Saturday Bible Class: The Person of Christ: The Son Of God

Saturday Bible Class: The Person of Christ: The Son Of God


The Final Revelation of God is in the Son

READ Hebrews 1.1-4

This Bible Class takes a passage of scripture and shows how to methodically study verse by verse. In the previous class, we observed the authorship, audience and purpose of Hebrews, closing with a general outline of the book. Today we will work through the first four verses of the epistle.

Last week we examined that the first four chapters point to the uniqueness of person of Christ. Considering His person is the ultimate way to dispel any notion that God has something else greater than the gospel which they have heard.

Chapter 1 can be viewed as follows:

Verses 1-4 – Communications from Heaven: The Final Revelation in the Son

God’s progression in revealing Himself to man began with prophets and culminated with the glorious Son of God. The writer gives us seven glories to consider. Verse 4, a conclusion to vv 2-3, is used as a springboard into vv 5-14.

Verses 5-14 – Communications in Heaven: The Glory of the Son Revealed in the OT

Angels were highly regarded by the Jewish people, but they do not compare to the Son who is God and Creator. The verses use seven quotations from the Old Testament to fill out how the Son is so much better than angels as revealed in the OT Scriptures.

Verses 1-4 – Communications from Heaven: The Final Revelation in the Son

V1-2a – Past Pieces vs Completion in Son

The opening verses immediately set in contrast old things and new, just as the entire epistle does.  What is old and what is new in this is specific and special revelation. Notice the three main contrasts:

  1. V1 in time past, v2 in these last days
  2. V1 to the fathers, v2 to us
  3. V1 in, or, by the prophets, v2 in, or, by, the Son.

In the past, this special revelation was at sundry times, or in many parts. To Abraham, for example, God revealed Himself as “Almighty God,” El Shaddai (Gen 17:1), but later Moses would learn the name of God as Jehovah or Yahweh though Abraham the friend of God never would. (Ex 6:2-3)  

The revelation of God would also come in many ways. Elijah was spoken to in a still small voice, while Moses witnessed the thundering and lightning of Sinai. The person and mind of God was revealed continuously and progressively to the prophets in a variety of ways though God was never changing.

Now in these last days the mind of God is revealed in finality and fullness in the Son. We will always continue to progressively learn through all eternity, yet revelation of God is complete and fully exemplified in His Son. The way to God’s heart is revealed for you and me today in the Son by the Word of God through the Spirit of God.

Notice lastly in this section that the word “His” is italicized in the AV/KJV. This demonstrates that “His” is not part of the original text, and therefore should be read “spoken to us by Son,” or “spoken to us in Son.” The absence of “His” or the article (“the”) can denote an emphasis on the quality of the item in question. Thus the writer is drawing attention to the quality of the revelation, being this Son whom he will proceed to describe through seven statements of His excellence.

V2b-3 – Seven Excellencies of the Son

The seven statements of the excellence of the Son, the revelation of God, are as follows with brief description:

  1. Appointed heir of all things

God has pointed Him out to be the inheritor of all the universe. Being the Son, naturally He is the heir of all which is God’s. This is more fully expanded in ch2:5-9.

     2.  Through whom also He made the worlds

The Son is the vehicle and channel through whom the worlds, or better – ages, were made. The word for ages is probably not limited to time itself, but includes all matter that passes through time. He created all so that it might continue on through time and space with the ultimate purpose that it might bring glory to God.  

     3.  Being the brightness of His glory

The Son is and continues to be the brightness or effulgence of the glory of God.  The excellence of God visibly shines out from the Son. “Just as the radiance of the sun reaches this earth, so in Christ the glorious light of God shines into the hearts of men.”[1]

     4.  Being the express image of His person

The Son is and continues to be the express image of God’s person. An express image bears the exact imprint and impression of a die, such as in the production of coins. The nature of God in all aspects is perfectly found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

     5.  Upholding all things by the word of His power

Not as mythical Atlas holding up the globe, but by the spoken word of the power of the Son all things progress toward the goal which God has set for it. He is not only the one those whom the ages have been made, but he also guides all things as a pilot guides his aircraft to the desired destination.

     6.  When He had by Himself purged our sins

It may be better to translate this as “when he had through himself made purification for sins.”  This directs us toward the correct emphasis of Christ making Himself the sacrifice for purification for sins. It is available purification that will be necessary to usher in again Edenic conditions for a Millennial Kingdom. There is an allusion to Num 19:21 where whatsoever was touched by what was unclean was unclean, and therefore it needed to remedy of the cleansing of the Red Heifer’s ashes.

The cleansing of it was undertaken by the one who created it. It was undertaken by the One who is the beaming manifest excellence of God. It was made by God manifest in flesh.  It was also in the pathway of him steering and carrying along the ages, and He carried the ages into the day of the cross.  The Son made purification for sins.

     7.  Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty of High

The previous statement works together especially with this one. The action of purging sins was necessary in order for Him to be seated on the right hand of the Majesty on High. The fact of Him being seated shows that He is approved of God, is demonstrates that He holds the right to rule the earth (Psa 110:1).

V4 – Conclusion concerning His glories

The conclusion is that He is greater than all beings, even the angels which were held in high regard by the Jewish people, because He is not created but is the Son. He has been greater than the angels since He created them. They are messengers, while He is the Son.

This verse will be used as a springboard through to the end of chapter 2 where He will be demonstrating that the Son is greater than the angels.

[1] F.F. Bruce, The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Epistle to the Hebrews, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979),5.

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