THE SON OF GOD
1 God spoke to our forefathers in old times through the Prophets in many places and in various ways. 2 In these latter days he has spoken to us through his Son, whom he appointed heir of the universe and through whom he created the world. 3 He is the reflection of the divine glory and substance. He upholds all creation through the powerful mandate of God. He has cleansed man from sin. He sits at the right hand of God in heaven.
4 He is superior to the Angels, and his name is more distinguished than theirs. 5 God never said to any of his Angels what he said to him: “You are my Son. I have begotten you today.” Again: “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son.” 6 And again, when he introduces this first-born Son into the universe, he says: “All the Angels of God will bow before him.” 7 Speaking of the Angels, he says: “The winds are his angels, and the lightnings are his servants.”
8 Speaking of his Son, he says: “Your throne, O Lord, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of righteousness. 9 You have loved righteousness and you have hated iniquity. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the sacred oil above your companions.”
10 Again: “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11 They will perish, but you will always remain. They will all grow old, as garments. 12 You will roll them up as a mantle, and you will change them. But you are always the same, and your years will have no end.”
13 God has never said to any of his Angels: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.” 14 Yet they are all ministers who are sent forth to serve and help men to obtain salvation.
1 Therefore we must pay close attention to the doctrines we have heard and not allow ourselves to drift away from them. 2 For the message delivered by the Prophets of old proved to be authentic. Every transgression and disobedience received a just retribution.
3 Consequently, we cannot escape punishment if we neglect such an opportunity for our salvation. This salvation was proclaimed at first by the Lord himself. Then it was confirmed to us by the Apostles who heard him. 4 Moreover, God himself endorsed their testimony by signs, by wonders, by various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, which were distributed according to his own will.
5 Now God did not put the future world of which we speak under the control of Angels. 6 The Scripture has affirmed it, saying: “What is man that you think of him, or the Son of Man that you exalt him? 7 You have made him a little lower than the Angels. You crowned him with glory and honor. You set him over the works of your hands. 8 You subjected the entire universe under his feet.” So the Scripture tells us clearly that the entire universe without any exception was put under the sovereignty of man. This, as we know, has never happened.
9 On the other hand, we know for sure that Jesus for a little while was made lower than the Angels, and that he was crowned with glory and honor by suffering death. Thus by the grace of God he experienced bitter death on behalf of every human being.
10 That was the predetermined dispensation of God, the Creator of the universe: Jesus, the champion of our salvation, had to achieve perfection through his Passion, and lead the chosen children of God to everlasting glory.
CHRIST THE MAN
11 Now Christ who sanctifies men and the men who are sanctified by him share a common humanity. For this reason he proudly calls them his brethren, 12 saying: “I will proclaim your name to my brethren, and I will praise you in the midst of the congregation.” 13 Again, he says: “I will put my trust in God.” And again, he says: “Here I am with the children that God has given me.”
14 Therefore, since the children have the same mortal nature of flesh and blood, Christ himself shared it likewise. For he wanted through his own death to overthrow the devil who has the power of death, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.
16 Surely he was not concerned with the Angels, but with the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become similar to his brethren in every respect. He wanted to assume the office of a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God and to offer expiation for the sins of the people. 18 For as he himself has endured suffering and temptation, he is able to help those who are tempted.
CHRIST THE HIGH PRIEST
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly call, contemplate Jesus, the messenger and high priest of our confession. 2 He was faithful to God who appointed him, as Moses had been faithful in the house of God. 3 Yet Jesus has been considered worthy of greater glory than Moses, because the builder of a house deserves more honor than the house itself. 4 Now every house is built by a man, but the builder of the universe is God himself.
5 The loyalty of Moses was that of a servant in the household of God. He prophesied what was revealed later on. 6 But the loyalty of Christ was that of a Son set over his own household. We are members of this household, if we boldly and proudly maintain to the very end our unshaken loyalty to Christ and his Gospel.
