The Earthly Ministry of the Old Covenant

Now[a] the first covenant had regulations for worship and the earthly sanctuary. For a tent was prepared, the first one, in which were the lampstand and the table and the presentation of the loaves, which is called the holy place. And after the second curtain was a tent called the holy of holies, containing the golden incense altar and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which were a golden jar containing the manna and the rod of Aaron that budded and the tablets of the covenant. And above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat, about which it is not now possible to speak in detail.

Now these things having been prepared in this way, the priests enter into the first tent continually[b] as they[c] accomplish their service, but only the high priest enters into the second tent once a year, not without blood, which he offers on behalf of himself and the sins of the people committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was making this clear, that the way into the holy place was not yet revealed, while[d] the first tent was still in existence, which was a symbol for the present time, in which both the gifts and sacrifices which were offered were not able to perfect the worshiper with respect to the conscience, 10 concerning instead only food and drink and different washings, regulations of outward things imposed until the time of setting things right.

The Heavenly Ministry of the New Covenant

11 But Christ has arrived as a high priest of the good things to come. Through the greater and more perfect tent not made by hands, that is, not of this creation, 12 and not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered once for all into the most holy place, obtaining eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled sanctify them for the ritual purity of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God?

15 And because of this, he is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that, because[e] a death has taken place for the redemption of transgressions committed during the first covenant, those who are the called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where there is a will, it is a necessity for the death of the one who made the will to be established. 17 For a will is in force concerning those who are dead, since it is never in force when the one who made the will is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was ratified without blood. 19 For when[f] every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves[g] with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the scroll itself and all the people, 20 saying,

“This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded for you.”[h]

21 And likewise he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the utensils of service with the blood. 22 Indeed, nearly everything is purified with blood according to the law, and apart from the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

23 Therefore it was necessary for the sketches of the things in heaven to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves to be purified with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf, 25 and not in order that he can offer himself many times, as the high priest enters into the sanctuary year by year[i] with blood not his own, 26 since it would have been necessary for him to suffer many times from the foundation of the world, but now he has appeared once at the end of the ages for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as[j] it is destined for people to die once, and after this, judgment, 28 thus also Christ, having been offered once in order to bear the sins of many, will appear for the second time without reference to sin to those who eagerly await him for salvation.

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 9:1 Some manuscripts have “Now even”
  2. Hebrews 9:6 Literally “throughout all”
  3. Hebrews 9:6 Here “as” is supplied as a component of the temporal participle (“accomplish”)
  4. Hebrews 9:8 Here “while” is supplied as a component of the temporal participle (“was”)
  5. Hebrews 9:15 Here “because” is supplied as a component of the participle (“has taken place”) which is understood as causal
  6. Hebrews 9:19 Here “when” is supplied as a component of the temporal participle (“had been spoken”)
  7. Hebrews 9:19 Some manuscripts have “calves and goats”
  8. Hebrews 9:20 A quotation from Exod 24:8
  9. Hebrews 9:25 Literally “according to year”
  10. Hebrews 9:27 Literally “in as much as”

Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.(A) A tabernacle(B) was set up. In its first room were the lampstand(C) and the table(D) with its consecrated bread;(E) this was called the Holy Place.(F) Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place,(G) which had the golden altar of incense(H) and the gold-covered ark of the covenant.(I) This ark contained the gold jar of manna,(J) Aaron’s staff that had budded,(K) and the stone tablets of the covenant.(L) Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory,(M) overshadowing the atonement cover.(N) But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly(O) into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered(P) the inner room,(Q) and that only once a year,(R) and never without blood,(S) which he offered for himself(T) and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.(U) The Holy Spirit was showing(V) by this that the way(W) into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration(X) for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered(Y) were not able to clear the conscience(Z) of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food(AA) and drink(AB) and various ceremonial washings(AC)—external regulations(AD) applying until the time of the new order.

The Blood of Christ

11 But when Christ came as high priest(AE) of the good things that are now already here,[a](AF) he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle(AG) that is not made with human hands,(AH) that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves;(AI) but he entered the Most Holy Place(AJ) once for all(AK) by his own blood,(AL) thus obtaining[b] eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls(AM) and the ashes of a heifer(AN) sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit(AO) offered himself(AP) unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences(AQ) from acts that lead to death,[c](AR) so that we may serve the living God!(AS)

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator(AT) of a new covenant,(AU) that those who are called(AV) may receive the promised(AW) eternal inheritance(AX)—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.(AY)

16 In the case of a will,[d] it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.(AZ) 19 When Moses had proclaimed(BA) every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves,(BB) together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.(BC) 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”[e](BD) 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood,(BE) and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.(BF)

23 It was necessary, then, for the copies(BG) of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one;(BH) he entered heaven itself,(BI) now to appear for us in God’s presence.(BJ) 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place(BK) every year with blood that is not his own.(BL) 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world.(BM) But he has appeared(BN) once for all(BO) at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.(BP) 27 Just as people are destined to die once,(BQ) and after that to face judgment,(BR) 28 so Christ was sacrificed once(BS) to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time,(BT) not to bear sin,(BU) but to bring salvation(BV) to those who are waiting for him.(BW)

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 9:11 Some early manuscripts are to come
  2. Hebrews 9:12 Or blood, having obtained
  3. Hebrews 9:14 Or from useless rituals
  4. Hebrews 9:16 Same Greek word as covenant; also in verse 17
  5. Hebrews 9:20 Exodus 24:8

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