Brotherly Love Under the New Covenant - In Hebrews 13:1-8 we have a definition of love under the new covenant in Christ Jesus, which moves us into a place of "Sabbath rest" ( Hebrews 4:9). We walk in love with our Christian brothers ( Hebrews 13:1) when we from the heart show mercy towards the stranger ( Hebrews 13:2). The stranger represents the person in society who is not in a position to reward us for acts of kindness. Thus, we have to do it as unto the Lord, not expecting anything in return from men. We walk in love with our Christian brothers when we with the minds remember to pray for those suffering for Christ's sake ( Hebrews 13:3). We walk in love with the brethren with our bodies when we honor God by restraining from fleshly passions ( Hebrews 13:4). We walk in love with the brethren materially and financially when we refuse to covet their possessions ( Hebrews 13:5). Finally, we walk in brotherly love when we honor our church leaders ( Hebrews 13:6-7). This love walk was instituted under the old covenant, and still is required under the new covenant; for God does not change. His character, reflected in Jesus Christ, is the same yesterday, today and forever ( Hebrews 13:8).
Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.
Hebrews 13:1 — Comments - The love walk is the door by which we enter rest during our earthly pilgrimage. The exhortation to "continue" in this love walk reflects the theme of perseverance that is woven throughout the epistle of Hebrews. Hebrews 13:2-17 will give us practical ways in which we are to walk in Christian love towards others.
Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Hebrews 13:2 — Comments - The author's reference to the ministry of angels in the closing verses of this Epistle ( Hebrews 13:2) reflects back on his opening statements about their role of divine service in man's redemption ( Hebrews 1:14). The author now tells us that these ministering angels are among us to serve us. Since Hebrews 13:1-17 emphasizes the theme of entering into the believer's rest, we now see that ministering angels are with us to help us continue in this position of rest as we walk in love among our fellow believers ( Hebrews 1:1), and among strangers who are sometimes angels ( Hebrews 1:2), and among those believers who are in difficult situations ( Hebrews 13:3).
Hebrews 1:14, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Illustrations- Both Abraham ( Genesis 18:2-10) and Lot ( Genesis 19:1-3) entertained angels; but they were aware of this fact. Manoah, Samson"s father, clearly entertained an angel unawares until he offered his sacrifice ( Judges 13:1-25). Many testimonies in today"s church tell of angels who came in the likeness of men to minister and help deliver someone miraculously out of danger. Song of Solomon, these angels are in our midst often to help us. Note:
Psalm 34:7, "The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them."
Matthew 4:11, "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."
Matthew 18:10, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven."
Mark 1:13, "And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him."
John 20:12, "And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain."
1 Corinthians 4:9, "For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men."
1 Corinthians 11:10, "For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels."
Hebrews 1:14, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Paul, the most likely author of the book of Hebrews, was well acquainted with needs of a traveling minister. How often he thanked God for the warm reception from other believers in foreign cities. This made him even more sensitive to the needs of strangers. It is very likely that he experienced supernatural encounters with angels during his missionary journeys. For example, Paul testifies of an angel coming to him during his trip to Rome.
Acts 27:23, "For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I Amos, and whom I serve,"
We find ministering angels mentioned throughout the book of Acts. Hebrews 13:2 confirms that angels are very much involved in the daily affairs of the New Testament church.
Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
Hebrews 13:3 — Comments- Paul not only understood what it was like to be a stranger in need of someone taking him in and hosting him, so asks the Hebrew believers to be mindful of their needs, he had also been in prison numerous times. Therefore, in Hebrews 13:3 Paul asks them to also be mindful of those in bonds.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Hebrews 13:4 — "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled" - Word Study on "undefiled" - Strong says the Greek word "undefiled" "amiantos" ( ἀμίαντος) (G 283) literally means, "unsoiled," and figuratively, "pure." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 4times in the New Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "undefiled 4." Its other three uses are:
Hebrews 7:26, "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;"
James 1:27, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
1 Peter 1:4, "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,"
Comments- We must keep in mind that Paul was writing to Jewish Christians who lived amongst pagans in a Greco-Roman culture of idolatry. Such cultures rarely honor marriage, while fornication is widespread. I live in an African culture on the mission field, and I rarely see a couple honor their marriage over the years. It causes a wife or daughter to wonder if a man exists who will actually honor the marriage bed. Thus, in the midst of a tremendous problem of fornication, Paul tells his readers to keep marriage pure and holy. Do not defile this holy bond. Defilement can affect the spirit, soul and body of a man. Such defilements come spiritually with an unclean heart that becomes out of fellowship with God; defilement comes psychologically into the minds of people through guilt and condemnation of their sins; and defilement comes physically through sexually transmitted diseases.
