Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Hebrews 1:3

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 American Standard Version
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Adam Clarke Commentary

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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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole 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.

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    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    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.

    Two credentials of the King are noted under Hebrews 1:2, and the other five are given here.

    3. "The effulgence of his glory" refers to the personal excellence of Christ, making him entitled to the kingship of the world by the very qualities of his life and character, even in the incarnated state; so that, if some means of determining the being most qualified by personal traits to be hailed universal ruler could be applied to all who ever lived on earth, Christ would infinitely surpass all others. This radiated glory of the Lord is called "emitted splendor" by Macknight who said,

    The meaning, I think, is that the divine perfections shone brightly in the Son, even after he was made flesh. Hence, John saith in his Gospel (John 1:14), "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth."[3]

    4. "And the very image of his substance" is somewhat ambiguous in the common versions; and the scholars give its meaning variously as: "He is the counterpart or facsimile of the Father."[4] "Very God of very God."[5] "The exact representation of the very being of God."[6] "The same essence with the Father,"[7] etc. Certainly, then, this refers to the divine right of Christ to receive people's worship, adoration, and obedience. Christ is entitled to be honored as King by divine right and is the only being ever so entitled to rulership; although he is by no means the only one ever to claim it!

    5. "Upholding all things by the word of his power" makes Christ to be the sustaining force of the cosmos itself, again reminding one of Paul's declaration in Colossians 1:16,17, "He is before all things, and in him all things consist." This credential undergirds Christ's throne by right of maintenance and support. One who is the sole support and source of every power within his creatures and creations has every right to rule over them and to expect true love and submission to his will. Perhaps a word is in order regarding the manner of Christ's upholding all things. It is "by the word of his power," hence spiritual by nature; and that spirituality is evident from the very makeup of material things themselves. Dr. John Cleveland Cothran, distinguished mathematician and chemist, has noted that:

    Each atom of the 102 elements consists of exactly the same three kinds of particles: protons, electrons, and neutrons; all the protons and neutrons of a given kind of atom are located in a central nucleus; all of the electrons, equal in number to the protons, spin on their axes and revolve at relatively great distances from it - rather reminiscent of a miniature solar system, so that most of the volume of the atom is merely empty space, just as is that of the solar system.[8]

    The spinning of those fantastically small particles approaches the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second; and that has been going on since Creation, without any interruption whatsoever! Why? The only intelligent answer must lie in the fact that Someone has commanded it; and who could such a Someone be, but God? Again, from Dr. Cothran,

    Our logical and inescapable conclusion is not only that creation occurred, but that it was brought about according to the plan and will of a Person endowed with supreme intelligence and knowledge (omniscience), and the power to bring it about and keep it running according to plan (omnipotence), always and everywhere throughout the universe (omnipresence).[9]

    Thus, there is a recognizable need for the "upholding" of all things by a word of power, a need supplied by our Lord, who, as that "word of power," is rightful king of all creation. The only logical reason that can be given as to why an electron travels at the speed of light for a thousand years (or a billion) is that Christ has commanded it; and the same is true of suns and galaxies.

    6. "When he had made purification of sins" is the credential which makes Christ king by right of purchase. The United States of America governs Alaska, because it was purchased from the Russian government for $7,000,000.00 in gold. Far greater was the price Christ paid for his human creation, buying them back when they had fallen into sin and were thereby forfeit to Satan. Yes, "Ye were bought with a price"! (1 Corinthians 6:20). And what was it? "Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops, to feed the church of God which he purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). It is perhaps impossible fully to understand why such a redemption was necessary, but every verse of the sacred scriptures is oriented to the sublime fact that man's incredible conduct in the garden of Eden cut him off from fellowship with his Creator and left him to languish in the kingdom of darkness until he should be redeemed. The interdict could never be lifted until Jesus paid it all upon the cross; and the recognition and appreciation of the marvelous truth that Christ did indeed lift it comprise the most glorious achievement of mortal mind, nor is it to say that such a thing can ever be fully understood until earth and earthly things have passed away.

    7. "And hath sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." This makes Christ king by right of having taken the kingdom. He is no mere candidate for regal honors, nor is he the "heir apparent"; but by fait accompli, he has already and altogether taken possession and will continue to reign until he has put all enemies under his feet (1 Corinthians 15:25). This is the credential by which many of the kings of the earth have sat upon their respective thrones. William the Conqueror took the throne of England solely by having the power to do it. He defeated Harold at the battle of Hastings, 1066; and without Harold's consent, and contrary to the will of many in England, he took the scepter anyway. There is the counterpart of this in Christ's credential here considered. He through death slew him that had the power of death, even the devil (Hebrews 2:14), led captivity captive, gave gifts unto men, and sat down on God's throne, called here the "right hand of the Majesty on high."

    The representation that Christ has "sat down" is a testimony to the completed nature of his work. In the Jewish economy, the high priest did not sit down when he went into the Holy of Holies, there being no provision of a chair, testifying to the preparatory and temporal nature of the atonement that he made; but not so with Christ who having accomplished all things is seated at God's right hand. Of course, this is not the designation of any place, specifically, the throne of God being a metaphor for the control center of the universe, which in the very nature of things, it is impossible for finite and mortal intelligence to apprehend fully, except by metaphorical comparison to things that are familiar. The metaphor is based upon the custom of ancient kings to elevate their favorite minister to a seat on the king's right hand. Several other expressions similar to this are in Hebrews (Hebrews 8:1; 10:12; 12:2).

    Thus, Christ is king by every conceivable right which was ever recognized as proper and legal undergirding of kingly authority, and by all of them at once. Thus, by inheritance, by creation, by personal excellence, by divine right, by right of maintenance, by right of purchase, and by fait accompli, Jesus Christ our Lord is the lawful sovereign of all things. Throughout the farthest reaches of the universe, the natural creations, all of them, suns, satellites, and galaxies, do his will; and what an incredibly strange thing it is that, in all the universe, man alone hesitates and refuses to give full obedience, frequently choosing to cast his lot with Satan and the fallen angels, already doomed and sentenced.

    [3] James Macknight, Apostolic Epistles (Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1960), p. 509.

    [4] J. R. Dummelow, Commentary on the Whole Bible (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1937), p. 1016.

    [5] Thomas Hewitt, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1960), p. 52.

    [6] Clarence S. Roddy, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1962), p. 18.

    [7] Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Holy Bible (New York: Carlton and Porter, 1829), Vol. 6, p. 686.

    [8] John Cleveland Cothran, Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1958), pp. 40,42.

    [9] Ibid.

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    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole 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 paraphrasesF18Targum in 2 Sam xxii. 13. & in Cant. v. 10. ; 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.

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    Geneva Study Bible

    Who being the e brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his f person, and g upholding all things by the word of his power, 3 when he had by himself purged our sins, h sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

    (e) He in whom the glory and majesty of the Father shines, who is otherwise infinite, and cannot be under obligation.

    (f) His Father's person.

    (g) Sustains, defends and cherishes. {(3)} The third part of the same proposition: The same Son executed the office of the High Priest in offering up himself, and is our only and most mighty Mediator in heaven.

    (h) This shows that the savour of that his sacrifice is not only most acceptable to the Father, but also is everlasting, and furthermore how far this High Priest surpasses all the other high priests.

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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". 1599-1645.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    Who being — by pre-existent and essential being.

    brightness of his gloryGreek, the effulgence of His glory. “Light of (from) light” [Nicene Creed]. “Who is so senseless as to doubt concerning the eternal being of the Son? For when has one seen light without effulgence?” [Athanasius, Against Arius, Orations, 2]. “The sun is never seen without effulgence, nor the Father without the Son” [Theophylact]. It is because He is the brightness, etc., and because He upholds, etc., that He sat down on the right hand, etc. It was a return to His divine glory (John 6:62; John 17:5; compare Wisdom of Solomon 7:25, 26, where similar things are said of wisdom).

    express image — “impress.” But veiled in the flesh.
    The Sun of God in glory beams

    Too bright for us to scan;
    But we can face the light that streams

    For the mild Son of man.

    (2 Corinthians 3:18).

    of his personGreek, “of His substantial essence”; “{(hypostasis}.

    upholding all thingsGreek,the universe.” Compare Colossians 1:15, Colossians 1:17, Colossians 1:20, which enumerates the three facts in the same order as here.

    by the word — Therefore the Son of God is a Person; for He has the word [Bengel]. His word is God‘s word (Hebrews 11:3).

    of his power — “The word” is the utterance which comes from His (the Son‘s) power, and gives expression to it.

    by himself — omitted in the oldest manuscripts.

    purgedGreek,made purification of  …  sins,” namely, in His atonement, which graciously covers the guilt of sin. “Our” is omitted in the oldest manuscripts. Sin was the great uncleanness in God‘s sight, of which He has effected the purgation by His sacrifice [Alford]. Our nature, as guilt-laden, could not, wi)thout our great High Priest‘s blood of atonement sprinkling the heavenly mercy seat, come into immediate contact with God. Ebrard says, “The mediation between man and God, who was present in the Most Holy Place, was revealed in three forms: (1) In sacrifices (typical propitiations for guilt); (2) In the priesthood (the agents of those sacrifices); (3) In the Levitical laws of purity (Levitical purity being attained by sacrifice positively, by avoidance of Levitical pollution negatively, the people being thus enabled to come into the presence of God without dying, Deuteronomy 5:26)” (Leviticus 16:1-34).

    sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high — fulfilling Psalm 110:1. This sitting of the Son at God‘s fight hand was by the act of the Father (Hebrews 8:1; Ephesians 1:20); it is never used of His pre-existing state co-equal with the Father, but always of His exalted state as Son of man after His sufferings, and as Mediator for man in the presence of God (Romans 8:34): a relation towards God and us about to come to an end when its object has been accomplished (1 Corinthians 15:28).

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

    William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

    3. “Who being the brightness of His glory and the character of His person.”... The Greek word for “express image” is character. Since that word has been transferred into the English language, it should not be translated. Hence, in the life of Jesus, faithfully delineated by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, his inspired biographers, we see the very character of God. Therefore, we find that God is “meek and lowly in heart,” going about doing good. Therefore, if you would go up and live with God in heaven you must be like Him, i.e., meek and lowly in heart, doing good, and no harm. “Having made the expurgation of sins He sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high.” You see from this statement that Jesus completely and forever settled the awful sin-problem, so far as this world is concerned. When He died on the cross He perfectly and eternally satisfied the violated law, and swept every conceivable difficulty completely out of the way; so the vilest sinner on the whole earth has nothing to do but totally, radically and unconditionally abandon sin and Satan world without end, look away to Calvary, and shout victory over the world, the flesh and the devil, now and through all eternity. Nothing but stubborn unbelief can ever keep a soul out of heaven. The very fact of the Father’s royal congratulation and glorious coronation of Jesus on the mediatorial throne a His right hand is an indisputable and eternal recognition of His perfect and satisfactory approval of the expiation and redemption Jesus came on the earth to execute. He is this day Mediatorial King, interceding at God’s right hand, in behalf of a guilty world.

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    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    Being (ωνōn). Absolute and timeless existence (present active participle of ειμιeimi) in contrast with γενομενοςgenomenos in Hebrews 1:4 like ηνēn in John 1:1 (in contrast with εγενετοegeneto in John 1:14) and like υπαρχωνhuparchōn and γενομενοςgenomenos in Philippians 2:6.

    The effulgence of his glory (απαυγασμα της δοχηςapaugasma tēs doxēs). The word απαυγασμαapaugasma late substantive from απαυγαζωapaugazō to emit brightness (αυγη αυγαζωaugē class="normal greek">χαρακτηρ της υποστασεως — augazō in 2 Corinthians 4:4), here only in the N.T., but in Wisdom 7:26 and in Philo. It can mean either reflected brightness, refulgence (Calvin, Thayer) or effulgence (ray from an original light body) as the Greek fathers hold. Both senses are true of Christ in his relation to God as Jesus shows in plain language in John 12:45; John 14:9. “The writer is using metaphors which had already been applied to Wisdom and the Logos” (Moffatt). The meaning “effulgence” suits the context better, though it gives the idea of eternal generation of the Son (John 1:1), the term Father applied to God necessarily involving Son. See this same metaphor in 2 Corinthians 4:6.

    The very image of his substance
    (Χαρακτηρcharaktēr tēs hupostaseōs). χαρασσωCharaktēr is an old word from τηρcharassō to cut, to scratch, to mark. It first was the agent (note ending = χαραγμαtēr) or tool that did the marking, then the mark or impress made, the exact reproduction, a meaning clearly expressed by χαρακτηρcharagma (Acts 17:29; Revelation 13:16.). Menander had already used (Moffatt) υποστασιςcharaktēr in the sense of our “character.” The word occurs in the inscriptions for “person” as well as for “exact reproduction” of a person. The word ψποστασιςhupostasis for the being or essence of God “is a philosophical rather than a religious term” (Moffatt). Etymologically it is the sediment or foundation under a building (for instance). In Hebrews 11:1 μορπη τεουhypostasis is like the “title-deed” idea found in the papyri. Athanasius rightly used Hebrews 1:1-4 in his controversy with Arius. Paul in Philippians 2:5-11 pictures the real and eternal deity of Christ free from the philosophical language here employed. But even Paul‘s simpler phrase Λογοςmorphē theou (the form of God) has difficulties of its own. The use of περων τεLogos in John 1:1-18 is parallel to Hebrews 1:1-4.

    And upholding
    (περωpherōn te). Present active participle of ωνpherō closely connected with τεōn (being) by τωι ρηματι της δυναμεως αυτουte and like Colossians 1:17 in idea. The newer science as expounded by Eddington and Jeans is in harmony with the spiritual and personal conception of creation here presented.

    By the word of his power
    (ρημαtōi rēmati tēs dunameōs autou). Instrumental case of ρηματι τεουrēma (word). See Hebrews 11:3 for αυτουrēmati theou (by the word of God) as the explanation of creation like Genesis, but here καταρισμον των αμαρτιωνautou refers to God‘s Son as in Hebrews 1:2.

    Purification of sins
    (Καταρισμοςkatharismon tōn hamartiōn). καταριζωKatharismos is from ποιησαμενοςkatharizō to cleanse (Matthew 8:3; Hebrews 9:14), here only in Hebrews, but in same sense of cleansing from sins, 2 Peter 1:9; Job 7:21. Note middle participle ευραμενοςpoiēsamenos like εκατισενheuramenos in Hebrews 9:12. This is the first mention of the priestly work of Christ, the keynote of this Epistle.

    Sat down
    (κατιζωekathisen). First aorist active of της μεγαλοσυνης εν υπσηλοιςkathizō “took his seat,” a formal and dignified act.

    Of the Majesty on high
    (μεγαςtēs megalosunēs en hupsēlois). Late word from εν υπσηλοιςmegas only in lxx (Deut 32:3; 2Sam 7:23, etc.), Aristeas, Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1; Judges 1:25. Christ resumed his original dignity and glory (John 17:5). The phrase εν υπσιστοιςen hupsēlois occurs in the Psalms (Psalm 93:4), here only in N.T., elsewhere εν τοις επουρανιοιςen hupsistois in the highest (Matthew 21:9; Luke 2:14) or en tois epouraniois in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:20). Jesus is here pictured as King (Prophet and Priest also) Messiah seated at the right hand of God.

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    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Vincent's Word Studies

    Being ( ὢν )

    Representing absolute being. See on John 1:1. Christ's absolute being is exhibited in two aspects, which follow:

    The brightness of his glory ( ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ )

    Of God's glory. For brightness rend. effulgence. Ἀπαύγασμα , N.T.olxx, only Wisd. 7:26. oClass. It is an Alexandrian word, and occurs in Philo. Interpretation is divided between effulgence and reflection. Effulgence or outraying accords better with the thought of the passage; for the writer is treating of the preincarnate Son; and, as Alford justly remarks, “the Son of God is, in this his essential majesty, the expression and the sole expression of the divine light; not, as in his incarnation, its reflection.” The consensus of the Greek fathers to this effect is of great weight. The meaning then is, that the Son is the outraying of the divine glory, exhibiting in himself the glory and majesty of the divine Being. “God lets his glory issue from himself, so that there arises thereby a light-being like himself” (Weiss). Δόξα gloryis the expression of the divine attributes collectively. It is the unfolded fullness of the divine perfections, differing from μορφὴ θεοῦ formof God (Philippians 2:6), in that μορφὴ is the immediate, proper, personal investiture of the divine essence. Δόξα isattached to deity. μορφὴ is identified with the inmost being of deity Δόξα is used of various visible displays of divine light and splendor, as Exodus 24:17; Deuteronomy 5:24; Exodus 40:34; Numbers 14:10; Numbers 16:19, Numbers 16:42; Ezekiel 10:4; Ezekiel 43:4, Ezekiel 43:5; Ezekiel 1:28, Ezekiel 3:23; Leviticus 9:23, etc. We come nearer to the sense of the word in this passage in the story of Moses's vision of the divine glory, Exodus 33:18-23; Exodus 34:5, Exodus 34:7.

    The express image of his person ( χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ )

    Rend the very image (or impress ) of his substance The primary sense of ὑπόστασις substanceis something which stands underneath; foundation, ground of hope or confidence, and so assurance itself. In a philosophical sense, substantial nature; the real nature of anything which underlies and supports its outward form and properties. In N.T., 2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 11:17, Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 11:1, signifying in every instance ground of confidence or confidence In lxx, it represents fifteen different words, and, in some cases, it is hard to understand its meaning notably 1 Samuel 13:21. In Rth 1:12, Psalm 37:8, Ezekiel 19:5, it means ground of hope: in Judges 6:4, Wisd. 16:21, sustenance in Psalm 38:5; Psalm 136:15, the substance or material of the human frame: in 1 Samuel 13:23; Ezekiel 26:11, an outpost or garrison: in Deuteronomy 11:6; Job 22:20, possessions. The theological sense, person, is later than the apostolic age. Here, substantial nature, essence. Χαρακτὴρ from χαράσσειν toengrave or inscribe, originally a graving-tool; also the die on which a device is cut. It seems to have lost that meaning, and always signifies the impression made by the die or graver. Hence, mark, stamp, as the image on a coin (so often) which indicates its nature and value, or the device impressed by a signet. N.T.olxx, Leviticus 13:28; Acts href="/desk/?q=ac+17:29&sr=1">Acts 17:29; Revelation 13:16, Revelation 13:17. Here the essential being of God is conceived as setting its distinctive stamp upon Christ, coming into definite and characteristic expression in his person, so that the Son bears the exact impress of the divine nature and character.

    And upholding all things ( φέρων τε τὰ πάντα )

    Rend. maintaining. Upholding conveys too much the idea of the passive support of a burden. “The Son is not an Atlas, sustaining the dead weight of the world” (quoted by Westcott). Neither is the sense that of ruling or guiding, as Philo (De Cherub. § 11), who describes the divine word as “the steersman and pilot of the all.” It implies sustaining, but also movement. It deals with a burden, not as a dead weight, but as in continual movement; as Weiss puts it, “with the all in all its changes and transformations throughout the aeons.” It is concerned, not only with sustaining the weight of the universe, but also with maintaining its coherence and carrying on its development. What is said of God, Colossians 1:17, is here said or implied of Christ: τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν allthings (collectively, the universe) consist or maintain their coherence in him. So the Logos is called by Philo the bond ( δεσμὸς ) of the universe; but the maintenance of the coherence implies the guidance and propulsion of all the parts to a definite end. All things ( τὰ πάντα ) collectively considered; the universe; all things in their unity. See Hebrews 2:10; Romans 8:32; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:16.

    By the word of his power ( τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ )

    The phrase N.T.obut comp Luke 1:37, and see note. The word is that in which the Son's power manifests itself. Ἀυτοῦ hisrefers to Christ. Nothing in the context suggests any other reference. The world was called into being by the word of God (Hebrews 11:3), and is maintained by him who is “the very image of God's substance.”

    When he had by himself purged our sins ( καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος )

    Omit by himself; yet a similar thought is implied in the middle voice, ποιησάμενος , which indicates that the work of purification was done by Christ personally, and was not something which he caused to be done by some other agent. Purged, lit. having made purification. The phrase N.T.olxx, Job 7:21. Καθαρισμός purificationoccurs in Mark, Luke John, 2nd Peter, oP., and only here in Hebrews. The verb καθαρίζειν topurify is not often used in N.T of cleansing from sin. See 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 John 1:7, 1 John 1:9. Of cleansing the conscience, Hebrews 9:14. Of cleansing meats and vessels, Matthew 23:25, Matthew 23:26, Mark 7:19, Acts 10:15; Acts 11:9. Of cleansing the heart, Acts 15:9. The meaning here is cleansing of sins. In the phrase “to cleanse from sin,” always with ἀπὸ fromIn carrying on all things toward their destined end of conformity to the divine archetype, the Son must confront and deal with the fact of sin, which had thrown the world into disorder, and drawn it out of God's order. In the thought of making purification of sins is already foreshadowed the work of Christ as high priest, which plays so prominent a part in the epistle.

    Sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high ( ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς )

    Comp. Psalm 110:1, Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; Ephesians 1:20; Revelation 3:21. The verb denotes a solemn, formal act; the assumption of a position of dignity and authority The reference is to Christ's ascension. In his exalted state he will still be bearing on all things toward their consummation, still dealing with sin as the great high priest in the heavenly sanctuary. This is elaborated later. See Hebrews 8:1-13; Hebrews 9:12ff. Μεγαλωσύνη majestyonly here, Hebrews 8:1; Judges 1:25. Quite often in lxx. There is suggested, not a contrast with his humiliation, but his resumption of his original dignity, described in the former part of this verse. Ἐν ὑψηλοῖς , lit. in the high places. Const. with sat down, not with majesty. The phrase N.T.olxx, Psalm 92:4; Psalm 112:5. Ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις inthe highest (places ), in the Gospels, and only in doxologies. See Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:10; Luke 2:14. Ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις inthe heavenly (places ), only in Ephesians. See Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 2:6; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12.

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    Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    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;

    Who sat down — The third of these glorious predicates, with which three other particulars are interwoven, which are mentioned likewise, and in the same order, Colossians 1:15,17,20.

    Who, being — The glory which he received in his exaltation at the right hand of the Father no angel was capable of; but the Son alone, who likewise enjoyed it long before.

    The brightness of his glory — Glory is the nature of God revealed in its brightness.

    The express image — Or stamp. Whatever the Father is, is exhibited in the Son, as a seal in the stamp on wax.

    Of his person — Or substance. The word denotes the unchangeable perpetuity of divine life and power.

    And sustaining all things — Visible and invisible, in being.

    By the word of his power — That is, by his powerful word.

    When he had by himself — Without any Mosaic rites or ceremonies.

    Purged our sins — In order to which it was necessary he should for a time divest himself of his glory. In this chapter St. Paul describes his glory chiefly as he is the Son of God; afterwards, Hebrews 2:6, etc., the glory of the man Christ Jesus. He speaks, indeed, briefly of the former before his humiliation, but copiously after his exaltation; as from hence the glory he had from eternity began to be evidently seen. Both his purging our sins, and sitting on the right hand of God, are largely treated of in the seven following chapters.

    Sat down — The priests stood while they ministered: sitting, therefore, denotes the consummation of his sacrifice. This word, sat down, contains the scope, the theme, and the sum, of the epistle.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
    Bibliographical Information
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.

    Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

    The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person; the visible manifestation by which his glory is revealed personally to mankind.--Purged our sins; purged them away, by making atonement for them.

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    Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". 1878.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    Сей, будучи сияние славы. Сказанное частично относится к божественной сущности Христа, а частично к Нему же, облеченному в нашу плоть. То, что Он назван сиянием славы и образом субстанции, присуще Его божеству. Остальное же относится и к человеческой природе. Однако все это сказано для прославления достоинства Христова. Далее, Сын называется сиянием славы и образом субстанции по одной и той же причине. Оба выражения надо понимать в переносном смысле. Ибо о столь потаенных вещах можно сказать что-либо, лишь позаимствовав подобие от сотворенного. Посему нет повода для утонченных рассуждений о том, как Сын, имеющий одну сущность с Отцом, одновременно является сиянием, проистекающим из Отчего света. Следует признать: термины, переносимые от творения на тайное божественное величие, в некотором смысле ему не собственны. Однако к Богу вполне уместно прилагается то, что воспринимают наши чувства.

    Этим нам дается понять, что именно надо искать во Христе, и какую пользу Он нам приносит. Надо также отметить следующее: здесь нас учат не пустым мудрствованиям, но надежному учению веры. Посему мы должны найти употребление приведенному здесь восхвалению Христа в том смысле, в каком оно имеет отношение к нам. Итак, когда ты слышишь, что Сын есть сияние Отчей славы, думай про себя так: слава Отца невидима для тебя, доколе не воссияет во Христе. И Он потому зовется образом Отчей субстанции, что величие Отца остается сокрытым, доколе не явится как бы запечатленным в образе.

    Те же, кто, не думая об отношении сказанного к нам, философствуют еще возвышеннее, напрасно утруждают себя, не понимая преследуемой апостолом цели. Ведь он хотел не сообщить о том, каково внутреннее сходство Отца с Сыном, но, согласно уже сказанному, дать плодотворное назидание в вере, дабы мы знали: Бог является нам не иначе как в лице Иисуса Христа. Ибо безмерное сияние божественной сущности затмевает наши очи, доколе не станет светить нам через Христа. Отсюда следует, что мы слепнем при свете Божием, если он не блистает в лице Христовом. Вот воистину полезная философия: из искреннего ощущения веры и собственного опыта узнать о превосходстве Иисуса Христа.

    То же самое (как было сказано) надо думать и о слове «образ». Поскольку Бог Сам по Себе для нас непостижим, образ Его является нам в лице Сына. Значит, άπαύγασμα означает здесь не что иное, как видимый свет или отблеск, который могут воспринять наши очи. А χαρακτήρ – живую форму скрытой субстанции. Первый термин учит нас: вне Христа нет ни капли света, но одна лишь тьма. И поскольку Бог является единственным светом, коим нам надлежит просвещаться, Он переливается в нас лишь посредством, так сказать, Христова излучения.

    Во-вторых, нас поучают, что твердо и истинно Бог познается лишь во Христе. Ведь Христос – не темный и неясный Его образ, но яркое изображение, являющий Бога подобно тому, как монета являет форму прессующей ее матрицы. Хотя апостол говорит и нечто большее, а именно: что во Христе неким образом запечатлевается сама Отчая субстанция. Слово ύποστάσεώς, которое я, следуя остальным, перевел как «субстанция», на мой взгляд, означает здесь не сущность или бытие Отца, а Его Лицо. Ведь глупо было бы говорить, что во Христе запечатлена сущность Божия, поскольку у Отца и Сына одна и та же неделимая божественная сущность. Однако воистину хорошо сказано, что все, принадлежащее Отцу, отображается в Сыне. И всякий имеющий Сына, одновременно имеет все, находящееся в Отце. В этом значении православные отцы и используют слово «ипостась», говоря, что она троична в Боге, а οΰσία единственна. Также и Иларий повсеместно понимает латинское слово «субстанция» как означающее Лицо. Впрочем, даже если у апостола и было намерение говорить не о том, каков Христос Сам по Себе, а о том, каким Он являет Себя нам, все равно, он достаточно опровергает Ариан и Савеллиан, отстаивая за Христом, свойственное одному лишь Богу, и одновременно указывая на две разные ипостаси Отца и Сына. Ведь отсюда мы выводим, что Сын – Один и Тот же Бог с Отцом, тем не менее, отличающийся от Отца определенным личностным свойством. Так что у Каждого из Них имеется Собственное самобытное существование.

    И держа все. Держать здесь означает сохранять, делать так, чтобы творения пребывали в присущем им состоянии. Автор имеет в виду, что все исчезнет, если не будет поддерживаться силою Христовой. Хотя указательное местоимениеαύτος можно относить как к Отцу, так и к Сыну. И можно перевести как «Его», так и «Своим могущественным словом». Однако поскольку второе толкование более общепринято и наилучшим образом соответствует контексту, я охотно его принимаю. Дословно звучит так: словом силы. Но родительный падеж по еврейскому обыкновению часто означает эпитет. То же, как некоторые переиначивают эту фразу – Христос содержит все Словом Отца, то есть, Самим Собой, поскольку именно Он является Отчим Словом, – ничем не обоснованно. Кроме того, нет нужды в столь натянутом толковании. Ведь Христа обычно называют не ρήμα, а λόγος. Посему «слово» означает здесь просто изъявление воли. И смысл таков: Христос, одним произволением Своим сохраняя весь мир, все же не отказался исполнить служение нашего очищения. И это – второй артикул преподаваемого в данном послании учения. Ибо суть обсуждаемого вопроса заключается в двух положениях: Христа, наделенного верховной властью, следует слушать более всех остальных. И Он, примирив нас с Отцом Собственной смертью, тем самым положил конец всем древним жертвоприношениям. Посему и первое предложение, будучи общим по содержанию, также состоит из двух частей. Далее, говоря «Собою», автор подразумевает антитезис: Христу не помогли в деле очищения тени Моисеева закона. Кроме того, указывается на различие между Ним и левитскими священниками. О них также говорится, как об очищающих грехи. Однако силу эту они заимствовали из отличного от себя источника. Затем, автор, помещая цену и силу очищения в Самом Иисусе Христе, хочет тем самым исключить все прочие средства или вспомоществования.

    Воссел одесную. Апостол как бы говорит: совершив в мире людское спасение, Он был принят в небесную славу, дабы управлять всем. Автор добавляет сказанное, давая этим понять, что спасение, обретенное для нас, не является временным. Ибо мы имеем привычку мерить власть по тому, что видим в настоящий момент. Итак, апостол говорит, что силу Христову не следует преуменьшать оттого что наши очи Его не лицезреют. Скорее вершина славы Его и состоит в восприятии и вознесении на небеса, давшем Ему верховную власть. Правая сторона приписывается Богу в силу уподобления. Ведь Бог не заключен в определенном месте и не имеет левого или правого бока. Итак, восседание Христово есть не что иное, как царство, данное Ему от Отца, и власть, о которой упоминает Павел (Фил.2:10): дабы перед именем Его склонилось всякое колено. Значит, сидеть одесную Отца – то же самое, что и править вместо Отца. Подобно посланникам князей, которым дано право управлять всеми княжескими делами. Слова же «величие» и «на высоте» указывают на то, что Христос сидит на возвышенном престоле, от которого сияет божественное величие. Значит, Христа следует как любить за искупление, так и почитать за указанное здесь величие.




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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.

