Hebrews 5:11-10:39New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
IV. Jesus’ Eternal Priesthood and Eternal Sacrifice
Exhortation to Spiritual Renewal. 11 [a]About this we have much to say, and it is difficult to explain, for you have become sluggish in hearing. 12 Although you should be teachers by this time, you need to have someone teach you again the basic elements of the utterances of God. You need milk, [and] not solid food. 13 Everyone who lives on milk lacks experience of the word of righteousness, for he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties are trained by practice to discern good and evil.
1 Therefore, let us leave behind the basic teaching about Christ and advance to maturity, without laying the foundation all over again: repentance from dead works and faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms[b] and laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. 3 And we shall do this, if only God permits. 4 For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift[c] and shared in the holy Spirit 5 and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,[d] 6 and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are recrucifying the Son of God for themselves[e] and holding him up to contempt. 7 Ground that has absorbed the rain falling upon it repeatedly and brings forth crops useful to those for whom it is cultivated receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is rejected; it will soon be cursed and finally burned.
9 But we are sure in your regard, beloved, of better things related to salvation, even though we speak in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones. 11 We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.[f]
God’s Promise Immutable. 13 [g]When God made the promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, “he swore by himself,” 14 and said, “I will indeed bless you and multiply” you. 15 And so, after patient waiting, he obtained the promise.[h] 16 Human beings swear by someone greater than themselves; for them an oath serves as a guarantee and puts an end to all argument. 17 So when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose, he intervened with an oath, 18 so that by two immutable things,[i] in which it was impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope that lies before us. 19 This we have as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm, which reaches into the interior behind the veil,[j] 20 where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, becoming high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Melchizedek, a Type of Christ. 1 [k]This “Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High,”[l] “met Abraham as he returned from his defeat of the kings” and “blessed him.” 2 [m]And Abraham apportioned to him “a tenth of everything.” His name first means righteous king, and he was also “king of Salem,” that is, king of peace. 3 Without father, mother, or ancestry, without beginning of days or end of life,[n] thus made to resemble the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.
4 [o]See how great he is to whom the patriarch “Abraham [indeed] gave a tenth” of his spoils. 5 The descendants of Levi who receive the office of priesthood have a commandment according to the law to exact tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, although they also have come from the loins of Abraham. 6 But he who was not of their ancestry received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had received the promises. 7 Unquestionably, a lesser person is blessed by a greater.[p] 8 In the one case, mortal men receive tithes; in the other, a man of whom it is testified that he lives on. 9 One might even say that Levi[q] himself, who receives tithes, was tithed through Abraham, 10 for he was still in his father’s loins when Melchizedek met him.
11 [r]If, then, perfection came through the levitical priesthood, on the basis of which the people received the law, what need would there still have been for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not reckoned according to the order of Aaron? 12 When there is a change of priesthood, there is necessarily a change of law as well. 13 Now he of whom these things are said[s] belonged to a different tribe, of which no member ever officiated at the altar. 14 It is clear that our Lord arose from Judah,[t] and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 [u]It is even more obvious if another priest is raised up after the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become so, not by a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed.[v] 17 For it is testified:
“You are a priest forever
18 On the one hand, a former commandment is annulled because of its weakness and uselessness, 19 for the law brought nothing to perfection; on the other hand, a better hope[w] is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20 [x]And to the degree that this happened not without the taking of an oath[y]—for others became priests without an oath, 21 but he with an oath, through the one who said to him:
“The Lord has sworn, and he will not repent:
22 to that same degree has Jesus [also] become the guarantee of an [even] better covenant.[z] 23 Those priests were many because they were prevented by death from remaining in office, 24 but he, because he remains forever, has a priesthood that does not pass away. 25 [aa]Therefore, he is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.
26 It was fitting that we should have such a high priest:[ab] holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, higher than the heavens.[ac] 27 He has no need, as did the high priests, to offer sacrifice day after day,[ad] first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did that once for all when he offered himself. 28 For the law appoints men subject to weakness to be high priests, but the word of the oath, which was taken after the law, appoints a son, who has been made perfect forever.
