Is there any place in the ancient prophetic text where one can find an example of the creator providing a place of rest for his people? If so, what does that rest look like? Is that rest available to anybody or is it reserved for certain people only? Does this rest point to a Messiah? The answers may just surprise you.
In our word studies we have been following Joshua, the leader of the nation of Israel, in the conquest of the land promised to his people through their father Abraham. In Chapter 11 verse 23 of the ancient book of Joshua we read:
So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the LORD said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.
This is the first time we see the word rest used of the nation of Israel since they crossed the Jordan and began to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan. What does it mean to rest from war? What can the Hebrew letters reveal to us that would provide more understanding?
The word for rest is spelled Sheen Qoof Tet.
Sheen is the picture of teeth and means to press, or to destroy, and is the one letter that God uses to identify Himself.
Qoof is the picture of the back of the head and points to the last or the least.
Tet is the picture of the snake and means to surround or to encircle and can mean in either a good or bad way.
So the first mystery we find here is that the rest of Yahweh comes as a result of the least in the land, the enemies of Israel, being encircled and pressed to the point of destruction.
There will be no escape for them. The rest for the people of Yahweh comes when the war is over and the enemies are destroyed.
The Hebrew letters can also be used as numbers. Sheen is the number 300 and signifies the final blood sacrifice made by the perfect Lamb of God. Qoof is the number 100 and when it is found in the Scriptures it often refers to the Children of the Promise or God’s election of grace. Tet is the number 9 and can be associated with the summation of man’s works, or the judgment of man, or the conclusion of a matter.
So here we find the rest of Yahweh points to a final blood sacrifice by the perfect Lamb of God made for His children, the children of promise that ends the judgment awaiting man.
The writer of Hebrews speaks of this rest in Chapter 4 verse 8:
For if Joshua had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Remember, Joshua is a type of Yeshua, the Savior to come. When Joshua led the nation of Israel into the rest, Yahweh had prepared for them their promised land; it was only a pale picture of another day. As wonderful as it must have been for them to have gained possession of their land and rest from war, it was only a shadow of what was to come which was the permanent rest promised for the people of Yahweh in a future heavenly home.
The writer of the book of Hebrews begins Chapter 4 with a strong warning in the first 3 verses that tell us that the rest is not for everyone:
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 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.
Here we are told that many will hear the truth of the work of Messiah in conquering our enemies and providing a future rest, but sadly will not profit by it. How is this possible?
We must remember that there are two ways to this promised rest. You must, on your own without error, satisfy all the requirements of the law, or you must accept by faith the gift of grace from the one who perfectly kept that law.
As the writer of Hebrews states, we must cease from our own works which are our efforts to obey that law which always end in failure. James, a disciple of Yeshua, wrote in his letter in the ancient Scriptures in Chapter 2 verse 10 that:
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
There has ever only been one who was able to completely satisfy the law, and His work on our behalf and His gift of grace will only profit those who cease from their own efforts and who place their faith in Him.
Wonderfully, faith in Yeshua concludes the matter of sin for His people and allows them to enter His rest. Just as the enemies of Joshua and his people had to be destroyed before entering the rest Yahweh had for them in their promised land, Yeshua Ha-Mashiach had to destroy our enemies, sin and death, in order for us to enter our promised rest. But remember, this rest is only effective for those who have chosen to place their faith in the final blood sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God.
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