Daily Plumer – Hebrews 1:1-7 – Proofs of the Divinity of Jesus Christ – No. 4 – He is the Brightness of the Father’s Glory

“Christ’s divinity is likewise established by his being D. The brightness of the Father’s glory; or as De Wette renders it, ‘A reflection of his glory,’ v. 3. Guyse: ‘As no one similitude taken from creatures is sufficient to illustrate both the essential union, and personal distinction of the Father and Son; so, as I humbly conceive, the Son’s being the brightness of the glory of his Father, relates to his essential and inseparable union with the Father, as all the fulness of the Godhead dwells substantially in him.’

Many writers suppose the metaphor is taken from a luminous body and the light proceeding from it, such as the sun. Thus Ambrose says, ‘As the flame does not in time precede the brightness which it generates; so the Father was never without the Son.’ Hesychius thinks the language here is taken from the shining of the sun. Gouge enlarges upon the same idea: ‘No resemblance taken from any other creature can more fully set out the mutual relations between the Father and the Son, For 1. The brightness issuing from the sun is of the same nature that the sun is. 2. It is of as long continuance as the sun. Never was the sun without its brightness. 3. The brightness cannot be separated from the sun. The sun may as well be made no sun, as have the brightness thereof severed from it. 4. This brightness is from the sun, not the sun from it. 5. This brightness cometh naturally and necessarily from the sun, not voluntarily and at pleasure. 6. The sun and the brightness are distinct each from other; the one is not the other. 7. All the glory of the sun is in this brightness. 8. The light which the sun giveth to the world is by this brightness.’

These hints are easily applied to the matter in hand. Tait: ‘Jesus has not a few rays merely of this glory; he is “the brightness” of it.’ He is excellent as the Father is excellent, and good as the Father is good. All that is perfect and adorable in the nature of the Father, is equally to be found in the Son. Nor is this all. In Jesus the Father’s glory was manifested; he was the brightness, or shining forth of it to men. For says John, ‘The word was made 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,’ John 1:14. Macknight: ‘The meaning I think is, that the divine perfections shone brightly in the Son, even after he was made flesh.'”

(These hopefully daily remarks come from William Swan Plumer’s 1872 commentary on the epistle to the Hebrews.)



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