Hebrews 13:5 — Comments- Although Paul was single according to ancient Church tradition, he understood the sanctity of the divine institution of marriage as it was taught in the Jewish faith and Scriptures. He also observed the low value given to this institution in the Roman-Greco world of polygamy and slavery. He felt the challenges and temptations of celibacy, as any other man in the flesh would feel, yet he need to establish the sacredness of this institution within the Church.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Hebrews 13:5 — "for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" - Word Study on "never" - The English translation "never" comes from two Greek emphatic subjunctives ( οὐ μή). This means that this verse emphasizes the word "never." God will never, under any circumstances, at any time, in any way, will forsake His children.
Comments- Note these insightful words from Frances J. Roberts regarding this verse.
"I (Jesus) suffered in all ways as ye suffer, but ye shall never suffer as I suffered; for I experienced one awful moment of separation from the Father; but I have promised that I will never forsake thee, and I will never leave thee." 269]
269] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 170.
Hebrews 13:5 — Comments- Hebrews 13:5 is a quote from Deuteronomy 31:6, "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
In the Hebrew text the word "fail" is ( רָפָה) (H 7503), which means, "to slacken." The Hebrew word "forsake" ( עָזַב) (H 5800) means, "relinquish, permit."
Scripture References- Also, note similar verses regarding God's faithfulness to always be with us:
Genesis 28:15, "And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."
Deuteronomy 31:8, "And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed."
Joshua 1:5, "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."
Psalm 37:25, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
Paul the apostle had learned to suffer without, and he had learned to receive honor and prosperity ( Philippians 4:11-12). He had learned God's divine providence and provision through many years of servanthood.
Philippians 4:11-12, "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I Amos, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need."
Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Hebrews 13:6 — Comments- Darryl Woodson defines boldness within the context of Hebrews 13:6 by saying it means, "Boldness in faith when faith is being activated." 270]
270] Darryl Woodson, "Sermon," Victory City Church Ntinda, Kampala, Uganda, 16 May 2010.
Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Hebrews 13:7 — "whose faith follow" - Word Study on "follow" - Strong says the Greek word "follow" ( μιμέ ομαι) (G 3401) means, "to imitate." It would describe children playing the game of "Follow the Leader," where each one followed the one in front by imitating his movements.
Hebrews 13:7 — "considering the end of their conversation" - Word Study on "considering" - Strong says the Greek word "considering" ( ἀναθεωρέω) (G 333) means, "look again attentively."
Hebrews 13:7 — Comments - Theodoret (A. D. c 393to c 466) believed that Hebrews 13:7 is a reference to early leaders of the church in Jerusalem, who had since died; those like Stephen, the first martyr, and James the brother of John, and James the Just, who all died at the hands of Jewish rage. 271] These men set the example of how to live by faith, both in their life and by their death.
271] Theodoret, Comments on Hebrews 13:7 (PG 82col 781)
However, the context of this passage is best understood as a charge to honor those who are currently leaders in the church.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Hebrews 13:8 — Comments- In His unchanging love, power, Wisdom of Solomon, magnificence, etc, He has, is and will supply all our needs according to his abundant riches in glory.
Glorification: Our Rest - The author of Hebrews offers his final exhortation with a series of practical applications on how to conduct our lives in holiness so that we may enter into the rest that Jesus Christ made available for us. The author explains how to walk in brotherly love under the New Covenant ( Hebrews 13:1-8), then discusses how to make spiritual sacrifices under this New Covenant based on an Old Testament analogy ( Hebrews 13:9-17).
