Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Jesus Christ the same . . .—Rather, Jesus Christ is yesterday and to-day the same; yea, also for ever. Their earlier guides have passed away (Hebrews 13:7); their Lord and Saviour abides the same for ever. He who is the subject of all Christian teaching is the same, therefore (Hebrews 13:9) “be not carried away by divert teachings.” Thus, this verse stands connected both with what precedes and with what follows. “Yesterday” carries the thought back to the lifetime of the teachers now no more; what the Saviour was to them, that will He be to their survivors. The whole period since He “sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12-13) is covered by this word. What He was “yesterday and to-day” He will be for ever. (See Hebrews 1:11-12.)

Hebrews

THE UNCHANGING CHRIST

Hebrews 13:8.

How far back does this ‘yesterday’ go? The limit must be found by observing that it is ‘Jesus Christ’ who is spoken of - that is to say, the Incarnate Saviour. That observation disposes of the reference of these words to the past eternity in which the eternal Word of God was what He is to-day. The sameness that is referred to here is neither the sameness of the divine Son from all eternity, nor the sameness of the medium of revelation in both the old and the new dispensations, but the sameness of the human Christ to all generations of His followers. And the epoch referred to in the ‘yesterday’ is defined more closely if we observe the previous context, which speaks of the dying teachers who have had the rule and have passed away. The ‘yesterday’ is the period of these departed teachers; the ‘to-day’ is the period of the writer and his readers.

But whilst the words of my text are thus narrowly: limited, the attribute, which is predicated of Christ in them, is something more than belongs to manhood, and requires for its foundation the assumption of His deity. He is the unchanging Jesus because He is the divine Son. The text resumes at the end of the Epistle, the solemn words of the first chapter, which referred the declaration of the Psalmist to ‘the Son’ - ‘Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.’ That Son, changeless and eternal by divine immutability, is Jesus Christ, the incarnate Redeemer.

This text may well be taken as our motto in looking forward, as I suppose we are all of us more or less doing, and trying to forecast the dim outlines of the coming events of this New Year. Whatever may happen, let us hold fast by that confidence, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.’

I. I apply these words, then, as a New-Year’s motto, in two or three different directions, and ask you to consider, first, the unchanging Christ in His relation to our changeful lives.

The one thing of which anticipation may be sure is that nothing continues in one stay. True, ‘that which is to be hath already been’; true, there is ‘nothing new under the sun’; but just as in the physical world the infinite variety of creatures and things is all made Out of a few very simple elements, so, in our lives, out of a comparatively small number of possible incidents, an immense variety of combinations results, with the effect that, while we may be sure of the broad outlines of our future, we are all in the dark as to its particular events, and only know that ceaseless change with characterise it. So all forward looking must have a touch of fear in it, and there is only one thing that will enable us to front the else intolerable certainty of uncertainty, and that is, to fall back upon this thought’ of my text, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.’

The one lesson of our changeful lives ought to be for each of us the existence of that which changes not. By the very law of contrast, and by the need of finding sufficient reason for the changes, we are driven from the contemplation of the fleeting to the vision of the permanent. The waves of this stormy sea of life ought to fling us all high and dry on the safe shore. Blessed are they who, in a world of passing phenomena, penetrate to the still centre of rest, and looking over all the vacillations of the things that can be shaken, can turn to the Christ and say, Thou who movest all things art Thyself unmoved; Thou who changest all things, Thyself changest not. As the moon rises slow and silvery, with its broad shield, out of the fluctuations of the ocean, so the one radiant Figure of the all sufficient and immutable Lover and Friend of our souls should rise for us out of the billows of life’s tossing ocean, and come to us across the seal Brother! let the fleeting proclaim to you the permanent; let the world with its revolutions lead you up to the thought of Him who is the same for ever. For that is the only thought on which a man can build, and, building, be at rest.

The yesterday of my text may either be applied to the generations that have passed, and then the ‘to-day’ is our little life; or may be applied to my own yesterday, and then the to-day is this narrow present. In either application the words of my text are full of hope and of joy. In the former they say to us that no time can waste, nor any drawing from the fountain can diminish the all-sufficiency of that divine Christ in whom eighteen centuries have trusted and been ‘lightened, and their faces were not ashamed.’ The yesterday of His grace to past generations: is the prophecy of the future and the law for the present. There is nothing that any past epoch has ever drawn from Him, of courage and confidence, of hope and wisdom, of guidance and strength, of love and consolation, of righteousness and purity, of brave hope and patient endurance, which He does not stand by my side ready to give to me too to-day, ‘As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of Hosts,’ and the old Christ of a thousand years ago is the Christ of to-day, ready to help, to succour, and to make us like Himself.

In the second reference, narrowing the ‘yesterdays’ to our own experiences, the words are full of consolation and of hope. ‘Thou hast been my Help; leave me not, neither forsake me,’ is the prayer that ought to be taught us by every remembrance of what Jesus Christ has been to us. The high-water mark of His possible sweetness does not lie in some irrevocable past moment of our lives. We never have to say that we have found a sufficiency in Him which we never shall find any more. Remember the time in your experience when Jesus Christ was most tender, most near, most sweet, most mysterious, most soul-sufficing for you, and be sure that He stands beside you, ready to renew the ancient blessing and to surpass it in His gift. Man’s love sometimes wearies, Christ’s never; man’s basket may be emptied, Christ’s is fuller after the distribution than it was before. This fountain can never run dry. Not until seven times, but Until seventy times seven - perfection multiplied into perfection, and that again multiplied by perfection once more - is the limit of the inexhaustible mercy of our Lord, and all in which the past has been rich lives in the present. Remember, too, that this same thought which heartens us to front the inevitable changes, also gives dignity, beauty, poetry, to the small prosaic present. ‘Jesus Christ is the same to-day.’ We are always tempted to think that this moment is commonplace and insignificant. Yesterday lies consecrated in memory; to-morrow, radiant in hope; but to-day is poverty- stricken and prose. The sky is farthest away from us right over our heads; behind and in front it seems to touch the earth. But if we will only that all that sparkling lustre and all that more than mortal tenderness of pity and of love with which Jesus Christ has irradiated and sweetened any past is verily here with us amidst the commonplaces and insignificant duties of the dusty to-day, then we need look back to no purple distance, nor forward to any horizon where sky and earth kiss, but feel that here or nowhere, now or never, is Christ the all-sufficient and unchanging Friend. He is faithful. He cannot deny Himself.

II. So, secondly, I apply these words in another direction. I ask you to think of the relation between the unchanging Christ and the dying helpers.

That is the connection in which the words occur in my text. The writer has been speaking of the subordinate and delegated leaders and rulers in the Church ‘who have spoken the word of God’ and who have passed away, leaving a faith to be followed, and a conversation the end of which is to be considered. And, turning from all these mortal companions, helpers, guides, he bids us think of Him who liveth for ever, and for ever is the teacher, the companion the home of our hearts, and the goal of our love. All other ties - sweet, tender, infinitely precious, have been or will be broken for you and me. Some of us have to look back upon their snapping; some of us have to look forward. But there is one bond over which the skeleton fingers of Death have no power, and they fumble at that knot in vain. He separates us from all others; blessed be God! he cannot separate us from Christ. ‘I shall lose Thee though I die’; and Thou, Thou diest never.

God’s changeful providence comes into all our lives, and ports dear ones, making their places empty, that Christ Himself may fill the empty places, and, striking away other props, though the tendrils that twine round them bleed with the wrench, in order that the plant may no longer trail along the ground, but twine itself round the Cross and climb to the Christ upon the throne. ‘In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne.’ The true King was manifested when the earthly, shadowy monarch was swept away. And just as, on the face of some great wooded cliff, when the leaves drop, the solemn strength of the everlasting rock gleams out pure, so when our dear ones fall away, Jesus Christ is revealed, ‘the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.’ ‘They tautly were many, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death.’ ‘This Man continueth ever.’ He lives, and in Him all loves and companionships live unchanged.

III. So, further, we apply, in the third place, this thought to the relation between the unchanging Christ and decaying institutions and opinions.

