The Signs of the Times


January 17, 1900

Before Annas and Caiaphas


Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound Him and led Him away to Annas first.” In deference to his age, Annas, the head of the reigning priestly family, was recognized by the people as the high priest. His counsel was sought and carried out as the voice of God. He must first see Jesus a captive to priestly power. He must be present at the examination of the prisoner, for fear that the less-experienced Caiaphas might fail to secure the object for which they were working. His artifice, cunning, and subtlety must be used on this occasion; for at all events Christ's condemnation must be secured. ST January 17, 1900, par. 1

Christ was to be tried formally before the Sanhedrin, but he was subjected to a preliminary trial before Annas, that the priest might gratify his masterly spirit and show his superiority. Some delay was required in order to assemble the Sanhedrin, and, burning with a desire to hurry matters, Annas waited with ill-concealed impatience. While the members of the counsel were coming together, he asked Jesus of His disciples and His doctrine, hoping that the prisoner would say something that would give him material upon which to work. He thought that he could readily entangle Christ, and secure His condemnation, on the ground that His own words proved Him to be a disturber of the peace and a creator of insurrection. ST January 17, 1900, par. 2

Christ read the priest's purpose as an open book. As if reading the inmost soul of His questioner, He denied that there was between Him and His followers any secret bond or union, or that He gathered them secretly and in the darkness, to conceal His designs. “I spake openly to the world,” He declared; “I ever taught in the synagog, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou Me? ask them which heard Me, what I have said unto them; behold, they know what I said.” ST January 17, 1900, par. 3

Annas was silenced by the decision of the answer. Fearing that Christ would say something regarding his own course of action that he would prefer to keep covered up, he said nothing more to Him at this time. One of his officers, filled with wrath as he saw Annas silenced, struck Christ on the face, saying, “Answerest Thou the high priest so?” This action was unlawful; it was contrary to law to offer any one the least insult until he had been tried. But the clouds of wrath were gathering ready to burst. From that time till Christ cried out, “It Is Finished,“ insults were offered to Him. The actions of His persecutors were those of barbarians, rather than of civilized human beings professing godliness. ST January 17, 1900, par. 4

To the question of the officer, Christ replied calmly, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou Me?” He spoke no burning words of retaliation. His answer came from a heart sinless, patient, and gentle, that would not be provoked. In His serenity and heavenly dignity He was in that hardened, passionate throng as a star in the midnight darkness. ST January 17, 1900, par. 5

The whole history of Christ's life on earth is a narrative of sacrifice and suffering. Through transgression man severed his connection with God, and, as a result, he lost the image of God. He cherished the sentiments and the attributes of the apostate. Christ must take human nature, and live the law of God, in order that the one who is the originator of transgression might be unmasked. He came to this earth, and here He suffered, being tempted. ST January 17, 1900, par. 6

His Suffering Was Proportionate to the Perfection

of His holiness and His hatred of sin. At the hands of the beings He had created and for whom He was making an infinite sacrifice, He received every indignity. His trial by men who acted as fiends act, was to Him a perpetual sacrifice. To be surrounded by beings under the control of Satan was revolting to Him. ST January 17, 1900, par. 7

Christ might have stood forth in godlike dignity, and asked His persecutors, as He asked Job, “Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.” “Gird up thy loins now like a man; I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto Me. Wilt thou also disannul My judgment? wilt thou condemn Me, that thou mayest be righteous?” But He who could have doomed His enemies to death, bore with their cruelty. His love for His Father, and His pledge, made from the foundation of the world, to become the sin-bearer that He might save all who came to Him in faith, induced Him to bear patiently and uncomplainingly the coarse treatment of those in whose behalf He had clothed His divinity with humanity. ST January 17, 1900, par. 8

The angels witnessed every movement against their loved Commander. Not long before this Christ had said to Peter: “Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I can not now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels?” Why, then, thought the disciples, does He not save Himself and us? And in answer to their unspoken thought, He said, “But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” ST January 17, 1900, par. 9

Under God the Angels Are All-Powerful

They are mighty, and they excel in strength. On one occasion, in obedience to the command of Christ, they slew in one night one hundred and eighty-five thousand men of the Assyrian army. They can, and will, soon visit the earth with judgments. In quick succession one angel after another will pour out vials of wrath upon the inhabitants of the earth. How easily could the angels, beholding the shameful scene of the trial of Christ, have testified to their indignation by consuming the adversaries of God! But they were not commanded to do this. ST January 17, 1900, par. 10

