The Passion Translation
The Melchizedek Priesthood
7 1–2 Melchizedek’s name means “king of righteousness.” He was the King of Peace, because the name of the city he ruled as king was Salem, which means “peace.” And he was also a priest of the Most High God. Now when Abraham was returning from defeating many kings in battle, Melchizedek went out to meet him and blessed him. Then Abraham took a tenth of everything he had won in battle and gave it to Melchizedek.[a] 3 This Melchizedek has no father or mother, and no record of any of his ancestors. He was never born and he never died, but his life is like a picture[b] of the Son of God, a King-Priest forever! 4 Now let me show you proof of how great this Melchizedek is:
- – Even though Abraham was the most honored and favored patriarch of all God’s chosen ones,[c] he gave a tithe of the spoils of battle to Melchizedek. 5 It would be understandable if Melchizedek had been a Jewish priest, for later on God’s people were required by law to support their priests financially, because the priests were their relatives and Abraham’s descendants. 6 But Melchizedek was not Abraham’s Jewish relative,[d] and yet Abraham still paid him a tithe.
- – Melchizedek imparted a blessing on mighty Abraham, who had received the promises of God. 7 And no one could deny the fact that the one who has the power to impart a blessing is superior to the one who receives it.
- – 8 Although the Jewish priests received tithes, they all died—they were mortal. But Melchizedek lives on!
- – 9 It could even be said that Levi, the ancestor of every Jewish priest who received tithes, actually paid tithes to Melchizedek through Abraham. 10 For although Levi was yet unborn, the seed from which Levi came was present in Abraham[e] when he paid his tithe to Melchizedek.
- – 11 If any of the Levitical priests who served under the law had the power to bring us into perfection, then why did God send Christ as Priest after the likeness of Melchizedek? He should have said, “After the likeness of Aaron.”
- – 12 And furthermore, for God to send a new and different rank of priest, meant a new law would have had to be instituted even to allow it!
Jesus and the Priesthood of Melchizedek
13 Yet the One these things all point to, was from a different tribe and no one from that tribe ever officiated at God’s altar, 14 for we all know that our Lord didn’t descend from the tribe of Levi, but shined from the tribe of Judah.[f] And Moses himself never said anything of a priest in connection with Judah’s tribe.
15 And all this is made even clearer if there was another King-Priest raised up with the rank of Melchizedek. 16 This King-Priest did not arise because of a genealogical right under the law to be a priest, but by the power of an indestructible, resurrection life![g]
17 For it says in the Psalms,
You are like Melchizedek, a King-Priest forever!
18 The old order of priesthood has been set aside as weak and powerless.[h] 19 For the law[i] has never made anyone perfect, but in its place is a far better hope which gives us confidence to experience intimacy with God! 20 And he confirmed it to us with his solemn vow.[j] For the former priests took their office without an oath, 21 but with Jesus, God affirmed his royal-priesthood with his promise, saying,
The Lord has made a solemn oath
and will never change his mind,
“You are a King-Priest forever!”[k]
22 So all of this magnifies the truth that we have a superior covenant with God than what they experienced, for Jesus himself is its guarantor![l] 23 As additional proof, we know there were many priests under the old system, for they eventually died and their office had to be filled by another. 24 But Jesus permanently holds his priestly office, since he lives forever and will never have a successor![m]
25 So he is able to save fully from now throughout eternity,[n] everyone who comes to God through him, because he lives to pray continually for them. 26 He is the High Priest who perfectly fits our need—holy, without a trace of evil, without the ability to deceive, incapable of sin,[o] and exalted beyond the heavens!
27 Unlike the former high priests, he is not compelled to offer daily sacrifices. They had to bring a sacrifice first for their own sins,[p] then for the sins of the people, but he finished the sacrificial system, once and for all, when he offered himself. 28 The law appointed flawed men as high priests, but God’s promise, sealed with his oath, which succeeded the law, appoints a perfect Son who is complete forever!
- 7:1–2 See Gen. 14:17–20.
- 7:3 Or “made to resemble.”
- 7:4 Implied in the text with the comparison made explicit.
- 7:6 Or “does not share their ancestry.”
- 7:10 Or “Levi was in the loins of his father Abraham.” In effect, Abraham submitted all his sons to the priesthood of Melchizedek.
- 7:14 As translated from the Aramaic.
- 7:16 The word indestructible comes from a word that means, “tied together in unity,” that is, “a united life” (or “union with God”). Resurrection life is implied, for the priestly ministry of Jesus began after he was raised from the dead. The Aramaic can be translated “He has life-giving power that has no beginning.” Jesus’ ministry of Prophet, Priest, and King flows from his unlimited life of resurrection power!
- 7:18 Or “useless.”
- 7:19 Or in Aramaic “Torah.”
- 7:20 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “Since this was not done without a solemn oath, for the others became priests without a sworn oath.”
- 7:21 See Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5:6; 6:20; 7:17.
- 7:22 The Aramaic can be translated “through which we gained Jesus.”
- 7:24 As translated from the Aramaic and implied in the Greek.
- 7:25 The Greek text is somewhat ambiguous, an alternative translation could be “He is able to save for all time” or “He is able, now and always, to completely [fully] save,” or “He is able to save into the always.”
- 7:26 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “separate from sinners.”
- 7:27 See Lev. 16:6–16.