Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
The reason the book of Hebrews was written was because the early church had a lot of Christians of Hebrew nationality who were being persecuted severely by their fellow Jews for being Christians. God inspired the writer of Hebrews (2 Timothy 3:16) to write to them, exhorting them to not abandon Christianity in favor of returning to Judaism. Throughout the book he shows the superiority of Jesus over various aspects of Judaism. In the above passage he opens the book by showing Jesus’ supremacy over the Old Testament prophets who were highly revered by the Hebrews.
The writer opens the book by speaking of God as a matter of fact. There is no attempt to explain God’s existence. He is assumed to exist by the writer, who then speaks of how God spoke to the ancestors of the Hebrews centuries before in different times and ways. The Old Testament was not given to Israel all at once, nor even over the span of a single generation. Rather, it was given gradually, piece by piece, through God’s prophets. At times God spoke to men through visions and dreams (cf. Genesis 20:1-7), at other times through inspiration (cf. 2 Samuel 23:2; 2 Peter 1:19-21) or by an audible voice (cf. 1 Kings 19:9-18). Regardless of the method used, God has never left man without his Word.
It is interesting to note how the Hebrew writer then writes, “…but now in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (v. 2). Hebrews was written around 67-68 AD, almost two thousand years ago, and yet the writer calls the times in which he lived “these last days.” Paul and Peter did the same (1 Corinthians 10:11; Acts 2:14-17). The age of Christianity, existing now for almost two millennia, is the last age of man. The age of the patriarchs of Genesis existed for several centuries, as did the age when the law of Moses was in effect before Christ died on the cross. Now we are among those “upon whom the end of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:11). It is in these last days in which God speaks to us through his Son, Jesus the Christ.
Jesus’ words are recorded through the writings of his apostles and prophets which make up the New Testament. He had promised His apostles that the Holy Spirit would “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:25-26), join them in “bear(ing) witness about me” (John 15:26-27), and “convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment” while “guid(ing) them into all the truth,” speaking to them what he has heard from Jesus (John 16:7-15). This the Spirit did. Christ’s apostles Matthew and John, along with the prophets Mark and Luke, recorded via Spirit inspiration the teachings and actions of Jesus while he was here on earth. The apostles Paul and John, along with the prophets Luke, James, Jude, and the writer of Hebrews, all were inspired by the Spirit to give further instruction from Jesus in their epistles (Ephesians 2:19-21; 3:3-5; 1 Corinthians 2:6-16; 14:37; 2 Peter 2:19-21; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Thus, it can be truthfully said that God is speaking to you through his Son whenever you open your New Testaments and read the words of the apostles and prophets who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. No wonder Scripture is called “God’s Word”! Indeed, even Jesus himself is referred to as “the Word” (John 1:1-14).
The Hebrew writer then writes of how God appointed his Son “the heir of all things” and that he created the world through his Son, who holds the universe together with power and radiates God’s glory while showing all God’s nature (vs. 2-3). Jesus acknowledged this (Matthew 28:18; John 14:8-11), as did Paul and John (Colossians 1:15-19; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Philippians 2:5-6; John 1:1-3, 10).
Jesus truly is superior to the Old Testament prophets! Is he your Lord and Savior?