God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,…
The apostle hath taught that our Saviour Christ, the Son of God, hath been once sent unto us, an eternal Prophet, to teach us all things which God hath done for our salvation, and through the preaching of the gospel to sanctify us all unto Him; that Him alone we should acknowledge to be our leader unto eternal life. Now the apostle beginneth to prove this singular glory to belong only to Christ, which He doth by setting out a full description of Him, in which, as I said, He proveth Him to be eternal God.
1. By His rule over all creatures (ver. 2).
2. By the glory of His own person.
3. By His great power.
4. By His benefit bestowed upon us.
5. By His glory purchased to Himself (ver. 3).
6. By comparison with angels (ver. 4).The rule of Christ over all creatures He showeth in this: that He is heir of all, and created all. By heir of all, meaning how in the person of a mediator He hath restored all, as in the person of the Son He was the wisdom of God to make all. And therefore called the heir, because He restored not the world, but by redeeming it, and purchasing it unto Himself, according as God the Father had given it to be a recompense unto His work; in which respect it is said that God appointed Him heir of all things. This our Saviour taught us (Matthew 28:23; John 16:15). The apostle addeth the second note of this authority. That by Him the world was made; by the world meaning all things in heaven, earth, and under the earth. For so St. John addeth to this testimony, "And without Him nothing was made, whatsoever was made." Then if all creatures were made by Him, Himself was uncreate, and only Creator of all that is, that we might boldly give Him the glory of the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
2. The second thing wherein Christ is here exalted is the glory of His person.
(1) That He is the brightness of His Father's glory, which title is absolutely given Him, as essential unto the Son of God, not only before us, but even before His Father; that as all the properties of the Godhead have their being in the person of the Father, so the brightness and beauty of them is in the person of the Son, and so this name was proper to Him before the world was made; noting that eternally He was of the Father. In which sense St. John calleth Him the word, not according to the time in which creatures have been, but an essential word before all creatures.
(2) The second thing here attributed to Him is, that He is the ingraven form of the person of His Father; noting hereby the unity of substance, as in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwelt bodily. Even as St. Paul doth also call Him the image of God, distinguishing Him by this name from all shadows and figures, like as this apostle useth the word in the tenth chapter. And here expressly he addeth ingraven, above all the figures in the law, the ephod, the Urim, or the ark itself, showing the excellency that is in Christ.
3. The third title of honour here given unto Christ is of the greatness of His power, and that is that He beareth up all things with His mighty word. In this also it is assured that He is very God, the stay and strength of the world, without whose hand all things would fall into confusion.
4. He extolleth the person of Christ by the greatness of His benefits bestowed upon man, in these words, "By Himself having purged our sins," put in here as a parenthesis, because it showeth the way how Christ purchased that excellent dignity to sit at the right hand of His Father, whereof after he speaketh. In that he saith purged our sins expressly he warranteth His Godhead, for what creature could have done so excellent a work?
5. The thing wherein Christ is here extolled is the high dignity which He hath gotten, in these words, He sitteth on the right hand of high majesty; noting hereby that God the Father hath taken Him up into His glory, so that He sitteth in power and majesty equal with His Father; and this is plain, in that He calleth it, the right hand of highest majesty. And the Scripture showeth this end of it, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool; showing that this is the power of God in Him, to sit at the right hand of God. Now a little further we will examine the words and apply them more particularly to our instruction. In that it is said first, God made Him heir of all, so that we see how these words of the apostle have every way their weight, to prove that Christ is the Son of God, the King of His people, God and man, mediator between God and us. We must learn of ourselves we have nothing, but being ingrafted in Him we are owners of all things. I may have from man my warrant here in earth that my house is mine, and my land is mine, and he is a thief and a robber that taketh it from me. But all the men in the world cannot give me my possession before the living God, but only His Son Christ, who is heir of all; and I am a thief and a robber if before God I claim any other right in it. Then, that our lands may be our own, our goods our own, our servants, our wives, our children ours, let us be Christ's, that in Him we may have the good assurance of all our substance. And where it is further said, All things were made by Christ, we may boldly conclude that no man hath power over His creatures, but they must serve their Creator. What have I to do with another man's work? God hath appointed His creatures a use; in it they are holy. It thou wilt set them another law thou profanest thyself in them. Further, in that it is said, that Christ is the brightness of glory, and ingraven form of the substance of His Father. Let us mark well why the apostle thus magnifieth the person of Christ. For no other cause but to warrant unto us the truth of His word, that He is our prophet and we must believe Him. Again it is said, He beareth up all things with His mighty word. Where, we must mark, he attributeth to God's mighty power the governance of all things in our sight, either great or small, that we should learn not to measure the power of God by our weak senses. It is His mighty power that upholdeth the earth, that stretcheth out the heavens, that sendeth forth the winds, that raiseth on high the great waves of the sea, and these things we confess are great and mighty; but as it is here, so everywhere the mighty power of God maketh the feather to move, and His strong arm leadeth the fly in her way, and the same force which now shaketh a leaf, if He had sent it against a mountain it would have turned it up from the foundations; and the same strength that bloweth up the dust, if it came against the earth, it would shake the bottoms of it. And this should make us fear before Him, that whatsoever He hath done, whether it seem great or little, we should confess His handiwork, and according to His greatness so we should honour Him, that whatsoever He hath commanded, whether it seem weighty or light, all our obedience should be straight unto it. It followeth, by Himself He hath purged our sins. I do not doubt but you know how Christ hath purged our sins, and the more you know it I am sure you are the more glad to hear it. And because He saith by Himself He purged our sins, in this we see a clear discharge given to the tabernacle, and all the sacrifices at the door of it, not one of them purged sin. Now where it followeth in the apostle's words, "That He sitteth at the right hand of high majesty," we must first mark the change of words. Where it is usually said, He sitteth on the right hand of God; here he saith on the right hand of the highest majesty, which is, as it were, an interpretation of the right hand of God, signifying nothing else but the power and glory of God, given unto the person of the Mediator, according to that saying of Paul, "God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name above all names."
(E. Doering, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,