"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). Blessed truth and precious assurance for us poor, weak creatures, yea, among all His creatures the most changing; He changeth not. "For I am the LORD, I change not" (Mal. 3:6). "Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall all 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; But Thou art the same, and Thy years shall have no end" (Psalm 102:25-27; compare Heb. 1:10-12).
The above blessed statement puts Him before our hearts as the unchanging Son of God, the solid rock of ages. It is a verse which is like Himself, infinite, inexhaustible. Our adorable Lord is here mentioned as having a past, a present and a future, a yesterday, to-day and a forever. This Epistle at the close of which we find this word gives us a definition of the yesterday, the to-day and the forever of the Son of God. He is the true God; He had never the beginning of days, a yesterday, a past without a beginning. By Him the worlds were made. He is the effulgence of His glory and the expression of His substance (Heb. 1:3). His yesterday is Eternity; His goings forth are from old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2). And in that yesterday, in the bosom of the Father, the great plan of redemption was blessedly known. Oh! what a love that knew all and was ever ready to give all to carry out that wonderful scheme. "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God." (Heb. 10:5-7).
And then He came to manifest the eternal love of God. He came in the form of a servant; He, whose yesterday is eternity, was made a little lower than the angels (Heb. 2:9). And while on earth He was the same as in eternity. He showed His power as the Creator, over nature, disease and death. Though in humiliation, the Son of God had Glory, yet it was hidden. How blessed it is to trace His way while on earth and what love, mercy, patience, meekness, humility, peace and much more we find here.
And then His great work of redemption. "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people" (Heb. 2:17). "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:7-9).
In His yesterday He made purification of sins; He put away sin by sacrificing Himself. He fulfilled the eternal will of God, by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
And this Epistle likewise speaks of His "to-day," the Present of Himself. His "to-day" began with the opened tomb, that blessed, glorious resurrection morn. He is the great shepherd of the sheep brought again from the dead, our Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 13:20). He is the appointed heir of all things, on the right hand of the majesty on high, taking a place so much better than the angels, as He inherits a name more excellent than they (Heb. 1:3-5). He is addressed by God as high priest according to the order of Melchisedec (Heb. 5:10). We gaze into the opened heavens and we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor (Heb. 2:9).
Now a summary of the things of which we are speaking is: We have such a one high priest who has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the heavens; minister of the holy places and the true tabernacle, which the Lord has pitched and not man (Heb. 8:2). He has a priesthood unchangeable. Whence also He is able to save to the uttermost those who approach by Him to God, always living to intercede for them (Heb. 7:25). For the Christ is not entered into holy places made with hands, figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb. 9:24). But, He having offered one sacrifice for sins, sat down in perpetuity at the right hand of God, waiting from henceforth until His enemies are made His footstool (Heb. 10:12-13). Such and much more is His "to-day." All power in heaven and on earth is given to Him.
His "forever" will begin when He leaves the Father's throne and when He is brought into the world again, when all things are to be subjected under His feet and He will be in the fullest exercise of His Melchisedec priesthood, a priest upon His throne. And in all, yesterday, in the days of His humiliation, to-day upon the Father's throne as our advocate and priest, in His glorious future, upon His own throne He is the same, the mighty Jehovah, who changeth not, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last. He is the unmovable rock, no storms, no changes can move the rock upon which we stand, and though heaven and earth pass away neither He, the living, eternal Word, nor His written Word will change.
His power, His grace, His love, His patience, His kindness, His sympathy is ever the same towards His own beloved people, who have trusted in Him and share His life. Having loved His own, who are in the world, and loved them to the end (John 13:1); and that end is eternity. In the beginning of the last book of the Bible, we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in the church, worshipping Him, in that matchless outburst "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Rev. 1:5). The love He has for His own is an abiding, an unchanging love. Oh to think more of that love, that changeless love, which passeth knowledge! And how true it is what a saint has sung long ago:
"Oh! I am weary of my love,
That doth so little t'wards Thee move;
Yet do I constant, inly groan,
To know the depth of all Thine own.
That groan, sweet Spirit, is from Thee,
Nor self-begotten e'er can be;
No natural heart, oh Lord, of mine
Could long to lose itself in Thine.
O love of loves, for me that died;
The love of Jesus crucified!
Who lowly took His part with me,
That I as one with Him might be.
Loved, and for ever on Thy throne
Adored, and loved, Thou changeless One;
Thou wilt thro' one eternal day,
The height and depth of all display."
Meanwhile, Thou precious, wondrous Lamb
Content—at least with this I am,
To count my love too mean to own,
And know but Thine—"Thy love alone."
And yet how often we doubt that love and by fear, when we have come short or fallen in sin, insult that mighty changeless love. How often, too, when trials are upon us and we suffer, we lose sight of Him, the unchanging One, who loves His own to the end, and deep down in the heart there is unrest, anxiety, as some evil could come upon us. Our weakness, our imperfections, our failures and our sins do not change His love and His grace.
As He was yesterday with His own and kept them, carried them, was their strength, their help, their refuge and their safe hiding place, their peace and their comfort, so is He to-day, so will He be forever. And in faith we can bring it still nearer to our hearts. He is for each the same loving, sympathizing, caring, interested Saviour, Friend and Lord. He who helped you yesterday, whose love was about you in the past, who has not left you since He found you for a single moment, is the same to-day, and will never be anything less. He will keep each member of His body, He will carry, He will lead onward, and with His unchanging love and power deal with each, as it pleases Him.
Oh that we might cast ourselves more upon Him and spend the remainder of our days here (how few indeed!) in a more utter dependence upon Him, trusting Him, the changeless One. Oh for a closer walk with Him in these evil days and to taste more of His love, His unchanging love. How happy, restful, without care and anxiety God's people might be if only their hearts were fixed upon Him who is the same yesterday, to-day and forever. Alas! how often the things seen are more real to us [than] the real things, the things unseen. What a joy it ought to be to our hearts to follow Him now, to learn over and over again that He is the same, who changeth not, to find His power and strength as of old manifested in behalf of His beloved people.
From The Lord of Glory... by A. C. Gaebelein. New York: Publication Office "Our Hope", ©1910.
>> More from The Lord of Glory...