The Letter to Hebrews
1:1 ¶ God, who in the old days spoke to our ancestors, through the Prophets, at many different times and in many different ways,
2 has in these latter days spoken to us through the Son, whom he had appointed heir to everything, and through whom he had made the universe.
3 He is the reflection of God’s Glory and the embodiment of the divine nature, and upholds all creation by the power of his word. He made an expiation for the sins of men, and then took his seat at the right hand of God’s Majesty on high,
4 having shown himself as much greater than the angels as the Name that he has inherited surpasses theirs.
1:5 ¶ To which of the angels did God ever say— | “Thou art my Son; this day I have become thy Father”? or again— | “I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son”?
6 And again, when God brought the First-born into the world, he said— | “Let all the angels of God bow down before him.”
7 Speaking of the angels, he said— | “He makes the winds his angels | And the fiery flames his servants”;
8 while he said of the Son— | “Thy throne, O God, shall stand for ever; | The scepter of his Kingdom is the scepter of Justice;
9 | Thou hast loved the right and hated wickedness; | Therefore God, thy God, has anointed thee with the festal oil more abundantly than thy comrades.”
10 Again— | “Thou, O Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, | And the heavens are the work of thy hands.
11 | They shall pass away, but thou remainest; | Like a garment they shall all grow old;
12 | Like a mantle thou wilt fold them up, | And like a garment they shall be changed, | But thou art always the same, and thy years shall know no end.”
13 To which of the angels has God ever said— | “Sit thou at my right hand | Until I put thy enemies as a stool for thy feet”?
14 Are not all the angels spirits in the service of God, sent out for the sake of those who are to obtain Salvation, to minister to their needs?
2:1 ¶ This being so, we ought to give all the more attention to what we have been taught, for fear we should drift away.
2 For if the Message which was delivered by angels had its authority confirmed, so that every offence against it, or neglect of it, met with its fitting requital,
3 how can we, of all people, expect to escape, if we disregard a Salvation as great as this? It was the Master who in the first instance spoke of this Salvation, and its authority was confirmed for us by those who listened to him,
4 while God himself added his testimony to it by signs, marvels, and miracles of many kinds, as well as by imparting the holy Spirit as he saw best.
2:5 ¶ God has not given to angels the control of that Future World of which we are speaking!
6 No; a writer has somewhere emphatically said— | “What is Man that thou should’st remember him? | Or any man that thou should’st regard him?
7 | Thou hast made him, for a while, lower than angels; | With glory and honour thou hast crowned him; | Thou hast set him over all that thy hands have made;
8 | Thou hast placed all things under his feet.” This placing of everything under man implies that there was nothing which was not placed under him. As yet, however, we do not see everything placed under man.
9 What our eyes do see is Jesus, who was made for a while lower than angels, now crowned with glory and honour because of his sufferings and death; so that his tasting the bitterness of death should, in God’s mercy, be on behalf of all mankind.
10 It was, indeed, fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, should, when leading many sons to glory, make the author of their Salvation perfect through suffering.
11 For he who purifies, and those whom he purifies, all derive their life from one source; and therefore he is not ashamed to call them ‘Brothers.’
12 He says— | “I will tell of thee to my Brothers, | In the midst of the congregation I will sing thy praises.”
13 And again— | “I myself will put my trust in God.” And yet again— | “See, here am I and the children whom God gave me.”
14 Therefore, since human nature is the common heritage of ‘the Children,’ Jesus also shared it, just as they do, in order that by his death he might render powerless him whose power lies in death—that is the Devil—
15 and might in this way deliver all those who, from fear of death, had all their lives been living in slavery.
16 It was not, of course, to the help of the angels that Jesus came, but to the help of the descendants of Abraham.
17 And consequently it was necessary that he should be made like his Brothers at all points, in order that he might prove a merciful as well as a faithful High Priest, in all that relates to God, for the purpose of expiating the sins of his People.
18 The fact that he himself was tempted and suffered enables him to help others who are tempted.
3:1 ¶ Therefore, my
2 See his faithfulness to the God who appointed him, like the faithful service of Moses in all the House of God.
3 Jesus, indeed, has been considered worthy of far higher honour than Moses, just as the builder of the House is held in greater regard than the House itself.
