The author of Hebrews hopes that he can move on from Jesus milk to Jesus meat. The milk is crucial because it nourishes and strengthens us to be able to manage more sophisticated meals; Jesus meat. He’s already explained that Jesus milk consists of several doctrines that are foundational to the Christian faith. The first one is salvation by grace through faith and not confidence in the dead works of the law. The second one concerns the sacrificial system of purification and transferring our sin to a substitutionary sacrifice. It’s not bulls and goats, but the very Son of God that entered into the presence of God with the all sufficient sacrifice for our sins once and for all. The third issue was the resurrection of the dead and the eternal judgement from which, as Paul says, in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, is Jesus “who God raised from the dead.” Further it is Jesus who “rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.” These issues are all fundamental and everything about the superstructure must rest upon these principles.

But the writer hopes to move on to Jesus meat. He wants to give his readers something to chew on regarding more mature teaching regarding Jesus. In Hebrews 6:3 he says, “And this we will do if God permits.” The author is again including himself in this prayer. He wants to move on from the foundational truths to build a life out of biblical truths that rest upon the solid ground of the Jesus milk. Just as the milk is “Jesus” milk, the meat is “Jesus” meat. It’s the same nourishment but comes in a more mature form. We know where this writer is going with this because he will return to his study of the life of Melchizedek at the end of chapter 6 and for all of chapter 7. Melchizedek, King of Righteousness, is a figure from the Old Testament that teaches a deeper and more mature understanding of Jesus. That was Melchizedek’s role: to open the eyes of mature Christians to all the glories and wonders of the Savior that strengthen the foundational truths and builds our confidence in Jesus. The writer wants his readers to move on into a mature confidence or rest in Jesus.

But God did not permit the Israelites to enter into that rest. They took their eyes off of God’s promises and looked at all the troubles and challenges around them and said “we can’t do it.” Actually what that meant was “God can’t keep His promise.” So God declared “they will never enter my rest” (See Hebrews 3:11). They came out of Egypt of course, and were freed from Egyptian bondage but never experienced the full “rest” God wanted for them in the Promised Land. I like the way Steadman puts it, “The unbelieving Israelites in the desert wanted to enter into Canaan, and, presumably, into the spiritual rest which Canaan symbolized. But they could not, for God would not permit it! Hence they must continue to wander in the wilderness till all were dead. Far from being a polite cliché or pious wish, these words God permitting form the fulcrum on which the warning of verses 4–8 turns.”[1] Jesus meat nourishes our faith and enables us to “rest” confidently in God’s promises. Without a full, growing faith in God’s promises realized in Jesus, we’ll never enter into His rest.

[1] Ray C. Stedman, Hebrews, The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 1992), Heb 6:1.