Bible: Hebrews 9-13
The Arrangement and Ritual of the Earthly Sanctuary
9:1 Now the first covenant, 1 in fact, had regulations for worship and its earthly sanctuary. 9:2 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, 2 which contained 3 the lampstand, the table, and the presentation of the loaves; this 4 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 5 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 6 were the cherubim 7 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 8 as they perform their duties. 9:7 But only the high priest enters once a year into the inner tent, 9 and not without blood that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 10 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 11 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 12 and various washings; they are external regulations 13 imposed until the new order came. 14
Christ’s Service in the Heavenly Sanctuary
9:11 But now Christ has come 15 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 16 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, 17 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our 18 consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
9:15 And so he is the mediator 19 of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance he has promised, 20 since he died 21 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. 22 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. 23 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.” 24 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 25 of the things in heaven to be purified with these sacrifices, 26 but the heavenly things themselves required 27 better sacrifices than these. 9:24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands – the representation 28 of the true sanctuary 29 – but into heaven itself, and he appears now in God’s presence for us. 9:25 And he did not enter to offer 30 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 31 are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, 32 9:28 so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, 33 to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin 34 but to bring salvation. 35
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. 36 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 37 no further consciousness of sin? 10:3 But in those sacrifices 38 there is a reminder of sins year after year. 10:4 For the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. 39 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” 42 (which are offered according to the law), 10:9 then he says, “Here I am: I have come to do your will.” 43 He does away with 44 the first to establish the second. 10:10 By his will 45 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 46 serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again – sacrifices that can never take away sins. 10:12 But when this priest 47 had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand 48 of God, 10:13 where he is now waiting 49 until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet. 50 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, 51 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put 52 my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,” 53 10:17 then he says, 54 “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.” 55 10:18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Drawing Near to God in Enduring Faith
10:19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, 56 since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 10:20 by the fresh and living way that he inaugurated for us 57 through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 58 10:21 and since we have a great priest 59 over the house of God, 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, 60 because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience 61 and our bodies washed in pure water. 10:23 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. 10:24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 62 10:25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day 63 drawing near. 64
10:26 For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us, 65 10:27 but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury 66 of fire that will consume God’s enemies. 67 10:28 Someone who rejected the law of Moses was put to death 68 without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 69 10:29 How much greater punishment do you think that person deserves who has contempt for 70 the Son of God, and profanes 71 the blood of the covenant that made him holy, 72 and insults the Spirit of grace? 10:30 For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” 73 and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 74 10:31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
10:32 But remember the former days when you endured a harsh conflict of suffering after you were enlightened. 10:33 At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and afflictions, and at other times you came to share with others who were treated in that way. 10:34 For in fact you shared the sufferings of those in prison, 75 and you accepted the confiscation of your belongings with joy, because you knew that you certainly 76 had a better and lasting possession. 10:35 So do not throw away your confidence, because it 77 has great reward. 10:36 For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised. 78 10:37 For just a little longer 79 and he who is coming will arrive and not delay. 80 10:38 But my righteous one will live by faith, and if he shrinks back, I 81 take no pleasure in him. 82 10:39 But we are not among those who shrink back and thus perish, but are among those who have faith and preserve their souls. 83
People Commended for Their Faith
11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. 11:2 For by it the people of old 84 received God’s commendation. 85 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds 86 were set in order at God’s command, 87 so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. 88 11:4 By faith Abel offered God a greater sacrifice than Cain, and through his faith 89 he was commended as righteous, because God commended him for his offerings. And through his faith 90 he still speaks, though he is dead. 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he did not see death, and he was not to be found because God took him up. For before his removal he had been commended as having pleased God. 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 11:7 By faith Noah, when he was warned about things not yet seen, with reverent regard 91 constructed an ark for the deliverance of his family. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, and he went out without understanding where he was going. 11:9 By faith he lived as a foreigner 92 in the promised land as though it were a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs 93 of the same promise. 11:10 For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, 94 whose architect and builder is God. 11:11 By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, 95 he received the ability to procreate, 96 because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy. 11:12 So in fact children 97 were fathered by one man – and this one as good as dead – like the number of stars in the sky and like the innumerable grains of sand 98 on the seashore. 99 11:13 These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, 100 but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners 101 on the earth. 11:14 For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 11:15 In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 11:16 But as it is, 102 they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises, 103 yet he was ready to offer up 104 his only son. 11:18 God had told him, “Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,” 105 11:19 and he reasoned 106 that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense 107 he received him back from there. 11:20 By faith also Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning the future. 11:21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped as he leaned on his staff. 108 11:22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, 109 mentioned the exodus of the sons of Israel 110 and gave instructions about his burial. 111
11:23 By faith, when Moses was born, his parents hid him 112 for three months, because they saw the child was beautiful and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 11:24 By faith, when he grew up, Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 11:25 choosing rather to be ill-treated with the people of God than to enjoy sin’s fleeting pleasure. 11:26 He regarded abuse suffered for Christ 113 to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for his eyes were fixed on 114 the reward. 11:27 By faith he left Egypt without fearing the king’s anger, for he persevered as though he could see the one who is invisible. 11:28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, 115 so that the one who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. 11:29 By faith they crossed the Red Sea as if on dry ground, but when the Egyptians tried it, they were swallowed up. 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho 116 fell after the people marched around them 117 for seven days. 11:31 By faith Rahab the prostitute escaped the destruction of 118 the disobedient, because she welcomed the spies in peace.
