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Hebrews 8-10 Common English Bible (CEB)

Meeting tents, sacrifices, and covenants

Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We have this kind of high priest. He sat down at the right side of the throne of the majesty in the heavens. He’s serving as a priest in the holy place, which is the true meeting tent that God, not any human being, set up. Every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices. So it’s necessary for this high priest also to have something to offer. If he was located on earth, he wouldn’t be a priest because there are already others who offer gifts based on the Law. They serve in a place that is a copy and shadow of the heavenly meeting tent. This is indicated when Moses was warned by God when he was about to set up the meeting tent: See that you follow the pattern that I showed you on the mountain in every detail.[a] But now, Jesus has received a superior priestly service just as he arranged a better covenant that is enacted with better promises.

If the first covenant had been without fault, it wouldn’t have made sense to expect a second. But God did find fault with them, since he says,

Look, the days are coming, says the Lord,
        when I will make a covenant with the house of Israel,
        and I will make a new covenant with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors
    on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt,
        because they did not continue to keep my covenant,
        and I lost interest in them, says the Lord.
10 This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
        after those days, says the Lord.
I will place my laws in their minds,
        and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
    and they will be my people.
11     And each person won’t ever teach a neighbor
    or their brother or sister, saying,Know the Lord,
        because they will all know me,
            from the least important of them to the most important;
12         because I will be lenient toward their unjust actions,
            and I won’t remember their sins anymore.[b]

13 When it says new, it makes the first obsolete. And if something is old and outdated, it’s close to disappearing.

Christ’s service in the heavenly meeting tent

So then the first covenant had regulations for the priests’ service and the holy place on earth. They pitched the first tent called the holy place. It contained the lampstand, the table, and the loaves of bread presented to God. There was a tent behind the second curtain called the holy of holies. It had the gold altar for incense and the chest containing the covenant, which was covered with gold on all sides. In the chest there was a gold jar containing manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the chest there were magnificent winged creatures[c] casting their shadow over the seat of the chest, where sin is taken care of. Right now we can’t talk about these things in detail. When these things have been prepared in this way, priests enter the first tent all the time as they perform their service. But only the high priest enters the second tent once a year. He never does this without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins the people committed in ignorance. With this, the Holy Spirit is showing that the way into the holy place hadn’t been revealed yet while the first tent was standing. This is a symbol for the present time. It shows that the gifts and sacrifices that are being offered can’t perfect the conscience of the one who is serving. 10 These are superficial regulations that are only about food, drink, and various ritual ways to wash with water. They are regulations that have been imposed until the time of the new order.

11 But Christ has appeared as the high priest of the good things that have happened. He passed through the greater and more perfect meeting tent, which isn’t made by human hands (that is, it’s not a part of this world). 12 He entered the holy of holies once for all by his own blood, not by the blood of goats or calves, securing our deliverance for all time. 13 If the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkled ashes of cows made spiritually contaminated people holy and clean, 14 how much more will the blood of Jesus wash our consciences clean from dead works in order to serve the living God? He offered himself to God through the eternal Spirit as a sacrifice without any flaw.

Christ’s death and the new covenant

15 This is why he’s the mediator of a new covenant (which is a will): so that those who are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance on the basis of his death. His death occurred to set them free from the offenses committed under the first covenant. 16 When there is a will, you need to confirm the death of the one who made the will. 17 This is because a will takes effect only after a death, since it’s not in force while the one who made the will is alive. 18 So not even the first covenant was put into effect without blood. 19 Moses took the blood of calves and goats, along with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the Law scroll itself and all the people after he had proclaimed every command of the Law to all the people. 20 While he did it, he said, This is the blood of the covenant that God established for you.[d] 21 And in the same way he sprinkled the meeting tent and also all the equipment that would be used in the priests’ service with blood. 22 Almost everything is cleansed by blood, according to the Law’s regulations, and there is no forgiveness without blood being shed.

