The last post was admittedly long, and we covered a lot of material. Hebrews 4 is not the easiest passage to study, so I’ve asked Albert Barnes to help us by giving four application points. (Okay, Albert Barnes is dead, so I didn’t specifically ask him for his help. I am, however, going to quote his commentary, which I hope will serve us in applying a lot of what we have been studying.)
(1.) that heaven is a place of cessation from wearisome toil. It is to be like the “rest” which God had after the work of creation, (Heb 4:4) See Heb 4:4, and of which that was the type and emblem. There will be employment there, but it will be without fatigue; there will be the occupation of the mind, and of whatever powers we may possess, but without weariness. Here we are often worn down and exhausted. The body sinks under continued toil, and falls into the grave. There the slave will rest from his toil; the man here oppressed and broken down by anxious care will cease from his labours. We know but little of heaven; but we know that a large part of what now oppresses and crushes the frame will not exist there. Slavery will be unknown; the anxious care for support will be unknown, and all the exhaustion which proceeds from the love of gain, and from ambition, will be unknown. In the wearisome toils of life, then, let us look forward to the rest that remains in heaven; and as the labourer looks to the shades of the evening, or to the Sabbath, as a period of rest, so let us look to heaven as the place of eternal repose.
(2.) Heaven will be like a Sabbath. The best description of it is to say it is an eternal Sabbath. Take the Sabbath on earth, when best observed, and extend the idea to eternity, and let there be separated all idea of imperfection from its observance, and that would be heaven. The Sabbath is holy; so is heaven. It is a period of worship; so is heaven. It is for praise, and for the contemplation of heavenly truth; so is heaven. The Sabbath is appointed that we may lay aside worldly cares and anxieties for a little season here; heaven, that we may lay, them aside for ever.
(3.) The Sabbath here should be like heaven. It is designed to be its type and emblem. So far as the circumstances of the case will allow, it should be just like heaven. There should be the same employments; the same joys; the same communion with God. One of the best rules for employing the Sabbath aright is, to think what heaven will be, and then to endeavour to spend it in the same way. One day in seven at least should remind us of what heaven is to be; and that day may be, and should be, the most happy of the seven.
(4.) They who do not love the Sabbath on earth are not prepared for heaven. If it is to them a day of tediousness; if its hours move heavily; if they have no delight in its sacred employments, what would an eternity of such days be? How would they be passed? Nothing can be clearer than that if we have no such happiness in a season of holy rest, and in holy employments here, we are wholly unprepared for heaven. To the Christian it is the subject of the highest joy in anticipation, that heaven is to be one long, unbroken SABBATH—an eternity of successive Sabbath hours. But what, to a sinner, could be a more repulsive and gloomy prospect than such an eternal Sabbath?
So the ultimate rest the believer looks to is the eternal rest of Heaven. As we have seen before, the Sabbath is only a type of that which is to come. And since the antitype has not yet arrived, the type still remains in effect. If the Sabbath really does point us to Heaven (which we eagerly anticipate), what storehouses of joy await us as we seek to honor God by sanctifying one day in seven!
Commentaries Cited from
Hall, Kay. Online Bible. Beersheba Springs: Ken Hamel, 2000. CD-ROM.
Notes on the New Testament, by Albert Barnes