(Taken from A Book of Evidence © N. L. Kuehl)
Now that the place of execution has been firmly established in our minds, our next step is to determine the events that occurred that day, the day the Messiah of Israel was executed. Yahshua had spent a wakeful and anxious morning. He had been brought before the two High Priests, the Roman prefect of Judea, the Roman prefect of Galilee and Perea (and Jewish "king"), had his hair pulled, his beard plucked out, he had been spit upon, cursed, beaten, scourged, and humiliated. Finally, he was condemned. It was just before the "third hour", or 9:00 A.M. that the sanhedrin led Yahshua (and the two Zealots) to the Beth HaSeqilah at the public square for execution. It has been argued by some scholars that the sanhedrin was not allowed to execute more than one individual at a time. Because there were two others executed that same day, academicians have rejected the notion that the two "thieves" (or robbers) were actually executed with Yahshua. They claim th e motif must have been a literary device used within the text in order to provide the reader with a spiritual sense of what it was to accept or deny Yahshua. While the motif does enhance the benefits of accepting Yahshua as Israels Messiah, it was not a literary device. Clearly, what the scholars suggest is impossible because it contradicts Jewish law (i.e. that only one execution can occur in a single day). Two, three, or even more individuals might be executed on a single day if they had been convicted of charges carrying the same death penalty. It was the mode of execution that determined whether multiple individuals might be sentenced and executed on the same day.
Shall we say, because two [men] may not be tried [and sentenced] on the same day? But R. Hisda said: This was taught only with reference to [charges involving] TWO DIFFERENT MODES OF EXECUTION; whereas [cases that involve only] ONE MODE OF EXECUTION MAY BE TRIED? -- But it was so, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel [Talmud, Sanhedrin 35a].
Clearly, the two "robbers" were Zealots who had been sentenced to death for their radical religious and political beliefs. They, too, would have been classified as Mesith. They would certainly have been inciting the populace against the leadership of the Temple Cult, as history confirms. Four years before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 C.E. the Zealots had finally attained their goal, having put a legitimate high priest in office, after having assassinated, one by one, the members of the powerful Alexandrian priestly oligarchy.
The two criminals might well have gone through much the same process as Yahshua himself did. What is certain is that each was excommunicated from the community of Israel. As the shofar sounded the blasts announcing excommunication from the congregation of Israel on the Pinnacle of the Temple (see the Temple Study Maps) a flagman (lactee), stood near the southeastern cloisters of the Women's Court near the Miphkad Gate with a red flag. Each man would have been led separately over the Red Heifer bridge to the execution site on the "ridge" (or "cranium", "spine") of the Mount of Olives (Gulgoleth). A second lactee riding a white horse and carrying a wooden plaque on which the charge was written, led the execution party to that public square, the gathering place for the festal pilgrims situated near the Bazaars of Annas. Pilate had written on that plaque that Yahshua was the KING OF ISRAEL! No other charge was represented on the plaque.
A man was stationed at the door of the court [the court where sentence was pronounced at Bethphage] with a signalling flag in his hand, and a horseman was stationed at a distance yet within sight of him, and then if one says, "I have something [further] to state in his favour; he [the signaller] waves the flag, and the horse-man runs and stops them. And even if he himself [the condemned] says, "I have something to plead in my own favour", he is brought back, even four or five times, providing, however, that there is substance in his assertion [Talmud, Sanhedrin 42b VI].
Yahshua, however, "opened not his mouth" in his own behalf but allowed the execution squad to lead him to the tree situated in the Plaza. He had accepted his duty and his "cup", and it was for this reason, and not the Christian tradition of remaining silent during his trials (which he clearly did not do), that fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.
Hard pressed -- yet he humbled himself, Nor opened his mouth-- As a lamb to the slaughter is led, And as a sheep before her shearers is dumb -- Nor opened his mouth. By constraint and by sentence was he taken away, And of his age who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, For my peoples transgression did the stroke fall on him [Isaiah 53:7-8].
The sentence after describing his silence clearly states it was in connection with his execution that he remained silent. Yahshua had had every opportunity to defend himself, even up to the very point of execution.
Arguments in favor of acquittal may be raised EVEN AFTER SENTENCE, UP TO THE VERY MOMENT OF EXECUTION. Only when all doubt is at an end the condemned criminal is exhorted to confess, in order that he may find forgiveness in another world [Accusatory and Inquisitorial Procedure, The Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 163].
As the Mishnah and Tosefta tell us, even the convicted himself might bring forth evidence.
Even if the convicted one say, "I have something to plead in my own defence," he is to be brought back, it may be four or five times, provided his plea is reasonable; then if he be acquitted he is set free, and if not, he is again taken out to be stoned [Tosefta, Sanhedrin VI.I].
Yahshua, however, knew what they could not know, that it was Yahvahs will to bruise him. As the horseman proceeded to the execution site, he announced a messenger similar to this:
[Yehoshua], son of [Yoseph], is going forth to be [executed], in that he has committed the offense of blasphemy by leading the nation of Israel astray from the teachings of the scribes and from worship in the Temple. He has shown disrespect for his elders and for the Beth Din. Anyone who knows anything in his defense, let him come and witness [adapted from Tosefta, Mishnah Sanhedrin 6.1].
His apostles, many of whom were probably Zealots themselves feared for their own lives and scattered. Just as no one could be found to witness that he was NOT Messiah, no one stepped forward to say HE WAS!
When Yahshua was led from the Miphkad Gate toward the public "Street" or Plaza at Beth Pagi, professional mourners lamented and mourned. Since it was believed he, as one having been convicted as a mesith, had called down the wrath of God on the nation, they mourned his condemnation, not out of any peculiar compassion but simply out of duty. Women were traditionally the first to mourn, and would not only lead a funeral procession but also an execution procession. Jewish commentary states that woman, who brought death into our world, ought to lead the way in such processions. It was here Yahshua had spoken to them.
And there was following him a great throng of people and OF WOMEN WHO WERE SMITING THEMSELVES AND LAMENTING HIM. But turning towards them Jesus said -- Daughters of Jerusalem! Do not weep for me; But for yourselves be weeping, and for your children [Luke 23:27].
Their mourning for him prompted his sorrowful warning. The reader will recall that he had wept over Jerusalem when he had first entered the city.
