REST API: The Little Known “After Pentecost Instruction” of Hebrews

In the world of computers, REST API stands for Representational State Transfer Application Programming Interface. It is an architectural style and a set of principles for designing networked applications. In web development, REST is widely used to create efficient APIs that enable communication between different software systems.

However, when it comes to the concept of REST in the Bible, it takes on a different meaning. While many studies focus on the Old Testament’s teachings on rest or Jesus’ interactions with the idea, not many delve into the API (After Pentecost Instruction) given regarding rest.

Understanding the instruction about REST after the events of Pentecost in Acts 2 is important as that event marks the birth of the modern church. The instructions given before this event were for a world that couldn’t fully comprehend the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Messiah. As the Messiah, Jesus is the ultimate provider of true rest. Therefore, studying the New Testament’s “REST API” would be the ideal conclusion to a comprehensive study on the topic.

Interestingly, many books on the Sabbath fail to integrate the biblical REST API (after Pentecost instruction) into their theology.

Hebrews 3-4 contains a detailed discussion and instruction regarding biblical rest. The author directs his message to a Jewish Christian audience, emphasizing the significance of entering into God’s rest while warning against unbelief and disobedience. Let’s explore the key themes and teachings presented in these chapters:

  1. Jesus Superior to Moses: In Hebrews 3:1-6, the author establishes the superiority of Jesus over Moses. While Moses faithfully served in God’s house, Jesus is depicted as the Son who reigns over God’s house. This comparison highlights Jesus’ exalted position and authority.
  2. Warning Against Unbelief: Hebrews 3:7-19 recounts the Israelites’ rebellion in the wilderness, highlighting their unbelief and disobedience. The author cautions the readers not to harden their hearts like the Israelites and fall into the same pattern of unbelief. They are urged to remain steadfast in their faith and not allow unbelief to hinder them from entering God’s rest.
  3. The Promise of Rest: Hebrews 4:1-11 introduces the concept of rest as a promise from God. The author reminds the readers of God’s promise of rest in the Old Testament, particularly referencing Psalm 95:7-11. This rest goes beyond physical rejuvenation; it encompasses a spiritual rest that arises from a deep relationship with God.
  4. Faith and Rest: Hebrews 4:2 emphasizes that the promise of rest is received through faith, as exemplified by the Israelites who failed to enter God’s rest due to their unbelief. The author encourages the readers to combine their hearing of God’s word with faith, enabling them to enter into God’s rest.
  5. The Sabbath Rest: Hebrews 4:3-11 connects the promise of rest to the concept of the Sabbath. The author draws a parallel between God’s rest on the seventh day of creation and the invitation for believers to enter into God’s rest. This rest signifies an ongoing and eternal state, symbolizing the cessation of one’s own work and finding completeness in God’s work of establishing order and purpose in the universe.
  6. Jesus, the Source of Rest: Hebrews 4:14-16 points to Jesus as the High Priest who empathizes with human weaknesses. Through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and resurrection, Jesus becomes the ultimate source of rest for believers. They are encouraged to approach Jesus confidently and find mercy and grace in their time of need.

The discussion in Hebrews 3-4 underscores the importance of entering into God’s rest through the faith and practice of following God’s rule and order. It’s the most complete REST API the world has.

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