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,
Jump to: Barnes • BI • Calvin • Clarke • Chry • Darby • Gill • GSB • Guzik • Homiletics • JFB • KJT • MHC • MHCW • PNT • PUL • VWS • WES • TSK1 Thessalonians 5:23. The word "peace" in the New Testament is used to denote every kind of blessing or happiness. It is opposed to all that would disturb or trouble the mind, and may refer, therefore, to reconciliation with God; to a quiet conscience; to the evidence of pardoned sin; to health and prosperity, and to the hope of heaven; see the notes on John 14:27.
That brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus - Acts 2:32 note; 1 Corinthians 15:15 note. It is only by the fact of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus that we have peace, for it is only by him that we have the prospect of an admission into heaven.
Through the blood of the everlasting covenant - The blood shed to ratify the everlasting covenant that God makes with his people; notes, Hebrews 9:14-23. This phrase, in the original, is not connected, as it is in our translation, with his being raised from the dead, nor should it be so rendered, for what can be the sense of "raising Christ from the dead by the blood of the covenant?" In the Greek it is, "the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the shepherd of the sheep, great by the blood of the everlasting covenant, our Lord Jesus," etc. The meaning is, that he was made or constituted the great Shepherd of the sheep - the great Lord and ruler of his people, by that blood. That which makes him so eminently distinguished; that by which he was made superior to all others who ever ruled over the people of God, was the fact that he offered the blood by which the eternal covenant was ratified. It is called everlasting or eternal, because:
(1) it was formed in the councils of eternity, or has been an eternal plan in the divine mind; and,
Brought again from the dead our Lord - As our Lord's sacrificial death is considered as an atonement offered to the Divine justice, God's acceptance of it as an atonement is signified by his raising the human nature of Christ from the dead; and hence this raising of Christ is, with the utmost propriety, attributed to God the Father, as this proves his acceptance of the sacrificial offering.
That great Shepherd of the sheep - This is a title of our blessed Lord, given to him by the prophets; so Isaiah 40:11; He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those which are with young: and Ezekiel 34:23; I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them; even my servant David, (i.e. the beloved, viz. Jesus), and he shall feed them, and be their shepherd: and Zechariah 13:7; Awake, O sword, against my shepherd - smite the shepherd, and the flock shall be scattered. In all these places the term shepherd is allowed to belong to our blessed Lord; and he appropriates it to himself, John 10:11, by calling himself the good Shepherd, who, lays down his life for the sheep.
Through the blood of the everlasting covenant - Some understand this in the following way, that "God brought back our Lord from the dead on account of his having shed his blood to procure the everlasting covenant." Others, that the Lord Jesus became the great Shepherd and Savior of the sheep by shedding his blood to procure and ratify the everlasting covenant." The sense, however, will appear much plainer if we connect this with the following verse: "Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead, our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, make you, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, perfect in every good work to do his will." The Christian system is termed the everlasting covenant, to distinguish it from the temporary covenant made with the Israelites at Mount Sinai; and to show that it is the last dispensation of grace to the world, and shall endure to the end of time.Romans 15:33, a consideration of this gives boldness at the throne of grace; furnishes out a reason why blessings asked for may be expected; has a tendency to promote peace among brethren; may bear up saints under a sense of infirmity and imperfection, in prayer and other duties; and be an encouragement to them under Satan's temptations, and all afflictions. The Arabic version makes the God of peace to be Christ himself; whereas Christ is manifestly distinguished from him in the next verse; and even in that version, reading the words thus, "now; the God of peace raised from the dead Jesus the Shepherd of the sheep, magnified by the blood of the everlasting covenant; Jesus, I say, our Lord confirm you, &c. through Jesus Christ"; for which version there is no foundation in the original text. The God of peace is manifestly God the Father, who is distinguished from Christ his Son:
that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus; who died for the sins of his people; was buried, and lay under the power of death for some time; but was raised from the dead by his Father; though not exclusive of himself, and the Spirit of holiness; in the same body in which he suffered and died; as the firstfruits of his people, and as their Lord and Saviour, head and surety, for their justification, and as a pledge of their resurrection. The apostle addresses the God and Father of Christ in prayer, under this consideration, to observe his power and ability to help in the greatest distress, and in the most difficult and desperate case; to encourage faith and hope in him, when things are at the worst, and most discouraging; to comfort the saints under afflictions, in a view of their resurrection; to engage them to regard a risen Christ, and things above, and to expect life and immortality by him:
that great Shepherd of the sheep: the people of God, whom the Father has chosen, and given to Christ; for whom he has laid down his life; and whom the Spirit calls by his grace, and sanctifies; to whom Christ has a right, by his Father's gift, his own purchase, and the power of grace: these being partakers of his grace, are called "sheep", because they are harmless and inoffensive in their lives and conversations; and yet are exposed to danger; but meek and patient under sufferings; are weak and timorous of themselves; are clean, being washed in the blood of Christ; are sociable in their communion with one another; are profitable, though not to God, yet to men; are apt to go astray, and are liable to diseases: they are also called sheep, and are Christ's sheep before conversion; see John 10:16 and Christ, he is the Shepherd of them, who in all respects discharges the office of a shepherd to them, diligently and faithfully; See Gill on John 10:16, here he is called, "that great Shepherd"; being the man, God's fellow, equal to him, the great God and our Saviour; and having a flock which, though comparatively is a little one, is a flock of souls, of immortal souls, and is such a flock as no other shepherd has; hence he is called the Shepherd and Bishop of souls: and his abilities to feed them are exceeding great; he has a perfect knowledge of them; all power to protect and defend them; a fulness of grace to supply them; and he takes a diligent care of them: and this great Person so described was raised from the dead,
through the blood of the everlasting covenant: for the sense is not, that God is the God of peace, through that blood, though it is true that peace is made by it; nor that Christ becomes the Shepherd of the sheep by it, though he has with it purchased the flock of God; nor that the chosen people become his sheep through it, though they are redeemed by it, and are delivered out of a pit wherein is no water, by the blood of this covenant; but that Christ was brought again from the dead through it; and it denotes the particular influence that it had upon his resurrection, and the continued virtue of it since. The "covenant" spoken of is not the covenant of works made with Adam, as the federal head of his natural seed; there was no mediator or shepherd of the sheep that had any concern therein; there was no blood in that covenant; nor was it an everlasting one: nor the covenant of circumcision given to Abraham; though possibly there may be some reference to it; or this may be opposed to that, since the blood of circumcision is often called by the Jews , "the blood of the covenant" (d): nor the covenant on Mount Sinai, though there may be an allusion to it; since the blood which was then shed, and sprinkled on the people, is called the blood of the covenant, Exodus 24:8 but that was not an everlasting covenant, that has waxed old, and vanished away; but the covenant of grace is meant, before called the new and better covenant, of which Christ is the surety and Mediator; see Hebrews 7:22. This is an "everlasting one"; it commenced from everlasting, as appears from the everlasting love of God, which is the rise and foundation of it; from the counsels of God of old, which issued in it; from Christ's being set up from everlasting, as the Mediator of it; from the promises of it which were made before the world began; and from the spiritual blessings of grace in it, which were given to God's elect in Christ before the foundation of it: moreover, it will endure for ever; nor will it be succeeded by any other covenant: and the blood of Christ may be called the blood of it, because the shedding of it is a principal article in it; by it the covenant is ratified and confirmed; and all the blessings of it come through it, as redemption, peace, pardon, justification, and even admission into heaven itself; and Christ, through it, was brought again from the dead, because by it he fulfilled his covenant engagements, satisfied divine justice, and abolished sin, yea, death itself.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,
God of peace—So Paul, Ro 15:33; 16:20; 2Co 13:11; Php 4:9; 1Th 5:23; 2Th 3:16. The Judaizing of the Hebrews was calculated to sow seeds of discord among them, of disobedience to their pastors (Heb 13:17), and of alienation towards Paul. The God of peace by giving unity of true doctrine, will unite them in mutual love.
brought again from the dead—Greek, "brought up," &c.: God brought the Shepherd; the Shepherd shall bring the flock. Here only in the Epistle he mentions the resurrection. He would not conclude without mentioning 'the connecting link between the two truths mainly discussed; the one perfect sacrifice and the continual priestly intercession—the depth of His humiliation and the height of His glory—the "altar" of the cross and the ascension to the heavenly Holy of Holies.
Lord Jesus—the title marking His person and His Lordship over us. But Heb 13:21, "through Jesus Christ." His office, as the Anointed of the Spirit, making Him the medium of communicating the Spirit to us, the holy unction flowing down from the Head on the members (compare Ac 2:36).
shepherd of the sheep—A title familiar to his Hebrew readers, from their Old Testament (Isa 63:11; Septuagint): primarily Moses, antitypically Christ: already compared together, Heb 3:2-7. The transition is natural from their earthly pastors (Heb 13:17), to the Chief Pastor, as in 1Pe 5:1-4. Compare Eze 34:23 and Jesus' own words, Joh 10:2, 11, 14.
through the blood—Greek, "in," in virtue of the blood (Heb 2:9); it was because of His bloody death for us, that the Father raised and crowned Him with glory. The "blood" was the seal of the everlasting covenant entered into between the Father and Son; in virtue of the Son's blood, first Christ was raised, then Christ's people shall be so (Zec 9:11, seemingly referred to here; Ac 20:28).