4 For every House has its builder, and the builder of the universe is God.
5 While the faithful service of Moses in all the House of God was that of a servant, whose duty was to bear testimony to a Message still to come,
6 the faithfulness of
3:7 ¶ Therefore, as the holy Spirit says— | “If to-day you hear God’s voice,
8 | Do not harden your
hearts, as when
9 | Where your ancestors tried my forbearance, | And saw my mighty deeds for forty years.
10 | Therefore I was sorely vexed with that generation, | And I said—‘Their hearts are always straying; | They have never learnt my ways’;
11 | While in my wrath I swore— | ‘They shall never enter on my Rest.’ ”
12 See to it, Brothers, that there is never found in any one of you a wicked and faithless heart, betrayed by his separating himself from the ever-living God.
13 Rather encourage one another daily—while there is a ‘To-day’—to prevent any one among you from being hardened by the deceitfulness of Sin.
14 We have become
Companions of the
15 To use the words
of Scripture— | “If to-day you hear God’s voice, | Do not harden your hearts,
16 Who were they who
heard God speak and yet provoked him? Was it not all who left
17 And with whom was it that God was sorely vexed for forty years? Was not it with those who had sinned, and who fell dead in the Desert?
18 And who were they to whom God swore that they should not enter upon his Rest, if it was not those who had proved faithless?
19 So we see that they failed to enter upon it on account of their want of faith.
4:1 We must, therefore, have a care that, though there is a promise still standing that we shall enter upon God’s Rest, none of you should seem to have missed it.
2 For we have had the Good News just as they had. But the Message which they heard did them no good, since they did not share the faith of those who were attentive to it.
3 Upon that Rest we who have believed it are now entering. As God has said— | “In my wrath I swore— | ‘They shall never enter upon my Rest.’ ” And yet God’s work was finished at the creation of the world,
4 for in a passage referring to the seventh day you will find these words—“God rested upon the seventh day after all his work.”
5 On the other hand we read in the passage of which I am speaking—“They shall never enter upon my Rest.”
6 Since, then, there is still an unfulfilled promise that some shall enter upon this Rest, and since those whom the Good News reached first did not enter upon it, because of their disbelief,
7 God spoke again and fixed another day. ‘To-day,’ he said, speaking after a long interval through the mouth of David, as has been quoted already— | “If to-day you hear God’s voice | Do not harden your hearts.”
8 Now if Joshua had given ‘Rest’ to the people, God would not have spoken of another and later day.
9 There is, then, a promise of a Sabbath-Rest for God’s People still unfulfilled.
10 For all who enter upon his Rest do themselves rest after their work, just as God did.
11 Let us, therefore, try earnestly to enter upon that Rest, so that none of us should fall through such disbelief as that of which we have had an example.
12 God’s Message is a living and active power, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing its way till it penetrates soul and spirit—not the joints only but the very marrow—and detecting the inmost thoughts and purposes of the mind.
13 There is no created thing that can hide itself from the sight of God. Everything is exposed and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we have to give account.
¶ We have, then, in Jesus, the Son of God, a great High Priest who has passed into the highest Heaven; so let us hold fast to the Faith which we have professed.
15 Our High Priest is not one unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has in every way been tempted, exactly as we have been, without ever sinning.
16 Therefore, let us go up boldly to the Throne of Mercy, to find pity and mercy for our hour of need.
5:1 ¶ All High Priests, if they are taken from among men, are appointed as representatives of their fellow-men in their relations with God, to offer both gifts and sacrifices in expiation of sins.
2 They are able to sympathize with the ignorant and deluded, since they are themselves subject to infirmities,
3 and are therefore bound to offer sacrifices for sins, not merely for the People, but equally so for themselves.
4 Further, no one takes this office upon himself, but only when he has been called to do so by God, as Aaron himself was.
5 And so even the
6 and on another occasion also— | “Thou art, like Melchizedek, a priest for all time.”
7 Jesus, in the days of his earthly life, offered prayers and supplications, with loud cries and with tears, to him who was able to save him from death; and he was heard because of his devout submission.
8 Son though he was, he learnt obedience from his sufferings;
9 and being made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of enduring Salvation, while God himself pronounced him a High Priest like Melchizedek.
5:10 ¶ Now on this subject I have much to say, but it is difficult to explain it to you, because you have shown yourselves so slow to learn.
