“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:18-19).
The real issue with the children of Israel was unbelief. In fact, it was simply because of unbelief that they did not enter God’s rest (the promised land). There exists a concept in theology called ‘Typology.’ This is simply about the fact that ‘symbols’ were used in the Old testament to pre-figure the redemptive work of Christ. Today’s discourse is a good example of this. The rest God had in mind for the children of Israel was beyond physical. It was the rest in Christ; the same rest He promised Abraham.
Abraham looked (expected or awaited) for a city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10). The bible says: “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly…” (Hebrews 11: 16). He saw it afar off (that is, he saw it will be fulfilled in the future) and confessed that he was a stranger and pilgrim on the earth (Hebrews 11:13).
It was actually the ‘rest’ that is in Christ that God ultimately planned for the children of Israel. The writer of Hebrews says: “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Hebrews 4:2). The gospel was preached unto them- the gospel of the ‘rest’ that is in Christ. They rejected that gospel. Do not harden your heart like they did.