Heavenly Priesthood of Jesus.[ae] 1 The main point of what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister of the sanctuary[af] and of the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. 3 Now every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus the necessity for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If then he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are those who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle. For he says, “See that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 Now he has obtained so much more excellent a ministry as he is mediator of a better covenant, enacted on better promises.
“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
13 [ai]When he speaks of a “new” covenant, he declares the first one obsolete. And what has become obsolete and has grown old is close to disappearing.
The Worship of the First Covenant.[aj] 1 Now [even] the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was constructed, the outer one,[ak] in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of offering; this is called the Holy Place. 3 [al]Behind the second veil was the tabernacle called the Holy of Holies, 4 in which were the gold altar of incense[am] and the ark of the covenant entirely covered with gold. In it were the gold jar containing the manna, the staff of Aaron that had sprouted, and the tablets of the covenant. 5 [an]Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of expiation. Now is not the time to speak of these in detail.
6 With these arrangements for worship, the priests, in performing their service,[ao] go into the outer tabernacle repeatedly, 7 but the high priest alone goes into the inner one once a year, not without blood[ap] that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people. 8 In this way the holy Spirit shows that the way into the sanctuary had not yet been revealed while the outer tabernacle still had its place. 9 This is a symbol of the present time,[aq] in which gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worshiper in conscience 10 but only in matters of food and drink and various ritual washings: regulations concerning the flesh, imposed until the time of the new order.
Sacrifice of Jesus. 11 [ar]But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come to be,[as] passing through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made by hands, that is, not belonging to this creation, 12 he entered once for all into the sanctuary, not with the blood of goats and calves but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes[at] can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit[au] offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
15 [av]For this reason he is mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. 16 [aw]Now where there is a will, the death of the testator must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death; it has no force while the testator is alive. 18 Thus not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 [ax]When every commandment had been proclaimed by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves [and goats], together with water and crimson wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is ‘the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined upon you.’” 21 In the same way, he sprinkled also the tabernacle[ay] and all the vessels of worship with blood. 22 [az]According to the law almost everything is purified by blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
23 [ba]Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified by these rites, but the heavenly things themselves by better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a copy of the true one, but heaven itself, that he might now appear before God on our behalf. 25 Not that he might offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters each year into the sanctuary with blood that is not his own; 26 if that were so, he would have had to suffer repeatedly from the foundation of the world. But now once for all he has appeared at the end of the ages[bb] to take away sin by his sacrifice. 27 Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, 28 so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many,[bc] will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.
One Sacrifice Instead of Many. 1 [bd]Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come,[be] and not the very image of them, it can never make perfect those who come to worship by the same sacrifices that they offer continually each year. 2 Otherwise, would not the sacrifices have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, once cleansed, would no longer have had any consciousness of sins? 3 But in those sacrifices there is only a yearly remembrance of sins, 4 for it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats take away sins. 5 For this reason, when he came into the world, he said:[bf]
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
8 First he says, “Sacrifices and offerings, holocausts and sin offerings,[bg] you neither desired nor delighted in.” These are offered according to the law. 9 Then he says, “Behold, I come to do your will.” He takes away the first to establish the second. 10 By this “will,” we have been consecrated through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 [bh]Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12 But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God; 13 [bi]now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool. 14 For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated. 15 [bj]The holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying:
16 “This is the covenant I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord:
17 he also says:[bk]
“Their sins and their evildoing
18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin.
Recalling the Past.[bl] 19 Therefore, brothers, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary 20 [bm]by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, 21 [bn]and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,” 22 let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience[bo] and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy. 24 We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. 25 We should not stay away from our assembly,[bp] as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.
26 [bq]If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who rejects the law of Moses[br] is put to death without pity on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace? 30 We know the one who said:
“Vengeance is mine; I will repay,”
“The Lord will judge his people.”
31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened,[bs] you endured a great contest of suffering. 33 At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. 34 You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession. 35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. 36 You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised.
37 “For, after just a brief moment,[bt]
39 We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.