Acts 6 –The Appointment of the Seven & The High Priests Annas and Caiaphas

Finger Pointing UpTomorrow we’re going to look at another ancient fortification, the…

1 Joseph Caiaphas
Joseph Caiaphas, high priest of the temple in Jerusalem from 18 to 37 A.D., played a key role in the trial and execution of Jesus Christ. Caiaphas accused Jesus of blasphemy, a crime punishable by death under Jewish law.

Acts 6
The Appointment of the Seven

1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.

2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.

5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.

7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

2 Herod Agrippa II
Herod Agrippa II, officially named Marcus Julius Agrippa and sometimes just called Agrippa, was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, the Herodians.

8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.

12 And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council,

13 And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law:

14 For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.

15 And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.

The High Priests Annas and Caiaphas

From the reign of Herod onward, several high-caste priestly families (“houses”) in Israel competed for the high priesthood.

3 Annas officially
Annas officially served as High Priest for ten years (6–15 AD), when at the age of 36 he was deposed by the procurator Gratus. Yet while having been officially removed from office, he remained as one of the nation’s most influential political and social individuals, aided greatly by the use of his five sons and his son-in-law as puppet High Priests.

His death is unrecorded, but his son Annas the Younger, also known as Ananus ben Ananus was assassinated in 66 AD for advocating peace with Rome.

Since high priests were regularly deposed by the political authorities (whether Herod or the Romans), numerous individuals undoubtedly served in the capacity of high priest during the first half of the first century A.D.

To make matters even more complicated, it appears that even if an individual did not actually opt the title if he belonged to one of the high-priestly families.

Annas (high priest from 6 to 15 A.D.; five of his sons held the position after him) and his son-in-law Joseph Caiaphas (high priest from 18 to 36 A.D.) were of the house of Hanan.

The Gospels indicate that while Caiaphas was the official high priest during the time of Jesus, Annas still wielded considerable power.

It is noteworthy that Ananus, one of the sons of Annas, was the high priest who engineered the execution of James, Jesus’ brother, in  62 A.D. (Josephus, Antiquities, 20.9.1).

According to Josephus, those who were “strict in the observance of the law” (likely the Pharisees) were so disturbed at this action that they protested to King Agrippa and to the procurator  tor Albinus.

As a direct result, Ananus was deposed as high priest after only three months in office.


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