Hebrews 9:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 9:10, NIV: They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings--external regulations applying until the time of the new order.

Hebrews 9:10, ESV: but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

Hebrews 9:10, KJV: Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

Hebrews 9:10, NASB: since they relate only to food, drink, and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.

Hebrews 9:10, NLT: For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies--physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established.

Hebrews 9:10, CSB: They are physical regulations and only deal with food, drink, and various washings imposed until the time of the new order.

What does Hebrews 9:10 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The writer of Hebrews has pointed out that the original setup of the temple symbolizes man's separation from God. The use of curtained-off rooms demonstrates how the old covenant could not remove the barrier between the Creator and His creation. The rituals and artifacts used were meant to highlight the external, temporary nature of the old covenant. Since those actions were external, they could not change the consciences of the ones who participated.

In the prior verse, it was pointed out that gifts and sacrifices could not "perfect" the conscience. Feelings of guilt can be assuaged by sacrifice, but external rituals can never change who or what a person is on the inside (1 Peter 3:21). Only a "rebirth" through the power of God can accomplish that (John 3:5–7).

Here, the writer specifies that the ultimate use of these old covenant sacrifices was merely for ceremonial purposes, and only until the moment when God introduced the new covenant. This has been a theme of the book of Hebrews: that God's intent was never to keep the old covenant forever. Instead, God clearly promised a better, more complete arrangement. The external, imperfect rituals of the old covenant would give way to the perfect, written-on-the-heart salvation offered through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 8:10).