Sunday, November 01, 2009

Heb 4

4:10. Sometimes the newer translations help solve an exegetical concern -- sometimes not. In this verse, with all the substitutution (RSV/ESV/NIV) of proper noun or capitalized pronoun compared to the older (AV/RV/ASV) translations, I think we might have gone retrograde. The question is if 4:10 is a sabbath rest, or just another word for heaven.

"It all starts" with a common ad hoc, the presupposition that everything about what happens to people "must be" about their going to heaven or hell, and laying that down onto Old Testament stories. For example, it is pure presupposition -- and incorrect -- to think that whoever did not enter the promised land with Joshua due to disobedience was also going to be going to hell! That is incorrect (as well as ad hoc), since of course Moses himself did not enter due to disobedience. It's a good idea to read this chapter remembering that Moses did not enter the promised land, due to disobedience.

Although 4:3 is very clear that we who have believed enter ("do enter," AV/RV/ASV) that rest, the rest hearkens back to 3:18 and 19, where the OT people are spoken of, by God Himself, that they would not enter His rest, in the Psalm. Again, this warning should not be taken to be about heaven and hell, due to the counter example of Moses, if for no other reason.

There is a rest that the OT generation in the wilderness did not enter, but others do, and others might not. Heb 4 elaborates on it.

From 4:1-3 we know that the promise of entering his [God's] rest still stands, and that "we who have believed" enter that rest. Since the readers are not of the time of Joshua, we are not talking about entering the land with Joshua here! And we might be about to think of it as being heaven, until the writer brings up something very extraneous to that thought: "although his [God's] works were finished from the foundation of the world." at the end of verse 3. The prospect comes in that we are talking about the rest that God rested when he finished his work of creation.

The rest that the wilderness generation did not enter was not just Canaan, but the rest of "another day" (4:8). Just as the wilderness generation did not enter Canaan because of disobedience, God appoints another rest, speaks of it as different than that of Joshua's conquests (4:8), and speaks of it as remaining yet, for the people of God.

Now verse 10. Without the capitalization, you might just see that it is the rest of having finished your own course of what God has wanted for you to do, the set of works that God has put aside for you! 4:10 (RV) says "For he that is entered into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his." Notice the lack of capitalization, and the resultant parallelism. If you've entered your rest, you've rested from your own works, just as God rested from His own. That is what we should be diligent to enter: to finish the course of the good works that God has called us to do.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I like your argument and closing point....That is what we should be diligent to enter: to finish the course of the good works that God has called us to do.

what is the next 2 verses beginnning with "for" for?