Calvary Road Baptist Church

Jesus Christ The Same Yesterday, And To Day, And For Ever

Hebrews 13.8

 

This morning’s message from God’s Word will be quite straightforward, the simple proclamation of facts asserted in God’s Word, the Bible. My text is Hebrews 13.8: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

To avoid confusion, allow me to approach this verse without consciously taking anything for granted about what is presumably already understood by the original readers or what is presumably assumed by the original writer. My intent is to set forth the truth in such a fashion that at any point along the way that proves to be in any way to you a sticking point, I can address that issue with you in private in what I hope to be a factual, logical, and revealing manner.

First, I point out the obvious, that Hebrews 13.8 is a text that is part of the Christian Bible. For almost two thousand years Christians have taken the Bible to be that collection of sixty-six books written over some 1600 years by more than forty different individuals in several different countries, thirty-seven in the Hebrew Old Testament and twenty-nine in the Greek New Testament, which have been accepted into the canon of scripture as inspired by the Holy Spirit of God through the instrumentality of chosen men to produce what we recognize to be the very Word of God. Second Timothy 3.16 describes the process of God’s authorship of the Word of God from one perspective, speaking more to the product, referred to as scripture:

 

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

 

Second Peter 1.21 describes the process of God’s authorship of the Word of God from a different perspective, speaking more to the means by which men were miraculously moved by the Holy Spirit of God:

 

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

 

For two thousand years the Bible has been opposed, assailed, ridiculed, challenged, assaulted, burned, vilified, and outlawed. Despite opposition to the Bible, throughout that time people’s lives have been supernaturally changed as a result of reading it, memorizing it, hiding its truth in their hearts, using it as their infallible and unfailing rule of life, and serving as beacon pointing to the Savior of sinful men’s souls, Jesus Christ.

Within the canon of scripture is contained the epistle, the letter if you will, known as the epistle to the Hebrews, which contains the text for this morning’s message. Evidence within the book of Hebrews strongly suggests it was written before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.[1] Ranking alongside the gospel according to John as the most Christ-exalting of the books of the Bible, Hebrews presents the superiority of the Lord Jesus Christ in five ways: The superiority of Christ’s position, the superiority of Christ’s priestly office, the superiority of Christ’s priestly ministry, the superiority of the privileges of Christ’s followers, and the superiority of the behavior of Christ’s followers.

Because I have already made frequent reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, it is important to point out that He is the central subject of the Bible. In John 5.39, He said to a group of adversaries who relied on their Biblical scholarship to stand them in good stead with God,

 

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

 

In fact, the Bible does not bring about eternal life for anyone. The Bible does not prepare anyone for eternity. The Bible does not reconcile any sinner to God. Rather, the Bible points men to the only One who can and does give the gift of eternal life, who can and does grant forgiveness, and who can and does reconcile sinners to God. Such things as forgiveness and salvation are not found in any written text, not even the inspired text of the Bible, God’s Word, but are the result of a personal relationship with the Savior being established by means of faith, with that Savior being the Lord Jesus Christ.

That said, we must keep in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself predicted the arrival of many false Christs on the scene, Matthew 24.24 and Mark 13.22:

 

“For false Christs and false prophets shall rise”

 

In light of the Lord’s prediction of false Christs, and to do what I can to avoid confusion concerning who and what He is, allow me to clearly define for you the Lord Jesus Christ who is referred to in Hebrews 13.8. Turn to Genesis 3.15, where we find God’s comments to Adam and Eve shortly after they have eaten the forbidden fruit and were unsuccessful in their attempts to then hide from God. Adam attempted to shift blame for his sin to Eve when confronted by God, in Genesis 3.12. When God confronted Eve, she in turn attempted to shift blame for her sin to the serpent, Genesis 3.13. It is in Genesis 3.14-15 that God pronounces His curse upon the serpent and then predicts for the first time in God’s Word the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, with the statement about His heel being bruised being a reference to Christ’s crucifixion:

 

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

 

