God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,…
It is of the incarnate Son of God that the apostle speaks; and showing unto us His glory, he leads us, in the first place, to the end of all history.
1. He is appointed the heir of all things.
2. To the beginning of all history, in Him God made the ages.
3. Before all history, He is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His being.
4. Throughout all history He upholdeth all things by the word of His power.
1. The end of all history. The Father has appointed the Lord Jesus Christ, His Son, the heir of all things. Him, the Son of Abraham and the Son of David, the theocratic Son, the Messiah; not in His abstract Deity, but as the Son who became man; as the Word made flesh; as the Son who became the servant to fulfil all Jehovah's good pleasure. "The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hands." According to His deity there is no necessity for any gift, reward, or transfer. According to His deity incarnate, the Messiah, in the everlasting covenant, is appointed heir, and all things are given into His hand. What are these "all things"? It is clear that there is nothing excepted that is not given unto Him. So said the risen Saviour — "All power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth." In His intercessory prayer before His sufferings-He had said, "Thou hast given Him power over all flesh." This is the first thing. The whole human race is given unto Him. And out of this whole human race, which belongs unto Him by eternal right, and by the right of His perfect and holy humanity, by the right of His unspeakable love, and of His death, God has chosen in Him a people, that the Son should give eternal life to "as many as Thou hast given Him." And this Church Jesus Christ has obtained as the first and central part of His inheritance. As the material sun is placed in the firmament to be a source of light and heat and joy unto the rest of the creation of God, so God appoints the Church to be the first-fruits of His creatures — the body of Christ, wherewith He influences and blesses, whereby He guides and controls all things. And the material creation which God hath made in Jesus Christ He hath also given unto His Son, that Jesus, through the glorified Church, and by the angels in heavenly places, as well as through Israel and the nations dwelling on earth, should be glorified in the whole realm, which is His portion and His inheritance. How rich is our adorable Jesus!
2. All things are His. And this is so natural; because, in the second place, God has made "all ages," or "all worlds," by Him. It is natural that He who is the Alpha should also be the Omega. He is before all things (not merely as before and above time, but) as the idea and cause of all things. He is that eternal wisdom of which we read in the book of Proverbs, which was with God before the foundations of the world were laid. God has made all things by Christ according to Christ, and for Christ. What more natural, then, that He by whom and in whom all things were made should be also the inheritor of all things?
3. But the apostle goes still further. Before all history He is "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His being." Wherever he looks he sees Christ, the light. Without Christ there is darkness. Think of the end of history, and you are lost in amazement; think of the beginning of the world, and you are lost in ignorance; think of before the beginning, and you are altogether lost in an element transcendent and incomprehensible, because it is not for our finite minds to contemplate such wondrous heights until the heavenly, Divine light of revelation comes to our aid. And who is the light? Christ is the light. The eternal, infinite God reveals Himself in Christ. The Son is the light, which maketh manifest; God is manifest in Him. Christ is "the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His being." In Jesus we behold infinite power, wisdom, goodness, holiness, compassion, truth. All things that are in the Father are in the Son. It is as the Son that the eternal life, which was with the Father, was manifested unto us. He who declares unto us God, whom none hath seen, the Word, is God (John 1.), He is truth, substance; and the beloved disciple testifies of Him: He is the true God and eternal life.
4. And as the Lord Jesus is the heir, the end and consummation of all things and the beginning of all things, and the eternal Word before all things, the apostle tells us that throughout the course of history, in providence, He beareth all things with the word of His power. He is the inherent energy, truth and beauty of all things. He is as it were the spirit, the symmetry, the logic and substance of all that exists. By Him princes rule and senators decree justice. In Him every truth is rooted. By 'Him everything that is firm stands. By Him all things are continued; for He is the Word of God — the expression of the eternal thoughts and truths of the Most High. Christ is Lord of all. The whole universe centres in Him. There shall be again wonders and signs in the heavens when the Son of man shall come in power. And both science and revelation teach us to look forward to a new earth. It is the Lord Jesus who shall make all things new. And all developments are borne up and moved by the word of His power. Now, when the apostle has given us this idea of the wonderful glory of the Lord Jesus, he continues by stating something still more marvellous. Why has this glorious being, in whom all things are summed up, and who is before all things the Father's delight and the Father's glory, come down to our poor earth? For what purpose? To shine? To show forth the splendour of His majesty? To teach heavenly wisdom? To rule by His just and holy might? No! He came to purge our sins. What height of glory I what depth of abasement! What a glorious Lord I And what an awful sacrifice of unspeakable love, to purge our sins by Himself! The manner and power of this purification form the subject of this whole Epistle. But in this short expression, "By Himself He purged our sins," all is summed up. By Himself: the Son of God, the eternal Word in humanity. Himself: the priest who is sacrifice, yea, altar, and everything that is needed for full and real expiation and reconciliation.
Parallel VersesKJV: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,