By this time, however, Simon the Cyrenian who had come to Bethphage from the "field" (probably from the area around Bethany) and had been, himself, entering the public "street" in order to join the crowd gathering in the Plaza, had already been impressed to carry the yoke. Perhaps this was because of the wounds Yahshua had received at the hands of the temple captains. It must here be noted that the "yoke" was not what Christian tradition claims. It was not the Roman "cross" or even the cross-beam of the cross. It was, instead, a sturdy piece of wood fitted over the neck like the yoke of an ox, one that might easily be attached with ropes to another living tree and removed after execution.
As to the gibbet [yoke, patibulum], it must not be a natural [as part of a living tree] or permanent one, like a tree, but an artificial arrangement, easily removable [from the tree]; and when once used, must be buried out of sight (Sanh. vi. 4, 46b; Sifre, Deut. 221) [Capital Punishment, The Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 557].
The reason the artificial yoke had to be buried was because "it was regarded as part of the body and must be carried with it when moved. Cf. Nazir 64b" [Talmud, Sanhedrin 45b].
But has it not been taught: The stone with which he [the condemned] was stoned, the gallows on which he was hanged, the sword with which he was beheaded, or the cloth with which he was strangled, are all buried with him? [Talmud, Sanhedrin 45b].
This is why the Gospel of Peter (verse 10) describes the "cross" as following Yahshua from the tomb at the time of his resurrection. The "yoke" had been buried with him after he had been brought down from the tree. The practice, and consequently, the law, was instituted during the days of Joshua when Achan had been hanged on a tree.
Once the procession had passed through the Miphkad Gate, the Beth HaSeqilah, the place of execution, was directly in view. When the execution squad approached within ten cubits (about 17-1/2 feet) of the execution site, Yahshua was asked to confess (not necessarily his crime but his sins).
When ten cubits from the stoning-place they say to him, "Confess: for it is the custom of all about to be put to death to make confession; and every one who confesses has a share in the world to come; for so we find it in the case of Achan. MY SON, ASCRIBE GLORY TO THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, AND MAKE CONFESSION UNTO HIM; AND TELL ME NOW WHAT THOU HAST DONE; HIDE IT NOT FROM ME. AND ACHAN ANSWERED JOSHUA, AND SAID, OF A TRUTH I HAVE SINNED AGAINST THE LORD, THE GOD OF ISRAEL, AND THUS AND THUS HAVE I DONE. Whence do we know that his confession expiated his crime? It is written: AND JOSHUA SAID, WHY HAST THOU TROUBLED US? THE LORD SHALL TROUBLE THEE THIS DAY; this day thou art to be troubled, but thou art not to be troubled in the time to come." If he does not know how to make confession, he is told to say, "MAY MY DEATH BE AN EXPIATION OF ALL MY SINS." According to R. Jehuda, if he know himself to be condemned wrongfully, he says, "Let my dea th be an expiation of all my sins save this." But it was replied, "If so, every one would say so to clear himself"...[Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4.2]...Those who are put to death by the court have a share in the world to come, because they confess all their sins. Ten cubits from the stoning-place they say to the condemned man, "Confess!" It happened to one who went out to be stoned, that when they told him to confess he said, "May my death be an expiation of all my sins; and if I have done this, let it not be forgiven me, and let the court of Israel be innocent." When this was reported to the judges their eyes trickled with tears, but they said, "It is not possible to reprieve him, for then there would be no end to the matter; but his blood is hung on the neck of his witnesses" [Tosefta, Sanhedrin 9.5].
Yahshua did not "confess". He, instead, later prayed from the tree that Yahvah might forgive them for their ignorance in putting him to death.
"Father! forgive them; For they know not what they do" [Luke 23:34].
Afterward, Yahshua would have been led to another locale just four cubits (about 7 feet) from the execution site, itself. Here Yahshua would have been divested of his clothing. The reason for this was to humiliate the accused and cause him shame.
Four cubits from the stoning-place the criminal is stripped [Mishnah, Sanhedrin 6.3].
Only a man was stripped naked prior to execution. A woman would have been allowed a covering over her bosom, not for her own modestys sake, but in order to prevent the priests from lusting after her naked body. We have already discussed the parting of his garments by the temple captains in another chapter. After Yahshua had been stripped, he was offered the compassionate drink of wine and olibanum (myrrh and laudanum, a narcotic mixed with watered wine) by the wealthy women of Jerusalem.
And coming to a place called Golgotha, that is to say Skull Place [the entire area on the Mount of Olives is called Golgotha, but Jesus was actually executed in the Plaza or "Place" southeast of the summit or Ha-Rosh], they gave him to drink WINE WITH GALL MINGLED [Matthew 27:34].
This drink was designed to blunt the sensibilities of the condemned man, so that he might become stupefied and not realize his painful end. It was considered an act of mercy.
When one is led out to execution, he is given a goblet of wine containing a grain of frankincense, in order to benumb his senses, for it is written, Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto the bitter in soul. And it has also been taught: The noble women in Jerusalem used to donate and bring it. If these did not donate it, who provided it? -- As for that, it is certainly logical that it should be provided out of the public [funds]: since it is written, Give [the implication is] of what is theirs [Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a].
Yahshua, however, did not accept the drink [Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:23; Luke 23:36], and it must have made his pain even more acute. Perhaps it was because he did not accept the narcotic that he died within such a short period of time. One should not confuse the "vinegar" which he later accepted as the narcotic offered at first. The vinegar was simply watered wine.
After Yahshua refused the narcotic, his wrists would have been nailed to the yoke. No nails would have been placed in his feet. The Gospel of Peter (verse 6) makes mention of the fact that when Yahshua was taken from the tree, they pulled the nails from his hands, but the feet were not mentioned. As a matter of fact, the inclusion of "and feet" in the gospel narrative was not originally in the manuscript. It had been interpolated later by some Christian scribe to conform with execution on a Roman cross. Once the nails had been driven through his wrists, he would have been hoisted up the tree by ropes. The yoke would have been attached either by ropes or by nails to a living tree, and the accusation plaque attached to the tree above his head.
While the Jewish "hanging" was generally a procedure that occurred only after death, the Alexandrian priesthood had adopted the methods of their predecessor Alexander Jannaeus, who had hanged alive eight hundred Pharisees. The Qumran documents make it clear that the practice was clearly Alexandrian.
[And chokes prey for its lionesses; and it fills] its caves [with prey] and its dens with victims (ii, 12a-b). Interpreted, this concerns the furious young lion [who executes revenge] [Alexander Jannaeus] on those who seek smooth things [Pharisees] and HANGS MEN ALIVE,...formerly in Israel. Because of a man hanged alive on [the] tree, He proclaims, Behold I am against [you, says the Lord of Hosts] [Commentary on Nahum (4Q169), G. Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, p. 280].
