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Chapter 9

1Even the first agreement provided regulations for worship, and a sanctuary that was fully equipped. 2For a tent was erected, with the lamp and the table and the presentation bread in the outer part, which was called the sanctuary. 3And beyond the second curtain, in the part called the inner sanctuary, 4stood the gold incense-altar and the chest that contained the agreement, entirely covered with gold, with the gold jar in it that held the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets containing the agreement; 5and above the chest were the winged creatures of the Divine Presence overshadowing the lid on which the blood was sprinkled—of which I cannot now speak in detail. 6With these arrangements for worship, the priests used constantly to go into the outer part of the tent, in the performance of their rites, 7but only the high priest could enter the inner part, and he but once a year, and never without taking some victim’s blood, to offer on his own behalf and for the sins committed through ignorance by the people. 8In all this the holy Spirit was seeking to show that there was no free access to the sanctuary while the outer tent was still standing. 9And all this looked toward the present time and was symbolic of the fact that the mere offering of material gifts and sacrifices cannot inwardly qualify the worshiper to approach God, 10since they have to do only with food and drink and various washings—material regulations in force only until the time for the new order.

11But when Christ came, as the high priest of the better system under which we live, he went once for all, through that greater, more perfect tent of worship not made by human hands nor a part of our material creation, into the sanctuary, 12taking with him no blood of goats and calves, but his own, and secured our permanent deliverance. 13For if sprinkling ceremonially defiled persons with the blood of bulls and goats and with the ashes of a heifer purifies them physically, 14how much more surely will the blood of the Christ, who with the eternal Spirit made himself an unblemished offering to God, purify our consciences from the old wrongdoing for the worship of the everliving God?

15And this is why he is the negotiator of a new agreement, in order that as someone has died to deliver them from the offenses committed under the old agreement, those who have been offered it may receive the unending inheritance they have been promised. 16For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established, 17for a will is valid only in the case of a person who is dead; it has no force as long as the testator is alive. 18So even the old agreement could not be ratified without the use of blood. 19For when Moses had told all the regulations of the Law to all the people, he took calves’ and goats’ blood, along with water, crimson wool, and a bunch of hyssop, and sprinkled the roll of the Law and all the people, 20saying, “This blood ratifies the agreement which God has commanded me to make with you.” 21The tent too and all the appliances used in the priestly service he sprinkled with blood in the same way. 22In fact, under the Law, almost everything is purified with blood, and unless blood is poured out nothing is forgiven. 23By such means, therefore, these things that were only copied from the originals in heaven had to be purified, but the heavenly originals themselves required far better sacrifices than these. 24For it was not a sanctuary made by human hands and only copied after the true one that Christ entered, but he went into heaven itself, in order to appear now on our behalf in the very presence of God. 25Nor does he go in to offer himself over and over again, like the high priest who enters the sanctuary year after year, taking with him blood that is not his own, 26for then he would have had to suffer death over and over, ever since the creation of the world. But, as it is, once for all at the close of the age he has appeared, to put an end to sin by his sacrifice. 27And just as men are destined to die once and after that to be judged, 28so the Christ too, after being offered in sacrifice once for all to carry away the sins of many, will appear again but without any burden of sin, to those who are eagerly waiting for him to come and save them.

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