Bible: Heb 4:14-10:18
Jesus Our Compassionate High Priest
4:14 Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 4:15 For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. 4:16 Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help. 1
5:1 For every high priest is taken from among the people 2 and appointed 3 to represent them before God, 4 to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 5:2 He is able to deal compassionately with those who are ignorant and erring, since he also is subject to weakness, 5:3 and for this reason he is obligated to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. 5:4 And no one assumes this honor 5 on his own initiative, 6 but only when called to it by God, 7 as in fact Aaron was. 5:5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming high priest, but the one who glorified him was God, 8 who said to him, “You are my Son! Today I have fathered you,” 9 5:6 as also in another place God 10 says, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” 11 5:7 During his earthly life 12 Christ 13 offered 14 both requests and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his devotion. 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. 15 5:9 And by being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 5:10 and he was designated 16 by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek. 17
The Need to Move on to Maturity
5:11 On this topic we have much to say 18 and it is difficult to explain, since you have become sluggish 19 in hearing. 5:12 For though you should in fact be teachers by this time, 20 you need someone to teach you the beginning elements of God’s utterances. 21 You have gone back to needing 22 milk, not 23 solid food. 5:13 For everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced in the message of righteousness, because he is an infant. 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.
6:1 Therefore we must progress beyond 24 the elementary 25 instructions about Christ 26 and move on 27 to maturity, not laying this foundation again: repentance from dead works and faith in God, 6:2 teaching about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 6:3 And this is what we intend to do, 28 if God permits. 6:4 For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 6:5 tasted the good word of God and the miracles of the coming age, 6:6 and then have committed apostasy, 29 to renew them again to repentance, since 30 they are crucifying the Son of God for themselves all over again 31 and holding him up to contempt. 6:7 For the ground that has soaked up the rain that frequently falls on 32 it and yields useful vegetation for those who tend it receives a blessing from God. 6:8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is useless and about to be cursed; 33 its fate is to be burned. 6:9 But in your case, dear friends, even though we speak like this, we are convinced of better things relating to salvation. 6:10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name, in having served and continuing to serve the saints. 6:11 But we passionately want each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of your hope until the end, 6:12 so that you may not be sluggish, 34 but imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherit the promises.
6:13 Now when God made his promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, 6:14 saying, “Surely I will bless you greatly and multiply your descendants abundantly.” 35 6:15 And so by persevering, Abraham 36 inherited the promise. 6:16 For people 37 swear by something greater than themselves, 38 and the oath serves as a confirmation to end all dispute. 39 6:17 In the same way 40 God wanted to demonstrate more clearly to the heirs of the promise that his purpose was unchangeable, 41 and so he intervened with an oath, 6:18 so that we who have found refuge in him 42 may find strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us through two unchangeable things, since it is impossible for God to lie. 6:19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast, which reaches inside behind the curtain, 43 6:20 where Jesus our forerunner entered on our behalf, since he became a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek. 44
The Nature of Melchizedek’s Priesthood
7:1 Now this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him. 45 7:2 To him 46 also Abraham apportioned a tithe 47 of everything. 48 His name first means 49 king of righteousness, then king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 7:3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, he has neither beginning of days nor end of life but is like the son of God, and he remains a priest for all time. 7:4 But see how great he must be, if 50 Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe 51 of his plunder. 7:5 And those of the sons of Levi who receive the priestly office 52 have authorization according to the law to collect a tithe from the people, that is, from their fellow countrymen, 53 although they too are descendants of Abraham. 54 7:6 But Melchizedek 55 who does not share their ancestry 56 collected a tithe 57 from Abraham and blessed 58 the one who possessed the promise. 7:7 Now without dispute the inferior is blessed by the superior, 7:8 and in one case tithes are received by mortal men, while in the other by him who is affirmed to be alive. 7:9 And it could be said that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid a tithe through Abraham. 7:10 For he was still in his ancestor Abraham’s loins 59 when Melchizedek met him.
Jesus and the Priesthood of Melchizedek
7:11 So if perfection had in fact been possible through the Levitical priesthood – for on that basis 60 the people received the law – what further need would there have been for another priest to arise, said to be in the order of Melchizedek and not in Aaron’s order? 7:12 For when the priesthood changes, a change in the law must come 61 as well. 7:13 Yet the one these things are spoken about belongs to 62 a different tribe, and no one from that tribe 63 has ever officiated at the altar. 7:14 For it is clear that our Lord is descended from Judah, yet Moses said nothing about priests in connection with that tribe. 7:15 And this is even clearer if another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 7:16 who has become a priest not by a legal regulation about physical descent 64 but by the power of an indestructible life. 7:17 For here is the testimony about him: 65 “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” 66 7:18 On the one hand a former command is set aside 67 because it is weak and useless, 68 7:19 for the law made nothing perfect. On the other hand a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 7:20 And since 69 this was not done without a sworn affirmation – for the others have become priests without a sworn affirmation, 7:21 but Jesus 70 did so 71 with a sworn affirmation by the one who said to him, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever’” 72 – 7:22 accordingly Jesus has become the guarantee 73 of a better covenant. 7:23 And the others 74 who became priests were numerous, because death prevented them 75 from continuing in office, 76 7:24 but he holds his priesthood permanently since he lives forever. 7:25 So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 7:26 For it is indeed fitting for us to have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 7:27 He has no need to do every day what those priests do, to offer sacrifices first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people, since he did this in offering himself once for all. 7:28 For the law appoints as high priests men subject to weakness, 77 but the word of solemn affirmation that came after the law appoints a son made perfect forever.