12 For while, considering the time that has elapsed, you ought to be teaching others, you still need some one to teach you the very alphabet of the Divine Revelation, and need again to be fed with ‘milk’ instead of with ‘solid food.’
13 For all who have still to take ‘milk’ know nothing of the teaching about righteousness; they are mere infants.
14 But ‘solid food’
is for advanced
6:1 Therefore, let us get beyond elementary teaching about the
2 teaching concerning baptisms and the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and a final judgement.
3 Yes and, with God’s help, so we will.
4 For if those who were once for all brought into the Light, and tasted the gift from Heaven, and came to share in the holy Spirit,
5 and tasted the sweetness of the Message of God, and felt the influences of the Coming Age—
6 if those, I say, fell away, it would be impossible to stir them again to repentance, for they would be crucifying the Son of God over again for themselves and exposing him to open contempt.
7 Ground that drinks in the showers that from time to time fall upon it, and produces vegetation useful to those for whom it is tilled, receives a blessing from God;
8 but if it bears thorns and thistles, it is regarded as worthless, it is in danger of being cursed, and its end will be the fire.
6:9 ¶ But about you, dear friends, even though we speak in this way, we are confident of better things—of things that point to your Salvation.
10 For God is not
unjust; he will not forget the work that you did, and the love for his cause
that you showed, in sending help to your fellow-
11 But our desire is that every one of you should show a similar earnestness to attain to a full conviction of the fulfilment of our hope, and should keep it to the end.
12 Then you will never grow indifferent, and you will learn to copy those who, through faith and patience, are now entering upon the enjoyment of God’s promises.
6:13 ¶ When God, you remember, gave his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater by whom he could swear, he swore by himself.
14 His words were—“I will assuredly bless thee and increase thy numbers.”
15 And so, after patiently waiting, Abraham obtained the fulfilment of God’s promise.
16 Men, of course, swear by what is greater than themselves, and with them an oath is accepted as putting a matter beyond all dispute.
17 And therefore God, in his desire to show, with unmistakeable plainness, to those who were to enter on the enjoyment of what he had promised, the unchangeableness of his purpose, bound himself with an oath.
18 For he meant that we should find great encouragement in these two unchangeable things, which make it impossible for God to prove false—we, I mean, who have fled for safety where we might lay hold on the hope set before us.
19 This hope is a very anchor for our souls, secure and strong, and it reaches into the Sanctuary that lies behind the Curtain,
20 where Jesus, our Forerunner, has entered on our behalf, after being made, like Melchizedek, a High Priest for all time.
7:1 ¶ It was this Melchizedek, King of Salem and Priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and gave him his blessing;
2 and it was to him that Abraham allotted a tithe of all the spoil. The meaning of his name is ‘King of Righteousness,’ and besides that, he was also King of Salem, which means ‘King of Peace.’
3 There is no record of his father, or mother, or lineage, nor again of any beginning of his days or end of his life. In this he resembles the Son of God, and he stands before us as a priest whose priesthood is continuous.
7:4 ¶ Consider, then, the importance of this Melchizedek, to whom even the Patriarch Abraham himself gave a tithe of the choicest spoils.
5 Those descendants of Levi, who are from time to time appointed to the priesthood, are directed to collect tithes from the people in accordance with the Law—that is from their own Brothers, although they also are descended from Abraham.
6 But Melchizedek, whose lineage has no connexion with theirs, received tithes from Abraham, and gave his blessing to the very man who had God’s promises.
7 Now no one can dispute that it is the superior who blesses the inferior.
8 In the one case the tithes are received by mortal men; in the other case by one about whom there is the statement that his life still continues.
9 Moreover, in a sense, even Levi, who is the receiver of the tithes, has, through Abraham, paid tithes;
10 for Levi was still in the body of his ancestor when Melchizedek met Abraham.
7:11 ¶ Well then, if Perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood—and it was under this priesthood that the people received the Law—why was it still necessary that a priest of a different order should come, a priest like Melchizedek and not to be reckoned with Aaron?
12 With the change of the priesthood a change of the Law became a necessity.
13 And he of whom all this is said belonged to quite a different tribe, no member of which has ever served at the altar.
14 For it is plain that our Lord has sprung from the tribe of
7:15 ¶ The matter is even yet plainer when we remember that the new priest to come resembled Melchizedek,
16 and that he was appointed, not under a Law regulating only earthly matters, but by virtue of a life beyond the reach of death;
17 for that is the meaning of the statement—“Thou art, like Melchizedek, a priest for all time.”
