Hebrews 6:19-20 Commentary

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The Epistle
to the Hebrews

Hebrews 1-10:18
Hebrews 10:19-13:25
Superior Person
of Christ
Hebrews 1:1-4:13
Superior Priest
in Christ
Hebrews 4:14-10:18
Superior Life
In Christ
Hebrews 10:19-13:25
Hebrews 1:1-4:13
Heb 4:14-7:28
Heb 8:1-13
Heb 9:1-10:18



ca. 64-68AD

See ESV Study Bible "Introduction to Hebrews
(See also MacArthur's Introduction to Hebrews)

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Hebrews 6:19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: en os agkuran echomen (1PPAI) tes psuches asphale te kai bebaian kai eiserchomenen (PMPFSA) eis to esoteron tou katapetasmatos

Amplified: [Now] we have this [hope] as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it—a hope] that reaches farther and enters into [the very certainty of the Presence] within the veil, [Lev. 16:2.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: This hope is to us like an anchor, safe and sure, and it enters with us into the inner court beyond the veil. (Westminster Press)

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

NLT: This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: This hope we hold as the utterly reliable anchor for our souls, fixed in the very certainty of God himself in Heaven, where Jesus has already entered on our behalf, (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: which [hope] we are having as an anchor of the soul both stable and steadfast and which anchor enters into the place within the veil, 

Young's Literal: which we have, as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and entering into that within the veil

THIS HOPE WE HAVE AS AN ANCHOR OF THE SOUL: hên hos agkuran echomen (1PPAI) tes psuches:

  • Col 1:5. 1Th 5:8. 1Pe 1:3, 4; Acts 27:29,40
  • Soul Lk 9:24. Ps 103:1. Lk 1:46
  • Hebrews 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Note the mixed metaphors - an anchor bringing to mind a nautical picture and the veil which pictures the Temple.

Hope is added by NASB translators but not they did not italicize it as they usually do when they are indicating an addition of a word which is not present in the original Greek text!

Literally the Greek reads "which like anchor we continually have" with obvious subject being "Hope".

1Timothy 1:1 Christ Jesus = our hope.

Colossians 1:5 (note) hope laid up for you in heaven

Related Resource: Hope - See Dictionary Articles

Nave's Topic on Hope. Psa. 9:18; Psa. 16:9; Psa. 31:24; Psa. 33:18, 22; Psa. 38:15; Psa. 39:7; Psa. 43:5; Psa. 71:5, 14; Psa. 78:5-7; Psa. 119:74,81,116,166Psa. 130:7; Psa. 146:5; Prov. 10:23; Prov. 13:12; Prov. 14:32; Prov. 23:18; Prov. 24:14; Isaiah 38:18; Jer. 17:7; Lam. 3:21, 24, 26; Hos. 2:15; Joel 3:16; Zech. 9:12; Acts 23:6; Acts 24:14, 15; Acts 26:6, 7; Acts 28:20; Rom. 4:18; Rom. 5:2-3, 4-5; Rom. 8:24, 25; Rom. 12:12; Rom. 15:4, 13; 1Cor. 13:13; 1Cor. 15:19; 2Cor. 3:12; Gal. 5:5; Eph. 1:18; Eph. 4:4; Phil. 1:20; Col. 1:5, 23, 27; 1Thess. 1:3; 1Thess. 5:8 Eph. 6:17. 2Thess. 2:16; 1Tim. 1:1; Titus 1:2; Titus 2:13; Titus 3:7; Heb. 3:6; Heb. 6:11, 18, 19; Heb. 11:1; 1Pet. 1:3, 13, 21; 1Pet. 3:15; 1John 3:3

Hope of the Wicked - Job 8:13; Job 11:20; Job 27:8; Job 31:24, 28; Prov. 10:28; Zech. 9:5; Eph. 2:12

Have (2192) (echo) means to have or hold something. Note the use of the present tense which indicates this anchor is one we can continually possess in Christ. Note what it stabilizes - the soul.

Wuest - This salvation made possible by the presence of the High Priest in the heavenly Holy of Holies (Heb 6:19, 20).

Anchor (45) (agkura, Latin = ancora, an anchor) is a heavy weight of stone or metal attached to a rope or chain and dropped overboard to keep a ship from moving with the current. Ancient anchors were much like the modern ones with iron hooks to grapple the rocks and so hold on to prevent shipwreck. A vessel that is not securely anchored does not have much hope of riding out a violent storm. Figuratively, as used in Hebrews it speaks of that which provides security, support, stay, safeguard (as hope). The anchor refers to the hope generated by faith in gospel which enables the believer to stand firm in face of temptations, calamities and storms.

Agkura is used 4 times in Scripture (Acts 27:29, 30, 40; Heb 6:19), all three of the Acts uses referring to a literal anchor.

Easton's dictionary states that "it would appear that the Roman vessels carried several anchors, which were attached to the stern as well as to the prow. The Roman anchor, like the modern one, had two teeth or flukes. In the word is used metaphorically for that which supports or keeps one steadfast in the time of trial or of doubt. It is an emblem of hope. "If you fear, Put all your trust in God: that anchor holds.

