Author: B. Howard Coffey, Director

Becoming Christian Ministries, Inc.

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Eddyville, KY 42038

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            The study of the book of Hebrews, a copyright study, is the property of Becoming Christian Ministries, Inc., Box 519, Eddyville, Kentucky.  All rights reserved.  The materials contained herein are the works of B. Howard Coffey and any relation to other works are coincidental.

            The study is a literal verse by verse translation of rest by a ministry who believes the Bible must be translated literally using the full counsel of the word of God—Genesis to Revelation.

            The study can be acquired free online by emailing

            The study is for personal use only. No portions of the study may be copied duplicated or electronically reproduced without the express written consent of Becoming Christian Ministries Inc., its board members or, B. Howard Coffey, President.

Random thoughts from Deuteronomy 12:9.

Israel’s rest was her inheritance of the land for which they had to work. Your rest is your inheritance for which you allow the Holy spirit to work with you to achieve. First, the Holy Spirit regenerates your heart. Then he gives you grace to repent and gain salvation. Next, he gives you the desire to do God’s will. And then he gives you your ministry through which you earn your rewards.

(i)         Rest

            To begin our study on Rest, lets go to the book of Hebrews, Chapter 3

V 7 “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,


            Now here is proof that the Holy Spirit along with God and Jesus spoke the word into existence. However, we need to look at a small, four-letter word at the end of 3:11, “rest.”


            Please be aware that only one of the three rests that we use in this study is mentioned in the Bible. That one rest is Sabbath, Hebrews 4:9. The other two rests have been coined for identification purposes. However, the two rests do help us stay connected to the ideals of rest, and help us explain rest more effectively. Let’s look at the first rest and identify its purpose for your life.

Redemption Rest

            The first rest we will discuss from the Bible is Redemption Rest. For Israel under Moses, redemption rest meant physical rest from bondage and slavery to the Egyptians as a result of them responding through faith in God’s promise of deliverance.

            Before we begin our study time together, I want to look at three ideas behind the Greek word “redeemed.” 1) Redeemed means bought and paid for. A price was paid so you could become free; 2) another idea behind the word redeemed is loose as of chains and chords that have you bound; 3) the third idea is to clean and release from something. I liken this one to my being in the pig pen of sin. Jesus not only cleans off the mud, but he doesn’t allow me to return and live in the pig pen ever again.

            God called Moses in Exodus 3 through the Burning Bush experience. Moses was singled out by God to work God’s plan of redemption for his people, the Jews. God intended to physically redeem them from the bondage of slavery to Egypt.

            If you study God’s word closely, you learn that God redeemed them spiritually, too. He brings them out of slavery physically, but then he leads them to Mt. Sinai where he marries them, Exodus 19 and 20. He takes them as his own knowing that they would be unfaithful to their marriage vows.

            The person God chooses to lead them, Moses, wanted no part of this ministry. He tried to convince God that he wasn’t the person for the job. He, as you are often, didn’t want any

(2)        Rest

part of the ministry, the leadership or the headaches that went with his assignment. Just note that if God truly calls you and knows your capabilities, like Moses, you will soon give in to his prompts on your life to do God’s calling.

            Understand, God didn’t force Moses to take the job. Moses eventually saw that he could, with the help of God, accomplish the task at hand. He finally accepted his role, and the rest of the story is history.

            Moses goes to Egypt with his brother Aaron, and through the different plagues that God sent, he and Aaron became as God to the people. Everyone in Egypt realized that there was something different about Moses and Aaron. These two men had already entered redemption rest. They had been set free from bondage even though they were Jews in Egypt.

            After he loses his oldest son, the king of Egypt sends Moses and the Hebrew Children out of his country. Suddenly, the people are free from the bondage of slavery. They march out of the country where they had been bound for 400 years. These people had never known freedom. They were born into slavery even as you were born into the slavery to sin. Now they are leaving as free men and women.

            However, the Hebrew Children aren’t out of the woods just yet. God has another huge miracle in store. Remember in your ministry that the rough spots and bumps are only miracles waiting to happen. As long as you keep your eyes on Jesus, your ministry will experience great miracles. God has your ministry planned, covered and knows the exact outcome. The same is true with these people fleeing Egypt.

