Hebrews

Paul's most scholarly work, written for him by an unknown disciple (possibly Luke and possibly in Aramaic)
to the congregation in Jerusalem, around 65-CE.

Chapter 1

1 A long time ago, God spoke to our fathers through the Prophets in many places and in many ways. 2 And in the last part of these days, He spoke to us through a Son whom He has made the heir to everything╔ the one whom He used to create the ages, 3 who shines with the same glory, is the exact image of His being, and is responsible for everything that is said through His power. Then, after he cleansed us of our sins, this one sat down at the right hand of the Great One in the highest places, 4 and he has now become so much greater than the [other] messengers [of God] and so different that he has inherited a [special] name among them.

5 For example; to which of His [other] messengers did [God] ever say, 'You're my son; today I have fathered you.' Or, 'I will become his Father and he will become My son.' 6 And again (when He sent His firstborn into [man's] habitation), He said, 'Let all the messengers [of God] bow low before him.'

7 [Also notice that] when He spoke of these [other] messengers, He said that made them spirits and public servants that are like flames of fire. 8 But when He spoke of His Son, [He said], 'God is your throne through the age of the ages, and the scepter of you kingship is the scepter of righteousness. 9 So, because you loved righteousness and hated wickedness, The God (your God) has [anointed] you with the oil of great joy among those who are your companions.' 10 And, 'In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth and [you] made the heavens with your hands. 11 But though they'll pass away, you will still remain; for like clothes, they will grow old. 12 Then, as [you would do to] a robe, you will wrap them up and repair them. Yes, you're the one and your years will never expire.'

13 And to which one of His [other] messengers did He ever say, 'Sit here at My right until I set your enemies as a stool for your feet?' 14 Yet the rest are all divinely-authorized spirits╔ public servants that are being sent to serve the needs of those who will inherit salvation!

Chapter 2

1 This is why it's so important for us to pay extraordinary attention to the things that we've heard╔ so we don't drift away! 2 Because, if these words that were spoken through [God's] messengers should prove to be true and the reward for all errors and disobedient acts is going to be strictly enforced; 3 how could we escape so great a thing if we have neglected our salvation, which began with and was received by those who heard it being confirmed upon us by the Lord?

4 Why, even God joined in this testimony by providing signs, omens, many powerful deeds, and by distributing His Holy Breath as He wished. 5 But He didn't entrust the habitation [of man] that is coming (the one that I'm talking about) to the hands of [His] messengers. 6 For someone somewhere testified to this fact when he asked, 'Just what is man that You should remember him, or the Son of Man that You should watch over him? 7 Though You made him just a little lower than [Your] messengers, You then crowned him with glory and honor and put him over everything that You made with Your hands╔ 8 You put everything under his feet!' So when [God] put everything under [his feet], He didn't leave anything over which he isn't in charge. However, we don't see everything obeying him yet.

9 So although he was made lower than [God's] messengers for a little while, we can see that after Jesus suffered and died, he was crowned with glory and honor so that (because of God's loving care) he might taste death for us all!

10 Yes, it was fitting that this one through whom and for whom everything exists – this primary leader [who is responsible for] our salvation – should bring many sons to glory and make them perfect through his sufferings. 11 And because this one who is holy and those whom he makes holy are one, he isn't ashamed to call them his brothers, 12 saying, 'I will report Your Name to my brothers.' And again, 'In the midst of the called ones, I'll sing Your praises.' 13 And again, 'In Him, I will put all my trust.' And again, '{Look!} The children God gave me, and I╔'

14 So, since his 'children' share in his blood and flesh, he shares [with them] in the same way, so that through his death he can finish off the one who has the power [to bring] death, the Slanderer, 15 and to set free all of those who have spent their lives as slaves to the fear of death.

16 So [when he came], he really didn't take on [the shape] of one of [God's] messengers somewhere. Rather, he took on [the shape of] AbraHam's seed17 for he was obligated to become like his brothers in every way so that he could become a merciful and faithful High Priest before God and to offer a sacrifice that would cover their sins. 18 And because he suffered and was tempted, he is also able to help those who are still being tempted.

Chapter 3

1 Therefore, holy brothers who are partakers of the celestial calling; consider this Apostle and High Priest for our confessions, Jesus. 2 He was faithful to the One who made him just like Moses (who was the man whom [God] [appointed to be over] His whole House). 3 However, [Jesus] was considered to be worthy of a greater glory than Moses, because the one who builds the house receives more honor there. 4 Of course, every house is built by someone, but the One who built everything is God.

