Tag Archives: Godhead

Hebrews 1:1-8 Jesus the appointed Son?

 

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways” (Hebrews 1:1)

God spoke through the prophets meaning through the characters of the Old Testament. Many portions means many ages over a considerable amount of time; many ways—through the Scriptures, through dreams, through visions, through a number of different ways God communicated in the old covenant. 

In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

In these last days has spoken to us in His Son. Last days is a reference to Old Testament prophecies that then defines the time from the time of Christ until the return of Christ. Jesus isn’t just one more communication in the line of prophets. He is the final word from God. Christ (who also spoke to us through the apostles) is God’s final word to man. Not Ellen White, not Muhammad, not Joseph Smith. Now the writer of Hebrews goes through a series of affirmations related to who Jesus is. All of it has to do with this idea that Jesus is superior to everyone else (prophets) and everything else (revelation). It all comes back to this idea of where else would you turn, for every direction you turn is going to be inferior to the exalted Christ. In what form did the Son speak to us in these last days? Not in His pre-existence as God, but He spoke to us as God-Man, when He became flesh, a servant, when He became the anointed one, the Messiah.

Whom He appointed heir of all things through whom also He made the world. The Son made the world, therefore the eternal Son already owned the universe by virtue of creating it with the Father.  “All things have been created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:16). However, even in the state He spoke to us, when He was born of a woman, and became God-Man, He is declared or appointed the heir of all things such as we find when Paul says, the Messiah, “who was declared the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:4). A son is heir to everything his father owns, however, the language here is figurative because an “heir” is one who inherits something after the death of the owner. This cannot possibly be applied in this sense to Jesus because the God the Father did not die. Indeed, He cannot. Hence, the idea here is that the Son (whether in His pre-existence or God-Man existence), has authority over and possesses all things.

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3)

He is the radiance of His glory. Radiance refers to what shines out from the source of light. Whatever the glory the Father had, the Son shines out that source of light. He is not a lesser God; He’s the full radiance of God.

The exact representation of His nature. The Greek word charakter, translated “representation,” did not express a general likeness but an exact duplication of the original.Jesus’ essence or divine nature is the exact duplicate of the Father’s nature. This is because Jesus shares the same divine nature with the Father.

Upholds all things by the word of His power. The idea is not so much that Jesus upholds the universe as a dead weight, similar to Atlas shouldering the world. Rather He carries all things forward on their appointed course (Colossians 1:17). Jesus Christ’s word has tremendous power and authority. It is the greatest force in the universe.

Made purification of sins. He did so by His self-sacrifice on the Cross and by His work as the ultimate priest. The Greek word katharismos, translated “purification,” means both removal and cleansing (cf. Mark 1:44; 2 Peter 1:9). Who has authority to say you are purified from your sins? Seems to me you would have to have the authority, power, possession, and ownership over everything. You would have to be the creator. You would have to be the sustainer. You would have to be the full radiance of God. Only God has the authority to say that He covers the sins of the world!  It is mysterious and sometimes confusing to figure out how exactly that death two thousand years ago covers my sin, yet it is true.

He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. The idea of sitting down at the right hand of God is very significant. In the old covenant, the priests daily had responsibilities in the tabernacle and the temple to offer sacrifice and do their required work, but the priests were not allowed to ever sit down on the job. The reason for that is it carried the message that the work is never completed and so they always had to remain standing, always at work, because the work was never done. Christ’s intercession in heaven is not that of an Aaronic priest standing before God to offer the blood. His intercession is that of a King seated on His throne, exercising the rights and titles gained by His finished work. The sitting at the right hand of God is a well-known figure, derived from Psalm 110:1, in order to designate supreme honor and dominion over the world (Romans 8:34).

Having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they (Hebrews 1:4)

Having become as much better than the angels. These words must be closely joined with the last clause of Hebrews 1:3; becoming better than angels is not of His pre-existence before He became flesh, but of what became of Him after He had “made purification of sins” and sat down at the right hand of God. Being made better than angels—by His exaltation by the Father (Heb 1:3, 13) is in contrast to His being “made lower than the angels” for short while on earth (Heb 2:9). Going forward from verse four, the author of Hebrews turns this conversation to Jesus being superior to the angels. Part of the argument raised by some at that time was that Jesus was just a man. He was just another one of God’s prophets but He certainly doesn’t have the authority to overthrow the message or the Law of Moses (including the ten commandments) ordained by angels (Hebrews 2:2; Gal.3:19). He certainly doesn’t have the authority to usher in a new covenant as if somehow He’s introducing something new. He’s certainly not higher than the angels nor does He have authority to do that. Hence, the author of Hebrews refutes such opinions by showing that Jesus’ words have final authority because He has become “so much better” by His resurrection, and “more excellent” than the angels by taking His seat at God’s right hand. And there is much more to Him than just a man.


