Fulton County Gospel News

a work of the mammoth spring church of christ



By Leland L. Reed

When did God rest? After His work was complete.

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made (Genesis 2:2-3).
God speaks through Moses about rest that the Israelites could expect when they entered the promise land: For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you.  But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety (Deuteronomy 12:9-10).

God had promised rest to the Israelites and He gave it to them: And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand” (Joshua 21:44). The rest for the Israelites was a type of the true and final rest, which is eternal life in heaven.

“Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest” (Psalm 95:10-11). The Israelites wandered in the wilderness forty years because of unbelief. “Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:6).

We in the Christian dispensation look for a rest, we are not in that rest as Paul expresses, For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?  But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Romans 8:24-25).

We serve God in His kingdom the church in hope of reaching that eternal rest. “Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope” (1 Corinthians 9:10).

The writer of Hebrews address the rest that the Israelites were promised and why some were not permitted to enter. “Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest” (Hebrews 3:10-11). The rest referred to here is in the promise land, the land of Canaan.

But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (Hebrews 3:17-19).
These Israelites that fell in the wilderness were in the physical family of Israel, just as we are the spiritual family of Israel, the church that Christ built: And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). Physical Israel was born physically into the family of physical Israel and we being born spiritually into spiritual Israel through baptism: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23). As the scripture tells us we are created unto good works: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

That being the case are we in a place of rest or have we work to do for our Lord?

“ 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” (Heb. 4:1). This indicates that we have a promise and that being something we have not attained, and also that we could come short. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day” (verse 8).

Why speak of “another day” if we are in that rest? The writer of Hebrews answers that question: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (verse 9).

Who are the people of God spoken of here? This book was written to Hebrew Christians; therefore, Christians are the people of God.

“For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his” (verse 10). God rested from His work of creation:” And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made” (Genesis 2:2). We enter our rest when our work is done on this earth: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (verse 11). We know he is talking to Christians because he says to enter into that rest, future, and not to fall in unbelief as the example he has used which was physical Israel.

“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). Who has rest? Those that are physically dead that died in the Lord. That is the only time we are to rest from our labor for the Lord.


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