This Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the defeat of the kings, and Melchizedek blessed him.
Abraham gave a tenth of everything to him. His name means first "king of righteousness," and then "king of Salem," that is, "king of peace."
He is without father or mother or any family. He has no beginning or end of life, but he's like God's Son and remains a priest for all time.
See how great Melchizedek was! Abraham, the father of the people, gave him a tenth of everything he captured.
The descendants of Levi who receive the office of priest have a commandment under the Law to collect a tenth of everything from the people who are their brothers and sisters, though they also are descended from Abraham.
But Melchizedek, who isn't related to them, received a tenth of everything from Abraham and blessed the one who had received the promises.
Without question, the less important person is blessed by the more important person.
In addition, in one case a tenth is received by people who die, and in the other case, the tenth is received by someone who continues to live, according to the record.
It could be said that Levi, who received a tenth, paid a tenth through Abraham
because he was still in his ancestor's body when Abraham paid the tenth to Melchizedek.
So if perfection came through the levitical office of priest (for the people received the Law under the priests), why was there still a need to speak about raising up another priest according to the order of Melchizedek rather than one according to the order of Aaron?
When the order of the priest changes, there has to be a change in the Law as well.
The person we are talking about belongs to another tribe, and no one ever served at the altar from that tribe.
It's clear that our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, but Moses never said anything about priests from that tribe.
And it's even clearer if another priest appears who is like Melchizedek.
He has become a priest by the power of a life that can't be destroyed, rather than a legal requirement about physical descent.
This is confirmed: You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.a
On the one hand, an earlier command is set aside because it was weak and useless
(because the Law made nothing perfect). On the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
And this was not done without a solemn pledge! The others have become priests without a solemn pledge,
but this priest was affirmed with a solemn pledge by the one who said, The Lord has made a solemn pledge and will not change his mind: You are a priest forever.b22
As a result, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
The others who became priests are numerous because death prevented them from continuing to serve.
In contrast, he holds the office of priest permanently because he continues to serve forever.
This is why he can completely save those who are approaching God through him, because he always lives to speak with God for them.
It's appropriate for us to have this kind of high priest: holy, innocent, incorrupt, separate from sinners, and raised high above the heavens.
He doesn't need to offer sacrifices every day like the other high priests, first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people. He did this once for all when he offered himself.
The Law appoints people who are prone to weakness as high priests, but the content of the solemn pledge, which came after the Law, appointed a Son who has been made perfect forever.