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Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Church

Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Church

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What the Sadducees believed. The Sadducees were the conservatives of the time. They held that only the written Torah was authoritative, rejecting the oral law completely. What The Pharisees believed. The Torah was of great importance to the Pharisees. It was the focus of every part of their lives. We must be like the first believers. They all gladly heard, believed, and received the word. 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
What the Sadducees believed. The Sadducees were the conservatives of the time. They held that only the written Torah was authoritative, rejecting the oral law completely. What The Pharisees believed. The Torah was of great importance to the Pharisees. It was the focus of every part of their lives. We must be like the first believers. They all gladly heard, believed, and received the word. 1 Corinthians 3:11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

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Published by: acts2and38 on Oct 24, 2009
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What the Sadducees believed. The Sadducees had their roots in the time of theHasmonaean dynasty. After the Israelites returned from the Babylonian Captivity,it was the tradition that the high priest must be of the tribe of Levi, the familyof Aaron, and the family of Zadok, Solomon's high priest (1 Kings 2:35 and Ezekiel40:46). Descendants of this family (called Zedukim, or "Sadducee" in English) werethe temple authorities throughout the time before Jesus was born. Descendants ofZadok and their supporters, many of them priests, were also called Sadducees. Theywere wealthy and politically active (having the favor of the Romans and thesupport of the Herods), and they were a large majority on the Sanhedrin. This gavethem far greater influence than their small numbers justified (some scholarsbelieve there were fewer than 1,000 actual Sadducees). They also controlled theeconomy of the temple, for which they were criticized by the Essenes andconfronted by an angry Jesus. Apparently, many were Hellenistic in lifestyle,though faithful to the temple rituals. The Sadducees were the conservatives of thetime. They held that only the written Torah was authoritative, rejecting the orallaw completely. And even holding the prophets and other writings of less valuethan Torah. They opposed the Pharisees in every way they could up to the time theTemple was destroyed in AD 70. They denied a bodily resurrection and most of thePharisaic doctrine of angels and spirits. They held completely to the letter ofTorah with no room for the creative applications of the Pharisees. This wasespecially true in cases involving the death penalty. Extenuating circumstancesmade no difference.The Sadducees' authority was one of position and birth, unlikethe Pharisees, whose authority was based on piety and knowledge. They hated thePharisees, believing the synagogue and study of the Torah and its interpretationsas a form of worship undermined the temple ritual. They frequently dealt brutallywith anyone who undermined the temple, its economy (their income), and its ritual.Also with Roman support were capable of severe punishment. The Sadducees offeredworship that brought God down to the people. In their eyes, worship was an act ofhomage to the divine ruler, not an exercise in understanding. Their power waslargely based in Jerusalem and Judea through the Sanhedrin, the ruling religiouscouncil, used by the Romans and Herod's as the instrument to govern the Jewishpeople. The Sadducees had the most to lose because of Jesus. Any popular movementjeopardized not only their place as the majority on the Sanhedrin, but also thesupport of the Romans who ruled through it (John 11:49, 53), a fact that wouldhave profound consequences. This was the one group most likely to wish Jesusremoved from the scene. The early church, now a growing movement, faced a similarreaction from the Sadducees (Acts 4:1, 5:17), although a large number of priestswho became believers in Jesus probably were Sadducees (Acts 6:7). When the templein Jerusalem was destroyed, the Sadducees ceased to exist. Like the Sadducees ofJesus' day, modern Sadducees also do not teach the whole plan of God and they seemto disagree amongst themselves on specifics. These are partial Christians whichare not Christians but use only a few choice scriptures instead of the whole wordof God. See Matthew 4:4. Nearly all will not teach that we are to be born again byhis grace, (As seen at Calvary, read John 1:29 and Hebrews 9:15-22.) and ouractive faith through our water baptism (John 3:5, Mark 16:16, Matthew 28:18-20,Ephesians 2:8-10, and Luke 24:45-47.) to be part of God's family. Neither teachthat we are begotten through the spirit of God, which enters in after our baptismin the one name (Acts 4:12, Colossians 3:17, John 14:6, and 1 Peter 3:21) that nowsaves us. Also see Matthew 3:12-17, Romans 6:4, and Colossians 2:12. Some denythat there are eras of God's Church. Read Revelations 1:4 and Revelations 2:21-3:21. Most do not consider that the top priority of the Church should beproclaiming the Gospel to the world as a witness. Mark 16:15-18. Acts 1:8 and 2:1-42. We read in Smith's Bible Dictionary says that the Sadducees "were for the mostpart judges, and individuals of the governing class. The leading tenet of theSadducees was the negation of the leading tenet of their opponents. The seconddistinguishing doctrine of the Sadducees was the denial of man's resurrectionafter death." Halley's Bible Handbook says the Sadducees "were a priestly clique,irreligious, they were rationalistic and worldly minded." In addition Josephus
 
