· Epistle to the Hebrews ·

 
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CHAPTER 1
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God has spoken through his Son – The Son greater than the angels

1In the past, God spoke to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways. 2At the end of these days, he has spoken to us in his Son whom he has appointed heir of everything and through whom he made the ages. 3His Son is the radiance of his glory, the exact counterpart of his person, upholding everything by the word of his power. When he had by himself made purification for our sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4having become much better than the angels as the Name he has inherited is superior to theirs. 5For to which of the angels did God ever say,

You are my Son. Today I have begotten you

and again,

I will be a Father to him, and he will be a Son to me. (Psalms 2:7; 2 Kingdoms[Samuel] 7:14, 1 Chronicles 17:13)

6Also, when he brings the firstborn into the world, God says,

Let all the angels of God worship him. (Deuteronomy 32:43)

7Of the angels, God says,

Who makes his angels spirits, and his servants a flame of fire. (Psalms 103[104]:4)

The Son as the enthroned Messiah-King

8But of the Son he says,

Your throne O God is unto ages of ages.
The sceptre of justice is the sceptre of your Kingdom.
9You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity;
therefore God, your God,
has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions. (Psalms 44[45]:6-7)

The Son as eternal creator

10And,

You, Lord, in the beginning, laid the foundation of the earth.
The heavens are the works of your hands.
11They will perish, but you continue.
They all will grow old as a garment,
12as a mantle, you will roll them up,
and they will be changed;
but you are the same.
Your years will not fail. (Psalms 101[102]:25-27)

13Indeed, to which of the angels did he ever say,

Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet. (Psalms 109[110]:1)

14Are the angels not all ministering spirits, sent out to serve for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

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CHAPTER 2
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Warning not to neglect salvation

1Therefore, we should pay greater attention to the things that we were taught, for fear that we may drift away. 2Certainly, if the word spoken through angels proved reliable and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation. It was first announced by the Lord himself, and it is confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4God also bore witness with them, both by signs and wonders, by various works of power and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will. 5Indeed, God did not subject the world to come, which we proclaim, to angels, 6but there is a place where someone has testified,

What is man that you should be concerned for him?
Or the son of man, that you care for him?
7You made him a little lower than the angels.
You crowned him with glory and honour.
8You have put everything in subjection under his feet. (Psalms 8:4-6)

Since God has subjected everything to him, he has left nothing that is not subject to him. But now, we do not yet see everything subjected to him. 9However, we see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he should taste death for everyone.

Many children to glory

10Indeed, it was fitting for God, for whom are all things and through whom are all things, in bringing many children to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For both the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one; for this reason, he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12saying,

I will declare your Name to my brethren.
In the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise. (Psalms 21[22]:22)

13Again,

I will put my trust in him,

and,

Behold, here I am with the children whom God has given me. (Isaiah 8:17-18)

Christ’s humanity

14Since the children have shared in flesh and blood, he likewise shared the same, so that through death he might bring to nothing the one who had the power of death, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to life-long slavery. 16Certainly, Jesus did not take on the nature of angels, but of Abraham’s seed. 17For this reason, he had to be made like his brethren in everything, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18Moreover, since he himself suffered and was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.

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CHAPTER 3
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A High Priest greater than Moses

1Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus, 2who was faithful to the one who had appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3Yet, Jesus is accounted worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honour than the house. 4Every house is built by someone, but the one who built everything is God. 5Moses indeed was a faithful servant in all of God’s house, as a testimony for what would later on be spoken about. 6But Christ is faithful as a Son over his house and we are his house, if we firmly hold on to the confidence and pride of our hope until the end. 7Therefore, even as the Holy Spirit says,

Today if you will hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion,
as in the day of the trial in the wilderness,
9where your fathers tested me by proving me,
and saw my works for forty years.
10Therefore, I was displeased with that generation and said,
“They always go astray in their heart,
they did not know my ways;”
11As I swore in my wrath,
“They will not enter into my rest.” (Psalms 94[95]:7-11)

A warning based on the example of Israel

12Beware, brethren, for fear that one of you may have an evil and unbelieving heart that would fall away from the living God. 13Instead, encourage one another day by day, as long as it is called ‘today’ for fear that one of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold on to our first confidence until the end, 15as long as these words apply,

Today if you will hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion. (Psalms 94[95]:7-8)

16But who is it that rebelled when they heard? Were they not all those that Moses had led out of Egypt? 17With whom was God displeased for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom did he swear that they would not enter into his rest? Was it not to those who were disobedient? 19We see that they were not able to enter in because of lack of faith.

