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What does it mean that Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3)?

upholds all things

In Hebrews 1:3, Jesus’ divine nature is described in striking and colorful detail. He is referred to as “the radiance of God’s glory” and “the exact representation of His being.” Then we are told that He upholds all things “by the word of His power.” According to this verse, Jesus is associated with God’s divine nature by being His glory and exact representation, and He is associated with God’s creation by upholding all things by the word of His power.

Hebrews 1:3 shares similar language and imagery with Colossians 1:15–17, which says, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (emphasis added).

The phrase in English differs slightly among various Bible translations. For example, the ESV says, “He upholds the universe by the word of His power,” while the NIV says, “Sustaining all things by His powerful word.” Still others speak of “the power of His word” (BLB). Regardless, what the author wants us to understand is that Jesus, as the very Word of God (John 1:1–3), is the central life-force by which everything in creation finds its existence.

According to Genesis 1, God created everything out of nothing through the power of His word. And in the New Testament, Jesus is the very Word of God Himself (John 1:1–3). With His word, Jesus speaks life and power into all things—nothing can exist or survive outside of His word and power. Imagine Jesus as the “pillars” that hold up the entire “house” of the universe. Take away the pillars, and the entire house would crumble beneath itself. Were Jesus not holding up all creation, then everything would crumble beneath itself.

So, the fact that Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power teaches us that everything in creation not only has its beginning in Jesus, but also its continued existence. For Jesus, as the eternal Word of God, has no beginning or end (John 1:1–2).

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What does it mean that Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3)?
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This page last updated: April 18, 2023