Hebrews 13


Concluding Exhortations


As in Paul’s Epistles, practical directions as to conduct conclude the

treatise, such as the readers may be supposed to have especially needed.

They are urged to evince and confirm the faith which was the subject of

ch.11, and to maintain their communion with the world invisible

spoken of in ch.12., by attending especially to those daily duties

which they might be in danger of forgetting. By perseverance in a life

consistent with profession faith is not only evidenced, but also kept from

faltering. In the course of these exhortations (vs. 10-13), being suggested

by one of them, there is introduced a yet additional view of the meaning of

the Levitical symbolism.


1 “Let brotherly love continue.”   φιλαδελφία Hae philadelphiathe

brotherly affection -  does not mean general philanthropy, but the peculiar love of

Christians to each other as brethren; “a narrower sphere within the wider sphere

of ἀγάπη agapae - love; compare I Peter 2:17, “Honor all men, love the

brotherhood;” and II Peter 1:7, where Christians are exhorted to add ἀγάπη to

their φιλαδελφία. This grace of φιλαδελφία they had already, and had

evinced it by their conduct (compare ch. 6:10); they are only to

take care that it continue; and let them, among other ways, evince it in

hospitality (v. 2), and in sympathy with the afflicted brethren (v. 3).


2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers (or, of hospitality): for

thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Allusions to this duty

are frequent in the Epistles; its exercise would be of especial importance, in

those days of persecution, towards scattered and destitute brethren as well

as towards missionaries, though it by no means appears that it was meant

to be confined to “them that are of the household of faith.” Possibly some

of the wavering Hebrew Christians might be becoming less ready to open

their doors to the persecuted from fear of “reproach” in Jewish circles. The

allusion of the latter part of the verse is evidently to Abraham and Lot

(Genesis 18. and 19.). At any time the visits even of our fellowmen may

be to us as visits of angels, as being messengers of God’s purposes for

good when least expected. And especially to be noted are our Lord’s own

words, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me

receiveth Him that sent me” Matthew 10:40; John 13:20) and “Inasmuch as

ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it

unto me” (Matthew 25:40).


3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them;

and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

The Hebrew readers have been also specially commended for their past

sympathy with their imprisoned and despoiled brethren (ch.10:33, etc.),

having been themselves also at the same time persecuted.

Whether or not sufferers themselves now, they must not be forgetful of

those that are “As bound with them” seems best taken as expressing the

sympathy of one member with another (compare Ibid. vs.33-34 and

I Corinthians 12:26). “As being yourselves,” reminds them that they are

still in the flesh, and so not only on this account bound to sympathize, but

also liable themselves at any time to the like afflictions.


Exhortations to personal purity and to contentedness follow next. Of the need, and

prominence in the Epistles, of warnings against impurity see what was said on

 ἁγιασμόν hagiasmonholiness; sanctification (ch.12:14). Paul is given to couple

covetousness and uncleanness together in his warnings, as cognate sins, and alike

incompatible with the kingdom of God (compare I Corinthians 5:10-11; 6:9-10;

Ephesians 5:3,5; Colossians 3:5). Greediness, or inordinate desire (πλεονεξίᾳ -

pleonexia), may be for sensual indulgence or for wealth — the same word is

used in both senses; and such πλεονεξίᾳ, whatever its object, is fatal to the \

spiritual life. So here, after a warning against impurity, comes a like one against



4 “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but

whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. So in the Authorized Version

the first clause of this verse, which is taken as an assertion, the copula ἕστι (is)

is a declaration, interposed among exhortations, of the honorableness of the

estate of matrimony, with the hortatory purpose of suggesting this “remedy

against sin” (as in I Corinthians 7:9), or as a protest against false asceticism,

such as is alluded to in I Timothy 4:3, “forbidding to marry.” And certainly

the expression, Τίμιοςγάμος Timios ho gamosMarriage is honorable –

taken by itself, would most naturally have this meaning. But most modern

commentators understand it as an exhortation, supplying ἕστω (is); and this

for the following cogent reasons: it occurs in the midst of a series of

exhortations, and is therefore more likely to be one; it is difficult to understand

the connected clause, “and the bed undefiled (καὶκοίτη ἀμίαντος kai hae

koitae amiantos),”  as a statement; and the exactly similar phrase in v. 5,

Ἀφιλάργυροςτρόπος Aphilarguros ho troposunfondness of money the

manner; conversation  without covetousness, seems evidently hortatory. Hence

we take it to mean “Let marriage be Τίμιοςγάμος ἐν πᾶσιν Timios ho

gamos en pasinMarriage is honorable in all. Two questions remain —

that of the import of τίμιος, (honorable) and whether πᾶσιν (all) is masculine

or neuter. Τίμιος elsewhere, when applied to persons, means “held in honor”

(as in Acts 5:34, of Gamaliel); when applied to things, it means “precious”

(as in I Corinthians 3:12; Revelation 17:4; 18:12, 16; 21:19, of precious stones;

in I Peter 1:19, of the blood of the Lamb; II Peter 1:4, of promises; Acts 20:24,

of “my own life;” James 5:7, of the fruit of the earth).  Compare I Thessalonians 4:4.

Taking πᾶσιν (all) as masculine,:


·         the first clause is an injunction to all to appreciate marriage,

·         the second warns those that are married against any violation of

the bond:


But the more natural, and the usual, meaning of the common expression ἐν πᾶσιν

is “in all things,” not “among all persons” (compare v. 18; also Colossians 1:18;

Titus 2:9; I Timothy 3:2; II Timothy 4:5). If so here, τίμιοςγάμος must be taken

rather as an injunction with respect to the sanctity of marriage when contracted:

“Let it be held in honor in all respects; in all ways reverently regarded as a

holy bond;” the succeeding clause, κοίτη ἀμίαντος (the bed undefiled), being

a further explication of the same idea (compare I Thessalonians 4:4, That every

one of you should know how to possess his own vessel [meaning, probably, as

seems to be required by the verb κτᾶσθαιktasthaito possess; to be acquiring –

‘get to himself his own wife’] in sanctification and honor (ἐν ἁγιασμῷ καὶ τιμῇ -

en hagiasmo kai timaein sanctification and honor);” where ἐντιμῇ (in honor)

may express the same ides as τίμιος [honorable] in the text). ‘In the conclusion

of the verse “for” (γὰρ) suits the drift of the sentence as above understood, and is

considered to be supported better than “but” (δἐ) of the Textus Receptus.

Observe, lastly, that, in “God will judge,” “God” is emphatic, being placed

last. Though the kind of sin spoken of is lightly regarded among men, and

may escape detection or punishment now, yet certainly GOD WILL JUDGE IT!

(compare Ibid. v.:6, “God is the Avenger of all such, as we have also forewarned

you and testified;” and I Corinthians 6:9, where fornicators and

adulterers are included among those about whom Christians are not to

deceive themselves, as though they would “inherit the kingdom of God).


(Consider Proverbs 30:18-20 where three examples are given of things that

theoretically leave no trail or evidence!  Christ has promised that things done

in secret will someday be known!  Luke 12:2-3) – Me included!  CY – 2014)


5 “Let your conversation (i.e. manner of life, or disposition) be

without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He

(αὐτὸςautos – He - emphatic) hath said, I will never (i.e. in no wise) leave

thee, nor (neither will I ever) forsake thee.” The reference seems to be to

Deuteronomy 31:6 κύριοςθεός σου …… οὔτε μή σε ἀνῇ, οὔτε μή σε

ἐγκαταλίπῃ - kurios ho Theos sou…….oute mae se anae, oute mae se

egkatalipaethe Lord thy God…..He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee -

the same assurance being repeated in v. 8. But similar promises occur

elsewhere in the Old Testament (see Genesis 28:15; Joshua 1:5;

I Chronicles 28:20; Isaiah 41:17).



Christian Contentment Enjoined and Encouraged (v. 5)


“Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such

things as ye have.”  Our subject naturally falls into two main branches.


  • THE DUTY TO WHICH WE ARE SUMMONED. This duty is here

stated negatively and positively.


Ø      Freedom from the love of money. “Let your conversation be without

covetousness.” Revised Version, “Be ye free from the love of money.”

This is a sin to which many are very prone, and the descendants of Jacob,

to some of whom this letter was addressed, as much, or perhaps more so,

than others. It is an exceedingly insidious and perilous sin. It does not

carry any outward and visible stigma, as some sins do. They who are

guilty of it may be respectable in appearance, maintain a good reputation

in society, and retain their position in the communion of the Christian

Church, while the vigor and health and even the very life of their

Christian character are being subtly consumed by it. There is no sin more

destructive of spiritual life, or more fatal to the highest and divinest

things in man. It quenches the nobler aspirations of the soul. It degrades

the soul itself until, oblivious of its high calling, and looking simply

upon material or perishable possessions, man says, “Soul, thou hast

much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, be

merry” (Luke 12:19).  And it is the prolific parent of other sins, “the

root of all kinds of evil” (I Timothy 6:10). Let us endeavor to be free

from this ensnaring and destructive sin.


Ø      Contentment with present possessions. Be content with such things as

ye have.” Ward Beecher says well, “It is not to be the content of

indifference, of indolence, of unambitious stupidity, but the content of

industrious fidelity. When men are building the foundations of vast

structures, they must needs labor far below the surface and in

disagreeable conditions. But every course of stone which they lay

raises them higher; and at length, when they reach the surface, they

have laid such solid rock under them that they need not fear now to

carry up their walls, through towering stories, till they overlook the

whole neighborhood. A man proves himself fit to go higher who

shows that he is faithful where he is. A man that will not do well in

his present place because he longs to be higher, is fit

neither to be where he is nor yet above it: he is already too high, and

should be put lower.” When we consider how few our real needs are,

we may well cultivate contentment “with such things as we have.”

“Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content”  (I Timothy

6:8).  And contentment is blessed. It softens our privations and

sweetens our provisions. “Contentment will make a cottage look as

fair as a palace. He is not a poor man that hath but little, but he is a

poor man that wants much.” In Paul we have an illustrious example

of this virtue: “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,

therein to be content,” (Philippians 4:11-13). Like him, let us seek

to learn this lesson completely, and to practice this virtue constantly

“in Him that strengtheneth us.  (Ibid. v. 13)



THIS DUTY. “For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

These exact words do not occur in the sacred Scriptures; but the sentiment

is frequently expressed therein (compare Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5;

I Chronicles 28:20). Extraordinary is the emphasis of expression in this

assurance. No less than five negatives are employed by the writer to give

force to this one brief yet blessed promise. The argument of the text is this,

that THE ABIDING PRESENCE OF GOD WITH US is sufficient reason

for contentment!  It is so because His presence guarantees:


Ø      The supply of all our need. We have all things in Him; e.g.:


o       Provision (Psalm 84:11; Matthew 6:25-34).

o       Protection (Psalm 121:1; Romans 8:31; I Peter 3:13).

o       Guidance (Psalm 73:23-24; Proverbs 3:5-6).


“My God shall fully supply every need of yours, according to His riches in

glory in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:19)


Ø      The sanctification of our portion. His gracious presence will sweeten

the poorest fare, and cheer the most depressed condition, and exalt the

lowliest circumstances. To His faithful suffering servants His presence

transformed a loathsome dungeon into a palace beautiful (Acts 16:24-25).

It is stated that Seneca said to Polybius, “Never complain of thy hard

fortune so long as Caesar is thy friend.” How much more may we say to

every true Christian,  “Never complain of such things as you have so

long as you have GOD FOR YOUR PORTION!


“The rich man in his wealth confides,

But in my God my trust abides.

     Laugh as ye will, I hold

This one thing fast that he hath taught:

Who trusts in God shall want for naught.


Yes, Lord: thou art as rich today

As thou hast been, and shall be aye;

     I rest on thee alone.

Thy riches to my soul be given,

And ‘tis enough for earth and heaven!”

(Hans Sachs.)


6 “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, and I

will not fear what man shall do unto me.”  rather, I will not  fear; what

shall man do unto me? The quotation is from Psalm 118:6.



The Love of Money (v. 5)


“For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after,

they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many

sorrows.”  (I Timothy 6:10)


No body of the most important precepts for practical Christian life can be

without some admonition bearing on the proper use of money. Money,

with all it represents, has a most insidious and potent charm for the great

majority of men. Even in times of trial and persecution this spiritual peril

has to be remembered. A man may become so deluded by external

possessions that the risk of losing them may lead him to apostasy. Money

must not be allowed to become the great center of attraction, the controller

of our life’s orbit, else how shall we be properly influenced by nobler

things? Distinguish, of course, between the possession of money and the

love of money. There may be possession of much wealth with no love of it,

and there may be very little in actual possession with a most intense desire

after it. The writer indicates two reasons especially for guarding against

love of money.


  • There can be no contentment along with this love. The Christian is to

attain his true contentment in that which becomes an integral part of

his own life.


  • There can be no honoring trust in God. God has said, “I will not leave

thee,” yet every, act of the money-loving man expresses doubt on this




Personal Exhortations (vs. 1-6)


 This book “to the Hebrews” begins like a doctrinal treatise; but it ends like

a letter. Ch. 13. is written quite in the epistolary form; and concludes with

some personal notices — the only such that are to be found in the book.

The verses before us contain counsels suited to the individual Christian life.

Here the apostle says in effect to his readers:


o       Be not selfish (vs. 1-3);

o       be not sensual (v. 4);

o       be not sordid (vs. 5-6).



New Testament, love of the brethren means love of the spiritual

brotherhood of believers. The natural affection which subsists between

brothers and sisters, although very sacred and beautiful, is not in itself

Christian brotherly love. No more is patriotism, or love of country, a

distinctively Christian sentiment. The brotherly love which the gospel

inspires forgets all differences merely of kindred and nation. It is a spiritual

bond, and unites the saint to all his fellow-believers everywhere. This love

is not one of the things “that can be shaken” (ch.12:27); it never

faileth (I Corinthians 13:8, 13). So, the apostle exhorts the Hebrews

to make sure that it shall “remain” among themselves, and be as actively

exercised in the future as in the past (ch. 6:10). For, the spirit

which rejoices to recognize fellow-believers — taking pleasure in their

society, laboring to promote their welfare, and throwing the veil of charity

over their failings — is one of the richest and ripest fruits of the Christian

life. Love of the brethren is the cement of a congregation. And only the

man who cherishes it is, in the proper meaning of the word, a gentleman. In

vs. 2-3, the apostle specifies two modes by which it is essential that

brotherly love should be manifested; those, viz. of hospitality and

sympathy. It is to be shown towards::


Ø      Brethren who are strangers. (v. 2.) The Christian Hebrews were to

account it a sacred duty hospitably to entertain fellow-believers from other

lands or districts, who might be traveling either on business, or in the

service of the Church, or because driven from home by persecution. And

not only a sacred duty, but a blessed privilege. For as Abraham and Lot

(Genesis 18., 19.) entertained angels unawares,” so the stranger whom

the Christian receives may turn out to be a messenger from God to his

soul — one whose presence may fill his house with the atmosphere of

heaven.  Should the stranger be a man whose mind is stored with the

treasures of spiritual truth, and whose affections are devout and pure,

his visit may prove a means of direct quickening to the religious life

of the household.  Samuel Rutherford experienced this privilege,

when one Saturday evening he received a stranger into his pleasant

manse at Anworth; for after being impressed at the family catechizing

with the guest’s answer that the number of the commandments was

eleven, the “new commandment” (John 13:34) being cited as proof,

he discovered by-and-by that his visitor was Archbishop Usher, the

learned and devout primate of the Church of Ireland. But another

and a still sweeter thought is not remote from the motive to hospitality

contained in this verse, viz. that in entertaining Christ’s servants we

are receiving the Master Himself:  “I was a Stranger, and ye took

me in” (Matthew 25:35).


Ø      Brethren who are sufferers. (v 3.) The Hebrews were to “remember”

the saints who might be in prison. They were to do so “as bound with

them;” — a beautiful expression, breathing the aroma of true Christian

sympathy. They were to pray earnestly for them, if possible visit them,

minister to their wants, and strive to secure their liberation. Brotherly

kindness would lead them to conceive of themselves as occupying the

position of the sufferers. It would cause them to realize the “bonds” of

their brethren as an affliction personal to themselves, just as the elder

Brother’s love does (Acts 9:4). But, since imprisonment is not the only

calamity to which believers are exposed, the apostle proceeds to bespeak

sympathy for all who in any way “are evil entreated” for Jesus’ sake. We

ourselves are liable to the same adversities which our brethren endure.

Let us, therefore, identify ourselves with them. It is not enough that we

contribute to public charities. Neither do we discharge all our duty

when we employ some person as our proxy to care for the sufferers.

True Christian sympathy requires that we bring ourselves into

personal contact with them. Strength is often received from the

glance of a sympathizing eye, or the grasp of a loving hand,

or the utterance of a tender word of holy comfort.


  • A WARNING AGAINST IMPURITY. (v. 4.) The first part of this

verse should certainly be translated as an exhortation. Marriage is to be

had in honor; not so much here, however, as against celibacy, but in

opposition to unchastity. The apostle in this precept elevates marriage to

its rightful place as a Divine ordinance. The ethics of the New Testament

magnify family life. The Christian religion, in honoring the family,

guarding its rights, and proclaiming its duties, has invested home with a

halo of loveliness. Wherever the sacred character of marriage is recognized

and felt, the result will be purity. And, adds the apostle, there is judgment in

reserve for those who dishonor God’s ordinance in this matter. For the

adulterer is guilty of the greatest of all social crimes, murder alone

excepted. Whether, therefore, the breaker of the seventh commandment be

a single or a married person, he shall not escape. The doom of impenitent

sensualists will be none the less dreadful that the apostle does not here

enlarge upon it. He feels it enough to say solemnly regarding such persons,

“God will judge.”



Constantly in the New Testament sensuality and avarice are mentioned

together as being sins of the same class (Mark 7:21-22; I Corinthians 5:10;

6:9-10; Ephesians 5:3; “not once” Colossians 3:5; II Peter 2:14). If sensuality

hardens the human heart, sordidness does so also.  The love of filthy lucre

will drag a man down to perdition quite as readily and insidiously as the love

of filthy lust. Avarice is often regarded as the national sin of the Hebrew race.

The natural man Jacob is very prone to develop — unless Divine grace

prevent — into the sordid, grasping Shylock. But the Anglo-Saxon nations

are all powerfully predisposed to this sin too. In our own time how largely are

riches over-estimated, both as a means of happiness and as an evidence of

success in life! Even the Church of Christ is tempted to pay court to wealth.

Yet it cannot be denied that the Savior forbids His people to make it one of

their chief aims to accumulate gold. We are to be diligent in business, and

neither despise money nor set our hearts upon it. To be “content with present

things” (v.5) is a high Christian attainment. And a man’s habits of thought

and life in connection with money are a touchstone of his character. “A right

measure and manner in getting, saving, spending, giving, taking, lending,

borrowing, and bequeathing, would almost argue a perfect man” (Henry Taylor).

The apostle sustains his precept by an appeal to Scripture (v. 5). The words

quoted, “I will in no wise fail thee,” etc., contain in the original no fewer

than five negatives, and are thus, as it were, a fivefold assurance of the

DIVINE SUPPORT.  God gave this same promise to so many of the ancient

saints — to Jacob, Joshua, Solomon, etc. — that it possesses the force of a

spiritual adage, and thus may be personally appropriated by EVERY

BELIEVER!  In all ages thousands of the people of God have rested on it,

and have accordingly exemplified the rare and difficult grace of contentment.

This is matter of history and of observation.


“O earth, so full of dreary noises!

O men, with wailing in your voices

     O delved gold, the wailers heap!

O strife, O curse, that o’er it fall!

God strikes a silence through you all,

    And giveth His beloved sleep.”

(Mrs. Browning.)


Seeing, then, that we who believe are assured of the Divine presence and

help, why should we not have the “good courage” (v. 6) to say with the

psalmist, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what shall man do

unto me” (Psalm 118:6)?  Avarice has its root in lackt of faith in God;

but no one who is persuaded that the Lord is with him need dread any kind

of poverty. Having Jehovah for his Champion, he will not “make gold his

hope, or say to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence.” Divine grace will

root up out of his heart the noxious weed of covetousness, and plant in its

room the fair arid fragrant flower of contentment.



