ESV - Hebrews 1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
Notice the use of the word "our" with fathers. He also uses the Jewish eschatological key term "last days" pointing to the fulfilment of those prophetic words that came in many times and in many ways. He also uses the term "heir" with the "appointed" one. The author is assuming that the audience had Jewish ancestors, understood Jewish eschatology and was waiting on a Jewish "appointed" heir.
Verses 1 and 2 of Hebrews chapter 1 give us a clear view of the authors focus. He is about to explain to a Jewish audience that the Messiah has come and that now everything has changed for them. I do not think the importance of this perspective can be over estimated. Much of Hebrews is to those in the Jewish context. We miss that and I believe that we will miss Hebrews.
We call ourselves "American". We have an American dream, American exceptional-ism, American spirit, and a host of other ideas connected with who we are as an American people. The declaration of independence and our constitution, in many ways, define our idealistic existence as well as the writings and speeches of our most respected founding fathers. It really doesn't matter if you are liberal or conservative, you are either standing on the constitution to the left or the constitution to the right.
Imagine that you were trying to convince me that the America that I know and love has passed away and that a better way was arrived. That would be difficult. How might you do that? Would you have me "set aside" our constitution or the declaration of independence? Would you have me also set aside men like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Martin Luther King?
The author of Hebrews does not set the prophets, the scriptures or the events aside, he declares that God has fulfilled them. He does not argue that they were of no value, but rather that they have ceased to be effective because their purpose is completed. Like a used airline ticket they are valuable, purposeful and completed. They point to an event, a man, a redemption, an act, an expression of perfect righteousness that has come to pass. Now they point to what has come, not to what will be.
Our challenge in Hebrews is to allow the author to walk us through this incredible journey that God has brought his people through. We want to see the majesty and grandeur of the fulfillment of specific prophesy and the provision of our salvation. The Father has treated us like darling children that he has revealed his intentions and his capability throughout human history. Now we stand on the other side of the cross contemplating his marvelous grace. The disciples said, "What manner of man is this that even the wind and the waves obey his voice." What manner indeed, that kings and nations, stars and seasons, rains and famine, prophets and soldiers obey his voice. That he could shape all of human history that at the right time in the right place he would redeem us by his incredible act of grace using our act of malice.