The Meaning of Hebrews 4:9 Explained

Hebrews 4:9

KJV: There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

YLT: there doth remain, then, a sabbatic rest to the people of God,

Darby: There remains then a sabbatism to the people of God.

ASV: There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God.

What does Hebrews 4:9 Mean?

Study Notes

Or, keeping of a sabbath.

Verse Meaning

The Sabbath rest in view is the rest (inheritance) that every generation of believers and every individual believer enters into when he or she, like God, faithfully finishes his or her work. That work involves continuing to trust and obey God (i.e, walking by faith daily as opposed to apostatizing). Christians will enter into our rest, if we have persevered in faith, when we receive our inheritance from Jesus Christ at His judgment seat ( 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
Millennial rest in the Promised Land will be the portion of Israel in the future. Walter Kaiser also interpreted the rest as future. He believed that first Israel and then all believers would fulfill this promise by possessing the Promised Land in the Millennium. [1] However this passage seems to be referring to eternal rest for all believers of which the Millennium is just the beginning. Israel will be the primary people God blesses and makes a blessing in the Millennium. Neither is this Sabbath rest the present rest that Christians enjoy because God has finished His work of providing salvation for us in Christ and we have entered into it by faith. That should be clear because the rest in view is still future for us (cf. Hebrews 4:1; Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 4:9; Hebrews 4:11).

Context Summary

Hebrews 4:1-10 - The Rest That Joshua Could Not Give
The good news of Canaan's rest was preached to Israel but availed nothing, because the hearers were destitute of faith. They said, Can God? instead of, God can! They thought of their enemies as giants and themselves as grasshoppers, because they left God out of account. Take God into account -and we are giants and our enemies grasshoppers.
To all of us Christ offers rest, not in the other life only, but in this. See Hebrews 4:3; Hebrews 4:11. Rest from the weight of sin, from care and worry, from the load of daily anxiety and foreboding. The rest that arrives from handing all worries over to Christ, and receiving from Christ all we need. Have we entered into that experience? In Hebrews 4:6; Hebrews 4:11, where a.v. reads, "unbelief," r.v., reads, "disobedience." If we disobey, we cannot believe; but when we believe we are sure to obey. In Hebrews 4:10 we are directed to our risen Lord, who has finished the work of Redemption and rests, as God did when He pronounced Creation to be "very good." When we understand what He meant by "It is finished," we, too, shall rest. [source]

Chapter Summary: Hebrews 4

1  The Sabbath-Rest for Christians is attained by faith
12  The power of God's word
14  By our high priest Jesus, the Son of God,
16  we may and must go boldly to the throne of grace

Greek Commentary for Hebrews 4:9

A sabbath rest [σαββατισμος]
Late word from σαββατιζω — sabbatizō (Exodus 16:30) to keep the Sabbath, apparently coined by the author (a doubtful passage in Plutarch). Here it is parallel with καταπαυσις — katapausis (cf. Revelation 14:13). For the people of God Dative case of blessed personal interest to the true Israel (Galatians 6:16). [source]
There remaineth therefore a rest [ἄρα ἀπολείπεται σαββατισμὸς]
Remaineth, since in the days of neither Moses, Joshua, or David was the rest appropriated. He passes over the fact that the rest had not been entered into at any later period of Israel's history. Man's portion in the divine rest inaugurated at creation has never been really appropriated: but it still remaineth. This statement is justified by the new word for “rest” which enters at this point, σαββατισμὸς instead of κατάπαυσις , N.T.oolxx, oClass., signifies a keeping Sabbath. The Sabbath rest points back to God's original rest, and marks the ideal rest - the rest of perfect adjustment of all things to God, such as ensued upon the completion of his creative work, when he pronounced all things good. This falls in with the ground-thought of the Epistle, the restoration of all things to God's archetype. The sin and unbelief of Israel were incompatible with that rest. It must remain unappropriated until harmony with God is restored. The Sabbath-rest is the consummation of the new creation in Christ, through whose priestly mediation reconciliation with God will come to pass. [source]
For the people of God [τῷ λαῷ τοῦ θεοῦ]
For the phrase see Romans 9:25; Romans 11:1; 1 Peter 2:10. and comp. Israel of God, Galatians 6:16. The true Israel, who inherit the promise by faith in Christ. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Hebrews 4:9

Hebrews 13:12 That he might sanctify the people [ἵνα ἁγιάσῃ τὸν λαόν]
Ἁγιάζειν tosanctify had a peculiar significance to Jews. It meant to set them apart as holy. Hence, the Israelites were called ἅγιοι , as separated from other nations and consecrated to God. Our writer extends the application of the word to Christians. For Christ's work he claims the same efficacy which the Jew claimed for the special call of God to Israel, and for the operation of the Jewish sacrificial system. The office of his atoning work is to sanctify; to make for himself a holy nation ( ἔθνος ἅγιον ), a people “prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17); a true Israel of God. Ὁ λαός thepeople, or λαός mypeople, occurs constantly in O.T. as a designation of Israel, and also in N.T. See, in this epistle, Hebrews 5:3; Hebrews 7:5, Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:7, Hebrews 9:19. The N.T. extends the title to all who, under the new dispensation, occupy the position of Israel. See 1 Peter 2:10; Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:10; Hebrews 4:9; Hebrews 8:10; Hebrews 10:30; Hebrews 11:25. [source]
Hebrews 10:26 If we sin willfully [εκουσιως αμαρτανοντων ημων]
Genitive absolute with the present active participle of αμαρτανω — hamartanō circumstantial participle here in a conditional sense. After that we have received “After the receiving” (accusative case of the articular infinitive second aorist active of λαμβανω — lambanō after μετα — meta). Knowledge “Full knowledge,” as in Hebrews 6:4. There remaineth no more “No longer is there left behind” (present passive indicative as in Hebrews 4:9), for one has renounced the one and only sacrifice for sin that does or can remove sin (10:1-18). [source]
Hebrews 4:6 It remaineth [απολειπεται]
Present passive indicative of απολειπω — apoleipō old verb to leave behind, to remain over. So again in Hebrews 4:9; Hebrews 10:26. Here the infinitive clause “Did not enter in” (second aorist active indicative of εισερχομαι — eiserchomai). It is a rabbinical argument all along here, but the author is writing to Jews. [source]

What do the individual words in Hebrews 4:9 mean?

So then there remains a Sabbath rest for the people - of God
ἄρα ἀπολείπεται σαββατισμὸς τῷ λαῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ

ἄρα  So  then 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: ἄρα  
Sense: therefore, so then, wherefore.
ἀπολείπεται  there  remains 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Middle or Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἀπολείπω  
Sense: to leave, to leave behind.
σαββατισμὸς  a  Sabbath  rest 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: σαββατισμός  
Sense: a keeping sabbath.
τῷ  for  the 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
λαῷ  people 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: λαός  
Sense: a people, people group, tribe, nation, all those who are of the same stock and language.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεοῦ  of  God 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.