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Hebrews 4:3

    Hebrews 4:3 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    For we who have believed do enter into that rest; even as he hath said, As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    For those of us who have belief come into his rest; even as he has said, As I said in my oath when I was angry, They may not come into my rest: though the works were done from the time of the making of the world.

    Webster's Revision

    For we who have believed do enter into that rest; even as he hath said, As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

    World English Bible

    For we who have believed do enter into that rest, even as he has said, "As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest;" although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    For we which have believed do enter into that rest; even as he hath said, As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

    Clarke's Commentary on Hebrews 4:3

    For we which have believed do enter into rest - The great spiritual blessings, the forerunners of eternal glory, which were all typified by that earthly rest or felicity promised to the ancient Israelites, we Christians do, by believing in Christ Jesus, actually possess. We have peace of conscience, and joy in the Holy Ghost; are saved from the guilt and power of sin; and thus enjoy an inward rest.

    But this is a rest differing from the seventh day's rest, or Sabbath, which was the original type of Canaan, the blessings of the Gospel, and eternal glory; seeing God said, concerning the unbelieving Israelites in the wilderness, I have sworn in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest, notwithstanding the works of creation were finished, and the seventh day's rest was instituted from the foundation of the world; consequently the Israelites had entered into that rest before the oath was sworn. See Macknight.

    We who believe, Οἱ πιστευσαντες, is omitted by Chrysostom, and some few MSS. And instead of εισερχομεθα γαρ, for we do enter, AC, several others, with the Vulgate and Coptic, read εισερχωμεθα ουν, therefore let us enter; and thus it answers to φωβηθωμεν ουν, therefore let us fear, Hebrews 4:1; but this reading cannot well stand unless οι πιστευσαντες be omitted, which is acknowledged to be genuine by every MS. and version of note and importance. The meaning appears to be this: We Jews, who have believed in Christ, do actually possess that rest-state of happiness in God, produced by peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost - which was typified by the happiness and comfort to be enjoyed by the believing Hebrews, in the possession of the promised land. See before.

    From the foundation of the world - The foundation of the world, καταβολη κοσμου, means the completion of the work of creation in six days. In those days was the world, i.e. the whole system of mundane things, begun and perfected; and this appears to be the sense of the expression in this place.

    Barnes' Notes on Hebrews 4:3

    For we which have believed do enter into rest - That is, it is a certain fact that believers "will" enter into rest. That promise is made to "believers;" and as we have evidence that "we" come under the denomination of believers, it will follow that we have the offer of rest as well as they. That this is so, the apostle proceeds to prove; that is, he proceeds to show from the Old Testament that there was a promise to "believers" that they would enter into rest. Since there was such a promise, and since there was danger that by unbelief that "rest" might be lost, he proceeds to show them the danger, and to warn them of it.

    As he said ... - see Hebrews 3:11. The meaning of this passage is this. "God made a promise of rest to those who believe. They to whom the offer was first made failed, and did not enter in. It must follow, therefore, that the offer extended to others, since God designed that some should enter in, or that it should not he provided in vain. To them it was a solemn declaration that unbelievers should not enter in, and this implied that believers would. "As we now," says he, "sustain the character of "believers," it follows that to us the promise of rest is now made and we may partake of it."

    If they shall enter ... - That is, they shall "not" enter in; see Hebrews 3:11. The "rest" here spoken of as reserved for Christians must be different from that of the promised land. It is something that pertains to Christians now, and it must, therefore, refer to the "rest" that remains in heaven.

    Although the works were finished ... - This is a difficult expression. What works are referred to? it may be asked. How does this bear on the subject under discussion? How can it be a proof that there remains a "rest" to those who believe now? This was the point to be demonstrated; and this passage was designed clearly to bear on that point. As it is in our translation, the passage seems to make no sense whatever. Tyndale renders it, "And that spake he verily long after that the works were made from the foundation of the world laid;" which makes much better sense than our translation. Doddridge explains it as meaning, "And this may lead us further to reflect on what is said elsewhere concerning his works as they were finished from the foundation of the world." But it is difficult to see why they should reflect on his works just then, and how this would bear on the case in hand. Prof. Stuart supposes that the word "rest" must be understood here before "works," and translates it, "Shall not enter into my rest, to wit, rest from the works which were performed when the world was founded." Prof. Robinson (Lexicon) explains it as meaning, "The rest here spoken of, 'my rest,' could not have been God's resting from his works Genesis 2:2, for this rest, the Sabbath, had already existed from the creation of the world." Dr. John P. Wilson (ms. notes) renders it, "For we who have believed, do enter into rest (or a cessation) indeed (καίτοι kaitoi) of the works done (among people) from the beginning of the world." Amidst this variety of interpretation it is difficult to determine the true sense. But perhaps the main thought may be collected from the following remarks:

    (1) The Jews as the people of God had a rest promised them in the land of Canaan. Of that they failed by their unbelief.

    (2) the purpose of the apostle was to prove that there was a similar promise made to the people of God long subsequent to that, and to which "all" his people were invited.

    (3) that rest was not that of the promised land, it was such as "God had himself" when he had finished the work of creation. That was especially "his rest" - the rest of God, without toil, or weariness, and after his whole "work" was finished.

    (4) his people were invited to the same "rest" - the rest of God - to partake of his felicity; to enter into that bliss which "he" enjoyed when he had finished the work of creation. The happiness of the saints was to be "like" that. It was to be "in their case" also a rest from toil - to be enjoyed at the end of all that "they" had to do.

    To prove that Christians were to attain to "such" a rest, was the purpose which the apostle had in view - showing that it was a general doctrine pertaining to believers in every age, that there was a promise of rest for them. I would then regard the middle clause of this verse as a parenthesis, and render the whole, "For we who are believers shall enter into rest - (the rest) indeed which occurred when the works were finished at the foundation of the world - as he said (in one place) as I have sworn in my wrath they shall not enter into my rest." That was the true rest - such rest or repose as "God" had when he finished the work of creation - such as he has now in heaven. This gives the highest possible idea of the dignity and desirableness of that "rest" to which we look forward - for it is to be such as God enjoys, and is to elevate us more and more to him. What more exalted idea can there be of happiness than to participate in the calmness, the peace, the repose, the freedom from raging passions, from wearisome toil, and from agitating cares, which God enjoys? Who, torn with conflicting passions here, wearied with toil, and distracted with care, ought not to feel it a privilege to look forward to that rest? Of this rest the Sabbath and the promised land were emblems. They to whom the promise was made did not enter in, but some "shall" enter in, and the promise therefore pertains to us.