THE SUPERIORITY OF MESSIAH TO MOSES AND A SUMMARY OF THE FIVE “RESTS” OF SCRIPTURE: HEBREWS 3 & 4

 

I. A COMPARISON AND CONTRAST: MESSIAH THE LORD AND MOSES THE SERVANT (Heb. 3:1-6)

Moses was the most significant figure in Jewish history. Even today the Jewish community holds him in the highest regard. God used him to communicate to the nation of Israel. The present passage, while exalting the Messiah, is in no way depreciating Moses. As the mediator of the Torah, Moses was faithful (Heb. 3:2-5).

Despite his prestige, Moses remained a servant, but Jesus is the Messiah, God’s representative, and King. Moses was a witness who testified concerning a fuller revelation to come, whereas the Messiah is the very revelation of God. Moses was a faithful steward of God’s household, but Jesus constructed and constituted the entire household. Moses loved the Lord, but Jesus is equal to the Father. In the first century, Jewish believers in the Messiah felt excluded from the synagogue, but God never casts any follower of Jesus from His household.

II. THE “RESTS” OF SCRIPTURE (Heb. 3:7-19)

This passage in Hebrews emphasizes the theme of rest. This chapter describes five different types of “REST:”

  • SABBATICAL REST (Exodus 16:22-30)
    • Moses instituted a special
    • DAY OF REST when he instituted the Sabbath day for the nation of Israel. Sabbath violators were severely punished.
  • REST FOR THE FEET (Bodily Rest) (Heb. 4:8) 
    • Joshua, who led Israel into the promised land, gave Israel rest from wanderings in desert lands since the nation would settle down in a special place of God’s choosing, a land “of milk and honey.”
  • REST FOR THE SOUL  (Salvation rest)  (Heb. 4:10) 
    • The major ingredient of this rest is that one must “cease from his endeavors” since salvation is based entirely upon the finished work that Messiah Jesus accomplished when He sacrificed His life for His people (Isa. 53).
  • REST FOR THE MIND (Sanctification Rest)
    (Heb. 4:11)
    • This rest is hard to distinguish from the previous one. Since Jesus secured righteousness for His people through His death and resurrection, it remains the only means to a godly life. This rest requires labor and cooperation with the will of God. It is the rest afforded to believers who are in harmony with the perfect and divine plan of God for their life. 
  • ETERNAL REST (Heb. 4:9)
    • The author of Hebrews reminds believers of a rest throughout eternity. “There remains therefore a rest to the people of God” (Heb. 4:9).

III. CONCLUSION

One must distinguish between the FIVE RESTS of Scripture to “rightly divide” the Word of truth. Sabbatical rest historically pertained to the Jewish people. The Jewish Messiah taught us that “...the hour comes and now is when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father seeks such to worship Him” (Jn. 4:23).

Today, every day is a “holy day” and those who worship God “must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24).