the weekly Sabbath and the annual Sabbaths of God, but also to God's command for the seventh-year rest from farming the land [Jubilee year]. Throughout the Septuagint, the verb 'sabbatizo' is used in relation to Sabbath keeping and Sabbath rest only.

The use of the Greek word 'sabbatismos' in Heb. 4:9 contradicts the teaching that the fourth commandment has been abolished. As the context of this verse shows… [which we'll go through step-by-step] …the observance of the seventh day as a day of rest and worship is as binding for the people of God today as it was for Israel of old. In addition to the weekly Sabbath, the annual Holy Days that God commanded, which are also called Sabbaths, are included in the fourth commandment….

That's why Lev. 23 starts out with the weekly Sabbath and followed by all the annual Holy Days.

…The early New Testament churches kept the Holy Days of God, as determined by the calculated Hebrew calendar. The Apostle Paul kept the Holy Days and commanded Gentile converts to keep them (1-Cor. 5:7-8). None of the apostles or the early converts to Christianity observe the pagan holidays that are now called Christmas and Easter. These holidays, which originated in sun-worship, were later adopted into Christianity through the influence of the Roman Church. They became false substitutes for the annual Holy Days that are commanded by God, just as Sunday has become a false substitute for the weekly Sabbath.

Now, we're ready to start looking at the other words for 'rest.'

There are four other Greek words that have been translated into the English as the verb 'to rest; and the noun 'rest.'

  • The Greek verb 'katapauo' means to cause to stop, bring to an end, to bring to rest, to stop to rest
  • The Greek noun 'katapausis' means rest and when used with 'sabbatizo' it means a Sabbath rest, the weekly Sabbath, an annual Sabbath or the land Sabbath

Now, let's look at 'katapauo' which is the verb to rest. It has the meaning and connection with resting from your enemies; entering into the rest that God had given in the land that He promised.

Acts 14:18: "And even by saying these things, they could hardly keep [restrain]… ['katapauo' means to cause to cease] …the multitudes from sacrificing to them."

Hebrews 3:11: "So I swore in My wrath, 'If they shall enter into My rest—'"—'katapausis.' In the Greek it has an 'n' or 'u' at the end of it because there's action to it—enter into. That is referring to entering into the 'promised land.'

Then he gives a warning, v 12: "Beware, brethren, lest perhaps there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in apostatizing from the living God…. [apostasy begins with unbelief] …Rather, be encouraging one another each day, while it is called 'today,' so that none of you become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (vs 12-13).

Verse 18: "And to whom did He swear that they would not enter into His rest… ['katapausis'] …except to those who had disobeyed?…. [we saw that; they disobeyed] …So, we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief" (vs 18-19). Notice the connection between unbelief, disobedience and apostatizing. Also, "disobeyed," v 18—last word. So, unbelief and disobedience go hand-in-hand.

If you don't believe God, will you obey Him? No! That's precisely why Protestants feel free to keep Sunday, because they don't believe God. Every act of disobedience really is that you don't believe God. Maybe temporary unbelief. Remember the man whose son was possessed with demons and the disciples couldn't cast them out? He came to Christ and said, 'Your disciples couldn't cast them out; if there's anything You can do, please do it.' Christ said, 'Do you believe?' and he said, 'Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief.' Every time you disobey it's because you don't believe, or your carnal nature puts you in a state of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:1: "Therefore, we should fear, lest perhaps, a promise being open to enter into His rest, any of you might seem to come short."

We're going to see 'His rest' is different from having rest from sin, because there's an entirely different word that is used for that. It is not 'katapausis.'

Verse 3[transcriber's correction]: "For we who have believed, we ourselves are entering into the rest…"—'katapausis.'

  • What sort of rest are you entering into? This is present tense; we are entering into!
  • Are you entering into the Kingdom of God? No!
  • Will you enter into the Kingdom of God? Yes!

But it doesn't say will; it says we are entering into the rest!

  • What 'katapausis' or ceasing do you enter into? The Sabbath!

Verse 4: "For He spoke in a certain place about the seventh day in this manner: 'And God rested… ['katapauo'] …on the seventh day from all His works.'" Very interesting! Very profound!

Let's look at some words, which in the Septuagint are translated 'katapauo' from the Hebrew—meaning to rest, to cease.

