In a Nutshell
So what are these "latter days"? What are we to do with them?
In repeated episodes and in various styles, God spoke through the prophets to our ancestors, but in these latter days God has spoken to us in a Son, whom He designated heir of all things, for it was indeed by this One that He made the lot …
The opening lines of this letter make us aware of the "latter days" in which we now live. This letter assumes an answer to the question: "What time is it?" This question can never be answered by historical and literary studies, no not even historical and literary studies that focus upon this biblical letter. But here we are told that these "latter days", and all times - what I have translated as "the lot" - belong to the Son. This time and all times - past, present and future - belong to Him and because of Him, we know where "we", in these "latter days", are standing and where we are headed. "The lot" (TOUS AIOONAS) includes what has been brought about in the past when God spoke to "the ancestors", and what has now been presented to "us" as fulfilment by the coming of God's Son. This coming, therefore, defines what comes next. The "whole lot" - everything, forever - makes sense because God, who spoke in the past has now spoken to "us" by the Son, the heir to absolutely everything - past, present and future.
That's enough to take our breath away. When we hear what this letter has to say we discover that "we" are indeed addressed by it even though "we" were not part of its initial readership. Of course, the writer did not have all the details of our 21st century historical circumstances in mind. But after reading these first two sentences, we cannot avoid its application to ourselves. Why? Because the "worlds" or "epochs" (TOUS AIOONAS), what was then still to come, is still coming for us. The letter is all about the way the future will bring God's promises to fulfilment. We are who we are not only in terms of these "latter days"; we are who we are because in these "latter days" we have learned how God keeps His promises in His Son. We are headed towards everything's fulfilment in One who will inherit "the lot".
And that is also why we are so intimately involved. This letter appeals to "us", even though we were not among its first recipients. We are told the time. And now, like those living when it was first penned, we know that we are living in the "latter days". Our place is assigned - our place is not ultimately defined by reference to the century in which we now live. Who we are is defined by the purposes of the Father for the Heir, the Son. The One who spoke long ago through the prophets, has now fully disclosed His plan and purpose by a decisive communication, by sending His Son "to us".
So this letter cannot just be of historical interest. It contains an all-embracing announcement. God's personal appeal to His creation has been delivered. In His Son, God has addressed us.