Hebrews 6:13-20


God’s word is true and his promises are secure.
God’s nature is unchanging.
We can know these truths and establish our hope in his word. 
This information then is our security.


Hebrews 6:13-20 reestablishes the authors direction toward the topic of Melchizedec (5:10, 11)  and serves as a prelude to 7:1



Hebrews 6:13

“When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself,”


τω        γαρ       αβρααμ        επαγγειλαμενος       ο            θεος       επει
for          to Abraham           making promise                                 God         since

κατ     ουδενος     ειχεν     μειζονος     ομοσαι    ωμοσεν    καθ     εαυτου

by          no one          he had       greater           to swear       swore          by        himself


The promise was given to Abraham several times:

1)     Genesis 12:1-7

2)     Genesis 15:5

3)     Genesis 17:5-8

4)     Genesis 22:15-18


“Swearing” or taking oaths is a practice among men to give their words backing for trustworthiness.

  1. The fact that men needs “oaths” or to “swear” indicates their character is lacking since their words can not be trusted without the higher guarantee.
  2. Jesus criticized the practice among men whose word could not be trusted without something holding them to it. (Matthew 5:37; 23:16)  In Jesus’ day men would swear by:
    1. Heaven
    2. Earth
    3. Jerusalem
    4. Their own heads
    5. The temple
    6. The gold in the temple
    7. The altar
    8. The gift on the altar

An oath is the final statement.  A man’s statement under oath is his last word on the subject.  All previous statements or following statements can not change his sworn testimony.

Abraham took oaths in God’s name: Genesis 14:22; 21:23-24; 24:3


Abraham was last mentioned in 2:16

In Genesis 22:16 the angel of the Lord says to Abraham, “I swear by myself . . . I will surely bless you an dake your descendants as numerous as the stars. . . and as the sand. . . and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed. . .”



Hebrews 6:14

“saying, ‘I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.’ “

λεγων       εἰ       μην       ευλογων        ευλογησω         σε         και
saying            if          surely         blessing              I will bless                 you         and
πληθυνων                   πληθυνω                σε

multiplying                       I will multiply                  you



Hebrews 6:15

And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. “

 και      ουτως            μακροθυμησας            επετυχεν
and             so                     being longsuffering              he obtained 
 της              επαγγελιας
 the                      promise

“Waiting patiently” refers to
This is an example of someone inheriting what God promised through “faith and patience” as mentioned in 6:12.

Conflict?  Here it says Abraham obtained the promise but in Hebrews 11:13 it says Abraham died in faith “not having received the promise”. 
1) The received promise refers to Abraham having received his son Isaac.
2) Not receiving the promise refers to Abraham dyed  before he could see the fulfillment of the fullness of the promise.

Abraham died knowing that the God who gave a portion of the promise would ultimately fulfill all of it.

Hebrews 6:16
Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.”

ανθρωποι       μεν       γαρ       κατα       του       μειζονος       ομνυουσιν
       men                                     for            by               the            greater                  swear
και      πασης      αυτοις       αντιλογιας        περας        εις     
and          of all             to them          contradiction              an end            for    
βεβαιωσιν     ο          ορκος
confirmation        the            oath


αντιλογιας or “antilogiai” means “dispute, controversy, contradiction”.

βεβαιωσιν “bebaiwsin” means “confirming, confirmation, legal guarantee”  The word was a technical expression for a legal guarantee

Hebrews 6:17
Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.”

εν      ω        περισσοτερον         βουλομενος     ο        θεος       επιδειξαι
   wherein         more abundantly                resolving                            God           to show
τοις        κληρονομοις       της          επαγγελιας    το          αμεταθετον
to the            heirs                         of the             promises               the      unchangeableness
 της           βουλης            αυτου                 εμεσιτευσεν                ορκω
of the              resolve                 of him                          interposed                       by an oath

Why did God take an oath?   Is God’s word not trustworthy?  This verse says “God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear.”  God took a human convention of swearing or oath taking to demonstrate and communicate to man God’s intention.  God was not indicating he was not trustworthy but was showing Abraham (and all of Abraham’s heirs) that this promise was not going to change.  God’s statement on this matter was now in the books, an official document that was God’s sworn testimony.  Anything said after this could not change this promise.

The sworn promise was for the benefit of “the heirs”.  The heirs of the promise that Abraham received are all who have the faith of Abraham and not only Jews and in some cases, not even Jews.  See these verses:
1) John 8:39             2) Romans 4:16              3) Galatians

βουλομενος or “Boulomenos” is a stronger Greek word “thelein”.  The word becomes even more forceful when the adverb περισσοτερον (“perissotepon” – “more convincingly”) is used.  God makes his word doubly convincing.

In chapter one it is taught that God’s word is unchanging.
Here it is taught that God’s purpose is unchanging.

αμεταθετον or “ametatheton” (“unchangeableness) is used on here and in verse 6:18 in the entire NT.

God is working a plan and he has a goal and a purpose.  He will not be redirected by world events or historical personalities.  The pagan gods had to respond and adjust to other forces such as other gods, other nations, world events, time, etc.  Not so with God.


Hebrews 6:18
God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.”

ινα               δια         δυο         πραγματων         αμεταθετων           εν       
In order that    through        two               things                          unchangeable                 in

οις       αδυνατον            ψευσασθαι            θεον             ισχυραν  
which     impossible                     to lie                       God                     a strong

παρακλησιν     εχωμεν         οι          καταφυγοντες           κρατησαι           
consolation           we may have    the ones          having fled                         to lay hold

της          προκειμενης             ελπιδος
of the            set before us                       hope

two unchangeable things” are:

1)     The promise (or, the character of God)

2)     The oath

The “heirs”, which include the writer and the reader of this letter, are described as “we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us”.
The heirs are described as being fugitives or refuges. 
Paul uses the word  
καταφυγοντες or “kataphugontes”
1) In Acts 14:6 when he fled from persecution.
2) In LXX Deuteronomy 4:42 and 19:5 for fleeing from the avenger to the asylum of the cities of refuge.  There were six cities of refuge in Israel.  Three on each side of the Jordan River. (Numbers 35:6, 9-32)  If the refugee stayed within the city limits he was safe.  Upon the death of the high priest he could return to his home town with legal protection.
3) In LXX Joshua 20:9
But, these people are fleeing to “hope” not physical safety or a shelter.
They are being encouraged with purpose and direction in the eternal sense.
The heirs then are fleeing form discouragement and apathy.  They are fleeing the hopelessness of the present age for something with eternal purpose and meaning.
There is a sense of urgency as they are described as “fleeing” not “strolling” or “walking” toward “hope”.

κρατησαι or “kratasai” means “to seize”  It is aorist active.  This word means to lay hold on and cling to that which has been taken.  This is exactly NOT what the readers of this Letter to the Hebrews are doing.

Hebrews 6:19
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,”

ην          ως         αγκυραν           εχομεν         της        ψυχης      ασφαλη
which        as               an anchor                 we have           of the         soul                safe

τε      και            βεβαιαν         και        εισερχομενην        εις         το
both    and                   firm                     and               entering                       into         the

εσωτερον                του                  καταπετασματος
inner                              of the                        veil

Our hope is in God, his word and his plan. 
Our hope is not in our faith

αγκυραν or “agkuran” means “anchor”.  In the Greek world the anchor represented hope.  The image of an anchor is only used here in the NT.  An anchor remains unmoved and stable deep in the sea even while the ship is bounced around or tossed by the wind and waves up on the surface.  This illustration really needs no explanation.

This truth, this hope keeps us encouraged and focused. 
It keeps us from becoming “nothroi”

Hope keeps the heirs of the promise:
ασφαλη “safe”
2) βεβαιαν “firm or secure”

The anchor or hope enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.
The metaphor has gone from an anchor in the bottom of the sea to hope in God’s word in our soul to hope that takes into the inner sanctuary of God’s temple.
With this we are back to the topic of entering into God’s presence by way of our high priest Jesus.
And concerning the High Priesthood of Jesus there is still something we need to learn from the example of Melchizedek in the OT

Our hope is based on the finished work of Christ and the his continuing work as our high priest.

In 6:20 Jesus is the προδρομος or “prodromos” which means “forerunner”.
Jesus has gone in first and we have the hope of following him.

Hebrews 6:20
where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”

οπου             προδρομος                υπερ             ημων          εισηλθεν
where                a forerunner                   on behalf of              us                 entered

ιησους           κατα             την            ταξιν               μελχισεδεκ
Jesus                  according to         the                order                  of Melchizedek  

αρχιερευς               γενομενος           εις            τον                αιωνα
a high priest                    becoming                    unto               the                     age