A Triumphant Assurance.  (v. 6)


“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper!” The writer in our

text adopts the language of Psalm 118:6. Three distinct, yet closely

related topics for meditation are suggested.


  • MAN’S NEED OF HELP. What a dependent creature is man! Mark this

in the different stages of his life. (I recommend a perusal of the paintings

of Thomas Cole’s The Voyage of Life on the Internet.


Ø      How utterly helpless in infancy!

Ø      How needy in youth! Instruction, direction, counsel, support, are

indispensable to youthful life, if it is to grow into usefulness unto

men and acceptability unto God.  (I had quite a theological

discussion with my four year old grandson while taking him

home last night, it being November 6, 2014 – CY)

Ø      How dependent in manhood! No one is independent. Even the

wealthiest, the wisest, the mightiest, cannot stand alone.

We need help:

o       from each other. “We are members one of another.”

(Romans 12:5; Ephesians 4:25)  “The members

should have the same care one for another”

(I Corinthians 12:25)  (compare Ibid. ch. 13) We

need help:

o       from God.He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things…

for in Him we live, and move, and have our being.”

(Acts 17:25,28)  It was truly said by Fenelon, “God

has but to withdraw His hand which bears us, to plunge us

back into THE ABYSS OF NOTHINGNESS,  as a stone

suspended in the air fails by its own weight the moment it

ceases to be held.”

Ø      How imbecile in old age! This is often a “second childhood,” a season

of almost complete dependence upon others both physically and mentally.

Ø      There are times, when man specially feels his need of help. In affliction

we feel our need of patience; in sorrow, of consolation; in perplexity, of

guidance, etc.


  • GOD’S PROVISION OF HELP. God has put it into our hearts to help

each other. Many are the ways in which this is done; e.g. by sympathy, by

counsel, by gifts, etc. But God Himself is the great Helper. A helper does

not do everything for us. He supplements our weakness with His strength;

our ignorance and inexperience with His wisdom. We must do our part, and

He will not fail in His. Consider what a glorious Helper God is!


Ø      He is all-sufficient. His wisdom is infinite. The treasures of His grace are

inexhaustible. It is conceivable that the sun, after the lapse of many and

vast ages, may become dark and cold, or that the waters of old ocean may

be drank up; but it is impossible and inconceivable that the INFINITE

RESOURCES of our Divine Helper should ever fail.


Ø      He is ever-available. We cannot seek Him and discover that He is

inaccessible to us. We cannot approach Him inopportunely. He is

“a very present Help in trouble.”  (Psalm 46:1)  “Call upon me in

 the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”

(Ibid. ch. 50:15)

Ø      He is ever-gracious. His willingness to help is as great and as constant

as His ability. Man varies in his moods: today he is genial and kind,

tomorrow he is cold and harsh. But God is ever merciful, ever

disposed to help and bless His creatures.



that we may boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear: what shall

man do unto me?”


Ø      This confidence rests upon the promise of God. “He hath said, I will

never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (v. 5). His promises are perfectly

reliable. “God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man,

that He should repent:  hath He said, and shall He not do it?  or hath

He spoken, and shall He not make it good?”  (Numbers 23:19).

Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words

shall not pass away”  (Matthew 24:35)  Jesus also said, “The Scripture

cannot be broken.”  (John 10:35)  “He abideth faithful; for He cannot

deny Himself.”  (II Timothy 2:13)  His promise, then, is an immovable

basis for our confidence.


Ø      This confidence inspires the courage of the believer. “The Lord is my

Helper; I will not fear: what shall man do unto me?” The man over

whom God casts His shield is invulnerable. “If God be for us, who can

be against us?”  (Romans 8:31)  “Who is he that will harm you, if ye

be followers of that which is good?”  (I Peter 3:12-13)  No crafty foe

can elude the vigilance of His eye; no subtle scheme can surprise His

infinite mind; no strong antagonist can cope with His almighty arm.

If He is our Helper, man cannot injure us. If He is our Helper,

our resources cannot fail. If He is our Helper, we may pursue our life-path

chanting cheerfully, “God is our Refuge and Strength, a very present

Help in trouble. ”  (Psalm 46:1)


The memory of their former pastors who had finished their course is next urged

upon the readers as an encouragement to perseverance in the life of faith.


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. 

8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

 Remember your leaders (τῶν ἡγουμένων ὑμῶν – ton haegoumenon humon -  your

leaders; the ones leading you – wrongly rendered in the Authorized Version, them

that have the rule over you;” for the reference is to departed chiefs. The word is

similarly used by Luke (see Luke 22:26; Acts 15:22; also below, v. 17 and v. 24).

Paul, with a like meaning, calls the rulers of the Church προϊστάμενοςho

proistamenoshe that ruleth; the one presiding – see Romans 12:8; I Thessalonians

5:12; I Timothy 5:17), who spake to you the Word of God; of whose conversation

(i.e. course of life, ἀναστροφῆς anastrophaes - behavior), considering the end

(or issue, ἔκβασιν ekbasinend; issue), imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is

yesterday and today the same, and forever.  This allusion to departed leaders shows

the comparatively late date of the Epistle. Those who had died as martyrs, and hence,

having a peculiar halo round them in the issue of their lives, may be supposed to be

especially referred to; such as Stephen the proto-martyr at Jerusalem, James the son

of Zebedee, and possibly James the Just, the acknowledged leader of the

Jewish Christians. It may be that Peter, the apostle of the circumcision, had

also suffered before the writing of the Epistle. This supposition, however,

which would involve a date for the Epistle after Paul’s death also, is by

no means necessary. Others, too, may be alluded to of whom we have no

record, but whose memory would be fresh in the minds of the readers. But

it does not follow that martyrs only are intended. Others also who had died

in peace, and whose end had been blessed, might be pointed to as models

for the imitation of survivors. V. 8 must be taken as a distinct appended

sentence, the watchword on which the preceding exhortation is based. Its

drift is that, though successive generations pass away, Jesus JESUS

CHRIST REMAINS THE SAME  the Savior of the living as well as

of the departed, and the Savior of all to the end of time. It may be here

observed that, though His eternal Deity is not distinctly expressed — for

“yesterday” does not of necessity reach back to past eternity — yet the

sentence can hardly be taken as not implying it. For HIS UNCHANGEABLENESS

 is contrasted with the changing generations of men, as is that of Jehovah in the

Old Testament (e.g. in Psalm 90:2-4), and surely such language would not have

been used of any but a Divine Being.



The Unchangeableness of Jesus Christ (v. 8)


“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” The Lord

Jesus Christ is UNCHANGEABLE:


  • IN HIS PERSON. Our Lord’s Godhead is the seat of His personality.

Christ is Divine and eternal. He is none other than the Person of the Word.

His personality is immutable. This has been already asserted by the writer of

this Epistle: “Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the

earth,”  (ch.1:10-12). He is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever”

in His great attributes,  His:

Ø      eternity,

Ø      spirituality,

Ø      omniscience, and

Ø      omnipotence.


 He is the same:

Ø      in His perfect and blessed character,

Ø       His righteousness and faithfulness,

Ø      His love and mercy,

Ø      His forbearance and

Ø      tenderness. 


 In this respect how vast is the difference between Him and

us! We are ever changing in many respects. Our outward appearances, the

particles of which our bodies are composed, the opinions which we

entertain, the experiences which we pass through, the characters which we

are forming, — all these change. But He is sublimely UNCHANGEABLE,



  • IN HIS WORD. The teaching of our Lord, like His personality,

continues and changes not. His words are true, vital, suited to the

conditions and needs of human nature and life. More than twenty

centuries have passed away since they were uttered; but they have lost

none of their clearness, or freshness, or force. They are still the great

fountains of religious light to our race. And the noblest human spirits still

say to Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal

life.”  (John 6:68)  Plato’s definitions are practically forgotten, but the words

of Christ intermingle with universal civilization. A great composer said he

was spending a long time over his work because he intended it to live long,

but this Galilean peasant talks extemporaneously, as if simply answering the

question of the hour; yet His words float over all generations, and are prized

by men today as if they had been addressed exclusively to themselves. These

‘sayings’ are not local lamps, but suns set in the firmament commanding the

range of all nations....(Psalm 19:1-6, then ponder vs. 7-11 – CY – 2014)

In Christ’s ‘sayings’ there was always something beyond — a quickening

sense that the words were but the surface of the thought; there was nothing

to betoken conclusion, much less exhaustion; there was ever a luminous

opening even on the clouds that lay deepest along the horizon, which

invited the spectator to advance and behold yet fuller visions” (‘Eece

Deus’ – essays on the life and doctrine of Jesus Christ). How different is

the teaching of Jesus Christ from the changing opinions, speculations, and

theories of men — even of distinguished men!  Of every province of human

thought and investigation we may truthfully say —


“Our little systems have their day;

They have their day, and cease to be.”


But Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not

pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)  “The Word of God liveth and abideth….

 The Word of the Lord abideth forever.”  (I Peter 1:25)


  • IN HIS WORK. Part of His great work was perfectly and splendidly

accomplished while He was upon earth. The work which was given Him to

do upon earth was the expiation of human guilt, and the provision of a

righteousness for the justification of the ungodly; the laying of the

groundwork of man’s redemption — the foundation on which

might rest together the glory of God and the hopes of sinners. But His

mediatorial work did not cease then. (Romans 8:34)  It does not properly

terminate till ‘the end come’  (I Corinthians 15:24-28), when He shall

have accomplished all the ends for which His office as Mediator had

been accomplished.


“He who for man their Surety stood,

And poured on earth His precious blood,

Pursues in heaven His mighty plan;

The Savior and the Friend of man.”



Many of the miracles which He wrought when upon earth are illustrations,

parables, of the work which HE IS EVER PERFORMING in human spirits.


Ø      As Savior of sinners He is the same. The cross upon which He gave

Himself in death for us has lost none of its ancient power. By His

glorious gospel and His Holy Spirit He is still:


o       convincing men of sin,

o       drawing them to Himself, and

o       imparting to them:

§         pardon and peace,

§         liberty and joy!