From Annas the Saviour was hurried to the palace of the officiating high priest, Caiaphas. Here He was falsely accused by His persecutors, and sneeringly questioned by the priests. But while enduring this mockery of an examination, He was pierced by a keener pang than it was in the power of His enemies to inflict. Whose is that voice He hears, denying the Saviour? Is it Judas?—No; it is Peter, apparently His firmest disciple, who but a few hours before had declared that he would never deny his Lord, but if need be would go with Him to prison and to death. But now, with bitter oaths, He is saying, “I know not the Man.” The abuse of the Jews can not cause Christ such pain as this denial. The cock crew as the words were spoken, and, turning, Christ looked His disciple in the face. His look expressed sorrow, yet it was full of compassion and forgiveness. Unable to bear the sight, Peter rushed from the room, but at every step he took, his Master's face, that precious, suffering, and yet compassionate face, was mirrored before him. ST January 17, 1900, par. 11

“And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led Him into their council, saying, 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.” ST January 17, 1900, par. 12

The Words of Christ Will Be Fulfilled

By using their God-given faculties to cause suffering and distress to the Son of God, the priests and rulers decided their eternal destiny. They showed that they had chosen to stand on the side of the great apostate. When Christ comes the second time, not as a prisoner surrounded by a rabble will they see Him. They will see Him as heaven's King, surrounded by a fitting body-guard. Christ will come in His own glory, in the glory of His Father, and in the glory of the holy angels. Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels, the beautiful and triumphant sons of God, possessing surpassing loveliness and glory, will escort Him on His way. Then the priests and rulers will remember distinctly the scene in the judgment-hall. Every circumstance will appear before them as if written in letters of fire. Then the whole world will know and understand. They will realize who and what they, poor, feeble, finite human beings, have been warring against. ST January 17, 1900, par. 13

“And the men that held Jesus mocked Him, and smote Him. And when they had blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face, and asked Him saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote Thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against Him.” ST January 17, 1900, par. 14

This is a representation of what priests and rulers will do when Satan controls them. Every soul in his army he leads against good. It was necessary that Christ should suffer this treatment, that he who was once an angel in the heavenly courts, but who apostatized, and who was now endeavoring to clothe his deformity with the garments of an angel of light, might be unmasked, and his true character be revealed through the men he had inspired. ST January 17, 1900, par. 15

After reading this history, will any of the people of God confederate with the powers of darkness, prostituting their God-given faculties to Satan's work? From this lesson all may learn ST January 17, 1900, par. 16

What Little Trust Humanity Can Place in Humanity

even in those who fill the highest positions of trust. These things are recorded for the benefit of all who shall be called upon to suffer similar scorn and derision for Christ's sake. God's people will suffer because of the delusion that will come upon men's minds. Because some conscientiously differ with them on subjects of Bible truth, men will repeat the actions which were done to Christ. But none are to retaliate, or to feel that God has left them to suffer when He might deliver them. “If ye were of the world,” Christ declared, “the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name's sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.” ST January 17, 1900, par. 17

All those who in our day turn the truth of God into a lie by their human traditions, will surely set up their human laws to counteract the laws of God. These laws will be made as vigorous as ever the self-righteous Pharisees made their traditions. Men will strive to disguise their ungodly deeds and want of piety by making laws to compel the conscience of others, and in their false religious zeal to enforce these laws they will oppress their fellow-men. ST January 17, 1900, par. 18

History will be, and even now is being, repeated. The same power from beneath that worked in Christ's day is making itself known. Oppressive laws, which have not in them a particle of the Spirit of God, are being enacted. And the less men submit themselves in obedience to the law of God, the more zealously will they try to enforce human laws. They will teach for doctrine the commandments of men. ST January 17, 1900, par. 19

Our chief interest should be to seek for the truth as for hidden treasure, that we may live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. We are to consider carefully how to build, for human nature is a cruel tyrant when not under the control of God's Spirit. ST January 17, 1900, par. 20

Our Part Is to Follow Our Saviour in Obedience

to all His commandments. We need daily to understand every lesson in the life of Christ, taking heed lest we allow the world, with its forms and practises, its laws and standards, to be our criterion, and draw us away from our Saviour. Let those who love God keep the example of Christ ever before them. Let them remember the many lessons He gave to those whom He had chosen as His representatives. He taught them not to retaliate or resist oppression. In His name they were to approach His Father and their Father, and pour out their sorrows and griefs to Him. He would answer them; for He would be touched with the feeling of their infirmities. ST January 17, 1900, par. 21

“Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's person in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” ST January 17, 1900, par. 22

Mrs. E. G. White