5 Now, this Moses was truly a faithful, willing servant within His whole House, [and he served] as a witness to things that were going to be said. 6 However the Anointed One is the Son who is over [God's] House╔ and we are that House as long as we keep on boasting of our hope and hanging on until the end! 7 This is why it was said through [God's] Holy Breath: 'If you should hear His voice today, 8 don't harden your hearts as they did in the bitter day of testing in the desert. 9 For that's when your fathers put Me to the test to prove [My power], although they had already witnessed all that I'd done during [the previous] forty years! 10 And this is the reason why I became so disgusted with that generation and said, Their hearts are always wandering and they've never understood My ways. 11 So in My rage, I swore that they would never enter My rest!'

12 Therefore brothers, watch out╔ yes, be careful that none of your hearts ever become so wicked and unbelieving that they cause you to pull away from the Living God! 13 Rather, you must encourage each other every day – including today – so that none of you will ever become hardened and be tempted to sin. 14 For if we can hang onto this position from the time that we start believing until the end, we will remain sharers in the Anointed One. 15 And that's why it was said, 'If you should hear His voice today, don't harden your hearts as happened in the bitter day of testing in the desert.'

16 So, who was it that heard [God's voice] and brought Him this bitterness? Wasn't it all those who left Egypt under Moses? 17 Then, who was it that He became disgusted with for forty years? Wasn't it those who had sinned and whose carcasses fell in the desert? 18 And who was it that He said wouldn't enter His rest? Wasn't it those who disobeyed? 19 As you can see, they couldn't enter [His rest] because they didn't have enough faith!

Chapter 4

1 Therefore, we should be afraid that some of us might be left behind when it comes to the promise of entering His rest. 2 For we've had the good news preached to us the same as they did╔ and they failed to benefit from what they heard, because they didn't share in the faith of those who were paying attention!

3 Indeed, we have entered the rest of those who believed╔ those about whom He also said, 'So in My anger, I swore that they would never enter My rest!' For note that His work [had actually been completed] since the founding of the world! 4 For in one place He said this about the seventh day: 'God rested from all His works on the seventh day.' 5 And [this is the period He was talking about when He said], 'They will never enter My rest.' 6 So from this we must conclude that some will enter it, while those to whom this good news was first given didn't enter it because of their disobedience.

7 Also notice that He mentioned a particular day, 'today,' in David's [psalm]. For He went on to say (as I mentioned before), 'If you should hear His voice today, 8 don't harden your hearts.' 8 So if they had already been led to this place of rest by JoShua, [God] wouldn't have spoken of another day later on. 9 Therefore, the Sabbath that the people of God must observe is something that is yet to come! 10 And that's when those who enter His rest will also rest from all the things that they're doing, the same as God is resting from [the things] that He [was doing].

11 Therefore, we should do everything we can to enter that rest, so that none of us will fail because we didn't obey!

12 Understand that the Word of God is alive, it's at work, and it's sharper than any two-edged sword╔ it cuts so fine that it can separate the breath from the breather, as well as his joints from his marrow; so it becomes the judge of even our thoughts and the desires of [our] hearts. 13 Therefore, nothing in creation is invisible to His eyes╔ everything is naked and open before the One who sent us His Word!

14 So in view of the fact that we have such a great High Priest who has passed [into] the heavens – Jesus, the Son of The God – let's keep talking about him! 15 For we don't have a High Priest who can't sympathize with our weaknesses; rather, we have one who has been tested in every way just like us╔ [but who didn't] sin! 16 Therefore, we should boldly approach his throne of loving kindness and speak freely, so we can receive his mercy, loving care, and aid whenever we need it.

Chapter 5

1 Now, all High Priests are selected from among men, and then they're appointed over men and assigned to doing the things of God, such as offering the gifts and the sacrifices for sins. 2 However, [the Priests] feel a kinship with those who don't understand and who make mistakes, since they're also surrounded by their own weaknesses. 3 And this is why they have to make offerings not only for the sins of the people, but also for themselves!

4 Yet, no man can take this honor on himself; he can only be called to [the Priesthood] by God, as Aaron was. 5 Likewise, the Anointed One didn't glorify himself to the position of High Priest. That was done by the One who said to him, 'You're My Son╔ today I have fathered you!' 6 And He said in another place: 'You're a Priest through the ages in the order of MelchiZedek.'

