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Hebrews 4: The Rest that Remains is not the Weekly Sabbath

Every Friday evening Torah Observers greet one another with “Shabbat Shalom,” that is “rest and peace,” as the weekly Sabbath begins. You see, those in this movement believe that the weekly Sabbath of the Old Testament still stands, using verses in the New Testament such as Hebrews 4 which speaks of a “rest that remains,” to defend their claim. The rest that remains, however, is not a weekly Sabbath, but is a reference to our permanent rest–Heaven. True “Shabbat Shalom,” therefore, will be found only in Heaven through our faith in, and following of, Christ alone. Not on Earth, every Friday evening to Saturday evening.

The rest that remains is not a weekly day to be lazy, but Heaven which we must strive to enter one day :

Hebrews 4

1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:

The rest that remains is not the Sabbath day as commanded in the Old Covenant as the Israelites were already observing the Sabbath. Instead, this is an illusion to the rest promised once they entered the land of Canaan. The first generation, however, was not allowed this promised rest.

7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

“Today” being the promise of Heaven that both the Old Covenant Sabbath and the promised rest of the land of Canaan foreshadowed. The land of Canaan was itself a shadowing of Heaven as Canaan literally means Heaven. Joshua, however, couldn’t give them that rest. So we know that the Paul is not speaking of the Sabbath day, or the promised rest of Canaan, but something far greater that no man could earn for himself.

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.

The rest that remains is Heaven -“another day”, that is promised to those who have faith in Christ

9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

The rest that remains can be found in other verses in the New Testament proving that it is Heaven and not the weekly Sabbath of the Old Testament:

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. (Revelation 14:13)

Conclusion 

You can easily keep one day a week, be lazy, and follow man made rules even as the Jewish people do, but this wont make you righteous or any closer to God. As Christians we are to observe the Sabbath every day in our thoughts, prayers, and actions as we make “every effort” to enter that rest by hearing and following the Holy Spirit that resides within us through faith in Christ. We are to be submissive to God’s Spirit and die to ourselves daily. In this way, through the Holy Spirit, we can overcome sins, grow in Christ-like love, and live every day looking forward to our promised rest.

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