1. Scripture says that Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, came out to meet Abraham who returned from defeating the kings. He blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything.
2. Let us note that the name Melchizedek means King of Justice, and that king of Salem means king of Peace.
3. There is no mention of father, mother or genealogy; nothing is said about the beginning or the end of his life. In this he is the figure of the Son of God, the priest who remains forever.
4. See then how great Melchizedek was. Even Abraham gave him a tenth of the spoils!
5. When the descendants of Levi are consecrated priests, they are commanded to collect tithes from their people, that is from their kindred, who are too, are descendants of Abraham.
6. Here, however, Melchizedek, who does not belong to the family of the Levites, is given tithes from Abraham. Still more, he blesses him, the man of God's promise.
7. There is no doubt that he who blesses is higher than the one who is blessed.
8. In the first case we see that tithes are received by those who are mortals; here instead, Melchizedek is mentioned as one who lives on.
9. When Abraham pays the tenth, it is, so to speak, the Levites, receivers of the tithes, who pay the tithe,
10. because, in a way, Levi was still in the body of Abraham, his ancestor, when Melchizedek met him.
11. The institutions of the chosen people are founded upon the Levitical priesthood, but with it they could not attain what is perfect and permanent. If that were possible, why would there be need of another priest after the order of Melchizedek instead of Aaron's?
12. If there is a change in the priesthood, the Law also has to be changed.
13. Jesus, to whom all this has reference, was from a tribe that never served at the altar.
14. All know that he belonged to the tribe of Judah that is not mentioned by Moses when he speaks of the priesthood.
15. All this, however, becomes clear if this priest after the likeness of Melchizedek
16. has in fact received his mission, not on the basis of any human law, but by the power of an immortal life.
17. Because Scripture says: You are a priest forever in the priestly order of Melchizedek.
18. With this the former disposition is removed as insufficient and useless
19. (for the Law did not bring anything to perfection). At the same time a better hope is given to us: that of drawing near to God.
20. This change is confirmed by God's oath. When the others became priests, God did not compromise himself with an oath,
21. but Jesus is confirmed with an oath, as it is said: The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: you are a priest forever.
22. Therefore, Jesus is our assurance of a better covenant.
23. The former priests were many since, as mortal men, they could not remain in office.
24. But Jesus remains forever and the priesthood shall not be taken from him.
25. Consequently he is able to save for all time those who approach God through him. He always lives to intercede on their behalf.
26. It was fitting that our High Priest be holy, undefiled, set apart from sinners and exalted above the heavens;
27. a priest who does not first need to offer sacrifice for himself before offering for the sins of the people, as high priests do. He offered himself in sacrifice once and for all.
28. And whereas the Law elected weak men as high priests, now, after the Law, the word of God with an oath appointed the Son, made perfect forever.