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  • CHAPTER - THE ANCHOR OF THE SOUL
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    ( HEBREWS 6:16-20) In our last article we saw that the Holy Spirit through Paul exhorted the people of God to “be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (verse 12). This declaration was illustrated and exemplified from the history of one who has been highly venerated both by Jews and believing Gentiles, namely, Abraham, of whom it is here declared, “after he had patiently endured, he received the promise” (verse 16). We cannot but admire again the heavenly wisdom given to the apostle, inspiring him to bring in Abraham at this particular point of his epistle. In chapter 3 we saw how that, before he set forth the superiority of Christ over Moses, he first made specific mention of the typical mediator’s faithfulness (verse 5); so here, ere setting forth the superiority of Christ over Abraham (which is done in Hebrews 7:4), he first records his triumphant endurance. How this shows that we ought to use every lawful means possible in seeking to remove the prejudices of people against God’s truth!

    The mention of Abraham in Hebrews 6 should occasion real searchings of heart before God on the part of all who claim to be Christians. Abraham is “the father of all them that believe” ( Romans 4:11), but as Christ so emphatically declared to those in His day who boasted that Abraham was their father, “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do (not merely “ye ought to do”!) the works of Abraham” ( John 8:39), and as Romans 4:12 tells us, Abraham is “the father of circumcision (i.e., spiritual circumcision: Colossians 2:11) to those who are not of the (natural) circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of their father Abraham”. In his day (1680) John Owen said, “It is a sad consideration which way and by what means some men think to come to Heaven, or carry themselves as if they think so.

    There are but Jew who deem more than a naked profession to be necessary thereunto, but living in all sorts of sins, they yet suppose they shall inherit the promises of God. This was not the way of the holy men of old, whose example is proposed to us. True, some think that faith at least be necessary hereunto, but by faith they understand little more than a mere profession of true religion”.

    It behooves us, if we value our souls, to examine closely the Scriptural account of the nature and character of Abraham’s faith. It was far more than a bare assenting to the veracity of God’s Word. It was an operative faith, which caused him to separate himself from the world ( Hebrews 11:8,9), which led him to take the place of a stranger and pilgrim down here ( Hebrews 11:13), which enabled him to patiently endure under severe trials and testings. In the light of other scriptures, the words, “patiently endured” ( Hebrews 6:15) enable us to fill in many a blank in the Genesis history. Patiently “endured” what? Mysterious providences, the seeming slowness of God to make good His promises, that which to sight and sense appeared to repudiate His very love ( Genesis 22:2). Patiently “endured” what? The attacks of Satan upon his faith, the insinuations of the Serpent that God had ceased to be gracious, the temptation of the Devil to be enriched by the king of Sodom ( Genesis 14:21). Patiently “endured” what? The cruel sneers, the biting taunts, the persecution of his fellow-men, who hated him because his godly walk condemned their ungodly ways. Yes, like his Redeemer afterwards, and like each one of his believing children today, “he endured the contradiction of sinners against himself”.

    But the Holy Spirit had another design here in referring to the case of Abraham. Having so faithfully warned us of the danger of apostasy, having so earnestly set before us the imperative need of faithful perseverance, He now closes this lengthy parenthesis with a most glorious message of comfort, which is designed to set the hearts of God’s children at perfect rest, allay their fears of uncertainty as to their ultimate issue, strengthen their faith, deepen their assurance, and cause them to look forward to the future with the most implicit confidence. It is ever God’s way to wound before He heals, to alarm the conscience before He speaks peace to it, to press upon us our responsibility ere He assures of His preserving power. “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure”, is preceded by “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” ( Philippians 2:12,13).

    And what is it that the Holy Spirit here uses to comfort the hearts of God’s tried and troubled and trembling people? Why, the wondrous and glorious Gospel of His grace. This He does by now making known the deeper design and significance of His reference to Abraham. He shows that the promise which God made to “the father of all that believe”, to which promise He designed to add His oath, concerned not Abraham alone, but is, without fail, to be made good to all his spiritual seed. Yea, He shows how God’s dealings with Abraham in time, were but a shadowing-forth on this earth-plane of His covenant-transactions with Christ and His seed in Heaven ere time began. May the Lord grant the much-needed wisdom, guidance and grace, that both the writer and reader may be led to a fight and clear apprehension of this most blessed subject.

