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The Priestly Order of Melchizedek

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him. To him Abraham also gave a tenth part of everything. In the first place, his name is translated “king of righteousness,” and then also he is king of Salem, which means “king of peace.” Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he continually remains a priest.

Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. Surely the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a command to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, from their brothers, though they also come from the seed of Abraham. But this man, whose descent is not numbered among them, received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. Without question, the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case mortal men receive tithes, but in the other he of whom it is witnessed that he is alive receives them. One might say that Levi also, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met Abraham.

11 If perfection were attained through the Levitical priesthood (for through it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise in the order of Melchizedek, rather than established in the order of Aaron? 12 For a change in the priesthood necessitates a change in the law. 13 For the One concerning whom these things are spoken pertains to another tribe, from which no man served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord descended from Judah, a tribe concerning which Moses said nothing about priests. 15 This is far more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who becomes a priest not by a law pertaining to ancestry, but by the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies:

“You are a priest forever,
    in the order of Melchizedek.”[a]

18 For there is then an annulling of the previous commandment due to its weakness and uselessness. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but now a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

20 And He was not made a priest without an oath. 21 (Other priests were made without an oath, but this One with an oath by the One who said to Him:

“The Lord has sworn
    and will not relent,
‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.’ ”[b])

22 Through this oath Jesus became the guarantor of a better covenant.

23 And the former priests were numerous because they were hindered from serving because of death. 24 But He, because He lives forever, has an everlasting priesthood. 25 Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, because He at all times lives to make intercession for them.

26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, for He is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and is higher than the heavens. 27 Unlike those high priests, He does not need to offer daily sacrifices—first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for He did this once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints men who are weak as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son who is made perfect forever.