In the last part of our study on Hebrews, we saw that God spoke to the Hebrew fathers “at various times and in various ways.” He spoke to them “by the prophets.” We have the record of what the prophets told the fathers in the Old Testament.

What about now? How does God speak to people today?

Hebrew 1:2

Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds … KJV

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 … NKJV

in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom He also made the world … NASB

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 … ESV

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe … NIV

ον εθηκεν κληρονομον παντων δι ου και τους αιωνας εποιησεν … 1550 Stephanus New Testament

in last days these has spoken to us in [His] Son whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the ages … Literal

Last Days

In these “last days” God speaks to us “by His Son.” That raises two important questions: when are “these last days” and how does God speak to us “by His Son?”

The phrase “in these last days” contrasts with the phrase “in time past” in Hebrews 1:1. “In time past” means a time before the writing of Hebrews. The phrase “in these last days” addresses the time period in which the writer and his readers were living. The words “last days” (eschatou hēmerōn) translate better as “last days these” or “last of these days.” The word eschatou means “final, extreme, outermost, last in time or place.” It is the root word for the English word eschatology (“study of last things”).

God is a “speaking God.” He spoke through the prophets in “time past” to the patriarchal fathers of Israel. Those prophets pointed to “last days” when God would do miraculous things in Israel. They were pointing to the coming of the Son of God to save His people from their sins. The last of those prophets was John the Baptist.

Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ Says the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:1

The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the Prophets: Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You.’ ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’ John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Mark 1:1-4

… the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough ways smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’  Luke 3:2-6

John the Baptist was the final prophet God spoke through to reveal the coming of the Greater Prophet, Jesus of Nazareth. God the Father would now speak directly through His Son. As Jesus said …

For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.

John 12:49-50

God had not spoken to the people of Israel for 400 years between the prophet Malachi and John the Baptist. He spoke again when John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River:

… Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, ‘You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.’

Luke 3:21-22

The next words in Luke are — “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age” (Luke 3:23). The baptism of Jesus is central to our seeing the change from God speaking through prophets to God the Father speaking through His Son. The Holy Spirit of God was also involved in every step of the Son’s speaking, beginning with Satan.

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’

Luke 4:1-4

What Jesus said in answer to Satan’s test was exactly what God the Father had commanded Him to say. When we read the words of Jesus, they are not the words of a man .. they are the Words of the God-Man. They are the words God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit determined would be said before the foundation of the world, before the beginning of time.

As we journey through the Gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), we hear God the Father speak through God the Son. God the Father sent God the Son from Heaven to earth to save sinners. God the Father gave God the Son “a command,” what Jesus should say and what He should speak. The command, Jesus said, “is everlasting life.” That’s why the Gospels are so important. They are more than just biographical narratives about the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth. They contain the command of “everlasting life” that God the Father gave God the Son — “Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.

The phrase “last days” is used several times in the Bible. The first person to use it was Jacob (Israel).

And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days: Gather together and hear, you sons of Jacob, And listen to Israel your father.”

Genesis 49:1-2

The Hebrew words for “in the last days” are bə’aḥărîṯ hayyāmîm and translate as “in last the days.” The words mean “the final, the after-part, the end.” Jacob gave each of his sons, who became leaders of the tribes of Israel, a prophecy. The longest prophecies were for Judah and Joseph. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah and is called the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5).

Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people. Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.

Genesis 49:8-12

Jacob’s prophecy for Judah included the phrase “Until Shiloh comes.” Shiloh played a significant role in the life of Israel. After Joshua led the tribes of Israel to victory over the Canaanites, the entire congregation of the children of Israel assembled at Shiloh and set up the tabernacle of meeting there. Shiloh is where the Ark of the Covenant was housed during the times of the Judges. Shiloh is where the tribes of Israel would gather to worship God and attend the annual feast to the Lord. Shiloh is where God revealed Himself to the prophet Samuel.

Because of the wording of Jacob’s prophecy to Judah — “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” — the name Shiloh is viewed as being prophetic of the appearing of God to Israel through His Son, Jesus Christ — “Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” Jacob prophesied about Shiloh in a personal sense (to Him) rather than to a city. The wording of the Shiloh prophecy also includes “Binding his donkey … his donkey’s colt to the choice vine. He washed His garments in wine … his clothes in the blood of grapes … His eyes are darker than wine .. his teeth whiter than milk.” Notice that the pronouns are of a personal nature rather than that of a city or location.

Keep in mind that Jacob prophesied about Shiloh centuries before Joshua led Israel into Canaan and to the Canaanite city of Shiloh. Jacob was the first to mention Shiloh and he did so in a personal way. Joshua first mentioned Shiloh in Joshua 16:6 in the context of the border of the children of Ephraim. We learn in Judges 18 that the “house of God” was located in Shiloh. We learn in Jeremiah 7 that God called Shiloh “My place .. where I set My name at the first.” The name Shiloh does not appear in the New Testament.

The Apostle Peter mentioned “the last days” in his Pentecost sermon when he quoted from the prophet Joel:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.

Acts 2:17

Christians are still in the “last days” today. The apostles spoke and wrote about the term in both a present and future sense:

Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. James 5:3

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. 2 Timothy 3:1

knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts. 2 Peter 3:3

You will also find the phrase “last day” in the Bible. Jesus gave the words a future context in His teaching.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will,but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:38-40

Remember that God the Father gave God the Son a command about “everlasting life.” Everlasting life will come to God’s people when Jesus raises us up “at the last day.” In these “last days” Jesus continues to speak to us through His Word and will raise us up in the “last day.”

How can Jesus speak to us today when He died 2,000 years ago? It’s because of His resurrection from the dead that Jesus continues to speak. The apostles wrote their letters and Gospel accounts because Jesus rose from the grave. Jesus is alive and He is speaking to us now through His Word and through His Spirit.

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.

John 16:12-14

That is the driving import of the first part of Hebrews 1:2 — “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.”

Next Time

We learn three important things about Jesus Christ in Hebrews 1:2. God speaking to us through His Son is the first thing. We’ll look at the second and third in the next part of our new series, Hebrews: Christ Is Greater.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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