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I do already affirm trinitarian doctrine, so I’m not intending to be biased, however, does Hebrews 13:8 affirm Jesus’ deity?

To ask the question is simple, but to define Jesus as “unchanging” seems to lead one to think that He is incorruptible. For if Jesus was merely a Man then maybe He could suffer mutation, like Ecclesiastes 7:29 says.

Q: Does Hebrews 13:8 affirm Christ’s deity or something else?

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NET‬‬

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  • there are many definitions of deity - what is yours for the clarity of Q.
    – Steve
    Jun 28, 2022 at 2:17
  • @steveowen This: (divine character or nature, especially that of the Supreme Being; divinity.) Dictionary App.
    – Cork88
    Jun 28, 2022 at 2:28
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    The definition could be : the Creator who was in the beginning, prior to the creation, and eternal in nature. This agrees with Genesis 1:1 and with John 1:1,2.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 28, 2022 at 10:08
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    If Jesus is now more than the mere man that some believe he was, then he was not the same yesterday as he is today. Jun 28, 2022 at 12:29
  • duplicate or opinion/doctrinal based. I think all questions asking "is this a subtle ref to deity" are opinion based. hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/54975/…
    – Michael16
    Jul 1, 2022 at 12:29

5 Answers 5

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Jesus Christ yesterday and to-day the same, and to the ages. (YLT)
Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς ἐχθὲς καὶ σήμερον ὁ αὐτός καὶ εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας

The general sense of the statement is of an unchanging nature. However, while one is tempted to overlay the picture of an unchanging nature on an unbroken time line, the correct connection with time must recognize that because of the period of His earthly life, there was a change in His condition between "yesterday" and today:

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As Paul states, "yesterday" He was different from His earthly life:

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2 ESV)

He emptied Himself by taking on the form of a servant...being found in human form...and as Paul states, "today" He is exalted, and will be so until the end of the ages.

The writer of Hebrews agrees with this "today" position:

1 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. (Hebrews 8)

Today, He is the High Priest who is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven and therefore, this is where He would have had to have been "yesterday."

Jesus Christ yesterday and to-day the same [High Priest who, after having emptied Himself by taking on the form of a servant and being found in human form...is again seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven] to the end of the ages.

In other words, other than the period of time He could be found in human form, He was always seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Only God has this eternal nature.

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    (+) a rightful answer! moreover Paul identifies the Psalm 68:7 God who went out to desert to lead His people with pre-incarnate Christ (1 Cor. 10:4). Oct 3, 2022 at 8:51
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What is meant by God does not change?

God is all powerful & mighty, who owns everything that is in the heavens and earth and no one can challenge his authority etc…

not change This could mean he does not change his appearance, essence, his attributes, his purpose and his decrees and needs no one.

I will limit the answer to a few examples to each including any conflicting passages to provide a good flavour as each issue has too many verses that could be used either way. It is more to establish if Jesus is God rather then clarify each heading.

God does not change

Num 23:19: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

1 Samuel 15:29: And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

Malachi 3:6: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Psalm 102:26 They will perish, but you remain forever; they will wear out like old clothing. You will change them like a garment and discard them.

Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Let’s examine JESUS

Obvious Jesus changed his appearance from a baby to a man. He was circumcised. Jesus had marks from the crucifixion, resurrection, no longer bound by the flesh etc…

Jesus was born from a woman, was a man, and was also called "son of man"

Born of Mary

Psalm 80:17 - Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand, the son of man you have raised up for yourself.

Matthew 26:24 - The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."

Need John 5:30 - I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will.

Hebrew 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

John 7:16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Change Message Mal 3:6 I change not

However, Jesus message changed – Jesus came down to die for our sins to be saved – OT & NT very different. Change the law, not bound by the law but live in the spirit, do not need to circumcise etc… Too numerous to mention.

sin Jeremiah 31:30 But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge. Deuteronomy 24:16 “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.

Romans 7:8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.

God is not weak & has all authority

James 1:13-15 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Slight problem with James passage is Gen 22:1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.”

Hebrews 2:17-18 17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Mark 1:12-13 12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Luke 4:5-6 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Conclusion: God does not change, cannot be tempted, does not sin, is not weak, needs no one and does not change his mind by changing the law. Jesus clearly did change a number of factors, especially his appearance and resurrection for our sins. So based on the above Jesus cannot be God or you have a large number of contradictions.

