Anchored Behind The Veil
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11–12 NKJV)
For the Jews of the First Century, the Temple was central to their religious experience. Although synagogues served as the place of weekly meetings, Jerusalem and the Temple were key to all the festivals and offerings. For the Jews, Jerusalem was a name that meant foundation, the abode, and the inheritance of peace. The Rabbis believe it was named Jehovah Jireh by Abraham, but since Shem named it Shalem, the words were combined into Jireh-Shalem or Jerusalem for short. It was here that Melchisedek met Abraham and blessed him; while a few miles south Abraham took his beloved and promised son Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice at Moriah. It was there, on Arnon’s old threshing floor, that Solomon built the Temple — the exact spot where the destroying Angel had showed mercy after David had numbered Israel.
The writer to the Hebrews brings most of these events to mind as he explains their significance. They serve as a reminder that the first covenant and the Temple were only part of the ongoing history of the sons of Abraham. This was a tough pill to swallow. Most of the people grew up seeing the sun rise and set on this awesome city; now the earth begins to tremble and all the familiar things — the place of peace, the abode, the very foundations were about to be shaken.
If God shook Jerusalem, He will shake anything and everything. As human beings we tend to place our faith and hope in anything that seems secure. Indeed, above all things we want to feel safe. What happens when we find our security in something other than God?
I’m reminded of God’s words to Abraham, “I am your shield and your exceeding great reward.” Notice he did not provide Abraham a shield, He would be his shield. Often we look for God to provide us something we need and His intention is to provide us with Himself. Not only was God going to be Abraham’s shield, He would also be his savior from sin. He went to Moriah with Isaac believing that God would provide for Himself a sacrifice — saw the ram and offered it. These things were only a figure. God provided Himself as the Lamb at Calvary.
It is hard to let go of the past. There is no sense pretending it should have been easy. Sometimes the past has to be thoroughly done away with before we can go forward in what God has for us. Paul suffered a foretaste of these things when he boarded the ship for Rome. He tried to warn the leaders not to take the ship in the way it went. Likewise, the Zealots were warned not to continue to provoke the Romans. Neither listened. The ship master did everything in his power to spare his ship from the storm he charted into. It was too late. The 276 people on board were so distressed that the did not eat for two weeks. When the Romans finally marched on Jerusalem in 70AD, the people were starving to death as they laid siege to it.
As the ship was about to be torn to pieces the order went out and four anchors went down over the side of that ship. All they could do is pray for morning to come. As for the Zealots and the people of Jerusalem, the city and its Temple were utterly destroyed. Not one massive stone was left on top of another it was so completely thrown down.
For the believing Jews who watched the events of AD 70 take place, they had to drop anchor as well. With everything around them going to pieces, they had to have their faith and hope in something greater than the muddied sea floor or the rocks that perchance the arms of the anchor may take hold of. Their hope was in Jesus Christ alone.
We can learn from this. Sooner or later all that seems so stable is going to be shaken and all that will be left are the things that remain. When all of our life seems to be in flux, we must set our hope eternity. The chain between the anchor and our soul must pass through the torn veil. As the old hymn proclaims:
Upon life’s boundless ocean where mighty billows roll,
- I’ve fixed my hope in Jesus, blest anchor of my soul;
When trials fierce assail me as storms are gath’ring o’er,
I rest upon His mercy and trust Him more.
I’ve anchored in Jesus, the storms of life I’ll brave,
I’ve anchored in Jesus, I fear no wind or wave;
I’ve anchored in Jesus, for He hath pow’r to save,
I’ve anchored to the Rock of Ages.