9Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2For a tent* was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence;* this is called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a tent* called the Holy of Holies. 4In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aarons rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy-seat.* Of these things we cannot speak now in detail.
6 Such preparations having been made, the priests go continually into the first tent* to carry out their ritual duties; 7but only the high priest goes into the second, and he but once a year, and not without taking the blood that he offers for himself and for the sins committed unintentionally by the people. 8By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the sanctuary has not yet been disclosed as long as the first tent* is still standing. 9This is a symbol* of the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshipper, 10but deal only with food and drink and various baptisms, regulations for the body imposed until the time comes to set things right.
11 But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come,* then through the greater and perfect* tent* (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), 12he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit* offered himself without blemish to God, purify our* conscience from dead works to worship the living God!
15 For this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.* 16Where a will* is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17For a will* takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18Hence not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19For when every commandment had been told to all the people by Moses in accordance with the law, he took the blood of calves and goats,* with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the scroll itself and all the people, 20saying, This is the blood of the covenant that God has ordained for you. 21And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent* and all the vessels used in worship. 22Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
23 Thus it was necessary for the sketches of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices than these.
The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition), copyright 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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10 February 2011