Question

Hebrews13:8 (NASB) says: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever." Does it mean anything more than the obvious?

Answer

The book of Hebrews spends much energy describing Christ's superior priesthood, and explains his superiority partially in terms of his permanence. Because he abides a priest forever, he is able to save us forever (e.g. 7:24-25). The verses immediately preceding 13:8 repeats the idea that our salvation is secure ("I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you" [13:5]; "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid" [13:6]). In this context of the letter as a whole and of the preceding verses, the statement in 13:8 that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever seems designed to reassure us of the security of our salvation by emphasizing the fact that the one on whom our salvation depends -- our high priest Jesus Christ -- will not abandon us, will not cease to intercede for us, and will never fail to be a sufficient sacrifice for us. In this respect, the verse is very similar to Malachi 3:6 ("I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed"). It is a statement of God's covenant faithfulness to his people -- because he does not vary from his covenant oaths to them, they can never perish (cf. Heb. 6:9-20).

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.