The missing words prior to "formerly in Israel" are translated by scholars in contradictory ways: 1) "as was never done" and 2) "as was done". The controversy makes little difference to our present case. Whether Israel had always hanged their criminals alive makes little difference. The fact is Alexander Jannaeus, the hellenized leader of Israel during the first century B.C.E., DID hang men alive on the tree. Even Josephus gives us the gruesome details.
Now as Alexander fled to the mountains, six thousand of the Jews hereupon came together [from Demetrius] to him out of pity at the change of his fortune; upon which Demetrius was afraid, and retired out of the country; after which the Jews fought against Alexander, and being beaten were slain in great numbers in the several battles which they had, and when he had shut up the most powerful of them in the city Bethome, he besieged them therein; and when he had taken the city, and gotten the men into his power, HE BROUGHT THEM TO JERUSALEM, AND DID ONE OF THE MOST BARBAROUS ACTIONS IN THE WORLD TO THEM; FOR AS HE WAS FEASTING WITH HIS CONCUBINES, IN THE SIGHT OF ALL THE CITY, HE ORDERED ABOUT EIGHT HUNDRED OF THEM TO BE CRUCIFIED; AND WHILE THEY WERE LIVING, HE ORDERED THE THROATS OF THEIR CHILDREN AND WIVES TO BE CUT BEFORE THEIR EYES [Josephus, Antiquities 13.14.2].
From the time of Alexanders death in 78 B.C.E., with a brief respite until 69 B.C.E., the nation of Israel was primarily ruled by the Alexandrian priesthood. As stated numerous times already, this priesthood (the Temple Cult) was both illegitimate and corrupt. They had Hellenistic origins and were associated with the self-seeking Herodian dynasty.
After Mark Antonys suppression of the revolutionary activity by Aristobulus two sons Alexander and Antigonus in the next generation, who like John the Baptist after them were beheaded; the priests officiating at the Temple all owed their positions to Roman and Herodian power [Robert Eisenman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, p. 121].
The temple itself had evolved into a corrupt financial institution, and the priesthood served as its bankers. It was not until the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. that the Pharisees again gained control of Israels religious affairs, the primary reason that the Jewish writings reflect the Pharisaic death penalties. The Sadducean mode of execution was, however, different. John the Baptist calls them a "brood of vipers", reflecting the Hebrew equivalent maase epheh "creatures of the snake" [ed. Herschel Shanks, Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 212].
The Babylonian-Alexandrian priesthood ruling during the first century were, in fact, Edomites, appointed first by the Edomite King, Herod. These Herodian appointed Alexandrian priests were Sadducees, and it was this group to which Alexander Janneus allied himself. It was Alexander Janneus, too, who had hanged men ALIVE on trees! The Pharisees of the first century B.C.E. had found the practice to be utterly abhorrent, and this is reflected in the writings of the Essenes.
Within the order of the language, another Qumran document, seems to imply that hanging convicted criminals on a tree while still alive was a fairly common practice, at least during the years prior to the rabbinic period after the destruction of Jerusalem.
If a man is guilty of a capital crime and flees (abroad) to the nations, and curses his people, the children of Israel, YOU SHALL HANG HIM ALSO ON A [LIVING] TREE AND HE SHALL DIE. But his body shall not stay overnight on the tree. Indeed you shall bury him on the same day. FOR HE WHO IS HANGED ON THE TREE IS ACCURSED OF GOD AND MEN [The Temple Scroll, Col. LXIV; G. Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, p. 156].
Please note that this document states the criminal is to be FIRST hanged upon a tree, and then SECONDLY, that he shall die. The statement would seem to imply that this was the ordinary practice during the years the Alexandrian priesthood (who were Sadducean) ruled in Israel. Taken in conjunction with the Nahum Pesher quoted earlier, there seems to be enough evidence to at least suspect this to be a true statement.
The passage ordains that THE DEATH PENALTY SHALL BE CARRIED OUT BY "SUSPENDING" THE CONVICT ALIVE FOR THE CHARGE OF TREASON on the basis of Deuteronomy 21:22-23. What we have here IS A PRE-CHRISTIAN HALAKHIC INTERPRETATION OF DEUTERONOMY 21:22-23 (CRUCIFIXION IN THE FORM OF A HANGING ON A TREE) [Neil S. Fujita, A Crack in the Jar, p. 133].
The Nahum Pesher continues with the same wording as the Temple Scroll.
If a man has informed against his people and has delivered his people up to a foreign nation and has done evil to his people, YOU SHALL HANG HIM ON THE TREE AND HE SHALL DIE. On the evidence of two witnesses and on the evidence of three witnesses, he shall be put to death (a reversal in wording here) and they shall hang him on the tree. If a man committed a crime punishable by death and has run away unto the midst of the Gentiles (i.e. a mesith), and has cursed his people and the children of Israel, YOU SHALL HANG HIM ALSO ON THE TREE, AND HE SHALL DIE [Nahum Pesher, Col. 1, Lines 1-11].
The Sadducean priesthood took full responsibility for the execution of Yahshua. The "crowd" of priests and Herodians who demanded Pilate condemn him, along with the witnesses (the accusers, who would have been the priests themselves) made a statement that reflects exactly upon whose shoulders the blame should rest.
And all the people, answering said, "HIS BLOOD BE UPON US AND UPON OUR CHILDREN!" [Matthew 27:25].
The Jewish euphemism demehem bam was used only by the judges in a capital case. It was designed to make them think about the responsibility they take upon themselves in rendering a verdict. It was well known that if the judges of Israel found one guilty of a capital crime, the verdict necessarily made them responsible for not only the blood of the accused but of the physical descendants that might have followed him had he been acquitted. What is indicated more particularly by the expression, however, is the type of death the accused was to suffer.
With reference to all other capital offenses [blasphemy included], the law ordains that the perpetrator shall die a violent death, occasionally adding the expression, HIS (THEIR) BLOOD SHALL BE UPON HIM (THEM). This expression, as we shall see presently, post-Biblical legislation APPLIES TO DEATH BY STONING...the law says (Leviticus 20;27), "THEY SHALL STONE THEM WITH STONES; THEIR BLOOD SHALL BE UPON THEM"...Here the expression "Demehem bam" is plainly used in connection with death by stoning: hence it is argued that, WHEREVER THE SAME EXPRESSION OCCURS IN THE PENTATEUCH IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEATH PENALTY, IT MEANS DEATH BY STONING, and consequently the punishment of the crimes mentioned in Leviticus 20:9, 11, 12, 13, 16, is the same: DEATH BY STONING [Mek., Mishpatim, 17; Sifra, Kedoshim, 9; Sanhedrin 53b, 66a; Capital Punishment, The Jewish Encyclopedia, pp. 554-557].
