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;
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(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. (Psalm 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; 1John 3:5; 2Peter 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).

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 Php 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.

1:1-3 God spake to his ancient people at sundry times, through successive generations, and in divers manners, as he thought proper; sometimes by personal directions, sometimes by dreams, sometimes by visions, sometimes by Divine influences on the minds of the prophets. The gospel revelation is excellent above the former; in that it is a revelation which God has made by his Son. In beholding the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ, we behold the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Father, Joh 14:7; the fulness of the Godhead dwells, not typically, or in a figure, but really, in him. When, on the fall of man, the world was breaking to pieces under the wrath and curse of God, the Son of God, undertaking the work of redemption, sustained it by his almighty power and goodness. From the glory of the person and office of Christ, we proceed to the glory of his grace. The glory of His person and nature, gave to his sufferings such merit as was a full satisfaction to the honour of God, who suffered an infinite injury and affront by the sins of men. We never can be thankful enough that God has in so many ways, and with such increasing clearness, spoken to us fallen sinners concerning salvation. That he should by himself cleanse us from our sins is a wonder of love beyond our utmost powers of admiration, gratitude, and praise.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.")


3. Who being—by pre-existent and essential being.

brightness of his glory—Greek, 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, &c., and because He upholds, &c., that He sat down on the right hand, &c. It was a return to His divine glory (Joh 6:62; 17:5; compare Wisdom 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.

(2Co 3:18)

of his person—Greek, "of His substantial essence"; "hypostasis."

upholding all things—Greek, "the universe." Compare Col 1:15, 17, 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 (Heb 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.

purged—Greek, "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, without 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, De 5:26)" (Le 16:1-34).

sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high—fulfilling Ps 110:1. This sitting of the Son at God's fight hand was by the act of the Father (Heb 8:1; Eph 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 (Ro 8:34): a relation towards God and us about to come to an end when its object has been accomplished (1Co 15:28).

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, Psalm 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 1Jo 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, Psalm 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, Psalm 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.

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 , "the brightness of his glory", is used of the divine Being, in the Chaldee paraphrases (r); 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, , "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.

(r) Targum in 2 Samuel 22.13. & in Cant. v. 10.

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.

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.

ὢ 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]

ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ] an Alexandrian word, occurring Wis 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, ἡ πρώτη τοῦ ἡλιακοῦ φωτὸς ἀποβολή, as accordingly also Chrysostom and Theophylact explain ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ by Φῶς ἘΚ ΦΩΤΌς, the latter with the addition ΤῸ ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ἩΛΊΟΥ ΚΑῚ ΟὐΧ ὝΣΤΕΡΟΝ ΑὐΤΟῦ; and Theodoret observes: ΤῸ ΓᾺΡ ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ ΚΑῚ ἘΚ ΤΟῦ ΠΥΡΌς ἘΣΤΙ ΚΑῚ ΣῪΝ Τῷ ΠΥΡΊ ἘΣΤΙ· ΚΑῚ ΑἼΤΙΟΝ ΜῈΝ ἜΧΕΙ ΤῸ ΠῦΡ, ἈΧΏΡΙΣΤΟΝ ΔΈ ἘΣΤΙ ΤΟῦ ΠΥΡΌς· ἘΞ ΟὟ ΓᾺΡ ΤῸ ΠῦΡ, ἘΞ ἘΚΕΊΝΟΥ ΚΑῚ ΤῸ ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ. But without reason does Bleek claim, in favour of this first interpretation, also the usage of Philo and Wis 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 ΠΝΕῦΜΑ ΚΑῚ ΕἸ ΔΉ ΤΙ ΑἸΘΕΡΊΟΥ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΟς ΚΡΕῖΤΤΟΝ, ἍΤΕ Τῆς ΜΑΚΑΡΊΑς ΚΑῚ ΤΡΙΣΜΑΚΑΡΊΑς ΦΎΣΕΩς ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ), 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 ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ is explained by ἘΚΜΑΓΕῖΟΝ [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 ἢ ἀπόσπασμα ἢ 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, Wis 7:26, as kindred expressions, besides ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ, the words ἜΣΟΠΤΡΟΝ and ΕἸΚΏΝ. (ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ 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 ἈΠΑΥΓΑΣΜΌς, but ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ 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 ἈΠΟΣΚΊΑΣΜΑ that which is produced by the ἈΠΟΣΚΙΆΖΕΙΝ, the shadow cast by an object, so does ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ denote that which is produced by the ἈΠΑΥΓΆΖΕΙΝ. ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ 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.

