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The Letter To The Hebrews: Chapter 9

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1Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2For a tent a Or tabernacle was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence; b Gk the presentation of the loaves this is called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a tent a Or tabernacle 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 Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. c Or the place of atonement Of these things we cannot speak now in detail.

6Such preparations having been made, the priests go continually into the first tent a Or tabernacle 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 a Or tabernacle is still standing. 9This is a symbol d Gk parable of the present time, during which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10but deal only with food and drink and various baptisms, regulations for the body imposed until the time comes to set things right.

11But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, e Other ancient authorities read good things to come then through the greater and perfect f Gk more perfect tent a Or tabernacle (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 g Other ancient authorities read Holy Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our h Other ancient authorities read your conscience from dead works to worship the living God!

15For 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. i The Greek word used here means both covenant and will 16Where a will i The Greek word used here means both covenant and will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17For a will i The Greek word used here means both covenant and 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, a Other ancient authorities lack 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 b Or tabernacle 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.

23Thus 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. 24For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; 26for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Notes:

a Or tabernacle

b Gk the presentation of the loaves

c Or the place of atonement

d Gk parable

e Other ancient authorities read good things to come

f Gk more perfect

g Other ancient authorities read Holy Spirit

h Other ancient authorities read your

i The Greek word used here means both covenant and will

a Other ancient authorities lack and goats

b Or tabernacle

Text Commentary view alone

9.1–10 : The earthly sanctuary.

The author describes the wilderness tabernacle of Ex 25–26 and itsritual.

2:

The bread of the Presence, Lev 24.5 .

3:

Ex 26.31–33 .

4:

The golden altar of incense stood inthe Holy Place (Ex 30.6 ). Ark of the covenant, the chest containing the tablets of the law (Ex 25.10–22 ). Urn … manna, Ex 16.32–34 . Aaron's rod, Num 17.1–10 .

7:

The ritual for the day of atonement (YomKippur), in which the high priest enters the holy of holies, is described; see Lev 16 .

10:

The time … to set things right, the period of the new covenant, inaugurated by the death of Christ.

9.11–28 :

The sacrifice of Christ. The author applies the categories of priestly ministry, covenant, andsanctuary ritual to the saving death of Christ. Christ's death is interpreted as the one effective sacrificethat atones for the sins of humanity (vv. 14,26,28 ).

12–13:

The day of atonement ritual (Lev 16.1–19 ),the sacrifice of the red heifer (Num 19.1–10 ), and the sacrificial ratification of the Sinai covenant (Ex24.3–8 ) all have to do with the shedding of blood and contribute to the imagery of this argument.

14:

The eternal Spirit, the spiritual aspects of Christ's sacrifice.

15:

See note i. Cf. Gal 3.15–18 .

28:

The sins of many, Isa 53.12; Mk 10.45 . A second time, a reference to the Second Coming of Christ is not whollyconsistent with the understanding that Christ has entered into heaven and made salvation available in thepresent (v. 11 ).

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