Priesthood and the temple destruction of 70 AD

Silly question, what are Rabbis? Don’t their functions replace or overlap with what the priests used to perform?

Rabbis are teachers of the Torah. And no, their responsibilities never overlapped with the Temple priests. It made me think if the Temple were still standing, would there be as many rabbis throughout the world, all seen as clergy in the modern sense of the term? I guess there would have to be. The priesthood is so Jerusalem-centric.

Read the Book of Leviticus. It really is the Priests’ Manual.

I don’t know Greek but from what I can tell, the Greek word for *priest *is hiereus. The original Greek word in question in Romans 15:16 is related, a form of the word hierourgeo, which literally means to be a temple-worker, i.e., to officiate as a priest. It is a compound word formed by combining *hieron *(temple) + *ergon *(work).

Here’s a link to over 50 English translations of Romans 15:16, mostly Protestant translations, with 5 Catholic translations. Over 30 of them, including 4 Catholic translations, translate the word using the word priest or priestly. There is one more, if you count the Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) which uses the word kohen, which I think is the Jewish word for priest.

Jesus himself says that the Apostles are priests.

In Matthew 12:1-8 the Apostles roll grain in their hands on the Sabbath, something which was unlawful according to the Levitical law because rolling grain is considered work. Jesus explains that his followers are exempt from the law preventing them from working on the Sabbath just as the Levitical priests are exempt from working on the Sabbath because of their priesthood. Jesus himself is explaining to the Pharisees that his followers are priests.

Hebrews also says that Jesus is High Priest of the new covenant. Where there is a High Priest there are also lesser priests to serve on his behalf. The author of Hebrews does not say that Jesus is the only priest or that he is the last priest but that he is High Priest. It is clear that there are to be other priests.

Then there is the whole issue of Bishops, Deacons and Presbyters in the Bible. That’s more than just pastors who preach.

-Tim-

SJacob7 #6
I just did a little search on Bible Gateway for the word Priest. Depending on the bible version used, the word ‘priest’ comes up about 158-160 times in the NT. And not ONCE is the word used to reference the new Christian belief.

On the contrary, in the Acts of the Apostles (14:23) Saints Paul and Barnabas “appointed presbyters (=priests) for them in every church.” Paul and Barnabas were bishops who had received at ordination the power to ordain others. In Greek the words used were presbyteros for priest, elder, presbyter, and *episcopos *for bishop, overseer, supervisor, or guardian. By the time of St Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107) he speaks of the bishop as one who has “acquired his ministry, not from himself, nor through men”, and that he is to be regarded “as the Lord Himself.” (Ep. Ad Philad., 1; Ephes. 6).

St. Ignatius was the third bishop of Antioch and was martyred in Rome in approximately 107 A.D. His letter comes from about 96 A.D. Even at this early date, the threefold hierarchy of bishops, priests (presbyters in Greek), and deacons is present and the practice of celebrating the Holy Eucharist is clearly a long-established practice.

“The substance of the record contained in the Ignatian epistles is this:
While the Christian communities of this period (c.100-110) have many presbyters and deacons, they have only one bishop….there are bishops and the faithful are to obey both the bishops and the presbyters.” The New Biblical Theorists, Msgr George A Kelly, Servant Books, 1983, p 78].

“It is a matter of seeing not simply words as such, but the facts, the realities: seeing the Church live – and as far back as the New Testament.”

Cardinal Lawrence Shehan says that the NT is not a book of neat linguistics. He cites the New American Bible, Hinds, Noble and Eldredge’s Greek English Dictionary, the English Jerusalem Bible, Goodspeed’s translation of the Chicago Bible, Kleist-Lilly, Joseph Fitzmer, SJ, and Fr Andre Feuillet’s The Priesthood of Christ and His Ministers as all acknowledging priests or priesthood in the NT under a variety of terms – presbuteroi, leitourgos, hierourgos, Leitourgon, Leitourgon hierougounta. “The absence of the use of the one term hierus is evidence merely that this one term was not used, not that priest or priesthood are unacknowledged in the NT.” [See *The New Biblical Theorists, Servant Books, 1983, by Msgr George A Kelly, p 84].

Great question to ask!

Biblical Judaisim, the religion that began with God’s covenant with Abraham, ceased to exist and its priesthood died out when the temple was destroyed. Two new religions claimed to be its rightful heir: Christianity and Rabbinical Judaism. Both soon had their own Holy Books (Christianity - the New Testement, and Rabbinical Judaism - the Talmud and the Mishnah).

II) In Judaism there are no more priests to sacrifice animals and since the destruction of the Temple there have only rabbis to lead their synagogues. Should this correlate to Christianity.

As Biblical Judaism, while it existed, had the sacrifice that was pleasing to God, it had a priesthood. This corresponds to the Church having Priests, because the Church now has the sacrifice that is pleasing to God.

Biblical Judaisim, the religion that began with God’s covenant with Abraham, ceased to exist and its priesthood died out when the temple was destroyed. Two new religions claimed to be its rightful heir: Christianity and Rabbinical Judaism. Both soon had their own Holy Books (Christianity - the New Testement, and Rabbinical Judaism - the Talmud and the Mishnah).

Not wanting to start a row but this is - inevitably :slight_smile: - the story from an entirely Christian perspective.

The ‘sacrificial system’ existed in one place and animal sacrifice was only ever one means of forgiveness, the Temple and its Priests existed in Jerusalem, Jews lived all over the place - there was no rapid transit system backwards and forwards from ‘the sticks’ to Jerusalem (so no regular weekly trip to the Temple and home for dinner), no luxury cruises from Alexandria, no regular Alitalia flights from Ostia - for an awful lot of Jews of the time, a trip to Jerusalem would have been more like Muslims and the ‘once in a lifetime’ Hajj.

From the time of the standardisation of prayer, for most Jews, the experience of coming together in worship/prayer would have been in some kind of ‘house of assembly’ (synagogue) and by NT times, the rabbinical system and its Pharisees really were how common people experienced their religion. When the Temple was destroyed, ‘aristocratic’ religion went with it (in abeyance, anyway), the religion of the people continued. It wasn’t a new religion.

The Talmud, by the way, is not the equivalent of sacred scripture.

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