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The Old Agreement

The first ·agreement [covenant; contract; C given to Israel through Moses; 8:7, 13] had ·rules [regulations; requirements] for worship and a ·place on earth for worship [L earthly sanctuary/holy place]. The ·Holy Tent [T Tabernacle; Ex. 25:8–9; 26:1] was ·set up [constructed; prepared] for this. The first area in the Tent was called the Holy Place. In it were the lampstand [Ex. 25:31–39] and the table [Ex. 25:23–30] with the ·bread that was made holy for God [consecrated bread; bread of presentation/offering; Ex. 25:30; Lev. 24:5–8]. Behind the second curtain was a ·room [section; L tent] called the ·Most Holy Place [T Holy of Holies; Ex. 26:31–34]. In it was a golden altar for burning incense [Lev. 16:12–13] and the ·Ark [box; chest] ·that held the old agreement [L of the covenant/contract; Ex. 25:10; 26:33], covered [L completely; on all sides] with gold. Inside this Ark was a golden jar of manna [Ex. 16:33–34], Aaron’s rod that once grew leaves [Num. 17:1–11], and the stone tablets of the ·old agreement [covenant; contract; Ex. 25:16; 40:20; Deut. 10:2]. Above the Ark were the ·creatures that showed God’s glory [or glorious cherubim; Ex. 25:18–22; C angelic beings representing God’s presence and glory; Gen. 3:24; Ezek. 9:3; 10:1–22], ·whose wings reached over [L overshadowing] the ·lid [mercy seat; atonement cover; Lev. 16:2]. But we cannot ·tell everything about [discuss in detail] these things now.

When everything was made ready in this way, the priests went into the ·first room [outer room; L first tent] ·every day [regularly] to ·worship [serve; minister; perform their priestly duties; Num. 28:3]. But only the high priest could go into the ·second room [inner room; L second one], and he did that only once a year [Ex. 30:10; Lev. 16:15, 34]. He could never enter the inner room without taking blood [C from the sacrificial animal] with him, which he offered to God for himself and for sins the people did ·without knowing they did them [unintentionally; in ignorance]. The Holy Spirit uses this to show that the way into the ·Most Holy Place [sanctuary; L holy things; T Holy of Holies] ·was not open [or had not yet been revealed] while the ·system of the old Holy Tent [or outer room of the Tabernacle; L first tent/Tabernacle] was still ·being used [in place; standing]. This is an ·example [illustration; symbol] for the present time. It shows that the gifts and sacrifices offered cannot make the conscience of the worshiper ·perfect [clear; pure]. 10 These gifts and sacrifices were only about food and drink and special [ceremonial; ritual] washings. They were ·rules for the body [or external regulations], ·to be followed [in force; applying] until the time of God’s ·new way [reformation; new order].

The New Agreement

11 But when Christ came as the high priest of the good things ·we now have[a] [L that have come], he entered the greater and more perfect ·tent [T tabernacle]. It is not made ·by humans [L with hands] and does not belong to this ·world [creation; created order]. 12 Christ entered the ·Most Holy Place [sanctuary; L holy things; T Holy of Holies] ·only once—and for all time [L once for all; 7:27; 10:10]. ·He did not take with him [L …not by means of] the blood of goats and calves. ·His sacrifice was [L …but by means of] his own blood, and by it he ·set us free from sin forever [L obtained/secured eternal redemption/liberation]. 13 The blood of goats and bulls [Lev. 16:14–16] and the ashes of a ·cow [young cow; heifer; Num. 19:2, 17–18] are sprinkled on the people who are [C ritually] unclean, and this ·makes their bodies clean again [restores their body to ritual purity]. 14 How much more is done by the blood of Christ. He offered himself through the eternal ·Spirit [or spirit; C most likely the Holy Spirit, though possibly Christ’s own eternal spirit, or as a “spiritual” and eternal sacrifice] as a ·perfect [unblemished] sacrifice to God. His blood [C signifying his sacrificial death] will make our consciences ·pure [cleansed] from ·useless acts [or acts that lead to death; L dead works; 6:1] so we may ·serve [worship; offer priestly service for] the living God.

15 For this reason Christ ·brings a new agreement from God to his people [L is the mediator of a new covenant/contract]. Those who are called by God can now receive the eternal ·blessings [inheritance] he has promised. They can have those things because Christ died to ·set them free [redeem them] from the ·sins [transgressions; violations] committed under the first agreement [covenant; contract].

16 When there is a ·will [last will and testament; C the same Greek word translated “agreement” in v. 15; the author develops his illustration from the various meanings of the word], it must be proven that the one who wrote that ·will [last will and testament] is dead. 17 [L For; Because] A ·will [last will and testament] ·means nothing [carries no force] while the person is alive; it can ·be used [take effect] only after the person dies. 18 This is why even the first ·agreement [covenant; contract; C the same Greek word as “will” in vv. 16–17] could not ·begin [be inaugurated/put into effect] without blood [C the death of a sacrificial animal]. 19 First, Moses told all the people every command in the law. Next he took the blood of calves[b] and mixed it with water. Then he used ·red [scarlet] wool and a branch of the hyssop plant to sprinkle it on the book of the law and on all the people. 20 He said, “This is the blood ·that begins [that seals/confirms; L of] the ·Agreement [Covenant; Contract] that God commanded you to ·obey [keep; Ex. 24:8].” 21 In the same way, Moses sprinkled the blood on the ·Holy Tent [T Tabernacle] and over all the ·things [vessels; utensils] used in worship. 22 The law says that almost everything must be ·made clean [purified; cleansed] by blood, and sins cannot be forgiven without ·blood to show death [the shedding of blood; C signifying death to pay the penalty of sin].

Christ’s Death Takes Away Sins

23 So the ·copies [symbols; models; prototypes] of the real things in heaven had to be ·made clean [purified; cleansed] by animal sacrifices. But the real things in heaven need much better sacrifices. 24 [L For] Christ did not go into ·the Most Holy Place [a sanctuary; L holy things] made by ·humans [L hands], which is only a ·copy [model; or prefiguration] of the real one. He went into heaven itself and ·is there [appears] now ·before [in the presence of] God ·to help us [for us; on our behalf]. 25 The high priest enters the ·Most Holy Place [sanctuary; L holy things; T Holy of Holies] once every year with blood that is not his own. But Christ did not offer himself many times. 26 ·Then [Otherwise; In such a case,] he would have had to suffer many times ·since the world was made [from the foundation/creation of the world]. But Christ ·came [appeared] ·only once and for all time [once for all; 7:27; 9:12, 26; 10:10] at the ·end [culmination; climax] of ·the present age [time; L the ages] to ·take away all [nullify; abolish] sin by sacrificing himself. 27 Just as ·everyone [L people] ·must [is/are destined/appointed to] die once and ·then be judged [T after this the judgment], 28 so Christ was offered as a sacrifice one time to ·take away [bear] the sins of many people [Is. 53:12]. And he will ·come [appear] a second time, not to offer himself for sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 9:11 good … have Some Greek copies read “good things that are to come.”
  2. Hebrews 9:19 calves Some Greek copies read “calves and goats.”

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