Electronic Endnotes for Rethinking Rest (the book)

You’ve landed at the Electronic Endnotes page for the Rethinking Rest book (Jan 19, 2023 print edition launch). These notes are referenced in the audiobook and include hyperlinks to related content on the web.


[1] Adam M GrantThink Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know. (New York: Random House, 2021), 4.

[2] John H. WaltonOld Testament Theology for Christians: From Ancient Context to Enduring Belief (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2017), 10.

[3] GrantThink Again, 4.          

[4] Rachel H. Evans and J. Chu, Wholehearted Faith (San Francisco: Harper One, 2021), chapter 14.

Chapter 1

[5] There was one vacation where this actually happened. I spent most of two whole days lying in a hammock in a resort in Mexico. I lived mostly on chips and salsa.

[6] You might not know it, but I’m a bit of a French scholar. I completed two years of French in high school. To this day, I can still count to ten (un, deux, trois . . .) at the drop of a chapeau!

[7] The seventh-day sabbath commandment is outlined in two different places: first in Exodus 20:8–11 and again in Deuteronomy 5:12–15. One might note that the two versions differ slightly on minor points.

[8] For a more robust view on the history of sabbath observance, I recommend Christopher John Donato, et al., Perspectives on the Sabbath (Nashville: B&H, 2011).

[9] This saying has a completely different meaning now that the world has experienced a pandemic!

[10] It’s important here to note some confusion around this mention of the Old Testament character of Joshua. Several older English translations (Wycliff, Darby, Geneva, King James) translate this as “Jesus” instead of “Joshua.” That’s because the names we translate into English as “Jesus” and “Joshua” are actually the same Greek word. A similar situation also occurs in Acts 7:45. I’ll discuss this in more detail in Chapter 5.

[11] I acknowledge that there are many different ways people read and understand the events of creation in Genesis 1:1–2:3. Our purpose here is not to try and settle any of those debates. They are great discussions to have, but we are here only to determine the quality and characteristics of the “rest” that God experienced.

[12] In my days as a youth pastor, I would have paused on this point just long enough to make everyone a little uncomfortable. Feel free to sit here for as long as you need.

[13] I like the term vicegerent (vice-jir-ent) over “vice-regent” or even “coregent.” I believe it to be a more accurate descriptor for the relationship God originally set up with humanity. A “vicegerent” is the official administrative deputy of a ruler or head of state. It is comprised of vice (Latin for “in place of”) and gerere (Latin for “to carry on, conduct”). This suggests that God is still present in the process, but has delegated a portion of His rule and authority to humanity.

[14] I’m borrowing much of the descriptive language in this section from the work of Dr. John H. Walton, who presents a much more scholarly account of these concepts in several places including, but not limited to: Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006); The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009); and Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2011).

[15] It’s on this point that the Bible’s story of creation is dramatically different than seemingly similar stories. The Bible states that there is only one God that rules everything. There is no competition. In its day, this was a radical idea for those that held a pluralistic worldview. In this way, the biblical author uses this contrast to discount the pagan, polytheistic versions of creation.

[16] Maybe the most often-referenced of these stories is the Enuma Elish, a Babylonian creation myth that tells how the god Marduk rested (ruled) from a temple once the cosmos was established and ordered. For more see “Proposition 7, Divine Rest Is in a Temple,” in Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One71.

[17] Here is Walton’s longer statement for more context: “The difference is the piece of information that everyone knew in the ancient world and to which most modern readers are totally oblivious: Deity rests in a temple, and only in a temple. This is what temples were built for. We might even say that this is what a temple is—a place for divine rest. Perhaps even more significant, in some texts the construction of a temple is associated with cosmic creation. What does divine rest entail? Most of us think of rest as disengagement from the cares, worries and tasks of life. What comes to mind is sleeping in or taking an afternoon nap. But in the ancient world rest is what results when a crisis has been resolved or when stability has been achieved, when things have ‘settled down.’ Consequently, normal routines can be established and enjoyed. For deity this means that the normal operations of the cosmos can be undertaken. This is more a matter of engagement without obstacles rather than disengagement without responsibilities.” WaltonThe Lost World of Genesis One, 71–72.