Ø      As the Helper of His people He is the same. He ever liveth to make

intercession for them” (ch. 7:25). Christ’s perpetual presentation

of Himself before the Father is that which constitutes His

 intercession. He is in the presence of God as our Representative,

our Advocate, and our Friend.  (“consider Him….lest ye be

wearied and faint in your minds.”  - v. 3 – I use this in

reference to our prayer life!  No doubt out of context, but

considering is always doing this, gives light to Paul’s words,

“Pray without ceasing!”  - I Thessalonians 5:17 – CY – 2014)


From the unchangeableness of Jesus Christ we infer:


ü      That he is essentially Divine. All created beings change. This is one

thing in which each and all of them are alike. We are different today from

what we were yesterday, and tomorrow we shall differ from what we are

today. IMMUTABILITY belongs ONLY TO GOD!  (compare ch.1:10-12)


ü      That He is worthy of our utmost confidence. If He were fickle,

changeable in His character and purposes, loving man today and regarding

him with indifference to-morrow, how could we trust Him? Nay, if it were

even possible for Him to change, how could we calmly and confidently

commit our souls to Him? But seeing that He is what He is in His character

and in His relation to us, and that He is “the same yesterday, and today, and

forever,” we may repose in Him the fullest confidence of our being.


ü      That the success of His cause is assured. In the preceding verse we

were reminded of the death of Christian ministers and elders; but the great


 “He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till He set judgment in the earth.” 

(Isaiah 42:4).



The Unchanging Jesus (v. 8)


  • THE NEEDS OF MEN DO NOT CHANCE. No doubt there is change

and progress in some respects. Each generation of the human race, like

each succeeding wave when the tide is flowing, is an advance on the

generation going before it. As the world grows older this advance is more

marked. Our fathers traveled in stage-coaches, by express trains; (now we

fly all over the world in jumbo jets, and just this past week, there was a

test plane that blew up in California with a man injured and

one killed, as they ventured into space – CY – 2014); they had to wait

weeks for the answer of a letter, we have the telegraph to bring the same

answer in an hour (we have the Internet and Face Book to communicate

almost simultaneously – CY - 2014). But all these changes, however impressive,

are only on the surface of life. Our nature has not changed, it wants the same

ministries, though they may come in a different way. Though each wave is

an advance on the preceding wave, they are all composed of the same

elements. We who travel in jet planes are exactly the same sort of

beings as those who rode in stage-coaches, or rode camels. The great facts

of existence are the same:


Ø      birth and death,

Ø      sin and sorrow,

Ø      hope and fear.


A picture is not altered because you put it in a different frame. Man is the

same yesterday, and today but not forever.



be taken as true of Christ in His relation to us, that relation arising out of

His life among men in the flesh. He has come into special relations to us,

and it is in those special relations that we have to consider Him as “the

same yesterday, and today, and forever.” He came to this world to do a

work FOR ALL GENERATIONS!  As to us, the closer we keep to the

evident and pressing wants of our generation, the better work we shall do.

We know not the wants of posterity, and therefore we had better leave it

to look after its own wants. But Jesus in His brief life did a work for the

whole world — for all who ever have lived or will live on the broad surface

the earth.  Because there are sinners still, Christ is still a Savior, The world

is still full of Pharisees and Sadducees, publicans and harlots, sinners of every

type and shade; full of the sick and the sorrowing; full of women like the

widow of Nain and the sisters of Lazarus, weeping for their departed kindred.



Do not be carried away, says the writer of the Epistle, with new doctrines

concerning Christ, however attractive and plausible. (Mr. Spurgeon said that

“There is nothing new in the world except THAT WHICH IS FALSE!

 Let us ever remind ourselves of what Christ has been in the great yesterday.

Especially let us consider that yesterday which is revealed to us in the

Scriptures of the New Testament.  Jesus justified the name He

bore, for He did indeed save His people from their sins. The yesterday of

which we are now able to speak is a long one. It has known many changes

in the world, BUT NONE IN JESUS CHRIST.”


  • NO CHANGE IN THE FUTURE. The world will not change in its

need of Him. They are certainly wrong who tell us the religion of Christ has

seen its best days. Look at the future in the light of the past, and you will

be assured of your Savior ever standing in the midst of the golden

candlesticks, watching that their light goes not out. We may change in our

faith and hope of our duties and opportunities and patience, but CHRIST

CHANGES NOT!  Rising to the measure, this would become a practical truth

to us.  We are not straitened in Him, but in ourselves. He asks to let Him do for

us what He has done for those going before. He asks for admission. Let the

door no longer be locked with the key of unbelief and double bolted with

indolence and worldliness. Let us not go from the world without leaving a

testimony that shall if possible have a savoir of life unto life to those

following in our steps.


Deceased Pastors (vs. 7-8)


Passing from admonitions bearing upon the individual Christian life, the

writer now proceeds to exhort the brethren about matters arising out of

their Church relations. He charges them to cherish the memory of their

departed Christian teachers.


  • THE WORK OF THE PASTORATE. The duties of the gospel ministry,

when these are faithfully discharged, may be said to be threefold.


Ø      To bear rule over the Church. Christ has given to His Church

the “power of the keys”  (Matthew 16:19), vesting it in her pastors

and presbyters. This power, however, is simply ministerial. The rulers

of the Church merely administer the laws given by the Lord Jesus Christ,

her King and Head. While at liberty to frame by laws which may

promote the edifying celebration of the ordinances which He has

founded, they dare not prescribe new laws or appoint new ordinances.

They are to admit to Church communion and exclude from it; but only

upon the lines laid down in the New Testament.


Ø      To speak the Word of God. The main function of the ministry is to

preach the gospel, and to teach Christian truth. The gospel is a

definite “word;” and it is enshrined in a Book which is called

The Word.” The preacher’s text-book is not the newspaper, or the

current literature of the day, but “the oracles of God.” The great

design of the Christian pulpit is to promote the intellectual and

experimental knowledge of the Bible. (I pray that this is the design

and the effect of this website!  - CY – 2014)   And no

minister “shall have lived in vain if it can be written over his grave,

‘He made the people understand the Scriptures’” (Dr. John Hall).


Ø      To live a consistent Christian life. When a pastor is, like Barnabas, “a

good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith,” it is to be expected

that “much people will be added unto the Lord” (Acts 11:24). A holy

example lends incalculable momentum to Christian teaching. “The life

of a pious minister is visible rhetoric” (Hooker).


“To draw mankind to heaven by gentleness

And good example, was his business...

And Jesus’ love, which owns no pride or pelf,

He taught; but first he followed it himself.”




PASTORS. Although these are removed from us, we still have duties

towards them. Indeed, the relationship of pastor and people, being

spiritual in its nature, may be said to be prolonged into eternity.

We must:


Ø      Remember their official work. We should recall the strain of their

Christian teaching, and think with gratitude of their spiritual

supervision. If we continue to esteem them exceeding highly in

love for their work’s sake” (I Thessalonians 5:13), they “being dead,

shall yet speak” to us (ch. 11:4).   Many a believer feels that he has

had one spiritual guide in particular whose influence over his heart

and life must continue unaffected by change or time; viz. the pastor

under whose ministry he was converted, or whose teaching helped

most powerfully to mold his Christian thought (for me it was

Marion Duncan – CY – 2014) and give direction to his

spiritual energies.


Ø      Consider their consistent Christian life. When a man’s career is

finished, it can be surveyed as a whole, and its moral worth

appraised. So the character of a godly minister comes to be

appreciated at its full value only when we are in a position to

“consider the issue of his life.” The early spiritual guides of the

Hebrews had ALL DIED IN FAITH and some of them, it may be

(e.g. Stephen, James the son of Zebedee, and James the Little), had

obtained the crown of martyrdom. And what an evidence still of the

truth of Christianity is the blameless, unselfish, beneficent career,

continued through perhaps two generations, of a faithful Christian

minister! What a magnificent sunset the close of the life of the pastor

who can say upon his death-bed, “I have fought the good fight, I have

finished the course, I have kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:7) and

“I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of God.”

(Acts 20:27)


Ø      Imitate their holy fidelity. These primitive pastors had been sorely tried;

yet they had never swerved from their loyalty to Christ and to His truth.

Like the heroes of the old dispensation, whose exploits are recounted in

Hebrews 11., they had “lived by faith.” Why, then, should any of the

members of the Church, whom they had taught, be guilty of apostasy?

Those doctrines of grace which the teachers had held fast were surely

worthy of the adherence of the disciples. Let us also continue

steadfastly in the pure GOSPEL TRUTH which our departed spiritual

guides adorned in their lives, and let us copy their holy and persevering

fidelity to the Redeemer.



V. 8 is to be read as an affirmation: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday

today and for ever!”  It expresses the glorious thought of the changelessness

of the Redeemer. He is ever the same:


o       in His Divine nature,

o       in His true humanity,

o       in His mediatorial power,

o       in His love and tenderness, and,

o       in His gospel and its promises.


More particularly here HE IS IMMUTABLE!


Ø      As the theme of the pulpit. The preacher of the gospel dies, but “the

Word of God” which He spoke is IMMORTAL!  (Matthew 24:35)

 That Word has its focus in the person and work of the Savior. Its

central fact is the death of Christ. The backbone of evangelical

preaching is the scheme of redemption by Him.  And the singular

vitality of the pulpit, as compared with other institutions

— as, e.g. schools of philosophy, scientific societies, commercial

guilds — is due to this undying theme; undying, because coeval

with the deepest needs of men in all time. We should, then, remember

those who spake the Word of God,” because the Word which they s



Ø      As the confidence of the saints. The apostolic missionaries who had

first preached to the Hebrews had made Jesus Christ their own Stay

during life, and their “Guide even unto death.”  (Psalm 48:14)  It was

He who had succored them under all their afflictions and persecutions

as ministers of the Word. And, although they were now dead, the same

Savior STILL LIVED!   It was fitted to be a powerful stimulus to the

Hebrews to imitate the faithfulness of their ministers, that the immutable

Redeemer remains forever with His people; and that they, too, could

link their souls with Him, and share in His immutability.