            The congregation comes to the Red Sea, they look back and behold trouble is present on the horizon. The people looked and, as Pharaoh drew near, behold, the Egyptians were marching after them. The Jews became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord. 

            Then the people said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent” (Exodus 14:10:12).

(3)        Rest

            The Hebrew Children couldn’t enjoy their freedom because the enemy was trying to overtake them. You most likely will experience similar things in your ministry. The enemy doesn’t want you to succeed. He hates you, and he will attack you at every opportunity. You can’t focus on him, but you must keep your eyes on God and allow the Spirit to lead you.

            If you know anything about this historical event, you know that the glory of God represented by the cloud and the fire, moved between the Jews and the Egyptian army. Although the glory of God is great success for your ministry and for the Jewish nation, he brings confusion to the enemy. The Jews are just in front of the army, but the army of Egypt can’t find them (Vv 19, 20).

            Also note that the “Angel of God” went with the cloud and fire to stand between His people and the army of Egypt. If you study the 10th chapter of 1 Corinthians you will learn that this angel of God is none other than Jesus Christ the rock that the people followed throughout their wilderness experience. Even when you are wandering in the wilderness, Jesus is still there with you!

            The protection of God lasted throughout the night, and all the people crossed over to the other side in safety. When the army of Egypt tried to cross, the way got boggy and the wheels of their chariots couldn’t navigate the pathway God had created. Then as the last Jew touched dry land on the other side, the waters came crashing onto the Egyptian army, and all of the army drowned.

            While we are on the subject of the Red Sea crossing, let’s have some fun. The Army commander who coordinates movement for troops has shed some interesting light on this crossing. If one were to take the smallest figures available for the numbers of Hebrews who crossed that evening and allowed them to walk across two by two, it would take 31 days for them to cross. Remember, they went across in one night. It must have been a huge pathway across the sea. Besides, it wasn’t muddy or boggy for the Israelites.

            It becomes pretty obvious, then! The Hebrew Children were redeemed, bought, paid for, set free, taken out of–redeemed. From strictly a physical sense, redemption rest deals with the nation of Israel’s physical redemption from slavery to Egypt.

            Redemption rest for the individual and from a spiritual sense points to the spiritual redemption you receive when you realize (catch this) that salvation is by grace through faith, repent of your sin and receive Jesus as your savior. Redemption rest is that rest you enter when you finally realize that you are redeemed and forgiven from the bondage of slavery to sin.

(4)        Rest

            It is the very first level of rest. You have been redeemed, released of all your debts to sin and the hold it has on you. You have been taken from the pig pen of sin and washed clean. All your chains are broken and you have been set free.

            One other rest has been invented by theologians. The terms have given much credibility to rests in the Bible so that believers in the body of Christ can differentiate between the different levels of rest. It is important to know the different levels of rest so that you can understand when the Bible says, “and they will not enter my rest” (3:11).

            From a physical sense, the nation Israel entered redemption rest when Moses led them out of slavery in Egypt. Stay with me on this!

Canaan Rest

            The next rest is Canaan rest. From the physical point of view in regards to Israel, Canaan rest was when Joshua led the second generation of physically redeemed Israelis into the land of Canaan and successfully conquered it. In other words Canaan rest is overcoming the enemy with God’s help and resting in your victories.

            This rest is confirmed in Joshua 21:44, “And the Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers.”

            Also in 22:4a, “And now the Lord has given rest to your brothers, as He spoke to them. . .”

            And in 23:1a, “Now it came about after many days, when the Lord had given rest to Israel from all their enemies on every side. . .”

            Where is Israel in these scriptures? They are living successfully in the land God promised them. They are living in houses they did not build, eating food that they did not plant and enjoying freedom for which they did not pay.

            Now, and from a spiritual standpoint, Canaan rest to you occurs when you reach a place of maturity where you overcome your enemy, Satan, through the power of the Holy Spirit. You take back what he stole from you.

