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New King James
Hebrews 1:3

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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Bible Study Resources

Commentaries:

- Clarke Commentary;   Abbott's New Testament;   A.W. Pinks's Commentary;   Birdgeway Bible Commentary;   Coffman Commentaries;   Barne's Notes;   Box's Commentaries on Selected Books;   Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes;   Calvin's Commentary;   Cambridge Greek Testament;   Chuck Smith Commentary;   Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible ;   Constable's Expository Notes;   Daily Study Bible;   Darby's Synopsis;   Ellicott's Commentary;   Expositor's Greek Testament;   Family Bible New Testament;   Hole's Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Gaebelein's Annotated;   Morgan's Biblical Exposition;   Gill's Exposition;   Godbey's NT Commentary;   Gary Hampton Commentary;   Everett's Study Notes;   Geneva Study Bible;   Alford's Commentary;   Haydock's Catholic Commentary;   Meyer's Commentary;   Mahan's Commentary;   The Bible Study New Testament;   Ironside's Notes;   Bengel's Gnomon;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory;   Commentary Critical and Explanatory - Unabridged;   Gray's Commentary;   Owen Exposition of Hebrews;   The People's Bible;   Sutcliffe's Commentary;   Trapp's Commentary;   Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the Bible;   Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures;   Grant's Commentary;   Wells of Living Water;   Henry's Complete;   Henry's Concise;   Poole's Annotations;   Pett's Bible Commentary;   Peake's Bible Commentary;   Preacher's Homiletical Commentary;   Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary;   People's New Testament;   Benson's Commentary;   Robertson's Word Pictures;   Sermon Bible;   Schaff's New Testament Commentary;   Horae Homileticae;   Spurgeon's Verse Expositions;   Biblical Illustrator;   Coke's Commentary;   Expositor's Bible;   Pulpit Commentaries;   Treasury of Knowledge;   Vincent's Studies;   Burkitt's Notes;   Wesley's Notes;   Whedon's Commentary;   Zerr's N.T. Commentary;  

Concordances:

- Nave's Topical Bible - Ablution;   Atonement;   Glory;   God Continued...;   Image;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Majesty;   Power;   Thompson Chain Reference - Better;   Christ;   Dispensation, New;   Divine;   Divinity;   Divinity-Humanity;   Image, Divine;   New;   Power;   Weakness-Power;   The Topic Concordance - Jesus Christ;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Christ Is God;   Excellency and Glory of Christ, the;   Glory of God, the;   High Priest, the;   Power of Christ, the;   Prophecies Respecting Christ;   Trinity, the;  

Dictionaries:

- American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Birthright;   Exodus;   Glory, Glorify;   Image;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Creation;   Glory;   God;   Holy spirit;   Image;   Jesus christ;   Son of god;   Word;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christians, Names of;   Glory;   God;   Image of God;   Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of;   Old Testament in the New Testament, the;   Testimony;   Time;   Word;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Adoption;   Hypostasis;   Jesus Christ;   Omnipotence of God;   Omnipresence of God;   Person;   CARM Theological Dictionary - Revelation;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Glory;   Providence;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Adam (1);   Ark of the Covenant;   Form;   Hebrews, the Epistle to the;   Idol;   John, the Epistles of;   Philip the Apostle;   Providence;   Sacrifice;   Word, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Anthropology;   Anthropomorphism;   Ascension of Christ;   Christ, Christology;   Confessions and Credos;   Cross, Crucifixion;   God;   Hebrews;   History;   Incarnation;   Likeness;   Mission(s);   Omnipotence;   Presence of God;   Revelation of God;   Word;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ascension;   Atonement;   Canon of the New Testament;   Grace;   Hebrews, Epistle to;   Image;   Kenosis;   Light;   Logos;   Plain;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Alpha and Omega (2);   Annunciation, the ;   Apocrypha;   Art;   Ascension;   Ascension (2);   Attributes of Christ;   Communion (2);   Death of Christ;   Doxology;   Doxology ;   Evolution (Christ and);   Example;   Glory;   Glory (2);   Hebrews Epistle to the;   Holiness Purity;   Humiliation of Christ;   Image;   Immanence ;   James Epistle of;   Logos;   Majesty;   Majesty (2);   Mediator;   Nunc Dimittis ;   Presence;   Priest;   Propitiation (2);   Psalms (2);   Purification ;   Righteous, Righteousness;   Session;   Shekinah ;   Substance ;   Transfiguration (2);   Union with God;   Wisdom of Solomon;   World;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - 14 Word Words;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Christ;   Hand;   Image;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Jehu;   Scripture;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Purge;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Expiation;   Sacrifice;  

