Hebrews 1:3

Date
November 10, 2013
Psalms
59
Text:
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,
Read:
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.

Introduction

  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 could think of these verses according to Christs offices as Prophet, King, and Priest
  3. 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

  1. Prophet
    1. Prophecy: God's self-revelation of who he is
    2. In verses 1-2 we saw Jesus as the Prophet.
    3. Not only a prophet but the Prophet. The one alone who could declare the word of God perfectly and rightly
    4. Jesus is able to declare who God is to us, thus he is the superior prophet, and now we look at two ways in which he is the superior prophet:
      1. He is the radiance of the glory of God
      2. He is the exact imprint of God's nature

He is the radiance of the glory of God

  1. What is meant by the "radiance of the glory of God"? And, what does it mean that: Jesus is this radiance?
    1. With what will we compare the glory of God that we might understand better Christ as the radiance of the glory of God?

1. N.T. Verses (appeal to NT)

  1. John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
  2. 2Cor 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
  3. Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

(Aside) The unknowableness of God

  1. God in himself is said to be "in thick darkness," such that we cannot see him or know him rightly.
    1. 1Kgs 8:12 The LORD has said that he would dwell in thick darkness.
  2. It is also said of God that he dwells "in light" such that no creature can approach him
    1. 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.
  3. Both of these expressions, though the seem contrary, teach us the same thing: the infinite distance between God and us such that we cannot know him.
  4. What we have in the scriptures are partial revealings of the majestic and holy God which obsure in shadow and which do not lead us to know him sufficiently and savingly.
  5. And hence it is that those who have attempted to come unto God by the light of that manifestation which he has made of himself any other way than in and by Christ Jesus, have all failed and come short of his glory
  6. But now, the Lord Christ being “the radiance of his glory,” in whom his glory shines out of the thick darkness, has represented to us perfectly who God is, showing us all the perfections of God's person fully and clearly unto us. And so it is that in him alone we can attain a saving acquaintance with God.
  7. John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

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

  1. As the sun is and the beam is of the sun; in like manner the Father is and his Son is from the Father
  2. As the sun without change or alteration produces the beam; so is the Father without change or alteration begets his Son
  3. As the sun in order of nature is before the beam, but in time both are co-existent; so is the Father in order of nature before his Son, though in existence both co-eternal.
  4. As the beam is distinct from the sun, so that the sun is not the beam, and the beam is not the sun; so is it between the Father and his Son.
  5. As the beam is never separate from the sun, nor can the sun be without the beam, nor is the Son ever separate from the Father, nor can the Father be without his Son
  6. As the sun cannot be seen or known except by the beam, so the Father cannot be seen or known except by his Son
(Maybe not) The Son, in whom God speaks unto us in the revelation of the gospel, doth in his own person so every way answer the excellencies and perfections of God the Father, that he is in him expressly represented unto our faith and contemplation

3. Jesus as the foremost manifestation of God's glory (appeal to definition/doctrine)

The public display of the infinite beauty and worth of God is what I mean by "glory," and I base that partly on Isaiah 6, where the seraphim say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of his—" and you would expect them to say "holiness" and they say "glory." They're ascribing "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. The whole earth is full of his—" and when that goes public in the earth and fills it, you call it "glory."
So God's glory is the radiance of his holiness, the radiance of his manifold, infinitely worthy and valuable perfections. -- John Piper

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

  1. What would a 1st century Jewish believer mean by the "radiance of the glory of God"
    1. Remember the author is writing to the Jews, whose minds revolve around the O.T.
  2. Verses:
    1. Exod 33:18-23 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” 21And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, 22and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”
    2. Exod 40:34-35 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
    3. 1Kgs 8:10-11 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.
    4. 2Chr 7:1 As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
    5. Ps 78:60-61 60He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among mankind, 61and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe.
    6. Ezek 1:1 In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
    7. Ezek 1:26-28 (After describing the angels) 26And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. 27And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face
    8. Ezek 3:23 So I arose and went out into the valley, and behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the Chebar canal, and I fell on my face.
    9. Ezek 8:4 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there, like the vision that I saw in the valley.
  3. The ark
    1. The greatest glory of the Jewish Church was that God tabernacled in its midst. All these verses have something of that glory in them.
    2. What typified the glorous manifest pressence of God in the O.T. (If you had to boil it down to one type)
    3. The ark, which was the most signal representation of the presence of God amongst them, was called “his glory.”
      1. Ps 78:60-61 60He forsook his dwelling at Shiloh, the tent where he dwelt among mankind, 61and delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe.
      2. 1Sam 4:22 And she said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
    4. When the people of God marched the ark went before them
      1. Num 10:33 So they set out from the mount of the LORD three days' journey. And the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them three days' journey, to seek out a resting place for them.
    5. It was before the ark, thus in advance, that the waters of the Jordan separated; and it remained in the bed of the river
      1. Josh 4:7b the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.
    6. Mercy Seat
      1. Exodus 25:22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.
        1. Ezekiel's Vision is essentially a vision of the ark being raised out of the temple.
  4. Other
    1. This is the glory we see in Isaiah's vision
      1. Isa 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
    2. And the same at Mount Sinai
      1. Exod 24:16-17 16The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.
    3. "The radiance of his glory, then, is nothing else but the essential presence or majesty of the glorious God.” This, says Paul is Christ the Son
      1. This is God the Father manifesting himself and the radiance of his glory to us in the person of Jesus Christ
      2. The apostle is calling the Jews from the types by which they had walked in shadow into the knowledge of that which the type typified that they might walk in his light and see his glory

