Hebrews 6:19
Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
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(19) Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul.—A beautiful image, introduced for a moment only to set forth the security of the soul, though tossed by the waves of trouble. This symbol of hope, so familiar to us in Christian art, is not mentioned in the Old Testament, but is found in Greek proverbial sayings, and (it is said) appears on ancient coins.

Both sure and stedfast.—These words and the following may, indeed, form part of the figure; but more probably relate to the hope itself—a hope unfailing, firm, which entereth where no human sight can follow, even into the Most Holy Place, into heaven itself. The hope becomes personified, that the reader’s thought may be led to Him who is Himself our hope.



Hebrews 6:19THERE is something very remarkable in the prominence given by Christianity to hope as an element in the perfect character. The New Testament is, one may say, full of exhortations to ‘hope perfectly.’ It is regarded as one of the three virtues which sum up all Christian goodness. Nay! In one place the Apostle Paul lays upon it the whole weight of our salvation, for he says ‘we are saved by hope.’

Now this great prominence given to the exercise of this faculty seems to correspond with the will of God as expressed in our nature, for man is a creature obstinate in his hope. But it seems to be strangely at variance with the value of hope as attested by experience; for who does not know that most hopes are false; and that whether they be disappointed or fulfilled, they betray.

The world is full of complaints of the fallacies of hope. Poets and moralists are sure of a response when they touch that chord; and it sometimes seems to us as if elaborate provision were made in our nature for deluding us into activity and tempting us along toll-some paths, to gather a handful of mist at the end, and then to say in our bitterness, ‘All is vanity and vexation of spirit.’

But yet ‘God never sends mouths but He sends meat to feed them’; and if there be in a man a faculty so obstinate and strong as this, there must be somewhere a reality which it can grasp; and, grasping, can be freed from all its miseries and mistakes.

So my text tells us where that is, and tells us further how ennobling and steady an ally of all great and blessed things hope is in a man, when it is rightly fixed on the right objects. The metaphor of my text is unique in Scripture, though it be common in other places. Only here do we find the familiar thought that hope is ‘the anchor of the soul.’ I take that metaphor as the guiding thought in my words now; and ask you to consider the anchor; the anchorage, or holding-ground; the cable; and the steadfastness of the ship so anchored in all storms.

I. Consider, then, first, the force of this metaphor of the anchor.

Now it seems to me that the very figure requires us to suppose that hope here means, not the emotion but the object on which it is fixed. The same interpretation is necessarily suggested by the context; for the previous verse speaks about ‘a hope set before us,’ and about our ‘laying hold upon it.’ So that here, at all events, the hope is something external to ourselves which is proposed to us, and which we can grasp.

An anchor is outside the ship; and that which steadies us cannot be a part of ourselves, must be something external to us, on which our fluttering and mutable emotions can repose and be still.

Nor is it at all unusual, either in Scripture or in common speech, that we should employ the name of the emotion to express the object which the emotion grasps. For instance, people say to one another, ‘my love,’ ‘my comfort,’ and we talk about God as ‘our fear’ and ‘our dread,’ and Scripture speaks of Christ as our hope; in all which phrases the person who excites the emotion is described by the name of the emotion.

And so, I take it, is the ease here. The hope which we possess, and which, outside of us, we being fastened to it, makes us steadfast and secure, is, at bottom, Jesus Christ Himself. This hope, says my text, ‘has entered within the veil.’ Well l read on. ‘Whither the Forerunner is for us entered.’ When He passed within the veil our hope passed within it, and went with Him. For He is not only the foundation, but He is the substance of our hope. He is the thing hoped for, and in the deepest interpretation, all our future is the personal Christ; and every blessed anticipation that can fill a human heart with gladness is summed up in this, ‘that I may be found in Him,’ and made partaker of that Saviour whom to possess is fruition and eternal life. He is the anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast, and entering within the veil Notice further the characteristics ascribed to this anchor and hope. ‘Sure and steadfast.’ These two words express diverse qualities of the hope. A sure anchor is one which does not drag. It is not too light for the ship that rides by it. It has found s firm ground, its flukes are all right, and it belch. It does not deceive. The ship’s crew may trust to it. An anchor which is steadfast, or, as the original word might be rendered, ‘firm,’ is one that will not break, but is strong in its own substance, made of good tough iron, so that there is no fear of the shank snapping, whatever strain may be put upon it. We may then say, generally, that this object of the Christian hope is free from all the weaknesses. and imperfections which cleave and cling to other objects. Take just a sentence or two in illustration of that.

