Now indeed even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service, and an earthly sanctuary.
For a tabernacle was prepared. In the first part were the menorah, the table, and the show bread; which is called the Holy Place.
After the second veil was the tabernacle which is called the Holy of Holies,
having a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, with which was a golden pot holding the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;
and above it cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat, of which things we cant speak now in detail.
Now these things having been thus prepared, the priests go in continually into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the services,
but into the second the high priest alone, once in the year, not without blood, which he offers for himself, and for the errors of the people.
The Holy Spirit is indicating this, that the way into the Holy Place wasnt yet revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing;
which is a symbol of the present age, where gifts and sacrifices are offered that are incapable, concerning the conscience, of making the worshipper perfect;
being only (with meats and drinks and various washings) fleshly ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation.
But Messiah having come as a high priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation,
nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption.
For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh:
how much more will the blood of Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
For this reason he is the mediator of a New Covenant, since a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
For where a last will and testament is, there must of necessity be the death of him who made it.
For a will is in force where there has been death, for it is never in force while he who made it lives.
Therefore even the first covenant has not been dedicated without blood.
For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Torah, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
saying, This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.
Moreover he sprinkled the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry in the same way with the blood.
According to the Torah, nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission.
This passage has been maligned by anti-missionaries and misunderstood by believers. In Judaism, atonement can be made in a variety of ways: Sacrifice, suffering, exile, etc. It has become a major point of contention between Christians and Jews. Christians focus on the last half of the verse, “apart from the shedding of blood, there is no remission” or atonement. However, the first half of the verse limits the application, “almost everything is cleansed by blood.” Eleh v’eleh. The harmonization between the two viewpoints is that atonement can be achieved in a variety of ways. First, the entire context of the book of Hebrews is the festival of Yom Kippur. In the presence of the Temple, the Torah requires the shedding of blood on Yom Kippur. Secondly, there are levels of atonement, for the severity of the sin and for a particular time frame. However, there are cases where it requires the blood of the Tzaddik, as Rebbe Nachman of Breslov writes in Likutey Moharan,
“…Israel’s spilled blood contains many lofty and hidden matters, be it blood spilled through embarrassment or other, actual spilled blood. For there are very many fallen souls which have no elevation except through the spilled blood of Israel; [that] of a great individual. In some cases, they have no elevation except through actual spilled blood.”
Likutey Moharan, Volume II, 83:11, Volume XV, Breslov Research Institute, pg 225
The Breslov Commentary on this passage states,
“Rebbe Nachman teaches here that this is the deeper reason – “the lofty and hidden matters” – that Israel’s blood has been spilled time and again down through the generations. Whether through embarrassment or murder, the spilled blood of the righteous – a “great individual” – raises the fallen souls and brings to their rectification. The Rebbe has already alluded to this spilled blood of a great individual in the previous section, where he spoke of the tzaddik who must undergo “ritual slaughter” so that God’s tasting his mitzvot is not the consumption of the limb of a living creature….In Likutey Moharan 1, 260, Rebbe Nachman teaches that there are times when, to gain forgiveness for the Jewish people, tzaddikim sacrifice their name and honor and willing suffer embarrassment. Other times, the truly great tzaddikim are required to make the ultimate sacrifice and give their lives to effect forgiveness. This related to the tzaddik’s spilled blood, and to the elevation of the very many souls which have fallen on account of Adam’s blemish of the brit and due to the sins of mankind ever since…The only way to effective unification when sins are prevalent is by the tzaddik’s ultimate self-sacrifice. The righteous are required to accept judgment upon themselves, giving up their lives for God. One such time is when the Holy Temple was destroyed. Sin abounded then, and many souls became trapped in the kelipot. The only possibility of releasing the fallen souls was by entering the realm of impurity itself. The Ten Martyrs, all very great and pure tzaddikim, undertook to do this. Accepting the judgment upon themselves, the Ten Martyrs made the ultimate self-sacrifice, submitting their physical bodies to the realm of the kelipot – the Romans, who tortured and murdered them. Through this “exchange” (for the bodies of the tzaddikim were so holy, they were equivalent to the souls of most other people), the Ten Martyrs rescued the trapped souls, whose elevation, an arousal from energy below, brought about a unification of the Holy One and His Shekhinah in the Upper Worlds…”
Commentary to Likutey Moharan, Volume II, 83:11, Volume XV, Breslov Research Institute, pg 225-226
It was necessary therefore that the copies of the things in the heavens should be cleansed with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
For Messiah has not entered into holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us,
nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place year by year with blood not his own,
or else he must have suffered often since the foundation of the world. But now once at the end of the ages, he has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment,