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The Earthly and Heavenly Sanctuaries

Then indeed, the first covenant had ordinances for divine services and an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was made. In the first part of the tabernacle, called the Holy Place, were the candlestick, the table, and the showbread. Behind the second veil was the second part of the tabernacle called the Most Holy Place, which contained the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid with gold, containing the golden pot holding the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Concerning these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests would regularly go into the first part, conducting the services of God. But only the high priest went into the second part once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins of the people, committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was signifying through this that the way into the Most Holy Place was not yet revealed, because the first part of the tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, showing that the gifts and sacrifices offered could not perfect the conscience of those who worshipped, 10 since they are concerned only with foods and drinks, ceremonial cleansings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.

11 But Christ, when He came as a High Priest of the good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, 12 neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies so that the flesh is purified, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

15 For this reason He is the Mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the sins that were committed under the first covenant, so that those who are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

16 For where there is a will, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a will has force after men are dead, since it has no force at all while the testator lives. 18 So not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when Moses had taught every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.”[a] 21 Likewise he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the vessels of worship with blood. 22 And according to the law almost everything must be cleansed with blood; without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

Christ’s Sacrifice Takes Away Sin

23 It was therefore necessary that the replicas of heavenly things be cleansed with these sacrifices, but that the heavenly things themselves be cleansed with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter holy places made with hands, which are patterned after the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. 25 Nor did He enter to offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 For then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the world was created, but now He has appeared once at the end of the ages to put away sin by sacrificing Himself. 27 As it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to save those who eagerly wait for Him.


  1. Hebrews 9:20 Ex 24:8.