Our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd. Christ, the Good Shepherd (Joh 10:11,14).Verses 20, 21. - Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through (literally, in) the blood of the eternal covenant, our Lord Jesus, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom (i.e. to God, the subject of the sentence) be glory forever and ever. Amen. It is St. Paul's way also to introduce, in the end of his Epistles, a solemn prayer or benediction, couched in terms suitable to the subjects that have been dwelt on (see e.g. Romans 16:25, etc.). The term, "God of peace," is also usual with him; and it is appropriate here after so many warnings against disturbing the Church's peace; as is, with reference also to what has gone before, "make you perfect" (καταρτίσαι), and what follows. On "the great Shepherd," etc., Bengel says, "Habemus, inquit, antistites multos, ver. 17, sed hic omniam est Antistes. Ego sum absens, ver. 19, sed DEUS non abest, neque deerit." The expression is taken from Isaiah 63:11, "Where is he that brought them out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? (Ποῦ ὁ ἀναβιβάσας ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης τὸν ποιμένα τῶν προβάτων; LXX.)." The reference in Isaiah is to Moses and the Red Sea, the well-known types of Christ and his resurrection, and of ours to a new life, leading to eternal life, through him. He is called "the great Shepherd," as in Hebrews 4:14 the "great High Priest," as being the true fulfillment of the ancient types. "In [i.e. 'in virtue of'] the blood of the covenant" seems to be suggested by Zechariah 9:11, Καὶ σὺ ἐν αἵματι διαθήκης σου ἐξαπέστειλας δεσμίους σου ἐκ λάκκου οὐκ ἔχοντος ὕδωρ: αἰωνίου being added (as αέγαν before) to distinguish the new covenant from the old. The suitableness of the words to the contents of the Epistle is obvious. It is observed that the above is the only distinct allusion in the Epistle to Christ's resurrection, the writer's treatment of his subject having led him to pass at once from the sacrifice to the heavenly intercession. But "non concludit apostolus, autequam menti-onem fecerit resurrectionis Christi" (Bengel).
the blood. See on ch.
covenant. or, testament. See on ch.
Not an O.T. phrase, and found only in Paul and Hebrews. See Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 14:33; Philippians 4:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:16. The phrase signifies God who is the author and giver of peace.
Who brought again from the dead (ὁ ἀναγαγὼν ἐκ νεκρῶν)
The only direct reference in the epistle to the resurrection of Christ. Hebrews 6:2 refers to the resurrection of the dead generally. Ἁνάγειν of raising the dead, only Romans 10:7. Rend. "brought up," and comp. Wisd. 16:13. Ἁνά in this compound, never in N.T. in the sense of again. See on Luke 8:22; see on Acts 12:4; see on Acts 16:34; see on Acts 27:3. The verb often as a nautical term, to bring a vessel up from the land to the deep water; to put to sea.
That great shepherd of the sheep (τὸν ποιμένα τῶν προβάτων τὸν μέγαν)
Through the blood of the everlasting covenant (ἐν αἵματι διαθήκης αἰωνίου)
Rend. "in the blood of an eternal covenant." See Zechariah 9:11. The phrase eternal covenant N.T.o. Common in lxx; see Genesis 9:16; Genesis 17:19; Leviticus 24:8; 2 Samuel 23:5; Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 16:60. Const. with the great shepherd of the sheep. It may be granted that the raising of Christ from the dead, viewed as the consummation of the plan of salvation, was in the sphere of the blood of the covenant; nevertheless, the covenant is nowhere in the N.T. associated with the resurrection, but frequently with death, especially in this epistle. See Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20; Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 9:16, Hebrews 9:17, Hebrews 9:20. The connection of the blood of the covenant with Christ's pastoral office gives a thoroughly scriptural sense, and one which exactly fits into the context. Christ becomes the great shepherd solely through the blood of the covenant. Comp. Acts 20:28. Through this is brought about the new relation of the church with God described in Hebrews 8:10 ff. This tallies perfectly with the conception of "the God of peace"; and the great Shepherd will assert the power of the eternal covenant of reconciliation and peace by perfecting his flock in every good work to do his will, working in them that which is well pleasing in his sight. With this agree Jeremiah 50:5, Jeremiah 50:19; Ezekiel 34:25, and the entire chapter, see especially Ezekiel 34:12-15, Ezekiel 34:23, Ezekiel 34:31. In these verses the Shepherd of the Covenant appears as guiding, tending his flock, and leading them into fair and safe pastures. Comp. Isaiah 63:11-14, and Revelation 7:17, see note on ποιμανεῖ shall shepherd. Ἑν αἵματι "in the blood," is in virtue of, or in the power of the blood.
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