Ø      As the perpetual Pastor of the Church. The under-shepherds are taken

away, BUT THE CHIEF SHEPHERD ABIDES!   Each of them was

one of His “gifts for men” (Psalm 68:18; Ephesians 4:8), lent only for a

season. But the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is perennial

and inexhaustible. During the “yesterday” of the Jewish dispensation

He made His sheep “to lie down in green pastures” (Psalm 23:2).

During the “today” of the Christian dispensation He presides over His

flock by His Spirit, that they may have life, and may have it

abundantly” (John 10:10). And, during the blessed “forever” which

shall begin with the second coming, when all His sheep shall have

been gathered (Matthew 24:31) from their various folds into

the infinite meadows of heaven, “the Lamb which is in the midst

of the throne shall be their Shepherd, and shall guide them unto

fountains of waters of life” (Revelation 7:17).


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.”

Be not carried away (so, according to the best authorities,

rather than carried about) by divers and strange doctrines. For it is a

good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, in

which they that were occupied (literally, that walked) were not profited.

From the exhortation to imitate the faith of the departed leaders, the

transition is natural to warnings against being carried away from it by new

teachings. The faith, which was their faith, remains unchanged, as Jesus

Christ remains unchanged; why, then, these doctrines, new and strange (compare

I Corinthians 3:11; Galatians 1:6-10)? What these doctrines were is

not shown, except so far as is intimated by the word βρώμασιν  - bromasin

meats), which reminds us at once of similar warnings in Paul’s Epistles (compare

Romans 14:2, 14, 21; Colossians 2:8, 16-23; I Timothy 4:3).

These passages seem to refer in the first place to purely Jewish distinctions,

still held to by Jewish Christians, between clean and unclean or polluted

meats; and further to a new kind of asceticism, not found in the Old

Testament, but based probably on notions of the impurity of matter, which

led to entire abstention from flesh or wine, and also in some (I Timothy

4:3) from marriage; also, as appears from the passage in Colossians, a false

philosophy about angels and the spiritual world. We may perceive in these

allusions the germs at least of later Gnostic heresies, such as found (as that

of the Ebionites) their first congenial soil in Jewish circles; Oriental

theosophy, or neo-Platonic philosophy, being supposed to have been

engrafted on Jewish modes of thought. Some, misled by what is said in v.10,

see in the word βρώμασιν an allusion to those sacrifices of the Law

which were eaten by the worshippers, against any fancied obligation to

partake in which the readers are supposed to be warned. But the word is

never so applied in the Old Testament or the New (see above, ch.9:10;

Leviticus 11:34; Romans 14:15, 20; I Corinthians 6:13, 8:8, 13); nor would

such error be likely to be classed among “strange doctrines.” The drift of the

warning is that the religion of the gospel does not consist in any of these notions

or observances, the supposed importance of meats being specially noted, and

that to make them its essence is a misconception of its whole meaning, and a

departure from the faith: “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but

righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).


10 “We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which

serve the tabernacle.” Here there is a plain allusion to the eating of offered

sacrifices. If, then, there was no such allusion in the preceding verse, what

is the connection of thought? It appears to be this: “Some would teach you

that meats are of religious importance. Nay, but what are meats to us who

have Christ Himself for our spiritual food? This is our peculiar privilege,

not shared by the very priests of the old dispensation.” Then, in v. 11,

that this is so is shown by the very symbolism of the Day of Atonement.

Then, in v. 12, Let us, then, be well content to leave Judaism entirely,

and cleave to Christ alone! By “those that serve (λατρεύοντες. latreuontes

serve; offering Divine service) the tabernacle” are meant the priests of the Law,

whose service is, as in former passages, referred to as still going on. It is

evidently implied that we have the right which they have not.


11 “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary

by the High Priest for sin (i.e. as sin offerings; for this sense of περὶ ἁμαρτίας

peri hamartiasfor sin - compare ch. 10:6), are burned without

the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people

through His own blood, suffered without the gate.”  The allusion is to the

sin offerings on the Day of Atonement — the bullock for the high priest,

and the goat for the people. Of the flesh of some sacrifices of ordinary

peace offerings — the people ate, being themselves “partakers of the

altar;” that of ordinary sin offerings was partaken of by the priests alone:

but the special sin offerings of the great day, which typified complete

atonement, and the blood of which alone was taken into the holiest of all,

were consumed entirely by fire without the camp, and not even the priests

might eat of them (Leviticus 16:27, etc.). This part of the ceremonial,

not mentioned in Hebrews 9., completed the symbolism of the Day of

Atonement. It not only typified (together with the other goat that was set

free) the entire removal of sin from the congregation; it also signified that

the Law itself made none, not even the priests, partakers in such complete

atonement. Christ fulfilled the first significance of this type by suffering

“without the gate;” the Jews, in casting Him out from their midst, were the

unconscious instruments of His so fulfilling it; He thus bare and took away

the sins of all outside the holy city which represented the Israel of God.

But further, IN HIM is supplied what under the Law was wanting; for of

Him, the true Sin Offering,  WE MAY ALL PARTAKE,  He declared this

Himself when He spoke of our eating His flesh and drinking His blood —

in which words the mention of the blood as well as of the flesh is peculiarly

significant; for of the blood, which was “given upon the altar to make

atonement for sins” (Leviticus 17:11), none might in any case under the

Law partake; but of Him we even drink the blood, in token that atonement

is completed, and that we are now full partakers in all its benefits. The only

seeming discrepancy between the type and the Antitype, as above set forth,

is in the order of the different parts of the old ceremonial. The sin offering

was slain in the camp before it was burnt outside, whereas Christ fulfilled

both these parts of the type by one act upon the cross outside. Again, the

blood of the sin offering was taken into the holy of holies before the body

was consumed by fire outside, whereas Christ entered the heavenly

sanctuary with His own blood” after He had suffered “without the gate.”

But the general significance of the symbolism in its several parts is not thus

disturbed; it is viewed as a whole, and all parts of it are found to be

fulfilled. In saying, “we have an altar,” and implying that we eat of it, the

writer has surely the Eucharist in view, though it does not follow that

θυσιαστήριον thusiastaerionaltar -  means definitely the table on which it is

celebrated. He may, as some explain, have especially in his mind the cross on

which the sacrifice was once for all completed; or he may have had no definite

local image before him, seeing rather (as elsewhere in the Epistle) in spiritual

realities and relations the counterparts of the Levitical symbols. But that

the Holy Communion is alluded to, even if it were not apparent here, might

be concluded from I Corinthians 10:14-22, where similar phrases are

used with distinct reference to it. There Paul is dissuading from

participation in heathen sacrificial feasts, as being inconsistent with

partaking of the Holy Communion; and he says in this connection, “Behold

Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices (ἐσθίοντες τὰς

θυσίας esthiontes tas thusiaswhich eat of the sacrifices; the ones eating

the sacrifices) partakers of the altar (κοινωνοὶ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου koinonoi

tou thusiastaerioupartakers of the altar; participants of the altar )?” It

is evident that “partakers of the Lord’s table” (ver. 21) are regarded as

being thereby partakers of the Christian altar, of which mention is made in

the text before us. It may be observed that the use here of the word

θυσιαστήριον may be held to justify — and this without implying any

actual repetition of the one accomplished sacrifice — the application of the

term “altar” to the table on which the Eucharist is celebrated, as does

I Corinthians 10:21 the term “the Lord’s table.” Both terms were so applied

from very early times. The holy tables in our churches are altars, in that on

them is continually commemorated and pleaded the one sacrifice of the

cross, and that from them the spiritual food of the body and blood is given

to the faithful.


13 “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.”

By a happy turn of thought Christ’s having suffered without the gate is viewed as

representing His exclusion from the Jewish Church and polity, outside which we are

now to follow Him, though we with Him be reproached by the Jews as outcasts.

There may be a tacit reference in the word φέροντες pherontesbearing; carrying –

to our bearing our cross after Him.


14 “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”

i.e. not Jerusalem, representing the transitory dispensation of the Law; but

the “city of the living God,” which is eternal.  (When I was an adolescent

I used to hear the Chuck Wagon Gang sing “Looking for a City” while

working in the dairy barn.  Thus Bible study, Sunday School, music,

all reinforcing one another, were a part of our culture and I guess the

reason that Kentucky is in the Bible Belt! – CY – 2014)


15 “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice (or, a sacrifice)  of praise to

God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.”

θυσίαν αἰνέσεως thusian aineseossacrifice of praise - is the designation in

the ritual of the Law of the voluntary peace offering, offered by individuals on

occasions calling for special thanksgiving (Leviticus 7:12). In the psalms it is used

to express generally praise and thanksgiving (see Psalm 1:14,23; 116:17. In virtue

of their participation in the true and complete Sin Offering, Christians may fulfill

this part of the ancient symbolism, not occasionally, but “continually;” bringing

to God, not fruits of the earth, but the “fruit of the lips” (an expression found in

Hosea 14:2, where the Septuagint has καρπὸν χειλέων ἡμῶν karpon cheileon

haemon – fruit of our lips), i.e. continual praise, springing from thankful hearts.

In the Eucharist especially (hence so called) such sacrifice is continually offered,

over the one atoning Sacrifice which is pleaded and partaken of. But not in

communions only, but ever in their daily lives, such “sacrifice of praise and

thanksgiving” is due. But, as the next verse reminds the readers, the “fruit  of

the lips” is not enough; there is a further sacrifice of our own, whereby we must

show that we are true partakers of Christ, and truly thankful.