[18] As Gregory Beale points out, “The prophet Ezekiel portrays Eden as being on a mountain (Ezek. 28:14, 16). Israel’s temple was on Mount Zion (e.g., Exod. 15:17), and the end-time temple was to be located on a mountain (Ezek. 40:2; 43:12; Rev. 21:10).” G. K. BealeThe Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God, vol.17, D. A. Carson, ed. (Downers Grove, IL; England: InterVarsity Press; Apollos, 2004), 73.

[19] Several authors see this choice of words as theologically significant. According to Beale, “There may also be significance that the word used for God ‘putting’ Adam ‘into the garden’ in Genesis 2:15 is not the usual Hebrew word for ‘put’ (śûm) but is the word typically translated as ‘to rest’ (nûaḥ). The selection of a word with overtones of ‘rest’ may indicate that Adam was to begin to reflect the sovereign rest of God.” BealeThe Temple and the Church’s Mission. vol. 17, 69–70.

[20] Jon Collins and Tim Mackie discuss this use of nuakh in more detail in the BibleProject Podcast’s Seventh-Day Rest series, Episode 3. There are fourteen episodes in this series. Every episode is worthy of close study. Jon Collins and Tim Mackie, “161. Two Kinds of Work – 7th Day Rest E3,” BibleProject Podcast, October 28, 2019, 61:00, https://bibleproject.com/podcast/two-kinds-work.

[21] Walton suggests that the garden of Eden is best understood as the center of sacred space, the first temple. He proposes Adam and Eve were more than just gardeners, they were filling priestly roles in sacred space. Walton says it this way: “the point of caring for sacred space should be seen as much more than landscaping or even priestly duties. Maintaining order made one a participant with God in the ongoing task of sustaining the equilibrium God had established in the cosmos.” John H.Walton, The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2–3 and the Human Origins Debate (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2015) 107.

[22] By the way, the carts at IKEA are amazing. All four wheels independently pivot 360 degrees. In the “world of carts,” their maneuverability is unmatched.

[23] Carman Joy Imes discusses several examples of liminality, some including sociological applications. She suggests liminality not only exists in doorways but also airports, wedding ceremonies, pregnancies, and colleges. According to Imes, “Few people actually enjoy liminality. We have an inborn desire to seek order and belonging and predictability.” Carman J. ImesBearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2019) 17.

[24] John H Walton and J. Harvey WaltonThe Lost World of the Torah: Law as Covenant and Wisdom in Ancient Context (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2019). 113.

[25] BealeThe Temple and the Church’s Mission, Vol. 17, 81–82.

[26] A point emphasized by these comments from Walton, “In verses 17–19 we are again faced with a curse, this time directed at the ground. What does it mean for the ground to be cursed? The verbal root used here (ʾrr) is recognized as the opposite of bless (brk). To bless someone is to put that person under God’s protection, enjoying God’s favor. To curse is to remove from God’s protection and favor. It does not mean putting a hex on something or changing its character or nature by magical or mystical means. It does not mean to bewitch or put a spell on something. . . . As a result of the ground being removed from God’s favor, protection, and blessing, it will yield its produce only through hard labor. . . . The impact of this curse is that, though food is still made available to people, it will be much harder to produce it.” John H. WaltonGenesis (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001), 229.

[27] The same Hebrew word is used to describe Eve’s “pain” in childbirth and Adam’s “toil” eating from the land. English versions often choose to translate them differently, but they are the same Hebrew word. According to Walton“The noun translated “pain” in the first line is . . . a word used only two other times in the Old Testament (Gen. 3:17; 5:29). Nouns from the same root . . . refer to pain, agony, hardship, worry, nuisance, and anxiety. The verbal root . . . occurs in a wide range of stems with a semantic range that primarily expresses grief and worry. What is important to note about this profile is that the root is not typically used to target physical pain, but mental or psychological anguish (though physical pain may accompany or be the root cause of the anguish). WaltonGenesis, 227.

[28] I give credit for this perspective to Dr. Gib Binnington, who taught a class for teachers called “Disrupting the Disruptor.”