    William Newell's Commentary on Romans, Hebrews and Revelation

    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--

    3. Being the effulgence of His glory--We are reminded at once of, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him" (John 1:18). In John 1, He is therefore the Word by Whom God is, declared unto us. The term "effulgence," used in verse 3, presents the Son as the Person of the Deity in and by Whom the glory of that Deity is manifested. And the glory (doxa) "is the expression of the Divine attributes collectively."

    "All that God is--not merely in His ways, but in His being--is expressed absolutely by the Son ... No one has grasped what the Son of God is until he has prostrated his soul before Him 'God over all, blessed forever'! (Rom. 9:5). I would that I could put it so strongly that every soul would bow to the truth of it, the absolutely essential, perfect divinity of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, We admit not one iota of a question, not one shadow of a doubt, not one bit of tarnish upon that glory which God has spread before us on this page."--Ridout, Lectures on Hebrews.

    4. And the exact-expression* of His substance--From our Lord's words, "God is a Spirit," many unconsciously conceive spirit, and, consequently, God, as not having "substance." (The very image of His (God's] substance. Two words in this phrase instantly awaken intense interest. In their order they are, (a) "image", or better, impress: the Greek word is charakter. Primarily this word denotes the instrument used in engraving or carving, and from this, the impression made by the die or engraver: "The exact expression (the image) of any person or thing"; in our verse, literally, the exact-expression of substance of Him (of God); (b) "substance"; see comment on #4, text.)

    But we must not confuse "substance" here with matter as we know it. In Deuteronomy 4:15, 16, Jehovah indeed protested to Israel, "Ye saw no manner of form on the day that Jehovah spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire; lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image in the form of any figure." But this was a protection against idolatry, as seen in the verses which follow, especially verse 25. But in Exodus 24, in connection with the ratification of the first covenant, we read:

    "Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel; and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, as it were the very heaven for clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not His hand: and they beheld God, and did eat and drink" (Ex 24:9-11).

    This in no wise contradicts God's word to Moses in Exodus 3. Moses had said, "Show me, I pray Thee, Thy glory." God in answer promised to "make all His goodness" pass before him, saying:  "Thou canst not see My face; for man shall not see Me and live. And Jehovah said, Behold there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon the rock: and it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand until I have passed by: and I will take away My hand, and thou shalt see My back; but My face shall not be seen" (vss. 20-23). See also Exodus 34:5 ff. This agrees also with the visions of Ezekiel 1:26-28, 3:12-14, 8:2, 9:3; 10; 11:22. These Scriptures reveal the Triune God, enthroned upon the cherubim. We see in Revelation 5:6 our Lord's essential place there, "In the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and of the elders." Although being also the Son of Man, He is a Lamb (lit., "a little lamb") "as though it had been slain"-about to take the kingdom on earth (but His place is in the glory that He had with the Father before the world was).

    This word "substance" in Hebrews 1:3 relates to Deity itself--the "exact expression" of which, the Man Christ Jesus is!     5. Maintaining* all things by the word of His power—John Owen said, "Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, hath the weight of the whole creation upon His hand." (See Vincent. Who says, "It implies sustaining, but also movement." It deals, as Weiss Puts it, "with the all, in all its changes and transformations throughout the aeons.")      Men talk of "the laws of nature"; of the "laws of being." In the absolute there are no such things! In the light of this all-embracing, overwhelming word, maintaining all things, and the method and means by which Christ does it by the word of His power, to talk of the "laws" resident in things is simply infidelity, or sublime ignorance.

    Certainly there were creative commands in Genesis: "Let the earth put forth grass ... Let there be light ... Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth ... Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth ... Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind." Again, after making man in His own image, after His likeness, God said "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it."

    Nevertheless, man is utterly dependent! As God said to Belshazzar, "The God in Whose hand thy breath is, and Whose are all thy ways"; or Paul to the Athenians, "In Him we live, and move, and have our being"; and, "He Himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things"; or as Job utters it: "In Whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath (spirit) of all mankind" (Job 12:10); so it is, not only with man, but with every living creature and with the plants of the field, which if God command, shall come up "in a night" (Jonah 4:10)--every living thing is sustained in being by the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son. Humbling, but true, O proud man! Yea, blessedly true! Say God's saints.

    When the Son of God acted in creation by His Word, did He resort to the "laws" of non-existent things? You say, Impossible. "By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that (as a result of which) what is seen (the visible universe) hath not been made out of things which appear." People of simple faith accept it: and there is no other sort of faith: for, "Except ye turn and become as little children ..."!

    So the same Person Whose word created still upholds (maintains). Mighty wonder! You object, "Christ Himself said, 'Not a sparrow falleth without My Father'"--making the first Person of the Deity exercise what we call "providence." Alas, how quickly, unless deeply and constantly taught of God, does the human mind become unitarian, rejecting Christ's Deity!

    The Jews knew better, who heard His words, "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30). They took up stones to cast at our Lord when He asserted His eternity of being, in John 8:58-59; and again, when He stated His Divine unity with the Father, John 10:30-31. Our Lord's saying that He had come from Heaven, from the Father, divided the multitude, as we see in John 7:25-44, and 8:23; as His frequent claim that the Father that sent Him was with Him, aroused their blind enmity (John 8:16, 20-27).

    The Greek word translated "upholding" (phero) is found, for instance, in Mark 2:3-4 when they came bringing the paralyzed man. Again, our Lord said in Mark 12:15-16: "Bring Me a denarius ... And they brought it" (phero twice). It is used seven times in one chapter, John 15, concerning bearing fruit, the emphasis being upon the branch's bearing fruit, and not the fruit, the branch. This is the word used in Hebrews 1:3 of our Lord's upholding the universe in every, even the minutest, particular! He maintaineth all things.

    Confess that He is God the Son, and as being so He would have all power as part of His eternal glory. Then the word of His power becomes an overmastering thought, beyond the conception of mind, but the delight of faith, like that of a babe trusting its mother. We are not permitted here, as it seems to me, to let a created universe "run along," after giving it certain trends. But the word of His power ("The creating, omnipresent Word"--Ohlshausen) is certainly as much His word as that with which He created all things in the beginning.

    The word of His power was constantly spoken of by our blessed Lord in His ministry among men; and He is the same, "yesterday, and today, yea, and forever." He "cast out the spirits with a word"! "I will, be thou made clean," He said to the leper. "Young man, I say unto thee, arise," He said to the widow of Nain's son. "Lazarus, come forth!" He cried at Bethany, "and he that was dead came forth." The centurion of Matthew 8:8-13 entered into faith in the word of His power: "Only say the word, and my servant shall be healed!"

    Certainly it is true that our Lord could command an order of things, as we read in Psalm 119:90-91:

    "Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth, They abide this day according to Thine ordinances; For all things are Thy servants."

    But do not dream that there are any "ordinances" which leave out the direct and constantly exercised power of the Lord Jesus Christ. "In Him (Christ) all things consist," or "hold together" (Col. 1:17). (Bishop Lightfoot says concerning this word: "Hold together, cohere: He is the principle of cohesion in the universe. To take one instance, the action of gravitation, which keeps in their places things fixed, and regulates the motions of things moving, is an expression of His mind. Similarly, in Heb 1:3, Christ the Logos is described as sustaining the universe.)

    To conceive that the Son of God can maintain all things by the word of His power, and at the same time or for an instant, be absent from His creation (in the sense in which evolutionists claim) is hideous infidelity which would banish God from His own creation if it could! An example dear to us is our Lord Jesus' constant care for all His saints. Thousands upon thousands are asking Him daily for this and that: and He is able to speak the word of power to all and to each. How? He is God! There is no limit to His power.

    "All, all that buds, and blossoms, and rejoices, hath My Beloved made;
    His wisdom and His tenderness and gladness told forth in leaf and blade.
    All, all that buds, and blossoms, and rejoices, hath My Beloved made;
    All moves unto the music of His power that fills the woodland glade." 
            -- Gerhardt Ter Steegen      

    Such a song is that of the Christian: not of the pantheist or the atheist, neither of whom want God. Ghastly wonder of all the ages: man, a creature, whose very name is need, need, need; who must be "kept" from outside himself, like a newborn babe supplied with breath, with food, with air; kept in balance by a power wholly without himself; who must be warmed by a created sun; the temperature of his body kept by a marvelous adjustment; his blood kept circulating; his heart kept beating--yet the constant effort of human "science" and "philosophy" is to get as far away as possible from the consciousness of this creating, providing, maintaining Lord God!

    6. When He had made purification of sins--This is the most brief and comprehensive statement in all Scripture of our Lord's work at His first coming. "Purification" here is to be conceived of in the largest sense as including not only believers' sins expiated on the Cross, where propitiation and remission were secured; but also the whole task of Christ as to the removal of sins from God's sight--described in one word! ("In the thought of making purification of sins is already foreshadowed the work of Christ as High Priest, which plays so prominent a part in the

    Looking at the work done Godward, it is "the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world." Note that it is purification of sins, not, from sin: it is the great work of the Cross, effective everywhere and forever, whereby God pardons and remits the sins of individual believers, and brings in a new creation where righteousness is "at home." But, here used, it is a great word preparing the way, laying the foundation, for the priestly work of Christ revealed in this epistle.

    7. Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high—These words present the last of the seven revelations concerning the Person of that Son in Whom God has "spoken unto us." Lack of much reverent consideration of these wondrous words of God concerning the Son accounts for the shallow, doubting "Christianity" everywhere. My first visit to London came just at the season when favored persons were being "received" by royalty (Edward VII). I marked the conduct of those Americans who were preparing to be "received at court," their assiduous daily study of the proper attire, address, and every detail they thought would be important. My heart sank at the contrasting heedlessness of these same human creatures towards their God, and towards that Son in Whom He has now "spoken."

    All, the supernal dignity of these words, sat down ... Majesty ... on High!* It is indeed a seated Priest, after an accomplished work, Whom we are to find in Hebrews! But now the infinite greatness of His Person and position is before us. Indeed the word "Majesty" is simply the Greek word "great" formed into a capital noun, used in Scripture only of the majesty, the greatness, of God (Heb. 1:3, 8:1; Jude 25. Compare 2 Sam. 7:22, Ps. 145:3, 6; 1Chr 29:11). THERE IS NO OTHER GREATNESS! May we be brought into this consciousness!

    * Four times in Hebrews is Christ seen as having sat down on the right hand of God:

    1. In Heb 1:3, as Son, Heir, Effulgence, Upholder—after "purification of sins," He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High. This is in view of His Person.
    2. In Heb 8:1, 2 we have the High Priest's ministry described: "Who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man."
    3. In Heb 10:12, contrasted with earthly priests, that keep standing "day by day ministering ... He ... sat down on the right hand of God." Here, His sitting down is in view of His one sacrifice. The sacrifice is never to be repeated, therefore the Priest is  seated.
    4. Heb 12:2 He is seen as the Leader (Archegos) of the "great cloud of witnesses who lived, walked and conquered by faith (Heb 11): "Jesus, the Leader and Perfecter of the faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Here neither His Person, His ministry, nor His finished work is before us, but His inner motives in view of the "joy set before Him"; and His consequent "race"--enduring the Cross, despising the shame."

    Reflection upon these four wondrous views of Christ's session at God's right hand will greatly edify the believer.

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    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

    Ver. 3. Who being the brightness of his glory, &c.] A beam of that sun, and the express image of his person, a stamp of that seal. This is somewhat, but who can declare his generation? Some glimpses we may have by such similitudes; the full understanding of this inconceivable mystery we must wait for till we come to heaven. The word απαυγασμα signifieth the glittering refulgency.

    Upholding all things] Both in respect of being excellencies and operations. Seneca, rendering the reason why Jupiter was by the ancient Romans surnamed Stator, saith it was quia eius beneficio stant omnia, because all things are upheld by him. How much better may this be said of Christ! Sin had hurled confusion over the world, which would have fallen about Adam’s ears (saith one) had not Christ undertaken the shattered condition thereof, to uphold it. He keeps the world together, as the hoops do the barrel. He also keeps all in order; disponens etiam membra culicis et pulicis, disposing of everything even to the least and lightest circumstance. (Aug.) Hence that of our Saviour, "The Father worketh hitherunto, and I also work," John 5:17; hence that of the orator, Curiosus est et plenus negotii Deus, God taketh care of all, and is full of business. (Cic. lib. 1 de Nat. Deor.)

    Purged our sins] By his merit and spirit.

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    Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

    Hebrews 1:3. Who, being the brightness, &c.— Who, being a beam of his glory, and the express image of his substance. The word Απαυγασμα, which we render brightness, signifies that splendor or ray which proceeds from a luminous body. The words therefore represent the Father as Light, which is agreeable to other places of scripture: see 1 John 1:5. But to raise their thoughts of the matter, the apostle sets forth this Light, by which he describes the Father, under the title of Glory; the design of which is, to express the purity, perfection, and lustre of all his attributes. Suitably to this account of God the Father, he represents the Son, as a splendor or ray eternally and essentially derived or proceeding from the Father: and as the beams or rays cannot be separated from the sun, that great fund of light, so neither can the nature and the glory of the divine Son be separated from that of the Father: he is "Light of Light, very God of very God." The word χαρακτηρ, rendered express image, signifies an engraved or impressed mark,—an impress; and is a most emphatical word, since nothing can be more exactly and minutely represented, than byits impress on wax or metal. "Christ (says Leigh) answers to the divine perfections, as the impression of the wax does to the engraving of the seal." It is observable that Philo the Jew calls the Logos χαρακτηρ και εικων Θεου, "the character and image of God." The word 'Υποστασις, signifies subsistence, existence; or, as the Greek fathers, before the council of Nice, frequently applied the word, "a distinct person in the Godhead." Comp. Colossians 1:15. Upholding all things by the word of his power seems plainly to express, that as the Son gave being to all the creatures, so he maintains them all in being. The same thing seems designed, Colossians 1:17.—By him all things consist. In both places the same works are attributed to him. See Matthew 11:27; Matthew 28:18. John 3:35; John 13:3.—When he had by himself purged our sins, refers to the expiation of our sins by his death; nor can there be any question that the apostle refers to the death of Christ, considering what is here said to have followed immediately upon his purging our sins,—that he sat down at the right-hand of the

    Majesty on high. The words by himself are very expressive: for as (Ch. Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:26.) Christ is spoken of as making expiation by himself, and his ownblood, and not by the blood of bulls and of goats, so here it seems to be intended, that Christ alone, without any assistance or concurrence ofangels, or any other beings, made a perfect expiation of our sins. See Isaiah 63:3. 1 Peter 3:22. Ephesians 1:20.

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    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    Our apostle here proceeds in describing the Divinity of Christ's person, by whom the Father has made known his will to us under the gospel. He declares, 1. What he is. 2. What he does, or did. 3. The consequent of both, or what he now enjoyeth.

    Observe, 1. Our apostle declares who, and what Christ was, and is, namely, The brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person. As the brightness of the sun is of the same nature with the sun, and of as long continuance as the sun and cannot be separated from the sun and yet the sun, and the brightness of the sun, are really distinct from each other.

    In like manner the Father and the Son are of one and the same essence, co-eternal and inseparable, yet the person of the one is distinct from the other. And as the sun communicates its light and influence to us by its beams, so doth God communicate his goodness, and manifest himself to us by Jesus Christ.

    Learn hence, That the Son is of the same essence with the Farther, yet a person really distinct from the Father brightly shines forth in Christ his Son.

    That is, the express character of God the Father's person, his natural image, and essential likeness; all the perfections shining forth in God the Father, are substantially in Christ the Son: Is the Father eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent? so is the Son, whose Character he is, whose resemblance and imager he bears; John 10:38

    The father is in me and I in him; the same essential properties and nature being in each person, by virtue thereof their persons are said to be in each other. All the glorious perfections of the nature of God do belong unto, and dwell in the person of the Son of God.

    Observe 2. Our apostle having declared what Christ is, next declares what he does; namely, that he up holdeth all things by the word of his power; that is, he exerts and puts forth the some omnipotent power in the work of preservation, which he did in the work of creation, keeping it from sinking into its original chaos of confusion. This work of conservation, say some, is a greater act of omnipotency than that of creation; by the former, all things were brought out of nothing, by the latter, they are preserved from returning into nothing, which their own nature, and their perpetual conflict, by contrariety of qualities, would necessarily precipitate them into.

    Learn hence, 1. That such is the nature and condition of the universe, that it cannot subsist one moment without continual support; such is the dependent condition of the whole creation.

    Learn, 2. That our Lord Jesus Christ has the weight of the whole creation on his hand, he upholdeth what himself created: and as well as creation of all things by the word of his power, do prove him truly and really God.

    Observe, 3. A further evidence and proof of the Divinity of Christ, produced here by our apostle; as he made the world by his omnipotent power, and upholds it by his wonderful providence, so he redeemed it by his blood, He by himself purged our sins. He that made the heavens, bowed the heavens, and came down from heaven, and became a sacrifice for sin on earth, and by himself alone, by himself without a partner, by himself without a comforter, expiated the guilt of sin, and satisfied the justice of God for sin, suffering as he was man, and satisfying as he was God, who by himself purged our sins.

    Learn hence, That so great was the work of expiation of sin, that it could no otherwise by really effected and accomplished, than by the sacrifice and satisfaction of Christ, who was truly and really God.

    Observe, 4. THe consequent of all that Christ did or his glorious condition after his humiliation, having purged our sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:

    That is, God the Father clothed him with the highest honour, and endowed him with the greatest power that heaven itself could afford; the right hand is the place both of dignity and honour, and also of superiority and power: Christ's sitting at God's right hand imports his exaltation to the highest authority and most supreme dominion.

    Learn hence, That when our Lord Jesus Christ had finished his sufferings upon earth, he was placed in the seat of the highest honour and authority at the right hand of God his Father in heaven, even to be the object of adoration both to angels and men, as the following verses declare in which our apostle thus speaks:

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    Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

    3.] “The Son of God now becomes Himself the subject. The ‘verbum finitum’ belonging to the relative ὅς is not found till ἐκάθισεν at the end of the verse. But the intermediate participial clauses do not stand in the same relation to the main sentence. The first members, ὢν ἀπαύγασμαδυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, still set forth those attributes of the Son of God which are of a permanent character, and belonging to Him before the Incarnation: whereas the following member, the last participial clause, stands in nearer relation to the main sentence, expressing as it does the purification of mankind from sin, wrought by the incarnate Son of God, as one individual historical event,—as the antecedent of that exaltation of Him to the right hand of God, which the main sentence enounces.” Bleek.

    Who (the ὅς represents, it will be evident, rather the præ-existent than the incarnate Logos. But it is perhaps a mistake to let this distinction be too prominent, and would lead to the idea of a change having taken place in the eternal relation of the Son to the Father, when He subjected himself to the conditions of space and time. Even then He could say of himself, ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ. See Ebrard’s note), being (cf. ὑπάρχων, Philippians 2:6, also of His præ-existent and essential being. This comparison seems decisive against Hofmann, who (Schriftbeweis, i. 140 ff.) takes ὤν and φέρων according to his theory that all the attributes of the Son of God spoken of in the N. T. are adduced in connexion with and as manifested by His work of Redemption. See against this view Delitzsch, h. l. p. 7. But it must also be remembered that ὤν and φέρων are present participles. They must not be rendered utpote qui, or cum esset and ferret, but kept to their essential and timeless sense,—‘being,’ and ‘bearing’) the brightness (effulgentia, not “repercussus, qualis est in nube quæ dicitur παρήλιος,” as Grot., Calv. (“splendor ex illius lumine refulgens,—refulgentia”), al. This latter would be legitimate, but does not seem to have been the ordinary usage. Bl. cites from Philo de Concupiscent. § 11, vol. ii. p. 356, τὸ δὲ ἐμφυσώμενον (Genesis 2:7) δῆλον ὡς αἰθέριον ἦν πνεῦμα καὶ εἰ δή τι αἰθερίου πνεύματος κρεῖττον, ἅτε τῆς μακαρίας καὶ τρισμακαρίας φύσεως ἀπαύγασμα,—where the sense clearly is, that the breath breathed into man was as it were a ray of the divine nature itself. See also id. de Opif. Mund. § 51, vol. i. p. 35; de Plant. Noë, § 12, p. 154. Cf. Wisdom of Solomon 7:26, where wisdom is called an ἀπαύγασμα φωτὸς ἀϊδίου. And this (which, as Delitzsch remarks, is represented by the φῶς ἐκ φωτός of the Church) seems to have been universally the sense among the ancients: no trace whatever being found of the meaning ‘reflexion.’ Nor would the idea be apposite here: the Son of God is, in this his essential majesty, the expression, and the sole expression, of the divine Light,—not, as in his Incarnation, its reflexion. So Thdrt.: τὸ γὰρ ἀπαύγασμα καὶ ἐκ τοῦ πυρός ἐστι, καὶ σὺν τῷ πυρί ἐστι· καὶ αἴτιον μὲν ἔχει τὸ πῦρ, ἀχώριστον δέ ἐστι τοῦ πυρός.… καὶ τῷ πυρὶ δὲ ὁμοφυὲς τὸ ἀπαύγασμα· οὐκοῦν καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τῷ πατρί. (Cf. Athanasius contra Arianos Orat. i. (ii.) § 12, vol. ii. (Migne) p. 328: τίς οὕτως ἐστὶν ἀνόητος, ὡς ἀμφιβάλλειν περὶ τοῦ αἰεὶ εἶναι τὸν υἱόν; πότε γάρ τις εἶδε φῶς χωρὶς τῆς τοῦ ἀπαυγάσματος λαμπρότητος;) And Thl.: καὶ γὰρ τὸ ἀπαύγασμα τῷ ἀπαυγάζοντι συνεμφαίνεται. οὔτε γὰρ ἥλιος ὡράθη ποτὲ χωρὶς ἀπαυγάσματος· οὔτε πατὴρ νοεῖται χωρὶς υἱοῦ. ὅταν οὖν ἀκούσῃς τῶν ἀρειανῶν λεγόντων, ὅτι εἰ ἐκ πατρὸς ὁ υἱός, λοιπὸν ὕστερος αὐτοῦ· ἀντίθες αὺτοῖς, ὅτι καὶ τὸ ἀπαύγασμα ἐκ τοῦ ἡλίου, καὶ οὐχ ὕστερον αὐτοῦ. ἅμα γὰρ ἥλιος, ἅμα ἀπαύγασμα. And Origen, tom. xxxii. in Joann. § 18, vol. iv. p. 450: ὅλης μὲν οὖν οἶμαι τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ αὐτοῦ ὰπαύγασμα εἶναι τὸν υἱόν, κατὰ τὸν εἰπόντα παῦλον ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης· φθάνειν μέντοι γε ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀπαυγάσματος τούτου τῆς ὅλης δόξης μερικὰ ἀπαυγάσματα ἐπὶ τὴν λοιπὴν λογικὴν κτίσιν· οὐκ οἶμαι γάρ τινα τὸ πᾶν δύνασθαι χωρῆσαι τῆς ὅλης δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ ἀπαύγασμα, ἢ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ. Hesychius gives as the meaning of ἀπαύγασμα, ἡλίου φέγγος: and the MS. Lexicon of Cyril, ἀκτὶς ἡλίου ἡ πρώτη τοῦ ἡλιακοῦ φωτὸς ἀποβολή. See also Clem-rom. in reff. and several other authorities cited in Bleek) of His glory (not simply His light: nor need ἀπαύγασμα be confined to such literal sense: cf. Clem.-rom. as above. His glory, in its widest and amplest reference.

    It has been attempted to give to ἀπ. τῆς δόξης the meaning splendor gloriosus, and to make αὐτοῦ below refer, not to the Father, but to ἀπαύγασμα. But to this Bleek answers after Seb.-Schmidt, that ἀπαύγασμα never is found without a genitive of the ἀπαυγαζόμενον, which genitive here can be no other than τῆς δόξης ( αὐτοῦ, i. e. τοῦ θεοῦ). Again, Owen (vol. i. p. 85 f.) supposes the Shechinah to be alluded to;—Akersloot, the Urim and Thummim. It is hardly probable that in a preliminary description, couched in the most general and sublime terms, any such particular allusion should be intended. Notice again the anarthrous predicate, to which the same remarks will apply as to υἱῷ above.

    Delitzsch remarks, Es ist kein nimbus um Gott, welchen, hier δόξα genannt wird, sondern die übersinnliche geistige Feuer und Lichtnatur Gottes selber, welche er, um sich vor sich selbst offenbar zu merden, aus sich herausfeßt) and impress (“figura,” vulg.: “figure,” Wiclif and Rheims: “very image,” Tyndal and Cranmer: “ingraved forme,” Geneva: “express image,” E. V. The word χαρακτήρ, which by formation would be the stamp or die itself on which a device χαράσσεται, and which stamps it on other things, never appears to bear this meaning, but always to be taken for the impression itself so stamped. Thus Æsch. Suppl. 279, κύπριος χαρακτήρ τʼ ἐν γυναικείοις τύποις εἰκὼς πέπληκται τεκτόνων πρὸς ἀρσένων. “Aristot. Œc. ii. p. 689, ἀνενεχθέντος δὲ τοῦ ἀργυρίου ἐπικόψας χαρακτῆρα: id. Pol. i. 6, where χαρακτῆρα ἐπιβάλλειν is to stamp coin, and it is said, ὁ γὰρ χαρακτήρ ἐτέθη τοῦ πόσου σημεῖον. Diod. Sic. xvii. 66, τάλαντα χρυσοῦ, χαρακτῆρα δαρεικὸν ἔχοντα. Hence the word is taken, 1. generally for any fixed and sharply marked lineaments, material or spiritual, by which a person or an object may be recognized and distinguished. Herod. i. 116, ὁ χ. τοῦ προσώπου. Diod. Sic. i. 82, τοὺς τῆς ὄψεως χαρακτῆρας, the lines of the countenance. Lucian, de Amoribus, p. 1061, calls mirrors τῶν ἀντιμόρφων χαρακτήρων ἀγράφους εἰκόνας, and ib. p. 1056, ἧς ὁ μὲν ἀληθῶς χ. ἄμορφος. Demosth. (in Stephan.), ἐν μὲν τοῖς ἐσόπτροις ὁ τῆς ὄψεως, ἐν δὲ ταῖς ὁμιλίαις ὁ τῆς ψυχῆς χαρακτὴρ βλέπεται. Philo, de Mund. Opif. § 4 (vol. i. p. 4), τοὺς χαρακτῆρας ἐνσφραγίζεσθαι, to impress on the mind the lines and forms of an intended city: id. Legg. Allegor. i. § 18 (vol. i. p. 55), ὁ τῆς ἀρετῆς χαρακτήρ, οἰκεῖος ὢν ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ: id. de Mundi Opif. § 23 (p. 15), τὴν δὲ ἐμφέρειαν (the likeness of man to God) μηδεὶς εἰκαζέτω σώματος χαρακτῆρσιν, ib. § 53 (p. 36), τῆς ἑκατέρου φύσεως (viz. of God and the creation) ἀπεμάττετο (scil. man, while he was alone) τῇ ψυχῇ τοὺς χαρακτῆρας:—and, 2. of the objects themselves, on which the features of another are expressed,—which bear its peculiar image, so that they appear as if taken off from it by impression of a die. So Philo, Quod Det. Potiori Ins. § 23 (vol. i. p. 217), designates the πνεῦμα imparted by God to man τύπον τινὰ καὶ χαρακτῆρα θείας δυνάμεως, Moses naming the same εἰκών, to shew ὅτι ἀρχέτυπον μὲν φύσεως λογικῆς ὁ θεός ἐστι, μίμημα δὲ καὶ ἀπεικόνισμα ἄνθρωπος: De Plant. Noë, § 5 (p. 332), he says, Moses named the rational soul τοῦ θείου καὶ ἀοράτου εἰκόνα, δόκιμον εἶναι νομίσας οὐσιωθεῖσαν κ. τυπωθεῖσαν σφραγῖδι θεοῦ, ἧς ὁ χαρακτήρ ἐστιν ὁ ἀΐδιος λόγος. Here the λόγος is designated as the impress of the seal of God, by the impression of which in like manner on the human soul, this last receives a corresponding figure, as the image of the unseen and divine. Compare also Clem.-rom. ad Cor. c. 33, αὐτὸς ὁ δημιουργὸς κ. δεσπότης ἁπάντωντὸνἄνθρωπον ταῖς ἰδίαις αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀμώμοις χερσὶν ἔπλασεν, τῆς ἑαυτοῦ εἰκόνος χαρακτῆρα. Hence the usage of χαρακτήρ here will be easily understood.” Bleek: see also the word in Palm and Rost’s Lex.