16 “But to do good and to communicate forget not (τῆς δὲ εὐποιΐας καὶ

κοινωνίας μὴ ἐπιλανθάνεσθεtaes de eupoiias kai koinonias mae epilanthanesthe

 where εὐποιΐας means doing good to others (compare Mark 14:7); while κοινωνίας

expresses the sense of Christian fellowship evinced by communicating to others a

share of what we have; compare Romans 15:26; II Corinthians 9:13): for

with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”



                        “Without the Camp” (vs. 9-16)


These words occur repeatedly in this passage; and, used as a motto, they

express appropriately the nerve-thought which pervades it. Indeed, the

entire Epistle may be described as an urgent and affectionate exhortation to

the Hebrews to “go forth unto Jesus without the camp, bearing His

reproach.” We are required to withdraw from the polity and life of Judaism”


  • AS REGARDS DOCTRINE. (v. 9.) The reference here seems to be

to the Levitical distinctions between clean and unclean “meats,” and

perhaps also to the traditional customs on the same subject which had been

elevated to equal authority with those. The apostle reminds his readers that

all such precepts are only “carnal ordinances,” which the coming of Jesus

Christ has rendered no longer necessary, and the observance of which can

now have no influence upon a man’s spiritual life. Christ has “made all

meats clean” (Mark 7:19). The principle and power of His religion

consists in grace,” and not in fanciful distinctions connected with food.

“The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking” (Romans 14:17). No

consciousness of external observances can ever “profit” a man spiritually.

Only the “grace” of God, given by his Spirit, can regenerate and ennoble

the human soul. We must therefore forsake the materialistic “teachings”

of Judaism for the spiritual doctrines of Christianity.


  • AS REGARDS OUR SIN OFFERING. (vs. 10-13.) Our “Altar” is

Christ (v. 10), and He is also our Sacrifice “for sin” (v. 12). He is at

once High Priest, Altar, and. Victim. Under the Levitical law, while the

priests were allowed to partake of many of the sacrifices, there were

certain sin offerings of which they were expressly forbidden to eat

(Leviticus 6:30). Those, e.g. which were presented on the great annual

Day of Atonement were wholly consumed by fire “without the camp.”

This ordinance typified the fact that Christ, the true Sin Offering, was

to suffer for us without the gate” of Jerusalem; and that, if we would

participate in the atonement which He has made, we must voluntarily

renounce the Jewish Church from which He was expelled. The law of

the tabernacle forbade those who remained in connection with the camp

of Judaism to eat of the flesh of any sin offering the blood of which had

been presented within the tabernacle; but every one who worships before

the true altar which has been set up on Calvary is encouraged freely to

partake of the flesh of Christ, which He has “given for the life of the world.”

(John 6:51)  To cleave to the Law, therefore, is to reject the gospel. If we

would eat of the real sin offering which has been provided under the new

covenant i.e., obtain the blessings of pardon and peace, of access and

sanctification, which the atonement of Jesus has purchased — WE MUST

“go forth unto Him without the camp.”


  • AS REGARDS OUR THANK OFFERINGS. (vs. 15-16.) These

are not to be presented any longer through the medium of the Aaronical

priesthood and of the Levitical oblations. Christ’s people are to offer them

“through Him” as Mediator, and depending for their acceptance upon His

atonement and intercession. So soon as we partake of the New Testament

sin offering, we are ourselves constituted a holy priesthood, to offer up

spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (I Peter

2:5). The great substantive thank offering which the believer presents is

himself (Romans 12:1; II Corinthians 8:5). But the man who has

given himself to the Lord will also offer:


Ø      Words of praise. (v. 15.) The most direct means by which we can

honor God is publicly to “make confession to his Name” in words

of faith and songs of adoration. When the spirit of praise takes root

within the soil of the heart, it will spread its buds and blossoms over

all the soul, and adorn the “lips” with its “fruit.”


Ø      Works of piety. (v. 16.) These are spiritual sacrifices also. Christianity

is eminently a practical religion, and regards every deed of charity

done for Jesus’ sake as a sweet and holy psalm. The truly grateful

heart is always generous, and “willing to communicate” for the relief

of brethren who are in need. And “God is well pleased” with every

act of beneficence done out of gratitude for His grace. He accepts

such as a “sacrifice” offered to Himself.



soon, now, Jerusalem and its temple were to be razed to their foundations;

and the entire Jewish polity, both civil and ecclesiastical, thus to be brought

to a perpetual end. But that event would entail but small loss upon the

Christian Hebrews, if only they remained steadfast in the faith. For, in

embracing the gospel, they had transferred their affections from the earthly

Jerusalem TO THE HEAVENLY.  Not only so, but all believers — Jew

and Gentile alike — must “go forth unto Jesus without the camp,” in the

sense of living a life of separation from the prevailing spirit of the world.

The believer is to cultivate habits of reserve in reference to earthly pursuits

and interests. His “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20). He looks

beyond even the kingdom of grace to that of glory.  He knows that the whole

visible order of things in this world shall pass away, and just as completely

as the Jewish polity has already done. And he anticipates for himself a

permanent home in the New Jerusalem that shall “come down out of

heaven from God.”  (Revelation 21:2)


  • CONCLUSION. Seeing we possess such transcendent privileges “outside

the camp,” let us bear patiently the “reproach” of Christ. We must be

content to appear “singular” for his sake. We must be willing to be

ostracized by the world on account of our love for Him. The spirit of

devotion to Jesus will be always diametrically opposed to the prevailing

spirit of the ungodly. But what an honor to be permitted to suffer with

Him! And “if we endure, we shall also reign with Him.”  (II Timothy




Acceptable Sacrifices (vs. 15-16)


By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise!”





Ø      Praise to God. “Let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually,

that is, the fruit of lips which make confession to His Name.” The

sacrifices which are obligatory upon us are not expiatory or atoning,

but eucharistic.  The great atoning sacrifice in all its perfection HAS

BEEN OFFERED (“once for all”ch. 10:10)! To it nothing can

be added. But we should:


o       confess the Name of God, and

o       gratefully acknowledge His great goodness to us, and

o       celebrate His infinite perfections.


Two things show our obligation to offer this sacrifice.


o       The number and preciousness of the blessings we receive

from Him.  “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His

benefits toward me?... I will offer to thee the sacrifice of

thanksgiving.” “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” (Psalm 103:1-5).


o       The perfection and glory of His own being and character. We

ought to bless God because of what He is in Himself. “For

who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord?” (Psalm

89:6-7). “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts,” etc. (Isaiah 6:3).


Ø      Beneficence to man. But to do good and to communicate forget not.”

God requires not only “the fruit of our lips,” but the fruit of our lives.

Our gratitude to Him is to be expressed in kindness to our fellow-men.

“Thanksgiving is good, but thanks-living is better.” Dr. South has well

said, “The measures that God marks out to thy charity are these:


o       thy superfluities must give place to thy neighbor’s great


o       thy convenience must yield to thy neighbor’s necessity; and

o       thy very necessities must yield to thy neighbor’s extremity.”



SHOULD BE OFFERED. “By Him let us offer,” etc. More correctly,

“through Him let us offer.” Our sacrifices should be offered through

THE MEDIATION OF JESUS CHRIST!  “I am the Way, the Truth,

and the Life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me,” or, “through

me.”  (John 14:6)  “There is one God, and one Mediator between God

and men, THE MAN CHRIST JESUS!”  (I Timothy 2:5)  We offer

our sacrifices through Him because:


Ø      He represents God to us as accessible and attractive. “No man

knoweth the Father, save the Son, and He to whomsoever the

Son will reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27)  “No man hath seen God

at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the

Father, He hath declared him.” (John 1:18)  “He that hath seen me

hath seen the Father.”  (John 14:9)  “The Father Himself loveth you.”

(Ibid. ch. 16:27)  Through this revelation we are encouraged to draw

near to God with our thanksgiving and praise.


Ø      He represents us to God in His own humanity. When He had made

purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on

high.” (ch. 1:3)  “Christ entered into heaven itself, now to appear

before the  face of God for us.” (ch. 9:24)  He is there still, bearing

even in His glorified body the marks of the wounds which He

endured for us. “A Lamb standing, as though it had been

slain.”  (Revelation 5:6)




Ø      The sacrifice of praise to God should be offered continually. Daily

praise should ascend from each of us to God, as the perfume of the

daily sacrifice ascended in olden times; there must not be fewer

sacrifices under the new dispensation than there were under the old;

we are priests to offer up unto God the sacrifice of praise and

thanksgiving.   Praise should be not an occasional exercise, but an

abiding disposition of the soul. We should cultivate a thankful,

praiseful, adoring spirit. “In everything give thanks:  for this is the

will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”  (I Thessalonians



“Not thankful when it pleaseth me;

As if thy blessings had spare days:

But such a heart whose pulse may be

Thy praise.”

    (George Herbert.)


Ø      The sacrifices of beneficence to men should be offered according

to our opportunities. “As we have opportunity, let us work that

which is good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the

household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10)   Let us not neglect any

opportunity of kindness and beneficence; for all our opportunities

may soon be ended, and that forever.



REGARDED BY GOD. “With such sacrifices God is well pleased.” He

not only accepts them, but He is gratified by them. He is well pleased”

with them, because they are expressions of that spirit in which He delights.

HE IS INFINITELY BENIFICENT!   He is “good to all, and His tender

mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:9)   “He is kind unto the

unthankful, and to the evil.”  (Luke 6:35)  He loves to find the same

disposition in His creatures. Moreover, our Lord regards our acts of

beneficence as done to Him (Matthew 25:40). And not even the least

of them escapes His notice, or will fail of its reward (ch. 6:10;Matthew



17 “Obey them that have the rule over you (τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶνtois

haegoumenois humonthe ones leading you  as in v. 7), and submit yourselves

(to them): for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that

they may do it with joy, and not with grief (literally, groaning); for that is (rather,

were) unprofitable for you.”   (i.e. their ministry is for your profit; if its result be

their giving in their account with groans, its whole purpose will be

frustrated). In this allusion to the ἡγουμένοι as in vs. 7 and 24, there is

evidence of the existence of a regular order of ministry in the Hebrew

Churches, such as many allusions in Paul’s Epistles show to have

formed part of the constitution of the Churches to whom those Epistles

were addressed (compare also Acts 14:23 and 20:17, 28, etc.). The word

itself (ἡγουμένοι) which is here used might, indeed, denote any persons

who took the lead in the congregations; but the urging of the duty of

submission to them, in virtue of their office of watching for souls for which

they would have to give account, shows plainly that a special order is here,

as elsewhere, referred to. Observe also below, v. 24, where all the

saints,” i.e. what we should call the laity, are mentioned in distinction from

the ἡγουμένοι. (For similar injunctions, compare I Thessalonians 5:12 and

I Timothy 5:17, τοὺς ….. προϊσταμένους ὑμῶνtous…..proistamenous

humonthe ones over you; presiding and Οἱπροεστῶτες πρεσβύτεροι

Hoi ….proestotes presbuteroithe….elders that rule; the presiding elders

being the words there used.) The special injunction here to

obey and submit may have been called for by some deficiency in this

respect among the Hebrew Christians. Possibly it was among the people

rather than the pastors that there were any signs of wavering between the

Church and the synagogue, and that one purpose of the admonition is to

strengthen the hands of the former, in whom confidence is placed.


