Hebrews 4:1

Friday, 21 September 2018

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. Hebrews 4:1

The word “therefore” is given for the reader to contemplate what has been said about the people not entering God’s rest because of unbelief, as stated in Chapter 3. From there, it says, “since a promise remains of entering His rest.” This is the key idea of the argument, and it is that upon which the whole discussion turns. There was the promise of rest, it was not believed by the people, and yet now the promise of rest still remains for God’s people. The truth of the matter still stands; it is yet ahead in God’s redemptive plans.

From there he says, “let us fear.” It is these words that actually begin the verse in the Greek. It bears a special emphasis by saying, “Let us fear, therefore.” The emphasis is on the word “fear,” not the word “us.” In essence, “Lest us (each of us within the group should be in the same mind) fear…” The fear he is referring to isn’t a fear of something like wrath or being condemned, but one of uncertainty of an outcome. An example of this thought would be, “O dear, I fear I may have missed the train.” The “rest of God” still stands as a promise and the author says that his readers should fear “lest any of you seem to have come short of it.”

This is not speaking of coming short of it in qualification, such as, “I didn’t make the grade, and thus I am excluded.” Rather, it is speaking of timing and surety of being able to attain what is still available. As Vincent’s Word Studies states it, “Since this promise remains, let us fear to distrust it.” Continuing the example of the train might help.

1) The train is set to take the people to their rest. However, because the people in the wilderness did not believe God’s promise of entering His rest, the train never took them there.

2) The psalmist then said, “Today,” when speaking of hearing God’s voice – the very thing that will allow them to enter His rest. The promise of rest still awaits. If not, he could not say to them “Today.” He is asking them to hear God’s voice (believe), and in believing they will enter His rest.

3) Now in Hebrews, the author says, “Don’t worry, the promise of rest still stands. ‘Today’ is still the day. And because the promise still stands, let us fear to not believe that it is true.” It is God’s rest which is still anticipated, and it is attained by belief in God’s promise. The train is still at the station, waiting to take the people to God’s rest. Let us fear to distrust it. The clock has not run out, the train has not left, and those who believe will be there on time.

It should be noted that the citation by Vincent’s Word Studies (above) is completely opposed by the scholars at Cambridge. They say that the words should be translated as “should seem to have failed in attaining it.” They then explain that with the words, “The Greek might also mean ‘should think that he has come too late for it;’ but the writer’s object is to stimulate the negligent, not to encourage the despondent.”

As you can see, they dismiss the logic of Vincent’s Word Studies. However, the context of what has been said, and that of which is coming through verse 4:10, supports what Vincent proposes. Each point of this will be explained in those coming verses as the author continues. It is true that the author will stimulate the audience to not be negligent, but that is because the promise of God’s rest is still available. The people are not to be despondent that they have missed the train.

Life application: This is a difficult verse to understand without explanation. Translations of the Bible are given to hopefully provide a snapshot of what is being conveyed, but quite often they simply cannot do so without additional commentary. And in reading commentaries, there may be a multitude of opinions on what that one verse is saying. Therefore, it is unwise to 1) read a single translation of the Bible lest an unsound opinion arises about what is being relayed; and 2) to stick with a single commentator on the Bible who may have derived an unsound opinion about what is being relayed. The more versions we read, and the more commentaries we study, the more we will have sufficient more information to arrive at a sound conclusion as to the original intent of the passage.

Lord God, there is a promise of heaven for those who believe in Christ Jesus. We should not fear that we have missed that train because of our past failures, but we should believe in the promise, come to the cross, and receive our ticket which grants us that access. Let us not be despondent that we have missed out because of what has been, but let us be confident in what can be – all because of Jesus. Thank You that the promise is still available to us. Amen.

5 thoughts on “Hebrews 4:1

  • Friday, September 21st, 2018 at 8:04 am

    i thank me LORD JESUS that the train was still at the station when at the age of 48 HE open my eyes to the truth .

  • Friday, September 21st, 2018 at 10:45 am

    With all the signs exploding out of the bible all around us how can we not have faith and yet the Jews In the wilderness with all the signs they saw from God still lost faith. Now is not the time to be like the Jews in the wilderness but to be watchmen shouting out the lords imminent return knowing our rest is at hand! The train will not be in the station much longer, desigions have to be made now there are no more tomorrow’s to fall back on, the train is blowing its whistle for last call ..pray that eyes and hearts of many are opened in the last blowing of this whistle Amen

    We are another day closer to home

    Grace mercy and peace on you and yours
    God bless my friend(s)

  • Friday, September 21st, 2018 at 4:04 pm


  • Friday, September 21st, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Thank you Charlie! What I see in your thoroughness in giving Bible lessons is how they always resolve conflicting teachings which is a quite remarkable method yet a very simple method in nature, you notably carry the study topic to the texts, verses, that are close in proximity; derived from previous and further on. and you make note of the several scriptures throughout the Bible to show an even thought and an even similarity or equivalence in the Truth that is being expounded. And you tie in the lose ends with this method. Gives clarity and removes doubt and confusion. Awesome study today, awesome Message ofHope. Sorry, I’m on meds so it’s hard to put a thought together clearly til my surgery next week, but I’m loving this Book and this study! God bless you all! Appreciate all of you!

  • Sunday, September 23rd, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Thank you all for being here and sharing in these studies. Mary, I pray your surgery will go well. Have a most blessed week ahead everyone!


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