In the case of Yahshua, it was meant to infer that the judges themselves would take responsibility for his death. Anyone who was sentenced to death by stoning was also hanged. While we presently view stoning as a barbaric and inhumane practice and cannot imagine that our Messiah might have been stoned, this mode of execution was entirely legal and accepted during the first century. The Pharisaic and Sadducean methods of stoning an individual were, however, entirely different. Whereas the Pharisees used only one large stone and threw the individual down from a great height, the Sadducees demanded the whole congregation of Israel have a part in putting the accused to death. Each person passing by the execution site would have been required by law to pick up a stone and cast it at the accused, thus "casting out" that individual from the nation of Israel. It was a process similar to the placing of hands on the Sinbearer Goat to be "cast out" into the "wildern ess" as a "curse" of God. Since the Sadducean priesthood was the powerful sect during the lifetime of Yahshua, we must assume it would have been their law that carried the day. We shall examine the evidence in Scripture to determine whether or not Yahshua might have been stoned. I make no assertion concerning this question. I merely list the facts below. The reader must weigh the evidence for himself.
One of the prophecies that has been applied to "prove" the "crucifixion" of Yahshua by Christianity is Psalm 22:16-18. Unfortunately, the etymology of that Psalm has never been properly examined.
For dogs have surrounded me, -- an assembly of evil doers have encircled me, THEY HAVE PIERCED MY HANDS AND FEET, I MAY TELL ALL MY BONES, THEY [HIS BONES] LOOK FOR -- THEY [HIS BONES] BEHOLD ME! They part my garments among them, and for my vestment they cast lots [Psalm 22:16-18].
The only manner in which a mans bones might view him is if they were no longer enclosed in flesh. We have no problem with the "assembly of evil doers" nor the parting of the garments, but there is a very important discrepancy in wording here that has failed to receive close scrutiny. The word "pierced" does not mean "to pierce through". The Hebrew word here is aryeh and is derived from the root arah. Those words literally mean "TO PLUCK AWAY SKIN" as a young lion might maul and tear the flesh of a carcass, exposing the whitened bones. Anyone who has ever been slapped by a cat knows that the skin is not pierced through but literally pulled away. A stone, especially if sharp, would have the same effect as a lions claw. William Wilson gives the following exact usage of the word: arah, "like a lion". Again, crucifixion could not "pluck" into the flesh and tear it away. Had the prophecy been meant to imply a puncturing of nail marks, the word daqar (as used in Zechariah 12:10), "to stab or thrust through", would have been used instead.
The word for "feet" is pudenda and indicates the generative parts of a mans body, but might well refer to the abdominal cavity in general. Certainly, anyone who was stoned would receive wounds all over the body. It is interesting to note that the nailing of the feet is mentioned only once in the New Covenant (in Luke); however, on closer examination we learn that the words "and feet" have been interpolated from a late Greek manuscript. But it is the portion of the Psalm mentioned earlier that gives us the best evidence. Looking down upon his own body from the tree, the individual speaking in the Psalm SEES HIS BONES, and THEY BEHOLD HIM! The phrase would indicate that there is no flesh on his bones, that the skin had been removed from them. The wording is used to indicate that the bones are bared and stare back at him. The fact is the scourging by either party (either the sanhedrin or the Romans) would have been injurious to his back, not the f ront, where he might look down and view his own bones. He would not have been able to see his back while hanging on the tree. Crucifixion, in no way, would cause bones to be so exposed as to be viewed by the victim himself. The most important theological argument about the execution of Yahshua is the "blood" that he shed, yet crucifixion alone would not account for the amount of blood Christian traditions implies he would have shed.
An iron spike was driven through the middle part of each wrist between the carpal bones. THE LOSS OF BLOOD WAS MODERATE SINCE THE SPIKE DID NOT PENETRATE A MAJOR ARTERY [Erich H. Kiehl, The Passion of Our Lord, p. 128].
Another Scripture used to imply a Roman crucifixion of Yahshua is Isaiah 53:5.
Yet he was PIERCED [WOUNDED, KJV] for transgressions that were ours, was CRUSHED [BRUISED, KJV] for iniquities that were ours, -- The chastisement of our well-being was upon him, and by his STRIPES there is healing for us.
Two of these three words (pierced, stripes) are exactly the same Hebrew word, chabbuwrah [chaburah] and simply mean "a weal", or black and blue mark itself -- a bruise, that is, "the mark or print of blows in the skin, in which blood and humours [water] appear, spoken of the consequences of sin, and the sense of divine wrath" [William Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies, p. 490]. These words, which are indications of stoning, give clearer meaning to 1 John 5:6.
That is he that came through means of WATER AND BLOOD [the bruise], [Yahshua Messiah]: Not by the water only, but by the water and the blood, -- and the Spirit it is that is bearing witness, because the Spirit is the truth [1 John 5:6].
It was necessary that Yahshua be "bruised", and it was Yahvah's purpose to "bruise" him. Thus the Scripture in 1 John is made clearer. The next prophecy that might also give evidence of stoning is found in Isaiah, chapters 52 and 53. There, the Hebrew words are even more specific. The King James translation is quite vague.
Yet he was pierced [wounded, bruised, STONED; chalal] for transgressions that were ours, was crushed [bruised; emasculated; daka] for iniquities that were ours, -- The chastisement for our well-being was upon him, And by his stripes [chaburah; i.e. "weal, black-and-blue mark itself"] there is healing for us [Isaiah 53:5].
The first word "pierced" is the Hebrew chalal, which means "stoned", but for certainty we must also identify the other relevant terms in this Scripture. One of these words is "crushed" (bruised in KJV). The Hebrew word here is daka, and it is more specific in its rendering. William Wilson gives the best translation of the word:
Daka: a crushing: Deut. xxiii, 1, lit. wounded by bruising, i.e. in order to produce emasculation [William Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies, p. 42].