    καθʼ ἑαυτὸν γάρ, φησίν, ὑφέστηκεν, ὅλον ἐν ἑαυτῷ δεικνὺς πατέρα. τοὺς γὰρ πατρικοὺς περί κειται χαρακτῆρας. τούτῳ ἔοικε τὸ ὑπὸ τοῦ κυρίου πρὸς τὸν φίλιππον εἰρημένον, ὁ ἑωρακὼς ἐμέ, ἑώρακε τὸν πατέρα μου. Thdrt.) of His substance (substantial or essential being: “substance,” Wicl., Tynd., Cranm., Rheims: “person,” Geneva, and E. V.: Wesen, Luther, &c., De Wette, Bleek, al.: das der Erscheinung unterliegende Wesen, der Wesensgrund, Delitzsch. The various meanings of ὑπόστασις are well traced by Bleek, from whom, as so often in this Epistle, I take the account. Etymologically, the word imports the lying or being placed underneath: and this is put in common usage for, 1. substratum or foundationfundamentum. Diod. Sic. i. 66, ὑπόστασις τοῦ τάφου: id. xiii. 82, κατὰ τὸ μέγεθος τῆς ὑποστάσεως: Ezekiel 43:11, κ. διαγράψεις τὸν οἶκον κ. τὰς ἐξόδους αὐτοῦ κ. τὴν ὑπόστασιν αὐτοῦ: Psalms 68:2, ἐνεπάγην εἰς ἰλὺν βυθοῦ κ. οὐκ ἔστιν ὑπόστασις. Nearly connected with this is, 2. establishment, or the state of being established: hence— α. firmness,—to which idea the word approaches in the last citation: but especially in reference to firmness of spirit, confidence: see more on ch. Hebrews 3:14,— β. substantial existence, reality, in contradistinction to that which exists only in appearance or idea: Aristot. de Mundo iv. 19, τῶν ἐν ἀέρι φαντασμάτων τὰ μέν ἐστι κατʼ ἔμφασιν, τὰ δὲ καθʼ ὑπόστασιν: Artemidor. Oneirocrit. iii. 14, φαντασίαν μὲν ἔχειν πλούτου, ὑπόστασιν δὲ μή: Diog. Laert. ix. 91, ζητεῖται δʼ οὐκ εἰ φαίνεται ταῦτα, ἀλλʼ εἰ καθʼ ὑπόστασιν οὕτως ἔχει: id. vii. 135, καὶ κατʼ ἐπίνοιαν καὶ καθʼ ὑπόστασιν. Hence— γ. generally, consistence or existence. So Philo, de Incorrupt. Mund. § 18, vol. i. p. 505, αὐγὴ ὑπόστασιν ἰδίαν οὐκ ἔχει, γεννᾶται δʼ ἐκ φλογός: Psalms 38:5, καὶ ἡ ὑπόστασίς μου ὡσεὶ οὐθὲν ἐνώπιόν σου: Ps. 88:47, μνήσθητι τίς ὑπόστασίς μου (in both places for the existence of man, Heb. חֶלֶד: hence also, as ὕπαρξις, for possessions or goods, as Deuteronomy 11:6; Jeremiah 10:17). Hence also— δ. it imports the especial manner of being, the peculiar essence of an object. Thus 1 Kings 13:21, τῇ ἀξίνῃ κ. τῷ δρεπάνῳ ὑπόστασις ἦν ἡ αὐτή: Wisdom of Solomon 16:21, ἡ μὲν γὰρ ὑπόστασίς σου ( τ. θεοῦ) τὴν σὴν γλυκύτητα πρὸς τέκνα ἐνεφάνισε. And this last seems to be the best meaning in our place: His essential being, His substance. For in regarding the history of the word, we find that the well-known theological meaning ‘person’ was not by any means generally received during the first four centuries. We have it indeed in Origen, tom. ii. in Joann. § 6, vol. iv. p. 61 ( ἡμεῖς μέντοι γε τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις πειθόμενοι τυγχάνειν, τὸν πατέρα, κ. τὸν υἱόν, κ. τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα, κ. τ. λ.): but the usage is by no means constant. The Nicene council itself uses ὑπόστασις and οὐσία in the same sense, and condemns the deriving the Son ἐξ ἑτέρας ὑποστάσεως καὶ οὐσίας from the Father (cited in Bleek, p. 60, note): and so usually (in the genuine works: e. g. Ep. ad Afros, c. 4, vol. ii. (Migne) p. 714: ἡ ὑπόστασις οὐσία ἐστί, καὶ οὐδὲν ἄλλο σημαινόμενον ἔχει ἢ αὐτὸ τὸ ὄν.… ἡ γὰρ ὑπόστασις καὶ ἡ οὐσία ὕπαρξίς ἐστιν. ἔστι γὰρ καὶ ὑπάρχει. See Gieseler, Kirchengesch. i. pt. 2, p. 63) Athanasius. The fact was, that the Easterns most commonly used ὑπόστασις to designate the three separate Persons (cf. e. g. Chrys. de Sacerdot. iv. 4, vol. i. p. 410 A, τὴν μὲν θεότητα πατρὸς κ. υἱ. κ. ἁγ. πν. μίαν ὁμολογοῦντας, προστιθέντας δὲ καὶ τὰς τρεις ὑποστάσεις, &c., and especially Basil, whom Gieseler regards as the representative of this view: Ep. 236. 6, vol. iv. p. 363, οὐσία κ. ὑπόστασις ταύτης ἔχει τὴ διαφοράν, ἣν ἔχει τὸ κοινὸν πρὸς τὸ καθʼ ἕκαστον. See other passages in Gieseler, ubi supra) in distinction from Sabellianism, which acknowledged three πρόσωπα, but not three ὑποστάσεις, i. e. self-subsisting personalities: whereas the Westerns continued to regard ὑπόστασις as = οὐσία, and assumed but one ὑπόστασις: and the Western bishops, assembled with Athanasius at the council of Sardica in 347, distinctly pronounced the assumption of three hypostases heretical, i. e. Arian. Their words, as cited by Suicer from Theodoret, Hist. Eccl. ii. 6, are very decisive: τὸ τῶν αἱρετικῶν σύστημα φιλονεικεῖ, διαφόρους εἶναι τὰς ὑποστάσεις τοῦ πατρός, κ. τοῦ υἱοῦ, κ. τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος, κ. εἶναι κεχωρισμένας. ἡμεῖς δὲ ταύτην παρειλήφαμεν κ. δεδιδάγμεθα, κ. ταύτην ἔχομεν τὴν καθολικὴν παράδοσιν κ. πίστιν κ. ὁμολογίαν, μίαν εἶναι ὑπόστασιν, ἣν αὐτοὶ οἱ αἱρετικοὶ οὐσίαν προσαγορεύουσι, τοῦ πατρός, κ. τοῦ υἱοῦ, κ. τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος. Subsequently however to this, in the Synod assembled at Alexandria in 362, at which Athanasius, and bishops of Italy, Arabia, Egypt, and Libya were present, the Easterns and Westerns agreed, on examination of one another’s meaning, to acknowledge one another as orthodox, and to allow indifferently of the use of τρεῖς ὑποστάσεις signifying ‘Persons,’ and μία ὑπόστασις signifying ‘substance,’ ‘essence,’ οὐσία. The Epistle from this synod to the bishops of Antioch is among the works of Athanasius, vol. ii. p. 615 ff., and is a very interesting document. But it attempted conciliation in vain, the Miletian schism at Antioch, which began on this point, having been confirmed and perpetuated by external causes. See on the whole subject, Bleek’s note: Jerome, Epist. 15 (al. 57) ad Damasum, § 4, vol. i. p. 40; and on the use made of this description by orthodox and heretics in early times, Bleek, Chrys. in loc.: Calvin’s note, where he gives some excellent cautions against the speculative pressing of each expression: “Nam hoc quoque notandum est, non hic doceri frivolas speculationes, sed tradi solidam fidei doctrinam. Quare debemus in usum nostrum hæc Christi elogia applicare, sicuti ad nos relationem habent.”

    On all grounds it will be safer here to hold to the primitive meaning of the word, and not to introduce into the language of the apostolic age a terminology which was long subsequent to it), and ( τε couples closely clauses referring to the same subject, and following as matter of course on one another) upholding (we have this sense of φέρειν in reff. and in the later Greek writers, e. g. Plut. Lucull. 6, φέρειν τὴν πόλιν. So in Latin, Val. Max. xi. 8.5, “humeris gestare salutem patriæ:” Cic. pro Flacco, c. 38, “quam (remp.) vos universam in hoc judicio vestris humeris.… judices, sustinetis:” Senec. Ep. 31, “Deus ille maximus potentissimusque vehit omnia.” But the usage is principally found in the Rabbinical writings, as appears from the extracts in Schöttgen,—e. g. Sohar Chadasch, fol. ix. 1, “Creator benedictus portans omnes mundos robore suo ( סובל כל־העלמות בכוהו),” &c. Chrys. says, φέρων, τουτέστι κυβερνῶν, τὰ διαπίπτοντα συγκρατῶν: and so Thl.: “Sursum tenet, ne decidant, et in nihilum revertantur,” Ps.-Anselm) the universe (the same πάντα as designated by πάντων above: not that the art. expressly refers back to that word, for τὰ πάντα is the ordinary expression for the aggregate of all things. The meaning attempted to be given by some Socinian expositors, “the whole kingdom of grace,” is wholly beside the purpose: see reff., esp. Colossians 1:17, καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν: Job 8:3, τὰ πάντα ποιήσας: Revelation 4:11, ὅτι σὺ ἔκτισας τὰ πάντα) by the word (expressed command: cf. ch. Hebrews 11:3, πίστει νοοῦμεν κατηρτίσθαι τοὺς αἰῶνας ῥήματι θεοῦ) of his (Whose? His own, or the Father’s? The latter is held by Cyrilalex. contra Julian. viii. vol. ix. p. 259 C, ὡς γὰρ ὁ πάνσοφος γράφει παῦλος· φέρει τὰ π. ἐν τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυν. αὐτοῦ, τοῦ πατρός. And so Grot., al. But Chrys., Thdrt., Thl., and the great body of Commentators understand αὐτοῦ to refer to the Son. That it may do so, it is not necessary to write αὑτοῦ, as is done in the cursive mss. (the uncial MSS. being mostly without accents) and in many modern editions. Bleek in his note (vol. i. p. 69) makes it probable that the abbreviated writing αὑτοῦ for ἑαυτοῦ had not been adopted in the days of the N. T. Even if it had, his rule seems a good one;—that αὑτοῦ should never be written unless in cases where, if speaking in the 1st or 2nd person, we should use ἐμαυτοῦ or σεαυτοῦ,—i. e. never except where emphatic. Now here, supposing the words addressed to the Son, σοῦ and not σεαυτοῦ would evidently be the word used: and consequently in expressing the same sentence in the 3rd person, αὐτοῦ, not αὑτοῦ ( ἑαυτοῦ) ought to be written. The interpretation therefore is independent of this distinction. But the question recurs, which is the right one? The strict parallelism of the clauses would seem to require, that αὐτοῦ here should designate the same person, as it does before, after τῆς ὑποστάσεως. But such parallelism and consistency of reference of demonstrative pronouns is by no means observed in the N. T., e. g. Ephesians 1:20; Ephesians 1:22, καὶ καθίσας ἐν δεξιᾷ αὺτοῦ (of the Father), … καὶ πάντα ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ (of the Son). In every such case the reference must be determined by the circumstances, and the things spoken of. And applying that test here, we find that in our former clause, ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τ. δόξης κ. χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, it is quite out of the question that αὐτοῦ should be reflective, referring, as it clearly does, to another than the subject of the sentence. But when we proceed to our second clause, φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥ. τ. δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, we find no such bar to the ordinary reflective sense of αὐτοῦ, but every reason to adopt it as the most obvious. For we have here an action performed by the Son, who φέρει τὰ πάντα. Whereby? τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ: where we may certainly say, 1. that had another than the subject of the sentence been intended, such intention would have been expressed: and, 2. that the assertion would be after all a strange and unexampled one, that the Son upholds all things by the word of the Father’s power. So that, on all accounts, this second αὐτοῦ seems better to be referred to the Son) power (not to be weakened into the comparatively unmeaning τῷ ῥήματι αὐτοῦ τῷ δυνατῷ. His Power is an inherent attribute, whether uttered or not: the ῥῆμα is that utterance, which He has been pleased to give of it. It is a “powerful word,” but much more is here stated—that it is the word of, proceeding from, giving utterance to, His power), having made (the vulg. “faciens” is an unfortunate mistranslation, tending to obscure the truth of the completion of the one Sacrifice of the Lord. The words διʼ ἑαυτοῦ can hardly be retained in the text, in the face of their omission in the three most ancient MSS., joined to their internal character as an explanatory gloss. Dr. Bloomfield’s strong argument in their favour, that they “are almost indispensable,” in fact, pronounces their condemnation. The hypothesis of homœoteleuton suggests itself: but it is hardly likely in so solemn an opening passage, and weighs little against the probability the other way. Meanwhile, the gloss is a good and true one. It was διʼ ἑαυτοῦ, in the fullest sense) purification of sins (as Bleek observes, there is no occasion to suppose the genitive here equivalent to ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν, seeing that we may say καθαρίζονται αἱ ἁμαρτίαι τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, as we read, Matthew 8:3, ἐκα θαρίσθη αὐτοῦ ἡ λέπρα. Sin was the great uncleanness, of which He has effected the purgation: the disease of which He has wrought the cure. This καθαρισμός must be understood by the subsequent argument in the Epistle: for that which the Writer had it in his mind to expand in the course of his treatise, he must be supposed to have meant when he used without explanation a concise term, like this. And that we know to have been, the purifications and sacrifices of the Levitical law, by which man’s natural uncleanness in God’s sight was typically removed, and access to God laid open to him. Ebrard’s note here is so important that, though long, I cannot forbear inserting it:—“ καθαρίζειν answers to the Heb. טִהַר, and its ideal explanation must be sought in the meaning which suits the Levitical cleansing in the O. T.cultus. Consequently, they are entirely wrong, who understand καθαρίζειν of moral amelioration, and would so take καθαρισμὸν ποιεῖν in this place, as if the author wished to set forth Christ here as a moral teacher, who by precept and example incited men to amendment. And we may pronounce those in error, who go so far indeed as to explain the καθαρισμός of the propitiatory removal of the guilt of sin, but only on account of later passages in our Epistle, as if the idea of scriptural καθαρισμός were not already sufficiently clear to establish this, the only true meaning. The whole law of purification, as given by God to Moses, rested on the assumption that our nature, as sinful and guilt-laden, is not capable of coming into immediate contact with our holy God and Judge. The mediation between man and God present in the most holy place, and in that most holy place separated from the people, was revealed in three forms; α. in sacrifices, β. in the Priesthood, and γ. in the Levitical laws of purity. Sacrifices were (typical) acts or means of propitiation for guilt; Priests were the agents for accomplishing these acts, but were not themselves accounted purer than the rest of the people, having consequently to bring offerings for their own sins before they offered for those of the people. Lastly, Levitical purity was the condition which was attained, positively by sacrifice and worship, negatively by avoidance of Levitical pollution,—the condition in which the people was enabled, by means of the priests, to come into relation with God ‘without dying’ (Deuteronomy 5:26); the result of the cultus which was past, and the postulate for that which was to come. So that that which purified, was sacrifice: and the purification was, the removal of guilt. This is most clearly seen in the ordinance concerning the great day of atonement, Leviticus 16. There we find those three leading features in the closest distinctive relation. First, the sacrifice must be prepared (Leviticus 16:1-10): then, the high priest is to offer for his own sins (Leviticus 16:11-14): lastly, he is to kill the sin-offering for the people (Leviticus 16:15), and with its blood to sprinkle the mercy-seat and all the holy place, and cleanse it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel (Leviticus 16:19); and then he is symbolically to lay the sins of the people on the head of a second victim, and send forth this animal, laden with the curse, into the wilderness. For (Leviticus 16:30) ‘on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord.’ In the atonement, in the gracious covering ( יְכַפֵּר, Leviticus 16:30) of the guilt of sin, consists purification in the scriptural sense. (And so also were those who had become levitically unclean, e. g. lepers, Leviticus 14, cleansed by atoning sacrifices.) So that an Israelitish reader, a Christian Jew, would never, on reading the words καθαρισμὸν ποιεῖν, think on what we commonly call ‘moral amelioration,’ which, if not springing out of the living ground of a heart reconciled to God, is mere self-deceit, and only external avoidance of evident transgression: but the καθαρισμός which Christ brought in would, in the sense of our author and his readers, only be understood of that gracious atonement for all guilt of sin of all mankind, which Christ our Lord and Saviour has completed for us by His sinless sufferings and death: and out of which flows forth to us, as from a fountain, all power to love in return, all love to Him, our heavenly Pattern, and all hatred of sin, which caused His death. To speak these words of Scripture with the mouth, is easy: but he only can say Yea and Amen to them with the heart who, in simple truthfulness of the knowledge of himself, has looked down even to the darkest depths of his ruined state, natural to him, and intensified by innumerable sins of act,—and, despairing of all help in himself, reaches forth his hand after the good tidings of heavenly deliverance.” It is truly refreshing, in the midst of so much unbelief, and misapprehension of the sense of Scripture, in the German Commentators, to meet with such a clear and full testimony to the truth and efficacy of the Lord’s great Sacrifice. And I am bound to say that Bleek, De Wette, Lünemann, and Delitzsch, recognize this just as fully: the two former however referring on further in the Epistle for the explanation of the expression, and holding it premature to specify or explain it here. Observe now again, before passing on, the mistake of the vulgate in rendering ποιησάμενοςfaciens.” The purification is completed, before the action next described takes place: this all seem to acknowledge here, and to find an exception to the ordinary rule that an aorist participle connected with an aorist verb, is contemporary with it. The reason seems to be principally pragmatic—that such session could not well be brought in until such purification had been accomplished: see above), sat down ( καθίζω is always used intransitively in this Epistle, and always of this act of Christ. In fact it is always intransitive in the N. T., except in the two places, 1 Corinthians 6:4, τούτους καθίζετε, and Ephesians 1:20, καθίσας ἐν δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ) on the right hand (‘in the right hand,’ scil. portion or side. The expression comes doubtless originally from Psalms 110:1 (Psalms 109:1), cited below. Bleek, in the course of a long and thorough discussion of its meaning as applied to our Lord, shews that it is never used of his præ-existent coequality with the Father, but always with reference to His exaltation in his humanity after his course of suffering and triumph. It is ever connected, not with the idea of His equality with the Father and share in the majesty of the Godhead, but with His state of waiting, in the immediate presence of the Father, and thus highly exalted by Him, till the purposes of his mediatorial office are accomplished. This his lofty state is, however, not one of quiescence; for (Acts 2:33) He shed down the gift of the Spirit,—and (Romans 8:34) He maketh intercession for us: and below (ch. Hebrews 8:1 ff.) He is, for all purposes belonging to that office, our High Priest in Heaven. This ‘sitting at the right hand of God’ is described as lasting until all enemies shall have been subdued unto Him, i. e. until the end of this state of time, and His own second coming: after which, properly and strictly speaking, the state of exaltation described by these words shall come to an end, and that mysterious completion of the supreme glory of the Son of God shall take place, which St. Paul describes, 1 Corinthians 15:28. On the more refined questions connected with the expression, see Delitzsch’s and Ebrard’s notes here) of majesty ( μεγαλωσύνη, said to belong to the Alexandrine dialect, is often found in the LXX, and principally as referring to the divine greatness: see reff.) on high (in high places, i. e. in heaven. Cf. Psalms 92:4, θαυμαστὸς ἐν ὑψηλοῖς ὁ κύριος, and Psalms 112:5, ὁ ἐν ὑψηλοῖς κατοικῶν: and the singular ἐν ὑψηλῷ, Isaiah 33:5; ἀφʼ ὑψηλοῦ, Isaiah 32:15; Jeremiah 32:30 (Jeremiah 25:30). In the same sense we have ἐν ὑψίστοις, Luke 2:14; Luke 19:38; Job 16:20; ἥλιος ἀνατέλλων ἐν ὑψίστοις κυρίου, Sirach 26:16; and ἐν τοῖς ὑψ., Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:10. Cf. Ebrard: “HEAVEN, in Holy Scripture, signifies never unbounded space, nor omnipresence, but always either the starry firmament, or, more usually, that sphere of the created world of space and time, where the union of God with the personal creature is not severed by sin,—where no Death reigns, where the glorification of the body is not a mere hope of the future. Into that sphere has the Firstling of risen and glorified manhood entered, as into a place, with visible glorified Body, visibly to return again from thence.” There is a question whether the word should be joined with ἐκάθισεν, or with τῆς μεγαλωσύνης: which again occurs at ch. Hebrews 8:1, where we have ὃς ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ θρόνου τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. The strict grammarians contend for the connexion with the verb, on account of the omission of the art. τῆς. But the order of the words in both places makes the other connexion the more natural; and no scholar versed in N. T. diction will object to it. Cf. τοῖς κυρίοις κατὰ σάρκα, Ephesians 6:5, and note, also John 6:32. The omission of the art. here gives majesty and solemnity—its insertion would seem to hint at other μεγαλωσύναι in the background).

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    Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.

    Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

    DISCOURSE: 2268


    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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

    A REVELATION of God, by whatever means or instrument it may be communicated, demands our solemn attention. But Christianity requires the highest possible degree of reverence, because the Messenger, by whom it was promulgated, as far surpassed all other instruments in excellence, as the truths delivered by him are of deeper and more mysterious import. It is in this view that the Apostle introduces this sublime description of Christ; in which we may notice,

    I. The dignity of his person—

    We cannot conceive any expressions more grand than these which are here applied to Christ, and which set forth,

    1. His essential dignity—

    [The Father is the fountain, and the archetype of all perfection. Of him Jesus is a perfect copy. As the impression on the wax corresponds with all the marks and lineaments of the seal, so is Jesus “the express image” of the Father in every particular, insomuch that “he who hath seen him hath seen the Father [Note: John 14:9.].” But the Father is, in himself, invisible to mortal eyes [Note: 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:16.]; it is in Christ only that he is seen: on which account Christ is called “the image of the invisible God [Note: Colossians 1:15.].” And as all the glory of the sun is seen in the bright effulgence of its rays, so is all the glory of the Godhead seen in the face of Jesus Christ [Note: Colossians 2:9. 2 Corinthians 4:6.].]

    2. His official dignity—

    [It was Jesus who made the worlds [Note: ver. 2 and John 1:3.]: and he it is who upholds them by the same “powerful word” that first spake them into existence [Note: Colossians 1:17.]. By him all things maintain their proper courses, and the order first assigned them. Nor is there any thing that happens either in the kingdom of providence or of grace, which does not proceed from his will, or tend to his glory. There is nothing so small but it occupies his attention, nothing so great but it is under his controul [Note: Matthew 10:29-30.]. Every thing that is good owes its existence to his immediate agency, and every thing that is evil, to his righteous permission.]

    Intimately connected with this is,

    II. The diversity of his ministrations—

    As in the Church there are “diversities of administrations and of operations [Note: 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.]” under Christ, who is the author of them, so in the work of Christ himself there is a diversity of ministrations.

    1. He “purged our sins” by his blood on earth—

    [Sin needed an atonement, and such an atonement as no created being could offer. Jesus therefore, the Creator himself, undertook to make an atonement for us, and such an one as should satisfy divine justice on our behalf, and put honour on that law which we had violated. For this end he assumed that nature which had sinned, and endured the curse due to our iniquities. When he had only to create or to uphold the universe, his word was sufficient: but when he came to redeem the world, nothing would suffice but his own precious blood. Other priests offered the blood of bulls and of goats as typical expiations: but, to make a true and proper atonement, Jesus was forced to offer up “himself.” His prayers and tears were insufficient: if he would purge away our sins, he must do it “by himself,” by “pouring out his soul unto death.”

    This is what Jesus undertook to do; nor did he ever draw back till he could say, “It is finished.”]

    He ascended to complete his work in heaven—

    [The high-priest, after offering the sacrifice, entered within the vail, to present it there. Thus Jesus “passed into the heavens,” the place where he was to finish his ministrations. In the presence of all his disciples he ascended thither, giving thereby a decisive evidence that nothing further remained for him to do on earth. But a further evidence of this arises from the posture in which he ministers in heaven. The priests under the law stood, because they needed to repeat the same sacrifices continually: but Jesus having offered one sacrifice once for all, “sat down at the right hand” of God, the place of supreme dignity and power. From this we inter the perfection of his sacrifice on earth [Note: Hebrews 10:11-12.]; and are assured, that whatever remains to be done by him within the vail, is transacted in an authoritative manner, all power being given to him to “save to the uttermost” them that trust in him.]

    We may learn from hence,

    1. The security of those who believe in Christ—

    [Who is it that interests himself for them? “Jehovah’s Fellow [Note: Zechariah 13:7.].” Who bought them with his blood? The God of heaven and earth [Note: Acts 20:28.]. Who has undertaken to keep them? He that “upholdeth all things by his word [Note: Colossians 1:17-18].” Who is continually engaged in completing their salvation? He that is constituted Head over all things for this very purpose [Note: Ephesians 1:22-23.]. What then have they to fear either from their past guilt, or their present weakness? Let them only be strong in faith, and “none shall ever pluck them out of his hand [Note: John 10:28.].”]

    2. The danger of those who are yet in unbelief—

    [In proportion to the dignity of this adorable Saviour must be the guilt of rejecting him. This is frequently insisted on in this epistle [Note: Hebrews 2:3-4; Hebrews 10:28-29.]. Let us lay it to heart. To neglect this Jesus is such a mixture of folly and ingratitude, of impiety and rebellion, as involves in it the highest degree of criminality, and subjects us to the heaviest condemnation [Note: Deuteronomy 18:18-19.]. Let those who are guilty of this neglect remember that “the enemies of Jesus shall all become his footstool:” and let them kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and they perish without a remedy [Note: Psalms 2:6; Psalms 2:9-10; Psalms 2:12.].]

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    Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.

    Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

    Hebrews 1:3. Continued description of the dignity of the Son. The main declaration of the verse, ὃς ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς, is established on the grounds presented in the preceding participles ὢνφέρων τεποιησάμενος. The grounding, however, is a twofold one, inasmuch as the participles present still relate to Christ as the λόγος ἄσαρκος, and describe His nature and sway, while the participle aorist has as its contents the redeeming act of the λόγος ἔνσαρκος. Of the two present participles, the first corresponds to the former half of the proposition, Hebrews 1:2, and the second to the latter half.

    ἀπαύγασμα] not: quum esset, but: quum sit ἀπαύγ., or as ἀπαύγασμα. For the εἶναι ἀπαύγασμα κ. τ. λ. and φέρειν τὰ πάντα κ. τ. λ., which was appropriate to the Son of God in His prehuman form of existence, has, after the exaltation or ascension has taken place, become again appropriate to Him.(31)

    ἀπαύγασ΄α] an Alexandrian word, occurring Wisdom of Solomon 7:26, and frequently with Philo, but only here in the N. T. It is explained either (1) as a beaming forth or radiance, i.e. as a ray which flows forth from the light, e.g., of the sun. So Bleek, Bisping, Delitzsch, Maier, Kurtz, and Hofmann, after the example of Clarius, Jac. Cappellus, Gomar., Schlichting, Gerhard, Calov, Owen, Rambach, Peirce, Calmet, Heumann, Böhme, Reiche. Or (2) as image, reflected radiance, i.e. as a likeness formed by reflex rays, reflection. So Erasmus, Calvin, Beza, Grotius, Wittich, Limborch, Stein, Grimm (Theol. Literaturbl. to the Darmstadt A. Kirch.-Z. 1857, No. 29, p. 661, and in his Lexic. N. T. p. 36), Nickel (Reuter’s Repert. 1857, Oct., p. 17), Moll, and others; so substantially also Riehm (Lehrbegr. des Hebräerbr. p. 279). In favour of the former interpretation it may be advanced that Hesychius paraphrases ἀπαύγασμα by ἡλίου φέγγος; and in Lexic. Cyrilli ms. Brem. are found the words: ἀπαύγασμα ἀκτὶς ἡλίου, πρώτη τοῦ ἡλιακοῦ φωτὸς ἀποβολή, as accordingly also Chrysostom and Theophylact explain ἀπαύγασ΄α by φῶς ἐκ φωτός, the latter with the addition τὸ ἀπαύγασ΄α ἐκ τοῦ ἡλίου καὶ οὐχ ὓστερον αὐτοῦ; and Theodoret observes: τὸ γὰρ ἀπαύγασ΄α καὶ ἐκ τοῦ πυρός ἐστι καὶ σὺν τῷ πυρί ἐστι· καὶ αἴτιον ΄ὲν ἔχει τὸ πῦρ, ἀχώριστον δέ ἐστι τοῦ πυρός· ἐξ οὔ γὰρ τὸ πῦρ, ἐξ ἐκείνου καὶ τὸ ἀπαύγασ΄α. But without reason does Bleek claim, in favour of this first interpretation, also the usage of Philo and Wisdom of Solomon 7:26. For in the passage of Philo, de Speciall. legg. § 11 (ed. Mangey, II. p. 356), which Bleek regards as “particularly clear” ( τὸ δʼ ἐμφυσώμενον [Genesis 2:7] δῆλον ὡς αἰθέριον ἦν πνεῦ΄α καὶ εἰ δή τι αἰθερίου πνεύ΄ατος κρεῖττον, ἅτε τῆς ΄ακαρίας καὶ τρισ΄ακαρίας φύσεως ἀπαύγασ΄α), there is found no ground of deciding either for or against this acceptation of the word. The other two passages of Philo, however, which are cited by Bleek, tell less in favour of it than against it. For in the former of these ἀπαύγασ΄α is explained by ἐκ΄αγεῖον [impression] and ἀπόσπασμα [shred] as synonyms, in the latter by μίμημα [copy]. (De Opific. Mundi, p. 33 D, in Mangey, I. p. 35: πᾶς ἄνθρωπος κατὰ μὲν τὴν διάνοιαν ᾠκείωται θείῳ λόγῳ, τῆς μακαρίας φύσεως ἐκμαγεῖον ἀπόσπασμα ἀπαύγασμα γεγονώς, κατὰ δὲ τὴν τοῦ σώματος κατασκευὴν ἅπαντι τῷ κόσμῳ.

    De plantat. Noë, p. 221 C, Mang. I. p. 337: τὸ δὲ ἁγίασμα οἷον ἁγίων ἀπαύγασμα, μίμημα ἀρχετύπου· ἐπεὶ τὰ αἰσθήσει καλὰ καὶ νοήσει καλῶν εἰκόνες.) Finally, there are found also, Wisdom of Solomon 7:26, as kindred expressions, besides ἀπαύγασ΄α, the words ἔσοπτρον and εἰκών. ( ἀπαύγασ΄α γάρ ἐστι φωτὸς ἀϊδίου καὶ ἔσοπτρον ἀκηλίδωτον τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ ἐνεργείας καὶ εἰκὼν τῆς ἀγαθότητος αὐτοῦ.) The decision is afforded by the form of the word itself. Inasmuch as not ἀπαυγασ΄ός, but ἀπαύγασ΄α is written, an active notion, such as would be required by Bleek’s acceptation, cannot be expressed by it, but only a passive one. Not the ray itself, but the result thereof must be intended. For as ἀπήχημα denotes that which is produced by the ἀπηχεῖν, the resonance or echo, and ἀποσκίασ΄α that which is produced by the ἀποσκιάζειν, the shadow cast by an object, so does ἀπαύγασ΄α denote that which is produced by the ἀπαυγάζειν. ἀπαύγασ΄α is therefore to be rendered by reflected radiance, and a threefold idea is contained in the word—(1) the notion of independent existence, (2) the notion of descent or derivation, (3) the notion of resemblance.

    τῆς δόξης] of His (the divine) glory or majesty. For the following αὐτοῦ belongs equally to τῆς δόξης as to τῆς ὑποστάσεως.

    καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ] and as impress of His essential being, so that the essential being of the Father is printed forth in the Son, the Son is the perfect image and counterpart of the Father. Comp. Philo, de plantat. Noë, p. 217 A (ed. Mangey, I. p. 332), where the rational soul ( λογικὴ ψυχή) is called a coin which stands the test, οὐσιωθωεῖσα καὶ τυπωθεῖσα σφραγίδι θεοῦ, ἧς χαρακτήρ ἐστιν ἀΐδιος λόγος. In the N. T. the word χαρακτήρ is found only in this place. To interpret ὑπόστασις, however, in the sense of πρόσωπον, or “Person” (Thomas Aquinas, Cajetan, Calvin [in the exposition], Beza, Piscator, Cornelius a Lapide, Gerhard, Dorscheus, Calov, Sebastian Schmidt, Bellarmin, Braun, Brochmann, Wolf, Suicer), is permitted only by later usage, not by that of the apostolic age. For the rest, that which is affirmed by the characteristic ἀπαύγασ΄α τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, the Apostle Paul expresses, Colossians 1:15, by εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου, and, Philippians 2:6 (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:4), by ἐν ΄ορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων.

    φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥή΄ατι τῆς δυνά΄εως αὐτοῦ] and as He who upholds the whole creation by the word of His power. Comp. Colossians 1:17 : καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν; Philo, de Cherub. p. 114 (ed. Mang. I. p. 145): πηδαλιοῦχος καὶ κυβερνήτης τοῦ παντὸς λόγος θεῖος.

    τὰ πάντα is not to be limited, with the Socinians, to the kingdom of grace, but is identical with πάντων; and τοὺς αἰῶνας, Hebrews 1:2, thus denotes the complex of all created things. On φέρειν in the signification: to uphold anything, so that its continued existence is assured, comp. Plutarch, Lucull. 6 : φέρειν τὴν πόλιν; Valerius Maximus, xi. 8. 5 : Humeris gestare salutem patriae; Cicero, pro Flacco, c. 38: Quam (rempublicam) vos universam in hoc judicio vestris humeris, vestris inquam humeris, judices sustinetis; Seneca, Ep. 31: Deus ille maximus potentissimusque ipse vehit omnia; Herm. Past. iii. 9. 14: Nomen Filii Dei magnum et immensum est et totus ab eo sustentatur orbis.

    τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ] more emphatic than if τῷ ῥή΄ατι αὐτοῦ τῷ δυνατῷ were written, to which Wolf, Kuinoel, Stengel, Tholuck, Bloomfield would, without reason, make the words equivalent. Oecumenius: ῥῆ΄α δὲ εἶπε δεικνὺς πάντα εὐκόλως αὐτὸν ἄγειν καὶ φέρειν. Theophylact: τηλικοῦτου ὄγκον τῆς κτίσεως τὸν ὑπέρ΄εγαν ὡς οὐδὲν αὐτὸς διαβαστάζει καὶ λόγῳ ΄όνῳ πάντα δυνα΄ένῳ.

    Not the gospel, however, is meant by ῥῆμα τῆς δυνάμεως; but as by the word of Omnipotence the world was created (comp. Hebrews 11:3), so is it also by the word of Omnipotence upheld or preserved.

    αὐτοῦ] goes back to ὅς, thus to the Son, not to God (Grotius, Peirce, Reiche, Paulus).

    καθαρισ΄ὸν τῶν ἁ΄αρτιῶν ποιησά΄ενος] after He had accomplished a cleansing from the sins. Progress of the discourse to the dignity of the Son as the eternal Logos incarnate, or the Redeemer in His historic appearing on earth. The nearer defining of the sense conveyed by the declaration: καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος,—with regard to the grammatical expression of which LXX. of Job 7:21, 2 Peter 1:9, may be compared,—was naturally presented to the readers. As the object on which the καθαρισ΄ός was wrought was understood as something self-evident, the world of mankind, which until then was under the defiling stain of sins, without possessing the power for its own deliverance; as the means, however, by which the καθαρισμός was accomplished, the atoning death of Christ. [Owen compares the lustrations, i.e. purifications by sacrifice, and cites Lucian’s ῥίψομεν μὲν αὐτὸν τοῦ κρημνοῦ καθαρισμὸν τοῦ στρατοῦ ἐσόμενον, “We shall cast him down headlong for an expiation of the army.”] To conceive of the ἁ΄αρτίαι themselves as a direct object to καθαρισ΄όν, to which Bleek and Winer, Gramm. 5th ed. p. 214 (differently, 6th ed. p. 168, 7th ed. p. 176), were inclined, and in favour of which Delitzsch and Alford (comp. also Hofmann ad loc.) pronounce themselves with decision,—in such wise that these are thought of as the disease of the human race, which is healed or put away by Christ,—is not at all warranted by the isolated and less accurate form of expression: ἐκαθαρίσθη αὐτοῦ λέπρα, Matthew 8:3. Nor is it requisite to supply ἀπό before τῶν ἁ΄αρτιῶν, and assume a pregnancy of expression, since καθαρός and its derived words are not only connected by ἀπό, but likewise, with equal propriety, by the bare genitive. See Kühner, II. p. 163.

    ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς ΄εγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Culminating point of the description. Characteristic of the dignity of the Son after the completed work of redemption, in the period of His return to the Father, which followed the period of His self-abasement. The sitting at the right hand of God is a well-known figure, derived from Psalms 110:1, in order to designate supreme honour and dominion over the world (Romans 8:34, al.).

    ἐν ὑψηλοῖς] Comp. Psalms 93:4; Psalms 113:5; tantamount to ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, Hebrews 8:1; or ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, Ephesians 1:20; or ἐν ὑψίστοις, Luke 2:14; Luke 19:38, al. The addition belongs not to μεγαλωσύνης (Beza, Böhme, Bleek, Ebrard, Alford),—since otherwise the article would be repeated,—but to ἐκάθισεν. The plural ἐν ὑψηλοῖς is explained from the supposition of several heavens, in the highest of which the throne of the Divine Majesty was placed.

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    Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. 1832.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Hebrews 1:3. ὃς—ὑ ψηλο͂ ς, who—on high) This is the third of those glorious predicates, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Again, three points of importance are introduced into this predicate, by the three participles. Paul mentions these points in the same order, Colossians 1:15; Colossians 1:17; Colossians 1:20. The first participle and likewise the second, from the finite verb ἐκάθισεν, sat down, being the aorist, have the meaning of an imperfect tense, and may be resolved into because, ὢν, φέρων τε, because (inasmuch as) He was, because (inasmuch as) He was upholding (comp. ὢν, ch. Hebrews 5:8); but the third, as being without the particle τὲ, and, cohering more closely with the same finite verb, is to be resolved into after that: ποιησάμενος, after that He made.— ὢνφέρων τε, because [inasmuch as] He was—and upheld) That glory, on which the Son entered when He was exalted to the right hand of the Father, no angel was capable of taking, but the Son took it; for He also had it formerly in respect of God, whose glory shines refulgently in Him, and in respect of all things, which He upholds; John 6:62; Revelation 1:18.— ἀπαύγασμα, the brightness) Wisdom of Solomon 7:25-26 : For she (wisdom) is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the GLORY ( δοξησ) of the Almighty: therefore no defiled thing falls into her. For she is the BRIGHTNESS ( απαυγασ΄α) of the everlasting light, and the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of His goodness. ἀπὸ has in this compound word an intensive power—as in ἀποστίλβω, ἀποκυέω, ἀποτίκτω, ἀπέχω,—not the power of diminishing. It does not imply less or greater, but propagation [extension of the Father’s glory].— τῆς δόξης, of the glory) Glory denotes the nature of God revealed in His brightness, the same as His eternal power and Godhead, Romans 1:20.— χαρακτὴρ, the impress, the express image) Whatever the hypostasis (personal essence) of the Father has, that is represented in the Son, as His express image.— ὑποστάσεως, of His hypostasis) [of His personal essence]. If we gather from the LXX. the meaning of this word, variously used by them—never however concerning GOD—it denotes here the immoveable everlastingness of the Divine life and power; comp. Hebrews 1:11. Therefore the parallels are δόξα, the glory, always undefiled [‘incorruptible’], Romans 1:23, and ὑπόστασις, the hypostasis or personal essence, which always holds as it were the same place. It was with this feeling that the old Rabbins, as it would seem, called God מקום, Place, or rather State.— τὰ πάντα, all things) [the universe]. The article is to be referred to πάντων, of all things, Hebrews 1:2. τῷ ῥήματι, by the word) The Son of GOD is a person; for He has the word.— αὑτοῦ) The same as ἑαντοῦ in the next clause.— διʼ ἑαυτοῦ) by Himself, i.e. without the external Levitical instrumentality or covenant. This power of His shines forth from the titles already given.— καθαρισμὸν, purification) There lies hidden here an anticipation.(5) When Christ lived in the flesh, it did not appear that so majestic things should be predicated of Him; but the apostle replies, that His sojourn in the weakness of the flesh was only for a time, for the purging of our sins. In this chapter he describes the glory of Christ, in that light chiefly, as He is the Son of GOD then subsequently he describes the glory of Christ as man, ch. Hebrews 2:6. He mentions the actual glory of the Son of GOD before His humiliation in a summary manner; but His glory after His exaltation, most fully; for it was from this exaltation in particular, and not before, that the glory which He had from eternity began to be most clearly seen. And the purging of our sins, and subsequent sitting on the right hand of the Majesty, are most fully treated of in ch. 7, etc.— ἐκάθισεν, He sat down) by the will of the Father; comp. ἔθηκε, He appointed, Hebrews 1:2. On this sitting, see Hebrews 1:13-14. The ministering priests stood; the sitting therefore denotes the accomplishment of the sacrifice, and the glorious kingdom begun. By this finite verb, sat down, after the participles, is implied the scope, subject, sum of the epistle; comp. Hebrews 8:1.— τῆς μεγαλωσύνης) of the Majesty, i.e. of GOD.— ἐν ὑψηλοῖς, on high) in the heavens, Hebrews 8:1.

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Who being the brightness; the same gospel minister, God’s Son, was, as to his person, apaugasma, a brightness shining out: which word sets forth the natural eternal generation of God the Son, discovering both the rise and flux of his being, and the beauteous and glorious excellency of it. It is the same in the sight of it with the Father’s, the brightness of glory, light of light, glory of glory to perfection, streaming from his Father incessantly; as beams issue from the sun, or the mental word is the invisible brightness of that spiritual light the intellect.

    Of his glory; essential glory. Light is a faint, visible resemblance of God’s essence, his manifestation of himself in glory hath been by light; to Moses, Exodus 33:18-23 34:5,29-31; to Isaiah, Isaiah 6:1-4; to Ezekiel, Ezekiel 1:4-28, and Ezekiel 10:1-22; to Daniel, Daniel 10:5,6,8,16-19; to John, Revelation 1:1-20,4:1-11, and Revelation 5:1-14. And so Christ represented that of his person at his transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-7. If created light be glorious in the sun, in angels; how much more God’s essential glory! Purity, beauty, light, how pleasant! But what are these to God? However the being of God be conceived, as wisdom, holiness, goodness, justice, power, the excellency of these above all created beings is this glory. No being is glory but God’s; this fundamental excellency shines no where as in this Son, John 1:14. By this are Father and Son declared distinct relations, subsisting together and co-eternal.

    And the express image; as the beams are with the sun the same in time, yet are weaker, therefore the Holy Ghost adds, he is his very image; carakthr is an engraven image of the Father, every way like him; the word signifieth a sculpture, print, engraving, or seal; intimating its distinction from what impressed it, and its likeness or parity to it: so is the Son’s a distinct relation, yet naturally and integrally having all that might liken him to his Father, Colossians 1:15.

    Of his person; thv upostasewv autou, of his subsistence. He is not the character of the Godhead, or of the Divine essence, but of the Father, the personal subsistence in the Deity. He is one and the same God with the Father, but his character as God is a Father, so that who seeth him seeth his Father, John 14:9; he is the visible representation of him, Colossians 2:9.

    And upholding; the whole work of Providence is set out by upholding; ferwn imports sustaining, feeding, preserving, governing, throwing down, raising up, comforting, and punishing, &c. All would have fallen in pieces on man’s sin, had not he interposed, and stopped the world when it was reeling back into nothing, Colossians 1:17; and to this instant he preserveth and ruleth all, Isaiah 9:6 John 5:22.

    All things; ta panta, a full, universal, comprehensive all, persons and things, angels, men, creatures good and bad, small and great, with all events, Acts 17:24-31.

    By the word of his power; not by an articulate voice, but his beck, will, or powerful command, whereby he doth whatsoever he pleaseth; his absolute, powerful, irresistible word; he acts as easily as others speak; there is no distinguishing between this word and power, they went together in the creation, Genesis 1:3,6,7, and do so in his providence, Psalms 33:9 148:8.

    When he had by himself; when this God-man, as the great gospel High Priest, so styled, Hebrews 2:17, had by himself alone, being altar and sacrifice, as well as Priest, the sole efficient of this work without any assistance. He, by his eternal Spirit, offered up a sacrifice propitiatory to God, his human nature hypostatically united to his Divine, and expiring his soul, he immediately entered with the blood of the covenant the holy of holiest in heaven, and presenting it before the eternal Judge, made full satisfaction and expiation for sins, Hebrews 7:17 9:11,12,14,24,26 10:10,12,14.

    Purged; by his satisfaction and merit, removing both the guilt and stain of sin; so as God, the injured Lawgiver, could be just as well as merciful in pardoning it; and justifying those who believe and plead it from the condemnation they were liable to for it, Romans 3:24-26 1 John 1:7,9; and mortifying and killing sin in them by his purchased Spirit, Romans 10:10,12,14,18; compare 1 Corinthians 6:11 Ephesians 5:25-27.

    Our sins; the sins of men, and not of angels; and the consequents of them, removing guilt, stain, and punishment, which they would fasten on us by his self-sacrifice, Hebrews 2:16.

    Sat down; after his atoning for sinners, at the forty days’ end he ascended in his human nature, immortal in body and soul, and entered the second time the holy of holiest in heaven; and then ekayisen, made himself to sit as High Priest in the most honourable and immovable state and condition. He did not stand, as the typical high priest before God’s ark, but sat; and in this co-operated with his Father, and obeyed him, Psalms 110:1; angels, and men, and creatures, all subjected to him, Ephesians 1:20-22. He doth sit quietly, Acts 3:21, and surely; there is no shaking him from his ever-interceding for his, Hebrews 7:25.

    On the right hand; a similitude expressing the height of glory that this God-man is advanced to; alluding to the state of the greatest king on his throne in his majesty, Ezekiel 1:4,26-28 Da 7:9-14 1 Timothy 1:17. He is exalted by the royal Father as his eldest Son, invested with Godlike power, majesty, and glory, as Hebrews 8:1 Hebrews 10:12 12:2; there enjoying all that happiness, blessedness, all those dignities and pleasures, Psalms 16:11; fulness of honour and glory, Hebrews 2:7; of government, rule, and dominion, Matthew 28:18; of all royal and glorious abilities and endowments for the managing all things; he enjoyeth all these as the Father himself doth, who ordereth all by him, so as no creature is capable of it, Hebrews 1:13. All the power of doing all things in all worlds is lodged in his hands.

    Of the Majesty on high; in the highest heaven is this possessed by him, and there is he to display his glory in ordering all, Hebrews 7:26 Hebrews 8:1 Ephesians 4:10: as in the happiest, so in the highest place is he to rule for ever; our advantage is by it, Ephesians 2:6, as to best of places and states.

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    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    сияние В Новом Завете это слово использовано лишь здесь. Оно передает идею излучения света, или сияния (ср. Ин. 8:12; 2Кор. 4:4, 6). Значение «отражение» здесь неуместно. Сын не просто отражает славу Бога, Он Бог и излучает собственную славу.

    образ ипостаси Его Слово, переведенное как «образ», употреблено в Новом Завете только здесь. В небиблейской литературе его использовали, когда говорили о резьбе по дереву, о гравировке металла, о клеймении животных, об отпечатках в глине и изображениях на монетах. «Ипостась» – слово, означающее природу, суть, сущность. Сын – это совершенный отпечаток, точное изображение природы и сущности Бога во времени и пространстве (ср. Ин. 14:9; Кол. 1:15; 2:9).

    держа Вселенная и все в ней постоянно поддерживается Словом силы Сына (Кол. 1:17). Слово также содержит оттенок движения или прогресса. Сын Божий направляет все вещи к использованию всего согласно Божией воле. Он, Словом давший начало всему, также поддерживает Свое творение и совершает Свою цель Своим Словом.

    очищение грехов наших Посредством Своей жертвы за нас на кресте (ср. Тит. 2:14; Отк. 1:5).

    воссел одесную Десница – правая рука, место силы, власти, почета (ср. ст. 13; Рим. 8:34; 1Пет. 3:22). Это также положение подчинения, что означает, что Сын подвластен Отцу (ср. 1Кор. 15:27, 28). Место, занимаемое Христом, – престол Бога (8:1; 10:12; 12:2), откуда Он правит как Царь царей. Это показывает Спасителя как Победителя, а не побежденного мученика. Точно также как очевиден смысл фразы – воцарение Христа на престоле, то, «воссел» может также означать, что Его работа по искуплению завершена.

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    Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

    The brightness of his glory; in him the glory of the Father shines forth, so that in and through him the Father’s glory is seen. John 1:14; John 14:9; 2 Corinthians 4:6.

    The express image of his person; he in whom the very being of God is represented to us, as far as we are able to apprehend it. The Greek word rendered person, means rather substance, reality of being, as opposed to mere appearance. Compare Matthew 11:27; John 1:18; Colossians 1:15.

    Upholding all things; sustaining the universe in being. Colossians 1:17.

    By the rod of his power; the word of his creative power. The same almighty word of his which called things into being, now sustains them. Compare Genesis 1:3;, etc.; Psalms 33:9; Psalms 148:5.

    By himself; by the sacrifice of himself.

    Purged our sins; made expiation for them, thus opening the way for our forgiveness and purification. Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5.

    Sat down on the right hand; Psalms 110:1; Mark 16:16; Acts 7:55. As Jesus Christ made the atonement, it is perfect and sufficient for all men, should be preached to all, and accepted by all; and is a sure foundation of eternal life to all who believe on him.

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    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    (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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

    The Holy Ghost by his servant hath here given a further description of the infinite dignity of Christ's Person. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his Person; and upholding all things by the word of his power. I pray the Reader to mark, with due attention, those glorious distinctions of character, by which the Person of Christ is here revealed. He is said, to be the brightness of his Father's glory. Not made so, but being so: Consequently the same oneness of nature, and essence with the Father. And when it is added, the express image of his Person; meaning, that by virtue of the Son of God, assuming manhood, he becomes the visible representation, of what without this medium, was, and is, and cannot but be agreeably to that blessed scripture, that in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, Colossians 2:9. And in relation to his upholding all things by the word of his power, nothing can he more plain, than that, as God-Man Mediator, he hath power given him over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given him, John 17:2. And no less, doth he uphold the whole of Creation, which he hath made; being the natural, and immediate result, for which God in his threefold character of Persons, went forth in acts of creation, by Jesus Christ, that he, as the visible Jehovah, it all Covenant transactions, should reign, and control all things, in all the departments of nature, providence, grace, and glory, Daniel 4:34-35; Ephesians 1:10. Reader! pause before you proceed further and contemplate the glories of his Person, as here drawn, by the Holy Ghost. Well might Paul desire to relinquish all other knowledge, for the knowledge of Christ, Philippians 3:8-9. And well might he pray for the Church, that this, above all other blessings, might be their portion, Ephesians 1:15 to the end. And yet, Reader! this is He whom man despiseth! This is He whom the nation abhorreth, Isaiah 49:7. What man? What nation? Yea, every man, and every nation, unacquainted with his mysterious Person, God-Man! And is not the present, as well as the nation of the Jews of old, a Christ-despising generation? But concerning those to whom God the Holy Ghost hath revealed him, Jesus thus speaks; Father! I will, that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me, John 17:24.

    But the scripture proceeds, When he had by himself, purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Reader! pray observe, what an emphasis, God the Holy Ghost, lays on this account of Christ. The purging our sins, is made to appear, a greater work in the Heir of all things; than even the creation of the worlds by him. For the one was simply the act of his Almighty power: But the other, is not only the act of his Almighty power, and his Almighty love; but the giving of himself in the purging our sins by himself. Not merely, an exertion of power: not the gift of his property, his works, or actions, or will, or design: not giving his creation, and all the creatures he had given life unto, in calling them into being; not these; but himself, his Person, his whole human nature as he himself calleth it, my flesh which I will give for the life of the world! John 6:51. The preciousness of the work; the love of Him that performed it; and the extensiveness of the efficacy of it; none but God himself, can form any idea thereof. It is said, that his very name is such, that no man knew but he himself, Revelation 19:12. And if so, what must be his work: and such a work, as that of purging our sins by himself? Reader! I know not how to leave the sweet meditation. Jesus by himself purged our sins! It was himself, his own proper Person; himself, both Altar, Priest, and Sacrifice. He made himself an offering for sins; yea, to sum up all, as this sweet scripture hath it, for none can be more full, or more expressive: by himself purged our sins! Oh! the love of God which passeth knowledge! The Father gave his Son, his elect in whom his soul delighteth. The Son gave himself, and by himself purged our sins. And God the Holy Ghost confirms the whole by regeneration, to his redeemed for in the whole manifestations of grace, he was justified in the Spirit, 1 Timothy 3:16.

    But we must not stop here. When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. There is a vast deal of importance in those scriptures, connected together: and it is plain, that they are joined here by the Holy Ghost, purposely for the comfort and joy of the Church, on this account. It is, as if the Lord had said, by way of confirmation, that Jesus by himself, hath purged and done away all your sins; and he is returned to heaven, and is sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having finished the work the Father gave him to do, Paul in one scripture, and Peter in another, make this return of Christ to heaven, as the most complete answer to all the accusations of hell, and the sinner's conscience; yea, to all the demands of God's law, and justice on account of sin. Who (saith Paul) shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died; yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, Romans 8:33; Rom_8:39. As much as to say; what fears can now arise, to distress the Lord's redeemed ones? God the Father hath received him, at the heavenly Court, and said unto him; sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool, Psalms 110:1. And Peter following up the same blessed truth, with a rapture of holy joy and triumph, tells the Church, that Christ is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God: angels, and authorities, being made subject unto him, 1 Peter 3:22. Reader! do not lose sight of these blessed things, for they are most blessed. Your Jesus would never have returned to his Father, had his work been unfinished, He hereby proved that he had by himself purged our sins. Hence this act, most fully certified, that not only sin, with all its tremendous consequences, was forever done away: but that justification to life, was also secured, by his entrance into heaven. Hence that sweet scripture: he was delivered for our offences, and raised again for out justification, Romans 4:25. Neither is this all, For Christ's sitting down, at the right hand of the Majesty on high, is spoken of in another scripture, as contrasted to the actions of those Priests who daily stand to minister in sacrifices. For every priest, standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sin. But this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God: from henceforth expecting, till his enemies be made his footstool: (according to God's word and oath, Ps 110) for by one offering, he hath perfected, forever, them that are sanctified, Hebrews 10:11-14. Nothing can be more beautiful and decisive, on this ground than those different actions of standing and sitting. The priests of old stood, while in their ministry, in proof that they had no power to finish it: and their daily labors, as daily carried conviction with them, that they were only, the shadow of good things to come, Hebrews 10:1. But Jesus when he had by himself purged our sins, returned to glory, and sat down, in proof, that he had entered into his rest once for all, having obtained eternal redemption for us, Hebrews 9:11-12. Once more, the Holy Ghost is express also to teach the Church, that in this entrance of Christ into heaven, it is as our fore-runner; Hebrews 6:20. And where his redeemed must follow. Nay, we are said already by faith to sit together with Christ in heavenly places, Ephesians 2:6, so that the justified believer in Christ is now by faith, already in heaven, with his glorious Head: and shortly will be there in person. For so the promise runs: Where I am; there shall ye be also, John 14:1-3. To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne; even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his throne, Revelation 3:20. Reader! think what precious things, are contained in the bosom of this short, but comprehensive scripture, concerning our glorious Lord: when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on he right hand of the Majesty on high.

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    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘When he had himself made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.’

    And this One Who was of the nature of an only Son, appointed the heir of all things, creator of the world, the outshining of God’s glory and the exact reproduction of what He is, ‘Himself made purification of sins’ (middle voice - He was intimately involved). We later discover that this was by the sacrifice and offering of Himself (Hebrews 10:10). He suffered, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). He was indeed both priest and sacrifice.

    In the words of the hymnwriter,

    ‘Tis mystery all, the immortal dies.

    Who can explore this strange design?

    In vain the firstborn seraph tries,

    To sound the depths of grace divine.’

    ‘Purification for sins.’ (katharismon tôn hamartiôn). Katharismos is from katharizô, to cleanse (see Hebrews 9:14; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 1:9) and is also found in the same sense of cleansing from sins in 2 Peter 1:9; Job 7:21 LXX. He made possible, through His sacrifice of Himself, the total and complete cleansing and purifying, of all who responded to Him, by which He has perfected for ever those who are sanctified (Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:10; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 10:17-18).

    And having accomplished purification of sin He ‘sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high’. His work of atonement accomplished once for all, He took His seat of authority and power (compare Hebrews 10:12), receiving again the glory which He had had with the Father before the world was (John 17:5). He became the One Who sat on the throne, the Lamb ‘in the midst’ of the throne (Revelation 5:6). The ‘right hand’ simply indicates the hand of power, the ruling hand. The earthly language (there is neither physical throne nor physical right hand) represents the fact that having accomplished His saving work He rejoined His Father in exercising His absolute power and authority (Revelation 3:21). The fact that He sat down indicates that His work, including His priestly work, was now complete. He has returned to His rightful glory (John 17:5).

    ‘Of the Majesty on high.’ (tês megalosunês en hupsêlois). Coming from megas (great) megalosunês is found in Deuteronomy 32:3 LXX Psalms 79:11 LXX Psalms 145:3 LXX and often in LXX and in Hebrews 8:1; Jude 1:25. We could thus call God ‘His Supreme Greatness’. And having offered Himself Christ resumed his original greatness and glory (John 17:5). The phrase ‘on high’ (en hupsêlois) occurs in the Psalms (Psalms 93:4 LXX), but only here in the New Testament. Having fulfilled His ministry of Priesthood in the offering of Himself, Jesus is here portrayed as receiving His Kingship as both Lord and Christ in Heaven (Acts 2:34-36) and enjoying the restoration of His previously manifested glory (John 17:5).

    Jesus is therefore Son, heavenly High Priest in an intercessory sense (His sacerdotal work having been completed as evidenced by the fact that He is now seated) and King.

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    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Hebrews 1:3. The brightness—the effulgenceof the divine glory, with allusion probably to the visible glory of the Shekinah over the mercy-seat, though the meaning is deeper. ‘Light of (i.e emanating from Him who is the) light.’

    The express image, the impress or stamp wherein and whereby the divine essence is made manifest: and all this He is in His own nature, so the Greek implies (‘being,’ comp. John 1:1), not that He became so by incarnation. ‘Image of his person’ is not felicitous. The earlier rendering, substance (Tyndale, essence or nature), is more accurate.

    And bearing, upholding and directing all things by the word, the fiat of His power, when (rather after) he had made purification of sins, i.e had atoned for them, sat down, etc.

    What higher honour can be given to our Lord? He is the glory—the love and holiness of God made visible; the very essence, the nature of the Father in loving embodiment. He therefore that has the Son has the Father also.

    Note that God not only acted in creating all things; He acts still in upholding them. A creation regulated by dead law alone is not Scripture teaching (see Acts 17:24-25, He is giving to all life and all things, Acts 17:27-28). And it is in and through Christ this is done.

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    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    Hebrews 1:3. Who being the brightness απαυγασμα, the effulgence, or out-beaming, or splendour; of his — The Father’s; glory — In Scripture, the glory of God signifies the perfections of God. See Romans 1:23; and in and by the Son of God, the glorious nature and attributes of the Father have shone forth probably to angels, at least to men; as on mount Sinai, when his voice shook the earth, (Hebrews 12:26,) in the tabernacle and temple. Compare Exodus 24:10 with John 1:18, and 1 Timothy 6:16. The divine glory, which was manifested to Isaiah in the vision recorded Isaiah 6:1-4, is expressly said, John 12:41, to have been the glory of Christ. This glory indeed was veiled in flesh when he became incarnate, yet he still possessed it, and it shone forth, in some degree, on many occasions, especially at his transfiguration, and even in his whole ministry; infinite wisdom manifesting itself in his discourses; almighty power in his miracles; unspeakable love in his benevolent actions; and holiness unparalleled in his spirit and conduct daily. So that he was fitly denominated the Holy One of God. And the express image — Stamp or delineation; of his person — Or substance, as υποστασεως signifies. That is, he is one who has the whole nature of God in him, as he is his eternal Son; and declares and represents, in a most conspicuous manner, the divine properties to our faith and contemplation as incarnate: whatever the Father is, is exhibited in the Son as a seal in the stamp on wax. For the word χαρακτηρ, here rendered express image, properly signifies an image made by engraving, such as that on a seal; also the image which the seal makes on wax by impression. Phavorinus says, it is διατυπωσις δηλουσα την υποστασιν, a form, or draught, manifesting the substance whence it was taken. And the word υποστασις, rendered person, he says, is ουσια μετα των ιδιωματων, the substance with the properties. So that the clause here, according to him, is a draught manifesting, or exhibiting the substance and properties of God. “According to the Greek commentators on the place,” says Whitby, “it is the same with our Lord’s being in the form of God before he took our nature on him.” See on Philippians 2:6; Colossians 1:15, where this is explained at large. And upholding φερων, sustaining, or preserving and governing; all things — Visible and invisible. This expression is parallel to 1 Colossians 1:17, τα παντα εν αυτω συνεστηκε, by him all things consist. According to Pierce, the meaning of both passages is, that as the Son gave being to all things, so he maintains them in being. By the word of his power — That is, by his powerful word: in the same divine manner in which all things were created; for he only spake, and they were done. When he had by himself — By the sacrifice of himself, (Hebrews 9:26,) without any Mosaic rites or ceremonies; purged our sins — καθαρισμον ποιησαμενος, having effected a purification of them, or made atonement to satisfy the demands of divine justice. In order to which it was necessary he should for a time divest himself of his glory. This is the fourth fact treated of in this epistle, namely, that the Author of the gospel laid down his life a sacrifice for sin; of which, when offered, God declared his acceptance, by setting Jesus at his own right hand. The gospel, therefore, hath a priesthood and sacrifice more efficacious than the priesthood and sacrifices of the law taken together. For an expiation made by a person so great in himself, and so dear to God as his own Son, and made by the appointment of God, could not but be acceptable to him; consequently it must be a sure foundation for that hope of pardon, by which the gospel encourages sinners to repent. Sat down — The Jewish priests stood while they ministered: Christ’s being said to sit down, therefore, denotes the consummation of his sacrifice: on the right hand of the Majesty — Of God; on high — In the highest heavens. The apostle’s meaning is, that our Lord, after his ascension, was invested in the human nature with that visible glory and power which he enjoyed with God before the world, as mentioned by himself, John 17:5. Our Lord’s sitting down at the right hand of God is affirmed in this epistle no less than five different times, because it presupposes his resurrection from the dead, and implies his being put in possession of the highest authority in heaven, under the Father. Consequently it is a clear proof that he is really the Son of God. It must be observed, that in this chapter the apostle describes Christ’s glory chiefly as he is the Son of God; afterward, Hebrews 2:6, &c., the glory of the man Christ Jesus. He speaks indeed briefly of the former before his humiliation, but copiously after his exaltation; as from hence the glory he had from eternity began to be evidently seen. Both his purging our sins, and sitting on the right hand of God, are largely treated of in the seven following chapters.

