Who Is the Fallen Star?

25 Aug

AnnasIn an earlier study I identified the star in Revelation 8:10 as the Jewish leadership, especially the high priest at Jerusalem. The Third Trumpet indicated widespread persecution against those who preached the Gospel. Therefore, such persecution had to have a common source. Something that involves common matters doesn’t spring up over a wide area of the world at the same time without it having a common source. Someone in high authority is responsible for such a thing. This authority must have had influence over the areas where the persecution took place, and the only authority in the Roman Empire, other than the Emperor, himself, who had such authority over the Jews was the high priest at Jerusalem. Therefore, the fallen star must be a Jewish high priest, but which one?

In my previous study I mentioned that the Jews almost went to war with Rome during the 30s AD, when Theophilus officiated the high priesthood. At that time the Jewish authorities at Jerusalem were conducting a persecution against the Hellenist believers. That is, folks like Stephen, who had resettled in Judea following receiving Jesus as their Messiah and becoming his disciples (cf. Acts 2:5, 41-47; 6:1) were being intimidated and slain. When this persecution accelerated to lands beyond Judea (Acts 9:1-3), the Lord caused events to transpire that brought the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem head to head with the Emperor of Rome in that Caligula (Caius Caesar) demanded his general, Petronius, the then newly installed president of Syria, to erect a statue of the emperor in the Temple at Jerusalem:

Hereupon Caius, taking it very heinously that he should be thus despised by the Jews alone, sent Petronius to be president of Syria, and successor in the government to Vitellius, and gave him order to make an invasion into Judea, with a great body of troops; and if they would admit of his statue willingly, to erect it in the temple of God; but if they were obstinate, to conquer them by war, and then to do it. Accordingly, Petronius took the government of Syria, and made haste to obey Caesar’s epistle. He got together as great a number of auxiliaries as he possibly could, and took with him two legions of the Roman army, and came to Ptolemais, and there wintered, as intending to set about the war in the spring.[1]

It was at this time that Theophilus, the son of Annas, the high priest (cf. Luke 3:2; John 18:13, 19-24), who officiated the office of high priest. This is the same Theophilus to whom Luke had written both his Gospel narrative (Luke 1:1-4) and, later, the book of Acts (Acts 1:1). Theophilus repented of the persecution and ordered it stopped (Acts 9:31).[2]

Interestingly, each persecution of believers in Jesus that developed in the first century AD, whether such persecutions were conducted within the lands of the Jews or extending beyond those lands, all of them were conducted, while a relative of Annas (John 18:12-13) officiated the office of the high priesthood. Jesus was crucified under Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas, and the persecution surrounding the death of Stephen, began under him, and continued under the priesthoods of Jonathan and Theophilus, both of whom were Annas’ sons, but Theophilus repented. The second persecution, around the time of the execution of James the brother of John (Acts 12:1-4), occurred under the leadership of Matthias, another son of Annas, but he was put out of office by Herod Agrippa after Peter escaped Agrippa’s jurisdiction.

A third persecution began under Jonathan, who had taken the office of high priest for a second time. It was during this time that Paul was imprisoned and an intensification of the persecution beyond Judea was planned and executed, but Jonathan was murdered by Felix the Roman governor for constantly interfering with his government.[3] The intensification of the persecution of Jesus disciples continued under Ananias, another son of Annas, who had been made high priest following the death of Festus, the Roman governor of Judea. Whereupon, Ananias had James, the brother of the Lord, stoned with other believers in Jerusalem, before the new governor could take office.[4]

He was immediately removed from office by King Agrippa, but not long afterward, Matthias was given the office of high priest. This Matthias was the son of Theophilus and grandson of Annas, the high priest, and under his term of office the war between the Jews and Rome began. Thus, it is discovered that Annas, the high priest, had great influence in Jewish affairs throughout the world. With seven of his relatives having gained that office, no one in all of Judea was as powerful as he during the first century AD. He is the fallen star of Revelation 9:1 and the high priest indicated in the blowing of the Third Trumpet in Revelation 8:10.


[1] Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews; 18.8.2

[2] See my earlier study: Who Is Theophilus.

[3] Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews; 20.8.5

[4] Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews; 20.9.1

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Posted by on August 25, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation


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