Entering His Rest
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In Hebrews 3: 7 - 4: 11, the writer discusses the entering of the place of rest that God has prepared from the beginning of creation for those who keep His commandments. Alluding to Psalm 95: 10, 11, he tells why the children of Israel who were brought out of Israel could not attain it. Alluding to Psalm 95: 7, he refers to a rest yet to come.

In this paper, I am making a comparative analysis of only a few verses in these passages, namely Psalm 95: 10, 11 and Hebrews 4: 3, 7, 8, 9. Not all of the same versions are used throughout. In the process of comparing the versions, I hope to establish what is meant by God's place of rest. It will be necessary to read the whole of the passage mentioned in the first line to obtain the full impact. Some useful information is taken from the footnotes of a few versions. The Dartmouth Bible (an abbreviated version) omits all of the passages being compared.

Numerous versions are almost the same. Of all of the versions examined, the ones chosen have interesting aspects. However, I feel that a few have faulty translations. I leave my reader to draw his own conclusion. The King James Version and An American Translation (Beck) are being used as my base translations.


Versions Compared

 

AAT An American Translation (Beck) LBP Lamsa Bible
AB Amplified Bible MNT Moffatt New Translation
CEV Contemporary English Version NAB New American Bible
CJB Complete Jewish Bible NASV New American Standard Version
CLNT Concordant Literal New Testament NCV New Century Version
CNT Cassirer New Testament NIV New International Version
DHB Darby Holy Bible NJB New Jerusalem Bible
DRB Douay-Rheims Bible NNT Noli New Testament
EBR The Emphasized Bible NSNT Norlie's Simplified New Testament
HBME The Holy Bible in Modern English RSV Revised Standard Version
HBRV Holy Bible, Revised Version SGAT An American Translation (Smith-Goodspeed)
IB Interlinear Bible SSBE Sacred Scriptures, Bethel Edition
IV Inspired Version TM The Message
KJV King James Version WAS Worrell New Testament
LB Living Bible YLR Young's Literal Translation, Revised Edition


Psalm 95: 10, 11
KJV Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
AAT "For forty years I was disgusted with those people;
      I said, 'They're a people whose hearts are going astray;
      they haven't learned My ways.'
"So in my anger I took a solemn oath:
      'They will never come to My place of rest!'"
AB Forty years long was I grieved and disgusted with that generation, and said, It is a people that do err in the their heart, and they do not approve, acknowledge, or regard My ways.
Wherefore I swore in My wrath that they should not enter [the land of promise] My rest [Heb. 4: 3-11.]
HBME Forty years long was I grieved with that generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
Wherefore I sware in my wrath, that they should not enter into my rest.
IV Forty years long I was grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and have not known my ways;
Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
LB "For forty years I watched them in disgust," the Lord God says. "They were a nation whose thoughts and heart were far away from me. They refused to accept my laws. Therefore in mighty wrath I swore that they would never enter the Promised Land, the place of rest I planned for them."
NSNT "I abhorred that generation for forty long years, and said,
      'They are an aberrant people, who do not acknowledge My ways.'
"So I swore solemnly in My anger,
      that they should not enter My land of rest.
TM For forty years they watched me at work among them,
      as over and over they tried my patience.
And I was provoked -- oh, was I provoked!
      'Can't they keep their minds on God for five minutes?
      Do they simply refuse to walk down my road?'
Exasperated, I exploded,
      'They'll never get where they're headed,
      never be able to sit down and rest.'"
YLR Forty years, I am weary of the generation,
And I say, 'A people erring in heart -- they!
And they have not known my ways.'
Where I sware in My anger,
'If they come in unto My rest --!'

All of these versions, except Young's Literal Translation, make it clear that the children of Israel will not come into God rest. The use of the conditional makes the meaning unclear. This is because of the translation being literal. The actual meaning is noted later. The Amplified Bible and the Living Bible refer to the Promised Land, to which the children of Israel were headed. This passage alludes to Numbers 14: 23, which reads as follows in the King James Version:

...; Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it: ... .

However, I believe that there is more than the land of Canaan involved.


