December 20

Hebrews 7:1 — 10:39
(words in gray are deemed interpolations)

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him 2 and to whom Abraham apportioned a tenth from all things, is first of all, by translation, “King of Righteousness,” and is then also king of Salem, that is, “King of Peace.” 3 In being fatherless, motherless, without genealogy, having neither a beginning of days nor an end of life, but having been made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.

4 BEHOLD, then, how great this man was to whom Abraham, the family head, gave a tenth out of the chief spoils. 5 True, the men from the sons of Levi who receive their priestly office have a commandment to collect tithes from the people according to the Law, that is, from their brothers, even if these have issued from the loins of Abraham; 6 but the man who did not trace his genealogy from them took tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 Now without any dispute, the less is blessed by the greater. 8 And in the one case it is men who are dying that receive tithes, but in the other case it is someone of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 And, if I may use the expression, through Abraham even Levi who receives tithes has paid tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his forefather when Melchizedek met him.

11 If, then, perfection were really through the Levitical priesthood, (for with it as a feature the people were given the Law,) what further need would there be for another priest to arise according to the manner of Melchizedek and not said to be according to the manner of Aaron? 12 For since the priesthood is being changed, there comes to be of necessity a change also of the law. 13 For the man respecting whom these things are said has been a member of another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is quite plain that our Lord has sprung up out of Judah, a tribe about which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.

15 And it is still more abundantly clear that with a similarity to Melchizedek there arises another priest, 16 who has become such, not according to the law of a commandment depending upon the flesh, but according to the power of an indestructible life, 17 for in witness it is said: “You are a priest forever according to the manner of Melchizedek.”

18 Certainly, then, there occurs a setting aside of the preceding commandment on account of its weakness and ineffectiveness. 19 For the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in besides of a better hope did, through which we are drawing near to God. 20 Also, to the extent that it was not without a sworn oath, 21 (for there are indeed men that have become priests without a sworn oath, but there is one with an oath sworn by the One who said respecting him: “Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret), ‘You are a priest forever,’”) 22 to that extent also Jesus has become the one given in pledge of a better covenant. 23 Furthermore, many had to become priests [in succession] because of being prevented by death from continuing as such, 24 but he because of continuing alive forever has his priesthood without any successors. 25 Consequently he is able also to save completely those who are approaching God through him, because he is always alive to plead for them.

26 For such a high priest as this was suitable for us, loyal, guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners, and become higher than the heavens. 27 He does not need daily, as those high priests do, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for those of the people: (for this he did once for all time when he offered himself up;) 28 for the Law appoints men high priests having weakness, but the word of the sworn oath that came after the Law appoints a Son, who is perfected forever.

Now as to the things being discussed this is the main point: We have such a high priest as this, and he has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a public servant of the holy place and of the true tent, which Jehovah put up, and not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; wherefore it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If, now, he were upon earth, he would not be a priest, there being [men] who offer the gifts according to the Law, 5 but which [men] are rendering sacred service in a typical representation and a shadow of the heavenly things; just as Moses, when about to make the tent in completion, was given the divine command: For says he: “See that you make all things after [their] pattern that was shown to you in the mountain.” 6 But now [Jesus] has obtained a more excellent public service, so that he is also the mediator of a correspondingly better covenant, which has been legally established upon better promises.

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, no place would have been sought for a second; 8 for he does find fault with the people when he says: “‘Look! There are days coming,’ says Jehovah, ‘and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their forefathers in [the] day of my taking hold of their hand to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant, so that I stopped caring for them,’ says Jehovah.”
 “‘For this is the covenant that I shall covenant with the house of Israel after those days,’ says Jehovah. ‘I will put my laws in their mind, and in their hearts I shall write them. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people.
 “‘And they will by no means teach each one his fellow citizen and each one his brother, saying: “Know Jehovah!” For they will all know me, from [the] least one to [the] greatest one of them. 12 For I shall be merciful to their unrighteous deeds, and I shall by no means call their sins to mind anymore.’”
 In his saying “a new [covenant]” he has made the former one obsolete. Now that which is made obsolete and growing old is near to vanishing away.

For its part, then, the former [covenant] used to have ordinances of sacred service and [its] mundane holy place. 2 For there was constructed a first tent [compartment] in which were the lampstand and also the table and the display of the loaves; and it is called “the Holy Place.” 3 But behind the second curtain was the tent [compartment] called “the Most Holy.” 4 This had a golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid all around with gold, in which were the golden jar having the manna and the rod of Aaron that budded and the tablets of the covenant; 5 but up above it were the glorious cherubs overshadowing the propitiatory [cover]. But now is not the time to speak in detail concerning these things.

