Hebrews 4:9-11 New International Version (NIV) 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[a] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

From the study of Hebrews it is clear that is not

  1. Saturday
  2. Entering the promised land by Israel.

So what is this Sabbath-rest talking about?

Is it an experience we enjoy down here on earth before we die? Or is it an experience that we enjoy in heaven after we die?

This Sabbath-rest is also called God’s rest. What is it about?

Is this the rest Jesus talked about when he said.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

  • It is interesting to read the words "heavy laden". What does it mean to be "heavy laden"? Does it mean to be overweight, for instance? Jan 14, 2019 at 14:36
  • 1
    Divine fat-shaming?: [Deu 32:15 KJV] 15 But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 15, 2019 at 10:39
  • "Heavy laden" here simply means "burdened with a heavy load": [Gen 45:23 KJV] 23 And to his father he sent after this manner; ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she asses laden with corn and bread and meat for his father by the way.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 15, 2019 at 10:48
  • However, "iniquity" can be a burden : [Isa 1:4 KJV] 4 Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. and this [2Ti 3:6 KJV] 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
    – Ruminator
    Jan 15, 2019 at 10:51
  • But the allusion seems to be to this: [Mat 23:4 KJV] 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. It was not to be so with the disciples: [Mat 23:4 KJV] 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. [Gal 6:2 KJV] 2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 15, 2019 at 11:01

5 Answers 5


It refers to The 1,000 yr Sabbath* (Christ's Millennium, The 1,000 yr. long Judgment Day; 2 Pet. 3:8) when Jehovah's Witnesses** will be involved in the restoration of The Earth back to a Global Paradise*** in which the resurrected dead**** will be taught the worship of Jehovah^ as we will be resting from our own works and be total focused on doing just what Jehovah needs to have done to restore this Earth^^ and Mankind^^ back to spiritual and physical perfection to his praise^^^:-

*NWT Rev. 20:4 “And I saw thrones, and those who sat on them were given authority to judge. Yes, I saw the souls of those executed for the witness they gave about Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had not worshipped the wild beast or its image and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for 1,000 years.”

** NWT Isaiah 11:9 “Because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah As the waters cover the sea.”

***NWT Rev. 21:3, 4 “With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. 4 And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

****NWT Rev. 20:13 “And the sea gave up the dead in it, and death and the Grave gave up the dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds.”

^ NWT Isaiah 42:8-10 “I am Jehovah. That is my name; I give my glory to no one else, Nor my praise to graven images. 9 See, the first things have come to pass; Now I am declaring new things. Before they spring up, I tell you about them.” 10 Sing to Jehovah a new song, His praise from the ends of the earth, You who go down to the sea and all that fills it, You islands and their inhabitants.”

^^ NWT Matthew 5:5 ““Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth.” See Psalm 37: 10-11, 29.

^^^NWT Psalm 97:1 “Jehovah has become King! Let the earth be joyful. Let the many islands rejoice.”

  • The millennium happened in the messianic age [33 AD - 65 AD] in the period leading up to the seven year great tribulation [66 AD - 73 AD]. Jerusalem was finally filled with a faithful people and all [the elect] Israel was saved and Paul "fully preached" the Roman empire and their line went out in all the land, Babylon was destroyed, etc. The millennium is over and so is the day of Jacob's trouble: privideos.com/video/241/… The Watchtower Society is a bunch of pretenders to the thrones.
    – Ruminator
    Jan 15, 2019 at 11:28
  • @Ruminator What you say is totaly Impossible because the Millennium does not start until after Armageddon has Finished and Satan is abyssed for a 1,000 yrs. Revelation 20:2, 3 He seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for 1,000 years. 3 And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not mislead the nations anymore until the 1,000 years were ended. . . . This has not yet happened!!!!
    – user26950
    Jan 15, 2019 at 12:05
  • This should address your concerns: preteristcentral.com/Exposition%20of%20Revelation%2022.html
    – Ruminator
    Jan 15, 2019 at 13:16
  • @Ruminator I don't have any concerns thanks!
    – user26950
    Jan 15, 2019 at 13:57
  • "The events of this chapter conclude the judgments begun in chapter 17. The battle of Gog & Magog (vv. 7-10) that brings the defeat of the dragon is the same battle that witnessed the defeat of the harlot in chapter 18, and the beast, false prophet, and kings of the earth in chapter 19. They are the same battle; both describe the persecution under Nero. The martyrs and confessors who perish under Nero and the Jews rest in Paradise pending the general resurrection. Following the defeat of his temporal enemies, Christ vanquishes the last enemy, Hadean death. "
    – Ruminator
    Jan 15, 2019 at 14:00

The focus of the book of Hebrews is on Jesus Christ. The context necessary to begin answering this question begins at Hebrews 3:1. So all of Hebrews 3:1-4:11 must be read to gain the understanding for this question.

