Tag Archives: God

The Exact Imprint of God’s Nature – Hebrews 1:3

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 (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus is described here in the ESV translation as having the “exact imprint” of God’s nature. Other translation render this as the “exact representation” (NASB) or “express image” (KJV), but the idea is the same. Now, this book of Hebrews was written to, well naturally, Hebrew people. That is, people who had come from an Old Testament Jewish background. And how does Old Testament define the nature of God?

  • Eternal – “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2).
  • All Powerful – “Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).
  • All Knowing – “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:5).
  • Omnipresent – “Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:24).
  • Unchanging – “For I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6).

wax_sealThis is only a partial list of the characteristics of God’s nature. If you omit any of these characteristics, you have grossly neglected describing the one true God of the universe. And if Jesus did not possess any of these attributes, then he would in no way be the “exact representation” of his nature as described in Hebrews chapter 1. But Jesus did possess all those characteristics and all the others I did not list, because he was truly God in flesh. And this was to fulfill what had been foretold by God through the prophet Isaiah long before Jesus’ birth:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

The Mighty God came down in the form of a child to save his people from their sins.


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At the right hand of God – Acts 7:55-56

Just before being stoned to death for preaching the Gospel, Stephen had a vision of Jesus in his glory:

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:55-56).

The book of Hebrews likewise uses similar terminology to describe Jesus at the right hand of God:

After making purification for sins, he [Jesus] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3).

Many groups use these verses to argue that God the Father must have a physical body like people because Jesus is said to be at his “right hand”. This is often thrown out like some kind of trump card as if, by itself, it proves the Father has a body of flesh and bones. If we used that same type of simplistic analysis, we would learn some other remarkable things about the physical characteristics of God. For example, that right hand is incredibly large; large enough to hold seven stars:

To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand (Revelation 2:1)

And we would learn that God has wings:

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings (Psalm 36:7).

And those wings have feathers (pinions):

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge (Psalm 91:4).

His nostrils send out smoke, and fire comes from his mouth:

Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth (Psalm 18:8).

And he can fly on the backs of the angelic beings:

He rode on a cherub and flew (Psalm 18:10).

As you might expect, these groups do not believe God has giant hands, or feathers, or smoke-filled nostrils. Just as these images are figurative, the term “right hand” is also figurative. It describes Jesus’ position of highest honor, his authority,  and his glory. This understanding of “right hand” makes all the more sense when you examine Jesus’ use of the phrase:

And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62).

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My 4-year old teacher – Jonah 2:5-6

My 4-year old has just recently begun to grasp the concept of the omnipresence of God (i.e. that God is everywhere). It randomly comes up in his conversations, “When we go to Grandma and Grandpa’s Jesus is there too.”  You can tell that it is a mix of both statement and question. There is a clear awe and wonder in his trying to think about it; mixed with a bit of question because it does not fit with everything else we experience in creation. His awe and wonder is a great reminder to me of the awesomeness of our almighty God.

Thinking about the omnipresence of God reminded me of when the prophet Jonah tried to run from the almighty God, but he could not get away. He began to sink to the bottom of the sea, but God was there too:

The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God (Jonah 2:5-6).

God saved Jonah even against Jonah’s desires. Not only did God demonstrate his omnipresence through the events of Jonah’s life, he demonstrated his grace in the life of Jonah and in the thousands of lives in the city of Nineveh. If God had been omnipresent but not gracious, Jonah would have still perished. If God had only been gracious but not omnipresent, Jonah could have escaped and perished.

What a great God. And what a blessing it is to me to be taught of the greatness of God by a 4-year old.

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Forever fixed in the heavens – Psalm 119:89-91

Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast. By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants (Psalm 119:89-91).

What an amazing comfort it is to know that God’s word is firmly and forever fixed. It is so much more comforting to rest on the sure and unchanging promises of God than to look for new and changing words. The false prophets come and go. Their words are unclear, contradictory, shifting sand. But God’s word is unmoved because it is based upon his unchanging character.

It is by his word that I can trust that his faithfulness will endure forever. Because all things were created and are sustained by his word, I can know that he has ordained all things and that all things serve his sovereign purpose. God and his word are the bedrock of my faith and my protection from the evil of this world.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:2-3).

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None can compare with you – Psalm 40:5

You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told (Psalm 40:5).


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God reigns even when he forsakes – Lamentations 5:19

But you, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations (Lamentations 5:19).

Taken out of its context, this verse from the prophet Jeremiah appears similar to many other verses that extol the eternal reign of the almighty God. Read in the context of chapter 5 and the even the whole book of Lamentations, the statement is surprising. The Israelites have been utterly devastated. Here is a partial list from chapter 5 of the atrocities that have befallen them:

  • Lost their homes and wealth to foreign invaders
  • Lost family members
  • Famine
  • Rape
  • Execution

Jeremiah recognizes that these things can only occur because God has turned his back on that sinful nation. God had taken away his protection and favor. So, Jeremiah appeals to the sovereign Lord to restore the nation to himself. As much as we desire God’s favor, it often takes the trials of this life to remind us to turn back to him. Like Jeremiah, we must turn to the Lord in repentance and look for God’s mercy.

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David is still dead – Acts 2:29

In Acts 2:29, the apostle Peter said

Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

He was referring to Kind David who was dead and contrasting him with Jesus who is alive. We Christians are blessed to serve a God who is alive as opposed to a dead prophet.

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