Hebrews was written to convince its original audience of the superiority of Jesus to everything that came before Him, and the author gets right to the point in the opening verses of his epistle. In Hebrews 1:1–4, we have a theologically rich expression of the greatness of our Savior, focused particularly on Jesus as our Prophet, Priest, and King.
Verses 1–2 emphasize Jesus as the final and perfect Prophet, drawing a contrast between the way God has spoken to His people in “these last days” with the way He spoke before. Before the advent of the Son of God in the flesh, our Creator revealed Himself “at many times and in many ways” (v. 1). Of course, the author is referring to how our Lord spoke under the old covenant. He communicated “at many times”—during the era of the patriarchs, in the day of Joshua and the judges, under the administration of the monarchy, and while the people were in exile and immediately after their return. And God spoke “in many ways”—through direct speech, through dreams and visions, through the prophets’ oracles, through angelic messengers, and even at one point through a donkey (for example, Gen. 12:1–3; 37:1–11; 46:1–4; Num. 22:22–30; Josh. 1:1–9; 2 Kings 19:1–7; Ezra 5:1–2; Dan. 7).
Those ways of speaking were sufficient for their day, but they were not the highest, most glorious, or final way that God has spoken. “In these last days”—our present era of salvation history inaugurated by Christ—God “has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:2). With the coming of Jesus, our Creator spoke in a new and better way. This way is better not in that Jesus’ teaching is somehow more inspired or more authoritative than the words of the old covenant prophets. After all, every word of Scripture is equally inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16–17). Instead, God’s speaking in Jesus is better because Christ is the final word from our Creator regarding salvation, the One in whom God’s love for His people is most clearly demonstrated, the One who has shown us exactly what it takes to reconcile us to God. Earlier prophets pointed out the way to God; Christ alone is the Prophet who is the way to God (John 14:6).
Jesus is better revelation from our Creator because He is also the One through whom God created the world (Heb. 1:2; see John 1:3). Moreover, He is the heir of all things (Heb. 1:2). He has inherited all of creation and shares it with believers, His coheirs (Rom. 8:17).