[29] A point emphasized in these two passages. “Thus, says the Lord: Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?” (Isaiah 66:1); and “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it” (Psalm 132:13–14). God’s restful rule is conducted in a throne room, which includes heaven and extends to the footstool of His earthly temple.

[30] John H. WaltonOld Testament Theology for Christians: From Ancient Context to Enduring Belief (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2017), 171.

Chapter 2

[31] When I teach, I usually prefer 1980s movie references. I was so close with this one!

[32] I’m borrowing the use of “hyperlink” not only from the internet, but also from Jon Collins and Tim Mackie of BibleProject. They often use this term to suggest an intended connection between otherwise seemingly unrelated biblical texts and ideas. 

[33] The biblical text actually describes the body of water that consumes Pharaoh as the “sea of reeds.” Maps that suggest a path for the exodus are quite varied on its location. Some don’t show the people crossing any water because scholars have not reached consensus about its location.

[34] The curse in Genesis 3:17 was placed on the land, not the people. This important distinction is highlighted by Walton this way, “In verses 17–19 we are again faced with a curse, this time directed at the ground. What does it mean for the ground to be cursed? The verbal root . . . is recognized as the opposite of bless. To bless someone is to put that person under God’s protection, enjoying God’s favor. To curse is to remove from God’s protection and favor. It does not mean putting a hex on something or changing its character or nature by magical or mystical means. It does not mean to bewitch or put a spell on something.” Walton, Genesis, 229. 

[35] There seems to be a theme within Scripture where God deals more harshly with the initial lawbreakers, to show the gravity of the situation and to be an example for others. In Joshua 6–7, Achan and his family are exposed as the first breakers of the covenant within the conquest of the Promised Land. He and his (likely complicit) family are stoned, burned, and then covered with rocks (the same fate as the enemies of Israel in Jericho). In Acts 5, Ananias and Sapphira were the first to break from the new covenant after Pentecost. They both fell dead for lying to the Holy Spirit.

[36] Since these three feasts happen in rapid succession, sometimes all three are referred to by only mentioning the first, “Passover” (Luke 2:41; John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55); but at other times more detail is given (Mark 14:1; Luke 22:1).

[36] These feasts were linked back to the story of the exodus from slavery, which ultimately is a picture of the Israelites attempt to return to the function and order of the original creation.

[37] These feasts were linked back to the story of the exodus from slavery, which ultimately is a picture of the Israelites attempt to return to the function and order of the original creation.

[38] Sabbath rest for the land only applied to the land inside Israel’s borders (Deuteronomy 15:3). It didn’t apply to Jewish-owned land in foreign lands. The release of debts had similar restrictions. Loans to foreigners were not required to be released. These boundaries were just another reminder of Eden. A certain set of rules existed within its boundaries, but a different standard existed outside those borders.

[39] This description is not a foreshadowing literary device. We literally got married at night, in the middle of a snow and ice storm!

[40] John H. Walton, T. Longman III, and S. O. Moshier, The Lost World of the Flood: Mythology, Theology, and the Deluge Debate (Westmont, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2018), 106.

[41] There are even questions about who the subject was. The painter was never able to figure out more than just his name. The painting is called James Hunter Black Draftee (1965).

[42] This is a very platonic way of viewing God’s end goal. We will discuss some of Plato’s ideas in chapter 3, including his “world of the forms,” that has contributed to the idea that our final resting place will be in the heavens, instead of the new earth.

Chapter 4

[43] Augustine of Hippo, “The Confessions of St. Augustin,” in The Confessions and Letters of St. Augustin with a Sketch of His Life and Work, vol. 1, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. J. G. Pilkington (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886), 45.

[44] Some of the concepts and examples in this section were inspired by the BibleProject Podcast series Image of God. In that series, Jon Collins and Tim Mackie discuss many other aspects and intricacies of image bearing not mentioned here. Jon Collins and Tim Mackie, “Image of God,” BibleProject Podcast Series, February/March 2016, https://bibleproject.com/podcast/series/image-of-god-series.