7 Therefore the Holy Spirit tells us in the Scriptures: “Today, when you hear my voice, obey me. 8 Do not follow the example of your stubborn forefathers who provoked me and challenged me in the desert. 9 Yes, your forefathers put me to the test, although they saw my works for forty years. 10 Therefore I was exasperated with that generation, and I said: ‘Their minds are always blinded, and they will never understand my precepts.’ 11 So I swore in my anger: “They will never enter my heavenly rest.'”
12 Brethren, see to it that no one of you becomes so wicked and unbelieving as to fall away from the living God. 13 Therefore urge one another every day, as long as you have days, and make sure that no one of you is blinded by the delusion of sin.
14 For we are partners of Christ if we really keep our first conviction firm to the end. 15 The Scripture says: “Today, when you hear the voice of the Lord, obey. Do not turn away as in the day of the rebellion.” 16 Now who were those who heard, and yet were rebellious? Of course, those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses.
17 Now with whom was God exasperated for forty years? Of course, with the sinners whose corpses fell in the desert. 18 And to whom did he swear that they would never enter his rest? Of course, to those who disobeyed him. 19 So we see that they were unable to enter his heavenly rest because of their unbelief.
THE PROMISED LAND
1 Although the same promise of rest is offered to us, I warn you that some of us may fail to achieve it. 2 True, they received the Gospel, just as we did. Yet the proclamation of the Gospel did not profit them, because when they heard it, they did not believe it. 3 We enter his rest only if we believe. For the Lord said: “As I swore in my wrath, they will never enter my heavenly rest.” Now his work was finished when the world was created. 4 For he has spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his labors.”
5 And again in this passage he said: “They will never enter my heavenly rest.” 6 Therefore it remains for some to enter it in the future, because those who received the Gospel in the past failed to enter it on account of their disobedience. 7 So he proclaims another opportunity when he says through David many years later: “Today, when you hear my voice, obey me.”
8 It is clear that Joshua had not given our forefathers this rest. Otherwise, the Lord would not have said at a much later date: “Today.” 9 Therefore the hope of a heavenly rest is still there for the people of God. 10 For everyone who enters this rest will rest from all his labors, as God has done from his.
11 Therefore let us all strive eagerly to enter that rest. None of us should miss it through disobedience, as our forefathers did. 12 For the message of God is a living and active force. It is sharper than a two-edged sword. It cuts through soul and spirit, through joints and marrow, through the thoughts and intentions of all minds.
13 No creature can be hidden from the sight of God. Everything is naked and exposed before his all-seeing eyes.
THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST
14 Now we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God. Therefore let us cling to the religion we profess. 15 For we have, not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our sufferings, but one who has been through every trial like ourselves, yet without sinning. 16 Therefore let us approach his gracious throne fearlessly to receive mercy, grace, and support in the hour of need.
THE ETERNAL HIGH PRIEST
1 Every high priest is chosen from among men. He is appointed by men for divine worship to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 For this reason, he is obliged to offer sacrifices for sins, not only for the people, but for himself as well.
4 No one takes this office upon himself unless he is called by God, as Aaron was. 5 Even Christ did not invest himself with the glory of the high priest. On the contrary, he was invested by God, who said to him: “You are my Son. Today I have begotten you.” 6 He also said in another passage: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
7 During his earthly life Christ appealed to God with tearful prayers and agonizing entreaties to save him from death. God granted his petition because of his piety. 8 But although he was the Son of God, he had to practice obedience and to achieve perfection through suffering. 9 Thus he became the dispenser of eternal salvation to all those who obey him. 10 For God himself greeted him as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
11 We have much to say about Melchizedek, which is hard to explain to you, because your minds have become dull. 12 For although by this time you ought to be teachers, you still need someone to teach you again the first elements of divine revelation. You need milk, not solid food.
