A Study of Hebrews Chapter 1: Part 5

leave a comment »

Who being the brightness of His glory

The writer, in his constant and continuous crescendo, persists with His approach in identifying the Son to His reader by utilizing language that is almost foreign to us today. This language would have however been so incredibly poetic and real to the reader of that day. We must go back to the time of the letter in order to attempt to grasp the words of the writer since our modern mind cannot truly find the application in its fullest sense. 

Firstly, an examination of the verb “being” here would be a good point of beginning to our study. The verb does not denote a language expressing time but simply is simply denoting existence. The Lord Jesus did not become or begin to exist in the brightness of His glory but He simply is the brightness of His glory. The term signifies absolute and timeless existence! This is the same expression surrounding the proclamation of the Lord Jesus in John 8:58 where He states not only that He had existed before Abraham but that “before Abraham was, I AM”. The words uttered by the Lord caused these Jews to pick up stones to end His life for they understood that He was confirming His eternality.[i]

The expression “the brightness of His glory” is a remarkable attribute of the Lord Jesus. Jehovah is said to be the “king of glory” (Psalm 24:10) and the Father’s glory is what will illuminate the city of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:24). Some have attempted to downplay its significance by stating that He is merely “the brightness” and this somehow implies a “lesser” insinuation to the expression. It should be noted that this type of thinking begins with the presupposition that Christ is inferior to the Father since when a proper study of the language is conducted, we see that it promotes not only that He shares in the glory of the Father (John 17:5) but also that the Lord Jesus is the very essence of His glory. This is substantiated when we look at the parallel between the king of Glory (Psalm 24:10) and the term “Lord of Glory” in 1 Corinthians 2:8. The brightness or radiance relates back to the Father Himself since it is the Father “who alone has immortality, dwelling in the unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16). The only means by which a person can see the Father is by seeing Jesus Christ. Christ is the manifestation of the effulgence of God in its totality. The apostles, during the mount of transfiguration, saw His glory (Luke 9:32) and, as John could write, we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14) The people of God await patiently His coming will be with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:31) The glory is not something that is simply in His possession but something that He shared with the Father. During the Lord’s High Priestly prayer, He speaks to the Father relishing His plea: O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (John 17:5). This was a glory that they possessed together as the one true God Jehovah. As the solar light brings the very essence of the sun to us, so has Christ brought to us the holiness, the wisdom, the beauty, the perfection, of God.[ii]

This writer is very much in sync with the parallel passages found in John 12:41 in the vision of the prophet Isaiah. Let us take the time to examine this since we feel that it is of great importance to grasp this particular paradigm.


[i] It should be noted that the language employed by the Lord Jesus “I AM” can be traced back to the name which Jehovah had declared would be the name He would be known by to the Hebrews. We read: “Then Moses said to God, indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, “the God of your fathers has sent me to you”, and they say to me, “What is His name?” what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:13-14)

[ii] What the Bible Teachers: Hebrews, J. Flanigan, John Ritchie, Page 21


Written by shawnkjmcgrath

July 24, 2009 at 11:03 am

Posted in Hebrews Ch.1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: