Hebrews 1:2-3

Sunday, September 25th, 2016




In verse 1, we have seen that God spoke formerly to the fathers by the prophets.


Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.


God is God the Father and functions grammatically as the subject of hath . . . spoken in verse 2.


The entire phrase Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets describes hath . . . spoken in verse 2. It is understood in the sense of although (or when) He [i.e. God] spoke in many parcels and in many ways formerly to the fathers through the prophets.


We have seen that –

      1.   God spoke at many times - 1:1


At sundry times suggests in many parts or in many parcels. It indicates how God spoke in time past. It is in contrast to God’s speaking one time by His Son in verse 2. God did not deliver or reveal His entire revelation to any one person at any one time. It is an indication of progressive revelation.


We have also seen that –

      2.   God spoke in many ways - 1:1


In divers manners means in various ways. It also indicates how God spoke in time past. It is likewise in contrast to God’s speaking one time by His Son in verse 2. As one studies the Old Testament, he realizes that God not only used many occasions to speak but that He also used a variety of ways to speak: dreams, visions, directly as the angel of the Lord, directly with an audible voice, Urim and Thummim, storm and thunder, a still small voice, etc.


We have furthermore seen that –

      3.   God spoke in time past - 1:1


In time past is long ago or formerly and refers to the time before the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. It refers to the time covered by the Old Testament Scriptures. It is in contrast to in these last days in verse 2.


Finally, we have seen that –

      4.   God spoke unto the fathers through the prophets - 1:1


It was unto the fathers that God the Father spoke long ago in many parts and in many ways and refers to a group or class of people known as the fathers. These fathers were the Israelites and particularly the leaders of the Israelites throughout the Old Testament period. Unto the fathers is in contrast to unto us in verse 2.


By the prophets indicates the means or channel God used to speak to the fathers. It was by means of the prophets, through the prophets, or even in the prophets, i.e. in the persons of the prophets.


The tense of spake indicates that its action occurred before the action of hath . . . spoken in verse 2. It further indicates that God operated in a different manner in the past and has now made a change. Thus, there is a contrast between the way God spoke in the past and the way He has spoken at this time. In both cases it is God the Father Who did this speaking. What He said, therefore, is just as inspired and, consequently, just as accurate and authoritative regardless of whether He said it in the past or is saying it in the present. It differs only in its timing and in its fullness or completeness. Jesus is God’s final revelation. There is no other revelation to follow. Furthermore, inasmuch as God the Holy Spirit is the divine author of all Scripture, the older revelations as well as the later ones will always harmonize. Thus, there will always be a unity in the message as well. There can be no contradictions or corrections.


As we move on to verses 2-3 we see that –



Hebrews 1:2 a – (God) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son. . . .


Verse 2 indicates that things have changed. God’s revelation is now in the person of His Son, but it is still the same God Who has spoken. As was true in time past whenever God spoke by the prophets or in the persons of the prophets, the revelation He has given by His Son or in the person of His Son must be heeded. This is the one and only God of the universe, the God of the Bible, Who has spoken. Let the readers pay attention to the revelation He has given in Christ.


God hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.


Hath . . . spoken is parallel to spake in verse 1. Its subject is God which appears in verse 1. The action of hath spoken is contemplated as a whole and as completed in past time, and its use suggests an emphasis on the result of what was said.


In these last days is literally in (the) last ones of these days and indicates the time when God has spoken.


God spoke unto us by his Son.


Us refers both to the writer and to the readers. It seems best to understand this as including all believers. In fact, God’s message is there for the entire world, even though the world may not be listening.


By his Son is in contrast to by the prophets in verse 1 and suggests by means of His Son. Thus, Jesus is God the Father’s messenger. By may also mean in. Not only did God speak by His Son, He also spoke in His Son, i.e. in the person of His Son. Thus, Jesus is not only God the Father’s messenger, He is also God the Father’s message. Jesus Himself is God’s consummate revelation. Similarly, regarding Jesus, Paul stated in I Timothy 3:16,


I Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God [i.e. God the Son = Jesus] was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.


