For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.
Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people.
And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was.
So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee";
as he says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchiz'edek."
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear.
Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;
and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchiz'edek.
About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God's word. You need milk, not solid food;
for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
with instruction about ablutions, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
And this we will do if God permits.
For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit,
and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,
if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.
For land which has drunk the rain that often falls upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.
But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed; its end is to be burned.
Though we speak thus, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things that belong to salvation.
For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.
And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness in realizing the full assurance of hope until the end,
so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself,
saying, "Surely I will bless you and multiply you."
And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise.
Men indeed swear by a greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he interposed with an oath,
so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God should prove false, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us.
We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain,
where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchiz'edek.
For this Melchiz'edek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him;
and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace.
He is without father or mother or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest for ever.
See how great he is! Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe of the spoils.
And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brethren, though these also are descended from Abraham.
But this man who has not their genealogy received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises.
It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior.
Here tithes are received by mortal men; there, by one of whom it is testified that he lives.
One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham,
for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchiz'edek met him.
Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levit'ical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchiz'edek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron?
For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well.
For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar.
For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.
This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchiz'edek,
who has become a priest, not according to a legal requirement concerning bodily descent but by the power of an indestructible life.
For it is witnessed of him, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchiz'edek."
On the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness
(for the law made nothing perfect); on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
And it was not without an oath.
Those who formerly became priests took their office without an oath, but this one was addressed with an oath, "The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, 'Thou art a priest for ever.'"
This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant.
The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office;
but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever.
Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens.
He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself.
Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever.
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