Hebrews 7

About Melchizedek

1 Melchizedek was the king of a city called Salem. He was also a priest of God who rules over all. Melchizedek met Abraham when Abraham was returning from a war. Abraham's men had just won a battle against four kings with their armies. At that time, Melchizedek asked God to bless Abraham. 2 Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth part of everything that he had won in the fight. The name ‘Melchizedek’ means ‘king of everything that is right’. His other name, ‘king of Salem’, means ‘king of peace’. 3 Nobody wrote down that Melchizedek had a father or a mother. Nobody wrote down that he had any ancestors. Nobody wrote about when he was born or when he died. In that way, it seems like Melchizedek was a priest for ever. He is like the Son of God who continues to be a priest for all time.

7:1Genesis 14:18-20 describes the time when Melchizedek met Abraham.

4 So think about how great this man, Melchizedek, was! Even Abraham, the ancestor of all Israel's people, gave gifts to Melchizedek. Abraham gave him a tenth part of everything that he had won in the fight. 5 Men from Levi's family group who become priests receive gifts from their own people. God's Law says that the people must give the Levite priests a tenth part of what they have. But the priests and the other people are all Israelites. They all come from Abraham's family. 6 As for Melchizedek, he did not come from Levi's family. But he still received a tenth part of what Abraham had. He also asked God to bless Abraham. But Abraham was the one who had already received God's promises.

7 It is always the more important person who asks God to bless a less important person. We certainly know that! 8 The Levite priests receive gifts, and they are people who one day will die. Melchizedek also received gifts, but we are told that he continues to live. 9-10 The Levite priests receive their gifts from the people. But we could say that Levi himself gave a tenth part of what he had to Melchizedek. When Abraham gave his tenth part to Melchizedek, it was like Levi was there inside him. At that time, Levi was not yet born, but Abraham was his ancestor.

7:9-10Levi was one of the sons of Jacob. He was ancestor of one of Israel's tribes. All the men from Levi's family served God in his house. Levi had a grandson, Aaron. Only Aaron and his family could become priests. See Numbers 1:50; Exodus 28:1. All Israel's people had to give a tenth part of what they had to the men from Levi's family. Then all the other men in Levi's family gave a tenth part of this to the priests. See Numbers 18:21-32.

11 The Levite priests were a necessary part of God's Law for Israel's people. But those priests could not make the people completely right with God. If that had been possible, the Levite priests could have continued their work. But we see that God has chosen a different kind of priest to serve him. That priest is not someone from Aaron's family, as the Levites were. Instead, he is a priest in the same way that Melchizedek was God's priest. 12 When there is a change in the kind of priest like that, there must also be a change in the law. 13 It is the Lord Jesus Christ that the Bible speaks about in this way, as God's special priest. But he belongs to a different tribe. He is not a Levite. Nobody else from his tribe ever served God as a priest. 14 We know that our Lord came from Judah's tribe. Moses never said that priests could come from Judah's tribe. So we see that the old law has changed.

Jesus is a different kind of priest

15 What we have said becomes even clearer now. Another kind of priest has come, who is a priest like Melchizedek. 16 Jesus did not become a priest because of a law about which family he came from. He became God's priest because of his powerful life that nothing could ever destroy. 17 The Bible speaks about him as a priest like this:

‘You will be a priest for ever,

in the same way that Melchizedek was God's priest.’

7:17See Psalm 110:4.

18 So the old law about priests no longer has authority. It was weak and it could not help people. 19 God's Laws that he gave to Moses could not make anything completely right. But now God has brought us something better to hope for. And in that way, we ourselves can come near to God.

20 Also, when God said that Jesus would be his special priest, he made a strong promise. When the Levites became priests, he did not make a strong promise like that. 21 But when Jesus became God's priest, God made a strong promise. God said:

‘The Lord God has promised this strongly.

He will not change his mind.

You will be a priest for ever.’

22 Because God promised that to Jesus, we know that his new agreement with his people is very strong. It is a much better agreement than the old one.

23 In the old way, there were many Levite priests. Each one of them died, so that they could not continue to serve God as priests. 24 But Jesus lives for ever, so he will never stop being a priest. 25 Jesus is always alive and he asks God to help his people. So he can completely save everyone who believes in him. He will lead them to God.

26 Jesus is the kind of special priest that we need. He completely belongs to God. He has never done anything wrong. He is completely good and clean. He is separate from everyone who does wrong things. God has raised him up to the most important place in heaven. 27 Jesus is not like the Levite priests. They need to offer sacrifices to God every day. First, they offer sacrifices so that God will forgive their own sins. Then they offer sacrifices on behalf of the other people, so that God will forgive their sins too. But Jesus offered one sacrifice for all time. That sacrifice was himself. 28 In the old agreement, Moses' laws decide who will become special priests. Because those men are weak, they often do wrong things. But God's very strong promise came after the Law that he gave to Moses. With that promise, God chose his Son to be his special priest. And his Son has become everything that God wants him to be, completely and for ever.

7:28When Jesus died on the cross, he gave himself to God as a sacrifice. Because Jesus never did anything wrong, his sacrifice has power for ever. No more sacrifices are needed. Now he lives for ever in heaven.