Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hebrews 1:1-3 - The Unipersonal God Speaks Through His Son

God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, (Hebrews 1:1, World English)
In many parts, and many ways, God of old having spoken to the fathers in the prophets, (Hebrews 1:1, Young's Literal)
has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds (ages). (Hebrews 1:2, World English)
in these last days did speak to us in a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He did make the ages; (Hebrews 1:2, Young's Literal)
His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. -- Hebrews 1:3, World English Bible translation.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. -- Hebrews 1:3, English Standard Version.
He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. -- Hebrews 1:3, New Revised Standard Version.


 Hebrews 1:3, Westcott & Hort Interlinear

Some key words and their meanings as given by Crosswalk's King James Version Greek Dictionary.
Apaugasma, Strong's #0541:

  • reflected brightness
  • of Christ in that he perfectly reflects the majesty of God
  • effulgence
  • shining forth, of a light coming from a luminous body (Vine)
  • out-raying (Vincent)
Charakter, Strong's #5481:

  • the instrument used for engraving or carving
  • the mark stamped upon that instrument or wrought out on it
  • a mark or figure burned in (Lev. 13:
  • or stamped on, an impression
  • the exact expression (the image) of any person or thing, marked likeness, precise reproduction in every respect, i.e facsimile
Hupostasis, Strong's #5287:

  • a setting or placing under
  • thing put under, substructure, foundation
  • that which has foundation, is firm
  • that which has actual existence
  • a substance, real being
  • the substantial quality, nature, of a person or thing
  • the steadfastness of mind, firmness, courage, resolution
  • confidence, firm trust, assurance
Pas, Strong's #3956

  • individually
  • each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
  • collectively
  • some of all types
Phero, Strong's #5342:

  • to carry
  • to carry some burden
  • to bear with one's self
  • to move by bearing; move or, to be conveyed or borne, with the suggestion of force or speed
  • of persons borne in a ship over the sea
  • of a gust of wind, to rush
  • of the mind, to be moved inwardly, prompted
  • to bear up i.e. uphold (keep from falling)
  • of Christ, the preserver of the universe
  • to bear, i.e. endure, to endure the rigour of a thing, to bear patiently one's conduct, or spare one (abstain from punishing or destroying)
  • to bring, bring to, bring forward
  • to move to, apply
  • to bring in by announcing, to announce
  • to bear i.e. bring forth, produce; to bring forward in a speech
  • to lead, conduct
In view of the above, the Restoration Light Improved Version (of April 2014) reads:

{Hebrews 1:1} God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
{Hebrews 1:2} has at the end of these days spoken to us by His son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the ages.
{Hebrews 1:3} His son is the reflected brightness of His glory, the impress of His personal being, and His son bore all by means of the word of His power. When His son had made purification for our sins, he sat down on the right hand of Jehovah on high.
One writer claims that "Hebrews" is "a letter whose writer does not identify him or herself, but who does want these Hebrew believers to understand that Jesus is the same One and the same God Who revealed Himself to their ancestors, as recorded in Old Testament history." And yet, in reality, nothing in the book of Hebrews identifies Jesus as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. -- Exodus 3:14,15.
The word "who" begins verse three, and refers back to God's son in verse two, through whom God has spoken in these last days. The time reference in Hebrews 1:2, in which God spoke through his son, is evidently to the same time period that is referred to in Hebrews 7:5, the days of his flesh, since it was in those days that Jesus actually spoke to us the words of his Father, Jehovah. (Exodus 3:14,15; Deuteronomy 18:15-19; John 3:34; 7:16,28; 8:28,40; 12:49; 14:10; 17:8; Acts 3:13-26) However, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit of his God so that this would lead his apostles into all truth about Jesus (John 15:26; 16:31), and this Holy Spirit was sent to declare the words of Jesus, which words, in turn, were received from the only true God who had sent Jesus. (John 16:15; 17:1,3) The reference, however, appears to primarily speaking of when Jesus spoke to us in the days of his flesh, being the reflection of the unipersonal God's substantial quality, while being in the days of his flesh, Jesus was being the reflection, the light rays of God's hypostasis, substantial quality, of God, the unipersonal "God" referred to in verse 1.

