Question of the Week: New Temple old Priesthood?


On June 10th, 2018, The Mentionables received this question from Paul McAndrew:

How would a new High Priest be chosen to serve in a re-built Jerusalem Temple without the ancestral records of Aaron?

Here are the answers from the team.

This answer is from Network Member Marc Lambert

This is a great question, and I always find these kind of issues such a fascinating topic. While generally speaking, I do not think there is a lot about this that would, or should, impact your average Christian’s walk with Christ, for those who like to “get their nerd-on” and get off into the weeds on stuff like this, this issue is just fun to pull a thread on and see what unravels.

Interestingly, it is modern science that lends a hand here.

An international research team got the idea to look into the Y chromosome for any specific markers since the priestly line in passed father to son. Apparently, the Y chromosome doesn’t tend to change much. So any changes that do occur tend to persist and be identifiable. The team studied the DNA of a number of two groups of Jewish men from various nations, those whose known genealogy claimed that they descended from Aaron, and those who believed that they did not.

I’m not a geneticist, and honestly, the technical details were kind of lost on me. However, it appears that they were able to identify, with a high degree of probability, the genetic marker that would indicate that someone was descended from Aaron.

It is interesting to note that this genetic test does not “prove” someone is for certain a descendent of Aaron, but it does carry a high probability. Therefore, it is a bit controversial among Jewish religious leaders as far as exactly how this should be used.

But it does seem to be the case that between genetic testing and other genealogical records, they should be able to get close enough to acceptably identify candidates.

Indeed, this must have been the case. The recently reinstated Sanhedrin  has appointed a high priest back in 2016.

Combine this also with the fact that in Israel they are currently breeding red heifers, an unblemished specimen of which is necessary for consecrating the temple,  we are living in an interesting time in history.