[45] Sometimes this presents itself in the suggestion that the Law must be segmented into three categories: civil laws, ceremonial laws, and moral laws. It’s often thought that the civil and ceremonial aspects of the Mosaic Law shouldn’t apply to New Testament believers, but that the moral aspects of the Law should apply today. While these are good discussions to have, understanding the Mosaic Law in this way encourages people to approach the text compartmentally. It dramatically decreases a reader’s ability to study the interconnected themes of the entire biblical text (Old and New Testaments).

[46] I still remember the revelation I experienced when the Old Testament practice of animal sacrifice was connected to Jesus’ role as the Lamb (one of the Old Testament sacrificial animals) of God.

[47] According to Howard and Rosenthal, “Yom Kippur was designated by the Lord as a day in which ‘you shall afflict your souls’ (Lev 23:27, 32). By definition this was understood to mean fasting (cf. Ezra 8:21). It was a day devoted to fasting and repenting of one’s sins during the past year. The Israelite who failed to devote himself to fasting and repentance on Yom Kippur was to be ‘cut off from his people’ (Lev. 23:29). Yom Kippur was also a day with prohibitions against all forms of work.” Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal. The Feasts of the Lord: God’s Prophetic Calendar from Calvary to the Kingdom (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 120.

[48] Interestingly, at least one time this goat wandered back into camp . . . which really ruined the picture that they were trying to paint. Can you imagine seeing all your sins literally walking back into town? They eventually changed the custom and began shoving the scapegoat down a steep mountain to ensure its death.

[49] In John 1:29, John the Baptist sees Jesus and says to those who were with him, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” This idea of “taking away sins” is a hyperlink back to the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement.

[50] These points are illustrated as a chiasmus, a common way authors of Greek literature structured their writing. It follows a pattern where parallel elements correspond in an inverted order (i.e., A-B-C-C’-B’-A’, usually with the author’s main point placed in the center position (in the example the letters C and C’ is in the center). I often look for creative ways to display this ancient structure. For some of my Bible studies, my weekly choice of shirts followed a chiastic pattern. I know, I need some help.

[51] Many of the ideas presented in this section come from Chip Bennett and Warren Gage’s Christian understanding of Greek philosophic ideas and Plato’s Republic. I recommend the following resource for those interested in understanding more about philosophy’s influence on the way the gospel was originally communicated in a Roman world: Chip Bennett and Warren Gage, CS321 Introduction to Plato’s Republic: A Christian Reading, Logos Mobile Education (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2019).

[52] If you’ve taken a philosophy class, you might have studied this. It is possibly the most famous of Plato’s examples and is found in Book VII of The Republic.

[53] That is, at least since the Tower of Babel events discussed in Genesis 11:1–9.

[54] This is not limited to the idea of shadows and forms. Another well-known example is found in the first chapter of John’s gospel. The disciple begins his gospel with this statement, “In the beginning was the Logos (Greek for “Word”), and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.” Later in the same chapter he writes, “And the Logos became flesh and tabernacled among us” (John 1:14). Plato and other philosophers had previously discussed the existence of a nonphysical divine reason implicit in the cosmos which gives it order, form, and meaning. The title they gave this philosophic concept was the Logos (which in Greek can mean “word,” “reason,” or “plan”). In the introduction to John’s gospel, he uses this well-established philosophic idea of the Logos, combines it with language that mimics the Jewish creation account (“In the beginning”) to describe Jesus, the Logos who came from the unseen realm, became flesh, and tabernacles among humanity. John’s ability to set this multicultural hook early in His gospel most certainly contributed to the spread of the gospel in the first-century Hellenistic world.

[55] Plato, The Republic of Plato, trans. with notes and interpretive essay by Allan Bloom (New York: Basic Books, 1968), 199.

[56] Plato suggested there could be someone who was completely righteous or “just”. He also concluded that such a “just man” would end up being, “whipped; he’ll be racked; he’ll be bound; he’ll have both of his eyes burned out; and, at the end, when he has undergone every sort of evil, he’ll be crucified.” Plato, The Republic, 39.

Chapter 4

[57] Thanks to Dr. Leah Payne for providing this analogy which highlights the significance of this cultural phenomenon.

