The Old and the New
9 Now even the first covenant had regulations for divine worship and for the earthly sanctuary.(A) 2 A tabernacle (sacred tent) was put up, the outer one or first section, in which were the lampstand and the table with [its loaves of] the sacred showbread; this is called the Holy Place.(B) 3 Behind the second veil there was another tabernacle [the inner one or second section] known as the Holy of Holies,(C) 4 [a]having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered entirely with gold. This contained a golden jar which held the manna, and the rod of Aaron that sprouted, and the [two stone] tablets of the covenant [inscribed with the Ten Commandments];(D) 5 and above the ark were the [golden] cherubim of glory overshadowing [b]the mercy seat; but we cannot now go into detail about these things.
6 Now when these things have been prepared in this way, the priests continually enter the outer [or first section of the] tabernacle [that is, the Holy Place] performing [their ritual acts of] the divine worship, 7 but into the second [inner tabernacle, the Holy of Holies], only the high priest enters [and then only] once a year, and never without [bringing a sacrifice of] blood, which he offers [as a substitutionary atonement] for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.(E) 8 By this the Holy Spirit signifies that the way into the Holy Place [the true Holy of Holies and the presence of God] has not yet been disclosed as long as the [c]first or outer tabernacle is still standing [that is, as long as the Levitical system of worship remains a recognized institution], 9 for this [first or outer tabernacle] is a symbol [that is, an archetype or paradigm] for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which are incapable of perfecting the conscience and renewing the [inner self of the] worshiper. 10 For they [the gifts, sacrifices, and ceremonies] deal only with [clean and unclean] food and drink and various ritual washings, [mere] external regulations for the body imposed [to help the worshipers] until the time of reformation [that is, the time of the new order when Christ will establish the reality of what these things foreshadow—a better covenant].
11 But when Christ appeared as a High Priest of the good things to come [that is, true spiritual worship], He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not a part of this [material] creation. 12 He went once for all into the Holy Place [the Holy of Holies of heaven, into the presence of God], and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, having obtained and secured eternal redemption [that is, the salvation of all who personally believe in Him as Savior]. 13 For if the sprinkling of [ceremonially] defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a [burnt] heifer is sufficient for the cleansing of the body,(F) 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal [Holy] Spirit willingly offered Himself unblemished [that is, without moral or spiritual imperfection as a sacrifice] to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works and lifeless observances to serve the ever living God?
15 For this reason He is the Mediator and Negotiator of a new covenant [that is, an entirely new agreement uniting God and man], so that those who have been called [by God] may receive [the fulfillment of] the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has taken place [as the payment] which redeems them from the sins committed under the obsolete first covenant. 16 For where there is a will and [d]testament involved, the death of the one who made it must be established, 17 for a will and testament takes effect [only] at death, since it is never in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 So even the first covenant was not put in force without [the shedding of] blood. 19 For when every commandment in the Law had been read by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of the calves and goats [which had been sacrificed], together with water and scarlet wool and with a bunch of hyssop, and he sprinkled both the scroll itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant [that seals and ratifies the agreement] which God ordained and commanded [me to deliver to] you.”(G) 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the tabernacle and all the containers and sacred utensils of worship with the blood. 22 In fact under the Law almost everything is cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness [neither release from sin and its guilt, nor cancellation of the merited punishment].
23 Therefore it was necessary for the [earthly] copies of the heavenly things to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves required far better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but [He entered] into heaven itself, now to appear in the very presence of God on our behalf; 25 nor did He [enter into the heavenly sanctuary to] offer Himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer over and over since the foundation of the world; but now once for all at the consummation of the ages He has appeared and been publicly manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And just as it is appointed and destined for all men to die once and after this [comes certain] judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once and once for all to bear [as a burden] [e]the sins of many, will appear a second time [when he returns to earth], not to deal with sin, but to bring salvation to those who are eagerly and confidently waiting for Him.
- Hebrews 9:4 The Greek participle translated “having” probably conveys the notion of “associated with it” and hence refers to the fact that the altar of incense, although located in the Holy Place according to Ex 30:6, here does not refer to location but to use, given the fact that the incense wafted behind the veil into the Holy of Holies.
- Hebrews 9:5 I.e. the lid of the ark where blood was sprinkled by the high priest.
- Hebrews 9:8 During the age of the old covenant a worshiper had no direct access to God.
- Hebrews 9:16 This Greek word may also be translated “covenant” as in v 18 and the author may be engaging in deliberate word play here playing off of both meanings.
- Hebrews 9:28 See Is 53:10-12.
New International Version
Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle
9 Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.(A) 2 A tabernacle(B) was set up. In its first room were the lampstand(C) and the table(D) with its consecrated bread;(E) this was called the Holy Place.(F) 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place,(G) 4 which had the golden altar of incense(H) and the gold-covered ark of the covenant.(I) This ark contained the gold jar of manna,(J) Aaron’s staff that had budded,(K) and the stone tablets of the covenant.(L) 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory,(M) overshadowing the atonement cover.(N) But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
6 When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly(O) into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7 But only the high priest entered(P) the inner room,(Q) and that only once a year,(R) and never without blood,(S) which he offered for himself(T) and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.(U) 8 The Holy Spirit was showing(V) by this that the way(W) into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9 This is an illustration(X) for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered(Y) were not able to clear the conscience(Z) of the worshiper. 10 They are only a matter of food(AA) and drink(AB) and various ceremonial washings(AC)—external regulations(AD) applying until the time of the new order.
The Blood of Christ
11 But when Christ came as high priest(AE) of the good things that are now already here,[a](AF) he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle(AG) that is not made with human hands,(AH) 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;(AI) but he entered the Most Holy Place(AJ) once for all(AK) by his own blood,(AL) thus obtaining[b] eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls(AM) and the ashes of a heifer(AN) 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(AO) offered himself(AP) unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences(AQ) from acts that lead to death,[c](AR) so that we may serve the living God!(AS)
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator(AT) of a new covenant,(AU) that those who are called(AV) may receive the promised(AW) eternal inheritance(AX)—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.(AY)
16 In the case of a will,[d] 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.(AZ) 19 When Moses had proclaimed(BA) every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves,(BB) together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.(BC) 20 He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”[e](BD) 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,(BE) and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.(BF)
23 It was necessary, then, for the copies(BG) 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;(BH) he entered heaven itself,(BI) now to appear for us in God’s presence.(BJ) 25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place(BK) every year with blood that is not his own.(BL) 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world.(BM) But he has appeared(BN) once for all(BO) at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.(BP) 27 Just as people are destined to die once,(BQ) and after that to face judgment,(BR) 28 so Christ was sacrificed once(BS) to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time,(BT) not to bear sin,(BU) but to bring salvation(BV) to those who are waiting for him.(BW)
King James Version
9 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
18 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
20 Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.