REST IN THE FINISHED WORKS
"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" (Heb 4:3).
Ah, to enter God's allusive rest, a grueling quest for countless millions. And I say it's an allusive rest, because people have been searching for that resting place through the centuries with few having found it. Many claim they have entered this rest; but I am pressed hard to believe most claims.
The majority of those in the popular church system have chosen one of two days, Saturday or Sunday, and they call it the Sabbath Day of Rest. Some bind themselves so tightly to the legalism of a natural day that they will not lift a finger to do an ounce of work during that 24 hour period. However, the same people will defy the other part of what they are told by not working during the other six days: "Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest..." (Exo 34:21). They will take an entire week, two weeks, or a month to go on vacation and fail to work any of those six days, thinking nothing about it. But when it comes to the one day, they bow to it as if it determines their eternal destiny.
Although Jesus told the "do or die" legalists that the sabbath was made to serve man, they would not receive it, and neither do like minded people today. To be reminded: "He said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath" (Mark 2:28). And please, we should know, everyone who is in Christ is also lord of a day which gives their minds and bodies the vital rest they need. It is good to rest. A day was given to man to serve his needs; however, if you hold to that day by legalistic fortitude and mental determination -- bringing yourselves under that law -- you are not resting, you are working. People who work hard at keeping the sabbath find it easy to ignore many others. For instance, Leviticus 11:6-8 says that touching the skin of a dead pig makes you unclean; therefore, to be safe and not offend any of the laws, you should wear gloves when playing football, since they are made of pig skin. Just a point to consider if you are adamant about bringing yourselves in servitude to one day or another.
Since I have no desire to debate legal issues, I will say only a little more on this; for my vision is of a Day altogether different than one you can pinpoint on a calendar. It is the Lord's Day of Rest, and I can guarantee you, it has nothing whatsoever to do with any day of the week, month, or year.
Incidentally, when people meet on either of those two days, or any other day -- in itself, there is nothing wrong with it. When it is for convenience sake, and the day is used to serve the people, rather than the people serving the day, this is great. It is good to come together, whether in a home or a church building; for assembling ourselves together serves well to minister to our needs. It is when we are bound to a natural day and its rituals that we become not only servants to the day, but to people, not to mention the spirit of Mystery Babylon. And I can tell you this -- you don't have to be in a huge church building for that spirit to grip you. It can be had in your own home with you alone. It depends on the attitude of your mind, where your heart is, and to what you give yourself.
If you are bound by such a ritual and binding spirit, and you continue meeting religiously on the day you call the Sabbath, the Lord's Day, the Day of Rest, I will have no ill feeling toward you whatsoever. This is between you and God. However, if you do this out of religious duties, thinking you are fulfilling the law, I will make a suggestion -- for your own conscience sake, be careful to wear gloves if you play football. There is a truck load of similar laws to the dead pig thing that would likewise need to be followed to the letter, if the one is to be religiously held.
Good Pharisees don't have any trouble with all those laws; for the more laws they have the more "good" works they can be seen doing, and the more good works they do, the more righteous they perceive themselves to be. But to those who wish to live -- it is unbearable.
Notwithstanding, let us note again our text verse. "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" (Heb 4:3).
There are at least four questions we should ask concerning this verse: 1) Should although be the choice of words used here? 2) what are the finished works? 3) what is the Rest? And, 4) what have we believed? Hopefully, by the time we come to the end of this short article, they will be answered to some degree.
Kaitoi is the Greek word from which although is translated in this verse, and it is used no other place in the New Testament. A similar word, kaitoige, is used, and is translated twice as though, and once as nevertheless. Therefore, grammatically, kaitoi can be translated as although. However, to more clearly see what God's Rest is, something is lacking when although is the word used.
Young's Analytical Concordance translates it as and truly, which is somewhat better; but this still does not settle what is stirring in me. It is the way the Emphatic Diaglott renders the word that strikes a cord in my heavens and bears witness to my spirit. It says -- "If they shall enter into the rest of Me; NAMELY...the works done at the foundation of the World."
Very quickly we see exactly what God's Rest is when the word NAMELY is used. It is His Finished Works, which is certainly not a day of the week. If it was a twenty-four hour day on the calendar, there would have been no reason for the writer of Hebrews to say "There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God." (Heb 4:9, NASB). You see, those who were keeping the natural day were working feverishly to rest in the mere symbol of the real rest. Symbols are good when we know they are symbols. However, when we fail to see them as such, the reality will never be known. And with symbolism as our religious focus -- we would likely stone whoever lives the reality.
