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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - HEBREWS 13
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    CHAPTER 13

    Heb 13:1-25. EXHORTATION TO VARIOUS GRACES, ESPECIALLY CONSTANCY IN FAITH, FOLLOWING JESUS AMIDST REPROACHES. CONCLUSION, WITH PIECES OF INTELLIGENCE AND SALUTATIONS.

    1. brotherly love--a distinct special manifestation of "charity" or "love" (2Pe 1:7). The Church of Jerusalem, to which in part this Epistle was addressed, was distinguished by this grace, we know from Acts (compare Heb 6:10; 10:32-34; 12:12, 13).
    - continue--Charity will itself continue. See that it continue with you.

    7. Two manifestations of "brotherly love," hospitality and care for those in bonds.
    - Be not forgetful--implying it was a duty which they all recognized, but which they might forget to act on (Heb 13:3, 7, 16). The enemies of Christianity themselves have noticed the practice of this virtue among Christians [JULIAN, Epistles, 49].
    - entertained angels unawares--Abraham and Lot did so (Ge 18:2; 19:1). To obviate the natural distrust felt of strangers, Paul says, an unknown guest may be better than he looks: he may be unexpectedly found to be as much a messenger of God for good, as the angels (whose name means messenger) are; nay more, if a Christian, he represents Christ Himself. There is a play on the same Greek word, Be not forgetful and unaware; let not the duty of hospitality to strangers escape you; for, by entertaining strangers, it has escaped the entertainers that they were entertaining angels. Not unconscious and forgetful of the duty, they have unconsciously brought on themselves the blessing.

    3. Remember--in prayers and acts of kindness.
    - bound with them--by virtue of the unity of the members in the body under one Head, Christ (1Co 12:26).
    - suffer adversity--Greek, "are in evil state."
    - being yourselves also in the body--and so liable to the adversities incident to the natural body, which ought to dispose you the more to sympathize with them, not knowing how soon your own turn of suffering may come. "One experiences adversity almost his whole life, as Jacob; another in youth, as Joseph; another in manhood, as Job; another in old age" [BENGEL].

    4. is, &c.--Translate, "Let marriage be treated as honorable": as Heb 13:5 also is an exhortation.
    - in all--"in the case of all men": "among all." "To avoid fornication let EVERY MAN have his own wife" (1Co 7:2). Judaism and Gnosticism combined were soon about to throw discredit on marriage. The venerable Paphnutius, in the Council of Nice, quoted this verse for the justification of the married state. If one does not himself marry, he should not prevent others from doing so. Others, especially Romanists, translate, "in all things," as in Heb 13:18. But the warning being against lasciviousness, the contrast to "whoremongers and adulterers" in the parallel clause, requires the "in all" in this clause to refer to persons.
    - the bed undefiled--Translate, as Greek requires "undefiled" to be a predicate, not an epithet, "And let the bed be undefiled."
    - God will judge--Most whoremongers escape the notice of human tribunals; but God takes particular cognizance of those whom man does not punish. Gay immoralities will then be regarded in a very different light from what they are now.

    5. conversation--"manner of life." The love of filthy lust and the love of filthy lucre follow one another as closely akin, both alienating the heart from the Creator to the creature.
    - such things as ye have--literally, "present things" (Php 4:11).
    - I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee--A promise tantamount to this was given to Jacob (Ge 28:15), to Israel (De 31:6, 8), to Joshua (Jos 1:5), to Solomon (1Ch 28:20). It is therefore like a divine adage. What was said to them, extends also to us. He will neither withdraw His presence ("never leave thee") nor His help ("nor forsake thee") [BENGEL].

    6. may--rather as Greek, expressing confidence actually realized, "So that we boldly (confidently) say" (Ps 56:4, 11; 118:6). Punctuate as both the Hebrew and the Greek require, "And (so) I will not fear: what (then) shall man do unto me?"

    7. Remember--so as to imitate: not to invoke in prayer, as Rome teaches.
    - have the rule--rather, "who have had the rule over you": your spiritual leaders.
    - who--Greek, "the which": such persons as.
    - have spoken unto you--"spake" (so the Greek aorist means) during their lifetime. This Epistle was among those written later, when many of the heads of the Jerusalem Church had passed away.
    - whose faith--even unto death: probably death by martyrdom, as in the case of the instances of faith in Heb 11:35. Stephen, James the brother of our Lord and bishop of Jerusalem, as well as James the brother of John (Ac 12:2), in the Palestinian Church, which Paul addresses, suffered martyrdom.
    - considering--Greek, "looking up to," "diligently contemplating all over," as an artist would a model.
    - the end--the termination, at death. The Greek, is used of decease (Lu 9:31; 2Pe 1:15).
    - of their conversation--"manner of life": "religious walk" (Ga 1:13; Eph 4:22; 1Ti 4:12; Jas 3:13). Considering how they manifested the soundness of their faith by their holy walk, which they maintained even to the end of that walk (their death by martyrdom).