It has been claimed that Jesus is Jehovah since "He formed the worlds alone." Isaiah 44:24 is cited as reference. Evidently this is meant to confuse Isaiah 44:24 with what is stated in Hebrews 1:2, which speaks of the God and Father of Jesus, that God "has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds." (World English Bible translation) Hebrews 1:2 is not speaking of the same thing as the creation in Isaiah 44:42. The word rendered "worlds" would more correctly be rendered "ages":

At the end of these days, He hath spoken unto us in his Son,-whom he hath appointed heir of all things, through whom also he hath made the ages; -- Rotherham's Emphasized Bible translation

Yes, God has worked through his Son in making the ages. Aion always signifies a motion in time. Thus through Jesus, Jehovah constructed the plan of the ages (Ephesians 3:11). It is the Father who formed the ages; Jesus is the one through whom he formed these ages. God is originator, Jesus is the instrument. There is nothing in this that means that the Son of God is his God of whom he is the Son.
Hebrews 1:3 tells of how Jesus is the exact representation of the one person (hupostasis, or some prefer, hypostasis; this word takes the form of hupostasews in the Westcott & Hort text above) of "God" as spoken of in Hebews 1:1,2. It is odd that usually the trinitarian will refer to their trinity as "treis hypostaseis en mia ousia", ("three persons in one substance/essence/being"), or "mia ousia, treis hypostaseis" ("One essence/being/substance, three persons"), and use the greek word hypostaseis (a plural form of hupostasis) in these instances to mean "persons," but many of them will claim that hypostasis in Hebrews 1:3 does not mean "person", but "being". Westcott & Hort give the meaning of hypostasis as sub standing. The word does not mean, as trinitarians would like for it to mean, that Jesus is equal and has absolutely every detail of being as the Most High. Indeed, if we were to give it such a meaning, it would mean that Jesus is also the Father of Jesus, which trinitarians deny.
In Hebrews 1:1 we read of a unipersonal "God", and Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus is the exact imprint, expression, image, of the hypostasis of that unipersonal God: "God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds [ages]." "God" in Hebrews 1:3 surely does not refer to three persons, but rather to one person, and "his son", that is, the son of this unipersonal God, evidently refers to another person who is not the unipersonal "God" of whom he is the Son.

What the trinitarian does, however, is use the great trinitarian imagination and based on that imagination they will assume so as to add to and read into the verses that "God" must mean the alleged "first person" of their triune "God", and yet, in effect, they would claim that this first person of their triune God is fully the triune God of which he is alleged to be a person. They would then imagine and assume that "his" in the phrase "his son" (Hebrews 1:2) must refer to, not to their triune God, but rather to one person of the alleged triune god, that is, their alleged "first person" of the alleged triune god. Then this first person of the alleged triune God, in effect, is additionally alleged to be fully the triune god of whom he is alleged to be a person. They would further imagine and assume that "son" in the phrase "his son" must refer to their idea of "God the Son," the alleged second person of their alleged triune god, and then this alleged second person of their alleged triune god, who is also fully the triune god of whom he is a person, is then imagined and assumed to be the son of the of the first person of the alleged triune god. Please note, however, that the trinitarian does not usually think of this in the terms related here; we are simply putting in words what the trinitarian has to obscurely imagine in applying the trinity to Hebrews 1:1,2.

In reality, who is this unipersonal "God" who spoke through the prophets who are spoken of in Hebrews 1:1,2, and who also speaks through "his Son"? It is none other of than the One who spoke to Moses in response to Moses' question concerning his "name." This One had just identified himself as the "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," (Exodus 3:6) but Moses asked for a name that he could declare as to who had sent him. (Exodus 3:13) In response, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob said "Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh," and then he uses the short form "Ehyeh" (Exodus 3:14), which he crossed with "Jehovah" as recorded in Exodus 3:15. Ehyeh and Jehovah are of the same verb, an active form of the Hebrew "to be," applied from two different standpoints, Ehyeh meaning "I am," "I will be,," "I am being", etc., while Jehovah means "He is," "He will be," "He is being," etc. Thus both of these two words express the same Holy Name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Therefore, it is the unipersonal God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who spoke through the prophets, as recorded in Hebrews 1:1, and as can be seen by Genesis 6:3; 8:15; 9:8,12,17; 12:1; 15:1; 24:7; 26:2; 28:13; 46:2,3; Exodus 3:4; 4:30; 6:2,13; 7:8; 8:1; 12:1; 13:1; 14:1; Joshua 1:1; 4:1; 1 Samuel 3:21; 15:10; 2 Samuel 7:4; 24:11; 1 Kings 6:11; 13:1,9; 16:1,7; 17:2,8; 18:1,31,36; 2 Kings 20:4; 1 Chronicles 22:8; 2 Chronicles 11:2; Ezra 1:1; Isaiah 38:4; Jeremiah 1:4; 2:1; 31:3; Ezekiel 1:3; Hosea 1:1; Joel 1:1; Micah 1:1; Zephaniah 1:1, Haggai 1:1, Zechariah 1:1; Malachi 1:1, and many other scriptures. On the other hand, if Jesus is EHYEH of Exodus 3:14, then we have a lot of scriptural conflicts since Peter said that it was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who raised Jesus up as the prophet like Moses. -- Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Acts 3:13-26.

