Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep [i.e., the church], through the blood of the never ending Agreement [i.e., Christ's blood],
Now if He were [still] on earth, He would not be a priest [at all], since there are [already] those [on earth] who offer gifts according to the law of Moses.
These priests serve [in a sanctuary] that is [only] a copy and a foreshadow of the heavenly one. Now Moses was warned [by God] when he was about to build the Tabernacle, for God said [Ex. 25:40], "See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain [i.e., Mount Sinai]." But now Jesus has obtained a ministry that is as far superior [to that of the Levitical priesthood] as the [New] Agreement, of which He is the Mediator, is better [than the old one], because it has been enacted on better promises. read more.
For if that first Agreement had been faultless, then there would have been no need for a second one. For God found fault with the Israelites [or, possibly with the first Agreement], saying [Jer. 31:31ff], "Look, the Lord says, the time will come when I will make a New Agreement with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. [It will] not be like the Agreement that I made with their forefathers on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the country of Egypt. For they did not [continue to] keep my Agreement, so I did not regard them [as acceptable], says the Lord. For this is the Agreement that I will make with the people of Israel in the coming days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and I will also write them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people. And everyone will not [have to] teach his neighbor or his brother [anymore], telling them to 'Know the Lord,' because all of them will know me [as their Lord], from the least [important] ones to the most important ones. For I will be merciful to their wickedness [i.e., by forgiving them] and I will not remember their sins anymore." [So], by saying "a New Agreement," God has made the first one obsolete. And that which is becoming obsolete and getting aged is ready to [completely] disappear.
[Unlike the Israelites at Mount Sinai] you [Christians] have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that burned with fire [See Ex. 19:12, 16-19; 20:18-21; Deut. 4:11]; to [a place of] darkness, gloom and wind; to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words [from God] that the hearers begged not to have to listen to [anymore]. [See Ex. 20:19]. For those people could not stand [hearing] the command [Ex. 19:12f], "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned [to death]." read more.
And the sight [of all these things] was so terrifying that Moses said [See Deut. 9:19], "I tremble with fear." But you [Christians] have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. [Note: These terms describe people who have entered a spiritual relationship with God as part of the church]. [You have come] to a praise gathering of innumerable angels [Note: Christians are here pictured as assembled in worship of God, along with angels], and to the church of the firstborn ones [i.e., those who have received an inheritance from their Father], whose names are recorded in heaven. [See Luke 10:20]. [You have come] to God, who is the Judge of all people, and to the spirits of righteous people who have become [morally] perfect [i.e., that great company of God's people who have gone on to their heavenly reward], and to Jesus, the Mediator of a New Agreement [between God and mankind], and to the sprinkled blood [of Jesus], which says better things [to us] than [the blood of] Abel did. [Note: The contrast seems to be that "Abel's blood called for vengeance and death (See Gen. 4:10) whereas the blood of Christ provides mercy and life"].
where Jesus, our forerunner, [already] entered on our behalf, having become a Head Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
So, if perfection [i.e., a right relationship with God] could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood, (for under it people had received the law of Moses), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise, according to the order of Melchizedek, who was not considered "according to the order of Aaron"? For with the changing of the priesthood, it was necessary for a change to be made in the law also. For the Lord [See next verse], about whom these things are being said, belonged to another tribe, from which no one has [ever] been appointed to serve at the Altar. read more.
For it is quite evident that our Lord has descended from Judah, a tribe about which Moses said nothing concerning priests. And this is even clearer if another priest like Melchizedek arises, who was not appointed on the basis of human regulations governing one's physical ancestry, but on the strength of One whose life never ends. For it is declared [about Jesus in the Scriptures, Psa. 110:4], "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."
Now if He were [still] on earth, He would not be a priest [at all], since there are [already] those [on earth] who offer gifts according to the law of Moses. These priests serve [in a sanctuary] that is [only] a copy and a foreshadow of the heavenly one. Now Moses was warned [by God] when he was about to build the Tabernacle, for God said [Ex. 25:40], "See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain [i.e., Mount Sinai]."