] 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 (ἡ λογικὴ ψυχή) is called a coin which stands the test, ΟὐΣΙΩΘΩΕῖΣΑ ΚΑῚ ΤΥΠΩΘΕῖΣΑ ΣΦΡΑΓΊΔΙ ΘΕΟῦ, Ἧς Ὁ 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 ἈΠΑΎΓΑΣΜΑ Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς ΚΑῚ ΧΑΡΑΚΤῊΡ Τῆς ὙΠΟΣΤΆΣΕΩς ΑὐΤΟῦ, the Apostle Paul expresses, Colossians 1:15, by ΕἸΚῺΝ ΤΟῦ ΘΕΟῦ ΤΟῦ ἈΟΡΆΤΟΥ, and, Php 2:6 (comp. 2 Corinthians 4:4), by ἘΝ ΜΟΡΦῇ ΘΕΟῦ ὙΠΆΡΧΩΝ.

] 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): ὁ 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, Proverbs 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 ῬΉΜΑΤΙ ΑὐΤΟῦ Τῷ ΔΥΝΑΤῷ were written, to which Wolf, Kuinoel, Stengel, Tholuck, Bloomfield would, without reason, make the words equivalent. Oecumenius: ῬῆΜΑ ΔῈ ΕἾΠΕ ΔΕΙΚΝῪς ΠΆΝΤΑ ΕὐΚΌΛΩς ΑὐΤῸΝ ἌΓΕΙΝ ΚΑῚ ΦΈΡΕΙΝ. Theophylact: ΤΗΛΙΚΟῦΤΟΥ ὌΓΚΟΝ Τῆς ΚΤΊΣΕΩς ΤῸΝ ὙΠΈΡΜΕΓΑΝ Ὡς ΟὐΔῈΝ ΑὐΤῸς ΔΙΑΒΑΣΤΆΖΕΙ ΚΑῚ ΛΌΓῼ ΜΌΝῼ ΠΆΝΤΑ ΔΥΝΑΜΈΝῼ.

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).

ΚΑΘΑΡΙΣΜῸΝ ΤῶΝ ἉΜΑΡΤΙῶΝ ΠΟΙΗΣΆΜΕΝΟς] 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 ΚΑΘΑΡΙΣΜΌς 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 ἉΜΑΡΤΊΑΙ themselves as a direct object to ΚΑΘΑΡΙΣΜΌΝ, 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 ἡ λέπρα, Matthew 8:3. Nor is it requisite to supply ἈΠΌ before ΤῶΝ ἉΜΑΡΤΙῶΝ, 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 ΜΕΓΑΛΩΣΎΝΗς 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 Psalm 110:1, in order to designate supreme honour and dominion over the world (Romans 8:34, al.).

ἐν ὑψηλοῖς] Comp. Psalm 93:4; Psalm 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.

[31] Hofmann (Schriftbew. I. p. 159 f., 2d ed.; comp. also his remarks in the Commentary, p. 64 ff.) believes that the ὢν ἀπαύγασμα κ.τ.λ. and the φέρων τὰ πάντα κ.τ.λ. must be referred exclusively to the exalted Christ, but on untenable grounds. For from the consideration that φέρων τε τὰ πάντα “forms the most unambiguous contrast to the condition of Christ’s life in the flesh,” nothing is to be argued in favour of this view; because this contrast is equally to be supposed, when we understand these words alike of the premundane as of the exalted Christ. The further assertion, however, that in the case of a referring of ὢν ἀπαύγασμα κ.τ.λ. to that which Christ is apart from His humanity, the declaration ver. 3 must have been connected by means of ὅς ἐστιν instead of ὤν, is lacking in all grammatical support. For, so far as concerns the sense, there is no difference whatever between ὅς ἐστιν and ὤν; only regard for rhetorical euphony and the due rounding off of the periods determined the author upon expressing himself as he did.

