For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;
he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;
and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.
And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.
So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, " YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU';
just as He says also in another passage, " YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.'
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.
Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.
And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,
being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. 6
Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
And this we will do, if God permits.
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,
and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,
and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God;
but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.
But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end,
so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself,
saying, " I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY MULTIPLY YOU.'
And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.
For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute.
In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath,
so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil,
where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. 7
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace.
Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.
Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils.
And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest's office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham.
But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises.
But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater.
In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on.
And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes,
for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.
Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?
For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also.
For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar.
For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.
And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek,
who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life.
For it is attested of Him, " YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.'
For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness
(for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
And inasmuch as it was not without an oath
(for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, " THE LORD HAS SWORN AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND, "YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER');
so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing,
but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.
Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever. 8