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Bethlehem – The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever!



December 14, 2005

Bethlehem – The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever!

Hebrews 13:7 – Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

This verse is often used to teach that pastors are meant to rule over the local church flock, but that was not the intent of the KJV translators. The reference is to those who spoke the word of God to them in the past, and have gone on to be with the Lord, their lives having been finished on this earth. “Have spoken” is the Greek word “elasesav,” which is aorist indicative active third person plural, and refers back to them that “rule,” which is genitive plural, and means “leaders.” The verse does not refer to their immediate spiritual leaders in the church of the Hebrews, but to the leaders of the faith from Genesis to the time the letter was written to the Hebrews – Many of which are mentioned in chapter 11 of the epistle. And it would probably include those who had perished in the persecutions of many of the early New Testament churches up to that time.

Williams, a noted Baptist translator who, in my opinion, does the best job of translating the full implications of New Testament verb tenses, gives the verse as follows:

“You must not forget your former leaders, for it was they who brought you the message of God. Consider how they closed their lives; imitate the end of their conversation (way of life).”

I apologize for the technicalities, but the verse following Hebrews 13:7 is often misinterpreted because many expositors do not follow the context of 13:7.

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

The word “Christ” is the translation of the Greek word meaning “anointed,” which in turn is the translation of the Hebrew word meaning “Messiah.” That is, the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of Nazareth in the New Testament, who is indeed the Messiah, the unchangeable one. The leaders of the past, who had spoken of Messiah’s coming as the Promised Seed, were the ones who had lived and died in the hope of his soon coming. Kenneth Wuest implants the full meaning of this verse in context in his translation of it:

“Jesus is Messiah, yesterday and today the same, and forever.”

God chose, before he laid the foundations of this world, to save all who would come to his Promised Seed for full redemption. He chose to save them by placing them in his Seed, and his Seed in them, at the instant of their faith in the Seed to fulfill the promise of Genesis 3:15.

Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

He was the Messiah in the past from Adam to the present!

Genesis 4:25,26 – And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. [26] And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.

He is the Messiah at the time I am writing this message!

Romans 10:13 – For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

He shall be the Messiah in the tomorrow of the tribulation!

Acts 2:20,21 – The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: [21] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

He was, is, and will be the Messiah of all believers forever and ever! Bethlehem – The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever!

The Seed in the manger was God incarnate in human flesh in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

II Corinthians 5:19-21 – To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

God always knew his Seed would be rejected by Israel!

Micah 5:2 – But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

He always knew his Seed would fulfill all righteousness!

Matthew 3:14,15 – But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? [15] And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

He always knew his Seed would fulfill all of the Law!

Matthew 5:17,18 – Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. [18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

He always knew the Seed would fulfill it during his life!

John 19:30 – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

He always knew only our faith in the power of his cross could save us!

I Corinthians 1:17,18 – For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. [18] For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

I Corinthians 2:2,5 – For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. [5] That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Galatians 4:4-6 – But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, [5] To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. [6] And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Matthew 1:21-23 – And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. [22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel which being interpreted is God with us.

Messiah is the savior of all in the past, in the present, and in the future by the grace of God in him.