Like some other passages they are taken out of context to forward a point of view.

For more information, see links below;

“equal with God" in John 5:18 - https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/69382/33268

2 Corinthians 13:11-14 ‘God is three equal Persons’ https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/55482/33268

John 8:58 ‘I am’ https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/60969/33268

John 1:1 https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/a/69491/33268

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  • you are obviously putting scripture against itself: and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Matthew 4:6-7 - Jesus said “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” Jesus clearly refers to Himself as God, since He was the direct person being thus tempted. The verses in James refer to internal temptation with God.
    – Cork88
    Jun 29, 2022 at 16:44
  • @Cork88 arguably a lot of passages conflict with each other on a number of issues. In relation to this Q, the issue is God does not change and Jesus did IMO. Matt 4:6-7 doesn't really assist you Satan asks Jesus to worship him Matt 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” - not that I am God & how can Satan ask God to worship him and tempt him when he was created by God as was everything, there is noting you can offer God. Jun 30, 2022 at 8:30
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    @Cork88 All things were created by God – he owns everything - you cant give God anything and cant ask God to worship you, when he is the creator. Otherwise he is not God. So if Jesus is God, then either the passages proves he is not or there is a problem with the passages. Matt 4: 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” James problematic I have added to the answer for completeness. Jul 1, 2022 at 11:30
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    @Cork88 IMO the passages quoted don't really assist you & difficult to respond in comments, I think my answer and links show's my opinion. we will have to disagree. If there is any particular Q that you believe supports your position, please send the link, happy to answer. you may also be interested in the Q I have just asked regarding the Thomas meeting in John - hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/77233/33268 Jul 5, 2022 at 13:51
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    Man, +1. Also if Psalm 2 speaks about Jesus, it means that Jesus does change and therefore he is not a God. a God cannot ask. Also if he is a God, logically, he cannot be a high priest, because the Priest worship and serve God, and God cannot worship himself. Also, uou can claim that when Jesus called God as Father, it is because he was a jew, and God called the jews as his sons (see Deu 14).
    – Kapandaria
    Oct 1, 2022 at 19:56
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Yes, necessarily.

The changelessness is not a feature of any creature, for even in the most immobile of His creatures, the angels, who are bodiless intellectual essences in a constant prayer, contemplation and glorification of Lord, He finds faults (Job 4:18), which means that even the angels aren't perfect, and if not perfect, then they are to change towards perfection. The same with men, who unlike angels, do not contemplate God with an even remotely similar concentration and glorify Him in a due way only sporadically, not constantly, and with a changing intensity. Humans of course aren't perfect and thus also aren't changeless. Only God is immune from change: "But you remain the same, and your years will never end" (Psalm 102:27), because He is perfect and perfect, if changes, either changes for the better, which is an oxymoron and an ontological impossibility, or for the worse, which is for God to cease being God, for God having ceased being perfect, ceases to be God also, for the term "God" analytically entails the notion of perfection.

Thus, when we change, either we degrade, that is to say, degrade from the perfect God by violating His commandments and straying from His ways, or we improve and develop, that is to say, develop towards Him, the Perfect One, who saturates us with greater and greater degrees of perfection that He possesses in infinite actuality and with a complete immunity. That is why Paul says that even if he, one of the greatest of apostles, would stray or fall, He, the Lord Jesus Christ, remains steadfast, for "He cannot deny Himself" (2 Tim. 2:13), that is to say, only He among men has immunity from change, because He is the Incarnate Logos, the Inhumanate Only-Begotten co-eternal Son of the eternal Father, who possesses natural, essential immunity from any straying, for He not only does not, but ontologically cannot stray from Himself, which is a mark of a divine immunity.

Indeed, He is not only perfect, but also a perfection-provider to all who desire perfection, for either He lies to that young man saying to him "if you wish to be perfect, sell everything and follow Me" (Matthew 19:21), or He gives him a true promise; and since the second is true, then only the one possessing infinite perfection in actuality can make somebody else perfect in a gradual process (signified by the verb "follow"), and such perfection is a feature of God only.