Next, turn to the second Psalm, where we see the Lord Jesus Christ referred to a thousand years before His birth and earthly ministry as the LORD’s anointed, verse 2, and as the LORD’s Son, verses 7 and 12, and as being begotten in eternity, also verse 7.[2] Notice, also in verse 12, that He is identified as the proper one in whom we should trust, because opposition to Him is futile. Let me read those three verses to you:

 

2      The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed,

7      I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

12    Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

 

Third, I call to your attention Isaiah 7.14, where His birth of a virgin is predicted, and Isaiah 9.6 (which I will read), where some of His glories are listed, along with mention being made of His birth:

 

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

 

Let me quickly rehearse to you that the place of His birth was predicted, Micah 5.2, His sacrificial death was predicted, Isaiah 52-53, and His bodily resurrection from the dead was both predicted numerous times and has been historically proven as having occurred.[3] Lastly, it should also be pointed out that there are too many passages for me to name here that show the resurrected Savior to be exalted and enthroned at the Father’s right hand on high at present.[4] Of course, the implication being that what He does He does from on high. The saving, the forgiving, the advocacy, and the intercessory ministries of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest are all executed by Him from heaven.

Recognizing that the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of the living God, the Alpha and the Omega, without beginning and without end, let us now turn to the specific declaration our text makes about the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. When you think about this for a bit it makes sense, since anyone who is perfect cannot improve, and if you are eternal God and have always been perfect then it must be that you have always been the same. In Malachi 3.6 we read,

 

“For I am the LORD, I change not.”

 

From Malachi 3.6, we see Jehovah’s declaration that He changes not. From Hebrews 13.8, we see the declaration that the Lord Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This is no surprise, since the one true and living God, existing throughout eternity in the form of three Divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, would of course each be immutable, which is to say unchangeable.

However, we still need clarification concerning what that means with respect to the Lord Jesus Christ, so that we have a proper, which is to say scriptural, understanding of the Jesus Christ of the Bible:

 

First, CONSIDER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN ETERNITY PAST

 

We know that Jesus Christ is God. He is declared to be God in John’s gospel, John 1.1-3:

 

1      In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2      The same was in the beginning with God.

3      All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 

He is declared to be God in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Colossians 2.9:

 

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

 

I could take you to passages where the Lord Jesus Christ showed Himself to be God, declared Himself to be God, and brought men to acknowledge that He was God without rebuking or correcting them for so doing.[5]

However, our present interest is what the Lord Jesus Christ was like before He was born of the virgin Mary, before He stepped from eternity and timelessness into the time-space-matter continuum. You will notice in John 10.41 that the Apostle informs his readers that the prophet Isaiah both saw the Lord Jesus Christ’s glory and spoke of it. This means we are to look in the book of Isaiah for evidence of the prophet beholding Christ’s glory. We recognize that Isaiah spoke of Christ’s suffering and substitutionary death in chapters 52 and 53 of his book, but it is in Isaiah 6.1-4 that we find Isaiah writing of Christ’s glory:

 

1      In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

2      Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

3      And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

4      And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

 

What can we learn from this look at the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior, before He was born of the Virgin Mary, the Savior in heaven where He had always from eternity been? From verse 1, we can tell that the Lord Jesus Christ is in eternity past the Lord, nevertheless. As well, He is enthroned, high and lifted up, with a regal and majestic train. From verse 2, we see that impressive angelic beings, seraphim, the burning ones, surround Him while daring not to look upon Him and also dare not to touch anything around Him with their feet. This is likely caution being exercised by those creatures owing to His holiness. Verse 3 reveals to us what these angelic beings are loudly proclaiming to each other, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” First, He is declared to be thrice holy, perhaps as a testament to the triunity of God. Second, His name is shown to be Jehovah, translated here LORD. Third, He is identified to be Jehovah of hosts, a phrase first found in First Samuel chapter one and also in eight different Psalms to refer to the covenant God of Israel, as well as in numerous Old Testament prophetical books. When you close your eyes and picture the Lord Jesus Christ, is this the mental image you have of Him? This is what He was like before He was born in Bethlehem.

