What does Hebrews 1:3 mean?
ESV: 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,
NIV: The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
NASB: 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,
CSB: The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
NLT: The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.
KJV: 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;
NKJV: 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,
Verse Commentary:
A major theme of the book of Hebrews is the supremacy of Christ. Faced with persecution, there is a temptation to follow the crowd. Jewish Christians of that era would have been under pressure to return to Judaism, rather than continue as Christians. The first four verses of Hebrews serve as an introduction to the idea that Jesus is the better way.

This verse also provides important support for the divinity of Jesus. That is, these words imply that Jesus Christ is, in fact, God. The Greek word characktēr is translated here as "exact imprint" or "exact representation.". The Greek word for "nature" here is hypostaseōs. This is the source of the theological term "hypostatic union," a fancy way of saying that Jesus is both God and man. Combined, these words mean that Jesus' nature is identical to that of God. Christ is divine, exactly as God is divine.

The reference to sitting at the "right hand" is important in ancient literature. This is a symbolic reference to honor and power. A person seated at the right hand of the king was considered trustworthy, and he was bestowed with the power of that king. References to Jesus as "seated" at the right hand of the Father imply His absolute power and authority.
Verse Context:
Hebrews 1:1–4 summarizes the entire book of Hebrews. God has spoken to mankind in many ways, but now He speaks to us through Christ. This same man, Jesus Christ, is also God, and shares in all aspects of the divine nature. Jesus' superiority over all other things is summarized in His symbolic position, seated at the right hand of God the Father. Everything which follows in the book of Hebrews supports this same basic theme: Christ is above and beyond all other things.
Chapter Summary:
Chapter 1 starts off with an immediate appeal to God's communication with mankind. It also establishes the divinity of Jesus Christ. Hebrews describes Jesus as superior to all other beings and all other claims. The first area where Jesus is elevated is with respect to angels. Using direct quotations from the Old Testament, this chapter clearly demonstrates that Jesus is above, beyond, and far more than every angel. This theme will continue through chapter 2.
Chapter Context:
The first chapter of Hebrews establishes two primary ideas used to support the rest of the book. First, that God has spoken to mankind, most recently through Jesus, so we ought to be listening to Him. Secondly, chapter 1 introduces the fact that Jesus is superior to other spiritual beings, such as angels. These concepts are used to support the superiority of faith in Christ, over the Old Testament Law, expressed in the book's later chapters.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
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