18 On the one hand we have the abolition of a previous regulation as both inefficient and useless
19 (for the Law never brought anything to perfection); and on the other hand we have the introduction of a further and higher hope, which enables us to draw near to God.
7:20 ¶ Then again, this new priest was not appointed without an oath from God,
21 as the Levitical priests are, but he was appointed with an oath from God, when it was said to him—“The Lord has sworn, and will not change, ‘Thou art a priest for all time.’ ”
22 And the oath shows the corresponding superiority of the Covenant of which Jesus is appointed the surety.
23 Again, the Levitical priests are appointed in considerable numbers, because death prevents their remaining in office;
24 but Jesus remains for all time, and therefore the priesthood that he holds is never liable to pass to another.
25 And that is why he is able to be, in every sense, the Saviour of those who come to God through him, living for ever, as he does, to intercede on their behalf.
¶ This was the High Priest we needed—holy, innocent, spotless, beyond the reach of contamination by sinners, exalted above the highest Heaven,
27 and one who has no need to offer sacrifices daily as those High Priests have, first for their own sins and then for those of the People. For his sacrifice was made once and for all, when he offered himself as the sacrifice.
28 The Law, you must remember, appoints as High Priests men who are liable to infirmity; but the words of God’s oath, which was later than the Law, name the Son as, for all time, the perfect Priest.
8:1 ¶ The main point in what I have been saying is this. We have a High Priest such as I have described; and he has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in Heaven,
2 where he ministers in the Sanctuary and in the true Tabernacle set up by the Lord and not by man.
3 All High Priests are appointed for the purpose of offering gifts and sacrifices to God; and therefore it follows that this High Priest must have some offering to make.
4 If he were, however, still upon earth, he would not even be a priest, since there are already priests who offer the prescribed gifts as the Law directs.
5 (These priests, it is true, are engaged in a service which is only a sketch and shadow of the heavenly realities. This is shown by the directions given to Moses when he was about to construct the Tabernacle. “Look to it,” are the words, “that thou make every part in accordance with the pattern shown thee on the mountain.”)
6 But Jesus, as we see, has obtained a ministry as far greater than theirs, as the Covenant of which he is the intermediary, inasmuch as it has been based on better promises, is better than the former Covenant.
7 If that first Covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion for a second.
8 But a writer, finding fault with the people, says— | ‘ “Listen, the time is coming,” says the Lord, | “When I will ratify a new Covenant with the People of Israel and with the People of Judah—
9 | Not such a
Covenant as I made with their ancestors, | On the day
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the
10 | “This is the Covenant that I will make with the People of Israel | After those days,” says the Lord. | “I will impress my laws on their minds, | And will inscribe them on their hearts; | And they will take me as their God, | And I will take them as my People.
11 | There shall be no need for every man to instruct his fellow-citizen, | Or for a man to say to his Brother ‘Learn to know the Lord’; | For every one will know me, | From the lowest to the highest.
12 | For I will be merciful to their wrong-doings, | And I will no longer remember their sins.” ’
13 By speaking of a “new” Covenant, God at once renders the former Covenant obsolete; and whatever is becoming obsolete and antiquated is on the point of disappearing.
9:1 ¶ Well then, even the first Covenant had its regulations for divine worship, as well as its Sanctuary—though only a material one.
2 For a Tabernacle was constructed, with an outer part which contained the stand for the lamps, and the table, and the consecrated bread. This was known as the Sanctuary.
3 The part of the Tabernacle behind the second Curtain was know as the Inner Sanctuary.
4 In it was the gold incense-altar, and the Ark containing the Covenant, completely covered with gold. In the Ark was a gold casket containing the manna, the rod of Aaron that budded, and the tablets on which the Covenant was written;
5 while above it, and overshadowing the Cover on which the blood was sprinkled, were the Cherubim of the Presence. But I must not now stop to speak of these things in detail.
6 Such, then, were the arrangements in the Tabernacle. Into the outer part priests were constantly going, in the discharge of their sacred duties;
7 but into the inner one only the High Priest went, and that but once a year, never without taking the blood of a victim, which he offered on his own behalf, and on behalf of the errors of the people.