23 So it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be cleansed with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things had to be cleansed with better sacrifices than these. 24 Christ didn’t enter the holy place (which is a copy of the true holy place) made by human hands, but into heaven itself, so that he now appears in God’s presence for us. 25 He didn’t enter to offer himself over and over again, like the high priest enters the earthly holy place every year with blood that isn’t his. 26 If that were so, then Jesus would have to suffer many times since the foundation of the world. Instead, he has now appeared once at the end of the ages to get rid of sin by sacrificing himself. 27 People are destined to die once and then face judgment. 28 In the same way, Christ was also offered once to take on himself the sins of many people. He will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice

10 The Law is a shadow of the good things that are coming, not the real things themselves. It never can perfect the ones who are trying to draw near to God through the same sacrifices that are offered continually every year. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered? If the people carrying out their religious duties had been completely cleansed once, no one would have been aware of sin anymore. Instead, these sacrifices are a reminder of sin every year, because it’s impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Therefore, when he comes into the world he says,

You didn’t want a sacrifice or an offering,
    but you prepared a body for me;
you weren’t pleased with entirely burned offerings or a sin offering.
    So then I said,
    Look, I’ve come to do your will, God.
    This has been written about me in the scroll.[e]

He says above, You didn’t want and you weren’t pleased with a sacrifice or an offering or with entirely burned offerings or a purification offering,[f] which are offered because the Law requires them. Then he said, Look, I’ve come to do your will.[g] He puts an end to the first to establish the second. 10 We have been made holy by God’s will through the offering of Jesus Christ’s body once for all.

11 Every priest stands every day serving and offering the same sacrifices over and over, sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right side of God. 13 Since then, he’s waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for his feet, 14 because he perfected the people who are being made holy with one offering for all time.

15 The Holy Spirit affirms this when saying,

16 This is the covenant that I will make with them.
    After these days, says the Lord,
        I will place my laws in their hearts
        and write them on their minds.
17     And I won’t remember their sins
        and their lawless behavior anymore.[h]

18 When there is forgiveness for these things, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Second summary of the message

19 Brothers and sisters, we have confidence that we can enter the holy of holies by means of Jesus’ blood, 20 through a new and living way that he opened up for us through the curtain, which is his body, 21 and we have a great high priest over God’s house.

22 Therefore, let’s draw near with a genuine heart with the certainty that our faith gives us, since our hearts are sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies are washed with pure water.

23 Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable.

24 And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. 25 Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.

Judgment for intentional sin

26 If we make the decision to sin after we receive the knowledge of the truth, there isn’t a sacrifice for sins left any longer. 27 There’s only a scary expectation of judgment and of a burning fire that’s going to devour God’s opponents. 28 When someone rejected the Law from Moses, they were put to death without mercy on the basis of the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think is deserved by the person who walks all over God’s Son, who acts as if the blood of the covenant that made us holy is just ordinary blood, and who insults the Spirit of grace? 30 We know the one who said,

Judgment is mine; I will pay people back.[i]

And he also said,

The Lord will judge his people.[j]

31 It’s scary to fall into the hands of the living God!

Confidence and faith to endure

32 But remember the earlier days, after you saw the light. You stood your ground while you were suffering from an enormous amount of pressure. 33 Sometimes you were exposed to insults and abuse in public. Other times you became partners with those who were treated that way. 34 You even showed sympathy toward people in prison and accepted the confiscation of your possessions with joy, since you knew that you had better and lasting possessions. 35 So don’t throw away your confidence—it brings a great reward. 36 You need to endure so that you can receive the promises after you do God’s will.

37 In a little while longer,
    the one who is coming will come and won’t delay;
38 but my righteous one will live by faith,
    and my whole being won’t be pleased with anyone who shrinks back.[k]

39 But we aren’t the sort of people who timidly draw back and end up being destroyed. We’re the sort of people who have faith so that our whole beings are preserved.

Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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