Hebrews 1:3. ὃς ὢ ἀπαύγασμα.… “Who being effulgence of His glory and express image of His nature.” The relative ὃς finds its antecedent in υἱῳ, its verb in ἐκάθισεν; 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, ὢνφέρων τε, 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.] ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξηςἀπαύγασμα 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 τὸ γὰρ ἀπαύγασμα καὶ ἐκ τοῦ πυρός ἐστι, καὶ σὺν τῷ πυρί ἐστι· καὶ αἴτιον μὲν ἔχει τὸ πῦρ, ἀχώριστον δέ ἐστι τοῦ πυρόςκαὶ τῷ πυρὶ δὲ ὁμοφυὲς τὸ ἀπαύγασμα: οὐκοῦν καὶ ὁ, υἱὸς τῷ πατρί. So in the Nicene Creed φῶς ἐκ φωτός. “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 ἅτε τῆς μακαρίας καὶ τρισμακαρίας φύσεως ἀπαύγασμα. 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. τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ. 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: ὅλης τῆς δόξης. 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 καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ. χαρακτήρ, as its form indicates, originally meant the cutting agent [χαράσσειν], the tool or person who engraved. In common use, however, it usurped the place of χάραγμα 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. ὑποστάσεως 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 δόξα with the ἀπαύγασμα as Hofmann and others do. The ὑπόστασις is the nature, the δόξα its quality, the ἀπαύγασμα 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 τύπος τις καὶ χαρακτὴρ θείας δυνάμεως, and the ἀπαύγασμα 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, ὂς to αὐτοῦ, have frequently been accepted as exhibiting the Trinitarian versus the Arian and Sabellian positions; the Sabellians accepting the ἀπαύγασμα 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 ἀπαύγασμα. [ὑπόστασις was derived from the Stoics who used it as the equivalent of οὐσία, that which formed the essential substratum, τὸ ὑποκείμενον, of all qualities. The Greek fathers, however, understood by it what they termed πρόσωπον ὁμοούσιον and affirmed that there were in the Godhead three ὑποστάσεις. The Latin fathers translating ὑπόστασις 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.]

φέρων τε τὰ πάντα … “and upholding all things by the word of His power”. The meaning of φέρως is seen in such expressions as that of Moses in Numbers 11:14 οὐ δυνήσομαι ἐγὼ μόνος φέρειν πάντα τὸν λαὸν τοῦτον, where the idea of being responsible for their government and guidance is involved. So in Plutarch’s Lucullus, 6, φέρειν τὴν πόλιν of governing the city. In Latin Cicero (Proverbs 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 סָבַל. In Philo, the Logos is the helmsman and pilot of all things (De Cherub.) τῷ ῥήμαι, by the expression of His power, by making His will felt in all created nature. The present, φέρων, 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, καθαρισμὸν τ. ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος “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. ποιησάμενος, the mid. voice, supersedes the necessity of διʼ ἑαυτοῦ. 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. καθαρισμός 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.

ἐκάθισεν ἐνδεξιᾷ … “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high”. ἐκάθισεν seems to denote that the work undertaken by the Son was satisfactorily accomplished; while the sitting down ἐν δεξιᾷ κ.τ.λ. denotes entrance upon a reign. The source of the expression is in Psalm 110:1 (cited Hebrews 5:13) where the Lord says to Messiah κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου, 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. Psalm 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. μεγαλωσύνη is ascribed to God in Judges 1:25 and in Deuteronomy 32:3 δότε μεγαλωσύνην τῷ Θεῷ ἡμῶν. 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 ἐν ὑψήλοις are connected by Westcott and Vaughan with ἐκάθισεν. It is better, with Beza and Bleek, to connect them with μεγαλωσύνης, 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 ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς 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.

3. the brightness] The substitution of “effulgence” for “brightness” in the Revised Version is not, as it has been contemptuously called, “a piece of finery,” but is a rendering at once more accurate and more suggestive. It means “efflux of light”—“Light of (i.e. from) Light” (“effulgentia” not “repercussus”) Grotius. It implies not only resemblance—which is all that is involved in the vague and misleading word “brightness,” which might apply to a mere reflexion:—but also “origin” and “independent existence.” The glory of Christ is the glory of the Father just as the sun is only revealed by the rays which stream forth from it. So the “Wisdom of Solomon” (Hebrews 7:26)—which offers many resemblances to the Epistle to the Hebrews, and which some have even conjectured to be by the same author—speaks of wisdom as “the effulgence of the everlasting light.” The word is also found in Philo where it is applied to man. This passage, like many others in the Epistle, is quoted by St Clement of Rome (ad Cor. 36).

