The Official Interpretation of these Biblical Extracts
The Official Interpretation of these Biblical Extracts
The Church doesn’t have a line by line official interpretation of every verse. For me, just looking at the context of Hebrews 13:8 helps. Verses 1 through 6 are exhortations on morality. This is followed by:
7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings . . .
If I were to give my thoughts, verses 7 and 9 really cement the point. The moral teachings of the church don’t change. You know what Jesus taught about marriage, loving one another, tending the sick and those in prison (verses 1-6). These have not changed. Don’t follow strange teachers telling you to follow other things. Jesus hasn’t and won’t change his mind.
Hebrews isn’t making a metaphysical or theological statement about Jesus’ origin or hypostatic union or such things.
Also, from Haydock’s commentary:
Ver. 7. Remember your prelates, &c. who have been placed over you to be your guides and directors in what belongs to the service of God; he seems to mean the two Sts. James, the apostles, who perhaps had already suffered martyrdom for the gospel. (Witham)
Ver. 8. Yesterday, and to-day, and the same for ever. That is, Christ is the same merciful and powerful advocate and protector, in regard of all that serve him faithfully to the end of the world. (Witham)
Ver. 9. With various and strange doctrines. Such as the disciples of Simon Magus had begun to teach; nor with the false doctrine of those among you, who would make you subject to the ceremonies and sacrifices of the former law, which never of themselves profit those who walk in them, so as to give true sanctification, and which now are no longer obligatory. (Witham) — The grace of Jesus Christ is the true support of our hearts, and this grace is conveyed to us by means of the sacraments, especially the holy Eucharist. Hence St. Ignatius of Antioch addresses the Ephesians as follows: “Brethren, stand fast in the faith of Jesus Christ; in his passion and resurrection; breaking that one bread, which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote against death, and the means of living in God by Christ Jesus; the medicament that expels all evil.”
8 Jesus Christ yesterday, and to-day; and the same for ever.
HAYDOCK’S Bible Commentary
Ver. 8. “Yesterday, and to-day, and the same forever. That is, Christ is the same merciful and powerful advocate and protector, in regard of all that serve him faithfully to the end of the world.” (Witham)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Again Haydock’s Bible Commentary
Ver. 1.” In the beginning was the word: or rather, the word was in the beginning. The eternal word, the increated[uncreated?] wisdom, the second Person of the blessed Trinity, the only begotten Son of the Father, as he is here called (ver. 14.) of the same nature and substance, and the same God, with the Father and Holy Ghost. This word was always; so that it was never true to say, he was not, as the Arians blasphemed. This word was in the beginning. Some, by the beginning, expound the Father himself, in whom he was always. Others give this plain and obvious sense, that the word, or the Son of God, was, when all other things began to have a being; he never began, but was from all eternity. — And the word was with God; i.e. was with the Father; and as it is said, (ver. 18) in the bosom of the Father; which implies, that he is indeed a distinct person, but the same in nature and substance with the Father and the Holy Ghost. This is repeated again in the second verse, as repetitions are very frequent in St. John. — And the word was God. This without question is the construction; where, according to the letter we read, and God was the word. (Witham) — The Greek for the word is Logos, which signifies not only the exterior word, but also the interior word, or thought; and in this latter sense it is taken here. (Bible de Vence) — Philo Judæus, in the apostolic age, uses the word Logos, p. 823, to personify the wisdom and the power of God. Logos estin eikon Theou di ou sumpas o Kosmos edemiourgeito. By a similar metonymy, Jesus Christ is called the way, the truth, the life, the resurrection. — And the word was God. Here the eternity and the divinity of the second Person are incontrovertibly established; or, we must say that language has no longer a fixed meaning, and that it is impossible to establish any point whatever from the words of Scripture. (Haydock)
These are semi-official.
8Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever.b
1 In the beginning was the Word:a
the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
1a. The O.T. speaks of the Word of God, and of his Wisdom, present with God before the world was made, cf. Pr 8:22+; Ws 7:22+; by it all things were created; it is sent to earth to reveal the hidden designs of God; it returns to him with its work done, Is 55:10-11; Pr 8:22-36; Si 24:3-22; WS 9;9-12. On its creative role, cf. also Gn 1:3,6 etc.; Is 40:8,26; 44:24-28; 48:13; Ps 33:6; Jdt 16:14; Si 42:15; on its mission, cf. Ws 18:14-16; Ps 107:20; 147:15-18. For John, too, 13:3; 16:28, the Word existed before the world in God, 1:1,2; 8:24+; 10:30+; it has come on earth, 1:9-14; 3:19; 9:39; 12:46, cf. Mk 1:38+, being sent by the Father, 3:17,34; 5:36,43; 6:29; 7:29; 8:42; 9:7; 10:36; 11:42; 17:3,25, cf. Lk 4:43, to perform a task, 4:34+, namely, to deliver a message of salvation to the world, 3;11+; 1:33+; with its mission accomplished it returns to the Father, 1:18; 7:33; 8:21; 12:35; 13:3; 16:5; 17:11,13; 20:17. The incarnation enabled the N.T., and especially John, to see this separately and eternally existent Word- Wisdom as a person.
Friendly aside observation:
having been slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13.8) at first glance seems to be in contradiction here, as if to say there was a before-hand non-slain status prior to the foundation of the world and an after-hand slain status in relation to Hebrews 13.8: Jesus Christ yesterday and today is the same and to the ages. Notice the cute chapter/verse correlation!
Obviously ?] the passage in Revelation refers to the spirit and not the flesh, or else even moving a limb would be akin to saying there was change in Jesus Christ. The interesting thing is that this spiritual quality of being slain seems to be potentially interpreted as a means by which the world was made. These phrases are not definitive and so not “official” in that sense, but there raises an important question to the theologian/student: is being slain a result of the quality of being generated from the Father in relation to the allowance of potentialities, willing the limited, created order, or is it not so primal? As if man’s expression of generation describing the Father’s act in relation to the Son is the lingual inversion of the eternal submission of the Son to the Father, and in turn is related to this quality of being slain in spirit, manifested in the fullness of time through being crucified in fulfillment of scripture which seems to be a shadowy anticipation just as much as potentiality can be said to be incomplete?
Ciao for now.