1 Now even the first Agreement had regulations for [governing] service [to God] and an earthly sanctuary. 2 For the Tabernacle was constructed with its outer compartment containing the lampstand and the table and the Bread of Presence. This was called the "Holy Place." 3 And behind the second curtain [of] the Tabernacle was [a room] called the "Holy of Holies." 4 It had a golden altar for [burning] incense [in it], and [originally] the gold-plated Chest of the Agreement, containing a golden jar of manna, Aaron's staff that sprouted buds and the tablets of the Agreement. 5 Above it were the cherubim [Note: These were winged, angelic-like, golden figurines] spread out over the [Chest] covering, where sins were [symbolically] forgiven. But we cannot now speak of these things in detail.
6 Now after preparing these things [i.e., the table, incense, etc.], the priests regularly enter the outer room of the Tabernacle [i.e., the Holy Place] to carry out the duties of their service. 7 But [only] once a year the head priest goes alone into the inner room [i.e., Holy of Holies], and never without [animal] blood, which he offers [as a sacrifice] for himself and for the sins done in ignorance by the people. 8 [By his doing this] the Holy Spirit signifies that the way into the Holy Place [Note: This actually refers to the Holy of Holies, and represents heaven] had not yet been disclosed [i.e., made accessible] while the first Tabernacle was still standing. 9 [That Tabernacle] is symbolic of the present time, [indicating] that both gifts and [animal] sacrifices, which are offered [by the priests], are not able to give the worshiper a clear conscience 10 since, with foods and drinks and various [ceremonial] washings, they are only outward regulations imposed until the time when everything would be made right [i.e., under the New Agreement].
11 But when Christ became the Head Priest of the good things that have come, He entered the greater and more complete Tabernacle, not made by hand, that is, not part of this creation [i.e., heaven, See 8:2]. 12 And He did not enter [the heavenly Holy of Holies] by means of the blood of goats and calves but, by means of His own blood He entered the Holy of Holies [i.e., heaven] once for all time, [after] having obtained never ending redemption [i.e., salvation for us on the cross]. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and a [burnt] heifer's ashes sprinkled on people who had been [ceremonially] defiled, could purify them so as to make them [ceremonially] clean on the outside, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Holy Spirit [or, His eternal Spirit] offered Himself without [moral] blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from deeds which lead to [spiritual] death to serve the living God?
15 Therefore, Christ is the Mediator of a New Agreement, so that [all] those people who have been called [by God] can receive the promise of the never ending inheritance. [This is possible because] a death has taken place for the redemption of [people's] sins who lived under the first Agreement. 16 For where a will exists, it is necessary to prove the death of the person who made it [i.e., in order to benefit by its provisions]. 17 For a will is in force [only] when there has been a death; for it is not in effect as long as the one who made it is [still] alive. 18 Therefore, even the first Agreement was not ratified without blood [i.e., without a death taking place]. 19 For after Moses had declared every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats and [mixed it] with water, then sprinkled both the scroll [of the Agreement] and all the people with a hyssop branch covered by red wool [dipped in the mixture]. 20 He said [Ex. 29:8], "This is the blood of the Agreement, which God commanded you [to observe]." 21 In the same way he also sprinkled blood on the Tabernacle and all of the utensils used in its ministry. 22 And, according to the law of Moses, almost everything is [ceremonially] cleansed by blood, for there is no forgiveness [of sins] apart from the shedding of blood.
23 Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things [i.e., the Tabernacle, its furniture and utensils, etc.] to be [ceremonially] cleansed by these things [i.e., the blood of animal sacrifices], but the heavenly things themselves [i.e., the church, both on earth and in heaven] require better sacrifices than these [i.e., the sacrifice of Christ]. 24 For Christ did not enter the Holy of Holies made by hand, which is [only] a counterpart of the true one, but into heaven itself, where He now appears in God's presence for us. [See verse 12]. 25 Nor was it necessary for Him to offer Himself [to God] often, like the head priest does, who enters the Holy of Holies year after year with blood that belongs to others [i.e., the blood of animal sacrifices]. 26 For then He would have had to suffer often since the creation of the world; but now at the end of the ages [i.e., the final period of world history] He has been revealed once [for all] to remove sin by sacrificing Himself. 27 And just as it is destined for people to die one time, and [then] after that to be judged, 28 so Christ also, who was once [for all] offered [as a sacrifice] to take away the sins of many people, will come back a second time, not to take away sin, [but] to provide salvation to those who are waiting for Him.