Is Heb. 13:8 On Jesus,
Like, He Does the Same Miracles
And Healings Today?
Is Heb. 13:8 On Jesus,
Like, He Does the Same Miracles
And Healings Today?
No, not at all. The passage speaks
Of Jesus regarding His unchangeable, eternal
And Saving character!
Heb. 13:8 has always been one of the main ‘slogans’ that you hear the tele-evangelists shout…in their sermons when trying to convince the viewers that Jesus will perform a miracle to the eventual sick believers watching their TV- broadcasts.
Oral Roberts used that slogan in his tent-crusades (you can see him on YouTube), as did T.L. Osborn, as did A.A. Allen of ‘Miracle Valley’…yes, just about all Pentecostal camp, not to mention Word of Faith camp (!) use this passage as a slogan to try to have their audiences believe that Jesus performs healing miracles in our time. They are lying about the Lord.
But I have news for you, if you have bought their hoax: Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday – but that is in character, and not in works such as healings and things like that! The passage has nothing to do with what Jesus did in His earthly ministry as such. Miracles and healings for believers are not at all included in Heb. 13:8. But you don’t have to take just my word for it.
Check out what known recommended Bible commentators say,
(8) Jesus Christ the same . . .—Rather, Jesus Christ is yesterday and to-day the same; yea, also forever. Their earlier guides have passed away (Hebrews 13:7); their Lord and Saviour abides the same for ever. He who is the subject of all Christian teaching is the same, therefore (Hebrews 13:9) “be not carried away by divert teachings.” Thus, this verse stands connected both with what precedes and with what follows. “Yesterday” carries the thought back to the lifetime of the teachers now no more; what the Saviour was to them, that will He be to their survivors. The whole period since He “sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12-13) is covered by this word. What He was “yesterday and to-day” He will be forever. (See Hebrews 1:11-12.)
THE UNCHANGING CHRIST
How far back does this ‘yesterday’ go? The limit must be found by observing that it is ‘Jesus Christ’ who is spoken of - that is to say, the Incarnate Saviour. That observation disposes of the reference of these words to the past eternity in which the eternal Word of God was what He is to-day. The sameness that is referred to here is neither the sameness of the divine Son from all eternity, nor the sameness of the medium of revelation in both the old and the new dispensations, but the sameness of the human Christ to all generations of His followers. And the epoch referred to in the ‘yesterday’ is defined more closely if we observe the previous context, which speaks of the dying teachers who have had the rule and have passed away. The ‘yesterday’ is the period of these departed teachers; the ‘to-day’ is the period of the writer and his readers.
But whilst the words of my text are thus narrowly: limited, the attribute, which is predicated of Christ in them, is something more than belongs to manhood, and requires for its foundation the assumption of His deity. He is the unchanging Jesus because He is the divine Son. The text resumes at the end of the Epistle, the solemn words of the first chapter, which referred the declaration of the Psalmist to ‘the Son’ - ‘Thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.’ That Son, changeless and eternal by divine immutability, is Jesus Christ, the incarnate Redeemer.
This text may well be taken as our motto in looking forward, as I suppose we are all of us more or less doing, and trying to forecast the dim outlines of the coming events of this New Year. Whatever may happen, let us hold fast by that confidence, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.’
I. I apply these words, then, as a New-Year’s motto, in two or three different directions, and ask you to consider, first, the unchanging Christ in His relation to our changeful lives.
The one thing of which anticipation may be sure is that nothing continues in one stay. True, ‘that which is to be hath already been’; true, there is ‘nothing new under the sun’; but just as in the physical world the infinite variety of creatures and things is all made Out of a few very simple elements, so, in our lives, out of a comparatively small number of possible incidents, an immense variety of combinations results, with the effect that, while we may be sure of the broad outlines of our future, we are all in the dark as to its particular events, and only know that ceaseless change with characterize it. So all forward looking must have a touch of fear in it, and there is only one thing that will enable us to front the else intolerable certainty of uncertainty, and that is, to fall back upon this thought’ of my text, ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.’
