The Trial of Jesus
In order to support their doctrine, sacred names adherents sit on eggs of error and hatch new and increasingly outlandish chicks. They reach unwarranted conclusions based on skewered evidence gathered by pseudo scholarship. They get revelations that God is not within a thousand miles of. They discover information where none exists in the Scriptures.
Production of these strange chicks reaches an apex with the theory that Jesus was killed because he said the name Yahweh. Such a theory could only result from a misguided effort to buttress the opinion that Jesus had to have said and must have said the name Yahweh.
The fact that the Bible says nothing about Jesus being killed because he spoke the name Yahweh is of little importance to sacred name teachers. The fact that the Bible says Jesus was killed for an altogether different reason is of no concern at all to these teachers.
With a little slight of hand, a little cunning craftiness, and a little hocus-pocus, sacred name teachers beguile their converts into believing the bizarre notion that Jesus was actually crucified for speaking the name Yahweh. Such is the consequence when both the teacher and the taught are willing to suspend their hold on reality.
Not only has this theory been developed and promoted, sacred name teachers think of it as being the best evidence they have come up with for proving that Jesus said the name Yahweh. Hear the comments of one such teacher. “Nowhere is there a greater testimony given about the messiah and his use of the sacred name than the fact that he was falsely tried and then executed because he used it.”1
This is a particularly broad and far reaching statement. Sadly, it expresses the beliefs of many, perhaps most, of the teachers within the sacred name movement. After giving consideration to this statement, one is able to see how high a value sacred name teachers put on their interpretation of the events surrounding the trial of our Savior. This spokesman for the teaching seems to be saying that if his theory that Jesus said the name Yahweh cannot be proven by the events of the trial, it cannot be proven at all. If that is what he is saying, this sixth part of the study will show him to be right. The teaching that Jesus said the name Yahweh cannot be proven at all.
By placing too much weight for proof of their doctrine on this one event, these teachers are venturing into very deep water. It is such water as will drown them in their own false teaching.
Since a great number of sacred name people subscribe to the belief that Jesus was killed for speaking the name Yahweh, this section of the study will be an investigation of events both leading up and during the trial of Jesus. We will compare the Holy Record with the teaching of the sacred name movement. Our studies will conclusive show the belief of the sacred name teachers to be contradictory to the scriptural evidence.
Close scrutiny of the scriptural accounts of the words and actions of Jesus, of the Jewish leaders, and of Pilate a few days prior to and during the trial, yields two pieces of information pertinent to the reason the Jews wanted Jesus killed. Both the motivation and the accusation of the Jewish leaders against Jesus are easily found by simply reading the biblical account. The biblical account of the motivation and the accusation does not correspond to the presumption sacred name teachers preach as doctrine.
Jesus entered Jerusalem to the adoration of a multitude a few days before his arrest. The people were strewing palm fronds in the path of Jesus as he went into the city.2 Matthew says this was the fulfillment of the prophesy of Zechariah. The wicked chief priests were afraid of the fulfillment of this prophesy of the coming King, the Messiah. These Jewish leaders were motivated by envy.
As Matthew narrates the events surrounding Jesus entering Jerusalem, he offers a paraphrase of Zechariah’s prophecy.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. (Matthew 21:5)
What Jesus did was not lost on the Jewish leaders. These chief priests and scribes saw the parallel between Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the words of Zechariah. The lowly King, the promised Messiah, riding a donkey was too much for them.
And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased (Matthew 21:15)
Luke gives a report of the excitement on the day Jesus entered Jerusalem.
And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. (Luke 19:37-38)
The Jewish leaders were unhappy with the popularity Jesus enjoyed. They were altogether displeased because of the public acclaim that greeted Jesus in Jerusalem. They envied him.
These leaders of the Jews were politicians. They were men of power in the nation of Israel functioning under the auspices of the Roman government. If they let Jesus live to become the messianic King, they expected to lose their political power. Much as Herod had wished Jesus, the King, dead as soon as he was born. Therefore, these men envied Jesus and wished him dead. Envy was their motivation for delivering him to Pilate to be crucified.
For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. (Matthew 27:18)
In Jerusalem and other cities, the apostles eventually came under the displeasure of the Jewish leaders resulting from the same envy.3
Compounding their displeasure, Jesus forcibly put the greed out of the temple.4 The moneychangers and the dove sellers were in the temple at the license of the chief priests. Jesus, by throwing out these business enterprises, made a direct assault on the authority of the chief priests.
