Letter to the Hebrews
The temple in Jerusalem
1 The first covenant had rites and re gulations. There was also a sanctuary – an earthly one. 2 A first tent was prepared with the lamp stand, the table and the bread of the presence, this is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain, there is a second sanctuary called the Most Holy Place, 4 with the gold altar for the burning of incense, and the ark of the Covenant, fully covered with gold. The ark contained a golden jar holding the manna, Aaron’s rod that had sprouted leaves and the two slabs of the covenant. 5 Above the ark the two cherubim of glory over shadowed the Seat of Mercy. But we cannot here describe it in detail.
6 With everything arranged as described, the priests continually enter the first room to fulfill their ministry; 7 but the High Priest enters only once a year the second one, and not without bringing the blood which he will offer for himself and for the sins of the people. 8 By this, the Holy Spirit teaches us that the way into the inner sanctuary is not open as long as the first tent still stands. 9 Here is a teaching by means of figures for the present age: the gifts and sacrifices presented to God cannot bring the people offering them to interior per fection. 10 These are no more than food, drink and different kinds of cleansing by water; all these are human regulations awaiting a reformation.
Jesus entered with his own blood
11 But now Christ has appeared as the high priest with regard to the good things of these new times. He passed through a sanctuary more noble and perfect, not made by hands, that is, not created. 12 He did not take with himself the blood of goats and bulls but his own blood, when he entered once and for all into this sanctuary after obtaining definitive redemption. 13 If the sprinkling of people defiled by sin with the blood of goats and bulls or with the ashes of a heifer provides them with exterior cleanness and holiness, 14 how much more will it be with the blood of Christ? He, moved by the eternal Spirit, offered himself as an unble mished victim to God and his blood cleanses us from dead works, so that we may serve the living God.
15 So Christ is the mediator of a new covenant or testament. His death made atonement for the sins committed under the old testament, and the promise is hand ed over to all who are called to the everlasting inheritance. 16 With every testament it is necessary to wait until its author has died. 17 For a testament infers death and has no value while the maker of it is still alive.
18 That is why the first covenant was not ratified without blood. 19 Moses proclaimed to the assembled people all the commandments of the Law; then he took the blood of bulls and goats and mixed it with water, and with these he sprinkled the book itself and all the people using scarlet wool and hyssop 20 saying: This is the blood of the Covenant that God commanded you. 21 In the same way he sprinkled with blood the Sanctuary and all the objects of the ritual. 22 According to the Law, al most all cleansings have to be per formed with blood; there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.
23 It was necessary that mere copies of supernatural realities be purified, but now these realities need better sacrifices. 24 Christ did not enter some sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself. He is now in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 He had not to offer himself many times, as the High Priest does: he who may return every year, because the blood is not his own. 26 Otherwise he would have suffered many times from the creation of the world. But no; he manifested himself only now at the end of the ages, to take away sin by sac rifice, 27 and, as humans die only once and afterwards are judged, 28 in the same way Christ sacrificed himself once to take away the sins of the multitude. There will be no further question of sin when he comes again to save those waiting for him.