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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 21: Matthew 26:31-27:36, by Kevin M. Williams

From here, it seems chaos erupted as an unnamed disciple produced a sword to cut off one of the slave’s ears (which Yeshua heals, as recorded in Luke 22:51).

Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen this way?” (Matthew 26:52-54).

And we find ourselves back were we started, with the remembrance of prophecies of the Messiah’s execution and resurrection. Even in this most desperate hour, the Rabbi continues to teach and assure. Their response? “Then all the disciples left Him and fled” (Matthew 26:56b).

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And those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together (Matthew 26:57).

Named Yosef Bar Kayafa in Hebrew, it was Caiaphas whose decayed remains were discovered in 1990, and who passed sentence on the Lawgiver, Yeshua—whose remains would never suffer decay (Psalm 49:9). With clearer hindsight, when we read the events of the Messiah’s trial, we can see the many failings of this kangaroo court. Before we read the account again, let us consider Jewish law and a sanctioned trail of capital crime from Sanhedrin 4:1 (Talmud). The parenthetical letters are mine, and will be used latter as Yeshua’s trail is examined in greater detail.

Non-capital and capital cases are alike in examination and inquiry, for it is written, “Ye shall have one manner of law.”3 In what do non-capital cases differ from capital cases? Non-capital cases (are decided) by three and capital cases by three and twenty (judges). Non-capital cases may begin either with reason for acquittal or for conviction, (a) but capital cases must begin with reasons for acquittal and may not begin with reasons for conviction. In non-capital cases they may reach a verdict either of acquittal or of conviction by the decision of a majority of one; but in capital cases they may reach a verdict of acquittal by the decision of a majority of one, but a verdict of conviction only by the decision of a majority of two. In- non-capital cases they may reverse a verdict either (from conviction) to acquittal or (from acquittal) to conviction; but in capital cases that may reverse a verdict (from conviction) to acquittal but not (from acquittal) to conviction. In con-capital cases all may argue either in favour of conviction or of acquittal; (b) but in capital cases all may argue in favour of acquittal but not in favour of conviction. In non- capital cases he that had argued in favour of conviction may afterward argue in favour of acquittal, or he that argued in favour of acquittal may afterward argue in favour of conviction; in capital cases he that had argued in favour of conviction may afterward argue in favour of acquittal, but he that argued in favour of acquittal cannot afterward change and argue in favour of conviction. In non-capital cases they hold the trial during the daytime and the verdict may be reached during the night; (c) In capital cases they hold the trail during the daytime and the verdict also must be reached during the daytime. In non-capital cases the verdict, whether of acquittal or of conviction, may be reached the same day; (d) in capital cases a verdict of acquittal may be reached on the same day, but a verdict of conviction not until the following day. (e) Therefore trials may not be held on the eve of a Sabbath or on the eve of a Festival-day.

In (a) we find that in capital crimes, reasons for acquittal must be sought. That is an admirable undercurrent for a crime, which if the tried is found guilty, means the death penalty. It is a law that is conscious of preserving life and requires the court to find a reason to spare a defendant’s life. Very noble indeed!

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Summer 2006

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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