Encyclopedias:

- Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ascension;   Begotten;   Brightness;   Christ, the Exaltation of;   Christ, Offices of;   Eschatology of the New Testament;   Express;   Hebrews, Epistle to the;   Image;   Light;   Logos;   Nahum, the Book of;   Omnipotence;   Omnipresence;   Person;   Person of Christ;   Philosophy;   Priest;   Priest, High;   Purge;   Substance;   Wisdom;   Word;   World (Cosmological);   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Son of God;   Wisdom of Solomon, Book of the;  

Devotionals:

- Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for September 14;   Every Day Light - Devotion for December 2;  

Parallel Translations

The Amplified Bible
He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God's] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high,

The Complete Jewish Bible
This Son is the radiance of the Sh'khinah, the very expression of God's essence, upholding all that exists by his powerful word; and after he had, through himself, made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of HaG'dulah BaM'romim.

American Standard Version
who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Bible in Basic English
Who, being the outshining of his glory, the true image of his substance, supporting all things by the word of his power, having given himself as an offering making clean from sins, took his seat at the right hand of God in heaven;

English Revised Version
who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Contemporary English Version
God's Son has all the brightness of God's own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together. After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side of the glorious God in heaven.

English Standard Version
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Darby's Translation
who being [the] effulgence of his glory and [the] expression of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, having made [by himself] the purification of sins, set himself down on the right hand of the greatness on high,

Easy-to-Read Version
The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God's nature. The Son holds everything together with his powerful command. The Son made people clean from their sins. Then he sat down at the right side of the Great One (God) in heaven.

The Geneva Bible (1587)
Who being the brightnes of the glory, and the ingraued forme of his person, and bearing vp all things by his mightie worde, hath by himselfe purged our sinnes, and sitteth at the right hand of the Maiestie in the highest places,

The Bishop's Bible (1568)
Who beyng the bryghtnesse of the glorie, and the very image of his substaunce, vpholdyng all thynges with the worde of his power, hauing by him selfe pourged our sinnes, hath syt on the ryght hande of the maiestie on hye:

King James Version (1611)
Who being the brightnesse of his glory, and the expresse image of his person, and vpholding all things by the word of his power, when hee had by himselfe purged our sinnes, sate down on ye right hand of the Maiestie on high,

New Revised Standard
He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

New Century Version
The Son reflects the glory of God and shows exactly what God is like. He holds everything together with his powerful word. When the Son made people clean from their sins, he sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven.

James Murdock Translation of the Peshitta
who is the splendor of his glory, and the image of himself, and upholdeth all by the energy of his word; and by himself he made a purgation of sins, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Wesley's New Testament (1755)
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and sustaining 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,

George Lamsa Translation of the Peshitta
For he is the brightness of his glory and the express image of his being, upholding all things by the power of his word; and when he had through his person, cleansed our sins, then he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who being the brightness of his glory and the figure of his substance and upholding all things by the word of his power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high:

Good News Translation
He reflects the brightness of God's glory and is the exact likeness of God's own being, sustaining the universe with his powerful word. After achieving forgiveness for the sins of all human beings, he sat down in heaven at the right side of God, the Supreme Power.

Holman Christian Standard
He is the radiance of His glory, the exact expression of His nature, and He sustains all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Miles Coverdale Bible (1535)
Which (sonne) beynge the brightnes of his glory, & the very ymage of his substaunce, bearinge vp all thinges with the worde of his power, hath in his owne personne pourged oure synnes, and is set on the righte hande of the maiestie on hye:

Mace New Testament (1729)
who being the radiation of his glory, and the imprest image of his substance, and governing all things by his powerful command, after having himself made expiation for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the divine majesty in the highest heavens.

J.P. Green Literal Translation
who being the shining splendor of His glory, and the express image of His essence, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, having made purification of our sins through Himself, He sat down on the right of theMajesty on high, Psa. 110:1

New Living Translation
The Son reflects God's own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven.

