A question about the Old Testament High Priesthood

This is a response to Messianic Drew’s Video:

After watching Messianic Drew’s Video a second time I realize now that he doesn’t really have a good understanding of Papal Infallibility or history for that matter. My question is this, does the Catholic Church believe that the High Priests of the Old Testament were infallible? If they were than I can easily debunk Messianic Drew’s claim, by the time of Jesus, the High Priest and the entire Sanhedrin was appointed by Rome (“We have no other king but Caesar!”) they were puppets of Rome and therefore had no Infallibility or Authority. The High Priesthood probably lost it’s infallibility during the Seleucid era when Antiochus IV Epiphanes started appointing Hellenized Jews to the High Priesthood. I can’t think of any other event in history happening to the church that was similar to what happened to the Sanhedrin. (with the possible exception of Pope Alexander VI but he never tampered with the Church’s teachings if there were any other events in history that might be similar to this that I am unaware of please let me know) If the Italian government or the EU or the UN were ever to appoint a Pope, no true Catholic would recognize him, he would be an Antipope (And there would be a high probability of an AntiChrist being involved.)

Wait a second, how could any of the OT priests after Moses be infallible?
Had they the Holy Spirit protecting them? NOPE they did not.
Only AFTER Jesus establishes HIS Church is the Holy Spirit sent forth and Jesus promises HE himself will be always with HIS Church till the end of the world.

Only Peter and his successors had the power of the Keys given to them by Jesus’s Himself. The OT priests did not have this authority.

They had some authority, for we read that the High priest sat in the chair of Moses, but his authority could not open and shut in Heaven. Only Peter and his successors have this authority.

The Lord has sworn and will not waver:
“You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek.”
Psalm 110:4

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Matthew 5:17

Jesus replaced the High Priest in Old Testament. A priest is anyone making sacrifices for people’s sins. The Eucharist is the only valid sacrifice that a Catholic Priest can make.

Aaron was the brother of Moses and the first High Priest.

The ten commandments has always been the only infallible law in the Old Testament for Catholics.

(all scripture from Revised New American Bible)


In Second Temple Judaism, did the high priests claim to be infallible? Is that claim found in the OT or the Talmud?

You have to read Josephus to understand the Second Temple High Priesthood.

Josephus is meticulous (for the most part) in documenting the lineage of the High Priests. According to him, they go back 4,000 years- and Josephus was writing in the first century A.D.

The High Priest was appointed for life before Rome and Herod came on the scene in about 40 B.C. At times, the Jewish King served as High Priest- such as during the times of the Maccabees and the independent Jewish nation.

The High Priest had to be a perfect male specimen, for one thing. He was thought of as a link not only between God and Man, but Man and the universe. Did this function require perfection? I suppose it depends on the level of perfection. Certainly, they could marry and have children, and lived very well off the required tithes demanded by the Temple. Rituals included animal sacrifices and intense study of Astrology.

Herod the Great started appointing them willy-nilly, for political purposes, and even had one murdered. The High Priesthood as a whole in the later decades before the destruction of Jerusalem became somewhat corrupt, and started to steal from the wealthy to support their families when they thought tithes were being withheld. When the Zealots gained the upper hand and revolted away from the Rome, the High Priesthood and the aristocrats did what they could to keep the nation together and united, though that was a failure in the end and the High Priesthood and the High Priests position was outlawed after the defeat of the Jews.

Interestingly, the Jewish aristocrats made significant inroads into Imperial Rome during the Imperial age. Herod Agrippa was behind the appointing of Claudius as Emperor after Caius had been assasinated. A High Priest- Ismael- actually resigned the position in order to live in Rome and become a councilor/ social adornment for Poppea, the wife of Nero.

Some suggest (Hagan “Fires of Rome”) that it was Ismael who was behind Nero’s targeting of the Christians in Rome after the fires broke out there. This was when both Paul and Peter were executed.

That can be boiled down to asking, did the Priests ever make a decree or judgment that would bind God into a lie? eg: Could they make a proclamation that would destroy God’s church, permanently ?

The answer is clearly, No.

So – I see no difficulty in believing that infallability (the inability to destroy God’s church from within) was in force even before the first Christian Pope. It’s a logical corollary of Moses being able to bind and loose on behalf of God, that God would prevent him from binding God himself into sin.

Remember, infallability is a negative charism, it’s not impeccability; and it is a logical deduction from the authority given to the ruling magisterium – the word “infallability” does not exist in the bible itself, but is an inference.

Also note, the ordinary infallability Messianic Drew wishes to cite – eg: requiring unanimous consent – is clearly lacking in the Sanhedrin of Jesus’s day; for Nicodemous did not condemn Jesus. So Messianic Drew’s claim that the condemnation of Jesus was unanimous is clearly a fraud.

If they were than I can easily debunk Messianic Drew’s claim, by the time of Jesus, the High Priest and the entire Sanhedrin was appointed by Rome (“We have no other king but Caesar!”) they were puppets of Rome and therefore had no Infallibility or Authority.

I wouldn’t argue in that direction.

Infallability can exist in spite of the external influences.
Note carefully what scripture says about Caiphas as high priest:
John 11:51-52

And also Jesus himself affirms their authority, but not their sanctity:

Matth 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Matth 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
Matth 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Matth 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

If the Italian government or the EU or the UN were ever to appoint a Pope, no true Catholic would recognize him, he would be an Antipope (And there would be a high probability of an AntiChrist being involved.)

That argument has more to do with developments in history, than certainty.
If they were to appoint a pope in contradiction to the Catholic church’s election of one, then yes – I think you are right; but if those who elect the pope were to agree to the EU or UN appointing one, I’m not entirely sure it would be invalid ; so long as the laying on of hands, baptism, etc. all were carried out. Such an appointment could still convey authority. Bishops have been selected by somewhat secularized governments in the past, and were still accepted in the early church as valid upon baptism and consecration.

What is more important, from the perspective of apologetics against Messianic Drew, is that Moses when he made the covenant, said it was conditional upon their obedience – and that another prophet “like me” would come in time; so Moses even prophesied the coming of Jesus to fulfill the law.

When Jesus did come, he explicitly judged the Sanhedrin and the Pharisees especially, based on old testament eg: OT prophecies and even based on their OWN judgment saying:

Matthew 21:42-43 The stone rejected…has become the cornerstone… Therefore I say to you, The kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and given to a nation bringing forth fruits.

and he said it, only after extracting their own judgment from them:

Matthew 21:41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

So, the Sanhedrin had already passed sentence on itself should it truly have killed God’s son. All that remains to be seen is whether or not Jesus was God’s son – and the sentence would be carried out. “husbandmen” is a shorthand for priests, and shephards; those who care for God’s people. To say “give to other husbandmen” clearly means to replace one set of priests with another – which is exactly what Protestants like James White are NOT. Note carefully who Messianic Drew is citing as a useful source of info? Probably one of the weakest debaters I’ve ever seen – full of vitrol, but not much in the way of carefully thought out and consistent logic.

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