13 Now children living on milk are immature, and cannot understand the doctrine of righteousness. 14 But grown-up men eating solid food should be mature, and trained to distinguish good from evil.
1 Therefore let us leave the first elements of Christianity alone and go up to more advanced doctrines. We must not be laying over and over again the foundations, namely repudiation of lifeless observances, faith in God, 2 baptism, ordination, resurrection of the dead, and last judgment. 3 With the permission of God we must go on and build up further.
4 Remember that we can do nothing for the apostates. They were once baptized. They partook of the Holy Communion. They received the Holy Spirit. 5 They enjoyed the noble message of God. They hoped for the blessedness of the world to come. 6 Then they fell away to apostasy. It is impossible to arouse them to a new repentance. For by their own act they have crucified the Son of God for a second time. They have openly disgraced him for their own ends.
7 A piece of ground which absorbs the rain showered upon it has the blessing of God, if it produces useful crops to those who cultivate it. 8 If it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and almost accursed. Ultimately it will be burned.
9 Although I warn you, I feel sure that you, my dear friends, can do better and more for your salvation. 10 But God is not unjust. He does not forget the work you have done in the past and the love you have showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.
11 I want each one of you to exhibit the same earnestness to the very end. 12 So do not be sluggish, but follow the example of those who inherit the promises of God through faith and endurance.
THE DIVINE PROMISE
13 When God made a promise to Abraham, he swore by himself. For there was no one greater by whom he could swear, 14 and said: “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 Thus Abraham, after waiting patiently, obtained the fulfillment of the divine promise.
16 Men swear by one greater than themselves, and their oath is a final confirmation in all their disputes. 17 God wished to show to the heirs of his promise the unchangeable nature of his decision. So he pledged himself by an oath. 18 God never meant to deceive us with these two assurances, his promise and his oath, which are irrevocable. He wanted to give a powerful encouragement to those who had fled for refuge under his shelter.
19 He wanted us to seize upon the hope set before us as a sure and firm anchor of the soul. It is a hope which penetrates the inner sanctuary of the temple behind the curtain. 20 Jesus has gone there as a forerunner on our behalf, after he became a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
1 Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God. He met and blessed Abraham when the latter was returning from the defeat of the kings. 2 As a tribute, Abraham gave him a tenth part of all the spoils of battle. His name means “first king of righteousness” and king of Salem means “king of peace.” 3 He had no father, no mother, no family tree. He had neither beginning of days, nor end of life. He resembles the Son of God as a perpetual priest.
4 See how great he is. Even Abraham the patriarch gave him a tenth part of his spoils as a tribute. 5 According to the Law, the descendants of Levi who accept the office of priest have the right to collect tithes from the people, that is to say from their brethren, who also are descendants of Abraham.
6 But this man, who is not descended from Levi, received tithes from Abraham and blessed this patriarch who had received the promises of God.
7 Now the man who receives a blessing is unquestionably inferior to the one who gives it. 8 As a rule, priests, who are subject to death, receive tithes. But in this case it was a priest who, we are assured, goes on living. 9 As a matter of fact, even Levi, the receiver of tithes, paid him tithes through Abraham. 10 For in a sense he existed within the body of his forefather when Melchizedek met him.
11 Obviously perfection could not be achieved through the Levitical priesthood under which the Jews received the Law. Otherwise, there would have been no need for a priest after the order of Melchizedek to take the place of a priest after the order of Aaron. 12 For when there is a change in the succession of the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the Law as well.
13 Christ, who is described as our High Priest, belongs to another tribe. No member of that tribe has ever officiated at the altar. 14 As a matter of fact, Jesus was descended from the tribe of Judah, which had no connection with the priesthood according to Moses.
15 The point becomes still more evident in view of the fact that the appointment of Jesus as the new high priest resembles that of Melchizedek. 16 For he is appointed, not for possessing the legal qualification of physical descent, but by virtue of his immortal life. 17 For the Scripture testifies: “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”
PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST
18 Indeed, a previous commandment has been cancelled on account of its weakness and uselessness. 19 For the Law brought nothing to perfection. It was replaced by a better hope through which we draw near to God.
