The acquired status of Annas priests
During the study of events from 1 AD, in Part A (i), it became apparent that a big difference was made by the Sadducee priest Ananus the Elder, who at the 6 AD Occupation was appointed high priest by the Romans. He came forward to fill in the power vacuum following the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC and the dismissal of the ethnarch Herod Archelaus in 6 AD. Ananus was so effective that his five sons all became high priests after him. Each reigned in the Jerusalem temple for a short period only during the tumultuous 1st century AD, but there was no doubt that they had become part of a priestly dynasty.
That had not always been the case. Sadducees only appeared as a formal party in the 2nd century BC, opposing the nationalist Hasmoneans who were favored by Pharisees. At a time of widespread Hellenism, Sadducees were friendly to Gentiles and critical of their own country’s conservatism. The successful king Alexander Jannaeus( 104-76 BC), with his wife Salome, helped establish their attitudes, and were sympathetic to Essenes, as is shown in the Qumran fragment 4Q 448, praising King Jonathan (Jannaeus). Sadducees began a process of spreading hellenised Judaism throughout the Diaspora, and gained the interest of many Gentiles who were disillusioned by paganism.
In the mid 1st century BC new energy was again put into Judaism with the rise of Herod the Great (37- 4 BC). He was not Jewish himself, but an Idumean, related to Arabs. In Idumea on the west side of the Dead Sea , containing the towering height of Masada, his father Antipater lived close enough to Judea to admire the intellectual strength of Jerusalem Jews, and to see a political opportunity in their growing influence throughout the world. Judea had been taken over for Rome, the looming great power in the West, by Pompey in 63 BC. Antipater’s son Herod performed heroic exploits as a young man in the 40’s BC, and found the opportunity of being established as a puppet king by the Romans, crowned in 37 BC. He surrounded himself with dissident factions, including Babylonian Magians in the person of Menahem the Essene. Menahem brought with him a Sadducee priest from Babylon named Ananel, whom Herod in his usual high-handed fashion appointed high priest, disregarding the hereditary rights of the Hasmoneans.
Ananel was aware of the mystical power of the David kingship, which many in the country believed should supply a returned David who would be a Messiah, an Anointed One, making their country great again. At this time a man named Heli
(Luke 3:23) was accepted as the heir of the Davids, although there had been some manipulation of the lines of descent during the crisis caused by Antiochus Epiphanes in the 2nd century BC. Heli was accepted by the Essenes, who hoped to see their own power in the Jerusalem temple restored. Ananel brought Heli into Herod’s court.
The Essenes, under Pythagorean influence, relied on a composition called the Apocalypse of Enoch. It contained prophecies derived from a system holding that all great historical events were governed by the number 7. History was divided into sets of 49 years and 490 years, and a final end would come after 4900 years from creation. Working from the date of creation – which they settled for by a circular process – they held that when the year 3920 from creation, the 8th set of 490 years, came, they would see the Restoration of the priest and king of the first temple, the Zadokite and the David. While Herod was favoring the Essenes, Menahem persuaded him that he, Herod, was destined to fulfill the prophecies of the solar calendar. Herod would start the final millennium of world history in the year 3900 from creation, and in the year 3920 he would head the Restoration. Although there had been several changes in the application of the prophecies, Herod now became convinced that 41 BC was the year 3900 for the final millennium, and 21 BC , 20 years later, was the date for the Restoration. A great event for the year 4000 would occur in 60 AD, 80 years after the Restoration. . Herod would fill the office of the Zadokite, and the heir of David would be his subordinate. Both would be Messiahs, the two Messiahs of the Qumran fragment 1QSa 2: 11-20.
