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  • Or, think that he has come too late for it.

  • Only the Codex Sinaiticus can be rendered in this way. All other ancient MSS read, they [referring to those who heard the word] not being mixed together by faith with those who heard [referring to Caleb and Joshua].

  • Or, obstinacy, rebellion, stubbornness, unbelief.

  • Joshua, which means Jehovah the Savior or the salvation of Jehovah (Num. 13:16), is a Hebrew name, of which the equivalent in Greek is Jesus. Hence, Joshua was a type of the Lord Jesus, who brought the people of God into rest.

  • This "another day" is "today" (Heb. 3:7, 13, 15; 4:7). This is the promised Sabbath rest that remains for us (v. 9).

  • This Sabbath rest is Christ as our rest, typified by the good land of Canaan (Deut. 12:9; Heb. 4:8). Christ is rest to the saints in three stages:
    1) in the church age, as the heavenly Christ, the One who rests from His work and sits on the right hand of God in the heavens, He is the rest to us in our spirit (Matt. 11:28-29);
    2) in the millennial kingdom, after Satan is removed from this earth (Rev. 20:1-3), Christ with the kingdom will be the rest in a fuller way to the overcoming saints, who will be His co-kings (Rev. 20:4, 6), sharing and enjoying His rest;
    3) in the new heaven and new earth, after all the enemies, including death, the last enemy, have been made subject to Him (1 Cor. 15:24-27), Christ, as the all-conquering One, will be the rest in the fullest way to all God's redeemed for eternity.
    But the Sabbath rest mentioned here and typified by the rest of the good land of Canaan covers only the first two stages of Christ's being our rest; it does not include the third stage. The rest in the first two stages is a prize to His diligent seekers, who not only are redeemed but also have enjoyed Him in a full way, thus becoming the overcomers; whereas the rest in the third stage is not a prize but the full portion allotted to all the redeemed ones. Therefore, in the first two stages, and especially in the second, Christ as our rest is the Sabbath rest mentioned here, the rest that remains for us to seek after and enter into diligently. It is in the second stage of His being our rest that Christ will take possession of the whole earth as His inheritance (Psa. 2:8; Heb. 2:5-6), making it His kingdom for a thousand years (Rev. 11:15). All His overcoming followers who seek and enjoy Him as their rest in the first stage will participate in His reign in the millennium (Rev. 20:4, 6; 2 Tim. 2:12). Moreover, they will inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5; Psa. 37:11), some having authority over ten cities, some over five (Luke 19:17, 19), and will partake of the joy of their Lord (Matt. 25:21, 23). That will be the kingdom rest, which is typified by the rest of entering into the good land of Canaan. The rest of the good land was the goal of all the children of Israel, who had been redeemed and delivered from Egypt; likewise, the rest of the coming kingdom is the goal of the New Testament believers, who have been redeemed and saved from the world. We are now all on the way toward this goal.

    God's full salvation, which He intended for the children of Israel, included redemption through the Passover lamb, the exodus from Egypt, feeding on the heavenly manna, having their thirst quenched by the living water from the cleft rock, and partaking of the good land of Canaan. All the children of Israel shared in the Passover lamb, the heavenly manna, and the living water, but only Joshua and Caleb, out of those who shared the exodus from Egypt, entered into the good land and partook of it; all the rest fell in the wilderness (Num. 14:30; 1 Cor. 10:1-11). Though all were redeemed, only the two overcomers, Joshua and Caleb, received the prize of the good land.

    The Passover lamb, the heavenly manna, the living water, and the good land of Canaan are all types of different aspects of Christ. According to what is depicted by the experiences of the children of Israel, not all believers who have been redeemed through Christ will partake of Christ as a prize, as their rest, their satisfaction, in both the church age and the coming kingdom; only those who, after being redeemed, seek Christ diligently will partake of Him in such a way. This is why the apostle Paul, though fully redeemed, was still pursuing toward the goal that he might gain Christ as the prize (Phil. 3:10-14). In Phil. 3 Paul told us that he had been in Judaism but that for Christ's sake he had given it up (Phil. 3:4-9). Here, in this book, the writer held the same concept, encouraging the Hebrew believers to forsake Judaism and press toward Christ so that they would not miss the prize.