8 What the holy Spirit was teaching was this—that the way into the Sanctuary was hidden, as long as the outer part of the Tabernacle was standing.
9 For it served as a type, pointing on to the present time; and in keeping with this, both gifts and sacrifices were continuously offered, though they were unable to satisfy the conscience of the worshippers.
10 It was only concerned with food and drink and various ablutions—external ceremonials imposed till the coming of the New Order.
¶ But when
12 And he did not come with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood; and having secured our permanent deliverance, he entered, once and for all, into the Sanctuary.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, purified those who had been defiled (as far as ceremonial purification went),
14 how much more will
the blood of the
15 That is why he is the intermediary of a new Covenant; in order that, as a death has taken place to effect a deliverance from the offenses committed under the first Covenant, those who have received the Call may obtain the enduring inheritance promised to them.
16 Whenever such a Covenant as a will is in question, the death of the maker of it must necessarily be alleged.
17 For such a Covenant only takes effect upon death, it having, as you know, no force as long as the person who made it is alive.
18 This explains why even the first Covenant was not ratified without the shedding of blood.
19 For when every command had been announced to all the people by Moses in accordance with the Law, he took the blood of the calves and of the goats, with water, scarlet wool, and a bunch of hyssop, and sprinkled even the Book of the Law, as well as all the people,
20 saying, as he did so—“This is the blood that renders valid the Covenant which God has commanded to be made with you.”
21 And in the same way he also sprinkled with the blood the Tabernacle and all the things that were used in public worship.
22 Indeed, under the Law, almost everything was purified with blood; and unless blood was shed, no forgiveness was to be obtained.
9:23 ¶ While, then, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly realities to be purified by such means as these, the heavenly realities themselves required better sacrifices.
24 For it was not
into a Sanctuary made by man, which merely foreshadowed the true one, that
25 Nor was it in order to offer himself may times, as year after year the High Priest entered the Sanctuary with an offering of blood—but not his own blood;
26 for then
27 And inasmuch as it is ordained for men to die but once (death being followed by judgement),
28 so it is with the
10:1 ¶ The Law, though it was able to foreshadow the Better System that was coming, never had its actual substance. Its priests, with those sacrifices which they offer continuously year after year, could never make those who came to worship perfect.
2 Otherwise, would not the offering of these sacrifices have been abandoned, as the worshippers, having been once purified, had their consciences clear from sins?
3 But, on the contrary, these sacrifices recall their sins to mind year after year.
4 For the blood of bulls and goats is powerless to remove sins.
5 That is why, when
he was coming into the world, the
6 | Thou dost take no pleasure in burnt offering and sacrifice for sin.
7 | So I said, ‘See, I have come’ (as is written about me in the pages of the Book), | ‘To do thy will, O God.’ ”
10:8 ¶ First come the words—“Thou dost not desire, nor dost thou take pleasure in, sacrifice, offering, burnt offering, and sacrifice for sin” (offerings regularly made under the Law),
9 and then there is added—“See, I have come to do thy will.” The former statement is set aside to be replaced by the latter.
10 And it is in the
carrying out of God’s will that we have been purified by the sacrifice, once
and for all, of the body of Jesus
11 All other priests stand day after day at their ministrations, and offer the same sacrifices over and over again—sacrifices which can never take sins away.
12 But this priest, after offering one sacrifice for sins, which should serve for all time, took his seat at the right hand of God,
13 and has been waiting since then for his enemies to be put as a stool for his feet.
14 By a single offering he has made perfect for all time those who are being purified.
10:15 ¶ We have also the testimony of the holy Spirit. For after saying—
16 | “ ‘This is the Covenant that I will make with them | After those days,’ says the Lord; | ‘I will impress my laws on their hearts, | And will inscribe them on their minds,’ ”
17 then we have—“And their sins and their iniquities I will no longer remember.”
18 And when these are forgiven, there is no further need of an offering for sin.
10:19 ¶ Since then, Brothers, we may enter the Sanctuary with confidence, in virtue of the sacrifice of Jesus,
20 by the way which he inaugurated for us—a new and living way, a way through the Sanctuary-Curtain (by which I mean his human nature);
21 and since we have in him a Great Priest set over the House of God,
22 let us draw near to God in all sincerity of heart and in perfect confidence, with our hearts purified by the sprinkled blood from all consciousness of wrong, and with our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold firm and unshaken the hope which we have professed; for we have a promise from one who may be trusted.
