Hebrews 13:18-25

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

PRACTICAL EXHORTATIONS

AND CONCLUSION

INTRODUCTION:

 

We have come to our last message in Hebrews.

 

In our study of Hebrews we have seen that the occasion of Hebrews was the need to exhort Jews who had professed belief in Jesus as the Messiah to hold fast their profession in difficult times and to go on to maturity in the faith. As a result of severe persecution the readers of this epistle encountered after they had become Christians, some were apparently contemplating abandoning Christianity and returning to Judaism, believing that Christianity was not all that they had expected it to be. Hebrews was written to demonstrate that Christianity is better than and has taken the place of Judaism, i.e. that God’s revelation in Christ is superior to the revelation that came through the Old Testament and has superseded it.

 

In our study we have seen –

that God spoke formerly to the fathers by the prophets - 1:1

that God has spoken in these last days by His Son - 1:2-3

that Christ is superior to angels - 1:4 - 2:18

that Christ is worthy of more glory than Moses - 3:1 - 4:13

that Christ has a more excellent ministry than the Levitical priests - 4:14 - 7:28

that Christ is mediator of a better covenant - 8:1 - 10:18

and that Christ has provided a better way of life: the life of faith - 10:19 - 13:21

 

In 10:19-25 believers are called upon to hold fast their confession; and in 10:26-39 an alternative was given for those who are wavering: it is either Christ, or it is judgment.

 

In 11:1-40 some Old Testament examples of faith are shown.

 

In 12:1-17 it is seen that believers should follow the example of the Old Testament saints and run with patience the race that is set before them including the chastisement; whereas, it is shown in 12:18-24 that God can be approached through Jesus.

 

Therefore, according to 12:25-29, no one should refuse God; or he will not escape.

 

In 13:1-21 some miscellaneous practical exhortations are given followed by the conclusion of the epistle in 13:22-25.

We continue with –

    I.     PRACTICAL EXHORTATIONS – 13:18-21

 

Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

 

Pray for us refers to the writer of Hebrews. It means pray for me. It implies that the original readers knew who is represented by us even though the epistle is anonymous. He could not request prayer for himself from these people if they did not know who he was.

 

Consequently, arguments stating that Paul was the writer but did not give his name because he did not want to prejudice Jewish readers against his letter do not seem valid.

 

The tense of pray implies that this activity was already going on and is understood in the sense of continue (i.e. be or keep on) praying.

 

For we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly is used to explain.

 

Therefore for is understood in the sense of now.

 

The tense of we trust indicates that we have been convinced, we have become sure, or we have become certain. Inasmuch as it is intended to emphasize its existing result, it means we are convinced, we are sure, or we are certain.

 

It means that we were convinced in the past, and we remain convinced. The matter is settled.

 

We is a literary plural which refers to the writer of the Book of Hebrews.

 

What we trust or what we are certain about is that we have a good conscience in all things willing to live honestly.

 

We have a good conscience indicates that we have a clear conscience, and one has a clear conscience by doing what is right.

 

In all things suggests in everything in our lives. It goes with willing.

 

Willing may refer to the will of purpose or resolve and, therefore, be understood in the sense of determining or purposing; or it may be used in the sense of the will (or wish) of desire and be understood in the sense of wishing or desiring; but it is best to understand the writer as saying that he has resolved, determined, or purposed to live honestly in all things.

 

When used of human conduct, to live means to act, behave, or conduct himself.

 

Honestly tells how he has determined to live, and it means well. Here it is used in the moral sense of commendably or in a manner free from objection.

 

Hebrews 13:19 But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.

 

But I beseech you is but I appeal (to you), but I exhort (you), but I urge (you), or but I encourage (you).

 

The rather suggests more, even more, to a much greater degree, far more, or far greater.

 

To do this suggests to pray for us or to pray for me.

 

That I may be restored to you the sooner indicates why the writer is urging them to pray for him.