  • Since the rest that is covered in this portion of the word is the all-inclusive Christ, to fall from it is to fall from Christ, to be brought to nought from Christ (Gal. 5:4). In Galatians the danger was that the Galatian believers would drift into the bondage of law from the freedom of grace (Gal. 5:1-4). Paul advised them to stand fast in the freedom of grace, that is, not to be brought to nought from Christ. Here, in this book, the danger was that the Hebrew believers would not forsake their old religion, which was according to the law, and press on into the enjoyment of Christ as their rest. If they continued to stagger in their old religion, i.e., in Judaism, they would come short of Christ, who was their rest. The writer of this book earnestly encouraged them, as Christ's partners, to press on with Christ and enter into the rest, that they, as His partakers, might enjoy Christ as their rest.

  • Lit., in.

  • The Greek word denotes the constant word of God. Here it refers to the word in Heb. 3:7-19; 4:1-11 that is quoted from the Old Testament (as indicated by the word for at the beginning of this verse). That word is living, operative, and sharper than a two-edged sword.

  • According to the Bible, man is a tripartite being — spirit, soul, and body (1 Thes. 5:23). Here, in this verse, are the joints and marrow — which are parts of the body — and the soul and spirit.

    The foregoing verses describe the children of Israel as falling away from entering into the rest of the good land. With them there were three places:
    1) Egypt, from which they were delivered;
    2) the wilderness, in which they wandered;
    3) Canaan, into which they entered. Their history in these three places signifies the three stages of their participation in God's full salvation.
    This is a type of us, the New Testament believers, in our participation in the full salvation of God. In the first stage we receive Christ and are redeemed and delivered from the world. In the second stage we become wanderers in following the Lord; our wandering always takes place in our soul. In the third stage we partake of and enjoy Christ in a full way; this is experienced in our spirit. When we pursue the pleasures of material and sinful things, we are in the world, typified by Egypt. When we wander in our soul, we are in the wilderness. When we enjoy Christ in our spirit, we are in Canaan. When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, they were always murmuring, reasoning, and chiding. This surely took place in their soul, not in their spirit. But Caleb and Joshua believed in the word of God, obeyed the Lord, and pressed toward the goal. This surely took place not in their soul but in their spirit. At that time the receivers of this book, the Hebrew believers, were wondering what they should do with their old Hebrew religion. This wondering in their mind was a wandering in their soul, not an experience of Christ in their spirit. So the writer of this book said that the word of God, i.e., what was quoted from the Old Testament, could pierce into their wondering like a sharp two-edged sword and divide their soul from their spirit. As the marrow is concealed deep in the joints, so the spirit is deep in the soul. The dividing of the marrow from the joints requires mainly the breaking of the joints. In the same principle, the dividing of the spirit from the soul requires the breaking of the soul. The Hebrew believers' soul, with its wondering mind, its doubting concerning God's way of salvation, and its considering of its own interests, had to be broken by the living, operative, and piercing word of God that their spirit might be divided from their soul.

    Our soul is our very self (Matt. 16:25; cf. Luke 9:25). In following the Lord we must deny our soul, our very self (Matt. 16:24; Luke 9:23). Our spirit is the deepest part of our being, a spiritual organ with which we contact God (John 4:24; Rom. 1:9). It is in our spirit that we are regenerated (John 3:6). It is in our spirit that the Holy Spirit dwells and works (Rom. 8:16). It is in our spirit that we enjoy Christ and His grace (2 Tim. 4:22; Gal. 6:18). Hence, the writer of this book advised the Hebrew believers not to stagger in the wandering of their soul, which soul they had to deny, but to press on into their spirit to partake of and enjoy the heavenly Christ that they might participate in the kingdom rest of His reign in the millennium. If they staggered in the wandering of their soul, they would miss God's goal and suffer the loss of the full enjoyment of Christ and the kingdom rest.

