More on Work Vs. Labor

For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief, Hebrews 4:10,11.


Almost three years ago, I wrote about the difference between work and labor. That can be read by clicking (here). To recap that post, our King James Bible carefully followed the Hebrew Bible in the Old Testament in using two different words just as the Hebrew does. It never interchanges work and labor. Work creates or changes things, labor does not change things.

A Jew could do no work on the Sabbath, but he could do labor. He could not kindle a fire on the Sabbath but he could wash his face. He cannot make a dish of food on the Sabbath or turn on his crock pot, but he can make the food prior to the Sabbath, turn on the crock pot hours before the Sabbath, and then ladle out that food on the Sabbath.

The Jews who read a Hebrew Bible see the first two acts as work. Turning on the crock pot is kindling a fire. That is defined as work under the law. Mixing the ingredients together for a meal is creating something. That is also work. To ladle out the food creates nothing and kindles nothing. It is labor and it is acceptable on the Sabbath.

Your King James translators were very careful to never mix up those two words, even when they got to the New Testament. In our opening two verses we see that the Apostle Paul is careful to let us know that our works did not get us into the blessed rest in Christ. We had to cease from our works. Nevertheless, labor is required to get there.

There is no work that a person can do to be saved. There is no act that he can do to change himself. He is instructed however to labor. He must listen. He can labor at weeping before God, or mourning at an altar. He can search the scriptures. There is no contradiction between Hebrews 4:10 which tells us to cease from our work and Hebrews 4:11 which tells us to labor to enter in. We have a bible that is brilliantly put together.

The Apostle Paul identifies himself as a labourer. For we are labourers together with God, 1st Corinthians 3:9. By using the word "labourer", he is acknowledging that he cannot change people. There is a place where Paul acknowledges himself to be a worker with Christ; We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain, 2nd Corinthians 6:1. We must tread carefully here. In almost every case where a worker is mentioned in your bible, it is as a worker of iniquity; but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity, Proverbs 21:15. Paul had the ability to work miracles, hence he calls himself a worker; Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?, 1st Corinthians 12:29.

The miracles that he was allowed to work never changed a person. Only God can do that. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase, 1st Corinthians 3:7. Man labors, God works. Man can sow seed, but only God can make it sprout. Mark ends his gospel on that very premise. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen, Mark 16:20. Truly our King James Bible is a sharp sword.

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