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CHAPTER 4
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God’s Sabbath rest

1Let us beware, then. Since the promise remains, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2For we also had the Good News preached to us, just as them, but they gained nothing from the word they heard because those who heard did not combine it with faith. 3However, we who have faith are entering into that rest, even as God said,

As I swore in my wrath, they will not enter into my rest. (Psalms 94[95]:11)

And yet, the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4Somewhere God said this about the seventh day,

God rested on the seventh day from all his works. (Genesis 2:2)

5And again:

They will not enter into my rest. (Psalms 94[95]:11)

6It remains the case, then, that there would be some people who would enter that rest, and those to whom the Good News was preached before failed to enter because of disobedience. 7God has thus defined a certain day, ‘today’, saying through David much later, in the words already quoted,

Today if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. (Psalms 94[95]:7-8)

8If Joshua had given them rest, God would not have afterwards spoken of another day. 9There must still be, then, a Sabbath rest for God’s people, 10and anyone who has entered into his rest has also rested from his works, just as God did. 11Therefore, let us do our utmost to enter into that rest, for fear that anyone should fall according to the same pattern of disobedience. 12Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13No creature is hidden from God’s sight, but everything is naked and open before the eyes of the one to whom we must give an account.

A compassionate great high priest, tempted yet without sin

14Since we have such a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold on firmly to our confession. 15Certainly, we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our infirmities, but one who has been tempted in everything just as we are, yet without sin. 16Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for assistance in time of need.

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CHAPTER 5
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A high priest after the order of Melchizedek

1Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed for their sake in matters pertaining to God, so that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2The high priest can deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray since he himself is also subject to weakness. 3Because of this, he must offer sacrifices for the sins of the people, as well as for himself. 4Moreover, nobody assumes this honour by himself but one is called by God, just as Aaron was. 5Likewise, Christ did not glorify himself to be made a high priest, but it was God who said to him,

You are my Son. Today I have become your father. (Psalms 2:7)

6As he says also in another place,

You are a priest forever, According to the order of Melchizedek. (Psalms 109[110]:4)

7During his life on earth, Christ offered prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could deliver him from death, and he was heard because of his godly fear. 8Although he was a Son, he learnt obedience through suffering. 9Having been made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the cause of eternal salvation, 10appointed by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Beyond the basics

11We have many things to say about these things but it is hard to explain because you have become slow at understanding. 12For although by this time you should be teachers, you still need to have someone teach you the basic principles of God’s oracles. You have come to need milk, and not solid food. 13Everyone who lives on milk is not experienced in the word of righteousness; such a person is a baby. 14But solid food is for those who are fully grown, who have trained their senses to discern good and evil.

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CHAPTER 6
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1Therefore, going beyond the teaching of the basic principles about Christ, let us move on to perfection. Let us not lay again a foundation of repentance from dead works, of faith towards God, 2of the teaching of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement. 3If God allows, this is what we shall do. 4Regarding those who were once enlightened, who tasted of the heavenly gift, became partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6but then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance. They crucify the Son of God for themselves all over again and expose him to shame. 7On the other hand, the land which has absorbed the rain that comes often upon it and thus brings forth a crop suitable for those who till it; such a land receives blessing from God. 8Yet, if it bears thorns and thistles, it is rejected, close to being cursed; and its end is to be burnt.

9But, beloved, even though we speak like this, we are persuaded of better things for you, of things that accompany salvation. 10God is not unrighteous, so as to forget your work and the labour of love which you showed for his Name by serving the saints even as you still serve them. 11We desire that each one of you may show the same zeal to the end, to the fullness of hope. 12Do not be sluggish but imitate those who through faith and patience have inherited the promises.