The era in which this Epistle was written was an era of revolution no great that we can scarcely imagine its apparent magnitude. It was close upon the final destruction of the ancient system of Judaism an external institution. The temple was tottering o its fall, the nation was ready to be scattered, and the writer, speaking to Hebrews, to whom that crash seemed to be the passing away of the eternal verities of God, bids them lift their eyes above all the chaos and dust of dissolving institutions and behold the true Eternal, the ever-living Christ. He warns them in the verse that follows nay text not to be carried about with divers and strange doctrines, bat to keep fast to the unchanging Jesus. And so these words may well come to us with lessons of encouragement, and with teaching of duty and steadfastness, in an epoch of much unrest and change - social, theological, ecclesiastical- such as that in which our lot is cast. Man’s systems are the shadows on the hillside. Christ is the everlasting solemn mountain itself, Much in the popular conception and representation of Christianity is in the act of passing. Let it go; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. We need not fear change within the limits of His Church or of His world. For change there means progress, and the more the human creations and embodiments of Christian truth crumble and disintegrate, the more distinctly does the solemn, single, unique figure of Christ the Same, rise before us. There is nothing in the world’s history to compare with the phenomenon which is presented by the unworn freshness of Jesus Christ after all these centuries. All other men, however burning and shining their light, flicker and die out into extinction, and but for a season can the world rejoice in any of their beams; but this Jesus dominates the ages, and is as fresh to-day, in spite of all that men say, as He was eighteen centuries ago. They toll us He is losing His power; they tell us that mists of oblivion are wrapping Him round, as He moves slowly to the doom which besets Him in common with all the great names of the world. The wish is father to the thought. Christ is not done with yet, nor has the world done with Him, nor is He less available for the necessities of this generation, with its perplexities and difficulties, than He was in the past. His sameness is consistent with an infinite unfolding of new preciousness and new powers, as new generations with new questions arise, and the world seeks for fresh guidance. ‘I write no new commandment unto you’; I preach no new Christ unto you, ‘again, a new commandment I write unto you,’ and every generation will find new impulse, new teaching, new shaping energies, social and individual, ecclesiastical, theological, intellectual, in the old Christ who was crucified for our offences and raised again for our justification, and remains ‘the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.’ IV. Lastly, look at these words in their application to the relation between the unchanging Christ and the eternal life of heaven.

The ‘for ever’ of my text is not to be limited to this present life, but it runs on into the remotest future, and summons up before us the grand and boundless prospect of an eternal unfolding and reception of new beauties in the old earthly Christ. For Him the change between the ‘to-day’ of His earthly life and the ‘for ever’ of His ascended glory made no change in the tenderness of His heart, the sweetness of His smile, the nearness of His helping hand. The beloved apostle, when he saw Him for the first time after He was ascended, fell at His feet as dead, because the attributes of His nature had become so glorious. But when the old hand, the same hand that had been pierced with the nails on the Cross, though it now held the seven stars, was laid upon him, and the old voice, the same voice that had spoken to him in the upper room, and in feebleness from the Cross,’ though it was now as the ‘sound of many waters,’ said to him, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last; I am He that liveth and was dead and am alive for ever more’; John learned that the change from the Cross to the throne touched but the circumference of his Master’s Being, and left the whole centre of His love and brotherhood wholly unaffected.

Nor will the change for us, from earth to the close communion of the heavens, bring us into contact with a changed Christ. It will be but like the experience of a man starting from the outermost verge of the solar system, where that giant, planet welters, away out in the darkness and the cold, and travelling inwards ever nearer and nearer to the central light, the warmth becoming more fervent, the radiance becoming more wondrous, as he draws closer and closer to the greatness which he divined when he was far away, and which he knows better when he is beside it. It will be the same Christ, the Mediator, the Revealer in heaven, whom we here dimly saw and knew to be the Sun of our souls through the clouds and mists of earth.