            You begin slowly at first as the Israelis did. You win some battles against him. You begin to put on the spiritual armor from Ephesians 6. You learn to stand firm in your commitments to God.

(5)        Rest

            Can you give me an example of one battle you have won through the grace of the Lord? God completely delivered me from alcohol and many forms of religious thinking and from being judgmental. He has delivered me from the Law as a guide for my life.

            Canaan rest happens in you whenever you trust the power of the Holy Spirit to give you victory over the enemy on a somewhat consistent basis. Can you guess what most church people want in their experience with Jesus? Would you believe they want to experience victory over the enemy?

            That’s why most people go to church. They have a need over which they must overcome. You see, the enemy’s over there! You take authority over him in the name of Jesus, and you feel like you have arrived when you achieve this goal.

            But guess what? When you have achieved this goal of victory over the enemy on a somewhat consistent basis, you have not arrived completely!

            There’s one more rest to achieve. One more level of maturity on which you need to set your sights.

Sabbath Rest

            Sabbath rest is the ultimate goal of the believer’s experience. What is it? Sabbath rest is what I long for. I have trouble getting close to Sabbath rest.

            Even though I pursue it on a daily basis, I struggle to stay in Sabbath rest more than a few minutes at a time. Most people in the body of Christ have no idea it even exists for them to experience.

            The church is so interested in teaching people how to get out of hell into heaven that they do not take the time to tell people about Sabbath rest. Perhaps most preachers and church leaders do not know about it.

            Believe me, out of hell and into heaven is great! I love the fire insurance that comes with God’s amazing grace. Fire insurance is the very reason I became saved in the first place. I thought that I had arrived whenever I realized that I was saved.

            As great as fire insurance is, it should never be the goal of your Christian experience. Fire insurance teaching and preaching doesn’t give me a clue as to how to live while in the world. Many people know that they are saved, but they have no idea how to plug into the abundant life. Not many preachers preach about rest. I’ve never heard it preached in a single church that I have attended over the past 60 years.

(6)        Rest

            With only fire insurance I’m like the dog who caught the car. What do I do with it after I catch it?

            Let’s see if we can piece these rests together. O. K. I’m out of hell and into heaven. I have matured some on a spiritual basis. Soon, I realize that some of the things I do don’t line up with the word of God that I hear and read about. So I win a couple of battles—I try to quit cursing or telling dirty jokes and sometimes I succeed.

            I begin to realize that the harder I try to stop, the more cursing and dirty joke telling I do. It seems like Satan is after me. I want to quit, but I struggle to do so. Finally, I realize that if I give these things to Jesus and let him work for me, I have better success.

            I am learning how to win a few battles against the enemy! I begin to learn that whenever I see a pretty woman in Wal-Mart that on a scale of 1—10 is an eleven, I can take one look. The second look, however, is sin.

            As I continue to grow from eating Twinkies to only looking at Twinkies—one look—I graduate from redemption rest into Canaan rest. I have learned that I can stand in the name of Jesus, and I can stand on that name for the rest of my life.

            However, what if I told you there is something better than redemption and Canaan rest? What if I told you there is a whole new horizon out there. There’s a new place of spiritual maturity that’s the Mecca of your spiritual journey.

            What if I told you that if you can ever learn to live there, it would be absolutely all over! There is a spiritual place of maturity just as I have described above. That place is Sabbath rest.

            The Jews experienced Sabbath rest in the physical every Saturday. They observed the Sabbath from twilight on Friday evening until twilight on Saturday evening. They couldn’t do any work on this day. Leviticus 23:3 explains the physical Sabbath rest. ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.”

            That was the physical Sabbath. God commanded that they keep the seventh day holy. They could do no work. Any emergency that arose could be taken care of, but no other work could be done except the priests still offered the morning and evening sacrifices, and baby boys who were eight days old on the Sabbath were circumcised on that day.

