Abraham and Melchizedek
(1) Genesis 14:17-20 tells us about Melchizedek, who was the king of Salem and a priest of the Most High God. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, (2) and Abraham gave him a tenth (tithe) of everything he had won in the battle. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness,” then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” (3) Without a father or mother, without a genealogy, without a birth date or a date of death—and similar to the Son of God—he remains a priest forever.
(4) Consider the greatness of Melchizedek: even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth (tithe) of what he won in battle. (5) Now the law of Moses requires Levi’s descendants who became priests to collect a tenth (tithe) from the people of Israel, even though they are Abraham’s descendants. (6) But Melchizedek was not a descendant of Levi, yet he received a tenth (tithe) from Abraham and blessed Abraham who had received the promises. (7) And without contradiction, the lesser is blessed by the greater. (8) In the one case, the tenth (tithe) is collected by finite people who die, but in the other case by the one declared to be ever-living. (9) We can even say that Levi, who receives the tenth (tithe), paid the tithe through Abraham, (10) because when Melchizedek met Abraham, although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham’s body, his ancestor.
Jesus and Melchizedek
(11) If perfection could have been received through the Levitical priesthood—for the law of Moses gave Israel that temple priesthood—why was there still a need for another priest to come after the order of Melchizedek, instead of after the order of Aaron? (12) For when the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed.
(13) He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served as a priest at the temple’s altar. (14) For it is clear that our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses says nothing about a temple priest coming from Judah. (15) And what we have said is much clearer if another priest appears in the likeness of Melchizedek—(16) one that did not become a priest on the basis of this legal regulation as to his ancestry, but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. (17) For as it is written in Psalm 110:4, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (18) The former regulation of the law of Moses is set aside because it was weak and useless—(19) because the law of Moses could not make anything perfect—but now a better hope is revealed through which we draw near to God.
Jesus Is Our Eternal High Priest
(20) This better hope was revealed with an oath. The former temple priests were appointed without any oath, (21) but Jesus became a priest by God’s oath, when he said to him in Psalm 110:4, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’ ” (22) Because of this oath, Jesus has become the one who guarantees a much greater covenant.
(23) Now death prevented many of the earthly priests from continuing in this office, (24) but because Jesus lives forever he holds an everlasting priesthood. (25) Therefore Jesus has the power to save forever those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede (pray) for them!
(26) As our high priest, Jesus truly meets all our needs because he is holy, blameless, pure, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. (27) Unlike the earthly high priests, Jesus has no need to offer sacrifices day after day—first for his sins and then for the sins of the people—because, once for all, he became the ultimate sacrifice when he offered himself up on the cross for our sins. (28) For the law of Moses appointed men full of weaknesses to serve as high priests; but coming after the law of Moses, God’s oath appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.