of his glory] God was believed in the Old Dispensation to reveal Himself by a cloud of glory called “the Shechinah,” and the Alexandrian Jews, in their anxious avoidance of all anthropomorphism and anthropopathy—i.e. of all expressions which attribute the human form and human passions to God—often substituted “the Glory” for the name of God. Similarly in 2 Peter 1:17 the Voice from God the Father is a Voice “from the magnificent glory.” Comp. Acts 7:55; Luke 2:9. St John says “God is Light,” and the indestructible purity and impalpable essence of Light make it the best of all created things to furnish an analogy for the supersensuous light and spiritual splendour of the Being of God. Hence St John also says of the Word “we beheld His glory” (John 1:14); and our Lord said to Philip “he who hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). Comp. Luke 9:29.

the express image] Rather, “the stamp” (charactçr). The R. V. renders this word by “very image” (after Tyndale), and in the margin by “impress.” I prefer the word “stamp” because the Greek “charactçr” like the English word “stamp,” may, according to its derivation, be used either for the impress or for the stamping-tool itself. This Epistle has so many resemblances to Philo that the word may have been suggested by a passage (Opp. i. 332) in which Philo compares man to a coin which has been stamped by the Logos with the being and type of God; and in that passage the word seems to bear this unusual sense of a “stamping-tool,” for it impresses a man with the mark of God. Similarly St Paul in the Epistle to the Colossians (Colossians 1:15)—which most resembles this Epistle in its Christology—called Christ “the image (eikôn) of the invisible God;” and Philo says, “But the word is the image (eikôn) of God, by Whom the whole world was created,” De Monarch, (Opp. ii. 225).

of his person] Rather, “of His substance” or “essence.” The word hypostasis, substantia (literally that which “stands under”) is, in philosophical accuracy, the imaginary substratum which remains when a thing is regarded apart from all its accidents. The word “person” of our A. V. is rather the equivalent to prosôpon. Hypostasis only came to be used in this sense some centuries later. Perhaps “Being” or “Essence,” though it corresponds more strictly to the Greek ousia, is the nearest representative which we can find to hypostasis, now that “substance,” once the most abstract and philosophical of words, has come (in ordinary language) to mean what is solid and concrete. It is only too possible that the word “substance” conveys to many minds the very opposite conception to that which was intended and which alone corresponds to the truth. Athanasius says, “Hypostasis is essence” (οὐσία); and the Nicene Council seems to draw no real distinction between the two words. In fact the Western Church admitted that, in the Eastern sense, we might speak of three hypostaseis of the Trinity; and in the Western sense, of one hypostasis, because in this sense the word meant Essence. For the use of the word in the LXX. see Ps. 38:6, 88:48. It is curiously applied in Wis 16:21. In the technical language of theology these two clauses represent the Son as co-eternal and co-substantial with the Father.

upholding all things] He is not only the Creative Word, but the Sustaining Providence. He is, as Philo says, “the chain-band of all things,” but He is also their guiding force. “In Him all things subsist” (Colossians 1:17). Philo calls the Logos “the pilot and steersman of everything.”

by the word of his power] Rather, “by the utterance (rhemati) of His power.” It is better to keep “word” for Logos, and “utterance” for rhema. We find “strength” (κράτος) and “force” (ἰσχύς) attributed to Christ in Ephesians 6:10, as “power” (δύναμις) here.

when he had by himself purged our sins] Rather, “after making purification of sins.” The “by Himself” is omitted by some of the best MSS. (א, A, B), and the “our” by many. But the notion of Christ’s independent action (Php 2:7) is involved in the middle voice of the verb. On the purification of our sins by Christ (in which there is perhaps a slight reference to the “Day of Atonement,” called in the LXX. “the Day of Purification,” Exodus 29:36), see Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 10:12; 1 Peter 2:24; 2 Peter 1:9 (comp. Job 7:21, LXX.).

sat down] His glorification was directly consequent on His voluntary humiliation (see Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 10:12, Hebrews 12:2; Psalm 109:1), and here the whole description is brought to its destined climax.

on the right hand] As the place of honour comp. Hebrews 8:1; Psalm 110:1; Ephesians 1:20. The controversy as to whether “the right hand of God” means “everywhere”—which was called the “Ubiquitarian controversy”—is wholly destitute of meaning, and has long fallen into deserved oblivion.

