1Melchizedek was the king of Salem. He was the priest of God Most High. He met Abraham, who was returning from winning a battle over some kings. Melchizedek blessed him.2Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means "king of what is right." Also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace."3Melchizedek has no father or mother. He has no family line. His days have no beginning. His life has no end. He remains a priest forever, just like the Son of God.4Think how great Melchizedek was. Even our father Abraham gave him a tenth of what he had captured.5Now the law lays down a rule for the sons of Levi who become priests. They must collect a tenth from the people. They must collect it even from those who belong to the family line of Abraham.6Melchizedek did not trace his family line from Levi. But he collected a tenth from Abraham. Melchizedek blessed the one who had received the promises.7Without a doubt, the more important person blesses the less important one.8In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die. But in the other case, it is collected by the one who is said to be living.9Levi collects the tenth. But we might say that Levi paid the tenth through Abraham.10That's because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in Abraham's body.11Suppose the Levites who were priests could have made people perfect. The law was given to the people so they could become perfect through the priests. Then why was there still a need for another priest to come? And why did he need to be like Melchizedek? Why wasn't he from Aaron's family line?12A change of priests requires a change of law.13Those things are said about one who is from a different tribe. No one from that tribe has ever served at the altar.14It is clear that our Lord came from the family line of Judah. Moses said nothing about priests who were from that tribe.15But suppose another priest like Melchizedek appears. Then what we have said is even more clear.16He has not become a priest because of a rule about his family line. He has become a priest because of his powerful life. His life can never be destroyed.17Scripture says, "You are a priest forever, just like Melchizedek." (Psalm 110:4)18The old rule is done away with. It was weak and useless.19The law didn't make anything perfect. Now a better hope has been given to us. That hope brings us near to God.20The change of priests was made with an oath. Others became priests without any oath.21But Jesus became a priest with an oath. God said to him, "The Lord has taken an oath and made a promise. He will not change his mind. He has said, 'You are a priest forever.' " (Psalm 110:4)22Because of that oath, Jesus makes the promise of a better covenant certain.23There were many priests in Levi's family line. Death kept them from continuing in office.24But Jesus lives forever. So he always holds the office of priest.25People now come to God through him. And he is able to save them completely and for all time. Jesus lives forever. He prays for them.26A high priest like that meets our need. He is holy, pure and without blame. He isn't like other people. He does not sin. He is lifted high above the heavens.27He isn't like the other high priests. They need to offer sacrifices day after day. First they bring offerings for their own sins. Then they do it for the sins of the people. But Jesus gave one sacrifice for the sins of the people. He gave it once and for all time. He did it by offering himself.28The law appoints men who are weak to be high priests. But God's oath came after the law. The oath appointed the Son. He has been made perfect forever.
1Here is the point of what we are saying. We have a high priest like that. He sat down at the right hand of the throne of the King, the Majesty in heaven.2He serves in the sacred tent. The Lord set up the true holy tent. A mere man did not set it up.3Every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices. So that priest also had to have something to offer.4What if he were on earth? Then he would not be a priest. There are already priests who offer the gifts required by the law.5They serve at a sacred tent. But it is only a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. That's why God warned Moses when he was about to build the holy tent. God said, "Be sure to make everything just like the pattern I showed you on the mountain."(Exodus 25:40)6Jesus has been given a greater work to do for God. He is the go-between for the new covenant. That covenant is better than the old one. It is based on better promises.7Suppose nothing had been wrong with that first covenant. Then no one would have looked for another covenant.8But God found fault with the people. He said, "A new day is coming, says the Lord. I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel. I will also make it with the people of Judah.9It will not be like the covenant I made with their people of long ago. That was when I took them by the hand. I led them out of Egypt. My new covenant will be different because they didn't remain faithful to my old covenant. So I turned away from them, says the Lord.10This is the covenant I will make with Israel after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds. I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God. And they will be my people.11A man will not teach his neighbor anymore. And he will not teach his friend anymore. He will not say, 'Know the Lord.' Everyone will know me. From the least important of them to the most important, all of them will know me.12I will forgive their evil ways. I will not remember their sins anymore." (Jeremiah 31:31-34)13God called that covenant "new." So he has made the first one out of date. And what is out of date and getting older will soon disappear.
