Melchizedek’s Priesthood Like Christ’s
1For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham gave him a tenth of all [the spoil]. He is, first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, which means king of peace. 3 Without [[a]any record of] father or mother, nor ancestral line, without [any record of] beginning of days (birth) nor ending of life (death), but having been made like the Son of God, he remains a priest without interruption and without successor.
4 Now pause and consider how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 It is true that those descendants of Levi who are charged with the priestly office are commanded in the Law to collect tithes from the people—which means, from their kinsmen—though these have descended from Abraham. 6 But this person [Melchizedek] who is not from their Levitical ancestry received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who possessed the promises [of God]. 7 Yet it is beyond all dispute that the lesser person is always blessed by the greater one. 8 Furthermore, here [in the Levitical priesthood] tithes are received by men who are subject to death; but in that case [concerning Melchizedek], they are received by one of whom it is testified that he [b]lives on [perpetually]. 9 A person might even say that Levi [the father of the priestly tribe] himself, who received tithes, paid tithes through Abraham [the father of all Israel and of all who believe], 10 for Levi was still in the loins (unborn) of his forefather [Abraham] when Melchizedek met him (Abraham).
11 Now if perfection [a perfect fellowship between God and the worshiper] had been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people were given the Law) what further need was there for another and different kind of priest to arise, one in the manner of Melchizedek, rather than one appointed to the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is of necessity a change of the law [concerning the priesthood] as well. 13 For the One of whom these things are said belonged [not to the priestly line of Levi but] to another tribe, from which no one has officiated or served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord descended from [the tribe of] Judah, and Moses mentioned nothing about priests in connection with that tribe. 15 And this becomes even more evident if another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a [c]physical and legal requirement in the Law [concerning his ancestry as a descendant of Levi], but on the basis of the power of an indestructible and endless life. 17 For it is attested [by God] of Him,
“You (Christ) are a Priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”
18 For, on the one hand, a former commandment is cancelled because of its weakness and uselessness [because of its inability to justify the sinner before God] 19 (for the Law never made anything perfect); while on the other hand a better hope is introduced through which we now continually draw near to God. 20 And indeed it was not without the taking of an oath [that Christ was made priest] 21 (for those Levites who formerly became priests [received their office] without [its being confirmed by the taking of] an oath, but this One [was designated] with an oath through the One who said to Him,
“The Lord has sworn
And will not change His mind or regret it,
‘You (Christ) are a Priest forever’”).
22 And so [because of the oath’s greater strength and force] Jesus has become the certain guarantee of a better covenant [a more excellent and more advantageous agreement; one that will never be replaced or annulled].
23 The [former successive line of] priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were each prevented by death from continuing [perpetually in office]; 24 but, on the other hand, Jesus holds His priesthood permanently and without change, because He lives on forever. 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever (completely, perfectly, for eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede and intervene on their behalf [with God].
26 It was fitting for us to have such a High Priest [perfectly adapted to our needs], holy, blameless, unstained [by sin], separated from sinners and exalted higher than the heavens; 27 who has no day by day need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices, first of all for his own [personal] sins and then for those of the people, because He [met all the requirements and] did this once for all when He offered up Himself [as a willing sacrifice]. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak [frail, sinful, dying men], but the word of the oath [of God], which came after [the institution of] the Law, permanently appoints [as priest] a Son [d]who has been made perfect forever.
- Hebrews 7:3 Some believe that Melchizedek was an ordinary man blessed and appointed by God as a special priest, who serves as a Christlike figure in his priestly and kingly functions because his order was a priesthood without end. Others take the description literally to mean that Melchizedek was not a human, but an angel (v 8). If this is so, then Christ, as the Son of God, would be the “High Priest” of the order in which Melchizedek served as priest in the sense that angels are spiritual beings who have a pretemporal, but not eternal origin. Another view suggests that Melchizedek was perhaps a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus in human form. Those who maintain that Melchizedek was an ordinary human being would say the writer is speaking symbolically concerning his ancestry; hence the insertion of “any record of” in the text of v 3 since his death is not recorded in Scripture.
- Hebrews 7:8 See note v 3.
- Hebrews 7:16 Lit law of a fleshly commandment.
- Hebrews 7:28 Lit perfected.