Jesus Christ Is the Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever

Hebrews 13:8  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
In one view of it, the Epistle to the Hebrews may be said to be a divine testimony to the truth of this short verse— “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to day, and forever.” For the thought of the Lord's stability pervades the epistle, the stability of all that He deals with, and of all who trust in Him, in other words, His perfection, or that which gives rest to God.
Over this epistle, read in this light, the believing soul might breathe out the words of Psa. 90 “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” For it is a psalm which recognizes the vanity or perishableness of everything by reason of sin, and that through Christ alone is anything to be “established.” He imparts “glory” and “beauty” according to that psalm, but stability also. It is like the apostle's thought in 2 Cor. 1. However uncertain other things may have been (even, if the Corinthians pleased, his purposes concerning them), yet the gospel was firm, the promises of God to the believer Yea and Amen, and the believer himself an established, anointed, and sealed one forever. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to day, and forever.
In chapter 1 the apostle looks at the stability of Jesus. He quotes Psa. 103 where, Messiah bewailing the shortening of His days, His withering like grass, His passing away like a shadow, Jehovah promises Him that He should be “the same” still forever and ever, when all else has decayed. It is the same word (ὁ αὐτος) in chapter 1:12, 13:8. His person as God is the foundation of all His offices and works. In this way the Epistle opens with the most glorious proclamation of this truth. Heaven and earth pass away, but Christ does not. The works of God's hand perish, but the one of God's anointing never can.
His person is thus fixed and stable for eternity. The anointed Jesus is still “the same.” But so is all that He deals with or handles; as this epistle, in the progress of it, also discloses, whether it be His blood, His priesthood, His covenant, or His kingdom. There is no secret principle of decay, no blemish or cause of death, anywhere. No taint or uncertainty is found here, but stability attaches to each and all— “the same yesterday, to day, and forever."1
His blood or sacrifice, as the Lamb of God, is “established” on the inadequacy of every other. It has been offered through the eternal Spirit. (ix. 14.) In token of which Jesus has sat down in the heavens, with a thought about an entirely different thing. God has promised Him that His enemies shall be made His footstool, and He is expecting that event. That is, so fully has His sacrifice discharged its business and secured the way of the grace of God, that the mind in heaven can now be occupied with glory and the kingdom, or the judgments which lead to it. There is “no more offering.”
And, accordingly, the sinner that pleads this blood is “perfected forever.” His sins are purged, and he is sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (See chap. x.)
His priesthood is “untransferable” and “continual.” He is “a priest forever” and made “after the power of an endless Life.” And this is witnessed by His being ordained by the oath of God, the expression or language of an unrepentable purpose. He “ever liveth to make intercession.”2
And, accordingly, the believer who looks to such a priest is saved “to the uttermost.” He can never fail him. Years and generations find Him the same as the beginning had made Him and left Him. (See chap. vii.)
The covenant which He ministers in like character is stable, it is never “old.” God never finds fault with it, so as to call forth another to succeed it, and thus make it old and “ready to vanish away.” It abides always “new.” It is called “the everlasting covenant.”
And, accordingly, the blessings conferred by it are eternal; the sins and iniquities it remits are remembered “no more.” (See chap. 8)
The throne He takes is “forever and ever.” It is untransferable and eternal.
And, accordingly, the kingdom, which by and by the saints order, is a kingdom that “cannot be moved.” The earth has already been shaken; heaven and earth will, by and by, be shaken; but the kingdom of the saints “cannot be moved.” The “consuming fire” can never reach it, though it may burn up all beside.3 The saints are heirs of such a kingdom; they receive a kingdom that “cannot be moved,” and have in subjection to them “the world to come” —a world not passed or to pass, but still to come and to abide.” (See chap. 1:8; 2:5; 12:28.)
Such is the illustration of this short verse afforded by the epistle. The practical word for us is this: not to change our confidence, or transfer it from Him, seeing that He changes not, nor transfers His things to any other. In the sight of all this glorious stability in Christ, our faith is to be stable. This is the characteristic exhortation of this epistle, as the other is the characteristic doctrine. This is the exhortation suited to the doctrine; and, therefore, the apostle is seen throughout the epistle, to be in dread of the Hebrew believers changing the ground of this confidence and surrendering their soul to the keeping of some carnal religious provisions in departure from the perfection and sufficiency of Christ. This is the fear which pervades the epistle, as the stability of Christ and all that He touches is the doctrine that pervades it. He sounds an alarm. He blows one of the silver trumpets of the house of God; and, in a different spirit from that in which it was uttered of old, says, “Let the Hebrews hear.” For he says, “whose house are we, if we bold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end;” and again, “we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” And again, speaking as in the person of God Himself, “if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” And the solemn words in chapters vi., x., are all upon the giving up of Christ, the “falling away” from the confession of His sufficiency, or the “doing despite to the Spirit of grace.”
Thus, then, the Lord Jesus stands strong, and all that He deals with; but He alone. “The earth and its inhabitants are dissolved, I bear up the pillars thereof.” His blood, His priesthood, His covenant, His kingdom, never wear old. And (blessed had we but hearts softened to receive the form of such a truth), He communicates all His stability to us, as we have seen. Faith appropriates it.4
Thus, what Abigail said to David, that his life was bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord his God, this epistle says to us all, who by faith snake Jesus everything to us. We are interested in Christ's stability. He shares His eternity with us.
“Jesus shall our treasure be
Through His own eternity.”
It is to our blessing as it is to His praise, that the admiring apostle says,” Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.”
There are two ways in which the priesthood of Christ is often wrongly used. First, as if we could not go directly to the Father; secondly, as if we sought thus to obtain righteousness.
1. His divine person is that sustaining all.
2. “Made higher than the heavens,” i.e., set above all that can be shaken. (See xii. 26.)
3. It will be observed, that the apostle establishes the perfection of the blood, priesthood, covenant, and kingdom of Christ, on the insufficiency of that which went before these severally in the hand of others. (See chap. 7, 8, 10, 12:25-28.)
4. After the shaking of heaven and earth in Hag. 2, the Lord promises to fill the house with glory, to give peace there, and to make Zerubbabel His signet; i.e., to establish him and his authority irreversibly. In Heb. 12 this shaking is referred to; but the whole epistle gives us, additional to Haggai, that the believer is to share the signet or “the immovable kingdom” with the true Melchizedec, and also largely unfolds, as we know, the title by which such share in the kingdom is to be held. Thus, ulterior scripture is continually filling up or completing previous scripture.