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The Future We Might Miss (Hebrews 3,4,5)

"Today, if you will hear his voice"

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Hebrews 4

The possibility of rejection
Therefore, while the promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any one of you should seem to have failed to attain it.  2 For indeed we have had good tidings preached to us, even as also they did; but the word they heard did not benefit them, because it was not united by faith with them that heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter into that rest, even as He has said: As I swore in my anger: They shall not enter into 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 in this place again: They shall not enter into My rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remains that some should enter therein, and they to whom the good tidings were earlier preached failed to enter in because of disobedience; 7 He again defines a certain day, a today, saying through David a long time afterwards (in the words already quoted): Today, if you shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken afterward of another day. 9 There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore give diligence to enter into that rest, that no one fall by the same kind of disobedience.
   12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, and pierces even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and is quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature that is not revealed to his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to give account.

The comfort of Christ’s humanity
   14 Having then 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 one who has been tempted in all things, yet did not sin. 16 Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help us in our time of need.


4:1 It’s no bad thing to have a sense of the future we may miss if we turn away. For the Hebrews, that meant turning back to reliance upon their own works and legal obedience.

4:2 The Gospel (“good tidings”) preached in the Old Testament was in essence the same as that of the New Testament (Gal. 3:8).

4:9 It could be argued that if a day with God is as 1000 years (2 Pet. 3:8), then the day of rest, the Sabbath, the 7th day, will begin 6 days or 6000 years after creation. Rev. 20:2-7 suggests that the first part of God’s Kingdom, the Millennium, will last for 1000 years. According to Biblical chronology, Jesus lived about 4000 years after creation. We are now 2000 years later, making 6000 years. This would mean that the coming of Christ to establish the ‘sabbath rest’ of the Millennium could be at any time now. This suggestion has some problems but it’s stimulating to reflect on it.

4:15 Clearly Jesus was of our nature if He was tempted; for God cannot be tempted (James 1:13).

4:16 The practical result of believing that Jesus was of our nature and tempted like us is that we can confidently pray to God, knowing we have a sympathetic mediator in Heaven who once was human and tempted.