Bible: Hebrews 7-10
The Nature of Melchizedek’s Priesthood
7:1 Now this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him. 1 7:2 To him 2 also Abraham apportioned a tithe 3 of everything. 4 His name first means 5 king of righteousness, then king of Salem, that is, king of peace. 7:3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, he has neither beginning of days nor end of life but is like the son of God, and he remains a priest for all time. 7:4 But see how great he must be, if 6 Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe 7 of his plunder. 7:5 And those of the sons of Levi who receive the priestly office 8 have authorization according to the law to collect a tithe from the people, that is, from their fellow countrymen, 9 although they too are descendants of Abraham. 10 7:6 But Melchizedek 11 who does not share their ancestry 12 collected a tithe 13 from Abraham and blessed 14 the one who possessed the promise. 7:7 Now without dispute the inferior is blessed by the superior, 7:8 and in one case tithes are received by mortal men, while in the other by him who is affirmed to be alive. 7:9 And it could be said that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid a tithe through Abraham. 7:10 For he was still in his ancestor Abraham’s loins 15 when Melchizedek met him.
Jesus and the Priesthood of Melchizedek
7:11 So if perfection had in fact been possible through the Levitical priesthood – for on that basis 16 the people received the law – what further need would there have been for another priest to arise, said to be in the order of Melchizedek and not in Aaron’s order? 7:12 For when the priesthood changes, a change in the law must come 17 as well. 7:13 Yet the one these things are spoken about belongs to 18 a different tribe, and no one from that tribe 19 has ever officiated at the altar. 7:14 For it is clear that our Lord is descended from Judah, yet Moses said nothing about priests in connection with that tribe. 7:15 And this is even clearer if another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 7:16 who has become a priest not by a legal regulation about physical descent 20 but by the power of an indestructible life. 7:17 For here is the testimony about him: 21 “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” 22 7:18 On the one hand a former command is set aside 23 because it is weak and useless, 24 7:19 for the law made nothing perfect. On the other hand a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 7:20 And since 25 this was not done without a sworn affirmation – for the others have become priests without a sworn affirmation, 7:21 but Jesus 26 did so 27 with a sworn affirmation by the one who said to him, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever’” 28 – 7:22 accordingly Jesus has become the guarantee 29 of a better covenant. 7:23 And the others 30 who became priests were numerous, because death prevented them 31 from continuing in office, 32 7:24 but he holds his priesthood permanently since he lives forever. 7:25 So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 7:26 For it is indeed fitting for us to have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 7:27 He has no need to do every day what those priests do, to offer sacrifices first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people, since he did this in offering himself once for all. 7:28 For the law appoints as high priests men subject to weakness, 33 but the word of solemn affirmation that came after the law appoints a son made perfect forever.
The High Priest of a Better Covenant
8:1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: 34 We have such a high priest, one who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 35 8:2 a minister in the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. 8:3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. So this one too had to have something to offer. 8:4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are already priests who offer 36 the gifts prescribed by the law. 8:5 The place where they serve is 37 a sketch 38 and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, just as Moses was warned by God as he was about to complete the tabernacle. For he says, “See that you make everything according to the design 39 shown to you on the mountain.” 40 8:6 But 41 now Jesus 42 has obtained a superior ministry, since 43 the covenant that he mediates is also better and is enacted 44 on better promises. 45
“Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
8:9 “It will not be like the covenant 51 that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord.