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    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary



    Splendor gloriæ, Greek: apaugasma, refulgentia, effulgentia, &c.



    Figura substantiæ, Greek: charakter tes upostaseos. Hypostasis signifies persona, subsistentia, and also substantia.

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    John Owen Exposition of Hebrews

    The apostle, in the pursuit of his argument, proceeds in the description of the person of Christ; partly to give a further account of what he had before affirmed concerning his divine power in making the worlds; and partly to instruct the Hebrews, from their own typical institutions, that it was the Messiah who was figured and represented formerly unto them, in those signs and pledges of God’s glorious presence which they enjoyed. And so by the whole he confirmeth the proposition he had in hand concerning the excellency and eminency of Him by whom the gospel was revealed, that their faith in him and obedience unto him might not be shaken or hindered.

    Hebrews 1:3. ος ὢ῝ν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὐποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῤήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, δι᾿ ἐαυτοῦ καθαρισμὸν ποιησάμενος τῶν ἀμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσόνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς.

    δι᾿ ἐαυτοῦ is wanting in MS. T.; but the sense requires the words, and all other ancient copies retain them. ῾ηυῶν is wanting in some copies; and one or two for ἐκάθισε have καθίζει, which hath nothing whereunto it should relate. Some also read, τῷ θρόνῳ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης, taken from Hebrews 12:2, where the word is used. ῝ος ὢ῝ν, “qui est,” “qui cum sit,” “qui existens;” — “who is,” “who when he is,” or “was;” “who existing:” as Philippians 2:6, ῝ος ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων, — “Who being in the form of God.”

    “Who being ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης,” — “splendor,” “radius,” “jubar,” “effulgentia,” “refulgentia,” “relucentia;” — “the splendor” “ray,” “beam,” “effulgency,” or “shining forth of glory.” Syr., צֶמְחָא, “germen;” so Boderius; — “the branch.” Tremellius and De Dieu, “splendor,” the Arabic concurring.

    αὐγή is “lux,” “light,” particularly the morning light: Acts 20:11, ῾ομιλήσας ἄχρις αὐγῆς, — “He talked until the break of day,” or the beaming of the morning light. αὐγὴ ἡλίου, Gloss. Vet., “jubar solis” — “the sun-beam.” And sometimes it denotes the day itself. It is also sometimes used for the light that is in burning iron. ῾απαυγή is of the same signification; properly “splendor lucis,” — “the brightness, shining, beauty, glory or lustre of light.” Hence is αὐγάζω, to a shine forth,” to “shine into” to “irradiate:” 2 Corinthians 4:4, εἰς τὸ μὴ αὐγάσαι αὐτοῖς, — “That the light of the gospel should not irradiate” (shine) “into them.” ᾿απαυγάζω is of the same importance; and from thence ἀπαύγασμα. The word is nowhere used in the New Testament save in this place only; nor doth it occur in the Old of the LXX. Only we have it, Wisdom of Solomon 7:26. Wisdom is said to be ἀπαύμασμα φωτὸς ἀϊδίου, — “a beam of eternal light;” to which place the margin of our translation refers. And it is so used by Nazianzen: ΄εγάλου φωτὸς μικρὸν ἀπαύγασμα, — “A little beam of a great light.” It answers exactly to the Hebrew נֹגַהּ, or אוֹר נֹגַהּthat is; that is, “The morning light:” Proverbs 4:18, “The path of the righteous כְּאוֹר נֹגַהּ,” — “ut lux splendoris,” Jerome; “as the light of brightness,” — that is, “of the morning,” αὐγή, Acts 20:11. And it is also applied to the light of fire, or fire in iron, Isaiah 4:5, נֹגַהּ אֵשׁ, — “The light of fire;” and the fiery streaming of lightning, Habakkuk 3:11.

    The brightness, shining, ray, beam, τῆς δόξης, “of glory.” Some look on this expression as a Hebraism, ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης, “the beam of glory,” for ἔνδοξον ἀπαύγασμα, “a glorious beam;” but this will not answer the design of the apostle, as we shall see afterwards.

    Our translators have supplied “his,” “the brightness of his glory,” by repeating αὐτοῦ from the end of the sentence; perhaps, as we shall find, not altogether necessarily, — in which case alone such supplements unto the text are allowed in translations.

    καὶ χαρακτὴρ, — “character.” “Imago,” “forma,” “figura,” “expressa forma,” “figura expressa,” צָלְמָא, Syr.; — “the character,” “image,” “form,” “figure, express form,” “express figure:” so variously is the word rendered by translators, with little difference. It is nowhere used in the New Testament but only in this place. In other authors it hath many significations. Sometimes they use it properly and naturally; sometimes metaphorically and artificially, as when it denotes several forms of speech or orations. Properly, from χαράσσω or χαράττω, to engrave with a tool or style, is χάραγμα and χαρακτήρ which is firstly and properly the note or mark cut by a tool or instrument into wood, or any other subject capable of such impression, or the stamp and sign that is left in the coining of money. The mark or scar also left by a wound is by the LXX. termed χαρακτήρ, Leviticus 13:28. It is in general an express representation of another thing, communicated unto it by an impression of its likeness upon it, opposed unto that which is umbratile and imaginary.

    τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, — “substantiae,” “subsistentiae,” “personae.” Syr., יִאיתוּתֵהּ, “substantiae ejus;” — “hypostasis,” “substance,” “subsistence,” “person.” The word is four times used in the New Testament, — thrice in this epistle, in this place, and Hebrews 3:14, and Hebrews 11:1, as also 2 Corinthians 9:4, — everywhere in a different sense; so that the mere use of it in one place will afford no light unto the meaning of it in another, but it must be taken from the context and subject treated of. The composition of the word would denote

    “substantia,” but so as to differ from and to add something unto οὐσία, “substance,” or being; which in the divine nature can be nothing but a special manner of subsistence. But the controversy that hath been about the precise signification of these words we shall not here enter into the discussion of.

    φέρων, “agens,” “regens,” “moderans;” — “acting,” “disposing,” “ruling,” “governing.” Also “portans,” “bajulans,” “sustinens;” — “bearing,” “supporting,” “carrying,” “upholding.” Which of these senses is peculiarly intended we shall afterwards inquire into.

    τῷ ῤήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, — “by the word of his power,” “by his powerful word.” Syr., בִּחַיְלָא דְּמִלְּתֵהּ, — “by the power of his word,”

    changing the order of the words, but not the meaning of them: “By the power of his word,” or, “the word of his power;” that is, his powerful word. αὐτοῦ; some would read it αὐτοῦ, and refer it unto the Father, — “By the powerful word of him;” that is, of the Father, by whose power, they say, the Son disposed of all things. But all copies with accents have αὐτοῦ constantly, none αὐτοῦ, nor will the disposition of the words bear that reference.

    δι᾿ ἑαυτοῦ, — “by himself,” “in his own person.”

    καθαρισμὸν ποιησάμενος, — “purgationem faciens,” “purgatione facta;” — “having purged,” “cleansed,” “expiated” or “purified” (us from) “our sins.” “Having made a purgation or purification of our sins.”

    ᾿εκάθισεν. καθίζω is used both neutrally and actively, answering to יָשַׁב both in Kal and Hiphil, signifying “to sit down,” and “to cause to sit down.” Chrysostom seems to have understood the word in the latter sense, referring it to God the Father causing the Son to sit down. But it is hard to find any antecedent word whereby it should be regulated, but only ὅς, “who,” in the beginning of the verse, — that is, he himself; and, as Erasmus observes, γενόμενος in the following words, will not grammatically admit of this construction; for if ἐκάθιοε be to be understood actively and transitively, it must have been γενόμενον. And the apostle clears the neutral sense of the word, Hebrews 8:1. It is well, then, rendered by our translators, “he sat,” or “sat down.”

    ᾿εν δεξιᾷ. Psalms 110:1, שֵׁב לִימִינִי. LXX., κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν, in the plural number. So is the same thing expressed, Acts 7:55; and by Mark, ἐν δεξιοῖς, Mark 16:5. Our apostle constantly keepeth the singular number, with ἐν, Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 12:2. The same thing in both expressions is intended; only that of ἐκ δεξιῶν, or ἐν δεξιοῖς, in the plural number, is more eminently destructive of the folly of the Anthropomorphites; for they cannot hence pretend that God hath a right hand, unless they will grant that he hath many, which were not only to turn the glory of the invisible God into the likeness of a man, but of a monster. And Austin well observes that in the psalm where that expression is first used, “Sit on my right hand,” it is added, אֲדֹנָי עַלאּיְמִינְךָ. “The Lord on thy right hand,” — at the right hand of him who sat on his right hand; which removes all carnal apprehensions from the meaning of the words.

    τῆς μεγαλωσύνης. This word is seldom used in other authors: twice in this epistle, here, and Hebrews 8:1; once by Jude, Jude 1:25; and nowhere else in the New Testament; by the LXX. not at all. The apostle evidently expresseth by it כָּבוֹד or גְּבוּרָה not as they are used appellatively for glory, power, or majesty, but as they are names and denote the essential glory of God, “The glorious God.” So that

    μεγαλωσύνη is God himself; not absolutely considered, but with reference unto the revelation of his glory and majesty in heaven, God on his throne; as our apostle declareth, Hebrews 8:1.

    ᾿εν ὑψηλοῖς, — “in the highest.” ΄εγαλωσύνη ἐν ὐψηλοῖς is ὐψίστος; that is, עֶלְיוֹן, “the Highest,” God himself. See Luke 1:35. (3)

    φέρ. corresponds to the Hebrew נָשָׁאIsaiah 46:3; Isaiah 66:9, curo, conservo, to sustain, to preserve, as a mother does her child. τῷ ῥήμ. τ. δ. α., by his own powerful word, the word of the Son, not the word of God, as αὐτοῦ would mean. — Stuart. According to Bleek, αὐτοῦ corresponds to ἐμαυτοῦ of the first person, αὐτοῦ to ἐμου. If the former, the emphasis being on “self,” the phrase would be, By the word of his own power.” “There is no occasion for this emphasis here.

    αὐτοῦ applies in a reflexive sense to the Son, and not to the Father.” — Ebrard. καθ., purification; in Hellenistic Greek expiation, e.g., Exodus 29:36; Exodus 30:10 not purification by moral means, because it is joined with δι᾿ ἑαυτοῦ, which is explained in Hebrews 2:14 by διὰ τοῦ ζανάτου; in Hebrews 9:12 by διὰ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος; and in Hebrews 9:26 by διὰ τῆς ζυσίας αὐτοῦ. — Stuart. “The purification in the Biblical sense consists in the atonement, the gracious covering ( כַפֵר, Leviticus 16:30) of guilt.” — Ebrard. ᾿εκάθ. corresponds to the Hebrew יָשַׁב; which applied to God and to kings, does not mean simply to sit, but to sit enthroned, Psalms 2:4.— Stuart. “As man, and continuing to be man, he was exalted to a participation in the divine government of the world.” — Ebrard. TRANSLATIONS. — ᾿απαύγ. κ. τ. λ. the radiance of his glory and the exact image of his substance. — Stuart. An emanation of his glory and an express image of his substance. — Conybeare and Howson. The radiance of his glory and the impress of his substance. — Craik. The brightness of his glory and the exact impression of his manner of existence. — Pye Smith. The refulgence of his glory and the impression of his essence. — De Wette. The ray of his glory and the stamp of his substance. — Turner. φέρων κ. τ. λ. Controlling all things by his own powerful word. — Stuart. καθαρ. π. After he had made expiation. — Stuart. Having made expiation. — Bloomfield. When he had made purification. — Conybeare and Howson. When he had made atonement. — Craik. After he had by himself purified us from sins by making an expiation. — Turner.

    Hebrews 1:3. — Who being the brightness of glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding [or, disposing of] all things by the word of his power, having by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; The apostle proceeds in his description of the person in whom God spake in the revelation of the gospel, ascending unto such a manifestation of him as that they might understand his eminency above all formerly used in the like ministrations; as also how he was pointed out and shadowed by sundry types and figures under the Old Testament.

    Of this description there are three parts; the first declaring what he is; the second, what he doth, or did; and the third, the consequent of them both, in what he enjoyeth.

    Of the first part of this description of the Messiah there are two branches, or it is two ways expressed: for he affirms of him, first, that he is the “brightest beam,” or “splendor of the glory;” and, secondly, “the express image,” or “character of his Father’s person.”

    In the second also there are two things assigned unto him, — the former relating unto his power, as he is the brightness of glory, he “sustaineth,” or ruleth and disposeth of “all things by the word of his power;” — the latter unto his love and work of mediation, — “by himself,” or in his own person, he hath “purged our sins.”

    His present and perpetual enjoyment, as a consequent of what he was and did, or doth, is expressed in the last words: “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

    Some of these expressions may well be granted to contain some of those δυσνόητα, “things hard to be understood,” which Peter affirms to be in this epistle of Paul, 2 Peter 3:16; which unstable and unlearned men have in all ages wrested unto their own destruction. The things intended are unquestionably sublime and mysterious; the terms wherein they are expressed are rare, and nowhere else used in the Scripture to the same purpose, some of them not at all, which deprives us of one great help in the interpretation of them; the metaphors used in the words, or types alluded unto by them, are abstruse and dark: so that the difficulty of discovering the true, precise, and genuine meaning of the Holy Ghost in them is such as that this verse, at least some part of it, may well be reckoned among those places which the Lord hath left in his word to exercise our faith, and diligence, and dependence on his Spirit, for a right understanding of them. It may be, indeed, that from what was known and acknowledged in the Judaical church, the whole intention of the apostle was more plain unto them, and more plainly and clearly delivered than now it seemeth unto us to be, who are deprived of their advantages. However, both to them and us the things were and are deep and mysterious; and we shall desire to handle (as it becometh us) both things and words with reverence and godly fear, looking up unto Him for assistance who alone can lead us into all truth.

    We begin with a double description given us of the Lord Christ at the entrance of the verse, as to what he is in himself. And here a double difficulty presents itself unto us; — first, In general unto what nature in Christ, or unto what of Christ, this description doth belong; secondly, What is the particular meaning and importance of the words or expressions themselves.

    For the first, some assert that these words intend only the divine nature of Christ, wherein he is consubstantial with the Father. Herein as he is said to be “God of God, and Light of Light,” — an expression doubtless taken from hence, — receiving, as the Son, his nature and subsistence from the Father, so fully and absolutely as that he is every way the same with him in respect of his essence, and every way like him in respect of his person; so he is said to be “the brightness of his glory,” and “the character of his person” on that account, This way went the ancients generally; and of modern expositors very many, as Calvin, Brentius, Marlorat, Rollock, Gomar, Pareau, Estius, Tena, a Lapide, Ribera, and sundry others.

    Some think that the apostle speaks of him as incarnate, as he is declared in the gospel, or as preached, to be “the image of God,” 2 Corinthians 4:4. And these take three ways in the explication of the words and their application of them unto him: —

    First, Some affirm that their meaning is, that whereas God is in himself infinite and incomprehensible, so that we are not able to contemplate on his excellencies, but that we are overpowered in our minds with their glory and majesty, he hath in Christ the Son, as incarnate, contemperated his infinite love, power, goodness, grace, greatness, and holiness, unto our faith, love, and contemplation, they all shining forth in him, and being eminently expressed in him. So Beza.

    Secondly, Some think that the apostle pursues the description that he was entered upon, of the kingly office of Jesus Christ as heir of all; and that his being exalted in glory unto power, rule, and dominion, expressing and representing therein the person of his Father, is intended in these words. So Cameron.

    Thirdly, Some refer these words to the prophetical office of Christ, and say that he was the brightness of God’s glory, etc., by his revealing and declaring the will of God unto us, which before was done darkly only and in shadows. So the Socinians generally, though Schlichtingius refers the words unto all that similitude which they fancy to have been between God and the man Christ Jesus whilst he was in the earth; and therefore renders the participle ὥν, not by the present, but preterimperfect tense, “who was;” that is, whilst he was on the earth, — though, as he says, not exclusively unto what he is now in heaven.

    I shall not examine in particular the reasons that are alleged for these several interpretations, but only propose and confirm that sense of the place which on full and due consideration appears, as agreeable unto the analogy of faith, so expressly to answer the design and intendment of the apostle; wherein also the unsoundness of the two last branches or ways of applying the second interpretation, with the real coincidence of the first, and first branch of the latter exposition, will be discovered. To this end the following positions are to be observed: —

    First, It is not the direct and immediate design of the apostle to treat absolutely of either nature of Christ, his divine or human, but only of his person. Hence, though the things which he mentioneth and expresseth may some of them belong unto, or be the properties of his divine nature, some of his human, yet none of them are spoken of as such, but are all considered as belonging unto his person. And this solves that difficulty which Chrysostom observes in the words, and strives to remove by a similitude, namely, that the apostle doth not observe any order or method in speaking of the divine and human natures of Christ distinctly one after another, but first speaks of the one, then of the other, and then returns again to the former, and that frequently. But the truth is, he intends not to speak directly and absolutely of either nature of Christ; but treating ex professo of his person, some things that he mentions concerning him have a special foundation in and respect unto his divine nature, some in and unto his human, as must every thing that is spoken of him. And therefore the method and order of the apostle is not to be inquired after in what relates in his expressions to this or that nature of Christ, but in the progress that he makes in the description of his person and offices; which alone he had undertaken.

    Secondly, That which the apostle principally intends in and about the person of Christ, is to set forth his dignity, pre-eminence, and exaltation above all; and that not only consequentially to his discharge of the office of mediator, but also antecedently, in his worth, fitness, ability, and suitableness to undertake and discharge it, — which in a great measure depended on and flowed from his divine nature.

    These things being supposed, we observe,

    Thirdly, That as these expressions are none of them singly, much less in that conjunction wherein they are here placed, used concerning any other but Christ only, so they do plainly contain and express things that are more sublime and glorious than can, by the rule of Scripture or the analogy of faith, be ascribed unto any mere creature, however raised or exalted. There is in the words evidently a comparison with God the Father: he is infinitely glorious, eternally subsisting in his own person; and the Son is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” Angels are called “the sons of God,” are mighty in power, and excellent in created glory; but when they come to be compared with God, it is said they are not pure in his sight; and he charged them with folly, Job 4:18; and they cover their faces at the brightness of his glory, Isaiah 6:2 : so that they cannot be said so to be. Man also was created in the image of God, and is again by grace renewed thereinto, Ephesians 4:23-24 : but to say a man is the express image of the person of God the Father, is to depress the glory of God by anthropomorphitism. So that unto God asking that question, “Whom will ye compare unto me? and whom will ye liken me unto?” we cannot answer of any one who is not God by nature, that he is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.”

    Fourthly, Though the design of the apostle in general be to show how the Father expressed and declared himself unto us in the Son, yet this could not be done without manifesting what the Son is in himself and in reference unto the Father; which both the expressions do in the first place declare. They express him such an one as in whom the infinite perfections and excellencies of God are revealed unto us. So that the first application of the words, namely, to the divine nature of Christ, and the first branch of the second, considering him as incarnate, are very well consistent; as a Lapide grants, after he had blamed Beza for his interpretation. The first direction, then, given unto our faith in these words, is by what the Son is in respect of the Father, namely, “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person;” whence it follows that in him, being incarnate, the Father’s glory and his person are expressed and manifested unto us.

    Fifthly, There is nothing in these words that is not applicable unto the divine nature of Christ. Some, as we have showed, suppose that it is not that which is peculiarly intended in the words; but yet they can give no reason from them, nor manifest any thing denoted by them, which may not be conveniently applied thereunto. I say, whatever can be proved to be signified by them or contained in them, if we will keep ourselves within the bounds of that holy reverence which becomes us in the contemplation of the majesty of God, may be applied unto the nature of God as existing in the person of the Son. He is in his person distinct from the Father, another not the Father; but yet the same in nature, and this in all glorious properties and excellencies. This oneness in nature, and distinction in person, may be well shadowed out by these expressions, “He is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” The boldness and curiosity of the schoolmen, and some others, in expressing the way and manner of the generation of the Son, by similitudes of our understanding and its acts, declaring how he is the image of the Father, in their terms, are intolerable and full of offense. Nor are the rigid impositions of those words and terms in this matter which they or others have found out to express it by, of any better nature. Yet I confess, that supposing with some that by the first expression here used, “The brightness of glory,” the apostle intends to set forth unto us the relation of the Son to the Father by an allusion unto the sun and its beams, or the light of fire in iron, some relief may thence be given unto our weak understandings in the contemplation of this mystery, if we observe that one known rule, whose use Chrysostom urgeth in this place, namely, that in the use of such allusions every thing of imperfection is to be removed, in their application unto God. A few instances we may give unto this purpose, holding ourselves unto an allusion to the sun and its beams

    1. As the sun in comparison of the beam is of itself, and the beam of the sun; so is the Father of himself, and the Son of the Father.

    2. As the sun, without diminution or partition of its substance, without change or alteration in its nature, produceth the beam; so is the Son begotten of the Father.

    3. As the sun in order of nature is before the beam, but in time both are co- existent; so is the Father in order of nature before the Son, though in existence both co-eternal.

    4. As the beam is distinct from the sun, so that the sun is not the beam, and the beam is not the sun; so is it between the Father and the Son.

    5. As the beam is never separate from the sun, nor can the sun be without the beam, no more can the Son be from the Father, nor was the Father ever without the Son.

    6. As the sun cannot be seen but by the beam, no more can the Father but in and by the Son.

    I acknowledge that these things are true, and that there is nothing in them disagreeable unto the analogy of faith. But yet as sundry other things may be affirmed of the sun and its beam, whereof no tolerable application can be made to the matter in hand, so I am not persuaded that the apostle intended any such comparison or allusion, or aimed at our information or instruction by them. They were common people of the Jews, and not philosophers, to whom the apostle wrote this epistle; and therefore either he expresseth the things that he intends in terms answering unto what was in use among themselves to the same purpose, or else he asserts them plainly in words as meet to express them properly by as any that are in use amongst men. To say there is an allusion in the words, and that the Son is not properly, but by a metaphor, “the brightness of glory,” is to teach the apostle how to express himself in the things of God. For my part, I understand as much of the nature, glory, and properties of the Son, in and by this expression, “He is the brightness of glory,” as I do by any of the most accurate expressions which men have arbitrarily invented to signify the same thing. That he is one distinct from God the Father, related unto him, and partaker of his glory, is clearly asserted in these words; and more is not intended in them.

    Sixthly, These things, then, being premised, we may discern the general importance of these expressions. The words themselves, as was before observed, being nowhere else used in the Scripture, we may receive a contribution of light unto them from those in other places which are of their nearest alliance. Such are these and the like: “We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father,” John 1:14. “He is the image of the invisible God,” Colossians 1:15. The glory of God shines forth in him, 2 Corinthians 4:6. Now in these and the like places, the glory of the divine nature is so intimated, as that we are directed to look unto the glory of the absolutely invisible and incomprehensible God in him incarnate. And this in general is the meaning and intendment of the apostle in these expressions: ‘The Son, in whom God speaks unto us in the revelation of the gospel, doth in his own person so every way answer the excellencies and perfections of God the Father, that he is in him expressly represented unto our faith and contemplation.’

    It remaineth, then, in the second place, that we consider the expressions severally, with the reasons why the apostle thus expresseth the divine glory of Jesus Christ: ῞ος ὣν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης· — “Who being the brightness” (“light, lustre, majesty”) “of glory.” The apostle, in my judgment (which is humbly submitted unto consideration), alludes unto and intends something that the people were instructed by typically under the old testament, in this great mystery of the manifestation of the glory of God unto them in and by the Son, the second person in the Trinity. The ark, which was the most signal representation of the presence of God amongst them, was called “his glory.” So the wife of Phinehas, upon the taking of the ark, affirmed that the glory was departed: 1 Samuel 4:22, “The glory is departed from Israel, for the ark of God is taken.” And the psalmist, mentioning the same thing, calls it “his glory” absolutely: Psalms 78:61, “He delivered his glory into the enemy’s hand;” that is, the ark. Now, on the filling of the tabernacle with the signs of God’s presence in cloud and fire, the Jews affirm that there was a constant ἀπαὺμασμα, a תפארה, or “majestic shining glory,” resting on the ark; which was the ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης, “the splendour of the glory of God,” in that typical representation of his presence. And this was to instruct them in the way and manner whereby God would dwell amongst them. The apostle, therefore, calling them from the types, by which in much darkness they had been instructed in these mysteries, unto the things themselves represented obscurely by them, acquaints them with what that typical glory and splendor of it signified, namely, the eternal glory of God, with the essential beaming and brightness of it in the Son, in and by whom the glory of the Father shineth forth unto us. So that the words seem to relate unto that way of instruction which was of old granted unto them.

    Besides, they were wont to express their faith in this mystery with words unto this purpose: כָּבוֹד, “glory,” is sometimes put for God himself: Psalms 85:9, לִשְׁכֹּן כָּבוֹד בְּאַרְצֵגוּ, — “That glory may dwell in our land;” that is, the God of glory, or glorious God. This glory the Targum calls יקרא; and the majesty of that glory, שכינה. See Haggai 1:8. Psalms 44:24, they render these words, לָמָּהאּפָנֵיךָ תַסְתִּיר, “Why hidest thou thy face?” למה שכינת יקרךְ תסלק, “Why takest thou away the majesty of thy glory?” as both the Venetian and Basle Bibles read the place: for the Regia have only שכינה, omitting יקרךְ. And in the vision of Isaiah, Isaiah 6:1, they say it was הכבוד, so Kimchi; שכינה, so Rashi; יקרא דיי, so the Targum. And they affirm that it was the same which came down and appeared on mount Sinai, Exodus 19:20; where these words, עלאּהַר סִינַי וַיִּרֶד יְהָֹוה, “And the LORD descended on mount Sinai,” are rendered by Onkelos, ואתגלי יקרא דיי, “The majesty of God was revealed;” which words, from Psalms 68:18, are applied by our apostle unto the Son, Ephesians 4:8. ᾿᾿απαύγασμα τῆς δόξης, then, is nothing else but יקרא שכינת, or שכינת הכבוד, “the essential presence or majesty of the glorious God.” This, saith he, is Christ the Son. And thus of old they expressed their faith concerning him.

    The words, as was showed before, denote the divine nature of Christ, yet not absolutely, but as God the Father in him doth manifest himself unto us. Hence he is called שכינה, or שכינתא, or שכינא. The word is from שכַן, “he dwelt.” Elias in Tishbi gives us somewhat another account of the application of that name, in the root: קראו דזיל לרוח הקדש שכינה על שם שהוא שכן על הנכאים, — “The rabbins of blessed memory called the Holy Ghost Shechinah, because he dwelt upon the prophets.” But that this is not so may be observed throughout the Targum, wherein the Holy Ghost is always expressly called רוח הקדש; and the Shechinah is spoken of in such places as cannot be applied unto him. But as the fullness of the Godhead is said to dwell in the Lord Christ σωματικῶς, Colossians 2:9, and he, as the only-begotten Son of God, to dwell amongst us, John 1:14; so is he said in the same sense to be שכינה הכבוד, or ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης, “the majesty, presence, splendor of the glory,” or “the glorious God.”

    This, then, is that whereof the apostle minds the Jews: God having promised to dwell amongst them by his glorious presence, — from whence the very name of Jerusalem was called, “The LORD is there,” Ezekiel 48:35, — he who in and under that name was with them, as sent by Jehovah, Zechariah 2:8, was the Son, in whom he had now spoken unto them in these latter days. And this must needs be of weight with them, being instructed that he who had revealed the will of God unto them was none other but he who had dwelt among them from the beginning, representing in all things the person of the Father, being typically revealed unto them as the “brightness of his glory.”

    The apostle adds, that he is χαρακτὴρ ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, “the express figure” (or “image”) “of his person;” that is, of the person of God the Father. I shall not enter into any dispute about the meaning of the word ὐποστασις, or the difference between it and οὐσία. Many controversies about these words there were of old. And Jerome was very cautious about acknowledging three hypostases in the Deity, and that because he thought the word in this place to denote “substantia;” and of that mind are many still, it being so rendered by the Vulgar translation. But the consideration of these vexed questions tending not to the opening of the design of the apostle and meaning of the Holy Ghost in this place, I shall not insist upon them.

    1. The hypostasis of the Father is the Father himself. Hereof, or of him, is the Son said to be the “express image.” As is the Father, so is the Son. And this agreement, likeness, and conveniency between the Father and Son, is essential; not accidental, as those things are between relations finite and corporeal. What the Father is, doth, hath, that the Son is, doth, hath; or else the Father, as the Father, could not be fully satisfied in him, nor represented by him.

    2. By “character” two things seem to be intended: —

    (1.) That the Son in himself is ἐν μορφῇ θεοῦ, “in the likeness of God,” Philippians 2:6.

    (2.) That unto us he is εἰκὼν θεοῦ, “the image of God,” representing him unto us, Colossians 1:15. For these three words are used of the Lord Christ in respect unto God the Father, μορφή, εἰκών, χαρακτὴρ. And their use seems thus to difference them: —

    (1.) It is said of him, ᾿εν μορφῇ θεοῦ ὑπάρχων, Philippians 2:6, — “Being” (“existing, subsisting”) “in the form of God:” that is, being so, essentially so; for there is no μορφή, or “form,” in the Deity but what is essential unto it. This he was absolutely, antecedently unto his incarnation, the whole nature of God being in him, and consequently he being in the form of God.

    (2.) In the manifestation of God unto us, he is said to be εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἀορα. του, Colossians 1:15, — “The image of the invisible God;” because in him, so partaker of the nature of the Father, do the power, goodness, holiness, grace, and all other glorious properties of God, shine forth, being in him represented unto us, 2 Corinthians 4:6. And both these seem to be comprised in this word, χαρακτήρ; both that the whole nature of God is in him, as also that by him God is declared and expressed unto us.

