THE JEWISH TRIALS
by Bertrand L. Comparet
Taken From Your Heritage
Prepared into a PDF file by:
Clifton A. Emahiser’s Teaching Ministries
Plus Critical Notes
At this season of the year, when we are celebrating the crucifixion and resurrection of our redeemer, Yahshua and His gift of the spirit to His disciples, it is well to carefully review the events on which our faith is based. The penalty of sin is death. We are saved from this penalty because Yahshua could pay it for us, since He had no sin of His own to pay for. He died only for us. The Jews claim that He was a criminal, crucified in punishment for His own crimes. Yet, the record shows that He was tried in three courts and found innocent under the law, in all three. Let’s look at the record.
Jewish [sic Israelite] law never allowed trial by a single judge, a court of three judges was the smallest. This corresponded to our Justice of the Peace, who can try only very minor cases. Every town of at least 120 families had a Minor Sanhedrin, composed of 23 judges. This Minor Sanhedrin had general jurisdiction of all serious civil and criminal cases. It also served as a tax board and governed schools, highways, sanitary regulations, etc. As Jerusalem was the largest city in Palestine, it had two Minor Sanhedrin.
Jerusalem had the only Great Sanhedrin, a court of general civil and criminal jurisdiction. It was composed of 71 judges, there being 23 in the Chamber of Priests, 23 in the Chamber of Scribes, 23 in the Chamber of Elders and two presiding officers. Lawful court hours began after the morning sacrifice and ended before the evening sacrifice. No part of any criminal case could be heard outside these hours. After hearing the evidence, each judge gave a brief statement of his view of the case, those judges that favored acquittal speaking first. After the arguments came the voting, at which the youngest judges must vote first, so they would be voting their own honest views and not be overawed by their elders. If the accused was acquitted, he was released at once. Bible and Jewish [sic Israelite] law took great care to avoid convicting an innocent man.
If the accused was found guilty, the trial was recessed until the next afternoon so the judges could reconsider the case overnight. On the second afternoon, each judge must vote and give his reasons for it again. If his reasons differed from those he had used on the first day, his vote could not be counted for conviction. One who had first voted for conviction could change his vote, but one who had first voted for acquittal could not change his vote.
At least 37 votes were needed to convict, but conviction by unanimous vote on the 1st ballot was legally considered to be an acquittal. It was felt that such a conviction must be the result of passion and prejudice. If the second day’s hearing also resulted in conviction, sentence was deferred until sunset. Any new arguments could be considered and if need be, a new vote taken. Because of this requirement of a second day’s session, no trial for a capital crime could be lawfully begun on the day before a sabbath or a holy day.
Under both Bible and Jewish law, no man could be condemned on the testimony of only one witness. Each of the two or more witnesses must be able to testify to enough facts to prove the crime. It could not be put together out of many fragments. Only one witness was allowed in the courtroom at any time, so none could hear what the others said. If the prosecution’s witnesses disagreed, all were rejected. No man’s life could be taken on such uncertain evidence. When a condemned defendant was led away to execution, a herald with a crimson banner led the procession, shouting out the name of the accused and the charges against him. He called upon anyone who knew any facts concerning the case, to speak up. If anyone did so, or if any judge thought of any new arguments in favor of the accused, they brought the defendant back and reconsidered his case.
The Jewish Talmud also forbade conviction of anyone of a crime punishable by death or flogging, unless it was proven that just before the commission of the crime, he had been warned that what he was about to do was a crime. The only exceptions to this were the crimes of burglary, perjury and leading others to the worship of idols. The records show that Yahshua was not tried by a Jewish court competent to convict Him. John 18:19-24 shows that He was first tried by Caiaphas, the high priest, sitting as a single judge. This was at a private examination, without any witnesses a little after midnight. This was illegal in every respect. His next hearing was before the high priest and the Great Sanhedrin. Matthew 26:73-75 shows that this was before 3 A. M. It was also the day before a holy day, the Passover, so no capital crime could be lawfully begun on that day, even at a proper hour. These proceedings were therefore totally unlawful and void.