The one lesson of our changeful lives ought to be for each of us the existence of that which changes not. By the very law of contrast, and by the need of finding sufficient reason for the changes, we are driven from the contemplation of the fleeting to the vision of the permanent. The waves of this stormy sea of life ought to fling us all high and dry on the safe shore. Blessed are they who, in a world of passing phenomena, penetrate to the still centre of rest, and looking over all the vacillations of the things that can be shaken, can turn to the Christ and say, Thou who movest all things art Thyself unmoved; Thou who changest all things, Thyself changest not. As the moon rises slow and silvery, with its broad shield, out of the fluctuations of the ocean, so the one radiant Figure of the all sufficient and immutable Lover and Friend of our souls should rise for us out of the billows of life’s tossing ocean, and come to us across the seal Brother! let the fleeting proclaim to you the permanent; let the world with its revolutions lead you up to the thought of Him who is the same for ever. For that is the only thought on which a man can build, and, building, be at rest.
The yesterday of my text may either be applied to the generations that have passed, and then the ‘to-day’ is our little life; or may be applied to my own yesterday, and then the to-day is this narrow present. In either application the words of my text are full of hope and of joy. In the former they say to us that no time can waste, nor any drawing from the fountain can diminish the all-sufficiency of that divine Christ in whom eighteen centuries have trusted and been ‘lightened, and their faces were not ashamed.’ The yesterday of His grace to past generations: is the prophecy of the future and the law for the present. There is nothing that any past epoch has ever drawn from Him, of courage and confidence, of hope and wisdom, of guidance and strength, of love and consolation, of righteousness and purity, of brave hope and patient endurance, which He does not stand by my side ready to give to me too to-day, ‘As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of Hosts,’ and the old Christ of a thousand years ago is the Christ of to-day, ready to help, to succour, and to make us like Himself.
In the second reference, narrowing the ‘yesterdays’ to our own experiences, the words are full of consolation and of hope. ‘Thou hast been my Help; leave me not, neither forsake me,’ is the prayer that ought to be taught us by every remembrance of what Jesus Christ has been to us. The high-water mark of His possible sweetness does not lie in some irrevocable past moment of our lives. We never have to say that we have found a sufficiency in Him which we never shall find any more. Remember the time in your experience when Jesus Christ was most tender, most near, most sweet, most mysterious, most soul-sufficing for you, and be sure that He stands beside you, ready to renew the ancient blessing and to surpass it in His gift. Man’s love sometimes wearies, Christ’s never; man’s basket may be emptied, Christ’s is fuller after the distribution than it was before. This fountain can never run dry. Not until seven times, but Until seventy times seven - perfection multiplied into perfection, and that again multiplied by perfection once more - is the limit of the inexhaustible mercy of our Lord, and all in which the past has been rich lives in the present. Remember, too, that this same thought which heartens us to front the inevitable changes, also gives dignity, beauty, poetry, to the small prosaic present. ‘Jesus Christ is the same to-day.’ We are always tempted to think that this moment is commonplace and insignificant. Yesterday lies consecrated in memory; to-morrow, radiant in hope; but to-day is poverty- stricken and prose. The sky is farthest away from us right over our heads; behind and in front it seems to touch the earth. But if we will only that all that sparkling lustre and all that more than mortal tenderness of pity and of love with which Jesus Christ has irradiated and sweetened any past is verily here with us amidst the commonplaces and insignificant duties of the dusty to-day, then we need look back to no purple distance, nor forward to any horizon where sky and earth kiss, but feel that here or nowhere, now or never, is Christ the all-sufficient and unchanging Friend. He is faithful. He cannot deny Himself.
II. So, secondly, I apply these words in another direction. I ask you to think of the relation between the unchanging Christ and the dying helpers.
That is the connection in which the words occur in my text. The writer has been speaking of the subordinate and delegated leaders and rulers in the Church ‘who have spoken the word of God’ and who have passed away, leaving a faith to be followed, and a conversation the end of which is to be considered. And, turning from all these mortal companions, helpers, guides, he bids us think of Him who liveth forever, and forever is the teacher, the companion the home of our hearts, and the goal of our love. All other ties - sweet, tender, infinitely precious, have been or will be broken for you and me. Some of us have to look back upon their snapping; some of us have to look forward. But there is one bond over which the skeleton fingers of Death have no power, and they fumble at that knot in vain. He separates us from all others; blessed be God! he cannot separate us from Christ. ‘I shall lose Thee though I die’; and Thou, Thou diest never.
