The book of Hebrews seems to be the longest recorded sermon in the entire Bible. It is built around the story of the refusal of the Israelites to enter the promised land when 10 of the 12 spies Moses sent gave a report that frightened the Israelites.
The main motivation he mentions for following Jesus until the end of their lives (whether by old age or martyrdom) is the promise of a “rest.” Because he does not specify what this rest involves, there has always been much speculation about what the writer means here.
There are, in fact, numerous clues to the meaning of rest in this letter in the various quotes and allusions to Old Testament Scriptures. (The so-called “Old Testament” was the only Bible available in that day.) In the paper linked here, I go through these clues to get at what is meant by “rest.” The paper discusses how that understanding makes sense of why he mentions the weekly sabbath, the creation (via Psalm 8), Joshua, Esau, Moses, and a sword wielded by one to whom we must give account.
Why does he seem to bring together ideas like rest, sabbath, entering the Promised land, human dominion over the creatures of the world, and Jesus’ priestly self-offering throughout this letter? A proper understanding of “rest” should bring all of these ideas into harmony.
I concluded that a return of human dominion over all of the earth under Jesus as our Lord is what is intended as the meaning of “rest.” The fact that Jesus is spoken of as the one who has dominion and the one who is redeeming many brothers and sisters suggests that His dominion on earth will be shared with the redeemed saints.
Ultimately, rest is about a new people being allowed to do God’s will without interference by powers and principalities in a new creation, forever.
Naturally, it is one thing to state my conclusion. It makes sense to expect me to show my work. All the technical detail behind it can be found in the paper entitled Entering the Eternal Rest.