Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.1
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A tabernacle2 was set up. In its first room were the lampstand3 and the table4 with its consecrated bread;5 this was called the Holy Place.6
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Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place,7
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which had the golden altar of incense8 and the gold-covered ark of the covenant.9 This ark contained the gold jar of manna,10 Aaron's staff that had budded,11 and the stone tablets of the covenant.12
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Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory,13 overshadowing the atonement cover.14 But we cannot discuss these things in detail now.
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When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly15 into the outer room to carry on their ministry.
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But only the high priest entered16 the inner room,17 and that only once a year,18 and never without blood,19 which he offered for himself20 and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.21
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The Holy Spirit was showing22 by this that the way23 into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning.
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This is an illustration24 for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered25 were not able to clear the conscience26 of the worshiper.
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They are only a matter of food27 and drink28 and various ceremonial washings29--external regulations30 applying until the time of the new order.
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But when Christ came as high priest31 of the good things that are now already here,32 he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle33 that is not made with human hands,34 that is to say, is not a part of this creation.
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He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves;35 but he entered the Most Holy Place36 once for all37 by his own blood,38 thus obtaining eternal redemption.
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The blood of goats and bulls39 and the ashes of a heifer40 sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.
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How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit41 offered himself42 unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences43 from acts that lead to death,44 so that we may serve the living God!45
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For this reason Christ is the mediator46 of a new covenant,47 that those who are called48 may receive the promised49 eternal inheritance50--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.51
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In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it,
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because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.
This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.52
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When Moses had proclaimed53 every command of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves,54 together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.55
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He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep."56
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In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies.
In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood,57 and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.58
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It was necessary, then, for the copies59 of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
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For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one;60 he entered heaven itself,61 now to appear for us in God's presence.62
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Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place63 every year with blood that is not his own.64
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Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world.65 But he has appeared66 once for all67 at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.68
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Just as people are destined to die once,69 and after that to face judgment,70
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so Christ was sacrificed once71 to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time,72 not to bear sin,73 but to bring salvation74 to those who are waiting for him.75
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