We live then in the time of Sabbath fulfilment. We are privileged to live in a time of greater revelation and spiritual opportunity than those who have gone before us. Am I implying by this that believers today are better than all that went before? Can we say that we are ahead of Moses, David, Isaiah, Peter, Paul and John because we were born later? Absolutely no. Everyone knows this is not so. Simply we live in a time of greater revelation and opportunity. Men of the spirit and of God in ages past have lived beyond the revelation of their time; while men of the flesh today, whatever they claim, may be ignorant of God’s most fundamental dealings. Some in every age and place simply take the spiritual opportunities they are given. Others go further and reach forward and outwards beyond their time and surroundings. Others neglect their privileges and trust blindly that they are Abraham’s children and all will be well.
Enoch lived so near the beginning of history and yet was a wonderful man of God. He was a man who walked with God, and was not, because God had translated him. Moses lived physically at the beginning of the age of law. In spirit can we doubt that one who ruled so wonderfully over God’s people was living in the age of God’s kingdom?
We cannot by-pass six thousand years of history in our experience, and immediately enter God’s Sabbath rest. Spiritually as well as physically, I believe, God’s children pass through infancy, childhood and adolescence to maturity. We cannot by-pass the law at Sinai, the wandering in the desert, the conquest of Canaan, the victories of David and Solomon, the captivity in Babylon and move directly to the birth of the Son of God. We cannot omit the old covenant and go straight into the new. We must labour for six days before we can enter our Sabbath rest.
Can you rest when you are not tired? When aging grandparents arrive at your house after a long journey you fairly soon ask them if they want to put their feet up. When a healthy young teenager arrives at the door in the morning, you’d hardly offer him the bedroom! Rest is for those who have worked hard and are tired. How well those beautiful words of Jesus apply, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Mat 11:28).
Once again chapter 4 of Hebrews helps us understand. Verse 7 reads, God set a certain day, calling it today: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’. In the end it is only when you hear the voice of God for yourself that you can receive any blessing from him. But when you hear his voice you must respond. Verse 11 says: ‘Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest’. The pathway to rest is labour, not sleep.