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Heb 4:1-11   Consider again the parallel the author makes between the Israelites who followed Moses from their bondage in Egypt and Christians who follow Jesus as their Savior from sin; what was the twofold nature of the “gospel” or “good news” proclaimed to the children of Israel, and how does that correspond to the gospel preached to us as Christians?  See Ex 3:7-8, 4:29-31, Lk 1:74-75.  Did God deliver the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt so they could be their own masters, or be enslaved to other masters?  See Ex 7:16, 8:1,20, 9:1,13, 10:3.  What was the “rest” that those whom Moses led out of Egypt failed to enter?  See Heb 4:8, Num 14:22-23, Dt 1:34-35.  What does that “rest” in the land of their promised inheritance typify for the Christian?  See again Lk 1:74-75, Rom 14:17 as well as Is 58:13-14.  Did the author consider that those whom Moses led out of Egypt were “saved” for all eternity because they experienced the wonders of God and were delivered from their taskmasters?  Should Christians consider that they are saved for all eternity because they make an initial profession of faith and experience the power of God working in their lives even to finding deliverance from sin?  See Heb 6:4-6, Mat 10:22, 24:13.  Notice that true salvation = justification + sanctification, typified by deliverance out of Egypt and into the promised inheritance to “possess the land”.  How does one enter into the rest that typifies true and complete salvation; i.e., by what means does a Christian “possess the land”?  See Heb 4:3a.  What does it mean to “believe”, and by what means does one “disbelieve”?  See Heb 4:3,6,11, cf. Heb 3:18-19.  For what reason did the “word of hearing” (Heb 4:2, literal) not ultimately profit those who came out of Egypt?  Note: Heb 4:2c is best translated “because they were not united by faith with them that heard”; cf. NET “they did not join in with those who heard it in faith”.  Who were those who “heard” the good news and had faith to enter God’s rest?  See Num 14:24,30.  How was the “belief” exhibited by the Israelites whom Moses led out of Egypt similar to that exhibited by many Christians today?  See Ex 4:31, Num 13:25-14:11, cf. 8:31-59, esp. Joh 8:43&47, Mat 13:20-21.  What conclusion does the author draw for his hearers from the example of those whom Moses led out of their bondage in Egypt but who did not enter into God’s rest?  See Heb 4:11,1.  What does it mean to “be diligent” (Heb 4:11)?  Cf. 2 Pet 1:10, 3:14.  What exactly is lacking in the heart of those who are unsaved that is the ultimate cause of their damnation?  See Heb 4:1, Ps 36:1, Lk 23:40.  What does this teach us about the importance of the fear of the Lord to true salvation?  See Deut 10:12-13, Job 28:28, Prov 14:26-27, Ecc 12:13-14, Jer 32:39-40, Rev 14:7.  What does the context from both chapters 3 and 4 of the author’s admonition in Heb 4:1 teach us about what it means for a Christian to fear the Lord?  Is such fear a mere “reverence” or “awe”?  Cf. Ps 119:120[1].  What does the way in which recent modern versions of the Bible have translated Heb 4:1 tell us about the extent to which such a fear of God has been lost to American Christianity?  Cf. NET “we must be wary” and NIV “let us be careful”.

Heb 4:11-13 How do Heb 4:12-13 add to the author’s conclusion in Heb 4:11?  I.e., how do they relate to the preceding verses in chapter 4?  Hint: what word in Heb 4:12 is found 5 other times in the previous discussion?  See Heb 3:8,10,12,15, 4:7.  Is God deceived by the religious veneer of those whose faith is insincere?  Is he fooled by those who pretend to follow him but in their innermost being are unfaithful and have turned back or fallen away?  Why not?  See Heb 4:12-13.  On what basis will men be judged on the last day?  See Jn 12:48.  What does the ability of the word of God to divide soul and spirit tell us about how sharp is that word by which we will be judged?  Where are the joints and marrow located within a person?  What does this teach us about how far the sword of God’s word penetrates?  Cf. Jer 17:10, 1 Cor 4:5, Rev 2:23.  What is the significance that His sword is two-edged?  See Rom 2:16-24.  In light of the things written in the past to teach us (Rom 15:4) that the author has reminded us of so we may know with certainty that God will act in judgment and not spare even those whom He formerly led out of bondage, and considering that such judgment will be rendered not only on the basis of the deeds seen by men but according to our thoughts and motives and the innermost intentions of our hearts, what must be our response?  See Heb 4:1,11.

1. Note the NIV rendering of Ps 119:120 “I stand in awe of your laws” misses the mark completely; the Hebrew word it translates here as “laws” means “judgments” as the NASB, KJV, RSV, NET, YLT correctly render it.

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