“When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin — the full assembly of the elders of Israel.” (Acts 5:21)
In a recent judgment, the up and coming Sanhedrin Court accused UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) of “promoting a false belief about Jerusalem and Israel,” actions that “will lead to even more suffering” and pave “the way for terror attacks and other tragedies to come into the world.”
This unofficial religious court is referring to a draft resolution at UNESCO that was tabled for vote on July 12 until October of this year. It claims the Temple Mount and the Western Wall are of Islamic heritage and not Jewish.
“If there are any doubts or counter-claims [on the heritage of these sites], the Sanhedrin challenges them to establish an objective committee of archaeologists to check these facts.”
Sound advice, but is anyone listening to the Sanhedrin today?
Though their decisions are reported in the news, they often fall on deaf ears. Yet, in the days of Yeshua (Jesus), the Sanhedrin were revered as “the full assembly of the elders of Israel.” (Acts 5:21)
With input of the high priest, they decided all issues presented to them based on their interpretations of the Torah (written laws) and Tradition (oral laws).
The most significant of all issues it had to decide was — what to do with Yeshua (Jesus).
Along with the chief priests, they went “looking for evidence against Yeshua so that they could put Him to death, but they did not find any.” (Mark 14:55)
Then the High Priest asked Him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” (v. 61)
“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (v. 62)
With that, they condemned Yeshua “as deserving of death.” (v. 64)
Though multitudes of Jews gathered to hear Yeshua teach and chose to follow Him as Messiah, the 71 members of this high religious court sought to keep peace and unity among the Jewish people by delivering Yeshua to Pilate for civil judgment.
The ancient Sanhedrin disbanded in AD 425; today, the Nascent (Developing) Sanhedrin seeks to reestablish the Great Court as a second House within the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), declaring which laws conform to Torah (Biblical law), Talmud (Rabbinic oral laws) and Halakah (Jewish jurisprudence) as developed over the centuries — and invalidating those laws that do not conform.
As well, the Court would decide penalties on Jews and non-Jews for disobeying such laws.
The court believes their reestablishment as both Supreme Court and Senate will “unify the entire Israelite nation in a single bond of unity” around Judaic law. (The Sanhedrin)
In this effort, the group established its first modern court on October 13, 2004 in Tiberias, Israel. Its 71 ordained members (s’muchim) are chosen based on their scholarly knowledge, with higher learned scholars replacing lower learned scholars as they prove themselves worthy. Therefore, the court is more commonly known as the “House of Scholars” as well as a House of Judgment (Beth Din).
The scholars debate philosophical issues of Jewish law on difficult topics before they issue their nonbinding decrees.
For instance, in the Sanhedrin’s Declaration Concerning the Disengagement from Gaza, the “Sanhedrin prohibited Jews from cooperating with the Government, saying: ‘The Prime Minister’s program of uprooting stands in direct contradiction to the Torah of Israel. … ‘the decision of this government … is null and void.”
They also decided that “no Jew is permitted to cooperate” and “Any Jew — including a soldier or policeman — who supports the uprooting … transgresses a large number of Torah commandments.” (The Sanhedrin)
In September 2015, it brought to trial in absentia United States President Barack Obama and Pope Francis for involvement in crimes “leading to the mortal endangerment of Israel and the Jewish nation.” (Breaking Israel News)
In their statement on the UNESCO resolution, the Sanhedrin wrote, “The Jewish right to the Temple Mount was established in the Bible, and should therefore be recognized by Christianity and Islam. In fact, the Jewish claim to Jerusalem is as essential to those religions as it is to Judaism. This Biblical connection between the Jews and Jerusalem led to the building of the First Temple by King Solomon, which strengthened our claim to Jerusalem even more.”
“A plethora of archaeological evidence in and around Jerusalem is undeniable proof of Jewish settlement in Biblical times. Islam did not exist, in Israel or anywhere else, until the year 636 CE, more than 500 years after the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple,” they pointed out.”