    Ere turning to verse 16 let us attempt to show the connection of our present passage with its context, by giving a brief analysis of the verses which were before us in the preceding article. 1. Abraham is set before us as an example: verse 12 and the opening “For” of verse 13. 2. God made promise to Abraham: verse 13. 3. That promise had immediate reference to Christ and the benefits of His mediation: Galatians 3:16. 4. In addition to His promise, God placed Himself on oath to Abraham: verse 13. 5. The peculiar nature of that oath: God sware by Himself: verse 13. 6. God sware by Himself because there was none greater to whom He might appeal: verse 13. 7. Abraham’s faith, resting on the ground of God’s promise and oath, patiently endured and obtained the promise: verse 15.

    The emphatic and important words of verse 15 are its opening “And so”, or “And thus”, the reference being to the absolute faithfulness of the divine promise, followed by the divine oath, namely “Surely, blessing I will bless thee” (verse 14). In other words, God’s oath to Abraham was the guarantee that He would continue to effectively work in him and invincibly preserve him to the end of his earthly course, so that he should infallibly enter into the promised blessing. Though Abraham was to be left in the place of trial and testing for another seventy-five years, his entrance was not left contingent upon his own mutable will. Though it is only through “faith and patience” any inherit the promises (verse 12), yet God has solemnly pledged Himself to sustain these graces in His own unto the end of their wilderness journey and right across Jordan itself, until entrance into Canaan is secured: “These all died in faith” ( Hebrews 11:13). “For men verily sware by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife” (verse 16).

    The design of this verse is to give us an explanation of why it is that the great God has placed Himself on oath. When we consider who He is and what He is, we may well be amazed at His action. When we remember His exalted majesty, that he “humbles” Himself to so much as “behold” the things that are in heaven ( <19B306> Psalm 113:6), there is surely cause for wonderment to find Him “swearing” by Himself. When we remember that He is the God of Truth, who cannot lie, there is reason for us to enquire why He deemed not His bare word sufficient. “For men verily sware by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife”. The opening “for” looks back to God “sware by Himself” of verse 13. The apostle here appeals to a custom which has obtained among men in all ages. When one party avers one thing, and another, another, and each stands firmly by what he says, there is not only mutual contradiction, but endless strife. Where matters of interest and importance are concerned between two or more men, the difference between them can only be settled by them being placed on oath. In such cases an oath is necessary for the governing and peace of mankind, for without it strife must be perpetual, or else ended by violence. Thus, the purpose or design of oaths among men is to place bounds upon their contradictions and make an end of their contentions.

    Strikingly has Dr. John Owen pointed out in his remarks upon verse 16: “As these words are applied to or are used to illustrate the state of things between God and our souls, we may observe from them: First, that there is, as we are in a state of nature (looking at the elect as the descendants of fallen Adam — A.W.P.), a difference and strife between God and us.

    Second, the promises of God are gracious proposals of the only way and means for the ending of that strife. Third, the oath of God interposed for the confirmation of these promises (better, “in addition to” the promises — A.W.P.) is every way sufficient to secure believers against all objections and temptations in all straits and trials, about peace with God through Jesus Christ”. “Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by oath” (verse 17). The relative “wherein” or “wherefore” has, we believe, both an immediate connection with verse 16, and a more remote one to what has been declared in verse 13. Regarding it, first, as a conclusion drawn from the general principle enunciated in the preceding verse, its force is this: since an oath serves to establish man’s words among his fellows, the great God has condescended to employ this means and method to confirm the faith of His people. Because an oath gives certainty among men unto the point sworn to, God has graciously deigned that the heirs of promise shall have the comfort of a Divine dual certainty. The more remote connections with verse 13 will appear in the course of our exposition: it is to here give assurance that what God so solemnly pledged Himself to do for and give unto Abraham, is equally sure and certain to and for all his children — the “wherein” signifies “in which” oath.

    God’s design in swearing by Himself was not only that Abraham might be fully persuaded of the absolute certainty of His blessing, but that the “heirs of promise” should also have pledge and proof of the immutability of His counsel concerning them; for the mind and will of God was the same toward all of the elect as it was toward the patriarch himself. Though we are lifted to a much greater height in these closing verses of Hebrews 6, yet the application which the apostle is here led to make of God’s dealings with Abraham, is identical in principle with what we find in Romans 4.

    There we read of Abraham believing God and that it was counted unto him for (better “unto”) righteousness, and in verse 16 the conclusion is drawn: “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed”; while in verses 23, 24 we are told, “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was reckoned to him, but for us also, to whom it shall be reckoned, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead” — cf. Galatians 3:29.

    We come now to enquire, What is the “immutability of His counsel” which God determined to show the more abundantly unto the heirs of promise?

    To ascertain this, we need first to consider God’s “counsel”. Like the expression the “will of God”, His “counsel” has a double reference and usage in the New Testament. There is the revealed “will” of God, set forth in the Scriptures, which defines and measures human responsibility ( Thessalonians 4:3, e.g.,), but which “will” is perfectly done by none of us; there is also the secret and invincible will of God ( Romans 9:19, etc.,), which is wrought out through each of us. So we read, on the one hand, that “the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves” ( Luke 7:30); while on the other hand, it is said of the crucifiers of Christ, they “were gathered together for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done” ( Acts 4:27,28).

    The “immutability of His counsel” declares plainly in which of the two senses the term is to be taken in Hebrews 6.

    The “counsel” of God in Hebrews 6:17 signifies His everlasting decree or eternal purpose. It is employed thus of Christ’s death in Acts 2:23, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel, and foreknowledge of God”. It bears the same meaning in Ephesians 1, as is abundantly clear if verse 9 be compared with verse 11: in the former we read, “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself”; in the latter it is said, “being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will”. Both of those verses take us back to the Divine determination before this world was created; equally plain is it that both of them are treating of the eternal resolutions of God concerning the salvation of His people: cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

    Still more specially the “counsel” of God in Hebrews 6:17 concerns the holy and wise purpose of His will to give His Son Jesus Christ to be of the seed of Abraham for the salvation of all the elect, and that, in such a way, and accompanied by such blessings, as would infallibly secure their faith, perseverance, and entrance into Glory. In other words, the “counsel” of God respects the agreement which He entered into with Christ in the Everlasting Covenant, that upon His fulfillment of the stipulated conditions, the promises made to Him concerning His seed should most certainly be fulfilled. Proof of this is found in comparing Luke 1:72,73, with Galatians 3:16,17. In the former we read of Zacharias prophesying that God was “to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He sware to our father Abraham”. In the latter, the Holy Spirit brings out the hidden meaning of God’s dealings with the patriarch: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ”.

    Referring to the covenants made by Jehovah with the patriarchs, as affording so many types of that Everlasting Covenant ( Hebrews 13:20) made with Christ, Mr. Hervey (1756) when refuting the terrible heresies of John Wesley, wrote: “True, it is recorded that God made a covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, with Jacob, and with David: but were they in a capacity to enter into a covenant with their Maker? to stand for themselves or be surety for others? I think not. The passages mean no more than the Lord’s manifesting, in an especial manner, the grand Covenant to them, ratifying and confirming their personal interest in it, and further assuring them that Christ, the great Covenant-Head, should spring from their seed.

    This accounts for that remarkable and singular mode of expression which often occurs in Scripture: ‘I will make a covenant with them’. Yet there follows no mention of any conditions but only a promise of unconditional blessings”.

    Now what is particularly important to note here is, that God was “willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise, the immutability of His counsel”, and therefore, “confirmed it by (or as the margin much more accurately renders it “interposed Himself by”) an oath”. This leads us to call attention to the distinction between God’s “counsel” and His “promise”. His “counsel” is that which, originally, was a profound and an impenetrable secret in Himself; His “promise” is an open and declared revelation of His will. It is most blessed to perceive that God’s promises are but the transcripts of His eternal decrees; His promises now make known to us in words the hitherto secret counsels of His heart. Thus, “the immutability of His counsel” is that from which His sure promises proceed and by which it is expressed.

