Finding Our Sabbatismos


Published by Rob Skiba May 24, 2014 at 5:16 AM

My favorite study Bible is a KJV – NLT parallel Bible. Well, I’m sorry to say this, but both totally blow it when it comes to the translation of Hebrews 4:9…

In the Greek…

Sabbatismos means…

The Greek word for “rest” in this verse is “sabbatismos” which literally means Sabbath keeping or Sabbath observance. So, for those of you looking for that verse in the New Testament that endorses the 4th Commandment, there you go!

It is always interesting when comparing translations! The KJV also screws up Hebrews 4:8 (confusing the reader into thinking that “Jesus” is doing something here):

And that isn’t the only time “Jesus” is used where it should be Joshua in the KJV:

“Joshua” comes from “Yehoshua,” which means “Yah is salvation.”

Interestingly enough, Joshua was named that by Moses (yeah, you know, the guy who wrote the Law):

Numbers 13:

16 These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.

Yeshua, obviously being a shortened version of Yehoshua, simply means “salvation”:

Isaiah 12:

2 Behold, God is my salvation [yeshua]; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation [yeshua].

I’m not a “Sacred Namer” but the fact remains, we miss so much in our English Bibles! And I do find it interesting and somewhat disturbing that the English translators had no problem taking the same Hebrew/Greek word and transliterating it into Joshua all over the Bible, but when it came to our savior (who had the SAME name), they make up a new word. Anyway, back to Hebrews 4 and the Sabbath…

Because of KJV Onlyism and screw ups like this:

…we are led to believe that Yeshua/Jesus created something NEW – a new day-type of rest apart from Sabbath. But that simply is not the case. Perhaps the Aramaic Bible in Plain English really has it right:

Hebrews 4:

8 For if Yeshua, son of Nun*, had given them rest, he would not afterward have spoken of another day.

So then, it remains for the people of God to keep the Sabbath.

10 For whoever enters his rest has rested from his works as God has from his own.

11 Let us take pains, therefore, to enter that rest, lest we fall in the manner of those who were not persuaded.

The Amplified Bible really helps to clear a lot up:

Hebrews 4:

1 Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still holds and is offered [today], let us be afraid [to distrust it], lest any of you should think he has come too late and has come short of [reaching] it.

2 For indeed we have had the glad tidings [Gospel of God] proclaimed to us just as truly as they [the Israelites of old did when the good news of deliverance from bondage came to them]; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith (with the leaning of the entire personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) by those who heard it; neither were they united in faith with the ones [Joshua and Caleb] who heard (did believe).

3 For we who have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on God) do enter that rest, in accordance with His declaration that those [who did not believe] should not enter when He said, As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest; and this He said although [His] works had been completed and prepared [and waiting for all who would believe] from the foundation of the world.

I see that (verse 3) as the key to understanding the rest that we DO have in Christ, who was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). However, that does not negate the rest we ALSO have in the 7th day…

4 For in a certain place He has said this about the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.

5 And [they forfeited their part in it, for] in this [passage] He said, They shall not enter My rest.

6 Seeing then that the promise remains over [from past times] for some to enter that rest, and that those who formerly were given the good news about it and the opportunity, failed to appropriate it and did not enter because of disobedience,

7 Again He sets a definite day, [a new] Today, [and gives another opportunity of securing that rest] saying through David after so long a time in the words already quoted, Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts.

8 [This mention of a rest was not a reference to their entering into Canaan.] For if Joshua had given them rest, He [God] would not speak afterward about another day.

9 So then, there is still awaiting a full and complete Sabbath-rest reserved for the [true] people of God;

To say a “full and complete Sabbath rest” helps to emphasize the rest we have in Christ, however, that is not what it says in the Greek as noted above. The International Standard Version puts it this way:

Hebrews 4:

9 There remains, therefore, a Sabbath rest for the people of God to keep,

Why? Continuing with the Amplified Bible…

10 For he who has once entered [God’s] rest also has ceased from [the weariness and pain] of human labors, just as God rested from those labors peculiarly His own.

This is a clear and obvious reference to YHWH resting on the 7th day. “God’s rest” is the Sabbath.

11 Let us therefore be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest [of God, to know and experience it for ourselves], that no one may fall or perish by the same kind of unbelief and disobedience [into which those in the wilderness fell].

What is the “that rest” of Hebrews 4:11? That rest is the 7th day Sabbath. So here, Paul states that we should “be zealous and exert ourselves and strive diligently to enter that rest…” meaning the 7th day Sabbath.

So, what sort of “disobedience” is being referred to here in this same verse? Of course, disobeying what YHWH says/commands us to do. In context, the passage is talking about Israel’s unbelief and disobedience when it came to entering the land of Canaan in Numbers 13. But disobedience is also in failing to obey anything YHWH says – such as “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.”

Now, do we find our ultimate rest in “salvation” (Yeshua – Jesus)? Certainly. BUT, as one on-line source puts it:

It was approximately a decade ago when some Christians began teaching how Hebrews chapter four revealed that a Sabbath rest does remain for the children of God. But for every truth Satan always has a lie and so it was not long before some started claiming that Jesus is our Sabbath in opposition to the real truth of this passage. On careful examination, the truth seeker will find that those opposing the truth have used eisegesis instead of Biblical exegesis just to avoid spending quality time with their Creator. It grieves me deeply that such people who do not love God with all their heart will hear these words from Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23 that no one should want to hear.

There is no scripture that specifically states that Jesus replaced the Sabbath and I challenge anyone to produce such a scripture. And since there is no required action for this most recent deception then this is no different from saying that the Sabbath was abolished. So what sounds better and tickles those itching ears of some? (2 Timothy 4:3-4) Jesus is our Sabbath or the Sabbath is abolished?

One of the many reasons God gave us His Sabbath Day is because our bodies require a full day of rest, minimum, each week or we will eventually burn out and our health will suffer. Knowing Jesus does not and cannot give you this required physical rest, I can quite assure you that if you pound rocks seven days a week non stop, your body will give up and you will eventually collapse regardless to if you know Christ or not.


The 4th Commandment is still in effect… and now I must rest in it.

Shabbat Shalom!

– Rob Skiba

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