of the Majesty] In Hebrews 10:12 he says “at the right hand of God.” But he was evidently fond of sonorous amplifications, which belong to the dignity of his style; and also fond of Alexandrian modes of expression. The LXX. sometimes went so far as to substitute for “God” the phrase “the place” where God stood (see Exodus 24:10, LXX.).

on high] Literally, “in high places;” like “Glory to God in the highest,” Luke 2:14 (comp. Job 16:19); and “in heavenly places,” Ephesians 1:20 (comp. Psalm 93:4; Psalm 112:5). The description of Christ in these verses differed from the current Messianic conception of the Jews in two respects. 1. He was divine and omnipotent. 2. He was to die for our sins.

Hebrews 1:3. Ὃς—ὑψηλο͂ς, 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) Wis 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 (ΑΠΑΥΓΑΣΜΑ) 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.

[5] ‘Occupatio.’ An anticipation of an objection that might be raised, and which is therefore answered beforehand. See Append.—ED.

Verse 3. - Who, being, etc. The participle ῳ}ν῞((νοτ γενόμενος, as in ver. 4 - denotes (as does still more forcibly ὐπάρχων in the cognate passage, Philippians 2:6) what the Son is in himself essentially and independently of his manifestation in time. This transcendent idea is conveyed by two metaphorical expressions, differing in the metaphors used, but concurrent in meaning. The brightness of his glory. The word δόξα (translated "glory"), though net in classical Greek carrying with it the idea of light, is used in the LXX. for the Hebrew כָּבוד, which denotes the splendor surrounding God; manifested on Mount Sinai, in the holy of holies, in the visions of Ezekiel, etc.; and regarded as existing eternally "above the heavens" (cf. Exodus 24:15; Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:11; Ezekiel 8:4; Psalm 24:7, 8, etc.). But the full blaze of this glory, accompanying" the face" of God, even Moses was not allowed to see; for no man could see him and live. Moses was hidden in a cleft of the rock while the God's glory passed by, and saw only its outskirts, i.e. the radiance left behind after it; had passed; hearing meanwhile a proclamation of the moral attributes of Deity, by a perception of which he might best see God (Exodus 33:18, etc.). Similarly in the New Testament. There also, as on Sinai, in the tabernacle, and in prophetic vision, the glory of God is occasionally manifested under the form of an unearthly radiance; as in the vision of the shepherds (Luke 2:9), the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28, etc.), the ecstasy of Stephen (Acts 7:55). But in itself, as it surrounds "the face" of God, it is still invisible and unapproachable; cf. John 1:18, "No man hath seen God at any time;" 1 John 1:5, "God is Light;" 1 Timothy 6:16, "Dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto (φῶς απρόσιτον), whom no man hath seen nor can see." It denotes really, under the image of eternal, self-existent, unapproachable light, the ineffable Divine perfection, the essence of Deity, which is beyond human ken. "Sempiterna ejus virtus et divinitas" (Bengel). Of this glory the SON is the ἀπαύγασμα - a word not occurring elsewhere in the New Testament, but used by the Alexandrian writers. The verb ἀπαυγάζω means "to radiate," "to beam forth brightness;" and ἀπαύγασμα, according to the proper meaning of nouns so formed, should mean the brightness beamed forth - this rather than its reflection from another object, as the sun's light is reflected from a cloud. So the noun is used in Wisd. 7:26, as applied to Σοφία, which is there personified in a manner suggestive of the doctrine of the Λόγος: Ατμὶς γὰρ ἐστὶ τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ δυνάμεως καὶ ἀπόρροια τῆς τοῦ παντοκράτορος δόξης εἰλικρινής... ἀπαύγασμα γὰρ ἐστὶ φωτὸς αἰδίου And Philo speaks of the breath of life breathed lute man (Genesis 2:7) as τῆς μακαρίας καὶ τρισμακαρίας φύσευς απαύγασμα ('De Spec. Leg.,' § 11). As, then, the eradiated brightness is to the source of light, so is the SON, in his eternal being, to the Father. It is, so to speak, begotten of the source, and of one substance with it, and yet distinguishable from it; being that through which its glory is made manifest, and through which it enlightens all things. The Person of the Son is thus represented, not as of one apart from God, irradiated by his glory, but as himself the sheen of his glory; cf. John 1:14, "We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father;" also John 1:4; John 1:9. The above is the view taken by the Fathers generally, and expressed in the Church's Creed, φῶς ἐκ φωτός. And express Image of his substance; not "of his person," as in the A.V. The latter rendering is due to the long-accepted theological use of the word ὑπόστασις in the sense of personal subsistence, as applied to each of the Three in One. What the Latins called persona the Greeks at length agreed to call hypostasis, while the Greek οὐσία (equivalent to essentia) and the Latin substantia (though the latter word etymologically corresponds with hypostasis) were used as equivalents in meaning. But it was long after the apostolic age that this scientific use of the word became fixed. After as well as before the Nicene Council usia was sometimes used to denote what we mean by person, and hypostasis to denote what we mean by the substance of the Godhead; and hence came misunderstandings during the Arian controversy. Bull ('Def. Fid. Nic.,' 2:9. 11) gives a catena of instances of this uncertain usage. The definite doctrine of the Trinity, though apparent in the New Testament, had not as yet come under discussion at the time of the writing of this Epistle, or been as yet scientifically formulated; and hence we must take the word in its general and original sense, the same as that now attached to its etymological equivalent, substantia. It means literally, "a standing under," and is used

