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The first agreement had laws about worship. And it had a holy place on earth where the agreement was kept.

A house was made. In the first part of the house were the light, the table, and the bread of God. This first part was called the Holy Place.

The next part of the house was called the Most Holy Place.

In the Most Holy Place was a pan made of gold. In this pan a fire could burn to make a sweet-smelling smoke. The box of the agreement was also in the Most Holy Place. It was covered all over with gold. In this box were: the golden pot, which had some of the food God sent from heaven for the people in the desert; Aaron's stick which grew flowers on it; and the stones which had God's agreement written on them.

On top of the box were the shapes of two angels. They showed that God is great. Their wings spread over the cover of the box. It was the place where God showed that he is kind. But we cannot take time to tell about every part of these things now.

These things were made ready. The priests always went into the first part of the house to do their work for God.

But only the high priest went into the second part. And he went in only once a year. He never went in without taking blood with him. He gave the blood to God for the wrong things he had done and for the wrong things people had done.

This is how the Holy Spirit showed that the way into the Most Holy Place was not yet open to everybody. It was not open as long as the first house was still standing.

This first part is a picture of the time we are in now. In it gifts and sacrifices are made to God. But they cannot make a person's heart clean to worship God.

10 These are only things to eat and drink and different kinds of washings. They are laws made for the body until the time when everything is made right again.

11 But Christ has come as the high priest of the good things which have come. He went through a greater and better house which was not made by men's hands. It is not a part of this world.

12 He did not take the blood of goats and young cows. He took his own blood. And he went into the Most Holy Place just once. He paid for our sins and made us free for ever.

13 The priest takes the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes from a young cow that has been burned. He puts this on the people who have done wrong things. This makes their bodies clean.

14 If the blood of animals can do that, then the blood of Christ will clean our hearts much better. Christ gave himself to God as the sacrifice. He did this by the Spirit who lives for ever. He was a perfect sacrifice. He will clean our hearts from useless acts of worship. Then we can serve the living God.

15 That is why he is the middle man of a new agreement. He died and paid for the wrong things that were done under the first agreement. Because he is a middle man, those people who are called by God can have what he promised. This will belong to them for ever.

16 A person can say who will get his things when he dies. He writes this agreement down. Before anyone can have them, it must be proved that the person has died.

17 The agreement has no power until the one who made it has died. It has no power as long as the one who made it is living.

18 So even the old agreement made by God was not begun without blood.

19 Moses told all the people every part of the law. Then he took the blood of young cows and goats. He put some of the blood on the book of the law itself and on all the people. He took water and red wool and a plant called hyssop.

20 As he did this, he said, `This is the blood for the agreement which God has made for you.'

21 In the same way, he put some of the blood on the house he had made for God, and on all the things that were used in worship.

22 Yes, by the old law almost everything is made clean with blood. If no animal is killed to give blood, then there is no way for people to be forgiven for the wrong things they have done.

23 These things on earth show in a little way what things in heaven are like. The things on earth had to be cleaned by the blood of animals. But the things in heaven had to be cleaned with better sacrifices than these.

24 Christ did not go into a holy place made by men's hands. The holy places on earth only show in a little way what the true holy place in heaven is like. He went into heaven itself. Now he stands before God for our sake.

25 Christ did not have to offer himself as a sacrifice many times. He is not like the high priest who went into the Holy Place every year and took blood that was not his own blood.

26 If Christ were like him, he would have had to die many times ever since the world was first made. But as it is now, Christ came once in the last days of the world. He came to clean away what is wrong by giving himself as a sacrifice.

27 People must die, and after that they will be judged.

28 So Christ gave himself as a sacrifice only once. He took on himself the wrong things many people have done. He will come a second time. But he will not come to do anything about the wrong things people have done. He will come to save those who are looking and waiting for him.