7 Then, during the time that he was here in the flesh, [Jesus] begged and pleaded with the One who was able to save him from death, calling out with tears╔ and he was drawn close and listened to, because he was faithful. 8 So although he was the Son, he learned obedience from the things that he suffered. 9 Then after his [training] was finished, he became the source of age-long salvation for all those who would obey him, 10 which is when God made him a High Priest in the line of MelchiZedek.

11 Now, we have so much to say about him that will be hard to explain to you, since you've become so slow in your hearing. 12 For though you should be teachers in view of the time, you now need someone to go back and teach you the basics of God's Word again╔ you've become people who need milk, not solid food! 13 Yes, those who are unfamiliar with righteous teachings are [in fact] babies who need milk to survive, 14 while those who have trained their senses to recognize the difference between right and wrong have become adults who can eat solid food.

Chapter 6

1 Therefore, let's go beyond the basics of the Anointed One and move on toward maturity! Let's not go back and lay a new foundation on such matters as repenting over bad deeds, having faith in God, 2 or about baptisms, ordinations, the resurrection of the dead, or the age-long judgments. 3 Yes, let's [go beyond the basics], if God will allow it.

4 It's impossible for those who have been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, been partakers in [God's] Holy Breath, 5 and savored the Word of God and the power of the coming age 6 to be revived and make them repent once they've fallen away; for they would have to hang the Son of God back on the pole and subject him to shame once again! 7 They're like a piece of ground that should give birth to green plants after it drinks in all the rain that falls upon it and after it has been cultivated by those who hope to receive its blessings from God. 8 But if that piece of ground just produces thorns and thistles, it will be rejected (almost cursed), and in the end it will be burned off!

9 Now, despite all that I've said, when it comes to you, my loved ones; we believe that you will receive better things and salvation, 10 because God isn't unrighteous and He won't forget the all things that you've done, the love that you've shown for His Name, or the ways that you've served the needs of the Holy Ones (and [how you] keep on doing so). 11 However, what we want is for each of you to show a real zeal when it comes to hanging onto that in which we've been putting our hope all the way to the end╔ 12 we don't want you to become lazy! Rather, we want you to imitate those who through faith and patience will inherit the promises!

13 For when God gave his promise to AbraHam (and because He couldn't swear by anyone greater, He swore by Himself), 14 He said: 'When it comes to blessings, I will bless you; and when it comes to growth, I'll make you grow.' 15 Then by being patient, [AbraHam] received what he was promised.

16 Now, men always swear by the greater one when they make agreements in order to ensure the thing that was promised. 17 So when God wanted to show the heirs of the promise how unchangeable His words are, He agreed to it with an oath, 18 so that through two unchangeable things about which God cannot lie, those of us who are fleeing would have a strong incentive to hang onto the hope that He's laid before us. 19 And this should be the sure and stable anchor for our lives, since it goes through the inner curtain [to the Most Holy], 20 which is where Jesus entered as the age-long High Priest in the line of MelchiZedek.

Chapter 7

1 This MelchiZedek (who was the king of Salem and a Priest of the Most High God) is the one who met AbraHam as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and who blest him. 2 Then AbraHam shared a tenth of all that [he had captured] with him.

Notice that [the name MelchiZedek] translates as King of Righteousness╔ and as the king of Salem (Peace), he's also the King of Peace. 3 And notice that there are no genealogical records of him, so he was [virtually] without a father or mother, for there is no [record] of the beginning of his days or of the end of his life. And in the same way; as the Son of God, [Jesus] remains a Priest throughout all time.

4 Now, do you see how great this man was to whom [our] family head AbraHam gave a tenth of the best things from his loot?

5 So, while it's true that the sons of Levi were [also] made Priests and they were commanded by the Law to collect a tithe from the people (who were their brothers, because they all came from the loins of AbraHam), 6 this man whose genealogy we can't trace took ten percent from AbraHam himself! Then he blest the one to whom the promise was given, AbraHam, 7 and you can't argue the fact that the lesser one is always blest by the greater! 8 Therefore, when mortal men receive the tithes in that place today, they are testifying that he's still alive. 9 And we can also say that Levi received those tithes through AbraHam, 10 since he was in the loins of his forefather when MelchiZedek met with him!

11 Now, if perfection could have come through the Levite Priesthood and the Law, we wouldn't have needed another Priest to come in the line of MelchiZedek (someone who isn't of the line of Aaron). 12 However, since the Priesthood has been changed, there must also be a change in the Law, 13 because this man that we're talking about was a member of another tribe╔ one from which no one has ever served at the Altar. 14 For we all recognize that our Lord came out of Judah, a tribe that Moses never spoke of as Priests! 15 And this makes it even more obvious that a new Priest has arisen who is like MelchiZedek, 16 because he didn't become [a Priest] by the Law of human commandments, but by the power of a life that can't be destroyed! 17 And in witness to this fact, it was said: 'You are a Priest through the ages in the order of MelchiZedek.'

18 Therefore, the Commandments that we were given have obviously been set aside, because they were weak and they didn't do any good, 19 since the Law didn't make anyone perfect. All it did was lead us to a better hope that's [now] drawing us closer to God.

20 [Notice that the Old Law] came without a sworn oath, 21 and those who became its Priests [were appointed] without a sworn oath. For no one else has had an oath sworn about him like the one that said, 'Jehovah has sworn (and He won't change His mind): You are a Priest through the ages.'

22 Therefore, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better Sacred Agreement, 23 because [under the old Agreement] many had to become Priests, since their deaths prevented them from continuing [in that position]. 24 However, he [exists] through the ages, and the Priesthood that he holds is permanent. 25 So he's able to save those who approach The God through him, because he will always be alive to intercede for them!

26 Yes, he has truly become a High Priest for us that is loyal, righteous, pure, and removed from among the sinners, since he's now higher than the heavens. 27 And unlike former High Priests who had to offer sacrifices daily (first for their own sins and then for those of the people), he did this just once when he offered himself! 28 For the Law appointed men as High Priests who had weaknesses. But the promise that came with a sworn oath (and which supersedes the Law) appointed a Son who has age-long perfection.

Chapter 8

1 So the point I'm making is this: We already have such a High Priest, and he's sitting at the right hand of the throne of Majesty in the heavens, 2 where He's handling Priestly duties at the Most Holy in the real Tent that was built by Jehovah, not by men. 3 And since every High Priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, it was necessary for him to have something to offer also. 4 However, he likely wouldn't have been a Priest if he were here on the earth, since there are already those who are appointed by the Law to offer the gifts. 5 But when they handle their Priestly duties, what they're doing is following a pattern that is just a shadow of how these sacred duties are being handled in the heavens! For when Moses was about to finish the [Sacred] Tent, He was given a divine warning that said: 'Be sure to assemble everything by the pattern you were shown on the mountain.'

6 However, [Jesus] has received a much better Priestly assignment, because he's also the mediator of a better Sacred Agreement, which was legally established on better promises. 7 For if there hadn't been problems with the first [Agreement], there would have been no reason to search for a second one. 8 But [God] had a problem with the people, for He said:
'{Look!} The time is coming, says Jehovah,
When I'll make a new Sacred Agreement
With the Houses of IsraEl and Judah

9 That's unlike the Agreement that I made with their fathers
When I took them by the hand and led them from Egypt;
For, they didn't keep their side of [the bargain],
I stopped caring for them,
says Jehovah.

10 'This is the Agreement that I'm going to make
With the House of IsraEl at that time,
says Jehovah,
I'll put My laws in their minds,
And in their hearts, I will write them;
Then, they'll be My people and I'll be their God.

11 'At that time, all those who live in the land
Won't have to teach their neighbors and brothers,
Or tell them to know of Jehovah.
For from their least to their greatest, they'll know Me.

12 'To their unrighteous ways, I'll show mercy,
And I will forget all their sins.'

13 So when He spoke of a New Sacred Agreement, He made the old one obsolete. And now that which was made obsolete is growing old and is about to disappear!

Chapter 9

1 Indeed, the first regulations for worship involved a worldly Holy Place. 2 So they prepared this first Tent, which contained both the [sacred] lampstand and the table for the showbread, and this was called the Holy. 3 Then behind the curtain was a second Tent that was called the Most Holy. 4 It contained a gold incense holder and the Chest of the Sacred Agreement, which was completely overlaid with gold and held the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that grew buds, and the Tablets of the [Sacred] Agreement. 5 Then over it were the glorious cherubs that cast a shadow on the cover. So now, let's discuss some of the details of these things.

6 After they were all constructed, the Priests entered the first Tent regularly to perform their sacred duties. 7 However, the second [tent] was only entered once a year, and just by the High Priest. But even he couldn't enter it without blood, which he had to offer both for himself and for the sins of the peoples' ignorance.

8 Now, the Holy Breath makes it clear that the entrance to the Most Holy couldn't be seen while the first Tent was standing╔ 9 and this is an illustration of the time in which we are now living. So with this illustration in mind, [remember that] the gifts and sacrifices that were offered couldn't make the conscience of the one who was serving there perfect, 10 for that whole thing had to do with food, drink, and types of cleansing, which were fleshly, legal requirements [that would last] until the time for setting things straight would be imposed.

