1 Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God. He met Abraham and blessed him when Abraham was returning from defeating the kings. 2 Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything he had captured.
In the first place, Melchizedek’s name means king of God’s approval. He is also called king of Salem (which means king of peace). 3 No one knows anything about Melchizedek’s father, mother, or ancestors. No one knows when he was born or when he died. Like the Son of God, Melchizedek continues to be a priest forever.
4 You can see how important Melchizedek was. Abraham gave him a tenth of what he had captured, even though Abraham was the father of the chosen people. 5 Moses’ Teachings say that members of the tribe of Levi who become priests must receive a tenth of everything from the people. The priests collect it from their own people, Abraham’s descendants. 6 Although Melchizedek was not from the tribe of Levi, he received a tenth of everything from Abraham. Then Melchizedek blessed Abraham, who had God’s promises. 7 No one can deny that the more important person blesses the less important person.
8 Priests receive a tenth of everything, but they die. Melchizedek received a tenth of everything, but we are told that he lives. 9 We could even say that when Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything, Levi was giving a tenth of everything. Levi gave, although later his descendants would receive a tenth of everything. 10 Even though Levi had not yet been born, he was in the body of Abraham when Melchizedek met him.
11 The people established the Levitical priesthood based on instructions they received. If the work of the Levitical priests had been perfect, we wouldn’t need to speak about another kind of priest. However, we speak about another kind of priest, a priest like Melchizedek, not a Levitical priest like Aaron.
12 When a different kind of priesthood is established, the regulations for those priests are different. 13 The priest whom we are talking about was a member of a different tribe. No one from that tribe ever served as a priest at the altar. 14 Everyone knows that our Lord came from the tribe of Judah. Moses never said anything about priests coming from that tribe. 15 The regulations were different. This became clear when a different priest who is like Melchizedek appeared. 16 That person is a priest, not because he met human requirements, but because he has power that comes from a life that cannot be destroyed. 17 The Scriptures say the following about him: “You are a priest forever, in the way Melchizedek was a priest.” 18 The former requirements are rejected because they are weak and useless. 19 Moses’ Teachings couldn’t accomplish everything that God required. But we have something else that gives us greater confidence and allows us to approach God.
20 None of this happened without an oath. The men from the tribe of Levi may have become priests without an oath, 21 but Jesus became a priest when God took an oath. God said about him, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not change his mind. You are a priest forever.” 22 In this way Jesus has become the guarantee of a better promise.a
23 There was a long succession of priests because when a priest died he could no longer serve. 24 But Jesus lives forever, so he serves as a priest forever. 25 That is why he is always able to save those who come to God through him. He can do this because he always lives and intercedes for them.
26 We need a chief priest who is holy, innocent, pure, set apart from sinners, and who holds the honored position—the one next to God the Father on the heavenly throne. 27 We need a priest who doesn’t have to bring daily sacrifices as those chief priests did. First they brought sacrifices for their own sins, and then they brought sacrifices for the sins of the people. Jesus brought the sacrifice for the sins of the people once and for all when he sacrificed himself. 28 Moses’ Teachings designated mortals as chief priests even though they had weaknesses. But God’s promise, which came after Moses’ Teachings, designated the Son who forever accomplished everything that God required.
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