The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”Hebrews 1:3 (NIV)
I cannot fathom a being that is the radiance of the Glory of God. I read it. I think about it. I consider it. I meditate on it. I study about it. I research it. But I still cannot fathom it. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is the radiance of God’s Glory!
Radiance is apaugasma. It comes from apo (“from”) and auge (“brightness). It is a “shining forth.” The shining forth comes from within the luminous body. Some translators have chosen the words “effulgence” and “out-raying” to explain the meaning of apaugasma. It does not mean “reflected light.” It is not that Christ was in God’s Presence and “reflected” God’s Glory in the same way that Moses reflected God’s Glory after being in His Presence. It is a brightness that eminates from within Jesus. The Shekinah Glory of Almighty God radiates from inside Christ! The word is found only in Hebrews 1:3 and it is about our Lord. Jesus is God and therefore is the “radiance” of God’s Glory.
Glory is doxa. It is the expression of the divine attributes. Moses once asked God to show him His Glory. God answered by saying, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Exodus 33:19) In Exodus 34 we see God pass in front of Moses and that His Goodness is made up of his Compassion, Grace, Patience, Love, Mercy, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Fairness and Justice. Jesus is the “radiance” of God’s Glory. Our Lord radiates all that is Good. The Apostle John wrote: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
Hebrews 1:3 reminds me of several other verses about Christ’s radiance.
“He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.” Matthew 17:2
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1-5
“And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” Matthew 4:13-16
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12
“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” John 12:46
“The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” Revelation 21:23
The Light of Heaven is the Glory of God and Jesus Christ is the radiance of God’s Glory! We are so fortunate to know Him personally; to have Him living “in” us.
Jesus is also the “exact represenation” of God’s Being. This is a translation of charakter. The King James Version translates it as “express image.” The word was used in classical Greek for the tool an engraver used to make images in coins, tools, etc. Greeks used the word for a person’s features and character. The tool carried the exact image or representation of an individual. The engraver used the tool to stamp that exact image on something of value. Jesus Christ is the “exact representation” of God’s Being. Paul wrote that Christ “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Liddon wrote that Jesus “is both personally distinct from, and yet literally equal to, Him of whose essence He is the adequate imprint.” Vincent wrote, “Here the essential being of God is conceived as setting its distinctive stamp upon Christ, coming into definite and characteristic expression in his person, so that the Son bears the exact impress of the divine nature and character.” There is no flaw in Christ. He doesn’t possess “some” or “most” of the characteristics of God. He IS the “exact representation” of God!
Christ is also “sustaining all things by his powerful word.” “Sustaining” is pheron. It carries the idea of “sustaining something that is in constant movement.” Jesus sustains and maintains all of creation as it moves forward in time. Jesus has sustained all things from the beginning. Paul wrote:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Colossians 1:15-17
Christ created everything and has sustained everything since the beginning. He continues to do that today and will continue for eternity. All things maintain their coherence in Christ. Nothing has the power to hold together by its own power. It is only in the Power of Christ that things hold together.
How does Jesus do it? What is His Power? It is “by his powerful word” that He sustains all things. The writer to Hebrews wrote, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3) Moses wrote:
“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light” … “Then God said, ‘Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters” … “Then God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear” … “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’; and it was so” … “Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth’; and it was so” … “Then God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens” … “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind’; and it was so” … “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1
This is Christ creating Earth by the power of His Word! What a remarkable scene. Jesus created life and sustains it “by his powerful word.” The Apostle John wrote:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:1-3
In the context of God speaking about Christ, His Son, the writer to Hebrews wrote:
“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” Hebrews 1:10-12
The Crown of Glory
The writer to Hebrews wrote that Jesus wears the Crown of God’s Glory. Is that just because He is God? Just because He is the Great Creator? Just because everything is subject to Him?
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Hebrews 2:9-11
How fortunate we are to know the Living God through the radiance of His Glory and the exact representation of His Being, the One Who suffered death for us How fortunate the the Radiance of God’s Glory lives “in” us and we live “in” Him!
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”