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Hebrews 1:2-3 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:56 mins 16 secs

Hebrews Lesson 13  May 19, 2005

 

NKJ Acts 4:12 "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

 

We continue our study in Hebrews 1.  We will briefly review the first 3 verses.

 

Corrected translation of Hebrews 1 

 

Vs 1 After God spoke in a variety of fragments and in various forms in time past to the fathers by means of the prophets

 

Vs 2 He has in these last days spoken to us by means of His Son who He has appointed the heir of all things; through whom also He made the ages 

 

Vs. 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 at the right hand of the majesty on high

 

Vs. 4 having become so much better than the angels as He has by inheritance obtained a name more excellent name than they.

 

The first verse focuses on Old Testament revelation that was partial and inferior to that which comes during the Church Age. 

 

The second verse teaches the superiority of the revelation through the incarnate second person of the trinity. 

 

That is all one sentence in the Greek and we have to take it apart.  If you look at it grammatically and syntactically, the main verb is in verse 2.  The main clause is "He has spoken to us by His Son."  There is a break that takes place in verse 2 after the dative of Son.  Everything else in the rest of verse 2 down through verse 4 talks about the Son. Verses 2b – 4 are subordinate to the main verb but they all deal with the same subject.  So the subject shifts. In verses 1-2b the subject is God speaking to us by His Son.  From 2b-4 the focus is on the Son and the quality of the Son and what the Son is doing in His present ministry, His qualification for His present ministry, and what He is doing in His present session.  As I pointed out when we began our study of Hebrews, the main theme focuses on the present session of the Son and its significance for the believer in the present Church Age in terms of your experiential spiritual growth and your future destiny. It is unpacking the significance of the session.  This is something that I find is too often limited in theologies or Bible teaching or in exploration of the book of Hebrews.  People focus on the priesthood of Christ. That is correct but we must pursue it.  Various writers have done some quality work in this area in recent years ("Reign of the Servant Kings" by Joseph Dillow), but there is so much more that we can uncover related to what is happening in terms of the present session. 

 

The ascension and session of Christ is the foundation for understanding this passage.  The more you think about what happens in Hebrews and how heavily the writer of Hebrews relies upon certain Old Testament passages like Psalm 110.

 

NKJ Psalm 110:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."

 

In Psalm 2:8 the Son is to wait for His inheritance. 

 

NKJ Psalm 2:8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

 

Then we have Daniel 7 that pictures the successive kingdoms that will dominate Gentile history from the Babylonian kingdom to the Media-Persian Kingdom to the Greek Empire and then the Roman Empire.  Even today in 2,000 years of church history we see a fragmentation of the old Roman Empire and its attempts to pull it all back together again in terms of Western Civilization.  This ultimately gets recovered in the Tribulation period under the Revived Roman Empire.  It is during this age that the Son is waiting.  The focus of the session isn't simply just that He has finished His work on the cross and thus He can sit down at the right hand of the Father.  It goes beyond that.  In His session He is not simply seated in completion of His First Advent work, but He is waiting for the Father to accomplish certain things in human history both in terms of preparing the bride for Christ and also preparing the nations for that ultimate defeat when He makes the nations an inheritance for the Lord.  That is the background that we see in these opening verses of Hebrews.  There is a reference in verse two that Christ is appointed heir of all things.  That inheritance that the Son receives is the kingdom that He acquires as His possession on the earth when He returns at the Second Coming. 

 

Someone asked me an interesting question the other day.  They had apparently not paid attention in Bible class.  It is easy to miss the point.  Sometimes people have missed the point that the hypostatic union is a permanent, present and future status for the Lord Jesus Christ.  It began at the incarnation.  He never stops being true humanity.  This is related to the fact that when He returns at the Second Advent to take ownership of the inheritance and to rule the nations with the rod of iron according to Psalm 2:7 and Revelation 2 where He comes to rule with a rod of iron that He comes as the Son of Man, not as the Son of God.  The term Son of Man clearly designates humanity.  When He comes to reign, He comes as the Son of David.  So He is still human.  He is the Son of David, sitting on David's throne ruling as part of David's family.  The prophecies of the Old Testament say that this is forever. He guaranteed that someone from David would sit on David's throne and would rule forever.  This indicates that this isn't something that just extends through the Millennial Kingdom. 