(1) in a physical sense, for "foundation," as in Psalm 69:2, "I sink in deep mire where there is no standing," where the LXX. has ὑπόστασις:

(2) metaphorically, for "confidence" or "certainty," as below, Hebrews 3:14 and 2 Corinthians 9:4;

(3) metaphysically, for that which underlies the phenomena of things and constitutes their essential being. Of the substance, understood in the last sense, of God the Son is the χαρακτὴρ, which word expresses a similar kind of relation to the Divine substance as ἀπαύγασμα does to the Divine glory. Derived from χαράσσω (equivalent to "mark," "grave," or "stamp," with an engraven or imprinted character), its proper meaning is the perceptible image on the material so stamped or engraved, of which it thus becomes the χαρακτὴρ. Thus the "image and superscription" on a coin is its χαρακτὴρ, manifesting what the coin is. The instance of the tribute money (Matthew 22:20) at once occurs to us: our Lord pointed to the χαρακτὴρ on the coin as manifesting its ὑπόστασις, as being Caesar's money. Thus also the lineaments of a countenance are called its χαρακτὴρ, as in Herod., 1:116, Ὁ χαρακτὴρ τοῦ προσώπου. A passage in Philo is illustrative of the sense intended; and it is to be observed (both with regard to the expression before us and to the preceding ἀπαύγασμα) that the Alexandrian theologians are important guides to the interpretation of phrases in this Epistle, their influence on its modes of thought and expression being perceptible. He says ('De Plant. Nee.,' § 5) that Moses called the rational soul the image (εἰκόνα) of the Divine and Invisible, as being οὐσιωθεῖσαν καὶ τυπωθεῖσαν σφραγῖδι Θεοῦ ἥς ὁ χαρακτὴρ ἐστὶν ὁ ἀι'διος λόγος. Here, be it observed, χαρακτὴρ is used for the form or lineament of the Divine seal itself, not for the copy stamped on the plastic material. And it is applied, as here, to the "Eternal Word," as being the manifestation of what the unseen Godhead is. Hence it would be wrong to understand the word, as some have done, as denoting the form impressed by one substance on another - as though the impression left on the wax were the χαρακτὴρ of the seal. This misconception would mislead (as might also ἀπαύγασμα, if rendered "reflection") in that it would seem to represent the Son as distinct from God, though stamped with his likeness and irradiated by his glory. Arian views about the SON, or even mere humanitarian views about the Christ, might thus seem countenanced. The two words ἀπαύγασμα and χαρακτὴρ, as has been said, express a similar relation to δόξα and ὑπόσρασις respectively, and convey the same general idea of the Son's eternal relation to the Father. But both are, of course, but figures, each necessarily inadequate, of the inscrutable reality. If we may distinguish between them, it may be said that the former especially intimates the view of the operation and energy of the Godhead being through the Son, while the latter more distinctly brings out the idea of the Son being the Manifestation of what the God- head is, and especially of what it is to us. And upholding all things. We have here still the present participle, denoting the intrinsic operation of him who was revealed as Son. Though the word φέρειν, in the sense of upholding or sustaining creation, does not occur elsewhere in the, New Testament, it can hardly have any other meaning here, considering the context. We find a similar use of it in Numbers 11:14; Deuteronomy 1:9, "to bear (φέρειν) all this people alone." And in the later Greek and rabbinical writers parallels are found. Chrysostom interprets φέρων as meaning κυβερνῶν τὰ διαπίπτοντα συγκρατῶν, which comes to the same thing as "upholding" or "sustaining." The meaning is that not only were "the worlds" made through him; in his Divine nature he ever "upholds" the "all things" which were made through him, and of which, as SON, he was appointed "Heir;" el. Colossians 1:17, "And in him all things consist." And this upholding operation must not be supposed to have been in abeyance during the period of his humiliation. He was still what he had been eternally, though he had "emptied himself" of the state and prerogatives of Deity (Philippians 2:7); el. (though the text is somewhat doubtful) John 3:13, "The Son of man, which is (ω}ν) in heaven." By the word (ῤήματι) of his power is an expression elsewhere used of the voluntas efficax of Deity - the utterance of Divine power; cf. Hebrews 11:3, "The worlds were framed by the Word (ῤήματι) of God." The writer could