            By the time Jesus came along the Jews had many, oral rules concerning the Sabbath. They could only walk about ½ mile on the seventh day, they couldn’t buy and sell, they couldn’t

(7)        Rest

harvest grain or work the ground. These are some of the rules of the Sabbath that Jesus ran into while he was here. However, “Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

            In other words Jesus told them that their rules had placed the importance on man rather than the Sabbath. Their rules had torn down the real reason God wanted them to observe the Sabbath. He wanted them to enjoy a day of relaxation, communion with him and restoration for their physical and spiritual bodies. However, the Pharisees and Scribes had made the Sabbath all about man.

            Look with me at spiritual Sabbath rest. You will have an entirely different perspective of Sabbath rest.

            Sabbath rest says this, “The whole deal is not doing stuff. The whole deal is not trying to preach it. The whole deal is not memorizing the whole Bible. The whole deal is not trying to teach it. The whole deal is not having knowledge, not getting out of hell into heaven. The whole deal of Sabbath rest is knowing the heart of Jesus. The whole deal is knowing whom I can trust implicitly, give myself to him totally and allow him free reign to do whatever he wants to do with my life. It is living your life by the life of another.”

            That, my friends, is Sabbath rest. Complete surrender to someone I can trust implicitly. I know you have heard of complete surrender, but I doubt that you have ever heard it called Sabbath rest.

            I hadn’t either until a few years back. However, it has changed my life, my ministry, my attitude and my beliefs. I mean knowing about Sabbath rest has changed everything for me.

            Sabbath rest is how Paul and Stephen lived—and died. “No matter what,” they said, “Bring it on! I’ll die looking right into the face of angels if that is what God directs me to do.”

            That is what Sabbath rest is all about. You tell God, “Whatever it takes to do the job, just let me know!”

            If you read between the lines of Paul’s writings and focus on his life you see that Paul says, “My goal is to know the heart of Jesus. That I may know him, and as a result I can, give thanks in all things. I can pray without ceasing. I can rejoice always, and know that all things work together for good to them who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.”

            Paul tells God to bring it on. I bear in my body your brand marks. You do whatever with me, because I’m not afraid, no more sweaty palms. I can do it! Whatever crosses my path is your sovereign will. I simply rest in you.

(8)        Rest

            Sabbath rest is a paradox, try to work for it and you’ll never find it. Give up on all the work and make an effort to learn the heart of Jesus, and he will give rest to you.

            Turn with me to 1 John 2:12, 13. I want to look at a two verses here because they explain the three different levels of rest better than any others in the New Testament. “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.”

            Please note that we are not talking about chronological age here. We are talking about spiritual maturity age.

            Look at the verse. What do little children know? They know God has forgiven their sins, and they are out of hell into heaven, right? If all you know about Jesus is that your sins are forgiven, what does God call you? That’s right! He calls you “a baby.”

            Now, look at 13b, “. . . I’m writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. . .”

            Oh! Young men have learned to overcome. They have learned to win a few battles. Do you see the different level of maturity here?

            However, you don’t want to be a baby, nor do you want to remain a young man/woman. You want to be a spiritual father/mother.

            Look at verse 13a, “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. . .”

            What does it say that a spiritual father/mother knows? He/she knows more than getting out of hell into heaven. They know more than merely overcoming the enemy. He/she knows Jesus who was from the beginning. Someone experiencing Sabbath rest knows the heart of Jesus.

            A father/mother has learned about the heart of God. He knows Jesus’ grace and how to live out, his loving kindness, his patience, his gentleness and his love. He knows the miracle of regeneration—how Jesus remade his heart to be just like Jesus’ own heart.

            There’s no better place in scripture to study the three levels of rest than right here in 1 John 2:12, 13.

            Getting back to Hebrews 1:7, “Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice.’”

(9)        Rest

            How long has Sabbath rest been available? It has been available since Genesis 2:2. It says here that God rested from his work. Noah learned to live in God’s rest. Most likely he learned it from his great grandfather, Enoch.

            Jacob learned how to walk in rest as he built a family and wealth. Joseph truly lived out rest, and Moses surely knew about God’s rest.


