Hebrews 9:4-7 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)
The sanctuary under the old agreement
9 1-5 Now the first agreement had certain rules for the service of God, and it had a sanctuary, a holy place in this world for the eternal God. A tent was erected: in the outer compartment were placed the lamp-standard, the table and the sacred loaves. Inside, beyond the curtain, was the inner tent called the holy of holies in which were the golden censer and the gold inlaid ark of the agreement, containing the golden jar of manna, Aaron’s budding staff and the stone tablets inscribed with the words of the actual agreement. Above these things were fixed representations of the cherubim of glory, casting their shadow over the ark’s covering, known as the mercy seat. (All this is full of meaning but we cannot enter now into a detailed explanation.)
6-7 Under this arrangement the outer tent was habitually used by the priests in the regular discharge of their religious duties. But the inner tent was entered once a year only, by the High Priest, alone, bearing a sacrifice of shed blood to be offered for his own sins and those of the people.