An interesting piece of Jewish apologetics

I was prayerfully reading some articles on the incarnation and old testimate views and prophesies about the messiah in preparation for Christmas. I stumbled on this piece of Jewish apologetics which gives the sandhedrin of the time of Jesus similar authority Catholics believe the Pope has. Basically they say scripture appointed judges who Jews should trust fully to know the Christ’s identity when he comes. Does anyone here have some insight into that claim. Does that body have that power? If so why were they wrong about Jesus? Do they still have such an authority?

Maybe @meltzerboy2 can help you with this.

Thank youd!

He may join your thread at some point. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Here’s the deal according to Judaism and Hebrew Scripture: the shorter explanation for now. G-d explicitly commanded the Jewish people to trust in the words of their sages (the Sanhedrin), beginning at the time of Moses. Since the Sanhedrin of Jesus’ time rejected Jesus as the Messiah, the Jewish people are obligated to follow the sages’ counsel.


Right that is basically the argument I came across. Is that your personal position or are you at catholic with a rebuttal for that.

I might guess that any true obligation a self identified Jewish person had to the Sanhedrin is not the same as claiming that body necessarily has the right judgement. Certain chapters in Isaiah (67 I believe) say explicitly that “[Christs] own people rejected him”. Maybe its tied up with the new law superseding the old?

I think you aren’t understanding how Jews, then and now, understand the passages that Christians believe are messianic versus Jewish understanding of which verses are messianic. Isaiah is a good example. To Christians, these verses are messianic, to Jews they are not…the word messiah isn’t even in those verses.

If I recall correctly, the Sanhedrin did have authority on par with the Popes to the Jewish people.

Sorry you are quite right becuase Isaiah 67 doesn’t exist… soooo that’s an egg on my face.

I think I was mixing the text of John 11 and Isaiah 57. The later explicitely refers to “A man” who was to die for his people’s sins. And psalm 118 whcih talks about the right hand of God as it’s subject which is a clearly a messianic symbol. It alludes to that person being rejected “the stroke the builders rejected…”

I’ll keep looking for specific verses about the rejection of the messiah in the OT to support my guess. Anyone else have ideas?

It seems to me like you are asking how Catholics reconcile the fact that they believe in the Old Testament, in which Jewish people believe God gave the Sanhedrin an authority equivalent to the authority that Jesus gave Peter, with that authoritiy’s rejection of Jesus. If we believe the Old Testament, shouldn’t we trust the Sanhedrin’s authority to recognize the Messiah the way we now trust the Church for doctrine? Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the passages about the Sanhedrin or the Church’s interpretation of them. You might be able to find an answer in here, I don’t have time to read it at the moment:

Edit: In searching for an answer again, I also found this related thread: Before Jesus did the Jewish faith injoy infallible authority?

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After reading more about the Sanhedrin, it seems they can not have had an authority comparable to Peter and the apostles. The Sanhedrin had fallen and been recreated several times, and in the time of Jesus was full of Herod’s puppets. It was more of a body to govern the Jewish people in any matters that Rome didn’t care about.

God’s Word had not fully been revealed before the Messiah, so the Sanhedrin was prone to error in teachings. The Pharisees and Sudducees did not even agree on whether or not there was an afterlife. The Sanhedrin could teach the law as it was told by prophets and judges, but I don’t think God gave anybody the infallible authority to recognize the Messiah. He came as the Messiah and gave authority to those that did recognize Him.

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Ok that is reassuring. Are there predictions in the OT that some religious authorities would fall away from the truth.

Not seeing a whole lot of evidence for this in the prophets or law of the Old Testament. The scriptural reason for appointing judges comes from Exodus, when Moses’ father-in-law Jethro noted that Moses did not have the ability to adjudicate all of the cases that the Israelites were bringing to him. So he delegated judicial authority for relatively less complicated cases to the heads of the various tribes so that they could decide cases on matters of law. Essentially, it was a practical matter, not necessarily a theological one. While it is true that the Jews were to give the same authority to the judges deciding these cases as a child would grant to his god-appointed parents, this doesn’t mean they were considered to be infallible. On the contrary, we constantly see Old Testament literature rebuking the princes and judges for perverting the law, and accusing Israel as a nation of being stiff-necked, blind, and disobedient, and yet the Messiah would come anyway to bear their iniquity.

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Not specifically religious authorities that I know of, but there are the passages that say He would be rejected by His people.

“I am a foreigner to my own family,
a stranger to my own mother’s children;” -Psalm 69:8

“He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” -Isaiah 53:3

You might be interested in this list that shows passages supporting Jesus as the Messiah:

Herod consulted them when the magi came looking for the Christ. They correctly directed them to go to Bethlehem.

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