Thayer writes that "(ancient anchors resembled modern in form: were of iron, provided with a stock, and with two teeth-like extremities often but by no means always without flukes;

Anchors symbolized hope in Greek secular world. Agkura is used by the writer as vivid picture of that which supports and keeps one steadfast in the midst of waves of doubt or stormy trials. If you fear, if you doubt, place all your trust in Christ: the "Anchor" Who holds forever. The anchor was an ancient Christian symbol for safety, security, and hope.

Jon Courson - In the catacombs of Rome, where Christians hid in times of persecution, one symbol can be seen more than any other: the anchor. No matter what storms come our way, we are anchored in the Word of God, in the promises He made. We have this sure hope that He will do what He says. So don’t go back to temple worship, entreats the author. Don’t go back to heathen practices, to partying, to wherever else you came from. Be anchored in the immutable, unchangeable, sure, and steadfast Word of God. (Courson, J. Jon Courson's Application Commentary. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson)

The sworn promises of God and the faithfulness of God should serve as an anchor to calm fears in storms of life. The anchor conveys the sense of the stabilizing influence of a hope grounded (anchored!), one grounded not on so called "terra firma" (which is passing away) but in the inner sanctuary of heaven in the Forerunner Himself. Christ Jesus is fulfillment of the unchangeable divine purpose based on two immutable facts: God’s Word of promise and His oath.

Note the use of other nautical concepts in this book - Hebrews 2:1; 3:6, 14; 10:23, 38.

The anchor is the shadow, of which Jesus is the substance.

Vine writes that "what an anchor is to a vessel in its tossings, so the hope is to us in our times of trial, difficulty and stress. The anchor is outside the ship, is connected with it, and keeps it secure." (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

Soul (5590) (psuche from psucho = to breathe) refers to whole person particularly inner, immortal person who lives in the mortal body

Related Resources

A HOPE BOTH SURE AND STEADFAST: asphale te kai bebaian:

  • Ps 42:5,11; 43:5; 62:5,6; 146:5,6; Isaiah 12:2; 25:3,4; 28:16; Jeremiah 17:7,8; Romans 4:16; 5:5-10; 8:28-39; 1Cor 15:58; 2Ti 2:19
  • Hebrews 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

The idea is that what one hopes for makes him safe and sure or him to be secure and certain.

Hope (added by the translators as appropriate to the context) is found represented on coins by an anchor.

Sure (804) (aphales  from from a = w/o + sphallo = throw down, trip up, totter, bring to the ground, make someone fall) is an adjective which literally means that which cannot be thrown down, tripped up, tottered or overthrown. It describes that which is secure and safe from stumbling or falling. Asphales thus means firm, sure, secure, safety, unshakeable, certain, steady, immovable (as of the anchor in Heb 6:19 - see below - or in Septuagint referring to the sky above in Pr 8:28) and then figuratively referring to a state of safety, stability and security which can be relied on and hence free from danger and secure from peril. Asphales describes something that cannot be made to totter when put to the test. In Acts 2:36 the related adverb asphalos means certainly, surely, speaking of that which is known beyond a doubt. Asphales is used figuratively to describe that which is stable, firm, safe, secure and which can be relied upon or confided in.

In this passage asphales describes a state of knowledge which is reliable and certain. In (Acts 21:34) asphales describes the truth, the facts which are certain and definite. Asphales was used in Greek to describe friends and the like as unfailing. In the present context aphales speaks of something that cannot be made to totter when put to the test.

This hope is sure in respect to believers and steadfast or firm in itself.

Steadfast (949) (bebaios from baino = to go, walk, step) means sustaining one’s steps in going and describes that which is fixed, stable, sure, attested to and certified. It is something which is unwavering and persistent and thus can be relied on or depended on. It pertains to that which is known with certainty. It refers to something that has validity over a period of time (e.g., the promise made to Abraham remained valid to NT believers, see note Romans 4:16). Figuratively bebaios refers to that upon which one may build, rely or trust. Bebaios is something that can be relied on not to cause disappointment for it is reliable and unshifting. In practice, though not originally, bebaios is close to pistos (4103) (trustworthy, dependable, reliable, faithful) That which cannot be thrown down and is secure against all attempts to break the hold. This "anchor" will not totter, though the earth should shake all around us.

Wuest comments that bebaios "speaks of something which does not break down under the weight of something that steps on it. This hope which the believing soul has in the Lord Jesus is an anchor of the soul which cannot be made to totter nor break down when put under stress and strain. The words “which entereth” go back syntactically to the word “anchor.” It is the anchor that enters into that within the veil. (Hebrews Commentary online)

In Hebrews, bebaios is a favorite term for that which is assured (Hebrews 2:2; 3:6, 3:14; 6:19; Romans 9:17 see notes Heb 2:2; 3:6, 3:14; 6:19; Ro 9:17). The distinction between the two adjectives expresses the relation of the same object to different tests applied from without.

TDNT says that bebaios "means “standing firm on the feet,” “steadfast,” “maintaining firmness or solidity,” “steadfast for…” Hence “firm” in the sense of having inner solidity. In respect of abstract things and persons bebaios thus comes to mean “steady,” “sure,” “reliable” “steadfast,” or “certain. " (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

Bebaios has a legal sense, signifying a legal guarantee, obtained by the buyer from the seller, to be gone back upon should a third party claim the thing. Thus in classic Greek bebaios described a warranty deed somewhat like a guarantee one might have today on an automobile or similar product.

