Paul & the Millennial Week
Hebrews was one of Paul’s last epistles, most likely recorded for him by his companion, Luke. One of the noteworthy features of Hebrews is the rabbinic teaching style in which Paul wrote. This style involved merely quoting a short phrase or sentence from an Old Testament passage in order to bring that entire familiar passage into his argument, expecting that his readers were already fully aware of the implications of that passage.
In Hebrews 3-4, Paul expounded upon two Old Testament texts which refer to Christ’s Kingdom as God’s “Rest,” “the seventh Day,” and the “Sabbath observance” which awaits the people of God. His first text was Psalm 95.
Psalm 95 (LXX) 1 The praise of a Song by David. Come, let us exult in the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to God our Saviour. 2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise to him with psalms. 3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great king over all gods: for the Lord will not cast off his people. 4 For the ends of the earth are in his hands; and the heights of the mountains are his. 5 For the sea is his, and he made it: and is hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us worship and fall down before him; and weep before the Lord that made us. 7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. 8 This day, if you hear His voice, you should not harden your hearts as in the provocation, as in the day of testing in the wilderness 9 where your fathers tried me, they tested Me and saw My works. 10 Forty years I was disgusted with that generation. And I said, ‘They are always straying in their heart and they do not know my ways,’ 11 as I swore in My anger whether they shall enter into My rest.”
In verses 1-7 David reminded Israel that they were the people of God, the one who owns the whole world because He created it all. In vs. 3 he noted God’s promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of the inheritance, “for the Lord will not cast off his people” (Paul mentioned this in the parable of the Olive Tree in Romans 11) because they are “the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.”
In verses 8-11 David exhorted Israel not to make the same mistake their ancestors made at Kadesh Barnea in the wilderness. (This is a reoccurring theme in several Psalms, including Psalm 74 & 78). This Psalm presupposes a second opportunity for Israel to enter the Promised Land which it refers to as entering God’s “Rest” which David calls “this day” (today). David foresaw the ultimate fulfillment of the permanent Land inheritance as still future, even though he was presently king and Israel was in the Land. David warned Israel against repeating the rebellion in the wilderness which resulted in Israel’s wandering in the wilderness for forty years until that whole generation died off. Only their children went into the land that God promised to Abraham. Even then, they did not attain under Joshua the permanent rest and possession of the land God promised to Abraham and his Seed.
Israel was later ejected from the land during the seventy-year Babylonian exile, and was about to be evicted once again by the Romans in AD 70 at the time Paul wrote Hebrews.
The second text Paul used in Hebrews 3-4, which he connected with God’s “Rest” in Psalm 95:11, was God’s “Rest” in the creation account.
Genesis 2:1-3 (LXX) 1 And the heavens and the earth were finished, and the whole world of them. 2 And God finished on the sixth day his works which he made, and he ceased on the seventh day from all his works which he made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it he ceased from all his works which God began to do.
As we examine Paul’s exegesis of these two passages in Hebrews 3-4, it is important to note how he weaved the above two passages into his argument.
Hebrews 3:5 – 4:11 (LGV) 5 And Moses was indeed faithful in all His household as a servant, as a witness of what would be spoken after. 6 But the Anointed one [was faithful] as a Son over His own house, of whose house we are if we clutch the confidence and rejoicing of the confirmed hope unto the consummation, 7 according to which the holy Breath says: [quoting Psalm 95:7-11 LXX] “This day, if you hear His voice, 8 you should not harden your hearts as in the provocation, as in the day of testing in the wilderness 9 where your fathers tried me, they tested Me and saw My works. 10 Forty years I was disgusted with that generation. And I said, ‘They are always straying in their heart and they do not know my ways,’ 11 as I swore in My anger whether they shall enter into My Rest.” [end quote] 12 Beware brothers, if at such time a wicked heart of unbelief shall be found in any of you, in apostatizing from the living God. 13 But encourage one another each day until that [day] which is called ‘This day,’ so that none from among you may be hardened by the seduction of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of the Anointed if we should clutch the original confirmed foundation unto the consummation, 15 when it is to be proclaimed: [quoting again Psalm 95:7-8] “This day, if you hear His voice, you should not harden your hearts as in the provocation” [end quote]. 16 For some having heard, provoked [God], but not all who came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 Yet with whom was He disgusted forty years? Was it not the ones sinning, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear would not enter His rest except those who were unconvinced? 19 And we see that they were unable to enter because of disbelief. 4:1 We should fear then, if at such time any of you might appear to have fallen short of the remaining promise to enter into His Rest. 2 For we also have been told the good message as they were (but the message heard [by them] had no benefit, not having been mixed with faith in the hearers). 3 For we – the ones who believed – are entering the Rest, (just as He said: [quoting again Psalm 95:11] “As I swore in My anger, whether they shall come into My Rest,”) although the labors came about because of the casting down of the world. 4 For He has declared somewhere CONCERNING THE SEVENTH [day] thus: [quoting Gen. 2:2] “And God ceased in the seventh day from all His works,” 5 and thus again: [quoting again Psalm 95:11] “whether they shall come into My Rest.” 6 Since then it remains for some to enter into it, and those to whom it was previously announced did not enter because of obstinance, He specifies another set day – “This day.” 7 After such a long time He says in [the Psalm of] David according as was previously proclaimed, [quoting again Psalm 95:7-8] “This day if you hear His voice, you should not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua [had provided] them the Rest, He would not have been speaking of another day after those. 9 Consequently, the Sabbath-observance awaits the people of God. 10 For the one entering into His “Rest“, he has also ceased from his own labors just as God did from His. 11 Therefore, we should be diligent to enter into that “Rest“ so that none fall into the same pattern of obstinance.