11 Then when the Anointed One came as the High Priest of good things through the greater and more perfect Tent that wasn't made by [human] hands (that is, it wasn't part of this creation), 12 he didn't enter the Most Holy with the blood of goats and young bulls; rather, [he entered] the Holy Place with his own blood once and for all time so as to provide an age-long ransom for us!

13 Now, if the blood of goats and bulls or the ashes of a heifer that are sprinkled on those who've become unclean can make their flesh holy and clean; 14 how much more will [this be true of] the blood of the Anointed One! For through the age-long spirit of himself that he offered spotlessly to God, he purifies our consciences from our dead deeds so we can start serving the living God. 15 And because of this, he is the mediator of a New Sacred Agreement that redeems us from the death that came from [failing to obey] the first Agreement, and so that those who have been called could receive the promised age-long inheritance!

16 [Understand that] whenever there's [any sort of an] agreement, death is part of the bargain for the one who agrees to it, 17 since an agreement that lasts until death is something that has been proven. However, it isn't as strong while the one who made the agreement is still living. 18 [And this is why] that first [Sacred Agreement] had to be made with blood! 19 So after Moses explained all the Commandments of the Law to the people, he took the blood of young bulls and goats, mixed it with water, and then [he] used scarlet wool and hyssop to sprinkle the scroll and all the people. 20 And he said: 'This is the blood of the Sacred Agreement that God has made with you.' 21 Then he sprinkled the blood on the Tent and over all the things that were used for worship.

22 Yes, according to the Law, almost everything is cleansed by blood. So unless blood is spilled, there is no forgiving. 23 And this is why it was necessary for the heavenly things that are symbolized by [the earthly things] to be cleansed that way.

However, heavenly things require better sacrifices. 24 So the Anointed One didn't enter a Most Holy that was made with hands (which is just a copy of the real thing); rather, he actually entered heaven itself to stand before The God on our behalf! 25 Nor does he have to offer himself often, as the High Priest who enters the Most Holy each year must do with blood that isn't his own. 26 Otherwise, [Jesus] would have been required to suffer many times from the founding of the arrangement.

But now he has displayed himself at the end of the age and offered himself in order to do away with sins just once through his sacrifice. 27 And as men must die just once (which is followed by a judgment); 28 the Anointed One was also offered just once to carry the sins of many. So the next time he's seen by those who are so eagerly awaiting him, they'll be free from sin and ready for salvation!

Chapter 10

1 Therefore, since the Law isn't the reality, but just a shadow of good things to come; the sacrifices that are offered annually will never make the one who brings them perfect. 2 For if that were true, they wouldn't have to be offered anymore, since those who are cleansed would no longer have sins on their consciences! 3 However, these sacrifices remind us of our sins year after year, 4 because the blood of bulls and goats can't remove sins! 5 And it was because of this, that when he came into the world, he said, 'You didn't want sacrifices and offerings. So You prepared a body for me, 6 because You found no delight in burnt offerings and sin offerings.' 7 Then he said, 'Look! I have come to do Your Will, O God╔ in the knob of the scroll it was written about me.'

8 So notice that after he first said, 'You didn't want or approve of sacrifices and offerings, or burnt offerings and sin offerings' (which are being offered in observance of the Law); 9 he went on to say, 'Look, I have come to do Your Will.' So, he removed the first one to establish the second! 10 And it's because of this Will that we've been made holy through that single offering of the body of Jesus the Anointed One!

11 Now, all the Priests take their stations each day in Temple service, and they offer the same sacrifices over and over╔ which can never take sins away completely. 12 However, [Jesus] offered just one sacrifice for sins through the ages╔ and then he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 where he's awaiting [the time when] his enemies will be set as a stool for his feet. 14 Indeed, he made this single offering so as to bring those who are being made holy to perfection forever. 15 And the Holy Breath testifies to us about this, for first it said, 16 'This is the Sacred Agreement that I will make with them in those days, says Jehovah: I will put My Laws in their hearts and I'll write them in their minds.' 17 [Then it says,] 'I will be merciful toward their lawless acts, and I will forget their sins.' 18 So when such things are forgotten, there is no more need for sin offerings!

19 Therefore, brothers; We can confidently say that we have an entrance to the Most Holy Place through the blood of Jesus, 20 because he has worked out a way through the curtain for us╔ a sacrificial but living way, through his flesh. 21 And since we now have such a great Priest who is over the House of God, 22 let's approach him with honest hearts and complete faith, since we've rinsed our wicked conscience from our hearts when we washed our bodies in clean water. 23 Therefore, let's hang onto the confession of our hope and not give up, because the One who gave us this promise is faithful. 24 And let's keep reminding ourselves to help each other to grow in love and in good deeds.

25 Also, don't stop meeting together as some have made it their custom. Rather, let's keep on encouraging each other╔ and [do this] even more as we see the Day drawing near.

26 But understand that if we still choose to follow a sinful course after coming to an accurate knowledge of the truth, there are no more sacrifices left for our sins. 27 For all [that remains] is the fear and anticipation of judgment, along with the roar of the fiery zeal that's going to consume those who oppose us.

28 Understand that if anyone ignored the Law of Moses and two or three testified against him, he was to die without compassion. 29 So, how much more worthy of punishment do you think a person will be if he tramples on the Son of God, or if he considers the blood of the Sacred Agreement that made him holy as something unclean, or if he has outraged the loving care of the Breath [of God] by treating it with contempt? 30 For we know who it was that said, 'Vengeance is Mine╔ I will repay!' And again, 'Jehovah will judge His people.' 31 So it's a fearsome thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!

32 I want you to think back to the days, just after you came to an understanding and were enduring so much suffering, what a hard fight it was. 33 Why, sometimes it was just like being in an arena where you were being insulted and persecuted (along with [many] others who shared your experience). 34 Back then, you were so sympathetic toward those who were in prison. And even when [all] the things you owned were taken away, you were joyful╔ because you knew that you had something better and longer lasting!

35 So, don't throw away your willingness to speak out, because you've paid too much to earn it! 36 You need to hang on, so that after you've done God's Will, you can walk off with [the prize] that you were promised! 37 For in just a little while the one who is coming will be here, and he won't be late! 38 'But My righteous ones will live because of their faith,' and, 'If he gives up, My soul finds no pleasure in him.' 39 Therefore, we don't want to be the type that gives up just to be destroyed. Rather, let's be the type that has the faith that will save our lives!

Chapter 11

1 Faith is expecting the things that you're hoping for and being convinced of things that you have yet to see╔ 2 and we can testify that the ancient ones [had such faith]. 3 Likewise, our faith teaches us that the ages were set in place by the Word of God, and from that which was not, the things that we now see have appeared!

4 So it was because of his faith that Abel offered a greater sacrifice to God than did Cain. And the One who witnessed his righteousness and who saw the gifts that he offered, was God. So although [Abel] is dead, he is still speaking.

5 And it was because of his faith that Enoch was transported so as not to see death╔ no, he couldn't be found, because God transported him. However, before he was transported, he proved that he had pleased God well.

6 You see, it's impossible to please God well without faith, because, those who want to come to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards all those who are eagerly searching for Him.

7 It was because of [his] faith in a Divine Warning about things which were not yet seen that Noah was moved by fear to build a chest so as to save his [family]. And through this righteous act of faith, he condemned that arrangement and became its heir.

8 It was because of his faith that AbraHam obeyed when he was called and went off to a place that he was about to receive as an inheritance╔ yet when he left, he had no idea where he was going! 9 Then by faith, he lived in tents like an alien in a foreign country, in the land that had already been promised to him, along with IsaAc and Jacob, who were heirs of that same promise. 10 For he was awaiting the founding of a city that was to be designed and built by God.

11 It was by her faith that Sarah received the power to conceive a seed when she was barren and when it was too late [in life] for her to do so. However, she considered the One who gave her the promise to be trustworthy. 12 So from [this woman] who was sexually dead came a huge number╔ like the stars in the skies or the countless grains of sand on the seashore!

13 Yes, all of these people died faithful, without having received the promises. However, they saw it from afar and embraced it, confessing that they were strangers and aliens in their own land. 14 And indeed, when people talk like that, they show that they are seeking their own country. 15 If they were remembering [the place] where they came from, they might have had the opportunity to return to it╔ 16 but they were reaching out for something better╔ something that's under the influence of the heavens. As the result, God isn't ashamed of them or to be called their God. In fact, He has prepared a city for them!

17 It was also by his faith that AbraHam offered up IsaAc when he was being tested. And he did this [despite the fact that IsaAc] was the only-conceived son who was to receive the promises╔ 18 the one of whom [God] had said, 'What will be called your seed will come through IsaAc!' 19 But [AbraHam] trusted that God would be able to raise him from the dead. And in effect, that's where he got him.