[58] Movies like Lucas (1986) and Can’t Buy Me Love (1987) featured the slow clap. As a result, these types of scenes were also masterfully mocked in the 2001 spoof Not Another Teen Movie.

[59] Matthew leads all other gospel writers by mentioning the “fulfillment” of prophecy fourteen times (Matthew 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 3:15; 4:14; 5:17; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4; 26:54, 56; and 27:9).

[60] The Hebrew Bible is referred to as the TaNaKh, which is an acronym made from these three main sections into which the Hebrew scriptures are organized. The “T” stands for Torah which refers to the first five books. This section is also be referred to as the Law (of Moses). The N refers to Nevi’im, the Hebrew word for Prophets. The K represents the Ketuvim, which means “Writings” and contains the Psalms, other poetry, and some random other books that didn’t fit into the first two groupings. This is the organization to which Jesus is referring when He describes the Scriptures as the “Law and Prophets and Psalms.”

[61] There are at least two other things going on in this passage that are worthy of mention. 

First, according to Tim Mackie of the Bible Project, Jesus seems to insert an extra line, from Isaiah 58:6, into His quote of Isaiah 61. The line from chapter 58, “To set free those who are oppressed,” is in the context of the seventh-day sabbath. Mackie suggests that by combining this seventh-day sabbath context (Isaiah 58) with the Jubilee passage (Isaiah 61), Jesus is suggesting those two passages are really talking about the same thing: the ministry of rest that Jesus has come to fulfill. Jon Collins, and Tim Mackie, “169. Jesus and His Jubilee Mission – 7th Day Rest E11,” BibleProject Podcast, December 16, 2019, 75:00, https://bibleproject.com/podcast/jesus-and-his-jubilee-mission.

         Second, Jesus seems to end His Scripture reading in the middle of a sentence. Isaiah 61:2 reads, “To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God.” Jesus quotes the language regarding the “favorable year of the Lord,” but then stops and does not mention the “day of vengeance of our God” that concludes the sentence in Isaiah. It may be that Jesus fulfilled the “favorable year of the Lord” ministry in His first coming, and that the “day of vengeance of our God” may refer to events associated with another time.

[62] This verb, in the Greek manuscripts, is in the perfect tense, which means Jesus’ fulfillment is a past completed action which has ongoing present implications. Here, at the very beginning of His public ministry, Jesus is saying that He has already fulfilled the ultimate Jubilee.

[63] Jesus also speaks to this fulfillment in Matthew 11:2–6 when John the Baptist sends messengers to Jesus asking if he is the One they have come to expect from the Old Testament prophecies. Jesus sends word back to John from this same Isaiah passage. They report to John that the sick and lame are being brought back to full functionality and “the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:5).

[64] Some, more recent studies have suggested that people don’t necessarily learn best by emphasizing one preferred learning style. So, the early theories about learning styles are probably not as accurate as researchers once thought. It turns out that people likely learn best by employing a variety of styles into their study habits. 

[65] Consider Paul’s description of this situation in his letter to the Galatians. He suggests Christ’s ministry is to set humanity free from the yoke of slavery to sin: “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). But freedom from that yoke only allows someone to be attached to another. This choice between “two yokes” is the same message we saw in Jeremiah. Humanity is always yoked to something—either the rule of slavery to sin, or to the rule of God.

[66] There were provisions within God’s revelation that ensured that the roles of the king and the priest would remain separate. The priests were only from the tribe of Levi, while the kingly line (first from Saul’s tribe of Benjamin) would eventually follow David’s line from within the tribe of Judah.

[67] Carman J. Imes, Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2019), 145.

[68] The gospel of John supports this claim many times: first, by telling us that, during his earthly ministry, Jesus “tabernacled” among us (John 1:14). Jesus further downplays the ministry of the temple in Jerusalem when He tells a woman at a well in Samaria, “and hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father” (John 4:21).

[69] Let’s remember the connection Jesus has with the creation event (see John 1:1–3).

[70] By stating this, I don’t claim to understand what it is that sheep are supposed to do.

[71] The Greek word describing the man’s hand literally means “dry”—like a dry and withered plant.

[72] A truth not only found in Scripture, but also in junior high English classes across the country!

