Hebrews 7:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 7:16, NIV: one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life.

Hebrews 7:16, ESV: who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.

Hebrews 7:16, KJV: Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.

Hebrews 7:16, NASB: who has become a priest not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life.

Hebrews 7:16, NLT: 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.

Hebrews 7:16, CSB: who did not become a priest based on a legal regulation about physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life.

What does Hebrews 7:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This passage in Hebrews explains how the priesthood of Jesus Christ is like that of Melchizedek, which makes it superior to the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament. Levitical priests gained their position on the basis of their ancestry—only those from the tribe of Levi could serve in that role (Deuteronomy 18:1; Numbers 3:5–10). Melchizedek, on the other hand, was a "priest of God Most High" long before the birth of Levi or Aaron (Genesis 14:18). Abraham even paid tithes to this man (Hebrews 7:6–7), showing reverence for his position. The writer of Hebrews compares this to statements such as Psalm 110:4, where God promises to establish the priesthood of Melchizedek forever, and prior statements that the Messiah will be both priest and king (Hebrews 1:8–9; 5:5–6).

Jesus, then, does not obtain His priesthood in the way that a Levitical priest would: through human ancestry. Instead, His position is secured through His "indestructible" life. This is from the Greek word akatalytou, literally meaning "indissoluble," or "unending." A point made earlier was that Melchizedek, metaphorically speaking, is presented with an "endless" life, symbolized by his lack of recorded genealogy (Hebrews 7:3, 8). This, again, is meant to prove that Jesus Christ and His priesthood are the true means of salvation for man, rather than the imperfect system of the Old Testament priesthood.