Hebrews 1:3

November 24, 2013
Heb 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Heb 1:1-4 1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.


  1. 5 Phrases
    1. He is the radiance of the glory of God
    2. the exact imprint of his nature,
    3. he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
    4. he made purification for our sins
    5. (and after this) he sat down sat the right hand of the Majesty on high,
  2. We will deal with these phrases under the headings:
    1. What he is (root)
      1. He is the radiance of the glory of God
      2. the exact imprint of his nature,
    2. What he did and does (action)
      1. he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
      2. he made purification for our sins
    3. What he enjoys (result and reward)
      1. he sat down sat the right hand of the Majesty on high,

What He Is

The excellency and supremacy of Him by whom the gospel was revealed

He is the radiance of the glory of God

N.T. Verses (appeal to NT)

Jesus as the sun's beams (appeal to nature)

Jesus as the foremost manifestation of God's glory (appeal to doctrine)

The glory of God in the scriptures (appeal to OT)

Jesus' Glory

He is the exact imprint of God's nature

(hypostasis gr) (being niv) (nature nasb) (person kjv) (essence net)

Human or Divine?

  1. Is Hebrews 1 speaking of Christ in his divine or human nature?
    1. appointed the heir of all things
    2. through whom also he created the world
    3. He is the radiance of the glory of God
    4. the exact imprint of his nature
    5. he upholds the universe by the word of his power
    6. having become superior to angels

Jesus The Person

  1. Hebrews deals with Jesus as a person
    1. It is the person of Jesus that we find lovely
    2. As a person look how he acted. Look what he lived like.
      1. It is not the direct and immediate design of the apostle to treat absolutely of either nature of Christ, his divine or human, but only of his person
      2. some things that he mentions concerning him have a special foundation in and respect unto his divine nature, some in and unto his human, as must every thing that is spoken of him
      3. That which the apostle principally intends in and about the person of Christ, is to set forth his dignity, pre-eminence‚ and exaltation above all
  2. God the Father, before time began had always known and loved Jesus
    1. He knew his kindness, his servant nature, his willingness to be crushed so that others might live, his selflessness, his giving of himself, his willingness to work his Father's will when everyone else is telling him not to.
    2. Yet, I speculate, that it had to be something special for the Father to see these things worked out into time and space.
    3. The Father always knew Christ's willingness to die on a cross but he had never actually died on a cross until that moment.
    4. His heir-ship, his taking ownership of the world is tied to him actually doing it, not just being the type of person that would do it should the need ever arise.
    5. He actually did it.
      1. It is not a hypothetical. It is not a "it might happen". It is a "it did happen!"
      2. It is not that Jesus was not glorious, and lovely, and beautiful before the cross.
      3. It is that at Calvary the glory, loveliness, and beauty of Christ shines forth in all its brightness.
        1. Look in awe at what Christ did and at who he is.


  1. If Jesus is the exact imprint of God's nature, if he displays to us the Father, wherein do we see, in the life of Jesus, God's omnipresence, omnipotence, and other incommunicable attributes?
    1. We talk about the attributes of God and how we the church need to get back to studying his attributes.
      1. Yes, yes we do.
      2. But, here in order to know God, no, knowing God's attributes is insufficient for knowing God.
      3. Necessary and sufficient
        1. It is necessary to know God's attributes to know God. But those things are not sufficient to know him.
        2. The only sufficient thing for knowing God is knowing the person of Jesus Christ
        3. If you know, intellectually, that God is all powerful, all present, all loving, all knowing, and whatever other attributes of God that you want to pick out; you don't know him yet.
          1. You need to know those things about him. If you say, "My God is the God who is not all powerful or knowing or loving" then your God is not the God of the Bible and the ministry of alerting people to that fact is an important ministry.
          2. There are men living right now who go to people who think they are Christians but serve a different God than the God of the Bible. And they tell them you have missed necessary bits of knowledge about who this God is, you're God is not the God of the Bible.
          3. But I'm not talking to them, I'm talking to you and to me. I want to know God. What is it about Jesus that makes it so I can know him and in knowing him know his Father?
            1. I don't know him for knowing his all power, his all knowing, I need to know that about him but that is not him.
            2. Knowing Jesus is not knowing his attributes it is knowing his person.
            3. His person isn't the divine nature. His person isn't the human nature. His person has two natures, but it isn't his natures that make him lovely it is his person that makes him lovely.
            4. We tend to get this about Jesus better than we do the Father.
  2. In Jesus life we see who the Father is as a person
    1. We said before God dwells in thick darkness and in inapproachable light. Which of God's attributes dwell in thick darkness and inapproachable light. Which of his attributes is not spelled out in the Old Testament. I claim that the self-revalation of God in the law and prophets is a sufficient revalation of his divine attributes such as omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and so on.
      1. 1Kgs 8:12 The LORD has said that he would dwell in thick darkness.
      2. 1Tim 6:15b-16 The King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
    2. It is not that in knowing about Jesus we know about the Father. In knowing Jesus we do know his Father.
      1. The Father is not some depersonalized force but a person. He has a personality.
        1. He has likes and dislikes.
        2. Happinesses and griefs.
        3. Things that make him joyful and things that make him grieved
      2. The Father's person is wrapped in thick darkness and is unknowable by us. Humanity needs to know the Father and it doesn't and it can't. Except by the person of Jesus Christ.
    3. What the Old Testament is not sufficient for what it obscures while at the same time it enlightens is how to come to a saving knowledge of this God.
      1. In Jesus Christ alone we learn who God the Father is as a person.
      2. The disciples, knowing Jesus as a person, knew the Father as a person.
        1. Whoever has seen me has seen the Father, John 14:9
        2. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him John 14:7
        3. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me John 14:6
  3. Jesus is the perfect prophet because he is the exact representation of who God is.
    1. Moses, Abraham, David, and Isaiah can neither reveal nor represent God to us.
    2. Only Christ can because Christ is the exact imprint of God's nature.
  4. Therefore this is our great guide and direction in all our endeavours after an acceptable access unto Him. Would we come to that acquaintance with the nature, properties, and excellencies of the Father, which poor, weak, finite creatures are capable of attaining in this world,—which is sufficient that we may love him, fear him, serve him, and come unto the enjoyment of him? would we know his love and grace? would we admire his wisdom and holiness?—let us labour to come to an intimate and near acquaintance with his Son Jesus Christ, in whom all these things dwell in their fulness, and by whom they are exhibited, revealed, unfolded unto us; seek the Father in the Son, out of whom not one property of the divine nature can be savingly apprehended or rightly understood, and in whom they are all exposed to our faith and spiritual contemplation. This is our wisdom, to abide in Christ, to abide with him, to learn him; and in him we shall learn, see, and know the Father also.

What He Does

He upholds the universe by the word of his power (King)

  1. As Moses carried the people of Israel through the desert
    1. Num 11:11-12 ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers?
    2. Heb 3:2b Moses also was faithful in all God's house.
  2. So Jesus carries the weight of the world.
    1. Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    2. Twofold purpose
      1. To bear, to carry,
      2. To rule, to dispose,
  3. Yet not as Moses carried the people
    1. Moses did not carry the world
      1. Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, hath the weight of the whole creation upon his hand
      2. It is very probable that the apostle in these words ... did intend to mind the Hebrews that the Lord Christ, the Son, is he who was represented in the form of a man unto Ezekiel, ruling and disposing of all things
    2. Moses did not conceive the people of God
      1. Num 11:11-12 11Moses said to the LORD, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? 12Did I conceive all this people? Did I give them birth, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a nursing child,’ to the land that you swore to give their fathers?
    3. He does it by the word of his power
      1. The word not the same as the John 1:1 logos
      2. For men to carry, they do it by much labor and travail, he does it by an inexpressible facility, by the word of his power.

After making purification for sins (Priest)

  1. Yet there is a place wherein he worked like men work, where he travailed and labored.
    1. "So great was the work of freeing us from sin, that it could no otherwise be effected but by the self-sacrifice of the Son of God"
    2. The God of the universe for whom nothing is too difficult, struggled and strove, sweat and worked, he travailed and labored for us, to purge us of our sins. In this we shift to the greatest theme of the book of Hebrews, Christ as priest. Christ as savior. Christ as intercessor. Christ who worked for us such a great salvation. A salvation that we must take hold of and that we are in constant danger of neglecting.
      1. What is like Jesus and his work for our souls to which we can compare him. What analogy will do?
      2. Should we talk of the glory of the ark, or of Ezekiel's vision? Those pale in comparison to the glory of God that can be seen in the person of Jesus Christ.
      3. Should we talk of when the weight of glory seen when God's glory descended and laid heavy on the tabernacle and the temple? Those were mere pointers to the glory that is to be seen in Jesus Christ.
      4. Should we talk of the majesty and wisdom of God's scriptures given through the prophets perfect and sufficient to accomplishing the end for which he sends it. Jesus Christ, God's son, the Prophet has spoken to us.
      5. This is the center-piece. If you wont know who God is here you just wont get it anywhere.

What He Enjoys

he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high

  1. His present and perpetual enjoyment, as a consequent of what he was and did, is expressed in the last words: “He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

Right hand

  1. Gen 48:13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near him.
  2. Gen 48:17-19 17When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him, and he took his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. 18And Joseph said to his father, “Not this way, my father; since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” 19But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.”
  3. Exod 15:6 Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
  4. Ps 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
  5. Ps 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
  6. Isa 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
  7. Matt 26:64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
  8. Mark 14:62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
  9. Mark 16:19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
  10. Acts 5:31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
  11. Acts 7:55-56 55But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

Sat Down

  1. The priest would go into the presence of God stand and leave
    1. The priest entered, stood, ministered, and withdrew.
  2. Jesus Christ sat down, no one, has ever gone into the holy of holies and sat down. Ever. Jesus Christ does that which only the high priest and that only once a year does and he sits down.
  3. What is contained in these words "sat down"?
    1. Right, title, liberty, fittingness
    2. Finality
      1. A signal pledge and evidence that his work was perfected and that God was fully satisfied and well pleased with what he had done
    3. Permanence`
      1. The high priest would leave the holiest place but not Jesus, he sits down
    4. Hiddenness, safety
      1. His suffering is done. He is sitting high above and beyond the reach of all his enemies.
    5. Authority, reign, rule
      1. He sat as if on a throne
    6. Highest place
      1. Where does he sit down, at the right hand of God


  1. Col 1:15-20 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him. 17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.