The great design of the book of Hebrews is to set forth the superiority of the Lord Jesus Christ over angels, over Moses, and over Aaron and his sons. It shows the superiority of His priesthood over the old priesthood, His sacrifice over all other sacrifices, and His covenant over the old covenant. It teaches the Hebrews the true knowledge of the mysteries of their law--the design, use, and meaning of its ceremonies. It is a book of warning against apostasy and a book showing the true glory of faith in Christ.
(Vs. 1) God spoke to our fathers in Old Testament times by the prophets. These prophets were Moses, Isaiah, David, Jeremiah, and many others. He spoke to them in different ways and at different times. He spoke to the prophets Himself in a dream, in a vision, or by an angel; and the prophets delivered His message to the people.
What did He speak to them about? He spoke to them about mercy and redemption through Christ, the Messiah. Each of these revelations sets forth a portion of the truth about Christ (Acts 10:43; Luke 24:44-45; John 5:46; John 8:56).
(1) Christ in prophecy (Gen. 3:15; Gen. 49:10; Isa. 7:14; Isa. 9:6; Micah 5:2).
2) Christ in sacrifice (Exo. 12:12-14; Lev. 16:15-22).
(3) Christ in type (John 3:14-16) the Smitten Rock, the Tabernacle, the Brazen Serpent, the Passover.
(Vs. 2) "Hath in these last days." This is a common New Testament phrase referring to the days after the coming of Christ. Some believe that the duration of this world shall be 6000 years divided into three parts 2000 years without the law, 2000 years in the law, and 2000 years in the days of the revealed Messiah. We have been in these last days since Christ came to the earth.
"Spoken to us by His Son." The WORD of God, the MESSAGE of mercy, the TRUTH of redemption actually became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14; Matt. 1:21-23; John 14:8-10; John 10:30).
"Whom He hath appointed Heir of all things." All that the Father has belongs to Christ the kingdom of nature, of providence, and of grace. It is not only decreed to Him but He purchased it on the cross (Rom. 14:9; Col. 1:16-18).
(Vs. 3) There are three important things about Christ, our Lord, which are set forth in this verse Who He is, what He did, and where He is now.
(1) WHO HE IS the brightness of His glory, the sole expression of the glory of God. The reference is to the sun and its rays. The Father and the Son are the same as the sun and its rays. One is not before the other, and they cannot be divided or separated. He is the perfect revelation and the exact image and character as the Father (Isa. 9:6; John 1:1-3; John 10:30; John 14:8-10; Matt. 1:21-23).
(2) WHAT HE DID. "By Himself purged our sins." The Lord Jesus of Himself, by Himself alone, and by the sacrifice of Himself made atonement for the sins of His people. He took our sins upon Himself, bore them, and died under the penalty of them, thereby abolishing them completely (Col. 1:19-22; Isa. 53:4-6).
(3) WHERE HE IS NOW. "Sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high." The "majesty" is God, the Father, to whom majesty belongs and Who is clothed with majesty. His right hand means power, greatness, acceptance, and glory. Here sits the man, Christ Jesus, and all His elect in Him. This shows that His work of redemption is finished (the Old Testament priests never sat down in the tabernacle, for their work was never done nor ever effectual) and accepted; and He awaits for its full revelation to the universe.
(Vs. 4) This is a note that shall be sounded throughout the entire book the excellence, superiority, and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ over all creatures, all covenants, all priests, and all sacrifices. Paul starts with the angels. He is as much superior to the angels as a creator to the creature, as a king to his subjects, as a master to his servants (Phil. 2:9-11).