The High Priest of a Better Covenant
8:1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: 78 We have such a high priest, one who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 79 8:2 a minister in the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. 8:3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. So this one too had to have something to offer. 8:4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are already priests who offer 80 the gifts prescribed by the law. 8:5 The place where they serve is 81 a sketch 82 and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, just as Moses was warned by God as he was about to complete the tabernacle. For he says, “See that you make everything according to the design 83 shown to you on the mountain.” 84 8:6 But 85 now Jesus 86 has obtained a superior ministry, since 87 the covenant that he mediates is also better and is enacted 88 on better promises. 89
“Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
8:9 “It will not be like the covenant 95 that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord.
8:10 “For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put 96 my laws in their minds 97 and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people. 98
8:11 “And there will be no need at all 99 for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. 100
8:12 “For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer.” 101
The Arrangement and Ritual of the Earthly Sanctuary
9:1 Now the first covenant, 104 in fact, had regulations for worship and its earthly sanctuary. 9:2 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, 105 which contained 106 the lampstand, the table, and the presentation of the loaves; this 107 is called the holy place. 9:3 And after the second curtain there was a tent called the holy of holies. 9:4 It contained the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered entirely with gold. In this ark 108 were the golden urn containing the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 9:5 And above the ark 109 were the cherubim 110 of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Now is not the time to speak of these things in detail. 9:6 So with these things prepared like this, the priests enter continually into the outer tent 111 as they perform their duties. 9:7 But only the high priest enters once a year into the inner tent, 112 and not without blood that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 113 9:8 The Holy Spirit is making clear that the way into the holy place had not yet appeared as long as the old tabernacle 114 was standing. 9:9 This was a symbol for the time then present, when gifts and sacrifices were offered that could not perfect the conscience of the worshiper. 9:10 They served only for matters of food and drink 115 and various washings; they are external regulations 116 imposed until the new order came. 117
Christ’s Service in the Heavenly Sanctuary
9:11 But now Christ has come 118 as the high priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 9:12 and he entered once for all into the most holy place not by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, and so he himself secured 119 eternal redemption. 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled consecrated them and provided ritual purity, 120 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our 121 consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
9:15 And so he is the mediator 122 of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance he has promised, 123 since he died 124 to set them free from the violations committed under the first covenant. 9:16 For where there is a will, the death of the one who made it must be proven. 125 9:17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it carries no force while the one who made it is alive. 9:18 So even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood. 126 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every command to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 9:20 and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.” 127 9:21 And both the tabernacle and all the utensils of worship he likewise sprinkled with blood. 9:22 Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 9:23 So it was necessary for the sketches 128 of the things in heaven to be purified with these sacrifices, 129 but the heavenly things themselves required 130 better sacrifices than these. 9:24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands – the representation 131 of the true sanctuary 132 – but into heaven itself, and he appears now in God’s presence for us. 9:25 And he did not enter to offer 133 himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the sanctuary year after year with blood that is not his own, 9:26 for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice. 9:27 And just as people 134 are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, 135 9:28 so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, 136 to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin 137 but to bring salvation. 138
Concluding Exposition: Old and New Sacrifices Contrasted
10:1 For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship. 139 10:2 For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so have 140 no further consciousness of sin? 10:3 But in those sacrifices 141 there is a reminder of sins year after year. 10:4 For the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. 142 10:5 So when he came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me.
10:6 “Whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you took no delight in.
10:8 When he says above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin-offeringsyou did not desire nor did you take delight in them” 145 (which are offered according to the law), 10:9 then he says, “Here I am: I have come to do your will.” 146 He does away with 147 the first to establish the second. 10:10 By his will 148 we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 10:11 And every priest stands day after day 149 serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again – sacrifices that can never take away sins. 10:12 But when this priest 150 had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand 151 of God, 10:13 where he is now waiting 152 until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet. 153 10:14 For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy. 10:15 And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us, for after saying, 154 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put 155 my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,” 156 10:17 then he says, 157 “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.” 158 10:18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.