20 It was also because of his faith that IsaAc blest Jacob and Esau concerning future things. 21 And it was because of his faith that Jacob blest each of the sons of JoSeph before he died, bowing low as he leaned on his cane. 22 Then JoSeph, when he was getting close to his end, showed his faith when he talked about the exodus of the sons of IsraEl and gave them instructions regarding his bones.

23 The parents of Moses showed faith when they hid him for three months after his birth, because they saw that the young child was beautiful, and they weren't afraid of the king's decree. 24 Then after he became great, Moses showed his faith by refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter╔ 25 yes, he chose to be treated badly with the people of God rather than spending his time enjoying sinful pleasures. 26 [He did this] because he considered the insults of being the anointed as far more valuable than all the treasures of Egypt╔ and he was looking to the future for his reward!

27 It was by his faith that he then left Egypt╔ no, not because he feared the king's anger; rather, he was hanging on as though he could see something that was invisible! 28 Then by faith, he arranged for the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer wouldn't touch [IsraEl's] firstborn.

29 It was by their faith that [the IsraElites] thereafter passed through the Red Sea as though it were dry land. But when the Egyptians tried that, they were swallowed down. 30 And it was also by their faith that the walls of Jericho fell after they had circled them for seven days. 31 And it was by her faith (when she peacefully welcomed the spies [into her home]) that the prostitute RaHab didn't die along with those who were disobedient.

32 What more can I say? I don't have enough time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Sampson, JephThah, or David╔ or about SamuEl and the Prophets. 33 Yet by their faith they defeated kingdoms in war, did righteous things, received the promises, fenced off the mouths of lions, 34 overcame the force of fire, and escaped the edge of the sword. Nor [can I tell] of all the weak ones who were made powerful and became mighty enough in war to drive off foreign armies.

35 [It was also by faith] that women received their dead through a resurrection. And while╩some were being tortured, they wouldn't allow a ransom to be paid on their behalf, so that they might receive a better resurrection.

36 Yes, others were mocked and tried with whips╔ and even put in shackles and in prisons! 37 They were tried, stoned, sawed in half, and slaughtered with swords╔ and some had to dress themselves in sheepskins and goatskins as they were in need, oppressed, and mistreated. 38 So although the world didn't deserve them, they were forced to wander the deserts, mountains, caves, and peepholes of the earth. 39 Yet their faith speaks well of them, though they never received the promise! 40 And because God has foreseen something better for us, they won't be made perfect apart from us.

Chapter 12

1 So, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we should each get rid of the things that are weighing us down and set aside any entangling sins, then just hang on and keep running the difficult course that's ahead of us, 2 as we keep on looking toward the founder and perfecter of our faith, Jesus, who (because he realized the joy that was before him) endured the impaling pole and despised its shame, so he could sit at the right hand of the throne of The God!

3 So, let's pay close attention to his example and notice how he was able to endure all of that at the hands of sinners (who just condemned themselves), so we don't get tired and give up on our lives! 4 For to this point, none of us have had to struggle against sin to the point of bleeding.

5 And don't forget the encouragement that was given to you as [His] sons, that said, 'My son; Don't treat the discipline of Jehovah lightly, and don't try to avoid being corrected by Him. 6 For God disciplines those whom He Loves and He whips those whom He accepts as His sons.'

7 Understand that the only reason you've made it this far is because of [His] discipline╔ which proves that God is treating you as His sons! After all, which son isn't disciplined by his father? 8 For if you haven't been disciplined [by God], you aren't one of us╔ you're not His sons, you're bastards!

9 We all once had fleshly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Therefore, shouldn't we obey the Father who gave us His Breath even more╔ so we can live?

10 Yes, for a brief period [in our lives, our fathers] used to discipline us over things that seemed right to them. However, [now] we're being brought [before God] to be partakers of His Holiness! 11 And while it's true that this discipline doesn't make us joyful when we receive it (it makes us sad); later on, those who learn from it harvest the fruit of peace and righteousness. 12 So, straighten up those drooping arms, firm up those shaky knees, 13 and make sure that the tracks you're making with your feet are straight╔ be healed rather than lame!

14 Try to make peace with everyone and to become holy; for without that, no one can see the Lord. 15 Therefore, make sure that none of you are falling short of God's loving care, and that no bitter roots are sprouting up to create trouble and make any of you unclean.

16 [Of course, I'm comparing you to people] who are immoral or worldly, like Esau, who gave away his rights as the firstborn for a single meal. 17 Remember that he changed his mind later and wanted to inherit the blessing; but despite the fact that he tearfully tried to reclaim it, he was rejected.

