The word "radiance" (apaugasma) is used only in Hebrews 1:3.  In Philo it was used of Christ's relationship to God in the sense that the logos was a reflection of deity.  The early Greek church fathers used it in the sense of Christ as the reflection or effulgence of God.  In a theological sense, to see Jesus is to see God, as a mirror reflects the light of the full sun. The Hebrew term "glory" (kabod) was often used in the sense of brightness (cf. Exod. 16:10; 24:16-17; Lev. 9:6).

This phrasing may be related to Pro. 8:12,22-31, where "wisdom" (BDB 315, KB 314, the term is feminine in both Hebrew and Greek) is personified as God's first creation (cf. Sirach 1:4) and agent of creation (cf. Wisdom of Solomon 9:9).  This same concept is developed in the apocryphal book Wisdom of Solomon 7:15-22a and 22b-30. 

1. In v. 22 wisdom fashions all things

2. In v. 25 wisdom is pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty

3. In v. 26 wisdom is the reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God

4. In v. 29 compared with the light (i.e., sun and stars) she is found to be superior


In the OT the most common Hebrew word for "glory" (kabod, see Special  Topic:  Glory [OT]) was originally a commercial term (which referred to a pair of scales) which meant "to be heavy."  That which was heavy was valuable or had intrinsic worth.  Often the concept of brightness was added to the word to express God's majesty.  He alone is worthy and honorable.  He is too brilliant for fallen mankind to behold.  God can only be truly known through Christ (cf. Jer. 1:14; Matt. 17:2; Heb. 1:3; James 2:1).

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