God’s unchangeable oath

13When God made a promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, 14saying, “I will surely bless and multiply you.” 15Thus, having patiently endured, Abraham obtained the promise. 16Humans swear by someone greater and in every dispute they have the oath is final to get things settled. 17In this way, being determined to show more abundantly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable nature of his purpose, God intervened with an oath. 18And so, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, may we have a strong encouragement, since we have sought refuge and taken hold of the hope set before us. 19We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, a hope which is both sure and solid. It reaches beyond the veil 20where as a forerunner Jesus has entered for us, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

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CHAPTER 7
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Melchizedek, Abraham and Christ

1This Melchizedek was king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham when he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and who blessed him. 2Moreover, Abraham gave a tenth part of all to this Melchizedek. By the interpretation of his name, he is, first, ‘king of saving justice’ and also king of Salem, that is, ‘king of peace;’ 3without father, mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life. He was made like the Son of God and remains a priest for all times. 4Now, consider how great this man was, since even the Patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth out from the best spoils. 5Indeed, the sons of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, although they too are Abraham’s descendants. 6But this man, who was not of the same descent, received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who has the promises. 7Now, nobody will question that the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8Here, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. 9We can say that through Abraham even Levi who would receive tithes, had paid tithes, 10for he was still ‘in the body’ of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him. 11Now, if perfection had come through the Levitical priesthood under which the people received the law, what further need would there be for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek and not that of Aaron? 12And as the priesthood is being changed, there is also, by necessity, a change in the law as well. 13So our Lord, of whom these things were said, belongs to another tribe, one from which no one has served at the altar. 14It is clear indeed that our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, about which Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15This is even more obvious if after the likeness of Melchizedek, another priest was to rise, 16one who was not made in virtue of a law of physical descent but according to the power of an indestructible life. 17As it is testified,

You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. (Psalms 109[110]:4)

18There is a cancellation of an earlier commandment on account of its weakness and uselessness, 19because the law made nothing perfect. Now, there is the introduction of a better hope through which we draw near to God. 20Moreover, our Lord was not made priest without the taking of an oath, 21although others became priests without any oath. But with an oath, God says of him,

The Lord swore and will not change his mind,
“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”

22Because of this, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23Many,indeed, were made priests because they are prevented from continuing in office when they die. 24But because he lives forever, Jesus holds a perpetual priesthood. 25Therefore, he is also able to save to the very end those who draw near to God through him, because he lives forever to make intercession for them.

26Indeed, such a high priest was fitting for us: holy, blameless, undefiled, separated from sinners and made higher than the heavens. 27He does not need, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people. Instead, he did this once for all, when he offered himself up. 28For the law appoints as high priests men who have weaknesses, but the word of the oath which came after the law appoints forever a Son who has been perfected.

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CHAPTER 8
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Christ: high priest and mediator of a better covenant

1The point of what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high, 2a servant of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord has set up, not man. 3Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, it is necessary that this high priest should also have something to offer. 4If the Jesus were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, because there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5They worship a copy and a shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses was warned by God when he was about to build the tabernacle. For God said,

Behold, you shall make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain. (Exodus 25:40)

6But now, Jesus has obtained a more excellent ministry as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, given as law on better promises. 7If that first covenant had been without fault, there would have been no place to look for a second one. 8But finding fault with them, God said,

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah;
9not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers,
in the day when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of the land of Egypt;
for they did not continue in my covenant,
and I ignored them, says the Lord.
10This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel:
After those days, says the Lord;
I will put my laws into their mind,
I will also write them on their heart.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
11They will not teach everyone his fellow-citizen,
and everyone his relative, saying, “Know the Lord”
for all will know me, from their least to their greatest.
12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness;
I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

13By speaking of a new covenant, God has made the first one old. And what is becoming obsolete and ageing will soon disappear.

