And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What have you done?”
And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” M200
Those are the words recorded in Genesis 3:11-13. The questions asked by Jesus were investigative.
If we look at the first two questions Jesus asked in Genesis 3:11; we can see that Jesus went through a process of deduction and revelation.
And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” M201
The first question was, “Who told you that you were naked?” this was in response to man’s statement earlier in Genesis 3:10
He said, “I heard Your voice in the garden and was afraid because I was naked, so I hid myself.” M202
The Lord God’s first natural response was who told you were naked. Who told you that you were without a covering? His second response was because He realized that if nobody told you this, the only way you would know this is if you ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
God the Father knows everything; however, this is the first time we get a glimpse into what makes Jesus the Lord God, the Son of God the Father different.
The key to understanding this is that God, the Father, knows everything and that Jesus His Son, only knows what His father has revealed to Him.
We see this explained very clearly by Jesus Himself in Mark 13:32.
But concerning that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. M203
Only the Father knows the day and the hour. Nobody knows, not the angels, not even the Son of God (Jesus), only God the Father.
This is where we begin to see the resemblance of human, relatable characteristics in the creator who made us from the dust of the earth.
It is this first glimpse of a character trait that made God as the Son, relatable to us. This simple gesture allowed us to approach someone who can create anything from nothing.
We see another example of this when the Lord God decided to become flesh for us. An incomprehensible move of love recorded in Philippians 2:5-11.
Let this mind be in you all, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.
But He emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in the form of a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.
Therefore, God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. M204
Jesus did not expect us to grasp the concept of Him being equal to God; the concept that Jesus is our Lord God and creator who displayed traits that made Him relatable can be hard to understand.
Take another instance, for example, the time when Jesus was surprised by the faith of the Centurion, who asked Jesus to heal his servant in Luke 7:1-10.
When He had completed all His words in the hearing of the people, He entered Capernaum. Now a centurion’s servant, who was dear to him, was sick and ready to die. When he heard of Jesus, he sent the elders of the Jews to Him, asking Him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they asked Him earnestly, saying, “You should do this for him for he is worthy, for he loves our nation, and he has built us a synagogue.” So, Jesus went with them.
When He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. Likewise, I did not think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard these words, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the people who followed Him, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick. M205
Before we move on, it would be intriguing to acknowledge and point out that in Jesus’s remark, He talks about the faith of a Gentile being more astonishing than the faith found among Israelites in Israel.
In Mark 5:25-34, we see another example of Jesus asking who touched Him but also the revelatory knowledge of Him being Lord God to know the woman who touched His garment.
And a certain woman had a hemorrhage for twelve years and had suffered much under many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was not better but rather grew worse. When she had heard of Jesus, she came in the crowd behind Him and touched His garment. For she said, “If I may touch His garments, I shall be healed.” And immediately her hemorrhage dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.
At once, Jesus knew within Himself that power had gone out of Him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?”
His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing against You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
And He looked around to see her who had done it. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the entire truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” M206
It is through these expressions of Jesus that we get a glimpse into what truly made Him so special. Those moments that Jesus becomes even more relatable, more human to us. The moments when Jesus shares our human emotions with us. Where He saw our demonstrated faith that came from the heart and responded to our deepest prayers.
In Jeremiah 17:10, it says.
I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his deeds. M207
Jesus, the Lord God, searches the heart. What’s important to understand in the above verse is that it’s not God the Father that is searching the heart, but Jesus.
The heart is being searched to uncover what’s truly hidden inside, the things that nobody else knows. Once Jesus identifies the weakness of the heart that causes us to fall into temptation, the mind is tested against it.
In our human understanding and conditioning, we attribute the heart for feelings and the mind (brain) for thoughts. However, for God, the heart has a dual nature, both emotion and thought.
In Hebrews 4:12, we are provided with some startling insight into understanding the heart.
For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart. M208
Let’s begin to unpack this profound statement, and for us to grasp the meaning, we need to start at the end and work backward.
The thoughts and intents of the heart; these are two descriptions used to define the heart.
