Besides the examples we’ve already looked at, this idea of types and symbols can apply to the biblical concept of rest, as well. To see this, we go to the New Testament book of Hebrews.
Read Hebrews 4:1-11. What is the remaining promise of entering His rest referring to? How does Israel’s experience during the Exodus and the wilderness wanderings offer additional insights into the idea of entering into God’s rest?
The theme of perseverance and faithfulness is very important here. Though talking about the seventh-day Sabbath, the main focus of these verses (and what came before; see Hebrews 3:7-19) is really a call for God’s people to be persevering in faith; that is, to remain faithful to the Lord and the gospel.
These passages remind the reader to take the lessons learned from God’s leading in the past seriously, “so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:11). Pay attention, this is an opportunity! Israel did hear the gospel, the text continues, but the word did not profit them. Instead of having their faith strengthened by trust and obedience, they chose rebellion (compare with Hebrews 3:7-15), and thus, they never experienced the rest that God wanted for them.
Hebrews 4:3 points to the close relationship between faith and rest. We can enter into His rest only when we believe and trust the One who promised rest and who can deliver on this promise, and that is, of course, Jesus Christ.
Read Hebrews 4:3 again. What was the main problem with the people referred to? What lesson can we take from this for ourselves, we who have had the “gospel … preached to us as well as to them” (Hebrews 4:2)?
The early Christian community accepted God’s prior revelation (what we call the “Old Testament”) and believed that Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God, the sacrifice for their sins. And by faith in the sacrifice, they could experience salvation in Jesus and the rest that we are offered in Him.
|How can an understanding of what it means to be saved by the blood of Jesus help us enter into the kind of rest that we can have in Jesus, knowing that we are saved by grace and not by works?|