Christ Is Our High Priest
1Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. 2There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle,*8:2 Or tent; also in 8:5. the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.
3And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. 4If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. 5They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.”*8:5 Exod 25:40; 26:30.
6But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.
7If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. 8But when God found fault with the people, he said:
“The day is coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and Judah.
9This covenant will not be like the one
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
and led them out of the land of Egypt.
They did not remain faithful to my covenant,
so I turned my back on them, says the Lord.
10But this is the new covenant I will make
with the people of Israel on that day,*8:10 Greek after those days. says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11And they will not need to teach their neighbors,
nor will they need to teach their relatives,*8:11 Greek their brother.
saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’
For everyone, from the least to the greatest,
will know me already.
12And I will forgive their wickedness,
and I will never again remember their sins.”*8:8-12 Jer 31:31-34.
13When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.
Old Rules about Worship
1That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth. 2There were two rooms in that Tabernacle.*9:2 Or tent; also in 9:11, 21. In the first room were a lampstand, a table, and sacred loaves of bread on the table. This room was called the Holy Place. 3Then there was a curtain, and behind the curtain was the second room*9:3 Greek second tent. called the Most Holy Place. 4In that room were a gold incense altar and a wooden chest called the Ark of the Covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. Inside the Ark were a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s staff that sprouted leaves, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5Above the Ark were the cherubim of divine glory, whose wings stretched out over the Ark’s cover, the place of atonement. But we cannot explain these things in detail now.
6When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room*9:6 Greek first tent. as they performed their religious duties. 7But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8By these regulations the Holy Spirit revealed that the entrance to the Most Holy Place was not freely open as long as the Tabernacle*9:8 Or the first room; Greek reads the first tent. and the system it represented were still in use.
9This is an illustration pointing to the present time. For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. 10For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.
Christ Is the Perfect Sacrifice
11So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come.*9:11 Some manuscripts read that are about to come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
13Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. 14Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds*9:14 Greek from dead works. so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. 15That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant.
16Now when someone leaves a will,*9:16a Or covenant; also in 9:17. it is necessary to prove that the person who made it is dead.*9:16b Or Now when someone makes a covenant, it is necessary to ratify it with the death of a sacrifice. 17The will goes into effect only after the person’s death. While the person who made it is still alive, the will cannot be put into effect.
18That is why even the first covenant was put into effect with the blood of an animal. 19For after Moses had read each of God’s commandments to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats,*9:19 Some manuscripts do not include and goats. along with water, and sprinkled both the book of God’s law and all the people, using hyssop branches and scarlet wool. 20Then he said, “This blood confirms the covenant God has made with you.”*9:20 Exod 24:8. 21And in the same way, he sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and on everything used for worship. 22In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.
23That is why the Tabernacle and everything in it, which were copies of things in heaven, had to be purified by the blood of animals. But the real things in heaven had to be purified with far better sacrifices than the blood of animals.
24For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. 25And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. 26If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age*9:26 Greek the ages. to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.
27And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.
Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All
1The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. 2If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshipers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared.
3But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. 4For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5That is why, when Christ*10:5 Greek he; also in 10:8. came into the world, he said to God,
“You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings.
But you have given me a body to offer.
6You were not pleased with burnt offerings
or other offerings for sin.
7Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God—
as is written about me in the Scriptures.’”*10:5-7 Ps 40:6-8 (Greek version).
8First, Christ said, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings or burnt offerings or other offerings for sin, nor were you pleased with them” (though they are required by the law of Moses). 9Then he said, “Look, I have come to do your will.” He cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. 10For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.
11Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 13There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. 14For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
15And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says,
16“This is the new covenant I will make
with my people on that day,*10:16a Greek after those days. says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”*10:16b Jer 31:33a.
17Then he says,
“I will never again remember
their sins and lawless deeds.”*10:17 Jer 31:34b.
18And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices.
A Call to Persevere
19And so, dear brothers and sisters,*10:19 Greek brothers. we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20By his death,*10:20 Greek Through his flesh. Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.
23Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
26Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. 27There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. 28For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us. 30For we know the one who said,
“I will take revenge.
I will pay them back.”*10:30a Deut 32:35.
He also said,
“The Lord will judge his own people.”*10:30b Deut 32:36.
31It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ.*10:32 Greek when you were first enlightened. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. 33Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. 34You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.
35So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
37“For in just a little while,
the Coming One will come and not delay.
38And my righteous ones will live by faith.*10:38 Or my righteous ones will live by their faithfulness; Greek reads my righteous one will live by faith.
But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.”*10:37-38 Hab 2:3-4.
39But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.