The Sabbath Rest. 1Therefore, let us be on our guard while the promise of entering into his rest remains, that none of you seem to have failed. 2For in fact we have received the good news just as they did. But the word that they heard did not profit them, for they were not united in faith with those who listened. 3For we who believed enter into [that] rest, just as he has said:a
“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter into my rest,’”
and yet his works were accomplished at the foundation of the world. 4For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works”;b 5and again, in the previously mentioned place, “They shall not enter into my rest.”c 6Therefore, since it remains that some will enter into it, and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience, 7he once more set a day, “today,” when long afterwards he spoke through David, as already quoted:d
“Oh, that today you would hear his voice:
‘Harden not your hearts.’”
8Now if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterwards of another day.e 9Therefore, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God. 10And whoever enters into God’s rest, rests from his own works as God did from his. 11Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience.
12Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.f 13No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.g
Jesus, Compassionate High Priest. 14* Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.h 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.i 16So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.j
* [4:14–16] These verses, which return to the theme first sounded in Heb 2:16–3:1, serve as an introduction to the section that follows. The author here alone calls Jesus a great high priest (Heb 4:14), a designation used by Philo for the Logos; perhaps he does so in order to emphasize Jesus’ superiority over the Jewish high priest. He has been tested in every way, yet without sin (Heb 4:15); this indicates an acquaintance with the tradition of Jesus’ temptations, not only at the beginning (as in Mk 1:13) but throughout his public life (cf. Lk 22:28). Although the reign of the exalted Jesus is a theme that occurs elsewhere in Hebrews, and Jesus’ throne is mentioned in Heb 1:8, the throne of grace (Heb 4:16) refers to the throne of God. The similarity of Heb 4:16 to Heb 10:19–22 indicates that the author is thinking of our confident access to God, made possible by the priestly work of Jesus.
d. [4:7] 3:7–8, 15; Ps 95:7–8.
f. [4:12] Wis 18:15–16; Is 49:2; Eph 6:17; Rev 1:16; 2:12.
g. [4:13] Jb 34:21–22; Ps 90:8; 139:2–4.