Hebrews 4: 3
KJV For we which have believed do enter into rest as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
AAT We who have believed go to a rest, since He has said: So I sware in My anger that they will never come to My place of rest. And yet God finished His work when He made the world, ...
AB For we who have believed -- who have adhered to and trusted and relied on God -- do enter into that rest, in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest, and that He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who believe] from the foundation of the world. [Ps. 95: 11.]
CLNT Then we who believe are entering into the stopping, according as He has declared,
      "As I swear in My indignation,
      If they shall be entering into My stopping --!"
Although the works occur from the disruption of the world.
DHB For we enter into the rest who have believed; as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, If they shall enter into my rest; although the works had been completed from [the] foundation of [the] world.
DRB For we, who have believed, shall enter into rest; as he said: As I have sworn in my wrath; If they shall enter into my rest; and this indeed when the works from the foundation of the world were finished.
HBRV For we which have believed do enter into that rest; even as he hath said, As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
IV For we who have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, If they harden their hearts they shall not enter into my rest; also, I have sworn, If they will not harden their hearts, they shall enter into my rest; although the works of God were prepared (or finished) from the foundation of the world.
LB For only we who believe God can enter into his place of rest. He has said, "I have sworn in my anger that those who don't believe me will never get in," even though he has been ready and waiting for them since the world began.
LBP But we who have believed will enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest; for behold, the works of God were from the very foundation of the world.
NIV Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God said,
      "So I declared an oath in my anger,
            'They shall never enter my rest.' "
And yet his work had been finished since the creation of the world.
NSNT For, to enter his rest, one has to believe. Just as He has said, "So in My anger I took an oath, saying, 'They shall never enter My rest.'" All His works had been planned before the foundation of the world..
TM If we believe, though, we'll experience that state of resting. But not if we don't have faith. Remember that God said,
      "Exasperated, I vowed,
            'They'll never get where they're going,
            never be able to sit down and rest.'"
God made that vow, even though he'd finished his part before the foundation of the world.
WAS For we who believed do enter into rest, even as He said, "As I swore in My wrath, they shall not enter into My rest; although the works were finished from the founding of a world."
YLR ..., for we do enter into the rest -- we who did believe, as He said, 'So I sware in My anger, If they shall enter into My rest --;' and yet the works were done from the foundation of the world, ... .

Within this verse is a quote from Psalm 95:11. The Amplified Bible, The Holy Bible in Modern English, the Living Bible, and Norlie's Simplified New Testament use should or would in one verse, but shall or will in the other. This inconsistency creates slightly different meanings. The Concordant Literal New Testament, the Douay-Rheims Bible, the Inspired Version, and the King James Version use the conditional in one, but not the other. Young's Literal Translation is consistent in using the conditional in both verses.

A footnote in the Worrell New Testament points out that "If they shall enter into My rest," is a Hebrew form of saying, "They shall not enter into My rest." Thus, five versions have translated literally from the Hebrew without indicating what the clause really means in English.


Hebrews 4: 7
KJV ..., To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
AAT ...; so He sets another day -- today -- when long afterwards He says in David's words, already quoted: Today if you hear Him speak, don't close your minds.
AB Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest,] saying through David after so long a time, in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice, and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts. [Ps. 95: 7, 8.]
CNT God, for his part, fixes another day -- 'today' as he calls it -- saying through the mouth of David, after the lapse of so many years, in the words already cited: 'If you hear his voice today, do not harden your hearts.'
LB But he has set another time for coming in, and that time is now. He announced this through King David long years after man's first failure to enter, saying in the words already quoted, "Today when you hear him calling, do not harden your hearts against him."
NAB ..., he once more set a day, "today," when long afterwards he spoke through David, as already quoted:
      "Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
      'Harden not your hearts.'"
RSV ..., again he sets a certain day, "Today," saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,
"Today, when you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts."
SGAT ..., he again fixes a new Today, saying long afterward through David, as already quoted,
      "If you hear his voice today,
            Do not harden your hearts!"

The key word is today. When is that? Some implications are as follows: that it was when Jesus was on earth; that it was when this epistle was written; or, that it is at any given time after the psalm was written. Whenever the time is, the message is for all people to listen to what God says and be ready for that day.