Peter uses bebaios describing the Word of God, writing that "we have the prophetic word [made] (not in Greek. Literally = "word more sure") more sure, to which you do well to pay (close) attention (nautical term that meant to hold a ship in a direction and so to sail towards!) as to a lamp shining in a dark (miry, filthy, murky, dismal, dark) place, until the day dawns (shines through, breaks forth) and the morning star arises in your hearts." (see note 2 Peter 1:19)

MacDonald - "In the storms and trials of life this hope serves as an anchor of the soul. The knowledge that our glorification is as certain as if it had already happened keeps us from drifting on the wild waves of doubt and despair. The anchor is not cast in the shifting sands of this world but takes hold in the heavenly sanctuary. Since our hope is the anchor, the meaning is that our hope is secured in God’s very Presence behind the veil. Just as sure as the anchor is there, we shall be there also." (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)

Wuest - The writer speaks of the hope of eternal life as an anchor of the soul. He uses two adjectives to describe this anchor, “sure” and “steadfast.” The distinction between these two adjectives here is in the relation of the same object to two different tests applied to it from without. The word “sure” is the translation of asphale, which is made up of a (á), “not,” and sphallo, “to make totter,” the compound word meaning “not to make totter, not to baffle or foil.” It speaks, therefore, of something that cannot be made to totter when put to the test. “Steadfast” is the translation of bebaian which means “sustaining one’s steps in going.” Thus it speaks of something which does not break down under the weight of something that steps on it. This hope which the believing soul has in the Lord Jesus is an anchor of the soul which cannot be made to totter nor break down when put under stress and strain. The words “which entereth” go back syntactically to the word “anchor.” It is the anchor that enters into that within the veil. The words “that within” are the translation of to esoteron), the definite article and the comparative, the latter speaking of something farther within. The words speak, therefore, of the place within the veil. The word “that,” properly a demonstrative, does not point to anything definite here. The idea is merely that the anchor is within the veil. The veil of the temple separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. But the writer is not speaking here of the type but of the reality, the Holy of Holies of heaven itself which is the reality of which the earthly Holy of Holies is the type. The anchor of the believer is, therefore, fastened within the veil of the Holy of Holies of heaven. We have some rich figures here. This present life is the sea; the soul, a ship; the hidden bottom of the sea, the hidden reality of the heavenly word. The soul is seen as storm-tossed on the troubled sea of life. The soul of the believer, as a tempest-tossed ship, is held by the anchor within the veil, fastened by faith to the blessed reality within the veil. (Hebrews Commentary)

AND ONE WHICH ENTERS WITHIN THE VEIL: to esôteron tou katapetasmatos:

  • Heb 4:16; 9:3,7; 10:20,21; Leviticus 16:2,15; Matthew 27:51; Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1
  • Hebrews 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Now think for a moment to whom this letter is primarily addressed. Is it not Hebrew Christians and those Hebrews who were seriously contemplating Christ? It therefore behooves us (most of us being Gentile believers today) to step back and put yourself in the mind-set of the Hebrew, for only then can you see how radical this declaration would have been to the first century Jewish readers. It should be no less astounding to us Gentiles who were far even further removed from the Holy of holies for as Paul explained

Therefore remember, that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands--remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (See notes Ephesians 2:11; 2:12; 2:13)

Enters (1525) (eiserchomai from eis = into + erchomai = come) means to go or come into or to enter into.

Within the veil - If one takes the Holy of Holies as a figure of heaven where God dwells, within the veil clearly refers to into heaven itself.

Within (2082) (esoteros) describes a position within an area.

Veil (2665) (katapetasma from kata = down + petomai = flies) literally means that which is spread out over or downward and hence a veil, a curtain or a cloth drape. It describes that which falls down and thus a curtain or cloth hanging over an opening.

The katapetasma was the veil of the tabernacle or temple used to separate the Most Holy Place (Holy of holies - place of the Ark of the Covenant) from the Holy Place. The hope, the anchor, takes hold in the very presence of God. Christ Himself who is there and is the pledge of all that is coming, prevents us from making shipwreck.

According to the Talmud, the veils were 60 feet long and 30 feet wide, about the thickness of a man’s palm (four inches), and made of 72 squares that were sown together. The veils were so heavy that it took 300 priests to hang them, according to Jewish tradition.

Katapetasma is used 33 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Ex. 26:31, 33, 37-see commentary; Ex 27:21; Ex 30:6; 35:12; 36:34, 37; 38:18, 27; 39:40; 40:3, 5, 21f, 26; Lev. 4:6, 17; 16:2, 12, 15; 21:23; 24:3; Num. 3:10, 26; 4:5, 32; 18:7; 1Ki. 6:36; 2Chr. 3:14).

Katapetasma in the NT - 6v Matt. 27:51; Mk. 15:38; Lk. 23:45; Heb 6:19; 9:3; 10:20 - see below and notes on Hebrews 9:3

The synoptic gospel writers record that just before Jesus breathed His last, the veil was rent from top to bottom…

And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (not a natural way for it to tear but a supernatural way indicating that God did it), and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, (Mt 27:51)

And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. (Mark 15:38)

the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, INTO THY HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT." And having said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:45-46+)

The tearing of the veil symbolized the opening of the presence of God to mankind through the sacrifice of Jesus, a truth which was elaborated upon by the writer of Hebrews who stated that…

Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh (Hebrews 10:19-20)

Comment: Christ's body was the Temple as He stated in Jn 2:19, 2:21and His flesh was the "veil". As long as He was alive there was no access to God. His rent flesh opened the way, a new and living way, and made available our "introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand" Romans 5:2.