New International Version
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

King James Version
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;

New American Standard Version
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

New Life Version
The Son shines with the shining-greatness of the Father. The Son is as God is in every way. It is the Son Who holds up the whole world by the power of His Word. The Son gave His own life so we could be clean from all sin. After He had done that, He sat down on the right side of God in heaven.

Hebrew Names Version
His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

International Standard Version
He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact likeness of his being, and he holds everything together by his powerful word. After he had provided a cleansing from sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Highest Majesty

John Etheridge Translation of the Peshitta
who himself is the resplendence of his glory, and the image of his Being, and upholdeth all (things) by the power of his word; and he, in his (own) person, hath made purification of sins, and hath sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high [The Greatness in the high places].

The Emphasised Bible
Who, being an eradiated brightness of his glory, and an exact representation of his very being, also bearing up all things by the utterance of his power, purification of sins, having achieved, sat down on the right hand of the majesty in high places:

Revised Standard Version
He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Tyndale Bible
Which sonne beynge the brightnes of his glory and very ymage of his substance bearinge vp all thinges with the worde of his power hath in his awne person pourged oure synnes and is sitten on the right honde of the maiestie an hye

Updated Bible Version 1.9
who being the radiance of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;

The Webster Bible
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 made purification of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

World English Bible
His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Weymouth New Testament
He brightly reflects God's glory and is the exact representation of His being, and upholds the universe by His all-powerful word. After securing man's purification from sin He took His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

The Wycliffe Bible (1395)
Which whanne also he is the briytnesse of glorie, and figure of his substaunce, and berith alle thingis bi word of his vertu, he makith purgacioun of synnes, and syttith on the riythalf of the maieste in heuenes;

Young's Literal Translation
who being the brightness of the glory, and the impress of His subsistence, bearing up also the all things by the saying of his might -- through himself having made a cleansing of our sins, sat down at the right hand of the greatness in the highest,

The Message
This Son perfectly mirrors God, and is stamped with God's nature. He holds everything together by what he says--powerful words! After he finished the sacrifice for sins, the Son took his honored place high in the heavens right alongside God, The Son Is Higher than Angels

Lexham English Bible
who is the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence, sustaining all things by the word of power. When he*Here "when" is supplied as a component of the participle ("had made") which is understood as temporal had made purification for sins through him, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Contextual Overview

1God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3who 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Verse Review

from
Treasury of Scripure Knowledge

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;
the brightness
John 1:14; 14:9,10; 2 Corinthians 4:6
image
2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15,16
upholding
Psalms 75:3; John 1:4; Colossians 1:17; Revelation 4:11
the word
Ecclesiastes 8:4; Romans 1:16; 2 Corinthians 4:7
by himself
7:27; 9:12-14,16,26; John 1:29; 1 John 1:7; 3:5
sat
4:14; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Psalms 110:1; Matthew 22:24; Mark 16:19; Luke 20:42,43; Acts 2:33; 7:56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20-22; Colossians 3:1; 1 Peter 1:21; 3:22; Revelation 3:21
Majesty
1 Chronicles 29:11; Job 37:22; Micah 5:4; 2 Peter 1:16; Jude 1:25

Cross-References

Job 36:30
Look, He scatters His light upon it, And covers the depths of the sea.

Job 38:19
"Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place,

Psalms 33:6
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

Psalms 33:9
For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.

Psalms 97:11
Light is sown for the righteous, And gladness for the upright in heart.

Psalms 104:2
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.

Psalms 118:27
God is the LORD, And He has given us light; Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.

Psalms 148:5
Let them praise the name of the LORD, For He commanded and they were created.

Isaiah 45:7
I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.'

Isaiah 60:19
"The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory.

Gill's Notes on the Bible

Who being the brightness of his glory,.... Or "of glory"; of God the Father, the God of glory, and who is glory itself; so called on account of his glorious nature and perfections and because of the glorious manifestations of them in his works of creation and providence, and in the various dispensations of his grace, and especially in his Son; and because he is the author of all glory, in the creatures, in the whole world, in Christ as man and Mediator, and in his own people. Now Christ is the "brightness" of this, as he is God; he has the same glorious nature and perfections, and the same glorious names, as Jehovah, the Lord of glory, &c. and the same glory, homage, and worship given him: the allusion is to the sun, and its beam or ray: so some render it "the ray of his glory"; and may lead us to observe, that the Father and the Son are of the same nature, as the sun and its ray; and that the one is not before the other, and yet distinct from each other, and cannot be divided or separated one from another: so the phrase זין יקריה, "the brightness of his glory", is used of the divine Being, in the Chaldee paraphrases; see the Apocrypha.