As we have shown, even the trinitarian will have to agree that "God" in Hebrews 1:1 refers to one person, and that one person is also the one who spoke through "His" son, as shown in Hebrews 1:2. That one person who spoke through His son is none other than Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This agrees with Deuteronomy 18:15-19, in which Jehovah is recorded as prophesying through Moses that Jesus was to come in the name of Jehovah, and that Jehovah would put his words in the mouth of the Messiah. It further agrees with Isaiah 61:1, which has the Messiah prophetically saying, "Jehovah has sent me." It agrees with John 14:24, which records the Son of Jehovah as saying: "The word which you hear isn't mine, but the Father's who sent me." It further agrees with Jesus words recorded in John 14:10: "The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father living in me does his works." And it also agrees with Jesus' words in John 7:16,28; 8:26,42; 12:49; 17:3. Thus, the one-personed "God" of Hebrews 1:1,2, Jehovah, spoke through his Son, Jesus.
Many claim that the Greek word "phero" has something to do with Colossians 1:17, which, in most translations, would have all things as consisting inside of Jesus, or that by means of Jesus all things are continuing to exist. We have discussed Colossians 1:17 elsewhere, so will not discuss that again here. The Hebrew word "phero" -- the root of the word anaphero -- in actuality means to bear something. We conclude that Hebrews 1:3 is using the historical past in present tense, referring in the present tense to the past, to the days when the singular-personed God spoke to us through Jesus. What was it that Jesus was bearing in those days? Was it not the burden of sin? Isaiah prophesied of him: "he has borne our infirmities, and carried our sorrows." (Isaiah 53:4) Matthew refers to this as recorded in Matthew 8:17, that Jesus "took our infirmities, and bore our disease." Peter more pointedly tells that Jesus has "borne (anaphero) our sins in his body on the tree." (Peter 2:4) Thus, in Hebrews 9:28, we read: "Christ also, having been once offered to bear (anaphero) the sins of many, will appear a second time, without sin, to those who are eagerly waiting for him for salvation."

However, one might ask, does this not say that he bore "all things"? Doesn't this mean that he is bearing absolutely everything in the universe? This brings us to the discussion of the Greek phrase that is often rendered as "all things," that is, "ta panta" (transliterated). "Ta" means "the" and "panta" means "all," thus the literal translation is "the all." There is nothing inherit in this phrase that gives it the meaning of "the universe," as many would like for us to believe. The only reason that could be given for giving the expression "ta panta" the meaning of "the universe" here is to satisfy the desire to have this appear to be saying that Jesus is bearing, or as many translations put it, upholding absolutely everything that exists. In the broad sense of "universe", this would include absolutely everything that exists, including God himself, since God exists. As we have seen however, "God" in the context is definitely referring to someone else as one person who is not the son, which would mean that the Son of God is upholding his God, his Supreme Being. Actually, however, in the context, Hebrews 1:3 is not speaking of this, but rather of Jesus' sacrifice for the cleansing of sin. In doing this, Jesus was bearing the all, the entire sacrifice needed for sin, which he did through power of the word of his God, and thus, after making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of Jehovah, the unipersonal God spoken of in Hebrews 1:1,2. All that Jesus did, however, was by means of strength of His God, as it was foretold in Micah 5:4 that Jesus would "shepherd in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God."