Gnosticism was preoccupied with the curtain between heaven and earth and taught that a cosmic curtain was a hindrance to the heavenly journey of the soul from the cosmos to the pleroma (fullness). The writer of Hebrews demolishes such foolishness.

The anchor is out of sight, but it holds and that is what matters. Within the veil is the unseen, eternal reality of the heavenly world. A ship’s anchor goes down to the ocean, the Christian’s anchor goes up into the heavenly sanctuary and "moors" us to God Himself.

The outer veil was called by a distinct Greek term, calumma the second (that is, the inner) veil.

Jamieson - The first-fruits of our nature are ascended, and so the rest is sanctified. Christ’s ascension is our promotion: and whither the glory of the Head has preceded. thither the hope of the body, too, is called. We ought to keep festal day, since Christ has taken up and set in the heavens the first-fruit of our lump, that is, the human flesh [Chrysostom]. As John Baptist was Christ’s forerunner on earth, so Christ is ours in heaven. (Hebrews 6)

Unger on the veil - The veil (Hebrew = pārōket, a “separation”), particularly described in Ex. 26:31-33; 36:35-36, was the screen between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. It was of the same material as the door screens but was embroidered with cherubim. It is thought that there were two, their extended wings touching each other. The veil, like the other hangings, was suspended upon pillars and, probably, “bands” (curtain rods), though the latter are not mentioned. These pillars (and bands) were covered with gold, the hooks were of gold, and the sockets of silver. For the veil four pillars were used, and as no one of them ran up to the peak, it did not, therefore, need to be in the center. The upper corners of the veil were fastened to the gold hooks in the boards. If we follow the proportions of the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place in the Temple, we must suppose the latter in the Tabernacle to have been square and the former to have been twice as long as broad. This will fix the dividing line between the two rooms at two-thirds of the width of the seventh board from the rear; the presumption is that the pillars were wholly within the Most Holy Place. (Unger, M. F., Harrison, R. K., Vos, H. F., Barber, C. J., & Unger, M. F. The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Chicago: Moody Press)

Wuest comments that "We have some rich figures here. This present life is the sea; the soul, a ship; the hidden bottom of the sea, the hidden reality of the heavenly word. The soul is seen as storm-tossed on the troubled sea of life. The soul of the believer, as a tempest-tossed ship, is held by the anchor within the veil, fastened by faith to the blessed reality within the veil. The anchor of the believer’s soul, his hope of eternal life in his High Priest, the Messiah, is fastened securely to a Rock within the veil of the Holy of Holies in heaven. That Rock is Messiah, whom the writer now speaks of as the forerunner. (Hebrews Commentary online)

F B Hole (Biographical Note) writes that…The Christian's hope is heavenly; therefore it is said to enter into "that within the veil." Within the veil was the holiest of all, typical of the third heaven; that is, the immediate presence of God. That within the veil was the ark of the covenant, typical of Christ. Now Christ is entered into the immediate presence of God, and that on our behalf. He is entered as Forerunner and as High Priest. Our hope being centred in Him acts as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast. Our hope has anchored itself already in the glorified Lord Jesus. We are already anchored to the Person and the place, to whom and to which we are going. It is as though an outgoing Atlantic liner found herself securely attached to New York by an anchor pitched in New York harbour, before ever she had got clear of the English Channel! The fact that Christ has become our Forerunner guarantees that we who are the after-runners shall reach the place where He is. And as High Priest He ever lives to carry us through. That He should be our Forerunner is amazing grace; for in the East where these customs prevail the forerunner is a person of no consequence who clears the way for the important personage who follows after. Think of the Lord Jesus taking a place like that on our account! (Hebrews Commentary Notes)

Our Daily Bread - The president of Gordon College, R. Judson Carlberg, was driving along the ocean near his home in Massachusetts when he saw two stately 17th-century sailing ships. They were replicas that were built for a movie being filmed nearby.

"The breeze was stiff," Carlberg reported, "straining the rigging and the crews. Yet each ship stayed the course and didn't capsize." He explained the secret of their stability. "Beneath the waterline each had a deep, heavy keel--a part you don't see." The keel was essential for keeping the vessel steady in rough weather. What is it that holds us steady when fierce winds are blowing across life's sea? What keeps us from capsizing when we are under stress and tension? What enables us to sail on, despite the strain? It's the stabilizing keel of faith in our sovereign God. It's our unseen relationship with Christ. As He commanded the wind and the waves on the Sea of Galilee, He also controls the storms and squalls of life that threaten to sink us or drive us off course. Our faith in Christ is an "anchor of the soul" (Heb. 6:19) that can keep us from ultimate shipwreck. Do you have that unseen keel of faith? --V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's love.

Faith in Christ will keep us steady in the stormy sea of change.

My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less
(The Solid Rock)

(Click to play, pray & praise the Rock)

1My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

2 When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In ev’ry high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

3 His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

4 When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found,
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus!
4Alleluia! King eternal,
Thee the Lord of lords we own:
Alleluia! Born of Mary,
Earth thy footstool, heaven thy throne:
Thou within the veil hast entered,
Robed in flesh, our great High Priest:
Thou on earth both Priest and Victim
In the eucharistic feast.