God’s changeful providence comes into all our lives, and ports dear ones, making their places empty, that Christ Himself may fill the empty places, and, striking away other props, though the tendrils that twine round them bleed with the wrench, in order that the plant may no longer trail along the ground, but twine itself round the Cross and climb to the Christ upon the throne. ‘In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne.’ The true King was manifested when the earthly, shadowy monarch was swept away. And just as, on the face of some great wooded cliff, when the leaves drop, the solemn strength of the everlasting rock gleams out pure, so when our dear ones fall away, Jesus Christ is revealed, ‘the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.’ ‘They tautly were many, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death.’ ‘This Man continueth ever.’ He lives, and in Him all loves and companionships live unchanged.
III. So, further, we apply, in the third place, this thought to the relation between the unchanging Christ and decaying institutions and opinions.
The era in which this Epistle was written was an era of revolution no great that we can scarcely imagine its apparent magnitude. It was close upon the final destruction of the ancient system of Judaism an external institution. The temple was tottering o its fall, the nation was ready to be scattered, and the writer, speaking to Hebrews, to whom that crash seemed to be the passing away of the eternal verities of God, bids them lift their eyes above all the chaos and dust of dissolving institutions and behold the true Eternal, the ever-living Christ. He warns them in the verse that follows nay text not to be carried about with divers and strange doctrines, bat to keep fast to the unchanging Jesus. And so these words may well come to us with lessons of encouragement, and with teaching of duty and steadfastness, in an epoch of much unrest and change - social, theological, ecclesiastical- such as that in which our lot is cast. Man’s systems are the shadows on the hillside. Christ is the everlasting solemn mountain itself, Much in the popular conception and representation of Christianity is in the act of passing. Let it go; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever. We need not fear change within the limits of His Church or of His world. For change there means progress, and the more the human creations and embodiments of Christian truth crumble and disintegrate, the more distinctly does the solemn, single, unique figure of Christ the Same, rise before us. There is nothing in the world’s history to compare with the phenomenon which is presented by the unworn freshness of Jesus Christ after all these centuries. All other men, however burning and shining their light, flicker and die out into extinction, and but for a season can the world rejoice in any of their beams; but this Jesus dominates the ages, and is as fresh to-day, in spite of all that men say, as He was eighteen centuries ago. They toll us He is losing His power; they tell us that mists of oblivion are wrapping Him round, as He moves slowly to the doom which besets Him in common with all the great names of the world. The wish is father to the thought. Christ is not done with yet, nor has the world done with Him, nor is He less available for the necessities of this generation, with its perplexities and difficulties, than He was in the past. His sameness is consistent with an infinite unfolding of new preciousness and new powers, as new generations with new questions arise, and the world seeks for fresh guidance. ‘I write no new commandment unto you’; I preach no new Christ unto you, ‘again, a new commandment I write unto you,’ and every generation will find new impulse, new teaching, new shaping energies, social and individual, ecclesiastical, theological, intellectual, in the old Christ who was crucified for our offences and raised again for our justification, and remains ‘the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.’ IV. Lastly, look at these words in their application to the relation between the unchanging Christ and the eternal life of heaven.
The ‘forever’ of my text is not to be limited to this present life, but it runs on into the remotest future, and summons up before us the grand and boundless prospect of an eternal unfolding and reception of new beauties in the old earthly Christ. For Him the change between the ‘to-day’ of His earthly life and the ‘forever’ of His ascended glory made no change in the tenderness of His heart, the sweetness of His smile, the nearness of His helping hand. The beloved apostle, when he saw Him for the first time after He was ascended, fell at His feet as dead, because the attributes of His nature had become so glorious. But when the old hand, the same hand that had been pierced with the nails on the Cross, though it now held the seven stars, was laid upon him, and the old voice, the same voice that had spoken to him in the upper room, and in feebleness from the Cross,’ though it was now as the ‘sound of many waters,’ said to him, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last; I am He that liveth and was dead and am alive for ever more’; John learned that the change from the Cross to the throne touched but the circumference of his Master’s Being, and left the whole centre of His love and brotherhood wholly unaffected.
Nor will the change for us, from earth to the close communion of the heavens, bring us into contact with a changed Christ. It will be but like the experience of a man starting from the outermost verge of the solar system, where that giant, planet welters, away out in the darkness and the cold, and travelling inwards ever nearer and nearer to the central light, the warmth becoming more fervent, the radiance becoming more wondrous, as he draws closer and closer to the greatness which he divined when he was far away, and which he knows better when he is beside it. It will be the same Christ, the Mediator, the Revealer in heaven, whom we here dimly saw and knew to be the Sun of our souls through the clouds and mists of earth.
