Entering into God's Rest

From the beginning, creation and God’s rest have been inseparably linked together. We know that God who created all things was named Jesus and that all things were created by Him, for Him, through Him, “and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Colossians 1.17. “He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1.2. 3

This same Jesus promised Moses and the people of Israel, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33.14. This is the very same promise recorded in Matthew 11.28: “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

“But God always was and is everywhere present; why then do not all people have rest? –For the simple reason that as a general thing men do not recognize His presence, nor even His existence.” Romans 1.20 makes it clear that “it is as Creator that God reveals Himself, for the fact that He creates marks Him as the self-existent God, and distinguishes Him from all false gods.”

“Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 124.8. Now since rest is found only in God’s presence, and His presence is truly known and appreciated only through His works, it is evident that the promised rest must be very closely connected with creation. 

The rest and the inheritance are always associated together in the promise.  Deuteronomy 12.8-16. They always associated together because they are one. Our inheritance is rest. Deuteronomy 3.18, 20.  David rightly adds to our understanding in Psalm 16.5, 6: “O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a good inheritance.” He is both our rest and our inheritance; having Him, we have all. He is also ‘THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS’. Jeremiah 23.6, 7; 33.16.   The Lord, our rest from sin.

Yet with all the power of the universe at their disposal, the people of Israel did not enter into God’s rest. Hebrews 4.1-11 discloses their history because what they did, we are at high risk of doing also. They did not enter in because of unbelief. They did not believe the gospel that was preached to them because they did not mix what they heard with faith. They did not believe it – they did not accept it – they did not enter into God’s rest.

Here we see a parallel to our own recent history in 1888. The Lord in His great mercy brought the clearest presentation of the gospel to this people. They did not accept it – they did not believe it. As we have learned, unbelief prevents one from entering into God’s rest – just like the ancient people of Israel. It is a principle.

The fact that “they could not enter in because of unbelief” shows that they would have entered in if they had believed; and the fact that perfect rest was all ready for them, is still further shown by the statement, “the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”

The rest that is promised is God’s rest. This incomparable rest is what God gave man in the beginning. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Genesis 2.15. “Eden” means delight, pleasure; the garden of Eden is the garden of delight; the Hebrew word which in this place is rendered “put” is a word meaning rest; therefore Genesis 2.15 may be rendered thus: “And the Lord God took the man, and caused him to rest in the garden of delight to dress it and to keep it.”
Adam entered into rest, because he entered into God’s perfect, finished work. He was God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had before prepared, that he should walk in them. “This is the work of God, that ye believe,” (John 6.29), and it was solely by faith that Adam could enjoy God’s work and share His rest; for as soon as Adam disbelieved God, taking the word of Satan instead, he lost everything.

“We which believe do enter into rest,” because “this is the work of God, that ye believe.” The two statements are identical in meaning, because the work of God, which is ours by faith, is completed work, and therefore to enter upon that work is to enter upon rest.

God did the work and placed Adam in possession of it, with directions to keep it – this he did so long as he kept the faith.

It is impossible for man to keep the Sabbath of the Lord without faith because the “just shall live by faith.” Sabbath rest is a spiritual rest, so that physical rest apart from spiritual rest is not Sabbath keeping at all. Sabbath rest is much more than a nap.

Bear this in mind that while the Sabbath day is the seventh day of the week, the rest, which the Sabbath day brings to view, is continuous. Only those who rest in the Lord all the time keep the Sabbath. When Jesus cried, “It is finished,” He was announcing that through His cross could be obtained the perfect works of God, which were finished from the foundation of the world.

“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, …” and “Come to Me, … and I will give you rest.” ‘Here are those that have entered into God’s rest by His faith – the ones who believed Him when He said, “It is finished.’Revelation 18.4; Matthew 11.28

And on the seventh day Jesus rested from all His work.

Daniel Peters

For further reading CLICK HERE and read chapters 38-41.