"Thou art the same!"

Hebrews 1.

E. L. Bevir.

Christian Friend vol. 19, 1892, p. 95.

There can be no change in a divine Person. Though all creatures are liable to change, and there be variation in everything around us, there is One who is the same,* the Eternal Self-existing One, and He is presented to us in a most wonderful manner in this passage.

*Compare Deut. 32:39: "I am He." This is a true title of the self-existent God.

I wish briefly to trace the glory of our Lord, as presented to us in this chapter; by no means to pretend to unfold this part of the word, but to call attention to the unchanging nature of Him who alone can say, "I am," the eternal Jehovah, our blessed Lord Jesus.

The passage begins with eternity (that is, begins by speaking of the past ages), passes right through time, and ends with eternity again, when the created firmament shall have been folded up as a vesture by Him who created it; but He remains the same.

We cannot imagine eternity; and He who never had a beginning, and who dwells in inaccessible light, is far beyond our ken. Though He has been pleased to reveal Himself to us as Father, as to the Deity itself it is far beyond us. God is God, whatever people may say, and we receive by faith the revelation of His eternal being. We remember the answer given by a poor preacher at Cambridge, at the beginning of this century, to some young mathematicians who asked him for a definition of eternity. He replied that he did not feel able to give one; but in return asked them, What would be the length of a pendulum which, instead of marking seconds, should vibrate only once in a century? This of course could be calculated, but we should be as far from apprehending eternity as ever.

Much has been said of the divine glory shining in the first four verses of Hebrews 1. The Son has appeared, has spoken, and has set Himself down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having made by Himself the purification of sins. The Creator and Sustainer* of the universe has appeared and spoken, and gone up on high.

*"Upholding all things by the word of His power." I believe it is important, and has been carefully insisted upon, that there is as constant an exercise of force needed in what people call general laws (gravitation, etc.) as in the calling forth of the worlds out of nothing.

Let us briefly follow the wonderful order of the passages quoted by the Holy Spirit, in which the Son's glory is traced through time; that is, through scenes which vary and differ from one another as far as possible, but through which the glory of the divine Person, who is ever the Same, shines with unchanging lustre.

In the fifth verse the second Psalm is quoted, and we have our blessed Lord's entry into this world; and I believe that the second quotation in this fifth verse (1 Chronicles 17:13) refers to His most blessed path upon earth. The subject of the Epistle to the Hebrews differs no doubt from that of the Gospel of John, but we may compare with adoration the account given to us of Jesus in this world, unknown to the world that He had made, misunderstood even by His own, and often alone; then we may enter with reverence into the meaning of the words, "I will be to Him for Father, and He shall be to me for Son." It is the character here of His most holy obedient walk, and I believe we may compare for the spirit of it 2 Cor. 6:17-18, where Jehovah-Shaddai promises to be for Father to those who are separate from evil, and that they shall be to Him for sons and daughters.

Thus we see the blessed Lord, in His humble path upon earth, always the same, surrounded by infidelity, selfishness, and false religion, walking thus with Him who said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

The sixth verse carries us further; for none can doubt that, as to its full accomplishment, it is still future. No doubt in Luke 2 the whole heavenly host adored the babe in Bethlehem, but the ninety-seventh and following Psalms speak of the introduction of the First-born into the world, when the kingdom shall be set up: it is the habitable world (the oikoumene). I would in passing ask my readers if they study the Psalms. Nothing could be more glorious than the manner in which the majesty of the Lord is presented from Psalm 97 to Psalm 103, the circle of His glory becoming wider and wider as He advances (the First-born brought into the habitable earth). To use a feeble illustration, I have seen the whole range of the Alps illuminated by the rising sun. First, the central peaks catching the deep crimson light, then mountain after mountain receiving the glow, and finally the whole country crowned with splendour. So in these Psalms the Jews are called, then the Gentiles, then the whole earth is brought into blessing; all the angels of God adore Him. How different the scene to that in which He walked in deep humility, taking the lowest place of all! Yes, indeed; but He is the same.

The 8th and 9th verses bring us into the kingdom itself, and the millennial reign. The forty-fifth Psalm reveals to us the King reigning in righteousness and peace, Jerusalem blessed and clothed in regal splendour, and the faithful associated with Him who is anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows. Oh, wondrous grace that could bring men into such an association! But is there any change here in Him? None. "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." The same divine glory, which faith saw when He was humbled upon earth, is seen in Him when He reigns in peace and power - when the King's daughter, all glorious within, stands at the head of the rejoicing earth.

And now we come to the end of the millennium; and the quotation from the hundred and second Psalm needs to be carefully considered. It is well known that in this magnificent passage there is a dialogue, and that Jehovah answers to Him who descended even to the sufferings of the cross. In the 24th verse of the Psalm, the answer is given to Him who could speak as He did from the midst of His sufferings, and here we have the divine testimony to His deity: "Thy years are throughout all generations. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall 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." Here then again we look into eternity; the course of time shall run out, the kingdom be delivered up, the very heavens folded up by the Almighty hand that spread them out, and it is said of Him who shall change them, "Thou art the same."

The Holy Spirit directs us to Him seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high, in the thirteenth verse; and may our hearts be kept in true stability by the One who changes not; the Same here in rejection, the Same in millennial glory; the Same upon the cross, the Same in the folding up of the firmament; Jesus Christ, the Same yesterday, and today, and for ever!

E. L. B.

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Let us beware in ordinary things of the first step that would separate us from inward holiness. Devotedness is inward. It is a secret between His servant and Himself, though the external effects are seen by others. The believer may be called upon to deny himself for the service of his Saviour in things that are not bad in themselves, but this act is accomplished inwardly.

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We must drink for ourselves that rivers may flow. Indeed all else dries up the soul. "That thy profiting may appear" says the apostle. Ministry is only fresh, good, and powerful, when it is the soul's own portion first with God.