Regarding the Greek phrase "ta panta", literally meaning "the all", this expression always is in reference "the all" that is being spoken of in context, and can be limited by the context or simply by common evidence as to what is included or excluded from the "the all" being spoken of. Here is a list of occurences of "ta panta" in the New Testament: Mark 4:11; Acts 17:11; Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 12:6,19; 15:27,28; Galatians 3:22; Ephesians 1:10,11; 3:9; 4:10,15; Philippians 3:21; Colossians 1:16,17,20; 3:8; 1 Timothy 6:13; Hebrews 1:3; 2:8,10; Revelation 4:11. If one were to put "the universe" in all these places, we can see that in many instances this would be ridiculous; and it is even more ridiculous once we realize that "universe" in its broad meaning is "everything that exists;" thus, since God Himself exists, God is included in "the universe." Thus, even with the expression "the universe," one has to exclude "God" from "ta panta" in all of these scriptures, thus giving one example of exclusion, as Paul shows in 1 Corinthians 15:27.
Likewise, Hebrews 2:8 gives a good illustration of how "ta panta" is used; the verse speaks of what God has subjected to man, saying, in reference to Psalm 8:6:
"You have put all things [panta] in subjection under his feet." For in that he subjected all things [ta panta] to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we don't see all things [ta panta] subjected to him, yet.
This verse is not talking about Jesus, as many have assumed, but it is talking about man. Although God originally subjected the all to man, man lost that privilege through disobedience, so that now, since man has disobeyed, we don't see the all subjected to him, yet. "The all" that was subjected to man, of which nothing is left that is not subjected to man, is that described in Genesis 1:26,28. This "all" is spoken of in Psalm 8:6, but then Psalm 8:7,8 describes the "all" that is being spoken of in Psalm 8:6, which is the same "all" that is referred in Hebrews 2:8. Thus, we have in the chapter following Hebrews 1:3 an example of "ta panta" that is definitely not describing "the universe."
CLICK HERE For more discussion concerning the usage of forms of the Greek word "pas":
Apaugasma
Hebrews 1:3 - "And He [Jesus] is the radiance of His [Jehovah's] glory." (NASB) "who [Jesus] being the effulgence of his [Jehovah's] glory." (ASV) "who [Jesus] being the brightness of His [Jehovah's] glory" (NKJV) "The Son reflects God's own glory." (NLT) "He [Jesus] is the reflection of God's glory." (NRSV) "He [Jesus] reflects the brightness of God's glory" (TEV) "His glory" refers back to "God" who is being spoken of in the verse one and two. (see also below) The claim is made that Hebrews 1:3 somehow means that Jesus is Jehovah.
Many translations render the Greek word apaugasma [Strong's Greek #541] as "radiance", and some by this translation would have Jesus as somehow being the exact same being as the Father, the only true God who sent Jesus. (John 17:1,3) However, Crosswalk's online Lexicon gives the first meaning of this word as "reflected brightness - a. of Christ in that he perfectly reflects the majesty of God," and the second meaning: "effulgence: a. shining forth, of a light coming from a luminous body (Vine) (b) out-raying (Vincent)" (Greek lexicon based on Thayer's and Smith's Bible Dictionary plus others)
Jesus is the efflulgence of God's glory, the shining forth of the glory of God is through Jesus, who is the image of God, thus this verse is further proof that Jesus is not God. (1 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15; John 1:5,7) Jesus, neither as a human being or a spirit being, has ever disobeyed his God, never displeased his God, the God of Israel, and thus has never fallen short of his God's glory. -- Romans 3:23.
But Jesus is also the brightness of God's glory in a further way, which combined with his total obedience (unlike the prophets of old), makes the brightness of Jehovah in Jesus even more excelling. The prophets, of course, never had a glory with God before being born, which glory Jesus did have. (John 17:5) He had been especially taught by the only true God (John 8:28), his Father, who sent him into the world of mankind, far beyond anything that the prophets could know. This knowledge of heavenly things he speaks of in John 3:12,13. Thus the words he spoke was a further revealing of the brightness of Jehovah's glory.
Hebrews 1:1,2 tells us:

God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.
Who is this God of whom Jesus radiates glory, and who speaks through Jesus? Deuteronomy 18:17-19 answers:
Jehovah said to me..., I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, like you; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
And thus Jesus said:
John 12:49 - For I spoke not from myself, but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
The God who spoke through the prophets and through Moses, is the same God who speaks through Jesus. Jesus is not Jehovah who speaks through Jesus. There is nothing in any of this that even hints that Jesus is one person of Jehovah, and "God" in Hebrews 1:1,2 is another person of Jehovah, rather just the opposite.
God, by means of his holy spirit, reveals through the scriptures that Jehovah (Yahweh) is the only true God, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus. Jesus has One who is the Supreme Being over him; Jesus is not his Supreme Being whom he worships, prays to, and who sent him, and whose will he carried out in willful obedience. -- Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Matthew 4:4 (Deuteronomy 8:3; Luke 4:4); Matthew 4:7 (Deuteronomy 6:16); Matthew 4:10 (Exodus 20:3-5; 34:14; Deuteronomy 6:13,14; 10:20; Luke 4:8); Matthew 22:29-40; Matthew 26:42; Matthew 27:46; Mark 10:6 (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7,20-23); Mark 14:36; 15:34; Luke 22:42; John 4:3; 5:30; 6:38; 17:1,3; 20:17; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 11:31; Ephesians 1:3,17; Hebrews 1:9; 10:7; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 2:7; 3:2,12.
Jehovah, the only true God who sent Jesus, and who spoke through Jesus, is indeed the God and Father of Jesus. Jesus is not Jehovah. What we do not find in Hebrews 1:1-3 is any idea that Jesus is Jehovah, or that Jesus is a person of Jehovah, or anything about three persons in Jehovah, etc. What we do find actually suggests the opposite, that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a unipersonal God, and the son of this unipersonal God is not the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Related Restoration Light Studies:


Hebrews 1: What Does This Hebrews 1 Say About “God”?
Is Jesus the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

The above was originally published in September, 2009; it was edited and republished in April, 2014.

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