“And You [Caiaphas] will see the Son of Man . . . coming on the Clouds of Heaven.”–When did Caiaphas Die?
When did Caiaphas Die? Mark 14:61-62 Commentary: Summary and Highlights
When did Caiaphas die? In the following commentary on Mark 14:61-62, Jesus says, “And YOU will see the Son of Man . . . coming on the clouds of heaven” when responding to the high priest. Jesus also promised to return within His generation in Matthew 16:27-28, Matthew 24 and Mark 8:38-9:1. Recently archaeologists have claimed to unearth the High Priest Caiaphas’ tomb. It seems that Caiaphas may have seen Jesus sitting at the right hand of God in Acts 7-8 during the stoning of Stephen. In the presence of the high priest, Stephen looks up and sees Jesus standing on the right hand of God in Acts 8:57. Two first century Roman historians recorded a miraculous event in A.D. 66 that appears to be Jesus Christ in the presence of a multitude of angels in the sky. Did Caiaphas also see Jesus come on the clouds of heaven during the Jewish War as well? This miracle in A.D. 66 marked the start of the most tragic war in Israelite history, a war whose outcome saw the literal fulfillment of seemingly every end time prediction in the Bible.1 For evidence see the following preterist commentary on Mark 14:61-62.
The following may seem unbelievable. However, all information is taken from unbiased historical records and is easily verifiable. Sources listed at the end.
“And You [Caiaphas] will see the Son of Man . . . coming on the Clouds of Heaven.”–When did Caiaphas Die?
61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
“And you [the high priest] will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One”: Caiaphas, the High Priest, may have seen Jesus at the Right Hand of God in Acts 6-7. The High Priest was present at the Stoning of Stephen when Steven looked up to the Sky and saw Jesus at the Right Hand of God.
In Mark 14:62 Jesus says the following in response to the high priest: “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Did Caiaphas survive to witness Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven? Much of the information in the following paragraph was kindly provided by Ron, a reader of this website. In Mark 14:61-62, Jesus says that the high priest may live to see Him at the right hand of God. This prophecy may have been fulfilled, at least in part, in Acts 6-7. According to Acts 6-7, Stephen was brought before the high priest and the Sanhedrin. While in their presence, Stephen presented the Gospel. He was then immediately put to death. At this time, Stephen looked up to heaven in the presence of the high priest in Acts 7:55-56 and “saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” Stephen’s accusers then covered their ears in Acts 7:57 and rushed at him to put him to death.
Did the high priest who according to Acts 6-7 was present at the death of Stephen also see Jesus at the right hand of God as did Stephen? If he did, then this event, no doubt, literally fulfills Mark 14:62: ““And you [the high priest] will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One[.]”
Did the high priest also see Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven at this time to receive His kingdom? In Daniel 7:13-14 Daniel sees a vision of the Messiah coming on the clouds of heaven to receive His kingdom while being brought into the presence of God in heaven:
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away.
Perhaps the Jewish high priest also saw a vision of Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven to receive His kingdom in Acts 7? If so then Mark 14:61-62 was completely fulfilled at that time. Interestingly, it is also possible that the high priests Ananus and Caiaphas may have seen Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven in fulfillment of Mark 14:62 shortly thereafter. As will be discussed below, Jesus did, in fact, later come on the clouds of heaven in judgment in that generation during the Jewish War of A.D. 66-A.D. 74. However, before discussing this event, let us also discuss another way in which Caiaphas may have seen Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven to be seated at the right hand of God.
Did Caiaphas see Jesus on Judgment Day? Mark 14:61-62 Preterist Commentary: As implied in Daniel 7:13-14, Caiaphas would have seen Jesus coming on the Clouds of Heaven and acquiring His Kingdom on Judgment Day after Caiaphas Resurrected from the Dead.
As stated above in Daniel 7:13-14, Jesus, the Son of Man, is seen in a vision coming on the clouds of heaven and given dominion over all nations. Perhaps Caiaphas having resurrected to the judgment seat in heaven may have also seen Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven and being seated at the right hand of God on His heavenly throne on the Day of Judgment after Caiaphas resurrected from the dead?
