Since many Israelites failed to enter their Canaan rest because of unbelief, the author says we should fear lest we come short of our promised rest: heaven (1-10). Diligence is also required, and the third of six warnings is given: a warning against disobedience in view of God’s living and powerful Word (11-13). A positive motivation is then given: our great High Priest, Jesus, who enables us to obtain mercy and grace as needed (14-16).
POINTS TO PONDER
* The Sabbath rest, the Canaan rest, and the heavenly rest
* The living and powerful Word of God
* The privilege of prayer with Jesus as our High Priest
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- The promised rest - He 4:1-10
- A warning against disobedience - He 4:11-13
- Our great High Priest - He 4:14-16
2) Since we have a promise of rest, why should we fear? (1)
- Lest we come short of it
3) Why did the word fail to profit many Israelites? (2)
- Because they did not have faith in what they heard
4) What three different "rests" are spoken of in this chapter? (4-10)
- Sabbath rest (He 4:4), Canaan rest (He 4:8), Heavenly rest (He 4:9-10)
5) What "rest" remains for us? What is required of us to enter it? (10-11)
- The heavenly rest; diligence, lest we disobey and fall like many in Israel
6) How is the word of God described in this chapter? (12)
- Living and powerful
- Sharper than any two-edged sword
- Piercing even to the division of soul and spirit
- A discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart
7) To whom must we give account? (13)
- The One who sees all
8) Why should we hold fast our confession? (14-16)
- We have a great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God
- He sympathizes with our weaknesses, because He was tempted (though without sin)
- We can approach God’s throne boldly, obtain mercy and grace in time of need
The promise of rest
[Heb 4:1-16 NKJV] 1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard [it]. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: "So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest,' " although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh [day] in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all His works"; 5 and again in this [place]: "They shall not enter My rest." 6 Since therefore it remains that some [must] enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, "Today," after such a long time, as it has been said: "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts." 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God [did] from His.
The Word discovers our condition
11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God [is] living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things [are] naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we [must give] account.
Our compassionate High Priest
14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all [points] tempted as [we are, yet] without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.