Hebrews 4:9-11 There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.
10 For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.
11 Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
The rest these verses speak of is the sabbath rest, not the sabbath or seventh day of the week but the Day of the Lord. The Scriptures concerning the sabbath relate more to the Kingdom of God than they do to a day of the week. For example, when the Bible says that one should not labor on the sabbath, it means that when we come to the Kingdom Sabbath what we do should not be done by our own energies or intellect but by the Spirit. Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 4:6. The time comes when what we do must not be accomplished by our own energy or intelligence, but the Spirit of the Lord must accomplish it through us. Paul said, When I am weak, then am I strong (II Corinthians 12:10). God’s ability is manifested through a people who recognize their inability.
Entering His rest means that we have ceased from our own labors; we are no longer doing works for God. Instead, He is accomplishing His will through us. Paul spoke of the time when the Lord would come forth in His saints. When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. II Thessalonians 1:10. This is not a rapture nor a literal personal return of the Lord. This is a spiritual coming of His presence within His saints. (The Scriptures refer to it as the Parousia.) He is glorified and admired in them because He is functioning through them in a way that the church has not experienced. They have entered His rest. They have ceased from their own works. They are not working for the Lord, but He is working through them.
A surface reading of II Thessalonians 1:10 may cause us to think that we only have to be here when the Lord makes this coming. His presence comes forth within us and we have entered His rest. Hebrews 4:11 seems to indicate that it isn’t quite that simple. Let us labour therefore to enter that rest. But neither do we work our way into the day of rest, for the thing most indicative concerning the day of rest is that we have ceased from our own works (Hebrews 4:10). So the labor mentioned must have to do with something other than works performed.
There is another kind of labor spoken of in the Scriptures and that is the labor of travail. So we do not work our way into His rest, but we are birthed into it, born into the Kingdom of God. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. John 3:3. It is obvious, since Hebrews 4:9 says that there remains therefore a rest to the people of God,that the birthing process into His rest is something more than conversion to Christianity. It would also seem that this is not an experience shared by all Christians. Christians that are really hungering after God and pressing on to know Him are few in number.
Following the thought of being birthed into His rest, let’s look at a few Scriptures concerning it.
I Timothy 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
We learn from I Corinthians 15:45-47 that Adam prefigures Jesus Christ, who is called the second Adam. God taking a rib from Adam and making Eve (Genesis 2:21-22) is prophetic of how the church is formed from the Lord Jesus Christ.
So Adam being first formed and then Eve speaks prophetically of Jesus Christ coming forth first. He was the Beginning, the first fruits (Revelation 1:8; I Corinthians 15:20). Then out of His ministry and sacrifice the church was created.
I Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Jesus was not deceived, for He knew no sin (Hebrews 4:15). It is those who make up the church (Eve) that were in transgression.
I Timothy 2:15 Notwithstanding she (the church) shall be saved in childbearing, if they (the church) continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
The church will bear a manchild, a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). This manchild will be a company of believers, not an individual. The church birthing this manchild is seen again in the Book of Revelation.
Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.
This is a picture of the church under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Twelve is the apostolic number dealing with divine government. So this is the church Paul described as being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20).
Revelation 12:2,5 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.
The woman brings forth a manchild; that is, out of the church comes forth a manchild company. The manchild is a many-membered Body. Verse 6 refers to the manchild as “they.” The manchild company along with Jesus Christ will rule the nations with a rod of iron. In Revelation chapter three Jesus calls them overcomers. And he that overcomes, and keeps My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron… Revelation 3:26-27. Notice that Jesus uses the phrase “keepeth My works,” meaning they allow the Lord to work through them. Thus they have entered His rest.
The manchild is caught up to God, and to His throne, meaning they ascend to a place of authority in God. They do not leave the earth; it is a spiritual ascendancy. It is the same as saying that they have entered the Lord’s rest. They are now in a place where God can accomplish His works through them.
Revelation 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
The manchild company with its new authority turns and ministers to the church. The same principle is seen in the story of Joseph. He was of the house of Jacob, which represents the church. After being sold into slavery in Egypt, God lifts him up to a place of authority, second in command to Pharaoh over all Egypt. During the time of famine Joseph ministered to his brethren. Joseph, in this sense, was prophetic of a Joseph-company. Thus, the manchild ministers to the woman in the wilderness.
Romans 8:18-19 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature (creation) waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
Notice that Paul speaks of the glory which shall be revealed in us. This is referring to what he said to the Thessalonians, When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (Thessalonians 1:10). Therefore the manifestation of the sons is actually a manifestation of the Son in the sons. The presence of the Lord comes forth in the sons. He is birthed within them. The sufferings of this present time that Paul spoke of in verse 18 is the travail, the labor to enter His rest.
Romans 8:20-22 For the creature (creation) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature (creation) itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.
The glorious liberty of the sons is the rest that remains for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9). The Lord will deliver all of creation from futility, but it won’t be done until we break through into His rest. The deliverance of all creation is a ministry of the Lord through His saints. The Body of Christ is the channel or vehicle for everything that the Lord will do. The Head will not function without the Body.
Entering His rest means being under His control and direction. Can you imagine what it would be like trying to direct an obstinate mule in one direction when it wants to go in another? It’s a losing battle. What about directing a team of mules? That is the problem the Lord has with the church. It is divided into many different organizations, each one doing its own thing. Each denomination and non-denominational organization thinks it is the right one, has its heels dug in and will not change. Each one has its own creed, statement of faith, and form of worship. And each one has denied the Lordship of Jesus Christ by doing its own thing.
Out of this lukewarm and divisive church will come a manchild company that will follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth (Revelation 14:4). They will submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. They will enter His rest. The Lord will have full liberty to function through them in any way He desires. It will be at this time that the judgments of the Lord will be turned loose, first in the church and then in the whole earth (I Peter 4:17). Satan’s antichrist system will be destroyed.
Those who enter His rest will be the ones that the Lord uses to minister His judgments. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? I Corinthians 6:2. Let the saints be joyful in glory…Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all His saints. Praise ye the Lord. Psalm 149:5-9.
When the Lord is glorified in His saints (II Thessalonians 1:10), then they will have entered His rest because it will be the authority of the Lord working through them. They are not functioning by their own energies. And the judgments of the Lord are not turned loose in the earth until there is a people who can minister them. The Lord is revealed from heaven and ministers His judgments when He is glorified in His saints. And to you who are troubled rest with us (enter His rest with us), when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. II Thessalonians 1:7-10.