 

The Millennial Kingdom is simply the prelude to eternity.  It is sort of phase one to eternity even though at the end of the millennium there is the destruction of the present heavens and the present earth, what happens is we will have a New Heavens and a New Earth.  The New Jerusalem is on the earth.  It's illuminated by the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ who is ruling and reigning through the church who will continue to serve as kings and priests to God.  So we see that what is happening in our present life has eternal ramifications.  What you are going to be in the Millennial Kingdom and what you are going to do throughout eternity is directly related to the volitional decisions that you make today in terms of living your spiritual life and in terms of your priorities.  We will get into this in reference to the battle of the Christian life in the Scripture when we get into the next letter in our study of Revelation.  The last letter of Revelation 2 relates to the church at Pergamum. They are living in one of the most hostile environments in the ancient world.  They have compromised so that they have picked up a very modern approach to living called tolerance.  They have distorted the concept of tolerance into approval.  This is the point of criticism in that epistle.  We will see this in our study of Revelation.

 

We will be doing a basic doctrine series that we will be able to use in witnessing and challenging new believers.  The preparation of the people here is far beyond most churches.  The study that you have had and the preparation that you have had is far beyond what you get in 99.9% of the churches.  At the top of its game Dallas Seminary was producing the highest qualified men in all of church history.  I am convinced of that.  Sometimes we don't realize the quality we have until years later.  After years of being in the ministry I realize that 99.9% of the other pastors in this country don't even have a clue as to the education that was being provided at Dallas Seminary in terms of the intensification that we had.  If you were to put it into a military analogy you would have to say that Dallas Seminary was cranking out Special Forces.  They cranked out the cream of the cream of the crop.  Others can build a church in a year and go from 50 to 500 people but people out of Dallas don't know how to do that.  But they don't know what they are teaching.  They don't know anything about the Bible.  They don't even know how to work themselves through an Old Testament survey.  What we have is so far beyond what many believers have. 

 

The thing is that we live in a culture of constant degradation of education.  We are in tremendous decline.  When many of us were growing up we still lived in an environment, especially if you were in the Bible belt, where there was at least a loose understanding of the Bible.  I remember one time when I was in junior high that the teacher expressed astonishment at the fact that she told the Christmas story. It didn't have anything to do with the Bible but she mentioned Jesus.  One of the students didn't know who Jesus was.  She was just astonished. My wife teaches third grade and she says half of her students have never heard of Jesus.  She runs into this all the time.  We live in a civilization and culture today that is Biblically ignorant.  If you ask about Genesis or the Gospel of John, they don't know what you are talking about.  They don't know that these are individual books of the Bible.  They don't know who Jesus is.  On the one hand we have a good core group in this church that we are starting that has a college level education in Bible doctrine yet we have a community to reach with the Word where most people do not know basic Biblical terminology like redemption or salvation.  Young people coming up have had no input from anything spiritual.  They are a blank slate.  They don't have bad information; they have no information.  It is like an old one room school house were you have 14 or 15 year old kids at one level and you bring in kindergarteners and first graders and you have to teach both at the same time. 

 

So we will go back and do a basic study.  I suspect that there will be a few things that some of the old hands are going to discover as new.  Another reason I want to do it is that it will also be an explanation of our doctrinal statement.  When people come and want to be a member of the church we can say that this is what we believe.  Most people don't know how to read a doctrinal statement.  They look at it and say that they don't find anything offensive.  The next thing you know some issue comes up in the congregation and everyone is upset.  Then one day they realize what a doctrinal statement means.  So I will go through the doctrinal statement as I go through this basic series.  I will try to tie it into a little more cultural relevancy so that it will be something we can all use in witnessing and challenging new believers to an understanding that there is a higher level of teaching with more spiritual nourishment than what they may be used to. 

 

Let's look at the context in verse 3.  To do that, we have to look at the structure.  Structure in Scriptural studies often tells us what the writer is emphasizing.  What we have in this structure is what we call a chiasm.  In the Latin the word is chiasmus. This is a way of structuring your topic so that you emphasize certain things.  Remember in the ancient world they didn't have boldface type or italics or a lot of things we use to bring out emphasis.  They did it all through grammar and literary arrangement. A concept of chiasm comes from the Greek letter chi. It looks like an X.  If you have five points, they are arranged as follow.

