The Precious Confidence of Heaven: Let No One Rob You of It
Guest Article by Adam Rollins
“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 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. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” -Hebrews 4:1-11.
Herein this passage of the Bible (verse 4 in particular), this common 24-hour period of the “seventh day” rest which was regularly and routinely observed each week throughout history is used to foreshadow or prefigure (as most scholars will agree) the eternal rest in heaven. However, due to what is the widely accepted interpretation of scientific evidence, which is the belief that the earth and all creatures therein evolved over a process of billions of years, many Bible scholars have bought into this claim (being academically popularized) and therefore reject the account of Genesis 1 that the earth was created in six ordinary 24-hour days preceding the “seventh day” mentioned here in Hebrews. If the scholars who are led to believe that the earth evolved over a period of billions of years are correct, or if (as Gap theorists propose) long ages of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is reality, what are the implications toward this passage? What would therefore be the meaning of this exhortation? What message of hope, encouragement, or inspiration would this bring to those who profess faith in Christ?
Let’s add this up, shall we? The text here clearly makes reference to the account Genesis 2:1-3 where after the six days of creation in the previous chapter, God “…rested on the seventh day…” Being that the passage speaks of the “seventh day”, we must take as a given (without taking irrational spins on the text) that there were six days preceding it. As the “seventh day” is clearly both individual and ordinal, there had to be six other individual and ordinal days counting up to it (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) as they are listed in the account of Genesis 1. Given that the text in Hebrews speaks as a foreshadowing of the seven ordinary, 24-hour days people were familiar with, the author uses this as an allegory to speak of the six days as being the time of our labor and travail in this world. Likewise, the “seventh day” is given to speak of when our lifetime is ended (as our work during the week should be during the six days) and then entering into our eternal rest in heaven.
But shall we apply an allegory to an allegory? Many Bible scholars (in order to support an old earth belief, e.g., billions of years) declare that the days in the first chapter of Genesis are not literal 24-hour days but are allegorical days. Now back up the chuck wagon. What is an allegory anyway? The word “allegory” is defined as “a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.” -Dictionary.com. According to the definition of allegory, the author of Hebrews 4 clearly takes the account of the first two chapters of Genesis as literal history or “concrete or material forms” to “represent” the “abstract or spiritual meaning”. If the events listed in Genesis 1 and 2 are mere allegory, can there be any meaning in the allegory presented in Hebrews 4? To be strictly honest, the answer would be no. Attempting to apply an allegory to another allegory stretches logic well past the breaking point and thus renders this passage useless toward gaining genuine hope, encouragement, or inspiration toward the continuance of any spiritual enterprise or life purpose. Hebrews 4, as a result, would have no practical meaning for anyone except for those who would prefer to pursue a form of pseudo-logic toward their faith.
To think this through logically, it becomes obvious that the author of Hebrews 4 does not view the first 2 chapters of Genesis the same way many Bible scholars do today. Since “…the scripture cannot be broken…” (John 10:35), there must be something broken in our logic when we hold to the belief that the “days” mentioned in those chapters were allegorical.
From Pastor Harness: Adam’s logical explanation is helpful. We must believe Genesis from the very first verse, else, the rest of the Bible cannot be truly believed. Inform your faith; study Genesis from God’s perspective. He was there “in the beginning…”