which had the golden altar of incense1 and the gold-covered ark of the covenant.2 This ark contained the gold jar of manna,3 Aaron's staff that had budded,4 and the stone tablets of the covenant.55
Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory,6 overshadowing the atonement cover.a7 But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly8 into the outer room to carry on their ministry.
But only the high priest entered9 the inner room,10 and that only once a year,11 and never without blood,12 which he offered for himself13 and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.148
The Holy Spirit was showing15 by this that the way16 into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing.
This is an illustration17 for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered18 were not able to clear the conscience19 of the worshiper.
They are only a matter of food20 and drink21 and various ceremonial washings22--external regulations23 applying until the time of the new order.
When Christ came as high priest24 of the good things that are already here,b25 he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle26 that is not man-made,27 that is to say, not a part of this creation.
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves;28 but he entered the Most Holy Place29 once for all30 by his own blood,31 having obtained eternal redemption.
The blood of goats and bulls32 and the ashes of a heifer33 sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit34 offered himself35 unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences36 from acts that lead to death,c37 so that we may serve the living God!38