1The first covenant had rules for worship. It also had a sacred tent on earth.2A holy tent was set up. The lampstand was in the first room. So were the table and the holy bread. That was called the Holy Room.3Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Room.4It had the golden altar for incense. It also had the wooden chest called the ark of the covenant. The ark was covered with gold. It held the gold jar of manna. It held Aaron's wooden staff that had budded. It also held the stone tablets. The words of the covenant were written on them.5The cherubim were above the ark. God showed his glory there. The cherubim spread their wings over the place where sin was paid for. But we can't deal with those things more completely now.6That's how everything was arranged in the holy tent. The priests entered it at regular times. They went into the outer room to do their work for God and others.7But only the high priest went into the inner room. He went in only once a year. He never entered without taking blood with him. He offered the blood for himself. He also offered it for the sins the people had committed because they didn't know any better.8Here is what the Holy Spirit was showing us. He was telling us that God had not yet clearly shown the way into the Most Holy Room. It would not be clearly shown as long as the first holy tent was still standing.9That's an example for the present time. It shows us that the gifts and sacrifices they offered were not enough. They were not able to remove the worshiper's feelings of guilt.10They deal only with food and drink and different kinds of special washings. They are rules that deal with things outside our bodies. People had to obey them only until the new covenant came.11Christ came to be the high priest of the good things that are already here. When he came, he went through the greater and more perfect holy tent. The tent was not made by people. In other words, it is not a part of this creation.12He did not enter by spilling the blood of goats and calves. He entered the Most Holy Room by spilling his own blood. He did it once and for all time. He paid the price to set us free from sin forever.13The blood of goats and bulls is sprinkled on people. So are the ashes of a young cow. They are sprinkled on people the Law called unclean. The people are sprinkled to make them holy. That makes them clean on the outside.14But Christ offered himself to God without any flaw. He did this through the power of the eternal Holy Spirit. So how much more will his blood wash from our minds our feelings of guilt for committing sin! Sin always leads to death. But now we can serve the living God.15That's why Christ is the go-between of a new covenant. Now those God calls to himself will receive the eternal gift he promised. They will receive it now that Christ has died to save them. He died to set them free from the sins they committed under the first covenant.16What happens in the case of a will? It is necessary to prove that the person who made the will has died.17A will is in effect only when somebody has died. It never takes effect while the one who made it is still living.18That's why even the first covenant was not put into effect without the spilling of blood.19Moses first announced every commandment of the law to all the people. Then he took the blood of calves. He also took water, bright red wool and branches of a hyssop plant. He sprinkled the scroll. He also sprinkled all of the people.20He said, "This is the blood of the covenant God has commanded you to keep."(Exodus 24:8)21In the same way, he sprinkled the holy tent with blood. He also sprinkled everything that was used in worship there.22In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be made clean with blood. Without the spilling of blood, no one can be forgiven.23So the copies of the heavenly things had to be made pure with those sacrifices. But the heavenly things themselves had to be made pure with better sacrifices.24Christ did not enter a sacred tent made by people. That tent was only a copy of the true one. He entered heaven itself. He did it to stand in front of God for us. He is there right now.25The high priest enters the Most Holy Room every year. He enters with blood that is not his own. But Christ did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again.26If he had, he would have had to suffer many times since the world was created. But now he has appeared once and for all time. He has come at the end of the ages to do away with sin. He has done that by offering himself.27People have to die once. After that, God will judge them.28In the same way, Christ was offered up once. He took away the sins of many people. He will also come a second time. At that time he will not suffer for sin. Instead, he will come to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
1The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming. It is not the real things themselves. The same sacrifices have to be offered over and over again. They must be offered year after year. That's why the law can never make perfect those who come near to worship.2If it could, wouldn't the sacrifices have stopped being offered? The worshipers would have been made clean once and for all time. They would not have felt guilty for their sins anymore.3But those offerings remind people of their sins every year.4It isn't possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.5So when Christ came into the world, he said, "You didn't want sacrifices and offerings. Instead, you prepared a body for me.6You weren't pleased with burnt offerings and sin offerings.7Then I said, 'Here I am. It is written about me in the scroll. God, I have come to do what you want.' " (Psalm 40:6-8)8First Christ said, "You didn't want sacrifices and offerings. You didn't want burnt offerings and sin offerings. You weren't pleased with them." He said that even though the law required people to bring them.9Then he said, "Here I am. I have come to do what you want." He did away with the first. He did it to put the second in place.10We have been made holy by what God wanted. We have been made holy because Jesus Christ offered his body once and for all time.11Day after day every priest stands and does his special duties. He offers the same sacrifices again and again. But they can never take away sins.12Jesus our priest offered one sacrifice for sins for all time. Then he sat down at the right hand of God.13Since that time, he waits for his enemies to be put under his control.14By that one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.15The Holy Spirit also gives witness to us about this. First he says,16"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts. I will write my laws on their minds." (Jeremiah 31:33)17Then he adds, "I will not remember their sins anymore. I will not remember the evil things they have done." (Jeremiah 31:34)18Where those have been forgiven, there is no longer any offering for sin.19Brothers and sisters, we are not afraid to enter the Most Holy Room. We enter boldly because of the blood of Jesus.20His way is new because he lives. It has been opened for us through the curtain. I'm talking about his body.21We also have a great priest over the house of God.22So let us come near to God with an honest and true heart. Let us come near with a faith that is sure and strong. Our hearts have been sprinkled. Our minds have been cleansed from a sense of guilt. Our bodies have been washed with pure water.23Let us hold firmly to the hope we claim to have. The One who promised is faithful.24Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works.25Let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us cheer each other up with words of hope. Let us do it all the more as you see the day coming when Christ will return.26What if we keep sinning on purpose? What if we do it even after we know the truth? Then there is no offering for our sins.27All we can do is to wait in fear for God to judge. His blazing fire will burn up his enemies.28Anyone who did not obey the law of Moses died without mercy if there were two or three witnesses.29What should be done to anyone who has hated the Son of God or has said no to him? What should be done to a person who treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that makes him holy? What should be done to someone who has made fun of the Holy Spirit who brings God's grace? Don't you think people like that should be punished more than anyone else?30We know the One who said, "I am the One who judges people. I will pay them back."(Deuteronomy 32:35) Scripture also says, "The Lord will judge his people."(Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalm 135:14)31It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.32Remember those earlier days after you received the light. At that time you stood firm in a great struggle. You did it even in the face of suffering.33Sometimes you were made fun of in front of others. You were treated badly. At other times you stood side by side with people who were being treated like that.34You suffered together with people in prison. When your property was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew that God had given you better and more lasting things.35So don't throw away your bold faith. It will bring you rich rewards.36You need to be faithful. Then you will do what God wants. You will receive what he has promised.37In just a very little while, "The one who is coming will come. He will not wait.38The one who is in the right will live by faith. If he pulls back, I will not be pleased with him." (Habakkuk 2:3,4)39But we aren't people who pull back and are destroyed. We are people who believe and are saved.