He has inherited a more excellent name than they. After He had “made purification of sins” and sat down at the right hand of God, Christ inherits His more excellent name, not as the Eternal Son, but also as the God-Man after His resurrection. What is that excellent name? It is the name “Son”.  

For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? (Hebrews 1:5a)

That’s from Psalm 2 and of course the obvious answer is, “Never!” God identified Jesus as His Son, not the angels. When do the words “This day have I begotten thee” apply? An apostle has given the sure and certain answer to this question. Paul said, “God hath raised up Jesus; as also it is written in the second Psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee” (Acts 13:33). Thus, the begetting mentioned in this place is the resurrection of Christ. It was the resurrection that established all that Christ said and did, confirming the virgin birth, the incarnation, the miracles, the prophecies, everything. Christ, therefore, as the exalted God-Man, was and is far above all angels.

And again, “I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME”? (Hebrews 1:5b)

This is taken from 2 Samuel, chapter 7, verse 14. This is David talking about Solomon as the future King of Israel but it is a foreshadowing of God the Father identifying one in David’s line, His Son, who will be the ultimate King, the fulfillment of the prophecy, and obviously Father never said that of the angels. It is significant that David is quoted here because David is called the “First born” (Psalm 89:27), though he was not the firstborn child of Jesse, but the youngest and the eight.

“And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” (Hebrews 1:6)

And when He again brings the firstborn into the world. When He bringeth in means when the Father introduces the one with the title “Firstborn” into this world. In context, time of this introduction appears to be when the Son became the Messiah in the first advent though “again” may also refer to the second coming such “that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven [angels] and on earth [humans] and under the earth [perhaps demons]” (Philippians 2:10). This word “first born” was used both as an idea and to designate the one born first. Since the firstborn son was “first in line” and received the position of favor and honor, the title “firstborn” indicates of someone of the highest position and honor. Many of those not born first in the Bible are given the title “firstborn.” David as we mentioned (Psalm 89:27) and so is Ephraim (Jeremiah 31:9). According to Rabbi Bechai (quoted in Lightfoot) the ancient Rabbis called Yahweh Himself “Firstborn of the World.” It was a title, not a description of origin. The idea in this verse is that Jesus is superior because He is the object of angelic worship since He possesses that honor and glory of a First born or First begotten. The angels worship Him; He does not worship among them. Revelation 5 gives a glimpse of the angelic worship of Jesus. Jesus is the “only begotten” Son of God, but the title Firstborn is used primarily for His resurrection (Revelation 1:4).

And regarding the angels He says, “He makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire.” (Hebrews 1:7)

This is a quote from Psalm 104. The psalmist is saying and the writer of Hebrews is now affirming that angels are messengers of God like the wind and the lightning. Angels are magnificent beings. They are created by God. They are powerful beings. They have a significant role in God’s economy. God the Father is speaking in this verse, and regarding the angels, He says, they’re just created messengers because He makes them so, and God uses them to accomplish His mission. What does the Father says regarding the Son?

But regarding the Son He says, “Your throne, God, is forever and ever, and the scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom (Hebrews 1:8)

But regarding the Son He says, Your throne, God, is forever and ever. Here the Father is describing the Son’s nature in opposition to the angels before. The angels were created spirits, but regarding the Son, the Father addresses the Son as God; Father says, Jesus is not only the “Son” but is “God” just like the Father. However, the angels are ministers and servants in the Son’s kingdom, where the Son sits on His throne as King, from eternity; therefore his name and person is better than theirs.

The scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom. Jesus’ “scepter” , that is, His “royal scepter”, is used here figuratively to refer to His authority and shows the characteristic of His Kingdom. Jesus, as King, has a scepter of “righteousness”, emphasizing that His authority is based on righteousness.

See also:

Father gave the Son to have life in Himself? (John 5:1-27)

Let’s review John chapter 5:1-27. In John 5:1-15, Jesus heals a paralytic man on the Sabbath, and asks him to pick up his stuff and go. Jews get furious with Jesus as the Torah prohibited carrying or bringing in any “burden” on the Sabbath (Jeremiah 17:21), and doing any work (Exodus 20:10; Exodus 16:29). Jesus was healing, which was lawful, but the Jews were trying to find fault with him telling him, Jesus could have done such work on other days.

Now let us turn to verse-by-verse study on John 5:15-27.