            Therefore, today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. This scripture is as apropos today as it was when the author wrote it to the church outside Jerusalem. If you hear his voice and I hope you do, do not harden your hearts. To what is the author making reference?

            Turn with me to Psalm 95:8. Since verses 8-11 of Hebrews comes from Psalm 95:8-11, let’s read that passage. Notice there is a little difference in verse 8 in Psalm, “Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah (place of strife) as in the day of Massah (temptation) in the wilderness.”

            The words Meribah and Massah are left out of Hebrews 1:8. Wonder why? Perhaps it was because his audience, being Jews, knew this passage very well; therefore, the author didn’t include the words in the verse. Watch this!

            Massah means test, and when Moses struck the rock in Exodus 17 and water came forth after Israel had complained, God named that place Massah. It was here that Israel rebelled and tested God.

            At the latter stages of the 40 years of wilderness wanderings, Israel rebelled again, Numbers 20:8-13, the waters of Meribah. Watch this!

            Moses, instead of speaking to the rock as God instructed him, struck the rock. Water did come forth, so what’s the big deal? They received their water, didn’t they?

            Here’s the big deal! God wants you to live in perfect rest in perfect reliance on him. Look closely at Numbers 20:10, “And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock, and he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11) Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank.”

(10)      Rest

            Look at a couple things with me. Verses 8 of Numbers 10 are God’s instructions to Moses. “Take your rod and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock. . .”

            Speaking to the Rock would be the same as you and I asking the Father something in Jesus’ name. Of course Moses and Aaron had no clue that this would work. Prayer was an important part of their religious ceremony, but they didn’t know about Jesus. They called him The Angel of the Lord or simply God.

            But what did Moses do? He struck the rock not once but twice (v 11).

            First, he disobeyed a direct command from the Lord. Second, now think with me, can you ever get water from a rock? You can no more get water from a rock then you can get intelligence from a rock head.

            Could there be more than just a rock before them? Do you remember when we had the word “theophany?” A theophany is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period, often, but not always, in human form.

            You might ask, “Are you telling me that this rock is God? How absurd!”

            What’s the big deal with God appearing as a rock? He appeared as a burning bush, didn’t he? He actually appeared as a man to Abraham, didn’t he?

            Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 10:4, “And all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.”

            See, I’m not crazy. The rock was Jesus the same as the burning bush was Jesus and the human Abraham saw was Jesus. You really have to put on your thinking caps to come up with the answer as to why Moses’ sin here at Meribah cost him a trip into the Holy Land of Promise.

            Think about this for a moment. What would a man of whom the Lord said, “I speak with him face to face as a man speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11), have to do to cause God to abort his mission? Don’t you think it would take a major sin?

            Then what was Moses’ major sin here at Meribah? He struck Jesus twice. Moses in essence crucified Jesus twice symbolically speaking, and you know that Jesus will only die one time for all sin.

            Christ had died for these people once at Massah, Exodus 17. It was here that God told Moses to strike the rock, remember? Therefore, Christ was crucified for them at Massah, symbolically speaking.

(11)      Rest

            Does this give great credence to the phrase from 1 Corinthians 4, “all drank the same spiritual drink.” That water that flowed from the rock was indeed holy because it came from Jesus.

            The water has spiritual representation in that it was physical water that flowed from Jesus that later would be the very water Jesus talked about with the Samaritan woman at the well. Water you can drink and never get thirsty again! (John 4).

            Moses misrepresented the living water by 1) making the audience think it was he and Aaron giving it, and 2) striking Jesus down once again. Before I put this together, I always wondered what Moses did that was significant enough to keep him out of the Promised Land. Now you know the rest of the story, so to speak.

            The Jews rebelled in Exodus 17, and they rebelled again in Numbers 20. For the entire span of the 40 years wilderness wanderings, Israel did not walk with God even though he walked with them.


            Great significance in this verse! The church was 34 to 36 years old when the book of Hebrews was written. The first generation of Jews out of Egypt died off at the end of 40 years.

            Jesus had warned the Jews, “and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Luke 19:44).