Strongs Concordance states it is "wounded or mutilated by crushing, sc. in the testicle, in order to produce emasculation". The word would imply that the Messiah would be stoned, and that the effect of that penalty would be emasculation, that is a destruction of his abdominal cavity if not his genital organs. This is not to imply that the object of the penalty was to emasculate the genitals in particular, but during the process of stoning the Messiah was to be so physically damaged he would be unable to produce physical descendants even if he were to live. Isaiah makes it clear (53:8) that the Messiah would have no physical descendants.
...and who shall declare his generations? [KJV].
...and who can speak of his descendants? [NIV].
...Who could describe his abode [house or descendants]? [JPS].
Yet in the same manner that all were made spiritual descendants of Abraham, he, too, would have spiritual descendants.
But the LORD chose to crush him by disease, That, if he made himself an offering for guilt, He might see OFFSPRING AND HAVE LONG LIFE. And that through him the LORDS purpose might prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see it; He shall enjoy it to the full through his devotion [Isaiah 53:10, JPS].
It is important that the word daka is used here because it infers that the Messiah is to be cursed by God. The same word, which is seldom used in Scripture, is the one used to describe an individual "cursed of God".
Surely no man in whom is any blemish shall come near, -- No man who is blind or lame, or hath a flat nose, or is lanky; nor any man who hath a broken foot, or a broken hand; or is hump-backed or a dwarf, or hath defective vision, -- or hath scurvy or scab [leprosy], or is CRUSHED IN THE STONES [eshek, testicles] [Leviticus 21:18-20].
But there is another word in the Isaiah prophecy to link the execution to stoning. That word is "stripes". The word is chaburah, and it means the "black and blue mark", the "weal". That word is used specifically to refer to the type of wounds one might receive from the penalty of stoning.
There is a powerful prophecy in the book of Job that portrays the execution of Yahshua, who like Job, was persecuted. Relevant Scriptures have been placed in brackets as examples.
But now their song have I become, Yea I serve them for a byword; they abhor me -- have put themselves far from me, and FROM MY FACE HAVE NOT WITHHELD SPITTLE! [They spit on him at his excommunication; Matthew 26:67; Matthew 27:30] BECAUSE MY GIRDLE [loin cloth] HE HAD LOOSENED AND HUMBLED ME [he had been hanged naked on the tree]; therefore the bridle [restraint] in my presence cast they off; ON MY RIGHT HAND THE YOUNG BROOD ROSE UP [the priesthood accused him and reviled him; Matthew 27:41-42], -- MY FEET [PUDENDA] THEY THRUST ASIDE, AND CAST UP AGAINST ME THEIR EARTHWORKS [STONES OF THE ROAD; I.E. THEY STONED HIM] OF DESTRUCTION; they brake up my path...NOW THEREFORE OVER MYSELF MY SOUL POURETH ITSELF OUT [Psalm 22:14; I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels; Isaiah 53:12]: night [sin] boreth my bones all over me [Isaiah 53:4; 2 Co rinthians 5:21], -- AND MY SINEWS FIND NO REST [NO COMFORT ON THE TREE; Psalm 22:15]; MOST EFFECTUALLY IS MY SKIN DISFIGURED [marred so that one might not tell he was a man at all; Isaiah 52:14-15], -- like the collar of my tunic it girdeth me about: He hath cast me into the mire [Isaiah 53:10], and I have become like dust and ashes. I CRY OUT FOR HELP UNTO THEE AND THOU DOST NOT ANSWER [Matthew 27:46 "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"]...FOR I KNOW THAT UNTO DEATH THOU WILT BRING ME BACK [Resurrection; Isaiah 10-11], EVEN UNTO THE HOUSE OF MEETING FOR EVERY ONE LIVING [the future Kingdom]...I arose in the convocation, I cried out for help; a brother became I to the brutes that howl, and a companion to the birds that screech ["sinners and tax-collectors"]: MY SKIN TURNED BLACK AND PEELED OFF ME, AND MY BONES BURNED WITH HEAT [the result of being stoned, his bones "stare back at him"; i.e. they are visible to him; Psalm 22:17]...A COVENANT I SOLEMNISED FOR MINE EYES [Yahvahs will], HOW THEN COULD I GAZE UPON A VIRGIN [emasculation; Matthew 19:12]? OR WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN MY PORTION OF GOD FROM ABOVE? OR WHAT INHERITANCE OF THE ALMIGHTY FROM ON HIGH?...IF I COVERED LIKE ADAM MY TRANSGRESSIONS [Yahshua became the "Last Adam", the original perfect man], BY HIDING IN MY BOSOM MINE INIQUITY THEN LET ME BE MADE TO TREMBLE AT A GREAT THRONG, yea let the contempt of families terrify me, so that keeping silence I shall not go out of the door! OH THAT I HAD ONE TO HEAR ME, LO! [Behold] MY CROSSMARK [tav, tavah -- NAIL IMPRINT], MAY THE ALMIGHTY ANSWER ME! And would that a book mine opponent had written [i.e. he was without sin]! Oh! would I not upon my shoulder lift it, or bind it as a crown upon me [Yahshua did not die for his own iniquities] [Job 30-31].
Perhaps one of the most important Old Covenant prophecies to study in regard to the penalty of stoning is Isaiah 52. In it we have a clue as to why the disciples might not have, at first, recognized Yahshua after he had been resurrected.
The more that Many were amazed at thee SO MARRED [DISFIGURED] BEYOND ANY MANS WAS HIS APPEARANCE, -- AND HIS FORM [UNRECOGNIZABLE] BEYOND THE SONS OF MEN, the more DOTH HE STARTLE MANY NATIONS [IN ASTONISHMENT], Before him have kings closed their mouth, -- FOR THAT WHICH HAD NOT BEEN RELATED [TOLD] TO THEM HAVE THEY SEEN, AND THAT WHICH THEY HAD NOT HEARD [THAT THE MESSIAH HAD BEEN STONED] HAVE THEY DILIGENTLY CONSIDERED [Isaiah 52:14-15].
Had Yahshua been stoned (as seems to be prophesied) he would have been so marred (or disfigured) and so malformed as to be indistinguishable as a man at all. The result of having been stoned would have obscured his identity, and not even his closest disciples would have, at first, recognized him [John 20:14-15; Mark 16:12; John 20:19-25; John 21:4, 12]. It was probably for this reason that Mary of Magdala did not recognize him until he spoke to her [John 20:14-15]. He would have been so marred that Thomas, the one apostle who was even willing, at first, to follow Yahshua into Judea to his death [John 11:16], only TRULY BELIEVED Yahshua had been resurrected when he had placed his hands into the nail prints and into his side [John 20:24-29]. He hadnt even trusted his own eyes!