 

  A

  B

  C

  B'

  A'

 

 

C is followed by B'.  B' mirrors B.  Then you have A' that mirrors A.  It looks like one side of the letter X.  That is a chiasmus.  If you think of that one side of an X, what is it pointing to?  It is pointing to the center, C.  That is what the author is emphasizing.  The center of the chiasmus construction is emphasized.  Whatever is in the center of the chiasmus construction. This construction is used frequently.  We have that construction in Hebrews 1:1-4

 

  1. The Son is contrasted with Old Testament prophets.  1:1-2a
  2. The Son is presented as the Messianic heir.  The idea is that He is the appointed heir. 1:2b 
  3. The Son's creative work.  1:2c Through whom He made the ages.
  4. The center of the chiasmus is the Son's three-fold mediatorial relationship to God.  What do I mean by a mediatorial relationship to God?  A mediator is a go-between.  The mediator is the one who stands between two opposing parties.  The concept of a mediator relates to the concept of priesthood.  What is a major theme in the whole book of Hebrews?  It is the high priestly work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This introductory part of the book sets us up for what is going to be covered in the main body of the epistle.  I Tim 2:5 says that there is one God and one mediator, the man Christ Jesus.  In the center of the introduction to Hebrews there is an emphasis on the three-fold mediatorial relationship to God.  What comprises this?  First, He is the brightness of His glory.  He is the radiance of His glory.  Second, He is the express image of His person.  Third, He upholds by the Word of His power.  Those three things make up the three-fold mediatorial relationship to God.

C'  This mirrors C.  The Son's redemptive work.  1:3c He purged or purified our  .  sins.  This is the Son's redemptive work

B'  This mirrors B as the Son as Messianic King.  He sits down and waits to be given  .  His Kingdom. 1:3d  He is decreed the Son but He doesn't have the kingdom yet.

A'  The Son is contrasted with the angels. 1:4  This mirrors the first statement.

 

This is the chiastic structure of the first four verses of Hebrews. What is the centerpiece?  The centerpiece is the Son's three-fold mediatorial relationship to God.  This foreshadows the theme of the whole book.  The whole book is going to unpack for us the significance of Christ's role as mediator and as high priest.  That is what He is doing right now at the session and why it is significant for our spiritual life.  What is He doing?  He is not just our defender.  He is doing that and that is important.  I am not diminishing that.  At the right hand of God He is our defender.  He prays for us.  He is our High priest.  There are many facets related to that, but there is something else that He is doing.  He is also preparing us for that future position to rule and reign with Him in the Millennial Kingdom.  He is preparing us to be in that special body of administrators. You didn't know that you are going to be a bureaucrat in the millennium, did you?  We will come back and function as kings and priests to God ruling and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is what this focuses on.  At the core of verse 3 is why Jesus is so important.  It flows out of His deity.  One commentator that I read says that you have to have a pre-conceived agenda to destroy the deity of Christ not to understand that this passage teaches the full-undiminished deity of Christ. What we see in these passages, especially in verse 3, is that the vocabulary and the grammar groan under the weight of the meaning of these words.  This is so heavy.  Way it is written and how it is structured in the Greek is overpowering.  It is one of the most profound statements in all literature.  If you read it in the Greek you can't avoid the unmistakable teaching that Jesus Christ is fully God.  He is undiminished deity.  He is the only qualified person in all of history to run the universe because of who He is.

 

Hebrews 1:3

 

Vs. 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high

 

Beginning in the middle of verse 2 we get into a series of 7 relative clauses that are going to define Jesus Christ.  In verse two we start with an accusative relative.  Then we have a through whom.  There we have an instrumental case.  But when we get into verse 3, it shifts to a nominative case for the relative.  The subject is now Jesus Christ.  He is now the subject. That is what we are talking about in verse 3 and verse 4.  So seven things are said about the Lord Jesus Christ beginning in the middle of verse 2. 

 

The first thing is that He is the appointed heir.  This focuses on the future destiny.  He is the appointed heir.

 

The second thing that is emphasized is that Jesus Christ made the ages. He designed and He upholds the dispensations.  The Greeks used the word cosmos to indicate the physical material world.  As we noted at the end of verse 2 the word here is aion, the word for the temporal world that includes the physical universe with an emphasis on the organized progression through time.  What we are seeing here is the Lord Jesus Christ as the one through whom He made the ages. He is pictured as the one who supervises the progression of history through the ages.  He is the agent through whom God the Father created the physical universe as the courtroom in which the dispensations are worked out as successive evidence in the angelic trial. That is the implication here.  It is like a courtroom scene or up on stage in a theatre.  It is being worked out progressively.  If you want to use the theatrical analogy, you are watching a play from one act to another act.  If you think of a courtroom scene, you see the gradual progressive presentation of evidence from one dispensation to another ultimately resulting in the final conviction of Satan and the vindication of God's righteousness. 

 

In verse 3 we get to the center of this whole development. Brightness is how the New King James translates it.  I think the New American Standard translates it radiance.  We could translate this as the radiant flashing forth of His glory. 

 

Verse 3 also shifts in one other way.  Part of this is indicated by the fact that you have a shift of in the relative pronoun.  The grammar brings this out.  Why is it that we have this accusative and dative relative pronoun in verse 2 and then in verse 3 we shift to a nominative?  What happens structurally is that we move from prose in verses 1 and 2 to poetry. In the middle of a verse he makes this shift. That isn't normal, is it?  What is happening is that as his mind is focusing on what God is doing and who Jesus Christ is, in the midst of this he composes a hymn to express the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It moves from pure prose into the structure of a hymn.  In essence he breaks into song in the midst of this sentence because he is so overwhelmed with the significance of what God is doing through Jesus Christ in history.  We see that there is a shift of subject from God in verses 1 and 2 to the Son in verse 3.  There is a shift in relative pronoun from the accusative to the nominative. 

 

He brings in two vocabulary words that are known as hapaxlegomenan.  It means that the word occurs only one time in the Bible.  It is not standard Biblical vocabulary.  When you see a verse loaded with "hapax" you know that something is going on.  The word brightness and the word for express image are hapaxlegomenan.  They are only used one time in the New Testament.

 

Fourth, the writer at this stage starts using participles instead of finite verbs.  The participles are used without the article. 

 

Fifth, there is a rhythm of words and a parallelism of ideas that is typical of songs.  You see this also in the Psalms.  There is also a structural similarity to other hymns imbedded and quoted in other New Testament epistles.  Verse 3 is virtually a hymn.  Hymns are important.  They aren't just something you sing as a tradition that you tack on to the beginning of a service.  They are expressions of praise and theology to God.  If you look at Eph 5:19 which is part of the sentence structure as Eph 5:18, it is followed by a series of participles in the next four or five verses.  They express the characteristics of being filled by means of the Holy Spirit.  The verse that is expressed is singing songs and hymns.  This isn't something that is secondary that is just tacked on.  It is part of the spiritual life of the believer in being filled by means of God the Holy Spirit as we sing praises to God.  This happens.  Paul does it.  Philippians 2, the kenosis passage, is a hymn.  He just breaks out into a hymnal structure when he is expressing this most profound doctrine in Philippians 2.  It happens in a number of other places.  We have to recognize that this indicates that the fact that the writer at the time is overwhelmed with the magnificence of the doctrine that he is expressing. 

 

It begins with the nominative singular relative pronoun who.  In a nominative case Jesus Christ now becomes the subject of the verse. He is expressed as being.  It is the present active participle without an article. It emphasizes His present on-going reality.  It is not that He became the brightness of glory, but He is at His very nature.  This ties into John 1.  The participle is stronger for that on-going nature.

 

Brightness is the word apaugasma meaning radiance or effulgence.  The passive sense is a simple reflection.  The early church fathers always understood that this word had to be taken in the active sense.  He is the radiant flashing forth of the Father.  The active meaning of the noun has the idea of emitting brightness.  The connotation here is that the Shekinah glory of God, that visible glory that we see in the presence of God in the Old Testament, radiated through Jesus Christ.  Just as the sunbeams come from the sun, so Jesus Christ expresses the very nature of God.  The passive idea that some translations use which is simply reflection is like the sun and the moon.  The moon reflects the light of the sun but the moon doesn't tell us anything about the sun. But if it is the radiation of the sun, the sunlight communicates everything about the sun. We can learn from studying the sun.  It is not a reflection that would mean that the Son of God is less than God the Father.  But He is the radiation or the expression or outflow or the radiant flashing forth of God's glory. 

