HEBREWS CHAPTER 4
HEB 3:16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt?
17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert?
18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed?
19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.
HEB 4:1 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
2 For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, `They shall never enter my rest.' " And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world.
4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work."
5 And again in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest."
HEB 4:6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.
7 Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
HEB 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day.
9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;
10 for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.
11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.
The word gospel does not refer in scripture to inheriting the promised land by ancient Israel nor to the reception of rewards in the present of eternity.
The previous section in chapter 3 views ancient Israel believers and unbelievers being exhorted not to turn away from God, being encouraged by one another to hold firmly until the end so as to share in blessings of the kingdom with Christ.
Then chapter 4 continues the context. Verse 2 says, 'For we also have had the gospel preached to us just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.
Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, 'So I declared on oath in My anger, they shall never enter My rest.' "
Those of ancient Israel who did not believe in the gospel not only were excluded from entering the kingdom, but also were excluded from entering the promised land in their temporal lifetimes.
The opportunity for the latter - a reward - not being available because they had not received the former by faith. So they died in the desert - the unbelievers. And only the believers were to enter the promised land to begin their lives as the children of Israel in the promised land. The issue is that the Hebrew congregation of believers is being pointed to Ancient Israelites not believing the promise of God of entering the Promised Land - which encompasses first exercising faith in the gospel and then faith + enduring faithful works so as not only to enter God's eternal rest of eternal life in the kingdom but also to receive the blessings a faithful enduring believer will receive as well.