Jesus Is The Brightness of God’s Glory (Part 2)

Today’s Lesson

Read Hebrews 1:1-12

Someone commented on one of my previous posts that the statement made in Hebrews 1:3, that Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory, does not necessarily mean Jesus is God.

To be precise, Hebrews does make a distinction between God and Jesus. Hebrews 1:1-2 states that God has spoken to us through his Son. Clearly, God and Jesus are not the same person.

However, Hebrews does not teach that Jesus is a mere human like the rest of us; it does not teach that Jesus is a new Adam. Instead, Hebrews tells us that God created the worlds by means of Jesus, and that Jesus holds all things together through his own word. This means that Jesus existed together with God when God created all things, and that Jesus does the work we usually think God does: holding everything in existence.

Hebrews then tells us that Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory: Jesus is the light that proceeds from God’s glory (what could that possibly mean?); and Jesus it the express image of God’s person: that is, Jesus is the precise copy of God’s person (how is that possible?).

No, Jesus is not the same person as God, but Hebrews teaches that Jesus is the exact reflection of God. It is as if God were looking at Himself in the mirror!

However, whe you look at yourself in the mirror, you are looking at what is only a reflection of yourself, your own image reflected on the surface of an object that is not you, that is completely different from you. That’s not what Hebrews is saying! In the case of God, God’s reflection proceeds from God’s glory!

What then is God’s glory?

God’s glory is not merely his reputation or beauty: there is more to it. In Exodus 33:22-23, God tells Moses that He will cover Moses’ eyes when God’s glory passes before Moses; then when He has passed before Moses, God will allow Moses to see His back.

Who then was to pass before Moses, God Himself or God’s glory? The answer is that both God and His glory would pass before Moses. God’s glory is not merely God’s reputation or beauty, but God’s own presence. Where God’s glory is present, God Himself is present.

Look at Exodus 40:34-35. The pillar of cloud and fire covered the tabernacle, and God’s glory filled the taernacle. An interesting distinction is made between the pillar of cloud and fire, and God’s glory. The pillar was over the tabernacle, but God’s glory was inside the tabernacle. But what was so significant about God’s glory being inside the tabernacle? The significance of this is that the tabernacle had been made for God Himself to dwell in it (see Exodus 25:8). Once again, God’s glory is equivalent to God’s presence.

If Jesus is the brightness that proceeds from God’s glory, Jesus is the light that proceeds from God’s presence. God’s presence is God Himself. Jesus is light that proceeds from God Himself. But this light is not what you think of as light; this light is something entirely different; this light is not made up of photons; this light is actually the person we know as Jesus.

Thus, what we have here is an interesting concept: from God’s own being emerges a person who was always together with God and who is as powerful as God: Jesus!

God actually loves this person so much he delcares Jesus heir of all things: heir of everything that belongs to God! God even calls this person God (see Hebrews 1:8). God also makes it clear that Jesus is not a created being, because God says that Jesus is the creator of Heaven and Earth (Hebrews 1:10), and that Jesus lives forever (Hebrews 1:11-12).

This all fits together to the point that Hebrews is making in chapter 1: Jesus is not an angel, Jesus is greater than the angels!

Some Hebrew believers may have been thinking that Jesus, the Messiah, was an angel. Maybe they even thought he was the archangel Miachael. But the book of Hebrews makes it clear: Jesus is not an angel, nor is Jesus just a human being.

Jesus is the person that proceeds from God’s very own being to make God maninfest so that we can see him and know him. Jesus is the person that proceeds from God’s being and became a human so that we can see God and know God. Jesus is the second person of the Trinity: Jesus is the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12-14).

Questions for Reflection

  1. Is Jesus the same person as God? Is Jesus one being with God?
  2. What is God’s glory? Why is Jesus called the brightness of God’s glory?
  3. Is Jesus an anagel? Is Jesus just human?
  4. How is Jesus the Word of God? What does it mean that Jesus is God’s word?

Sample Prayer

Lord, God the Father. You are perfectly revealed by your word, Jesus! I recognize that Jesus proceeds from your being, that he has always being with you as a part of you, and that you love him because he is your Son like no one else is your son. I place my faith in him, because when I trust him, I am trusting you.

Reminder

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©2018, Marcelo E. Carcach. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Jesus Is The Brightness of God’s Glory (Part 2)

  1. Hebrews 1:8 says “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” letting us know that it is the son of God (and not a god son / Jesus) that in these last days the Most High God has spoken to us by his Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He ((God and not Jesus) made the universe and that it is God His throne is forever and ever,
    and the scepter of righteousness is the scepter of God His kingdom.
    Hebrews 1:10 does not say Jesus created the world but clearly tells us it was God Who created the universe:
    8 But of the Son He says,

    “Your throne, O God {=Jehovah the God of gods}, is forever and ever,
    And the righteous scepter is the scepter of [a]His kingdom.
    9
    “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
    Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
    With the oil of gladness above Your companions.”

    10 And,

    “You, Lord {=Jehovah the God of gods}, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
    And the heavens are the works of Your hands;
    11
    They will perish, but You remain;
    And they all will become old like a garment,
    12
    And like a mantle You {=Jehovah the God of gods} will roll them up;
    Like a garment they will also be changed.
    But You {=Jehovah the God of gods} are the same,
    And Your years will not come to an end.” (Hebrews 1:8-12)

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    1. Hebrews 1:2 “By whom also He made the worlds.” Clearly, while Jehovah created all things, He did so through His Son. So, what would this mean? The fact that the Son upholds all things by the word of his power reinforces the concept that the Son participated in creation. John 1:3 clearly states that all things were by by the Word of God, and without the Word of God, nothing was made.

      Hebrews 1:8, “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” The beginning of the verse “But unot the Son he saith” makes it clear that the rest of the verse is speaking to the Son. “O God” refers to the Son. This is reinforced by the fact that Psalm 45 is about a mighty warrior who fights to defend the king’s throne (David’s throne). This mighty warrior, though distinguished from Jehovah, is addressed as God and anointed by God.

      Hebrews 1:10-13 is still talking about the identity of the Son. Why would the author switch to talking about the Father, Jehovah, when the whole chapter is about the identity of the Son to establish that the Son is not an angel? That would not make sense.

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  2. You say Jesus is the second person of the Trinity and refer to Jesus is the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12-14) missing that Jesus is the expression and given word of God (referring to what Jehovah God promised in the Garden of Eden).

    Hebrews 4:12-14 New International Version (NIV)

    12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
    Jesus the Great High Priest

    14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

    Notice also how Jesus is declared the high priest for God and is the son of God it says in many places. Nowhere saying there is a Trinity or the God would be Jesus or that Jesus would be the God of gods or Host of hosts.

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    1. Yes, I say that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity and that Jesus is the Word of God. I think there is a distinction between the word uttered by God, the Bible as the word of God, and the Word of God as a part of God that does God’s will (the Memra). Here’s an article I found in the Messianic Jewish Bible Inistitute on this topic. https://mjbi.org/2014/09/12/yeshua-the-eternal-memra/

      Now, Hebrews does not need to use the same terminology I am using. It does not need to say “second person of the Trinity” for it to be teaching about it. The word Trinity is a term that theologians use to describe what they see in the Bible: that the Father (Jehovah), the Son (Jesus), and the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) are one being yet three distinct persons. I am of that persuasion.

      Jesus is cleared a great high priest indeed. But what makes him so great? He is so great because he is The Word of God who took on himself not the nature of angels but the nature of Abraham’s descendents (see Hebrews 2:16). Now, if he took on himself human nature, it means that he used not be a human; and if he could have taken the nature of angels, that means he is not an angel.

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