Hebrews 13:14
For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) In this verse there seems to be a union of two thoughts: (1) We are free to go forth from the city so long held sacred, for our hopes are bound up with no abiding earthly sanctuary. (2) We may not shrink from the reproach of Christ because it will sever us from kindred and friends; for by the very profession of our faith we are “strangers and sojourners” (Hebrews 11:13), seeking after the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 12:22). How impressive are these words when read in the light of the events then unlooked for, yet so near at hand, issuing in the destruction of both Temple and city!

We seek one to come.—Rather, we seek after that (city) which is to come.

13:7-15 The instructions and examples of ministers, who honourably and comfortably closed their testimony, should be particularly remembered by survivors. And though their ministers were some dead, others dying, yet the great Head and High Priest of the church, the Bishop of their souls, ever lives, and is ever the same. Christ is the same in the Old Testament day. as in the gospel day, and will be so to his people for ever, equally merciful, powerful, and all-sufficient. Still he fills the hungry, encourages the trembling, and welcomes repenting sinners: still he rejects the proud and self-righteous, abhors mere profession, and teaches all whom he saves, to love righteousness, and to hate iniquity. Believers should seek to have their hearts established in simple dependence on free grace, by the Holy Spirit, which would comfort their hearts, and render them proof against delusion. Christ is both our Altar and our Sacrifice; he sanctifies the gift. The Lord's supper is the feast of the gospel passover. Having showed that keeping to the Levitical law would, according to its own rules, keep men from the Christian altar, the apostle adds, Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp; go forth from the ceremonial law, from sin, from the world, and from ourselves. Living by faith in Christ, set apart to God through his blood, let us willingly separate from this evil world. Sin, sinners, nor death, will not suffer us to continue long here; therefore let us go forth now by faith and seek in Christ the rest and peace which this world cannot afford us. Let us bring our sacrifices to this altar, and to this our High Priest, and offer them up by him. The sacrifice of praise to God, we should offer always. In this are worship and prayer, as well as thanksgiving.For here we have no continuing city ... - We do not regard this as our final home, or our fixed abode, and we should be willing to bear reproaches during the little time that we are to remain here; compare notes, Hebrews 11:10, Hebrews 11:13-14. If, therefore, in consequence of our professed attachment to the Saviour, we should be driven away from our habitations, and compelled to wander, we should be willing to submit to it, for our permanent home is not here, but in heaven. The object of the writer seems to be to comfort the Hebrew Christians on the supposition that they would be driven by persecution from the city of Jerusalem, and doomed to wander as exiles. He tells them that their Lord was led from that city to be put to death, and they should be willing to go forth also; that their permanent home was not Jerusalem, but heaven, and they should be willing in view of that blessed abode to be exiled from the city where they dwelt, and made wanderers in the earth. 14. here—on earth. Those Hebrews who clung to the earthly sanctuary are representatives of all who cling to this earth. The earthly Jerusalem proved to be no "abiding city," having been destroyed shortly after this Epistle was written, and with it fell the Jewish civil and religious polity; a type of the whole of our present earthly order of things soon to perish.

one to come—(Heb 2:5; 11:10, 14, 16; 12:22; Php 3:20).

This is an enforcement of the foregoing duty, as the particle for cleareth; That they have no reason to be discouraged from going forth from Judaism, and those erroneous doctrines, and the world, to him, though it should cost them their lives for it; for at the best this world is not a place fit for us, nor can our state in it be desirable, since it is imperfect, fleeting, and vanishing, and we must die out of it; we may well then go forth, and die with him, and for him. And we have reason to go forth and suffer with him, since it will instantly bring us to that heavenly city, which we profess that we only live to fit ourselves for, and then to enter in and possess it, Hebrews 11:10,16 12:22 Philippians 3:20,21. For here have we no continuing city,.... Neither for religious worship, the city of Jerusalem being quickly to be destroyed, nor for civil life to dwell in; and so may have a peculiar regard to the Hebrews, whose temple and city would, in a short time, become desolate; though it was the general case of the saints, in those times, to be obliged to flee from one city to another, having no certain dwelling place: and it may respect the common instability of this world, and of the state of the saints in it: this world, and all things in it, are unstable and transitory, the riches, honours, pleasures, and profits of it, and the persons in it, and even the world itself; the fashion of it passes away: the saints have no settlement and abiding here; they are not of it, though in it; and though they are in it, it is but for a time; and, when they have done the will of God, they are taken out of it; another place is prepared for them: they are but sojourners, and strangers, and pilgrims; and this they are sensible of, and own, and acknowledge: and it is their mercy, that they are not to continue here; since, while in it, they are exposed to a great many sorrows and afflictions, both of soul and body; are often disturbed with Satan's temptations; and are liable to the snares, insults, and reproaches of the world; and, seeing they have no continuance here, they will be the sooner at home: and they have that to support them, under the instability of worldly things, which others have not; they are interested in an unchangeable God, and in his love; and in an unchangeable Saviour; and in an unchangeable covenant; and have a right to eternal glory and happiness, a city which has foundations, as follows:

but we seek one to come; heaven; which is compared to a city; is future, yet to come; though certain, being built and prepared by God; and is continuing, will abide, being well founded: hence the saints seek for it; See Gill on Hebrews 11:10.

