In Ac 9:31, refers to the respite from persecution enjoyed by the Christians in Palestine, after the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, during the last two years of Caligula's short reign, A. D. 39 and 40, when the Jews were so harassed by the attempts of the emperor to force them to worship him as a god, that they forbore to afflict the followers of Christ.
(1.) Gr. katapausis, equivalent to the Hebrew word noah (Heb 4:1).
(2.) Gr. anapausis, "rest from weariness" (Mt 11:28).
(3.) Gr. anesis, "relaxation" (2Th 1:7).
(4.) Gr. sabbatismos, a Sabbath rest, a rest from all work (Heb 4:9; R.V., "sabbath"), a rest like that of God when he had finished the work of creation.
Heb 4:9, "there remaineth a keeping of sabbath (sabbatismos) to the people of God." God's rest ("My rest" Heb 4:3) was a sabbatism, so will ours be; a home for the exile, a mansion for the pilgrim, a sabbath for the workman weary of the world's weekday toil. In time there are many sabbaths, then there shall be one perfect and eternal. The "rest" in Heb 4:8 is katapausis; Hebrew noach, "rest from weariness": as the ark rested on Ararat after its tossings; as Israel, under Joshua, rested from war in Canaan.
Anesis (2Th 1:7), "relaxation from afflictions". Anapausis, "rest," given by Jesus now (Mt 11:28); but the "rest" in Heb 4:9 is the nobler "sabbath rest"; katapausis, literally, "cessation from work finished" (Heb 4:4) as God rested from His (Re 14:13; 16:17). The two ideas combined give the perfect view of the heavenly sabbath: rest from weariness, sorrow, and sin; and rest in the completion of God's new creation (Re 21:5). The renovated creation shall share in it. Nothing will there be to break the sabbath of eternity. The Triune God shall rejoice in the work of His hands (Zep 3:17). The Jews call the future rest "the day which is all sabbath."
The conception of rest as a gift of God runs through the Bible, the underlying idea being not idleness, but the freedom from anxiety which is the condition of effective work. It is promised to Israel in Canaan (Ex 33:14; De 3:20), and Zion is the resting-place of Jahweh (Ps 132:8,14), the Temple being built by 'a man of rest' (1Ch 22:9; a contrast is implied with the desert wanderings in Nu 10:33-36). At the same time no earthly temple can be the real resting-place of Jahweh (Isa 66:1; Ac 7:49). The rest of the Sabbath and the Sabbatical year are connected with the rest of God after creation (Ge 2:2; Ex 20:11; Le 25:4; see art. Sabbath). The individual desires rest, as did the nation (Ps 55:8); it is not to be found in ignoble ease (Ge 49:15 Issachar), but in the ways of God (Ps 37:7; Jer 6:10); it is the gift of Christ (Mt 11:28). Sinners fail to find it (Isa 28:12; 57:20), as Israel failed (Ps 95:11). Heb 4 develops the meaning of this failure, and points to the 'sabbath rest' still to come. This heavenly rest includes not only freedom from labour, as in OT (Job 3:13,17 [in Ps 16:9, see RV), but also the opportunity of continued work (Re 14:13).
C. W. Emmet.
The first allusion to rest in scripture is on the part of God after His works of creation. Gen. 2. It may be assumed, therefore, that while the term means cessation from labour, it also covers the idea of complacency in the result of the labour; and this thought probably underlies the institution of the sabbath; for it is clear from Ps. 95 and Heb. 4 that it was in the thought of God that man should enter into His rest. But sin entered into the world by man, with all its baneful consequences; and unless God were to acquiesce in a world of sin and moral woe He must needs work in grace. Hence the word of Christ, "My Father worketh hitherto until now, and I work." Joh 5:17. This untiring activity of God is intimated by various expressions in the O.T. God is again and again described as 'rising up early,' sending His prophets, etc. Eventually Christ came to do the will of His Father, and to finish His work. When the full results of the death of Christ are displayed, and all enemies subdued, then God will again enjoy His sabbath of rest, and His people too will enter into His rest.
The Lord Jesus in His ministry on earth, when recognising the absence of moral effect from His mighty works, and retiring consequently into the service of revealing the Father to the babes, invited those who laboured and were heavy laden to come to Him for rest. Mt 11:28. Those who felt the rejection of Christ here were invited to take His yoke upon them, and learn of Him, who was meek and lowly of heart, and they should find rest unto their souls. Mt 11:29. The soul thus has, outside of circumstances here, a portion unaffected by circumstances, and that satisfies all its longings. On the other hand there is no rest to the wicked, who are like the troubled waves of the sea; and those who bow to the future imperial beast and his image will have no rest from their torments day nor night for ever and ever. Isa 57:20-21; Re 14:11.