 

Let's remember the context.  What are we talking about in this section?  We have to go back to the main clause.  God has now spoken through His Son.  What are we talking about?  We are talking about revelation.  The subject here is how God reveals Himself through the Son.  The idea is not what went on in eternity past.  The idea is that in terms of the Son being the revelation of the Father, He is the radiant flashing forth of the Father.  That is how His revelatory work in the incarnation is being expressed.  When He became incarnate, He is expressing the glory of God through His very being. The focus is not on Christ in eternity past as being full deity (of course that is true) but it is on His communication of that at the incarnation. So this first phrase emphasizes that the unity of the Son with the Father in His nature or essence as it was expressed and continues to be expressed through the incarnation. 

 

This word apaugasma with the "ma" ending in the Greek emphasizes the content or the substance of the action.  So it is emphasizes the content of that brightness.  It refers to the essence of God.  That is what the term glory relates to.  It is the flashing forth of His glory. The word in the Greek is doxes.  It means weight or glory.  It translates the Hebrew word kabodh.  It has the basic meaning of weight or something that is heavy.  Remember in the 70's the term "it is heavy"?  That sums it up.  It is saying that God is heavy.  This is weighty stuff.  It is serious significant matter.  The word doxza in classical Greek had a more shallow idea.  It related to something that was more of human opinion or something that was more transient.  When the translators of the LXX used it to translate the Hebrew word kabodh, it shifted its meaning from the vacillation of human conjecture to the certainty of objective reality grounded in the character and the integrity of God.  Doxza became a reference to divine essence whether visible or invisible.  We tend to think of glory in terms of its visible visual manifestation, but the glory of God is often expressed in Scripture in non-physical and non-visual terms. This is part of the whole imagery that Jesus expresses in John 8:12.

NKJ John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

 

NKJ John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

"Word" is the word logos and is used for the second person of the trinity. 

 

The apostle John is one of the three key disciples along with Peter and James on the Mt. of Transfiguration.  Jesus Christ was suddenly transformed from His humanity and His glory was unveiled.  All of sudden the flashing forth of His glory is there.  Peter sticks his foot in his mouth.  He sees Elijah and Moses are with Him and wants to construct an altar to worship them. Jesus tells him to keep his mouth shut and relax.  But that is the physical glory.  But here John was on the Mt. of Transfiguration and John never mentions it in the whole gospel of John.  When John talks the glory of Jesus Christ as manifested in his gospel he talks about His character or essence of God.  He never mentions the physical, visible, flashing forth of visible light.  He is always talking about the invisible essence.  That is the core idea of the glory of God. 

 

NKJ 2 Corinthians 4:6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

 

"Light out of darkness" refers to creation.  That is Genesis 1.

 

If Genesis 1 is allegory and God didn't command the light to shine out of the darkness, then what does that do to the second part of the verse that talks about God shining in our hearts.  The second half of the verse is rendered irrelevant and meaningless if God did not speak in Genesis 1:2.  You can't allegorize Genesis 1 without destroying and eviscerating the gospel message of the New Testament. 

 

The term Shekinah glory that we often refer to as a breakdown of two different words – Shekinah and glory.  Shekinah comes from the Hebrew word shakan that means to dwell.  It came into Greek as the verb skene that means to dwell or create a temporary dwelling.  That's the word we have in John 1:14. 

 

NKJ John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

He tabernacled among us.  All of it goes back to Hebrew origin in shakan.  The word glory means that which is heavy or weighty.  Shekinah glory means that physical manifestation of the dwelling presence of God in the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament.  The word glory is the common Biblical word that describes the theophany of God's presence on the earth. 

 

NKJ Leviticus 9:23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people,

 

When they were in the Holy of Holies there was a white glow on the Ark of the Covenant that indicated the presence of God.  It was there until the conquest of the Southern Kingdom in 586 when Ezekiel saw the departure of the Shekinah.

