The Priestly Order of Melchizedek
7 For this qMelchizedek, king of rSalem, priest of sthe Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 3 He is without father or mother tor genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.
4 See how great this man was to whom Abraham uthe patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! 5 And vthose descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers,1 though these also are descended from Abraham. 6 But this man wwho does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed xhim who had the promises. 7 It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 8 In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one yof whom it is testified that zhe lives. 9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him.
Jesus Compared to Melchizedek
11 aNow if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended bfrom Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
15 This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him,
c“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
18 For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside dbecause of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for ethe law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, fa better hope is introduced, through which gwe draw near to God.
20 And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, 21 but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:
h“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever.’”
22 This makes Jesus the guarantor of ia better covenant.
23 The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues jforever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost2 kthose who draw near to God lthrough him, since he always lives mto make intercession for them.
26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, nholy, innocent, unstained, oseparated from sinners, and pexalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, qfirst for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this ronce for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men sin their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made tperfect forever.
Jesus, High Priest of a Better Covenant
8 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, uone who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in vthe true tent1 that the Lord wset up, not man. 3 For xevery high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus yit is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve za copy and ashadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, b“See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ2 has obtained a ministry that is cas much more excellent than the old as dthe covenant ehe mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 fFor if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.
8 For he finds fault with them when he says:3
g“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 hFor this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and iwrite them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall jall know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
kand I will remember their sins no more.”
13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And lwhat is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
The Earthly Holy Place
9 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and man earthly place of holiness. 2 For na tent1 was prepared, the first section, in which were othe lampstand and pthe table and qthe bread of the Presence.2 It is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind rthe second curtain was a second section3 called the Most Holy Place, 4 having the golden saltar of incense and tthe ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was ua golden urn holding the manna, and vAaron's staff that budded, and wthe tablets of the covenant. 5 Above it were xthe cherubim of glory overshadowing ythe mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
6 These preparations having thus been made, zthe priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7 but into the second only athe high priest goes, and he but aonce a year, and not without taking blood, bwhich he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that cthe way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age).4 According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered dthat cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with efood and drink and fvarious washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.
Redemption Through the Blood of Christ
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest gof the good things that have come,5 then through hthe greater and more perfect tent (inot made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he jentered konce for all into the holy places, not by means of lthe blood of goats and calves but mby means of his own blood, nthus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if othe blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with pthe ashes of a heifer, sanctify6 for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will qthe blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit roffered himself without blemish to God, spurify our7 conscience tfrom dead works uto serve the living God.
15 Therefore he is vthe mediator of a new covenant, so that wthose who are called may xreceive the promised eternal inheritance, ysince a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.8 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For za will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated awithout blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took bthe blood of calves and goats, cwith water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, d“This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both ethe tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and fwithout the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
23 Thus it was necessary for gthe copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places hmade with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God ion our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as jthe high priest enters kthe holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, lhe has appeared monce for all nat the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as oit is appointed for man to die once, and pafter that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once qto bear the sins of rmany, will appear sa second time, tnot to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly uwaiting for him.
Christ's Sacrifice Once for All
10 For since the law has but va shadow wof the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, xit can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But yin these sacrifices zthere is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For ait is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
c“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in csacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, d“Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will ewe have been sanctified through the offering of fthe body of Jesus Christ gonce for all.
11 And every priest stands hdaily at his service, ioffering repeatedly the same sacrifices, jwhich can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ2 had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he ksat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time luntil his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering mhe has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
16 n“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds,
o“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
The Full Assurance of Faith
19 pTherefore, brothers,3 since we have confidence to enter qthe holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by rthe new and living way that he opened for us through sthe curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have ta great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts usprinkled clean vfrom an evil conscience and our bodies wwashed with pure water. 23 xLet us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for yhe who promised is faithful. 24 And zlet us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 anot neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and ball the more as you see cthe Day drawing near.
26 For dif we go on sinning deliberately eafter receiving the knowledge of the truth, fthere no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 gbut a fearful expectation of judgment, and ha fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 iAnyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy jon the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one kwho has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned lthe blood of the covenant mby which he was sanctified, and has noutraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, o“Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, p“The Lord will judge his people.” 31 qIt is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But recall the former days when, after ryou were enlightened, you endured sa hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being tpublicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For uyou had compassion on those in prison, and vyou joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had wa better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has xa great reward. 36 For yyou have need of endurance, so that zwhen you have done the will of God you may areceive what is promised. 37 For,
b“Yet a little while,
and cthe coming one will come and will not delay;
38 dbut my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of ethings not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by fthe word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of gthings that are visible.
4 By faith hAbel offered to God ia more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And jthrough his faith, though he died, he kstill speaks. 5 By faith lEnoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God mmust believe that he exists and mthat he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith nNoah, being warned by God concerning oevents as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of pthe righteousness that comes by faith.
8 By faith qAbraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place rthat he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in sthe land of promise, as in a foreign land, tliving in tents uwith Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to vthe city that has wfoundations, xwhose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith ySarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered zhim faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and ahim as good as dead, were born descendants bas many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, cnot having received the things promised, but dhaving seen them and greeted them from afar, and ehaving acknowledged that they were fstrangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, gthey would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed hto be called their God, for ihe has prepared for them a city.
17 By faith jAbraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, k“Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 lHe considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith mIsaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith nJacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, obowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith pJoseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
23 By faith qMoses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of rthe king's edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, srefused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 tchoosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy uthe fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 vHe considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to wthe reward. 27 By faith he xleft Egypt, ynot being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured zas seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith ahe kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
29 By faith bthe people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith cthe walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith dRahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she ehad given a friendly welcome to the spies.
32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of fGideon, gBarak, hSamson, iJephthah, of jDavid and kSamuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, lstopped the mouths of lions, 34 mquenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, nbecame mighty in war, nput foreign armies to flight. 35 oWomen received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even pchains and imprisonment. 37 qThey were stoned, they were sawn in two,1 rthey were killed with the sword. sThey went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—twandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.