1 Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary.
2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary;
3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All,
4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant;
5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6 Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services.
7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance;
8 the Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle was still standing.
9 It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience—
10 concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.
11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.
18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.
19 For when Moses had spoken every precept 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,
20 saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD HAS COMMANDED YOU.”
21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.
22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—
26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
In establishing a way for mankind to experience Him as their God, He, by the Spirit, provided things to be done that would make that possible. His “holiness” was a divine separation from the secular world around them that required specific ordinances to be performed by a group of people set apart for that service. While none of these things could deal with the sins themselves, they did form an atmosphere of honor and care for the One who would receive their atonement sacrifice for this purpose. Many could effectively serve in the first area of separation/holiness, but only one high priest could enter the holiest place. This also required the blood evidence that death had come to the creature on whom the sin had been placed.
With the new covenant that brings access to all, there is yet a level of necessary separation that is apparent in what and how things are done. Baptism is part of this, making a clear commitment to holiness. Service to His body, while doing nothing to deal with sin itself or our position in Christ, is yet a very critical part of establishing an atmosphere of honor where this will be done. It’s through lives that have answered a call to excellence in holiness that the testimony of the blood will be received and applied. The High Priest will take these accepting hearts into an eternal place of separation, a heavenly seat at His side as His new creation, set apart forever unto Him.