Thou Art Coming, O My Savior
4Thou art coming, we are waiting
With a hope that cannot fail;
Asking not the day or hour,
Resting on thy word of power,
Anchored safe within the veil.
Time appointed may be long,
But the vision must be sure;
Certainty shall make us strong,
Joyful patience can endure.

Thou Art My Hiding Place, O Lord!
(Click to play hymn)

1. Thou art my hiding place, O Lord!
In thee I put my trust;
Encouraged by thy holy word,
A feeble child of dust:
I have no argument beside,
I urge no other plea;
And ’tis enough my Saviour died,
My Saviour died for me!

2When storms of fierce temptation beat,
And furious foes assail,
My refuge is the mercy seat,
My hope within the veil:
From strife of tongues, and bitter words,
My spirit flies to thee;
Joy to my heart the thought affords,
My Saviour died for me!

To Thy Temple I Repair
1 To Thy temple I repair
Lord, I love to worship there,
When within the veil I meet
Christ before the mercy seat.

“We have an anchor that keeps the soul,
Stedfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love.”

Hebrews 6:20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: opou prodromos huper hemon eiselthen (3SAAI) Iesous, kata ten taxin Melchisedek archiereus genomenos (AMPMSN) eis ton aiona.

Amplified: Where Jesus has entered in for us [in advance], a Forerunner having become a High Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek. [Ps. 110:4.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: where Jesus has already entered as a forerunner for us, when he became a High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. (Westminster Press)

KJV: Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

NLT: Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: where Jesus has already entered on our behalf, having become, as we have seen, "High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek". (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: where a forerunner on behalf of us entered, Jesus, having become a High Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec. 

Young's Literal: whither a forerunner for us did enter—Jesus, after the order of Melchisedek chief priest having become—to the age.

WHERE JESUS HAS ENTERED AS A FORERUNNER FOR US: hopou… Iesous eiselthen (3SAAI) prodromos huper hemon:

  • Heb 2:10,4:14
  • Heb 2:10; John 14:2,3
  • Heb 1:3; 4:14; 8:1; 9:12,24; 12:2; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:3,20-23; 1Peter 3:22; 1John 2:12
  • Hebrews 6 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Where (3699) (hopou) means strictly where and more significantly indicates an abiding there.

Jesus (Iesous) would remind the Jewish reader that the Jehoshua of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament and that it was the God of Israel Who died on the Cross as an atonement for their sin.

Entered (1525) (eiserchomai from eis = into + erchomai = come) means to go or come into or to enter into.

Forerunner (4274) (prodromos from protrécho = run ahead or before) describes one who goes on ahead to prepare the way. Prodromos was used in Greek to describe one who was sent before to take observations or act as spy or a light-armed soldier soldier sent out ahead of a main force so as to gather information about the enemy’s position, strength, or movements. The prodromos was a scout who was sent out to explore an area and obtain information (much like our modern word "pioneer"). In Paul's day prodromos was the word used to describe the smaller boats that were sent into the harbor by larger ships that were unable to enter due to stormy conditions. These smaller boats or prodomoi carried the anchor through the breakers inside the harbor and dropped it there, securing the larger ship.

A forerunner is defined as one that precedes or is sent as an advance messenger, thus presupposing that others will follow. In this section of Hebrews 6:16-20 the writer dramatically pictures Jesus as not only the believer’s Anchor but as the Runner Boat that has taken our anchor into port and secured it there, in the safety of the "harbor of heaven". Thus every believer can now have complete assurance that his or her "vessel" is going to arrive successfully into the "home port'. Believers in fact now possess such a hope in the presence of God and as stated in Hebrews 4:16 (see note) should come boldly before God's glorious throne of mercy and grace. This is why we may have strong encouragement.

Prodromos is found only here in N.T.

William Barclay - Prodromos, used to describe Jesus, is usually translated “forerunner” and would have had a picturesque meaning for the people of Jesus’ day. The harbor of Alexandria was very difficult to approach. When the great corn ships came into it, a little pilot boat was sent out to guide them in. It went before them, and they followed it as it led them along the channel to safe waters. That pilot boat was called the prodromos. In the Roman army the prodomoi were the reconnaissance troops. They went ahead of the main body of the army to blaze the trail and ensure that it was safe for the rest of the troops to follow. These two things illustrate what Jesus is saying about himself in this passage. He goes first, to make it safe for those who follow. He blazed the way to heaven and to God that we might follow in his steps. (Hebrews Commentary) (Comment: the prodromos was the smaller boats sent into the harbor by larger ships unable to enter due to the buffeting of the weather. The smaller boats carried the anchor through the breakers inside the harbor and dropped it there, securing the larger ship).

Marvin Vincent adds that prodromos " expresses an entirely new idea, lying completely outside of the Levitical system. The Levitical high priest did not enter the sanctuary as a forerunner, but only as the people’s representative. He entered a place into which none might follow him; in the people’s stead, and not as their pioneer. The peculiarity of the new (COVENANT) economy is that Christ as High Priest goes nowhere where His people cannot follow Him. He introduces man into full fellowship with God. The A.V. entirely misses this point by rendering “the forerunner,” as if the idea of a high priest being a forerunner were perfectly familiar. (Word Studies in the NT)

Jesus has shown us the way, has gone on ahead, and is the Surety or Guarantor (Hebrews 7:22-note) of our own entrance later. In point of fact, our anchor of hope with its two chains of God's promise and oath has laid hold of Jesus within the veil. It will hold fast. All we need to do is to be true to him as he is to us. Let us hold fast the confession of our faith firm until the end (Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 4:14 see notes Heb 3:6; 4:14).