 

Next, CONSIDER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN HIS PREVIOUS SESSION

 

By that I mean, consider Him before where He is presently doing what He is presently doing.

First, there is His incarnation. We know He was born of a virgin, the Virgin Mary. Such was implied in Genesis 3.15, where He is described as the seed of the woman and not the seed of the man. As well, His virgin birth was explicitly predicted in Isaiah 7.14: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son.” What is perplexing to some is the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ, when He became a man, possessed two natures, Deity and sinless humanity. Nevertheless, despite the fact that such is incomprehensible, it is clearly taught in God’s Word, where we see that the Lord Jesus Christ displayed all the essential attributes of humanity, He grew and matured from infancy to adulthood, He hungered and thirsted and tired and slept, He grieved and wept, and on occasion became angry. Yet at the same time He claimed and displayed the attributes of deity, giving sight to the blind, healing the lame, cleansing lepers, forgiving sins, raising the dead, not being subject to the laws of nature, and Himself rising from the dead.

For the purposes of this message it is important to once again, as in the first point of this message, take note of Christ’s glory. The Apostle John made mention of Isaiah beholding Christ’s glory before His incarnation. This must be taken in conjunction with John’s insistence that he, too, had seen Christ’s glory. Look at John 1.14:

 

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

 

Where did they behold His glory? On the Mount of Transfiguration, Mark 9.2-7:

 

2      And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.

3      And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

4      And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.

5      And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

6      For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.

7      And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.

 

The Apostle Peter’s recollection of this event is referred to in Second Peter 1.17. Referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, he writes,

 

“For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

Once again, I ask you to consider your impressions and understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ. I take great exception to the Roman Catholic Church’s portrayal of Christ as always in their depictions being a babe in a manger or hanging dead on a cross, physically seeming to be impotent. However, those closest to Him had seared into their minds and hearts the transfiguration of Jesus Christ on the mount, where even in His humanity the brightness of His glory burst through for them to see. Again, I ask you to consider and reflect on the person of Jesus Christ, the Lord. Yes, He took upon Himself human nature, yet without sin. Yes, His humanity was real, and He lived for a time within the constraints of a human nature. Yet, at no time did He cease to be what He has eternally been, as Paul is careful to note in Colossians 2.9:

 

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

 

It should be the fullness of all these truths about Him that informs your understanding and appreciation of Him. Do not leave Him in a manger in your mind. Do not leave Him hanging on a cross in your mind. As well, never leave His dead body in a rich man’s tomb in your mind. Do your best to wrap your mind around Him in all His fullness and glory. Born in Bethlehem? Yes, but Who was born in Bethlehem? More than just a little baby. Died on a cross? Yes, but no ordinary man who gave up the ghost on the cross. This is the same Person seen by Isaiah, high and lifted up.

 

Finally, CONSIDER THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN HIS PRESENT SESSION

 

By that I mean, consider Him where He is presently doing what He is presently doing.

First, note that He ascended. Acts 1.1-9 tells us what we need to know about His ascension:

 

1      The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,

2      Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

3      To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

4      And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

5      For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

6      When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

7      And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.

8      But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

9      And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

 

Next, note that He is enthroned. Most of you know from my frequent references to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is shown in twenty-five verses to presently be in heaven. What I would like to more particularly point out at present is that He is enthroned in heaven. Allow me to read several passages, from the Old Testament predicting His enthronement and also from the New Testament attesting to His present enthronement:

 

(Psalm 110.1) “A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

 

(Mark 16.19)   “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”

 

(Hebrews 10.12-13) “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God. From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”

 

Third, note that He is engaged. I will not at this time make specific scripture references, but remind you of things that are not disputed about the Lord Jesus Christ’s activities during His present session in heaven. He is our advocate.[6] He intercedes on our behalf.[7] He is our Great High Priest and Chief Shepherd.[8] Of course, He is the Savior. Thus, it is plain to see that the Lord Jesus Christ, though enthroned on high, is very much engaged in vital ministry.

