In the Old Testament, the glory of God refers to His visible presence among His people (Exod. 16:7; 24:16, 17; Lev. 9:23; Num. 14:10). This presence is often associated with light or radiance.

Scripture informs us that Jesus is the Light who came to this world to reveal the glory of God (Heb. 1:3; John 1:6–9, 14–18; 2 Cor. 4:6). Think, for instance, of how Jesus appeared in the transfiguration: “And He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light” (Matt. 17:2).

Just as the sun cannot be perceived except by the radiance of its light, God is known through Jesus. From our perspective, the two are one. Because God’s glory is light itself, there is no difference, in actual being, between God and Jesus, just as there is no difference between light and its radiance.

Hebrews also says that Jesus is the “exact representation” of the Father’s substance (Heb. 1:3, NASB). The point of the metaphor is that there is a perfect correspondence in being—or essence—between the Father and the Son. Note that human beings carry God’s image but not His essence (Gen. 1:26). The Son, however, shares the same essence with the Father. No wonder that Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9, NKJV).

Hebrews 1 affirms that God created the world “through” or “by” Jesus and that Jesus sustains the world with His powerful word. Some think that Jesus was the instrument through whom God created. This is not completely accurate. First, for Paul, Jesus is the Lord who created the world; He was not a mere helper. Hebrews 1:10 says that Jesus is the Lord who created the earth and the heavens, and Paul also applies to Him what Psalm 102:25–27 says about the Lord (Yahweh) as Creator. The Father created and Jesus created. There is a perfect agreement between Father and Son in purpose and activity. This is part of the mystery of the Trinity. Jesus created and God created, but there is only One Creator, God—which implies that Jesus is God.

Meanwhile Hebrews 4:13 shows that Jesus is also Judge. His authority to rule and judge derives from the fact that God created all things and sustains the universe (Isa. 44:24–28).

Hebrews 1:3 and Colossians 1:17 affirm that Jesus also sustains the universe. This sustaining action probably includes the idea of guidance or governance. The Greek word pheron (“sustaining,” “carrying”) is used to describe the wind driving a boat (Acts 27:15, 17) or God leading the prophets (2 Pet. 1:21). Thus, in a real sense, Jesus not only created us but sustains us as well. Every breath, every heartbeat, every moment of our existence is found in Him, Jesus, the foundation of all created existence.