Hebrews 4: 8
KJV For if Jesus had given the rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
AAT If Joshua had given them rest God wouldn't later have spoken of another day.
AB [This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan], for if Joshua had given them rest, He (God) would not speak afterward about another day.
CJB For if Y'hoshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later of another "day."
CLNT For if Joshua causes them to stop, He would not have spoken concerning another day after these things.
DHB For if Jesus had brought them into rest, he would not have spoken afterwards about another day.
DRB For if Jesus had given this rest, he would never have afterwards spoken of another day.
HBRV For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day.
IV For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.
LB This new place of rest he is talking about does not mean the land of Israel that Joshua led them into.
LBP For if Joshua the son of Nun had given them rest, he would not afterward have spoken of another day.
NNT It is clear that Joshua had not given our forefathers this rest. Otherwise, the Lord would not have said at a much later date: "Today."
RSV For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later of another day.
SSBE For if Yahshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day.
TM And so this is still a live promise. It wasn't canceled at the time of Joshua: otherwise, God wouldn't keep renewing the appointment for "today."
WAS For, had Joshua given them rest, He would not afterward have spoken of another day.

The Darby Bible, the Inspired Version, and the King James Version refer to Jesus, while the other versions refer to Joshua. The Darby Bible points out the Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua. Unless the reader is aware of this, there may be confusion. The Bethel Edition and the Jewish New Testament use Hebrew forms of the anglicized name Joshua. The Lamsa Bible makes it clear that it was Joshua, the son of Nun. Obviously, the writer was referring to Joshua, who led the children of Israel into Canaan, not to Jesus, the Messiah. Again, in all of the versions, there is a reference to a day of rest in the future. The Amplified Bible makes it clear that Canaan was not where the rest would achieved.


Hebrews 4: 9
KJV There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
AAT So there is still a sabbath of rest for God's people, ... .
AB So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath rest reserved for the [true] people of God.
CEV But God has promised us a Sabbath when we will rest, even though it has not yet come.
CJB So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God's people.
CLNT Consequently a sabbatism is left for the people of God.
DHB There remains then a sabbatism to the people of God.
EBR Hence there is left over
      A Sabbath-keeping for the people of God.
IB So, then, there remains a rest to the people of God.
IV There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.
LB So there is a full complete rest still waiting for the people of God.
LBP It is therefore the duty of the people of God to keep the sabbath.
MNT There is a sabbath-Rest, then reserved still for the People of God ... .
NASV There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
NCV This shows that the rest for God's people is still coming.
NJB There must still be, therefore, a seventh-day rest reserved for God's people, ... .
NNT Therefore the hope of a heavenly rest is still there for the people of God.
NSNT At any rate, God's people have a today of sabbath rest awaiting them.
SGAT So there must still be a promised Sabbath of Rest for God's people.

Here is a definite reference to the Sabbath, as in verse 4. Although the point made about keeping the Sabbath in the Lamsa Bible is valid, it is out of context in this verse. Also, a footnote reference to a first-day sabbath in the Worrell New Testament is a misinterpretation based on the long-day theory when Joshua told the sun to stand still.

The Worrell New Testament points out in another footnote that the entering into the Promised Land of Canaan and God's resting on the seventh day are foreshadows of something to come. God worked for six days in creating heaven and earth, then rested on the seventh day, thus creating the Sabbath. Recorded history of mankind is now about six thousand years. God has promised one thousand years when Satan cannot tempt mankind. Thus, the Sabbath is representative of the Millennium. God stated through the psalmist that the Israelites who wandered for forty years in the wilderness, as well as later generations who would refuse to listen to Him, would not enter into His rest. These will not be a part of the Millennium, but will be resurrected later.

What will the people who enter this rest do? What did Jesus, who stated that He is the Lord of the Sabbath, do each seventh day? He taught in the temple. He also healed on the Sabbath. On occasion, He gathered food for Himself and His disciples. He did not break the law in Exodus 35: 3, which forbids the kindling of a fire on the Sabbath. Since He is our example, we may be doing some of the same things. Possibly, some of us are being prepared in this lifetime for our work during the Messianic Kingdom.


Conclusion

 

The psalmist and the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews are warning us not to be like the disobedient children of Israel who were denied entrance into the Promised Land. The time in the future of which they speak is the Messianic Kingdom. This probably could have been an accomplished fact long before now, except for the people of the world constantly refusing to follow God's direction. Given the number of people having existed since the time of Joshua, it is evident that many will not be a part of the Messianic Kingdom. Christians should be acutely aware of the warning that Jesus gave in Matthew 7: 21-23 to those who claim to follow Him.

My reader should study in his own version of the Bible and other versions the whole passage from which the compared verses above have been taken. This should be helpful in clarifying the message that the writer of the Hebrews is telling.