That radiant and eternal sameness will consist with continual variety, and an endless streaming forth of new lustres and new powers. But through all the growing proximity and illumination of the heavens He will be the same Jesus that we knew upon earth; still the Friend and the Lover of our souls. So, dear friends, if you and I have Him for our very own, then we do not need to fear change, for change will be progress; nor loss, for loss will be gain; nor the storm of life, which will drive us to His breast; nor the solitude of death, for our Shepherd will be with us there. He will be ‘the same for ever’; though we shall know Him more deeply; even as we shall be the same, though ‘changed from glory into glory.’. If we have Him, we may be sure, on earth, of a ‘to-morrow,’ which ‘shall be as this day, and much more abundant.’ If we have Him, we may be sure of a heaven in which the sunny hours of its unending day will be filled with fruition and ever new glories from the old Christ who, for earth and heaven, is ‘the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.’Hebrews 13:8-9. Men may die, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever — From everlasting to everlasting: the same in his person and offices, in his love and power, in his truth and grace; the same object of faith; and the same in all respects, to all believers, in all ages; and therefore be steadfast in the faith and hope of the gospel: and be not carried about with divers, Ποικιλαις, various, and strange doctrines — Doctrines inconsistent with each other, and differing from that one faith in our one unchangeable Lord, and strange to the ears and hearts of all that abide in him. For it is a good thing — Of great importance to our own peace of mind, to the glory of God, and the edification of others; it is honourable, pleasant, and profitable, for the heart to be established — In the faith and hope of the gospel; with grace — The influence of the Divine Spirit received through Christ; not with meats — With Jewish ceremonies of any kind, which indeed can never establish the heart; and which have not profited — To the purifying of the conscience from guilt, or increasing their holiness; them that have been occupied therein — How exact and scrupulous soever they have been in observing them.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.Jesus Christ the same yesterday ... - As this stands in our common translation, it conveys an idea which is not in the original. 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. There it stands as an absolute proposition, that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever;" that is, that he is unchangeable. The evident design of this independent proposition here is, to encourage them to persevere by showing that their Saviour was always the same; that he who had sustained his people in former times, was the same still, and would be the same forever. The argument here, therefore, for perseverance is founded on the "immutability" of the Redeemer. If he were fickle, vacillating, changing in his character and plans; if today he aids his people, and tomorrow will forsake them; if at one time he loves the virtuous, and at another equally loves the vicious; if he formed a plan yesterday which he has abandoned today; or if he is ever to be a different being from what he is now, there would be no encouragement to effort. Who would know what to depend on? Who would know what to expect tomorrow? For who could have any certainty that he could ever please a capricious or a vacillating being? Who could know how to shape his conduct if the principles of the divine administration were not always the same? At the same time, also, that this passage furnishes the strongest argument for fidelity and perseverance, it is an irrefragable proof of the divinity of the Saviour. It asserts immutability - sameness in the past, the present, and to all eternity but of whom can this be affirmed but God? It would not be possible to conceive of a declaration which would more strongly assert immutability than this. 8. This verse is not, as some read it, in apposition with "the end of their conversation" (Heb 13:7), but forms the transition. "Jesus Christ, yesterday and to-day (is) the same, and (shall be the same) unto the ages (that is, unto all ages)." The Jesus Christ (the full name being given, to mark with affectionate solemnity both His person and His office) who supported your spiritual rulers through life even unto their end "yesterday" (in times past), being at once "the Author and the Finisher of their faith" (Heb 12:2), remains still the same Jesus Christ "to-day," ready to help you also, if like them you walk by "faith" in Him. Compare "this same Jesus," Ac 1:11. He who yesterday (proverbial for the past time) suffered and died, is to-day in glory (Re 1:18). "As night comes between yesterday and to-day, and yet night itself is swallowed up by yesterday and to-day, so the "suffering" did not so interrupt the glory of Jesus Christ which was of yesterday, and that which is to-day, as not to continue to be the same. He is the same yesterday, before He came into the world, and to-day, in heaven. Yesterday in the time of our predecessors, and to-day in our age" [Bengel]. So the doctrine is the same, not variable: this verse thus forms the transition between Heb 13:7 and Heb 13:9. He is always "the same" (Heb 1:12). The same in the Old and in the New Testament. Though this hath no term of connection, yet it may be referred either to what precedeth or followeth it; for the apostle is not here dropping aphorisms, but pressing on the subjects of Christ’s kingdom known duties. It is here interposed as a weighty reason of the duty foregoing, to remember their guides, imitate their faith, and consider the end of their conversation, for they taught, believed in, conversed with, and at last were perfected by, Jesus Christ; so that they might be saved by him as their guides were, there being no other way to blessedness, but by