6 After these things had been constructed this way, the priests enter the first tent [compartment] at all times to perform the sacred services; 7 but into the second [compartment] the high priest alone enters once a year, not without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of ignorance of the people. 8 Thus the holy spirit makes it plain that the way into the holy place had not yet been made manifest while the first tent was standing. 9 This very [tent] is an illustration for the appointed time that is now here, and in keeping with it both gifts and sacrifices are offered. However, these are not able to make the [man] doing sacred service perfect as respects his conscience, 10 but have to do only with foods and drinks and various baptisms. They were legal requirements pertaining to the flesh 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 come to pass, through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 12 he entered, no, not with the blood of goats and of young bulls, but with his own blood, once for all time into the holy place 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 to the extent of cleanness 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 that we may render sacred service to [the] living God?

15 So 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, the ones who have been called might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance. 16 For where there is a covenant, the death of the [human] covenanter needs to be furnished. 17 For a covenant is valid over dead [victims], since it is not in force at any time while the [human] covenanter is living. 18 Consequently neither was the former [covenant] inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment according to the Law had been spoken by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of the young bulls and of the goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled the book itself and all the people, 20 saying: “This is the blood of the covenant that God has laid as a charge upon YOU.” 21 And he sprinkled the tent and all the vessels of the public service likewise with the blood. 22 Yes, nearly all things are cleansed with blood according to the Law, and unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place.

23 Therefore it was necessary that the typical representations of the things in the heavens should be cleansed by these means, but the heavenly things themselves with sacrifices that are better than such sacrifices. 24 For Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands, which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us. 25 Neither is it in order that he should offer himself often, as indeed the high priest enters into the holy place from year to year with blood 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 put sin away through the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is reserved for men to die once for all time, but after this 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 to those earnestly looking for him for [their] salvation.

For since the Law has a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the things, [men] can never with the same sacrifices from year to year which they offer continually make those who approach perfect. 2 Otherwise, would the [sacrifices] not have stopped being offered, because those rendering sacred service who had been cleansed once for all time would have no consciousness of sins anymore? 3 To the contrary, by these sacrifices there is a reminding of sins from year to year, 4 for it is not possible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take sins away.

5 Hence when he comes into the world he says: “‘Sacrifice and offering you did not want, but you prepared a body for me. 6 You did not approve of whole burnt offerings and sin [offering].’ 7 Then I said, ‘Look! I am come (in the roll of the book it is written about me) to do your will, O God.’” 8 After first saying: “You did not want nor did you approve of sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin [offering]”—[sacrifices] that are offered according to the Law— 9 then he actually says: “Look! I am come to do your will.” He does away with what is first that he may establish what is second. 10 By the said “will” we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.

11 Also, every priest takes his station from day to day to render public service and to offer the same sacrifices often, as these are at no time able to take sins away completely. 12 But this [man] offered one sacrifice for sins perpetually and sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from then on awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet. 14 For it is by one [sacrificial] offering that he has made those who are being sanctified perfect perpetually. 15 Moreover, the holy spirit also bears witness to us, for after it has said: 16 “‘This is the covenant that I shall covenant toward them after those days,’ says Jehovah. ‘I will put my laws in their hearts, and in their minds I shall write them,’” 17 [it says afterwards:] “And I shall by no means call their sins and their lawless deeds to mind anymore.” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have boldness for the way of entry into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 which he inaugurated for us as a new and living way through the curtain, that is, his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us approach with true hearts in the full assurance of faith, having had our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies bathed with clean water. 23 Let us hold fast the public declaration of our hope without wavering, for he is faithful that promised. 24 And let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, 25 not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as YOU behold the day drawing near.

26 For if we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left, 27 but [there is] a certain fearful expectation of judgment and [there is] a fiery jealousy that is going to consume those in opposition. 28 Any man that has disregarded the law of Moses dies without compassion, upon the testimony of two or three. 29 Of how much more severe a punishment, do YOU think, will the man be counted worthy who has trampled upon the Son of God and who has esteemed as of ordinary value the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has outraged the spirit of undeserved kindness with contempt? 30 For we know him that said: “Vengeance is mine; I will recompense”; and again: “Jehovah will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of [the] living God.

32 However, keep on remembering the former days in which, after YOU were enlightened, YOU endured a great contest under sufferings, 33 sometimes while YOU were being exposed as in a theater both to reproaches and tribulations, and sometimes while YOU became sharers with those who were having such an experience. 34 For YOU both expressed sympathy for those in prison and joyfully took the plundering of YOUR belongings, knowing YOU yourselves have a better and an abiding possession.

35 Do not, therefore, throw away YOUR freeness of speech, which has a great reward to be paid it. 36 For YOU have need of endurance, in order that, after YOU have done the will of God, YOU may receive the [fulfillment of the] promise. 37 For yet “a very little while,” and “he who is coming will arrive and will not delay.” 38 “But my righteous one will live by reason of faith,” and, “if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 Now we are not the sort that shrink back to destruction, but the sort that have faith to the preserving alive of the soul.