Needless to say, there was no fulfillment of the prophecies, and Herod’s decline into insanity in his final years lost him all chance of being respected as the chosen one. After his death in 4 BC his son Archelaus was appointed by Rome as an ethnarch only, then was dismissed in 6 AD following a petition by the leaders of the country. It was at this point that the Sadducee Ananus the Elder came forward to save his country’s pride and to preserve all the gains that Hellenized Sadducees had made for over a century. He himself did not belong to a Sadducee hereditary priestly line. That position had fallen to an Essenized priest Matthias, in 5 BC shortly before the death of Herod. But Ananus by sheer talent convinced his countrymen of his worth, and was in tune with the interests of the Roman Occupation of 6 AD. He was appointed by them high priest of the Jerusalem temple. He was also given some lesser royal powers, those of a puppet king, so he wore a royal crown (stephanos)
In order to prove that he belonged to a longstanding tradition, as should be the case with a high priest, a new role was introduced, given the title Phanuel. There was already a Michael, Gabriel, Sariel and Raphael in Essene tradition (1QM 9:15-16). Phanuel is found in some apocryphal writings as an alternative to Sariel. The Qumran document 4Q400 made the remarkable statement that some men were “priests of the Holy of Holies”, and could even be called “gods” (elohim). Such a possibility had already arisen in the Diaspora, with the shortage of hereditary members of the priestly tribe of Levi. Men of a high standard of education were permitted to fill priestly roles in Hellenized synagogues. It may be seen that Ananus knew he would be accepted on this basis, and the title Phanuel, found in early documents and used in Luke 2:36, was applied to him. Phanuel was a Hellenist, as shown by the fact that a certain woman minister was a “daughter of Phanuel” in the Luke passage. Hellenists under Greek influence educated women so allowed them to minister(Acts 6:1).
The Annas priests in their Phanuel role were incorporated into the priesthood of the grand Herodian houses in the Diaspora that became cathedrals, where there was an upper, middle and ground floor (Figure 19a, and see the Appendix). To preserve continuity with Qumran Essenism, an opening was made between noon and 3 pm at the edge of the upper floor. On the Qumran prayer platform it had served to allow the congregation below to see the solarist priests offering prayers at those hours when the sun was highest in the sky. In the cathedrals, the upper floor was another room with a high roof, letting in the sun through a glass panel at the top. It preserved the custom of the noon opening, by using a 2 cubit wide plank at the center of row 7, the edge of the upper floor, called “Heaven”. At the noon to 3 pm period the plank was slid aside. When it was closed at other times a man of high status stood on it to make announcements to the middle floor below. With the addition of a Phanuel, the opening was enlarged to 4x4 cubits, and when it was closed the Phanuel stood at the center of row 6 behind the man making an announcement on row 7.
The Hellenized Phanuel priests developed a difference regarding the preferred seasons. They looked to the solstices in June and December, rather than the equinoxes of March and September which had long been used by Jews for their great feats, Passover and Atonement-Tabernacles.
In the Book of Revelation the restored Herod Agrippa II and his adopted crown prince Timothy Herod are shown as holding their inauguration ceremonies in June. They also record the announcement of a new date, The “aeons of the aeons”, which meant the year 3920. It was still hoped for as a Restoration, occurring twice, in both June and December. Its earlier occurrence would produce events which were a foreshadowing of the final fulfillment 6 months later. The date and its interpretation were announced from the upper floor as an announcement from “Heaven”.
Apocalypse of Enoch in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha , ed. J. H. Charlesworth, (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1985) Volume 1.
Documents with title Phanuel. 3 Baruch 2:5; 1 Enoch 40:10.
(See the right-hand window in the Section: "Finding the Pesher" on this site for links to internet resources for Enoch and Baruch and on the left window a there is detailed discussion on the "Calendar".)
|Josephus references in Antiquities|
|Alexander Jannaeus||Antiquities 13, 320|
|Pompey||Antiquities 14, 53, 66|
|Herod the Great||Antiquities 13, 275, and books 13 to 17|
|Menahem||Antiquities 15, 373-378|
|Matthias Sadducee priest||Antiquities 17, 164-167|
|Ananel||Antiquities 15, 22, 34; 39-51; 56. Josephus calls Ananel “a rather undistinguished priest from Babylon.” Josephus was a Pharisee , and Ananel a Sadducee of a priestly family among exiles to Babylon. Herod established a precedent when he later dismissed him, for the office was then considered permanent. He subsequently restored him when another appointee was put to death.|
|Archelaus Herod||Antiquities 17, 317-321; 17, 342-344|
|Ananus the Elder||Antiquities 18, 26; 20, 197-198|
|Eleazar Annas||Antiquities 18, 34|
|Jonathan Annas||Antiquities 18, 95, 123. 19, 313-316. 20, 162-164|
|Theophilus Annas||Antiquities 18, 123|
|Matthew Annas||Antiquities 19, 316, 342|
|Ananus the Younger||Antiquities 20, 197-200|