11:32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. 11:33 Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, 119 gained what was promised, 120 shut the mouths of lions, 11:34 quenched raging fire, 121 escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, 122 became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight, 11:35 and women received back their dead raised to life. 123 But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life. 124 11:36 And others experienced mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 11:37 They were stoned, sawed apart, 125 murdered with the sword; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins; they were destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 11:38 (the world was not worthy of them); they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and openings in the earth. 11:39 And these all were commended 126 for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised. 127 11:40 For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us. 128
The Lord’s Discipline
12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 129 we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, 12:2 keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 130 12:3 Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. 12:4 You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed 131 in your struggle against sin. 12:5 And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons?
“My son, do not scorn 132 the Lord’s discipline
or give up when he corrects 133 you.
12:6 “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” 134
12:7 Endure your suffering 135 as discipline; 136 God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 12:8 But if you do not experience discipline, 137 something all sons 138 have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. 12:9 Besides, we have experienced discipline from 139 our earthly fathers 140 and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? 141 12:10 For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. 12:11 Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. 142 But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness 143 for those trained by it. 12:12 Therefore, strengthen 144 your listless hands and your weak knees, 145 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, 146 so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.
Do Not Reject God’s Warning
12:14 Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, 147 for without it no one will see the Lord. 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, that no one be like a bitter root springing up 148 and causing trouble, and through him many become defiled. 12:16 And see to it that no one becomes 149 an immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 150 12:17 For you know that 151 later when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance, although he sought the blessing 152 with tears. 12:18 For you have not come to something that can be touched, 153 to a burning fire and darkness and gloom and a whirlwind 12:19 and the blast of a trumpet and a voice uttering words 154 such that those who heard begged to hear no more. 155 12:20 For they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 156 12:21 In fact, the scene 157 was so terrifying that Moses said, “I shudder with fear.” 158 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, the city 159 of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the assembly 12:23 and congregation of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous, who have been made perfect, 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator 160 of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks of something better than Abel’s does. 161
12:25 Take care not to refuse the one who is speaking! For if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less shall we, if we reject the one who warns from heaven? 12:26 Then his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “I will once more shake not only the earth but heaven too.” 162 12:27 Now this phrase “once more” indicates the removal of what is shaken, that is, of created things, so that what is unshaken may remain. 12:28 So since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us give thanks, and through this let us offer worship pleasing to God in devotion and awe. 12:29 For our God is indeed a devouring fire. 163
13:1 Brotherly love must continue. 13:2 Do not neglect hospitality, because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. 164 13:3 Remember those in prison as though you were in prison with them, 165 and those ill-treated as though you too felt their torment. 166 13:4 Marriage must be honored among all and the marriage bed kept undefiled, for God will judge sexually immoral people and adulterers. 13:5 Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.” 167 13:6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and 168 I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” 169 13:7 Remember your leaders, who spoke God’s message to you; reflect on the outcome of their lives and imitate their faith. 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever! 13:9 Do not be carried away by all sorts of strange teachings. 170 For it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not ritual meals, 171 which have never benefited those who participated in them. 13:10 We have an altar that those who serve in the tabernacle have no right to eat from. 13:11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood the high priest brings 172 into the sanctuary as an offering for sin are burned outside the camp. 13:12 Therefore, to sanctify the people by his own blood, Jesus also suffered outside the camp. 13:13 We must go out to him, then, outside the camp, bearing the abuse he experienced. 173 13:14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, acknowledging his name. 13:16 And do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, 174 for God is pleased with such sacrifices.
13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. 175 Let them do this 176 with joy and not with complaints, for this would be no advantage for you. 13:18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to conduct ourselves rightly in every respect. 13:19 I especially ask you to pray 177 that I may be restored to you very soon.
Benediction and Conclusion
13:20 Now may the God of peace who by the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus Christ, 13:21 equip you with every good thing to do his will, working in us 178 what is pleasing before him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever. 179 Amen.
13:22 Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, 180 bear with my message of exhortation, for in fact I have written to you briefly. 13:23 You should know that 181 our brother Timothy has been released. If he comes soon, he will be with me when I see you. 182 13:24 Greetings to all your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy send you greetings. 13:25 Grace be with you all. 183