Paul understood the term, “this day,” in Psalm 95 to refer to the end times, when another opportunity to inherit the Promised Land permanently would be given to God’s people. In chapter 4, he went on to draw a most interesting conclusion from this Psalm regarding the future hope of believers. “We should fear then, if at that time any of you might appear to have fallen short of the remaining promise to enter into His Rest.” He then explained what the “Rest” was in Psalm 95. “For we – the ones who believed – are entering the ‘Rest‘, (just as He said: “As I swore in My anger, whether they shall come into ‘My Rest,’) although the labors came about because of the casting down of the world.” Notice the connection between God’s future “Rest” and the lifting of the curse, “the casting down of the world.” This is mankind’s toiling under the curse exactly as mentioned in the Prayer of Moses in Psalm 90. Paul contrasted the futile labor of mankind under the curse with the “Rest” that God was said to enjoy on the seventh day of creation week. Thus, entering into God’s seventh-day Sabbath-Rest which occurs in the future Kingdom is connected by Paul to God’s seventh-day Sabbath-rest in the creation account.
The promise in Psalm 95 of entering into God’s “Rest,” remains for us. God’s “Rest” is “the seventh day.” This requires six previous days of equal length. “For He has declared somewhere concerning the seventh day thus: ‘And God ceased in the seventh day from all His works’ [quoting Genesis 2], And thus again: ‘whether they shall come into My Rest’” [quoting Psalm 95]. According to Paul, both of these passages speak of “the seventh day.” Yet one is the seventh (24-hour) day of creation, and the other is God’s future (1,000-year-Kingdom) “Rest” which we are longing to enter as our “Sabbath observance” in order to be relieved from the curse. Yet both of these are the “seventh day” according to Paul.
Granted, Paul did not specifically define this future seventh-day Sabbath rest as 1,000 years in this passage. However, Paul and his readers were well aware of Moses’ statements in Psalm 90 where the first millennium is the “Day” during which Adam died, and Moses likened that Millennial Day to “a watch in the night” which is 1/6th of the whole. Therefore, a week of six millennia under the curse, followed by the millennial seventh-Day Sabbath-Rest was definitely part of the later apostolic teaching of Paul. John, whose entire collection of books supports Paul’s teaching, left no doubt at all that God’s “Rest” for which we hope is one millennium.
The early Christian writers quoted previously did not make this up or merely borrow some Jewish apocalyptic myth. It was most definitely a component of later apostolic teaching. The Kingdom of God will arrive six-thousand years from creation, on the very calendar date that Adam sinned and was driven from the Garden of Eden.
Go to: Peter & the Millennial Week
 My translation
 cf. Gen. 13:15, 17:8 & Psalm 37
 Matt. 23-34 – 24:3; Luke 21:5-6, 20-22; Heb. 8:13
 The “casting down of the world” refers to the overthrow of God’s established order when Adam sinned. From that point, man must provide sustenance for his family “in toil” and “in the sweat of your face” (Gen 3:17-19). In the Kingdom, we will have “rest” from the labors of the curse (cf. Rom. 8:18-25).
 God through David in Psalm 95
 σαββατισμὸς (Sabbatismos), the keeping of the Sabbath. This noun occurs only here, but is derived from the verb ἐσαββάτισεν in Exod. 16:30 LXX which reads, “And the people kept Sabbath on the seventh day.” The same term is used twice of the Land observing its Sabbaths (the 7th year) consecutively during the exile (Lev. 26:35 LXX; 2 Chron. 36:21 LXX). Here Paul called the Kingdom age (which is 1000 years – Rev. 20:4) the “Sabbath-observance” and the “seventh Day” (vss. 4-5).
 When God’s people enter God’s 7th Day Sabbath Rest we will reach the end of our own labors, just like God did at the end of six literal 24-hour days.
 Psalm 95:11 LXX
 Rev. 20:1-4