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Hebrews 1:2-3 - Homilies By W.j. Jones

The transcendent glory of the Son of God.

"His Son, whom he hath appointed Heir of all things," etc. The Divine Son, the last and brightest revelation of God to man, is here set before us as supremely glorious in several respects.

I. IN THE VASTNESS OF HIS POSSESSIONS . "Whom he appointed heir of all things." Because he is the Son of God he is constituted Heir of all things. The whole universe is his. "He is Lord of all." "All things that the Father hath are mine; "All mine are thine, and thine are mine? His lordship is universal. His possessions are unlimited. His wealth is infinite. What an encouragement we have in this to trust in him! "The unsearchable riches of Christ" are available for the supply of all who follow him.

II. IN THE GREATNESS OF HIS WORKS .

1. He is the Creator of all things. "By whom also he made the worlds." The innumerable worlds in the universe of God were made by the Divine Son as the" acting Power and personal Instrument" of the Father. Alford: "The universe, as well in its great primeval conditions—the reaches of space and the ages of time, as in all material objects and all successive events, which famish out and people space and time, God made by Christ." He "laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of his hands." "All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that hath been made;" "In him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth," etc. ( Colossians 1:16 ). All creatures in all worlds were created by him. Creation is a revelation of his mind and might. The glory of creation, rightly understood, is the glory of the Creator—the Son of God.

2. He is the Sustainer of all things. "And upholding all things by the word of his power." The universe which he created is upheld and preserved in being by the expression of his almighty power. "In him all things consist;" they are held together by him. The universe is neither self-sustaining nor is it forsaken by God. It is not a great piece of mechanism constructed by the Creator, and then left to work of itself, or to be worked by others. His almighty energy is always and everywhere present in it. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." How stupendous the conception that the boundless universe, with its countless worlds and much more countless inhabitants, is constantly sustained in existence and. in beautiful order by the word which utters his power!

3. He is the Savior from sin. "He by himself purged our sins;" Revised Version, "He made purification of sins." This does not mean purification by the moral influence of his teaching and example. There is a reference to the purifications of the Levitical law, by which ceremonial uncleanness was typically removed. "According to the Law, I may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." "In the atonement," says Ebrard, "in the gracious covering of the guilt of sin, consists purification in the scriptural sense. So that an Israelitish reader, a Christian Jew, would never, on reading the words καθαρισμὸν ποιεῖν , think on what we commonly call 'moral amelioration,' which, if not springing out of the living ground of a heart reconciled to God, is mere self-deceit, and only external avoidance of evident transgression; but the καθαρισμὸς which Christ brought in would, in the sense of our author and his readers, only be understood of that gracious atonement for all guilt of sin of all mankind, which Christ our Lord and Savior has completed for us by his sinless sufferings and death; and out of which flows forth to us, as from a fountain, all power to love in return, all love to him, our heavenly Pattern, and all hatred of sin which caused his death." This atonement is completed. It admits of no repetition; and nothing can be added unto it. "When he had made purification of sins." The purification is finished, and it is perfect. Thus we see that in his works, as Creator, Sustainer, and Savior, our Lord is supremely glorious,

III. IN THE DIVINITY OF HIS BEING . "Who being the Brightness of his glory, and the express Image of his person; Revised Version, "the effulgence of his glory, and the very Image of his substance." These words suggest:

1. That the Son is of one essence with the Father. Canon Liddon: "That he is one with God as having streamed forth eternally from the Father's essence, like a ray of light from the parent fire with which it is unbrokenly joined, is implied in the expression ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης ." Let us not think of this glory as a material thing. It is moral and spiritual. Moses prayed," I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee," etc. ( Exodus 33:15-23 ). Beyond this, perhaps, it becomes us not to speak of the glory of the Divine essence ; it is mysterious, ineffable. Jehovah said to Moses, "While my glory passeth by, I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by," etc. (cf. 1 Timothy 6:16 ).

2. That the Son is the perfect revelation of the Father. He is "the very Image of his substance," or essential being. The word χαρακτὴρ signifies the impression produced by a stamp, a seal, or a die. As the impression on the wax corresponds with the engraving on the seal, so the Divine Son is the perfect likeness of the essence of the Father. Hence he said, "He that beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me." "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." And St. Paul, "He is the Image of the invisible God."

3. That the Son is personally distinct from the Father. As the impression on the wax is quite distinct from the seal by which it was made, so the figure suggests that our Lord is "personally distinct from him of whose essence he is the adequate imprint."

IV. IN THE EXALTATION OF HIS POSITION . "Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."

1. Here is a glorious position. "At the right hand of the Majesty on high." This is spoken of his exaltation as the Messiah and in his human nature, after the completion of his work upon earth and his ascension into heaven. "For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross," etc. ( Hebrews 12:2 ). "Being in the form of God, he counted it not a prize to be of an equality with God," etc. ( Philippians 2:6-11 ).

2. Here is the highest realm. "On high;" i.e. in heaven. "Christ entered, into heaven itself" ( Hebrews 9:24 ). "Heaven, in Holy Scripture, signifies … usually, that sphere of the created world of space and time, where the union of God with the personal creature is not severed by sin, where no death reigns, where the glorification of the body is not a mere hope of the future" (Ebrard). Into that sphere our Lord in his crucified but now risen and glorified humanity has entered, and is enthroned "on the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him" ( 1 Peter 3:22 ).

3. Here is a waiting attitude. "Sat down." "Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." He is waiting for all things to be subjected unto him, "in the majestic certainty of his triumph over all who shall oppose the advance of his kingdom."

CONCLUSION .

1. In him who " made purification of sins " let us trust as our Savior.

2. Unto him who is essentially Divine let us render the full homage of our heart and life.— W.J.

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