The scathing public attack Jesus made on the character of these men did nothing to appease them.
Woe Unto you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites.(Matthew 23:13-16, 23, 25, 27, 29)
Over and over, in his addresses in the temple, Jesus repeats this condemnation of these religious leaders. Even Pilate knew the reason they weren’t happy with Jesus.
They were not happy with his claim of being the Messiah. In disbelief they rejected him. They weren’t happy with his popularity among the common people. They knew the people were listening to him and that he was gaining in popularity. Their ears were closed to the call Jesus made for them to repent of their hypocrisy. Peter would later say they were “denying the Holy One and the Just.”5
Pilate understood the intentions of the Jewish leaders. The questions he asked Jesus followed the implication that Jesus might be a king. By this it is seen that he unquestionably knew their motives. Here is how Mark records that information.
For he [Pilate] knew that the chief priests delivered him for envy. (Mark 15:10)
The motivation of the Jewish leaders to kill Jesus is clear enough. It was envy.
The Bible address the reason why the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus killed. There is no necessity to surmise, guess, postulate, theorize, and speculate about the reason. John records the charge the chief priests and officers of the people made against Jesus before Pilate.
The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. (John 19:7)
The same accusation had arisen early in the ministry of Jesus. In Jerusalem at the pool called Bethesda Jesus healed a lame man by telling him, "Rise, take up thy bed and walk."6 This happened on the Sabbath day and the Jews hated Jesus because he had broken one of their Sabbath laws. John explains their thinking and relates an additional reason these people wanted Jesus killed.
And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.(John 5:16-18)
They wanted him dead because he made himself equal with God. Their hatred was based on the fact God called him Emmanuel, “God with us.”7
It can be seen that the charge against Jesus brought by the Jewish leaders to Pilate was not new. But it is clear. It is plain. It is easily understood. Only those having help from a false teacher will find any grounds upon which to misunderstand it.
There is no comfort in John’s words for the sacred name teacher, who believes Jesus was tried and killed for speaking the name Yahweh. It would be well if these men would simply accept and believe John’s record of the indictment of Jesus: “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”
It is just another sacred name movement fallacy that the Jewish council wanted Jesus dead because he spoke the name Yahweh. The Holy Record disagrees with them. The scriptures say not one word about the Jews being motivated to kill him because he spoke a forbidden name.
Jesus was not put to death because he said the name Yahweh. Not a single writer of the New Testament Scriptures took the sacred name movement position. The sacred name teaching is left without a foundation. There is no biblical basis for this teaching. The only reason sacred name teachers came up with such a theory is because their doctrine requires it.
Proof From the Mishna & The Talmud
Some sacred name teachers seem to be well versed on the Mishna and the Talmud. These Jewish books are referred to in an attempt to show that first century Jews counted speaking the Tetragrammaton as blasphemous and an offense worthy of death. In turn, other sacred name teachers are content merely to quote their brethren who have quoted these Jewish works.
While the sacred name teacher quotes his research of the Mishna and Talmud in order to speculate and hypothesize about what the Jews may have thought and done about blasphemers, it must be noted that neither Jewish work says a single word about why Jesus was killed. Any information gleaned from secular works of this kind will have to take a back seat to the words of the men who followed Jesus. These apostolic men were there. We do not need to imagine why the Jews wanted Jesus killed. They directly address this issue. The Mishna and the Talmud are not the inspired Word of God. We have a more sure word.
If these teachers are going to back their claim that Jesus was killed for saying the name Yahweh, they will have to do so with a verse of Scripture. This they cannot do.
Sacred name teachers, who offer the Mishna and the Talmud in proof that Jesus was killed for saying the name Yahweh, demonstrate their thought process. They had rather take idle speculation gotten from secular sources than accept the written Word of God. It is the most basic difference between a Bible believer and a sacred name believer.
Does It Matter What the Bible Says?
Sacred name teachers need to examine the Bible concerning the questions asked of Jesus by the high priest at the trial. Jesus was not asked a single question about speaking the name Yahweh. If he were truly on trial for speaking that name, one would expect the questioning would have followed that line of thought. Luke reports how they questioned him in their council. Their questioning directly coincided with their accusation. It was about whether he were the Messiah, whether he were the Son of God.
