For this man, Melchizedek, King of Salem and priest of the Most High God--he who when Abraham was returning after defeating the kings met him and pronounced a blessing on him--
to whom also Abraham presented a tenth part of all--being first, as his name signifies, King of righteousness, and secondly King of Salem, that is, King of peace:
with no father or mother, and no record of ancestry: having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made a type of the Son of God--this man Melchizedek remains a priest for ever.
Now think how great this priest-king must have been to whom Abraham the patriarch gave a tenth part of the best of the spoil.
And those of the descendants of Levi who receive the priesthood are authorized by the Law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brethren, though these have sprung from Abraham.
But, in this instance, one who does not trace his origin from them takes tithes from Abraham, and pronounces a blessing on him to whom the promises belong.
And beyond all dispute it is always the inferior who is blessed by the superior.
Moreover here frail mortal men receive tithes: there one receives them about whom there is evidence that he is alive.
And Levi too--if I may so speak--pays tithes through Abraham:
for Levi was yet in the loins of his forefather when Melchizedek met Abraham.
Now if the crowning blessing was attainable by means of the Levitical priesthood--for as resting on this foundation the people received the Law, to which they are still subject-- what further need was there for a Priest of a different kind to be raised up belonging to the order of Melchizedek instead of being said to belong to the order of Aaron?
For when the priesthood changes, a change of Law also of necessity takes place.
He, however, to whom that prophecy refers is associated with a different tribe, not one member of which has anything to do with the altar.
For it is undeniable that our Lord sprang from Judah, a tribe of which Moses said nothing in connection with priests.
And this is still more abundantly clear when we read that it is as belonging to the order of Melchizedek that a priest of a different kind is to arise,
and hold His office not in obedience to any temporary Law, but by virtue of an indestructible Life.
For the words are in evidence, "Thou art a priest for ever, belonging to the order of Melchizedek."
On the one hand we have here the abrogation of an earlier code because it was weak and ineffective--
for the Law brought no perfect blessing--but on the other hand we have the bringing in of a new and better hope by means of which we draw near to God.
And since it was not without an oath being taken--
for these men hold office without any oath having been taken, but He holds it attested by an oath from Him who said to Him, "The Lord has sworn and will not recall His words, Thou art a Priest for ever" --
so much the more also is the Covenant of which Jesus has become the guarantor, a better covenant.
And they have been appointed priests many in number, because death prevents their continuance in office:
but He, because He continues for ever, has a priesthood which does not pass to any successor.
Hence too He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, seeing that He ever lives to plead for them.
Moreover we needed just such a High Priest as this--holy, guileless, undefiled, far removed from sinful men and exalted above the heavens;
who, unlike other High Priests, is not under the necessity of offering up sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and afterwards for those of the people; for this latter thing He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
For the Law constitutes men High Priests--men with all their infirmity--but the utterance of the oath, which came later than the Law, constitutes High Priest a Son who has been made for ever perfect.