Hebrews 13:7–17 (NKJV)
The writer of Hebrews continues his last instructions here in this passage. He addresses how we treat rulers, the eternity of Jesus, and the need for sound doctrine. He also talks about the altar from which the Levites cannot eat and the city in which we worship God and dwell spiritually, as well as obeying leaders again.
7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.Hebrews 13:7-9
Here the writer instructs the Christians (Hebrews) to remember those who rule over them, those who have taught them the word of God and have set the example for them. They are to watch and see how their behavior brought a blessed outcome, and imitate them. He then reminds them of the constancy and eternity of Jesus Christ, the immutable Savior who never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The readers are then encouraged not to follow or adopt strange doctrines. Instead, their hearts should be established by grace, not relying on rules and regulations concerning dietary restrictions that have not profited those who were obsessed with them. Instead, learn of the grace of God and live in it in freedom.
10 We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.Hebrews 13:10-17
17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
The writer goes on in his instructions to describe the great altar, from which those who serve in the tabernacle have no right to eat. Whereas the Levites and priests ate from the sacrifices offered to God in the earthly temple, they cannot eat at the altar at which the Lord receives our offerings and worship. The animals sacrificed at the earthly tabernacle or temple were burned outside the camp, and their blood was brought into the sanctuary to be offered by the high priest for sins. Jesus, to sanctify the people once and for all by His own blood, was crucified outside the camp, and His blood was offered in the heavenly sanctuary for our sins. Therefore, we should go to Him, outside the camp, that we might bear His reproach and represent Him to the world. We have no continuing city in which to reside here on earth. This world is temporary and passing, but we look for a city to come that will never pass away, the New Jerusalem. We should continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, giving the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to God at all times. Do good, and share with those around you in need. This sacrifice God accepts and with which He is well-pleased.
To sum up this part of the chapter, the writer further instructs the readers to not just remember those who lead them, but to obey them, being submissive to their leadership. Leaders are called to watch over the souls of their people, giving an account to God for that action. Good leaders should be allowed to do so with joy and not grief. Giving leaders a hard time is unprofitable for the leader and for the follower. Bless your Godly leaders and help them at every opportunity. This is God’s will for His kingdom and His people.