In some Bibles (NIV; NKJV for instance) there is a sub-heading at Matt 26.57 that says “Jesus before the Sanhedrin.” These sub-headings were written by man and should not be considered Scripture. We know this was not before the Great Sanhedrin (Sanhedrin Gedolah of 71 judges) because we know from the Mishnah tractate “Sanhedrin” that the rules concerning when they can meet and where they can meet are discussed. They can only meet during daylight hours, between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm, and only in the Lishkat Ha Gazit for a death sentence. The Sanhedrin Kattanah (Minor Sanhedrin of 23 judges) could go two hours longer, but they met right outside the Eastern Gate to the Ezrat Nashim (Court of the Women). We know that Yeshua was not led before them, either. The Great Beit Din had 3 judges and they met at the southern steps of the Temple. Another source to read about all the rules for the Sanhedrin is the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.
At the trial of Yeshua, they met in the dark and not between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm, they met at the house of Caiaphas, another violation. In Matt 24.36, it says Yeshua came to Gethsemane at night. He was arrested there and taken for trial. Prof. David Flusser had a student who said the word “Gethsemane” is a loan word from the Aramaic “Gad’Some” which means “ascent of the olive.” This relates to a prophecy about King David who left Jerusalem from Absalom, went down the Kidron Valley and started going up the Ascent of the Mount of Olives (2 Sam 15.30). He wept as he went. In Luke 19.37-41, Yeshua is at the “descent of the Mount of Olives” (same as the ascent-David was going up and Yeshua is coming down) and he weeps.
In Matt 26.34 Yeshua says “this very night before a cock crows” and he is referring to the Temple Crier (Gever) who gave a three-fold cry for the kohanim to go to the 12 steps leading to the Heichal, for the Levitical choir to go the Duchan and the Ma’amad (standing men) to go to the Ezrat Israel (Court of Israel). The point is, all of this is before daylight and not during the time that the Sanhedrin is allowed to meet. They seized him and brought him to the same group who plotted against him in Mat 26.3-4 and this was well into the night.
What we are learning now will also play a role with Paul. Because we have such a lack of information about these things is one reason why there are so many anti-semitic attitudes and statements out there. In Matt 26.58-63, Yeshua is before his accusers. Yeshua calls himself “the Son of Man” which is a term from Dan 7.13 in Aramiac “Bar Enosh.” This is a messianic title. This term is also synonymous with “Son of God” in John 1.43-49 where Nathanael calls him the “Son of God, King of Israel.” Phillip calls Yeshua the “Son of Joseph.” Phillip is not referring to Yeshua’s step-father Joseph because Phillip doesn’t even know who Yeshua’s father is. He is referring to the messianic title “Son of Joseph” or “Mashiach Ben Yosef.” Nathanael has just heard about Yeshua and doesn’t even know him, yet Yeshua says “I saw you under the fig tree.” This term is an idiom for the Messianic Kingdom, or the Atid Lavo (the coming age-Mic 4.1-4; 1 Kings 4.25; Zech 3.10). Nathanael answers and calls Yeshua “Son of God” and “King of Israel.” We will see these terms merge in Psalm 2.6-8, a coronation psalm. In 1 Chr 28.5-7, we learn that every king of Judah became am adopted “son of God.” Every king was a “son of God” with the Messiah being the ultimate “Son” and “King.” That is the back-round to Nathanael’s statement in John 1.49. That is what the people are understanding. In Matt 26.63, we learn that the Messiah, the Son of God” are synonymous terms.
Now, some say Yeshua never claimed to be the Messiah, but in this verse he says he was, and also in John 4.26. In addition, Matt 26.64 Yeshua says they will see the “Son of Man (Bar Enosh) sitting at the right hand of Power (the Father, the Ancient of Days) coming on the clouds of heaven.” Dan 7.9-10 is a Rosh Ha Shannah passage (Yom Ha Din/Day of Judgment). We see the “court sat” and the “books were opened.” Dan 7.13-14 talks about the “Son of Man” who was coming with “the clouds of heaven” up to the “Ancient of Days” (the Father/the Power). When Yeshua answers in Matt 26.64, he is telling them he is the Messiah, the “Son of Man” (Bar Enosh) of Dan 7.13. Now, Son of Man in that verse is Bar Enosh, not the Hebrew Ben Adam. The “clouds of heaven” are the believers (Heb 12.1; Isa 60.8; Rev 1.7-8; Zech 14.5; Jude 14).
Matt 26.66-75 says that Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard (of the Peristyle House of Caiaphas). He is warming himself by a fire because it was night and it was cold. He was asked about Yeshua and Peter denied knowing him. In verse 74, it says Peter began to curse and swear. Now, many think he was using vulgar words, but what he was doing was taking an oath about knowing Yeshua, and this put him under a curse if he really knew Yeshua (Mark 14.71; John 21.15-17). Now, all of this was done before morning (Matt 27.1-2). Mark 14.53-72 are companion verses to the ones on Matthew. In Mark 14.66, it says that “Peter was below in the courtyard.” This tells us there were several stories to this house, a big house, which is exactly what the Peristyle House that was discovered was. We also learn that the Temple Crier separated his calls in the Temple (v 72..”a second time”In Mark 15.1 it says, “the whole council” or “all the council” and this does not mean that the whole Sanhedrin was there, it just means those who sided with Caiaphas. In Luke 22.54-71 we have similar passages. Yeshua will be placed on the cross at 9 am. He will have met with the “Council” in the Peristyle House of Caiaphas and will have met with Pilate. This is all before the Sanhedrin was allowed to convene (9 am). So, as a result, we have learned that this “trial” was held illegally and not before the Sanhedrin proper.
John 18.14-15 says they took him to Annas in the Palatial Mansion right next to the Peristyle House first, but we are not told that in Matthew, Mark and Luke. We know that Peter went, but it also tells us about “another disciple” who also followed who knew Caiaphas (John 18.14.15). Was it John? We don’t know. It is possible that John’s family sold fish to Caiaphas. We also learn from the book “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” by Alfred Edersheim, p 810, (footnote), says that John was a priest. He was a cousin to to Yeshua, and we know that Yeshua’s mother was from a Levitical/priestly family line, just look at the names in her genealogy, and she was the cousin to Elishevah, also from a Levitical/Priestly line (Luke 1.5). Miriam was the sister of a woman named Salome (John 19.25), who was at the cross (Mark 15.40). Salome was the wife of Zebedee, the father of John and James, so this would have made Yeshua a cousin to John and James. If this was John, he would have been known to Annas and Caiaphas. Was it Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus? We don’t know and there is no way of knowing who this was for sure. Whoever this was, he was connected to Caiaphas because he went out and talked to the doorkeeper and brought Peter into the courtyard of the Peristyle House. They brought Yeshua to Caiaphas in the Peristyle House next door after meeting Annas (John 18.17-24). This is where Peter was.
In Part 4, we will pick up here and begin to talk about the back-round of who was in this “council” and who was involved in the trial of Yeshua.