Hebrews 1:3 – The Express Image
The Express Image
The Image of The “Invisible” God, Displays God’s Character Not His Physical Appearance!
There are those who say the wording in this passage “the express image of his person” proves Jesus is God. They say “express” means exact copy or precise.
While correct in part, (this is one of the definitions), the application is not. There are two ways in which this phrase “Express Image can be used, (Ref. Strongs G5481 Express image – an exact copy or [figurative] representation.) Christ was understood as reflecting the “character” of God, not the literal appearance of God. See also: (Colossians 1:15-20 – Image of the Invisible God & The Firstborn)
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 [God]; (Hebrews 1:3)
Seven Important “Express Image”
1. Jesus would still be a copy not the original.
Even if we take this statement “express image” as meaning an “exact copy” in the literal sense it invalidates the claim that Jesus was God because by its very definition Jesus would be nothing more than an “exact copy of” who God is. Even if Jesus looked like God and God actually looked like the man, Jesus would still be a copy not the original.
2. Jesus was the official representation speaking for God
Furthermore, when this passage is read in the correct context from which it was taken (Heb 1:1-2) Paul tells us that God delivered his messages, at that time, through His Son [Jesus] therefore Jesus was indeed in an official representation capacity speaking for God. Paul clearly was not saying that God himself came directly to us in person (Heb 1:1-7).
The Greek Word “Dia” (G1223) found in Heb 1:2, which is a mistransliteration concerning the creation, should say (for) whom (not by whom) also he [God] made the worlds; See also: (2. Who is the Creator, God or Jesus?) to understand and verify the mistranslation.
Deut 18:15 The LORD (H3068) thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; (Ref: Luke 24:19; Acts 2:30)
Deut 18:18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
Deut 18:19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
3. The Express image did not mean Jesus and God were identical in appearance
Most scriptures reflect Jesus as standing or sitting down at the right hand of God. It is irrelevant whether the “right hand” of God is stated as being figurative or literal, either way, it denotes Jesus at a position to someone other than himself.
(Acts 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 8:1, Hebrews 10:12, Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22)
The point is that these men of God were somehow able to “visibly distinguish” the spiritual personage of Jesus from that of God. They were somehow able to identify Jesus as the one standing on the right hand of God himself. This could not have been accomplished if Jesus and God were actually identical (the express image) spiritual personages in appearance.
4. The Express Image Has Less Power than the Father (God Almighty)
Jesus said All power was given him, The Son can do nothing of himself and that his Father was greater than he was (Matthew 28:18, John 5:19, 10:29 and 14:28). This cannot be if Jesus is literally the manifest Eternal Spirit of God the Father himself speaking here. Either he was telling the truth or he was lying about his power and its source if they were literally one and the same.
5. The Express Image Was Visible But God Was Not
No man has seen God at any time or heard his voice, both occurred with Jesus.
6. The Express Image Knew Less Than God The Father
It is obvious from Scripture that Jesus did not know everything, for he grew in wisdom (Luke 2:52). Jesus said that ONLY His Father knew the day of the second coming, not the Son (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32). Again, either he was telling the truth or he was lying about his knowledge if as we say, they are one and the same. If Jesus was telling the truth, clearly they are not the same.
7. The Express Image Can Not Literally Be A Reflection of Something Truly Invisible
If the above incarnation definition is correct, then by our current definition we make God out to be either a deceiver when Jesus told his disciples’ many mansions were “in my Father’s house” instead of his house. Or in many other verses a liar when Jesus claims to be someone else (the Son of God), instead of who he truly was, God himself.
♦ We also cite (Colossians 1:15) “Who is the image of the invisible God” in support of our incarnation claim. If something is truly invisible, the only way you can be the image of anything invisible is figuratively speaking, by reflecting its character, not its physical make-up.
♦ If one thing is the “image” of another thing, then the “image” and the “original” are not the same things. When you look at someone standing in front of a mirror you see a reflection of their image. The Father is called “God” in many verses, and that is why there is no verse that calls the Father the image of God.
♦ Just as Jesus is called the image of God, we also are called the image of God. (1 Corinthians 11:7) says, “A man ought not to cover his head since he is the image and glory of God.”
Words in the Bible must be read and understood in their common or ordinary meaning unless good reason can be given to alter that meaning. In this case, the common meaning of “ image” is “likeness” or “resemblance,” and it is used that way every time in the New Testament.
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