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Just before this verse faith is mentioned, so perhaps the meaning of Heb 13:8 is that Jesus can always be trusted. Though Jesus can always be trusted "the same" might go beyond this and include other aspects of who Jesus was/is.

In Heb 5:8 He learned and in the Gospels He prayed, healed and taught. The relationship between learning something and being something is, I suggest, the difference between what one does and what one is. e.g. Jesus healed people because of who He was. He did not heal people to become who He was. "the same" refers, I think, to who He was, rather than to what He did because of who He was.

Jesus was both God and man. How can He always be "the same" if His humanity came through David [Rom 1:3]? Was being born of Mary one more thing that He did? Can we be specific in understanding in which ways Jesus Christ is always the same, as expressed in Heb13:8?

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The text cannot possibly mean that Jesus Christ is 'identical' in the past, present and future, because the Son of God became incarnate whereas, previously, he was not so. Jesus grew in stature before God and men, Luke 2:52, which involves a change. He was unscarred, then he was scarred and showed those scars to Thomas, John 20:27 : which, again, involves a change of state.

'The same' is expressed in the original as 'o autos, the personal pronoun (Strong 846) with the article. When preceded by the article the meaning 'same' is usually applied. But it should be remembered that it is the personal pronoun (himself) to begin with.

Jesus Christ is 'the himself', yesterday and today and to the ages, is how I would view the concept. He is unchanging, in himself, in his person.

He is constant, not variable.

As the question says, he is trustworthy that he will act according to his own integrity. He will not act 'out of character', as men say.

Of Jehovah it is written that he is the 'Strength' of Israel, I Samuel 15:29, and that he will not lie or repent. I would suggest that netsach in this place could well be translated 'the Constancy of Israel'.

And I would say the same of this text in Hebrews that 'constancy' is what is being expressed : reliability, trustworthiness - now, as in the past . . . and for ever.

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Context would seem to offer a consistent answer to help in understanding this text, while external applications the author would have known of concerning the Eternality of the Son of God will be the the foundation of such a statement, as John 1: 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. And this witness accepted in the manifestation of Jesus Christ: ... 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.

16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Please notice verse 2 The same was in the beginning with God.

While the before sited scripture, is not part of the body of Hebrews, the theme of Hebrews has offered the witness to Jesus Christ as an Eternal person with the Father similarly to the testimony of John in saying " The same was in the beginning with God." in saying at the enactment of the Epistle: Hebrews 1 1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the ** word** of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high

Thus, in context the author of Hebrews is proclaiming a doctrine of pre-existance which is evident from the on set of the context, similar to what is conveyed by the apostle John.

What impact does this sameNess have on understanding the context of the text in focus?

Hebrews 13 :8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

It seems likely that the whole focus of verse 8 is explained in verse 9, that the Jesus Christ who was the Son of God, who was the Word by whom also God made the worlds; and by whom Grace and Truth has always been given in the eternal purpose of God, as witnessed in John 1:14-17 is here being affirmed again Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.

I tender from this passage in it's hollistic context beside supporting evidence from John 1, that this statement is meant to affirm Jesus Christ's: 1. Eternality in any age 2. Stable and familiar doctrine in any age 3. Grace Established in the Heart of any age

And this Doctrine of Grace only found in Christ as Eternal, stable, familiar to the heart which is occupied by it is set opposed to the uneternal and unstable and unfamiliar doctrine which is as good (meats), which have not profited those that have filled them selves with such.

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According to key parallel verses of John 1:1-2, Hebrews 1:1-2 (see Genesis 1, Psalms 33:6, etc.), Hebrews 11:3, 1 Peter 3: 5, and Revelations 19:13, Jesus was and is the Word of the Living God who is Spirit from eternity to eternity, except the days of His flesh as expounded in Isaiah 53:1-12, John 1:14, Ephesians 1:3-21, Hebrews 5:7, 10:5-7. More parallel sections of the Scripture can be explored along with the above verses of the Holy Bible.

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As God reveals Himself to us in the Scriptures we learn about Him. e.g. Genesis 1:1 "God created the heavens and the earth".

Later on we learn more about Him. His relationship with His creation begins to unfold as e.g. Gen 1:28 "God said..Be fruitful and multiply".

As we read the Scriptures our understanding or vision of God is changing. But is God changing?

God is outside time in that He created time: Gen 1:4-5 "God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night".

If God is outside time He can be acquainted with one point of time as another, but He stays the same. God being outside of time "yesterday and today and forever" have no hold over Him. e.g. He was always crucified Revelation 13:8 "All..will worship him,...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world". NKJV

In Hebrews 13:8, I suggest, Jesus is describing Himself not as we see Him, but from His point of view i.e. God's point of view. "the same" because He is outside time.

p.s. Rev 13:8 "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" NKJV, not "written before the foundation of the world" ESV. If "written" is preferred He is still outside time able to see the whole.

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The word translated "all the good that has come from their lives" in the NLT is, in my always humble opinion, better translated "the exit", referring to the brave way the pioneers faced death rather than deny Christ:

[Heb 13:7 NLT] (7) Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.

The word in question is ἔκβασις [G1545] which speaks of the way a person left this world.

The saints are exhorted to consider the brave martyrdom of their leaders and to know that as Jesus "received their breath", so would he receive theirs:

[Act 7:59 NLT] (59) As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

In this way, Jesus is the same present help as ever.

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