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Hebrews 9:1

ESV Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness.
NIV Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary.
NASB Now even the first covenant had regulations for divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.
CSB Now the first covenant also had regulations for ministry and an earthly sanctuary.
NLT That first covenant between God and Israel had regulations for worship and a place of worship here on earth.
KJV Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
NKJV Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary.

What does Hebrews 9:1 mean?

Leading up to this chapter, the writer of Hebrews emphasized that God had always intended a "new covenant" to replace the system of priests and temple sacrifices (Hebrews 7:11). In this section, he seeks to explain exactly how the elements of the "old covenant" serve as symbols of the ministry of Jesus Christ. To begin with, the writer reviews the components of the temple and the sacrificial system, while also explaining how those elements are imperfect and flawed. Since the writer's intent is to explain the meaning of these articles, not their exact arrangement, the description is intentionally brief (Hebrews 9:5).

Here, the writer points out that the location for worship is earthly. That is, it is in only one place at any given time. This means that the benefits it offers are only available to people in a certain area, rather than to the entire world. As Jesus pointed out to the woman at the well, God's real intent is for people to worship God in a spiritual way, independent of any earthly temple (John 4:22–24). This also corresponds with the writer's quote of Jeremiah, who spoke of God writing His law on His people's hearts (Hebrews 8:7–13).
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