Art thou the Christ? Tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. And they said, What need we any further witness? For we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.8
Are you the Messiah? Are you the Son of God?
This is the questioning of the chief priests. They ask no questions regarding whether Jesus pronounced HaShem – the name.
Matthew says the questioning followed the same line. “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?” He also tells us the high priest wanted Jesus to swear “by the living God.”
And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.(Matt 26:62-65)
The Charge of Blasphemy
In the scriptural passages given above, from Luke chapter twenty-two and Matthew chapter twenty-six, Jesus said, “…the right hand of power.” Sacred name teachers, always eager to add their doctrinally necessary “restorations” and “corrections” to the New Testament, insist that Jesus said, “…the right hand of Yahweh.” They further assert Jesus saying the name Yahweh resulted in the charge that he blasphemed. The high priest exclaimed, “He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.”
This makes for nice speculation from a sacred name doctrinal point of view about what happened. But, speculation is not something upon which to establish Bible doctrine. Bible doctrine must be, “thus saith the Lord.” In this instance, the Word of the Lord shows that Jesus said, “…right hand of power.”
The questioning continued until the high priest had Jesus acknowledge under oath – “I adjure thee” – whether he were the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus answered that it was as the high priest said. Indeed, he was the Messiah, the Son of God. At this point and only at this point, the high priest declares Jesus has spoken blasphemy. The blasphemy the high priest alleges is in the statement, “Thou hast said.” These words are the affirmative answer Jesus gave to the emphatic demand, “I adjure thee by the living God tell us whether thou by the Christ the Son of God.”
A wild stretch of the sacred name teachers overworked imagination combined with their ever present doctrinal necessities, have Jesus charged with blasphemy for saying the name Yahweh. The Gospel accounts are plain and easy to understand. There is nothing in either account about Jesus speaking the name Yahweh, the high priest questioning him about saying the name Yahweh, or his being charged with saying the name Yahweh. Such conclusions are not warranted by the facts in evidence. They are false conclusions.
The evidence shows the direction of the questioning agrees with the charge presented to Pilate. “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”(John 19:7) When Jesus confessed to this charge, he was accused of blasphemy. Why are sacred name teachers unwilling to accept the facts as the Bible gives them? Jesus came to earth as the Messiah, the Son of God. His own people had him killed because he was the Messiah, the Son of God and refused to deny it. Pronouncing the name Yahweh had nothing to do with any of this.
The Lack of Witnesses
The witnesses and the testimony against Jesus is another aspect of the trial that must be examined. Such an examination will show the sacred name doctrine to be false. Regarding the witnesses, Mark offers the following words.
And the chief priests and all the council sought for witnesses against Jesus to put him to death, but found none.(Mark 14:55)
If, as the sacred name position claims, Jesus was put to death for speaking the name Yahweh, the Jewish council had to find two or three witnesses to state that he had said this name. The fact that they could find not one is the death knell of the sacred name theory.
According to the notion of the sacred name teachers, Jesus had been teaching the name Yahweh for over three years. This being true, he would have said the name Yahweh hundreds, perhaps even thousands of times. Some sacred name teachers think teaching the name Yahweh to the world was his sole mission. By the time of his trial, literally thousands of people would have heard him speak this name.
However, the Scriptures reveal (Here again, staying with the sacred name teachers’ line of reasoning.) that at the trial not a single person could testify that Jesus had said this name. This one detail makes the sacred name movement position look a little stupid. The absurdity of the proposal that Jesus taught, spoke, and said the name Yahweh and was killed for doing so is made apparent by a consideration of facts such as these.
Who Would Have Heard Jesus Say Yahweh?
According to the sacred name teachers, Jesus said the name Yahweh a number of times during his stay in Jerusalem before his arrest. The record of Matthew shows that upon entering Jerusalem Jesus went into the temple and held discussions with the Jewish sects.
Sacred name teachers should cringe to learn that even the chief priests were there. They “came unto him as he was teaching.”11 The sacred name teacher who thought up the theory that Jesus was tried and killed because he spoke the name Yahweh did not take into consideration the fact that these leaders of the Jews heard Jesus teaching in the temple.