20 It is a better hope, because it is guaranteed by an oath. 21 Others became priests without taking an oath. But Jesus became a priest with a solemn oath, as the Scripture says: “The Lord declared with an irrevocable oath: ‘You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.'” 22 By virtue of his oath, Jesus became the eternal guarantee of a better covenant.
23 Moreover, the former priests were many in number, because death prevented them from continuing in office. 24 But Jesus lives forever and is not succeeded by another in his priesthood. 25 Therefore he can always save those who draw near to God through him. For he always lives and intercedes for them.
SINLESS AND ETERNAL
26 Such was the divine High Priest we needed: Holy, innocent, immaculate, sinless, exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those human high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people. He made one sacrifice for all mankind when he offered himself once for all.
28 The Law of Moses appoints to the high priesthood men full of imperfections. But God, according to his oath, which came long after the Law, appointed his own Son, fully qualified to be a high priest forever.
A HEAVENLY PRIEST
1 The main point of what I am saying is the following: Now we have such a divine High Priest. He is seated at the right hand of the majestic throne of God in heaven. 2 He is officiating as the priest of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which has been built, not by human hands, but by God himself.
3 Every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices. Consequently, as a high priest, Jesus also must fulfill these duties of his office. 4 If he were still living on earth, he would not be a priest. For there are human priests who offer gifts according to the Law.
5 Now the service of these human priests is only a shadow and imitation of the divine worship in heaven. For this reason Moses, when he was going to build the tabernacle, received this very warning from the Lord who told him: “Be sure to make everything in accordance with the pattern I have shown you on the mountain.”
THE NEW COVENANT
6 Jesus has been entrusted with a far higher ministry. For he is the dispenser of a superior New Testament, based on nobler promises from heaven.
7 If the old covenant had been unimpeachable, there would have been no need for a new one. 8 But God himself impeached it and denounced our forefathers for its invalidation, saying:
“The day will come, when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
9 “This new covenant will be different from the covenant I made with their forefathers on the day when I took them by the hand and led them out from the land of Egypt. For they themselves repudiated my old covenant. So I had to repudiate them also.
10 “Now, this is the new covenant I will make with the house of Israel in the future, says the Lord. I will impress my laws into their minds, and I will inscribe them upon their hearts. Then I will be their God, and they will be my people.
11 “Then they will not have to teach their neighbors and their brethren to know the Lord. For they will all know me from the lowest to the greatest of them. 12 Then I will forgive their iniquities, and I will forget their sins and trespasses forever.”
13 Obviously the Lord promises a new covenant, because he considers the old one obsolete. Now whatever is old and obsolete will be discarded sooner or later.
THE EARTHLY SANCTUARY
1 The Old Testament had regulations for divine worship in an earthly sanctuary.
2 There was an outer tabernacle called the Sanctuary. It contained the candlestick, the table, and the oblation bread.
3 Beyond the second curtain there was another tabernacle, called the Inner Sanctuary, 4 with the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold. It contained the golden urn with the manna, the rod of Aaron which budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 A representation of the Cherubim of glory overshadowed the mercy seat of the ark. I cannot now speak in detail of these tabernacles and their contents. 6 But this was the general arrangement. The officiating priests entered the outer tabernacle at all times and performed their ritual ceremonies. 7 But only once every year the high priest alone entered the Inner Sanctuary and offered a sacrifice of blood for his own sins and those of the people.
8 The Holy Spirit indicates that the way to the Inner Sanctuary was not yet open so long as the first tabernacle was still standing, 9 because it symbolized the present world. The gifts and sacrifices which are offered according to this ritual cannot cleanse the soul of the worshiper. 10 For they are merely outward observances, dealing with food and drink and various ablutions. They were intended to be in force only until the time of the new order.
