Only Levites can be priests?

A British-Israelist I am debating has stated that “only a pure blood out of the tribe of the Levites may be a priest” as an argument against Catholicism. How should I respond?

Hi Dylan,

The letter to the Hebrews is practically a treatise on this question. See chapeter 7:

11 8 If, then, perfection came through the levitical priesthood, on the basis of which the people received the law, what need would there still have been for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not reckoned according to the order of Aaron? 12 When there is a change of priesthood, there is necessarily a change of law as well. 13 Now he of whom these things are said 9 belonged to a different tribe, of which no member ever officiated at the altar. 14 It is clear that our Lord arose from Judah, 10 and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. 15 11 It is even more obvious if another priest is raised up after the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become so, not by a law expressed in a commandment concerning physical descent but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. 12 17 For it is testified: “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Our Lord Himself, the High Priest is of the tribe of Judah. It is a whole new covenant, a whole new regime.


The orthodox Jews will not accept the claim to Aaronic priesthood from any but a Kohan. Properly speaking he must be a descendant of the house of Aaron within the tribe of Levi.


I think one thought on the issue is this. The Levites were the priests for the Israelites, in other words the people who were subject to the Mosaic Law. But as Christians, we are not subject to Mosaic Law, so how is it that priests under that Law can be priests to those not under that law?

Even if we assume for the moment that Christ’s laws for all man kind do not grant non-jews rites that did not exist under the Noahide laws, I see no reason why non-jews could not have their own priests for the worship of God. If we look at what the role of a priest is; to perform religious rites and to offer sacrifices to God, I think we can see that having some sort of priesthood, whether called a priesthood or not, is essential to anyone trying to observe the Noahide laws. Consider, did not Abraham act as a priest when he sacrificed animals to God.


In the Old Testament that is stated in Leviticus, however in the New Testament this changes (Acts 1 & 2). The Levite Priests who tended the Holy of Holies, and Synagogues remained primarily Jews and did not recognize the New Testament, Jesus, or the Apostles.

I sent this to him and this is what he said:

You are confused, read this:

[quote]The Melchizedek priesthood and Christianity

Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah spoken of as “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek” (Ps. 110:4), and so Jesus plays the role of High Priest once and for all. Jesus is considered a priest in the order of Melchizedek because, like Melchizedek, Jesus was not a Levite, and thus would not qualify for the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 7:13-17).

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in the New Testament discussed this subject considerably, listing the following reasons for why the priesthood of Melchizedek is superior to the Aaronic priesthood:

Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek; later, the Levites would receive tithes from their countrymen. Since Aaron was in Abraham’s loins then, it was as if the Aaronic priesthood were paying tithes to Melchizedek. (Heb. 7:4-10)
The one who blesses is always greater than the one being blessed. Thus, Melchizedek was greater than Abraham. As Levi was yet in the loins of Abraham, it follows that Melchizedek is greater than Levi. (Heb. 7:7-10)
If the priesthood of Aaron were effective, God would not have called a new priest in a different order in Psalm 110. (Heb. 7:11)
The basis of the Aaronic priesthood was ancestry; the basis of the priesthood of Melchizedek is everlasting life. That is, there is no interruption due to a priest’s death. (Heb. 7:8,15-16,23-25)
Christ, being sinless, does not need a sacrifice for his own sins. (Heb. 7:26-27)
The priesthood of Melchizedek is more effective because it required a single sacrifice once and for all (Jesus), while the Levitical priesthood made endless sacrifices. (Heb. 7:27)
The Aaronic priests serve (or, rather, served) in an earthly copy and shadow of the heavenly Temple, which Jesus serves in. (Heb. 8:5)
The epistle goes on to say that the covenant of Jesus is superior to the covenant the Levitical priesthood is under. Some Christians hold that Melchizedek was a type of Christ, and some other Christians hold that Melchizedek indeed was Christ. Reasons provided include that Melchizedek’s name means “king of righteousness” according to the author of Hebrews, and that being king of Salem makes Melchizedek the “king of peace.” Heb. 7:3 states, “Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he (Melchizedek) remains a priest forever.” Melchizedek gave Abraham bread and wine, which Christians consider symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice to confirm a covenant.You are commiting blasphemy/sin if you claim to be a priest of Melchizedek *OR *the Levites (Without being from their tribe).

Christ did not take away from the Law.

“Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets; I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished” (Mt. 5:17-18).

You are traveling satanic territory by disregarding the Holy Law.

“Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets; I came not to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished” (Mt. 5:17-18).
You are traveling satanic territory by disregarding the Holy Law.

Does anyone else think that saying “satanic” might be the religous version of Godwin’s law?
Anyway, notice how Jesus said “fulfill”. He did not say “sustain” or “uphold” but rather “fulfill”. If I "fulfill a promise that does not mean that I am still bound by it but rather that I completed it.


That’s like saying I can’t be married to my wife because you are married to your wife. The argument is just gibberish. Only a pure blood of the tribe of the Levites may be a priest of the Old Covenant. But Catholic and Orthodox priests are priests of the New Covenant. Why on earth would your friend think that the requirements for Old Covenant priests apply to New Covenant priests? Further, there really is only one priest under the New Covenant – “Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers,” CCC 1545.

See Hebrews 7.

Hi Dylan

I do not understand at all what this guy is getting at. He seems to me logically deranged. I would advise cutting off that contact. You will never achieve anything with such a person.


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