Prayer Series XXXI
CONTEXT: Reading this chapter it is apparent the overarching theme is that of “the believer’s rest.” However, there is more to that than just laying back and relaxing. Matthew Henry breaks down the chapter as follows:
The apostle, having in the foregoing chapter set forth the sin and punishment of the ancient Jews, proceeds in this, I. To declare that our privileges by Christ under the gospel exceed the privileges of the Jewish church under Moses, as a reason why we should make a right improvement of them, ver 1-4. II. He assigns the cause why the ancient Hebrews did not profit by their religious privileges, ver 2. Then, III. Confirms the privileges of those who believe, and the misery of those who continue in unbelief, ver 3-10. IV. Concludes with proper and powerful arguments and motives to faith and obedience.
Webster 1828 Dictionary (1913 ed.) defines Sabbath as; A season or day of rest; one day in seven appointed for rest or worship, the observance of which was enjoined upon the Jews in the Decalogue, and has been continued by the Christian church with a transference of the day observed from the last to the first day of the week, which is called also Lord’s Day.
There are some 126 occurrences of the word Sabbath throughout the Bible. All of them point to two things. First, the Sabbath was established for man, Mark 2:27, just as God rested from His labors v.10, man must do so also. In establishing the Sabbath commandment it is the only one with an explanation, Exodus 20:8-11.
Secondly, verse 10 (AMP) makes it clear, but the seventh day is a Sabbath [a day of rest dedicated] to the Lord your God; we are to rest, physically while honoring (worship and prayer) God.
As always since I/we are all about context here, one can not read this passage v.8-12, and not understand this is easily interpreted as eternal rest. Dr. John Gill in his commentary on v.9 clarifies:
Not all mankind; nor the people of the Jews only; rather the people of God, both Jews and Gentiles, under the New Testament; the people whom God has loved with a special love, has chose in Christ, and given to him, with whom he has made a covenant in him, and whom Christ saves from their sins, and calls by his grace; and the rest which remains for them is not a new sabbath day, but a sabbatism: and this does not so mush design eternal rest in heaven; though the Jews often call that a sabbath; the 92nd psalm they say is a psalm for the time to come, (tbv wlkv) , “which is all sabbath”, and the rest of eternal life F11: but rather this intends the spiritual rest believers have in Christ under the Gospel dispensation, which they now enter into, and of which the apostle had been treating; and as for the word “remaineth”, this does not denote the futurity of it, but the apostle’s inference or consequence from what he had said; and the sense is, it remains therefore, and is a certain fact, a clear consequence from what has been observed, that there is another rest distinct from God’s rest on the seventh day, and from the rest in the land of Canaan; which were both typical ones of the present rest the saints now enjoy: so the Jews call the world to come the times of the Messiah, (lwdgh tbv) , “the great sabbath” F12.
Whether it is the promise of eternal rest, the rest enjoyed in the presence of Christ, or the Sabbath rest spent in worship, should we not be in prayer thanking God for His abundant Grace saving sinners such as us and providing such rest?
DELIVERED ON SABBATH MORNING, MAY 24, 1857
BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON
AT THE MUSIC HALL, ROYAL SURREY GARDENS
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.” Hebrews 4:9