    Neither were the Jews of old ignorant of this notion of the Son of God. So Philo expresseth their sense, de Confusione Linguarum:

    κἂν μηδέπω μέντοι τυγχάνῃ τις ἀξιόχρεως ὥν υἱὸς θεοῦ προσαγορεύεσθαι, σπούδαζε κοσμεῖσθαι κατὰ τὸν πρωτόγονον αὐτοῦ λόγον, τὸν ἅγγελον πρεσβὺτατον ὠς ἀρχάγγελον πολυώνομον ὑπάρχοντα, καὶ γὰρ ἀρχὴ, καὶ ὄνομα θεοῦ, καὶ λόγος, καὶ ὁ κατ᾿ εἰκόνα ἄνθρωπος, καὶ ὀρῶν ᾿ισραὴλ προσαγορεύεται

    — “If any one be not yet worthy to be called the son of God, yet endeavor thou to be conformed unto his first-begotten Word, the most ancient angel, the archangel with many names; for he is called ‘The beginning,’‘The name of God,’‘The man according to the image of God,’‘The seer of Israel.’”

    And again,

    καὶ γὰρ εἰ μήπω ἱκανοὶ θεοῦ παῖδες νομίζεσθαι γεγόναμεν, ἀλλά τοι τῆς ἀϊδίου εἰκόνος αὐτοῦ λόγου τοῦ ἱερώτατου· θεοῦ γὰρ εἰκὼν λόγος ὁ πρεσβύτατος

    — “For if we are not meet to be called the sons of God, let us beso of his eternal image, the most sacred Word; for that most ancient Word is the image of God.”

    Thus he, expressing some of their conceptions concerning this eternal “character” of the person of the Father. We have seen what it is that is intended in this expression, and shall only add thereunto a consideration of that from whence the expression is taken. The ordinary engraving of rings, or seals, or stones, is generally thought to be alluded unto. It may be also that the apostle had respect unto some representation of the glory of God by engraving amongst the institutions of Moses. Now, there was scarcely any thing of old that more gloriously represented God than that of the engraving of his name on a plate of gold, to be worn on the front of the mitre of the high priest; at the sight whereof the great conqueror of the east fell down before him. Mention of it we have Exodus 28:36, “Thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet,” ליהָֹוה קֹדֶש, — “Holiness of Jehovah,” or “to Jehovah.” Here was that name of God which denotes his essence and being characterized and engraven, to represent his holiness and glory to his people.

    And Aaron was to wear this engraven name of God on his forehead, that he might bear the iniquity of the holy things and gifts of the children of Israel; which could really be done only by him who was Jehovah himself. And thus, also, when God promiseth to bring forth the Son as the cornerstone of the church, he promiseth to engrave upon him the seven eyes of the Lord, Zechariah 3:9, or the perfection of his wisdom and power, to be expressed unto the church in him. There having been, then, this representation of the presence of God, by the character or engraving of his glorious name upon the plate of gold, which the high priest was to wear that he might bear iniquities; the apostle lets the Hebrews know, that in Christ the Son is the real accomplishment of what was typified thereby, the Father having actually communicated unto him his nature, denoted by that name, whereby he was able really to bear our iniquities, and most gloriously represent the person of his Father unto us.

    And this, with submission to better judgments, do I conceive to be the design of the apostle in this his description of the person of Jesus Christ. It pleased the Holy Ghost herein to use these terms and expressions, to mind the Hebrews how they were of old instructed, though obscurely, in the things now actually exhibited unto them, and that nothing was now preached or declared but what in their typical institutions they had before given their assent unto.

    We have been somewhat long in our explication of this description of the person of the Son of God; yet, as we suppose, not any longer than the nature of the things treated of and the manner of their expression necessarily required us to be. We shall therefore here stay a while, before we proceed to the ensuing words of this verse, and take some observations, from what hath been spoken for our direction and refreshment in our passage.

    I. All the glorious perfections of the nature of God do belong unto and dwell in the person of the Son. Were it not so, he could not gloriously represent unto us the person of the Father; nor by the contemplation of him could we be led to an acquaintance with the person of the Father. This the apostle here teacheth us, as in the explication of the words we have manifested. Now, because the confirmation of this allusion depends on the proofs and testimonies given of and unto the divine nature of Christ, which I have elsewhere largely insisted on and vindicated from exceptions, I shall not here resume that task, especially considering that the same truth will again occur unto us.

    II. The whole manifestation of the nature of God unto us, and all communications of grace, are immediately by and through the person of the Son. He represents him unto us; and through him is every thing that is communicated unto us from the fullness of the Deity conveyed.

    There are sundry signal instances wherein God reveals himself, and communicates from his own infinite fullness unto his creatures, and in all of them he doth it immediately by the Son: —

    1. In the creation of all things;

    2. In their providential rule and disposal;

    3. In the revelation of his will and institution of ordinances;

    4. In the communication of his Spirit and grace: in none of which is the person of the Father any otherwise immediately represented unto us than in and by the person of the Son.

    1. In the creation of all things, God both gave them their being and imparted unto them of his goodness, and manifested his nature unto those that were capable of a holy apprehension of it. Now, all this God did immediately by the Son; not as a subordinate instrument, but as the principal efficient, being his own power and wisdom. This we have manifested in our explication of the last words of the verse foregoing. In express testimony hereunto, see John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; 1 Corinthians 8:6. The Son, as the power and wisdom of the Father, made all things; so that in that work the glory of the Father shines forth in him, and no otherwise. By him was there a communication of being, goodness, and existence unto the creation.

    2. In the providential rule and disposal of all things created, God further manifests himself unto his creatures, and further communicates of his goodness unto them. That this also is done in and by the Son, we shall further evidence in the explication of the next words of this verse.

    3. The matter is yet more plain as to the revelation of his will, and the institution of ordinances from first to last. It is granted that after the entrance of sin, God did not graciously reveal nor communicate himself unto any of his creatures but by his Son. This might fully be manifested by a consideration of the first promise, the foundation of all future revelations and institutions, with an induction of all ensuing instances. But whereas all revelations and institutions springing from the first promise are completed and finished in the gospel, it may suffice to show that what we assert is true with peculiar reference thereunto. The testimonies given unto it are innumerable. This is the substance and end of the gospel: — to reveal the Father by and in the Son unto us; to declare that through him alone we can be made partakers of his grace and goodness, and that no other way we can have either acquaintance or communion with him. See John 1:18. The whole end of the gospel is to give us “the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Corinthians 4:6; that is, the glory of the invisible God, whom none hath seen at any time, 1 Timothy 6:16; 1 John 4:12. That is to be communicated unto us, But how is this to be done? absolutely and immediately, as it is the glory of the Father? No, but as it “shines forth in the face of Jesus Christ,” or as it is in his person manifested and represented unto us; for he is, as the same apostle says in the same place, 2 Corinthians 4:4, “the image of God.” And herein also, as to the communication of grace and the Spirit, the Scripture is express, and believers are daily instructed in it. See Colossians 1:19; John 1:16; especially 1 John 5:11; 1 John 5:14. Now, the grounds of this order of things lie, —

    1. In the essential inbeing of the Father and Son. This our Savior expresseth, John 10:38, “The Father is in me, and I in him.” The same essential properties and nature being in each of the persons, by virtue thereof their persons also are said to be in each other. The person of the Son is in the person of the Father, not as such, not in or by its own personality, but by union of its nature and essential properties, which are not alike, as the persons are, but the same in the one and the other. And this inbeing of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in him, our Savior affirms to be manifested by the works that he wrought, being wrought by the power of the Father, yet as in him, and not as in the Father immediately. See to the same purpose John 14:10-11, and John 17:21.

    2. The Father being thus in the Son, and the Son in the Father, whereby all the glorious properties of the one do shine forth in the other, the order and economy of the blessed Trinity in subsistence and operation require that the manifestation and communication of the Father unto us be through and by the Son; for as the Father is the original and fountain of the whole Trinity as to subsistence, so as to operation he works not but by the Son, who, having the divine nature communicated unto him by eternal generation, is to communicate the effects of the divine power, wisdom, and goodness, by temporary operation. And thus he becomes “the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person,” namely, by the receiving his glorious nature from him, the whole and all of it, and expressing him in his works of nature and grace unto his creatures.

    3. Because in the dispensation and counsel of grace God hath determined that all communication of himself unto us shall be by the Son as incarnate. This the whole gospel is given to testify. So that this truth hath its foundation in the very subsistence of the persons of the Deity, is confirmed by the order, and operation, and voluntary disposition in the covenant of grace.

    And this discovers unto us, first, the necessity of coming unto God by Christ. God in himself is said to be “in thick darkness,” as also to dwell “in light,” whereunto no creature can approach; which expressions, though seeming contrary, yet teach us the same thing, — namely, the infinite distance of the divine nature from our apprehensions and conceptions, “no man having seen God at any time.” But this God, invisible, eternal, incomprehensibly glorious, hath implanted sundry characters of his excellencies and left footsteps of his blessed properties on the things that he hath made; that, by the consideration and contemplation of them, we might come to some such acquaintance with him as might encourage us to fear and serve him, and to make him our utmost end. But these expressions of God in all other things, besides his Son Christ Jesus, are all of them partial, revealing only something of him, not all that is necessary to be known that we may live unto him here and enjoy him hereafter; and obscure, not leading us unto any perfect stable knowledge of him. And hence it is that those who have attempted to come unto God by the light of that manifestation which he hath made of himself any other way than in and by Christ Jesus, bare all failed and come short of his glory. But now, the Lord Christ being “the brightness of his glory,” in whom his glory shines out of the thick darkness that his nature is enwrapped in unto us, and beams out of that inaccessible light which he inhabits; and “the express image of his person,” representing all the perfections of his person fully and clearly unto us, — in him alone can we attain a saving acquaintance with him. On this account he tells Philip, John 14:9, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” the reason of which assertion, taken from the mutual inbeing of Father and Son, and his expression of his mind and glory, he asserts in the next verses. He, then, is the only way and means of coming unto the knowledge and enjoyment of God, because in and by him alone is he fully and perfectly expressed unto us.

    And therefore this, secondly, is our great guide and direction in all our endeavors after an acceptable access unto Him. Would we come to that acquaintance with the nature, properties, and excellencies of the Father, which poor, weak, finite creatures are capable of attaining in this world, — which is sufficient that we may love him, fear him, serve him, and come unto the enjoyment of him? would we know his love and grace? would we admire his wisdom and holiness? — let us labor to come to an intimate and near acquaintance with his Son Jesus Christ, in whom all these things dwell in their fullness, and by whom they are exhibited, revealed, unfolded unto us; seek the Father in the Son, out of whom not one property of the divine nature can be savingly apprehended or rightly understood, and in whom they are all exposed to our faith and spiritual contemplation. This is our wisdom, to abide in Christ, to abide with him, to learn him; and in him we shall learn, see, and know the Father also.

    φέρω τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῤήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ. After the description of the person, the apostle returns unto an assertion of the power of Christ, the Son of God, and therein makes his transition from the kingly and prophetical unto his sacerdotal office; on all which he intends afterwards to enlarge his discourse. He showed before that by him the worlds were created; whereunto, as a further evidence of his glorious power, and of his continuance to act suitably unto that beginning of his exercise of it, he adds that he also abides to uphold, or rule and dispose of all things so made by him.

    For the explication of these words, two things are to be inquired after; — first, How, or in what sense, Christ is said to “uphold” or rule “all things;” secondly, How he doth it by “the word of his power.” φέρων is taken by expositors in a double sense, and accordingly variously rendered in translations.

    1. Some render it by “upholding, supporting, bearing, carrying.” And these suppose it to express that infinite divine power which is exerted in the conservation of the creation, keeping it from sinking into its original of confusion and nothing. Hereof our Savior saith, “My Father worketh hitherto,” ἕως ὔρτι, (or “yet,”) “and I work;” that is, in the providential sustentation of all things made at the beginning. “And this,” saith Chrysostom on this place, “is a greater work than that of the creation.” By the former all things were brought forth from nothing; by the latter are they preserved from that return unto nothing which their own nature, not capable of existence without dependence on their First Cause, and their perpetual conflict by contrariety of qualities, would precipitate them into.

    2. Some take the word to express his ruling, governing, and disposing of all things by him made, and (which is supposed) sustained; and so it may denote the putting forth of that power over all things which is given unto the Son as mediator; or else that providential rule over all which he hath with his Father, which seems rather to be intended, because of the way expressed whereby he exerciseth this rule, namely, “by the word of his power.”

    The use of the word φέρω is not so obvious in this latter sense as it is in the former; as in the proverb, εἰ δύναμαι τῆς αι῏γα φέρειν, ὲπίθετέ μοι τὸν βοῦν. But I see no reason why we should suppose an inconsistency in these senses, and not rather conclude that they are both of them implied; for as absolutely it is the same divine power and providence which is exercised in the upholding and the ruling or disposing of all things, so all rule and government is a matter of weight and burden. And he who rules or governs others is said to bear or carry them. So Moses expresseth his rule of the people in the wilderness, Numbers 11:11-12 : “Thou hast put,” saith he, משָּׂא, “the weight” (or “burden”) “of this people upon me; and thou hast said, שָׂאֵהוּ, bear” (or “carry”) “them in thy bosom.” And hence from נָשָׂא, “to bear or carry,” is נָשִׁיא, “a prince or ruler;” that is, one that carries and bears the burden of the people, that upholds and rules them. To bear, then, or uphold, and to rule and dispose, may be both well intended in this word; as they are both expressed in that prophecy of Christ, Isaiah 9:6, “The rule” (or “government”) “shall be upon his shoulder,” — that together with his power and rule he may sustain and bear the weight of his people. Only, whereas this is done amongst men with much labor and travail, he doth it by an inexpressible facility, by the word of his power. And this is safe, to take the expression in its most comprehensive sense.

    But whereas the phrase of speech itself is nowhere else used in the New Testament, nor is φέρω applied unto any such purpose elsewhere (though once φερόμενος be taken for “actus” or “agitatus,” 2 Peter 1:21), we may inquire what word it was among the Hebrews that the apostle intended to express, whereby they had formerly been instructed in the same matter.

    1. It may be he intended מְכַלְכֵּל, a participle from כּוּל, “to sustain, to bear, to endure,” as Malachi 3:2. It signifies also “to feed, nourish, and cherish, 1 Kings 4:7; Ruth 4:15; Zechariah 11:16. φέρων τε παντα, that is, מְכַלְכֵּל כָל, “sustinens, nutriens omnia,” — “sustaining and cherishing all things” But this word hath no respect unto rule or disposal. And in this sense, as the work of creation is eminently ascribed unto the Father, who is said to make all things by the Son, so that of the preservation and cherishing of all things is here peculiarly assigned unto the Son. And this is not unsuitable unto the analogy of faith: for it was the power of God that was eminently exalted and is conspicuously seen in the work of creation, as the apostle declares, Romans 1:20, although that power was accompanied also with infinite wisdom; and it is the wisdom of God that is most eminently manifested in the preservation of all things, though that wisdom be also exercised in power infinite. At least, in the contemplation of the works of the creation, we are led, by the wonder of the infinite power whereby they were wrought, to the consideration of the wisdom that accompanied it; and that which in the works of providence first presents itself unto our minds is the infinite wisdom whereby all things are disposed, which leads us also to the admiration of the power expressed in them. Now, it is usual with the Scripture to assign the things wherein power is most eminent unto the Father, as those wherein wisdom is most conspicuously exalted unto the Son, who is the eternal Wisdom of the Father. And this sense is not unsuitable unto the text.

    2. נֹשֵׂא is another word that may be intended; and this denotes a bearing like a prince in government, as נָשִׂיא. And in this sense the word ought to be referred unto Christ as mediator, intrusted with power and rule by the Father. But neither the words nor context will well bear this sense: for, —

    (1.) It is mentioned before, where it is said that he is “appointed heir of all;” and it is not likely that the apostle, in this summary description of the person and offices of the Messiah, would twice mention the same thing under different expressions.

    (2.) The particle τε added unto φέρων refers us to the beginning of this verse, ῝ος ὥν,..... φέρων τε, — “Who being the brightness of glory,..... and bearing all things.” So that these things must necessarily be spoken of him in the same respect: and the former, as we have showed, relateth unto his person in respect of his divine nature; so therefore doth the latter, and his acting therein.

    3. There is yet another word, which I suppose the apostle had a principal aim to express, and this is רֹכֵב. רָכַב is properly “to ride, to be carried, to be carried over;” and it is frequently, though metaphorically, used concerning God himself: as Deuteronomy 33:26, שמַיִם רֹכֵב, “riding on the heavens;” “on the clouds,” Isaiah 19:1; “on the wings of the wind,” Psalms 18:10, and Psalms 68:5; whereby his majesty, authority, and government are shadowed out unto us. And hence also the word signifies “to administer, dispose, govern or preside in and over things.”

    Thus in Ezekiel’s vision of the glorious providence of God in ruling the whole creation, it is represented by a chariot ( מֶרְכָבָה) of cherubim ( כְּרוּבִים). The כְּרוּבִים, “cherubim,” with their wheels, made that chariot, over which sat the God of Israel, in his disposing and ruling of all things. And the words themselves have that affinity in signification which is frequently seen among the Hebrew roots, differing only in the transposition of one letter. And the description of Him who sat above the chariot of providence, Ezekiel 1, is the same with that of John, Revelation 4. Now, God in that vision is placed רכֵב, as governing, ruling, influencing all second causes, as to the orderly production of their effects, by the communication of life, motion, and guidance unto them. And though this divine administration of all things be dreadful to consider, the rings of the wheels being high and dreadful, Revelation 1:18, and the living creatures “ran as the appearance of a flash of lightning,” Revelation 1:14; as also full of entanglements, there being to appearance cross wheels, or wheels within wheels, Revelation 1:16, which are all said to be rolling, Revelation 10:11; yet it is carried on in an unspeakable order, without the least confusion, Revelation 1:17, and with a marvellous facility, — by a mere intimation of the mind and will of Him who guides the whole; and that because there was a living, powerful spirit passing through all, both living creatures and wheels, that moved them speedily, regularly, and effectually, as he pleased; that is, the energetical power of divine Providence, animating, guiding, and disposing the whole as seemed good unto him.

    Now, all this is excellently expressed by the apostle in these words. For as that power which is in Him that sits over the chariot, influencing and giving existence, life, motion, and guidance unto all things, is clearly expressed by φέρων τὰ πάντα, “upholding and disposing of all things,” — that is, רֹכֵב עַלאּכָל; so is the exercise and issuing of it forth by the spirit of life in all things, to guide them certainly and regularly, by these words, τῷ ῤήματι τῆς δυνάμεως, “by the word of his power:” both denoting the unspeakable facility of omnipotent power in its operations. And Kimchi on the 6th of Isaiah affirms that the vision which the prophet had was of “the glory of God, that glory which Ezekiel saw in the likeness of a man;” which we find applied unto the Lord Christ, John 12:41.

    I shall only add, that in Ezekiel’s vision the voice of the quadriga, of the living creatures, in its motion, was as the voice שׁדַּי, “omnipotentis,” “praepotentis,” sibi sufficientis,” of “the Almighty,” “the powerful,” “the all” or “self-sufficient;” which is also fully expressed in this of the apostle, “bearing, upholding, disposing of all things”

    Our next inquiry is after the manner whereby the Son thus holdeth and disposeth of all things. He doth it “by the word of his power,” — τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως. ῾ρῆμα in the New Testament is used in the same latitude and extent with דָּבָר in the Old. Sometimes it denotes any matter or thing, be it good or evil, as Matthew 5:11; Matthew 12:36; Matthew 18:16; Mark 9:32; Luke 1:37; Luke 2:15; Luke 18:34; — a word of blessing by Providence, Matthew 4:4; — any word spoken, Matthew 26:75; Matthew 27:14; Luke 9:45; — of promise, Luke 1:38; — and ῥήματα βλάσφημα, “blasphemous words,” Acts 6:11; — the word of God, the word of prophecy, Luke 3:2; Romans 10:17; Ephesians 5:26; Ephesians 6:17; 1 Peter 1:25; — an authoritative command, Luke 5:5. In this epistle it is used variously. In this only it differs from λόγος, that it never denotes the eternal or essential Word of God. That which in this place is denoted by it, with its adjunct of τῆς δυνάμεως, the λόγος ἐςδιάθετος, or the divine power, executing the counsels of the will and wisdom of God, or the efficacy of God’s providence, whereby he worketh and effecteth all things according to the counsel of his will. See Genesis 1:3; Psalms 147:15; Psalms 147:18; Psalms 148:8; Isaiah 30:31. And this is indifferently expressed by ῥῆμα and λόγος. Hence the same thing which Paul expresseth by the one of them, Hebrews 11:3, πίστει νοοῦμεν κατηρτίσθαι τοὺς αἰῶνας ῥήματι θεοῦ, “By faith we know that the worlds were made by the word of God,” Peter doth by the other, 2 Peter 3:5, συνεστῶσα τῷ θεοῦ λόγῳ.

    Now, this efficacy of divine Providence is called the word of God, to intimate that as rulers accomplish their will by a word of command, in and about things subject to their pleasure, Matthew 8:9, so doth God accomplish his whole mind and will in all things by his power. And therefore τῆς δυνάμεως, “of his power,” is here added by way of difference and distinction, to show what word it is that the apostle intends. It is not λόγος οὐσιώδης, “the essential Word” of God, who is the person spoken of; nor λόγος προφορικός, the word spoken by him in the revelation of himself, his mind and will; but a word that is effectual and operative, — namely, the putting forth of his divine power, with easiness and authority accomplishing his will and purpose in and by all things.

    This in the vision of Ezekiel is the communication of a spirit of life to the cherubs and wheels, to act and move them as seems good to Him by whom they are guided; for as it is very probable that the apostle in these words, setting forth the divine power of the Son in ruling and governing the whole creation, did intend to mind the Hebrews that the Lord Christ, the Son, is he who was represented in the form of a man unto Ezekiel, ruling and disposing of all things, and the שׁדַּי, “the Almighty,” whose voice was heard amongst the wheels, so it is most certain that the same thing is intended in both places. And this expression of “upholding” (or “disposing of”) “all things by the word of his power,” doth fully declare the glorious providence emblematically expressed in that vision. The Son being over all things made by himself, as on a throne over the cherubim and wheels, influenceth the whole creation with his power, communicating unto it respectively subsistence, life, and motion, acting, ruling, and disposing of all according to the counsel of his own will.

    This, then, is that which the apostle assigns unto the Son, thereby to set out the dignity of his person, that the Hebrews might well consider all things before they deserted his doctrine. He is one that is partaker essentially of the nature of God, “being the brightness of glory and the express image of his Father’s person,” who exerciseth and manifesteth his divine power both in the creation of all things, as also in the supportment, rule, and disposal of all, after they are made by him. And hence will follow, as his power and authority to change the Mosaical institutions, so his truth and faithfulness in the revelation of the will of God by him made; which it was their duty to embrace and adhere unto.

    The several passages of this verse are all of them conjoined by the apostle, and used unto the same general end and purpose; but themselves are of such distinct senses and importance, considered absolutely and apart, that we shall in our passage take out the observations which they singly afford unto us.

    And from these last words we may learn: —

    I. Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, hath the weight of the whole creation upon his hand, and disposeth of it by his power and wisdom.

    II. Such is the nature and condition of the universe, that it could not subsist a moment, nor could any thing in it act regularly unto its appointed end, without the continual supportment, guidance, influence, and disposal of the Son of God.

    We may briefly consider the sum of both these jointly, to manifest the power and care of Christ over us, as also the weak, dependent condition of the whole creation in and by itself. The things of this creation can no more support, act, and dispose themselves, than they could at first make themselves out of nothing. The greatest cannot conserve itself by its power, or greatness, or order; nor the least by its distance from opposition. Were there not a mighty hand under them all and every one, they would all sink into confusion and nothing; did not an effectual power influence them, they would become a slothful heap. It is true, God hath in the creation of all things implanted in every particle of the creation a special natural inclination and disposition, according unto which it is ready to act, move, or work regularly; but he hath not placed this nature and power absolutely in them, and independently of his own power and operation. The sun is endued with a nature to produce all the glorious effects of light and heat that we behold or conceive, the fire to burn, the wind to blow, and all creatures also in the like manner; but yet neither could sun, or fire, or wind preserve themselves in their being, nor retain the principles of their operations, did not the Son of God, by a constant, continual emanation of his eternal power, uphold and preserve them; nor could they produce any one effect by all their actings, did not he work in them and by them. And so is it with the sons of men, with all agents whatever, whether natural and necessary, or free and proceeding in their operations by election and choice. Hence Paul tells us that “in God we live, and move, and have our being,” Acts 17:28. He had before asserted that he had “made of one blood all nations,” Acts 17:26; that is, all men of one, whom he first created. To which he adds, that we may know that he hath not so left us to stand by ourselves on that first foundation as that we have any power or ability, being made, to do or act any thing without him, that in him, — that is, in his power, care, providence, and by virtue of his effectual influence, — our lives are supported and continued, that we are acted, moved, and enabled thereby to do all we do, be it never so small, wherein there is any effect of life or motion. So Daniel tells Belshazzar that his “breath” and “all his ways” were in the hand of God, Daniel 5:23; — his breath, in the supportment and continuance of his being; and his ways, in his effectual guidance and disposal of them. Peter speaks to the same purpose in general concerning the fabric of the heavens, earth, and sea, 2 Peter 3:5.

    Now, what is thus spoken of God in general is by Paul particularly applied unto the Son: Colossians 1:16-17, “All things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” He did not only make all things, as we have declared, and that for himself and his own glory, but also he continues at the head of them; so that by him and by his power they consist, — are preserved in their present state and condition, kept from dissolution, in their singular existence, and in a consistency among themselves. And the reason hereof is taken, first, from the limited, finite, dependent condition of the creation, and the absolute necessity that it should be so. It is utterly impossible, and repugnant to the very nature and being of God, that he should make, create, or produce any thing without himself, that should have either a self-subsistence or a self-sufficiency, or be independent on himself. All these are natural and essential properties of the divine nature. Where they are, there is God; so that no creature can be made partaker of them. When we name a creature, we name that which hath a derived and dependent being. And that which cannot subsist in and by itself cannot act so neither.

    Secondly, The energetical efficacy of God’s providence, joined with his infinite wisdom in caring for the works of his own hands, the products of his power, requires that it should be so. He worketh yet. He did not create the world to leave it to an uncertain event, — to stand by and to see what would become of it, to see whether it would return to its primitive nothing (of which cask it always smells strongly), or how it would be tossed up and down by the adverse and contrary qualities which were implanted in the severals of it; but the same power and wisdom that produced it doth still accompany it, powerfully piercing through every parcel and particle of it. To fancy a providence in God, without a continual energetical operation; or a wisdom without a constant care, inspection, and oversight of the works of his hands; is not to have apprehensions of the living God, but to erect an idol in our own imaginations.

    Thirdly, This work is peculiarly assigned unto the Son, not only as he is the eternal power and wisdom of God, but also because by his interposition, as undertaking the work of mediation, he reprieved the world from an immediate dissolution upon the first entrance of sin and disorder, that it might continue, as it were, the great stage for the mighty works of God’s grace, wisdom, and love, to be wrought on. Hence the care of the continuance of the creation and the disposal of it is delegated unto him, as he that hath undertaken to bring forth and consummate the glory of God in it, notwithstanding the great breach made upon it by the sin of angels and men. This is the substance of the apostle’s discourse, Colossians 1:15-20. Having asserted him to be the image of God, in the sense beforeopened and declared, and to have made all things, he affirms that all things have also their present consistency in him and by his power, and must have so, until the work of reconciliation of all things unto God being accomplished, the glory of God may be fully retrieved and established for ever.

    1. We may see from hence the vanity of expecting any thing from the creatures, but only what the Lord Christ is pleased to communicate unto us by them. They that cannot sustain, move, or act themselves, by any power, virtue, or strength of their own, are very unlikely by and of themselves to afford any real assistance, relief, or help unto others. They all abide and exist severally, and consist together, in their order and operation, by the word of the power of Christ; and what he will communicate by them, that they will yield and afford, and nothing else. In themselves they are broken cisterns that will hold no water; what he drops into them may be derived unto us, and no more. They who rest upon them or rest in them, without the consideration of their constant dependence on Christ, will find at length all their hopes disappointed, and all their enjoyments vanish into nothing.

    2. Learn hence also the full, absolute, plenary self-sufficiency and sovereignty of the Son, our Savior. We showed before the universality of his kingdom and moral rule over the whole creation; but this is not all. A king hath a moral rule over his subjects in his kingdom: but he doth not really and physically give them their being and existence; he doth not uphold and act them at his pleasure; but every one of them stands therein upon the same or an equal bottom with himself. He can, indeed, by the permission of God, take away the lives of any of them, and so put an end to all their actings and operations in this world; but he cannot give them life or continue their lives at his pleasure one moment, or make them so much as to move a finger. But with the Lord Christ it is otherwise. He not only rules over all the whole creation, disposing of it according to the rule and law of his own counsel and pleasure, but also they all have their beings, natures, inclinations, and lives from him; by his power are they continued unto them, and all their actions are influenced thereby. And this, as it argues an all-sufficiency in himself, so an absolute sovereignty over all other things. And this should teach us our constant dependence on him and our universal subjection unto him.

    3. And this abundantly discovers the vanity and folly of them who make use of the creation in an opposition unto the Lord Christ and his peculiar interest in this world. His own power is the very ground that they stand upon in their opposition unto him, and all things which they use against him consist in him. They hold their lives absolutely at the pleasure of him whom they oppose; and they act against him without whose continual supportment and influence they could neither live nor act one moment: which is the greatest madness and most contemptible folly imaginable.

    Proceed we now with our apostle in his description of the person and offices of the Messiah.

    This beginning of the epistle, as hath been declared, contains a summary proposition of those things which the apostle intends severally to insist upon throughout the whole; and these all relate to the person and offices of the Messiah, the principal subject of this epistle. Having, therefore, first declared him to be the great prophet of the new testament; and, secondly, the lord, ruler, and governor of all things, as also manifested the equity of the grant of that universal sovereignty unto him, from the excellency of his person on the account of his divine nature, and the operations thereof in the works of creation and providence; he proceeds to finish and close his general proposition of the argument of the epistle by a brief intimation of his priestly office, with what he did therein, and what ensued thereon, in the remaining words of this verse.

    And this order and method of the apostle is required by the nature of the things themselves whereof he treats; for the work of purging sins, which as a priest he assigns unto him, cannot well be declared without a previous manifestation of his divine nature. For it is “opus θεανδρικόν,” — a work of him who is God and man; for as God takes it to be his property to blot out our sins, so he could not have done it “by himself” had he not been man also.