There is other evidence in the New Covenant that we must consider. The apostle Paul had been stoned in Antioch, dragged out of the city and left for dead [Acts 14:19; 2 Corinthians 11:25]. As a result of having been stoned, Paul carried with him the lasting results. His eyes had been damaged. When a man was stoned, it was the head and eyes that were usually targeted [Mark 12:4]. But we have Pauls own words to provide the evidence we need.
Howbeit ye know that BY REASON OF A WEAKNESS OF THE FLESH I myself announced the glad-message unto you formerly; AND YOUR TRIAL IN MY FLESH YE DESPISED NOT, NEITHER SPAT YE IN DISGUST...For I bear you witness -- that if possible YOUR EYES YE WOULD HAVE DUG OUT AND GIVEN UNTO ME [Galatians 4:13-15].
Yahshua, himself, had given us the parable of the vineyard [Mark 12:4] that tells us the primary places of injury during stoning: the head and the eyes. It was rare that anyone escaped death when stoned, but when he did he was an outcast from Israel. He would have been called a "leper" and spat upon "in disgust" [Deuteronomy 25:9]. How do we know Paul was not a leper but was referring to his having been stoned? Here is what he says.
For I, the BRANDMARKS [SCARS] OF JESUS in my body am bearing [Galatians 6:17].
This is not a reference to any spiritual connection between Paul and Yahshua. The word "brandmarks" is the Greek stigma (from the root stizo), meaning "TO MAKE INCISED OR PUNCHED MARKS" [i.e. bruises] that have resulted in "scars". These "brandmarks" that Paul carries in his own flesh are the result of having been stoned, and he claims they are the same as those that Yahshua received. We know these marks do not refer to the crucifixion of Yahshua, because PAUL WAS NOT CRUCIFIED! HE WAS STONED!
We might also remember that Pilate seemed shocked when he was told that Yahshua had already died. He knew that crucifixion sometimes took days, yet it had only been six hours since Yahshua had been "hanged" on the tree. Pilate "wondered whether already he was dead," and even "calling near the centurion, questioned him -- whether he had already died" [Mark 15:43-44]. The reason, perhaps, for Pilates surprise is because he hadnt expected the sanhedrin to stone Yahshua.
We have one more passage in Revelation 5:6 where Yahshua is symbolized as the "Lamb as it had been slain". The Greek word translated "slain" in this verse is sphazo. It means "to butcher, slaughter, maim, mangle, or wound"; i.e. to stone. Webster gives us the definitions we need for the words: 1) maim -- "to mutilate, disfigure". Mutilate implies "the cutting off or removal of an essential part of a person...thereby impairing its completeness, beauty, or function;" 2) mangle -- "a tearing or crushing that leaves deep extensive wounds...to batter"; 3) batter -- "implies a series of blows that bruise deeply, deform, or mutilate -- to commit mayhem, willing and permanent, upon; crippling, mutilation, or disfigurement of any part of the body"; 4) butcher -- "to kill in a barbarous manner"; and 5) slaughter -- "to kill in a bloody or violent manner; to strike". The word "slain" then meant more than just "kill". The Hebrew concept of the word, again, is more exact. In Hebrew the word would be harag. While it literally means "slew", it was taken to mean, more exactly, STONED!
Since with reference to the enticer to idolatry, the Bible (Deut. xiii 10 [A.V.9] employs the term Harag="to slay" ("Thou shalt surely slay him") and this is immediately explained by the addition (ib. 11 [A.V.10], "Thou shalt stone him with stones that he die," it follows THAT THE TERM "HARAG" used in reference to the beast LIKEWISE MEANS TO SLAY BY STONING. AND AS FOR THE CRIMINAL HIMSELF, HIS SENTENCE IS THE SAME AS THAT OF THE BEAST IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH HE IS MENTIONED (Sifra l.c.x.; Sanh. 54b) [Capital Punishment, The Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 555; See also Deut. xiii.6 [A.V.5] Sifre, Deut. 86; Sanh. 89b].
It is interesting, too, that in the book of Revelation the word "Lamb" is not the "lambkin" (amnos) of the gospels. Here Yahshua is the arnion (from aren/arrhen or arsen) a victorious strong ram. This Greek word is derived from airo meaning to expiate [i.e. to atone for] sin. The Hebrew equivalent is nasa, the Banner or Flag (Messiah) of God. It is a perfect picture of the execution of Yahshua. Traditional Christian belief is founded on the fact that Yahshua fulfilled the Passover "appointment", that he was the Passover Lamb who took away the sins of the world. If this is so, then the belief cannot be fully founded unless attention is given to every aspect of what happens to the Passover sacrifice, and it is the final part of that sacrificial preparation, the flaying of the lamb, that might more completely fulfill the requirements and which fit the word "slain".
The lamb was then hung upon special hooks or sticks and SKINNED [Passover Sacrifice, The Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 556].
As gruesome as it sounds, the penalty of stoning might reflect the final requirement. It is not the authors intention to presume to think for the reader; however, each individual needs to be made aware of the various Hebrew and Greek terms that describe the execution of the Messiah in order to form his own rational opinion about this subject, and in order to understand what his true sufferings might well have been as well as what the "blood" of Yahshua really means. The Jewish community understands these prophecies to refer to the stoning of the Messiah, which Christianity fiercely denies, so it is little wonder they do not believe Yahshua was and is their Messiah.
Whatever one believes, we must believe Yahshua was hanged alive on a living tree. The evidence is overwhelming. From the New Covenant, we have several references to it. Never is the word xulon translated as the "cross". The word for "cross" would have been stauros, and even then the Greek word only reflects the upright nature of the tree! The word xulon, however, is the same that Luke uses in 23:31 for "moist wood" and refers to a LIVING TREE! The Hebrew equivalent would be the ets (derived from atsah), which is also used as a term for "gallows" in the book of Esther where Haman is "hanged" [Esther 5:14;8:7]. It is the same word used in Genesis 40:19 and Deuteronomy 21:22 to describe the hanging of an individual on a "tree". These "gallows" do not refer to a Roman cross. The word is even used to describe the fruit trees of the Garden of Eden, including the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In the New Covenant, the disciples were quite clear about how Yahshua was hanged, and it wasnt upon a Roman cross. The disciples, in fact, confronted the Jewish judicial sanhedrin later that decade with the ultimate accusation that they had hanged Yahshua upon a "living" tree. Here are the passages that reflect the type of execution Yahshua endured.
