The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ
Requirement For Two WitnessesLocation:
Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:
The Hebrew laws, both Mosaic and Talmudic, insisted that there must be no less than two witnesses to testify against the accused in all criminal cases.
Moreover, their testimony had to agree, in all essential facts, material to the charge preferred.
"At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness, he shall not be put to death."
By the language of the just quoted law, we see that, even if they had only one witness to testify against Jesus- which, incidentally, they did not have- He could not be lawfully condemned to die!
Only eye witnesses were permitted to testify against the prisoner.
There was no such thing, in those days, as circumstantial evidence in a criminal prosecution.
Additionally, the testimony of all witnesses had to embrace all of the case- not a part by one, and another by some other witness.
Unless the witnesses could relate the details of the whole crime, their testimony was considered unworthy of belief.
This was a rather harsh rule, long since departed from in modern jurisprudence, but it is evidence of a sincere determination on their part to be absolutely fair and impartial in dealing with the accused.
Before taking the stand, every witness was solemnly warned and admonished about testifying falsely against his neighbor- in keeping with the law of Moses, embraced in the Ten Commandments, received by him on Mount Sinai.
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
It is of further interest to note that, under Jewish Laws, a witness was not called upon to swear that he would speak only the truth.
No oath was required of him, as is now universally the rule in all courts; because the early Jews concluded that any testimony offered in their courts was submitted under the admonition of God, set forth in the quoted ninth Commandment.
Not only did the Hebrew laws require the testimony of at least two witnesses, before a conviction could be upheld, but the competency of such witnesses was very limited.
( Ms Suzy pauses with a pensive look upon her face before continuing.)
Take, for illustration, these limitations:
Women, even though eye witnesses to a crime, were never permitted to testify in any case.
And notice the peculiar reasons assigned for excluding them:
"Let not the testimony of women be admitted in evidence, on account of their levity and boldness of their sex."
Such a prohibition against womanhood is unheard of in modern jurisprudence!
In many states of the Union, they are now also competent to serve as Judges and jurors!
Some of the ablest jurists in America, incidentally, come from the female species.
And into what common classification were women placed by the early Jewish laws?
Besides women, these were likewise incompetent to testify in any case:
"Slaves, minors, idiots, the blind, the deaf mutes, userers, gamblers, illiterates, and anyone directly interested in the outcome of a case."
This Jewish "two-witness" rule was long ago abandoned; and now, in every jurisdiction of modern times, such is no longer the case; except in a very limited scope of crimes, such as: perjury, and the serious offense of treason.
Another rather strange provision of the ancient Jewish laws- very foreign to modern requirements- was that of never requiring the accused to testify in his own behalf, under oath.
He, like all other witnesses in the case, was exempt from such a requirement.
It will be noted, in passing, however, that, under the rules of procedure in military tribunals in this country, the members of the armed forces, when tried by court martial, cannot be forced to testify under oath!
Having definitely shown the Jewish requirement for two witnesses, who agreed in their testimony, we recall that, from the first step to the last stage of the "trials" of Jesus, including His condemnation and sentence of death, there had not been produced a single witness to support the charge of the high priest of "blasphemy."
The case of the prosecution, therefore, had utterly failed!
The Christ, under law the law, stood acquitted, and was entitled to an immediate judgment of "not guilty" of any offense whatsoever!
And it must be admitted that Jesus was well versed in the Hebrew laws.
For, more than once, He properly challenged their right, under the laws, to treat Him as they did.
Had He not been well within His legal rights,they could have forced Him to speak when He elected to remain silent!
And, while they marveled at His majestic silence, they could not condemn Him for it- because He was exercising His legal rights in such circumstances!
Summing up, in respect to the error covered by this court, that the two-witness rule was ignored by the Sanhedrin and Pilate, the statement is repeated, by way of emphasis, that the Christ was entitled to be released, rather than crucified.
The judgement of death was a nullity from its inception.
Thus, the enemies of Jesus who nailed Him to that cross were no less than murderers, because they had no legal mandate so to do, from a lawful court.
And Annas and Caiaphas, and the other members of the Sanhedrin, were as guilty of that murder of the Innocent Blood as were the profane, base and cowardly Roman soldiers who had the gall to gamble for the garments of the dying Christ!