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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;
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

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).


1:4 Being made. The Son, by His essential deity, is acknowledged as “being” (Hebrews 1:3), but in His perfect humanity, He was “being made.” He created all the angels, but when He became man, He was made “a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death” (Hebrews 2:9), but now, having been “appointed heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2), in His glorified humanity, He is forever better than angels, even in His humanity.


1:5 said he. This is the first of at least forty quotations in Hebrews from the Old Testament Scriptures. A perennial objection of the Jews to Jesus has been that God has no son, since He is one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), so Paul (assuming he is the writer) begins by showing that their own Scriptures prove God to be both Father and Son. This particular reference is from Psalm 2:7, referring not only to God’s Son, but also to His coming resurrection, as the first begotten from the dead (Acts 13:33; Colossians 1:18).


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