Our earthly hopes, what are they? Only She products of our own imaginations, or the reflection of our wishes projected on the dim screen of the future, with no more substance in them than the shadows from a magic- lantern thrown on to the sheet. Or even if they be the reasonable result of calculation, they still have- no existence. But there, says my text, is a hope which is a real thing, and has a present existence. It has ‘entered into that within the veil,’ as the literal anchor is dropped through the depths of the sea and lost to sight, so by an incongruous and yet forcible blending of metaphor the text tells us this anchor is carried aloft, into the azure depths, and there lost to sight, is fastened as it were to the very throne of God. All the universe being the temple, and a thin veil being stretched between us in the outer court and that Holy of Holies, the Christ, who is our hope, has passed with.. in the veil, and is verily there, separated from us and yet close by. A veil is but a thin partition. We can hear the voices on the other side of a woollen curtain, we can catch the gleams of light through it, A touch will draw it aside. So we float in the midst of that solemn unseen present which is to us the future; and all the brightest and grandest objects of the Christian man’s anticipation have a present existence and are real; just on the other side of that thin curtain that parts us from them. A touch, and it rattles on its rings and we stand in the blaze of the fruition This hope is not an imagination, not the projection of wishes upon the dim curtain of the future, not the child of calculation, but a present reality within arm’s length of us all.

Then, again, earthly hopes are less than certainties. This one is a certainty, We may make the future as sure as the past. Hope may be as veracious as memory. It is not so with our ordinary anticipations; we all feel that when we say we hope we are admitting an element of dread as well as of hope into our anticipations. And so, however hope may smile there is always a touch of terror in her sweet eyes. As one of our great poets has described her, she carries a jewelled cup of richest wine, but coiled at the bottom of it a sleeping serpent. Possibilities that it may be otherwise are an integral part of all the uncertain hopes of earth, make it a torture often, and always dim its lustre and its gladness.

But certitude is a characteristic of the Christian hope. It is ‘sure,’ as my text has it, and we can say, not, ‘I trust it may,’ but, ‘I know it will.’ Is it not something to be able to look forward into the dim unknown, and to feel that whilst much there is mercifully hidden, far more and that the best in the future is manifest as history, and certain as the fixed past. To the Christian resting upon Christ it is no presumption, but the simplest duty to feel ‘tomorrow,’ and the to-morrow after that, and all the to-morrows, including the unsetting day of eternity ‘shall be as yesterday, and much more abundant.’

Then again, earthly hopes, whether disappointed or fulfilled, betray, or rather, I might say, are disappointed even whilst they are fulfilled. We paint the future as if it contained but the one thing on which for the time being we have set our hopes. And we do not remember that when we reach the accomplishment of the expectation, life will have a great many other things in it than the fulfilled expectation, and all the old commonplaces, and annoyances, and imperfections will still be there. So ever, the thing chased is more than the thing won. Like some bit of sea-weed, as long as it lies there in the ocean moving its filmy fronds to the wave, it expands and is lovely. Grasp it, and draw it out, and it is a bit of ugly slime in your hand. So possession never realises the dream of hope.

But here, the half hath not been told us. ‘Eye hath not seen it,.., neither hath entered into the heart of man,’ in his loftiest anticipations, the transcendent realisation of the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.

II. And now turn to the other points in this text.

Look at the anchorage, or holding-ground, that is to say, the reasons or the grounds on which these great objects become objects of hope to us.

