The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Epistle of the Blessed Apostle Paul to the Hebrews
The former covenant, to be sure, had its own ceremonial observances, its own earthly sanctuary.
There was an outer tabernacle, which contained the lamp-stand and the table and the loaves set out before God; sanctuary was the name given to this;✻
and then, beyond the second veil, the inner sanctuary, as it is called,
with the golden censer,✻ and the ark of the covenant, gilded all round. In the ark rested the golden urn with the manna in it, Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets on which the covenant was inscribed;
above were the Cherubim, heralds of the divine glory, spreading their wings over the throne of mercy. We have no time to treat of these more particularly,✻
but this was the general fashion of it. Into the outer tabernacle the priests made their way at all times, in the performance of their duties;
into this other, only the high priest, once a year, and even then not without an offering of blood, for the faults which he and the people had committed unknowingly.
The Holy Spirit meant us to see that no way of access to the true sanctuary lay open to us, as long as the former tabernacle maintained its standing.
And that allegory still holds good at the present day; here are gifts and sacrifices being offered, which have no power, where conscience is concerned, to bring the worshipper to his full growth; they are but outward observances, connected with food and drink
and ceremonial washings on this occasion or that, instituted to hold their own until better times should come.
Meanwhile, Christ has taken his place as our high priest, to win us blessings that still lie in the future. He makes use of a greater, a more complete tabernacle, which human hands never fashioned; it does not belong to this order of creation at all.✻
It is his own blood, not the blood of goats and calves, that has enabled him to enter, once for all, into the sanctuary; the ransom he has won lasts for ever.
The blood of bulls and goats, the ashes of a heifer sprinkled over men defiled, have power to hallow them for every purpose of outward purification;
and shall not the blood of Christ, who offered himself, through the Holy Spirit, as a victim unblemished in God’s sight, purify our consciences, and set them free from lifeless observances, to serve the living God?✻
Thus, through his intervention, a new covenant has been bequeathed to us; a death must follow, to atone for all our transgressions under the old covenant, and then the destined heirs were to obtain, for ever, their promised inheritance.
Where a bequest is concerned, the death of the testator must needs play its part;
a will has no force while the testator is alive, and only comes into force with death.✻
Thus the old covenant, too, needed blood for its inauguration.
When he had finished reading the provisions of the law to the assembled people, Moses took blood, the blood of calves and goats, took water, and scarlet-dyed wool, and hyssop, sprinkled the book itself, and all the people,
and said, This is the blood of the covenant which God has prescribed to you.✻
The tabernacle, too, and all the requisites of worship he sprinkled in the same way with blood;
and the law enjoins that blood shall be used in almost every act of purification; unless blood is shed, there can be no remission of sins.
And if such purification was needed for what was but a representation of the heavenly world, the heavenly world itself will need sacrifices more availing still.
The sanctuary into which Jesus has entered is not one made by human hands, is not some adumbration of the truth; he has entered heaven itself, where he now appears in God’s sight on our behalf.
Nor does he make a repeated offering of himself, as the high priest, when he enters the sanctuary, makes a yearly offering of the blood that is not his own.
If that were so, he must have suffered again and again, ever since the world was created; as it is, he has been revealed once for all, at the moment when history reached its fulfilment, annulling our sin by his sacrifice.
Man’s destiny is to die once for all; nothing remains after that but judgement;
and Christ was offered once for all, to drain the cup of a world’s sins; when we see him again, sin will play its part no longer, he will be bringing salvation to those who await his coming.✻
The Holy Bible