Chapter 5

[73] Interestingly, there are three times Ἰησοῦς is translated as “Lord” for sake of translational clarity (Luke 10:39; John 4:1; Jude 5).

[74] Karen H. Jobes is one of the best of the current scholars in this field of study. I’d like to thank her for her time, expertise, and willingness to personally explain many of the nuances found in Hebrews 3–4. For a good introduction to Septuagint studies, one should read Karen H. Jobes and Moisès Silva. Invitation to the Septuagint, second edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015).

[75] Karen H. Jobes, Letters to the Church: A Survey of Hebrews and the General Epistles (Zondervan, 2011), 67.

[76] I’ve unpacked some of the linguistic nuances at play between Hebrews 3–4, Psalm 95, and Exodus 17 in my doctoral project, “Beyond the Sabbath’s Shadow; A Biblical Understanding and Application of Godly Rest.” If you are interested in that sort of study, a copy is available at RethinkingRest.com. You could be one of the few people to ever lay eyes on that project! The list includes a handful of professors, my family, and a guy at my church named Frank!

[77] Cross-references are really helpful links to related Scripture passages that some printed Bibles include (either in the middle column or sometimes at the bottom of the page). An online search for “Bible cross-references” will suggest several free electronic options of the same.

[78] As the fictitious news anchor, Ron Burgundy, might say.

Chapter 6

[79] The events in the beginning of Exodus are much more interesting than going through a class syllabus. I’ll never forget the first time I taught a “pandemic class” with students over video conferencing. As I was making my way through the class syllabus, one of the students said, very loudly, “This class is sooo boring! All he’s doing is reading through the syllabus.” One of my students had forgotten to mute her microphone, walked away from her computer, and began talking to her roommate. Unfortunately, her assessment was accurate! That particular class was terribly boring.

[80] This point was first introduced to me by my professor Dr. Gary Derickson. It was in his class that I began my exploration into the topic of biblical rest.

[81] This reminds me of another story. In 1 Kings 17–19 Elijah has a showdown with several hundred prophets of pagan gods. After the Lord comes through in big and dramatic ways, Elijah fears for his life and flees the entire length of the land. He ultimately ends up severely depressed and in a cave on Mt. Sinai. He listens for God’s voice in the loudness of the strong wind, a massive earthquake, and a raging fire, but the Lord’s message was not in any of those. Then the text says there was “a sound of a gentle blowing” (1 Kings 19:12), The King James Version translated it as the more familiar “a still small voice.” Literally, the Hebrew words are “voice,” “silence,” and “thin”—or, a voice of thin silence. One of my tour guides in Israel, Dr. Halvor Ronning of the Home for Bible Translators and Scholars in Jerusalem, explained it like this: “If we had been there in the cave with a tape recorder, it would have just been silent.” Dr. Ronning said this story introduced the idea of “thin silence.” In an utterly silent moment when Elijah is absolutely desperate and wishing he could die; it says the silence got “thin.” Somehow God’s presence was there in the silence and penetrated the silence. It was so powerful that Elijah got up out of his despair and was able to continue his ministry. Halvor Ronning, personal communication, 2006.

[82] It’s likely that this water was more than just bitter to the taste. This description is likely a warning that the water would cause one to get sick, or possibly even kill those who consumed it. That would certainly leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth!

[83] According to Dr. Warren Gage, this story is one of many third-day references in the Old Testament that prefigure the resurrection of Jesus. He suggests that, like Jesus’ story, there are several stories in the Old Testament where someone survives a “death-like experience” on the third day. This story in Exodus 15 may have been one of the stories Jesus recounted to the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–35). W. A. Gage and L. G. Gage, The Road to Emmaus: A Walk with a Stranger from Jerusalem (Fort Lauderdale: St. Andrews House, 2012). Dr. Gage has also depicted several of these stories in professionally animated short videos at www.WatermarkGospel.com.

[84] This reminds me of Job’s story in the Old Testament. Job lost everything he owned and his entire family died. Through this process Job is conflicted and he asks God for an answer for why he is being treated this way. Then God gives a lengthy response (Job 38:1–42:2) where He explains the complexity of the organization of the cosmos. From Job’s point of view, things seem unjust, but from God’s perspective Job is a small part of complex creation and there is no way he can understand from this how everything works with his limited view. What’s Job’s answer? “I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:3).

