“Above, we have pointed out that the “therefore” of v. 9 denotes, first of all, that the apostle is here drawing a general conclusion from all he had said in the context. We would now call attention to a more specific inference pointed by that word. It needs to be most carefully observed that in this verse the Holy Spirit employs an entirely different word for “rest” than what he had used in vv. 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8. There the Greek word is rightly rendered “rest,” but here it is “sabbatismos” and its meaning has been properly given by the translators in the margin—“keeping of a Sabbath.” The Revised Version gives the text itself, “There remaineth therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.”
The purpose of the Holy Spirit in employing this term here is not difficult to discover. He was writing to Hebrews, Jews who had professed to become Christians, to have trusted in the Lord Jesus. Their profession of faith involved them in sore trials at the hands of their unbelieving brethren. They denounced them as apostates from the faith of their fathers. They disowned them as the “people of God.” But as we have said the apostle here reassures them that now only believers in Christ had any title to be numbered among “the people of God.” Having renounced Judaism for Christ the question of the “Sabbath” must also have exercised them deeply. Here the apostle sets their minds at rest. A suitable point in his epistle had now been reached when this could be brought in: he was speaking of “rest,” so he informs them that under Christianity also, “there remaineth therefore a Sabbath-keeping for the people of God.” The specific reference in the “therefore” is to what he had said in v. 4: God did rest on the seventh day from all His works, therefore as believers in Christ are the “people of God” they must rest too.
p 198 “There remaineth therefore a Sabbath-keeping for the people of God.” The reference is not to something future, but to what is present. The Greek verb (in its passive form) is never rendered by any other English equivalent than “remaineth.” It occurs again in Hebrews 10:26. The word “remain” signifies “to be left after others have withdrawn, to continue unchanged.” Here then is a plain, positive, unequivocal declaration by the Spirit of God: “There remaineth therefore a Sabbath-keeping.” Nothing could be simpler, nothing less ambiguous. The striking thing is that this statement occurs in the very epistle whose theme is the superiority of Christianity over Judaism; written to those addressed as “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.” Therefore, it cannot be gainsaid that Hebrews 4:9 refers directly to the Christian Sabbath. Hence we solemnly and emphatically declare that any man who says there is no Christian Sabbath takes direct issue with the New Testament scriptures.
“For he that is entered into his rest he also hath ceased from his own works, as God from His” (v. 10). In this verse the apostle expressly defines the nature of that excellent rest of which he had been speaking: it is a cessation from our works, as God from His. The object in thus describing our rest is to show that it is not to be found in this world, but is reserved for the world to come. The argument of this verse—its opening “for” denotes that further proof is being supplied to confirm what has been said—is taken from the self-evident principle that rest is not enjoyed till work is ceased from. This world is full of toil, travail and trouble, but in the world to come there is full freedom from all these.
“Thy commandment is exceedingly broad” (Ps. 119:96). There is a breadth and fullness to the words of God which no single interpretation can exhaust. Just as v. 9 has at least a double application, containing both a general conclusion from the whole preceding argument, and also a specific inference from what is said in v. 4, so is it here. Not only does v. 9 state a general principle which serves to corroborate the apostle’s inference in v. 9, but it also has a specific reference and application. The change in number of the pronoun here is not without meaning. In v. 1 he had used a plural, “us,” so in v. 3 “we,” and again in v. 11 he uses “us,” but here in v. 10 it is “he and his.” “It appears to me that it is the rest of Christ from His works, which is compared with the rest of God from His works in creation.” (Dr. John Owen).
p 199 The reference to Christ in v. 10 (remember the section begins at Hebrews 3:1 and concludes with Hebrews 4:14–16) completes the positive side of the apostle’s proof of His superiority over Joshua. In v. 8 he had pointed out that Joshua did not lead Israel into the perfect rest of God; now he affirms that Christ, our Apostle, has entered it, and His entrance is the pledge and proof that His people shall—“whither the Forerunner is for us entered” (Heb. 6:20). But more: what is said of Christ in v. 10 clinches our interpretation of v. 9 and gives beautiful completeness to what is there said: “There remaineth therefore a Sabbath-keeping to the people of God. For He that is entered into His rest, He also hath ceased from his own works, as God from His.”
Thus, the Holy Spirit here teaches us to view Christ’s rest from his work of Redemption as parallel with God’s work in creation. They are spoken of as parallel in this respect: the relation which each “work” has to the keeping of a Sabbath! The opening “for” of v. 10 shows that what follows furnishes a reason why God’s people, now, must keep the Sabbath. That reason invests the Sabbath with a fuller meaning than it had in Old Testament times. It is now not only a memorial of God’s work of creation, and a recognition of the Creator as our Proprietor, but it is also an emblem of the rest which Christ entered as an eternal memorial of His finished work; and inasmuch as Christ ended His work and entered upon His “rest” by rising again on the first day of the week, we are thereby notified that the Christian’s six work-days must run from Monday to Saturday, and that his Sabbath must be observed on Sunday. This is confirmed by the additional fact that the New Testament shows that after the crucifixion of Christ the first day of the week was the one set apart for Divine worship. May the Lord bless what has been before us.”
Arthur Walkington Pink, An Exposition of Hebrews (Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot, 1954), 197–199.