Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 1, No. 2 Page 9 February 1999

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Jesus Christ Is Always the Same

By Basil Overton

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
This passage cannot mean that Jesus Christ is always the same in the sense that since he was in a fleshly body when he was on earth (yesterday), therefore he is now in a fleshly body (today) and he will always be in a fleshly body (forever). Paul wrote that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50). Therefore, Christ who is in heaven is not in a fleshly body as he was while he was on the earth, but he is in his glorious body (Philippians 3:20-21).

So-called faith healers who claim Jesus works miracles through them, often quote Hebrews 13:8 and say it means that because Jesus performed miracles when he was on earth (yesterday), he is performing miracles (today), and they say if he is not doing so, he is not the same today as he was when he was on earth.

To be consistent these "faith healers" should say Jesus is not the same today as he was yesterday unless he is not performing all the types of miracles which he performed when he was on earth, and which he performed through the apostles about which we read in the New Testament. The New Testament says he healed the sick, and often states he did so "immediately." Some were struck dead (Acts 5); he raised some from the dead; and a child of the devil was blinded (Acts 13). Jesus walked on water; he made bread and fish miraculously; he withered trees; he killed hogs (Matthew 8); he put missing body parts on the maimed; he stopped storms; and performed other miracles.

Not Just Healing Services

According to the way some interpret Hebrews 1:8, they should not just be having healing services, they should also be having killing services; dead raising services; blinding services; walking on water services; hog killing services; putting on missing body parts services; storm stopping services; etc.

It was reported that one of the first efforts Oral Roberts made was under a tent in Oklahoma and a storm destroyed the tent. Why did he not have the Lord to stop the storm?

I do not believe Oral Roberts or any of the others who claim to perform miracles will have a service where they will attempt to heal maimed people with missing arms, legs, fingers, toes, and put these on them! I challenge any one of them to put even one hair on a bald head immediately!

What About Drinking Poison
And Handling Snakes?

According to Mark 16, Jesus told his apostles they could drink poison and handle poisonous serpents and they would not be harmed. Verse 20 implies they had such miraculous protection. A serpent bit Paul on the island of Melita and the natives thought he should have died immediately, but he was unharmed (Acts 28)!

Those who handle serpents risk being killed. God no longer performs such miracles of protection from such, and you will see why in the following.

Those who claim to work miracles of healing are inconsistent unless they drink poison and handle rattlesnakes and copperheads! Some have been so bold as to handle such deadly serpents.

There was one case in recent years where a preacher handled a rattlesnake at a religious service and it bit him and he died immediately. Immediately, another man took the same serpent and it bit him, and he was carried to the hospital, and he survived. Someone said the second man had more faith than the man who died! But, evidently it was the other way around. The man who took the rattlesnake when it had all its venom, may have had more faith than the second man who let it bite him when it had little venom left!

All These Miracles In Heaven?

The way some interpret Hebrews 13:8 would also make the passage teach that Jesus will have to perform all the miracles mentioned above in heaven, for the passage also says Jesus Christ is the same forever! Such an interpretation would mean Jesus will have to heal sick people in heaven, but the Bible teaches there will be no sick people in heaven! Imagine Jesus or anyone killing hogs or drinking poison, or handling copperheads and rattlesnakes in heaven!

Confirmed His Identity

The miracles of Jesus we read about in the New Testament were performed to confirm his identity as the Son of God. "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:30-31). This passage obviously means that the inspired apostle John knew that miracles would cease. If not, why did he write a record of the miracles which when read produces faith in Jesus as God's Son, if such miracles were to always be performed? Why did John not say, "I did not need to record these miracles or signs because they will always be performed and people will see them and will not need the record I have written"?

The word signs in John 20:30 is from a Greek word that means miracles. The message of the inspired apostles was confirmed by miracles which they performed (Mark 16:20).

God Heals Sick People

What is written above does not mean God does not heal sick people. God heals sick people, and every time he does we can say it is divine healing, but we should not say it is miraculous healing. God does not now heal miraculously and immediately as he healed some about whom we read in the New Testament. By prayer, medicines, rest, doctors, diets and various means, God now heals sick people, but such healing is not what is identified clearly in the New Testament as miraculous healing.

How Is Jesus The Same?

If one studies the context of Hebrews 13:8, he can easily see it does not mean Jesus is the same today as he was on earth, in the sense that he is doing the same things. Instead, the passage obviously means Jesus is the same in the sense of who he is and what he is. He is always the same in his moral perfection and sinlessness. He is always trustworthy and able and willing to save all of us from our sins. We can always depend on Jesus Christ; he will never betray our highest trust. He does not waver like we do. Note that in the next verse, Hebrews 13:9, the holy writer wrote, "Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines." We waver, but Jesus is always the same!

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