hardly have used it in this connection, if speaking of a created being. As to the reference of "his" before" power," whether to the subject of the sentence or to God, there is the same ambiguity in the Greek as in the English translation. Even if αὐτοῦ be intended, and not αὑτοῦ (and the former is most likely, since the pronoun, though it be reflective, is not emphatically so), it may with grammatical propriety refer either, like the previous αὐτοῦ, to God, or to him who thus upholds all things. In either case the general meaning of the clause remains the same. Enough has been said on the whole series of phrases which is thus concluded to show the untenableness of the Socinian interpretation, which would refer them only to Christ in the flesh and to the Christian dispensation. On such interpretation of the first of them Bull remarks, "Interpretatio Socinistarum, Deum nempe dici per Filiam saecula condidisse, quod per ipsum genus humanum reformavit et restauravit, et in novum quemdam statum transtulit, prodigiosum est commentum. Sane juramento aliquis tuto affirmare possit, ex Hebraeis, ad quos scripta fuit ilia epistola, ne unum quidem fuisse, qui scriptoris verba hoc sensu intellexerit, aut vel per somnium cogitaverit, per τοὺς αἰῶνας, saeculaa, significarum fuisse tantum genus humanum, nedum ejus pattem illam, cui tunc temporis evangelii lux effulserat" ('Jud. Eccl. Cath.,' 5:8). When he had made purification of sins. (So, according to the best-supported 'rod now generally accepted text.) The aorist is now resumed, denoting an act in time - the act accomplished by him as incarnate SON, previous to and necessary for his entering on the inheritance appointed to him as such. This act, the grand purpose of the Incarnation, was atonement. There can be no doubt that the cleansing effected by atonement, and not the mere moral reformation of believers, is meant here by purification of sins. The sequel of the Epistle, being, as aforesaid, the full expression of the drift of the exordium, is sufficient proof of this. For in it Christ is exhibited at great length as the true High Priest of humanity, accomplishing truly what the Jewish priesthood signified; and as having "sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens," in virtue of his accomplished atonement (Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12). Nor would the Hebrew readers to whom the Epistle was addressed be likely to understand καθαρισμὸν ("purification") in any other sense than this. The verb καθαρίζειν is the LXX. equivalent for the Hebrew מִהַר, frequent in the Old Testament for ceremonial cleansing, the result of atoning sacrifice; in which sense it is accordingly used in Hebrews 10. of this Epistle. The theory of the Jewish ceremonial law was that the whole congregation, including the priests themselves, were too much polluted by sin to approach the holy God who dwelt between the cherubim. Therefore sacrifices were ordained to make atonement for them. The word for "making atonement for" (Greek, ἰλασκέσθαι) is in Hebrew כָפַר, which means properly "to cover;" i.e. to cover sin from the sight of God. And the result of such atonement was called "purification," or "cleansing." This appears clearly in Leviticus 16, where the ceremonies of the great Day of Atonement are detailed. After an account of the various sacrifices of atonement, for the high priest and his house, for the people, and for the holy place itself polluted by their sins, we read (ver. 19), "And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it [i.e. the altar] with his finger seven times, and cleanse it (καθαριεῖ), and hallow it from the uncleanness (τῶν ἀκαθαρσιῶν) of the children of Israel." And finally (ver. 30), "For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you (καθαρίσαι), that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord." It is to be observed, further, that it is especially the meaning of the ceremonial of the Day of Atonement that Christ is spoken of afterwards in the Epistle as having fulfilled. For the phrase, ποιησάμενος καθαρισμὸν ἁμαρτιὼν, cf. Job 7:21, Διατί οὐκ ἐποιήσω τῆς ἀνομίας λήθην καὶ καθαρισμὸν τῆς ἁμαρτίας μου. Its meaning in the Epistle may be that Christ, by his death, brought into being and established a permanent purification of sins - "a fountain open for sin and for uncleanness" (Zechariah 13:1) - in his blood, which is regarded as now ever offered at the heavenly mercy-seat (Hebrews 9:12) and sprinkled on the redeemed below (Hebrews 