Christ's sacrifice on the cross
23 The tabernacle and the things that were in it needed animals' blood to make them clean. That was a picture of the true place in heaven where people worship God. But the true things in heaven need better sacrifices to make them clean than the sacrifices of animals. 24 Christ did not go into a holy place that people had made on earth. A place like that is only a picture of the true place in heaven. No, Christ went into heaven itself, where God is. Now he is there with God and he speaks to God on our behalf.
25 The leader of the priests here on earth goes into the Most Holy Place every year. Each time, he takes with him the blood of an animal and he offers it to God. But when Christ went into heaven to offer himself to God, he did not do that again and again. 26 To do that, he would need to die again and again, many times since the world began. No! Christ has appeared just once. He has appeared now, when time is near its end. He came and he died as a sacrifice. In that way, he has removed the power of sin. 27 Every person must die once. After death, God will judge each person. 28 Christ also died only once as a sacrifice. In this way, he took God's punishment for the sins of many people. Christ will return to earth a second time, but that will not be as a sacrifice for sins. That time, he will come to save those people who are waiting patiently for him.
1 God's laws which he gave to Moses are like a shadow of the good things that would come later. But those laws do not show exactly what those good things are like. They say that the priests must continue to offer the same sacrifices on behalf of the people, year after year. So those sacrifices can never make the people completely clean when they come to worship God. 2 If the old rules could do that, the priests would have stopped offering sacrifices. The people who came to worship God would have become completely clean once, for all time. They would no longer have trouble in their minds about their sins. 3 But as it is, those sacrifices every year cause people to remember their sins. 4 We know that the blood of bulls and of goats cannot remove the punishment for sins. 5 So, when Christ came into the world, he said to his Father,
‘You have not wanted people to offer sacrifices and other gifts to you.
Instead, you have prepared a body for me to offer to you.
6 Sacrifices do not make you happy.
If people burn whole animals as a sacrifice,
or if they offer a sacrifice to make them clean from their sins,
that does not make you happy.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, my God.
I have come to do what you want.
That is what it says about me in the Bible.” ’
8 So think about what Christ said there. First he said to God, ‘You have not wanted gifts and sacrifices of animals. Any kind of sacrifice like that does not make you happy.’ But we know that Moses' rules taught about those sacrifices. God's law said that they were necessary. 9 Then Christ said, ‘Here I am. I have come to do what you want.’ In that way, Christ took away the first agreement and its rules about sacrifices. Christ's sacrifice of his own body is the new way that God forgives our sins. 10 Jesus Christ was ready to do what God wanted. He offered his own body to God once, for all time. Because of Christ's sacrifice, God has made us clean so that we belong to him.
11 Every day, the priests do their work to serve God. They offer the same sacrifices to God again and again. But those sacrifices can never take away people's sins. 12 But Christ, our special priest, offered one sacrifice to take away our sins. He did that once, for all time. After that, he sat down at God's right side to rule with him. 13 Since then, he waits for God to win against his enemies completely. They will become like a place for him to put his feet. 14 So, as a result of his one sacrifice, Christ has made God's people completely clean for all time.
15 God's Holy Spirit also shows us that these things are true. He says this first:
16 ‘The Lord God says:
After the time of the old agreement,
I will make a new agreement with my people.
It will be like this:
I will put my laws deep inside them.
I will put them into their thoughts.’
17 Then he says this:
‘I will not continue to think about their sins
when they do not obey my laws.’
18 So that is the way that God forgives our sins. When God has done that, we do not need to have any other sacrifice to take away our sins.