            Let’s put two and two together. If the Jews wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, the audience to whom the author of Hebrews is writing would know this, wouldn’t they? Therefore, along with Jesus’ text in Luke 19:44, the author is telling them, “I think I have it from the Holy Spirit, 40 years after the church begins, look out! Jesus’ words will come true.”

            Therefore, if the church members decide to go into Jerusalem and worship in the Temple, they will forfeit their physical lives. Jerusalem will fall in AD 70.


(12)      Rest

            Why was God angry with this generation? You have to know this. The answer to the question is the turning point in this epistle.

            Look at Numbers 14:1-4. Get it in your mind that God redeemed Israel from bondage in Egypt. Once God redeems a nation or an individual, he will not let them return to their former life.

            Look what the people decide to do. They want to appoint a leader and return back into their bondage of slavery.

            What did God do? He says that they cannot go back. He refuses to let them return to their bondage. God gives a great lesson to this church to whom the author is writing and to you. When God redeems a nation or you, he will not let you go back to being unredeemed.

            It is nearly unimaginable how this generation could experience the miracles in Egypt, the Red Sea crossing, the Manna and God’s glory leading them and God’s presence on Mt. Sinai and still be so blind to God’s glory and power. Sounds like some I know today!


            Which rest will this first generation of Israelites not experience? Already they have experienced redemption rest. God doesn’t allow them to become unredeemed. With the Levitical System of Worship, most of the congregation will be able to repent of their rebellion. Therefore, the rest they didn’t get to experience was Canaan rest.

            Sabbath rest was observed in the physical every Saturday. Since the whole community observed this day and stayed in their tents, the Jews physically kept Sabbath rest. However, they could never get too close to God because of their sin nature with which everyone since Adam is born.

V 12 “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.”

            I thought that if you read the Bible long enough you would find a place that said you could lose your salvation. Is that what this verse is saying?

            I know the verse isn’t telling you this. The author begins with “take care brethren.” He is still writing to believers, isn’t he?

(13)      Rest

            Let me ask you something? Is there an Old Testament believer who had an unbelieving heart?

            You probably can think of a couple, but the one I am talking about is Moses.

            If you were to ask a Jew of AD 64 who Moses was, they would say, “He’s the greatest man who ever lived. He saw the glory of God. God gave us the Law through him.

            However, guess what Moses did? He lived in unbelief. At least he lived in unbelief for a season.

            Look at Numbers 20:12, “But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore, you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

            Moses lived in unbelief, didn’t he?

            I want to tie in verse 11 before we attempt to answer our original thought about falling away.

            The end of verse says, “. . .They shall not enter because of unbelief.” What is it they cannot enter? It is God’s rest. Which rest can they not enter? The first generation of Jews will not be able to enter the Promised Land and Canaan rest!

            Why was Israel not able to enter Canaan rest? It was because of their unbelief. Why was Moses not able to enter Canaan rest? It was because of his unbelief.

            However, none of this first generation will enter into Canaan rest except Joshua and Caleb. Don’t you think that Moses and Aaron should have taken notice of what God said here?

            Let’s solve our dilemma. Moses could not enter Canaan because unbelief brings on disobedience. What is unbelief? Did you ever walk in unbelief?

            Let me ask you something? Can God do anything? You see, I firmly believe that God can do anything, but I don’t always believe that he will!

            Whenever I don’t believe that he will, I walk in unbelief. That’s what Moses did. That’s what Israel did. The Israelites and Moses had witnessed all of God’s great miracles. Do you think they believed that God could do anything?

(14)      Rest

            However, both the first generation of Israelites and Moses are asking themselves, will he? They are ready to enter Canaan and eventually Canaan rest. They send spies to see if they can take the land. 10 say, “No, we do not believe that he will.” 2 say, “Yes, we believe he will.”

            I would say that none of that first generation of Israelites would dare say that God could not do anything! However, most of them walked in unbelief and thought that he wouldn’t.

            If you really survey your life and your belief system, I would venture to say that the majority of you spend most of your time walking in unbelief because you do not accept that God will do everything for you. You know he can, but there are often times when you wonder will he.