Why is it that I may without presumption, and that I must, unless I would fall beneath my obligations, expect to be for ever like Jesus Christ? Why, here is the anchorage. ‘God willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation.’ Or, to put it into other words, God’s solemn utterance of His will guaranteed to us by God’s putting all the majesty of His own being into pawn for the fulfilment of His promise is the ground on which we rest. There is the anchorage. Nothing can touch that. If we cleave to Jesus Christ we have anchored ourselves in the fastnesses of the divine nature. We have struck the roots of our hopes deep into the very being of God; and all that is majestic, all that is omnipotent, all that is tender, all that is immutable in Him goes to confirm to my poor heart the astounding expectation that whatsoever Christ is I shall become, and that wheresoever Christ is there will also His servant be. Oh! how this rock- foundation on which we may build makes all the other foundations upon which men rest their ruinable hopes seem wretched and transitory. Cursed be the man - and he is cursed, that is, wretched and miserable in the act - ‘Cursed be the man that maketh flesh his arm, and whose hope is in man. Blessed be the man whose hope is in the Lord his God, and whose trust the Lord is.’ This anchorage is safe in all weathers, and none that ever sheltered there have been driven on the iron-bound leeward rocks.

III. Again, still keeping the metaphor of the text, notice the cable.

The anchor is of no use unless it be fastened by a strong hawser or chain. All the faithfulness of the divine nature, and all the grandeur of the promises which Christ gives and is, are naught to us unless we attach ourselves to them by setting our hopes there. I have been speaking to you about the vanity, the disappointing misery of earthly hope. Those show that the obstinate faculty which, in spite of them all, persists is as plainly meant to be attached to Jesus Christ as the great iron chain that you see lying on the deck is obviously intended to be the anchor-chain. You are able to anticipate the future, and God has given you the ability in order that it may grapple you to your Lord and Master, by whom alone you will be lords of the future, and it be filled with peace. To do that, to attach yourselves thus to Jesus Christ by a persistent and triumphant hope is not an easy thing.

It means, first of all, detachment. You must get away from these lower and earthly anticipations of the paltry and immediate future on this side the grave, which fill so much of your onward gaze, if your eye is to see clearly that nobler future further ahead which is its legitimate and its only object. The habit of Christian hope needs diligent cultivation and strenuous effort. I think that there are few things that Christian men and women need to he exhorted to more earnestly than this that they should not waste upon the mean anticipations of to-morrow that wonderful faculty by which they may knit themselves to the most glorious and blessed realities in the remotest future. The wings of hope were given, not that we might flutter near the earth, but that we might rise to God. The clear eye that looks before was given us not that we should limit our vision to the near, But that we might send it forward to the most distant horizon. Do not let yourselves be so absorbed by anticipations of what you are going to do and where you are going to be tomorrow that you have no leisure to think of what you are going to do and where you are going to be through the eternities. We run our eyes along the low levels of earth, and we too seldom lift them to the great white summits that ring round the little plain on which our day is passed. Christian men and women, you are saved by hope. Live in the continual contemplation of that blessed future, and Him who makes it; and, according to the old exhortation sursum corda, ‘up with your hearts’ and your hopes, and fasten them to the anchor of your souls which hath entered within the veil.

IV. And now, lastly, a word as to the steadfastness of the ship that rides in any storm by thin anchor.

Hope is not usually a masculine faculty, nor one that on the whole is the ally of the stronger and nobler virtues. It does no doubt impel to action, and he that has ceased to hope has ceased to strive; but also, and quite as often, its effect is to disturb and flutter rather than to steady, to make impatient, to unfit for persistent application and toilsome service, to set the blood dancing through the veins, so that the hand can scarcely be kept steady. But this ‘Christian hope, if we rightly take the measure of it, and understand it, is an ally of all great, steadfast, calm, patient virtue.

For one thing it will put all the present in its true subordination. Just as when a man’s eye is fixed upon the reddening dawn of the morning sky, all the trees and objects between him and it are toned down into one uniform blackness, so when we have that great light shining beyond the earthly horizon all the colours of the objects between us and it will be less garish, and they will dwindle into comparative insignificance. It is not so hard to bear sorrow when the light of a great hope makes the endurance but for a little moment, and the exceeding and eternal weight of glory more conspicuous than it. It is not so hard to do duty when a great hope makes action for the time sublime, and makes difficulties dwindle and hardships sweet. It is not so hard to resist temptations when temptations have had their dazzling light dimmed by the greater brightness of the hope revealed. He that has anchored himself to Christ may be calm in sorrow and triumphant over temptation. Whatsoever winds may blow he may ride safe there, and however frowning may be the iron-bound rocks a cable’s length off, if he has cast out his anchor at the stern he may quietly wait for the day in the assurance that no shipwreck is possible for him. Your hope will be the ally of all, dignity, patience, victory, will steady the soul and make it participant, in some measure, of its own steadfastness and security.