Sacred name teachers believe that as Jesus was teaching in the temple, he spoke the name Yahweh several times. One sacred name bible12 puts the name Yahweh into the mouth of Jesus sixteen times as he taught in the temple.13 Another sacred name bible14 maintains that Jesus said the name Yahweh two times during these discourses.
Such is the disparity among these pseudo scholars. The sacred name teachers inserting the name Yahweh willy-nilly into the New Testament text demonstrates their false scholarship. Such is not scholarship. It is doctrine, false doctrine. They put this name into the text anywhere and everywhere they think, “it seems appropriate.” [Read a documented account of adding to the Scriptures in Part Four of the study.]
Whether it is two times or sixteen, the claim is made by sacred name teachers that Jesus did speak the name Yahweh a number of times during his teaching in the temple. The Scriptures show that this to have been within earshot of the scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the elders of the people, and even the high priests themselves.
At the trial of Jesus (Keep in mind that we are following the sacred name teachers line of reasoning.) even though a number of the scribes, the Pharisees, the elders of the people, and even the high priests were present, none of them testified that Jesus said the name Yahweh. The sacred name doctrine claims that these very men who are looking for witnesses that Jesus had said the name Yahweh had themselves heard him speak the name and could have so testified, but would not do so. One wonders why, in the sacred name doctrine scheme of things, they were unwilling to do so.
Here is what the sacred name teachers are saying.
- Only a few days before the trial, the chief priests had heard Jesus speak the name Yahweh.
- At the trial, they needed two or three people to testify of having heard Jesus speak the name Yahweh.
- Out of all the scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and elders of the people who had heard Jesus say the name Yahweh, the chief priests were unable to glean a single witness to testify against Jesus in this matter. And most amazingly, they themselves would not testify that they had heard him speak this name.
It is a pitiful theory that these sacred name teachers put forward. It doesn’t make any sense at all. It is a false theory because it is not according to Scripture.
The events could not have happened in the way sacred name teachers say. When considered in the light of what the Bible says, the inconsistencies and gaps in the sacred name position are glaring. The eyes of the sacred name teacher are quite blind to these problems.
To recap: The sacred name doctrine has the very men who are supposed to have heard Jesus speak the name Yahweh looking without success for someone to testify that they heard Jesus speak the name Yahweh. It is obvious that this in not a well thought out teaching. In other words, what the sacred name teacher says happened doesn’t even make good nonsense. The teaching is nothing more than a perversion of the Scriptures.
The theory that Jesus was killed because he said the name Yahweh clearly disagrees with what the Bible says. It is therefore a false doctrine. One generation of sacred name teachers spawned this false teaching and the next generation nurtures it.
The Bible warns of the coming of these men. Jesus prophesied of them. He said, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”15 Peter spoke of their teachings in the most derogatory terms. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”16 John gives notice that no one should believe them.“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”17
Paul said men would arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.18 Those who propagate the doctrine that Jesus was crucified because he said the name Yahweh are of this ilk. Such teachers are not seeking to make disciples for Jesus, but for themselves. Do not follow such teachers.
What Jesus told the Sadducees apply fits these false teachers. “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.”19 They are blind and they lead the blind. Jesus asked the rhetorical question, “Shall they not both fall into the ditch?”20
The teaching that Jesus was killed because he said the name Yahweh is like a wrecked car with a cover on it. Only when the cover is removed, can one see what a ghastly pile of junk it really is. The Bible removes the cover from the sacred name movement teaching and shows that it is just another man made religious fabrication.
Footnotes1. R. Clover, The Sacred Name Yahweh, pg 151. [back]
2. Matthew 21:1-11 [back]
3. Acts 12:3, Acts 13:45, and Acts 17:5 [back]
4. Matthew 21:12-15 [back]
5. Acts 3:14 [back]
6. John 5:8 [back]
7. Matthew 1:23 [back]
8. Luke 22:67-71 [back]
9. Mark 12:18 “Then come unto him the Sadducees…” [back]
10. Matthew 22:34 “But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.” [back]
11. Matthew 21:23 “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching” [back]
12. The Book of Yahweh [back]
13. Matthew 21: 23 through Matthew 22: 39 [back]
14. The Scriptures [back]
15. Matthew 24:11 [back]
16. 2 Peter 2:1 [back]
17. 1 John 4:1 [back]
18. Acts 20:30 [back]
19. Matthew 22:29 [back]
20. Luke 6:39 [back]