 

Although the epistle is anonymous, the readers undoubtedly knew who this writer was; and this statement certainly sounds like Paul even though it may have been someone else who wrote Hebrews.

 

May be restored conveys the impression that he is someplace where he may not be able to leave freely, such as in prison.

 

To you is plural and refers to the readers of this epistle.

 

The sooner suggests more quickly or faster.

 

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.

 

Verses 20 and 21 comprise a benediction.

 

Now the God of peace suggests now the God Who gives peace or now the God Who supplies peace. That this refers to God the Father is made clear by His distinction from the Lord Jesus Christ in the middle of this verse.

 

That brought again is the One Who brought up or the One Who led up.

 

From the dead is a phrase seen repeatedly in the New Testament. It literally means out from among dead ones.

 

The One Whom God brought up from the dead is our Lord Jesus. Thus, Jesus was where dead ones were; but He is no longer there. He has been removed out from the company of dead ones.

 

Our makes it personal and refers to both the writer and the readers.

 

Lord indicates that He is our Master; and Jesus is His earthly name, the name He was given because He will save His people from their sins.

 

That great shepherd of the sheep is literally the Shepherd of the sheep, the Great One.

 

Sheep is a reference to saved people.

 

Jesus is not just the Shepherd of the sheep; He is the Great Shepherd of the sheep.

 

Jesus is also referred to as the Good Shepherd and as the Chief Shepherd.

 

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

 

John 10:14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

 

I Peter 5:4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

 

Through the blood of the everlasting covenant indicates the means by which God the Father is going to make the readers of this epistle perfect.

 

The blood of the everlasting covenant is the blood of the eternal covenant and refers to the new covenant which was provided by the shedding of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Hebrews 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Verse 21 continues the thought of verse 20.

 

Make you perfect is put you in order, restore you, put you into proper condition, complete you, or make you complete.

 

Its mood indicates that the writer is making a wish and should be understood in the sense of may He make you perfect, may He put you in order, may He restore you, may He put you into proper condition, may He complete you, or may He make you complete where He is God the Father.

 

The ones whom the writer wishes to be made perfect are you, the readers of this epistle.

 

In every good work is in everything you do and means in every area of your lives.

 

Thus, the writer wants God the Father to spare nothing in making these readers completely Christlike.

 

To do His will indicates the reason the writer wants God the Father to make these readers perfect.

 

It is in order that (or so that) they might do (i.e. accomplish or bring about) His will.

 

Working is ordinarily translated making or doing; but here it is understood in the sense of while (or by) making (i.e. bringing about or accomplishing) or and make, and bring about, or and accomplish.

 

In you tells where the writer wants God the Father to be working, and you is plural and refers to the readers.

 

What the writer wants God the Father to work, to bring about, or to accomplish is that which is wellpleasing in his sight.

 

That which is wellpleasing is what is well pleasing or the well-pleasing thing.

 

In his sight is before Him and means in God the Father’s sight or before God the Father.

 

Through Jesus Christ indicates that Jesus Christ is the Intermediate Agent by Whom God is going to bring this to pass.

 

To whom may refer to Jesus Christ, but God the Father is the subject of verses 20 and 21 and is the more likely choice.

 

Be has been supplied as a verb by the translators in order to aid the understanding of the English reader.

 

Glory is used in the sense of the majesty which belongs to God.

 

For ever and ever means throughout all eternity.

 

By amen the writer brings his benediction to a close.

 

Amen means truly or so be it.

Finally, we see –

  II.     THE CONCLUSION – 13:22-25

 

In verses 22-25 the writer draws his epistle to a close.

 

He urges the readers to permit his word of exhortation.

 

He also mentions that Timothy has been set at liberty and that the two of them may see the recipients of this epistle soon.

 

Greetings are sent and grace is wished upon the recipients of this letter.

 

Hebrews 13:22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.

 

And I beseech is and (or now) I appeal to, I urge, I encourage, or I exhort.

