False Witnesses

By this time, the reader is beginning to develop the idea that there are far too many specific and detailed predictions from the Old Testament, which can be observed as fulfilled in the New Testament; for all of these to be mere coincidences.

By definition; a “Coincidence” is: “a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.”[1]

In every regard, these nearly four hundred prophecies are all connected together as one integrated story. It is clear by examination that no happenstance exists in the matter of Jesus; as the fulfillment of all the Prophecies of the Messiah.

One of the most compelling aspects of our consideration for whether the narrative of the New Testament is true and accurate, is in our examination of the details that are presented. If this were indeed an elaborate hoax; if this story was written as a mere myth, why does the specifics of Jesus treatment by the leaders of Israel, contain so many detailed and distinct details? The existence of six illegal trials that were orchestrated by the Pharisees in order to condemn Jesus to death, all of which, were conducted in stark opposition to the laws of Israel—scream of authenticity. In confirmation of these trials, the Jewish Talmud from the period of history in which Jesus is alleged to have been in Jerusalem, records these events.[2]

Here, David writes ten centuries before Jesus is arrested at Jerusalem and describes the Messiah as condemned to die by false testimony.

Psalms 27:12 “Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 26:59-61 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”

Requirements of The Law

According to Jewish law, at least two witnesses were required in any trial. Both witnesses must agreed in their testimony, before a person could be convicted of a capital crime.

“One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”[3]

The Sanhedrin was not able to find two persons who would swear that Jesus had done anything worthy of death. Without credible testimony from at least two witnesses who both agreed, there was no basis for a trial or a conviction. Though the Sanhedrin had no real authority, and Caiaphas had sought diligently to force Jesus to incriminate Himself—illegally, the procedure continued.

Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree. Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ” But not even then did their testimony agree. —Mark 14:55-59

Psalms 27:12, describes Jesus as unjustly convicted by false witnesses. In fact, the entire trial process afforded to Jesus was a complete travesty of Justice.

Jesus is taken across the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia to Pontius Pilate. The Jews made accusations against Jesus, that on the surface, appeared to be very serious.

There were four major charges against Jesus; all of which were false.

1. Jesus perverted the nation of Israel.
2. He opposed paying taxes to Caesar.
3. Jesus claimed to be a king, which was “sedition.” Known as rebellion against Roman authority, this was the most serious crime against Roman law.
4. Jesus said that He would “destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days.”

As a result of these false charges, Jesus is forced to endure six different trials.

1. Before Annas, John 18:12-14
2. Before Caiaphas, John 18:19-24
3. Before the Sanhedrin, Matthew 27:1,2
4. Before Pilate, John 18:28-38
5. Before Herod, Luke 23:6-11
6. Before Pilate, John 18:39-19:16

All six of these trials were illegal due to varying degrees of error. In the process of conducting these trials throughout the night and into the following morning, the Jewish Sanhedrin transgressed many of their own procedural regulations. See the chapter: Six Illegal Trials

Approximately 21 different rules were broken while conducting these six trials against Jesus. Any one of these infractions should have resulted in Jesus being set free and all charges against Him being dropped.

Why Jesus remained silent

Although the Jewish Leadership broke many laws in their own legal system, Jesus never once opened His mouth to defend Himself. Isaiah predicted that this would take place, more than 600 years before Jesus was born.

Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”

Fulfilled in the New Testament

Luke 23:8-9 “Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.”

John 19:9-10 (Pilate questions Jesus:) “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”

How Jesus was condemned

Because there were no credible charges brought against Jesus, the members of the Sanhedrin were forced to create a charge and then lie about the details of their accusation, in order to make certain that Jesus would be put to death. Behind the scene of this colossal injustice was the sovereignty of God working in the background; moving these events into alignment with His will—in order to fulfill the prophecies He had recorded in the Old Testament.

The Sanhedrin in Israel was the High Court of Justice for the Jews. The membership of this tribunal was said to be as many as 71 or as few as 23.[4] The minimum number that were permitted to sit in judgment was 10.[5] Each member acted as a judge over the cases which were brought before them for a decision.
It was to the Sanhedrin that Jesus was summoned for judgement.
The matter before the court was whether Jesus of Nazareth was guilty of the crime of blasphemy, which carried the penalty of death.
The laws of Israel were based on the laws of Moses, as well as the Talmud, which consisted of the traditions and the interpretations of the teachers of the law; referred to as the “Rabbis.”
Very few of the public had any formal training in the laws from the Talmud, as these many traditions of the elders were kept private between the individual members. The Talmud itself consisted of over 400 volumes. In order to correctly interpret these many laws and traditions; expertise was required.
The Sanhedrin would consider the accusation of blasphemy, while the criminal indictment against the government of Rome was for sedition.
In order for a trial to be proper, an indictment must be formalized in the correct manner; four rules must be followed:[6]

1. Certainty in the indictment
2. Publicity in the discussion
3. Full freedom granted to the accused
4. Assurance against all danger of errors of testimony

See the chapter: Six Illegal Trials, for detailed information regarding the unjust trials that Jesus endured. In understand these unjust trials, we see how this prophecy of Isaiah 53: 7, is fulfilled.

[1] Merriam-Websters Dictionary, 2015
[2] The following are specific references to Jesus of Nazareth, as found in the Talmud under passages on execution in Sanhedrin 43 a-b. English translations of the Talmud from Peter Schäfer, pp 133–140
Herzog 1: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Vatican 130: He went and brought up Jesus the Nazarene.
Vatican 140: He went and brought up Jesus.
Munich 95: On the eve of the Passover, they hanged Jesus of Nazareth.
Firenze 11.1.8-9: On the Sabbath eve and the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Karisruhe 2: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus the Nazarene.
Barco: On the eve of Passover, they hanged Jesus of Nazareth.
[3] Deuteronomy 19:15
[4] The Mishnah (Sanhedrin 1:1
[5] Because of the ten spies who came back with a bad report. Numbers 13:32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out
[6] Salvador in, “Institutions de Moise” p.365