Summary: As a sword was placed at the entrance to the Garden of Eden, a sword stands in the entrance of what the book of Hebrews called THE REST.
"The Turning Sword"
Gene 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
As a sword was placed at the entrance to the Garden of Eden, a sword stands in the entrance of what the book of Hebrews called THE REST.
· The writer said that there is a place of faith that we must enter into.
· It is NOW because we read in 4:16 that we can come boldly to the throne of grace.
· It is supposed to be our goal as much as entering the promised land was the goal of the Hebrew people when they left Egypt in the great Exodus.
· There are so many great parallels between the thought of entering our rest and entering the promised land.
The main point is that Israel did not enter into their Rest due to unbelief.
And Hebrews picks this up and gravely warns us....
Hebr 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Then we read of the sword.
Hebr 4:12-13 For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things [are] naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
· After saying that we better ensure that we labour, we read that we must do so "lest we fall after the same example of unbelief".
· Israel entered not in because of what 3:19 said..... UNBELIEF.
Hebr 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
· And if we do not enter it will be because of what 4:11 said -- because of unbelief.
· 3:19 was Israel’s failure, and 4:11 will be our failure if we indeed do fail to enter.
· BOTH FAILURES to enter, then and now, are due to UNBELIEF.
If we are supposed to labour to enter our rest, "Lest we fall after the same example of unbelief", then clearly that labour is the labour of faith.
· The writer said, "Labour, so you will not fall in unbelief."
· He meant that we must FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH.
· We must labour and exert effort to BELIEVE.
· So the issue is exerting faith instead of falling in unbelief.
And after saying we must labour to believe, and not disbelieve, so that we might enter, we read that the reason is there is a SWORD sharper than any other sword.
· We read that we had better labour to enter by faith because a sword exists which can pierce to divide our very souls and spirits.
· This sword is a discerner of our very thoughts and intents.
· That sword is the WORD OF GOD.
· In other words, if we do not exert proper and true faith, God will know it.
· His Sword can cut right into our souls and spirits.
· Not a physical sword but a spiritual sword.
· It does not cut flesh and bone, but soul and spirit.
· This sword cutting describes how God can see right into your heart and tell whether you believe or whether you disbelieve.
· And those who do not believe will simply not enter in.
This is the very same picture we see when Adam was thrown from the Garden and God placed a FLAMING SWORD to protect the way to the tree of life.
· The Gospel is simply the GOOD NEWS explaining to us how we can enter into the REST that God created man to live in before God threw us out due to our sin in Adam.
· WE HAVE TO GET PAST THE SWORD.
· And Hebrews tells us that the way past and the way to enter our rest is BY FAITH.
· The sword determines who enters and who does not enter.
· It looks for faith or disbelief.
· We all have one of the two.
Let us read the last verse and the first few verses of Hebrews 4 so that we may get a good picture of the situation now that we understand the general idea.
Hebr 3:19-4:3 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. 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.