"For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness.' (Wisdom 7:26)

And the express image of his person; this intends much the same as the other phrase; namely, equality and sameness of nature, and distinction of persons; for if the Father is God, Christ must be so too; and if he is a person, his Son must be so likewise, or he cannot be the express image and character of him; See Gill on Colossians 1:15.

And upholding all things by the word of his power; the Syriac version renders it, "by the power of his word", to the same sense, only inverting the words. The Targumist on 2 Chronicles 2:6 uses a phrase very much like this, of God, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain; because, adds he, סביל כלא בדרע גבורתיה, "he bears", or "sustains all things by the arm of his power"; and the words are to be understood not of the Father, upholding all things by his essential and powerful Word, his Son; but of the Son himself, who upholds all creatures he has made; bears up the pillars of the universe; preserves every creature in its being, and supports it, and supplies it with the necessaries of life; rules and governs all, and providentially orders and disposes of all things in the world, and that by his all powerful will; which makes it manifest, that he is truly and properly God, and a very fit person to be a priest, as follows:

when he had by himself purged our sins; the Arabic and Ethiopic versions seem to refer this to God the Father, as if he, by Christ, made the expiation of sin, and then caused him to sit down at his right hand; but it belongs to the Son himself, who of himself, and by himself alone, and by the sacrifice of himself, made atonement for the sins of his people; which is meant by the purgation of them: he took their sins upon himself, and bore them, and removed them far away, and utterly abolished them, which the priests under the law could not do: and when he had so done,

he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; by "Majesty" is meant God the Father, to whom majesty belongs; who is clothed with it, and which is before him: and his "right hand" designs his power, greatness, and glory, and is expressive of the high honour Christ, as man, is possessed of; for his sitting here denotes the glorious exaltation of him in human nature, after his sufferings, and death, and resurrection from the dead; and shows that he had done his work, and was accepted, and was now enjoying rest and ease, honour and glory, in which he will continue; and the place of his session, as well as of the habitation of God, at whose right hand he sits, is on high, in the highest heavens.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Who being the brightness of his glory - This verse is designed to state the dignity and exalted rank of the Son of God, and is exceedingly important with reference to a correct view of the Redeemer. Every word which is employed is of great importance, and should be clearly understood in order to a correct apprehension of the passage. First, in what manner does it refer to the Redeemer? To his divine nature? To the mode of his existence before he was incarnate? Or to him as he appeared on earth? Most of the ancient commentators supposed that it referred to his divine dignity before he became incarnate, and proceed to argue on that supposition on the mode of the divine existence. The true solution seems to me to be, that it refers to him as incarnate, but still has reference to him as the incarnate “Son of God.” It refers to him as Mediator, but not simply or mainly as a man. It is rather to him as divine - thus, in his incarnation, being the brightness of the divine glory, and the express image of God. That this is the correct view is apparent, I think, from the whole scope of the passage. The drift of the argument is, to show his dignity as “he has spoken to us” Hebrews 1:1, and not in the period antecedent to his incarnation. It is to show his claims to our reverence as sent from God - the last and greatest of the messengers which God bas sent to man. But, then it is a description of him “as he actually is” - the incarnate Son of God; the equal of the Father in human flesh; and this leads the writer to dwell on his divine, character, and to argue from that; Hebrews 1:8, Hebrews 1:10-12. I have no doubt, therefore, that this description refers to his divine nature, but it is the divine nature as it appears in human flesh. An examination of the words used will prepare us for a more clear comprehension of the sense. The word “glory” - δόξα doxa- means properly “a seeming, an appearance;” and then:

(1)praise, applause, honor:

(2)dignity, splendor, glory;

(3)brightness, dazzling light; and,

(4)excellence, perfection, such as belongs to God and such as there is in heaven.