Again, does not the Lord say "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away" (Luke 21:33), which alludes to Psalm 102:26 ("heaven and earth will perish but you will remain"); it is clear that the Source of the words, the Lord, is even more principally changeless and non-transient than His words that will remain. Yet, if someone may doubt it and interpret those words in terms that the Lord speaks not about Himself but about His words to be immune from change and lasting, whereas He Himself is susceptible to change, then let us zoom closer, what are the Lord's words? His commandments are also His words, and He says that those commandments are impossible to be fulfilled without Himself acting them within us (John 15:5; Col. 1:29), thus if His commandments are eternal, then He, the Source of those commandments without whom they cannot even be performed, is at least as eternal as those words themselves, and as the Source of those words, eternal and beyond any change even in a greater degree, if such degrees even can be theorized. Thus, not only the words of the Lord, but even more primarily the Lord is beyond change. And thus, the Hebrews 1:12 also clearly says, in total accord with Christ's words, that the Psalm 102:26 with its stress on changelessness of God applies to the person of the Lord Jesus Christ; since the Psalm addresses to God, it is necessary to conclude that Paul in Hebrews explicitly addresses to Christ as to God, unless one loves one's own recalcitrance and caprice more than a sound reason and sound grammar.

Finally, in the same Hebrews Paul explicitly claims this eternal divine perfection for the Son (Hebrews 7:28), and again, such a perfection necessarily means immunity from a change, and such an immunity can pertain solely to God.

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Yes. [Hebrews 13:8] affirms Jesus the Nazarene had/has a divine Spirit, since Jesus was an Israelite in the image of God (counseled by Elohim אֱֽלֹהִים) as described by Asaph in [Psalms 82:6] which Jesus himself references while attesting his own status as a "son of God" (υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ εἰμι) in [John 10:34-35] : "If he [Asaph] called them [Israelites] gods, to whom the word of God came" (εἰ ἐκείνους εἶπεν θεοὺς πρὸς οὓς ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐγένετο). | No Trinitarian Doctrine needed to affirm Jesus was considered God. Prophets like Moshe משֶׁה in [Exodus 7:1] also were designated God by God when declaring His Word.

@Cork88, in addition to comments about Yeshayahu יְשַׁעְיָהוּ (Isaiah) Ch.43,v.10 regarding the monotheistic decree by YHVH : לְפָנַי “Le-Panay” (Before-Me) לֹֽא־נוֹצַר אֵ֔ל “Lo-Notsar El” ([a] god was not formed) וְאַֽחֲרַי “Ve-Achar-i” (And-After-Me) לֹא יִֽהְיֶֽה “Lo Yiyeh” (None will be). 📜 This statement is physically spoken by the Israeli Human prophet Yeshayahu selected by God to act as God when speaking judgment over Israel, just like Moses and Jesus were inspired to speak judgment over Israel on behalf of the One who sent them. — Neviim represented יְהֹוָ֔ה YHVH Elohim on earth for humanity.

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    I’m confused, the scripture says: “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. Isaiah 43:10 - God also said: “I am the Lord, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, Isaiah 45:5 - So what are you insisting? Polytheism? Classical Trinitarianism (as you know) doesn’t affirm polytheism, nor Tri-theism. So can you elaborate?
    – Cork88
    Jun 28, 2022 at 2:27
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    1. God made Moses a god - only to Pharaoh. Exodus 7:1. Only for a specific task and only for a specific time. 2. Being 'in the image of God' is not being God. 3. Quoting a text (as Jesus did) regarding 'gods' in order to confound and refute an ignorant accusation does not substantiate calling a man 'God'. 4. But when a voice from heaven (three times) affirms that one is the 'Son of God' and when one rises from the dead, unaided, what remains ?
    – Nigel J
    Jun 28, 2022 at 10:04
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    @NigelJ what remains is to avoid making up 'the Messiah who rises unaided'. Surely you are not depending solely on the, 'I lay my life down...' verse! While dismissing the ~30 verses that say the Father or God raised Jesus - so he could go where ? To sit beside God! "We have no interest in 'theological systems'. Nor are they relevant. This site is about facts." NJ Nov 2 at 6:42
    – Steve
    Jun 28, 2022 at 12:26
  • @steveowen This Scripture shows that Jesus raised Himself up also: “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and yet You will raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking about the temple of His body. So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.” ‭‭John‬ ‭2:19-22‬ ‭
    – Cork88
    Jun 28, 2022 at 20:00
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    @Cork88. The God of the bible is numerically 1. His name is Jehovah. Jesus is not Jehovah. Jun 28, 2022 at 22:38
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Does Hebrews 13:8 affirm Christ’s deity or something else?

It must be something else! How can one base understanding on vague and oblique references and then surmise what they mean in isolation? This is generally called eisegesis - reading into scripture what one expects to find.

