Hello everyone, thanks for coming back. Last post I decided to look at the Sanhedrin, from the past to the present, and their part in the future, under the antichrist system. So as always the best way to understand anything is to explore its beginning, so we will start there.
The Beginning of the Sanhedrin Council
The Origin of the Sanhedrin can be traced back as far as 200 B.C. during the “Intertestamental Period,” meaning that period extending about 400 years after the close of the Old Testament writings to the beginning of the New Testament writings. We hear about them during the Hasmonean period, following the Maccabean Revolt, and there are references to it in the Mishnah section of the Talmud. There is no reference to this body in the original Old Testament. The council had about 70 members plus the ruling high priest. Three professional groups composed the council. They are as follows.
- High priest — the acting high priest and former high priests, and members of the chief-priestly families
- Elders — tribal and family heads of the people and the priesthood
- Scribes — legal professionals
At the time of Jesus, two religio-political parties within Judaism were represented in the Sanhedrin: the Sadducees of the majority and the Pharisees of the minority. Caiaphas, the high priest, was a Sadducee. Most of the scribes were Pharisees. The presiding officer of the council was usually the high priest. The council was connected with the minor courts, itself being the highest court of appeals from these. The Sanhedrin’s authority was broad and far-reaching, involving legislation, administration, and justice. There was religious, civil, and criminal jurisdiction.
However, during the time of Jesus, the council had lost to the Roman governor the power of capital punishment, this is where in the account of Jesus’s trial, Pontius Pilate comes on the scene. The council met daily, except on Sabbath and feast days, in a session room adjoining the Temple. In extraordinary cases, such as the case of Jesus, the council met at the house of the high priest. And according to the Gospels this is exactly what happened.
Matthew 26:57-58 And they had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. V58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
So we see that the Sanhedrin council met in the middle of the night to question Jesus, at Caiaphas’s palace. They were hiding from the multitudes to question whether they had a case of death that they could present to Pontius, before the multitudes the next day. Notice how wonderful it was that the high priest had a palace all his own, but our Messiah had nowhere to lay his head. What does that tell you? They were full of greed and loved wealth and lived like kings, but they supposedly represented God. Really? This is why Jesus was always at odds with them, because He was God in the flesh, they were greedy, and evil. And let me tell you something, do a little research on what these super evangelical Pastors are making annually, but they supposedly represent Christ. Really? And look at the thousands that follow them, whether by attendance in their multi-million dollar churches, or radio, and tv. Is this Christ? Wake up and get out!!! The Sanhedrin were not a council that was formed by God with Moses, unto the children of Israel, under the Old Law Covenant. This was formed by man later under the influence of the mystery religions of Egypt and Babylon, which formed into mystic Judaism during the dispersion. It was a new man made institution of Judaism, a new form of Judaism, with a little of the old mixed with the new. This is exactly what most churches are today, a little of the old teachings of Jesus, and the Apostles, with a little of the new man made doctrines and traditions. These new systems of religions, and doctrines and traditions, are all of satan. They are doctrines of demons. Look at these four verses and see for yourself if I’m making this up, or just sending out a warning.
Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Colossians 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of men?
The seducing spirits Paul writes about are demonic. They are not men.
Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
Any Doctrine that strays away from the truth of Jesus’s teachings or the Apostles writings, and is made up by man, to appease man, and is for man’s pleasure, is a doctrine, or doctrines of demons. And if you follow this doctrine, you are following doctrines of demons, and you will be held accountable. It is your job to search for the truth, you can’t rely on others to tell you. Once you find the truth, you must depart from the lies, run, get out!! Start your own assembly at home, and begin to teach others if that’s the way the Lord leads you, but do not stay in a church, that does not teach truth, and is leading others astray, and causing them to teach others the lies also; you don’t want to be held accountable for that, it’s a warning.