The God of our fathers hath raised up Jesus, -- whom ye got into YOUR HANDS, SUSPENDING HIM UPON A TREE [Xulon] [Acts 5:30].
We also are witnesses of all things which he did, both in the country of the Jews and Jerusalem; Whom THEY even slew by SUSPENDING UPON A TREE [Xulon] [Acts 10:39].
And when they had finished all those things which concerning him had been written, TAKING HIM DOWN FROM THE TREE [Xulon], they put him in a tomb [Acts 13:29].
Messiah hath redeemed us out of the curse of the law [instruction], HAVING BECOME IN OUR BEHALF A CURSE; because it is written -- CURSED IS EVERYONE THAT HANGETH UPON A TREE [Xulon] [Galatians 3:13].
Who our sins himself bare up in his body UNTO THE TREE [1 Peter 2:24].
To show that the word xulon here means a living tree and not a Roman cross, lets look at Revelation 2:7.
He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying unto the assemblies. Unto him that overcometh I will give unto him to eat of THE TREE [XULON] OF LIFE, which is in the paradise of [Yahvah].
The passage in Galatians 3:13 refers to the fact that anyone hanged upon a tree [a Xulon or "living" tree] is considered "cursed of God". The Scripture from which this is taken is found in Deuteronomy 21:22. Jewish individuals were taught from an early age that if they see someone hanged upon a tree, they are to revile them, and this is what we have found in our present case.
And they who were passing by were reviling him, shaking their heads [Matthew 27:39].
Anyone who did not know Yahshua, who happened to be passing by on his way to the Temple would have "reviled" him. The word "reviled" is blasphemeo; i.e. they would have blasphemed or "cursed" him. The fact is the "cursing" of one who has been hanged on a tree meant excommunication from the nation of Israel. Since he was to be excommunicated, cast out, and cut off from the nation, and as it was the singular duty of each member of the "congregation" of Israel to cast a stone at a mesith so hanged, this simply means that the passersby legally picked up a stone to cast at him. It was a form of excommunication. Just as the congregation was to stone Achan (Joshua 7:25), so was it the duty of the congregation here to perform "justice". The entire Jewish concept of capital punishment is, in fact, based on chapter 7 of Joshua and on Deuteronomy 21:21-23. In them we find the elements necessary on which to base the execution of Yah shua: 1) the "accursed thing" or individual who caused the "curse" (Joshua 7:13); 2) the confession of the accused (Joshua 7:20); 3) stoning performed by the "whole congregation" (Joshua 7:25); 4) the "sin unto death" (Deuteronomy 21:22); stoning and hanging upon a tree (Deuteronomy 21:21-22); and 5) not to allow the corpse of the accursed to remain on the tree overnight (Deuteronomy 21:23), because an individual that is hanged is "accursed of God". If that individual is allowed to "rot" on the tree, the land would be defiled (Deuteronomy 21:23] (thus no "skulls" would be lying around the execution site and could not be the reason the place of execution was called Gulgoleth). One other Scripture, in particular, is implicit in the criminal process that requires the "congregation of Israel" to stone the accused.
Cain expresses fear that, for the murder which he has committed, "EVERYONE THAT FINDETH ME SHALL SLAY ME" (Gen. iv. 14); in other words, IT WAS THE DUTY OF SOCIETY, AND EVEN OF THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD, TO AVENGE THE BLOOD OF ABEL [Cain, The Jewish Encyclopedia, pp. 357-358].
Anytime a Jew used the term "hanged on a tree", stoning was automatically assumed. When the disciples accused the sanhedrin of "hanging" Yahshua on a "tree", it was simply a Hebrew idiom for the terminology implying the entire execution process, both stoning and hanging. For instance, in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a) a herald goes forth announcing that Yahshua was to be "stoned"; the passage then goes on to state that he was "hanged". The writers meant that he was both stoned and hanged, and this was a Jewish mode of execution, not a Roman one. Likewise, when the Jewish writings indicate that an individual has been stoned and that stoning resulted in his death, it was automatically assumed that he had been hanged afterward.
And if not, stoning him is [the duty] of all Israelites, as it is said, The hand of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people (Dt. 17:7). "All those who are stoned are hanged on a tree," the words of R. Eliezer [Mishnah 6:4 g,h].
The type of hanging, however, again depended on whether it was the Pharisees or the Sadducees who did the hanging, and in just what period of time the hanging occurred. Obviously, the Essenes, as we have mentioned earlier, were fully aware that the Sadducean penalty included hanging an individual alive on the tree. The Pharisees, on the other hand, found this abhorrent and when they gained power after 70 C.E., they hanged people only after an individual had been stoned to death, and their mode of stoning was with a single heavy stone.
At the time of Yahshua's execution we are told that "there [were] many women FROM AFAR beholding". The women who had followed him from Galilee and ministered to him were allowed only to witness the execution from the Womens Court Gallery on the Temple Mount. The distance from the Herodian Temple Mount to the execution site on the Mount of Olives was almost half a mile. This would have been considered quite a distance for spectators who were beholding the execution from across the Kidron Valley. The only reason they were able to view the execution at all is because of the low eastern wall. It provided them a view which, if his execution had taken place either to the north, south, or west, THEY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE HIM AT ALL!
All the walls which were there were high, EXCEPT THE WALL IN THE EAST, so that the priest who burned the heifer, STANDING ON THE TOP OF THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, and directing himself to look, saw THROUGH THE GATEWAY OF THE SANCTUARY, at the time when he sprinkled the blood [Mishnah, Perek 2].
The Mishnah connects the sacrifice of the Red Heifer, which we know occurred on the Mount of Olives, with the low Eastern Wall. Since this was the only site where the High Priest might have a view of the front of the Sanctuary at all, and we know the Womens Court was two-storied on the east, this statement also connects the execution site with the Mount of Olives. But to confirm that this is so, we also have evidence that it was not Mount Scopus, a part of the Olivet chain, to which the rabbis referred, but the Rosh of the Mount of Olives, because this spot is connected with the Eastern Gate.
There were five gates to the Temple inclosure (i.e. the temple precincts)...THE EASTERN GATE, upon which was a representation of the city of Shushan, and BY IT THE HIGH-PRIEST WHO BURNED THE RED HEIFER, AND ALL WHO ASSISTED, WENT OUT UPON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES [Mishnah, Perek 1].
