A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.(A) For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.[a](B) Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”[b](C)

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”[c](D) And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”(E)

Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience,(F) God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts.”[d](G)

For if Joshua had given them rest,(H) God would not have spoken(I) later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[e](J) just as God did from his.(K) 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.(L)

12 For the word of God(M) is alive(N) and active.(O) Sharper than any double-edged sword,(P) it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.(Q) 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.(R) Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest(S) who has ascended into heaven,[f](T) Jesus the Son of God,(U) let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.(V) 15 For we do not have a high priest(W) who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are(X)—yet he did not sin.(Y) 16 Let us then approach(Z) God’s throne of grace with confidence,(AA) so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God,(AB) to offer gifts and sacrifices(AC) for sins.(AD) He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray,(AE) since he himself is subject to weakness.(AF) This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.(AG) And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.(AH)

In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory(AI) of becoming a high priest.(AJ) But God said(AK) to him,

“You are my Son;
    today I have become your Father.”[g](AL)

And he says in another place,

“You are a priest forever,
    in the order of Melchizedek.(AM)[h](AN)

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions(AO) with fervent cries and tears(AP) to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard(AQ) because of his reverent submission.(AR) Son(AS) though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered(AT) and, once made perfect,(AU) he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest(AV) in the order of Melchizedek.(AW)

Warning Against Falling Away(AX)

11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths(AY) of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!(AZ) 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant,(BA) is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature,(BB) who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.(BC)

Therefore let us move beyond(BD) the elementary teachings(BE) about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,[i](BF) and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites,[j](BG) the laying on of hands,(BH) the resurrection of the dead,(BI) and eternal judgment. And God permitting,(BJ) we will do so.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened,(BK) who have tasted the heavenly gift,(BL) who have shared in the Holy Spirit,(BM) who have tasted the goodness(BN) of the word of God(BO) and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen[k] away, to be brought back to repentance.(BP) To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God(BQ) all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed.(BR) In the end it will be burned.

Even though we speak like this, dear friends,(BS) we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.(BT) 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope(BU) for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate(BV) those who through faith and patience(BW) inherit what has been promised.(BX)

The Certainty of God’s Promise

13 When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself,(BY) 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”[l](BZ) 15 And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.(CA)

16 People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.(CB) 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging(CC) nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised,(CD) he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie,(CE) we who have fled to take hold of the hope(CF) set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,(CG) 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.(CH) He has become a high priest(CI) forever, in the order of Melchizedek.(CJ)

Melchizedek the Priest

This Melchizedek was king of Salem(CK) and priest of God Most High.(CL) He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him,(CM) and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy,(CN) without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God,(CO) he remains a priest forever.

Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch(CP) Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!(CQ) Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people(CR)—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed(CS) him who had the promises.(CT) And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living.(CU) One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, 10 because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

Jesus Like Melchizedek

11 If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people(CV) established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come,(CW) one in the order of Melchizedek,(CX) not in the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. 13 He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe,(CY) and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar.(CZ) 14 For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah,(DA) and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16 one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is declared:

“You are a priest forever,
    in the order of Melchizedek.”[m](DB)

18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless(DC) 19 (for the law made nothing perfect),(DD) and a better hope(DE) is introduced, by which we draw near to God.(DF)

20 And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21 but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him:

“The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind:(DG)
    ‘You are a priest forever.’”[n](DH)

22 Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.(DI)

23 Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.(DJ) 25 Therefore he is able to save(DK) completely[o] those who come to God(DL) through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.(DM)

26 Such a high priest(DN) truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners,(DO) exalted above the heavens.(DP) 27 Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices(DQ) day after day, first for his own sins,(DR) and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all(DS) when he offered himself.(DT) 28 For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness;(DU) but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son,(DV) who has been made perfect(DW) forever.

The High Priest of a New Covenant

Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest,(DX) who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,(DY) and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle(DZ) set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

Every high priest(EA) is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices,(EB) and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.(EC) If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.(ED) They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy(EE) and shadow(EF) of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned(EG) when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”[p](EH) But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant(EI) of which he is mediator(EJ) is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.

For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.(EK) But God found fault with the people and said[q]:

“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will make a new covenant(EL)
with the people of Israel
    and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
    I made with their ancestors(EM)
when I took them by the hand
    to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
    and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
10 This is the covenant(EN) I will establish with the people of Israel
    after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
    and write them on their hearts.(EO)
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.(EP)
11 No longer will they teach their neighbor,
    or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,(EQ)
    from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will forgive their wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.(ER)[r](ES)

13 By calling this covenant “new,”(ET) he has made the first one obsolete;(EU) and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle

Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.(EV) A tabernacle(EW) was set up. In its first room were the lampstand(EX) and the table(EY) with its consecrated bread;(EZ) this was called the Holy Place.(FA) Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place,(FB) which had the golden altar of incense(FC) and the gold-covered ark of the covenant.(FD) This ark contained the gold jar of manna,(FE) Aaron’s staff that had budded,(FF) and the stone tablets of the covenant.(FG) Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory,(FH) overshadowing the atonement cover.(FI) But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.

When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly(FJ) into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered(FK) the inner room,(FL) and that only once a year,(FM) and never without blood,(FN) which he offered for himself(FO) and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.(FP) The Holy Spirit was showing(FQ) by this that the way(FR) into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration(FS) for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered(FT) were not able to clear the conscience(FU) of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food(FV) and drink(FW) and various ceremonial washings(FX)—external regulations(FY) applying until the time of the new order.

