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.
Unless God speaks we do not know the thoughts of God. But notice, secondly, man having by his own sin fallen away from God, and silence reigning now, it isonly the infinite compassion and love of God that induces Him to speak. If there was no redemption, there would be no revelation. If there was no blood of the Lamb, there would not be a single syllable uttered unto man by the Most High. It is because God is the God or redemption, that He is the God of revelation. It is because in Jesus Christ there is anatonement that God began to say to Adam in love, “Where are thou?” The love of the Father, and the blood of Jesus Christ, and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; behold, these are the three necessary foundations upon which the Scriptures rests. God, the Triune Covenant God, hath spoken. — The Epistle to the Hebrews, by Adolph Saphir, page 27.
various times (v.1) = “old time” or “many times” — old in the sense that it’s replaced by the new
various ways (v.1) = portions and manners — parts and ways
The revelation [of God to the prophets] was sometimes communicated by typical representations and emblematical actions, sometimes in a continued parable, at other times by separate figures, at other times — though comparatively rarely — in plain explicit language. The revelation has sometimes the form of a narrative, at other times that of a prediciton, at other times that of an argumentative discourse; sometimes it is given in prose, at other times in poetry. — An Exposition of Hebrews, by Arthur W. Pink, page 16.
prophets (v.1) — one who is commissioned by God, gifted with the Holy Spirit and entrusted with the Word of God to give to the people.
in these last days (v.2) = at the end of these days — extreme, last in time or place — at the end of the period included in “various times” (v.1).
His Son (v.2) — Look now at the contrast. The whole contrast is in one word — in our language in one syllable — “by the Son.” The prophets were many; the Son is one. The prophets were servants; the Son is the Lord. The prophets were temporary: the Son abideth forever. The prophets were imperfect: the Son is perfect, even as the Father is perfect. The prophets were guilty: the Son is not merely pure, but able to purify those that are full of sin and pollution. The prophets point to the future: the Son points to Himself, and says, “Here am I.” God has spoken to us “by His Son.” — Saphir, pages 35-36.
It will be noted that the word “his” is in italics, which means there is no correspoinding word in the original. But the omission of this word mades the sentence obscure; nor are we helped very much when we learn that the preposition “by” should be “in.” “God hath spoken in Son.” Yet really, this is not so obscure as at first it seems. Were a friend to tell you that he have visited a certain church, and that the preacher “spoke in Latin,” you would have no difficulty in understanding what he meant: “spoke in Latin” would intimate that that particular language marked his utterance. Such is the thought here. “In son” has reference to that which characterized God’s revelation. The thought of the contrast is that god, who of old had spoken prophet-wise, now speaks son-wise. — Pink, page 19.
The revelation God gave in His Son, consisted not merely in what was said, as in the case of the prophets, but in what the Son was, not merely in what He (the Son) said. In other words, it was not primarily, nor finally, a revelation given through words, but through a Personality. It was a revelation made by One who in all that He is and all that He does and says, reveals the Father. He is the Logos, the total concept of Deity, Deity told out, the Word of God, not in the sense of a spoken or a written word, but in the sense of a Person who in Himself expresses all that God the Father is. He said on one occasion, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). And so John could write, “In the beginning was the Logos (the Word), and the Word (Logos) was in fellowship with God (the Father), and the Logos was as to His nature Deity” (John 1:1). This is the Person in whom God gave His final revelation to the human race. — Hebrews in the Greek New Testament, by Kenneth S. Wuest, page 34.
heir (v.3) — virtually a title — “possesser” — with dominion and authority — a successor to the father in all the father has — Luke 9:35. Christ was appointed in the eternal counsel of the Godhead to be heir. — appointed to suffer (Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:19-20); to glory (1 Peter 1:11; Psalm 89:27)
all things (v.2) — Psalm 2:7-8; Matthew 25:31-32
worlds (v.2) = ages — that which an age contains, together with all things = the universe
brightness (v.3) = light radiating from a luminous body
glory (v.3) — John 1:14`
Compare Ezekiel 1:26 and 28, 10:4, 43:2; Exodus 24:16; where glory of the Lord appears evidently to be a person. Thus the Messianic promise is often expressed, as in Isaiah 40:5: “The glory of Jehovah shall be revealed.” In Exodus 24:16, after stating that the glory of Jehovah abode upon Mount Sinai, the verse continues, “And He called unto Moses.” Notice also (Exodus 33:19) the request of Moses, “Show me Thy glory,” is answered “I will make all My goodness pass before thee.” This harmonizes beautifully with the Scripture teaching, that in the Son, the Savior, glory is beheld, as the full manifestation of grace; as, for instance, “The Word was made flesh and tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” — Saphir, page 58.
express image (v.3) = a stamping instrument and the image stamped — John 1:18
The image stamped is the exact impression of the stamping instrument. Hupostasis came to denote essence, substance, the inner nature. Christ is the very representation of the divine essence. The whole phrase expresses the fact that the Son of God is a distinct person from the Father and yet one with Him in the Godhead. He is His equal, as being the perfect representation of His essence. — Hebrews, by W.E. Vine, page 254.
upholding (v.3) = carrying, supporting and energizing — preserving and directing — Colossians 1:17
by Himself purged our sins (v.3) — purification and expiation — On the cross, Christ finished the work whereby the sin question is settled.
sat down (v.3) — There was no seat in the temple for the priests because their work was never completed. But Christ’s work is finished, and so He sits at the right hand of God.
on the right hand of the Majesty (v.3) — enthroned — with power and honor
Majesty (v.3) — greatness and dignity — God the Father — as in Hebrews 8:1.
All eight statements about the Son in these three verses were predicted or intimated in the Old Testament and so were not new to the Hebrew audience. The main point of these three verses is that Christ is superior to the prophets.