In the world of computers, REST API stands for Representational State Transfer Application Programming Interface. It is an architectural style and a set of principles for designing networked applications. In regards to computers, REST is widely used in web development to create efficient APIs that allow communication between different software systems.
So in our modern culture, REST API has a specific context and application. But in the world of the Bible, rest has a very different application. Interestingly, many studies on the topic focus on elements of rest introduced in the Old Testament. Others focus on the interaction from the gospel accounts where Jesus interacted with the idea. But not many studies focus on the Bible’s version of REST API… specifically focusing on the “After Pentecost Instruction” given to the topic of rest.
It’s important to consider the instruction after the Pentecost events in Acts 2, because many consider that the birth of the modern church. Instruction given before those events is given to a world that couldn’t imagine or conceive of the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Messiah. And as Messiah, Jesus is the self-proclaimed giver of true rest. So, it would seem, the Rest API of the New Testament could be considered the best place to conclude a study of the topic.
But many books on Sabbath don’t even integrate the biblical REST API (after Pentecost instruction) into their theology.
Hebrews 3-4 contains a discussion and instruction regarding biblical rest. The author of Hebrews addresses the Jewish Christian audience, emphasizing the importance of entering into God’s rest and warning against unbelief and disobedience. Let’s explore the key themes and teachings present in these chapters:
Jesus Superior to Moses: In Hebrews 3:1-6, the author establishes Jesus’ superiority over Moses. While Moses was faithful as a servant in God’s house, Jesus is depicted as the Son over God’s house. The comparison serves to highlight the exalted position and authority of Jesus.
Warning Against Unbelief: Hebrews 3:7-19 recounts the story of the Israelites’ rebellion in the wilderness, highlighting their unbelief and disobedience. The author warns the readers not to harden their hearts and fall into the same pattern of unbelief. They are urged to hold fast to their faith and not allow unbelief to hinder them from entering God’s rest.
The Promise of Rest: Hebrews 4:1-11 introduces the concept of rest as a promise from God. The author reminds the readers of God’s promise of rest in the Old Testament, particularly referencing Psalm 95:7-11. The rest being discussed is not merely physical rest but a spiritual rest that comes from a deep relationship with God.
Faith and Rest: Hebrews 4:2 emphasizes that the promise of rest was received by faith, as demonstrated by the Israelites who failed to enter because of their unbelief. The author encourages the readers to combine the hearing of God’s word with faith, enabling them to enter into God’s rest.
The Sabbath Rest: Hebrews 4:3-11 connects the promise of rest to the concept of the Sabbath. The author draws a parallel between God’s resting on the seventh day of creation (and every day following) and the invitation for believers to enter God’s rest. This rest is portrayed as ongoing and eternal, symbolizing a cessation from one’s own work which challenges God’s order and finding completeness in God’s work of giving order and function to the cosmos.
Jesus, the Source of Rest: Hebrews 4:14-16 points to Jesus as the High Priest who sympathizes with human weaknesses. Through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection, Jesus becomes the source of rest for believers. They are encouraged to approach Jesus with confidence and find mercy and grace in their time of need.
The discussion in Hebrews 3-4 underscores the significance of entering into God’s rest through faith, highlighting Jesus’ supremacy and the danger of unbelief. It encourages believers to remain faithful, hold fast to their confession, and find their ultimate rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Including the biblical REST API into one’s theology is crucial to establish a complete understanding and practice of truly experiencing and keeping Sabbath REST.