9:14, 22). Thus the distinction, observed above, between the atonement (ἱλασμὸς), of sacrifice and its application for cleansing (καθαρισμὸς) would be preserved (cf. 1 John 1:7 and Revelation 7:14). Sat down; i.e. entered on his inheritance of all things; not simply in the sense of resuming his pristine glory, but of obtaining the preeminence denoted in prophecy as appointed to the Son, human as well as Divine, and won by obedience and accomplished atonement. And this his supreme exaltation (as will be seen hereafter) carries with it the idea of an exaltation of humanity, of which he was the High Priest and Representative. But be it observed that there is no change in the subject; of the sentence. He who "sat down on high" after making purification is the same with him through whom the worlds were made, and whose eternal Divinity has been expressed by the present participles. This identification supports the orthodox position of there being but one personality in Christ, notwithstanding the two natures, and justifies, against Nestorian-ism, the term θεοτόκος ασ applied to the blessed Virgin, with other cognate expressions accepted in orthodox theology, such as, "God suffered," though in his human, not his Divine, nature; "God shed his blood" (cf. Philippians 2:8, etc.). On the right hand of the Majesty on high. The expression is taken from Psalm 110:1, afterwards cited in this Epistle, and prominently referred to in like manner by St. Paul. The figure is suggested by the custom of Oriental kings, who placed at the right hand of the throne a son whom they associated with themselves in the prerogatives of royalty. Occurring as it does first in a Messianic psalm, the phrase is never applied to the Son's original relation to the Father "before the ages," but only to his exaltation as the Christ (on which see Bleek). The same idea seems expressed by our Lord's own words, "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Matthew 28:18). But in the end, according to St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:24, 28), this peculiar "kingship" of the SON will cease, the redemptive purpose being accomplished. It is to be observed that, both here and afterwards (Hebrews 8:1), a fine periphrasis is used for "right-hand of God;" "the right hand of the Majesty on high" and "the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." This may be regarded, not only as characteristic of the eloquent style of the Epistle, but also as implying an avoidance of too local or physical a view of the session spoken cf. It is apparent elsewhere how the writer sees in the figures used to denote heavenly things only signs, level to our comprehension, of corresponding realities beyond our ken. Hebrews 1:3Being (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.o. lxx, 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 glory is the expression of the divine attributes collectively. It is the unfolded fullness of the divine perfections, differing from μορφὴ θεοῦ form of God (Philippians 2:6), in that μορφὴ is the immediate, proper, personal investiture of the divine essence. Δόξα is attached 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 substance is 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 Ruth 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 to engrave 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.o. lxx, Leviticus 13:28; 2 Macc. 4:10; 4 Macc. 15:4. The kindred χάραγμα mark, 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 all things (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.o., but comp Luke 1:37, and see note. The word is that in which the Son's power manifests itself. Ἀυτοῦ his refers 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.o lxx, Job 7:21. Καθαρισμός purification occurs in Mark, Luke John, 2nd Peter, oP., and only here in Hebrews. The verb καθαρίζειν to purify 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 from. In 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 9:12 ff. Μεγαλωσύνη majesty, only here, Hebrews 8:1; Jde 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.o. lxx, Psalm 92:4; Psalm 112:5. Ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις in the highest (places), in the Gospels, and only in doxologies. See Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:10; Luke 2:14. Ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις in the 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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