God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
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;
 

1:1 divers manners. The Old Testament Scriptures were all from God, but He used many different writers over the ages, and different manners of inspiration to write them. Whatever method was used, however—whether direct dictation or special revelation or the individual knowledge and ability of the writer—all were so guided and illumined by the Holy Spirit that the words finally written down were as though spoken by God Himself.

1:1 by the prophets. The epistle to the Hebrews is neither addressed to a particular church nor to a particular person (as are all Paul’s other letters), but there are several reasons for believing Paul was the author, as follows: (1) its ending is a typical Pauline ending (Hebrews 13:25); (2) its author was associated closely with Timothy (Hebrews 13:23); (3) Peter implied that Paul had written an epistle to the Jews (II Peter 3:15-16); (4) it was written from Italy (Hebrews 13:24), possibly as one of Paul’s prison epistles; (5) he had been prevented from giving his message to the Jews by his arrest in the temple and transport to Jerusalem, so he undoubtedly wanted to give a full exposition of the Christian faith to his beloved countrymen (note his testimony in Romans 9:1-3). Although he had written many epistles to the Gentiles, he had written nothing yet for his Jewish brethren, and may well have proceeded to do so in prison, after the Jews in Rome had rejected his spoken message (Acts 28:29-31).

1:2 by his Son. God spoke intermittently and partially by the Old Testament prophets, but finally and fully by His Son, through the apostles (Hebrews 2:3).

1:2 heir of all things. See note on Romans 8:17; also see Psalm 2:8.

1:2 made the worlds. The Son is the Creator of all things (John 1:1-3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16). Here the Scripture notes that Christ created the “space/time” cosmos. He is Creator of time as well as space, and all things. The Greek word aion, can be translated either “ages” (e.g., Ephesians 2:7) or “worlds” (e.g., Hebrews 11:3). It embraces the idea of time as well as space and matter, thus beautifully reflecting the scientific concept of the universe as a space/matter/time continuum.

1:3 brightness of his glory. “Brightness” is from a Greek word used only here in the New Testament, literally meaning “off-flashing.” In context of both this passage and modern astronomy, it could well be understood as “radiation.” As the “express image” of the Father, the Son of God is analogous to the life-giving rays from the sun. Just as the Father dwells “in the light which no man can approach unto” (I Timothy 6:16), so can no man gaze long at the sun without being blinded. Yet, physically speaking, as the sun’s radiation provides both light and life to the world, so the Son is spiritually both the “light of the world” (John 8:12), and the “life” of the world (John 1:14; 14:6; Acts 17:28). See also notes on Psalm 19:1; 65:8; Micah 5:2.

1:3 word of his power. The eternal Son not only created all things by His omnipotent Word (Psalm 33:6; Hebrews 11:3) but is now “upholding all things by the Word of His power.” Note the remarkable relationship here between “things” and “power,” or in modern scientific jargon, between mass and energy. The atomic structure of our very bodies is being held together (or “sustained”—see note on Colossians 1:17) by mysterious nuclear forces or binding energies that keep the atoms from disintegrating into chaos. Scientists do not yet understand such energies or their origin—they merely name them! The fact is that we (and all things) are being upheld by the out-radiating energy of the Son of God, so that He is “not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27), whether we believe in Him or not. “Where the word of a King is, there is power: and who may say unto Him, What doest thou?” (Ecclesiastes 8:4). This passage in Hebrews 1:2-3—like Colossians 1:14-20 and Romans 11:36—beautifully summarizes the past, present and future work of Christ in relation to the whole universe.

1:3 by himself. The purging of our sins was accomplished solely “by Himself;” we have contributed nothing whatever to His great work of saving our souls.

1:3 right hand. Out of the twenty-one references to Christ being at the right hand of the Father (the first being in Psalm 16:8), five occur in Hebrews (Hebrews 1:3,13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2).


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