1 FOR THIS Melchizedek, king of Salem [and] priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
2 And Abraham gave to him a tenth portion of all [the spoil]. He is primarily, as his name when translated indicates, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, which means king of peace.
3 Without [record of] father or mother or ancestral line, neither with beginning of days nor ending of life, but, resembling the Son of God, he continues to be a priest without interruption and without successor.
4 Now observe and consider how great [a personage] this was to whom even Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth [the topmost or the pick of the heap] of the spoils.
5 And it is true that those descendants of Levi who are charged with the priestly office are commanded in the Law to take tithes from the people–which means, from their brethren–though these have descended from Abraham.
6 But this person who has not their Levitical ancestry received tithes from Abraham [himself] and blessed him who possessed the promises [of God].
7 Yet it is beyond all contradiction that it is the lesser person who is blessed by the greater one.
8 Furthermore, here [in the Levitical priesthood] tithes are received by men who are subject to death; while there [in the case of Melchizedek], they are received by one of whom it is testified that he lives [perpetually].
9 A person might even say that Levi [the father of the priestly tribe] himself, who received tithes (the tenth), paid tithes through Abraham,
10 For he was still in the loins of his forefather [Abraham] when Melchizedek met him [Abraham].
11 Now if perfection (a perfect fellowship between God and the worshiper) had been attainable by the Levitical priesthood–for under it the people were given the Law–why was it further necessary that there should arise another and different kind of Priest, one after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one appointed after the order and rank of Aaron?
12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is of necessity an alteration of the law [concerning the priesthood] as well.
13 For the One of Whom these things are said belonged [not to the priestly line but] to another tribe, no member of which has officiated at the altar.
14 For it is obvious that our Lord sprang from the tribe of Judah, and Moses mentioned nothing about priests in connection with that tribe.
15 And this becomes more plainly evident when another Priest arises Who bears the likeness of Melchizedek, [Ps. 110:4.]
16 Who has been constituted a Priest, not on the basis of a bodily legal requirement [an externally imposed command concerning His physical ancestry], but on the basis of the power of an endless and indestructible Life.
17 For it is witnessed of Him, You are a Priest forever after the order (with the rank) of Melchizedek. [Ps. 110:4.]
18 So a previous physical regulation and command is cancelled because of its weakness and ineffectiveness and uselessness–
19 For the Law never made anything perfect–but instead a better hope is introduced through which we [now] come close to God.
20 And it was not without the taking of an oath [that Christ was made Priest],
21 For those who formerly became priests received their office without its being confirmed by the taking of an oath by God, but this One was designated and addressed and saluted with an oath, The Lord has sworn and will not regret it or change His mind, You are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. [Ps. 110:4.]
22 In keeping with [the oath's greater strength and force], Jesus has become the Guarantee of a better (stronger) agreement [a more excellent and more advantageous covenant].
23 [Again, the former successive line of priests] was made up of many, because they were each prevented by death from continuing [perpetually in office];
24 But He holds His priesthood unchangeably, because He lives on forever.
25 Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.
26 [Here is] the High Priest [perfectly adapted] to our needs, as was fitting–holy, blameless, unstained by sin, separated from sinners, and exalted higher than the heavens.
27 He has no day by day necessity, as [do each of these other] high priests, to offer sacrifice first of all for his own [personal] sins and then for those of the people, because He [met all the requirements] once for all when He brought Himself [as a sacrifice] which He offered up.
28 For the Law sets up men in their weakness [frail, sinful, dying human beings] as high priests, but the word of [God's] oath, which [was spoken later] after the institution of the Law, [chooses and appoints as priest One Whose appointment is complete and permanent], a Son Who has been made perfect forever. [Ps. 110:4.]
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1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation