I think the "express image" means Jesus. John 1:1 IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Great question!! I had to look more closely into this!! Express image comes from the Greek word, charakter - Strong's 5481 usually means the image engraved or stamped meaning that Jesus is the exact representation of God's nature.
Sis. Christine, if I could give this answer five stars I would! That is so awesome that you dug a little deeper using Strong's Concordance. BTW, for those who don't have a hard copy in their possession to do this, you can find the electronic edition at BibleHub.com.
The second word was "hypostasis". At the time this book was written (in the 1st ce A.D.), "hypostasis" meant "the underlying substance of a thing". Taken as a whole, the author is conveying in this phrase the idea of a die or stamp being impressed into wax. In other words, he is saying that the Son is the wax impress of God's underlying substance.
Let's suppose that the stamp or die was invisibile. How could you ever see what it was? The only way to see it would be when it was impressed into wax. You could then see the image or mark left by the die itself. You could see the result of the imprint. And this is what the Son is to God. On one hand, you can't see God, for He is Spirit. However, it turns out there IS a way you can "see" Him, because He "impressed" Himself into flesh (ie, human nature), and this is what the Son is. This confirms what the Apostle Paul said, that God was "manifest" (impressed) in flesh (1Tim 3:16). In John 14:8, Philip asked Jesus to show them (the disciples) the Father. Jesus' response was, "Dude! Don't you get it??? When you have seen ME, you have SEEN the Father!" (David's translation ;) )
Paul declared that the Son is the [visible] image of the invisible God (Col 1:15). Prior to this statement, this is never declared elsewhere of God in Scripture. Therefore, the only way to see God (the Father) is to see the Son, because the Son is the visible image of the invisible God. Prior to this, anytime someone claimed to have "seen" God, what they actually saw was the Chabod, the "glory cloud", either as a nebulus type of cloud, or a pillar type of cloud, or a concentrated "form" (like Moses saw). Or... they saw an angel representing God, as we discussed in Bible Study.
What about where Moses noted in Gen 1:26 that man and woman were created in the "image of God"? Yes, but notice what God DIDN'T say of man and woman: that "when you have seen them, you have seen the Father". This has only ever been said of Jesus, the Son of God. So, when Moses said Adam and Eve were created in the "image of God", he is defining "image" differently than what Paul and the writer of Hebrews did when speaking of the Son. Adam and Eve (and all of humanity) bear God's "image" in that His communicable attributes were imparted to us, ie- His moral attributes, etc.
And now you know "The Rest Of The Story" behind Heb 1:3!
Wow! Amazing! Thank you Bro. David for this. We know that there is one God and His name is Jesus, but this really helps the human mind to understand what the scriptures tell us. Blessed be the Name of Jesus!