Have you ever been told you must submit and obey what a leader in a church is telling you to do?? And if you don’t obey and submit you will not have favor or covering with God and will be in rebellion to Him? How about as a leader you have been under the impression you will be held accountable for other people’s choices? I can answer yes to this…but today I have freedom and greater understanding….
I mentioned in my last blog post, What Is a Prophet to Do, that I would be discussing submission to the authority over you. This is used by many pastors, but not all, around the world to create a control over the people that are “under their care”. I truly believe this is part of our humanity and just like the Pharisees and Sadducees there is a desire to sit at the best spot at the table. There is a desire to be a leader but not a servant to all. This is our humanity not our spirit intertwined with God’s Spirit which has new life and desires truly to be a servant to all. You can see this same desire throughout church history. Man wanting to rule over man. Not realizing there is only one Christ that died for all and one Holy Spirit that is our teacher, comforter, lover of our soul. Am I saying there is no leadership? Of course not! But it does not look like what we see at most churches nowadays. I described how the Lord had shown me what leadership in the church should look like in: Because of Christ, Believers in Him Are Seated in Heavenly Places. With the incorrect idea of: Who Father is, What Christ came to do here on earth, Why He had to leave and Who we have living in us there is an unbalance within the church today that is exactly like what we saw Jesus come to confront. Religious leaders desiring to have the best seat in the house and claiming they desire for people to be safe but what they are doing is trying to control every area of a believer’s life. Now many do this because they are afraid they will be held accountable for the “sheep” they have under their care..as they MUST GIVE AN ACCOUNT. Yet, every person will stand before God on their own and I will not have tried to make myself righteous; but freely received Jesus’ righteousness as the gift He died to give the world. So, let’s take a look at this scripture that has kept many in the church in bondage. Let’s see God for Who He is and ALL of what His Son did for us on the Cross.
As a Believer, who has gone to church for many years now, there have been many times I have heard a teaching on Hebrews 13:17:
Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harderfor them? (MSG)
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. (KJV)
Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. [a]Let them do this with joy and not [b]with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. (NASB)
Three different versions of the same text. Interesting the different wording in each of the three texts. First, a little background regarding the Hebrews letter. It is not known who wrote Hebrews. There are guesses but nothing for sure. It is believed this letter was written before the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., most believers at this time were Jewish they were beginning to wonder if they had made a good choice putting their faith in Christ. Also, at this time there was heavy persecution of Christians and Christ hadn’t returned yet; so these Jewish believers were beginning to think, just like their ancestors who thought it would be better to go back to Egypt, they should return to the law. This concern leads to a letter written to encourage the people of faith, in Christ, to continue on with their faith; which is far better than what they had under the law. It is a great letter which displays the Hebrew understanding of where they had come from and how much better they are now under the New Covenant in Christ. Chapter 11 is the famous faith chapter, Chapter 12 is the famous running the race to stay in faith, ending with:”….God is a continuous fire…stay on good terms with each other, held together by love.”
the act or
Chapter 13, as the last part of the letter, is summing up what was spoken of in the rest of the letter. It tells what running the race looks like within the community of those who live by faith in Christ; by telling how love will cohere those in the faith together and how together, as one in Christ, shows or proves we have a better covenant because of what Christ did for humanity. This in turn shows the world Who Christ is as we shone His Light and His love…for they will know us by our love. Let’s take a deeper look….
To understand scripture we need to look at the whole picture, i.e.: time period, what was happening in that point in history with the people, the audience written to, who wrote it, the letter as a whole not as broken up verses, looking at the Greek or Hebrew and starting at the right view-point of Who God is and who you are in Him. With this in mind I want to look at Hebrews 13:7 and 13:17. Hebrews 13:7 gives us clues to Hebrews 13:17. First Hebrews 13:7:
Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all. (MSG)
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. (KJV)
Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the [a]result of their conduct, imitate their faith. (NASB)
I encourage anyone reading this to go take a look at each word in the Greek and write down the meaning within these two scriptures. Each word gives a greater understanding of what the writer was trying to convey. Remember the Greek language had much greater meaning than what we have in the English language. As I went and looked up every single Greek word, the meaning of what was being conveyed in Greek led to a fuller understanding, flowed with the rest of the letter written to the Hebrews, and tied in with the rest of scripture contained within the New Covenant (Testament). Here is what I found for Hebrews 13:7:
Remember them who lead the way for you that spoke the “word of God” to you; whom, consider (look attentively and thoroughly; and grasping the full meaning) the moving out from to the new outcome (“the successful way out” to a new or desirable outcome) the change of outward behavior from an “up-turn” of inner beliefs (inside out living) follow/imitate the faith (trust, belief).
Now let’s take a more in depth look at Hebrews 13:17. Before we look at this closely I need you to understand there are two “for” words in this scripture. When the word “for” is used here the secondary statement is fully dependent on the first statement. I will highlight those words so it will draw attention to them for you.
Be persuaded of what is trustworthy (inactive), even yield under those whom have walked before you; for they stayed vigilant for the soul betterment (extending benefit) as the word of God gives back or restores (returns in order that after this results in a change) causes (makes, manufactures) grace recognized and not a negative feeling of inward pressure (groan in pain) for this one just named –you are not complete or unable to cohere (hold together in a mass that resists separation).
This known outcome,
of the ones who walked before us,
proves the faith they have is trustworthy
Many may believe I am rewriting scripture here; but all I did was go into biblehub.com and look at each word; write down each definition; look at the whole Hebrews’ letter; look at the way the letter was written; realize most letter writers sum up in the end of their letter, look at Who God is, and all of what His Son has done for us. This more detailed definition gives us a much clearer view of what is being said that fits with the rest of the letter. It amazed me because it is important to watch those that have led the way in the faith, we are to look carefully and be persuaded of what is trustworthy, who have spoken the word of God to us (have shown us Jesus), look carefully at the outcomes of their lives (even those that have died), follow the faith they have or had, understand the soul benefit in the new covenant, and the outcome should cause us to recognize GRACE. The one whom is unable to recognize GRACE groans inwardly, is not complete, and is unable to cohere. Chapter 13 is simply describing what is available to those whom choose to stay in the faith; just like the ones who walked before them, as Chapter 11 discusses. This Chapter also describes staying in the race and how we are able to cohere in brotherly love; as we recognize all that grace has done for each of us as Chapter 12 had talked about. This is not meant to be used to control people but to understand, as believers in Christ, we have this beautiful gift of grace which makes us complete and able to be bound to one another in brotherly love and we should be able to look closely at people’s lives and choose to imitate the faith they have…simply the trust and belief in just Who Jesus is, the Son Who took away the sins of the entire world, loves you so dearly and your debt has been wiped clean for all eternity as you put your trust in Him. It again points to the King of kings and what He accomplished. ❤️