Read Hebrews 1:1-12
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
- Is Jesus the same person as God? Is Jesus one being with God?
- What is God’s glory? Why is Jesus called the brightness of God’s glory?
- Is Jesus an anagel? Is Jesus just human?
- How is Jesus the Word of God? What does it mean that Jesus is God’s word?
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.
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©2018, Marcelo E. Carcach. All rights reserved.