In Christ’s person and work is found God’s complete and final revelation. In Christ, God has provided for eternal redemption. What more can be said! It is all summed up in Christ. Regardless of how good the prophets were (and they were very good), Christ is better.


His Son is God the Father’s Son. It means that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, i.e. God the Son. His position as Son is higher than the position of the prophets. He was not merely one of the prophets. As such, Jesus is superior to all the prophets.

The rest of verse 2 and all of verse 3 contain a series of –



Hebrews 1:2 b-3 – 2b . . . Whom [i.e. Christ] he [i.e. God the Father] hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.


The first statement regarding God’s Son is that –



Hebrews 1:2 . . . Whom he hath appointed heir of all things. . . .


Whom refers to God the Son; whereas, he refers to God the Father.


The tense of hath appointed indicates that its action occurred in the past and is viewed as a whole. It is the word ordinarily translated put or placed and is used in this verse in the sense of made or appointed.


The position to which God the Father appointed Christ is heir of all things. All things belong to Christ, but He does not yet possess all things. Someday they will be His.


The second statement regarding God’s Son is that –

            2.   THROUGH HIM GOD MADE THE WORLDS - 1:2C


Hebrews 1:2 c – By whom also he made the worlds.


Once again whom refers to Jesus Christ; whereas, he refers to God the Father.


Thus, it is God the Father Who made the worlds; and He did it by or through Jesus Christ.


This means that Jesus was the channel through Whom the Father’s plans in creation were carried out.


The worlds refers to the entire creation, i.e. to the universe and to all that is in it including time and space. This second statement is consistent with John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16 ,


John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.


Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers [i.e. all four of these refer to supernatural beings]: all things were created by him, and for him.


The third statement regarding God’s Son is that –

            3.   HE IS THE BRIGHTNESS OF GOD’S GLORY - 1:3A


Hebrews 1:3 a – Who being the brightness of his glory. . . .


Who is Christ; whereas, his refers to God the Father.


Being suggests that Jesus was the brightness of God the Father’s glory, that He still is the brightness of God the Father’s glory, and that He always will be the brightness of God the Father’s glory. Its tense indicates His eternality.


Brightness means radiance. It suggests effulgence or a flood of light. It reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world, the light of life, the light that came into the world and shone in darkness. The idea is that Jesus in His being exhibits the majestic glory of God the Father. In other words, God the Father’s majestic glory is seen in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.


Glory refers to God’s majesty, perhaps even the Shekinah Glory. Glory may instead be a direct reference to God the Father. Rather than pronouncing the divine name and thereby polluting it, the Jews habitually substituted other terms, such as the Glory, for Yahweh or Jehovah. The appears before glory in the Greek text. It may indicate possession and be understood in the sense of His glory. It may also be used to particularize glory as the Shekinah Glory or as God the Father. It may also be the case of an article appearing before an abstract noun and not be translated at all.


The fourth statement regarding God’s Son is that –



Hebrews 1:3 b – . . . And the express image of his person. . . .


Christ is not only the brightness of God the Father’s glory, but He is also the express image of his person.


Express image means impress, reproduction, or representation. It is an exact representation or exact reproduction. It is used literally of the impression of coins, where each one is an exact reproduction of an original. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, this term means an exact representation.


Thus, Jesus Christ is an exact representation, exact reproduction, or exact impress of his person, (i.e. of God the Father’s person, by which the writer means of God the Father’s substantial nature), of His essence, of His actual being, of His reality, or of His real being. In other words, someone who has seen Christ has seen the Father in that the characteristics which are true of the Lord Jesus Christ are also true of God the Father, whether one is speaking of His nature or of His attributes. Similarly, Paul wrote in Colossians 2:9 ,


Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.


