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 on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Heb. 1:3, 4
Marvelous speech of God!
Word of God whereby Christ, having purged our sins, now sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high!
For this, according to the epistle to the Hebrews, is the heart of the whole matter, the essence of the excellency of the new dispensation, its superiority over the old, that “in these last days” God hath “spoken unto us by his Son.”
In the old dispensation He spoke through the prophets, “in these last days,” in the fullness of time, He spoke through His Son. And this is the cause of the difference between the two dispensations, that before, and that which followed “these last days.” The fact that God spoke through the prophets in the old dispensation made that entire period one of shadows, when He spoke through His Son reality came. As long as He spoke through the prophets, salvation was a mere promise; when He spoke by His Son the promise was fulfilled. His Word through the prophets was, indeed, revelatory, informative, shedding light in the darkness, filling the hearts of the heirs of the promise with hope, because it assured them of the salvation He would accomplish; His Word by His Son is powerful, accomplishing that which it expresses, an act of the Almighty who calleth the things that are not ns if they were, and who quickeneth the dead.
Hence, in the old dispensation He spoke “at sundry times and in divers manners,” for the Word was never finished, never complete, never accomplished. In these last days He hath spoken once, and the Word is finished.
The law came by Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ!
Through Moses He spoke to the Church of the old dispensation, and the result was a shadow of things to come. An earthly tabernacle represented the Word of God to His people, and in it ministered a human high priest, himself a sinner, who offered the sacrifices of bulls and goats that could never purge away sin.
But when, “in these last days,” He spoke by His Son, the sins of the people were blotted out for ever by the perfect sacrifice of the true High Priest, and the real and heavenly tabernacle was established, our High Priest being exalted at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Through Moses God spoke, and the people came unto the “mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire,” and unto “blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. For they could not endure that which was commanded. And if so much as a beast touch the mountain it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake.”
By His Son God spoke, and now we “are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the
firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
That is the vast, the amazing difference between the old and the new dispensation!
All because then He spoke through the prophets, “in these last days,” that is, in the days that lie between the incarnation of the Son of God and His exaltation at the right hand of God, He spoke by His Son.
He spoke, and the final result is that the Son received a glorious name, and is exalted at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven!
See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh!
Mighty Word of God!
By His Son!
God spoke through God!
For this Son, through Whom God spoke in these last days, is very God Himself.
The prophets, even though God spoke through them, could only speak words; but the Son is the Word!
He is the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of His person, or rather, according to a better translation, of His substance. For He is very God, co-equal with the Father as to His substance. All the divine virtues are His. He is very God Himself, eternal, immutable, self-existent, transcendent above all that is named creature, infinite in power, in knowledge, in wisdom, the implication of all perfections, the Holy One, the mighty Lord of all. And He is such as the Son. For God is one in essence, yet three in persons. And in the divine economy the Father eternally subsists as Father, the generator of the Son, the Speaker; the Son as Son, the Word of the Father to Himself, His effulgence, the express image of His substance, the Speech; while the Holy Spirit subsists in the infinite essence of the triune God as Spirit, the One that is breathed forth and proceeds from the Father to the Son, and through the Son to the Father, the speaking. Eternally the Father speaks of Himself and to Himself in the Spirit and through the Son, and eternally the Son is the essential and infinite reflection of the Father, the brightness of His glory, God of God, Light of Light.
Through that Son He spoke in “these last days.”
O, He had spoken through Him before!
For by Him He also made the worlds. For in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. John 1:1-3. Through the Son, the eternal Word, He spoke, and the heavens and the earth were brought forth, the things that are not were called as if they were. He spoke and there was light, and a firmament, and the waters fled, and the earth brought forth herbs and grass, and the lights were established in the heavens, and the living souls were called into being, and man was formed after the image of God. . . .
Moreover, through the same Son He continued to speak.
For it is this Son, the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His substance, that still upholds all things by the Word of His power. He is in the heavens and in the earth, transcendent above all, yet immanent in all, as the Word of God by Whom the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handiwork, day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge!
And now, in these last days, He spoke again through that same Son!
He spoke a different Word, a Word more glorious even than that by which the worlds were made, and through which they are upheld, the Word of salvation!
And while through His creative Word He became known as the one that calls the things that are not as if they were, by the Word He spoke in these last days He stands revealed as the One that quickeneth the dead!
Of that Word the heirs of the promise stood in need!
For soon after God had spoken in the beginning the light in which alone man could see the light had been extinguished. Darkness, the darkness of sin and of death, the darkness of the wrath of God and of condemnation, had spread its horrible wings over the world of man. Adam had not regarded his excellent gifts and position, had turned away from the Word of God to heed the lie of the evil, and had, according to the Word of God, sunk into the depth of death from which, as far as he was concerned, there was no escape. And into that depth of desolation he had dragged with him the entire race, even also the heirs of the promise! The covenant of friendship, life and joy and fellowship with the living God had become impossible. The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not!
