by John McIlvenna
Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul
Ship’s Anchor (Illustration)
The only mention in the Bible of a ship’s anchor is in Acts 27 when the vessel in
which Paul travelled encountered a fierce cyclone. The storm drove their ship up and down in the Mediterranean Sea for many days. Their chart and compass could not help them because mariners in those days used the stars to guide them in the way they should go. The mariners in Paul’s ship lost their sense of direction and doom seemed to be their only prospect. Luke records, “And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.” However, when the bottom of the sea came within reach of the anchor,they “cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.” When their four anchors gripped the bottom of the sea, a sense of security and hope began to enter their souls. Their anchors held the ship safely against the furious wind until the dawning of the day. The storm continued raging outside, but the people were safe inside the anchored ship.
This account of the anchored ship serves as an illustration and an example for the Lord’s people today.
The only other mention of an anchor in the Scriptures is in Hebrews 6:18, where the Jewish saints at Jerusalem under pressure were tempted to forsake the truths of the Gospel and return to their old Jewish temple form of worship.
“Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew 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 a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil. Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Heb 6:17-20
Paul’s ship had four anchors, but they were of no use in the storm until they had something on which to fasten. An anchor rope attached each anchor from the bottom of the sea to the ship. However, the New Testament saint’s anchor is up in heaven. “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” Col 1:5
First Immutable Thing
The word ‘immutable’ means, “Unalterable”. The first and greatest unalterable truths of Scripture is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead. This great truth appears in Hebrews 1:5. “For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?” God used an oath to foretell the resurrection of His Son. “Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne. He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that His soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” Acts 2:30-31
“God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” Acts 13:33. “This Day” always refers to the resurrection of Christ and not to His birth. “And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.” Col 1:18.
The disciples were slow to believe in Christ’s resurrection. In Luke 24, He patiently showed Himself to them, talked with them and even ate with them. He appeared to them on several occasions during the next forty days, and all the disciples fully understood that their crucified Lord is alive from the dead. They even saw Him ascend to heaven. “And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.” Luke 24:51-53.
The resurrection of Christ is a strong consolation (anchor rope) for every believer anchored to the hope of being with and like our Lord for all eternity.
Second immutable thing
The Lord Jesus not only rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, but He is now our Great High Priest who intercedes for us at the right hand of God. “For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by Him that said unto Him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Heb 7:21. We cannot see our Great High priest nor can we see our eternal future with Christ in heaven. “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” Rom 8:24-25.
Paul exhorts the Colossian saints, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.” Col 3:1-4. Paul describes his hope in Christ. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” Phil 3:20-21.
While we wait for our Lord from heaven, “Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb 4:16. We will receive strong consolation from heaven to keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Paul exhorts the saints at Philippi to make use of the two immutable things. “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Phil 4:4-5. Here is the truth of the resurrection of Christ. He is risen from the dead by the oath of God. Although He is bodily seated on the right hand of God, He is omnipresent and is everywhere on the earth.
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7. In this Scripture is the second truth of the oath of God concerning the High Priestly work of Christ.
When a ship drops down its anchor, there is always uncertainty as to whether the anchor will find something substantial to grip to make the boat secure. Many ship’s anchors have failed to secure the ship and shipwreck has resulted. The anchors on Paul’s boat held the ship firmly during the night until the day dawned.
The New Testament saint’s anchor is not like a ship’s anchor because there is no doubt as to whether it will hold or not! Although we cannot see ahead with our natural eyes, we have a sure anchor of hope in the Lord Jesus Christ our Rock and a strong consolation by faith in Him. Our Heavenly Saviour has already gone before to prepare a place for us, and He is coming back again to take us to the site already made in the glory. Our trials will then be over forever, and we shall see the dawning of the day breaking out into eternal glory. “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2-3
“Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” Heb 6:20.
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Heb 4:14.
J. McIlvenna Ph 0412 532 155