Inasmuch as Jesus is an exact representation of His Father’s person, it is clear that there is absolutely no diminishing or lessening of the quality of each attribute of God the Father in Jesus. The representation is exact. There is a perfect match. Although no one has seen God the Father at any time, Christ manifests what God is. Every perfection of God the Father is also found to the same degree in Christ. Jesus is God. He is holy and righteous. Jesus is without sin. He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal just like God the Father. Note Jesus’ conversation with Philip in John 14:8-9 .


John 14:8-98 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us [i.e. it is sufficient for us]. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?


The fifth statement regarding God’s Son is that –



Hebrews 1:3 c – . . . And upholding all things by the word of his power. . . .


Upholding means carrying or bearing, and its tense indicates that this is being done continuously.


What Christ is upholding or maintaining is all things, i.e. the sum total of everything in existence in the universe including the universe itself. Christ created it and controls it.


By the word of his power indicates the means by which Christ upholds all things. He speaks with the same authority God the Father has.


Word suggests something which is said, a saying, or an expression.


His power or His might is apparently Christ’s own power, rather than God the Father’s power or God the Father’s might.


The sixth statement regarding God’s Son is that –

            6.   HE PURGED BELIEVERS’ SINS - 1:3D


Hebrews 1:3 d – . . . When he had by himself purged our sins. . . .


When he had . . . purged is understood in the sense of after He had purged, then He sat down.


He is Christ, and by himself obviously refers to Christ. He and He alone did the purging.


Purged is made purification for and refers to Christ’s act of dying on the cross as an offering for the sins of all humanity. At the cross Jesus, as the Lamb of God, took away believers’ sins and cleansed them from all sin.


John 1:29 The next day John [i.e. John the Baptist] seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.


What He purged (or made purification for) was our sins.


Our refers to the writer and his readers and includes all believers. Actually, it is also true of all humanity. Jesus shed His blood on the cross in order to make purification for the sins of all humanity.


The word for sins means to miss the mark.


I John 2:1-21 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.


This purification, however, does not become effective for an individual until or unless he places his trust in Christ as his Savior, believing that Christ paid for his sins on the cross and rose again from the dead.


Finally, the seventh statement regarding God’s Son is that –

            7.   HE SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD - 1:3E


Hebrews 1:3 e – (He) sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.


This occurred after He had purged believers’ sins and had ascended into heaven.


Sat down suggests an action completed in past time and considered as a whole. It further suggests that Jesus had finished or completed the work of redemption and that there was no more work to be done. By contrast, the priests stood daily offering the same sacrifices for sins, thereby indicating that their work was not finished. Jesus, however, made purification once for sin; and after He had done so, He sat down, having forever finished His work of redemption.


Hebrews 10:10-1410 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all [i.e. once for all time]. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting [i.e. waiting] till his enemies be made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.


Notice in Hebrews 10:11 that every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices. This verse indicates that the temple in Jerusalem was still standing and that Hebrews had to be written before A.D. 70 when the temple was destroyed by the Romans.


Back to Hebrews 1:3

Where He sat is indicated by on the right hand of the Majesty on high.


The Majesty on high is God the Father in heaven.


On the right hand of is called an anthropomorphism, something which attributes human characteristics to God in order to aid the human understanding. Actually, God does not have a right hand; He is a spirit. The fact that Jesus sat on the right hand of God indicates that He was co-reigning with God the Father over the entire creation.



In the Book of Hebrews our writer is going to show:


            I.         That Christ is superior to angels - 1:4 - 2:18


            II.  That Christ is worthy of more glory than Moses - 3:1 - 4:13


            III. That Christ has a more excellent ministry than the levitical priests - 4:14 - 7:28


            IV.      That Christ is mediator of a better covenant - 8:1 - 10:18


            V.  And that Christ has provided a better way of life: the life of faith - 10:19 - 13:21


So, you Jews who have professed faith in Christ as your Savior, don’t abandon Christ and Christianity in order to return to Judaism. Christ is better. Stay where you are.