Ryrie notes that forerunner was " A word used of a scout reconnoitering or of a herald announcing the coming of a king; both concepts imply that others are to follow. (The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)

That He is a “forerunner” sets Him apart from the Levitical high priest who entered alone as the people waited outside. The Old Testament high priest could represent and intercede for the people within the Holy of Holies; but he could not take the people in. Jesus, however, has gone before to open up the way for His people to follow Him which makes Him is far different and much better than the Old Testament high priests.

Jesus as the perfect God-Man scouted out the way for us… He alone is the Way (John 14:6) back into the wonderful fellowship Adam enjoyed in the Garden before He fell. Adam's way to the Tree of Life was blocked by cherubim with flaming swords (Ge 3:24). The cherubim were also woven into the veil guarding the approach to the presence of God in the Holy of Holies (Ex 26:31) until our Great High Priest scouted out the Way for us (see note on the "new and living way" in Hebrews 10:20). Now in Christ we have an incredible (certain) HOPE… This is a sure & steadfast anchoring hope for our souls and should provide strong encouragement to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises (Hope Heb 6:12). Glory!

Jon Courson presents an interesting picture of a "forerunner"…

It’s the big high-school game. Between the goalposts, the cheerleaders have stretched a paper banner that says something clever like, “Win!” And what happens? The forerunner—the first guy out on the field—breaks through the banner, and the rest of the team follows behind him. Jesus is our Forerunner. He’s the first one through the veil. And the whole team—you and I—get to come charging in behind Him. (Courson, J: Jon Courson's Application Commentary: NT. Nelson. 2004)

Jesus as our Forerunner recalls the earlier picture of Jesus as our "Pioneer" (Hebrews 2:10-note) the Amplified Version translating it as follows…

For it was an act worthy [of God] and fitting [to the divine nature] that He, for Whose sake and by Whom all things have their existence, in bringing many sons into glory, should make the Pioneer of their salvation perfect [should bring to maturity the human experience necessary to be perfectly equipped for His office as High Priest] through suffering (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

For us -(5228) (huper) indicates that an activity or event is in some entity’s interest = for, in behalf of, for the sake of someone or something. Huper thus speaks of Christ's substitutionary atonement. We all (Ro 5:12; Ro 3:10 see note Ro 5:12; 3:10) owed a debt we could not pay (Ro 3:23 - note). He paid a debt on our behalf which He did not owe! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved wretches like us! Huper is thus a preposition conveying "amazing grace" as the following representative uses gloriously explain…

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for (huper) the ungodly. (See note Romans 5:6) (For who? Amazing grace!)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for (huper) us. (See note Romans 5:8) (When? Amazing grace!)

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf (huper) , that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2Corinthians 5:20) (Did what? Amazing grace!)

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me, and delivered Himself up for (huper) me. (See note Galatians 2:20 )

(Christ) died for (huper) us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him. (1 Thessalonians 5:10)

(Christ) gave Himself for (huper) us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (See note Titus 2:14)

For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for (huper - on our behalf) us (see note Hebrews 9:24)

Wuest - The anchor of the believer’s soul, his hope of eternal life in his High Priest, the Messiah, is fastened securely to a Rock within the veil of the Holy of Holies in heaven. That Rock is Messiah, whom the writer now speaks of as the forerunner. Here an entirely new idea is introduced, foreign to the ideas of the Levitical economy. The Aaronic high priest did not enter into the Holy of Holies as a forerunner, but only as the people’s representative. He entered a place where the one in whose behalf he ministered, could not follow him. He entered the Holy of Holies in the stead of the believer, not as one cutting a pioneer path for him. The writer in Hebrews 10:19, 20, when exhorting the unsaved professing Jew to place his faith in the Messiah as High Priest, urges him to enter the Holy of Holies personally, a thing which the First Testament believer could only do in his high priest. The Authorized Version misses the point entirely, when it places the definite article before the word “forerunner,” as if the idea of a high priest being a forerunner were perfectly familiar to the Jewish recipient of this letter. Again, the name Iesous, in the English translation, Jesus, reminds the reader of the fact that the Jehoshua of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament, that it was the God of Israel who died on the Cross as an atonement for sin. (Hebrews Commentary)

HAVING BECOME A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEK: archiereus genomenos eis ton aiona kata ten taxin Melchisedek:

The writer quotes from Psalm 110

The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, "Thou art a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek." (Ps 110:4) (Comment: Like Melchizedek, Christ combines the offices of priest and king. Note that Ps 110:4 is quoted three times -- see notes Heb 6:20; 7:17, 7:21 -- and expounded upon in Hebrews 7 which demonstrates the eternal priesthood of Christ)

Become (1096) (ginomai) means cause to be ("gen"-erate), to come into existence, to be formed. Christ the Eternal One had to "come into existence" as High Priest in the sense that this office had to be inaugurated by His suffering human life and His sinless death. The aorist tense speaks of a past completed action, accomplished once and forever at Calvary.