God rested in His finished works, and when we enter into His works, we enter with Him into that same Rest. When we rest in what has already been done, how can we work up a sweat trying to do it? Only if we are in the flesh of religious laws will we sweat. Self-righteousness and works of the law will be our sole vesture, and we will know nothing, absolutely nothing, about God's Rest, that wonderful, peaceful Rest with our Father and Creator of all.
Therefore, brethren, let us not be found with sweat upon our faces, but rather, Sons of God who are arrayed by the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Laborious sweat of legalism will never manifest God's finished works upon the earth. It never has and it never will; but those who are at rest will bring them to pass.
It is written in Hebrews 4:11 that we are to labor to enter that rest. Such a word sounds as if we can't help from breaking into a sweat, especially since sweat is a byproduct of labor. However, labor (spoudazo), according to Strong's, should be translated: with speed, eager, prompt. Therefore, it is essential to use speed when it comes to entering that righteous rest. There is great merit when are hearts are eager to cease from our labors and leave the toil of religious works and enter His peaceful rest. And how joyful it is when we are prompt to believe and embrace that which is finished.
There is something we have missed far too long -- the fact that all of God's works are finished. There's nothing left for Him to do. From the earth's perspective, this is nigh to impossible to believe; but from heaven's gates it becomes increasingly clear that the first part of God's work is simply to believe in Him whom He sent (John 6:29).
Hopefully, those heavenly gates will be opened today for us to peer more intently upon those marvelous works that He worked on for six days, and then rested. One of those individual finished works was, no doubt, the man who was born blind that Jesus healed: "Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (John 9:3). The man was healed before he ever heard those wonderful words, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam." They streamed like a river from the heavens of Jesus in whom all things were created (Col 1:16). Prior to that day, the healing could not be seen; for such grace had not rained upon his earth to bring it forth. But when Jesus showed contempt for blindness by smearing muddied spit in his eyes, and he washed, he then saw.
The book of Genesis is a recorded history in seed form of what God did in His six days of work, and part of that work is you and me in particular. Not only that, every good work we do has already been done. It was finished before we breathed our first breath of Earth's air. When we sing a song by the inspiration of the Spirit, preach a life-giving word, write an anointed message -- each one of those precious works were finished before ever a word or deed were uttered or seen.
If our songs, sermons, lessons, witnessing, testifying, and other services are by the Spirit, then they are those things which were finished from the foundation of the world. They are from above and not from beneath. When they are charged with His life, every particle is a portion of the finished work coming into manifestation. They are those things which have been waiting in the wings of the ages, waiting for their time and season to be made known in the earth. Such are the good works we receive from heaven, else they would not be available to us at all.
If we believe what is written, we will quickly know that it is impossible to receive anything of God unless it is from His Eternal Day of Rest. John said, "...A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven" (John 3:27). You see, it is not in our natural makeup to suddenly decide to do God's good works and expect Him to sanction them. Our works and carnal efforts will not be endorsed in heaven. Even so, it is not uncommon to see people take to themselves a ministry, not realizing, if it has been already made in the heavens for them, there will be no need for them to take it; for at the proper time they can receive it when it is given to them.
Neither ministries nor any other religious works which find their roots in the earth will have God's hand of blessing upon. Only in Christ does He recognize anything as being His own; for it is in Him, in His Son, wherein all His works were done.
We can glean from the wise sages of the past and present, and apply what we learn to our daily lives; but the upper echelons of men's minds are still not the good works that God finished from the foundation of the world. If it is not already in heaven, it will never be in the earth with His mark upon it.
Before Adam was sent from Eden to till the ground from where he was taken, it is interesting to see that after he was created, his first day of walking in Eden was in God's rest. God's last day, the seventh day, His day of rest, was also Adam's day of rest. All the works had already been done, which left him in a perfect world with nothing to do but rest in it. Everything was finished, and he was commissioned to have dominion over all those works. With the ease of a word he could have spoken every good work into manifestation. The earth would have flourished and multiplied and the whole of it would have been like the Garden from where the man lived and ruled. But it was not to be; for God had a more excellent way, which, of course, was Jesus. He, therefore, subjected Adam and all creation to vanity and futility with the greater hope of them coming into the liberty of being born of God (Rom 8:20-21).