THE HEAVENLY SANCTUARY
11 But now Christ has appeared as the High Priest of the blessings to come. He has passed through a greater and more perfect tabernacle which was not made by human hands and does not belong to the present world. He entered once for all the Inner Sanctuary, 12 not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, and achieved our eternal redemption.
13 The Jews believe that the ceremonial sprinkling with the blood of bulls and goats and with the ashes of a heifer purifies the flesh of defiled persons. 14 If so, then the blood of Christ, who offered himself to God through the Holy Spirit as the immaculate sacrifice, will much more surely cleanse your souls from all deadly sins and enable you to serve the living God.
15 For this reason Christ became the mediator of the New Testament. Through his death the transgressors of the Old Testament have been redeemed, and the chosen heirs have obtained their promised inheritance.
16 As you well know, when a testament is concerned, the death of the testator must first occur. 17 For a testament is valid only after the death of the testator. It has no force while the testator is alive.
18 As a matter of fact, the Old Testament also was ratified with blood. 19 For when Moses had promulgated all the commandments of the Law to all the people, he took the blood of the sacrificed calves and goats with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, sprinkled the Book of the Law and all the people, 20 and said: “This is the blood of the Testament which God has commanded me to make for you.”
21 Likewise, Moses sprinkled with the blood the tabernacle and all the vessels of divine worship. 22 Indeed, according to the Law, everything is purified with blood, and without blood there is no remission of sins.
23 Now, if such sacrifices were needed for the mere earthly copies of the heavenly dispensations, then by far nobler sacrifices are required for the original heavenly dispensations themselves.
24 For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary built by human hands, a copy of the original one, but into heaven itself, and appeared in the presence of God himself. 25 He did not go in to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the shrine every year with blood of animals. 26 For then he would have had to suffer death over and over again, since the creation of the world. He has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to abolish sin by offering himself in sacrifice.
27 Just as men are destined to be judged after their death, 28 so also Christ, after his sacrifice for the remission of the sins of mankind, will appear again, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are waiting for him.
A SINGLE SACRIFICE
1 The Law contains only a shadow of the blessings Christ would bring, and does not fully express their reality. For instance, the same sacrifices are offered under the Law continually every year. But they can never cleanse the souls of the worshipers.
2 Otherwise, they would have been discontinued. If the worshipers had once been purified, they would have had no further consciousness of sin. 3 Yet these sacrifices reminded them year after year that their sins were still burdening their souls. 4 For it was impossible to take away sins through the ceremonial sprinkling with the blood of bulls and goats.
5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said to God according to the Scripture: 6 “You do not desire sacrifice and offerings, but you have fashioned my body for your service. Consequently, since you take no pleasure in burned offerings and sacrifices for sins, 7 I said: ‘See, I have come to do your will, O Lord, as it is written in your Holy Book.'”
8 After saying first that God neither desires nor takes pleasure in sacrifices and burnt offerings for sin which are prescribed by the Law, 9 Christ then added: “See, I have come to do your will.” That means that he abolished the old ritual of sacrifices, in order to establish a new dispensation of doing the will of God. 10 In accordance with this divine will, we have been sanctified by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 Under the Law, every priest is celebrating his service daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.
12 Under the new dispensation, Christ offered a single sacrifice in perpetuity. Then he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 He is now only waiting until his enemies are put under his feet. 14 For by a single sacrifice he has cleansed and sanctified his followers for a time.
15 The Holy Spirit gives us his testimony by saying in the Scripture first: 16 “This is the new covenant I will make with them in the future, says the Lord. I will impress my laws into their hearts, and I will inscribe them upon their minds.” Then he adds: 17 “I will forget their sins and trespasses forever.” 18 Consequently, when sins are remitted by God, there is no longer any room for any sacrifice for sin.
