Verse 20. "Whither the forerunner" - The word prodromov, prodromos, does not merely signify one that goes or runs before another, but also one who shows the way, he who first does a particular thing; also the first fruits. So in the Septuagint, Isaiah xxviii. 4, prodromov sukou signifies the first fruits of the fig tree, or the first ripe figs.
To this meaning of the word Pliny refers, Hist. Nat., lib. xvi., c. x16: Ficus et praecoces habet, quas Athenis PRODROMOS (prodromov,) vocant. "The fig tree produces some figs which are ripe before the rest, and these are called by the Athenians prodromos, forerunner." The word is interpreted in the same way by Hesychius; it occurs in no other part of the New Testament, but may be found in Ecclus. xii. 8, and in Isa. xxviii. 4, quoted above from the Septuagint. From this we may at once perceive the meaning of the phrase: Jesus is the first fruits of human nature that has entered into the heavenly kingdom; the first human body that was ripe for glory, and ripe long before the rest of the children who are partakers of flesh and blood. And he is entered for us, as the first fruits of all who have found redemption in his blood. Compare John xiv. 2; 1 Cor. xv. 20, 23; and the notes there.
The metaphorical allusion is to the person who carries the anchor within the pier head, because there is not yet water sufficient to carry the ship in; and to this I have already referred.
"After the order of Melchisedec." - After a long digression the apostle resumes his explanation of Psa. cx. 4, which he had produced, chap. v. 6, 10, in order to prove the permanency of the high priesthood of Christ.
1. WE have in this chapter a very solemn warning against backsliding and apostasy, and that negligence and sloth which are their forerunners. A man cannot be careless about God and heaven, till he has lost his relish for sacred things; and this relish he cannot lose while he is diligent and faithful.
The slightest departure from truth and purity may ultimately lead to a denying, and even reviling, of the Lord who bought him.
2. Every obedient believer in Christ Jesus has both the oath and promise of God that he will make all grace abound towards him, for in blessing God will bless him; he may be greatly agitated and distressed, but, while he continues in the obedience of faith, he will ride out the storm. His anchor is within the veil while his heart is right with God. Jesus is gone before to prepare a place for him; and where the first fruits are, there will soon be the whole lump. He who perseveres unto death shall as surely see God as Jesus Christ now does. God's oath and promise cannot fail.