That radiant and eternal sameness will consist with continual variety, and an endless streaming forth of new lustres and new powers. But through all the growing proximity and illumination of the heavens He will be the same Jesus that we knew upon earth; still the Friend and the Lover of our souls. So, dear friends, if you and I have Him for our very own, then we do not need to fear change, for change will be progress; nor loss, for loss will be gain; nor the storm of life, which will drive us to His breast; nor the solitude of death, for our Shepherd will be with us there. He will be ‘the same forever’; though we shall know Him more deeply; even as we shall be the same, though ‘changed from glory into glory.’ If we have Him, we may be sure, on earth, of a ‘to-morrow,’ which ‘shall be as this day, and much more abundant.’ If we have Him, we may be sure of a heaven in which the sunny hours of its unending day will be filled with fruition and ever new glories from the old Christ who, for earth and heaven, is ‘the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever.’
So far the commentaries of Ellicott and Mac Laren. There are many other fine commentators also, but none of these connects Heb. 13:8 to Jesus as one Who performs healing miracles for us today.
Jesus is simply not one Who does the same today as He did yesterday.
For instance, take His role as a sacrificial Lamb of God, letting Himself be trampled upon and spit upon and beaten by ungodly men. He does not have any such role today folks! He is no longer in any suffering – on the contrary, He sits now at His Father’s right hand in the heavens up above, in splendor, might and glory.
Col. 2:15-19 Ampl. –
“When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities [those supernatural forces of evil operating against us], He made a public example of them [exhibiting them as captives in His triumphal procession], having triumphed over them through the cross.
16 -Therefore let no one judge you in regard to food and drink or in regard to [the observance of] a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day. 17 -Such things are only a shadow of what is to come and they have only symbolic value; but the substance [the reality of what is foreshadowed] belongs to Christ. 18 -Let no one defraud you of your prize [your freedom in Christ and your salvation] by insisting on mock humility and the worship of angels, going into detail about visions [he claims] he has seen [to justify his authority], puffed up [in conceit] by his unspiritual mind, 19 -and not holding fast to the head [of the body, Jesus Christ], from whom the entire body, supplied and knit together by its joints and ligaments, grows with the growth [that can come only] from God.”
Why did not Paul tell the Colossians that Christ performed healing miracles to the believers in their day, since he obviously was writing of the greatness of Christ’s divine status and heavenly rule? Isn’t miracles and healings for His believers today a great enough issue, since after all, Paul wrote of Christ’s greatness and superiority, not His earthly sufferings?
Note also the MacLaren-comments above: How far back may yesterday go? If it goes way back into when Israel wandered in the desert, Paul wrote of Christ as One Who was with them, He was the ‘Rock’ upon which Moses struck his staff and have water flow out! MacLaren takes Jesus further back in time: Into the eternity before He came to earth born by virgin Mary. So, yesterday is actually not a reference to His earthly ministry at all, it refers to His eternal existence before He came to earth. Paul’s exhortation in Col. 1:17 read, Ampl. -
“And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together)”.
Think about it.
Ephesians and Colossians are the only epistles which contains the Doctrine of Faith for this Church dispensation. All others are written in the Acts period, and concerned only Israel’s hope of the promised millennial kingdom. The two epistles are the only writings in N.T. promising the believers a heavenly salvation with Christ in glory in heaven (Col. 3:1-4). But all other writings teach salvation for Israel’s Messianic believers in the promised earthly kingdom, and Jesus as King in Jerusalem (Dan. 2:44; Luke 1:31-33).
But as we find Paul’s post-Acts epistles, we no longer learn of miracles and healings, no Holy Communion, no confession of sin, no laying on of hands, no exorcisms, no tongues or interpretation of these, no prophetic gifts or the gifts of Wisdom, and the Word of Knowledge. It just isn’t there – but you find most of it in the epistles written in the time period of Acts.
Those TV-evangelists offering ‘miracles and healings’ – and what not, to try to make their viewers send their money to them, are entirely wrong in their assertion of Heb. 13:8 as a passage which tells of Jesus as one Who will perform miracles and healings for the believers of our time. They are lying, and they are using cynically such miracle-promises to try to have their viewers donate as much money to them as possible.
There is a saying out there, ‘In Europe the Gospel was made a religion, but in the USA the Gospel became a business’. This is unfortunately pretty close to the truth!