19 Now we can boldly enter the sanctuary through the blood of Jesus. 20 For he has opened for us a new and living way through the curtain, that is to say through his flesh. 21 Moreover, now we have a Great Priest over the house of God. 22 Therefore let us approach with a sincere heart and with a perfect faith. For now, through the sprinkling of his blood, our souls have been cleansed from an evil conscience. Our bodies have been purified through the water of baptism.
23 With this assurance let us cling to the hope we profess without the slightest hesitation. For God who has given us this promise is trustworthy. 24 Let us consider how to stimulate one another to charity and good works. 25 Let us not neglect to meet together, as some do. But let us encourage one another all the more, as you can see that the great day is drawing near.
THE LAST JUDGMENT
26 For if we sin deliberately, after we have known and accepted the true faith, we have no hope of salvation through a sacrifice for sins. 27 All we can expect is the terrifying judgment and the blazing fire which will devour the enemies of God.
28 A man who has violated the Law of Moses is put to death without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Consequently, you can imagine that the adequate punishment would be much worse for a man who has spurned the Son of God, who has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who reviled the Holy Spirit and the divine grace.
30 We know that he said: “Vengeance is mine. I will punish.” And again: “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 Indeed, it is a fearful experience to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember the early days of your conversion and enlightenment. You had to endure a great struggle with persecution. 33 Sometimes you yourselves were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction. Sometimes you shared the sufferings of your brethren who were similarly treated.
34 For instance, you showed your sympathy with those who were imprisoned like me. You accepted cheerfully the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you had a greater reward in heaven.
35 Do not lose your courage now, for you will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to endure, if you want to do the will of God and inherit his promised Kingdom. 37 For as the Scripture says: “In a very little while the Messiah is coming. He will not linger on the way. 38 Remember that the righteous man must live by faith. If he shrinks back, my heart can take no pleasure in him.”
39 Certainly we are not men who shrink back and perish. We are men who have faith and can save our souls.
OLD TESTAMENT EXAMPLES
1 Now faith gives us confidence in what we hope for, and insight in what we cannot see. 2 It was by faith that men of old obtained the approval of God.
3 Faith enables us to understand how the universe was created by the command of God, and how what we see took its origin from what we do not see.
4 Through faith Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice in the sight of God than Cain. Through faith he won the approval of God as a righteous man. For God himself found pleasure in his offerings. Through faith he is still speaking to us after his death.
5 Through faith Enoch was transferred to heaven without experiencing death. He could not be found, because God had taken him up. Before this event he was attested as having pleased God. 6 Without faith it is impossible to please him. For everyone who comes near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who try to find him.
7 Through faith Noah was warned by God of the impending disaster and reverently constructed an Ark to save his household. All the others were destroyed for their unbelief, whereas he won justification through faith.
8 Through faith Abraham obeyed the command to proceed to a region which he was to receive as an inheritance. He left his home without knowing where he was going. 9 Through faith he dwelt in the land of the promise as in a foreign country. He lived in tents with Isaac and Jacob who shared the promise with him. 10 For he was looking forward to that city with the firm foundations whose architect and builder was God himself.
11 Through faith Sarah herself was enabled to conceive, and she gave birth to a child despite her advanced age, because she believed that God had the power to fulfill the promises he had given her.
12 So it happened that one man who was considered as good as dead on account of his age, became the forefather of a race as numerous as the sands of the sea-shore.
THE HEAVENLY HOME
13 All these people lived all their lives in faith, and died without obtaining the divine promises. They only saw them, believed in them, and greeted them from afar. They proclaimed that they were only foreigners and strangers on the earth. 14 Men who make such statements mean that they are looking for their true home-land. 15 They were not thinking of the land they had left behind. For they had ample opportunity to return. 16 They were longing for a better country, namely a heavenly one. Therefore the Lord was proud to be called their God and has prepared for them a home in heaven.
