“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus. . . .”
The soul of the saint is like the ship which is waiting outside of the harbor for the favorable tide which will carry it into the haven; and while it waits, it is securely anchored, in fact, the anchor is already cast into the haven. Lest the strong currents and contrary winds should draw the ship back into the crests and billows, it must be anchored to hold it fast.
So this Scripture looks upon the hope of the Christian as such an anchor of his soul that will hold him fast until he may enter the glorious haven of God’s covenant communion—the fellowship of His eternal tabernacle.
Such, in a figure, is the intention of the Word of God here to describe the Christian’s security while still on the sea of life, and while he anticipates presently to enter the haven of rest.
In the figure of an anchor the writer speaks of the hope! To lay hold upon the hope set before us: which we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.
Important it is to see that when the Scripture here speaks of the hope as an anchor, it does not look upon hope in the subjective sense of the word. Scripture often does speak of hope in this sense, and then it refers to that tendency of the soul that is born from above to seek its own level. Then it refers to that longing, that undaunted anticipation, and joyful expectation of the child of God for the city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God,—that ultimate realization of the promise of God according to which He will make all things new and cause us to abide forever in the perfection of beauty where righteousness shall dwell. Hope, in this subjective sense is an action on the part of the Christian in which he seeks and longs after an unseen object. That the Scripture here does not refer to hope in this sense, is plain from the context as well as from the text itself.
Nay, rather, hope must be understood here in the objective sense. The verse immediately preceding our text speaks of “the hope set before us.” And the text speaks of this hope as an anchor “which entereth into that within the veil.” Hope is the anchor which is cast. Though the hope is the anchor of the soul, it is without the soul, and is cast within the veil.
And if you ask: What then is that hope? What is that anchor that is cast within the veil? Then there can be but one answer: that hope and that cast anchor is Christ!
Christ Jesus is the anchor of the soul!
He is the object of the Christian’s hope! He is the hope which we have as an anchor, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within, behind the veil.
In Him is all the hope of the soul of the saint, now realized. Not so was it in the old dispensation. Then the curtain that separated the holy of holies from the holy place and outer court was only a material veil in a material and earthly tent, or building. O, to be sure, the saints then also had a sure consolation, for the Lord made promise which was sure by two immutable things,—His counsel and His oath. He sware by Himself that. He would bless Abraham and his seed. In type and shadow He spoke to them of His immutable oath. But even so, there was in the old dispensation no tangible realization of that immutable promise. There were shadows and pictures of the hope that was to come. But Jesus was not yet! The blood of atonement had not yet been shed. And no one had entered into that within the veil to abide there.
But now that hope is objectively real!
Jesus has come and entered!
In Him is the full realization of the promise!
He is the Object of our hope,—the Anchor of our soul!
The Anchor, both sure and steadfast!
Indeed, a sharp contrast to earthly hopes! Poets and moralists find much response when they touch upon the chord of earthly hopes. It seems as if elaborate provisions were made in our human natures for deluding us, tempting us along toilsome paths, only to gather at the end a handful of mist, so that in the end men must exclaim in bitterness: “All is vanity and vexation of spirit.” And how many are the poets, and the compositions of rhymes that depict that deluding power men call hope! The disillusionment of these earthly hopes is felt in the results they often effect. Here is a young man who had hoped for success and in his business met only failure and disappointment. There is a young maiden whose trousseau was made, whose cedar chest was filled, and the moment of her hoped for happiness leaves ‘her standing alone at the altar. She tears to shreds her wedding gown, because her lover has deserted her in pursuit of another mate. Here is a farmer whose hope was set on a bumper crop, and in one night he sees all his hope blasted by a devastating hail storm, or an unexpected flood. Like air-castles built on the imagination, or like pretty soap bubbles, their hopes are crumbled by the slightest disturbance, or pricked with the finest pin. These earthly hopes are neither sure nor steadfast. They have in them nothing that holds your soul with any security and assurance.
But the soul of the Christian has hope which as an anchor is both sure and steadfast!
It is firm, and can be relied upon, and confided in; because it cannot be disturbed by outward influences. The arms of its flukes are firmly embedded,—not to be pulled out. It is steadfast, because of its inherent strength. Its stock, its shank, and flukes are all of one piece. No danger, therefore, that it should fall apart. In the Christian’s hope there is therefore a double security,—sure and steadfast!
The Anchor of the soul within the veil!
You understand, of course, that the Scriptures here also speak in a figure. The veil typically referred to was that which was found in the ancient tabernacle, and later in the temple; which made separation between the holy of holies and the holy place and the rest of the place of worship. Behind the veil God was said to dwell, and above the ark of the covenant, where no one might approach saving the high priest once a year. But even he might not remain there. After he had sprinkled blood on the mercy seat, he had to leave immediately. And the veil was closed again for another year. Typically, therefore, behind the veil was the place where God dwelt.
The text, however, is looking at the reality. And that is heaven! Behind the veil speaks of the fellowship and communion with the living God.
The Anchor of the soul, Christ Jesus, has entered into the very presence of God. And not like the priest who had to leave almost as soon as he entered, but now to remain there at God’s right hand.
This is the significance of His glorious ascension! Inour human nature the risen, and ascended Lord entered into that within the veil. He, in Whom is all our salvation, and Who is the object of all our hope, is the Anchor, both sure and steadfast. He is entered into the very presence of God, and to abide there. There He makes intercession for us, while He also prepares a place for us.
Note how the text speaks of Him as the forerunner. Who is for us entered, even Jesus!
Not only does He make it possible for us to enter where He is, but He also prepares the way and draws us to Himself. It is not the ship which holds the anchor fast, but the Anchor which holds the ship and draws it to itself.
As we said at the beginning, the soul of the saint is like the ship which is waiting outside the harbor for the favorable tide which will carry it into port. It is still on the sea of life with its boisterous billows, and its often contrary winds. But it is tied to a sure and steadfast Anchor, which will not allow it to be lost at sea. Our Anchor holds, and draws us to the very place where He is firmly fixed,—to the very presence, and before the face of the living God. When the forerunner, even Jesus, prepares for us a place, and He prepares us for that place, then He will draw us into that within the veil.
Whose is that Anchor?
The text says, “we have!”
That is, all who have Christ Jesus as the object of their hope. It is all they who are the heirs of the immutable promise which God sware with an oath. It is all the spiritual children of Abraham who by faith embrace the promise, and who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.
In their behalf the Anchor works!
Christ did not enter into that which is within the veil merely to wait for us, but to work for us. He is the forerunner who opens the way. That is what He meant when He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” And on the basis of His mediatorial work He gives us the right to come also where He is, namely, into the most blessed presence and communion of the living God.
And because it is the Father’s will that none of those who are attached to Him shall be lost, He draws them to Himself, in order that they may be where He is. This He continues to do by His Word and Spirit.
You need not wait long my fellow Christian. This Jesus is not a priest after the order of Aaron, whose priesthood was of a temporary nature; but His priesthood is after the order of Melchisedec,—and abiding, eternal priesthood. And when He has accomplished all that is necessary for us to enter, He will draw us unto Himself.
In the meantime all our hope is in Him! As a sure and steadfast Anchor, He will hold us fast!
And when we enter where He is, we shall never go out, world without end!