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. Chapter 9.

The Earthly and the Heavenly Sanctuaries

1 THE FIRST COVENANT indeed had its ordinances of divine service and its sanctuary, but a material sanctuary. 2 For a tent was prepared—the first tent—in which was the lamp-stand, and the table with the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. 3 Beyond the second curtain was the tent called the Most Holy Place. 4 Here was a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant plated all over with gold, in which were a golden jar containing the manna, and Aaron's staff which once budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it the cherubim of God's glory, overshadowing the place of expiation. On these we cannot now enlarge.

6 Under this arrangement, the priests are always entering the first tent in the discharge of their duties; 7 but the second is entered only once a year, and by the high priest alone, and even then he must take with him the blood which he offers on his own behalf and for the people's sins of ignorance. 8 By this the Holy Spirit signifies that so long as the earlier tent still stands, the way into the sanctuary remains unrevealed. 9 All this is symbolic, pointing to the present time. The offerings and sacrifices there prescribed cannot give the worshipper inward perfection. 10 It is only a matter of food and drink and various rites of cleansing-outward ordinances in force until the time of reformation.

11 But now Christ has come, high priest of good things already in being. [Some witnesses read: good things which were (or: are) to be.] The tent of his priesthood is a greater and more perfect one, not made by men's hands, that is, not belonging to this created world; 12 the blood of his sacrifice is his own blood, not the blood of goats and calves; and thus he has entered the sanctuary once and for all and secured an eternal deliverance. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkled ashes of a heifer have power to hallow those who have been defiled and restore their external purity, 14 how much greater is the power of the blood of Christ; he offered himself without blemish to God, a spiritual and eternal sacrifice; and his blood will cleanse our conscience from the deadness of our former ways and fit us for the service of the living God.

15 And therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, or testament, under which, now that there has been a death to bring deliverance from sins committed under the former covenant, those whom God has called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where there is a testament it is necessary for the death of the testator to be established. 17 A testament is operative only after a death: it cannot possibly have force while the testator is alive. 18 Thus we find that the former covenant itself was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when, as the Law directed, Moses had recited all the commandments to the people, he took the blood of the calves, with water, scarlet wool, and marjoram, and sprinkled the law-book itself and all the people, 20 [ Ex.24.8. ] saying, 'This is the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined upon you.' 21 In the same way he also sprinkled the tent and all the vessels of divine service with blood. 22 Indeed, according to the Law, it might almost be said, everything is cleansed by blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Sin Put Away by Christ's Sacrifice

23 If, then, these sacrifices cleanse the copies of heavenly things, those heavenly things themselves require better sacrifices to cleanse them. 24 For Christ has entered, not that sanctuary made by men's hands which is only a symbol of the reality, but heaven itself, to appear now before God on our behalf. 25 Nor is he there to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the sanctuary year by year with blood not his own. 26 If that were so, he would have had to suffer many times since the world was made. But as it is, he has appeared once and for all at the climax of history to abolish sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is the lot of men to die once, and after death comes judgement, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the burden of men's sins, [Or: to remove men's sins.] and will appear a second time, sin done away, to bring salvation to those who are watching for him.

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NEBNew English Bible: © The Delegates of the Oxford University Press & the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 1961. This Webpage layout © Paul Ingram 2009. Any mismatches, truncated verses, other mistakes? Please e-mail me.