Who were the “elders?”

WHO WERE THE “ELDERS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The “elders” were members of the Sanhedrin, or Jewish Supreme Court (see our related study linked at the end of this article). As their name implies, they were elderly men in leadership positions. They are important characters in Matthew through John, as well as Acts, since they were among the Lord Jesus’ enemies. The elders were influential in putting Christ to death, and harassing and persecuting His Apostles and other disciples. Remember, contrary to popular belief, old age does not necessarily imply wisdom! “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness(Proverbs 16:31).

THE ELDERS MISTREATED CHRIST (QUICK SUMMARY)

The “elders” were instrumental in arrogantly challenging, surreptitiously betraying, fraudulently trying, incorrectly accusing, mercilessly torturing, wrongly convicting, irreverently mocking, and brutally executing Jesus Christ!

  • Matthew 16:21: “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
  • Mark 8:31: “And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
  • Luke 9:22: “Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.”

THE ELDERS CHALLENGED CHRIST’S AUTHORITY

  • 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, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?”
  • Mark 11:27: “And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,….”
  • Luke 20:1: “And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,….”

THE ELDERS PLOTTED TO KILL CHRIST

  • Matthew 26:3-5: “Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

THE ELDERS ARRANGED AND PARTICIPATED IN CHRIST’S ARREST

  • Matthew 26:47: “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.”
  • Matthew 27:3: “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,….”
  • Mark 14:43: “And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.”
  • Luke 22:52: “Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?”

THE ELDERS PRESIDED OVER CHRIST’S “TRIAL” (A SHAM, TO SAY THE LEAST!)

  • Matthew 26:3: “Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,….”
  • Matthew 26:57: “And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.”
  • Matthew 26:59: “Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;….”
  • Matthew 27:12: “And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.”
  • Mark 14:53: “And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.”
  • Mark 15:1: “And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate.”

THE ELDERS PERSUADED MULTITUDE TO DEMAND CHRIST’S CRUCIFIXION

  • Matthew 27:20: “But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.”

THE ELDERS MOCKED CHRIST AS HE HUNG ON CALVARY’S CROSS

  • Matthew 27:41: “Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,….”

THE ELDERS BRIBED THE ROMAN SOLDIERS TO COVER UP CHRIST’S RESURRECTION

  • Matthew 28:11-15: “[11] Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. [12] And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, [13] Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. [14] And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. [15] So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”

THE ELDERS PERSECUTED THE 12 APOSTLES AND STEPHEN IN EARLY ACTS

  • Acts 4:5: “And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes,….”
  • Acts 4:8: “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,….”
  • Acts 4:23: “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.”
  • Acts 6:12: “And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him [Stephen], and caught him, and brought him to the council,….”

THE ELDERS SUPPORTED THE APOSTLE PAUL’S WRONGFUL CONVICTION AND DEATH (MURDER!)

  • Acts 23:14: “And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.”
  • Acts 24:1: “And after five days Ananias the high priest descended with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.”
  • Acts 25:15: “About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed me, desiring to have judgment against him.”

Also see:
» What was the Sanhedrin?
» Who were the “chief priests?”
» Who were the “Pharisees?”
» Who were the “Sadducees?”
» Who were the “Herodians?”

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