The mock trial they held was equally corrupt. Mark 14:55-59 shows that the false witnesses they brought against Him could not agree on their perjured stories, so there was no lawful evidence against Him. Even the high priest recognized this, so they abandoned their first charge, which was in the nature of sedition. This was because Yahshua had said that He would destroy the temple and then rebuild it. They craftily tried again, without specifying any charges against Him, by asking Him if He was really the Christ, the Son of Yahweh, to which He replied, “I am”. They then declared that this was blasphemy. Then they said, “What need have we of witnesses?” Under their own law, even if such a statement had been blasphemy, they could not convict without the testimony of two witnesses, either with or without a confession in open court.
But it was not blasphemy, for under their own law, blasphemy consisted only in using vile language toward Yahweh. Not even their own false witnesses had accused Him of this. Every Israelite could say that he was a son of Yahweh. Deuteronomy 14:1 says, “Ye are all children of Yahweh your God.” Psalm 82 says, “All of you are the children of the Most High.” So this charge was false also. While they condemned Him on it, they abandoned it as false and unproven when they brought Him before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.
While the Great Sanhedrin met again just after midnight, both Matthew 27:1 and Mark 15:1 show this was not to hold a trial, but only a strategy meeting. They planned how to get the Romans to commit their murder for them.
Early in the morning, soon after dawn, the Jews brought Yahshua before the Roman governor with their new accusations. Again, this was just a judicial lynching. Remember, even if the trial had been lawfully begun after this time, a conviction would require that it recess until the afternoon of the next day for reconsideration. If the second day’s trial resulted in conviction, sentence would be deferred until sunset, so the third day would be the shorter time in which a legal execution could be held. Still, they were rushing their judicial murder through on the first day.
The record shows that after the Jews brought Yahshua before Pontius Pilate, Pilate held the Roman trial, then sent Yahshua away to another part of the city where Herod was staying. Herod held another trial, then Herod sent Him back to Pontius Pilate, who again tried to reason with the Jews. Finally he gave up and allowed Yahshua to be crucified. All this was done so early that the crucifixion itself occurred about noon.
The Hebrew day began at sunset. The night was divided into four watches of three hours each. The day, which began about 6 A.M. at that time of year, was divided into twelve hours beginning at sunrise. John 19:14 shows that the final hearing before Pilate ended a little before the sixth hour, which would be noon. Luke 23:44 tells that the actual crucifixion occurred soon after noon.
To sum up the Jewish trials, we see that He was tried by a merely pretended court. A group of men who had no legal power to sit as a court in the darkness of night. No legal evidence was heard against Him. He was given no opportunity to prepare a defense to bring in witnesses in His defense. He was convicted and condemned to death on a false charge of blasphemy. His judges well knew that His words, whether true or false, were not blasphemy under their law. He was murdered the same day, without the reconsideration of the case which the law required.
Furthermore, so long as they pretended to be a court, they were bound by the law. When Yahshua was convicted on the first ballot by a unanimous vote, their own law gave this the legal effect of a verdict of not guilty. Nobody can truthfully say that any Jewish trial proved Yahshua guilty of any crime or sin whatsoever.
Next, I will show you that the Roman trial likewise proved Yahshua had no crime or sin of His own to answer for. He died for our sins, to win salvation and redemption of His people Israel.
Critical note by Clifton A. Emahiser: While Comparet did very well here, he overlooked the underlying motive of the bad-fig-jews. The following is an excerpt which I wrote in a brochure entitled The Premeditated Murder Of Yahweh In The Flesh, #1:
5500 years after Eden (not Ussher’s erroneous 4004 years), in Judaea, we read at John 11:49-52 the following: “49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Yahshua should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”
What Caiaphas was highly implying (in fact, stating that it was imperative) is that it would be better for Yahshua (Yahweh in the flesh) to die rather than for the country of Judaea to perish from being a nation. But Caiaphas went far beyond that with the additional reasoning given by John at verse 52 above. Therefore, we must question: Who where these “children of God that were scattered abroad”? They can be no other than the 12 tribes of Israel mentioned at James 1:1: “James, a servant of Yahweh and of the Savior Yahshua Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.” In other words, Caiaphas was afraid that the Herod controlled nation of Judaea would be overthrown by Yahshua and that He would additionally re-gather the lost tribes that had gone into the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. This whole plot against Yahshua was to thwart any re-assembling of the true tribes of Israel!