Hebrews Chapter 13
:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
The word, “rule,” often means lead or responsibility in the scriptures. The most common application today to the above verse would be the relationship between the pastor and the members of the church. The pastor has a leadership role over the church and is charged with the responsibility to teach the whole counsel of God to the membership of the church. Peter teaches the elders of the
church in 1 Pet. 5:1 “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And
when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The elders are to take the oversight of the flock of God and be examples unto the flock.
The above passage in Heb. 13:17 the principle of the watchman is introduced. This ties in to the lessons taught in Ezekiel chapters 3 and 33. We will use Ezekiel chapter 3 to illustrate: Ezek 3:16 “And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at
my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but
thou hast delivered thy soul. 20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not,
and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.”
The responsibility of the watchman was to warn the people. If the people failed to heed the warning then the guilty would bear the responsibility. However, if the watchman failed to warn the people, then the watchman would bear the responsibility. Paul stated this principle when he gathered the elders of Ephesus together to give them final instruction before he went up to Jerusalem:
Acts 20:26 “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” From this along with our text in Heb. 13:17 we gather that the preacher is responsible for delivering the message and if he fails to do so he is answerable to God for his failure. However, if he faithfully delivers the message and the individuals take
no heed to it, then they will suffer the consequences of their actions at the hand of God.
:18 “Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly. 19 But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. 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 wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words. 23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you. 24 Salute all them that
have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you. 25 Grace be with you all. Amen.”
“Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.” While we are admonished to pray for others, yet it is also good to ask others to pray for us. Play asked for prayers for himself and those with him.
“But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.” As was so common for Paul, he asked for prayers for a specific purpose. This teaches us that while we can pray in generalities, it is important that we pray for specific things. Paul’s prayer here is that he may be restored to them again soon. Paul desired the
fellowship of his Hebrew brothers in Christ.
“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 wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” While Paul asked the
brethren to pray for him, he was not negligent to pray for them. Here he states great glorious truths of God’s covenant work in saving his people, he prayed, that the same God who through the blood of the everlasting covenant and the great shepherd of the sheep delivered his people from their sins, that he make them perfect (mature) in every good work to do his will, knowing that it is the same God who was working
in them that which is wellpleasing in his sight. In all this, the one and only one to receive glory was the Lord Jesus Christ.
“And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.” In this letter to the Hebrews Paul exhorted them to hold fast to the New Testament teachings and worship and not regress to the Old Testament law worship and service. Paul had showed to them that they had something far better now in the
kingdom of God.
“Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.” Timothy, of course, was a young minister starting forth on his ministry and had been set at liberty to go and preach the gospel wherever, the Spirit should lead him.
“Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.” Salute means to warmly greet. From the verse we know that Paul was writing this letter from Italy, probably Rome.
“Grace be with you all. Amen.” The closing of “grace” was Paul’s identifying mark to all the churches and individuals to whom he wrote.