Verb tenses aren’t always the most entertaining things to talk about in Scripture, especially when we’re talking about Greek verb tenses. The very fact that is my lead might mean you haven’t bothered reading this sentence. Nevertheless, every word in Scripture is inspired by God, even the tenses of the verbs, which can provide us with invaluable insights into glorious truths regarding our God and how He has revealed Himself.
Take Hebrews 1:2, for example, where the writers states that “in these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son.” Virtually every major English translation renders the Greek verb elaleisen “has spoken.” This is a valid translation, but it doesn’t capture the fullness of what is being communicated. Greek is a more precise language than English, and elaleisen more exactly communicates the fact that God is done speaking.
The verb is in the aorist tense in Greek, and while that in itself might be Greek to you, it’s not insignificant. English translations render elaleisen like a perfect tense verb. The word “has” is the big indicator there. It demonstrates that something has happened in the past but continues to be in effect. And while that is certainly true of how elaleisen is used in Hebrews 1:2, the verb itself is not in the perfect tense, but again, the aorist tense, which more often demonstrates the point in time finality of an action.
God spoke, and while what He spoke continues to efficacious today (hence the English translations of “has spoken), the point is that we must take heed to what He spoke, because new revelation isn’t coming before the return of Christ.
That doesn’t mean God doesn’t communicate with us now through His word, or again, that He won’t communicate when Christ returns, but in the context of Hebrews the writer is saying that, if you are looking for something different from or better than His Son, Jesus, then you are wasting your breath. Hebrews is a book written by a Hebrew to Hebrews telling them not to be Hebrews anymore. In other words, faithful Judaism is no longer sufficient to please God. You must believe in His Son.
Even Christians can go through times when we are desiring something from God beyond that which He has given us in Christ. It is in these times we need to go back to the foundation of our faith and realize that Jesus is enough. We must always find our satisfaction in Christ.
One way in which those who desire signs and wonders today drift (Heb 2:1) from the word is that they forsake the satisfaction found in Christ by wanting more now. When the writer says God has spoken, he means God has spoken in His Son, who appointed apostles. And through the apostles and their associates we came to have the New Testament. God has spoken. The Scriptures are sufficient. They reveal to us Jesus Christ. If we desire more than Him we’ve gone astray. We can and must take heart that God elaleisen. Any departure from that understanding reveals a dissatisfaction with Jesus Christ.
Jesus + More = Self-Made Religion.
Jesus + Nothing = Glorious, God-Given Satisfaction.