Catholicism has presented to us that the Jews had no authority, and that it was Rome that appointed the High Priest. This concept has continued on into Protestantism and then even into the church. Interestingly our Bishops have authority given to them, by the state, to perform marriages. Without this authority they couldn't do so.
Rome, naturally, had to approve all political positions before they could be filled. And the position of the Presiding (Chief) High Priest for Israel was included. Yet was this merely approval or, as some propose, that Rome actually chose who would fill the position?
At the time of Moses, God set forth that from Aaron on, Aaron's descendants had automatic entitlement to the office, provided they were the oldest son of the oldest son etc, back to Aaron. In other words Aaron's oldest living son became the next President of the priesthood. His oldest living son became the next one, etc. So by this instruction from God, Caiaphas was the oldest son, and a descendant of Aaron.
Yet if Catholicism is correct then the Jews had somehow lost the line of authority or that Rome had appointed those with no authority instead. They claim the Jews to have had no authority. But does the New Testament support this or teach the opposite? And, if the latter, did Caiaphas continue to have authority after Christ?
In regard to the father of John the Baptist Luke says _
"There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth." Luke 1:5
This is speaking of the priestly course of Abia (Abijah) as mentioned in the Old Testament (1 Chron 24:10, Neh 12:4). It demonstrates that Zacharias had authority and was of Aaron directly.
Furthermore when Zacharias went into the temple and was visited by the angel Gabriel, Gabriel said nothing about him not having authority to be there.
So having established that priesthood authority did exist among the Jews, the question then becomes, was Caiaphas himself a true President of the Priesthood?
"And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said to them, You know nothing at all. Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish. AND THIS HE SPOKE NOT OF HIMSELF: BUT BEING HIGH PRIEST THAT YEAR, HE PROHESIED that Jesus should die for that nation. And not for that nation only..." John 11:49-52
This is clearly stating that Caiaphas was an authorised prophet of God, and that he had received revelation that was true.
So how did Jesus respond to Caiaphas's authority?
while Jesus knocked many of the ideas of the church leaders, he, nevertheless, supported the point that they sat in Moses seat of authority and should be obeyed.
"Then spoke Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not you after their works: for they say, and don't do it themselves." Matt 23:1-3
When Jesus was judged of the Jewish council, Mathew records that Jesus spoke nothing all night. That is until Caiaphas commanded him to answer his question. THEN Jesus answered.
"And the high priest arose, and said to him, Do you answer nothing? what is it which these witness against you? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said to him, I adjure you by the living God, that you tell me whether you be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said to him, You have said..." Matt 26:62-64
So Caiaphas still had authority at this point.
Then did he lose authority after this, because he crucified Christ (as some others propose)?
"And you shall gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and you shall consecrate Aaron and his sons." Exo 29:9
God declared that this was a perpetual (never ending) situation. In other words nothing the High Priest does can effect his right to that office, provided he fulfilled the requirements laid down of washing and leaving alone dead bodies etc, for a period before performing his duties.
Some may question how it could be that there were 2 prophets upon the earth at the same time - Caiaphas and Peter (for example). Yet there are many prophets upon the earth right now. Also there was some form of president of the priesthood in the Americas at this time. And it would seem possible that there were others in other islands of the seas. Caiaphas had a right to automatic revelation for the Israelite church God had set up through Moses, and Peter had that right in the church of Jesus Christ.