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CHAPTER 9
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The first tabernacle

1Even the first tabernacle and covenant had ordinance of worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2A tabernacle was set up: the lampstand, the table, and the show bread were in the first part which is called the Holy Place. 3Beyond the second veil was found the tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies. 4It had a golden altar of incense and the Ark of the Covenant all covered with gold. The Ark contained a golden jar holding the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded and the tablets of the covenant. 5Above it, cherubim of glory overshadowed the mercy seat, but now we cannot speak about these things in detail. 6According to this arrangement, priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the rites of worship. 7Into the second tabernacle, only the high priest enters, once in the year and with blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins committed in ignorance by the people. 8The Holy Spirit is indicating that the way into the Holy Place was not yet revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing. 9It is a figure of the present age, where the gifts and sacrifices that are offered are incapable, as far as conscience is concerned, to make the one who worships perfect. 10The reason is that they are only carnal ordinances with meats, drinks and various washings, imposed until a time of reformation.

Christ’s sacrifice

11But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, he entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation. 12It was not through the blood of goats and calves but through his own blood that he entered the Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13Indeed, if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled could sanctify to restore the purity of the flesh, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to worship the living God? 15For this reason, he is the mediator of a new covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the sins that were under the first covenant, so that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16Where there is a last will and testament, there must also be the death of the one who made it. 17A will comes into effect after death; it is never in force while the one who made it is still alive. 18That is why not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19For when Moses had proclaimed every commandment to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20saying,

This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you. (Exodus 24:8)

21Moreover, he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry in the same way, with the blood. 22According to the law, almost everything is purified with blood, and there is no remission if there is no shedding of blood. 23Therefore, it was necessary that the copies of the heavenly things should be cleansed with these things, but the heavenly things themselves, with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ did not enter holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true ones, but into heaven itself in order to appear in the presence of God for us. 25Yet, this did not take place so that he would offer himself often, as the high priest does when he enters the holy place year by year, with blood that is not his own. 26Otherwise, Christ would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world. But now, at the end of the ages, he has been revealed once to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27It is appointed for humans to die once, and after this comes the judgement. 28It is the same with Christ: having been offered once to bear the sins of many, he will appear a second time, apart from sin-offering, to those who are eagerly waiting for him for salvation.

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CHAPTER 10
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One sacrifice for sins

1The law had a shadow of the good things to come but not the very image of their reality; for this reason, it can never make perfect those who draw near with the same repetitive annual sacrifices. 2Or else, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the ones who worship, having been cleansed, would no longer have felt guilty for their past sins? 3But in those sacrifices there is a yearly reminder of sins. 4The reason is that it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. 5Therefore, when he comes into the world, he says,

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but you have prepared a body for me;
6You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin.
7Then I said, “Behold, I have come,
in the scroll of the book it is written of me,
to do your will, O God.” (Psalm 39[40]:6-8)

8First he said, “Sacrifices, offerings, whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you did not desire, neither had pleasure in them,” those which are offered according to the law, 9and then he said, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He takes away the first so that he may establish the second, 10and by this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all. 11Every priest indeed stands serving daily, often offering the same sacrifices which can never take away sins. 12But Christ, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting until his enemies are made the footstool of his feet. 14By one offering, he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

16This is the covenant that I will make with them,
“After those days,” says the Lord,
“I will put my laws on their heart,
I will also write them on their mind;” (Jeremiah 31:33)

17He then says,

I will remember their sins and iniquities no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)

18Now, where there is remission of these sins, there is no more offering for sin.

Boldness in Christ

19Brethren, we have boldness to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20by the way which he opened for us a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh. 21Yes, since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart full of faith. Since our hearts have been sprinkled from an evil conscience and our body washed with pure water, 23let us hang on to the confession of our hope without wavering because the one who made the promise is faithful.