[85] This name was transliterated from the Hebrew word of the same sound. It has nothing to do with the English meaning of sin. It’s just a place name. The mountain in this area (Sinai) is a deviation of the same.

[86] Some see the Israelites decision at Kadesh Barnea, when they sent the twelve spies into the land, as the event that prevented their entrance. But the decision made at Kadesh Barnea was reflective of the hardness they first developed at Meribah and Massah, the first time they tested God.

[87] Some commentators try and lump the two episodes together and explain them as the same event.

[88] These stories are mentioned in each of the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Those gospels are called “synoptic” because the majority of their content is similar (like the English word “synonym”). In contrast, the fourth gospel (John) contains largely different content.

[89] Examples of “Moses typology” are seen throughout the New Testament. Complete works have been written suggesting a pervasive attempt by the New Testament authors (and the early church) to connect the ministries of Moses and Jesus. In his work, Dale C. Allison summarizes the typology this way: “of all the Jewish figures with whom Jesus is implicitly or explicitly compared in Christian literature of the first few centuries, Moses, both in terms of frequency and significance, holds pride of place.” Dale C. Allison, The New Moses: A Matthew Typology (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2013).

[90] This is also a link back to the forty days and nights of fasting that Moses experienced on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:28).

[91] Luke 4:2 says that Jesus was “tempted by the devil.” A more literal translation would say He was “put to the test by the devil.” Does that sound familiar at all? Maybe it brings the story of Adam and Eve to mind? They too were tested by the devil in a garden. But they failed the test, and were removed from God’s rest.

[92] To further clarify between the two Meribah events, the Bible sometimes describes the episode from Numbers 20 as “Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin” (Numbers 27:14; Deuteronomy 32:51).

Chapter 7

[93] Here is the larger quote where Calvin discusses the disciples’ response to Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the thousands: “And certainly, it was shameful ingratitude that, after having seen bread created out of nothing, and in such abundance as to satisfy many thousands of men, and after having seen this done twice, they are now anxious about bread, as if their Master did not always possess the same power. From these words we infer that all who have once or twice experienced the power of God, and distrust it for the future are convinced of unbelief; for it is faith that cherishes in our hearts the remembrance of the gifts of God, and faith must have been laid asleep, if we allow them to be forgotten. John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, Vol. 32: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Part II, trans. John King (1847–50), Comment on Matthew 16:8, https://sacred-texts.com/chr/calvin/cc32/cc32051.htm.

[94] Yes, this a nod to Liam Neeson’s character in the movie Taken.

[95] David Brooks, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life (New York: Random House, 2019), 89–93.

[96] Bob Goff, Twitter, March 20, 2021, https://twitter.com/bobgoff/status/1373478395330273283?lang=en.

[97] There have been many debates about how to properly understand and apply the “warning passages” found in Hebrews 2:1-4; 4:12-13; 6:4-8; and 10:26-31. Are these warnings given to true believers, nonbelievers, or some combination of the two? For a good historical perspective, I would suggest reading H. W. Bateman IV, ed., Four Views on the Warning Passages in Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic & Professional, 2007).

[98] According to Gary W. Derickson, “In the book of Numbers (after Kadish-Barneia) God does not desert Israel. Chapter fourteen is followed by chapter fifteen. God encouraged the Israelites to teach their children about the sacrifices that they would perform in the promised land. He continued to provide for the Israelites in the wilderness. God gave them covering and food up until the day they entered the promised land. The author is not talking about losing their salvation . . . just their rest.” Gary W. Derickson, “The Book of Hebrews,” New Testament Survey (class lecture, Oregon Theological Seminary, 2006).

[99] I realize that this comparison places Tacoma, Washington as the symbolic equivalent of Egypt. Let me just say, Tacoma really was a great place to live!


[100] Curtis Zackery, Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life; Return to Sabbath, eds. A. Stocker, J. Marr, L. Smoyer, and C. Callahan (Bellingham, WA: Kirkdale Press, 2018), 31.

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