“So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. 17 In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” (John 5:16-17)

Jews understood that people rest on the sabbath, but only God works on the Sabbath. This idea was taught by the rabbis. Here, Jesus says, My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I [Christ] too am working.”  Here, Jesus was equating himself to the Father, claiming to be God himself who works on the Sabbath.

For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18)

So, Jews were even more furious because they knew that Jesus was claiming to be equal with God, but Jews misunderstood that Jesus was claiming to be another God. So, the two accusations being made against Jesus by the religious leaders are: number one, He broke the Sabbath, and number two, He’s claiming to be equal with God (John 5:18). The tension has now reached a level where they’re persecuting (more appropriately prosecuting) Jesus with the intent to put Him to death. The verses that follow, begins with Jesus’ defense to those charges. Jesus’ defense will not be, “I didn’t do it!” Jesus’ defense will be, “I did do it because I am God”.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner (John 5:19)

The Son can do nothing of Himself unless it is something He sees the Father doing. Since Jews thought she was claiming to be a different God, and doing things in opposition to God of the Old Testaments, Jesus corrects them and says he cannot and will not do anything by himself or on his own accord, because He is not a separate ‘being’ claiming equality with the Father. It’s just simply not possible for Jesus to ever be out of alignment or unity with the Father. So now stop and think about this. These are the religious leaders who claim to be representing God, who claim to know the ways of God. They’re accusing God who became flesh that He is somehow doing things in opposition to God of the Old Testament.

For whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. All that the Father does the Son likewise does. Who can claim that whatever the Father does, I can do? If one does “all” that another does or can do, then there must be equality. If the Son does all that the Father does, then, like Father, He must be almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, and infinite in every perfection; or, in other words, he must be fully God.To help those who struggle to see the equality of the Son to the Father, Augustine provides a concrete example. From the Gospels, we know that Jesus walked upon water. Where, in the Gospels, do we see the Father walking on water? If the Son only does what he “sees” the Father doing, then must it not be the case that the Father walked on water as well? John 14:10 reminds us that the Father abiding in the Son does His works. Thus, the Son’s water-walking is the work of the Son and Father. This, Augustine explains, is precisely the point Jesus makes in John 5:19. Similarly, the God created the world (Genesis 1). The Son who made “all things” created the world. The Son did not create another world by “watching” the Father. On the contrary, the world was created by the Father through the Son. Thus, another reason the Son can do nothing of himself (John 5:19) is simply because “the Son is not of himself”. The Son is not another God. The Son and the Father share one divine nature, because Son is begotten from the Father. Augustine further explains, “The Father [made] the world, the Son [made] the world, the Holy Spirit [made] the world. If [there are] three gods, [there are] three worlds; if [there is] one God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, one world was made by the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit”.2

For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel (John 5:20)

Jesus is saying to the religious leaders, “You ain’t seen nothing yet. There’s going to be so much more that will give you evidence that I am indeed God in the flesh, and this is flowing out of a love relationship between the Father and the Son.

For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes (John 5:21)

Jesus is saying that God is the One with authority over life and death.  Raising the dead and making alive are attributes of God. “It is I who put to death and give life” (Deuteronomy 32:39) Similarly, the Son, who is himself God, has authority to give life to whom He wishes.

For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father (John 5:22-23)

Father has the authority to judge; He’s given that authority to Jesus, even in His status as the Son of Man. So again, picture this scene where the religious leaders, supposedly representing God, are prosecuting Jesus. They’re judging Jesus! And what Jesus is saying is, “Oh, by the way, I am God in the flesh, and at the end of the story, you don’t judge Me, I judge you!”. “If Jesus is who He says He is, maybe they should back up and rethink some things.” In verse 23, then, Jesus essentially says, “If you don’t honor Jesus for who He is, and what He came to do, you stand no chance of honoring the Father. Identifying Jesus for who He is and what He came to do is the only way to honor the Father. If you don’t go through Jesus, you have no chance of getting to the Father.

“Truly, truly, (It’s absolutely true.) I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life (John 5:24)

Faith in the Father, who sent his Son, is here represented as being connected with everlasting life; but there can be no faith in the Father who “sent” his Son, without faith also in him who is “sent”, and His words. It’s very clear he who hears and believes, not “will have” eternal life. It’s not future tense but “has” eternal life; its present tense. Eternal life doesn’t start someday; it’s not a duration of life; it’s a quality of life. It starts the moment we believe, the moment we repent and trust Jesus as Savior and believe that Jesus has forgiven our sins, and that Jesus then makes it possible for us as sinful men and women to stand right before a holy God. When He talks about passed out of death into life, we know from John chapter 3 that there’s not just a judgment coming one day, but we’re already judged. We’re born spiritually dead because of our sin. We are cut off from a relationship with God. Once we believe; we receive; we trust Jesus as Savior. The Greek language there would describe it as going over a mountain pass. It’s a great description—you’re spiritually dead but, because of Jesus, you pass out of death and into life. Who has the authority to give life? God! And God has given that to Jesus, and Jesus gives it to those who believe.

Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live (John 5:25)

He’s referring to those who are spiritually dead, and what he’s saying is there is an hour coming, and it’s already here (now is). This is before Jesus died on the cross. This is before Jesus rose from the dead. This is before He has brought the fulfillment of the promises of the old covenant. So He’s headed there to usher in the new covenant and all of its promises. But already people are listening to what He has to say and what He promises. And already they’re experiencing new birth—new life— because they choose to believe Jesus tells the truth. The best example of that would be the Samaritans. Before Jesus even gets to the cross, they’re believing what He’s saying. They’re believing what He came to do. The text even told us they believe this is the One who has come to be the Savior of the world. So, Jesus is saying it’s already happening, and it’s going to happen a lot more, of course, after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.

For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man (John 5:26-27)

For just as the Father has life in Himself. Where does life come from? It would have to come from someone who has always been alive—eternal life. Life originates in God, so only God has the authority to give life. Here Father is said to have life in Himself.

Even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself and. The Father gave the Son to have life in Himself because of His status as?

And He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Giving Son to have life in himself and authority to execute judgment appear to be primarily related to His status as the “Son of man”, the Word who became flesh.

“But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins: (Matt. 9:6)

If you go back to John 5:24 we see that the “life” Jesus is talking about is the eternal life that we receive from God when we hear Jesus and believe in him. For as the Father has life (that is, eternal life to give to those who believe in Jesus) in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life (that is, eternal life to give to those who believe in the Son) in himself. This is primarily because of His status as the Son of Man, the God who became flesh. John explains, “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11–12). Therefore, the context tells us that the life that the Father granted to the Son is the authority to give eternal life to the believers, specifically in His status as the Son of Man.

However, since the Son is begotten from the Father, it can be also said that the life that the Father shares with the Son is as eternal as the Father. For this reason, the Son too has life in himself. Augustine explains that “the source and origin of deity is the Father”. He explains that the Father “begot [the Son] timelessly in such a way that the life which the Father gave the Son by begetting him is co-eternal with the life of the Father who gave it . . .”. Thus, we should not think of the generation of the Son like “water flowing out from a hole in the ground or in the rock, but like light flowing from light”.2 There never was a time when the Son was not. See: The Only Begotten Son (John 1:1-18)

Hence, John 5:1-27 is another instance where the Son’s divinity is emphatically explained. He is identical to Father in works (John 5:19), love (John 5:20), life-and-death power (John 5:21), judgment (John 5:22), honor (John 5:23), eternal life itself (John 5:26) .

Referenced:

  1. Barret, Matthew, “What is Eternal Generation” (May 2021: https://tabletalkmagazine.com/posts/what-is-eternal-generation/
  2. Johnson, Keith,Trinitarian Agency and the Eternal Subordination of the Son: An Augustinian Perspective”: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/trinitarian-agency-and-the-eternal-subordination-of-the-son-an-augustinian-perspective/

E-Book: Jesus – He is Who He is

The long wait is over! I always wanted to share a defense on the divinity of Christ, and the Trinity or Godhead of the Bible. The more I spoke to Christians, not the Jehovah Witness’ and Muslims, I found that they were not very clear about the divinity of Jesus, and the doctrine of the Trinity. In my e-book, available now on Amazon, I have responded to some of the main arguments against the Divinity of Christ, and shown how the Bible shows the doctrine of the Trinity.

My e-book covers the following topics:

THE DIVINITY OF JESUS: IS JESUS GOD?
JESUS IS A LESSER GOD?
JESUS HAS THE NAME JEHOVAH?
NO MAN HAS SEEN GOD
WHAT DOES SON OF GOD MEAN?
ONLY GOD IS TO BE WORSHIPED
JEHOVAH THE MAKER BY HIMSELF
HEAD OF CHRIST IS GOD
WHY CALL ME GOOD
JESUS DID NOT KNOW THE HOUR
WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?
JESUS IN THE MIDST OF THE THRONE
ANOTHER PERSON CALLED JEHOVAH
THE HOLY SPIRIT
GODHEAD OR TRINITY
COUNCIL OF NICEA

 

Reviews

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“This booklet expanded my understanding of God as it lays down key truths about Jesus’s divinity in a simplified manner from the Bible. I have shared this with my youth group, and they loved it” – Christina  Wijesinghe

Here’s the link to my e-book: