Following a conversation about the potentially ambiguous meaning of the Edward Mote lyric “My anchor holds within the veil“, taken from ‘Christ the Solid Rock’ (and re-spun by Hillsong in ‘Cornerstone’) I thought I would share my interpretation, and hopefully help us to understand what we are singing. First, let’s look at the scripture that the lyric is based on.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19-20 (NASB)
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:18b-20 (NIV)
The anchor, a symbol of hope, is a clear statement of our being rooted in Jesus. The veil refers to the temple curtain which separated the Inner Sanctuary or Most Holy Place, where God dwelt on the mercy seat, from the Outer Sanctuary or Holy Place (Exodus 26:33) where man dwelt. Whoever entered the Most Holy Place entered the presence of God. Only the High Priest was permitted, and only once per year on the Day of Atonement after meticulous preparation. However, when Jesus died on the cross, the temple curtain was torn from top to bottom (Matt 27:50-51), removing the separation between man and God. As the eternal Great High Priest, Jesus made the once and for all sacrifice for our sin, and created a pathway between us and God.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22
‘My anchor holds within the veil’, in layman’s terms, could be written: Jesus is the pathway to God.
(by Stuart Smith)