 

You refers to the readers of this epistle whom he addresses as brethren or as Christian brothers.

 

They are all members of the family of God.

 

Suffer means endure, bear, or put up with and implies listen patiently to.

 

The word of exhortation is the message of encouragement or the message of exhortation and refers to the contents of this epistle to the Hebrews.

 

For introduces the reason the writer is encouraging his readers to listen willingly to this word of exhortation and is understood in the sense of for indeed, for in fact, for certainly, or for verily.

 

The reason is I have written a letter unto you in few words.

 

I have written a letter is I informed you by letter, I instructed you by letter, or I wrote you.

 

In few words suggests briefly.

 

There is no question but that he is referring to this present letter he is writing to the Hebrews.

 

Hebrews 13:23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

 

Know suggests understand.

 

Know ye indicates that the translators viewed this as a commandment in the sense of understand.

 

It may instead be intended as a statement of fact in the sense of you know or you understand.

 

What they know (or understand) or are to know (or are to understand) is that our brother Timothy is set at liberty.

 

Timothy is the traveling companion of the Apostle Paul.

 

There is no Scriptural account where Timothy was in prison. Therefore, it is not clear where to place this historically.

 

For Timothy to be known to these people, the epistle to the Hebrews had to be written after Timothy traveled with Paul on the second missionary journey and had gained considerable reputation.

 

Set at liberty means has been dismissed, has been pardoned, has been sent away, has taken leave, or has departed.

 

If, as appears likely, it refers to a release from prison, it is understood in the sense of has been set free, has been released, or has been pardoned.

 

Its tense indicates that its action has been completed in the past and that it is an existing state. Timothy is in a state of having been set at liberty. Hence, it means is set free.

 

With whom refers to Timothy, and the writer is saying I (along with Timothy) will see you.

 

Thus, the writer knew the readers; the readers knew the writer; and both the writer and the readers knew Timothy.

 

If he comes shortly is if he comes quickly, if he comes soon, or if he comes without delay.

 

It seems as if the writer expected Timothy to come to the place where the readers were located, but it is not certain whether he would arrive quickly.

 

Hebrews 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

 

Salute is greet.

 

All them that have the rule over you is all the ones that are leading you, all the ones that are guiding you, all the rulers, or all the leaders.

 

It is the same term used in verses 7 and 17 and refers to their spiritual leaders (i.e. their pastors) whom they are to salute or greet.

 

You is plural and refers to the readers of this epistle.

 

And indicates that they are to salute not only all them that have the rule over them but also all the saints, which means all the believers.

 

Thus, they are to greet all the leaders (i.e. pastors) of the church (or churches) and all the members of the church (or churches) to whom this epistle is being written.

 

They of Italy is the ones from Italy and refers to a group which is with the writer at the time he is writing this epistle.

 

It may indicate that this epistle is being written from Italy to somewhere else.

 

However, it may instead indicate that people from Italy are sending greetings back home to Italy. If so, this would indicate that the epistle was written to Italy from somewhere else.

 

Hence, the statement is inconclusive.

 

Salute you means greet you or send you greetings, where you refers to the readers of the Book of Hebrews.

 

Hebrews 13:25 Grace be with you all. Amen.

 

Grace is unmerited (or undeserved) favor.

 

Grace is received by all believers at the time of their salvation; but, inasmuch as this epistle has been written to people who have already received saving grace, this grace goes beyond saving grace and is the grace they may obtain at the throne of grace in order that they may be able to obtain help in their time of need (Hebrews 4:16 ).

 

It is also the more grace which God gives (James 4:6 ).

 

This grace will enable them to live as they should in the difficult days which lie ahead of them.

 

By grace be with you all, the writer is expressing a wish meaning may grace be with you all.

 

He closes his epistle with amen, which means truly or so be it.

CONCLUSION:

 

I trust this study of Hebrews has been helpful to you and that you now have a better understanding of it than you did previously.