17 Through faith Abraham, when he was put to the test, offered up Isaac. Abraham, who received the promises from God, was ready to sacrifice his only son, 18 of whom he had been told: “Your posterity will arise through Isaac.” 19 He believed that God could raise his son from the dead. Indeed, figuratively, he received him back from death.
ISAAC, JACOB, JOSEPH
20 Through faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning their future. 21 Through faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each one of the sons of Joseph, and bowed in worship over the top of his staff. 22 Through faith Joseph, at the end of his life, foretold the exodus to the sons of Israel, and gave directions about his burial.
23 Through faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth. For they saw that the child was beautiful and they disregarded the edict of the king.
24 Through faith Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, when he was grown up. 25 He preferred to share the hardships of the people of God rather than enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin. 26 He considered Christian martyrdom more precious than all the treasures of Egypt. For he was looking forward to the ultimate reward in heaven.
27 Through faith Moses defied the fury of the king and left Egypt. He persevered because he was encouraged by the invisible King.
28 Through faith Moses instituted the Passover and sprinkled the blood upon the doorposts to protect the firstborn of Israel from the Angel of destruction.
29 Through faith the sons of Israel passed through the Red Sea as over dry ground. When the Egyptians attempted to do it, they were engulfed by the waves and perished. 30 Through faith the walls of Jericho fell down after a siege of seven days.
31 Through faith Rahab the harlot escaped and did not perish with those who disobeyed God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the reconnoitering scouts of Israel.
HEROES OF FAITH
32 I do not need to say more. For time would fail me if I told you what Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets have achieved through faith. 33 They conquered kingdoms. They lived righteously. They received new promises. They shut the mouths of lions. 34 They quenched raging fire. They escaped the edge of the sword. They found strength in their time of trial. They became mighty in war. They put foreign armies to flight.
35 Some returned to their women from certain death as if by resurrection. 36 Some were tortured, but refused to accept their release. For they wanted to inherit a better life after their resurrection. Others endured derision, floggings, chains, and imprisonment.
37 They were stoned. They were sawed asunder. They were tortured. They were put to the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, ill-treated 38 by the world which was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts, in mountains, in caves, and in the holes of the earth.
39 Yet all these martyrs, although well attested by their faith, did not obtain the divine promises. 40 For God had something better in store for all of us. He wanted us all to reach the fulfillment of our hopes together.
1 A vast crowd of Martyrs are watching us from heaven. Let us follow their example. Let us throw off every entanglement of sin. Let us run with perseverance the race in which we are competing.
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the originator and perfecter of our faith. He endured the martyrdom and the disgrace of the Cross for the joy he felt in fulfilling his duty. Now he is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Think of the indignities he suffered at the hands of his sinful foes, and follow the example of his perseverance. Do not grow faint, and do not get discouraged. 4 For after all, your battle against sin has not yet resulted in bloodshed. 5 Moreover, you must not forget the Scriptural exhortation in which God argues with you as with sons: “My son, do not neglect the discipline of the Lord. 6 Do not get weary when he reproves you. 6 For the Lord disciplines every child he loves, and chastises every son he receives.”
7 Therefore endure suffering for discipline. For God is treating you as his sons. Remember that no son can escape his father’s discipline. 8 If you lack the discipline which everyone of us has experienced, then your sonship is not legitimate.
9 Moreover, when the fathers of our flesh disciplined us, we respected them. Well, we must much more readily submit ourselves to the Father of our spirit and thus obtain everlasting life. 10 Our earthly fathers disciplined us for a short time according to their own ideas. But our heavenly Father disciplines us for our own advantage. For he wants us to share his blessings.
11 Discipline is not pleasant. On the contrary, it is rather painful at first. But afterwards it yields a harvest of peace and righteousness to the disciplined. 12 Therefore lift up your drooping arms and stiffen your weak knees. 13 Straighten out the path for your feet. Then your crippled limbs will not be dislocated, but instead they will be healed.