It is probably used here, as the word - כבוד kaabowd- is often among the Hebrews, to denote splendor, brightness, and refers to the divine perfections as resembling a bright light, or the sun. The word is applied to the sun and stars, 1 Corinthians 15:40-41; to the light which Paul saw on the way to Damascus, Acts 22:11; to the shining of Moses‘ face, 2 Corinthians 3:7; to the celestial light which surrounds the angels, Revelation 18:1; and glorified saints, Luke 9:31-32; and to the dazzling splendor or majesty in which God is enthroned; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 2 Peter 1:17; Revelation 15:8; Revelation 21:11, Revelation 21:23. Here there is a comparison of God with the sun; he is encompassed with splendor and majesty; he is a being of light and of infinite perfection. It refers to “all in God” that is bright, splendid, glorious; and the idea is, that the Son of God is the “brightness” of it all.

The word rendered “brightness” - ἀπαύγασμα apaugasma- occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means properly “reflected splendor,” or the light which emanates from a luminous body. The rays or beams of the sun are its “brightness,” or that by which the sun is seen and known. The sun itself we do not see; the beams which flow from it we do see. The meaning here is, that if God be represented under the image of a luminous body, as he is in the Scriptures (see Psalm 84:11; Malachi 4:2), then Christ is the radiance of that light, the brightness of that luminary - Stuart. He is that by which we perceive God, or by which God is made known to us in his real perfections; compare John 1:18; John 14:9. - It is by him only that the true character and glory of God is known to people. This is true in regard to the great system of revelation but it is especially true in regard to the views which people have of God. Matthew 11:27 - “no man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

The human soul is dark respecting the divine character until it is enlightened by Christ. It sees no beauty, no glory in his nature - nothing that excites wonder, or that wins the affections, until it is disclosed by the Redeemer. somehow it happens, account for it as people may, that there are no elevating practical views of God in the world; no views that engage and hold the affections of the soul; no views that are transforming and purifying, but those which are derived from the Lord Jesus. A man becomes a Christian, and at once he has elevated, practical views of God. He is to him the most glorious of all beings. He finds supreme delight in contemplating his perfections. But he may be a philosopher or an infidel, and though he may profess to believe in the existence of God, yet the belief excites no practical influence on him; he sees nothing to admire; nothing which leads him to worship him; compare Romans 1:21.

And the express image - The word used here - χαρακτὴρ charaktēr- likewise occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It is that from which our word “character” is derived. It properly means a “engraving-tool;” and then something “engraved” or “stamped” - “a character” - as a letter, mark, sign. The image stamped on coins, seals, wax, expresses the idea: and the sense here is, that if God be represented under the idea of a substance, or being, then Christ is the exact resemblance of that - as an image is of the stamp or die. The resemblance between a stamp and the figure which is impressed is exact; and so is the resemblance between the Redeemer and God; see Colossians 1:15. “Who is the image of the invisible God.”

Of his person - The word “person” with us denotes an individual being, and is applied to human beings, consisting of body and soul. We do not apply it to anything dead - not using it with reference to the body when the spirit is gone. It is applied to man - with individual and separate consciousness and will; with body and soul; with an existence separate from others. It is evident that it cannot be used in this sense when applied to God, and that this word does not express the true idea of the passage here. Tyndale renders it, more accurately, “substance.” The word in the original - ὑπόστασις hupostasis- whence our word “hypostasis,” means, literally, a “foundation,” or “substructure.” Then it means a well-founded trust, firm expectation, confidence, firmness, boldness; and then “reality, substance, essential nature.” In the New Testament, it is rendered “confident,” or “confidence” 2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 11:17; Hebrews 3:14; “substance” Hebrews 11:1; and “person” in the passage before us. It is not used elsewhere. Here it properly refers to the essential nature of God - what distinguishes him from all other beings, and which, if I may so say, “constitutes him God;” and the idea is, that the Redeemer is the exact resemblance of “that.” This resemblance consists, probably, in the following things - though perhaps the enumeration does not include all - but in these he certainly resembles God, or is his exact image:

