To the Hebrews 9:1-28

9  For its part, the former covenant used to have legal requirements for sacred service and its holy place+ on earth.  For a first tent compartment was constructed, in which were the lampstand+ and the table and the display of the loaves of presentation;*+ and it is called the Holy Place.+  But behind the second curtain+ was the tent compartment called the Most Holy.+  This had a golden censer+ and the ark of the covenant+ completely overlaid with gold,+ in which were the golden jar containing the manna+ and Aaron’s rod that budded+ and the tablets+ of the covenant;  and above it were the glorious cherubs overshadowing the propitiatory cover.*+ But now is not the time to speak of these things in detail.  After these things were constructed this way, the priests enter the first tent compartment regularly to perform the sacred services;+  but the high priest enters alone into the second compartment once a year,+ not without blood,+ which he offers for himself+ and for the sins that the people+ committed in ignorance.  Thus the holy spirit makes it clear that the way into the holy place had not yet been revealed while the first tent was standing.+  This tent is an illustration for the present time,+ and according to this arrangement, both gifts and sacrifices are offered.+ However, these are not able to make the conscience of the man doing sacred service perfect.+ 10  They have to do only with foods and drinks and various ceremonial washings.*+ They were legal requirements concerning the body+ and were imposed until the appointed time to set things straight. 11  However, when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have already taken place, he passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12  He entered into the holy place, not with the blood of goats and of young bulls, but with his own blood,+ once for all time, and obtained an everlasting deliverance* for us.+ 13  For if the blood of goats and of bulls+ and the ashes of a heifer* sprinkled on those who have been defiled sanctifies for the cleansing of the flesh,+ 14  how much more will the blood of the Christ,+ who through an everlasting spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works+ so that we may render sacred service to the living God?+ 15  That is why he is a mediator of a new covenant,+ in order that because a death has occurred for their release by ransom+ from the transgressions under the former covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance.+ 16  For where there is a covenant, the death of the human covenanter needs to be established, 17  because a covenant is valid at death, since it is not in force as long as the human covenanter is living. 18  Consequently, neither was the former covenant put into effect* without blood. 19  For when Moses had spoken every commandment of the Law to all the people, he took the blood of the young bulls and of the goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled the book* and all the people, 20  saying: “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.”+ 21  He likewise sprinkled the tent and all the vessels of the holy service* with the blood.+ 22  Yes, according to the Law nearly all things are cleansed with blood,+ and unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place.+ 23  Therefore, it was necessary for the typical representations+ of the things in the heavens to be cleansed by these means,+ but the heavenly things require far better sacrifices. 24  For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with hands,+ which is a copy of the reality,+ but into heaven itself,+ so that he now appears before* God on our behalf.+ 25  This was not done to offer himself often, as when the high priest enters into the holy place from year to year+ with blood that is not his own. 26  Otherwise, he would have to suffer often from the founding of the world. But now he has manifested himself once for all time at the conclusion of the systems of things* to do away with sin through the sacrifice of himself.+ 27  And just as it is reserved for men to die once for all time, but after this to receive a judgment, 28  so also the Christ was offered once for all time to bear the sins of many;+ and the second time that he appears it will be apart from sin,* and he will be seen by those earnestly looking for him for their salvation.+


Or “the showbread.”
Or “the place of atonement.”
Lit., “various baptisms.”
Lit., “ransoming; redemption.”
Or “young cow.”
Lit., “inaugurated.”
Or “scroll.”
Or “the public service.”
Lit., “before the face of.”
Or “the ages.” See Glossary.
Or “it will not be to deal with sin.”

Study Notes


“A Lampstand of Pure Gold”
“A Lampstand of Pure Gold”

In the first compartment of the tabernacle, called the Holy, there was “a lampstand of pure gold” with seven lamps. By means of a vision on Mount Sinai, Jehovah gave Moses detailed instructions on how to make this lampstand. (Ex 25:31-40; Nu 8:4) In part, Moses was told: “Its base, its stem, its branches, its cups, its knobs, and its blossoms will be one piece.” Together with its lamps and utensils, the lampstand was to weigh one talent, which would equal 34.2 kg (1,101 oz t). Every morning, a priest had to maintain, or take care of, the lamps​—for example, he would replace the wicks and replenish the oil. Every evening, he lit the lamps to provide light for the Holy. (Ex 27:20, 21; 30:7, 8) Paul mentions the lampstand when comparing the old covenant and the tabernacle with the superior new covenant and the heavenly realities of “the true tent.”​—Heb 8:2, 5.

The Table of Showbread
The Table of Showbread

In the first compartment of the tabernacle, called the Holy, there was a table made of acacia wood and overlaid with pure gold. “The showbread,” or according to the Christian Greek Scriptures “the loaves of presentation,” was placed on that table. (Ex 25:30; Heb 9:2) On Mount Sinai, Jehovah gave Moses a vision that included detailed instructions on how to make this table. (Ex 25:9, 23-29; Nu 8:4) It was to be two cubits long, a cubit wide, and a cubit and a half high. (See App. B14.) The Hebrew expression rendered “showbread” literally means “bread of the face.” The word for “face” sometimes denotes “presence.” (2Ki 13:23) The showbread was constantly in front of Jehovah’s face as an offering. Every Sabbath, a priest had to place 12 fresh loaves on the table. The loaves were placed in two stacks of six each. (Le 24:4-8) Paul mentions the table of showbread when discussing the old covenant and the tabernacle, comparing such physical things with greater heavenly realities.​—Heb 8:5.

The Stone Tablets of the Law Covenant
The Stone Tablets of the Law Covenant

“The ark of the covenant,” mentioned at Heb 9:4, contained two tablets of stone on which the Ten Commandments were written. These commandments were the ten laws that served as the foundation of the Law covenant between God and the nation of Israel. Jehovah himself wrote the Ten Commandments on the front and back of the tablets before he gave them to Moses on Mount Sinai. (Ex 31:18; 32:15) When Moses returned to the camp of Israel and saw the people practicing calf worship, he angrily threw the two original tablets to the ground, shattering them. (Ex 32:19) So God instructed Moses to carve two new tablets, on which Jehovah again wrote the Ten Commandments. (De 10:1, 2) The Ten Commandments as well as the rest of the Law covenant were replaced in 33 C.E. by the new covenant between Jehovah and the nation of spiritual Israel. Jehovah writes his laws figuratively on the hearts of those in the new covenant. (Heb 8:10, 13) But the principles underlying the Ten Commandments still apply to Jehovah’s people.​—Ro 13:8-10.

The Tent
The Tent

The arrangement for worship at the sacred tent, or tabernacle, in ancient Israel “is an illustration.” (Heb 9:9) By means of this arrangement, Jehovah revealed that he would forgive the sins of mankind on the basis of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. For example, at the tabernacle on the Day of Atonement, the high priest performed a ceremony that had great symbolic meaning. (Heb 9:6, 7) From this video, learn how some of the features of that ceremony pointed to activities that Jesus would perform as “a great high priest.”​—Heb 4:14.