    8. This verse is not, as some read it, in apposition with "the end of their conversation" (Heb 13:7), but forms the transition. "Jesus Christ, yesterday and to-day (is) the same, and (shall be the same) unto the ages (that is, unto all ages)." The Jesus Christ (the full name being given, to mark with affectionate solemnity both His person and His office) who supported your spiritual rulers through life even unto their end "yesterday" (in times past), being at once "the Author and the Finisher of their faith" (Heb 12:2), remains still the same Jesus Christ "to-day," ready to help you also, if like them you walk by "faith" in Him. Compare "this same Jesus," Ac 1:11. He who yesterday (proverbial for the past time) suffered and died, is to-day in glory (Re 1:18). "As night comes between yesterday and to-day, and yet night itself is swallowed up by yesterday and to-day, so the "suffering" did not so interrupt the glory of Jesus Christ which was of yesterday, and that which is to-day, as not to continue to be the same. He is the same yesterday, before He came into the world, and to-day, in heaven. Yesterday in the time of our predecessors, and to-day in our age" [BENGEL]. So the doctrine is the same, not variable: this verse thus forms the transition between Heb 13:7 and Heb 13:9. He is always "the same" (Heb 1:12). The same in the Old and in the New Testament.

    9. about--rather, as oldest manuscripts read, "carried aside"; namely, compare Eph 4:14.
    - divers--differing from the one faith in the one and the same Jesus Christ, as taught by them who had the rule over you (Heb 13:7).
    - strange--foreign to the truth.
    - doctrines--"teachings."
    - established with grace; not with meats--not with observances of Jewish distinctions between clean and unclean meats, to which ascetic Judaizers added in Christian times the rejection of some meats, and the use of others: noticed also by Paul in 1Co 8:8, 13; 6:13; Ro 14:17, an exact parallel to this verse: these are some of the "divers and strange doctrines" of the previous sentence. Christ's body offered once for all for us, is our true spiritual "meat" to "eat" (Heb 13:10), "the stay and the staff of bread" (Isa 3:1), the mean of all "grace."
    - which have not profited--Greek, "in which they who walked were not profited"; namely, in respect to justification, perfect cleansing of the conscience, and sanctification. Compare on "walked," Ac 21:21; namely, with superstitious scrupulosity, as though the worship of God in itself consisted in such legal observances.

    10. Christianity and Judaism are so totally distinct, that "they who serve the (Jewish) tabernacle," have no right to eat our spiritual Gospel meat, namely, the Jewish priests, and those who follow their guidance in serving the ceremonial ordinance. He says, "serve the tabernacle," not "serve IN the tabernacle." Contrast with this servile worship ours.
    - an altar--the cross of Christ, whereon His body was offered. The Lord's table represents this altar, the cross; as the bread and wine represent the sacrifice offered on it. Our meat, which we by faith spiritually eat, is the flesh of Christ, in contrast to the typical ceremonial meats. The two cannot be combined (Ga 5:2). That not a literal eating of the sacrifice of Christ is meant in the Lord's Supper, but a spiritual is meant, appears from comparing Heb 13:9 with Heb 13:10, "with GRACE, NOT with MEATS."

    11, 12. For just as "the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by . . . are burned without the camp," so "Jesus also that . . . suffered without the gate" of ceremonial Judaism, of which His crucifixion outside the gate of Jerusalem is a type.
    - for--reason why they who serve the tabernacle, are excluded from share in Christ; because His sacrifice is not like one of those sacrifices in which they had a share but answers to one which was "wholly burned" outside (the Greek is "burnt completely," "consumed by burning"), and which consequently they could not eat of. Le 6:30, gives the general rule, "No sin offering whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten; it shall be burnt in the fire." The sin offerings are twofold: the outward, whose blood was sprinkled on the outward altar, and of whose bodies the priests might eat; and the inward, the reverse.
    - the sanctuary--here the Holy of Holies, into which the blood of the sin offering was brought on the day of atonement.
    - without the camp--in which were the tabernacle and Levitical priests and legal worshippers, during Israel's journey through the wilderness; replaced afterwards by Jerusalem (containing the temple), outside of whose walls Jesus was crucified.

    12. Wherefore Jesus--In order that the Antitype might fulfil the type.
    - sanctify--Though not brought into the temple "sanctuary" (Heb 13:11) His blood has been brought into the heavenly sanctuary, and "sanctifies the people" (Heb 2:11, 17), by cleansing them from sin, and consecrating them to God.
    - his own--not blood of animals.
    - without the gate--of Jerusalem; as if unworthy of the society of the covenant-people. The fiery ordeal of His suffering on the cross, answers to the burning of the victims; thereby His mere fleshly life was completely destroyed, as their bodies were; the second part of His offering was His carrying His blood into the heavenly holiest before God at His ascension, that it should be a perpetual atonement for the world's sin.

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