What does Hebrews 3:11 mean?
ESV: As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
NIV: So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.''
CSB: So I swore in my anger,"They will not enter my rest."
NLT: So in my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest.’'
KJV: So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
NKJV: So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
Verse Commentary:
The author of Hebrews is using a quotation of Psalm 95 to illustrate an important point. Earlier verses explained that Jesus is a greater example than Moses, and so we should seek to follow Christ, even in times of hardship. Psalm 95 is a warning to Israel not to lose faith in God, as they did after leaving Egypt. Christians, then, are called on to "hold fast" to their faith, even under persecution, so they don't lose their fellowship and inheritance with God.

The reference to "rest" here needs to be carefully understood. This part of Hebrews uses several meanings of "rest." This verse is a reference to Israel's victory in Canaan, as intended by God (Deuteronomy 12:9). The rebellious, faithless generation of Israel in the desert was barred from obtaining this victory. The Promised Land, however, is not meant to be a metaphor for salvation. Israel still had temptations, battles, and strife in Canaan. So, this is not a reference to a loss of salvation, for a Christian. This is further supported by the fact that Hebrews 4:9 will appeal to an eternal, ultimate "rest" of heaven, separate from what is mentioned here.
Verse Context:
Hebrews 3:7–14 uses the example of Israel's forty years in the wilderness (Numbers 13—14) as a warning. This is directed at Christians who fail to ''hold fast'' their faith in God during persecution. Israel was saved from Egypt, as believers are saved from eternal death through salvation. Israel was offered the Promised Land, as believers are promised victory through our spiritual inheritance. Israel lost faith and didn't trust God against the ''giants'' of Canaan, as believers can be tempted to lose faith in the face of persecution. The ancient Israelites were not sent back to Egypt, just as God does not revoke the salvation of Christian believers. However, both can expect hardship and a loss of fellowship if they fail to trust in God.
Chapter Summary:
Hebrews chapter 3 uses a reference to Israel's wandering in the desert from the story of the Exodus. In this incident, the nation of Israel came to the border of the Promised Land and then lost confidence in God. Rather than trusting Him, most of the people gave up hope. As a result, only a tiny remnant of the nation was allowed to enter into Canaan. This chapter explains that Jesus Christ is superior to Moses and all of Moses' accomplishments. Christians, therefore, need to encourage each other to fully trust in God, in order to see fulfillment of His promises.
Chapter Context:
In chapters 1 and 2, the author of Hebrews showed that Jesus was not an angel. In fact, Jesus' role as Messiah required Him to be fully human. Starting in chapter 3, the author will explain how Jesus is also superior to various Old Testament characters such as Moses. This will help to set the stage for later references to Christ's superiority. Part of the warning in this chapter extends into chapter 4. Namely, that Christians who doubt God's promises risk missing out on the victories He has in store for us.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
Accessed 5/26/2024 5:27:53 PM
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