24 Let us vie with one another in a rivalry of love and noble actions.
25 And let us not, as some do, cease to meet together; but on the contrary, let us encourage one another, and, all the more, now that you see the Day drawing near.
10:26 ¶ Remember, if we sin wilfully after we have gained a full knowledge of the Truth, there can be no further sacrifice for sin;
27 there is only a dreadful anticipation of judgement, and a burning indignation which will destroy all opponents.
28 When a man set a nought the Law of Moses, he was, on the evidence of two or three witnesses, put to death without pity.
29 How much worse then, do you think, will be the punishment deserved by those who have trampled underfoot the Son of God, who have treated the blood that rendered the Covenant valid—the very blood by which they were purified—as of no account, and have heaped insults on the gracious Spirit of God?
30 We know who it was that said—“It is for me to take revenge, I will pay back”; and again—“The Lord will judge his people.”
31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.
10:32 ¶ Call to mind those early days in which, after you had received the Light, you patiently underwent a long and painful conflict.
33 Sometimes, in consequence of the taunts and injuries heaped upon you, you became a public spectacle, and sometimes you suffered through having shown yourselves to be the friends of men who were in the same position as yourselves.
34 For you not only sympathised with those who were in prison, but you even took the confiscation of your possessions cheerfully, knowing, as you did, that you had in yourselves a greater possession and a lasting one.
35 Do not, therefore, abandon the confidence you have gained, for it has a great reward awaiting it.
36 You still have need of patient endurance, in order that, when you have done God’s will, you may obtain the fulfilment of his promise.
37 | “For there is indeed but a very little while | Ere the One who is Coming will have come, without delay;
38 | And those who stand right with me will find Life as the result of faith, | While if a man draws back, my heart can find no pleasure in him.”
39 But we do not belong to those who draw back, to their Ruin, but to those who have faith, to the preservation of their souls.
11:1 ¶ Faith is confidence in the realization of one’s hopes; it is a conviction regarding things which are not yet visible.
2 And it was for such faith that the men of old were well spoken of.
11:3 ¶ Faith enables us to perceive that the universe was created at the bidding of God—so that what we see was not made out of what is visible.
4 Faith made the sacrifice which Abel offered more acceptable to God than Cain’s, and caused him to be spoken well of as a righteous man; for by his acceptance of his gifts God himself speaks well of him; and it is by the example of his faith that Abel, though dead, still speaks.
5 It was due to the faith of Enoch that he was removed from earth, to prevent his experiencing death. He could not be found because God had removed him; and before his removal he was well spoken of as having pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him, for those who come to God must believe that God exists, and that he rewards those who seek for him.
11:7 ¶ It was faith that enabled Noah, after he had received the divine warning about what could not then be foreseen, to build, in reverent obedience, an ark in which to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became possessed of that righteousness which follows upon faith.
8 It was faith that enabled Abraham to obey the Call that he received, and to set out for the place which he was afterwards to obtain as his own; and he did so without knowing at the time where he was going.
9 It was faith that made him go to the Promised Land—a stranger to a strange country—and live there in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who shared the promise with him.
10 He was looking for the City with the sure foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 Again, it was faith that enabled Sarah to conceive (though she was past the age for child-bearing), because she felt sure that he who had given her the promise might be trusted.
12 And so from one man—and that when his powers were dead—there sprang a people as numerous as the stars in the heavens or the countless grains of sand upon the shore.
11:13 ¶ All those whom I have mentioned died without losing faith. They did not obtain the promised blessings, but they saw them from a distance and welcomed the sight, and they acknowledged themselves to be only aliens and strangers on the earth.
14 Those who speak thus show plainly that they are seeking their fatherland.
15 If they had been thinking of the land which they had left, they could have found opportunities to return.
16 But no, they were longing for a better, a heavenly, land! And therefore God was not ashamed to be called their God; indeed he had already prepared them a city.
¶ It was faith that enabled Abraham, when put to the test, to offer Isaac as a sacrifice—he who had received the promises offering up his only son,
18 of whom it had been said—“It is through Isaac that there shall be descendants to bear thy name.”
