The Spirit of God is hovering over His church, powerfully and graciously wooing her and leading her into the place of rest, which Hebrews 4 declares is available to all of His children. This invitation to this seemingly mystical rest is increasing in its intensity.
The phrase, “The Rest,” has two different meanings. One meaning is: “that which remains,” as in “The Rest of the Story.” The other meaning is “stopping our work and getting refreshed.” But “The Rest” of Hebrews 4 involves both. Hebrews 4:9 declares, “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” Thus, Scripture is telling us that there is more – the rest – of what God has given us that we need to possess. In other words, WE NEED TO POSSESS THE REST OF WHAT GOD HAS FOR US, WHICH IS THE REST.
Israel had some amazing blessings in the wilderness, which followed an amazing victory over Egypt, but the greatest blessings had not yet been claimed and “The Rest” of their blessings were still waiting for them.
The word, “REST,” in both Hebrew and Greek actually means, “ABODE,” which, I believe, has huge significance for the church today. This rest is more than just stopping work, but also being able to fully enjoy possessions. Israel did not enter into their “Abode” because of unbelief. The Promised Land was their “Abode.”
It’s like getting to go home when you’ve been on a long trip. You don’t really rest until you get to your own house and your own bed, etc. We’ve stayed in some nice motels and hotels, as well as some very nice homes on the road, but we don’t really completely rest until we get home to what is our own, as humble as it may be. Our soul longs for that complete emotional rest that only comes when we are where we feel we can be totally ourselves.
Our rest in God is something like that. We may know we have eternal life, but not fully possessing what He has provided for us. He wants us to be led into the fullness of His promises and go in to possess the land that has been waiting for us.
The King James Version translates Hebrews 4:11 this way: “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
The word, “labor,” actually means “do it quickly and diligently.” Israel’s sin of unbelief caused them to delay action, which led them to wander in the wilderness without entering their rest for forty years. When God is ready to bless you, take quick action and trust Him completely.
Israel had possession of their freedom from slavery. It was much better than slavery, but God wanted to give them the fullness of His blessing in their own land. They missed out because of fear and unbelief. Fear and unbelief always partner to rob us and to rob God.
What we may miss when we read Hebrews 4 is the application for the church. Even as Israel, under Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, had possessed the land of Canaan for three generations, so the church was in possession of its territory in the early days of their history. Whereas “Natural Israel” was given a natural piece of land to possess, “Spiritual Israel,” the church, was given a spiritual territory to possess. That wonderful gift was the fulness of the manifested presence of God, which produced incredible fruit and power, after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. The spiritual fruit was the amazing level of unselfishness and generosity. The power was miracles of healing, deliverance and raising the dead, resulting in thousands of souls saved.
This was the Promised Land of the early church. Jesus gave them the promise repeatedly in John 14-17 and then again in Acts 1:8, when He told them they would receive power after the Holy Spirit had come upon them, causing them to be witnesses at home and abroad.
Israel had lost their possessions for over 400 years before they were able to reclaim it through many battles in their Promised Land. In like manner, the church had lost its possessions for over a thousand years, and it has taken several hundred years, beginning with the Reformation to get to where we are today in reclaiming our spiritual possessions. Like Joshua, before his death, I believe Jesus, whose Hebrew name is actually Joshua, is calling the church to finish taking back their possessions from the enemy. He wants to strike a death blow to false doctrines, such as Cessationism, which claims that miracles are not for today, by demonstrating His power and might to the nations.
Are we, His church, ready to go in and possess our inherited “Abode?”
I hear the voice of God exhorting us: “Go in and possess the land. I gave it to you 2000 years ago. Don’t fear the giants in the land, whether they be religious, political or leaders from any mountain of society. I have given them into your hands. Just listen and obey. When I tell you to march around Jericho seven times, do it. Trust me and I will show you my right hand of power. Did I not instruct Joshua to be strong and of a good courage? So now, I am instructing My church. Rise up and possess your possessions, so you can truly enter into your perfect rest. Only then, can I demonstrate to the lost, how much I love them and how mighty a God I AM. Listen and obey, and I will use you to build My Kingdom.