Caiaphas Probably Lived to Witness the Jewish War: Though it is not Known when Caiaphas Died, He may have lived to Witness at Least the Start of the Jewish War Since He was Probably Younger than His Father-in-Law Who was 87 when the Jewish War Began.
Historically the Jewish high priest served in this role for life. However, this changed during the Roman Empire when high priests were essentially Roman puppets who served out their terms until they fell out of favor and were deposed. Caiaphas served as high priest from A.D. 18 to around A.D. 36 when he was deposed by the proconsul Vitellius (Antiquities 18.95). It is not known how long Caiaphas lived after this point;2 however, I believe that it is likely that he lived to witness at least the start of the Jewish War. Caiaphas was the son-in-law of the high priest Ananus. Ananus served as high priest until A.D. 15 when he was deposed at the age of 36. It is also not known when Ananus died, but if Ananus was 36 in A.D. 15 he would have been 87 at the start of the Jewish War in A.D. 66. Since Caiaphas was Ananus’ son-in-law Caiaphas was probably younger than that at the time. Though it is not known when Caiaphas died based on his probable age range it is certainly quite likely that he survived to witness the beginning of the Jewish War in A.D. 66.
Caiaphas and Ananus Probably Lived to Witness the Jewish War: The High Priest Addressed by Jesus in Mark 14:61-62 also appears to be Ananus. Ananus also may have survived to see Jesus coming on the Clouds of Heaven.
In Luke 22:66-71 Jesus is brought before “both chief priests” before He issues a similar proclamation to Mark 14:61-62 in Luke 22:69. The two chief priests referred to in Luke 22:66 are Caiaphas and Ananus, Caiaphas’ father-in-law. As stated above, Ananus served as high priest until A.D. 15. Thereafter, he had five sons and one son-in-law, Caiaphas, who all served as high priest after him. While these six priests served as high priest Ananus is believed to be the one who truly pulled the strings whether overtly or in an advisory role. This fact appears to be illustrated in John 18:13-24. According to these vs. after Jesus was arrested He was brought first to Ananus’ house. Here Jesus was questioned by Ananus before being sent to Caiaphas. Interestingly, though not officially high priest, Ananus is identified as high priest in v. 23. Ananus was considered God’s high priest by the people of first century Israel and continued to be identified with the title even after he was deposed. Though it is also not known when Ananus died, it is likely that Ananus survived to witness the start of the Jewish War in A.D. 66.3 This notion seems probable given the fact that the last of Ananus’ puppet sons served as high priest until A.D. 63.
Caiaphas Probably Lived to Witness the Jewish War: Various Traditions Concerning the Death of Caiaphas
Though as stated above, it is not known when Caiaphas died, there are a few different traditions concerning his death. The Apostolic Constitutions of the late fourth century record a church tradition in which Caiaphas is said to have killed himself though no details are provided as to when or how. “And the eleventh-century Letter of Tiberius to Pilate imagined that Caiaphas, Pilate, and other Jewish rulers were arrested on Tiberius’s orders and taken to Rome. On the way, Caiaphas died in Crete and, as the earth would not receive his body, was covered with a cairn of stones. (Until the nineteen century there was a site near Knossos known as the tomb of Caiaphas.)4 The Syrian Church also has an equally unlikely tradition. The Syrian Church believes that Caiaphas later converted to Christianity and is identified with Flavius Josephus.5 However, given the fact that Caiaphas and Ananus continued to persecute Christians after Jesus’ death according to Acts 4:1-6 and Acts 5:17, 33 it is unlikely that Caiaphas ever converted. It is, of course, equally unlikely that Caiaphas is Flavius Josephus. However, if this belief is true, then it would appear that Caiaphas may have actually seen Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven as predicted in Mark 14:61-62 since Josephus mentions what appears to be the second coming of Christ in his history of the Jewish War.
Did Caiaphas see Jesus on Judgment Day? Mark 14:61-62 Preterist Commentary: Jesus made several Miraculous Appearances in the First Century. These Various Appearances of Christ during and shortly after the Jewish War are a Climatic Exemplification and Fulfillment of All the Ways in which God appeared to People in the Bible. They also Literally Fulfill Every Prophecy on the Second Coming.