24Let us consider how to stimulate each other to love and good works. 25Let us not abandon our own gatherings, which is the habit of some. Instead, exhort one another, and even more as you see the Day approaching. 26But if we sin wilfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there is no more sacrifice for sins. 27All that remains is a fearful expectation of judgement and a fury of fire which will devour the adversaries. 28One who disregards Moses’ law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. 29How much worse a punishment, do you think, will one receive who has trampled the Son of God and profaned the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified, and offended the Spirit of grace? 30For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord, I will repay.” And also, “The Lord will judge his people.” (Deuteronomy 32:35-36; Psalms 134[135]:14) 31It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32But remember the early days when you had just been enlightened, how you endured a great struggle with sufferings. 33Sometimes you were exposed to insults and oppressions; and at other times you stood with those who were treated in such a way. 34Indeed, you had compassion for me in my chains and joyfully accepted the seizure of your property, knowing that you have a better and enduring property in the heavens. 35Therefore, do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward. 36Indeed, you need endurance in order to receive the promise after having done the will of God.

37In a very little while, he who comes will come and will not wait.
38But the righteous will live by faith.
If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. (Habakkuk 2:3-4)

39But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who believe and so are saved.

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CHAPTER 11
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By faith

1Now, faith is the personal foundation of things hoped for, certainty about things that cannot be seen. 2By this, people of old obtained approval. 3By faith, we understand that the universe was formed by the word of God, so that what is visible was made from what is invisible.

4By faith, Abel offered to God a sacrifice more excellent than Cain’s, and through this testimony was given to him that he was righteous. God testified about his gifts, and although Abel is now dead, he still speaks. 5By faith, Enoch was taken away in order not to see death: he was not found because God had translated him. He too had received a testimony that before his translation, he had been well-pleasing to God.

6Without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever comes to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

7By faith, Noah, being warned about things not yet seen, was moved with godly fear. He prepared a ship to save his household and by this means he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. 8By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and left the place which he was supposed to receive as his inheritance. He left, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of the promise, as in a land that was not his own, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10Indeed, Abraham looked for the city which has foundations and whose architect and builder is God. 11By faith, even Sarah received power to conceive and she bore a child when she was past the age because she considered that the one who had promised was faithful. 12Therefore, one man became the father to people as many as the stars of the sky and as innumerable as the sand on the sea shore, even though he was as good as dead. 13These people all died in faith, not having received the promises. They had seen and embraced them from afar, and they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims upon the earth. 14Certainly, people who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had originally left, they would have had enough time to return. 16But in fact, they desire a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed of them, or ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17By faith, Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had joyfully received the promises was now offering up his uniquely loved son, 18the very one of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac will your seed be called.’ 19Abraham concluded that God was even able to raise up the dead and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from the dead. 20By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding future events. 21By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each one of Joseph’s sons and bowed down, leaning on the top of his staff. 22By faith, Joseph, when his end was near, made mention of the exodus of the children of Israel and gave instructions concerning his bones. 23By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents because they saw that he was a beautiful child and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. 24By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing to share ill-treatment with God’s people rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time. 26He considered the disgrace of the Anointed greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt because he had his eyes fixed on the reward. 27By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, but he persevered as if he was seeing him who is invisible. 28By faith, Moses kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them. 29By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land and when the Egyptians tried to do likewise, they were swallowed up. 30By faith, the walls of Jericho fell down, after the people had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith, Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient because she had had received the spies in peace. 32What more shall I say? Time would fail me if I mentioned Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33Through faith, they overpowered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions (Daniel 6:22-23), 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, became strong in weakness, grew mighty in war and caused foreign armies to flee. 35Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. (3 Kingdoms[1 Kings] 19:1-3; 4 Kingdoms[2 Kings] 6:31-7:20; 2 Maccabees 7:29; 12:44) 36Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, by chains and imprisonment. 37They were stoned, they were sawn apart, they were tempted and they were slain with the sword. (2 Chronicles 24:20-21; Jeremiah 26:20-23; 3 Kingdoms[1 Kings] 19:10) They went around in sheep and goat skins, being destitute, afflicted and ill-treated. And yet the world was not worthy of them. 38They wandered in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth. 39All of them received a testimony through their faith but they did not receive the promise 40because God had made provision for us to have something better, and they were not to reach perfection apart from us.