    And this is asserted in the next words: —

    δι᾿ ἑαυτοῦ καθαρισμὸν ποιησάμενος τῶν ἀμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν· — “Having by himself purged our sins.”

    The Vulgar Latin renders these words, “Purgationem peccatorum faciens,” not without sundry mistakes. For, first, these words, δι, “by himself,” and ἑαυτοῦ, “our,” are omitted; and yet the emphasis and proper sense of the whole depend upon them. Secondly, ποιησάμενος, “having made,” is rendered in the present tense, “making;” which seems to direct the sense of the words to another thing and action of Christ than what is here intended. And therefore the expositors of the Roman church, as Thomas, Lyranus, Cajetan, Estius, Ribera, a Lapide, all desert their own text, and expound the words according to the original. The ancients, also as Chrysostom, Theophylact, and OEcumenius, lay the chief weight of their whole exposition of this place on the words omitted in that translation.

    The doctrine of purging our sins by Christ is deep and large, extending itself unto many weighty heads of the gospel; but we shall follow our apostle, and in this place pass it over briefly and in general, because the consideration of it will directly occur unto us in our progress.

    Two things the apostle here expresseth concerning the Messiah; and one, which is the foundation of both the other, he implieth or supposeth: —

    First, He expresseth what he did, — he “purged our sins;”

    Secondly, How he did it, — he did it “by himself.”

    That which he supposeth, as the foundation of both these, is, that he was the great high priest of the church; they with whom he dealt knowing full well that this matter of purging sins belonged only unto the priest.

    Here, then, the apostle tacitly enters upon a comparison of Christ with Aaron, the high priest, as he had done before with all the prophetical revealers of the will of God; and as he named none of them in particular, no more doth he here name Aaron: but afterwards, when he comes more largely to insist on the same matter again, he expressly makes mention of his name, as also of that of Moses.

    And in both the things here ascribed unto him as the great high priest of his church doth he prefer him above Aaron: — First, In that he “purged our sins,” — that is, really and effectually before God and in the conscience of the sinner, and that “for ever;” whereas the purgation of sins about which Aaron was employed was in itself but typical, external, and representative of that which was true and real: both of which the apostle proves at large afterwards. Secondly, In that he did it “by himself,” or the offering of himself; whereas whatever Aaron did of this kind, he did it by the offering of the blood of bulls and goats, as shall be declared.

    And hence appears also the vanity of the gloss of a learned man on these words. “Postquam,” saith he, “morte sun causam dedisset ejus fidei per quam a peccatis purgamur, quod nec Moses fecerat nec prophetae.” For as we shall see that Christ’s purging of our sins doth not consist in giving a ground and cause for faith, whereby we purge ourselves, so the apostle is not comparing the Lord Christ in these words with Moses and the prophets, who had nothing to do in the work of purging sin, but with Aaron, who by office was designed thereunto.

    Let us then see what it is that is here ascribed unto the Lord Christ: καθαρισμὸν ποιησάμενος. καθαρίζω doth most frequently denote real actual purification, either of outward defilements, by healing and cleansing, as Mark 1:40; Mark 7:19, Luke 5:12; or from spiritual defilements of sin, by sanctifying grace, as Acts 15:9, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 5:26. But it is also frequently used in the same sense with καθαίρω and καθαίρομαι, “to purge by expiation or atonement,” as Hebrews 9:22-23. And in the like variety is καθαρισμός also used. But καθαρισμόν ποιήσαι, “to make a purgation,” or purification of our sins, cannot here be taken in the first sense, for real and inherent sanctifying: — First, Because it is spoken of as a thing already past and perfected, “Having purged our sins,” when purification by sanctification is begun only in some, not all at any time, and perfected in none at all in this world. Secondly, Because he did it δι᾿ ἑαυτοῦ, “by himself” alone, without the use or application of any other medium unto them that are purged; when real inherent sanctification is with “washing of water by the word,” Ephesians 5:26; or by “regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” Titus 3:5. And the gloss above mentioned, that Christ should purge us from our sins in his death, by occasioning that faith whereby we are cleansed, is excluded, as was in part showed before, by the context. That is assigned unto the death of Christ, as done really and effectually thereby, which was done typically of old in the legal sacrifices by the priests; as is evident from the antithesis couched in that expression, “By himself.” But this was not the way whereby sins were of old purged by sacrifices, — namely, by the begetting a persuasion in the minds of men that should be useful for that purpose, — and therefore no such thing is here intended.

    καθαρισμὸς, then, is such a purging as is made by expiation, lustration, and atonement; that is, כִּפֻר or כּפֹּרֶת, ἰλασμός, “propitiatio,” — “atonement,” “propitiation.” So is that word rendered by the LXX., Exodus 29:36 : τῇ ἡμέρα τοῦ καθαρισμου, עלאּחַכִּפְּרִים, — “the day of atonement,” or “expiation.” They do, indeed, mostly render כָּפַר by ἱλάσκομαι, and ἐξιλάσκομᾳι, — “to propitiate,” “to appease,” “to atone;” but they do it also by καθαρίζω, “to purge,” as Exodus 29:37, and Exodus 30:10. So also in other authors, καθαρισμός is used for κάθαρυα, περικάθαρμα; that is, “expiatio,” “expiamentum,” “piaculum,” — “expiation,” “atonement,” “diversion of guilt.” So Lucian:

    ᾿῾ρίψομεν μὲν αὐτὸν τοῦ κρημνοῦ καθαρισμὸν τοῦ στρατοῦ ἐσόμενον· — “We cast him down headlong, for an expiation of the army;” or, as one that by his death should expiate, bear, take away the guilt of the army. And such lustrations were common among the heathen, when persons devoted themselves to destruction, or were devoted by others, to purge, lustrate, bear the guilt of any, that they might go free. Such were Codrus, Menoeceus, and the Decii; whose stories are known. This purging, then, of our sins, which the apostle declareth to have been effected before the ascension of Christ and his sitting down at the right hand of God, consisteth not in the actual sanctification and purification of believers by the Spirit, in the application of the blood of Christ unto them, but in the atonement made by him in the sacrifice of himself, that our sins should not be imputed unto us. And therefore is he said to purge our sins, and not to purge us from our sins. And wherever sins, not sinners, are made the object of any mediatory act of Christ, that act immediately respecteth God, and not the sinner, and intends the removal of sin, so as that it should not be imputed. So Hebrews 2:17 of this epistle: “He is a merciful high priest,” εἰς τὸ ἱλάσκεσθαι τὰς ἀμαρτίας τοῦ λαοῦ, — “to reconcile the sins of the people;” that is, ἱλάσκεσθαι τὸν θεὸν περὶ τῶν ἀμαρτιῶν, — “to make atonement” (or “reconciliation with God’”) “for the sins of the people.” And again: “He underwent death,” εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῶν ἐπὶ τῇ πρώτῃ διαθήκῃ παραβάσεων — “for the redemption of transgressions under the first covenant;” that is, to pay a price for them, that transgressors might be set free from the sentence of the law. So that καθαρισμὸν ποιησάμενος τῶν ἀμαρτιῶν ἡμῶν, is as much as, “Having made atonement for our sins.”

    And this the apostle further declareth by manifesting the way whereby he did it; that is, δι᾿ ἑαυτοῦ, “by himself,” — that is, by the sacrifice and offering of himself, as Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:14; Ephesians 5:2. The high priest of old made atonement, and typically purged the sins of the people, by sacrificing of beasts according unto the appointment of the law, Leviticus 16; this high priest, by the sacrifice of himself, Isaiah 53:10; Hebrews 9:12. Of the nature of propitiatory or expiatory sacrifices we must treat at large afterwards. We keep ourselves now unto the apostle’s general proposition, expressing briefly the sacerdotal office of Christ, and the excellency of it, in that he really purged our sins, and that by the sacrifice of himself. And this was in and by his death on the cross, with his antecedent preparatory sufferings. Some distinguish between his death and the oblation of himself. This, they say, he performed in heaven, when, as the high priest of his church, he entered into the holiest not made with hands, whereunto his death was but a preparation. For the slaying of the beast, they say, was not the sacrifice, but the offering of its blood upon the altar, and the carrying of it into the holy place. But this utterly overthrows the whole sacrifice of Christ; which, indeed, is the thing by them aimed at. It is true, the slaying of the beast was not the whole sacrifice, but only an essential part of it; as was also the offering of its blood, and the sprinkling of it in the most holy place, in the anniversary sacrifice of atonement, but not in any other. And the reason why the whole sacrifice could not consist in any one action, arose merely from the imperfection of the things and persons employed in that work. The priest was one thing, the beast to be sacrificed another, the altar another, the fire on the altar another, the incense added another, each of them limited and designed unto its peculiar end; so that the atonement could not be made by any one of them, nor the sacrifice consist in them. But now in this sacrifice of Christ all these meet in one, because of his perfection. He himself was both priest, sacrifice, altar, and incense, as we shall see in our progress; and he perfected his whole sacrifice at once, in and by his death and blood-shedding, as the apostle evidently, declares, Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:14.

    Thus by himself did Christ purge our sins, making an atonement for them by the sacrifice of himself in his death, that they should never be imputed unto them that believe.

    And this part of this verse will afford us also this distinct observation: — So great was the work of freeing us from sin, that it could no otherwise be effected but by the self-sacrifice of the Son of God.

    Our apostle makes it his design, in several places, to evince that none of those things from whence mankind usually did, or might, with any hopes or probabilities, expect relief in this case, would yield them any at all.

    The best that the Gentiles could attain, all that they had to trust unto, was but the improvement of natural light and reason, with an attendance unto those seeds and principles of good and evil which are yet left in the depraved nature of man. Under the conduct and in obedience unto these they sought for rest, glory, and immortality. How miserably they were disappointed in their aims and expectations, and what a woeful issue all their endeavors had, the apostle declares and proves at large, Romans 1:18, unto the end.

    The Jews, who enjoyed the benefit of divine revelations, having lost, for the most part, the true spiritual import of them, sought for the same ends by the law, and their own diligent observation of it. They “rested in the law”, Romans 2:17, namely, that by it they should obtain deliverance from sin and acceptance with God; and “followed after it,” Romans 9:31; that is, to attain righteousness and salvation by it. And this seemed to be a sufficient bottom and foundation for them to build upon; for having lost the spiritual understanding, the use and end of the law, as renewed unto them in the covenant of Horeb, they went back unto the primitive use and end of it upon its first giving in innocency, and foolishly thought, as many more yet do, that it would do the same things for sinners that it would have done for men if they had not sinned in Adam; that is, have given them acceptance with God here and eternal life hereafter. Wherefore the apostle in many places takes great pains to undeceive them, to rectify their mistake, and to prove that God had no such design in giving them the law as that which they would impose upon him.

    And, first, he asserts and proves in general, that the law would deceive their expectations, that “by the deeds of the law no flesh should be justified,” Romans 3:20; and that it would not give them life, Galatians 3:21, or righteousness. And that they might not complain that then God himself had deceived them, in giving a law that would not serve the turn for which it was given, he declares, secondly, that they had mistaken the end for which the law was renewed unto them; which was, not that it might give them life, or righteousness, but that it might discover sin, exact obedience, and by both drive and compel them to look out after some other thing that might both save them from their sin and afford them a righteousness unto salvation. And furthermore, he, thirdly, acquaints them whence it was that the law was become insufficient for these ends; and that was, because it was become “weak through the flesh,” Romans 8:3. The law was able to continue our acceptance with God in that condition wherein at first we were created; but after that man by sin became flesh, — to have a principle of enmity against God in him, bringing forth the fruits of sin continually, — the law stood aside, as weakened and insufficient to help and save such a one. And these things the apostle expressly and carefully insists upon in his Epistles to the Romans and Galatians. But, thirdly, Though the law, and an earnest endeavor after the observation of it in general, would not serve to save us from our sins, yet there were especial institutions of the law that were appointed for that end and purpose, as, namely, the sacrifices in particular, which were designed to make atonement for the delivery of sinners, and to procure their reconciliation with God. These the Jews principally rested on and trusted unto. And, indeed, to expect righteousness and justification by the Mosaical sacrifices, as they did, was far more rational than to expect them by the works of the moral law, as some now do; for all good works whatever are required in the law, and so far are works of the law. For in the sacrifices there was a supposition of sin, and an appearance of a compensation to be made, that the sinner might go free; but in the moral law there is nothing but absolute, universal, and exact righteousness required or admitted, without the least provision of relief for them who come short therein. But yet our apostle declares and proves that neither were these available for the end aimed at, as we shall see at large on the ninth and tenth chapters of this epistle.

    Now, within the compass of these three, — natural light or reason, with ingrafted principles of good and evil, the moral law, and the sacrifices thereof, — do lie and consist all the hopes and endeavors of sinners after deliverance and acceptance with God. Nothing is there that they can do, or put any confidence in, but may be referred unto one of these heads. And if all these fail them, as assuredly they will (which we might prove by reasons and demonstrations innumerable, though at present we content ourselves with the testimonies above reported), it is certain that there is nothing under heaven can yield them in this case the least relief.

    Again, This is the only way for that end which is suited unto the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is an infinite abyss, which, as it lies in his own eternal breast, we cannot at all look into. We can only adore it as it breaks forth and discovers itself in the works that outwardly are of him, or the effects of it. Thus David, in the consideration of the works of God, falls into an admiration of the wisdom whereby they were made, Psalms 104:24; Psalms 136:5. The wisdom of God opens and manifests itself in its effects; and thence, according unto our measure, do we learn what doth become it and is suitable unto it. But when the Holy Ghost cometh to speak of this work of our redemption by Christ, he doth not only call us to consider singly the wisdom of God, but his various and “manifold wisdom,”

    Ephesians 3:10; and affirms that “all the treasures of wisdom” are hid in it, Colossians 2:3; plainly intimating that it is a work so suited unto, so answering the infinite wisdom of God in all things throughout, that it could no otherwise have been disposed and effected; and this as well upon the account of the wisdom of God itself absolutely considered, as also as it is that property whereby God designs and effects the glorifying of all other excellencies of his nature, whence it is called various, or “manifold:” so that we may well conclude that no other way of deliverance of sinners was suited unto the wisdom of God.

    Secondly, This way alone answered the holiness and righteousness of God. He is “an holy God,” who will not suffer the guilty to go free, “of purer eyes than to behold iniquity;” and his judgment is, that “they who commit sin are worthy of death.” Sin is contrary to his nature, and his justice requireth that it go not unpunished. Besides, he is the great and supreme governor of all; and whereas sin breaketh and dissolveth the dependence of the creature upon him, should he not avenge that defection his whole rule and government would be disannulled. But now, if this vengeance and punishment should fall on the sinners themselves, they must perish under it eternally; not one of them could escape or ever be freed or purged from their sins. A commutation, then, there must be, that the punishment due to sin, which the holiness and righteousness of God exacted, may be inflicted, and mercy and grace showed unto the sinner. That none was able, fit, or worthy to undergo this penalty, so as to make a compensation for all the sins of all the elect; that none was able to bear it, and break through it, so as that the end of the undertaking might be happy, blessed, and glorious on all hands, but only the Son of God, we shall further manifest in our progress, and it hath been elsewhere declared. And this, —

    1. Should teach us to live in a holy admiration of this mighty and wonderful product of the wisdom, righteousness, and goodness which had found out and appointed this way of delivering sinners, and have gloriously accomplished it in the self-sacrifice of the Son of God. The Holy Ghost everywhere proposeth this unto us as a mystery, a great and hidden mystery, which none of the great, or wise, or disputers of the world, ever did or could come to the least acquaintance withal. And three things he asserts concerning it: —

    (1.) That it is revealed in the gospel, and is thence alone to be learned and attained; whence we are invited again and again to search and inquire diligently into it, unto this very end, that we may become wise in the knowledge and acknowledgment of this deep and hidden mystery.

    (2.) That we cannot in our own strength, and by our own most diligent endeavors, come to a holy acquaintance with it, notwithstanding that revelation that is made of it in the letter of the word, unless moreover we receive from God the Spirit of wisdom, knowledge, and revelation, opening our eyes, making our minds spiritual, and enabling us to discover these depths of the Holy Ghost in a spiritual manner.

    (3.) That we cannot by these helps attain in this life unto a perfection in the knowledge of this deep and unfathomable mystery, but must still labor to grow in grace and in the knowledge of it, our thriving in all grace and obedience depending thereon. All these things the Scripture abounds in the repetition of. And, besides, it everywhere sets forth the blessedness and happiness of them who by grace obtain a spiritual insight into this mystery; and themselves also find by experience the satisfying excellency of it, with the apostle, Philippians 3:8. All which considerations are powerful motives unto this duty of inquiring into and admiring this wonderful mystery; wherein we have the angels themselves for our associates and companions.

    2. Consider we may, also, the unspeakable love of Christ in this work of his delivering us from sin. This the Scripture also abundantly goeth before us in, setting forth, extolling, commending this love of Christ, and calling us to a holy consideration of it. Particularly, it shows it accompanied with all things that may make love expressive and to be admired; for,

    (1.) It proposeth the necessity and exigency of the condition wherein the Lord Christ gave us this relief. That was when we were “sinners,” when we were “lost,” when we were “children of wrath,” “under the curse,” — when no eye did pity us, when no hand could relieve us. And if John mourned greatly when he thought that there was none found worthy, in heaven or earth, to open the book of visions, and to unloose the seals thereof, how justly might the whole creation mourn and lament if there had been none found to yield relief, when all were obnoxious to this fatal ruin! And this is an exceeding commendation of the love of Christ, that he set his hand to that work which none could touch, and put his shoulders under that burden which none else could bear, when all lay in a desperate condition.

    (2.) The greatness of this delivery. It is from “wrath,” and “curse,” and “vengeance” eternal. Not from a trouble or danger of a few days’ continuance, not from a momentary suffering; but from everlasting wrath, under the curse of God, and power of Satan in the execution of it, which necessarily attend sin and sinners. And,

    (3.) The way whereby he did it; not by his word, whereby he made the world; not by his power, whereby he sustains and rules the things that he hath made; not by paying a price of corruptible things; not by revealing a way unto us only whereby we ourselves might escape that condition wherein we were, as some foolishly imagine: but by the “sacrifice of himself,” “making his soul an offering for sin,” and “offering up himself unto God through the eternal Spirit,” — by “laying down his life for us;” and greater love can no man manifest than by so doing. And,

    (4.) The infinite condescension that he used, to put himself into that condition wherein by himself he might purge our sins; for to this purpose, when he was “in the form of God, he emptied himself of his glory, made himself of no account, was made flesh, took on him the form of a servant, that he might be obedient unto death, the death of the cross.” And,

    (5.) The end of his undertaking for us, which was the “bringing of us unto God,” into his love and favor here, and the eternal enjoyment of him hereafter. All these things, I say, doth the Scripture insist frequently and largely upon, to set forth the excellency of the love of Christ, to render it admirable and amiable unto us. And these things should we lay up in our hearts, and continually ponder them, that we may give due acceptance and entertainment to this wonderful love of the Son of God.

    The apostle having thus asserted in general the sacerdotal office of Christ, and the sacrifice that he offered, with the end of it, because that could not be done without the greatest dejection, humiliation, and abasement of the Son, that we may not conceive that he was left in, or doth yet abide under, the same condition, adds the blessed event and consequent of his great work and undertaking: — ῾εκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὐψηλοῖς· — “He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

    These words we have already opened, as to their sense and importance. The design and meaning of the Holy Ghost in them is nextly to be considered. The things to be inquired after to this end are, — first, The scope of the apostle in these words; secondly, The manner of his expressing his intendment, and the particulars therein intended; thirdly, What he referred unto in the Mosaical economy, whereby he strengthened the argument which he had in hand.

    Two things the apostle in general designs in these words: —

    1. That the Lord Christ, undertaking to purge our sins, did by the one offering of himself perfectly effect it, so discharging the whole work of his priesthood, as to the making atonement for sinners. This the blessed issue of his undertaking doth demonstrate. Immediately upon his work, he entered into the glorious condition here expressed, — a signal pledge and evidence that his work was perfected, and that God was fully satisfied and well pleased with what he had done.

    2. The blessed and glorious condition of the Lord Jesus after his humiliation is expressed in these words. His Spirit did of old signify both his “sufferings” and the “glory that should follow,” 1 Peter 1:11; as himself interpreted the Scriptures unto his disciples, Luke 24:26. And this, upon the close of his work, he requested, as due unto him upon compact and promise, John 17:5. These are the things in general designed by the apostle in these words.

    Secondly, The manner of his expression of the glory and blessed condition of the Son of God after his purging our sins, and what is particularly intimated therein, is to be considered. Some mistakes or groundless curiosities must first be removed, and then the real importance of the words declared.

    Some contend that the left hand of old was most honorable; so that the placing of Christ at the right hand of God, as it denotes his honor and glory, so also an inferiority unto the Father. To this purpose they produce some sayings out of some ancient writers among the heathen, giving the preference of place or dignity unto the left hand: and these sayings are made use of by the Romanists to answer an objection of very little moment against Peter’s supremacy, taken from some ancient episcopal seals, whereon the figure of Paul was placed on the right hand of that of Peter. But this conjecture may be easily disproved by testimonies innumerable out of approved authors among the Gentiles; and in Scripture the right hand doth constantly denote dignity and pre-eminence. The instance of Jacob’s blessing Joseph’s children testifies also the constant usage of those ancient times, from the intimation of nature itself, Genesis 48:17-19; and the disposal of the sheep and goats at the last day to the right hand and left gives the privilege to the former. So Basil: ῾᾿η δεξιὰ χώρα δηλοῖ τὸ τῆς ἀξίας ὁμότιμον· — “The right hand place denoteth a quality of dignity.” And Chrysostom: εἱ γὰρ ἐλαττωσιν ἤθελς δηλῶσαι οὐχ ἄν ει῏πεν ἐκ δεξιῶν ἀλλ᾿ ἐξ ἀριστερῶν· — “If he would have signified any lessening or diminution, he would not have said, ‘Sit on my right hand,’but on my left.” So that it is honor and glory which is signified by this expression, and that only.

    Some, granting the right hand to denote the most honorable place, inquire whether this be spoken in reference unto God the Father himself, or unto others that do or may be supposed to sit on his left hand. For the first sense contends Maldonate on Matthew 16:19; for saith he, “Though it be impossible that the Son in absolute or essential glory should be preferred before or above the Father, yet as to his immediate rule over the church he may more show forth his power and glory in the rule and government of all things” Others contend that it is spoken with respect unto others sitting at the left hand, above which this is preferred. But this whole inquiry is both curious and groundless: for,

    1. Though sitting at the right hand be a token of great glory and dignity, yet, as the apostle speaks in this very case, “it is manifest that He is excepted who put all things under him,” 1 Corinthians 15:27, — he who thus exalted him over all at his right hand is excepted; and,

    2. Here is no comparison at all, or regard to sitting on the left hand, nor is there so wherever that expression is used, but only the glory of Christ the mediator is absolutely declared.

    And this may be cleared by other instances. Solomon placed his mother when she came unto him on his right hand, — a token of exceeding honor; but he himself sat down on the throne of the kingdom, 1 Kings 2:19. The church is said to be at the right hand of Christ, Psalms 45:9; which, as it prefers her above all others, so it takes not off her subjection unto Christ. Nero, in Suetonius, when Tiridates, king of Armenia, came to Rome, placed him for his honor on his right hand, himself sitting on the throne of rule. And where three sit together, the middle seat is the place of chiefest honor. Hence Cato in Africa, when Juba would have placed himself in the midst between him and Scipio, removed himself to the left hand of Scipio, that Juba might not have the place of pre-eminence above Roman magistrates. It is not unlikely but that there may be an allusion in this expression unto the Sanhedrin, the highest court of judicature among the Jews. He who presided in it was called אב דין, or אב בית דין, “The father of judgment,” or, “Father of the house of judgment,” and sat at the right hand of the נשי, or “prince” of the Sanhedrin, next unto him unto whom belonged the execution of the sentence of the court. Of this ab din mention is made in the Targum, Song of Solomon 7:4, ואב בית דינא דדאן דיניךְ; — “The father of the house of judgment, who judgeth thy judgments;” agreeable to that, “The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.”

    The whole expression, then, is plainly metaphorical, and taken from what is or was in use amongst men, and thence translated to signify the state and condition of Christ in heaven. And this is that which the apostle in general intimates in these words, that as the greatest honor that can be done unto any one among the sons of men is for the chief ruler to set him next himself on his right hand, so is the Son, as mediator, made partaker of the greatest glory that God hath to bestow in heaven. It is not, then, the essential, eternal glory of the Son of God, that he hath equally with the Father, which in these words is expressed, and whereof the apostle had spoken before, but that glory and honor which is bestowed on him by the Father, after and upon the sacrifice of himself for the expiation of sin. So, then, the right hand of God is not here taken absolutely, as in other places, for the power and strength of God; but with the adjunct of sitting at it, it shadows out a place and eminency of glory, as he is considered on his throne of majesty; and therefore it is here termed “the right hand of majesty,” and not of omnipotency or power.

    In particular, two things are intended in this expression: —

    1. The security of Christ from all his adversaries and all sufferings for the future. The Jews knew what he suffered from God and man. Hereof he lets them know what was the reason, — it was for the purging of our sins; and moreover declares that now he is everlastingly secured from all opposition, for where he is, thither his adversaries cannot come, as John 7:34. He is above their reach, beyond their power, — secure in the throne and presence of God. Thus the fruit of the church, being secured from the rage and persecution of Satan, is said to be “caught up unto God, and to his throne,” Revelation 12:5. Hence though men do and will continue their malice and wrath against the Lord Christ to the end of the world, as though they would crucify him afresh, yet he dies no more, being secure out of their reach at the right hand of God.

    2. His majesty and glory inexpressible; — all that can be given of God in heaven. God on his throne is God in the full manifestation of his own majesty and glory; on his right hand sits the Mediator, yea, so as that he also is “in the midst of the throne,” Revelation 5:6. How little can our weak understandings apprehend of this majesty! See Philippians 2:9; Matthew 20:21; Romans 8:34; Colossians 3:1; Ephesians 1:20.

    These are the things which the apostle sets forth in this expression. And they are plainly intimated in the context of the psalm from whence the words are taken, Psalms 110. So that it is not his rule and authority, but his safety, majesty, and glory, which accompany them, that are here intended.

    Thirdly, We are to inquire what it was that the apostle had respect unto, in this ascription of glory and majesty unto Christ, in the old church-state of the Jews, and so what it is that he preferreth him above.

    It is thought by many that the apostle in these words exalteth Christ above David, the chiefest king among the Jews. Of him it is said that God would make him his “first-born, higher than the kings of the earth,” Psalms 89:27. His throne was high on the earth, and his glory above that of all the kings about him; but for the Lord Christ, he is incomparably exalted above him also, in that he is sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. But, as was said, these words denote not the rule, power, or authority of Christ, typed by the kingdom of David, but his glory and majesty, represented by the magnificent throne of Solomon. Besides, he is not treating of the kingly power of Christ, but of his sacerdotal office, and the glory that ensued upon the discharge thereof.

    That, therefore, which in these words the apostle seems to have had respect unto was the high priest’s entrance into the holy place, after his offering of the solemn anniversary sacrifice of expiation. Then alone was he admitted into that holy place, or heaven below, where was the solemn representation of the presence of God, — his throne and his glory. And what did he there? He stood with all humility and lowly reverence ministering before the Lord, whose presence was there represented. He did not go and sit down between the cherubim, but worshipping at the footstool of the Lord, he departed. It is not, saith the apostle, so with Christ; but as his sacrifice was infinitely more excellent and effectual than Aaron’s, so upon the offering of it he entered into the holy place, or heaven itself above, and into the real, glorious presence of God, not to minister in humility, but to a participation of the throne of majesty and glory. He is a king and priest upon his throne, Zechariah 6:13.

    Thus the apostle shuts up his general proposition of the whole matter, which he intends further to dilate and treat upon. In this description of the person and offices of the Messiah he coucheth the springs of all his ensuing arguments, and from thence enforceth the exhortation which we have observed him constantly to pursue. And we also may hence observe: —

    I. That there is nothing more vain, foolish, and fruitless, than the opposition which Satan and his agents yet make unto the Lord Christ and his kingdom. Can they ascend into heaven? Can they pluck the Lord Christ from the throne of God? A little time will manifest this madness, and that unto eternity.

    II. That the service of the Lord Christ is both safe and honorable. He is, as a good, so a glorious master, one that sits at the right hand of God.

    III. Great is the spiritual and eternal security of them that truly believe in Christ. Of all which severally afterwards.

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    Owen, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "John Owen Exposition of Hebrews". 1862.

    Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books

    Shining With the Glory of God

    That Jesus was, and is, God come down to earth must be. His glory was testified to by the Father and the Holy Spirit at His baptism (Matthew 3:13-17). He shines forth with the glory that is the glory of the Father (Colossians 1:15; John 1:14). Jesus is God"s "express image" like the exact imprint of a seal in wax (Hebrews 1:3).

    Lightfoot sees "upholding all things by the word of His power" as referring to Jesus" responsibility for the "providential government" of the universe and His direction of its destiny. Also, Jesus is our redeemer (John 3:16-17). It is in the likeness of His death, burial and resurrection that we are able to put away our old lives of sin. We thereby begin to live a new life (Romans 6:1-23). Jesus was made a purification for our sins. He exercised His priestly office in offering His own blood in sacrifice for our sins.

    Jesus told His disciples He would go to be with His Father. He also said He planned to build a place for His people (John 14:1-6). The Hebrew writer declares, with the Psalmist (110:1), that Jesus is on the right hand of God in heaven. It is declared elsewhere in the Bible as well (Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; 1 Peter 3:21-22). His place at God"s right hand is pointed to as a glorious hope of His coming again to receive us.

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    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    brightness = effulgence. Greek. apaugasma. Only here. Compare Wisdom Hebrews 7:26.

    glory. See p. 1511.

    express image. Greek. charakter. Only here. The word means the exact impression as when metal is, pressed into a die, or as a seal upon wax.

    parson = substance. Greek. hupostasis. See 2 Corinthians 9:4.

    word Greek. rhema. See Mark 9:32.

    power. Greek. dunamis. App-172.

    when, &c. = having made purification of.

    by Himself. The texts omit.

    our. The texts omit.

    sins. Greek. hamartia. App-128.

    Majesty. Greek. megalosune. Only here, Hebrews 8:1. Jude 1:25.

    high. Compare Psalms 93:4; Psalms 113:4.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    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;

    Who being - by pre-existent and essential being.

