Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 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. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,
Hebrews 3:12-14 NASB
Unto what are we to hold fast? — To Christ, or to Rest in Him?
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.
Hebrews 4:9-11 NASB
What is this verse saying? Where is the emphasis? Is it on our entering into a present state of rest? Some say yes, that if we have entered into Christ we have ceased from our work and we are then to be at rest in Him. But the verse does not seem to be saying this. There remains for the people of God this rest. If it remains, even after Christ’s coming and His acceptance then we have not yet entered that rest. It remains future. Is there any implication that the writer is asking us to join him there now? Does he imply in any way that he is presently in this rest of which he speaks?
The Sabbath rest for Israel was a once a week 7th day rest. Was this rest instituted as a permanent present rest to be had in Christ following His fulfilling of scripture, and giving us the Gospel? Or is this word to us in Hebrews an admonition to keep on until we enter a future promise? “Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.” If this rest were possible for us to enter today would not the writer already have entered? But he says: “therefore let us be diligent”. The Sabbath rest was given by God pointing to a future Millennium wherein we will rest from our struggle with the tribulations of this present age.
The writer of Hebrews obviously is made fully aware of the dangers in this present age. In the Chapter 3 verses above there is stated a clear and present danger to be avoided. Our rest is a future promise. Our diligence is a current and ongoing need action on our part in order to enter His rest. Our current state is to trust Him and obey in faith believing for we have a blessed hope.