The Earthly Tabernacle
(Exodus 40:1–33; Acts 7:44–47)
1 Now the first covenant a had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2 A tabernacle was prepared. In its first room were the lampstand, the table, and the consecrated bread. b This was called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, c 4 containing the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. Inside the ark were the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 Above the ark were the cherubim of glory, overshadowing the mercy seat. d But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
6 When everything had been prepared in this way, the priests entered regularly into the first room to perform their sacred duties. 7 But only the high priest entered the second room, and then only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.
8 By this arrangement the Holy Spirit was showing that the way into the Most Holy Place e had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. 9 It is an illustration for the present time, because the gifts and sacrifices being offered were unable to cleanse the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They consist only in food and drink and special washings—external regulations imposed until the time of reform.
Redemption through His Blood
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that have come, f He went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made by hands and is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by the blood of goats and calves, but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus securing eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that their bodies are clean, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our g consciences from works of death, so that we may serve the living God!
15 Therefore Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that He has died to redeem them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
16 In the case of a will, h it is necessary to establish the death of the one who made it, 17 because a will does not take effect until the one who made it has died; it cannot be executed while he is still alive.
18 That is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19 For when Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, i along with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” j
21 In the same way, he sprinkled with blood the tabernacle and all the vessels used in worship. 22 According to the law, in fact, nearly everything must be purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
23 So it was necessary for the copies 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 man-made copy of the true sanctuary, but He entered heaven itself, now to appear on our behalf in the presence of God.
25 Nor did He enter heaven to offer Himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, Christ would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
27 Just as man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so also Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him.
1 a Literally the first ; also in verse 18; see the footnote for Hebrews 8:13.
2 b Or the Bread of the Presence
3 c Or the Holy of Holies
5 d Or atonement cover
8 e Or the Holy Place ; also in verses 12 and 25
11 f BYZ and TR that are to come
14 g BYZ and TR your
16 h Greek diathēkē is also translated as covenant throughout this chapter.
19 i SBL does not include and goats .
20 j Exodus 24:8