    But in addition to His promise, God was willing “more abundantly” to “show”, or reveal, or make known to His people, the unchangeableness of His counsel. All proceeds from the will of God. He freely purposed to give unto the elect, while they are in this world, not only abundant, but “more abundant” proofs of His everlasting love ( Jeremiah 31:3), His gracious concern for their assurance, peace and joy. This He did by “interposing Himself by an oath”. The Greek word which the A.V. has rendered in the text “confirmed”, has for its prime meaning “to mediate” or “intervene”.

    This at once directs our thoughts to the Mediator, of whom Abraham was the type. It was to Christ that the original Promise and Oath were made.

    Hence, in Titus 1:2 we read, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began”: as the elect were not then in existence, the promise must have been made to their Head. Concerning God’s oath to Christ we read, “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” ( <19B004> Psalm 110:4).

    Now it is not unto all mankind, but only unto a certain number of persons to whom God designs to manifest the immutability of His counsel, and to communicate the effects thereof. These are here denominated “the heirs of promise” which includes all the saints of God both under the Old and New Testament. They are called “heirs of promise” on a double account: with respect unto the promise itself, and the thing promised. They are not yet the actual possessors, but waiting in expectation (cf. Hebrews 1:14): proof of this is obtained by comparing Hebrews 11:13,17,19. In this the members are conformed to their Head, for though Christ is the “Heir of all things” ( Hebrews 1:2), yet He, too, is “expecting” (see Hebrews 10:13). The “heirs of promise” here are the same as “the children of promise” in Romans 9:8. “That by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (verse 18).

    In order to simplify our exposition of this verse, we propose taking up its contents in their inverse order, and doing so under a series of questions.

    First, what is “the hope set before us?” Where is it thus “set before us”, What is meant by “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope”? What is the “strong consolation”? How do the “two immutable things” supply this strong consolation?

    In seeking to ascertain the character of “the hope” of verse 18 it needs to be carefully distinguished from the “strong consolation”, which at once intimates that it is not the grace of hope within the heart of the believer.

    Further corroboration of this is found in the words, “set before us”, which clearly speaks of what is objective rather than subjective; and too, it is to be “laid hold of”. Moreover, what is said of this “hope” in verse 19 excludes the idea of an internal expectation. The needed help is found in 7- 19 where of the “better hope” it is said, “by the which we draw nigh unto God”: John 14:6, Ephesians 2:18, etc. In 1 Timothy 1:1, the Lord Jesus Christ is distinctly designated “our Hope”, and is He not the One whom God hath “set before” His people? Is not “that blessed Hope” for which we are to be “looking” ( Titus 2:13), Christ Himself? Where is it that Christ is “set before us” as “the hope”? Surely, in the Gospel of God’s grace. It is there that the only hope for lost sinners is made known. The Gospel of God is “the Gospel of Christ” ( Romans 1:16), for it exhibits the excellencies of His glorious person and proclaims the efficacy of His finished work. Therefore in Romans 3:25, it is said of Christ Jesus, “Whom God hath set forth a propitiation through faith in His blood”; while to the Galatians Paul affirmed, “before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently (openly) set forth among you — crucified”. In the Gospel, Christ is presented both as an Object of Faith and an Object of Hope. As an Object of Faith it is what He has done for the elect, providing for them a perfect legal standing before God: this is mainly developed in Romans. As an Object of Hope it is what Christ will yet do for His people, bring them out of this wilderness into the Promised Land. In Hebrews we are seen as yet in the place of trial, moving toward the Inheritance.

    What is meant by “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us”?

    It expresses that which the Gospel requires from those who hear it — appropriating it unto one’s self. Saving faith is explained under various figures. Sometimes as “believing”, which means the heart resting upon Christ and His finished work. Sometimes as “coming to Christ”, which means a turning from every other refuge and closing with Him as He is set forth in the Gospel. Sometimes as a “setting to our seal that God is true” ( John 3:33 cf. Isaiah 44:5), which means ratifying His testimony by our receiving it. Sometimes as the committal of our soul and its eternal interests into the hands of the Lord ( 2 Timothy 1:12). Sometimes as a “submitting ourselves unto the righteousness of God” ( Romans 10:3), which means repudiating our own works and resting upon the vicarious obedience and sacrifice of Christ. Here, it is pictured as a “fleeing for refuge”, the figure being taken from an Old Testament type.