19 For he argued that God was able even to raise a man from the dead—and indeed, figuratively speaking, Abraham did receive Isaac back from the dead.
20 It was faith that enabled Isaac to bless Jacob and Esau, and to tell them of what lay in the future.
21 Faith enabled Jacob, when dying, to give his blessing to both the sons of Joseph, and to bow himself in worship as he leant on his staff.
22 Faith caused Joseph, when his end was near, to speak of the future migration of the Israelites, and to give instructions with regard to his bones.
11:23 ¶ Faith caused the parents of Moses to hide the child for three months after his birth, for they saw that he was a beautiful child; and they refused to respect the King’s order.
24 It was faith that caused Moses, when he was grown up, to decline the title of ‘Son of a Daughter of Pharaoh.’
25 He preferred to share the hardships of God’s People rather than to have the short-lived enjoyment of a sinful life.
26 For he thought that
the stigma which attaches to the
27 Faith caused him
28 Faith led him to institute the Passover and the Sprinkling of the Blood, so that the Destroyer might not touch the eldest children of the Israelites.
29 Faith enabled the people to cross the Red Sea, as if it had been dry land, while the Egyptians, when they attempted to do so, were drowned.
30 Faith caused the walls of Jericho to fall after the Israelites had marched round them daily for a week.
31 Faith saved Rahab, the prostitute, from perishing with the unbelievers, after she had entertained the spies with friendliness.
11:32 ¶ Need I add anything more? Time would fail me if I attempted to relate the stories of Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah, with those of David, Samuel, and the Prophets.
33 It was by their faith that they subdued kingdoms, ruled righteously, gained the fulfilment of God’s promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 quelled the fury of the flames, escaped the point of the sword, found strength in the hour of weakness, displayed their prowess in war, and routed hostile armies.
35 Women received their dead back from death. Some were tortured on the wheel, and refused release in order that they might rise to a better life.
36 Others had to face taunts and blows, and even chains and imprisonment.
37 They were stoned to death, they were tortured, they were sawn in pieces, they were put to the sword; they wandered about clothed in the skins of sheep or goats, destitute, persecuted, ill-used
38 (though the world was not worthy of them), roaming in lonely places, on the mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
11:39 ¶ Yet, though they one and all gained a good name by their faith, they did not obtain the fulfilment of God’s promise;
40 since it was for us that God had in view something which was still better, and it was not his will that they should reach their full perfection apart from us.
12:1 ¶ Seeing that there is on every side of us such a throng of witnesses, let us therefore, in our turn, lay aside every thing that hinders us, and the sin that clings about us, and run with perseverance the course that lies before us,
2 our eyes fixed upon Jesus, who is our Guide, and our perfect Example of faith, and who, in exchange for the happiness that lay at his feet, submitted to the cross, disregarding its shame, and now has taken his seat on the right hand of the throne of God.
3 If you would not grow fainthearted and weary, weigh well the example of him who has submitted to such opposition at the hands of men who were sinning against themselves.
4 You have not yet, in your struggle with sin, resisted to the death;
5 and you have forgotten the encouraging words which are addressed to you as God’s Children— | “My child, think not lightly of the Lord’s discipline, | Do not despond when he rebukes you;
6 | For it is those whom he loves that he disciplines, | And he chastises every child whom he acknowledges.”
7 It is for your discipline that you have to submit to all this. God is dealing with you as his Children. For where is there a child whom his father does not discipline?
8 If you are left without that discipline, in which all children share, it shows that you are bastards, and not true Children.
9 Further, when our earthly fathers disciplined us, we respected them. Ought we not, then, with far greater readiness to yield submission to the Father of all souls, and so find Life?
10 Our fathers disciplined us for a short time and according to their own judgement; but God thinks only of our advantage, and his object is that we should share his holiness.
11 Of course no discipline is pleasant at the time; on the contrary, it is painful. But afterwards it produces, as its fruit, a righteous life that brings peace to those who have been trained under it.
12 Therefore lift again the down-dropped hands, and straighten the weakened knees;
13 make straight paths for your feet, so that the lame limb may not be put out of place, but be cured instead.
12:14 ¶ Try to live at peace with everyone, and to attain to that purity without which no one will see the Lord.
15 Take care that no one fails to avail himself of the divine help, that no bitterness is allowed to take root and spring up and cause trouble, and so poison the whole community.
