5 For every high priest chosen from among men jis appointed to act on behalf of men kin relation to God, lto offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 mHe can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself nis beset with weakness. 3 Because of this he is obligated to offer sacrifice for his own sins ojust as he does for those of the people. 4 And pno one takes this honor for himself, but only when called by God, qjust as Aaron was.
5 So also Christ rdid not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him,
s“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;
6 as he says also in another place,
t“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”
7 In the days of his flesh, uJesus1 offered up prayers and supplications, vwith loud cries and tears, to him wwho was able to save him from death, and xhe was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although yhe was a son, zhe learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And abeing made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest bafter the order of Melchizedek.
Warning Against Apostasy
11 About this we have much to say, and it is chard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again dthe basic principles of the oracles of God. You need emilk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is fa child. 14 But solid food is for gthe mature, for those who have their powers hof discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
6 Therefore ilet us leave jthe elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance kfrom dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of linstruction about washings,1 mthe laying on of hands, nthe resurrection of the dead, and oeternal judgment. 3 And this we will do pif God permits. 4 For it is impossible, in the case of those qwho have once been enlightened, who have tasted rthe heavenly gift, and shave shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and thave tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and uthen have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since vthey are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For wland that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But xif it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, yand its end is to be burned.
9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For zGod is not unjust so as to overlook ayour work and the love that you have shown for his name in bserving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance cof hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish, but dimitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
The Certainty of God's Promise
13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, ehe swore by himself, 14 saying, f“Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15 And thus Abraham,2 ghaving patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16 For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes han oath is final for confirmation. 17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to ithe heirs of the promise jthe unchangeable character of his purpose, khe guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which lit is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope mset before us. 19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into nthe inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone oas a forerunner on our behalf, phaving become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
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.