Tuesday, August 9, 2016

KJV versus JST: Entering or not into the Lord’s Rest

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KJV Hebrews 4:3
JST Hebrews 4:3
For we which have believed do enter into rest,
as he said,
As I have sworn in my wrath,
if they shall enter into my rest:
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

For we who have believed do enter into rest,
as he said,
As I have sworn in my wrath,
If they harden their hearts they shall not enter into my rest;
also, I have sworn, If they will not harden their hearts, they shall enter into my rest;
although the works of God were prepared, (or finished,) from the foundation of the world.

The JST helped a lot on this particular verse to make it coherent. Without the JST, it seems like Paul is quoting something that says God makes an angry oath concerning those entering His rest, as though that is not where they (or anyone) is supposed to be. The KJV also makes it seem as though the work of salvation was finished before the world started, and a few more people trying to be saved is an awful attempt to mess things up.

All in all, a very confusing idea of God, His plans, and the significance our choices have.

On the other hand, the JST shows us Paul is paraphrasing Psalms 95:7-11 and simply collapsing the important appeals together.

7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

The important parts of those verses indicate that if someone hardens their heart against the truth, God swears they will not enter His rest.

The JST then adds the positive side of it too—those who do not harden their hearts obtain a divine oath that they shall enter the Lord’s rest. And there is no anger associated with that oath.

Also, the JST shows us that God prepares His works from the foundation of the world, not finishing them in the sense that everyone is already sorted into “saved” and “damned” groups. Rather, the divine machinery to save man is put in place with Christ’s atonement and messengers, and church, and so on. Man need only receive it and not harden their hearts against it.

So what is this rest Paul speak of, which we can enter? “For we who have believed do enter into rest.” He speaks of believers in Christ. We must believe in Christ enough to repent, and then we can have rest from the gnawing burden of sin. We must believe in Christ enough to pray for grace, and then we can have rest from the despair of our besetting weaknesses, frailties, and faults.

I had a little experience just yesterday with entering into the Lord’s rest. I had a nagging feeling at the back of my mind for about three or four days that I had done something wrong and I needed to make it right. It was such a little thing that I questioned whether it was really necessary.  But finally, I decided I needed to listen, so I fixed it and repented.  And immediately, I felt at peace.  It was real.  And just think, that peace and rest is offered to each of us if we will just respond to the Lord’s calls!