Jesus made His first and perhaps most glorious appearance in the clouds at the start of the Jewish War in A.D. 66. At this time, Flavius Josephus among other historians records an army of angels seen on the clouds. This army of angels on the clouds literally fulfills Biblical descriptions of the second coming as described in Revelation 19. In Revelation 19 Jesus leads an army of angels on horseback in the sky. Throughout the Jewish War Jesus appears to have manifested Himself in many diverse ways. These varied manifestations seem to mirror all the assorted ways in which God appeared to people throughout the Bible. They also fulfill every Biblical detail concerning the parousia or second coming. See Historical Evidence that Jesus was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century.
In Historical Evidence that Jesus was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century, I explain how the Parousia was not likely to be a brief one-time event that just occurred in A.D. 70. Parousia is a Greek word meaning a royal coming or visit often with an extended stay. Thus I believe the second coming of Christ, the Parousia, was also a coming or visit that began in A.D. 66 and continued until A.D. 70. Evidence of this idea is also found in Mark 14:61-62. If the Parousia just occurred in A.D. 70, then it is unlikely that Caiaphas or Ananus lived to experience this event. According to Josephus, the Zealots and Idumeans sought out and killed the former high priests of Jerusalem in A.D. 68:
But the rage of the Idumeans was not satiated by these slaughters; but they now betook themselves to the city, and plundered every house, and slew every one they met; and for the other multitude, they esteemed it needless to go on with killing them, but they sought for the high priests, and the generality went with the greatest zeal against them; and as soon as they caught them they slew them, and then standing upon their dead bodies, in way of jest, upbraided Ananus with his kindness to the people, and Jesus with his speech made to them from the wall. Nay, they proceeded to that degree of impiety, as to cast away their dead bodies without burial . . . . while those that a little before had worn the sacred garments, and had presided over the public worship; and had been esteemed venerable by those that dwelt on the whole habitable earth when they came into our city, were cast out naked, and seen to be the food of dogs and wild beasts [emphasis mine].6
Though Caiaphas and Ananus senior are not specifically named by Josephus above it is unlikely that either man would have survived this rampage. If Caiaphas and Ananus were alive at that time, these two men would have also been marked for slaughter as Caiaphas; like Ananus, the son of Ananus; was also believed to be a puppet of Ananus senior. Thus Ananus senior was seen as the ultimate source of much of the corruption in the high priesthood during the first half of the first century and alongside Caiaphas would have likely been also sought out for these injustices together with their unwavering loyalty to Rome, the Zealots’ ultimate enemy. For an in depth explanation of why Caiaphas and Ananus were loyal to Rome see the preterist commentary on Revelation 13.
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Interested in THE PRETERIST VIEW OF ESCHATOLOGY, or are you a PRETERIST struggling with a prophecy or verse? It DID happen just like the Bible says! If you liked this essay, see PRETERIST BIBLE COMMENTARY for a detailed explanation of the FULFILLMENT OF ALL MAJOR END TIME PROPHECIES IN THE BIBLE. The more unbelievable the prophecy, the more amazing and miraculous the fulfillment!
Also see Historical Evidence that Jesus was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century. For an explanation of how the end of the age and its fulfillment during the Jewish War mirror Genesis 1-3; how the Bible teaches that the resurrection of the dead is a resurrection of heavenly bodies to heaven, not a resurrection of perfected earthly bodies; and how the resurrection is a mirror opposite of the fall see How the Jewish War and Resurrection to Heaven Mirror Genesis and the Fall; and How Preterism fixes the Age of the Earth Problem and unravels the Mysteries in Genesis.
- See Preterist Bible Commentary.
- Helen K. Bond, Caiaphas: Friend of Rome and Judge of Jesus? (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 88-89.
- http;//later-rain.com/Itrain/annas.htm (4/18/2015).
- Helen K. Bond, Caiaphas: Friend of Rome and Judge of Jesus? (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 11.
- Assemani, “Bibl. Orient.” Ii. 156, iii. 522; Solomon of Bassora, “The Book of Bee,” ed. Budge, tr. P. 94 cited in www.jewish encyclopedia.com/articles/3903-caiaphas (4/18/2015).
- Josephus The Wars of the Jews 4.5.2.