Now even the first Covenant had regulations for divine worship, and had also its sanctuary--a sanctuary belonging to this world.
For a sacred tent was constructed--the outer one, in which were the lamp and the table and the presented loaves; and this is called the Holy place.
And behind the second veil was a sacred tent called the Holy of holies.
This had a censer of gold, and the ark of the Covenant lined with gold and completely covered with gold, and in it were a gold vase which held the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded and the tables of the Covenant.
And above the ark were the Cherubim denoting God's glorious presence and overshadowing the Mercy-seat. But I cannot now speak about all these in detail.
These arrangements having long been completed, the priests, when conducting the divine services, continually enter the outer tent.
But into the second, the High Priest goes only on one day of the year, and goes alone, taking with him blood, which he offers on his own behalf and on account of the sins which the people have ignorantly committed.
And the lesson which the Holy Spirit teaches is this--that the way into the true Holy place is not yet open so long as the outer tent still remains in existence.
And this is a figure--for the time now present--answering to which both gifts and sacrifices are offered, unable though they are to give complete freedom from sin to him who ministers.
For their efficacy depends only on meats and drinks and various washings, ceremonies pertaining to the body and imposed until a time of reformation.
But Christ appeared as a High Priest of the blessings that are soon to come by means of the greater and more perfect Tent of worship, a tent which has not been built with hands--that is to say does not belong to this material creation--
and once for all entered the Holy place, taking with Him not the blood of goats and calves, but His own blood, and thus procuring eternal redemption for us.
For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have contracted defilement make them holy so as to bring about ceremonial purity,
how much more certainly shall the blood of Christ, who strengthened by the eternal Spirit offered Himself to God, free from blemish, purify your consciences from lifeless works for you to serve the ever-living God?
And because of this He is the negotiator of a new Covenant, in order that, since a life has been given in atonement for the offences committed under the first Covenant, those who have been called may receive the eternal inheritance which has been promised to them.
For where there is a legal `will,' there must also be a death brought forward in evidence--the death of him who made it.
And a will is only of force in the case of a deceased person, being never of any avail so long as he who made it lives.
Accordingly we find that the first Covenant was not inaugurated without blood.
For when Moses had proclaimed to all the people every commandment contained in the Law, he took the blood of the calves and of the goats and with them water, scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
saying, "This is the blood which confirms the Covenant that God has made binding upon you."
And in the same way he also sprinkled blood upon the Tent of worship and upon all the vessels used in the ministry.
Indeed we may almost say that in obedience to the Law everything is sprinkled with blood, and that apart from the outpouring of blood there is no remission of sins.
It was needful therefore that the copies of the things in Heaven should be cleansed in this way, but that the heavenly things themselves should be cleansed with more costly sacrifices.
For not into a Holy place built by men's hands--a mere copy of the reality--did Christ enter, but He entered Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.
Nor did He enter for the purpose of many times offering Himself in sacrifice, just as the High Priest enters the Holy place, year after year, taking with him blood not his own.
In that case Christ would have needed to suffer many times, from the creation of the world onwards; but as a matter of fact He has appeared once for all, at the Close of the Ages, in order to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
And since it is reserved for all mankind once to die, and afterwards to be judged;
so the Christ also, having been once offered in sacrifice in order that He might bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, separated from sin, to those who are eagerly expecting Him, to make their salvation complete.