For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 13:14. Ground of encouragement to the φέρειν τὸν ὀνειδισμὸν τοῦ Χριστοῦ, Hebrews 13:13.

ἔχομεν] namely: we Christians. Not: we men in general.

ὧδε] here upon earth. Erroneously Heinrichs: in the earthly Jerusalem.

τὴν μέλλουσαν] sc. πόλιν: the city to come, which, namely, is an abiding one. Comp. Hebrews 12:22 : Ἱερουσαλὴμ ἐπουράνιος, and Hebrews 11:10 : ἡ τοὺς θεμελίους ἔχουσα πόλις, ἧς τεχνίτης καὶ δημιουργὸς ὁ Θεός. Rightly, for the rest, does Schlichting observe: Futuram autem civitatem hanc vocat, quia nobis futura est. Nam Deo, Christo, angelis jam praesens est.14. one to come] Rather, “the city which is to be” (Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 11:16). Our earthly city here may be destroyed, and we may be driven from it, or leave it of our own accord; this is nothing,—for our real citizenship is in heaven (Php 3:20).Hebrews 13:14. Γὰρ, for) The reason why he uses the expression, the camp, not the city, Hebrews 13:13. Faith considers Jerusalem itself as a camp [not a city].—μένουσαν, μέλλουσαν) A Paranomasia. At the same time not continuing is an allusion to the devastation of Jerusalem, which was then at hand. He does not condescend to name the city, which does not continue. We do not continue here; nor does the city itself continue at all.—πόλιν, a city) ch. Hebrews 11:10, note. In like manner Paul, Php 3:20.—αέλλουσαν, one to come) ch. Hebrews 2:5, note.Verse 14. - For here we have no abiding city, but we seek that which is to come; i.e. not Jerusalem, representing the transitory dispensation of the Law; but the "city of the living God," which is eternal. For here have we no continuing city (οὐ γὰρ ἔχομεν ὧδε μένουσαν πόλιν)

Here, on earth. Continuing city. Let us go forth without the gate to Jesus; for the system which has its center in Jerusalem, the Holy City, is no more ours. We are excluded from its religious fellowship by embracing the faith of him who suffered without the gate. The city itself is not abiding. As a holy city, it is the center and representative of a system of shadows and figures (Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:9, Hebrews 9:23, Hebrews 9:24; Hebrews 10:1), which is to be shaken and removed, even as is the city itself (Hebrews 12:27); Hebrews 8:13; Hebrews 9:10; Hebrews 10:9, Hebrews 10:18. If the epistle had been written after the destruction of Jerusalem a reference to that event could hardly have been avoided here.

One to come (τὴν μέλλουσαν)

Rend. "that which is to come." The heavenly Jerusalem. Comp. Hebrews 11:10, Hebrews 11:13-16.

The course of thought in Hebrews 13:9-14 is as follows: Be not carried away with divers and strange teachings, for example, those concerning meats and drinks and sacrificial feasts. It is good that the heart be established, rather than that the body should be ceremonially pure; and that the heart be established by the grace of God in Christ, which alone can give inward peace, a pure conscience, an established rest and security - rather than by the consciousness of having partaken of meats ceremonially clean: for those whose religious life was under the regimen of this ceremonial system derived no permanent profit from it. Not only so, the two systems exclude each other. You cannot hold by the Levitical system and enjoy the blessings of Christian salvation. It is the sacrifice of Christ through which you become partakers of grace. It is impossible to obtain grace through meats; for meats represent the economy which denies Christ; and, by seeking establishment through meats, you exclude yourselves from the economy which is the only vehicle of grace.

Accordingly, we have an altar and a sacrifice from which the votary of Leviticalism is excluded. By the Levitical law it was forbidden to eat the flesh of the victim offered on the Great Day of Atonement; so that, if the Levitical law still holds for you, you cannot partake of the Christian's atoning victim. The law under which you are prohibits you. According to that law, there is nothing to eat of in an atoning sacrifice, since the body of the victim is burned. Neither priest nor people have anything more to do with it, and, therefore, it is carried outside of the camp or city, outside of the region of O.T. covenant-fellowship. Similarly, so long as you hold by Judaism, participation in Christ's atoning sacrifice is impossible for you. It is outside your religious sphere, like the body of the victim outside the gate. You cannot eat of our altar.

The blood of the Levitical victim was carried into the holy of holies and remained there. If you seek the benefit of that blood, it must be within the camp, at the Levitical tabernacle or temple. And you cannot have the benefit of Christ's blood, for that compels you to go outside the gate, where he suffered. According to the O.T. law, you could partake of the benefit of the blood, but you could not eat of the body. Christ's sacrifice gives you both body and blood as spiritual food; but these you must seek outside of Judaism. Thus, by means of the O.T. ritual itself, it is shown that the Jewish and the Christian systems exclude each other. Christ must be sought outside of the Jewish pale.

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