The Rest that Remaineth: The Works of Wisdom, and Her Children.
By PHILIP MARROW
Many hundred years after the Provocation in the wilderness, the Holy Spirit inspired the utterance of the Ninety-fifth Psalm. It begins with a note of praise “to the Rock of our Salvation.” Then it speaks of the Lord as a great God and a great King. It brings to mind the works of His Hands, making mention of the deep places of the earth, the strength of the hills, the sea, and the dry land. Then follows an invitation to come and worship before Him; and then they to whom this invitation is given are called “the people of His pasture and the sheep of His Hand.” The parallel between these verses and the contents of Hebrews is obvious.
The second part of the Psalm consists of the warning quoted in full in Hebrews ch. 3.; and it should be carefully noted that the warning, “To-day, if ye will hear His Voice, harden not your hearts as in the provocation” is addressed to “the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His Hand”; and it should be further noted that the subject spoken of, regarding which they are urged to hear His Voice, has to do with “salvation” and with the material creation - the sea and the dry land.
This Psalm is beyond all doubt prophetic. It belongs to a series (93-100.) which speak in glowing language of the salvation to be manifested in the age to come, when “the Lord reigneth,” when the heavens shall rejoice and the earth be glad, the field be joyful, and all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord, “for He cometh to judge the earth.” We cannot comment extensively upon these Psalms, but would advise the reader to study them carefully.
The Epistle to the Hebrews fixes definitely the period of the fulfilment of these prophetic Psalms. It tells us that “the rest” which God offered to the Israelites was but a shadow. Joshua did not, in fact, give them rest, “For if Joshua had given them rest, then would He (God) not afterward have spoken of another (rest) day” (Heb. 4: 8). And it tells us quite plainly that the people of His pasture, to whom the warning “Harden not your heart” is addressed, are the redeemed people of this age, the “Hebrews,” those who are passengers through the wilderness of this world, and who have the privilege of coming into His Presence to “worship.”
The application of the warning is made for us with a, definiteness that leaves little room for misunderstanding. The point of the matter is that we should “fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of us should seem to come short of it,” (Heb. 4: 1); and that we ought to “give diligence to. enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example: of disobedience”: (Heb. 4: 11).
By reference to Scriptures which speak of the Rest of God, we may obtain light whereby many and exceedingly precious details of this subject can be perceived.
the fourth chapter of Hebrews, two “rests”
are spoken of, namely, the rest of the old creation (verse
4), and that of the new creation (verses 5,
9, 10, 11). In Genesis 2 God spoke “of
the seventh day on this wise, and
God did REST the seventh day from
all His works” (verse 4). Then subsequently, “in
this place again”, He spoke of a rest, saying, “If
they shall enter into My rest” (verse 5). Having spoken in Gen.
2. of a certain day of rest (which rest was broken by the entrance of
sin into the world) God again, after so long a time, limited a certain day (of
rest), saying in David “To-day, etc.” And by
this He could not have meant the rest of
This is the conclusion of the argument beginning at verse 3, the sense of which appears to be this: Although the works of God were completed from the foundation of the world (for the Seventh day is specifically named as the period when God rested from all His works) nevertheless, at a much later time, God speaks again of “My rest,” and speaks of it as something [still] in the future. What does this mean? What are the works from and in which God will rest, and into which He is now bidding some men to enter? The explanation appears in verse 10, pointing to the rest that will ensue from the works which Christ finished on the Cross, where He Who is the Beginning, made peace through the Blood of His Cross, to reconcile ALL THINGS unto Himself (Col. 1: 18, 20). “For He (Christ) that is entered into His rest, He also hath ceased from His Own Works, as God did from His.” This is the rest into which we should labour to enter. It is a rest far more glorious than that ensuing upon the works of the six days of Gen. 1., for it will be based upon the mighty work of Redemption, accomplished upon the Cross of Calvary, where the Incarnate Son of God put away sin by the Sacrifice of Himself, and through death destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil.
By “God’s rest” is not meant recuperation from the fatigue of labour, for we cannot think of God as being fatigued by His labours. It means the satisfaction and enjoyment which God takes in the finished and perfected works of His Hands, the productions of His creative wisdom and power. “Rest,” therefore, is associated with God’s “works.” When God had set the world in order by the work of the six days recorded in Gen. 1., and had filled it with living creatures, and had “blessed” them, and had seen that all was “very good;” He then rested on the seventh day. That rest was broken by sin. The world was again thrown into confusion, being filled with corruption and violence. God could not rest in such an evil state of things; so He took up another and a mightier work, that of redemption, looking to a new creation based upon reconciliation, and to an eternal [age-lasting] and glorious rest therein.
The works of God, wherein He finds rest or satisfaction, are the products of His WISDOM, as it is written: “O Lord how manifold are Thy works! IN WISDOM hast Thou made them all. The earth is full of Thy riches; so is this great and wide sea” (Psa. 104: 24, 25). “To Him that BY WISDOM made the heavens” (Psa. 136: 5). “The Lord BY WISDOM hath founded the earth” (Prov. 3: 19). “WISDOM hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars” (Prov. 9: 1).
These passages, and others which refer to the wisdom of God, have an important bearing upon our subject, as we shall endeavour to show; for the supreme works of Christ, Who is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1: 24), will come into display, for the enjoyment and satisfaction of God, and of those who enter thereinto, in the age to come.
Hence we find in the Scriptures many foreshadowings of “that rest.” Particularly would we direct attention to Prov. 8., where Wisdom is represented as crying, standing in the top of the high places, crying at the gates, and at the doors. Wisdom’s call is addressed not unto angels, but unto men: “Unto you, O MEN, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men.” To them she cries, “Hear, for I will speak of excellent things” (ver.1-6). She speaks of fruit better than gold, and of revenue better than choice silver, and declares that her purpose is to lead in the way of righteousness, “That I may cause those. that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures” (19-21). Then comes the announcement: “The Lord possessed me, the BEGINNING of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, ere ever the earth was” (22, 23). Then the creation is brought into view. God here speaks with delight, as He ever does, of the works of His Hands, the earth, the fountains of waters, the mountains, the hills, the fields, the clouds, and the seas. Thus speaks the Wisdom of God: “When He gave to the sea His decree ... When He appointed the foundations of the earth. Then I was by Him, as one brought up (or as another translation renders it His Artificer), and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth; and My delights were with the SONS OF MEN” (29-31). “For not unto angels hath He put in subjection the habitable earth to come, whereof we speak.”
is, at the present time, a teaching which finds much acceptance, to the effect
that the blessings of the Church are wholly of a “spiritual”
nature, and are confined to “heavenly places,” having
nothing to do with the habitable earth to come.
It is regarded as “unspiritual” to
anticipate material blessings, which are (according to this teaching) assigned
Let us, then, listen to these words, which are intended for our ears: “Now, therefore, hearken unto Me, O YE CHILDREN, for blessed are they that keep My ways.” Surely this is addressed by Christ to the children that God has given Him; and of whom also He speaks in Matt. 11:19, “Wisdom is justified of her children.” Let us therefore prove ourselves to be the children of Wisdom by hearkening to these things; for at that very time “Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes!” And then He tells how, by bearing His yoke and learning of Him, they may find rest unto their SOULS (Matt. 11: 25‑30). To this important saying of the Lord - another instance where He began to speak of that salvation so-great, the coming “rest” - we will return later on.
In these Scriptures we see the Christ of God, Who is the Power of God and the Wisdom of God, by Whom all the works of God are wrought, looking forward to the time when He will rejoice in the habitable part of His earth, and have His delights with the sons of men. That was the joy set before Him when He endured the Cross.
In this connection, we would commend to our readers the study of that remarkable passage (1 Cor. 1: 17 to 2: 16) wherein the Apostle Paul contrasts the wisdom and power of God with the wisdom of this world, which is foolishness with God, and which has been confounded and brought to nothing by the Cross of Christ. We can but indicate a few of the leading points. Paul’s ministry among the Corinthians was to preach the “foolishness” of the Cross, by means of which it pleases God to save them that believe (Cor. 1: 17-23). Among them he had determined to know nothing else (2: 2). “However,” he says, “we do speak WISDOM among them that are perfect,” that is, full-grown. This relates the passage to Hebrews, where the sons of God are urged to go on to perfection (full-growth). But the wisdom which the Apostle speaks to the mature saints is not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nought. He speaks the wisdom of God, the wisdom that was hidden in mystery, that is to say, kept secret, the wisdom that God predetermined before the ages for OUR GLORY (2: 6, 7). This is the purpose of God, predetermined before the ages, and which is referred to in Hebrews, namely, “bringing many [not all] sons unto GLORY.” This wisdom, no one of the rulers of this age has known, for had they known it they would not have crucified the Lord of THE GLORY. The One Whom the rulers of this age - the leaders of the thought of this age and the representatives of its wisdom - put to shame upon the Cross, is the Lord of that GLORY, into which God, during this very age, is bringing His many sons. That wisdom, hidden from the wise and prudent (comp. Matt. 11: 25 and 1 Cor. 1: 19) is now declared to be what the prophet speaks of in Isa. 64: 4 - a wisdom not understood by the learned men of this world, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man THE THINGS which God hath prepared for them that love Him” (2: 8, 9). These “things” prepared by the Wisdom of God, things which pertain to the glory of the sons of God, were not disclosed to the Corinthians, and the Apostle’s reasons for not revealing them to the saints at Corinth was not because they were too spiritual, but for the very different reason that they were “babes,” being “carnal”; and the evidence of their spiritual immaturity and carnality is pointed out in chap. 3: 3. “For ye are yet carnal: For whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal and walk as men?” (i.e., as men in the flesh, for they were “babes in Christ.”) Let it then be carefully noted that chief among the things that hinder spiritual growth are envying, strife, and divisions. “Wherefore,” says the apostle Peter, “laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2: 1, 2). Paul goes on to say that God had revealed those things to him (or to “us,” Paul and Sosthenes) by His Spirit, Who searches all things, they having received, not the spirit of the world which knows nothing of those things, but the Spirit that is of God, in order that they might know the things that are freely given to us of God (ver. 10-12). Those, “things that are freely given to us of God,” are the same “things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” Still speaking of the same things Paul tells how he communicates them to others. Even as, in preaching the Cross, he used not excellency of speech or enticing words of man’s wisdom (verses 1 and 4), so in communicating these deep things of God, he spoke not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but in the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth, communicating SPIRITUAL THINGS by means of SPIRITUAL (WORDS). (We think there can be no doubt that the substantive to be supplied after “spiritual” at the end of verse 13 is “words.” The grammatical construction indicates it, and the sense of the passage demands it.) We thus learn that the things prepared by God for the coming age, which are “for our glory,” are “spiritual things,” notwithstanding that they are the material works of His creative wisdom. And not only are they spiritual things, but they are communicated by means of “spiritual words”; and they must be “spiritually discerned” (ver. 14).