PEACE AND HOLINESS
14 Pursue peace with all men and strive for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 Be watchful. Do not fail to obtain the grace of God. Do not allow a poisonous shoot to spring up and contaminate you. 16 Do not be immoral, or profane like Esau who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 You know that afterwards, when he wished to obtain the blessing, he was rejected by his father. Although he pleaded in tears, he was not given an opportunity to correct his mistake.
18 You do not approach God now as of old, in a tangible mountain, in a blazing fire, in darkness, in gloom, and in a whirlwind. 19 You do not hear the trumpet blast and the terrifying voice which made the listeners entreat that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the command: “Even a wild animal which touches the mountain must be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so fearful was the spectacle that Moses said: “I am terrified and appalled.”
22 On the contrary, now you come up to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, with innumerable Angels in festive celebration. 23 Now you attend the solemn gathering of the elder sons of God, who are enrolled as citizens of heaven. Now you stand before a judge who is the God of the universe. Now you are in communion with the souls of the righteous men who have fallen asleep. 24 Now you meet Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and you are sprinkled with his blood which is more powerful than the blood of Abel.
25 Be careful and listen to the voice of God. Those who refused to listen to him when he spoke on earth have paid the penalty for their disobedience. We are going to be punished more severely, if we turn away from him when he speaks to us from heaven.
26 His voice shook the earth at that time. Now he has warned us again, saying: “Yet once more I will shake, not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This phrase “yet once more” means that what is shaken this time will be totally annihilated. Only what cannot be shaken will remain standing.
28 Let us be thankful for the eternal kingdom we have inherited, and let us express our gratitude to God by worshiping him with reverence and awe. 29 For our God is a burning fire.
1 Cultivate fraternal love constantly. 2 Never neglect hospitality. For you may be entertaining Angels unknowingly. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them. Remember those suffering affliction. For you have mortal bodies yourselves.
4 Marriage must he respected by everyone, and the marriage relations must be kept sacred. For God will punish fornicators and adulterers.
5 You must not be money-grasping. Be content with what you have. For God himself has said: “I win never fail you, I will never forsake you.” 6 So we proclaim boldly: “The Lord is my supporter. I will not be afraid. What can a man do to me?”
7 Remember your prelates who preached to you the Gospel of God for the first time. Contemplate the outcome of their life, and follow the example of their faith.
8 Remember that Jesus Christ is always the same, yesterday, today, and forever.
9 Do not be carried away by various exotic doctrines. Remember that spiritual strength depends on the grace of God, not on observances of food. As you well know, these diets have never helped the spirit of their adherents.
10 As for us, we have an altar of spiritual food from which the worshipers of the old tabernacle are not allowed to eat. 11 That reminds me that the bodies of the animals whose blood was brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sin-offering were burned outside the precincts of the camp. 12 For this reason, Jesus, who sanctified the people through his own blood, suffered and died outside the city gates.
13 Therefore let us follow him outside the old camp, and let us share his disgrace. 14 For our permanent home is not here on earth. No, we must look for it in heaven, in the world to come through him. 15 In his name we always offer a sacrifice of praise to God. 16 Now, do not forget to do good and to share your blessings with your brethren. For God is well pleased with such sacrifices.
17 Be obedient and submissive to your prelates. They are watching over your souls as men who are responsible for them. Encourage them to do their duty cheerfully and not grudgingly. It is not to your advantage to discourage them.
18 Pray for me. For I am sure that my own conscience is clear, that I do my best to live a righteous life in every respect. 19 Pray especially that I may return to you the sooner.
20 May the God of peace, who raised from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, through the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 enable you to do his will, and to accomplish every good act that is pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ.
To him be glory forever and ever. Amen.
22 I appeal to you, brethren, be patient with my exhortation. For I have written to you briefly. 23 You know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he comes soon, I will bring him with me when I visit you. 24 Greetings to all your prelates and to all the saints. The brethren from Italy send you their greetings. 25 Grace be with you all. Amen.