And just as sailors sometimes send the anchor ahead that they may have a fixed point towards which to warp themselves, so, if our anchor is that Christ who has passed into the heavens, He will draw us, in due time, whither He Himself has gone. A calm steady hope fixed upon the enthroned Christ, our fore-runner, and the pattern of what we shall he if we trust Him, will make us steadfast and victorious in all our sorrows, Burdens, changes, and temptations. Without it life is indeed as ‘futile then as frail,’ and our only ‘hope of answer’ to its torturing problems, or of ‘redress’ of its manifold pains is ‘Behind the veil, behind the veil.’ Such a hope knits us to the true stay of our souls, and is a cord not easily Broken. As for men’s hopes fixed on earth, they are fragile and filmy as the spiders’ webs, which, in early autumn mornings, twinkle dewy in every copse, and are gone by midday.

My brother! you have this great faculty; what do you do with it, and where do you fix it? You have a personal concern in that future, whether you think about it and like it or not. What is your hope for that future, and what is the ground of your hope? Let me beseech you, fasten the little vessel of your life to that great anchor, Christ, who has died, and who lives for you. And then, though the thread between you and Him be but slender and fragile, it will not be a dead cable, but a living nerve, along which His own steadfast life will pour, making you steadfast like Himself, and at last fulfilling and transcending your highest hopes in eternal fruition of His own blessedness.

6:11-20 The hope here meant, is a sure looking for good things promised, through those promises, with love, desire, and valuing of them. Hope has its degrees, as faith also. The promise of blessedness God has made to believers, is from God's eternal purpose, settled between the eternal Father, Son, and Spirit. These promises of God may safely be depended upon; for here we have two things which cannot change, the counsel and the oath of God, in which it is not possible for God to lie; it would be contrary to his nature as well as to his will. And as He cannot lie; the destruction of the unbeliever, and the salvation of the believer, are alike certain. Here observe, those to whom God has given full security of happiness, have a title to the promises by inheritance. The consolations of God are strong enough to support his people under their heaviest trials. Here is a refuge for all sinners who flee to the mercy of God, through the redemption of Christ, according to the covenant of grace, laying aside all other confidences. We are in this world as a ship at sea, tossed up and down, and in danger of being cast away. We need an anchor to keep us sure and steady. Gospel hope is our anchor in the storms of this world. It is sure and stedfast, or it could not keep us so. The free grace of God, the merits and mediation of Christ, and the powerful influences of his Spirit, are the grounds of this hope, and so it is a stedfast hope. Christ is the object and ground of the believer's hope. Let us therefore set our affections on things above, and wait patiently for his appearance, when we shall certainly appear with him in glory.Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul - Hope accomplishes for the soul the same thing which an anchor does for a ship. It makes it fast and secure. An anchor preserves a ship when the waves beat and the wind blows, and as long as the anchor holds, so long the ship is safe, and the mariner apprehends no danger. So with the soul of the Christian. In the tempests and trials of life, his mind is calm as long as his hope of heaven is firm. If that gives way, he feels that all is lost. Among the pagan writers, "hope" is often compared with an anchor. So Socrates said, "To ground hope on a false supposition, is like trusting to a weak anchor." Again - "A ship ought not to trust to one anchor, nor life to one hope." Both sure and steadfast. Firm and secure. This refers to the anchor. That is fixed in the sand, and the vessel is secure.

And which entereth into that within the veil - The allusion to the "anchor" here is dropped, and the apostle speaks simply of hope. The "veil" here refers to what in the temple divided the holy from the most holy place; see the notes on Matthew 21:12. The place "within the veil" - the most holy place - was regarded as God's special abode - where he dwelt by the visible symbol of his presence. That holy place was emblematic of heaven; and the idea here is, that the hope of the Christian enters into heaven itself; it takes hold on the throne of God; it is made firm by being fastened there. It is not the hope of future riches, honors, or pleasures in this life - for such a hope would not keep the soul steady; it is the hope of immortal blessedness and purity in the world beyond.

