There Remains a Sabbath Rest

Hebrews 4:9, New International Version  

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God.

Listen to the "Verse by Verse" episode covering this scripture.

The author of Hebrews intertwined several words for and meanings of rest in Hebrews 4. First he points out that Joshua did not give Israel complete rest when he led them into the Promised Land. Then he says, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (verse 9, New King James Version). Finally, he says we must strive to enter that rest in a future sense.

All but one of the words translated “rest” in Hebrews come from the Greek katapausis or katapauo, two variations of the same root. According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, this term means “causing to cease” or “putting to rest.”

Hebrews 4:9 uses a different word, the Greek sabbatismos, which is used only here in the New Testament. It means “Sabbath rest” or “Sabbath observance” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by Bauer, Danker, Arndt and Gingrich) and appears to have been coined by the author of Hebrews. By doing this, the rest of God was linked to the weekly Sabbath. “So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God” (New Revised Standard Version). This verse presents powerful support for the continued Christian celebration of the seventh-day Sabbath.

The weekly Sabbath rest reminds us of the ultimate fulfillment of God’s Sabbath rest that will begin after Jesus Christ returns.

For more about this, see “Sabbatismos: Does Hebrews 4:9 Teach Rest on the Sabbath?

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