 

NKJ Numbers 14:10 And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the LORD appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.

 

So they had this physical manifestation of God over and over again.  People say today that if Christians would trust God we could have miracles today.  In some charismatic movements, that has been quite popular. They believe that if Christian would trust God and miracles were restored then more people would believe.  Oh really!  That is what we saw with the Exodus generation, right?  A people who were moving forward in the spiritual life, saw miracles, saw the presence of God and heard the voice of God.  It really made a difference in their spiritual lives, didn't it?  What about during the time of Jesus?  They saw all kinds of miracles. It really made an impact on the Pharisees, didn't it?  It is a matter of walking by faith and not by sight.

 

NKJ Mark 9:3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them.

 

This is the light flashing forth from His being. 

 

NKJ Luke 2:32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel."

 

At the birth of Christ, He is said to be a light bringing revelation to the gentiles.  This reinforces the physical manifestation of light and the glory of God. 

 

NKJ John 17:5 "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

 

That indicates that there is a shift in the manifestation of His glory.  During the incarnation it is limited and veiled.  That's part of what happened in the kenosis.  Jesus willingly limited the expression of His divine attributes during the time of the incarnation to accomplish the purposes of the incarnation.

 

John comments on the turning the water into wine.

 

NKJ John 2:11 This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.

 

That is a different kind of glory, isn't it?  It is not the glory of His flashing forth.  It is the glory of His caring about people and their situation and meeting the needs of people at the moment as He rebuked his mother. 

 

Glory also refers to the future kingdom.

 

NKJ Matthew 16:27 "For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

 

NKJ John 12:40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them." 41 These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.

 

When did Isaiah see the glory of Jesus Christ?  Isaiah lived in the 7th century BC.  In Isaiah 6:3 and following when he has a vision of the heavenly courtroom and the cherubim are singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" he saw the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

The importance of this in terms of verse 3 can't be stressed enough.  Because what this is teaching is that Jesus Christ is the full essence of God.  He is the expression of the full essence of God.  In John 1 we read that no man has seen the Father at any time.  The only begotten has explained Him.  He is the one who reveals him.  This was understood by the church fathers when they met at the famous Council of Nicaea in 325 AD when they were wrangling about how to express the relationship of the Son to the Father before the incarnation.  That was the first big question they had to address in the early church.  What was Christ before He came?  They had the New Testament.  They knew He was God.  They are not making up new doctrine.  What they are trying to do is figure out how to properly articulate what the Word of God says.  If Jesus pre-existed and He is eternal God, do you have two gods?  How to you articulate this?  We understand the trinity.  We have the vocabulary for the trinity that came out of Nicaea.  If you lived before Nicaea, it wouldn't that simple.  They didn't have the vocabulary and definitions. 

 

The main figure was Athanasious who was the Bishop of Alexandria.  He comments in his encyclical to the bishops of Egypt and Libya.

 

Who does not see that brightness cannot be separated from the light, but that is by nature proper to it and co-existed with it, and it is not produced after it. 

 

The Son's brightness is one with the light.  You can't separate them into two different persons.  This is what he was driving for in the battle to defend the deity of Christ. 

 

It is co-existent and co-eternal.  The Son must be full equal deity with the Father.  This is what he was emphasizing.

 

Ambrose another church father a little later in the century who was also a teacher of Agustin wrote the following.

 

Think not that there was ever a moment of time when God was without wisdom any more than that there was ever a time when light was without radiance for where there is light there is radiance and where there is radiance there is also light; thus we cannot have a light without radiance nor radiance without light, because both the light is in the radiance and the radiance is in the light.  Thus the Apostles taught us to call the Son the "Radiance of the Father's glory" for the Son is the radiance of the Father's light, co-eternal because of eternity of power inseparable by unity of brightness.

 

To have the Son means you have to have the radiation.  To have the radiant light means you have the Son.  They can't be separated from one another.

 

The council said He was light from Light.  That is where this terminology comes from.  They are not just making things up.

 

So we have made it through the first phrase. 

 

Literal Translation:  He is the radiant flashing forth of His glory.