The first vision focused on God’s love amidst addressing Hermas’ sins.
The second vision focused on the Christian need to live according to God’s standards.
The third vision focused on how Christians grow into the Body, the Church.
The fourth vision focused on how Christians will survive the final judgment by faith.
The fifth and final vision, now, is more of a setup for the rest of the book. Hermas is sitting at home, and after praying for a while, a impressive-looking shepherd comes in and tells him that he’s going to stick around for the rest of Hermas’ life. At first Hermas suspects this man is a tempter, but he assures him that he was sent by “a most venerable angel,” and Hermas remains suspicious. The man identifies himself as “that shepherd to whom you have been entrusted.” Hermas immediately takes back his suspicion and apologizes. The man tells him not to worry about it, and goes on to say that he’s got some commandments and parables to strengthen him and everyone else who should walk in them. Failing to do so, however, will increase one’s sin, and not bode well. So Hermas dutifully writes down these commandments and parables as the shepherd, or “angel of repentance” commanded him to write.
So what follows are the 12 commandments (or mandates) and 10 parables (or similitudes) comprising the rest of the book The Shepherd of Hermas.