I have been dwelling much these days on the significance of Christ being at the right hand of God, and, as one who is seeking to come to God by Him, I am increasingly aware that His being there is as good as my being there… while I am yet here.
For, as I mentioned last time, God has made Him my surety. He who is both a king and a priest is my surety—yes, my surety—that God will bring me into the same relationship with Himself that my surety enjoys. For, He who is my surety is also a forerunner.
That’s what we discover earlier in Hebrews in another passage where we are told that Jesus is before God on our behalf. He is a forerunner who has entered into “that place within the veil” on our behalf.
Whither a forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
As with the surety passage, this too speaks of the great assurance we have—God’s promise and His oath. Here he is talking about the promise God gave Abraham, confirming the promise with an oath.
Wherein God, willing (that is, desiring) 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 is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong encouragement who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope that is 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:
Where a forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 6:17-20).
What love. He has entered there “for us.” And notice the dynamic here—“we… who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope that is set before us.” On the one hand we are fleeing something—fleeing—running away from something with all our might. Running for our lives! But not aimlessly; we are headed toward a specific destination, running to a refuge that is set before us, where we can lay hold of a hope that is set before us.
And so there is something behind us, and something set before us. But our pace tells on us, whether or not we take this seriously. Are we just ambling casually along, stopping here and there to enjoy “the good life” this world has to offer? If so, it is apparent that we do not see the peril we are in. We have not seen that this present evil world is not our friend. Its god is intent on our destruction, and has laced all the things our carnal appetite loves to feed on with a sleeping potion that will keep us in the sleep of death. Do we not see this? It grieves me deeply that there are so many who do not see it… or, if they have seen, are determined to continue deceiving themselves so they can enjoy its pleasures for a few more seconds.
Some, who have awakened, and do see, have fled, as from a building on fire, have “fled for refuge…” That is the strength of the original Greek word here; it is fleeing with a destination in mind. Now we come to another strong word: “to lay hold of the hope that is set before us.” There is a hope set before us—the hope. Have we laid hold of this hope? It is an anchor of the soul that cannot drift, and cannot break, for it enters into that Place within the veil where a Forerunner has for us entered—even Jesus, whom God has made a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. He is saying, actually, that it is the Forerunner within the veil to whom our hope is anchored, joined. And He cannot be moved.
The Lord Jesus Christ our hope (1 Tim. 1:1).
I think we see this same forerunner a little later in Hebrews, where the writer exhorts us to run with endurance the race that is set before us “looking unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:1,2). He is there! He has arrived! “Where a forerunner is for us entered…” But the significance of a forerunner is that other runners are about to arrive. So, those in the bleachers on that side of the veil… I see them craning their necks to look behind the Forerunner to see who else is coming in. Who would that be?
Forerunner for us, it says. Are we running, then? His being there is on our behalf—so that we might have strong encouragement, not just to hope, but to lay hold of the hope set before us—even that same relationship of eternal life that our Forerunner enjoys with His Father. “Fight the good fight of faith,” said Paul, “lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:12). It is the same eternal life that our Forerunner abides in—but abides in as a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Meaning, He is there for our sake. He is there (in the throne of God in the Heavens) in the power of an endless life, an indissoluble life, eternal life, His own eternal life, to the intent that you and I may live that same victorious eternal life—here on earth. Christ has ascended to the Throne of God for this very reason—that in the power of His life we too might live. “Because I live,” He says, “ye shall live also” (Jn. 14:19).
What wondrous words. He lives—at the right hand of God, that we also, who are joined to Him by His Spirit, may live that same victorious eternal life right here on earth, might reign here on earth in the power of the throne of Heaven, reign in life, in the power of His own eternal life, in the midst of all we are going through…
…Right here in this present evil world. Because, though we have fled this present evil world, though we are no longer part of it, though it is no longer our home, though we live in a realm above it all, we are not only kings, but priests. We are still here for the sake of others around us, who, when their world collapses all around them, as it is going to, will be looking for a king and a priest.