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This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of the Most High God. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against many kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him; then Abraham took a tenth of all he had won in the battle and gave it to Melchizedek.

Melchizedek’s name means “Justice,” so he is the King of Justice; and he is also the King of Peace because of the name of his city, Salem, which means “Peace.” Melchizedek had no father or mother[a] and there is no record of any of his ancestors. He was never born and he never died but his life is like that of the Son of God—a priest forever.

See then how great this Melchizedek is:

(a) Even Abraham, the first and most honored of all God’s chosen people, gave Melchizedek a tenth of the spoils he took from the kings he had been fighting. One could understand why Abraham would do this if Melchizedek had been a Jewish priest, for later on God’s people were required by law to give gifts to help their priests because the priests were their relatives. But Melchizedek was not a relative, and yet Abraham paid him.

(b) Melchizedek placed a blessing upon mighty Abraham, and as everyone knows, a person who has the power to bless is always greater than the person he blesses.

(c) The Jewish priests, though mortal, received tithes; but we are told that Melchizedek lives on.

(d) One might even say that Levi himself (the ancestor of all Jewish priests, of all who receive tithes), paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham. 10 For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in Abraham when Abraham paid the tithes to Melchizedek.

11 (e) If the Jewish priests and their laws had been able to save us, why then did God need to send Christ as a priest with the rank of Melchizedek, instead of sending someone with the rank of Aaron—the same rank all other priests had?

12-14 And when God sends a new kind of priest, his law must be changed to permit it. As we all know, Christ did not belong to the priest-tribe of Levi, but came from the tribe of Judah, which had not been chosen for priesthood; Moses had never given them that work.

15 So we can plainly see that God’s method changed, for Christ, the new High Priest who came with the rank of Melchizedek, 16 did not become a priest by meeting the old requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but on the basis of power flowing from a life that cannot end. 17 And the psalmist points this out when he says of Christ, “You are a priest forever with the rank of Melchizedek.”

18 Yes, the old system of priesthood based on family lines was canceled because it didn’t work. It was weak and useless for saving people. 19 It never made anyone really right with God. But now we have a far better hope, for Christ makes us acceptable to God, and now we may draw near to him.

20 God took an oath that Christ would always be a Priest, 21 although he never said that of other priests. Only to Christ he said, “The Lord has sworn and will never change his mind: You are a Priest forever, with the rank of Melchizedek.” 22 Because of God’s oath, Christ can guarantee forever the success of this new and better arrangement.

23 Under the old arrangement there had to be many priests so that when the older ones died off, the system could still be carried on by others who took their places.

24 But Jesus lives forever and continues to be a Priest so that no one else is needed. 25 He is able to save completely all who come to God through him. Since he will live forever, he will always be there to remind God that he has paid for their sins with his blood.

26 He is, therefore, exactly the kind of High Priest we need; for he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin, undefiled by sinners, and to him has been given the place of honor in heaven. 27 He never needs the daily blood of animal sacrifices, as other priests did, to cover over first their own sins and then the sins of the people; for he finished all sacrifices, once and for all, when he sacrificed himself on the cross. 28 Under the old system, even the high priests were weak and sinful men who could not keep from doing wrong, but later God appointed by his oath his Son who is perfect forever.


  1. Hebrews 7:3 Melchizedek had no father or mother. No one can be sure whether this means that Melchizedek was Christ appearing to Abraham in human form or simply that there is no record of who Melchizedek’s father and mother were, no record of his birth or death.

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