Hebrews 1:3

Being (wn). Absolute and timeless existence (present active participle of eimi) in contrast with genomeno in verse Colossians 4 like hn in John 1:1 (in contrast with egeneto in John 1:14 ) and like uparcwn and genomeno in Philippians 2:6 . The effulgence of his glory (apaugasma th doxh). The word apaugasma, late substantive from apaugazw, to emit brightness (augh, augazw in 2 Corinthians 4:4 ), here only in the N.T., but in Wisdom 7:26 and in Philo. It can mean either reflected brightness, refulgence (Calvin, Thayer) or effulgence (ray from an original light body) as the Greek fathers hold. Both senses are true of Christ in his relation to God as Jesus shows in plain language in John 12:45 ; John 14:9 . "The writer is using metaphors which had already been applied to Wisdom and the Logos" (Moffatt). The meaning "effulgence" suits the context better, though it gives the idea of eternal generation of the Son ( John 1:1 ), the term Father applied to God necessarily involving Son. See this same metaphor in 2 Corinthians 4:6 . The very image of his substance (carakthr th upostasew). Carakthr is an old word from carassw, to cut, to scratch, to mark. It first was the agent (note ending =thr) or tool that did the marking, then the mark or impress made, the exact reproduction, a meaning clearly expressed by caragma ( Acts 17:29 ; Revelation 13:16 ). Menander had already used (Moffatt) carakthr in the sense of our "character." The word occurs in the inscriptions for "person" as well as for "exact reproduction" of a person. The word upostasi for the being or essence of God "is a philosophical rather than a religious term" (Moffatt). Etymologically it is the sediment or foundation under a building (for instance). In Revelation 11:1 ypostasi is like the "title-deed" idea found in the papyri. Athanasius rightly used Hebrews 1:1-4 in his controversy with Arius. Paul in Philippians 2:5-11 pictures the real and eternal deity of Christ free from the philosophical language here employed. But even Paul's simpler phrase morph qeou (the form of God) has difficulties of its own. The use of Logo in John 1:1-18 is parallel to Hebrews 1:1-4 . And upholding (perwn te). Present active participle of perw closely connected with wn (being) by te and like Colossians 1:17 in idea. The newer science as expounded by Eddington and Jeans is in harmony with the spiritual and personal conception of creation here presented. By the word of his power (twi rhmati th dunamew autou). Instrumental case of rhma (word). See Colossians 11:3 for rhmati qeou (by the word of God) as the explanation of creation like Genesis, but here autou refers to God's Son as in Colossians 1:2 . Purification of sins (kaqarismon twn amartiwn). Kaqarismo is from kaqarizw, to cleanse ( Matthew 8:3 ; Hebrews 9:14 ), here only in Hebrews, but in same sense of cleansing from sins, 2 Peter 1:9 ; Job 7:21 . Note middle participle poihsameno like eurameno in Hebrews 9:12 . This is the first mention of the priestly work of Christ, the keynote of this Epistle. Sat down (ekaqisen). First aorist active of kaqizw, "took his seat," a formal and dignified act. Of the Majesty on high (th megalosunh en upshloi). Late word from mega, only in LXX ( Deuteronomy 32:3 ; 2 Samuel 7:23 , etc.), Aristeas, Hebrews 1:3 ; Hebrews 8:1 ; Jude 1:25 . Christ resumed his original dignity and glory ( John 17:5 ). The phrase en upshloi occurs in the Psalms ( Psalms 93:4 ), here only in N.T., elsewhere en upsistoi in the highest ( Matthew 21:9 ; Luke 2:14 ) or en toi epouranioi in the heavenlies ( Ephesians 1:3 Ephesians 1:20 ). Jesus is here pictured as King (Prophet and Priest also) Messiah seated at the right hand of God.