Monday, 13 May 2019
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
The structure of the Greek original is much more expressive and beautiful. The NKJV, following after that of the KJV, is slipshod and conveys an incorrect idea about what the author is saying. As Albert Barnes notes concerning their translation –
“It would seem to mean that Jesus Christ, the unchangeable Saviour, was the end or aim of the conduct of those referred to, or that they lived to imitate and glorify him. But this is by no means the meaning in the original.”
Young’s Literal Translation renders it according to the Greek structure – “Jesus Christ yesterday and to-day the same, and to the ages” (YLT).
The words of this verse are a connector between what was said in the previous verse and what is coming in the next. As seen, the author used a rare word in the previous verse which gave the thought that those who led the congregation were “faithful unto death.” That is reflected in the words, “Jesus Christ yesterday.” They had understood Him to be Messiah (Christ) and were faithful to that. The same is true of “Today.”
Whatever day is “Today,” Jesus Christ is the same as yesterday. There is no change in Him and His power and authority. He remains the Messiah and, therefore, the believer is to express the same faithful conduct as those who trusted in Him before. He remains the same, and therefore we are to not deviate in our allegiance to Him. From there, the author says, “and to the ages.”
The eternal nature of Jesus Christ’s Person, Position, and Power is referred to. This verse is an absolute statement of the eternal and unchanging nature of Jesus Christ. Therefore, our relation to Him is to be unwavering and consistent. We serve an immutable Lord and our conduct before Him, and our trust in Him, should reflect that.
This premise will lead into the coming verse which speaks of not getting caught up in strange doctrines. Christ is unchanging. Therefore, the doctrines associated with Him will be firm, fixed, and unchanging as well.
Life application: This is one of many verses in the Bible which tell us of God’s (because Christ Jesus is God) unchanging nature. This may seem like an unimportant aspect of God that you don’t need to think about deeply, but such isn’t the case. The eternality and unchanging nature of God leads us directly to monotheism and excludes all other non-monotheistic religion. It is that simple.
Because Jesus is being equated with an unchanging nature, then He is a part of the Godhead. If this is so, and the Bible claims it is, then any other monotheistic expression outside of Christianity is excluded. We can easily reason out why this must be the case and why the other monotheistic religions are false – for example, Islam’s system of final justice would violate God’s eternal nature of holiness.
By using reason, the Bible alone stands as an expression compatible with the nature of God. In a world where so many people believe that “all paths lead to God,” there needs to be careful thought given as to why this simply cannot be true. And, once we have determined the truth, we can be completely assured that we are dealing with the God who isn’t fickle, vindictive, moody, or changing. His word reflects His very nature.
It would be utterly foolish to claim faith in Jesus Christ and then worry about somehow losing your salvation at a later point. When God says that we are forgiven through Christ, then we are forgiven. When God says that we have reconciliation because of Christ, then we are reconciled. When God says we are His children because of Christ, then we are adopted and heirs. Have faith that Jesus is the same God who said, “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6).
Jesus is the full expression of the Godhead in bodily form. He makes the unknowable knowable. Have no fear; Jesus is.
Thank You Lord for coming and displaying to us the great love of the Father! Thank You for our salvation, our adoption, and our promised eternal life. Because Your word tells us of Jesus and Jesus tells us of these things, we can be eternally confident that they are true. Thank You for Jesus! Amen.