The neglect of the Old Testament leads to a dim apprehension of the fullness, liberty and joy of the gospel itself. Hebrews is written for early Jewish believers, Christians who went to the Temple and participated in all the customs of the Law (Acts 20:21). By A.D. 64 the Jews had turned against these Jewish believers. "Renounce your faith in Jesus the Messiah or be stoned!" Some Christians abandoned the faith. The writer of Hebrews desires to show those early Christians how the New Covenant established by Christ is far superior to that Covenant of Law.
- We need not perform the rituals of the Old Testament because they are now fulfilled in Christ...
"What is the law, but the gospel foreshadowed? What is the gospel, but the law fulfilled?"
- The Old Testament carries the Messiah concealed while the New Testament carries the Messiah revealed.
It's like the two men carrying grapes on a pole out of the Promised Land; one sees the fruit clearly as he walks (New Testament), while the other (Old Testament) walks and carries the fruit without seeing it. This is why the writer of Hebrews says to the Jewish Christians: Christ is sufficient for you!
There are two basic ages of time in the history of our world: The Old Age and the New Age. One could call them the Law and the Gospel ages, or the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. In the Old Age God had a special people (the Jews), and a special place of worship (the Temple in Jerusalem), and a special agreement (the Law); in the New Age God has a special people (from all nations), a special place of worship (we are the Temple) and a special covenant (faith).
- The way God speaks to us in this Gospel Age is different than the past.
"God spoke long ago in the prophets in many portions and in many ways" (v.1 NAS). The way God spoke to Israel was extraordinary in the persons, portions and processes.
- The persons were the prophets... Abraham, Moses, David, Amos, Isaiah, etc.
- The portions were varioius... here a little, there a little, some clearly, some blurry.
- The processes were many... through dreams, visions, angels, animals, events, etc.
- The way God speaks to us in this Gospel Age is superior to the past.
"In these last days, God has spoken to us in His Son." What are the "last days" referred to here? The book of Hebrews was written in A.D. 69, one year before the destruction of the Temple. "The last days" are not the last days of the world, but the Old Ae -- the Jewish Ae of Law. The word "world" at the end of v.2 translates the word aeon from which we et eon or ae. The same word is used in Matthew 24 after Jesus said the Temple would be destroyed and the disciples responded, "What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the world[age]" There's no doubt that Jesus created the universe (see Colossians 1:16-19) but the ages are from Him.
- The way God speaks to us in this Gospel Age is fulfillment of the past.
Everything to which the Old Testament rituals pointed finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. The Jubilee rest for the land, release of the slaves, and restoration is found in Jesus (Luke 4).