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Hebrews 9:6

ESV These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties,
NIV When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry.
NASB Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship,
CSB With these things prepared like this, the priests enter the first room repeatedly, performing their ministry.
NLT When these things were all in place, the priests regularly entered the first room as they performed their religious duties.
KJV Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.

What does Hebrews 9:6 mean?

This verse moves from a description of the items used in the temple to an explanation of how these objects were used. The purpose here is to set up an important comparison. The artifacts and rituals of the old covenant were all meant to symbolize the ultimate, future, eternal covenant which God had promised. Later in this chapter, the writer of Hebrews will explain how Jesus' actions as our high priest will fulfill that symbolism.

The "first section" referenced here is the Holy Place, behind the first curtain of the temple. This was a place where priests would go on a daily basis, in order to offer various sacrifices and offerings. This was a section separated from most people, but accessible to those whom God had installed as priests. The Holy Place, then, is a physical barrier to the people symbolic of their separation from God. The second curtain, however, designated the Most Holy Place, and this was an area which only the high priest could enter, and only once per year, and only bearing a sacrifice of blood. As performed under the old covenant, this symbolizes the separation of God and man, and our need to be forgiven in order to be in His presence (Hebrews 9:7–8).
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