19. Hope is found represented on coins by an anchor.

sure and steadfast—sure in respect to us: steadfast, or "firm" [Alford], in itself. Not such an anchor as will not keep the vessel from tossing, or an anchor unsound or too light [Theophylact].

which entereth into that—that is the place

within the veil—two images beautifully combined: (1) The soul is the ship: the world the sea: the bliss beyond the world, the distant coast; the hope resting on faith, the anchor which prevents the vessel being tossed to and fro; the encouraging consolation through the promise and oath of God, the cable connecting the ship and anchor. (2) The world is the fore-court: heaven, the Holy of Holies; Christ, the High Priest going before us, so as to enable us, after Him, and through Him, to enter within the veil. Estius explains, As the anchor does not stay in the waters, but enters the ground hidden beneath the waters, and fastens itself in it, so hope, our anchor of the soul, is not satisfied with merely coming to the vestibule, that is, is not content with merely earthly and visible goods, but penetrates even to those which are within the veil, namely, to the Holy of Holies, where it lays hold on God Himself, and heavenly goods, and fastens on them. "Hope, entering within heaven, hath made us already to be in the things promised to us, even while we are still below, and have not yet received them; such strength hope has, as to make those that are earthly to become heavenly." "The soul clings, as one in fear of shipwreck to an anchor, and sees not whither the cable of the anchor runs—where it is fastened: but she knows that it is fastened behind the veil which hides the future glory."

veil—Greek, "catapetasma": the second veil which shut in the Holiest Place. The outer veil was called by a distinct Greek term, calumma: "the second (that is, the inner) veil."

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast: which, taketh in both the good hoped for, and the grace and act itself of hope exercised about it; which grace is by a metaphor set out to be to the soul what an anchor is to ships in a tempest, when tossed with gusts, and storms, and billows of thoughts rolling one upon another to the oversetting of it; this hope stayeth, strengthens, settleth it, even the hope and certainty of eternal rest and happiness secured to them by the promise and oath of God. This hope is safe and firm efficiently, and makes the soul, in the midst of all the threatening temptations from a tempestuons world, safe, because fastened on God’s promise; and firm, because strengthened by God’s oath, which will hold out all tempests.

And which entereth into that within the veil: this hope, like an anchor, is firmly placed, hath wrought itself into the best holdfast, even the innermost part of the veil.

The veil was that in the tabernacle and temple which separated the holy place from the holy of holiest. This typical veil was rent at the death of Christ, and the holy of holiest in heaven, the truth of that type, was then laid open unto all believers, whether Jews or Gentiles: compare Hebrews 9:24 10:19-21. Here it is that the anchor of the Christian’s hope is fastened; this sure harbour, where no tempest can reach or loosen it, but into which their souls, after all their tossings in the tempestuous ocean of this world, by the hurricanes of temptations, which made them quiver again, shall be over, will enter with a full gale, and enjoy that rest and blessedness for ever, which they had by God’s promise and oath, on which they relied, secured to them: see Colossians 1:5 1 Peter 1:3-9.

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul,.... This world is as a sea; the church in it, and so every believer, is as a ship; the port that is bound unto is heaven; Christ is the pilot, and hope is the anchor: an anchor is cast on a bottom, out of sight; and when the ship is in a calm, or in danger of a rock, or near the shore; but is of no service without a cable: and when cast aright, keeps the ship steady: so hope is cast on Christ; whence he is often called hope itself, because he is the ground and foundation of it, and who is at present unseen to bodily eyes; and the anchor of hope without the cable of faith is of little service; but being cast aright on Christ, keeps the soul steady and immovable: in some things there is a difference between hope and an anchor; an anchor is not of so much use in tempests as in a calm, but hope is; the cable may be cut or broke, and so the anchor be useless, but so it cannot be with faith and hope; when the ship is at anchor, it does not move forward, but it is not so with the soul, when hope is in exercise; the anchor of hope is not cast on anything below, but above; and here it is called the anchor of the soul, to distinguish it from any other, and to show the peculiar benefit of it to the soul. Pythagoras makes use of the same metaphor (x);

"riches (he says) are a weak anchor, glory: is yet weaker; the body likewise; principalities, honours, all these are weak and without strength; what then are strong anchors? prudence, magnanimity, fortitude; these no tempest shakes.''

