Thursday, 8 November 2018
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, Hebrews 6:19
In the previous verse, it spoke of the ability to flee “for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” That was based on the Old Testament idea of a city of refuge where one could flee to in order to be protected by the avenger of blood. Such a person was kept safe as long as he stayed within the confines of the city. Upon the death of the high priest, he could no longer be pursued by the avenger of blood, and he was free to return to his home without fear. The symbolism of this verse continues with Old Testament symbolism, and it will also continue this train of thought into verse 20. For now, it says, “This hope we have as an anchor for the soul.”
The “hope” referred to here is what anchors us firmly to the unknown future, meaning what lies ahead for the soul. The rope, then, is the sure and unchanging word of God – where every word is life and a guarantee because of His complete truthfulness. The author poetically describes our hope as an “anchor for the soul.” An anchor is what holds a ship fast to the stability of earth, even in a raging sea. The rope (which is implied in having a boat and an anchor) is the only thing which keeps the two joined, and yet if it’s strong enough, the boat remains safely moored. As it says, “sure and steadfast.”
And so it is with our lives in Christ. The rope is that connection between the two. It is the word of God, which is connected to the anchor, which is held fast by the immutable promises of God which it contains. Even in life’s trials and storms, our hope is joined to the word which testifies of God’s promises through Jesus. This hope is said to enter “the Presence behind the veil.” This is referring back to the temple described in the Old Testament. The “Presence” is the dwelling of the Lord in the “Holy of holies” where no person was ever allowed to enter, except the high priest and then only once a year. He also never entered without blood lest he die in his sin for not providing atonement for himself.
These things were a shadow of the work of Jesus who entered into the true temple in heaven, passing behind the curtain, and presenting His own perfect and sinless blood to secure our eternal salvation. This will be fully explained later in Hebrews. Thus we have the various items, each symbolizing something else –
The ship: human soul.
The anchor is what grounds us in this life and in anticipation of the next life: the hope.
The rope: The word of God – His promises, His oaths, and the surety that they are sufficient to maintain connection between our soul and our hope.
The veil: death. However, it is expressly stated as the body of Christ in Hebrews 10:20. Thus, more specifically, it means His death of which we partake in receiving Him.
Behind the veil: The heavenly world to come where God and man will dwell together.
For those who are in Christ, we are covered by His blood, which has been presented, and we can have the absolute confidence now – even as an anchor holds a ship firmly in the raging seas – that we too shall pass through the veil unharmed as we enter into God’s presence.
Life application: For those who are in Christ, we should stand assured that Jesus has accomplished everything necessary for our salvation. We need to do nothing but accept His work by faith. Because of His magnificence, how absolutely sure is our anchor. If you are in one of life’s storms right now and unsure about how it will turn out, don’t fret or be dismayed. Rather trust – simply trust – that all will be safe and calm when the storm is over. The faith you placed in Christ at your time of salvation, no matter how weak now, is strong enough to hold you to the anchor of your salvation.
O God, an anchor for our soul is the hope we possess in Christ Jesus. It is Your word which binds the two together until the day when our hope becomes sight. Forever we shall praise You for keeping us safe in the raging seas which surround us until the day we pass through the veil and enter into Your presence. Praises belong to You, O God. Great things You have done for us! Amen.