The letter to the Hebrews is unique in that it contains no formal greeting from the author. With the exception of 1 John, Hebrews is the only other New Testament letter that opens with instruction to its recipients. This fact has led some commentators to the conclusion that the recipients knew the author of the letter quite well. Nevertheless, it is evident that the author of Hebrews had many things to communicate to his readers, the first of which was the supremacy of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, over all things — even the prophets of God.
Throughout history, God has chosen to communicate His truth in many ways. The most common way God has spoken to His people is through the prophets of old. “Long ago,” the author writes, “at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets.” In stating this, the author is communicating the manner in which God spoke to the Old Testament patriarchs. It is interesting that the author does not mention that God is still speaking through the prophets, nor does the he give the impression that God continues to speak “in many ways.” Rather, using a past tense verb, the author refers to “the prophets” through whom “God spoke”. But, the author says, that is not the way God has spoken “in these last days.” For “in these last days” God has spoken through His Son.
This immediate contrast is not something that should be overlooked. Considering that this is the first thing the author communicates to his readers, it is crucial that we observe the author’s contrast between each clause. Formerly God spoke through the prophets, but “now” he has spoken “by the Son.” Whereas He spoke previously to the fathers, He now has spoken to “us.” And, beforehand He spoke “at many times,” now He has spoken in “these last days.” The point here is not that God has communicated different things at different times, but that He has spoken through the one “whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” And as John Owen points out, God is the Author of what was spoken then and what has been spoken now. Neither the prophets nor the Son is from men, rather, Owen writes, “both have the same divine origin.” Nevertheless, it is the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, who has proclaimed the final word of God.