Grace Family Bible Church

Did the Lord Jesus Christ Change?

By: Scott Morton

When individuals encounter the truth of right division (2 Timothy 2:15), there are two options they face. The first is to accept what the Bible is saying and attempt to come to a greater understanding of the Bible. The second option is to attempt to explain this way by using verses of the Bible out of their context. One of the common verses to use is the following:

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

The common interpretation of this verse; when it is used as an objection to right division; is the Lord Jesus Christ never makes any changes. He deals with man the exact same way throughout the entire Bible. This would mean the main doctrine for individuals today would come from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This is problematic, as it can only cause confusion for people today.

Matthew 19:16-24

And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? [17] And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. [18] He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, [19] Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [20] The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? [21] Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. [22] But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. [23] Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. [24] And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

In this passage, this individual is asking a very important question. He wants to know what message is going to provide salvation to him. The Lord Jesus Christ is going to respond to this by first telling him to keep the law that had been given to Moses. It is after the individual identifies he has kept the law that the additional information of selling all he has and giving it to the poor is revealed. This is the gospel message they are giving to people so they can receive eternal life.

Is this the gospel message given to use today? The Apostle Paul identifies we have been made free from the law (Romans 6:14-15). He also identifies we have been redeemed from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13), as the law had been nailed to the cross with the Lord Jesus Christ. If the law has been taken out of the way for us, something has changed.

The gospel message given for us today is the gospel of the grace of God, which has been committed to the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). This is the only message that can provide salvation to an individual today.

What change happens in a dispensation?

The change that occurs during a dispensation has nothing to do with God actually changing. The change that occurs is a change in man. Because of the change in man, God changes the way He deals with man.

An example of this can be found in the book of Genesis after the fall in the Garden of Eden:

Genesis 5:1-2

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; [2] Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

In this passage, we see the state of Adam at the creation. He was created in the image of God. This is the intent seen in Genesis 1:26-28 during the creation week, as man was being given dominion over the earth. Man was created in this image and the intent was to remain in this condition.

Genesis 5:3

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:

With the birth of Seth recorded here, there is a change which has been recorded. Seth is not born in the image of God (as Adam was made), but is instead born in the image of Adam. This is not the same thing and reflects the change that occurred in Genesis 3 because of the fall.

When the fall occurred, Adam changes, as sin is introduced into the world. In Romans 5:13, the Apostle Paul records the fact of the transgression of Adam. Adam had changed from being in the image of God (without sin) to having sin present with him. This is a major change in who Adam is.

Because of the change in Adam, God cannot deal with him in the same manner. God cannot have a relationship with sin, which changes the relationship with man. The presence of sin affects the dealings with God and causes the judgment that is proclaimed at the end of Chapter 3.

In spite of the objections of many individuals, those who teach dispensationalism do not teach the idea of God changing. The passages which show God does not change are believed to be saying exactly what they say. The attributes of God do not change, which is what these passages are referring to. God always has been and will be the same. What is taught is man changes and God changing the method of dealing with man based on this.

The plan of God never changes

God established a plan from the very beginning. This plan dealt with the reconciliation of the creation:

Romans 16:25-26

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

This passage shows there was a plan, which was kept secret from the beginning of the world. God had a plan known as the mystery (the dispensation of grace) which He knew, but did not reveal. This was not something that had been made up because of the failures of man. God does not react in this manner, but knows how things are going to happen and the plan does not change in this manner.

The plan that has been established has to do with the reconciliation of things back unto God. He has known this would need to be done and established a plan to do this:

Colossians 1:18-21

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. [21] And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

This passage shows what God was intending to do from the beginning. He had established a plan, which was going to reconcile all things unto Himself. Before He had created, He already knew there would be a failure in the Creation and established a way for the creation to be reconciled.

God has made a plan for the reconciliation of the earth. This is what is seen starting in Genesis 1 and going through until the ministry of the Apostle Paul. The focus of God is always on the earth. Adam is given dominion over the earth. Israel is promised to be made a kingdom of priests on the earth and is waiting for God to establish His kingdom upon the earth. All of the covenants God made with them deal with the relationship they are to have to this kingdom. Israel will be dealt with again in the future in order to establish this kingdom and fulfill all of the promises God has made with them.

The plan of reconciliation is very important to understand. It shows the knowledge of God, as He was creating a plan for the creation even before the event occurred. There was nothing that could have happened which would have caused this plan to change or God to react in any way.

What is the danger of not understanding this?

There is a high level of danger in not understanding the changes that do occur, as opposed to those which could never occur. Some have taught things which would indicate there is a change in the Godhead. An example of this is the Lord Jesus Christ laying aside the attributes of God during the earthly ministry. If this had occurred, there actually would have been a change in God. Hebrews 13:8 could not be true because the Lord Jesus Christ is different at that time. While He did take on a human form, He also had all of the attributes of God during this time (see the article Jesus Christ Full God and Full Man on this website for further information on this topic).

If an individual does not understand the changes in dispensations, there will be confusion for them in their Christian life. They will be attempting to apply all of the passages in the Bible to their life and will not be able to do so. There are passages that seem to contradict each other and would only lead to confusion for the person trying to follow all of them. An example of this is diet, which can be seen by the following passages:

Genesis 1:26-30

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. [29] And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. [30] And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

Genesis 9:1-4

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. [2] And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. [3] Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. [4] But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

Leviticus 11:2-47

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. [3] Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. [4] Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. [5] And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. [6] And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. [7] And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. [8] Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you. [9] These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. [10] And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: [11] They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. [12] Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. [13] And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, [14] And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; [15] Every raven after his kind; [16] And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, [17] And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, [18] And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, [19] And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. [20] All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. [21] Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; [22] Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. [23] But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you. [24] And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even. [25] And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. [26] The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean. [27] And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even. [28] And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you. [29] These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind, [30] And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole. [31] These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even. [32] And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed. [33] And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it. [34] Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean. [35] And every thing whereupon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean, and shall be unclean unto you. [36] Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean. [37] And if any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean. [38] But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you. [39] And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even. [40] And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. [41] And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten. [42] Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination. [43] Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. [44] For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [45] For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. [46] This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: [47] To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.

1 Timothy 4:1-5

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

These texts show there are distinct differences when the Bible is talking about what to eat. The diet of man is instructed to be vegetarian (Genesis 1), all things (Genesis 9), restrictions placed on what able to eat (Leviticus 11), and all things (1 Timothy, associated with prayer and the Word of God). It is impossible for an individual to follow all of these commands, as they contradict each other. An individual has to know what dispensation they are in and follow the proper instructions for them.

The danger is an individual would now know what they are to do and would be doing things that would not be pleasing to God. We are to understand the program of God and follow the instructions given to us.