The High Priests Annas And Caiaphas

Annas High Priest

The Bible states that at the time of the trial of Jesus, there were two high priests, Annas and Caiaphas. Luke 3:1-3 says the following:

"Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."

All the men mentioned in the previous Bible passage including the high priests Annas and Caiaphas are mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus in his work entitled Jewish Antiquities. He states in the following passages:

"Annas, the son of Seth was installed as high priest by Quirinius. During this time, Herod Antipas and Philip were administering their tetrarchies . . .

The third Caesar was Tiberius who appointed Valerius Gratus to succeed Rufus as procurator over the Jews. Gratus removed Annas from the high priesthood and then appointed Joseph Caiaphas to the office. Gratus retired to Rome after being in Judea for eleven years. He was succeeded by Pontius Pilate." . . . "Herod Agrippa became king and the Emperor Claudius added Judea and Samaria to his rule as well as all lands formerly ruled by Herod the Great, as well as Abilene, which had been governed by Lysanias."

And concerning the high priest Caiaphas, Josephus mentions that his full name was Joseph Caiaphas. Archaeologists in 1990 discovered a burial cave on the outskirts of Jerusalem which contained a collection of bone boxes. During the first century, bodies of the dead were laid in caves. After the flesh had decomposed, the bones were gathered and put into boxes, indicating a belief in the resurrection.

One of the casket-like boxes found in the cave was elaborately carved and is inscribed with the words: "Joseph, son of Caiaphas." The box contains the actual remains of the Biblical figure Caiaphas.


'And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled . . . And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!"

Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Matthew 26:57-64

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