Jesus Christ the same, & c., John 14:6. Or a reason enforcing what followeth, that since Jesus Christ is the same, as in his person, so in his doctrine, faith, and conversation, which he enjoineth on his subjects, they should not be carried about with divers and strange doctrines. Jesus Christ personal is immutable in his care and love to his mystical body, and all the members of it, throughout all times and ages, he never leaves nor forsakes them; so Christ doctrinal, in his faith, law, and rule of conversation, Ephesians 4:20,21. The pure, full, and entire religion of Christ is unchangeable, being simply, indivisibly, and constantly the same throughout all measures of time, Matthew 5:18 2 Corinthians 11:3,4 Ga 1:6,7 Eph 4:4,5 1 Peter 1:23,25. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. Who is the substance of the word spoken by the above mentioned rulers, the author and object of their faith, and the end in which their conversation terminated. These words may be expressive of the duration of Christ: he was "yesterday", which does not design the day immediately foregoing, nor some little time past, but ancient times, formerly, of old; and though it does not extend to eternity, which is true of Christ, yet may be carried further than to the days of his flesh here on earth, even to the whole Old Testament dispensation; yea, to the beginning of the world, when he existed not only as the eternal Word, the everlasting "I am", but as the Saviour and Redeemer of his people; during which dispensation he frequently appeared in an human form, and was the sum of all promises and prophecies, and the substance of all types and shadows, and the spiritual food of his people: and he is "today" under the Gospel dispensation; in his person as God-man, and in his offices as prophet, priest, and King: and will be so "for ever": he will never die more; his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his priesthood an unchangeable one. Moreover, these words may regard the immutability of Christ; who is unchangeable in his person, perfections, and essence, as God; and in his love to his people; and in the fulness of his grace, and in the efficacy of his blood, and in the virtue of his sacrifice and righteousness: it may be observed, that , translated "the same", answers to "he", a name of God, Psalm 102:27 and which is used in Jewish writings (x) for a name of God; and so it is among the Turks (y): and it is expressive of his eternity, immutability, and independence; and well agrees with Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever.

(x) Seder Tephillot, fol. 2. 1. & 4. 1. Ed. Basil. fol. 6. 2. & 7. 1. Ed. Amstelod. Zehar in Exod. fol. 35. 4. Maimonides in Misn. Succa, c. 4. sect. 5. (y) Smith de Moribus Turc. p. 40.

{5} Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

(5) He repeats the sum of the doctrine, that is, the only ground of all precepts of conduct, and that is this: That we ought to quiet and content ourselves in Christ only: for there has never been any man saved without the knowledge of him, neither is there today, nor shall there be ever.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 13:8 is ordinarily comprehended in one with Hebrews 13:7. Expositors then find in the utterance either, as Bleek, Ebrard, Bisping, and others, an adducing of the motive for the emulation of the faithful leaders enjoined at Hebrews 13:7; or, as Zeger, Grotius, Schulz, Kurtz, and others (comp. already Theophylact), the encouraging assurance that, as to these leaders, so also to the readers, provided they only take the faith of these leaders as a model for themselves, the gracious aid of Christ—of which, however, there was no mention in Hebrews 13:7—will not be wanting; or finally, as Carpzov,[124] the more precise information as to that in which their faith had consisted. More correctly, however, on account of the antithetic correspondence between ὁ αὐτός, Hebrews 13:8, and ποικίλαις καὶ ξέναις, Hebrews 13:9, are the words, Hebrews 13:8, taken as constituting the foundation and preparation for the injunction of Hebrews 13:9. Jesus Christ is for ever the same; the Christian therefore must give no place in his mind and heart to doctrines which are opposed to Christ, His nature and His requirements.

ἐχθὲςσήμερονεἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας] Designation of the past, present, and future; exhaustive unfolding of the notion ἀεί. The expression is rhetorical; ἐχθές is consequently not to be further expounded, in such wise that we must think of the time of the former teachers (Schlichting, Grotius, Hammond, Limborch, Bleek, de Wette, Bisping, Delitzsch, Maier, Kluge, Kurtz, Hofmann, Woerner, al.), or of the time before the appearing of Christ (Bengel, Cramer, Stein), or to the whole time of the Old Covenant (Calvin, Pareus, al.), or even to the eternal pre-existence of Christ (Ambrose, de Fide, v. 1. 25; Seb. Schmidt, Nemethus, and others).

Ἰησοῦς Χριστός is the subject, and ὁ αὐτός (sc. ἐστίν, not ἔστω) the common predicate to all three notes of time. Wrongly Paulus: “Jesus is the God-anointed One; yesterday and to-day is He altogether the same”—which must have read: Ἰησοῦς ὁ Χριστός. But mistaken also the Vulgate, Oecumenius, Luther, Vatablus, Zeger, Calvin, and others, in that they interpunctuate after σήμερον: Jesus Christ yesterday and to-day; the same also in eternity. For that which is to be accentuated is not the eternity of Christ, as would be the case by means of the ἐχθὲς καὶ σήμερον taken alone, but the eternal unchangeableness of Christ.

[124] “Imitamini vestrorum praefectorum fidem, nimirum hanc: Jesus Christus heri, hodie et semper ὁ αὐτὸς Deus est.”

