There are words that are used only once in the Bible and when you run into one it is worth noting what it means because obviously it is not just an ordinary word. One of these one timers is found in Hebrews 1:3. It is stuck in the middle of this beautiful exposition of the greatest revelation God gave human beings and that was Jesus.
Hebrews 1:1-6. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 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 at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”
He is called the “brightness of God’s glory”. It is the word brightness that is interesting. It can mean “effulgence”. Effulgence is brightness on steroids. It can dazzle, stun and knock you out. We remember that God is a consuming fire and an unapproachable light, and yet we have seen His glory, His effulgence in the face of Jesus and still live. The effulgence, the radiance, the brilliance and in some translation the “candor” of God is lying in the manger of Bethlehem. God spoke with an amazing candor when He spoke through His Son. He tells it like it is. The only way to get to the Father and get life and salvation and peace is in this manger. God spoke with stunning candor when Jesus cried out “It is finished”, and declared that the blood of Jesus, the brightness of God’s glory bled out on a cross, is God’s glory and there is our glory and life.
Luther called Him the “Morganglanz der Ewigkeit”, the Morning Dawn of Eternity.
“Come, Thou Bright and Morning Star”
by Christian K. von Rosenroth, 1636-1689
Translated by Richard Massie, 1800-1887
1. Come, Thou Bright and Morning Star,
Light of light, without beginning!
Shine upon us from afar
That we may be kept from sinning.
Drive away by Thy clear light
Our dark night.