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Volume 9 - Page 53 of 138 Index | Zoom | |
the equal truth that the Lord existed in other glorious forms before His birth at
The Son, the express Image of His Substance. (Heb. 1: 3).
pp. 85 - 91
We have already drawn attention to the peculiar importance of noting the words of
verse 2, "spoken to us in Son". Not as through a new instrumentality as of a new prophet,
but as of a new theophany God spoke "in Son". As the Son, God was manifest in the
flesh. "The brightness of His glory" shows Him as the great antitype of the presence, the
shekinah of the holiest of all. We now approach the consideration of a related title, but
one that is confessedly more difficult of interpretation.
THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS SUBSTANCE.--The A.V. reads "person", but we
adopt the R.V. for reasons to be submitted presently. Our first consideration must be the
words used in the original.
Express Image.--This in the original is the word charakter which all will recognize in
the Anglicized "character". It is derived from charatto, "to engrave". The word occurs
but once in the Scriptures, but in secular writings we find it used to mean letters, or as we
call them still, "characters" engraved or impressed upon waxen tablets; and stamping or
coining money, literally putting the impress upon it. A word closely allied to this, viz.,
charagma, is used several times in the Scriptures. We find it in Acts 17: 29, "We
ought not to suppose a gold or a silver or a stone sculpture of man's art and device, to be
like the Deity." Here we translate the word "sculpture"; the remaining occurrences of the
same word are found in the Revelation, where it is used of the "mark" of the beast.
Let us look again at Acts 17: The spirit of Paul had been stirred while waiting at
Athens when he saw that the city was full of "idols". The idols he refers to as sculptures
were intended to represent the Deity. We might well ask how it could be that nations so
advanced in culture and learning as the Egyptians and the Greeks, should be found upon
the same level as the ignorant savage; and while we could argue from this universal
craving for images in heathen worship the universal evidence of man's fall
(Rom. 1: 21-23), we should be no nearer the reason why a corrupt nature should of
necessity express itself in image worship. The real reason is that it is by no means error
to approach God by means of an image but profound truth, the error being that the idols
of the heathen usurped the prerogative of the Son, for HE IS THE IMAGE OF GOD.
God is invisible, He is One whom no man hath seen or can see, and Christ as the
Firstborn of all creation is the image of the invisible God.
Another title used in another aspect of this great subject is that of Phil. 2: 6. There, as
regards equality with God, He is spoken of as originally being "in the form of God",
which glorious "form" expressing equality, was exchanged for "the form of a servant",