(1) In his original mode of being, or before the incarnation. Of this we know little. But he had a “glory with the Father before the world was;” John 17:5. He was “in the beginning with God, and was God;” John 1:1. He was in intimate union with the Father, and was one with Him, in certain respects; though in certain other respects, there was a distinction. I do not see any evidence in the Scriptures of the doctrine of “eternal generation,” and it is certain that that doctrine militates against the “proper eternity” of the Son of God. The natural and fair meaning of that doctrine would be, that there was a time when he had not an existence, and when he began to be, or was begotten. But the Scripture doctrine is, that he had a strict and proper eternity. I see no evidence that he was in any sense a “derived being” - deriving his existence and his divinity from the Father. The Fathers of the Christian church, it is believed, held that the Son of God as to his divine, as well as his human nature, was “derived” from the Father. Hence, the Nicene creed speaks of him as “begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made” - language implying derivation in his divine nature. They held, with one voice, that he was God (divine); but it was in this manner; see Stuart, Excursus III. on the Epistle to the Hebrews. But this is incredible and impossible. A derived being cannot in any proper sense be “God”; and if there is any attribute which the Scriptures have ascribed to the Saviour with special clearness, it is that of proper eternity; Revelation 1:11, Revelation 1:17; John 1:1.

(Perhaps the doctrine of Christ‘s natural or eternal Sonship had been as well understood without the help of the term “generation,” which adds nothing to our stock of ideas on the subject, and gives rise, as the above remarks prove, to objections which attach altogether to the “word,” and from which the “doctrine” itself is free. In fairness however, it should be remembered that, like many other theological terms, the term in question, when applied to Christ‘s Sonship, is not to be understood in the ordinary acceptation, as implying derivation or extraction. It is used as making some approach to a proper term only, and in this case, as in others of like nature, it is but just to respect the acknowledged rule that when human phraseology is employed concerning the divine nature, all that is imperfect, all that belongs to the creature, is to be rejected, and that only retained which comports with the majesty of the Creator. It is on this very principle that Prof. Stuart, in his first excursus, and Trinitarians generally, have so successfully defended the use of the word “person” to designate a distinction in the Godhead. Overlooking this principle, our author deduces consequences from the doctrine of eternal generation, which do not properly belong to it, and which its advocates distinctly repudiate.

That doctrine cannot militate against the proper eternity of the Son, since, while it uses the term “generation,” not “more human,” but with every thing of human informity separated from it, it supplies also the adjunct “eternal.” Whatever some indiscreet advocates of the eternal Sonship may have affirmed, it should never be forgotten, that the ablest friends equally with the author, contend that there is no “Derivation or communication of essence from the Father to the Son.” “Although the terms “Father” and “Son” indicate a relation analogous to that among people, yet, as in the latter case, it is a relation between two material and separate beings, and in the former, is a relation in the same Spiritual essence, the one can throw no light upon the other; and to attempt to illustrate the one by the other is equally illogical and presumptuous. We can conceive the communication of a material essence by one material being to another, because it takes place in the generation of animals; but the communication of a spiritual, indivisible, immutable essence is altogether inconceivable, especially when we add, that the supposed communication does not constitute a different being, but takes place in the essences communicating.”

Dick‘s Theology, vol. 2, page 71. It is readily allowed that the Fathers, and many since their times, have written unguardedly on this mysterious subject: but their errors, instead of leading us to reject the doctrine entirely, should lead us only to examine the Scriptures more fully, and form our opinions on them alone. The excellent author already quoted has well remarked: “I cannot conceive what object they have in view who admit the Divinity, but deny the natural Sonship of our Saviour, unless it be to get rid of the strange notions about communication of essence and subordination which have prevailed so much; and in this case, like too many disputants, in avoiding one extreme, they run into the other.”)

It may have been that it was by him that the perfections of God were made known before the incarnation to the angelic world, but on that point the Scriptures are silent.

(2) on earth he was the brightness of the divine glory, and the express image of his person:

(a)It was by him, eminently, that God was made known to human beings - as it is by the beams of the sun that that is made known.

(b)He bore an exact resemblance to God. He was just such a being as we should suppose God to be were he to become incarnate, and to act as a man.

He was the embodied representation of the Deity. He was pure - like God. He was benevolent - like God. He spake to the winds and storms - like God. He healed diseases - like God. He raised the dead - like God. He wielded the power which God only can wield, and he manifested a character in all respects like what we should suppose God would evince if he appeared in human flesh, and dwelt among people and this is saying much. It is in fact saying that the account in the Gospels is real, and that the Christian religion is true. Uninspired men could never have drawn such a character as that of Jesus Christ, unless that character had actually existed. The attempt has often been made to describe God, or to show how be would speak and act if he came down to earth.

