The first paragraph of Hebrews reveals that Paul believed he was living in “the last days.” Scripture employs two expressions about the future that have different meanings. The prophets used the expression “last days” or “latter days” to talk about the future in general (e.g., Deut. 4:30, 31; Jer. 23:20). The prophet Daniel used a second expression, “the time of the end,” to talk more specifically about the last days of earth’s history (Dan. 8:17; 12:4).

Several Old Testament prophets announced that in the “latter days” God would raise up a king who would destroy the enemies of His people (e.g., Num. 24:14–19) and attract the nations to Israel (e.g., Isa. 2:2, 3). Paul says that these promises were fulfilled in Jesus. He defeated Satan and attracted all the nations to Himself (Col. 2:15; John 12:32). In this sense, then, the promised “last days” have begun because Jesus has begun fulfilling God’s promises.

Our spiritual fathers died in faith. They saw and greeted the promises from “afar,” but did not receive them. We, on the other hand, seetheir fulfillment in Jesus.

Let’s think for a moment about God’s promises and Jesus. The Father promised that He would resurrect His children (1 Thess. 4:15, 16). The wonderful news is that He initiated the resurrection of His children with the resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:20; Matt. 27:51–53). The Father also promised a new creation (Isa. 65:17). He has begun to fulfill that promise by creating a new spiritual life in us (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15). He promised that He would establish His final kingdom (Dan. 2:44). He inaugurated that kingdom by delivering us from the power of Satan and installing Jesus as our ruler (Matt. 12:28–30; Luke 10:18–20). This is only the beginning, however. What the Father began to do in Jesus’ first coming, He will bring to completion at the second.

Hebrews 1:1–4 is only one sentence in the original Greek, and it has been argued that it is the most beautiful in all the New Testament from the point of view of its rhetorical artistry. Its main assertion is that God has spoken to us in His Son, Jesus.

For the Jews in the first century AD, the word of God had not been heard for a long time. Before John the Baptist, the last revelation to be expressed in the Written Word of God had come through the prophet Malachi and the ministries of Ezra and Nehemiah four centuries before. But now, through John and Jesus, God was speaking to them again.

God’s revelation through Jesus, however, was superior to the revelation that God had made through the prophets, including John,because Jesus is a greater means of revelation. He is God Himself, who created the heaven and the earth and rules the universe. For Paul, the deity of Christ is never in question; it is assumed.

Also, for Paul, the Old Testament was the Word of God. The same God who spoke in the past continues to speak in the present. The Old Testament communicated a true knowledge of God’s will.

However, it was possible to understand the Old Testament’s fuller meaning only when the Son arrived on earth. In the author’s mind, the Father’s revelation in the Son provided the key to understanding the true breadth of the Old Testament, just like the picture on the box of a jigsaw puzzle provides the key to finding the correct place for every one of its pieces. Jesus brought so much of the Old Testament to light.

Meanwhile, Jesus came to be our Representative and our Savior. He would take our place in the fight and defeat the serpent. Similarly, in Hebrews, Jesus is the “pioneer” or “captain” and “forerunner” of believers (Heb. 2:10; 6:20). He fights for us and represents us. This also means that what God did for Jesus, our Representative, the Father also wants to do for us. He who exalted Jesus at His right hand also wants us to sit with Jesus on His throne (Rev. 3:21). God’s message to us in Jesus includes not only what Jesus said but also what the Father did through Him and to Him, all for our temporal and eternal benefit.