Starting at Hebrews 3:1, the context begins by making a contrast between Moses and Christ. The difference in the glory and honor each should receive and is contrasted as as the difference between a house and the builder of that house. Moses was faithful to God’s calling. You might say, he was a good house. Jesus Christ, however, is faithful as a SON, he is faithful as the BUILDER of that house, of God’s house, and thereby deserving much greater glory and honor than Moses.

The context goes on and portrays the rebellion of the Nation Israel when receiving a report back from 12 spies sent to scout out the promised land (Numbers 12). Only two reported, God is on our side, we can enter and take this land which God has promised us. The other 10 said: The inhabitants are strong and the cities are fortified and very large.

So the whole community wailed and moaned and started suggesting Moses and Aaron be replaced and cried against God saying they were all going to die if they tried to take the promised land. God heard their rebellion, knew the choice that had been made, and decided that entire generation would NOT enter the promised land, would NOT enter the rest God desired to give them. So the Nation Israel wandered for 40 years in the desert, unable to enter their God given rest due to their sin of rebellion.

Now, let me interject one point. The Sabbath was a special day for the Nation Israel. Deuteronomy 5:12-14 (NET) states it like this: Be careful to set apart the Sabbath day just as the LORD your God has commanded. 5:13 You are to work and do all your tasks in six days, 5:14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. On that day you must not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your male slave, your female slave, your ox, your donkey, any other animal, or the foreigner who lives with you, so that your male and female slaves, like yourself, might have rest.

The rest the Sabbath intends is a dedicated focus onto God. Putting aside labors helps this focus but the true intent is closeness with God, which would result in identification of sin in your life that you might turn to God in confession and repentance. The rest is not so much from labor, the rest is from sin (Matt 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest).

The context now returns to present day you and I yet keeping in mind the sin of rebellion by the Nation Israel. They had good news presented to them in that God intended to give them a promised land. But they rejected this gift and ended up wandering for 40 years, until that generation had passed away. So the imagery for us is that God desires to present US with a Sabbath-rest, a rest from God’s condemnation of all our works of sin, through faith in God’s gift of salvation, Jesus Christ. To fail to enter this Sabbath-rest is to follow the same pattern of disobedience as the Nation Israel - they lacked faith to enter.

The Sabbath-rest is our entry into a new Spirit led life with God, something we must receive from God through faith in Jesus Christ. Or, drawing upon terminology used in this section of Hebrews, it is entry into our new promised land.


In Mt 12:8;Lk 4:6 and Mk 2:28 Jesus said that "he" not "God" was Master (lord) of the Roman Religious Sunday Sabbath Day. This is why for Jesus the Gentiles worship a Sunday Sabbath in honor of the Jewish Jesus and the Jews worship the Friday evening to Saturday evening Sabbath to honor the God of their fathers.

In Mk 2:27 Jesus says that his Sabbath was made for "MAN" to enjoy. And in Luke 6:9 Jesus says its lawful to do whatever you want on His Sunday Sabbath Day, as long as it is "good?"

But for those who observe the Fri-sat Sabbath, they obey the Laws given to Moses and hallow the Sabbath to God rather than use it for their own pleasure's as the Romans practiced on their Sabbath.

  • 1
    "the Roman Religious Sunday Sabbath Day" is nonsense in the context of the 1st century.
    – fdb
    Jan 15, 2019 at 17:37

The audience to whom the writer of "Hebrews" is indicated in every extant manuscript as "To the Hebrews". It is written to the new covenant Jews ("the Israel of God") to explain how the new covenant works. (To read this scroll as if it were about Catholics, Protestant or Jehovah's Witnesses is part a lack of circumspect and part hubris).

The setting is 1st century Jerusalem. The Messiah had died to ratify the new covenant with God's people (IE: the elect of the houses of Israel and Judah). He has received the promise of the spirit and poured it all over Jerusalem so that a huge revival breaks out:

[Mat 3:5-6 NKJV] 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

It was the signal of the beginning of the Messianic age:

[Zec 13:1 KJV] 1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

[Mal 4:5 KJV] 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:

Jesus said that the sign of the beginning of the Messianic age had already arrived:

[Mat 17:12 NKJV] 12 "But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands."

Another sign was the pouring out of the spirit on all flesh upon Jerusalem, which is referred to as "the Promise of the Father" and again Peter says that this sign has arrived as well:

[Act 2:16-21 KJV] 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

In fact, Peter boldly proclaims that every prophecy would be fulfilled in "these days":

[Act 3:24 KJV] 24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.

