Question: In the December '09 article you stated, "Shortly after the birth of Jesus, about A.D. 7, the sceptre departed when the Jews lost the right to enforce the death penalty." How can this be, as the Jews took up stones to kill Jesus (John:8:59) and talked of executing the woman caught in adultery (John:8:1-11)? These took place well after the birth of Jesus.
Response: In Genesis:49:10, Jacob prophesied: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah...until Shiloh [Messiah] come." By the time that Jesus was arrested, the Jews had already lost their independence and now answered to the Roman government. Consequently, they no longer had the authority to order the death penalty. This is why, in John:18:31, we read, "Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death" [emphasis added].
The attempt to kill Jesus with stones (Jn:8:59) must have been a spontaneous act in reaction to the convicting words He spoke. The Jewish leaders brought the woman caught in adultery to Jesus, reminding Him of what Moses said in the law and asking Him what He would do (Jn:8:3-5).
In Mark:10:33, with full knowledge of prophecy, Jesus told His disciples, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles." All these things happened, "That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die" (Jn:18:32).
Rome 's control was also demonstrated by the experience of Paul in Acts 21: "And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar" (Acts:21:30-31). It is significant to note that when the Jews "saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul."