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Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
"Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts."
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. ~He 4:7-11



The Epistle to the Hebrews is reckoned by believers to be the most difficult book to read in the New Testament. The difficulty lies in the large number of references made to the Old Testament. Without a strong understanding of the Israelite’s historical background, there is no surprise that we will find it hard to understand. The only way of overcoming this problem, is by sheer diligence in reading the Old Testament to familiarise ourselves with their historical background. Therefore, we cannot substitute our personal reading with the commentaries or other person’s understanding of these scriptures, otherwise, we will never see the day of understanding the book of Hebrews.

In Chapters 3 & 4, the author encouraged the Hebrew believers to make every effort to enter a better and more excellent rest as compared to the rest found in the Old Testament. The author did so by making a comparison between the two spiritual leaders who led them to these rests. The leader in the Old Testament was Moses and the leader in the New Testament was Jesus. Although Moses was likened to a house, the Hebrew believers were reminded that the one who built this house was God. Moses was glorious, yet he paled in comparison to God who created and nurtured him. And the God who created all things was none other than Jesus, though Moses’ works were wonderful in all ways, they were all enabled and made possible by Jesus.

Moses was a faithful servant in the house of God, however, Jesus was the Son of God with authority over the whole house. Moses was a servant and Jesus was the Master, a huge difference between their status. Thus, Jesus was shown to be more excellent than Moses in every way. If the Israelites cherished the past when Moses led them into the Canaan’s rest, then all the more they should consider Jesus, for He now desired to lead them into the better heavenly rest.

The author knew that the problem of the Hebrew believers arose from the Old Testament, therefore, he tackled the problem at its roots. He cleverly demonstrated to these people from the Old Testament that the rest God wanted them to enter was actually not the land of Canaan, but another rest. Quoting from Psalm 95, written by David, when the Israelites had lived in Canaan for many years:

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the desert, where your fathers tested and tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways." So I declared on oath in my anger, "They shall never enter my rest." ~Ps 95:7-11

The author of Hebrews made special reference to the time when God spoke to the Israelites of Canaan, a day called “Today.” “Today” was a day after the Israelites had entered Canaan and settled there several hundred years. The context of it speaks of a day - “Today,” which God warned the Israelites not to harden their hearts like their forefathers during the forty years in the wilderness. For they were stiff-necked, refused to heed His words, and as a result God swore in His anger against them from entering His rest. All of them fell in the wilderness, unable to enter the rest in Canaan. If “Today” the Israelites were to repeat the same folly of their forefathers, they would surely suffer the same consequence and be disqualified from entering God’s rest. However, hadn’t they already lived in Canaan for hundreds of years? Why did God still warn them against hardening their hearts and if they continued to do so, they would not enter His rest? The author of Hebrews thus explained that, Canaan, the rest that Moses and Joshua led the Israelites into, was not the rest God intended for them. If it was so, God would not have spoken of another day - “Today” - in Psalms. Clearly, God had prepared another rest for His people. Should the Israelites living in Canaan refuse to listen, they would certainly end up in the same plight as their forefathers and become disqualified from this rest.