Hebrews 1:1–4 (NKJV)
The book of Hebrews, which some presume to have been written by Paul the Apostle, opens with a powerful statement about the work of Jesus Christ. If this book is truly written to Hebrews, or Jews, then this opening is an attempt to help them understand the validity and authority of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, or at the very least to help current Christians (Jew or Gentile) stay the course and not lapse back into Judaism or some other previous form of belief. The writer, officially unknown, is attempting to solidify the teachings of Christianity among believers in a pluralistic society, fraught with voices calling for the attention of anyone, believer or not.
1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.Hebrews 1:1-4
The author of this letter initially sets out to establish the importance and method of God’s revelation to mankind in times past. Up until the time of Christ, God had spoken through prophets, including Moses, who wrote much of the pivotal early Old Testament Scriptures, and others who spoke what thus said the Lord after the Mosaic period. In “these last days,” however, God chose to speak to men and women everywhere by His Son, Jesus Christ, the appointed heir of all things. Through Christ the world was created, and all the bodies of the heavens. Jesus was truly the Son of God, the image of the Godhead on earth, glorious and bright in a dark world that was nearly devoid of prophecy for 400 years prior to His coming. Jesus broke the silence between God and man, and came to the earth with a clear clarion call to repentance and salvation. Jesus confirmed the words of the prophets, and completed or fulfilled the law with His own death, purging our sins and winning victory over death and hell. After completing the salvific work, Jesus ascended back to heaven, to the right hand of God. This position of power was reserved for the One who, by inheritance, was the throne’s rightful heir. He was not just an angel or a god-like man. Jesus was God, the Messiah, the Savior with a name above every name.
This initial foundation of the letter establishes firmly the place of Christ in the world and the church. Jesus saved mankind by dying in our stead. He founded the faith on salvation by grace through faith. Jesus is the root and the vine, giving men and women everywhere the opportunity to believe upon Him and be saved. Man can be grafted into the vine, and flourish as fruitful branches. This brief statement of the power of Christ sets the tone for the book of Hebrews and makes it clear that there is salvation in no other in these last days.