The Changeless Christ

Hebrews 1:12; Hebrews 13:8  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 12
THE permanence of the new order of things (i.e. of Christianity), in contrast with the temporal nature of things under the law is a prominent theme in the epistle to the Hebrews. It was necessary that those accustomed to what was visible and tangible in their worship should be taught that they were now introduced to a sphere where only faith was in exercise, and where the objects of faith were not less but more real than those specially before Old Testament saints. Yet not only did the remnant of Israel, “according to the election of grace,” need to be enlightened as to the immutable basis upon which all the spiritual blessings of the believer are founded, but the saints of every succeeding age have and do find amazing comfort in the remembrance that the whole Christian edifice is reared upon the Impregnable Rock, Christ Jesus.
It was ever the ordinary expectation of the Jew that Messiah when He came would bring in something lasting as well as blessed. As the people said to the Lord, “We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth forever” (John 12:3434The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man? (John 12:34)). But the cross seemed to put an end to all such hopes. And so in point of fact it did, as far as present earthly realization was concerned. But through the superabundant grace of God it nevertheless became the introduction to heavenly blessings, which were on that account so much the more real and permanent.
This is the central thesis of the epistle to the Hebrews, wherein the all-important fact is established that Jesus Christ is the One to Whom the believer has to look for every blessing he enjoys both now and evermore; and, above all, that upon Him no change can mile. The ancient system of ordinances was vanishing away to make room for the substance of which it was but a shadow. This and more the Holy Spirit unfolds in detail. But though Moses and Aaron, Elijah, and the prophets had been superseded, the work of the Man, Christ Jesus was as changeless as His Person was infinite and unvarying.
In Heb. 1, accordingly, the glories of the Lord Jesus are set forth. And it is as the incarnate Son that He is therein viewed; for this is in keeping with an epistle addressed to the remnant of that nation to whom He came as the chosen messenger of the Most High. Hence the apostle does not commence in the unthinkable ages of a past eternity as does John in the Gospel, but at the moment when Messiah was born in time as God's spokesman. How He exceeds in virtue of His intrinsic worth all that was revered under the law For could prophets be compared for one moment with Him Who ranked as Son, Who was both the Creator and Inheritor of all things, besides being now enthroned on high as the great Sin-Purger? Angels, too, He infinitely transcended. Though in grace He became a servant, the more excellent name of Son is His inalienable heritage. They, as the scriptures abundantly prove, were created for a state of servitude beyond which they can never advance; moreover by the homage they render the First-begotten when He cometh into the world, they testify to His divine superiority.
Again, the Psalms are cited to show that the Son is therein addressed as God (Psa. 45:6, 76Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. 7Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psalm 45:6‑7)). And as if anticipating the objection of a captious Jew that rulers and magistrates were similarly designated in the same book (Psa. 82:66I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. (Psalm 82:6)),another scripture is advanced in which the incommunicable Name is ascribed to Him. “Thou, LORD, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thy hands; they shall perish but thou remainest, and they all shall wax old as doth a garment, and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” “Jesus” to Him (Matt. 1:2121And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)) was not a mere appellation, as to the son of Nun, but accurately descriptive of His person and work as Jehovah the Savior.
Indeed, the word is the more striking since it is quoted from Psa. 102, wherein the solitude and humiliation of the suffering Messiah are vividly portrayed. It is there we read, “For my days are consumed like smoke,” and “My days are like a shadow that declineth: and I am withered like grass,” and again, “He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days. I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days (Psa. 102:3, 11, 23, 243For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth. (Psalm 102:3)
11My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass. (Psalm 102:11)
23He weakened my strength in the way; he shortened my days. 24I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. (Psalm 102:23‑24)
). This is the “prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed and poureth out his complaint before Jehovah.” And this cry from the depths is immediately followed by the remarkable declaration of the immutability of His person, ascribed to Him at the very moment of His apparent weakness (Psa. 102:12, 24-2712But thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations. (Psalm 102:12)
24I said, O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations. 25Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. 26They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: 27But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. (Psalm 102:24‑27)
). The heavens and the earth, His own handiwork, and the recognized emblems of stability among men, shall perish in contrast with His everlasting existence.
Thus, before the Spirit of God speaks of “eternal salvation” (chap. 5:9), the “unchanging priesthood” (chap. 7.), “eternal redemption” (chap. 9:12), “eternal inheritance” (chap. 9:15), the ever-efficacious sacrifice, (chap. 10.), the “immovable kingdom” (chap. 12:28), the “everlasting covenant” (chap. 13:20), He reveals the wondrous truth of the person of the Lord Jesus from Whom the blessings enumerated take their character of “eternal.” Because He is the same and His years unfailing, His work abides without decay. Because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day and forever, the luster of the believer's portion in Him is undimmed, its value undiminished, and its possession unalterably secure.
How good of our God to give us (ourselves changeful in a changeful scene where naught is dependable) One Who is unchanging and in Whom we, and all we possess that is worth possessing, are secured from the depredations of the foe and from the corruption of evil within and around us. May we with the tenacity of faith lay hold of this blessed attribute of the Person of the Lord which alone can keep us “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” W. J. H.