I know that what I write sometimes seems harsh, but I’m not trying to be harsh, I’m trying to warn people who really love our Lord, but they are being mislead. Listen, I really care about people, maybe I don’t have the compassion I should for those who are teaching and spreading the lies, because I’m at war with them, (doctrinally speaking on the battle field of truth),but the Lord does, I may not, but I’m a sinner, imperfect, he however is perfect. But for years I was indoctrinated, so my compassion goes to those who are being taught the lies, therefore, I’m kindly asking you all, please search out the scriptures, and test the doctrines of your particular church, by the scriptures, and if you find they don’t match up with God’s Holy Word, then just depart from that church, and let Him lead you to where you are suppose to go from there. You are not going to change the church, but you are welcome in the Lord’s Congregation, if you adhere to the truth of His word. So that was my soap box moment, only because I care about you, and your eternal destination. So with that let’s continue.
One of the responsibilities of the Sanhedrin was the identification, and confirmation of the Messiah. The gospel writers identify a delegation from the council going out to question John the Baptist as to whether he himself was the Messiah.
John 1:19 And this the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
John 1:24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
So here we see the council of the Sanhedrin at work, where the Pharisees sent out priests, and others from the tribe of the Levi, to inquire of John. So let’s take a look at these different groups within in the council.
Although the minority party within the council was the Pharisees, they were the majority party outside the council. During the first century, the Jewish philosopher Philo tells us they numbered six thousand across the Roman world. They were highly respected among the people, operating primarily in the synagogues. They first appeared more than a century before Jesus, though by this time they had little interest in Politics. They had a highly developed system of rabbinic tradition which sought to apply Old Testament law to a variety of circumstances, they key word here being tradition.
They held to three doctrines that the Sadducees did not: the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the body, and the existence of angels and demons. This the Pharisees had in common with Jesus. These were devout laymen, they were not priests. However where they had conflict with our Lord Jesus, was the charge that, in their over attention to the traditions of men concerning the minutiae of the Law, this caused them to largely neglect the real intentions of the Law. The churches do this very thing today. They get so wrapped up in the traditions of their man-made doctrines, they completely overlook, and do not teach the real intentions (truth) of scripture. Most churches today, and some worse than others, teach a little truth, mixed with their doctrines, which I refer to as lies, because they don’t coincide with the truth of scripture. This to me makes it that much more confusing for those in the congregation of those particular churches, because, some of what they teach is truth, but it’s the lies that conflict with God. Just like Jesus with the Pharisees, some of what they believed and taught was truth, however Jesus was at odds with their lies, and called them vipers, and children of the devil, and so forth. This my friends we have to guard against in our walk with the Lord, we must always strive for the truth, testing all teachings and doctrines of men to the scriptures.
Temple administration and ritual were their specific responsibility. Being well educated and wealthy, they held themselves aloof from the masses and were unpopular with them. Now what does that sound like today? Our politicians, that’s right, some things never change, they just take on a different look. They were externally religious and very political. This is the very thing Jesus rebuked them for, and harshly I might add.
Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
The Sadducees seem to have gotten their name from the Hebrew word , zaddikim, the “righteous ones.” They had little in common with the Pharisees except for their antagonism and hatred for Jesus. They represented the Jewish aristocracy and the high priesthood. They had made their peace, (kissed up to) the Roman political rulers and had attained positions of wealth and influence. Well imagine that, here comes greed and wealth again.
And when they went out to see John the Baptist, while he was baptizing, this is what John said of them.
Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
So you see, people who are hypocrites and only look religious on the outside, whose words may tickle the ears, and sound pleasing, mixing some truth with lies, and then making millions a year, from those they have fooled to become followers. What do you think Jesus would say to them? Has Jesus all of a sudden changed His stance on these matters? Answer, NO! They will come under His wrath, and judgement, and eternal damnation, unless they of course repent, and turn back to the truth, because once they die, that’s it, game over, there is no praying for the dead, you cannot pray a lost soul into heaven, once that soul leaves this earthly body. I’m sorry, it’s a bold face lie, and that goes for each and every one of us.
