Hebrews 7–9; Psalm 138

The Priestly Order of Melchizedek

For this qMelchizedek, king of rSalem, priest of sthe Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 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. 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.

See how great this man was to whom Abraham uthe patriarch gave a tenth of the spoils! 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. But this man wwho does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed xhim who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. 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. 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,

cYou 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:

hThe 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

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, a minister in the holy places, in vthe true tent3 that the Lord wset up, not man. For xevery high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus yit is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 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. 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, bSee that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain. But as it is, Christ4 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. fFor if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

For he finds fault with them when he says:5

gBehold, 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,

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

Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and man earthly place of holiness. For na tent6 was prepared, the first section, in which were othe lampstand and pthe table and qthe bread of the Presence.7 It is called the Holy Place. Behind rthe second curtain was a second section8 called the Most Holy Place, 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. Above it were xthe cherubim of glory overshadowing ythe mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

These preparations having thus been made, zthe priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 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. 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 (which is symbolic for the present age).9 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,10 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, sanctify11 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 our12 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.13 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, dThis 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.


Give Thanks to the Lord

Of David.

138  bI give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;

before cthe gods I sing your praise;

I bow down dtoward your eholy temple

and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,

for you have exalted above all things

your name and your word.1

On the day I called, you answered me;

my strength of soul you increased.2

fAll the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,

for they have heard the words of your mouth,

and they shall sing of gthe ways of the Lord,

for great is the glory of the Lord.

hFor though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,

but the haughty he knows from afar.

iThough I walk in the midst of trouble,

you jpreserve my life;

you kstretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,

and your lright hand delivers me.

The Lord will mfulfill his purpose for me;

nyour steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.

Do not forsake othe work of your hands.