October 13, 2015

Hebrews 6:19-20 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest for ever, in the order of Melchizedek.

The imagery in this passage is as clear as mud to many people today, partly because of mixed metaphors but mostly for cultural reasons. To understand it we have to know about the veil, actually a thick curtain, that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place in the temple. This originated in the Tabernacle of Moses (Exodus 26:31-33) and was duplicated in the temples of Solomon and Herod. This is what split, from top to bottom, when Jesus died on the cross, (Matthew 27:51) eliminating the barrier between mankind and the manifest presence of God. Accordingly, “within the veil” (as it is traditionally expressed) means “in the very presence of God.” The other cultural/historical mystery is the mention of Melchizedek. Hebrews talks about him a good bit, but he was the priest/king of Salem, later called Jerusalem, to whom Abraham gave a tithe of the spoils when he was victorious in battle. (Genesis 14:18-20) Hebrews attaches great meaning to that, partly because we know so little about him as a historical individual but most especially because Abraham, the progenitor not only of the Jewish race physically, but spiritually speaking of all who believe, tithed to Melchizedek. With those cultural mysteries explained, we have the mixed metaphor of a ship’s anchor being inside a curtain. That wouldn’t have gotten a good grade in any of my writing classes in college! However, everyone needs an anchor point in their lives, as many have recognized. There are countless songs to that effect, and many people stumble around trying to find just such a reference point to give meaning to their lives. The vitally important thing this passage is saying is that the hope we have in Christ, that can be had no other way, is exactly the anchor we need, and since it goes to the very presence of God, it is eternally unshakable. Once the mysteries are cleared up, that’s a pretty important truth to know!

Growing up in the home I had, this was not taught so much as it was a fundamental fact of life. As an adult I have come to realize what an incredible blessing that was, as I have met so many people with no real anchor at all, much less the only one that is eternal. People comment on my response to circumstances and events, sometimes with amazement, and they are envious of the peace I enjoy. All of that comes from exactly this point: I have an eternal hope. This is exactly what Peter was talking about, (1 Peter 3:15) and is the best tool for evangelism. To be honest, it is a mystery to me why more people don’t believe that hope is available to them, even when I tell them about it. I need the anointing of the Holy Spirit, because I obviously can’t get it across effectively on my own. My life work, really, is transmitting that hope to as many people as possible.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You indeed for the hope You have given me, that is beyond expressing in words. I pray that more and more people would catch that hope, as a sort of “blessed infection,” for an epidemic of salvation, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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