Most of all, however, take note of His glory. In Acts 22.11, Paul refers to Christ’s glory blinding him when He appeared to him on the road to Damascus. This was some years after Christ’s ascension to heaven. In Second Thessalonians 2.14, Paul explains to the young converts in Thessalonica that God’s plan for those chosen to salvation is to ultimately obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Second Timothy 2.10, Paul informs Timothy that he endured “all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” Hebrews 1.3 shows the Lord Jesus Christ to be the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person. Hebrews 2.7 and 9 declare that the Lord Jesus Christ has been crowned with glory. James describes the Lord Jesus Christ, in James 2.1, as the Lord of glory. First Peter 1.21 informs us that not only did God raise Him from the dead, but also gave Him glory. Jude 24 insists that we will someday be presented before the presence of His glory. All of these passages show that Jesus Christ, the Lord, in His present session in heaven, as testified by Paul, by Peter, by John, and by the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, is possessed of observable and demonstrable glory. In your conception of Jesus Christ at present, do you esteem Him of deserving and possessing glory?

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Granted, the incarnation of Christ refers to Him taking upon Himself both human flesh and human nature, which He still possesses, though His human body is now glorified following His miraculous resurrection from the dead. However, through it all He has not changed in His essence throughout all eternity. Therefore, when you are confronted with the gospel message, please understand that you are dealing with the good news concerning the Lord of glory, Who has been a being of great and awesome glory since eternity past, and will continue to be possessed of great glory throughout eternity.

Do not allow His incarnation to cloud your perception of Him. Do not let the fact that He was born in Bethlehem of a virgin and grew up in Nazareth to die on the cross outside Jerusalem distort your understanding of reality. He was enthroned before He became a man, He is presently enthroned now that He has returned to heaven, and except for a bit more than thirty years while here on earth, He has ever been seated on a throne in great glory. Therefore, when you consider the claims of Jesus Christ, discard any mental image of Him being merely a babe in a manger, or a dead man on a cross or buried in a tomb. Think of Him always as the King of the Jews, as the LORD of hosts, as the One of such blazing holiness that the seraphims dare not look upon Him. Yet we, sinful as we certainly are, are bidden not only to approach the throne of God’s grace by virtue of His doing and dying on our behalf, we are also urged to look unto Him, the author and finisher of our faith, Hebrews 12.2.

This is the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This is the One who confronts you with His gospel call. This is the One Who seeks you through the preaching of the Word and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. My advice to you is respond to Him, respond to Him quickly, and respond to Him in faith believing to the salvation of your eternal and undying soul.



[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1991), page 1512.

[2] Matthew Poole, A Commentary On The Whole Bible, Volume 2, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers), page 3.

[3] Psalm 16.10; Matthew 12.40 and Gary Robert Habermas, The Resurrection Of Jesus: A Rational Inquiry, (a dissertation submitted to Michigan State University, 1976), Gary R. Habermas, The Resurrection Of Jesus, (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984), Gary R. Habermas, The Risen Jesus & Future Hope, (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2003), Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case For The Resurrection Of Jesus, (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2004), N. T. Wright, The Resurrection Of The Son Of God, (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003).

[4] Psalm 16.11; 110.1; Matthew 26.64; Mark 12.36; 14.62; 16.19; Luke 20.42; 22.69; John 3.13; 14.2-4; Acts 2.33, 34-35; 7.56; Romans 8.34; Ephesians 1.20; Colossians 3.1; Second Thessalonians 1.7; Hebrews 1.3, 13; 8.1; 9.24; 10.12-13; 12.2; 1 Peter 3.22; Revelation 19.11

[5] Exodus 3.14; John 6.48; 8.12; 10.9, 11; 11.25; 13.13; 14.6; 15.1; 20.28

[6] 1 John 2.1

[7] Hebrews 7.25

[8] Hebrews 4.14; 1 Peter 5.4


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pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org