Genesis 2:2: "And by the beginning of the seventh day God finished His work…" That means the seventh day was beginning. I mentioned before, on the sixth day, the Septuagint says that on the sixth day and the in Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament by George Ricker Berry, has sixth day.

"…which He had made. And He rested [katapauo] the seventh day from all His work, which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it because on it He rested… ['katapauo'] …from all His work which God had created and made" (vs 2-3).

Exo. 20—here again we have the seventh day and 'katapauo'; when it's talking about we are entering into that rest, we are entering into the Sabbath Day. Not some sort of lawless licentiousness, that if we enter into an ethereal emotional rest in accepting Jesus, that we don't have to keep the commandments of God.

Exodus 20:8: "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter; your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your livestock, nor the stranger within your gates; for in six days the LORD made the heaven and the earth… [it goes right back to creation] …the sea, and all that is in them, and rested… ['katapauo'] …the seventh day. Therefore, the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it" (vs 8-11).

We're going to look at another Greek word here, which is called 'phulasso' which means to keep. From the Hebrews Study, Hebrews 4:1-9:

5)  The Greek verb 'phulasso' is another Greek verb that is used in connection with keeping the Sabbath and means to watch, guard, defend, protect, stand guard, keep—as in keeping the law—to follow or observe a law. (Arndt & Gingrich)

Exodus 31:13: "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, 'Truly you shall keep My Sabbaths…'" In the Hebrew and the Greek it is plural—'ta sabbata' from the Greek Septuagint—Sabbaths; you shall keep—'phulasso' meaning to observe as a law, but also to guard and keep, which ties in with remember!

"…for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations to know that I am the LORD Who sanctifies you. You shall keep… ['phulasso'] …the Sabbath…'" (vs 13-14).

Remember, in the command that we find of the Sabbath Day (Exo. 20) is that God rested. Here we have a little different emphasis:

Deuteronomy 5:12 "Keep…"—'phulasso'—a command that means to watch, guard, defend, protect, stand guard, keep, as in keeping a law.

"…the Sabbath Day to sanctify it as the LORD your God has commanded you" (v 12). If you disbelieve God, you will disobey God and won't keep it.

  • In today's world, will you have trials and troubles because of keeping the Sabbath? Yes, there are going to be times that you will!
  • Does God know that? Yes, He does!
  • Is He there to help you? Yes, He is!

But maybe it's going to be kind of like Tyndale said—and I always like this one, and he's absolutely correct in it: 'If God bid you to go across the sea in a ship, He will send a tempest to test you whether you believe Him or no.' So likewise with the Sabbath! Today, in this world—and, of course, in every society—we're also going to be confronted with, 'How shall I live if I can't work on Saturday?' The answer is, by faith in God! He will provide! What if it's long in coming? Don't worry, it'll come! Not every test lasts forever! Sometimes it will be like that song on Hee-Haw when they stand up and say, 'Agony!' Well, God will see you through it. Just trust in God.

We have to look at Abraham's example: He came to hope in hope! There was nothing else left to do. What happens when you get down to that point? Should you just get discouraged? No! You're right where God wants you!

  • look to Him
  • trust Him
  • believe Him
  • obey Him

Verse 12: "Keep the Sabbath Day to sanctify it as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your livestock, nor your stranger within your gates, so that your manservant and your maidservant may rest as well as you. And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt…" (vs 12-15).

What is this society likened today? Sodom and Egypt! If you don't believe it, just go visit San Francisco or Los Angeles, or New York, or anyplace where there is a Sodom and Gomorrah community called 'a gay community' in any city, and you will see! Remember that you are slaves to this society, too. That's why we keep the Sabbath, because we come out of this world on the Sabbath Day. Yes, we do!

"…and the LORD your God brought you out from there… [remember that God has called you] …with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep… ['phulasso'] …the Sabbath Day" (v 15).

  • 'phulasso' is used in reference to keeping; that is to keep
  • 'katapauo' is used in reference to keeping
  • 'katapausis' is used to signify rest

Hebrews 4:4: "For we who have believed, we ourselves are entering into the rest… [katapauo'] …as He has said, 'So, I swore in My wrath, "If they shall enter into My rest—"'" (vs 4-5).

Remember, we covered those who rebelled in the wilderness did not keep the Sabbath. Therefore, they didn't enter into the 'promised land' because their bodies were strewn in the wilderness. Today we have the same thing. If we're going to enter into the Kingdom of God we must rest on the Sabbath ['katapauo'] to enter into the ['katapausis']. We will see that.