5. Jesus' Glory

  1. What is the glory of Jesus? Wherein does his glory consist?
    1. Is it in fire and earthquakes like atop Sinai?
  2. We have seen that it is God the Father that Jesus is showing us the glory of, but what does that mean?
    1. Does Jesus show the Father's power, knowledge, wisdom, omnipresence?
  3. Let me ask it this way. Where during Jesus' life on earth do we see his glory most?
    1. Baptism, Transfiguration, Resurrection, Ascension?
      1. These all did little good to those who beheld them.
    2. Or is it something else? His obedience, his mercy, his meekness, his tenderness, his humility, his shame, his wounds, his death.
      1. Jesus reveals God his Father to us, but what does he reveal about God? His terrible majesty is not what is chiefly on display in the life and death of Jesus Christ. This is stupifying.
  4. Heb 2:9-10 9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. 10For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.
    1. This is who the Father is. This is what Jesus reveals to us about the Holy God of the universe: his love. His sacrificial love.
  5. Rev 5:11-14 11Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
  6. Think about the implications of this: you don't know God by knowing his power, or glory, or wisdom primarily, you only know who God the Father is really and savingly by seeing his Son lifted up sacrificially on a cross.
Have you beheld his glory by faith?
  1. Have you seen glory in his shame, honor in his disgraces, riches in his poverty, might in his weakness, triumph in his conflict, and immortality in his death
  2. Have you by faith apprehended the fountain that has been opened for sin and uncleanness and had all your sins there sensibly washed away?
  3. Have you by faith seen the glory of Christ? The superior glory of Christ?
    1. Has it in any way surpassed the glory revealed of old?
      1. John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
      2. John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
      3. John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
      4. 2Cor 3:7-8 7Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?
    2. Do you have something greater than the tabernacle and have you some experience of God driving the old you out of yourself in the presence of his glory in a way that is superior to the experience the priests had when the glory descended on the eartly tent?
    3. Do you have something greater than Sinai where the terror of the presence of God was on display?
    4. Do you have something greater than Isaiah's and Ezekiel's visions of the holiness of God?
    5. Can you say with Job
      1. Job 42:5-6 5I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
    6. Can you say with Isaiah
      1. Isa 6:5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
    7. Can you say with Israel
      1. Deut 5:24-26 24And you said, ‘Behold, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. 25Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the LORD our God any more, we shall die. 26For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived?
    8. Do you know Jesus and his glory? His surpassing glory which is in some way more than all of these? Though not as immediately present?
Let us dwell upon the thought of his glory for awhile. My brethren, what a glory have we beheld by faith!
These eyes have never seen the Savior, but this heart hath seen him; these lips have never kissed his cheek, for that they might do and I might be a Judas; but the soul hath kissed him and he hath kissed me with the kisses of his mouth, for his love is better than wine. Think me not enthusiastic or fanatical when I say that the children of God have as near access to Christ to day in the spirit, as ever John had after the flesh; so that there is to this day a rich enjoyment to be obtained by those who seek it, in having actual fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. Oh, it is a joy worth worlds! Worldling, if thou hadst ever known the sweetness of this bread, thou wouldst never eat thine own ashes again. O pleasures of the world! ye would cease to tempt us, if ye knew how much more sweet are the pleasures of his face. O thunders of this world! ye would cease your attempts to frighten us, if ye knew the sweet satisfaction and solace which we find in him, when everything is bitter and disconsolate abroad. Yes, we have beheld his glory, just as surely as if we had seen it with our eyes; as certainly as if we had heard with our ears the acclamations of the glorified, and taken our seat with them at the foot of his throne, or with them had veiled our faces with wings, and cried, "Holy holy, holy, Lord God omnipotent!" Just as truly, though not so fully, we have beheld his glory—the glory of the only-begotten of the Father—full of grace and truth. --Spurgeon