The Warning Passages in Hebrews Part 2: The Kingdom Rest in Hebrews 3:1-4:13 -- By: Thomas Kem Oberholtzer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 145:578 (Apr 1988)
Article: The Warning Passages in Hebrews Part 2: The Kingdom Rest in Hebrews 3:1-4:13
Author: Thomas Kem Oberholtzer


The Warning Passages in Hebrews
Part 2:
The Kingdom Rest in Hebrews 3:1-4:13

Thomas Kem Oberholtzer

Pastor
Victoria Bible Church, Victoria, Texas

The concept of rest discussed in Hebrews 3:1–4:13 has a three-fold perspective: (a) a historical sense of possession of the land of Canaan and victory over Israel’s enemies (Deut 12:10; Josh 21:44); (b) an eschatological sense related to the Exodus generation (Ps 95:7–11); and (c) an eschatological sense related to the present readers as found in the royal enthronement psalms and the sabbath creation rest (Gen 2:2–3; Heb 4:10).

The Immediate Context: Hebrews 3:1-6

Hebrews 3 opens with the transitional term ὅθεν (“therefore”), which links Hebrews 2:6–18 with the argument of 3:1–4:13. The central focus of 2:6–18 is the involvement of Christ, by reason of His incarnation, with those who will share in the coming kingdom.1

Hebrews 3 refers to the relationship of the readers with their High Priest, Jesus Christ. The subject of 3:1–6 is the faithfulness of

Moses and Christ. Each held a different position in God’s house and was faithful in that position.

The readers are addressed as ἀδελφοὶ ἅγιοι (“holy brethren”), which links them with the concept of sanctification previously discussed in 2:11. They are also referred to in 3:1 as κλήσεως ἐπουρανίου μέτοχοι (“partakers of a heavenly calling”), which recalls the reference to μέτοχοι (“companions”) in 1:9 .2 The use of these terms indicates that the author of Hebrews viewed his readers as regenerate.

The readers are called to “consider” (κατανοήσατε, “giv...

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