It was, in fact, only here where the rending of the veil and the breaking of the stone lintel above the veil might have been viewed (see the Temple Study). Since we are told that even the Roman centurion saw "all these things" happen, it again confirms that the execution site was somewhere on the Mount of Olives.
A tearing of this curtain IN FRONT OF THE BUILDING at the time of the afternoon sacrifices would have been public and very dramatic in effect. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN VISIBLE FROM THE MOUNT OF OLIVES [Erich H. Kiehl, The Passion, p. 141].
The fact is the individuals witnessing these events (those near the execution site) could not have seen them FROM ANY OTHER VANTAGE POINT IN JERUSALEM!
From noon until 3:00 P.M. it is stated in the gospels that "darkness" engulfed the land [Mark 15:33]. This darkness might have been associated with the coming earthquake. As natural phenomena, earthquakes are sometimes preceded by "darkness". This is because they are the result of volcanic or tectonic activity. This darkness, a natural event used by God, might have been the result of diastrophism near the Dead Sea in what is called the Rift Valley of the Judean Wilderness.
Fault escarpments to the west and east of the Dead Sea clearly outline its shore...Hot sulphur springs, such as those of En Boqeq and Callirrhoe, and the natural salt deposits found in the vicinity also contribute to the exceptionally high mineral content of the sea...[They] were known for their medicinal properties, and it was to Callirrhoe that Herod the Great retired in an attempt to be cured of his fatal illness...The account of the battle between the five kings and the four kings in the days of Lot and Abraham mentions "tar [=bitumen] pits" in the Valley of Siddim" (the Dead Sea area; Gen 14:10). Josephus later describes how in the Roman period the Dead Sea cast up "black masses of bitumen" that floated on the surface...EARTHQUAKES ARE COMMON IN THE REGION, AND ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS RESULTING BLOCKAGES HAVE STOPPED THE FLOW OF THE RIVER [Jordan] [Carl G. Rasmussen, Zondervan NIV Atlas of the Bible, pp. 44-45;54].
Whatever the cause, the darkness was real. A variety of sources claim it was so dark that people believed night had fallen, and they had failed to remove the corpses from the tree before nightfall. Leaving the corpses on the tree until night had fallen would have brought Gods curse on the land.
Now it was noonday, and darkness prevailed over all Judea, and they were afraid and distressed FOR FEAR THE SUN HAD SET WHILE HE WAS STILL ALIVE. For it is written for them that the sun should not set upon one put to death. and one of them said, "Give him gall with vinegar to drink." And they mixed them and gave it to him. And they fulfilled all things and brought their sins to an end upon their own heads. AND MANY WENT ABOUT WITH LAMPS, SUPPOSING IT WAS NIGHT, AND FELL. and the [Master] cried out, "My power, my power, thou hast forsaken me." And, saying this, he was taken up. And in the same hour the curtain of the temple of Jerusalem was torn in two [Gospel of Peter, ed. Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr., Gospel Parallels, p. 183].
By 3:00 P.M. an earthquake had occurred, damaging the Temple. Jerome, who had access to the Gospel of the Nazareans, clearly states that the thirty-ton stone lintel which held the veils in place was destroyed at the time of the earthquake.
In the Gospel that is written in Hebrew letters we read, not that the curtain of the temple was torn, but that THE ASTONISHINGLY LARGE LINTEL OF THE TEMPLE COLLAPSED [To Matt. 27:51 cf. Gospel of the Nazareans (in Jerome, Letter 120 to Hedibia and Commentary on Matthew 27:51); ed. Burton H. Throckmorton, Jr. Gospel Parallels, p. 184].
The collapse of the stone lintel that supported the massive Nicanor Gate would have rended the veils that hung from it. The suggestion that the veils still hung "unrended" over the Temple entrance some years later does not, in any way, refute the tearing of those veils hanging there at the time of Yahshua's death. The fact is there were two new curtains made each year.
Simeon ben Gamaliel said in the name of R. Simeon, deputy [high priest]: The curtain was a handbreadth thick and was woven on seventy-two strands, each strand consisting of twenty-four threads. Its length was forty cubits and its breadth twenty cubits, made up in its entirety of eighty myriads [of threads]. THEY USED TO MAKE TWO CURTAINS EVERY YEAR, AND THREE HUNDRED PRIESTS WERE REQUIRED TO IMMERSE THEM [ed. Bialik and Ravnitsky, The Book of Legends, Sefer Ha-Aggadah, 160-61:6].
The rending of the veils then might well have been an inconvenience, but it is not something they might have noted in their writings. What they do mention in their histories is that the Great Sanhedrin (the religious one) was removed from the Hall of Hewn Stone about 30 or 31 C.E., to the seat of the judicial sanhedrin, the Bazaars of Annas at the public square (Plaza) in Beth Pagi.
Not everything Yahshua said at the time of his execution was said from the tree. There are, however, at least three instances in which he did speak from the tree. During his last moments, Yahshua bequeathed his earthly responsibilities to Eleazar (Lazarus), assigning to him the care of his mother, Mary.
Jesus therefore seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved saith unto his mother -- O woman, see! thy son! [Eleazar] Afterwards he saith unto the disciple -- See! thy mother! [Mary] And FROM THAT HOUR the disciple took her unto HIS OWN HOME [John 19:26-27].
We have already discussed the testamentary procedure in an earlier chapter. We can well imagine the torment of Yahshua, Mary, and Yohannan Eleazar during these last few moments, yet it was fitting that family members were present to say goodbye for what they believed was the last time. Legally, family and friends were not allowed to be present during the execution until near the time of death, when they were called for last-minute words. It was only when Yahshua had spoken these final words that he said "I thirst", and after having been given a merciful drink of water mixed with wine, declared "It is finished".
Yahshua was dead. His disciples had fled and were in hiding, anxious for their own lives and disappointed in their Messiah. They hadnt made arrangements for his burial. They assumed Yahshua would be treated like other criminals and buried in the criminals graveyard, perhaps in a grave that was unmarked and would soon be forgotten.
And they did not bury [the felon] in the burial grounds of his ancestors. But there were two graveyards made ready for the use of the court, one for those who were beheaded or strangled, and ONE FOR THOSE WHO WERE STONED OR BURNED [Mishnah, Sanhedrin 6:5 e,f].
Once Yahshua was taken down from the tree, even his broken body was in danger, but as we shall learn in the next chapter, Yahvah, Himself, would provide a solitary tomb for Yahshua, one that still exists and is in usable condition.
The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
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