High priest (749) (archiereus from archí– denoting rank or degree + hiereús = priest) was the principal member among the chief priests. The irony is that the high priest Caiaphas was residing over the Sanhedrin during trial of Jesus, the trial which would lead to His death and pave the way for His eternal High Priesthood!

Forever (165) (aion) is actually the phrase "unto the ages" (eis ton aiona).

Wuest comments that "this High Priest is not in the line of Aaron, but in that of Melchisedec. He is an eternal High Priest. His priesthood had no beginning nor will it have an ending. This High Priest is the Rock of Salvation into which the anchor of the believer’s soul is fastened, which anchor is his faith in the atonement his High Priest has offered. The high priest in Israel arrayed in his gorgeous robes, would enter the sanctuary, wearing on his shoulders twelve onyx stones upon which were inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, and upon his breastplate, twelve onyx stones with the names of the tribes of Israel upon them. Thus he would carry upon the shoulders of his strength and upon the heart of his love, the saved of Israel into the presence of God. Just so, this heavenly High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, carries upon the shoulders of His omnipotence, and upon the heart of His infinite love, those who place their faith in Him, into the presence of God. Thus does the writer encourage the unsaved reader to put his faith in the New Testament Sacrifice, the Messiah, rather than go back to the First Testament sacrifices which were set aside by God at the Cross. (Hebrews Commentary online)

Jesus is from the tribe of Judah, so now the writer addresses the question that would enter his Jewish reader's mind "How could He be the Forerunner into the Holy of Holies if He was not of the tribe and lineage of Levi?" His answer is you are correct that Jesus not of the tribe of Levi but He is of the order of Melchizedek, a great priest and king mentioned in Genesis 14:1. He had begun to write about Melchizedek in Hebrews 5 (Hebrews 5:10 - note) but his readers lacked sufficient maturity to comprehend what he was going to say, and thus he digressed in Hebrews 6. Hebrews 7 picks up his explanation of the priesthood of Melchizedek as it relates to Jesus.

The UBS Handbook has an interesting note on forever writing that…Forever is emphasized in the Greek by a change of order in the words quoted from Psalm 110:4. However, the climax of Heb 6:15-20, a single sentence in Greek, is reached in the word Jesus. Few modern translations bring this out as well as KJV “whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus….” The adverb forever may be emphasized as “and he will never cease to be a high priest.” (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series)

Order (5010) (taxis from tásso = arrange in order) describes a setting in order, hence an arrangement, a disposition. It was used to describe troops. It spoke of an order or rank in a state or in society.

Melchizedek (3198) is literally "king of righteousness" one of the most mysterious figures in the Bible, who reigned as king of Salem (which means peace), or king of Jerusalem and is presented as being a prototype of Jesus Christ, Who is the King of righteousness and peace. Melchizedek combined in himself both kingly and priestly offices.

Believer's Study Bible writes that…

The priesthood of Melchizedek serves as a type of the priesthood of Christ in at least three aspects:

(1) in the person of Melchizedek, as is also the case with Christ, the offices of king and priest are combined (cf. Ge 14:18; Heb 7:1);

(2) Melchizedek represents a man ordained by God as a priest in his own right, irrespective of genealogical credentials (cf. Heb 7:3), and the priesthood of Christ is similar in that He is of the tribe of Judah rather than the priestly tribe of Levi;

(3) the priesthood of Melchizedek both began and ended in himself, i.e., there is no evidence of any priestly lineage in Melchizedek's family either prior to or subsequent to Melchizedek, and the same, of course, is true regarding the priesthood of Christ. Christ is indeed a High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek" (Heb 6:20). (Criswell, W A. Believer's Study Bible: New King James Version. 1991. Thomas Nelson)

KJV Bible Commentary makes the point that "The warning passage ends where it began, speaking of Jesus as a priest according to the priesthood of Melchizedek. It is the author’s hope that his readers would no longer be sluggish in hearing (see note Hebrews 5:11) but would be ready to grapple with this new and difficult doctrine. (Dobson, E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV Bible Commentary: Nelson)

Robertson - There he functions as our great high priest, better than Aaron for he is “after the order of Melchizedek,” the point that now calls for elucidation (Word Pictures in the New Testament)

THE GOD OF HOPE - WE ALL need to abound in Hope. Hope is the artist of the soul.

Faith fills us with joy and peace, which brim over in Hope. When Faith brings from God's Word the Materials of anticipation and expectation, Hope transfers the fair colours to her palette, and with a few deft dashes of her brush delineates the soul's immortal and unfading hope. Faith thus excites Hope to do her fairest work, until presently the wails of our soul become radiant with frescoes. Our faith rests on God's Word, and hope rests on faith, and such hope cannot be ashamed. It is the anchor of the soul, which enters that which is within the veil, and links us to the shores of eternity (Hebrews 6:18, 19).

Faith rests on the promises of God. She does not calculate on feeling, is indifferent to emotion, but with both hands clings to some word of promise, and looking into God's face, says; "Thou canst not be unfaithful." When God has promised aught to thee, it is as certain as if thou hadst it in hand. Faith not only takes the Word of God, and rests her weight on it, but often when hard-pressed goes beyond the Bible back to God Himself, and argues that God is faithful and cannot deny Himself. Because God is God, He must ever act worthily of Himself.