There was no way out!
But the things that are impossible with man are possible with God!
He would speak again! And speaking once more, He would reveal Himself as the One that is mighty, and willing, to call the light out of darkness, righteousness out of sin, glory out of shame, life out of death!
Through the prophets He spoke, pointing them, and those that heard their word, to the time when He would once more speak to His people through His Son!
And in these last days He fulfilled His Word!
By His Son, the eternal Word, the brightness of His glory, the express image of His substance, He spoke in the fullness of time!
He spoke His mighty Word of salvation!
Wonderful Word of God!
He spoke and it was done!
And the ultimate glory that was accomplished by this speech of God through His Son is that the Son received a new name!
For, evidently, it is to His name as the Christ, as the Son of God in the flesh, as the Mediator of God and man, that the text refers. Only this name, the name He received as Son of God in human nature, could He inherit, and the text speaks of a name which He obtained by inheritance. As Son of God in the divine nature He possesses all power and might and glory in Himself: to Him no name could possibly be given by inheritance. Besides, the Word of God here compares Him with the angels: he is made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. But all comparison between the Son of God in the divine nature and the angels, or any other creature, would be impossible.
The Son of God in human mature inherited an excellent name.
And the name, here as always in Scripture, is expressive of the nature and position of the bearer of that name. It denotes that which one may rightfully and properly be called.
This name of the Son of God is expressive of and consists in His excellent position. For He sits “at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” God is “the Majesty,” the greatness, the sole and absolute sovereign of heaven and earth. His alone is all the dominion, and the power, and the glory for ever. His is the sole prerogative to rule. And to be exalted at His right hand signifies a position at the very pinnacle of all created things, in which one is authorized to exercise lordship over all things in the name of God. This is the present position of the Son of God in the flesh. He is exalted above all principality and power, and above every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. All things are subjected under Him. In His name every knee must bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father!
A more excellent name than the angels He obtained.
A position in which even the glorious heavenly spirits must bow before Him in awe.
And in harmony with that excellent position, He was endowed with excellent power. For He was made more excellent according as He received a more excellent name than the angels. Power and wisdom and knowledge and might and honor are bestowed on Him, in order that He might be able to occupy and function in the position at the right hand of God.
Jesus is Lord!
The Son of God is the Christ!
The heir of all things!
To this He was appointed by the divine decree from before the foundation of the world. And this eternal good pleasure of the Father was realized in these last days, when God spoke His Word of salvation through the Son!
He spoke and it was done!
His mighty Word proceeded forth from His mouth, and the Wonder of all wonders: is accomplished: the
Word became flesh! That same Son of God, who is the brightness of God’s glory, and the express image of His substance; that same Word, through whom He spake in the beginning, and by the whom the worlds were created; that same mighty Word that still upholds all things, that transcends all things, and that is in all things, now is inseparably united with the flesh and blood of the children, dwells among us, lives with us, speaks to us face to face and mouth to mouth!
God spoke and the Word became flesh and dwelled among us!
He spoke, and that Word in the flesh descended into the depth of death and hell!
For also the crass is the Word of God through His Son!
On Him He laid the iniquity of us all, even as He had ordained Him to be the Head of His own from before the foundation of the world. Him He brought into judgment for the transgressions of His people. On Him He poured all the vials of His wrath against sin, and Him He caused to bear and to taste in all its unspeakable bitterness the terrible curse of death. As He spoke through His Son, that Son in human flesh entered into all the desolation of being forsaken by God, and sustained the burden of God’s wrath to the bitter end, thus bringing the perfect sacrifice that purged away sin, amid obtained for us perfect and everlasting righteousness!
And the Word of God through His Son continued to speak.
For having become obedient unto death, yea, the death of the cross, and having purged away all the sins of His people, the Son of God was raised from the dead. Through His Son, and unto His Son in the flesh, the Majesty on high spoke: “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee!” And it was so. And He arose from corruption into incorruption, from death into immortality, from weakness into power, from flesh and blood into the glory of His resurrection body. . . ,
The Lord of life and death!
And still God spake!
He spoke: “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” And it was so. And He ascended up on high, leading captivity captive, and sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high!
It is finished!
God has spoken through His Son, and His Word is accomplished!
That is the gospel! The Word that is preached among us!
The Word of salvation!
Once more He will speak through the same Son, shaking the heavens and the earth!
That His Son in the glory of His new name may appear to all!
For ever and ever!