    Under the Law, God made merciful provision for the man who had unintentionally slain another: that provision was certain cities appointed for refuge for such. Those cities are spoken of in Numbers 35, Deuteronomy 19, Joshua 20. Those cities were built on high hills or mountains ( Joshua 20:7), that those seeking asylum there, might have no difficulty in keeping them in sight. So the servants of Christ who hold Him up, are likened unto “a city which is set upon a hill” ( Matthew 5:14). They were a refuge from “the avenger of blood” ( Joshua 20:3): cf., “flee from the wrath to come” ( Matthew 3:7). They had a causeway of stones approaching them as a path to guide thereto ( Deuteronomy 19:3): so in the Gospel a way of approach is revealed unto Christ. Those who succeeded in entering these cities secured protection and safety ( Numbers 35:15): so Christ has declared “him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” ( John 6:37).

    Now the particular point to be noted in the above type is that the one who desired shelter from the avenger of blood had to personally flee to the city of refuge. The figure is very impressive. Here was a man living in peace and comfort, fearing none; but having now slain another at unawares, everything is suddenly changed. Fear within, and danger without, beset on either hand. The avenger of blood threatens, and nothing is left but to flee to the appointed place of refuge, for there alone is peace and safety to be found. Thus it is with the sinner. In his natural condition, a false serenity and comfort are his. Then, unawares to him, the Holy Spirit convicts him of sin, and he is filled with distress and alarm, till he cries, “What must I do to be saved”? The Divine answer is, “Flee for refuge and lay hold of the hope set before us”.

    But let us not fail to note here the immeasurable superiority of Christianity over Judaism as seen in the vast difference between the “refuge” under the Law, and that made known in the Gospel. The cities of refuge were available only for those who had unintentionally killed a person. But we have been conscious, deliberate, lifelong rebels against God; nevertheless Christ says, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest”. Again, the manslayer in the city was safe, yet his very refuge was a prison: it is the very opposite with the believer — Christ opened for him the prison-door and set him at liberty ( Isaiah 61:2), Christ “makes free” ( John 8:36). Again, in entering the city of refuge he turned away from his inheritance, his land and cattle; but the one who lays hold of Christ obtains an inheritance ( 1 Peter 1:4). For the manslayer to return to his inheritance meant death; for the Christian, death means going to his inheritance.

    Those who have fled to Christ to “lay hold on eternal life” ( 1 Timothy 6:12), are entitled to enjoy “strong consolation”. On this the Puritan Manton said, “There are three words by which the fruits and effects of certainty and assurance is expressed, which imply so many degrees of it: peace, comfort, and joy. Peace, denotes rest from accusations of conscience. Comfort, a temperate and habitual confidence. Joy, an actual feeling, or high-tide of comfort, an elevation of the saints”. Strong consolation is a firm and fixed persuasion of the love of God toward us, and the assurance that “our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding eternal weight of glory” ( 2 Corinthians 4:17). “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” ( 1 Samuel 30:6).

    It remains for us now to consider what it is which supplies and supports the “strong consolation” in the believer. This is stated at the beginning of our verse: “That by two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie”. These are, His promise and His oath. The assurance of the believer rests upon the unchanging veracity of God. Were He influenced by His creatures, God would be constantly changing His plans (as we do), willing one thing today and another tomorrow; in such case who could confide in Him? None, for no one would know what to expect; thus, all certainty would be at an end. But, blessed be His name, our God is “without variableness or shadow of turning” ( James 1:17), and therefore the immutability of His counsel is the very life of our assurance.

    For the stay of our hearts and the full assurance of our faith, God has graciously given to us an irrevocable deed of settlement, namely, His promise, followed by His oath, whereby the whole inheritance is infallibly secured unto every heir of promise. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but God’s words never shall ( Luke 21:33). All the promises recorded in Scripture are but copies of God’s assurances made to Christ for us from everlasting, so that the Divine oaths and covenants mentioned in Holy Writ are but transcripts of the original Covenant and Oath between God and Christ before the foundation of the world. Note how the words “impossible for God to lie”, link up with “in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” ( Titus 1:2)!