It was thus that Moses argued, when he was with Him in the Holy Mount into do thus, would not be worthy of Thyself! (Nu 14:13-20). We may be assailed with a hundred questions of doubt in the day, but must no more notice them than a barking cur. A business man once said that when he is convinced of the rightness of a certain course, he is sometimes assailed by doubts which arise like the cloud-mist of the valley, or the marsh gas from the swamp; but when thus tempted, he turns to the promises of God, often reading three or four chapters of the Old Testament. This brings him in touch with the eternal world, filling him with joy and peace and abounding hope in believing, through the power of the Holy Ghost. They shall not be ashamed that hope in Him!

PRAYER - Make me, O Lord, to know the Hope of Thy calling, the riches of the glory of Thine inheritance in the saints, and the exceeding greatness of Thy power towards them that believe. Above all, grant me the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Thyself AMEN. (F B Meyer. Our Daily Walk)

Such A Hope - Two women. One a former co-worker I had known for 20 years. The other, the wife of a former student from my days as a school teacher. Both dedicated moms of two young children. Both missionaries. Both incredibly in love with Jesus Christ.

Then suddenly, within the space of a month—both were dead. The first, Sharon Fasick, died in a car accident, attracting little attention though deeply affecting family and friends. The second, Roni Bowers, died with her daughter Charity when their plane was shot down over the jungles of Peru—a situation that thrust her story into the international spotlight.

Their deaths filled many people with inexpressible sorrow. But there was something else—hope. Both women's husbands had the confident expectation that they would see their wives again in heaven. What happened after they died demonstrates that the Christian faith works. Both men, Jeff Fasick and Jim Bowers, have spoken about the peace God has given them. They have testified that this kind of hope has allowed them to continue on in the midst of the unspeakable pain.

Paul said that our present sufferings "are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed" (Romans 8:18). Such a hope comes only from Christ. —Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul." —Spafford

The hope of heaven is God's solution for sorrow

The Son Will Shine Again - A newsboy, thinly clad and drenched by the soaking rain, stood shivering in a doorway one cold day in November. To get a little warmth, he would hold one bare foot against his leg for a moment and then the other. Every few minutes he would cry out, "Morning paper! Morning paper!" A man who was well protected by his coat and umbrella stopped to buy the early edition. Noting the boy's discomfort, he said, "This kind of weather is pretty hard on you, isn't it?" Looking up with a smile, the youngster replied, "I don't mind too much, Mister. The sun will shine again."

Chilling winds of adversity and gray skies of a sinful environment easily discourage us. But we can count on better days because we know God is working in our lives. This hope is called an "anchor of the soul," and the Bible says that it abides (1Cor 13:13) and does not disappoint (Ro 5:5). It promises righteousness (Gal 5:5), eternal life (Titus 1:2), and the return of Jesus (Titus 2:13). It is a "living hope," founded on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1Pet 1:3).

When circumstances get out of control and pressures threaten to overwhelm us, we know that Jesus died for us, is working in us, and will never leave us. We can hold fast to God's promises and patiently endure. The "anchor of hope" will hold us firm. —D. J. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

It is always darkest just before dawn.

A Fortified House- According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, some people in the US are building houses stronger than ever before.

Hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes have caused billions of dollars in property damage in states across the nation. So, at the urging of businesses, government, and hard-pressed insurance companies, some builders are constructing fortress-like homes with windows that can withstand 130 mile-per-hour winds, roof nails so strong they can only be cut off, and framing material that can weather the tremendous forces faced by a supersonic jet. In Bolingbrook, Illinois, a community damaged by a tornado in the 1990s, a company is constructing such a “fortified” house in hopes that the idea will catch on.

We who know the Lord Jesus realize that when it comes to building our spiritual foundation, it must be strong and secure. In today’s Scripture, Christ made it clear what that foundation must be when He referred to “these sayings of Mine” (Mt 7:24), which included His teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).

When we receive by faith Christ’s words and His work on our behalf, our spiritual lives are “founded on the Rock,” Christ Jesus. —David C. Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

I do not stand on shifting sand
And fear the storm that rages;
But calm and sure, I stand secure
Upon the Rock of Ages. —Anon.

To survive the storms of life, be anchored to the Rock of Ages

THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE - At the southern tip of Africa, a cape jutting out into the ocean once caused sailors great anxiety. Many who attempted to sail around it were lost in the swirling seas. Because adverse weather conditions so often prevailed there, the region was named the Cape of Storms. A Portuguese captain determined to find a safe route through those treacherous waters so his countrymen could reach Cathay and the riches of the East Indies in safety. He succeeded, and the area was renamed the Cape of Good Hope.

We all face a great storm called death. But our Lord has already traveled through it safely and has provided a way for us to do the same. By His crucifixion and resurrection, Christ abolished eternal death for every believer and has permanently established our fellowship with Him in heaven. Although this "last enemy," physical death, can touch us temporarily, its brief control over our earthly body will end at the resurrection. The sting of death has been removed!

Now all who know Christ as Savior can face life's final voyage with confidence. Even though the sea may be rough, we will experience no terror as we pass through the "cape of good hope" and into heaven's harbor. The Master Helmsman Himself has assured our safe passage. Henry G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Think of just crossing a river,
Stepping out safe on that shore,
Sadness and suffering over,
Dwelling with Christ evermore! Anon

Christ has charted a safe course through the dark waters of death.