  • Our spirit is the organ with which we contact God (John 4:24), while our heart is the organ with which we love God (Mark 12:30). Our spirit contacts, receives, contains, and experiences God. However, this requires that our heart love God first. Our soul is of three parts — mind, will, and emotion; and our spirit too is of three parts — conscience, fellowship, and intuition. Our heart is not separate from our soul and spirit but is a composition of all the parts of our soul, plus the conscience, a part of our spirit. Hence, in our heart is the mind, with the thoughts, and the will, with the intentions. The thoughts affect the intentions, and the intentions carry out the thoughts. The living word of God is able to discern the thoughts in our mind and the intentions in our will. What was quoted from the word of God by the writer in the foregoing verses was able to expose what and where the thoughts and intentions of the Hebrew believers were while they were staggering in the process of their salvation.

  • I.e., excellent, wonderful, glorious, and most honorable. Christ is great in His person (Heb. 1:5, 8; 2:6), work (Heb. 1:3; 9, 10, 14-15, 2:17; 3:5-6; 4:8-9; Acts 2:24, 27), and attainment (Heb. 6:20; 9:24; 2:9).

  • The Lord Jesus first was sent from God to us through incarnation (Heb. 2:14) to be our Apostle (Heb. 3:1), our Author, our Leader (Heb. 2:10), the One superior to Moses (Heb. 3:3), and our real Joshua (Heb. 4:8) to bring us, His partners (Heb. 1:9; 3:14), into glory and rest (Heb. 2:10; 4:11). He then went back from us to God through resurrection and ascension (Heb. 5:5-6) to be our High Priest to bear us in the presence of God and to care for all our needs (Heb. 2:17-18; 4:15).

  • Having had the principalities and powers stripped off (Col. 2:15), having risen from Hades (Acts 2:24, 27), and having passed through the heavens, our High Priest is now sitting on the throne at the right hand of God.

  • Referring to the faith.

  • Undoubtedly, the throne mentioned here is the throne of God, which is in heaven (Rev. 4:2). The throne of God is the throne of authority toward all the universe (Dan. 7:9; Rev. 5:1). But toward us, the believers, it becomes the throne of grace, signified by the propitiation place (the mercy seat) within the Holy of Holies (Exo. 25:17, 21). This throne is the throne of both God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:1). How can we come to the throne of God and the Lamb, Christ, in heaven while we still live on earth? The secret is our spirit, referred to in v. 12. The very Christ who is sitting on the throne in heaven (Rom. 8:34) is also now in us (Rom. 8:10), that is, in our spirit (2 Tim. 4:22), where the habitation of God is (Eph. 2:22). At Bethel, the house of God, the habitation of God, which is the gate of heaven, Christ is the ladder that joins earth to heaven and brings heaven to earth (Gen. 28:12-17; John 1:51). Since today our spirit is the place of God's habitation, it is now the gate of heaven, where Christ is the ladder that joins us, the people on earth, to heaven, and brings heaven to us. Hence, whenever we turn to our spirit, we enter through the gate of heaven and touch the throne of grace in heaven through Christ as the heavenly ladder.

  • Both God's mercy and God's grace are the expression of His love. When we are in a pitiful condition, first God's mercy reaches us and brings us into a situation in which He is able to favor us with His grace. Luke 15:20-24 tells us that when the father saw the prodigal son returning, he had compassion on him. That was mercy, which expressed the father's love. Then the father clothed him with the best robe and fed him with the fattened calf. That was grace, which again manifested the father's love. God's mercy reaches farther and bridges the gap between us and God's grace.

    God's mercy and grace are always available to us. However, we need to receive and find them by exercising our spirit to come to the throne of grace and contact our High Priest, who is touched with the feeling of all our weaknesses. By this word the writer of this book encouraged the wearied Hebrew believers to receive mercy and find grace for timely help, that they might be set upright (Heb. 12:12).

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