REST API: The Proven “After Pentecost Instruction” of Hebrews

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.

Understanding Cultic Calendars: Its Relationship to the Christian Calendar

Cultic calendars, also known as religious calendars, are calendars that are based on the religious or spiritual beliefs and practices of a particular culture or group. These calendars are often used to mark important religious observances, festivals, and events, and to regulate the timing of religious rituals and ceremonies.

Cultic calendars can vary widely in terms of their structure and content, depending on the specific culture or religion with which they are associated. The ancient Hebrew calendar includes a number of religious holidays and observances. Cultic calendars play an important role in many cultures and religions, helping to maintain and transmit important religious beliefs and practices from generation to generation.

Some of the most significant observances in the Hebrew cultic calendar include:

  1. Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah – The biblical feast day (trumpets) is also known as the modern-day Jewish New Year, which is celebrated on the first and second days of the month of Tishrei.
  2. Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement, which is observed on the 10th day of Tishrei and is considered the holiest day of the Jewish year.
  3. Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles, which is celebrated for seven days from the 15th to the 21st of Tishrei.
  4. Hanukkah – the Festival of Lights, which is celebrated for eight days beginning on the 25th day of the month of Kislev.
  5. Passover – the Festival of Freedom, which is celebrated for seven or eight days beginning on the 15th day of the month of Nisan. Passover is often combined with the biblical feast of Unleaved Bread and the Feast of First Fruits since they happen in rapid succession on the calendar.
  6. Shavuot – the Festival of Weeks, which commemorates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and is celebrated on the 6th of Sivan.
  7. Tisha B’Av – a day of mourning and fasting that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, which falls on the 9th of Av.

These observances are an important part of Jewish tradition and are observed by Jewish communities around the world.

The Hebrew calendar and the Christian calendar are related in some ways, but they are fundamentally different systems. The Christian calendar, also known as the Gregorian calendar, is a solar calendar that is based on the cycle of the sun, while the Hebrew calendar is a lunar calendar that is based on the cycle of the moon.

However, some of the holidays and observances in the Hebrew calendar have been adopted or adapted by Christians, particularly those of Jewish heritage. For example, Hanukkah, a major Jewish holiday celebrating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, falls around the same time as Christmas in the Christian calendar, and some Jewish Christians celebrate both holidays.

In addition, the Jewish holiday of Passover, which commemorates the Exodus from Egypt, influenced the timing of Easter in the Christian calendar. Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox, which was determined by the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, and it is scripturally connected to Passover.

“Unpacking the Negative Impact of Religious False Dilemmas: Lessons from Jesus and Today”

Religious false dichotomies are often presented as binary choices, forcing individuals to choose between two options that are presented as mutually exclusive, when in reality there may be more nuanced and complex options available. On episode 72 of the Rethinking Scripture podcast, we discuss just some of the ways you may unknowingly be influenced by religious false dilemmas.

One of the negative consequences of false dilemmas is that they can create a sense of polarization and division among people. This can lead to a lack of empathy and understanding between different groups, and ultimately fuel conflict and tension.

Second, false dichotomies can lead to a narrow and limited understanding of religious concepts and ideas. When presented with only two options, people may overlook the complexities and nuances of a particular belief or practice, leading to a shallow understanding.

Third, false dichotomies can result in a misinterpretation of religious teachings. When presented with only two options, people may fail to consider other important factors or perspectives that could inform their understanding of a particular issue or concept.

Overall, the use of religious false dichotomies can be detrimental to the pursuit of religious understanding, unity, and peace.

In the Bible, Jesus faced several false dichotomies. The religious leaders of Jesus’ time often presented the choice between following the law and receiving God’s grace as a binary option. However, Jesus taught that grace did not nullify the law but rather fulfilled it.

The Pharisees presented Jesus with the choice between serving God and serving money. Jesus taught that one could not serve both God and money and that one’s priorities should be focused on serving God.

The religious leaders accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath by healing on that day, presenting the choice between observing the Sabbath and healing as a binary option. However, Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for man, and not the other way around, and that healing on the Sabbath was consistent with the purpose of the day.

Just like in Jesus’ day, false dilemmas have found their way into modern religious arguments as well. The “Faith vs. Science” discussion is a common false dichotomy that presents the choice between faith and science as an either/or proposition. In reality, many people are able to reconcile their faith with scientific discoveries and advancements.

Another example of a religious false dichotomy is the choice between grace and law. Some religious communities may present these as a binary option, suggesting that individuals must prioritize either grace or the law, when in reality, these concepts are often intertwined and can work together.

Finally, the “Spirituality vs. Religion” dichotomy presents the choice between spirituality and religion as mutually exclusive. However, many religious traditions emphasize the importance of both spirituality and organized religion in facilitating spiritual growth and community.