            I spend some of my time walking in unbelief.

            So Moses, a man who has God’s power in his hands, disobeys God in Numbers 20. He says, “I’ll show these dilbert Jews. Through the power of my flesh, I’ll bring water from the rock”

            He struck the rock twice. He walked in unbelief, and it cost him the privilege of leading the nation into Canaan.

            I have a huge question here. Did it cost him his salvation? You know the answer to this. It is absolutely not. His falling away in unbelief did not cost him his salvation.

            How do you know? He appears on the mountain with Elijah before Jesus in Matthew 17. Also, God didn’t send him back to Egypt.

            Looking further at verse 12, let me ask you? Did Moses disobey and fall away in unbelief? Yes, he did. Did all the first generation of Israel disobey and fall away and walk in unbelief? Yes, they did.

            Big question here, did they lose their relationship with God? No, he still fed them, led them, healed them, clothed them and walked with them on their journey.

            That is the light in which you must see verse 12. You can have an unbelieving heart, fall away from God in the sense of walking in disobedience and still be saved. You can’t pull the verse out of context and apply it to salvation.

V 13 “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

(15)      Rest

            Keep in mind that “today” represents that span of time when rest has been available, i.e. from Genesis 2 until present.

            One other question you might explore regarding verse 12, why would the author write verse 13 if the dilbert believers of verse 12 had fallen away in unbelief and lost their salvation? Do you see the fallacy of believing that verse 12 has anything to do with salvation?

            Can the deceitfulness of sin harden one’s heart? Can you think of people whom you know that have been affected by the deceitfulness of sin to the point their heart is extremely hard?

            Those of you who studied Romans with me learned that sin can deceive one and cause him to loose discernment or have a heart that can’t repent right away. However, if you as a believer are deceived by sin, expect God’s chastening to come on you. He will spank you, but he will do it with a tear in his eye.

V 14 “For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,”

            Here you have another verse like verse 6. Again, it does not say if we hold fast our salvation firm to the end. Review verse 6 in order to understand this verse. 

V 15 “while it is said,


            Again he cautions his audience to do it today. Remember his audience. If the book is written in AD 64, they have four years to get it right. If the book was written in AD 66, they only have two years before Titus comes.

V 16 “For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?”

            Do you see how the author pinpoints the very people he wants you to plug into these verses? He is writing about the first generation of redeemed Israel. His audience would know all about them.

V 17 “And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?”

(16)      Rest

            Guess what this verse doesn’t say? It doesn’t say, “Was it not with those who sinned and were sent back to Egypt and become unredeemed?”

            What it does say is that their bodies fell in the wilderness. The author is saying the very same thing to his audience. “If you go back under Temple worship, your bodies will fall here in Jerusalem.

            “Although you go back to the sacrificial worship system, you won’t lose your salvation, but you will lose your physical bodies.”

V 18 “And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient?”

            If you walk in disobedience you cannot enter Sabbath rest. Redemptive rest, yes. Canaan and Sabbath rest usually cannot be experienced whenever you are walking in disobedience. The object is to win battles to advance to the next level.

V 19 “So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.”

            Although God didn’t let the Israelites return to Egypt and slavery, they did not get to enter Canaan rest. They didn’t trust that he could give them victory over their enemies.

            Do you have questions about the three rests? Take some time to meditate and digest the material on the three rests.

            This study of rest has been presented free to the reader. If you want to make a donation to B. C. Ministries, Inc. your tax deductible donation will be accepted and used to help others know the truth of God’s word.

A Servant of Jesus,

B. Howard Coffey, Director

(17)      Rest

Terms in Psalm 119 for God’s Covenant Revelation

testimonies‘edotwhat God solemnly testifies to be his will
preceptspiqqudimwhat God has appointed to be done
statuteskhuqqim; khuqqotwhat the divine Lawgiver has laid down
commandmentsmitswotwhat God has commanded
rulesmishpatimwhat the divine Judge has ruled to be right
word’imrah; dabarwhat God has spoken

Chart is from ESV Bible, Psalm 119, Pg.  reprinted with permission.

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