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7. Melchizedek the Priest
1For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2to whom also Abraham divided a tenth part of all (being first, by interpretation, King of righteousness, and then also King of Salem, which is King of peace; 3without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God), abideth a priest continually. 4Now consider how great this man was, unto whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth out of the chief spoils. 5And they indeed of the sons of Levi that receive the priest's office have commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though these have come out of the loins of Abraham: 6but he whose genealogy is not counted from them hath taken tithes of Abraham, and hath blessed him that hath the promises. 7But without any dispute the less is blessed of the better. 8And here men that die receive tithes; but there one, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. 9And, so to say, through Abraham even Levi, who receiveth tithes, hath paid tithes; 10for he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedek met him. 11Now if there was perfection through the Levitical priesthood (for under it hath the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be reckoned after the order of Aaron? 12For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. 13For he of whom these things are said belongeth to another tribe, from which no man hath given attendance at the altar. 14For it is evident that our Lord hath sprung out of Judah; as to which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priests. 15And what we say is yet more abundantly evident, if after the likeness of Melchizedek there ariseth another priest, 16who hath been made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life: 17for it is witnessed of him,
Thou art a priest for ever
After the order of Melchizedek.
18For there is a disannulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness 19(for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in thereupon of a better hope, through which we draw nigh unto God. 20And inasmuch as it is not without the taking of an oath 21(for they indeed have been made priests without an oath; but he with an oath by him that saith of him,
The Lord sware and will not repent himself,
Thou art a priest for ever);
22by so much also hath Jesus become the surety of a better covenant. 23And they indeed have been made priests many in number, because that by death they are hindered from continuing: 24but he, because he abideth for ever, hath his priesthood unchangeable. 25Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27who needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people: for this he did once for all, when he offered up himself. 28For the law appointeth men high priests, having infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was after the law, appointeth a Son, perfected for evermore.
12. For the priesthood being changed, or, transferred, etc. As the authority of the Law and the priesthood is the same, Christ became not only a priest, but also a Lawgiver; so that the right of Aaron, as well as of Moses, was transferred to him. The sum of the whole is, that the ministry of Moses was no less temporary than that of Aaron; and hence both were annulled by the coming of Christ, for the one could not stand without the other. By the word Law, we understand what peculiarly belonged to Moses; for the Law contains the rule of life, and the gratuitous covenant of life; and in it we find everywhere many remarkable sentences by which we are instructed as to faith, and as to the fear of God. None of these were abolished by Christ, but only that part which regarded the ancient priesthood.
For Christ is here compared with Moses; whatever then they had in common, is not to be taken to the account, but only the things in which they differ. They in common offer God’s mercy to us, prescribe the rule of a holy and godly life, teach us the true worship of God, and exhort us to exercise faith and patience, and all the duties of godliness. But Moses was different from Christ in this respect, that while the love of the Gospel was not as yet made known, he kept the people under veils, set forth the knowledge of Christ by types and shadows, and, in short, accommodated himself to the capacity of ignorant people, and did not rise higher than to puerile elements. We must then remember, that the Law is that part of the ministration which Moses had as peculiarly his own, and different from that of Christ. That law, as it was subordinate to the ancient priesthood, was abolished when the priesthood was abolished. And Christ, being made a priest, was invested also with the authority of a legislator, that he might be the teacher and interpreter of the new covenant. At the same time, the word Law is applied, though not in its strict sense, to the Gospel; but this impropriety of language is so far from having anything harsh in it, that on account of the contrast it adds beauty to the sentence, as we find in the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans
Moreover, the impiety of the Pope is extremely arrogant, who has inserted this article in his decretals, that he himself is now invested with the same authority as Aaron formerly had, because the Law and also the priesthood have been transferred to him. We see what the Apostle says; he maintains that ceremonies have ceased since the time when Christ came forth with command to proclaim the new covenant. It is then absurd hence to conclude, that anything has been transferred to the ministers of Christ; for Christ himself is alone contrasted here with Moses and Aaron. Under what pretext then can Antichrist arrogate to himself any such authority? I do not indeed speak now for the sake of disproving so gross an arrogance; but it is worth while to remind readers of this sacrilegious audacity, that they may know that this notorious servant of the servants of Christ wholly disregards the honor of his Master, and boldly mangles the Scriptures, that he may have some cloak for his own tyranny.