18 “Pray for us: for we trust (rather, we are persuaded, πειθόμεθα peithometha

we trust; we have confidence) we have a good conscience, in all things willing (i.e.

desiring) to live honestly.” When Paul uses the plural ἡμεῖς (we) he usually

at least, if not always, includes his colleagues (compare I Thessalonians 5:25;

II Thessalonians 3:1; Colossians 4:3). So probably the writer here,

especially as there is a transition to the singular in the following verse.

Whoever he was, he associates himself in sending the Epistle with his

fellow-laborers, i.e. with others of what we may call the Pauline circle,

who were engaged with him elsewhere. Both this and the request for

prayer, and also the assertion of integrity, which seems to imply suspicion

of possible mistrust, are quite in Paul’s way, and confirm the view that,

though the author may not have been Paul himself, it was at any rate

some one who was, or had been, closely connected with him.



The Sacrifices with Which God is Well Pleased (vs. 15, 18)


Vain is any attempt of ours to take in the full significance of this exhortation. We

have not to turn away from any literal altar or any literal sacrifice. But the

injunctions in themselves, apart from the special aspect of them, are permanently




sacrifices had degenerated into a traditional safeguard against displeasing

God. The ordinances of Sinai with respect to sacrifice had aimed to lift it

into a great teaching and self-revealing institution. But probably only a few

in every generation had grasped the spiritual significance of sacrifice.

Though, doubtless, many too, because their motive was sincere as far as it

went, were accepted, as was the woman with her alabaster box, and the

widow with the two mites. The illuminating gospel of Christ leaves us

without excuse as to what will please God. We know that the old sacrifices

never could have pleased Him in themselves. He could not eat the flesh of

bulls or drink the blood of goats. But now no offering can please unless it

be in itself helpful to men or glorifying to God.


  • INTELLIGENT PRAISE PLEASES GOD. Praise which comes from

overflowing heart-experiences must always be acceptable to God. For the

fruits from outward possessions are substituted the fruits from an inward

life. The habitual acknowledgment of God’s Name means an habitual

consciousness of all the services He renders in supplying all our needs from

the highest down to the lowest. It is not enough that there be praise; it

must be praise abounding in the right elements. Mere words of the lip can

give no more pleasure to God than the mere slaying of animals.


  • THE DOING OF GOOD PLEASES GOD. Praise cannot stand by

itself. Real doing of good shows that God’s Spirit of love, direction, and

power is working in us. Work must not stand instead of praise, nor praise

instead of work; going together, they are as the sacrificial body and the

smell proceeding from it. Note the significant injunction not to forget. How

much easier it is to go through a round of praise than to muster the self-denial

needed for a course of practical good!


  • FELLOWSHIP PLEASES GOD. Christians must associate. Real

Christians coming together cannot but associate. God delights in the

process of mutual giving and receiving observable in every Christian

community. Making up for each other’s defects, bearing each other’s

burdens, having fellowship as the eye has with the hand, the head with the

feet, let this be the sight God ever sees when He looks upon His people. So

shall the carcasses of all beasts slain in sacrifice be glorified when we think

of the real offerings which they typified, and towards which they in some

manner prepared.


19 “But I beseech you the rather (the Pauline word, περισσοτέρως

perissoterosthe more exceedingly; the rather) to do this, that I may

be restored to you the sooner.” The author of the Epistle proceeds here

for the first time to speak of himself individually; and what he thus says

shows that the Epistle was addressed to some definite circle of Hebrew

Christians, and one which he had been among before. What circumstances,

whether of imprisonment or other hindrances, were in the way of his revisiting

them does not appear.  We remark that this verse again reminds us strongly of

Paul (compare Philemon 1:22).  The possibility may be here noted that, if the

Epistle was composed by one of Paul’s friends, and sent under his

authority, he may have himself dictated this concluding portion (beginning

possibly at v. 17) which is in a more epistolary style than the rest, and

contains personal allusions.




Duty to Present Pastors (vs. 17-19)


In v. 7 the apostle had exhorted the Hebrews to honor the memory of

their deceased ministers. But, if this was a duty incumbent on them, it was

equally their duty to render Christian obedience to their living spiritual

guides. These precepts connected with the pastoral relation remind us that

even in the earliest times the Churches possessed a definite organization,

and were presided over by regularly appointed spiritual office-bearers. A

twofold duty towards their leaders is pointed out in these verses.


  • TO OBEY THEM. (v. 17.) The spiritual government of the Church is

an ordinance of Christ, and a means of grace to His people. It is not,

however, a despotic government. Pastors and presbyters are simply to

administer the Law of Christ. They may not demand submission to what is

based only upon their own will or caprice. But, within the limits of their

rightful authority, they are to be honored and obeyed. Their public teaching

is to be received with a view to personal edification. Their private pastoral

admonitions are to be accepted as “an excellent oil “(Psalm 141:5). The

censures of the Church, administered after conviction of scandalous sin, are

to be submitted to, not as a penance, but as a means of spiritual benefit.

The exhortation of this verse is needed in our own time. The present age is

characterized not only by a healthy independence of thought, but also by an

unhealthy impatience of LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY — at once:


o       in the family,

o       in the state, and

o       in the Church.


Yet there must be both government and discipline in every ecclesiastical

society; and the proper administration of such is indispensable to the order

and purity of the Church, if not even to her visible existence. In the latter

part of the verse some reasons and motives are presented by which to

enforce this duty of obedience in spiritual things.


Ø      The solemn work of the pastor. He “watches in behalf of your souls.”

If the Church ruler be worthy of his office, he will be full of vigilant

solicitude for the salvation of the people whom the Lord Jesus has

committed to his care. He will take trouble for their souls. He will

seek to know the flock personally — their individual condition,

character, and needs. He will try to establish true sympathy between

himself and them. He will watch, that he may teach and warn and

comfort, with a view to their salvation.


Ø      His responsibility to THE CHIEF SHEPHERD!  . Every minister

knows that he “shall give account.” In his private communion with

his Master he ought from time to time to report to Him upon the

condition of his charge. And he must not forget that at the end of

the days, when the Son of man shall separate the sheep from the

goats, He shall address to him the solemn question, “Where is

the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?” (Jeremiah 13:20).


Ø      The hurtful recoil upon the souls of the people if they fail in obedience.

A spirit of docility in the congregation will encourage its spiritual

guides to do their responsible work with cheerfulness and joy. But

when there is resistance to counsel and contumacy under discipline,

the heart of the pastor will become cast down; he will be prone to

feel his work irksome, and to do it “with grief,” if indeed he be

not tempted to abandon it altogether. And such a frame of mind in

him will react in turn upon the congregation. A dejected minister

will be more or less inefficient. The people will suffer much

spiritual loss, for which they can only have themselves to blame.


  • TO PRAY FOR THEM. (vs. 18-19.) In the verse preceding, the

apostle has had in view the anxieties and burdens of the Christian ministry;

so he now requests the prayers of the Hebrews for the pastors of the

Church, and specially for himself. Here, for the first time in the course of

this Epistle, the author — whoever he was — allows his personality to

appear. He claims to stand in a pastoral relation to the Hebrews, not only

on the ground of former relations, but in virtue of this letter, which he

has weighted with precious instruction and affectionate appeal, Now, if

apostles and inspired men felt the need of the intercessions of the Church,

how earnestly ought she to pray for her ordinary pastors and teachers! And

a congregation should not only implore Divine grace for “our beloved

pastor” — a duty which is sometimes done in a spirit of parochial

selfishness; we should also embrace in our intercessions the ministers

of all the congregations with which we are associated in Church

fellowship, and all the Lord’s servants in the gospel EVERYWHERE!

The writer advances two considerations in support of his request.


Ø      His purity of conduct. (v. 18.) He had the testimony of “a good

conscience;” and yet he yearned for the sympathy of his brethren

in all his labors and sufferings. Jewish zealots might asperse his

motives and defame his character; but the prayers of his fellow-

Christians would FORTIFY HIM against such trials. And the

Church ought still to pray for her godly pastors, that they may

have grace “to live honestly in all things,” preserving

“a good conscience:”


o       in keeping their own hearts,

o       in maintaining habits of study,

o       in faithfully preaching the gospel, and

o       in watching for souls by means of pastoral work.


Ø      His desire to revisit the Christian Hebrews. (v. 19.) The writer had

resided among them at some former period, and he strongly wished to

return to them so soon as circumstances might permit. He solicits their

prayers, that the hindrances presently in his way may be removed. He

makes this request very earnestly, and as a great personal favor to

himself.  We are reminded here, accordingly, that prayer is one of the

powers which co-operate in THE GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD!

The author of this Epistle was persuaded that the almighty energy of

God is roused into action by the supplications of His people. He was

quite sure that human prayers, not less than human deeds, are a factor

in the Divine government. So he begged that the “voice” of the Church

might “rise like a fountain for him night and day.”


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, 

21 Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that

which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom (i.e. to God,

the subject of the sentence) be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  It is Paul’s way

also to introduce, in the end of his Epistles, a solemn prayer or benediction,

couched in terms suitable to the subjects that have been dwelt on (see e.g.

