Hebrews 1:1-13:1View Full Chapter
God’s Final Word: His Son 1In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
The Son Superior to Angels
5For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”
6And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”
7In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.”
8But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
9You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
10He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
11They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.
12You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”
13To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”
Warning to Pay Attention 1We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.
4God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
Jesus Made Fully Human 5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking.
6But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?
7You made them a little
8and put everything under their feet.”
9But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered.
11Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
12He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
13And again, “I will put my trust in him.”
Jesus Greater Than Moses
1Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
2He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house.
3Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself.
4For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.
5“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,”
6But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
Warning Against Unbelief 7So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness,
9where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did.
10That is why I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways.’
11So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”
15As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”
A Sabbath-Rest for the People of God
1Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
2For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.
3Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”
5And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience,
7God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
11Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. 12For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Jesus the Great High Priest
14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,
1Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
4And no one takes this honor on himself, but he receives it when called by God, just as Aaron was.
5In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
6And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Warning Against Falling Away 11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
1Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death,
3And God permitting, we will do so.
4It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,
5who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age
6and who have fallen
8But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. 9Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. 10God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.
12We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
The Certainty of God’s Promise
13When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself,
14saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.”
15And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. 16People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. 17Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
Melchizedek the Priest 1This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.”
3Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever. 4Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! 5Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. 6This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham,
10because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.
Jesus Like Melchizedek 11If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? 12For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. 13He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, 16one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.
21but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’ ”
22Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant. 23Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.
25Therefore he is able to save completely
The High Priest of a New Covenant 1Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,
2and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
3Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer.
4If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.
5They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”
6But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. 7For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another.
8But God found fault with the people and said
9It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.
10This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
11No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Worship in the Earthly Tabernacle 1Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. 2A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand and the table with its consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. 3Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.
5Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. 6When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. 7But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. 8The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.
10They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.
The Blood of Christ
11But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here,
14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death,
15For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
16In the case of a will,
22In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 23It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. 25Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All 1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. 2Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. 3But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins.
4It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;
6with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased.
7Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God.’ ”
10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool.
14For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
17Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
18And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
A Call to Persevere in Faith 19Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
28Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
30For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”
31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
37For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”
38And, “But my righteous
Faith in Action 1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
2This is what the ancients were commended for.
3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
4By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
5By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”
6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.
8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she
12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. 13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,
18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”
19Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
23By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
28By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.
31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. 39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
God Disciplines His Children 4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
5And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
13“Make level paths for your feet,”
Warning and Encouragement 14Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.
17Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.
The Mountain of Fear and the Mountain of Joy
18You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm;
19to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them,
20because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”
21The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”
24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?
26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”
27The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
29for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Concluding Exhortations 1Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.