The Blood of Christ

11 But when Christ came as high priest(FZ) of the good things that are now already here,[s](GA) he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle(GB) that is not made with human hands,(GC) that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves;(GD) but he entered the Most Holy Place(GE) once for all(GF) by his own blood,(GG) thus obtaining[t] eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls(GH) and the ashes of a heifer(GI) sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit(GJ) offered himself(GK) unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences(GL) from acts that lead to death,[u](GM) so that we may serve the living God!(GN)

15 For this reason Christ is the mediator(GO) of a new covenant,(GP) that those who are called(GQ) may receive the promised(GR) eternal inheritance(GS)—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.(GT)

16 In the case of a will,[v] it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18 This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.(GU) 19 When Moses had proclaimed(GV) every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves,(GW) together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.(GX) 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”[w](GY) 21 In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood,(GZ) and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.(HA)

23 It was necessary, then, for the copies(HB) of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one;(HC) he entered heaven itself,(HD) now to appear for us in God’s presence.(HE) 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place(HF) every year with blood that is not his own.(HG) 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world.(HH) But he has appeared(HI) once for all(HJ) at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.(HK) 27 Just as people are destined to die once,(HL) and after that to face judgment,(HM) 28 so Christ was sacrificed once(HN) to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time,(HO) not to bear sin,(HP) but to bring salvation(HQ) to those who are waiting for him.(HR)

Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

10 The law is only a shadow(HS) of the good things(HT) that are coming—not the realities themselves.(HU) For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect(HV) those who draw near to worship.(HW) Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.(HX) But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.(HY) It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats(HZ) to take away sins.(IA)

Therefore, when Christ came into the world,(IB) he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
    but a body you prepared for me;(IC)
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll(ID)
    I have come to do your will, my God.’”[x](IE)

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”(IF)—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.”(IG) He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy(IH) through the sacrifice of the body(II) of Jesus Christ once for all.(IJ)

11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices,(IK) which can never take away sins.(IL) 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins,(IM) he sat down at the right hand of God,(IN) 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.(IO) 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect(IP) forever those who are being made holy.(IQ)

15 The Holy Spirit also testifies(IR) to us about this. First he says:

16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”[y](IS)

17 Then he adds:

“Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.”[z](IT)

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

A Call to Persevere in Faith

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence(IU) to enter the Most Holy Place(IV) by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way(IW) opened for us through the curtain,(IX) that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest(IY) over the house of God,(IZ) 22 let us draw near to God(JA) with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings,(JB) having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience(JC) and having our bodies washed with pure water.(JD) 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope(JE) we profess,(JF) for he who promised is faithful.(JG) 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,(JH) 25 not giving up meeting together,(JI) as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another(JJ)—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.(JK)

26 If we deliberately keep on sinning(JL) after we have received the knowledge of the truth,(JM) no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire(JN) that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.(JO) 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God(JP) underfoot,(JQ) who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant(JR) that sanctified them,(JS) and who has insulted the Spirit(JT) of grace?(JU) 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[aa](JV) and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[ab](JW) 31 It is a dreadful thing(JX) to fall into the hands(JY) of the living God.(JZ)

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light,(KA) when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.(KB) 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution;(KC) at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.(KD) 34 You suffered along with those in prison(KE) and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.(KF) 35 So do not throw away your confidence;(KG) it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere(KH) so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.(KI) 37 For,

“In just a little while,
    he who is coming(KJ) will come
    and will not delay.”[ac](KK)

38 And,

“But my righteous[ad] one will live by faith.(KL)
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”[ae](KM)

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.


  1. Hebrews 4:2 Some manuscripts because those who heard did not combine it with faith
  2. Hebrews 4:3 Psalm 95:11; also in verse 5
  3. Hebrews 4:4 Gen. 2:2
  4. Hebrews 4:7 Psalm 95:7,8
  5. Hebrews 4:10 Or labor
  6. Hebrews 4:14 Greek has gone through the heavens
  7. Hebrews 5:5 Psalm 2:7
  8. Hebrews 5:6 Psalm 110:4
  9. Hebrews 6:1 Or from useless rituals
  10. Hebrews 6:2 Or about baptisms
  11. Hebrews 6:6 Or age, if they fall
  12. Hebrews 6:14 Gen. 22:17
  13. Hebrews 7:17 Psalm 110:4
  14. Hebrews 7:21 Psalm 110:4
  15. Hebrews 7:25 Or forever
  16. Hebrews 8:5 Exodus 25:40
  17. Hebrews 8:8 Some manuscripts may be translated fault and said to the people.
  18. Hebrews 8:12 Jer. 31:31-34
  19. Hebrews 9:11 Some early manuscripts are to come
  20. Hebrews 9:12 Or blood, having obtained
  21. Hebrews 9:14 Or from useless rituals
  22. Hebrews 9:16 Same Greek word as covenant; also in verse 17
  23. Hebrews 9:20 Exodus 24:8
  24. Hebrews 10:7 Psalm 40:6-8 (see Septuagint)
  25. Hebrews 10:16 Jer. 31:33
  26. Hebrews 10:17 Jer. 31:34
  27. Hebrews 10:30 Deut. 32:35
  28. Hebrews 10:30 Deut. 32:36; Psalm 135:14
  29. Hebrews 10:37 Isaiah 26:20; Hab. 2:3
  30. Hebrews 10:38 Some early manuscripts But the righteous
  31. Hebrews 10:38 Hab. 2:4 (see Septuagint)

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