But these philosophical moral virtues are not to be compared with the Christian's grace of hope, which is

both sure and steadfast; it is in itself a grace firm and stable; it is permanent and can never be lost: and it is still more sure and steadfast, by virtue of what it is fixed upon, the person, blood, and righteousness of Christ; and by the immutability, faithfulness, and power of God it is concerned with; and through the aboundings and discoveries of divine love, grace, and mercy; and from the instances of grace to the vilest of sinners:

and which entereth into that within the vail; the holy of holies, heaven itself; in allusion to the vail which divided between the holy and the holy of holies: the things within the vail, or in heaven, which hope entering into fixes upon, are the person of Christ, who is entered there, and appears in the presence of God for his people; his blood which he has carried along with him, and by which he is entered there; his justifying righteousness, by which the law is fulfilled, the two tables of stone in the ark of the testimony; the sweet incense of his mediation, which is continually offered up by him; the mercy seat, or throne of grace, on which Jehovah sits as the God of grace; and all the glories of heaven; all which hope is concerned with, and receives strength and rigour from: and their being within the vail, is expressive of their hiddenness and invisibility at present, and of their safety and security, as well as of their sacredness; and this shows a difference between the hope of believers and others, whose hope fixes upon things short of these; and likewise the great privilege of a believer, who being made a priest unto God, has liberty and boldness to enter into the holiest of all. The Jews (y) speak of a vail in the world to come, which some are worthy to enter into.

(x) Apud Stobaeum, Serm. I.((y) Zohar in Gen. fol. 73. 3.

{8} Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

(8) He compares hope to an anchor because in the same way that an anchor when cast into the bottom of the sea secures the whole ship, so hope also enters even into the very secret places of heaven. He makes mention of the sanctuary, alluding to the old tabernacle and by this returns to the comparison of the priesthood of Christ with the Levitical priesthood.

Hebrews 6:19. Description of the absolute certainty of this Christian hope.

ἥν] sc. ἐλπίδα. The referring back to παράκλησιν (Grotius and others) is possible only in connection with the erroneous interpretation of this word as “solatium,” whereas, with the right apprehension of Hebrews 6:18, παράκλησιν ἔχωμεν serves for the mere introduction of κρατῆσαι τῆς προκειμένης ἐλπίδος; ἥν thus most naturally links itself with ἐλπίδος as the last preceding leading thought. To this must be added the consideration that frequently also elsewhere in antiquity—though nowhere else in Holy Scripture—the anchor is already employed as a figure of hope, and appears also upon coins as a symbol thereof. See Wetstein, Kypke, and Kuinoel ad loc.

ἣν ὡς ἄγκυραν ἔχομεν τῆς ψυχῆς] which we possess even as an anchor of the soul, i.e. in which we possess, as it were, an anchor of the soul, which affords it support and protection against the storms and perils of the earthly life.

There exists no good reason for making ἔχειν equivalent to κατέχειν (Abresch, Dindorf, Bloomfield, and others).

ἀσφαλῆ τε καὶ βεβαίαν καὶ εἰσερχομένην κ.τ.λ.] which (sc. anchor) is sure and firm, and reaches into the interior of the veil. Wrongly does Carpzov (and so also Reuss) construe all these words with ἥν (sc. ἐλπίδα). For, in order to render this possible, ἔχομεν must have received its place only after τῆς ψυχῆς, in such wise that ὡς ἄγκυραν τῆς ψυχῆς should admit of being separated by commas from that which precedes and follows. Equally inadmissible is it, however, when Abresch, Böhme, Bleek, Bloomfield, and others take only ἀσφαλῆ τε καὶ βεβαίαν along with ἄγκυραν, and then refer back εἰσερχομένην εἰς τὸ ἐσώτερον τοῦ καταπετάσματος to ἥν (sc. ἐλπίδα). For although the figure of an anchor reaching on high, instead of penetrating into the depths, is an incongruous one, yet metaphors are never to be pressed, and in our passage the choice of the expression εἰσέρχεσθαι εἰς τὸ ἐσώτερον points to the retention of the figure of the anchor, as well as the closely uniting τεκαὶκαί to the intimate coherence of the three characteristics.