    Near the close of the previous article we pointed out how that the deeper and spiritual significance of God’s promise and oath to Abraham in Genesis 22 has been missed by most of the commentators, through their failure to see in him a type of Christ as the Head and Father of God’s elect. There we find God swearing to the patriarch, “Blessing I will bless thee.” The application of these words to Christ as the Representative of His people is clearly seen in Psalm 45:2, where God says to Him who is Fairer than the children of men, “God hath blessed Thee forever”. Let it also be pointed out that God’s promise and oath to David in Psalm 89 also gives an adumbration of His transactions with the Mediator before the world began: “My Covenant will I not break... His seed shall endure forever” (verses 34-36). Thus, our “strong consolation” issues from the implicit assurance that God has bound Himself in Christ to “bless” His people. “For all the promises of God in Him (Christ) are Yea, and in Him Amen” ( 2 Corinthians 1:20)! “Which (hope) we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil” (verse 19). We deeply regret that we feel obligated to part company with every commentator that we have consulted on this verse. Owing to the general mistake of making the “hope” of verse 18 a subjective one, hardly any two are agreed upon the meaning of the “anchor” here. Some regard it as God’s promise; others, His oath; others, Christ’s priesthood; others, the believer’s assurance; and so on. The only point upon which there is common consent is, that the figure is dropped in the very next clause! — “entereth into that within the veil”. Below we give the literal rendering of Bagster’s Interlinear. “Which as an anchor we have of the soul both certain and firm, and entering into that within the veil”. Now an anchor is used for securing a ship, particularly in times of storm, to prevent it from drifting. It is an invisible thing, sinking down beneath the waters and gripping firmly the ground beneath. The winds may roar and the waves lash the ship, but it rides them steadily, being held fast by something outside itself. Surely the figure is plain. The “anchor” is Christ Himself, sustaining His people down here in this world, in the midst of the wicked, who are likened unto “the troubled sea, when it cannot rest” ( Isaiah 57:20). Did He not declare, “Neither shall any pluck them out of My hand” ( John 10:28)? Certainly there is nothing in us “both sure and steadfast”: it is the love ( John 13:1), power ( Matthew 28:18,20), and faithfulness ( Hebrews 7:25) of Christ which is in view. “Whither the Forerunner is for us entered, Jesus, made an High Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek” (verse 20).

    Surely this explains for us the previous verse: it was the entrance of Christ into Heaven which settles fast the “Anchor” within the veil! It was for us Christ has gone on High! A “forerunner” is one who has already traversed every step of the race which is set before us ( Hebrews 12:1,2), and who has entered into possession of that toward which he ran. Because Christ has been where we now are, we shall soon be where He now is. Thus, the force of this figurative title of our Redeemer is not only designed to give assurance of our security, but to show us where that security lies entirely outside of ourselves: held fast by a triumphant and ascended Christ. Hence the force of His name here: “Jesus”, who “shall save his people from their sins” ( Matthew 1:21).

    Condensing from Dr. Owen’s excellent remarks: — Christ is a “Forerunner” for us, First , by way of declaration. It belongs unto a forerunner to carry tidings and declare what success has been obtained in the affair of which he is to render account. So when the Lord Christ entered Heaven, He made an open declaration of His victory by spoiling principalities and leading captivity captive: see Psalm 45:4-6, 68:18, 24-26.

    Second , by way of preparation. This He did by opening the way for our prayers and worship: 10:19-22 and making ready a place for us, John 14:2,3.

    Third , by way of occupation. He has gone into Heaven, in our name, to take possession and reserve it for us: Acts 26:18, 1 Peter 1:4. “Made an high priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek”. Having warned us of our danger ( Hebrews 5:11–6:8), having exhorted us to continue pressing forward ( Hebrews 6:11-15), having assured our hearts of infallible preservation (Hebrew 6:16-19), the apostle now returns to the very point he had dropped at Hebrews 5:10. This final clause of Hebrews 6 forms a pertinent and perfect transition between the apostle’s digression at Hebrews 5:11 and onwards, and the description of Christ’s priesthood which follows in chapter 7, etc. He now declares who and what that “Forerunner” was, who for us has gone on High, even Jesus, our great High Priest. The apostle has led us on to the “perfection” which he mentioned at the beginning of this chapter ( Hebrews 6:1,3) — Christ within the veil!

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