    Brightness of his glory, [ apaugasma (Greek #541)] - the effulgence of His glory. 'Light of (from) light' ('Nicene Creed'). 'The sun is never seen without effulgence, nor the Father without the Son' (Theophylact). It is because He is the brightness, etc., and because He upholds, etc., that He sat down on the right hand, etc. It was a return to His divine glory (John 6:62; John 17:5 : cf. 'Wisdom,' 7: 25,26). Express image - character: 'impress.' But veiled in the flesh.

    `The Son of God in glory beams Too bright for us to scan; But we can face the light that streams From the mild Son of man.'

    Of his person, [ hupostaseoos (Greek #5287)] - 'of His substantial essence.'

    Upholding all things, [ ta (Greek #3588) panta (Greek #3956)] - 'the universe.' Colossians 1:15; Colossians 1:17; Colossians 1:20 enumerates the three facts in the same order.

    By the word - therefore the Son of God is a Person; for He has the word (Bengel). His word is God's word (Hebrews 11:3).

    Of his power. "The word" is the utterance which comes from His (the Son's) power, and gives expression to it.

    By himself. So Delta f. Omitted in 'Aleph (') A B, Vulgate.

    Purged, [ katharismon (Greek #2512) poieesamenos (Greek #4160)] - 'made purification of our sins.' His atonement covers the guilt of sin. "Our" is omitted in 'Aleph (') A B Delta, Vulgate. Sin was uncleanness before God: His sacrifice purges it away (Hebrews 9:13-14). Our nature, guilt-laden, could not, without our great High Priest's blood of atonement sprinkling the heavenly mercy-seat, come into contact with God. Ebrard, 'The mediation between man and God, present in the most holy place, was revealed in three forms:

    (1) In sacrifices (typical propitiations for guilt);

    (2) In the priesthood (the agents of them);

    (3) In the Levitical laws of purity (attained by sacrifice positively, by avoidance of ceremonial pollution negatively, the people being thus admitted into the presence of God without dying) (Leviticus 16:1-34; Deuteronomy 5:26).

    Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high - fulfilling Psalms 110:1. This sitting of the Son at God's right hand was by the act of the Father (Hebrews 8:1; Ephesians 1:20): it never expresses His pre-existing state co-equal with the Father, but always His exalted state as Son of man after His sufferings, Mediator for man in the presence of God (Romans 8:34): a relation toward God and us about to end when its object shall have been accomplished (1 Corinthians 15:28).

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (3) Who being the brightness . . .—Who being the effulgence of His glory and the exact image of His substance. The first figure is familiar to us in the words of the Nicene Creed (themselves derived from this verse and a commentary upon it), “God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God.” Again striking parallels to the language present themselves in Philo, who speaks of the spirit breathed into man at his creation as an “effulgence of the Blessed and Thrice-blessed Nature”; and in the well-known passage of the Book of Wisdom, “She (Wisdom) is the effulgence of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of His goodness” (Wisdom of Solomon 7:26). In the Old Testament the token of the divine presence is the Shechinah, the “cloud of glory” (called “the glory” in Romans 9:4; comp. Hebrews 9:5 in this Epistle); here it is the divine nature itself that is denoted by the “glory.” Of the relation between this word and that which follows (“substance”) it is difficult to speak, as the conceptions necessarily transcend human language; but we may perhaps say (remembering that all such terms are but figurative) that the latter word is internal and the former external,—the latter the essence in itself, the former its manifestation. Thus the “Son” in His relation to “God” is represented here by light beaming forth from light, and by exact impress—the perfect image produced by stamp or seal. These designations, relating to the essential nature of the Son, have no limitation to time; the participle “being” must be understood (comp. Philippians 2:6; John 1:1) of eternal, continuous existence. The word “person” is an unfortunate mistranslation in this place. Most of the earlier English versions have “substance,” person being first introduced in the Genevan Testament in deference to Beza.

    By the word.—The thought seems suggested by Genesis 1. (Psalms 33:9); the spoken word was the expression of His power. What is said above of “being” applies to “upholding,” except that the latter implies a previous creative act.

    When he had by himself purged our sins.—The older MSS. omit “by Himself” and “our,” so that the words must be rendered, when He had made purification of sins. At first the change may seem a loss; but it is easily seen that the simpler statement is more majestic, and also more suitable in this place; the more complete explanation of the truth belongs to a later stage (Hebrews 9). To “make purification of sins” is an unusual phrase (comp. Matthew 8:3, “his leprosy was cleansed”), meaning, to make purification by the removal of sins (John 1:29; 1 John 3:5; 2 Peter 1:9).

    Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.—See Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 12:2; Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; also Hebrews 1:13, and Hebrews 10:12. This figure, which we meet with more than twenty times in the New Testament, is throughout derived from the first words of Psalms 110, which are descriptive of the exaltation of the Messiah. Jehovah’s investiture of the Son of Man with unlimited dominion (Daniel 7:14) and supreme dignity (Ephesians 1:20-21); the Saviour’s rest after the accomplishment of His work on earth (Hebrews 8:1); His waiting for the complete and final subjection of His enemies, are the ideas signified. On the Psalm see below (Hebrews 1:13).

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    Treasury of Scripture 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
    2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15,16
    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
    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
    1 Chronicles 29:11; Job 37:22; Micah 5:4; 2 Peter 1:16; Jude 1:25
    Reciprocal: Genesis 5:1 - in the likeness;  Exodus 30:10 - Aaron;  Exodus 39:30 - the plate;  Leviticus 4:19 - GeneralLeviticus 4:20 - an atonement;  Leviticus 4:31 - a sweet;  Leviticus 4:35 - and the priest shall make;  Leviticus 14:6 - the living bird;  Leviticus 15:15 - an atonement;  Leviticus 16:17 - no man;  Numbers 12:8 - similitude;  Deuteronomy 4:15 - of similitude;  Deuteronomy 16:6 - at even;  Judges 13:20 - when the flame;  1 Samuel 2:8 - the pillars;  1 Kings 10:18 - a great throne;  1 Chronicles 16:30 - stable;  Nehemiah 9:6 - preservest;  Psalm 33:9 - and it stood;  Psalm 45:2 - fairer;  Psalm 45:3 - glory;  Psalm 68:18 - for men;  Psalm 93:1 - world;  Psalm 96:6 - Honour;  Psalm 96:10 - the world;  Isaiah 40:5 - the glory;  Isaiah 40:18 - GeneralIsaiah 46:5 - GeneralIsaiah 52:13 - he shall;  Isaiah 60:2 - the Lord;  Isaiah 66:2 - For all those;  Jeremiah 11:11 - which;  Jeremiah 30:21 - and I;  Jeremiah 32:17 - thou;  Jeremiah 51:15 - hath made;  Ezekiel 8:4 - GeneralMatthew 22:44 - The Lord;  Matthew 25:33 - his;  Matthew 26:64 - the right;  Mark 1:41 - I;  Mark 14:62 - the Son;  Luke 10:11 - notwithstanding;  Luke 22:69 - on;  Luke 24:51 - he was;  John 1:3 - GeneralJohn 1:10 - was in;  John 5:17 - My;  John 8:19 - if;  John 12:41 - saw;  John 12:45 - GeneralJohn 13:32 - shall;  John 14:7 - ye;  John 14:28 - Father;  John 16:5 - I;  John 17:5 - glorify;  John 17:11 - I am;  Acts 7:2 - The God;  Acts 7:55 - standing;  Acts 17:28 - in him;  Romans 10:6 - to bring;  1 Corinthians 8:6 - and we by;  1 Corinthians 11:12 - but;  Galatians 4:5 - redeem;  Ephesians 3:9 - created;  Philippians 2:6 - in;  1 Timothy 3:16 - God;  Hebrews 1:13 - Sit;  Hebrews 4:10 - he that;  Hebrews 6:20 - for;  Hebrews 7:26 - made;  Hebrews 9:14 - purge;  Hebrews 9:24 - but;  James 2:1 - the Lord;  1 Peter 4:19 - a faithful;  2 Peter 1:3 - his;  Revelation 1:18 - was

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    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

    E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

    Thayer defines brightness by "reflected brightness," meaning that when Jesus was on earth he reflected the glory of his Father. Empress image is from CHARAKTER which Thayer defines at this place, "A mark or figure burned in or stamped on, an impression; the exact expression (the image) of any person or thing, marked likeness, precise reproduction in every respect." God is not composed of substance as that word is commonly used, hence the word person as in the King James Version is a good translation. It means that when Christ was on earth, he had the form or image of his Father. That is one reason why He said, "he that hath seen me hath seen the father" ( John 14:9). All of this agrees with the words of God that the man was to be created in "our" (God"s and Christ's) image ( Genesis 1:26). Upholding all things by the word of his power. All power (or authority) being given to Christ ( Matthew 28:18), the arrangement of all things pertaining to the new system of salvation was disposed of according to His will and direction. By himself purged our sins. This took place when He died on the cross, thereby making the supreme sacrifice that was sufiicient to purge all men from their sins who would accept it. By the death on the cross, the plan was made completely eflicient, which is why He said "it is finished" ( John 19:30). By coming alive from the grave, Jesus validated the purchase price of man"s salvation, and then He was ready to return to his Father. He did so and was seated at the right hand of the throne of God, having been welcomed by the angelic hosts in the city of everlasting glory. (See the wonderful reception given Christ in Psalm 24:7-10.)

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    Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans and Hebrews

    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.

    Who being the brightness of his glory.—God has revealed Himself in the works of creation and providence, but the brightness or effulgence of His glory is only seen in His Son. In Him God has fully made known the glory of His character. Moses put a veil on his face when declaring the message from God to Israel, but we see the glory of God in the unveiled face of Jesus. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, intimately acquainted with all His counsels, He hath declared Him. John 1:18.

    And the express image of his person.—Christ is the image of the invisible God, Colossians 1:15; and this image is so perfect that Christ Himself tells us, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." John 14:9. [It is unnecessary to state that this does not refer to seeing the Savior with our bodily eyes. It means a right apprehension of His person, character, and offices. Those who are thus enlightened behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and are changed into His image.] By contemplating in Him the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord. This is the new creation in Christ Jesus, which is essential to our being His disciples.

    And upholding all things by the word of his power.—All power is committed to Christ in heaven and on earth. This is the reward of His obedience to death, all things are put under Him—all the vessels of His Father's house hang on Him. The Father judgeth no Prayer of Manasseh, but hath committed all judgment to the Son.

    When he had by himself purged our sins.— Removing them by His atonement as far as the east is from the west, having washed His people from their sins in His own blood, they are whiter than snow. The priests under the law purified the people with the blood of bulls and goats, but Christ obtained eternal redemption for all believers by the shedding of His own blood. When their sins are sought for they shall not be found, He will present them faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus demonstrated the perfection of His sacrifice. One generation after another had gone down to the grave, which had never said, It is enough; but the Son of God, who knew no sin, having by His union with His people, so to speak, appropriated their sin, was delivered for their offences. He went down into the lower parts of the earth, but it was not possible He could remain there; not only because He was the Prince of Life, having life in Himself, but because He had cancelled the guilt of His brethren. What, then, could retain Him under the power of death? Death had lost its sting, its power was gone, and of necessity the earth cast forth its dead. Jesus rose to the power of an endless life as the head of his body the Church, as the first fruits of an abundant harvest; it was the seal of His Father's approbation of the work which He had undertaken and accomplished. As our great high priest He offered the body which had been prepared for Him. This is the will of God which He came to do, by which, says the Apostle, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:5-10. He is the Captain of the salvation of a countless multitude, who, in virtue of their union with the Only-begotten, shall reign with Him in life for ever.

    Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.—When the Jewish high priest entered the holy place, he stood while he performed the service, for he was to remain but for a short time, and only as a minister; but our great High Priest sat down as a Prince on the right hand of the Majesty on high. He occupies the highest place. To Him everything in heaven and on earth is subjected. He sits as a Royal priest on His throne, consecrated for evermore, —and His sitting on the right hand of the Majesty on high, implies that all things are put under Him, excepting Him who did put all things under Him. 1 Corinthians 15:27.

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    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    3.Brightness’ glory—The relation of the Father to the Son is indicated as that of an essential glory to a brightness, or forth-beaming radiation. Hence the Nicene Creed styles the Son, “Light of light,” ( , literally, light out from light,) and pronounces the Father and Son to be of one substance, “consubstantial,” as light and light are one. Stuart asks if the sun and the rays proceeding from him are “consubstantial?” The reply is, that the body of the sun is material, whereas the glory, the pure “light,” is the very essence of God, and its radiations being also luminosity, are consubstantial with it. In place of the dark, material, central body of the sun, issuing its rays, is the central divine Essence, which, in the Miltonic phrase, is “dark with excessive bright,” yet unfolding its visible effulgence in the Son.

    Brightness—The Greek thus rendered is , which may signify either, 1. A ray actually darting forth from the glory or luminosity; 2. A bright spot shed upon a surface upon which it alights; or, 3. A light-form; being the shape assumed by the collected beams in combination: a second emanative luminosity repeating the first luminosity. That this last is the meaning here is clear from such phrases as, (Colossians 1:4,) “image of the invisible God;” (Philippians 2:5,) “form of God,” on which passages see notes. This emanative nature of the is ground for the use of the terms Son, Word, and, in the present epistle, Apostle. Hebrews 3:1, where see note.

    Express image—The image, here, is literally the figure or letters made upon a surface by a stamp. Hence, the relation between the Father and Son is here indicated by that between the stamp and the impress it fixes. This illustration, of course, touches only the two points of derivation and oneness.

    Person—More properly, substance; same word as in Hebrews 11:1, where see note. The eternal Son is the express image of the Father’s basis-reality, his essential being. The one is God permanent, and the other is God emanant.

    Upholding—As the ineffable Essence is the background, so the Word is its revelation in executive action. This Word is the eternal medium between the Essence and all external creations, both in bringing and maintaining them in existence.

    Word of his power—A more energetic phrase than “his powerful word,” as it is sometimes rendered.

    The emphasis is on his power, and its word is its expression in act. The Socinian explanation, referring it to the “Gospel,” is entirely out of place. As executive of the divine essential God, the Word is “the plastic Power” by which all the natural and typical forms of things in nature are shaped and endowed with properties and powers; and, assuming humanity, the Word becomes the shaping agent of all the primary realities of the moral realm. In the former he is incarnated as immanent deity in the material world; in the latter he is incarnated as immanent deity in the material body of a human person. Mr. Bushnell somewhere says, in effect, it is no more impossible for God to be incarnated in Christ than for him to be in-worlded in the cosmos. As Word, the divine Apostle is Lord of nature; as Son, he is King of nations and Head of the Church.

    Purged’ sat—Transition now from the Son’s pre-existent state and being, to his incarnate manifestation and doings. Thus far the Son has been an emanation, an eternal apostle; now he becomes not only incarnate apostle, but HIGH PRIEST, Hebrews 3:1. Purged, more literally, having wrought a purification; that is, a purifying by his atonement as our priest. That purification is wrought by him potentially, once for all; it is actually appropriated in the individual by act of faith.

    By himself—And not, as symbolically under the old dispensation, by victims and sacrifices.

    Right hand—Note on Romans 8:34 and Acts 7:55. The image, derived, doubtless, from Psalms 110, alludes to the Oriental custom by which a prince or premier, or other most exalted subject, sits at the right side of the throne. The phrase is never applied to the pre-existent Son, but always implies his incarnation and his exaltation in his glorified humanity.

    On high—Greek, ‘ , in high regions, the third heavens. On the heavens, see our note on 2 Corinthians 12:2. On relative locality of Father and Son, note, Acts 7:55-56.


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    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    Hebrews 1:3. .’ “Who being effulgence of His glory and express image of His nature.” The relative finds its antecedent in , its verb in ; and the interposed participles prepare for the statement of the main verb by disclosing the fitness of Christ to be the revealer of God, and to make atonement. The two clauses, , are closely bound together and seem intended to convey the impression that during Christ’s redemptive activity on earth there was no kenosis, but that these Divine attributes lent efficacy to His whole work. [On the difficulty of this conception see Gore’s Bampton Lec., p. 266, and Carpenter’s Essex Hall Lec., p. 87.] may mean either what is flashed forth, or what is flashed back: either “ray” or “reflection”. Calvin, Beza, Thayer, Ménégoz prefer the latter meaning. Thus Grotius has, “repercussus divinae majestatis, qualis est solis in nube”. The Greek fathers, on the other hand, uniformly adopt the meaning “effulgence”. Thus Theodoret , · , : , . So in the Nicene Creed . “The word ‘efflulgence’ seems to mean not rays of light streaming from a body in their connection with that body or as part of it, still less the reflection of these rays caused by their falling upon another body, but rather rays of light coming out from the original body and forming a similar light-body themselves” (Davidson). So Weiss, who says that the “Strahlenglanz ein zweites Wesen erzeugt”. Philo’s use of the word lends colour to this meaning when he says of the human soul breathed into man by God that it was are . So in India, Chaitanya taught that the human soul was like a ray from the Divine Being; God like a blazing fire and the souls like sparks that spring out of it. In the Arian controversy this designation of the Son was appealed to as proving that He is eternally generated and exists not by an act of the Father’s will but essentially. See Suicer, s.v. As the sun cannot exist or a lamp burn without radiating light, so God is essentially Father and Son. . God’s glory is all that belongs to him as God, and the Son is the effulgence of God’s glory, not only a single ray but as Origen says: . Therefore the Son cannot but reveal the Father. Calvin says: “Dum igitur audis filium esse splendorem Paternae gloriae, sic apud te cogita, gloriam Patris esse invisibilem, donec in Christo refulgeat”. As completing the thought of these words and bringing out still more emphatically the fitness of the Son to reveal, it is added . , as its form indicates, originally meant the cutting agent [ ], the tool or person who engraved. In common use, however, it usurped the place of and denoted the impress or mark made by the graving tool, especially the mark upon a coin which determined its value; hence, any distinguishing mark, identifying a thing or person, character. “Express image” translates it well. The mark left on wax or metal is the “express image” of the seal or stamp. It is a reproduction of each characteristic feature of the original. rendered “person” in A.V.; “substance,” the strict etymological equivalent, in R.V. To the English ear, perhaps, “nature” or “essence” better conveys the meaning. It has not the strict meaning it afterwards acquired in Christian theology, but denotes all that from which the glory springs and with which indeed it is identical. [We must not confound the with the as Hofmann and others do. The is the nature, the its quality, the its manifestation.] There is in the Father nothing which is not reproduced in the Son, save the relation of Father to Son. Menegoz objects that though a mirror perfectly reflects the object before it and the wax bears the very image of the seal, the mirror and the wax have not the same nature as that which they represent. And Philo more than once speaks of man’s rational nature as , and the of that blessed nature, see Quod deter, insid., c. xxiii.; De Opif. Mundi, c. li. All that he means by this is, that man is made in God’s image. But while no doubt the primary significance of the terms used by the writer to the Hebrews is to affirm the fitness of Christ to reveal God, the accompanying expressions, in which Divine attributes are ascribed to Him, prove that this fitness to reveal was based upon community of nature. The two clauses, to , have frequently been accepted as exhibiting the Trinitarian versus the Arian and Sabellian positions; the Sabellians accepting the as representing their view of the modal manifestation of Godhead, the Arians finding it possible to accept the second clause, but neither party willing to accept both clauses—separate or individual existence of the Son being found in the figure of the seal, while identity of nature seemed to be affirmed in . [ was derived from the Stoics who used it as the equivalent of , that which formed the essential substratum, , of all qualities. The Greek fathers, however, understood by it what they termed and affirmed that there were in the Godhead three . The Latin fathers translating by substantia could not make this affirmation. Hence arose confusion until Gregory Nazianzen pointed out that the difference was one of words not of ideas, and that it was due to the poverty of the Latin language. See Suicer, s.v.; Bleek in loc.; Bigg’s Christian Platonists, p. 164–5; Dean Strong’s Articles in J.T.S. for 1901 on the History of the Theological term Substance; Calvin Inst., i., 13, 2; Loofs’ Leitfaden, p. 109 note and p. 134.]

    ’ “and upholding all things by the word of His power”. The meaning of is seen in such expressions as that of Moses in Numbers 11:14 , where the idea of being responsible for their government and guidance is involved. So in Plutarch’s Lucullus, 6, of governing the city. In Latin Cicero (pro Flac., 37) reminds his judges “sustinetis rempublicam humeris vestris”. See Bleek. In Rabbinic literature, as Schoettgen shows, God is commonly spoken of as “portans mundum,” the Hebrew word being . In Philo, the Logos is the helmsman and pilot of all things (De Cherub.) , by the expression of His power, by making His will felt in all created nature. The present, , seems necessarily to involve that during the whole of His earthly career, this function of upholding nature was being discharged. Probably the clause is inserted not merely to illustrate the dignity of the Son, but to suggest that the whole course of nature and history, when rightly interpreted, reveals the Son and therefore the Father. The responsibility of bringing the world to a praiseworthy issue depends upon Christ, and as contributing to this work His earthly ministry was undertaken. For the notable thing He accomplished as God’s Son, the use He made of his dignity and power, is expressed in the words, . “having accomplished purification of the sins”. This was as essential to the formation of the covenant as the ability rightly to represent God’s mind and will. This itself was the supreme revelation of God, and it was only after accomplishing this He could sit down at God’s right hand as one who had finished the work of mediating the eternal covenant. , the mid. voice, supersedes the necessity of . The aorist part. implies that the cleansing referred to was a single definite act performed before He sat down, and in some way preparatory to that Exaltation. The word receives explanation in subsequent passages of the Ep. vii. 27, ix. 12–14. as used in LXX suggests that the cleansing referred to means the removal of guilt and its consciousness. The worshippers were fitted by cleansing to appear before God.

    ’ “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”. seems to denote that the work undertaken by the Son was satisfactorily accomplished; while the sitting down . . . denotes entrance upon a reign. The source of the expression is in Psalms 110:1 (cited Hebrews 5:13) where the Lord says to Messiah , and this not only as introducing Him to the place of security and favour, but also of dignity and power. “The King’s right hand was the place of power and dignity, belonging to the minister of his authority and his justice, and the channel of his mercy, the Mediator in short between him and his people” (Rendall). Cf.Psalms 80:17. In contrast to the ever-growing and never complete revelation to the fathers, which kept the race always waiting for something more sufficing, there came at last that revelation which contained all and achieved all. But the expression not only looks backward in approval of the work done by the Son, but forward to the result of this work in His supremacy over all human affairs. is ascribed to God in Judges 1:25 and in Deuteronomy 32:3 . Cf. also Clem., Ep., xvi. Here it is used to denote the sovereign majesty inherent in God (cf.Hebrews 12:2; Mark 14:62). The words are connected by Westcott and Vaughan with . It is better, with Beza and Bleek, to connect them with , for while in Hebrews 10:12 and Hebrews 12:2, where it is said He sat down on the throne of God, no further designation is needed; in Hebrews 8:1, as here, where it is said that He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty, it is felt that some further designation is needed and is added. No local region is intended, but supreme spiritual influence, mediation between God, the ultimate love, wisdom and sovereignty, and this world. This writer and his contemporary fellow-Christians, had reached the conviction here expressed, partly from Christ’s words and partly from their own experience of His power.



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    Bibliographical Information
    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". The Expositor's Greek Testament. 1897-1910.

    The Bible Study New Testament

    3. With the brightness. SeeJohn 1:14; Matthew 17:1-9. The exact likeness. See 1 John 1:1-4. And sustains the universe. As Creator, Christ spoke the universe into existence, and all things (Colossians 1:17)have their proper place in union with him, as he sustains them with the same powerful word by which he created them. Made men clean. By his bloody death. Compare 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 2:20. He sat down in heaven. See Ephesians 1:20-21. The right side is the place of special honor. Jesus sitting down at God’s right side is mentioned five times in this Letter, because it presupposes the raising of Christ from death, and is a clear proof that Jesus is the divine Son of God!




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    Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    3.Who being the brightness of his glory, etc. These things are said of Christ partly as to his divine essence, and partly as a partaker of our flesh. When he is calledthe brightness of his glory and the impress of his substance, his divinity is referred to; the other things appertain in a measure to his human nature. The whole, however, is stated in order to set forth the dignity of Christ.

    But it is for the same reason that the Son is said to be “the brightness of his glory”, and “the impress of his substance:” they are words borrowed from nature. For nothing can be said of things so great and so profound, but by similitudes taken from created things. There is therefore no need refinedly to discuss the question how the Son, who has the same essence with the Father, is a brightness emanating from his light. We must allow that there is a degree of impropriety in the language when what is borrowed from created things is transferred to the hidden majesty of God. But still the things which are indent to our senses are fitly applied to God, and for this end, that we may know what is to be found in Christ, and what benefits he brings to us.

    It ought also to be observed that frivolous speculations are not here taught, but an important doctrine of faith. We ought therefore to apply these high titles given to Christ for our own benefit, for they bear a relation to us. When, therefore, thou hear that the Son is the brightness of the Father’s glory, think thus with thyself, that the glory of the Father is invisible until it shines forth in Christ, and that he is called the impress of his substance, because the majesty of the Father is hidden until it shows itself impressed as it were on his image. They who overlook this connection and carry their philosophy higher, weary themselves to no purpose, for they do not understand the design of the Apostle; for it was not his object to show what likeness the Father bears to the Son; but, as I have said, his purpose was really to build up our faith, so that we may learn that God is made known to us in no other way than in Christ: (11) for as to the essence of God, so immense is the brightness that it dazzles our eyes, except it shines on us in Christ. It hence follows, that we are blind as to the light of God, until in Christ it beams on us. It is indeed a profitable philosophy to learn Christ by the real understanding of faith and experience. The same view, as I have said is to be taken of “the impress;” for as God is in himself to us incomprehensible, his form appears to us only in his Son. (12)

    The word ἀπαύγασμα means here nothing else but visible light or refulgence, such as our eyes can bear; and χαρακτὴρ is the vivid form of a hidden substance. By the first word we are reminded that without Christ there is no light, but only darkness; for as God is the only true light by which it behaves us all to be illuminated, this light sheds itself upon us, so to speak, only by irradiation. By the second word we are reminded that God is truly and really known in Christ; for he is not his obscure or shadowy image, but his impress which resembles him, as money the impress of the die with which it is stamped. But the Apostle indeed says what is more than this, even that the substance of the Father is in a manner engraven on the Son. (13)

    The word ῦποστάσις which, by following others, I have rendered substance, denotes not, as I think, the being or essence of the Father, but his person; for it would be strange to say that the essence of God is impressed on Christ, as the essence of both is simply the same. But it may truly and fitly be said that whatever peculiarly belongs to the Father is exhibited in Christ, so that he who knows him knows what is in the Father. And in this sense do the orthodox fathers take this term, hypostasis, considering it to be threefold in God, while the essence ( οὐσία) is simply one. Hilary everywhere takes the Latin word substance for person. But though it be not the Apostle’s object in this place to speak of what Christ is in himself, but of what he is really to us, yet he sufficiently confutes the Asians and Sabellians; for he claims for Christ what belongs to God alone, and also refers to two distinct persons, as to the Father and the Son. For we hence learn that the Son is one God with the Father, and that he is yet in a sense distinct from him, so that a subsistence or person belongs to both.

    And upholding (or bearing) all things, etc. To uphold or to bear here means to preserve or to continue all that is created in its own state; for he intimates that all things would instantly come to nothing, were they not sustained by his power. Though the pronoun his may be referred to the Father as well as to the Son, as it may be rendered “his own,” yet as the other exposition is more commonly received, and well suits the context, I am disposed to embrace it. Literally it is, “by the word of his power;” but the genitive, after the Hebrew manner, is used instead of an adjective; for the perverted explanation of some, that Christ sustains all things by the word of the Father, that is, by himself who is the word, has nothing in its favor: besides, there is no need of such forced explanation; for Christ is not wont to be called ῥη̑μα, saying, but λόγος, word. (14) Hence the “word” here means simply a nod; and the sense is, that Christ who preserves the whole world by a nod only, did not yet refuse the office of effecting our purgation.

    Now this is the second part of the doctrine handled in this Epistle; for a statement of the whole question is to be found in these two chapters, and that is, that Christ, endued with supreme authority, ought to be head above all others, and that as he has reconciled us to his Father by his own death, he has put an end to the ancient sacrifices. And so the first point, though a general proposition, is yet a twofold clause.

    When he further says, by himself, there is to be understood here a contrast, that he had not been aided in this by the shadows of the Mosaic Law. He shows besides a difference between him and the Levitical priests; for they also were said to expiate sins, but they derived this power from another. In short, he intended to exclude all other means or helps by stating that the price and the power of purgation were found only in Christ. (15)

    Sat down on the right hand, etc.; as though he had said, that having in the world procured salvation for men, he was received into celestial glory, in order that he might govern all things. And he added this in order to show that it was not a temporary salvation he has obtained for us; for we should otherwise be too apt to measure his power by what now appears to us. He then reminds us that Christ is not to be less esteemed because he is not seen by our eyes; but, on the contrary, that this was the height of his glory, that he has been taken and conveyed to the highest seat of his empire. The right hand is by a similitude applied to God, though he is not confined to any place, and has not a right side nor left. The session then of Christ means nothing else but the kingdom given to him by the Father, and that authority which Paul mentions, when he says that in his name every knee should bow. (Philippians 2:10) Hence to sit at the right hand of the Father is no other thing than to govern in the place of the Father, as deputies of princes are wont to do to whom a full power over all things is granted. And the word majesty is added, and also on high, and for this purpose, to intimate that Christ is seated on the supreme throne whence the majesty of God shines forth. As, then, he ought to be loved on account of his redemption, so he ought to be adored on account of his royal magnificence. (16)

    Doddridge gives this paraphrase, — “Upholding the universe which he hath made by the efficacious word of his Father’s power, which is ever resident in him as his own, by virtue of that intimate but incomparable union which renders them one.” This view is consistent with the whole passage: “his substance” and “his power” corresponds; and it is said, “by whom he made the world,” so it is suitable to say that he sustains the world by the Father’s power. — Ed

    Dr. Owen gives three reasons for considering the word in the sense of expiation or atonement, — It is so rendered in some instances by the Septuagint; the act spoken is past, while cleansing or purification is what is effected now; and “himself” shows that it is not properly sanctification as that is effected by means of the word, (Ephesians 5:26,) and by the regenerating Spirit. (Titus 3:5)

    The version of Stuart is, “made expiation for our sins,” which is no doubt the meaning. — Ed.

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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 1:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". 1840-57.