8:10 “For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put 52 my laws in their minds 53 and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people. 54
8:11 “And there will be no need at all 55 for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest. 56
8:12 “For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer.” 57
The Arrangement and Ritual of the Earthly Sanctuary
9:1 Now the first covenant, 60 in fact, had regulations for worship and its earthly sanctuary. 9:2 For a tent was prepared, the outer one, 61 which contained 62 the lampstand, the table, and the presentation of the loaves; this 63 is called the holy place. 9:3 And after the second curtain there was a tent called the holy of holies. 9:4 It contained the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered entirely with gold. In this ark 64 were the golden urn containing the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 9:5 And above the ark 65 were the cherubim 66 of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Now is not the time to speak of these things in detail. 9:6 So with these things prepared like this, the priests enter continually into the outer tent 67 as they perform their duties. 9:7 But only the high priest enters once a year into the inner tent, 68 and not without blood that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 69 9:8 The Holy Spirit is making clear that the way into the holy place had not yet appeared as long as the old tabernacle 70 was standing. 9:9 This was a symbol for the time then present, when gifts and sacrifices were offered that could not perfect the conscience of the worshiper. 9:10 They served only for matters of food and drink 71 and various washings; they are external regulations 72 imposed until the new order came. 73
Christ’s Service in the Heavenly Sanctuary
9:11 But now Christ has come 74 as the high priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 9:12 and he entered once for all into the most holy place not by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, and so he himself secured 75 eternal redemption. 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled consecrated them and provided ritual purity, 76 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our 77 consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
9:15 And so he is the mediator 78 of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance he has promised, 79 since he died 80 to set them free from the violations committed under the first covenant. 9:16 For where there is a will, the death of the one who made it must be proven. 81 9:17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it carries no force while the one who made it is alive. 9:18 So even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood. 82 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every command to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 9:20 and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.” 83 9:21 And both the tabernacle and all the utensils of worship he likewise sprinkled with blood. 9:22 Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 9:23 So it was necessary for the sketches 84 of the things in heaven to be purified with these sacrifices, 85 but the heavenly things themselves required 86 better sacrifices than these. 9:24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands – the representation 87 of the true sanctuary 88 – but into heaven itself, and he appears now in God’s presence for us. 9:25 And he did not enter to offer 89 himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the sanctuary year after year with blood that is not his own, 9:26 for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice. 9:27 And just as people 90 are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, 91 9:28 so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, 92 to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin 93 but to bring salvation. 94
Concluding Exposition: Old and New Sacrifices Contrasted
10:1 For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship. 95 10:2 For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so have 96 no further consciousness of sin? 10:3 But in those sacrifices 97 there is a reminder of sins year after year. 10:4 For the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. 98 10:5 So when he came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me.
10:6 “Whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you took no delight in.
10:8 When he says above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin-offeringsyou did not desire nor did you take delight in them” 101 (which are offered according to the law), 10:9 then he says, “Here I am: I have come to do your will.” 102 He does away with 103 the first to establish the second. 10:10 By his will 104 we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 10:11 And every priest stands day after day 105 serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again – sacrifices that can never take away sins. 10:12 But when this priest 106 had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand 107 of God, 10:13 where he is now waiting 108 until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet. 109 10:14 For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy. 10:15 And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us, for after saying, 110 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put 111 my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,” 112 10:17 then he says, 113 “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.” 114 10:18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Drawing Near to God in Enduring Faith
10:19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, 115 since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 10:20 by the fresh and living way that he inaugurated for us 116 through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 117 10:21 and since we have a great priest 118 over the house of God, 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, 119 because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience 120 and our bodies washed in pure water. 10:23 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. 10:24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 121 10:25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day 122 drawing near. 123
10:26 For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us, 124 10:27 but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury 125 of fire that will consume God’s enemies. 126 10:28 Someone who rejected the law of Moses was put to death 127 without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 128 10:29 How much greater punishment do you think that person deserves who has contempt for 129 the Son of God, and profanes 130 the blood of the covenant that made him holy, 131 and insults the Spirit of grace? 10:30 For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” 132 and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 133 10:31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
10:32 But remember the former days when you endured a harsh conflict of suffering after you were enlightened. 10:33 At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and afflictions, and at other times you came to share with others who were treated in that way. 10:34 For in fact you shared the sufferings of those in prison, 134 and you accepted the confiscation of your belongings with joy, because you knew that you certainly 135 had a better and lasting possession. 10:35 So do not throw away your confidence, because it 136 has great reward. 10:36 For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised. 137 10:37 For just a little longer 138 and he who is coming will arrive and not delay. 139 10:38 But my righteous one will live by faith, and if he shrinks back, I 140 take no pleasure in him. 141 10:39 But we are not among those who shrink back and thus perish, but are among those who have faith and preserve their souls. 142