καταπέτασμα] with the LXX. usually (Exodus 26:31-35; Exodus 27:21; Leviticus 21:23; Leviticus 24:3; Numbers 4:5, al.), in the N. T. always (Hebrews 10:20; Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45) of the second (Hebrews 9:3), or innermost curtain of the temple, the curtain before the Most Holy Place (הַפָּרֹכֶת). Comp. also Philo, de vita Mosis, iii. p. 669 B (with Mangey, II. p. 150): ἐν δὲ τῷ μεθορίῳ τῶν τεττάρων καὶ πέντε κιόνων, ὅπερ ἐστὶ κυρίως εἰπεῖν πρόναον, εἰργόμενον δυσὶν ὑφάσμασι, τὸ μὲν ἔνδον ὂν καλεῖται καταπέτασμα, τὸ δʼ ἐκτὸς προσαγορεύεται κάλυμμα. Ibid. p. 667 C (II. p. 148): ἐκ δὲ τῶν αὐτῶν τό τε καταπέτασμα καὶ τὸ λεγόμενον κάλυμμα κατεσκευάζετο· τὸ μὲν εἴσω κατὰ τοὺς τέσσαρας κίονας, ἵνʼ ἐπικρύπτηηται τὸ ἄδυτον· τὸ δʼ ἔξω κατὰ τοὺς πέντε κ.τ.λ.

τὸ ἐσώτερον τοῦ καταπετεάσματος] the interior of the veil, i.e. that which is the interior with respect to the veil, or exists within the same, thus behind it. Designation of the Most Holy Place. Comp. Exodus 26:33; Leviticus 16:2; Leviticus 16:12; Leviticus 16:15. The Most Holy Place is spoken of as a symbol of heaven, where God is enthroned in His glory, and at His right hand is enthroned the exalted Christ.

Hebrews 6:19. ἣν ὡς ἄγκυραν ἔχομεν … “which [hope] we have as an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast, and entering into that which is within the veil”. An anchor was in ancient as well as in modern times the symbol of hope; see Aristoph., Knights, 1224 (1207) λεπτή τις ἐλπίς ἐστʼ ἐφʼ ἧς ὀχούμεθα. “A slender hope it is at which we ride,” and Æsch., Ag., 488: πολλῶν ῥαγεισῶν ἐλπίδων many hopes being torn away [like the flukes of anchors]. Cf. Paley in loc. Kypke quotes a saying attributed to Socrates: οὔτε ναῦν ἐξ ἑνὸς ἀγκυρίου οὔτε βίον ἐκ μιᾶς ἐλπίδος ὁρμιστέον. The symbol appears on ancient coins. ἀσφαλῆ τε καὶ βεβαίαν, unfailing and firmly fixed; negative and positive, it will not betray the confidence reposed in it but will hold firm. ἀσφ. καὶ βεβ., Wis 7:23. Cebet., Tab., 31. Bleek, Vaughan, Westcott, and others refer these adjectives to ἥν, not to ἄγκυραν. It seems much more natural to refer them with Chrys., Theoph., etc. to ἄγκυραν. Cf. Vulg.: “Quam sicut anchoram habemus animæ tutam ac firmam, et incedentem,” and Weizsäcker “in der wir einen sicheren, festen Anker der Seele haben, der hineinreicht,” etc. καὶ εἰσερχομένην … The anchor has its holding ground in the unseen. Some interpreters who refer the former two adjectives to the anchor, find so much strangeness or awkwardness in this term if so applied that they understand it directly of the hope itself. But as Davidson and Weiss show, the εἰσερχ. gives the ground of the two former adjectives; it is because the anchor enters into the eternal and unchangeable world that its shifting or losing hold is out of the question. (But cf. also Hebrews 6:16). No doubt the figure is now so moulded to conform to the reality that the physical reference is obscure, unless we think of a ship being warped into a harbour on an anchor already carried in. Cf. Weiss. That to which the figure points is obvious. It is in the very presence of God the anchor of hope takes hold. The Christian hope is fixed on things eternal, and is made sure by God’s acceptance of it. [Alford quotes from Estius: “sicut ancora navalis non in aquis haeret, sed terram intrat sub aquis latentem, eique infigitur; ita ancora animæ spes nostra non satis habet in vestibulum pervenisse, id est, non est contenta bonis terrenis et visibilibus; sed penetrat usque ad ea, quae sunt intra velum, videlicet in ipsa sancta sanctorum; id est, Deum ipsum et coelestia bona apprehendit, atque in iis figitur”.] τὸ ἐσώτερον τοῦ καταπετάσματος, the holy of holies, the very presence of God. καταπέτασμα (in non-biblical Greek παραπέτασμα) is used in LXX of either of the two veils in the Temple (מָסָךְ or פָּרֹכֶח, Exodus 26:37; Numbers 3:26; and Exodus 26:31; Leviticus 4:6) but κάλυμμα, according to Philo, De Vit. Mes., iii. 5, was the proper designation of the outer veil, καταπέτ. being reserved for the inner veil; and in this sense alone it is used in N.T. as Hebrews 9:3; Matthew 27:51. See Carpzov in (loc. and Kennedy’s Sources of N.T. Greek, 113. τὸ ἐσώτερον τ. κ. is therefore the inmost shrine into which the Jewish worshipper could not enter but only the High Priest once a year. For the expression see Exodus 26:33, etc.