Thus, the Hindus speak of the incarnations of Vishnu; and thus Homer, and Virgil, and most of the ancient poets, speak of the appearance of the gods, and describe them as they were supposed to appear. But how different from the character of the Lord Jesus! they are full of passion, and lust, and anger, and contention, and strife; they come to mingle in battles, and to take part with contending armies, and they evince the same spirit as men, and are merely “men of great power, and more gigantic passions; “but Christ is God in human nature. The form is that of man; the spirit is that of God. He walks, and eats, and sleeps as a man; he thinks, and speaks, and acts like God. He was born as a man - but the angels adored him as God. As a man he ate; yet by a word he created food for thousands, as if he were God. Like a man he slept on a pillow while the vessel was tossed by the waves; like God be rose, and rebuked the winds and they were still. As a man he went, with affectionate interest, to the house of Martha and Mary. As a man he sympathized with them in their affliction, and wept at the grave of their brother; like God he spoke, and the dead came forth to the land of the living. As a man he traveled through the land of Judea. He was without a home. Yet everywhere the sick were laid at his feet, and health came from his touch, and strength from the words of his lips as if he were God. As a man he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane; he bore his cross to Calvary; he was nailed to the tree: yet then the heavens grew dark, and the earth shook and the dead arose as if he were God. As a man he slept in the cold tomb - like God he rose, and brought life and immortality to light.

He lived on earth as a man - he ascended to heaven like God. And in all the life of the Redeemer, in all the variety of trying situations in which he was placed, there was not a word or action which was inconsistent with the supposition that he was the incarnate God. There was no failure of any effort to heal the sick or to raise the dead; no look, no word, no deed that is not perfectly consistent with this supposition; but on the contrary, his life is full of events which can be explained on no other supposition than that he was the appropriate shining forth of the divine glory, and the exact resemblance of the essence of God. There are not two Gods - as there are not two suns when the sun shines. It is the one God, in a mysterious and incomprehensible manner shining into the world in the face of Jesus Christ. See note on 2 Corinthians 4:6. As the wax bears the perfect image of the seal - perfect not only in the outline, but in the filling up - in all the lines, and features, and letters, so is it with the Redeemer. There is not one of the divine perfections which has not the counterpart in him, and if the glory of the divine character is seen at all by people, it will be seen in and through him.

And upholding all things by the word of his power - That is, by his powerful word, or command. The phrase “word of his power” is a Hebraism, and means his efficient command. There could not be a more distinct ascription of divinity to the Son of God than this. He upholds or sustains all things - that is, the universe. It is not merely the earth; not only its rocks, mountains, seas, animals and human beings, but it is the universe - all distant worlds. How can he do this who is not God? He does it by his word - his command. What a conception! That one simple command should do all this! So the world was made when God “spake and it was done; he commanded and it stood fast;” Psalm 33:9. So the Lord Jesus commanded the waves and the winds, and they were still Matthew 8:26-27; so he spoke to diseases and they departed, and to the dead land they arose; compare Genesis 1:3. I do know how people can “explain away” this ascription of infinite power to the Redeemer. There can be no higher idea of omnipotence than to say that he upholds all things by his word; and assuredly he who can “hold up” this vast universe so that it does not sink into anarchy or into nothing, must be God. The same power Jesus claimed for himself; see Matthew 28:18.

When he had by himself purged our sins - “By himself” - not by the blood of bulls and lambs, but by his own blood. This is designed to bring in the grand feature of the Christian scheme, that the purification made for sin was by his blood, instead of the blood which was shed in the temple-service. The word rendered here “purged” means “purified” or “expiated;” see notes on John 15:2. The literal rendering is, “having made purification for our sins.” The purification or cleansing which he effected was by his blood; see 1 John 1:7 “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.” This the apostle here states to have been the great object for which he came, and having done this, he sat down on the right hand of God; see Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:12-14. It was not merely to teach that he came; it was to purify the hearts of people, to remove their sins, and to put an end to sacrifice by the sacrifice of himself.

Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high - Of God; see the notes on Mark 16:19; Ephesians 1:20-23.