Outline- Note the proposed outline:
A. Brotherly Love Under the New Covenant — Hebrews 13:1-8
B. How to Make Spiritual Sacrifices — Hebrews 13:9-17
How to Make Spiritual Sacrifices Under the New Covenant- Hebrews 13:9-17 makes a contrast between the ordinances of the New Covenant and the Old Covenant as it teaches us how to make spiritual sacrifices today. We are to bear the reproaches of men as Jesus bore them, and we offer the sacrifice of praise from our lips as well as the sacrifice of good works with our actions.
Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
Hebrews 13:9 — "For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace" - Comments - God strengthens our hearts as we come to Him, and we will find grace and mercy through our Lord Jesus, the Great High Priest, for help in times of need.
Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 13:9 — Comments - Hebrews 13:9 refers to the ceremonial meats that the priests were commanded to eat under the Mosaic Law. The author mentioned these ceremonies earlier in Hebrews 9:9-10, "Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation."
Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
Hebrews 13:10 — "We have an altar" - Comments - At this altar we partake of the Lamb that was slain and of the Bread of Life, our precious Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 13:10 — Comments - The priests and his family were to partake of, or eat of the offerings given unto the Lord. Note:
Leviticus 6:16, "And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it."
Leviticus 10:13-14,"And ye shall eat it in the holy place, because it is thy due, and thy sons" due, of the sacrifices of the LORD made by fire: for so I am commanded. And the wave breast and heave shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; thou, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee: for they be thy due, and thy sons" due, which are given out of the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel."
Numbers 18:10-11,"In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee. And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it."
Numbers 18:31, "And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation."
Deuteronomy 18:1-5, "The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the LORD made by fire, and his inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the LORD is their inheritance, as he hath said unto them. And this shall be the priest"s due from the people, from them that offer a sacrifice, whether it be ox or sheep; and they shall give unto the priest the shoulder, and the two cheeks, and the maw. The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him. For the LORD thy God hath chosen him out of all thy tribes, to stand to minister in the name of the LORD, him and his sons for ever."
1 Corinthians 9:13, "Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar?"
Hebrews 13:11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
Hebrews 13:11 — Comments - Hebrews 13:11 refers to the offering made on the day of atonement when the blood of the sin offering is brought into the Holy of Holies, while the body of the bull is carried outside the camp and burnt.
Leviticus 16:27, "And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung."
We also see the body of the slain bull being carried without the camp in the sin offering under the Mosaic Law ( Leviticus 4:1-12).
Leviticus 4:12, "Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt."
Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
Hebrews 13:12 — "suffered without the gate" - Scripture References- Note Old Testament references:
Leviticus 24:23,"And Moses spake to the children of Israel, that they should bring forth him that had cursed out of the camp, and stone him with stones. And the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses."
Numbers 15:36, "And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses."
Joshua 7:24-25, "And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones."
Hebrews 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
Hebrews 13:13 — "Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp" - Comments- Hebrews 13:13 makes a definite break between the old system of Judaism and Christianity. The author uses the phrase "without the camp" as an Old Testament reference to the children of Israel in their wilderness journey. It is a clear charge for the Church to separate themselves from their ancient Jewish traditions of Temple worship, and cling to their community of fellow believers.
"bearing his reproach" - Comments- This is a reference to the enduring of man's reproach upon us as Christians. Within the context of the epistle of Hebrews, it tells the Jewish converts that such separation from their traditions most certainly meant reproach from their Jewish brothers. Not only from their Jewish brothers, but those Jewish converts in the Diaspora would feel the persecutions from the Greek and Roman world system of pagan worship. But this phrase can have a broader application to Gentile believers as an exhortation to endure all reproaches for Christ's sake ( 1 Peter 4:14).