Does it mention anything about Jesus being God? Which is what the OP is essentially asking, deity = God. So it can hardly be affirming anything of this nature.

Let's look at some examples of what affirming scripture looks like.

Jesus said to her, ... ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.’” John 20:17

Jesus makes some definite and unambiguous statements which need no interpretation.

you are seeking to kill me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. John 8:40

Again, Jesus is quite clear.

  • he is a man. If he is also God, then he lies, using some tricks of the devil - the father of lies.
  • he heard the truth from God. If Jesus is God, this is just weird.
  • what listener of the day would have thought they were about to kill the immortal God!?

If one seeks affirmation, they should look for more unambiguous scripture to support. Only then may the more difficult and readily misunderstood passages be brought in.

The context of Heb 8 gives the meaning of 'yesterday'.

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their way of life, imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever. 9Do not be misled by varied and strange teachings

  • those who led you,
  • who spoke the word of God to you

Talking about the things they have learnt and from who they trusted and believed.

  • imitate their faith. Confirmation that the teaching is true, and the teacher is true.
  • Jesus is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. His teachings are true also. When was Jesus teaching? For about 3 years in the memory perhaps of some there listening. We cannot assume 'yesterday' means eternally into the past and also make him God while we're at it.

So no, Hebrews 13:8 does not affirm Christ’s deity. It affirms that he can be trusted and those he sent to teach after him can also be trusted. If a teaching does not abide in Jesus' teachings or the Apostle's teachings - it is not for the true and diligent believer.

Do not be misled by varied and strange teachings Another unambiguous statement. If a teaching makes Jesus the 'one true God', then it is false and a lie and not from the bible.

We have other affirming statements that support the true teachings.

for us there is but one God, the Father... 1Cor 8:6

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3

Of course, Jesus was praying to the Father (v1) the only true God. Clearly, it wasn't Jesus.

Interesting, while God constantly affirms His God of all status and various others try to imitate this claim, Jesus never did. Yet the devil has done many times.

4who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God 1Thes 2:4

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  • Hebrews 13:8 as is makes me wonder at Malachi 3:6, where God says He doesn’t change: ““For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, the sons of Jacob, have not come to an end.” ‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3:6‬ ‭- so I fail to understand your viewpoint. Furthermore, all the data you quoted must also be in the light of everything else Jesus said & claimed about Himself, He clearly affirmed Himself as God in OT terminology: John 8:58-59. You clearly hold to a Oneness bias that disallows Jesus to speak what He said of Himself on multiple occasions, you seem to pit scripture against itself.
    – Cork88
    Jun 28, 2022 at 8:15
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    You demonstrate a willingness to interpret the difficult verses eisegetically. “before Abraham was born, I am!” is ambiguous and must align with, "You, the only true God". I believe Jesus knew what he was talking about and don't need labels to do that.,
    – Steve
    Jun 28, 2022 at 8:45
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    @Cork88. Thank you for quoting Malachi 3:6. I agree. Jehovah does not change. But, Jesus is not Jehovah. Jesus name is Jehoshua. His God's name is Jehovah. The construction of theophoric names, starting with the letters “Jeho” is evidence that God’s name is actually ‘Jehovah’ (and that Christ’s name is actually Jehoshua)” – Smith’s 1863 “A Dictionary of the Bible”Section 2.1 Jun 28, 2022 at 11:09
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    @mike Yes, you too are also free to make it mean whatever you can imagine, despite context and other scripture. 'Mere man' - hardly. Holy and without sin - that's not 'mere' by any means! You assume 'yesterday', you assume 'same', just as you assume 'equal' and a host of others making irrefutable proof-texts on a whim.
    – Steve
    Jun 28, 2022 at 12:32
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    @steveowen I think you have refused prior exegetical evidence Steve, the Hebrew equivalent of Exodus 3:14 is “Ani Hu” which translates into the Greek as “ἐγὼ (egō), εἰμί (eimi)“ in John 8:58, so Jesus said “I am God” in OT terminology, not in the verbatim sense. So, John 8:58 isn’t ambiguous, it’s meaning is clear. What is also clear is that you refuse Jesus’ testimony in John 8:58 as Him affirming His own deity in favor of your One-ness commitment. Many have talked to you before on here on the exegetical claims of Christ’s deity.
    – Cork88
    Jun 28, 2022 at 19:56

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