The world was in the hands of the one who had the authority and power to bring paradise to it on a certain level. There was, however, an element in his dust which had the tendency to do it some other way than in rest. Being from the earth, earthy, he had to work it out his own way, the earthen way. And it goes without saying, he fell from that place of rest when he said in his heart of clay "...I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isa 14:13-14). (See The Lucifer Question, free upon request).
The will of man, coupled with pride, power, and self-aggrandizement, has been the downfall of more than a few, and we should not be surprised, since the genetic coding goes all the way back to the "I will" man. When a person says, I will, regardless of how grand his or her scheme might be, or how "good" the works may appear, if it is not God-breathed, it is not part of the works finished from the foundation of the world. It is not from the heavens. It is by toil and sweat. It is of the earth, earthy, and such cannot inherit or be a part of the Kingdom of God. It can be part of a kingdom, but not the Kingdom.
THE FINISHED WORKS AT THE FOUNDING OF THE WORLD
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from ALL His work which God created and made" (Gen 2:1-3)
I have not found it written that He started back to work. And frankly, I don't think we can expect Him to work again until the whole world has entered His rest, not until His finished works and rest are known by all men . There are places where it speaks of His works; but, if I see clearly, they are those which are finished, and then brought into view upon the earth. Such as, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Eph 1:11). And please tell me, is there anything which is spoken and manifested into the earth from the finished works of the heavens contrary to His will? Absolutely not! It can't be contrary, else He would not have created it a very good, finished work to begin with.
When viewing and thinking from the earth, it is not easy to lay hold of the truth that God made every thing in Christ and has been resting ever since. However, we might note something which is very clear. Everything was made before ever an eye rested upon any of them: "These are the generations (towledah; descendants, families, history) of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field BEFORE it was in the earth, and every herb of the field BEFORE it grew: for the LORD God HAD NOT CAUSED IT TO RAIN upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground" (Gen 2:4-5).
Can you picture that? All His works, everything He made was made before it was ever seen in the earth. Before a blade of grass grew, it already was, and likewise with you and me. We were here before we were got here. Paul said: "...we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto (Grk. en, in) good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph 2:10). You see, WE, who are His workmanship, were created in Christ Jesus. And when were we created in Him? At the founding of the world. It couldn't have been afterwards; for God rested from the works of this present creation. Moreover, being created in Christ Jesus was part of that which was very good works, works which were finished a long time ago.
It is in this, the finished works, even our own yet to be manifestation, that we set our affections. "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" (Col 3:1-4).
And we, like Paul, who was caught to heights unknown, can rise up and minister that which we have seen. This is how Jesus spoke to him that life-changing day on the road to Damascus: "...Rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee" (Acts 26:16).
Only when we have seen things of Christ Jesus, and from where He sits, can we minister and witness. Otherwise, it will be our own words and works. Until we see and hear from that high and holy place, and until the season of rain graces the earth with life, we will remain hidden as it was when the generations of the heavens and the earth were created and made. Every finished work is ready, in store, waiting for the thundering call. They have all been in reserve; for the LORD God HAS NOT CAUSED IT TO RAIN upon the earth. But, oh, my friend, it will rain! There is a time for mist, a time for dew, and a time for rain, and also for snow. There is a time for God's finished work to be manifested. For myself, I smell the rain. It is in the air.
RAIN FROM HEAVEN
"For as THE RAIN cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall MY WORD be that goeth forth out of My mouth: IT shall not return unto Me, void, but IT shall accomplish that which I please, and IT shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent IT.
Ah, praise God! The season of rain! The billowing clouds of His body are forming above. They were there as vapors in the heavens even before they could be seen. Now that the season is upon us, the conditions are right, prepare for rain. And in the preparation, you will either be rained upon, or you will be the rain itself: For YE shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains (great kingdom) and the hills (lesser kingdoms) shall break forth before YOU into singing, and all the trees (all the people) of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off" (Isa 55:12-13).
The above is a beautiful picture of God's salvation of all. When the rain comes -- Christ and His many membered body -- the finished work will then be seen and known of all men, as John wrote in Revelation 1:7 (see also Isa 40:4-5).
Those who are in the heavens of those finished works will be the rain. His Word, namely, Jesus and all His words of expression (the Sons of God), will descend in raining manifestation upon the earth and in the whole world. Those who are having a hard time believing God has a finished work, rather than being the rain, will be rained upon by it. They will then believe and be blessed by it.