1 Peter 4:14, "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."
Hebrews 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
Hebrews 13:14 — Comments- Hebrews 13:14 is similar to the previous verse in that the author again makes a definite break between the old system of Judaism and Christianity. The phrase "no continuing city" most certainly refers to earthly Jerusalem, bound with its ancient system of Jewish tradition and Temple worship. The phrase "we seek one to come" can be understood as a reference to the new "heavenly Jerusalem," or our eternal home in Heaven, as the Church understands it.
A city in ancient times was a place of rest and refuge.
Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that Isaiah, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Hebrews 13:15 — Comments- Hebrews 13:15 most certain is intended to contrast the form of Jewish Temple sacrifices with those of the New Testament believers. The previous verses of Hebrews 13:13-14 have exhorted these Jewish converts to "go forth unto him without the camp," and that earthly Jerusalem is "no continuing city." The Jewish Christian would naturally ask the question, "Then how can I perform the necessary sacrifices unto God?" Under the Old Covenant, God's people were commanded to give a thanksgiving offering ( Leviticus 7:12).
Leviticus 7:12, "If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried."
God's original intent was for such praises and sacrifices to come from man's heart, out of love and devotion to God. Jeremiah refers to the "sacrifice of praise" in the house of the Lord ( Jeremiah 33:11).
Jeremiah 33:11, "The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD."
Other Old Testament passages reflect God's command to give thanksgiving and praise unto God from the heart.
Psalm 50:14, "Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:"
Psalm 100:4-5, "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations."
Hosea 14:2, "Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips."
"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God" - The author provides an immediate answer in anticipation of this Jewish mindset; for he explains how the believers perform their sacrifices and worship without the physical Temple. For Christians, the sacrifice of praise is done by the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name, rather than by bringing an offering to the priests ( Leviticus 7:12).
"continually" - The word "continually" means, "constantly, always." As God's children who have been redeemed, we can give Him thanks in all things, knowing that God is working in our lives in all circumstances to perfect us for His glory.
Ephesians 5:20, "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;"
1 Thessalonians 5:18, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
"that Isaiah, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name" - Word Study on "giving thanks" - Note the following modern English translations:
Thayer, BDAG - "praising"
NASB, NIV, KJV - "giving thanks"
RSV - "acknowledging"
Comments- Those who do not offer unto God thanksgiving are identified as "unthankful." This contrast is clearly made in Luke 6:35 and 2 Timothy 3:1-2.
Luke 6:35, "But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil."
2 Timothy 3:1-2, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,"
Hebrews 13:15 — Comments- God is preparing a heavenly hallelujah choir with His people, and auditions begin right now.
Psalm 34:1, "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Your choir robes are garments of praise:
Isaiah 61:3, "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."
The choir director the Lord Jesus Christ.
How long is the show? Forever.
Psalm 145:2, "Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever."
1 Peter 4:11, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen."
Who is the audience? You may not be able to carry a tune or even read music, but you need a song in your heart. God can put it there. One song the angels will sing is in Revelation 15:3, "The song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb."
Now long will this go on? It has been going on forever and will go on forever.
Hebrews 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
Hebrews 13:16 — "But to do good and to communicate forget not" - Word Study on "to communicate" - Strong says the Greek word "communicate" ( κοινωνία) (G 2842) means, "partnership, participation." BDAG says it means, "generosity, fellow-feeling, altruism." Within the context of Hebrews 13:16, it carries the idea of generous sharing with one another.
Hebrews 13:16 — "for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" - Scripture Reference- Note:
Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Hebrews 13:16 — Comments- In Hebrews 13:16 the author continues to contrast the Jewish system of Temple sacrifices under the old covenant with those done under the new covenant.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Hebrews 13:17 — "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves" - Comments- We find a similar passage about obedience to civil rule in Romans 13:1-7.
Hebrews 13:17 — "as they that must give an account" - Comments- We read a similar statement in James 3:1, which tells us that church leaders will give a greater account of their office than laity.
James 3:1, "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."
Hebrews 13:17 — Comments- It is a grief for fathers to have unruly children; but it is a joy for them to be obedient. It is the same way with a pastor ruling over his flock.
Conclusion - In Hebrews 13:18-25 we have the concluding remarks to the epistle of Hebrews.
Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
Hebrews 13:19 But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
Hebrews 13:19 — "Word Study on "the rather" - Strong says the Greek word ( περισσῶς) (G 4057) means, "superabundantly." Note that use of this word in 1 Corinthians 14:1, "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy."
Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Hebrews 13:20 — Comments- Within the context of Hebrews, which emphasizes Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest who maintains our right standing before the Father, He is the God of peace through the blood covenant made with man through the blood that Jesus Christ offered once for all time in the Heavenly temple. This is why Hebrews 13:20 also mentions the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the blood of the everlasting covenant.
Hebrews 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Hebrews 13:21 — Scripture Reference- Note a similar verse:
Philippians 2:13, "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Hebrews 13:20-21 — Comments- A Synopsis of the Epistle of Hebrews - Hebrews 13:20-21 can be considers as a synopsis of the epistle of Hebrews. It states who Jesus Christ is and why we are to become perfect, or mature. The word "perfect" here is the same word as in Luke 6:40.
Luke 6:40, "The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master."
Hebrews 13:22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
Hebrews 13:22 — "And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation" - Comments- The author, most likely Paul, describes the epistle of Hebrews as a "word of exhortation." We see numerous words of encouragement and warning throughout this Epistle ( Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 3:12; Hebrews 4:1; Hebrews 4:11; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 6:1; Hebrews 10:22-24; Hebrews 12:1; Hebrews 12:28; Hebrews 13:13; Hebrews 13:15). Many of these exhortation passages begin with the phrase "Let us." This message of exhortation is encouraging the Hebrew saints to persevere in their faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God until the end, despite the hardships and persecutions they were suffering.
"for I have written a letter unto you in few words" - Comments - The description of this exhortation as brief may be reflected in several comments made previously within this epistle. For example, the author mentions additional information about the articles of the Tabernacle that he does not have time to discuss ( Hebrews 9:5). He also says that "time would fail him" to discuss the faith of many other Old Testament saints ( Hebrews 11:32). In other words, the author could have written a longer discourse to support each of his exhortations, but he kept each discourse as brief as possible.
Hebrews 9:5, "And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly."
Hebrews 11:32, "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:"
Hebrews 13:22 — Comments - The literary structure of the epistle of Hebrews consists of a series of exhortations, each one supported by a doctrinal discourse. There are seven literary sections that make up the epistle of Hebrews, with all but the first one opening with a brief exhortation, followed by a more lengthy discourse to support its exhortation. We have an exhortation to heed God's divine calling ( Hebrews 2:1-4), an exhortation to hold faith to our confession of faith ( Hebrews 4:14-16), an exhortation to grow in Christian maturity ( Hebrews 6:1-8), an exhortation to divine service ( Hebrews 10:19-39), and exhortation to persevere in the Faith ( Hebrews 12:1-3), and an exhortation to walk in brotherly love as our entrance into rest ( Hebrews 13:1-8).
1. Predestination — ( Hebrews 1:1-14)
2. Calling — ( Hebrews 2:1 to Hebrews 4:13)
3. Justification — ( Hebrews 4:14 to Hebrews 5:14)
4. Indoctrination — ( Hebrews 6:1 to Hebrews 10:18)
5. Divine service — ( Hebrews 10:19 to Hebrews 11:40)
6. Perseverance — ( Hebrews 12:1-29)
7. Glorification — ( Hebrews 13:1-17)
Hebrews 13:23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
Hebrews 13:23 — Comments- We have a unique reference to Timothy being imprisoned and released in Hebrews 13:23. This verse suggests a later date of writing, perhaps in the mid to late 60's during the Neronian persecutions against the Church.
Hebrews 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
Hebrews 13:24 — Comments - The prevailing view of the early Church fathers is that the author wrote this Epistle from Italy, most likely from Rome. However, modern scholarship now favors the interpretation that the epistle of Hebrews has a Roman destination, with the author writing to Romans, while sending greetings from Italian believers at his location. 272]
272] David L. Allen, Hebrews, in The New American Commentary: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, vol 35, ed. E. Ray Clendenen (Nashville, Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group, 2010), 632.
