“If 4:10 refers to Christ’s entering into his rest, what then is the Sabbath rest which v. 9 refers to as remaining for the people of God to enter? It is (as throughout the context) the Sabbath rest of God; but it is also the Sabbath rest of the Son, which he entered when he finished his works, which remains to be entered by all who are joint-heirs with him.
But what does this have to do with the Christian Sabbath? Owen says that it has much to do with our Lord’s Day Sabbath under the New Covenant, that in every state of the church. ..
1. There is a distinct work of God which is the foundation of (which establishes) that state of the church.
2. There is a rest which God enters into when he finishes that work.
3. Men also enter God’s rest by faith.
4. There is a day of rest appointed, a reminder of God’s finished work and a pledge of that rest of God which is to be entered into.
God’s first great work is creation. When he finished this work, he rested (sabbathed). Men entered that rest by faith. The day of rest which was appointed, blessed, and hallowed as a reminder and a pledge, and which was to be observed by God’s people, was the seventh day of the week.
God’s second great work was redeeming Israel from Egypt and giving the people Canaan as their inheritance. When God finished this work, he rested, as he says in Psa. 132:13, 14, “The Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” Under the Old Covenant, God’s Sabbath rest remained; and men, even if they dwelt in Canaan (Zion) physically, still had to enter God’s rest by faith. That, of course, was David’s point in Psa. 95. The day of rest (reconfirmed when the Lord entered into this rest) to be observed by God’s people was still the seventh day of the week, which, however, was then not only a reminder of his creation rest but also a sign of the covenant at Sinai (Exod. 31:13, 17). As Owen says,
It is true, this day was the same in order of the days with that before observed, namely, the seventh day of the week; but it was now re-established upon new considerations, and unto new ends and purposes. The time of the change of the day was not yet come, for this work was but preparatory for a greater (Ibid., 2:415).
God’s third great work was the work of God the Son redeeming his people from their sins. When Christ finished this work on the first day of the week, he entered into his rest (4:10). Men, as in each previous age, so under the New Covenant, must enter this rest by faith. The day of rest now is changed to the first day of the week as a reminder of Christ’s finished work and as a pledge of our entering into his rest. In other words, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God–not only in terms of a Sabbath rest of Christ (to be entered by God’s people by faith) but an earthly Sabbath day which points to it (to be observed by God’s New Covenant people). Owen says,
The apostle proves, from the words of the psalmist [Psalm 95], that there was yet to be a third state of the church, an especial state under the Messiah, which he now proposed unto the Hebrews, and exhorted them to enter into. And in this church-state there is to be also a peculiar state of rest, distinct from them which went before. To the constitution hereof there are three things required:–First, That there be some signal work of God completed and finished, whereon he enters into his rest.
This was to be the foundation of his whole new church-state, and of the rest to be obtained therein. Secondly, That there be a spiritual rest ensuing thereon and arising thence, for them that believe to enter into. Thirdly, That there be a new or renewed day of rest, to express that rest of God, and to be a pledge of our entering into it. If any of these, or either of them, be wanting, the whole structure of the apostle’s discourse will be dissolved (Ibid., 2:416).”
A Sabbath Remains: The Place of Hebrews 4:9 in the New Testament’s Witness to the Lord’s Day by Robert P. Martin
The Reformed Baptist Theological Review 1, no. 2 (2004): 9–11.