The High Priests
The New Testament calls two men high priest, Annas and the previously mentioned Caiaphas. It turns out that Caiaphas was actually the current high priest at this time, though there are a number of reasons why Annas was called the high priest. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas and had been the high priest from A.D. 6-15 when he had been deposed by the Roman governor preceding Pilate, Valerius Gratus, shortly after the governor took office. The governor tried three more high priests within the next three years until he appointed Caiaphas, in A.D. 18, a man he found cooperative, because he was a cowardly, suck up to the Roman governor, what I believe was for wealth, and power.
Nevertheless, Annas was the patriarch and real power behind the priesthood. While the title was used later for Annas as honorific, the Jews still saw the high priesthood as an office for life, despite whether the Romans felt that way or not. He was the senior ex-high priest and may have presided over the council at times. This is why Jesus was first brought to Annas during his trial.
John 18:13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was the father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
John 18:24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas, the high priest.
So we see where the history of the Sanhedrin, completely coincides with the account of Jesus’s trial to be put to death, this right here is just one of many, many, many ways the Bible proves its accuracy. The history shows us that this was the council in place at that time, and history also shows us, exactly how this council operated, and by the accounts in the Gospels, that is exactly what happened, in the form of the operations of the council under the Roman rule, of the governor Pontius Pilate.
After the destruction of the second Temple and the failure of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, the Great Sanhedrin moved to Galilee, which became part of the Roman province of Syria Palaestina. In this period the Sanhedrin was sometimes referred as the Galilean Patriarchate or Patriarchate of Palaestina, being the governing legal body of Galilean Jewry. In the late 200s AD, to avoid persecution, the name “Sanhedrin” was dropped and its decisions were issued under the name of Beit HaMidrash ( house of learning). The last universally binding decision of the Great Sanhedrin appeared in 358 A.D., when the Hebrew Calendar was abandoned. The Great Sanhedrin was finally disbanded in 425 A.D. after continued persecution by the Eastern Roman Empire.
So we find the remarkable parallels between Jesus’s accusations brought up against Him by the council, and the accusations brought up against Stephen. The witnesses claimed against Jesus that he was to destroy the Temple and raise it up in three days, meaning of course His body, He was the Temple, and to this day we the Congregation don’t worship in Temples, or buildings, but in Spirit, we can gather together as an assembly in buildings to worship and learn scriptures in unity, but the worship is still in the Spirit, our worship doesn’t require buildings. Another accusation against Him was that he admitted He was the Messiah, the Son of God, who is God.
John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Matthew 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon the other, that not shall be thrown down.
So Jesus did make it very clear that not only was He talking about the Temple of His body, and how He would raise it up in three days, He also said and made it very clear, that He was also literally going to destroy the Temple, Herod’s second Temple.
Stephen’s witnesses accused him of saying that Jesus was going to destroy the temple and the city, the councils beloved temple and city Jerusalem.
Acts 6:14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.
This council took both these men’s lives, because of their love for power, wealth, and their beloved temple. Jesus claimed that He was going to destroy it, because He was God and can destroy it. Stephen claimed that Jesus was God and he was going to destroy because He is God. I find this parallel amazing!!!
In 66 AD the Jewish population rebelled against the Roman Empire. Four years later, on August 4, 70 AD, the Roman legions under Titus retook and destroyed much of Jerusalem and the Second Temple. The sects of Judaism that had their base in the Temple dwindled in importance, including the priesthood, and the Sadducees. God doesn’t lie. He will do what he says.
So that’s it for this post. Next post we are going to explore the modern day Sanhedrin, and the role they will play in the future. The battle is not over, not yet, it did not end in 70 AD. There is one more battle on the horizon, it to involves, a temple, the third temple foretold in prophecy, with a future king, and his ruling council, but rest assured, just like Herod’s Temple was destroyed, the son of perdition’s Temple will be destroyed likewise, right along with him, and his council. Until next time, may the Lord bless your search for truth, leaving no stone unturned.