16 Take care that no one becomes immoral, or irreligious like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for a single meal.
17 For you know that even afterwards, when he wished to claim his father’s blessing, he was rejected. Indeed, he never found an opportunity for repairing his error, though he begged for the blessing with tears.
12:18 ¶ It is not to a tangible flaming fire that you have drawn near, nor to gloom, and darkness, and storm,
19 and the blast of a trumpet, and an audible voice. Those who heard that voice begged that the words might cease,
20 for they could not bear to think of the command—“Even if an animal touches the mountain, it is to be stoned to death;”
21 and so fearful was the sight that Moses said—“I am terrified and trembling.”
22 No, but you have drawn near to Mount Zion, the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to countless hosts of angels,
23 to the gathering and assemblage of God’s eldest Sons whose names are enrolled in Heaven, to God the Judge of all men, to the Spirits of the righteous who have reached perfection,
24 to Jesus, the intermediary of a new Covenant, and to the Sprinkled Blood that tells of better things than the blood of Abel.
25 Beware of refusing to hear him who is speaking. For if the Israelites did not escape punishment, when they refused to listen to him who taught them on earth the divine will, it will be far worse for us, if we turn away from him who is teaching us from Heaven.
26 Then his voice shook the earth, but now his declaration is—“Still once more I will cause not only the earth to tremble, but also the heavens.”
27 And those words ‘still once more’ indicate the passing away of all that is shaken—that is, of all created things—in order that only what is unshaken may remain.
28 Therefore, we who have been given a kingdom that cannot be shaken should be thankful, and so offer acceptable worship to God, with awe and reverence.
29 For our God is a consuming fire.
13:1 ¶ Love for the Brethren must never be allowed to die out.
2 Do not forget to be hospitable; for through being hospitable, people have sometimes entertained angels as guests, without knowing it.
3 Remember those who are in prison, regarding yourselves as their fellow-prisoners; remember, too, those who are suffering hardships, not forgetting that you also have bodies that may suffer.
4 The married state should be regarded as in every way an honourable condition of life, and married intercourse as pure; for God will judge those who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
5 Your life must not be ruled by the love of money. Be content with what you have, for God himself has said—“I will never forsake you, nor will I ever abandon you.”
6 Therefore we may say with confidence— | “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. | What can man do to me?”
13:7 ¶ Do not forget your Leaders, the men who told you God’s Message. Recall the close of their lives, and imitate their faith.
13:8 ¶ Jesus
9 Do not allow yourselves to be carried away by the many forms of teaching that are foreign to the Truth. It is better to rely for spiritual strength upon the divine help, than upon regulations regarding food; for those whose lives are guided by such regulations have never found them of any benefit.
10 We are not without an altar; but it is one at which those who still worship in the Tabernacle have no right to eat.
11 The bodies of those animals whose blood is brought by the High Priest into the Sanctuary, as an offering for sin, are burnt outside the camp.
12 And so Jesus, too, in order to purify the People by his own blood, suffered outside the gate.
13 Therefore let us go out to him outside the camp, bearing the same stigma as he;
14 for we have no permanent city here, but we are looking for the City that is to be.
15 In him name let us offer, as our sacrifice, continual praise to God—an offering from lips that glorify his name.
16 Never forget to do kindly acts and to share what you have with others, for sacrifices of that kind are acceptable to God.
13:17 ¶ Obey your Leaders, and submit to their control, for they are watching over your souls, as men who will have to render an account, so that their account may be given joyfully, and not with sorrow. That would not be to your advantage.
13:18 ¶ Pray for us, for we are sure that our intentions are good, since our wish is always to act honourably.
19 And I the more earnestly ask for your prayers, in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.
¶ May God, the source of all peace, who brought back from the dead him who, by virtue of the blood that rendered valid the unchangeable Covenant, is the Great Shepherd of God’s Sheep, Jesus, our Lord—
21 may God make you
perfect in everything that is good, so that you may be able to do his will. May
he produce in us all that is pleasing in his sight,
13:22 ¶ I beg you, Brothers, to bear with these words of advice. I have only written very briefly to you.
13:23 ¶ You will be glad to hear that our Brother, Timothy, has been set free. If he comes here soon, we will visit you together.
¶ Give our good wishes to all your Leaders, and to
all your fellow-
13:25 ¶ May God bless you all.