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11. GLORIOUS REST
by Philip Owen

             As a general rule, men are not honored for resting.  We may speak of a “well-earned rest” or a “well-deserved rest,” but in so doing, we are commenting more on the quality and quantity of the work that preceded it than on the rest itself.  But where God is concerned, all is glorious; and, such is the nature of His Person that His “working” and “resting” are perfect and equally glorious.  Isaiah makes an observation in this regard, declaring that “in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek; and his rest shall be glorious” (Isa. 11:10).  A literal interpretation of this verse gives us to understand that Isaiah is describing the millennial reign of Christ upon earth.  The NASB (and others) translate the Hebrew as “His resting place shall be glorious” [italics added].  In other words, the future kingdom will be glorious.  Just a partial listing of some of the characteristics that will prevail during that time will exhaust this space.

            Glorious character of the kingdom.  (1) Holiness will characterize the kingdom (Isa. 4:3, 4; Zech. 14:20, 21).  (2) Righteousness will predominate (Matt. 25:37; Isa. 60:21).  (3) Truth will prevail (Isa. 10:20; Zech. 8:8).  (4)  Obedience will be the habitual experience (Jer. 31:33; Psa. 22:27, 28).  All of these characteristics result from Christ’s immediate and personal reign on earth during that time (Isa. 11:1-10), the binding of Satan for those one thousand years (Rev. 20:2), the sanctified character of a large number of its citizens (Isa. 6:13), and the suppression of sin through swift and exacting justice (Rev. 19:15).  Since the fall of Adam, no society has experienced the glory here described.  Truly, this will be a glorious resting place.

            Glorious conditions of the kingdom.  The glorious character of the kingdom will result in the prevalence of glorious conditions.  Those privileged to enter the kingdom will thrive under conditions of peace (Isa. 2:4), joy (Isa. 61:3), comfort (Rev. 21:4), and justice (Jer. 23:5).  They will experience deliverance from the effects of the curse (Isa. 65:25, freedom from sickness (Jer. 30:17), long lives (Isa. 65:20), and absence of oppression (Isa. 14:3-6). They will enjoy ease of labor (Isa. 61:21-23) and economic prosperity (Joel 2:21-27).  Things so futilely sought today will exist:  universal communication (Zeph. 3:9) and unity of worship in truth (Zech. 14:16).  And above all will be the very Presence of God in their midst (Rev. 21:3).

            We cannot leave this subject without acknowledging that wherever God makes His resting place rest prevails.  God enjoys glorious rest in heaven.  Is there a more wonderful picture of the “every day” rest of God than that described by Isaiah?  “Thus saith the Lord, the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool:  where is the house that ye build unto me?  and where is the place of my rest? (66:1; cf. Acts 7:49).  Unless it is the second psalm:  “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:  the Lord shall have them [the raging heathen and the rebellious kings of the earth {vv. 1-3}] in derision” (v. 4).  Nothing unsettles the rest of God:  His work is complete, and His eternal plan is being brought to fruition.  The Lord also produces His glorious rest in hearts of believers.  The writer of Hebrews observes that “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his” (4:9, 10).  What a glorious rest is the heritage of the believer, the one who has trusted in the truth found in Ephesians:  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:  it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast” (2:8, 9)—rest from self-effort, self-reformation; rest in the finished redemptive work of Christ.  Glorious resting place:  the sanctified hearts of redeemed men and women!

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