Clarke's Notes on the Bible

The brightness of his glory - Απαυγασμα της δοξης The resplendent outbeaming of the essential glory of God. Hesychius interprets απαυγασμα by ᾑλιου φεγγος, the splendor of the sun. The same form of expression is used by an apocryphal writer, Wis. 7:26, where, speaking of the uncreated wisdom of God, he says: "For she is the splendor of eternal light, απαυγασμα γαρ εστι φωτος αΐδιου, and the unsullied mirror of the energy of God, and the image of his goodness." The word αυγασμα is that which has splendor in itself απαυγασμα is the splendor emitted from it; but the inherent splendor and the exhibited splendor are radically and essentially the same.

The express image of his person - Χαρακτηρ της ὑποστασεως αυτου· The character or impression of his hypostasis or substance. It is supposed that these words expound the former; image expounding brightness, and person or substance, glory. The hypostasis of God is that which is essential to him as God; and the character or image is that by which all the likeness of the original becomes manifest, and is a perfect fac-simile of the whole. It is a metaphor taken from sealing; the die or seal leaving the full impression of its every part on the wax to which it is applied.

From these words it is evident,

  1. That the apostle states Jesus Christ to be of the same essence with the Father, as the απαυγασμα, or proceeding splendor, must be the same with the αυγασμα, or inherent splendor.
  • That Christ, though proceeding from the Father, is of the same essence; for if one αυγη, or splendor, produce another αυγη, or splendor, the produced splendor must be of the same essence with that which produces it.
  • That although Christ is thus of the same essence with the Father, yet he is a distinct person from the Father; as the splendor of the sun, though of the same essence, is distinct from the sun itself, though each is essential to the other; as the αυγασμα, or inherent splendor, cannot subsist without its απαυγασμα, or proceeding splendor, nor the proceeding splendor subsist without the inherent splendor from which it proceeds.
  • That Christ is eternal with the Father, as the proceeding splendor must necessarily be coexistent with the inherent splendor. If the one, therefore, be uncreated, the other is uncreated; if the one be eternal, the other is eternal.
  • Upholding all things by the word of his power - This is an astonishing description of the infinitely energetic and all pervading power of God. He spake, and all things were created; he speaks, and all things are sustained. The Jewish writers frequently express the perfection of the Divine nature by the phrases, He bears all things, both above and below; He carries all his creatures; He bears his world; He bears all worlds by his power. The Hebrews, to whom this epistle was written, would, from this and other circumstances, fully understand that the apostle believed Jesus Christ to be truly and properly God.

    Purged our sins - There may be here some reference to the great transactions in the wilderness.

    1. Moses, while in communion with God on the mount, was so impressed with the Divine glories that his face shone, so that the Israelites could not behold it. But Jesus is infinitely greater than Moses, for he is the splendor of God's glory; and,
  • Moses found the government of the Israelites such a burden that he altogether sank under it. His words, Numbers 11:12, are very remarkable: Have I conceived all this people? Have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy Bosom - unto the land which thou swearest unto their fathers? But Christ not only carried all the Israelites, and all mankind; but he upholds All Things by the word of his power.
  • The Israelites murmured against Moses and against God, and provoked the heavy displeasure of the Most High; and would have been consumed had not Aaron made an atonement for them, by offering victims and incense. But Jesus not only makes an atonement for Israel, but for the whole world; not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with his own blood: hence it is said that he purged our sins δι ' αὑτου, by himself his own body and life being the victim. It is very likely that the apostle had all these things in his eye when he wrote this verse; and takes occasion from them to show the infinite excellence of Jesus Christ when compared with Moses; and of his Gospel when compared with the law. And it is very likely that the Spirit of God, by whom he spoke, kept in view those maxims of the ancient Jews, concerning the Messiah, whom they represent as being infinitely greater than Abraham, the patriarchs, Moses, and the ministering angels. So Rabbi Tanchum, on Isaiah 52:13, Behold my servant shall deal prudently, says, המשיח מלך זה Zeh melek hammashiach, this is the King Messiah; and shall be exalted, and be extolled, and be very high. "He shall be exalted above Abraham, and shall be extolled beyond Moses, and shall be more sublime than the ministering angels." See the preface.
  • The right hand of the Majesty on high - As it were associated with the supreme Majesty, in glory everlasting, and in the government of all things in time and in eternity; for the right hand is the place of the greatest eminence, 1 Kings 2:19. The king himself, in eastern countries, sits on the throne; the next to him in the kingdom, and the highest favourite, sits on his right hand; and the third greatest personage, on his left.


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