Verse 5: "And again concerning this: 'If they shall enter into My rest—' Consequently, since it remains for some to enter into it, and those who had previously heard the Gospel did not enter in because of disobedience" (vs 5-6). To what? What are we talking about here? The Sabbath Day! What about today?

Verse 7: "Again, He marks out a certain day, 'Today,' saying in David…" That's what the whole 95th Psalm is all about—a call to the people of Israel to keep the Sabbath Day. It was a Sabbath Psalm, to be read in the synagogue and to be read at the temple for all the children of Israel.

"…after so long a time (exactly as it has been quoted above), 'Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts'" (v 7).
When you talk to a staunch Sunday-keeper, even though they say they believe in God and Jesus Christ. Do you come upon a hardness of heart? Yea! Verily yea! That's why they're called 'hard-shelled' Baptists. Do they disobey God because they don't believe God? Yes! They keep Sunday! Are they going to enter into the Kingdom of God? No! They're disobeying!

It says here that "…those who had previously heard the Gospel did not enter in because of disobedience" (v 6).

Verse 8: "For if Joshua had given them rest…" If they entered into the 'promised land' under Joshua and they entered into the finality of the Kingdom of God and that was the total sum of salvation:

"…He would not have spoken long afterwards of another day" (v 8). Once they conquered the land, God would conquer the world and bring in the Kingdom of God to the whole world. But it didn't happen; that's why He spoke of another day. That's why it says, 'Today.'

Because it hasn't been fulfilled, v 9: "There remains, therefore, Sabbath-keeping for the people of God." Why? To rest from your work on the Sabbath and keep the Sabbath as God has commanded, and to give you the blessing of looking forward to entering into the Kingdom of God!

Stop and think for just a minute. I know, in talking to people who have given up on the Sabbath—some people do give up on the Sabbath and God still works with them and they come and repent and come back—and they say, almost universally, once they stopped keeping the Sabbath, they forgot about the Kingdom of God. Why? Because on the Sabbath Day, that's why we are here! The Sabbath Day you're taught about God, About Christ, about the Kingdom of God; you're looking forward to the coming Kingdom of God and the thousand-year reign of Christ. And it is true, in type, the Sabbath Day does picture the Millennial reign of Christ and the saints on the earth—that is true. That is the rest of God.

Let's see what it talks about concerning the Kingdom of God and the reign of Christ on earth in relationship to rest, which is also 'katapausis' in the Septuagint.

Isaiah 11:10: "And in that day…" What day? The return of Jesus Christ! This ties right in with Heb. 4: today! Which is looking forward to that day and there is 'katapausis' or 'katapauo' involved with us as well as with God.

"…there shall be the Root of Jesse [Christ] standing as a banner for the people; to Him the nations [Gentiles] shall seek… [that is when the knowledge 'as the waters cover the earth' v 9] …and His rest ['katapausis'] shall be glorious" (v 10). That's what we are looking to.

Hebrews 4:10: "For the one who has entered into His rest… ['katapausis'] …he also has ceased… ['katapauo'] …from his works…"

Here we have 'katapausis' the noun and 'katapauo' the verb—has ceased from Him works.

"…just as God did from His own works" (v 10). When did God cease from His work? On the seventh day, after He made everything! The one who's going to enter into the Kingdom of God has to cease from his own works on the Sabbath Day, just as God did from His own works.

There are those who say that He has entered into us—that is the rest of Christ—and God has done everything for you, has ceased from His works, so therefore there's nothing for you to do, which is a totally twisting of the Scriptures. That is not what it means. A comparison is made here, just as God did from His. What did God do the first six days? Worked!

Verse 11—very key thing: "We should be diligent therefore to enter into that rest… ['katapausis'—which is the rest of the Sabbath] …lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience." Now, rather than doing away with the Sabbath, this reinforces it very powerfully.

Let's understand something: Because of unbelief and disobedience they were not able to enter into the 'promised land.' After they entered into the 'promised land,' when they sinned, because they didn't believe God—they were punished by war, foreign domination and exile and final destruction of the temple. That goes through the whole book of Hebrews. We have the same thing for us today.

Remember this: The human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it? There is a way that seems right to a man and the ends thereof are the ways of death. It seems right while you're on the way. But we can't fool God, and we can't fool the Word of God. We can trick ourselves, and Satan can trick us, but when you know the Truth and you know better and we're sort of fighting our conscience and putting it down and avoiding God and trying to get away from God so that we won't have to squirm and squeal. Just wait, God's not done yet.

