9 1-2 Now in that first agreement between God and his people there were rules for worship and there was a sacred tent down here on earth. Inside this place of worship there were two rooms. The first one contained the golden candlestick and a table with special loaves of holy bread upon it; this part was called the Holy Place. 3 Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was a room called the Holy of Holies. 4 In that room there were a golden incense-altar and the golden chest, called the ark of the covenant, completely covered on all sides with pure gold. Inside the ark were the tablets of stone with the Ten Commandments written on them, and a golden jar with some manna in it, and Aaron’s wooden cane that budded. 5 Above the golden chest were statues of angels called the cherubim—the guardians of God’s glory—with their wings stretched out over the ark’s golden cover, called the mercy seat. But enough of such details.
6 Well, when all was ready, the priests went in and out of the first room whenever they wanted to, doing their work. 7 But only the high priest went into the inner room, and then only once a year, all alone, and always with blood that he sprinkled on the mercy seat as an offering to God to cover his own mistakes and sins and the mistakes and sins of all the people.
8 And the Holy Spirit uses all this to point out to us that under the old system the common people could not go into the Holy of Holies as long as the outer room and the entire system it represents were still in use.
9 This has an important lesson for us today. For under the old system, gifts and sacrifices were offered, but these failed to cleanse the hearts of the people who brought them. 10 For the old system dealt only with certain rituals—what foods to eat and drink, rules for washing themselves, and rules about this and that. The people had to keep these rules to tide them over until Christ came with God’s new and better way.
11 He came as High Priest of this better system that we now have. He went into that greater, perfect tabernacle in heaven, not made by men nor part of this world, 12 and once for all took blood into that inner room, the Holy of Holies, and sprinkled it on the mercy seat; but it was not the blood of goats and calves. No, he took his own blood, and with it he, by himself, made sure of our eternal salvation.
13 And if under the old system the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of young cows could cleanse men’s bodies from sin, 14 just think how much more surely the blood of Christ will transform our lives and hearts. His sacrifice frees us from the worry of having to obey the old rules and makes us want to serve the living God. For by the help of the eternal Holy Spirit, Christ willingly gave himself to God to die for our sins—he being perfect, without a single sin or fault. 15 Christ came with this new agreement so that all who are invited may come and have forever all the wonders God has promised them. For Christ died to rescue them from the penalty of the sins they had committed while still under that old system.
16 Now, if someone dies and leaves a will—a list of things to be given away to certain people when he dies—no one gets anything until it is proved that the person who wrote the will is dead. 17 The will goes into effect only after the death of the person who wrote it. While he is still alive no one can use it to get any of those things he has promised them.
18 That is why blood was sprinkled as proof of Christ’s death[a] before even the first agreement could go into effect. 19 For after Moses had given the people all of God’s laws, he took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, and sprinkled the blood over the book of God’s laws and over all the people, using branches of hyssop bushes and scarlet wool to sprinkle with. 20 Then he said, “This is the blood that marks the beginning of the agreement between you and God, the agreement God commanded me to make with you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled blood on the sacred tent and on whatever instruments were used for worship. 22 In fact we can say that under the old agreement almost everything was cleansed by sprinkling it with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
23 That is why the sacred tent down here on earth and everything in it—all copied from things in heaven—all had to be made pure by Moses in this way, by being sprinkled with the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven, of which these down here are copies, were made pure with far more precious offerings.
24 For Christ has entered into heaven itself to appear now before God as our Friend. It was not in the earthly place of worship that he did this, for that was merely a copy of the real temple in heaven. 25 Nor has he offered himself again and again, as the high priest down here on earth offers animal blood in the Holy of Holies each year. 26 If that had been necessary, then he would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But no! He came once for all, at the end of the age, to put away the power of sin forever by dying for us.
27 And just as it is destined that men die only once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ died only once as an offering for the sins of many people; and he will come again, but not to deal again with our sins.
This time he will come bringing salvation to all those who are eagerly and patiently waiting for him.
- Hebrews 9:18 as proof of Christ’s death, implied.
New International Version
Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle
9 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.(A) 2 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) 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place,(G) 4 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) 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory,(M) overshadowing the atonement cover.(N) But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly(O) into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 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) 8 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. 9 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)