ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 388


a tithe to Melchizedek when their ancestor Abraham paid a tithe to him.
For although Levi wasn’t born yet, the seed from which he came was in
Abraham’s body when Melchizedek collected the tithe from him.
So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have
achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a
different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of
the order of Levi and Aaron?
And if the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit
it. For the priest we are talking about belongs to a different tribe, whose
members have never served at the altar as priests. What I mean is, our
Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests
coming from that tribe.
This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is
like Melchizedek, has appeared. Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the
physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power
of a life that cannot be destroyed. And the psalmist pointed this out when
he prophesied,
“You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it
was weak and useless. For the law never made anything perfect. But now
we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
This new system was established with a solemn oath. Aaron’s descendants became priests without such an oath, but there was an oath regarding Jesus. For God said to him,
“The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow:
‘You are a priest forever.’”
Because of this oath, Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant
with God.
There were many priests under the old system, for death prevented
them from remaining in office. But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those
who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God
on their behalf.
He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless,
unstained by sin. He has been set apart from sinners and has been given
the highest place of honor in heaven. Unlike those other high priests, he
does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins
first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when
he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed
high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was

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