Verse 12: "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…" This is why people don't like the Bible. That's pretty sharp! Always reminds me of this movie I saw. This guy had a sword that was so sharp that he took it and he whacked the guy's head off, and the knife went through that person's spine and neck and didn't even move the head. There was just a little line. He didn't realize it for a few seconds until his head fell off. That sword was sharp! When I read this, I think of that.

Verse 12: "For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of both soul and spirit, and of both the joints and the marrow…"

Marrow is very important because marrow gives you physical life. That's where your blood cells are made. When your blood cells are no longer produced, you die! So, it goes right down to the substance of life.

"…and is able to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart" (v 12). No other book is able to do that.

He's saying in relationship to kidding yourselves and not keeping the Sabbath and entering into the rest of the Sabbath, the seventh day, think on this:

Verse 13: "And there is not a created thing that is not manifest in His sight; but all things are naked and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account."

The word 'must' means it's necessary. Remember, the judgment is on the house of God today.

(continuing with Hebrews Study, Hebrews 4:19)

4) The Greek noun 'anapausis' means rest, a stopping, a ceasing, a resting place.

  • The Greek verb 'anapauo' means to cause to rest, to give (someone) rest, refresh

Notice: the Greek verb 'anapauo' and the Greek noun 'anapausis are never used with the Sabbath, or ceasing from work on the Sabbath….

Let's see where it's used, where they like to spiritualize the way keeping the Sabbath. They come to this and say that you rest in Christ. Here it says that you rest in Christ. Christ even said it. However, it is not 'katapausis' or katapauo.' It's 'anapausis' and 'anapauo.'

Matthew 11:28: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are overly burdened, and I will give you rest."

'See, Jesus is our rest.' NO! He gives rest, which is 'anapausis' the noun. What is that rest from? From sin! Why do you have rest from sin? If you believe Jesus and obey Him you're not going to be living in sin!

  • He brings to you
  • He causes you to rest
  • He refreshes you
  • He gives you spiritual refreshing

Not used in relationship to the Sabbath at all.

Verse 29: "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart…" If you follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ:

  • Will you find rest? Yes!
  • Will you find rest from sin? Yes, you will!
  • Will you be refreshed with His Spirit? Yes!

That ties right in with the renewing of the mind that we covered earlier.

"…and you shall find rest for your souls" (v 29). You're not going to be driven to and fro with sin pulling you here and there. But 'anapauo' or 'anapausis' is a rest from sin.

If you rest in Christ and do not keep the Sabbath, do you have rest from sin? No! You're still breaking the fourth commandment—the seventh day Sabbath—and transgression of the law is sin. You can't take that and apply it to the Sabbath Day and say Christ has given me rest. I rest in Christ and there's nothing for me to do. That is a twisting of the Scripture and a lie!

Verse 30: "For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." Why is it? Because He'll fight your battles for you!
There we have it! That is the meaning of Heb. 4. For Israel, it was a rest for Israel, with a connection of the Sabbath and entering into the 'promised land.' For the Church of God, the people of God, it is entering into the Kingdom of God in connection with the Sabbath. It does not mean a rest from sin!

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version (except where noted)

Scriptural References:

  • Hebrews 4:9, 1-11
  • Acts 7:37-45
  • Exodus 16:23-30
  • Acts 14:18
  • Hebrews 3:11-13, 18-19
  • Hebrews 4:1, 3-4
  • Genesis 2:2-3
  • Exodus 20:8-11
  • Exodus 31:13-14
  • Deuteronomy 5:12-15
  • Hebrews 4:4-7, 6, 8-9
  • Isaiah 11:10
  • Hebrews 4:10-13
  • Matthew 11:28-30

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • 1-Corinthians 10
  • 1 Peter 2:10
  • Ephesians 2:11-19
  • 1-Corinthians 5:7-8
  • Psalm 95
  • Isaiah 11:9

Also referenced: Sermon Series:

From The Holy Bible in It's Original Order, A Faithful Version:

  • Appendix A: Fourteen Rules of Bible Study
  • Appendix N: Rome's Challenge to Protestants

Book: Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament by George Ricker Berry

Transcribed: 3-7-11
Reformatted/Corrected: January/2017