Hebrews 13:8-15. Exhortation to hold aloof from unchristian doctrines and ritual observances.8. Jesus Christ the same] Rather, “is the same” (comp. Hebrews 1:12). The collocation “Jesus Christ” is in this Epistle only found elsewhere in Hebrews 13:21 and Hebrews 10:10. He commonly says “Jesus” in the true reading (Hebrews 2:9, Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 6:20, &c.) or “Christ” (Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 5:5, &c.). He also has “the Lord” (Hebrews 2:3), “our Lord” (Hebrews 7:14), and “our Lord Jesus” (Hebrews 13:20). “Christ Jesus,” which is so common in St Paul, only occurs as a very dubious various reading in Hebrews 3:1.

yesterday, and to day, and for ever] See Hebrews 7:24. The order of the Greek is “yesterday and to-day the same, and to the ages.” See Hebrews 1:12; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17. The unchangeableness of Christ is a reason for not being swept about by winds of strange teaching.Hebrews 13:8. Ἰησοῦς χριστὸς, Jesus Christ) A solemn appellation: The sum of the Gospel, which is to be held by faith. Not only the doctrine concerning Christ is intended, but Jesus Christ Himself, of whom the doctrine of faith treats. Those who have gone before us in the path of salvation died in that faith, which is supported by the word of GOD.—χθὲς καὶ σήμερον, yesterday and to-day) χθὲς καὶ σήμερον, yesterday and to-day, occur in their proper (strict) signification, without a figure, in 1 Samuel 20:27 : but the apostle speaks in a larger (nobler) sense. Jesus Christ, who was yesterday, is the same to-day; yesterday, before His sufferings and death; to-day, in glory; comp. ch. Hebrews 1:3; Revelation 1:18. As night comes between yesterday and to-day, and yet night itself is swallowed up by yesterday and to-day, so the suffering did not so interrupt the glory of Jesus Christ which was of yesterday, so to speak, and that glory which is of to-day, that it did not continue to be the same. These expressions have the force of a proverb, yesterday, yesterday and the day before, yesterday and to-day, yesterday and to-morrow: Isaiah 30:33; Deuteronomy 4:42; 2 Samuel 15:20; Sir 38:23; and in this general sense of the apostle, yesterday and to-day resemble a proverb, so as to denote any past and present time, which was denoted especially in the discussion brought to this point. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday—before He came into the world, before His passion, before His ascension—and to-day, in heaven; yesterday and to-day in the former and latter (second) part of this exhortation: yesterday in the time of our earlier and later predecessors, and to-day in our own age. In whatever way it may be understood, Artemonius, p. 347, cannot join together a short yesterday and long ages (αἰῶνας).—ὁ αὐτὸς) Some place a comma before it, but improperly. This is the sentiment of the apostle: Jesus Christ is always the same; He who was yesterday, is the SAME TO-DAY, nay, for ever (to all AGES): [Always the same Saviour and the same Teacher.—V. g.] Also, the true doctrine, delivered to you by your teachers, is always the same, not variable, Hebrews 13:7; Hebrews 13:9. He Himself is always the same: ch. Hebrews 1:12, Thou art the same: The same in the Old and New Testament; ch. Hebrews 12:2, note. See also 1 Corinthians 3:11; Php 3:16. He is unchangeable, and never dies, although teachers die.—καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας) and for ever, Hebrews 13:20, ch. Hebrews 7:3; Hebrews 7:16; Hebrews 7:24-25.Jesus Christ the same (Ἱησοῦς Χριστὸς ὁ αὐτός)

The A.V. is slipshod, leaving the sentence without connection, or in apparent apposition with the end of their conversation. In translation this is commonly corrected by inserting is: "Jesus Christ is the same," etc. But even thus the real point of the statement is missed. No doubt the old teachers believed in the unchangeableness of Jesus Christ; but that fact is not represented as the subject of their faith, which would be irrelevant and somewhat flat. The emphatic point of the statement is Christ. They lived and died in the faith that Jesus is The Christ - the Messiah. The readers were tempted to surrender this faith and to return to Judaism which denied Jesus's messiahship (comp. Hebrews 10:29). Hence the writer says, "hold fast and imitate their faith in Jesus as the Christ. He is ever the same. He must be to you, today, what he was to them, yesterday, and will be forever to the heavenly hosts - Christ. Rend. therefore "Jesus is Christ." Observe that our writer rarely uses the formula Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 10:10 it occurs in a passage in which the messianic mission of Jesus is emphasized (see Hebrews 10:5, Hebrews 10:9), and in Hebrews 13:21, in a liturgical formula. The temptation to forsake Jesus as Messiah is treated in the next verse.

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