Hope Anchors the Soul

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Each year, a church near our home features a professional sand sculpture by Dan Belcher. This past Sunday we saw this inspiring work titled “Hope Anchors the Soul.” Susan took this picture with her iPhone 8+. Notice the detail in the engraved letters, the ship at the top, and even the sculpted clouds.

Hebrews 6:18b-19a is the Scripture upon which this work is based. Here are the comments on this text from my book Hebrews: Better Things (Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1997):

Hebrews 6:18–19 (NKJV) — 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,

The two immutable, or unchangeable, things are (1) the promise God made to Abraham and (2) the oath by which God confirmed His promise.  It is impossible for God to lie (see Romans 3:4).  The intent of the author in bringing to the readers’ attention the promise made to Abraham was to remind them that they shared mutually in “strong consolation.”  They had “fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before” them (NKJV).  That from which they had fled is not identified, but it may have to do with the persecutions experienced by these first century believers, especially in view of the martyrdom of Stephen.  Although they had fled from Jerusalem to other parts of the Roman Empire (Acts 8:1), flight to another geographical location could not offer stability of hope.  But a flight from fear to hope gave them “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (NKJV).  This hope “enters the Presence behind the veil” (NKJV) because it is anchored in Jesus, who prepared the way for our entry into the very presence of God by virtue of becoming “High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (NKJV).  The flight of hope takes us into the presence of God symbolized by the Holy of Holies in the Jewish tabernacle and temple.  Jesus entered the true most holy place with His own blood as opposed to the blood of goats and calves of the Old Covenant.  (See 9:12.)  Since, as High Priest, He represented us upon His entry, we can boldly “enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus” (10:19, NKJV).

The tearing of the veil which separated the holy place from the most holy place in the temple at the moment of Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:51) demonstrated the termination of the Old Covenant and the establishment of the reality of which it was merely a shadow.  (See 9:1-8; 10:19-22.)

How unwise it would have been for the original readers of this letter to turn from the “strong consolation” of hope they had in Jesus Christ and to abandon the “refuge” they found in Him, the very presence of God, to return to the shadowy images of the Law.  It is always too soon to give up on the promise of God; since He cannot lie, and since He is immutable, we can have absolute confidence that He will, in His time, fulfill His word.

     The fact that Jesus is High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek, not of Aaron (7:11-22), is a jarring reminder that the Law of Moses has come to an end.  The ripping of the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the holy place in the temple and the invasion of the most holy by a priest not arising from Levi signifies in the most dramatic way the conclusion of an era.  The Law of Moses and the Aaronic priesthood with which it was intimately connected were wondrous for their time, but they have been superseded by One better than Moses (3:1-6), who brought a covenant better than the Law (8:6-13), and whose priesthood is superior to that springing from Abraham (7:7-10).


My commentary on Hebrews is available in hard copy and as an e-book from pentecostalpublishing.com and as a Kindle download from amazon.com and as an Apple Book.

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Daily Wisdom 129: Proverbs 7:3

Proverbs 7:3 (NKJV) — 3 Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.

Bind and write. Binding the commandments on the fingers and writing them on the heart is obvious symbolism. A person’s fingers are generally always in front of him; thus, the Word of God should be kept always before a person. Writing the Word upon the tablet of the heart speaks of meditation and memorization.

Man Wearing Black Crew-neck Shirt Reading Book

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Daily Wisdom 128: Proverbs 7:1-2

Proverbs 7:1–2 (NKJV) — 1 My son, keep my words, And treasure my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and live, And my law as the apple of your eye.

Keep your eye focused upon truth. It is necessary to go beyond academic knowledge to actual practice: “Keep my words.” The commandments should be “treasured” as one would store a valuable commodity, and then they should be kept. Those who move beyond academic knowledge to experiential knowledge will find that the commands, when obeyed, produce life.

analogue art box chest

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Daily Wisdom 127: Proverbs 6:34-35

Proverbs 6:34–35 (NKJV) — 34 For jealousy is a husband’s fury; Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will accept no recompense, Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.

Adultery invites violence. A man who commits adultery with another man’s wife sets himself up for revenge and possibly even violent death.

Nothing will appease in the case of adultery. The man who has been sinned against cannot be paid off. No matter how many gifts are given, he will never forget his humiliation and anger until he has gotten vengeance. This sin is instrumental in the breakdown of families, neighborhoods, and nations. A violation of the marriage vow is a violation of the most basic foundation of society.

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Daily Wisdom 126: Proverbs 6:33

Proverbs 6:33 (NKJV) — 33 Wounds and dishonor he will get, And his reproach will not be wiped away.

While God will forgive the sin of adultery if it is confessed and forsaken, the adulterer lives under a permanent reproach in society. All sin brings condemnation, but some sins have more severe earthly, social consequences.

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Daily Wisdom 125: Proverbs 6:32

Proverbs 6:32 (NKJV) — 32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul.

Adultery destroys. Involvement in sexual immorality is a sign of a lack of understanding. While it may be momentarily pleasurable to the body, it is destructive to the soul.

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Daily Wisdom 124: Proverbs 6:30-31

Proverbs 6:30–31 (NKJV) — 30 People do not despise a thief If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. 31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; He may have to give up all the substance of his house.

Thievery is wrong under any circumstances. But if someone steals because he is genuinely hungry, people do not despise him, though they will make him pay with a severe penalty.

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Daily Wisdom 123: Proverbs 6:27-29

Proverbs 6:27–29 (NKJV) — 27 Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.

The penalty for moral impurity is certain. It is impossible to dabble in moral impurity and to emerge unscathed. Involvement in moral impurity is compared to fire and hot coals. It may look alluring and attractive, but once embraced it burns and destroys. The sense of the Hebrew word translated touches is “to make physical contact with.” Touching another man’s wife results in the breaking down of barriers that guard against immorality.

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Daily Wisdom 122: Proverbs 6:26

Proverbs 6:26 (NKJV) — 26 For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.

Immorality is a thief and a killer. Immorality will gradually take from a person all he has gained, until at last he has nothing and is forced to beg even for food. The immoral person hunts, which means there is a prey. Ultimately, someone who falls into moral impurity will pay with his life. The devil is the enemy, and he will do anything possible to trap and destroy God’s children. Just as a hunter stalks his prey, so does the evil one.

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Daily Wisdom 121: Proverbs 6:25

Proverbs 6:25 (NKJV) — 25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.

The false beauty of immorality. There is a beauty in holiness (Psalm 29:2). There is a false beauty in immorality, a beauty that depends on the artificial attraction of suggestive actions, seductive clothing, and makeup. The Pulpit Commentary says, “The eyelids are the instruments by which the amorous woman beguiles or catches her victims. She allures him by her glances. . . . Allusion may possibly be made to the custom of Eastern women painting the eyelids to give brilliancy and expression; II Kings 9:30. (See also Jeremiah 4:30; Ezekiel 23:40.) The wise man will not separate the immoral woman’s “beauty” from her person; her “beauty” is simply a subterfuge to trap the unwary.

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