By saying "these days" Peter is alluding to Zechariah 8:15:

[Zec 8:7-15 KJV] 7 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country; 8 And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. 9 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Let your hands be strong, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built. 10 For before these days there was no hire for man, nor any hire for beast; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction: for I set all men every one against his neighbour. 11 But now I will not be unto the residue of this people as in the former days, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 For the seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13 And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong. 14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; As I thought to punish you, when your fathers provoked me to wrath, saith the LORD of hosts, and I repented not: 15 So again have I thought in these days [IE: the "day" of the LORD] to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah: fear ye not.

Notice that it is the day of the "Seed" and the "Vine", both Messianic titles. These are not promises for our day but rather for the "Hebrews" of the first century - the Messianic age/millennium.

So what "To the Hebrews" is alluding to:

[Jdg 5:31 KJV] 31 So let all thine enemies perish, O LORD: but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.

The passage speaks of a day when all of God's enemies (in this case, the apostate Jews that persecute his elect remnant) are destroyed while his elect remnant are transformed into a radiant "city on a hill":

[Mat 5:14-16 KJV] 14 Ye [IE: like the sun] are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

This is the new Jerusalem, not the old earthly Jerusalem:

[Rev 21:23 ASV] 23 And the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine upon it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb.

[Gal 4:25-31 ASV] 25 Now this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia and answereth [IE: "corresponds"] to the Jerusalem that now is: for she is in bondage with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, which is our mother. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; Break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: For more are the children of the desolate than of her that hath the husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, so also it is now. 30 Howbeit what saith the scripture? Cast out the handmaid and her son: for the son of the handmaid shall not inherit with the son of the freewoman. 31 Wherefore, brethren, we are not children of a handmaid, but of the freewoman.

This new covenant People, the Israel of God, is the new Jerusalem:

[Rev 21:1-7 ASV] 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell with them, and they shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God: 4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away. 5 And he that sitteth on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he saith, Write: for these words are faithful and true. 6 And he said unto me, They are come to pass. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit these things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

So what "To the Hebrews" is saying is that the forty years of rest mentioned in Joshua 11 and 23 was NOT the same rest as the one promised here, since this rest was promised after Joshua's conquest:

[The rest that Joshua gave]:

[Jos 11:23 ASV] 23 So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that Jehovah spake unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land had rest from war. [Jos 23:1 ASV] 1 And it came to pass after many days, when Jehovah had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, and Joshua was old and well stricken in years;

[The later denial of rest to the apostate Jews]: [Psa 95:11 NLT] 11 So in my anger I took an oath: 'They will never enter my place of rest.'" [Heb 3:11 NLT] 11 So in my anger I took an oath: 'They will never enter my place of rest.'"

[God's future (to his audience) sabbath rest]: [Heb 4:3, 5 NLT] 3 For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, "In my anger I took an oath: 'They will never enter my place of rest,'"even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. ... 5 But in the other passage God said, "They will never enter my place of rest."

[Summary]: [Heb 4:8 ASV] 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day.

The coming rest was the end of all the prophets:

[Dan 9:24 KJV] 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

The words "seal up the vision and prophecy" mean that every vision and prophecy would be accomplished, and then the end would come:

חָתַם châtham, khaw-tham'; a primitive root; to close up; especially to seal:—make an end, mark, seal (up), stop.

Since the word in the Hiphel it does not mean "seal up" but rather "make an end":

to seal, seal up, affix a seal


to seal, affix one's seal

to seal up, fasten up by sealing

(Niphal) to seal

(Piel) to lock up

(Hiphil) to be stopped From "Outline of Biblical Usage"

Gesenius on Hiphel of châtham

This is "the end" to which Paul referred:

[1Co 15:24 KJV] 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.


The nature of the "rest" for the Hebrew new covenant Jews, though, is that it comes through the martyrdom of the 144,000!:

[Rev 6:11 KJV] 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. [Rev 14:13 KJV] 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

For the non-Jewish saints, the rest is not through martyrdom but rather through vengeance on God's enemies at Christ's return:

[2Th 1:4-10 KJV] 4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed ) in that day.

The "rest" mentioned in Matthew 11:28 does not appear to me to be a direct reference to the eschatological rest but rather to relief from the mistreatment by the wicked "hireling" shepherds:

[Mat 23:4 KJV] 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

For more insight, please see this excellent video.


I think that it has to do with fasting, and that "resting from their works", in Heb 4:10, is extended to the rest of the stomach.

Phil 3:18,19 (NIV) "...many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach,..."

The intensity, or length, of this fast I am not sure about. It could mean evening fasts, weekend fasts, seven days fasts, 14 days fasts, 21 days fasts, or maybe even a 40 days fast. Although not necessarily, it could also mean all of the above. If I am on the right track it would mainly apply to water fasts, but could maybe also involve fasting from unhealthy and/or fattening food and drinks, which probably could be called Daniel fasts.

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