18 Now, [this mountain] that you've approached can't be felt, nor is there any fire burning, or darkness, or fog, or a thunderstorm, 19 or the sound of trumpets blowing, or any voice speaking╔ a voice that the people begged not to have to listen to 20 and which they couldn't bear when they heard it say so clearly, 'If so much as a wild animal touches this mountain, it must be stoned!' 21 Yes, it was such a frightening scene that even Moses admitted, 'I'm terrified and shaking! 22 But what you've approached is Mount Zion╔ the City of the Living God. It's Heavenly JeruSalem, where millions of [God's] messengers 23 are attending a convention of the gathering of the firstborn whose names have been written in the heavens by God, who is the judge of them all. [You've approached] the unseen force of those who are righteous and who have been made perfect, 24 and [you've approached] Jesus, the mediator of a New Sacred Agreement, whose sacrificial blood speaks out better than Abel's.

25 Therefore, let's be sure that we aren't also found to be begging not to have to listen to the One who is speaking. For since those who begged not to listen to the One who gave that divine warning here on the earth had to listen to it anyhow, how much more should we refuse to turn away from the One who's speaking to us from the heavens!

26 Back then, His voice just shook the ground. But now, He has promised: 'Next time, I'll not only shake the ground, [I'll also shake] the sky!' 27 And when He spoke of the next time, He implied that the only things to be shaken are the [temporary] creations [of mankind]╔ yes, they will be done away with, while the things that aren't shaken will remain.

28 So in view of the fact that we're going to receive a Kingdom that won't be shaken; let's show how much we care by serving God pleasingly in fear and deep reverence╔ 29 because our God is a consuming fire!

Chapter 13

1 Therefore, you should love your brothers╔ 2 and don't forget to care about even the ones that you don't know! For it was because some did this that they unknowingly showed hospitality to [God's] messengers! 3 And don't forget those who are in prison╔ act as though you're locked up with them! Also, [don't forget] those who are being persecuted╔ [act as though it's happening to] your own bodies! 4 And make sure that your marriages are kept honorable and that your beds remain clean, because God is going to judge the sexually immoral and the adulterers.

5 Live your lives free from the love of money╔ be satisfied with the things that you have, because He promised: 'I won't forget you and I'll never let you down.' 6 So let's be courageous and say:
'Jehovah's my helper, so I will not fear;
For, what can men do to me?'

7 Listen to those who are taking the lead among you and speaking to you about the Word of God. Then, as you see the results of their conduct, imitate their faith.

8 [Remember that] Jesus the Anointed One was the same yesterday as he is today and will be through the ages. 9 So, don't allow yourselves to be misled by various strange teachings. Indeed, it's better for [your] hearts to be strengthened by [God's] loving care than by what you eat╔ for such things are no benefit at all to those who are walking in The Way. 10 Rather, we have an Altar from which we may eat that even those who serve at [the Temple] may not eat.

11 Also, as the High Priest [in the Temple] carries the blood of [sacrificial] animals into the Holy Place to serve as sin offerings, and their bodies are thereafter burned up outside of the camp; 12 Jesus suffered outside of the [city] gate to make people holy with his blood. 13 So, let's all go to him outside of the camp, bearing all the bad things that were said about him. 14 And since the city that's there isn't going to last, we should all be seeking the one that is coming! 15 For it is through him that we should be continuously offering the fruit of our lips (along with everything else) as sacrifices of praise to The God and in praise of His Name!

16 And we should never forget to do good things, such as sharing whatever we have with others! Because, these are the types of sacrifices that are truly pleasing to The God.

17 Also, have confidence in those who are taking the lead among you and submit to them, because they're watching over your lives! And may they do this with joy not with groaning, since that would be hazardous to you.

18 In addition, keep praying for us. We feel that our consciences are clear, since we've acted properly in everything. 19 And I especially want to encourage you to do this, so that I can be returned to you a bit sooner.

20 Now, may the God of peace who raised the great Shepherd – our Lord Jesus – from the dead with the blood of an age-long Sacred Agreement 21 use everything that's good to make any adjustments that are necessary for you to do His Will. And may the One who is working within us (through Jesus the Anointed One) in order to accomplish everything that He sees to be good, be glorified into the ages of agesmay it be so.

22 Now, I urge you brothers to live up to these words of encouragement, although I really haven't written much.

23 By the way, I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released, and if he gets here soon, I'll come to see you.

24 Give my greetings to all those who are taking the lead among you and to all the Holy Ones.

Those in Italy send you their greetings.

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