Merriam-Webster defines thought as:
- an idea, plan, opinion, picture, etc., that is formed in your mind: something that you think of
- the act or process of thinking
- the act of carefully thinking about the details of something MW31
Here we learn that the heart is capable of creating an idea, a plan using a thinking process associated with the mind, even able to think of the necessary details.
Intent is defined in Merriam-Webster as:
- the state of mind with which an act is done
- a usually clearly formulated or planned intention
- having the mind, attention, or will concentrated on something or some end or purpose
- the thing that you plan to do or achieve MW32
Intent is the state of mind, having something planned to do or achieve.
In Proverbs 6:18, we get a glimpse of the intents and thoughts of a heart that the Lord hates.
A heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief. M209
When the heart has the opportunity to fulfill its wicked thoughts, it makes quick plans to carry it out. That is why the Lord God Jesus searches the heart and tests the mind.
As we continue to unpack Hebrews 4:12, let’s look at joints and marrow.
For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart. M210
A joint is described in Merriam-Webster as:
- a place where two things or parts are joined
- the point of contact between elements of an animal skeleton with the parts that surround and support it MW33
Marrow also has an interesting definition in Merriam-Webster:
- bone marrow
- the choicest of food
- the inmost, best, or essential part MW34
If we dive a little deeper into the definition of bone marrow due to the context of the phrase in Merriam-Webster, we learn something astonishing.
- a soft highly vascular modified connective tissue that occupies the cavities of most bones and occurs in two forms:
- a: one that is yellowish, consists chiefly of fat cells, and is found especially in the cavities of long bones
- b: one that is reddish, is the chief site of blood cell formation, and occurs in the normal adult in cancellous tissue especially of certain flat bones — called also red marrow MW35
Bone marrow is defined as a connective tissue that occurs in two forms: yellow, which is primarily fat cells, and red, which is mainly blood cells.
As we elaborate on this, we see that the Word of God is alive and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of joints and marrow.
Marrow is located inside the bone, the outside is crusty and hard, and the word of God is so powerful that it can cut through the bone and reach the marrow.
It’s common to overlook the word marrow as a biology term defining the human body, but if we stop for a minute and ask the question.
Holy Spirit, why did you use the word marrow?
The profoundness and revelation of this word “marrow” can take us to such a deep understanding that it will leave us astounded.
We are going to understand why the Word of God is so powerful, just by learning what marrow does.
Bone marrow, both red and yellow, contains stem cells that can produce blood cells, fat, cartilage, and bone. The yellow marrow is mainly due to the higher concentration of fat, and if needed, the body will convert yellow marrow to red in the event of severe blood loss. OR1
Why is this important?
Hebrews 4:1 gives some more insight.
Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest remains, let us fear lest any of you should seem to come short of it. M211
Jesus’s disciple is teaching a precious lesson here about the sabbath and its day of rest.
In Exodus 20:8-11, this is what the Lord God wrote:
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, or your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or your sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. M212
It is the Lord God Jesus Christ that blessed the Sabbath day. He even told the people around him in Mark 2:27, why it was created.
The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. M213
The Sabbath day, which is the sixth day of the week and technically starts on Friday evening and ends Saturday evening, is the day of God-ordained rest made for man. It was made so that the people of God would rest on that day and be blessed.
Psalm 46:10 tells us.
Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. M214
Have you ever seen an active person at rest? God knew we would always like to keep ourselves occupied doing something. That’s why in Exodus 34:32, the following command was given.
You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you must rest. Even at the time of plowing and harvest you must rest. M215
Depending on which translation you read, you will see the word “must” instead of “shall.” I like the word must, because God knew we would be fighting the concept of rest, of observing the sabbath. He knew that grace would abound, and that understanding of the laws and commands would be put aside due to that. Before I get into that topic, let me just go over the meaning of the word must.
Merriam-Webster has several definitions of the word must:
- be commanded or requested to
- be compelled by physical necessity to
- be required by immediate or future need or purpose to
- be compelled by social considerations to
- be required by law, custom, or moral conscience
- be compelled by fate or by natural law to
- an imperative need or duty
- an indispensable item
- the expressed juice of fruit and especially grapes before and during fermentation MW36
So what Lord God was trying to tell us in His word written in Exodus 34:32.
You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you must rest. Even at the time of plowing and harvest you must rest. M216
We must rest, we are commanded to and requested to rest, it is a physical necessity, currently and in the future, we will need to rest. We must rest even though we may be compelled by social situations to forgo the ask. It is a required law, custom, and it is our moral duty to follow it because the Sabbath day of rest was made for man. Even though we may be compelled by fate or natural events or law not to observe it, we must try to do our best. It is something that is imperative, especially when on duty as a watchman, an indispensable item that must be used every six days.
In Genesis 2:2-3 (NIV) we read.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. N6
God rested on the seventh day from all His work. It is God who rested first on the seventh day, and we continue in that command as we go through our journey in life.
It is this rest, which has is blessed and made Holy that will prevent us from turning into vinegar but become like the best wine served at the end of the wedding feast spoken about in John 2:9-10.
When the master of the feast tasted the water that had been turned into wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who drew the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom, and he said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and after men have drunk freely, then the poor wine is served. But you have kept the good wine until now.” M217
In Hebrews 4:1-2 (NIV), we see some astounding statements made about rest.
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. N7
There are a lot of remarkable points made in that passage. First, is that the promise of the rest is still in effect. Second, we have to be careful not to fall short. Third, although the same message was shared with all, they did not share the same faith of those who obeyed.
Let’s dive into this a little more and look at the promise, falling short, and sharing the same faith. What is the promise of the rest, and where could the answers be found in God’s Word?
Could Ezekiel 20:12 shed some light?
Moreover, I gave them My Sabbaths to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. M218
What an explosive statement! “I gave them My Sabbaths,” “a sign between them and me,” “I am the Lord who sanctifies them.”
The Lord God, Jesus Christ, gave them His Sabbaths, His days of rest as a sign between them to receive sanctification. Isn’t this amazing?
The purpose of rest is to be sanctified.
THE PURPOSE OF REST IS TO BE SANCTIFIED
What does it mean to be sanctified?
Merriam-Webster defines sanctify as:
- to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use: consecrate
- to free from sin: purify
- to impart or impute sacredness, inviolability, or respect to
- to make productive of holiness or piety
observe the day of the sabbath, to sanctify it — Deuteronomy 5:12 (Douay Version) MW37
It was phenomenal to find that Merriam-Webster uses Deuteronomy 5:12 as an example to explain the meaning of sanctification.
What this means is that Jesus Christ told us to observe the Sabbath as a day of rest so that He can sanctify us. In doing so, He can then set us apart for a sacred purpose, free us from sin, impart sacredness and make us productive of holiness.
With this understanding, we can begin to comprehend two books of the New Testament, 1 Peter and Hebrews.
In 1 Peter 2:1-5, we learn this.
Therefore, put away all wickedness, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking. As newborn babies desire the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow, if it is true that you have experienced that the Lord is good.
Coming to Him as to a living stone who is rejected by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up into a spiritual house as a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. M219
Chosen by God, precious living stones, built into a spiritual house as a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. I hope we can understand the various aspects of our calling.
The rest sanctifies us to be holy and makes our spiritual scarifies acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
In Hebrews 3:1-2, we read.
Therefore, holy brothers, partakers in a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses was faithful in all His house. M220
The Sabbath and our calling are interlinked. If we continue in Hebrews 3:7-11, we find a price for not knowing the ways of the Lord.
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of temptation in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me and tried Me and saw My works for forty years.
Therefore, I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’
So, I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’” M221
These are critical words to take note of. Something that we must read very slowly and carefully as these are the words of warning from the Holy Spirit.
Before we try to ascertain what the Spirit of God is saying to us, let us look at Hebrews 3:18-19.
And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who disobeyed? So, we see that they could not enter because of unbelief. M222
We see the word swear mentioned again. It is highlighting to us that we should pay attention to the fact that God “swore.”