Ah, yes, as God's holy clouds in the heavens. What a blessed place to be; namely, resting in His finished works. When the time comes, and our Lord's voice thunders through the ranks of the heavenly host, we as rain shall descend upon the earth to give fruit in due season. It will be as Isaiah prophesied of things to come forth that were already created: "Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it." (Isa 45:8 NASB)
"For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His" (Heb 4:10).
We often receive letters, or hear brothers and sisters who are terribly disturbed because they don't have a place to minister, or they don't have a ministry at all, or a word to teach, or a song to sing, or even a testimony. Some become so condemned in their own minds that they go back to Babylon with hopes of getting involved with some sort of work or program that will ease their minds, and appease God. And the sad note is, whether they are in Babylon, nestled in down-cushioned pews with a holy-hush of reverence pervading the air, or they are alone at home with nothing to do -- they are not at rest.
For some reason, many feel that if they are not doing something, they are not pleasing God, even though God has not called them to do anything but to rest in Him. I can tell you this, if God has called you to minister in word or song, to write, to minister in the gifts of the Spirit, or any other finished work He could possible call you to -- you will fulfill that calling. He will make is so; for if you have been called to do something, it is already finished in the heavens, and come hell or high water, you will do it! Nothing can keep it from manifestation in its appointed season. The rain from heavy water-laden clouds could just as easily be held back, as to stop what God has created for you from coming to pass.
Therefore, all you saints, rest in whatever you have been called to, as well in that to which you haven't been called. Enter into that which God has finished. It might be a finished work to where you will move the mountains of the world, or it might be the mountains in your own life. Or it could be nothing but simply being at peace in Him. It matters not what it might be, that which must be done is to rest in that finished work and never covet the calling of another person. Even if you were permitted to walked in their shoes, you would not find rest; for you would be moving in something contrary to the finished works.
WE WHO HAVE BELIEVED
For we who have believed do enter into rest. Believing seems to be one of the hardest things for the human mind to do. It is not hard to believe in what we see; but those things we see can be products of our natural reasoning. Mental persuasions can also come by the scriptures we read by the letter, and with all the above, we then hash it over in our natural minds and come up with natural beliefs. This is not believing in God's finished works, it is assuming them to be so.
To believe or not to believe -- that is the question? Do we believe something we don't understand or cannot grasp? By no means; for we can't believe spiritual truths that have not been revealed to us. There must be revelation in order to believe. We are not expected to grasp anything until it is illumined in our own minds by the Spirit of revelation. If we lay hold of a teaching only because this brother or that sister teaches it, or only because we can see it in the scriptures -- such will fail in the heavens of our beliefs when they are shaken. No rest would be found therein, and it would all pass away; for only the finished works of God will remain (Heb 12:27). Only in resting in those eternal things will righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit be found, which happens to be the Kingdom of God (Rom 14:17).
Our believing is more than mental persuasion. It has to do with where we are in Christ, which should be in and above all heavens (See Far Above All Heavens #00.131, free upon request). When we sit with Him above all heavens, we begin to see those things which are finished, as it was with Him before us. It is from there that we can likewise finish them in the earth.
Jesus said, "...For the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me" (John 5:36). Every work He did was in God's Rest. There were no struggles, no sweat. He saw the finished works, believed them, and brought them into manifestation by His word.
He did not imagine a vain thing. He did not attempt to do anything that seemed to be a good work, then by the sweat of His face do everything in His wit and might to bring it to pass. He simply spoke that which He saw, thereby bringing into view what was already done: "Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He SEETH the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and SHOWETH Him all things that Himself doeth: and He will show Him greater works than these, that ye may marvel." (John 5:19-20)
Do you see why it is so easy to believe in the finished works of God? As it was with Jesus, so it should be with us. We must know that we can do nothing of ourselves. There will be no healing or deliverance in people's lives just because we deem it good. Only as we see what our Father has done, that which is completed, can we do. Moreover, as wonderful as those things have been that we have seen of Him, greater works than these will we see.
Although it is all finished, we do not now see it all. Even in the Spirit we are not allowed to see the complete picture, and we see precious little of this work manifested in the world. Even so, this does not disannul the fact that God has finished His works. Knowing this, I do not look for another day of His glorious Rest; but I do look to see more of His Day. I look to walk in a much greater way in the course of it. I look to rest in the finished works.
Elwin R. Roach
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