Hebrews 13:25 Grace be with you all. Amen.
Hebrews 13:25 — "Grace be with you all" - Comments (1) - J. Vernon McGee says that the word "grace" in Paul's greetings was a formal greeting used in Greek letters of his day, while the word "peace" was the customary Jewish greeting. 273] Thus, Paul would be addressing both Greeks and Jews. However, Paul uses these same two words in his epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, which weakens the idea that Paul intended to make such a distinction between two ethnic groups when using "grace" and "peace." James Denny explains the relationship of these two words as a cause and effect. He says that grace is God's unmerited favor upon mankind, and the peace is the result of receiving His grace and forgiveness of sins. 274] Charles Simeon says phrase "‘grace and peace' comprehended all the blessings of the Gospel." 275]
273] J. Vernon McGee, The Epistle to the Romans, in Thru the Bible With J. Vernon McGee (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1998), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), comments on Romans 1:1.
274] James Denney, The Epistles to the Thessalonians, in The Expositor's Bible, eds. William R. Nicoll and Oscar L. Joseph (New York: Hodder and Stoughton, n.d.), 15-16.
275] Charles Simeon, 2 Peter, in Horae Homileticae, vol 20: James to Jude (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1833), 285.
Comments (2) - In a similar way that the early apostles were instructed by Jesus to let their peace come upon the home of their host ( Matthew 10:13), so did Paul the apostle open every one of his thirteen New Testament epistles with a blessing of God's peace and grace upon his readers. Matthew 10:13 shows that you can bless a house by speaking God"s peace upon it.
Matthew 10:13, "And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you."
This practice of speaking blessings upon God's children may have its roots in the Priestly blessing of Numbers 6:22-27, where God instructed Moses to have the priests speak a blessing upon the children of Israel. We see in Ruth 2:4 that this blessing became a part of the Jewish culture when greeting people. Boaz blessed his workers in the field and his reapers replied with a blessing.
Ruth 2:4, "And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee."
We also see this practiced by the king in 2 Samuel 15:20 where David says, "mercy and truth be with thee."
2 Samuel 15:20, "Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee."
Thus, this word of blessing was a part of the Hebrew and Jewish culture. This provides us the background as to why Paul was speaking a blessing upon the church at Ephesus, especially that God would grant them more of His grace and abiding peace that they would have otherwise not known. In faith, we too, can receive this same blessing into our lives. Paul actually pronounces and invokes a blessing of divine grace and peace upon his readers with these words, "Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." I do not believe this blessing is unconditional, but rather conditional. In other words, it is based upon the response of his hearers. The more they obey these divine truths laid forth in this epistle, the more God's grace and peace is multiplied in their lives. We recall how the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, with six tribes standing upon Mount Gerizim to bless the people and six tribes upon Mount Ebal to curse the disobedient ( Deuteronomy 27:11-26). Thus, the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy 28:1-68 were placed upon the land. All who obeyed the Law received these blessings, and all who disobeyed received this list of curses. In the same way, Paul invokes a blessing into the body of Christ for all who will hearken unto the divine truths of this epistle.
We see this obligation of the recipients in translation of Beck, "As you know God and our Lord Jesus, may you enjoy more and more of His love and peace." ( 2 Peter 1:2)
Hebrews 13:25 — "Grace be with you all" - Comments- In Hebrews 13:25 Paul, the likely author, basically commends them into the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ, in much the same way that he did in the book of Acts. We find this statement at the end of all of Paul's epistles.
Acts 14:23, "And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed."
Acts 20:32, "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified."
Hebrews 13:25 — "Amen" - Comments- In the Textus Receptus the word "Amen" is attached to the end of all thirteen of Paul's epistles, as well as to the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, and to the General Epistles of Hebrews, 1,2Peter, 1,2John, and to the book of Revelation. However, because "Amen" is not supported in more ancient manuscripts many scholars believe that this word is a later liturgical addition. For example, these Pauline benedictions could have been used by the early churches with the added "Amen."
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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Hebrews 13". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/
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