In Merriam-Webster, the word swear has the following meanings:
- to utter or take solemnly (an oath)
- to assert as true or promise under oath
- to bind by an oath MW38
When God swore, He did not say anything profane, nor did He just make a promise; instead, He made an oath.
When we understand the meaning of the word oath, the gravity of what was said by God begins to take hold. Merriam-Webster defines an oath as:
- a solemn usually formal calling upon God or a god to witness to the truth of what one says or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says
- a solemn attestation of the truth or inviolability of one’s words
- something (such as a promise) corroborated by an oath MW39
By God swearing in His wrath that “they shall not enter my rest,” He was making a solemn official statement to do what He said, which can not be made void.
There is an interesting parallel here found in Isaiah 55:3,6-7,10-12.
Incline your ear, and come to Me. Listen, so that your soul may live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. M223
Seek the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. M224
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. M225
When we overlay the words from Hebrews 3:7-9 with Isaiah 55:3,6-7, Hebrews 3:10-11, Isaiah 55:10-12, we see something magnificent, the promises for those that hear His voice and obey.
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:
“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of temptation in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me and tried Me and saw My works for forty years. M226
Incline your ear, and come to Me. Listen, so that your soul may live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. M227
Seek the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. M228
Therefore, I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’
So, I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’” M229
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth and make it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. M230
To understand the incredible beauty and promises for hearing and obeying the word of the Lord, Isaiah 55:12 is profound.
For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. M231
We first need to understand the meaning of three words to comprehend the meaning of that verse fully. The first is out.
Out is defined in Merriam-Webster as:
- in a direction away from the inside or center
- from among others
- away from home or work
- away from a particular place
- so as to be missing or displaced from the usual or proper place
- into the possession or control of another MW40
The second is peace, and in Merriam-Webster, that is defined as:
- a state of tranquility or quiet
- freedom from civil disturbance
- a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom
- to be, become, or keep silent or quiet MW41
The third is rest, and that is defined in Merriam-Webster as:
- freedom from activity or labor
- peace of mind or spirit
- to be free from anxiety or disturbance
- to cause to be firmly fixed MW42
Something amazing is promised for those that obey, that rest on the Sabbath, listen to His voice and calling. This is not restricted to Jew or Gentile but to all who believe.
Today there is a lot of confusion regarding the Sabbath. If we still need to keep it, has that changed to Sunday, and no passage in the New Testament explains it better than Hebrews 4:1-13.
Therefore, since the promise of entering His rest remains, let us fear lest any of you should seem to come short of it. For the gospel was preached to us as well as to them. But the word preached did not benefit them, because it was not mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed have entered this rest, as He has said, “As I have sworn in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’”
However, His works have been finished since the creation of the world. For He spoke somewhere about the seventh day like this: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.” And again, in the present passage He said, “They shall not enter My rest.”
Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and they to whom it was first preached did not enter due to unbelief, again He establishes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David, after so long a time, as it has been said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”
For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have later spoken of another day. Therefore, a rest remains for the people of God. For whoever enters His rest will also cease from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labor therefore to enter that rest, lest anyone fall by the same pattern of unbelief.
For the word of God is alive, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intents of the heart. There is no creature that is not revealed in His sight, for all things are bare and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. M232
We must give an account!
Are we ready to give an account?
Saturday, Sunday, or every day, whichever we choose, we must be ready to give an account, as written in Romans 14:1-12.
Welcome him who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of arguing over opinions. For one has faith to eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Do not let him who eats despise him who does not eat, and do not let him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for God is able to make him stand.
One man judges one day above another; another judges every day alike. Let each one be fully persuaded in his own mind. He who observes the day observes it for the Lord, and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and the one who does not eat, in honor of the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for himself, and no one dies for himself. For if we live, we live for the Lord. And if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, so that He might be Lord of both the dead and living.
So why do you judge your brother? Or why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
So, then each of us shall give an account of himself to God. M233
Are we fully persuaded in our mind that what we believe is correct and what we did by observing Sunday or any other day, we did for the Lord?