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CHAPTER 12
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God as our Father

1And so, seeing that we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us. Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising its shame, and he has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who has endured such opposition from sinners, and you will not grow weary or faint in your souls. 4In your own battle against sin, you have not yet struggled to the point of shedding blood. 5Have you forgotten the exhortation which reasons with you as with children,

My child, do not take lightly the chastening of the Lord,
do not faint when you are reproved by him;
6for whom the Lord loves, he also chastens,
and he disciplines every son whom he receives. (Proverbs 3:11-12)

7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children, for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8But if you are not getting this discipline, as you are, this makes you illegitimate, not children. 9Moreover, we had biological fathers to chasten us, and we respected them. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of our spirits, and live? 10Our fathers punished us for a few days as seemed good to them; but God does so for our benefit, so that we may be partakers of his holiness. 11For the present moment, all discipline seems to be painful rather than joyful, but afterwards, it produces the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it. 12Therefore, lift up your drooping hands and your feeble knees. 13Make straight paths for your feet, so what is lame may not be dislocated but rather healed.

Call to be careful, having approached the awesome God

14Pursue peace with everyone, and also sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15Be careful, for fear that any of you might fall short of the grace of God or that any root of bitterness should trouble you; many are poisoned by this. 16Be careful that there is no sexually immoral or profane person, like Esau who sold his birthright for a meal. 17As you know, even when he later on desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected and although he pleaded with tears, he found no way of reversing the decision.

18As it is, you have not come to a mountain that can be touched; not one that burned with fire, gloom, darkness, storm, 19the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words which made those who heard it beg that not one more word should be spoken to them. 20Indeed, they could not endure what was commanded, ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.’ 21So fearful was the appearance that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”

22Instead, you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels, 23to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling which pleads better than Abel’s.

Worshiping with reverence and awe

25See that you do not refuse to listen to the one who speaks. For if they did not escape when they rejected the one who warned on the Earth, we will certainly not escape if we turn away from the one who warns from heaven. 26Then, his voice shook the earth, but now, he has promised with these words, “Yet again, I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.” 27The words ‘yet once more’ indicates the removal of the things that are shaken since they are created things. But those things which are not shaken remain. 28Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be grateful and so worship God acceptably, with reverence and awe, 29for our God is a consuming fire.

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CHAPTER 13
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Final exhortations

1Keep on loving each other as brethren. 2Do not forget to be hospitable to strangers, for in doing so, some have welcomed angels without knowing it. 3Remember those who are in chains, as chained with them, and also those who are ill-treated, as if you too were suffering in the body. 4Marriage must be held in honour among all and the bed undefiled: but God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers. 5Be free from the love of money and be satisfied with what you have. As God has said,

I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

6And so, we say with good courage,

The Lord is my helper, I will not fear.
What can man do to me? (Psalms 117[118]:6-7)

7Remember your leaders, those men who proclaimed the word of God to you. Considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9Do not be carried away by all sorts of strange teachings. It is good that the inner person should be strengthened by grace, not by food which is of no profit to those who are so preoccupied by it.

10We have an altar from which those who worship in the holy tabernacle have no right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burnt outside of the camp. (Leviticus 16:27) 12This is why Jesus suffered outside of the gate, so that he might sanctify the people through his own blood. 13Let us therefore go out to him who is outside of the camp and let us bear his disgrace. 14For we do not have here an enduring city, but we seek the one that is to come. 15Through him, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, the fruit of our lips which confessed his Name. 16But do not forget to do what is good and to share because God is well pleased with such sacrifices.

17Obey your leaders and submit to them as they watch over your souls as people who will give an account. This way, they will be able to do this with joy and not with grief because that would not be profitable for you.

18Pray for us: we are persuaded that we have a good conscience, desiring to live honourably in everything. 19I strongly urge you to pray for this: that I may be restored to you sooner.

20Now, may the God of peace, who with the blood of an eternal covenant brought back from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, 21make you complete in every good work so that you may do his will. May God work in you what is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory unto ages of ages. Amen.

22But I exhort you, brethren: take this word of exhortation attentively since I have written to you briefly. 23Know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will see you with him. 24Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. 25Grace be with you all. Amen.