13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,
14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.
17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath,
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,
20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
promise to Abraham (v.13) — Genesis 12:2-3; Genesis 22:16-17; Numbers 14:21; Deuteronomy 32:40
The quote in verse 14 is from Genesis 22:17, after Isaac was born.
blessing I will bless you, multiplying I will multiply (v.14) — a Hebrew method of emphasis by repetition — I will do without fail, I will do without end
obtained the promise (v.15) — Isaac, a first step toward the ultimate fulfillment in Christ, so it doesn’t contradict Hebrews 11:13
thus (v.17) = this being so — with an oath, the question is settled
determining (v.17) — a desire based on reason, not emotion — God was willing to give an oath because of His understanding of human infirmity.
promise (v.17) = the promise — the one given to Abraham (v.14)
immutability (v.17) = not a turncoat
confirmed (v.17) = acted as a mediator — pledged (in this case) Himself as a witness to His own promise
two immutable things (v.18) — God’s promise and God’s oath
things (v.18) = accomplished facts
consolation (v.18) = encouragement — emphasis on “strong,” with the idea of an army or fortress
refuge (v.18) — a reference to the cities of refuge — Numbers 35:6-32; Deuteronomy 4:42
If, among men, an oath ends disagreement, how much more so when the oath is made by God.
sure (v.19) = not unable to fall, not betraying confidence— a word with negative emphasis
steadfast (v.19) = firm, fixed — a word with positive emphasis
Both “sure” and “steadfast” (v.19) refer to the anchor which is within the veil
veil (v.19) — in the temple, in the presence of God
The word translated “forerunner” (v.20) was a nautical term used to designate a small boat. The mouths of many of the Greek harbors were not passable at low tide by ships of heavy drought on account of the sand bars, and so it was customary to place the anchor in the forerunner and, rowing over the bar, to cast it in the harbor, thus securing the ship until the tide should rise. The figure is readily applied to the soul’s relation to our ascended Lord, who now ministers in the Holiest on our behalf, a High Priest according to the order of Melchisedek. He has entered into the very presence of God as our Representative, and His presence there is the pledge that we shall soon follow. — Ironside, page 84
Think of the situation [of the Jews] during the Great Tribulation: people are dying by the millions, the anti-christ is on the scene, one needs a mark to buy or sell, there are global plagues and wars raging around the planet, and all they have is something Jehovah said to Abraham forty centuries or so earlier. How very wonderful for them to have this book of Hebrews to restate the promises and reassure Israel of those promises made so long ago.
The “two immutable things” are identified in the immediate context as being
God who cannot lie giving
His (word) oath of promise