Did the Blessed Virgin Mary descend genetically from the tribe of Judah or from the tribe of Levi? I’ve typed out the answer for you, but I’ve also recorded a short “mini-podcast” that I voiced this morning for those of you who would prefer to listen to me answer the question.
A reader, Ignacio Puyol Besa, recently left this question on my Facebook wall:
Good day Dr. Taylor, Hope all is well with you! I have a question for you. This is an excerpt from a conversation I had with someone regarding your book The Crucified Rabbi.
Person: All I’m saying is that he (Taylor) said Jesus wasn’t a descendant of Aaron & if that were true, Jesus wouldn’t be qualified to be the Messiah. Btw, it’s through Mary’s genealogy that He’s related to Aaron. Comments? Have a great one.”
Here is my podcast version and here is typed answer to this question:
Click the play button to listen:
The idea that the Blessed Mother must be Levite or Aaronite is refuted in the epistle to the Hebrews. The Melchizedek priesthood of the first born is more dignified than the weak and probational priesthood of Levi. The Levitical priesthood is Plan B after idolatry.
Natural Law had a priesthood of the firstborn (father to son). The New Law/Testament has a priesthood of the first born (Father to Son). The Levitical Priesthood was an ad hoc probational priesthood because of the golden calf incident.
The eternal priesthood (and the priesthood of natural law) is primogeniture (firstborn) priesthood. And the Son is eternally firstborn of the Father. All of this is in Thomas Aquinas. Also Mary is known liturgically as the “Tower of David.” She is Davidian Judahite and not Aaronic Levite. The two genealogies that we have for Mary (Matthew and Luke) say nothing of a Aaronite or Levite relation. The idea is falsely inferred by those that think that Christ must somehow be Aaronite.
She may have trace Levite blood from tribal intermarriage way back when, but there is not much dignity in that. Jesus is the Lion of Judah, not the Lion of Levi. Christ was very critical of the Levitical assembly. It was the Levites of Sanhedrin that killed Christ. In summary, the Blessed Virgin Mary was a descendent of Judah through David.
It actually elevates the Blessed Virgin Mary higher when recognize her as the descendent of David. Daughters of Levites did not hold a civil or religious role in Israel. However, the Queen Mother of the Davidic King (Gebirah) had amazing amounts of prestige and power (this is the basis of her Coronation). We would do a disservice to Our Lady by calling her “Aaronite.”
Saint Justin Martyr (Adv. Tryph. 100) and St. Ignatius of Antioch (Ephesians 18) affirm that Mary was a Judahite and descendent of David. This is the tradition of the Church. St. John Damascene (De fid. Orth., IV, 14) also affirms it.
Please also see my articles related to this topic of Levitical priesthood: by Taylor Marshall
- Gentile Priests and Levites by Taylor Marshall
- Was John the Baptist a Levite? by Taylor Marshall
- Pope Saint Leo on the Levites and Priests of the New Covenant by Taylor Marshall
- Land, Promise, Levites and the New Covenant by Taylor Marshall
- The Davidic Identity of Daniel by Taylor Marshall
Ignacio, thanks for your awesome question about Our Lady and priesthood!
Question: Have you also heard this belief that Mary was Aaronite or Levitical? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
PS: This book also has a breakdown of the Old Testament Levitical priesthood as it relates to the New Testament priesthood.
PPS: I’m currently recording the Book of Revelation – Catholic Commentary podcast series for yall. So far, 4 episodes are recorded!
PPPS: I’ll be teaching at the Vatican this June as part of the Rome Experience program for seminarians. Please pray a Hail Mary for these seminarians…and for me as I prep lectures for them. Check out the Rome Experience!