19. as an anchor of the soul] An anchor seems to have been an emblem of Hope—being something which enables us to hope for safety in danger—from very early days (Aesch. Agam. 488), and is even found as a symbol of Hope on coins. The notion that this metaphor adds anything to the argument in favour of the Pauline authorship of the Epistle, because St Paul too sometimes uses maritime metaphors, shews how little the most ordinary canons of literary criticism are applied to the Scriptures. St Paul never happens to use the metaphor of “an anchor,” but it might have been equally well used by a person who had never seen the sea in his life.

“Or if you fear

Put all your trust in God: that anchor holds.”

Tennyson, Enoch Arden.

and which entereth into that within the vail] This expression is not very clear. The meaning is that the hawser which holds the anchor of our Christian hope passeth into the space which lies behind the veil, i.e. into the very sanctuary of Him who is “the God of Hope” (Romans 15:13). “The veil” is the great veil (Parocheth) which separated the Holy from the Holy of Holies (Exodus 26:31-35; Hebrews 10:20; Matthew 27:51, &c.) The Christian’s anchor of hope is not dropped into any earthly sea, but passes as it were through the depths of the aerial ocean, mooring us to the very throne of God.

“Oh! life as futile then as frail!

What hope of answer or redress?—

Behind the veil! Behind the veil!”

In Memoriam.

The word katapetasma usually applies to this veil before the Holy of Holies, while kalumma (as in Philo) is strictly used for the outer veil.

Hebrews 6:19. ν) which hope. The following things are compared:—

A ship;

The soul:

A sure anchor;

Hope, i.e. heavenly good things set before us by GOD, hoped for by us: in a complex sense.

The connection of the ship and the anchor;

The consolation through the promise and oath of GOD.

ἀσφαλῆ, sure) in respect of us.—βεβαίαν, firm) in itself.—τοῦ καταπετάσματος, the veil) He gradually returns to the priesthood, ch. Hebrews 9:3, Hebrews 10:20.

Hebrews 6:19An anchor of the soul (ἄγκυραν τῆς ψυχῆς)

The same figure is implied 1 Timothy 1:19.

Sure and steadfast (ἀσφαλῆ τε καὶ βεβαίαν)

The distinction between the two adjectives expresses the relation of the same object to different tests applied from without. Ἀσφαλῆ, not, σφάλλειν to make totter, and so to baffle or foil. Hence, secure against all attempts to break the hold. Βεβαίαν sustaining one's steps in going (βαίνεν to go): not breaking down under what steps upon it.

Which entereth into that within the veil (εἰσερχομένην εἰς τὸ ἐσώτερον τοῦ καταπετάσματος)

Const. the participle εἰσερχομένην entering with anchor. Ἐσώτερον only here and Acts 16:24. Comparative, of something farther within. So ἐσωτέραν φυλακήν "the inner prison," Acts 16:24. Καταπέτασμα veil, oClass. Commonly in N.T. of the veil of the temple or tabernacle. See Matthew 27:51; Hebrews 9:3. That within the veil is the unseen, eternal reality of the heavenly world. Two figures are combined: (a) the world a sea; the soul a ship; the hidden bottom of the deep the hidden reality of the heavenly world. (b) The present life the forecourt of the temple; the future blessedness the shrine within the veil. The soul, as a tempest-tossed ship, is held by the anchor: the soul in the outer court of the temple is fastened by faith to the blessed reality within the shrine.

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