Romans 16:25, etc.). The term, “God of peace,” is also usual with him;

and it is appropriate here after so many warnings against disturbing the

Church’s peace; as is, with reference also to what has gone before, “make

you perfect” (καταρτίσαι katartisaimake you perfect; may He be

adapting you), and what follows. On “the great Shepherd,” the expression

is taken from Isaiah 63:11, “Where is He that brought them out of the sea

with the shepherd of His flock?”  The reference in Isaiah is to Moses and

the Red Sea, the well-known types of Christ and His resurrection, and of

ours to a new life, leading to eternal life, THROUGH HIM!   He is called

“the great Shepherd,” as in ch.4:14 the “great High Priest,” as being the

true fulfillment of the ancient types. “In [i.e. ‘in virtue of’] the blood of the

everlasting covenant” seems to be suggested by Zechariah 9:11, It is observed

that the above is the only distinct allusion in the Epistle to Christ’s resurrection,

the writer’s treatment of his subject having led him to pass at once from the

sacrifice to the heavenly intercession.


The rule of our perfect equipment is “His will” — the mind of God as made

known to us in Holy Scripture. And the medium by which it is

accomplished is “through Jesus Christ”by means of His gracious

operations upon the heart by His Spirit. Perfect holiness in man is all of His

creation: not by His doctrine merely, or by faith in Him; but through Himself,

and by virtue of the believer’s union to Him.


In v. 18, the writer had asked for the congregation to pray for him.  He

virtually says “Pray for me, brethren; I pray for you.”



it comes in after this recital of the Divine power and ability! All true praise must

be based upon a real and deep apprehension of the grace of God in Christ Jesus

“To whom “ — i.e. as we take it, to “the God of peace” who is addressed in the

prayer. And yet, when “the glory” is ascribed to Him, it is given to all the

three Divine Persons:


Ø      to God the Father, who “brought again our Lord

Jesus from the dead;”


Ø      to God the Son, “the great Shepherd of the sheep”

and Mediator of “the eternal covenant;” and


Ø      to God the Spirit, the executive of the Deity, who personally

worketh in us” and “makes us perfect.”


This doxology is the language of spiritual instinct; and, being

such, it is irrepressible. So soon as any human heart really apprehends that

Jehovah is “the God of peace,” and feels grateful for His unspeakable gift of

“the great Shepherd,” and accepts the blessings of “the eternal covenant,”

and becomes conscious of the transforming influence of grace within itself,

how is that heart to be restrained from breaking forth into adoring

praise, and from uttering the desire that THE DIVINE GLORY should

be UNIVERSAL and ETERNAL!  May our souls be in such full sympathy

with this prayer of benediction as to join with emphasis in the apostle’s

rapturous and fervent “Amen”!



Concluding Prayer and Doxology (vs. 20-21)


“Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead, our Lord Jesus,

that great shepherd of the sheep” etc. (vs. 20-21). Let us notice:



peace.” This title is fitly applied to the Most High.


Ø      He is infinitely peaceful in Himself. All those elements which disturb

and distress souls are entirely absent from His nature. Pride, anger,

remorse, fear, foreboding, — these are the things which agitate and

alarm us; but they have no existence in Him. He is infinitely pure

and perfect, and, therefore, HE IS INFINITELY PEACEFUL!


Ø      He is the Giver of peace to others. He gives peace in the conscience by

means of the forgiveness of sin. “Thy sins are forgiven;… thy faith

hath saved thee; go in peace” (Luke 7:48, 50; compare Romans 5:1).

He gives peace in the heart by the expulsion of evil passions therefrom

and the inspiration therein of holy affections. Anger, revenge, jealousy,

he expels from the heart, and he awakens in it supreme love to Himself

and love to our fellow-men. He quickens within us confidence in Himself,

and so gives us peace as we contemplate the possibilities of our future.

A calm trust in His fatherhood is an unfailing antidote to our anxieties

and forebodings. “Be not anxious for your life,” etc. (Matthew 6:25-34).

“Be anxious for nothing but in every thing by prayer and thanksgiving

let your requests be made known unto God.”  (Philippians 4:6)  He gives

peace in the Church. There is, perhaps, an allusion to this fact in the

present application of the title to Him. Verse 19 suggests that there was

danger of disobedience and insubordination amongst those who are

addressed. And it was appropriate to remind them that God is the God of

peace and the Giver of peace, and to wish for them the enjoyment of this



  • THE GREAT WORK ATTRIBUTED TO HIM. “Who brought again

from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the

eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus?’ We must notice here what is said

of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Ø      The relation which He sustains to His people. “The great Shepherd

of the sheep.” This relationship implies


o       Provision for the wants of His people.The Lord is my

Shepherd; I shall not want,” etc. (Psalm 23).


o       Direction of their way. “The sheep hear His voice: and He

calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out,” etc.

(John 10:3-4).


o       Protection of them from dangers and enemies. I will save my

flock, and they shall no more be a prey.” “I am the good

Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep,”

 etc. (John 10:11-14; compare Ezekiel 34:11-31).


Ø      The means by which He entered into His relationship. “Through the

blood of the eternal covenant.” Jesus Christ became the great Shepherd

of the sheep through the great sacrifice of Himself which He offered.

Christ is the great, true, chief, and superior Shepherd, inasmuch as He

has made an everlasting covenant by His blood (compare ch.10:11-12).

The best commentary on these words is found in John 10. He is the good

Shepherd because He has given His life for the sheep. This great

Shepherd of the sheep was brought again from the dead by the God

of peace. In the New Testament the resurrection of our Savior is almost

invariably attributed to God the Father. “God raised Him from the

dead, and gave Him glory” (I Peter 1:21). Thus His resurrection was

an evidence that the work which was given Him to do upon earth was

perfectly completed, and was accepted by the Divine Father.


  • THE BLESSING SOLICITED FROM HIM. “Make you perfect in

every good thing to do His will, working in you that which is well-

pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.” Perfection is the blessing

prayed for.


Ø      The nature of this perfection. Make you perfect in every good thing to

do His will.” Absolute perfection is not solicited here; but that they may

be enabled fully and heartily to accomplish the holy will of God. 

Compare ch. 10:36, “That having done the will of God, ye may

receive the promise.”


Ø      The means of this perfection. Working in you that which is well-

pleasing in His sight.” To the same effect Paul writes, “Work out

your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which

worketh in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure.”

(Philippians 2:12-13)  The inspiration and strength for our out-working

of His will must come from His in-working with us.


Ø      The medium of this perfection. Through Jesus Christ.” God works

within us through the Savior, through His mediation and by His Spirit.

THROUGH HIM ALONE can man attain unto perfection of being.


  • THE HONOUR ASCRIBED TO HIM. To whom be the glory

forever and ever. Amen.”


Ø      Glory is ascribed to God the Father. Some hold that the glory is

attributed to Jesus Christ. But it seems to us that it is ascribed to God

the Father, “the chief Subject of the whole sentence,God,

who is the God of peace, who brought up the Lord Jesus from the

dead, who can perfect us in every good work, to accomplish His will,

and works in us that which is well-pleasing to Him through Jesus

Christ. The whole majesty of the sentence requires this reverting to its

main Agent, and speaks against the referring ‘to whom be the glory’

to our blessed Lord, who is only incidentally mentioned.   To the God

of all grace the highest, fullest, divinest honors are due.


Ø      Glory is ascribed to God perpetually. “Forever and ever.” “Unto the

ages of the ages. Amen.”  (eons of eons – CY – 2014)  His own essential

glory is eternal, and the honors attributed to Him will not only continue,

but increase throughout endless ages.



22 “And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I

have written a letter unto you in few words.” This and the following verse

are in the manner of a postscript, such as is usual with Paul. Some little

apprehension is implied (compare v. 18) of the admonitions not being taken

well by all. Though the Epistle is not short as compared with others, yet it has

been compressed with as “few words” as the subject would allow (compare v. 11).

If, however, this concluding portion of the Epistle was written or dictated by

Paul himself, as suggested under v. 19, the “few words” may possibly refer to

it only.


23 “Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if

he come shortly, I will see you.”  This allusion to Timothy shows

that the Epistle, whatever its exact date, was at any rate written in the

apostolic age, before his death. Further, though not proving Paul’s

authorship, it supports the conclusion that the writer, if not himself, was

one of his associates, Timothy having been peculiarly his disciple and

companion. It seems that Timothy had been, as the readers were aware, in

prison; and the joyful news is communicated of his release, and of the

prospect of his visiting them. This again shows that the Epistle was

addressed to a definite circle of readers. It is observable that the word

ajpolu>esqai, which does not occur in Paul’s writings, is, like so many

expressions throughout the Epistle, one usual with Luke (Luke 22:68; 23:16-17;;

Acts 3:13; 4:21; where it expresses release from prison or captivity). He uses

it also for dismissal of persons on a mission (Acts 13:3; 15:30); and hence one

view is that Timothy’s having already set out to visit the Church addressed

is all that is here meant. But the other meaning of the word is more likely.


24 “Salute all them that have the rule over you (τοὺς ἡγουμένους, - tous

haegoumenous - as before), and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.” The

fact that no names are here mentioned, as is usual with Paul in sending

salutations to Churches he was personally well acquainted with, leads us to

infer that there had been no such close association, at any rate recently,

between the writer and the readers in this case; or else that a circle of

Churches in some locality is addressed. Nothing certain can be concluded

as to the writer’s whereabouts at the time of writing from the expression,

they of Italy (οἱ ἀπὸ τῆς Ἰταλίας oi apo taes Italias),” though it seems to

favor the idea, rather than otherwise, that he was in Italy at the time, possibly at

Rome.  For the phrase means simply “natives of Italy” (compare Acts 10:23;

10:38; 12:1; 17:13; 21:27; 18:13; all these being, we observe, expressions of

Luke’s); it by no means implies that they had left Italy. In fact, if the author

was then in Italy, and at the same time was not a native of Italy, he could not

have selected a more appropriate designation for the Italian Christians.” The

Epistle is concluded by Paul’s accustomed words, which, with some variations,

seem to have been appended to all his letters as his authenticating autograph.


24 “Grace be with you all. Amen.”


In closing, What a blank there would have been in the Holy Scriptures had

this book of Hebrews, which is the key to the entire Levitical System, been

excluded from the Bible!  Had such a calamity been allowed to happen, the

New Testament would have been utterly silent about the priesthood of Christ –

the great theme being dealt with exclusively in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

(But thanks be unto God, we know that God did not let this happen, but

“holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
(II Peter 1:21)


"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."


This material can be found at:



If this exposition is helpful, please share with others.