wrote, "Sadducees, think it an instance of virtue to dispute with those teachersof philosophy whom they frequent. Sadducees say that they may act as they please.But the behavior of the Sadducees ones towards another is in some degrees wild;and their conversation with those that are of their own party is as barbarous asif they were strangers to them." Thus the Sadducees were a mixture of independentsand semi-independent individuals. Scripture confirms that many of the Sadduceeswere associated with the priesthood and that they were somewhat hostile to thetrue Church, "Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (whichis the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, And laidtheir hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison" (Acts 5:17-18). Andthe Sadducees may have been prophesied, How do ye say, We are wise, and the law ofthe LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes isin vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they haverejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them? (Jeremiah 8:8-9). TheSadducees apparently considered human governance and position more important thanGod's as John wrote, "The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!" "(John 19:15). They also would not teach the whole plan of salvation, "ForSadducees say that there is no resurrection and no angel or spirit" (Acts 23:8)."Then some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him. Jesusanswered and said to them, "Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do notknow the Scriptures nor the power of God?" " (Mark 12:18/24).What The Pharisees believed. The Torah was of great importance to the Pharisees.It was the focus of every part of their lives. They believed that Moses had givena two-part law: the written law of the Torah itself and additional oralcommandments that had been passed through generations to help the faithfulunderstand and apply the written law. The Pharisees continued to interpret andexpand the Torah to cover every possible occurrence of unfaithfulness to thewritten law. This oral law became a complex guide to everyday life often beyondthe comprehension of the average person. Yet its intent was to help peopleunderstand Torah, much as a creed or catechism is intended to help summarize andinterpret the Bible today. It is important to recognize that the word "law" canmean either (or both) of these "Torahs" when used in the Bible. It is often theoral Torah that Jesus criticized, though he kept it in many respects. ThePharisees had many beliefs in common with Jesus and the New Testament. Theybelieved in the physical resurrection of the dead (While the Sadducees did not!)and a coming day of judgment followed by reward or punishment. They anticipatedthe Messiah at any moment. They believed in angels. They recognized a combinationof free choice and divine control in human life. They thought of God as all-wise,all-knowing, just, and merciful. They taught that he loved his people, callingthem to a life of obedience. The Pharisees believed that everyone had the power tochoose good or evil, and die Torah must be his or her guide. And since their livesrevolved around the study of the Torah, the Pharisees made the synagogue theircommunity center, though they supported the Temple as well. There were more than6,000 Pharisees by Jesus' time, and they were the dominant influence on thepeople's spiritual lives. The "yoke of Torah" (or method of obeying) taught by thePharisees was a heavy burden, sometimes obscuring the very law they sought toobey. The Pharisees desired to raise the spiritual character of the Jewish peopleto help them draw nearer to God (Psalm 73:28, 34:18, and James 4:8 for a NewTestament expression of the same idea). Halley's Bible Handbook says that the,"Pharisees were the most numerous and influential of the religious sects of Jesus'day. They were strict legalistic. They stood for the rigid observance of theletter and forms of the Law, and also for the Traditions". According to Smith'sBible Dictionary, "The fundamental principle of the Pharisees is that there was anoral law to complete and explain the written law, given to Moses". A scripturalexample of that would be Matthew 15:1-2, "Then the scribes and Pharisees who werefrom Jerusalem came to Jesus saying, 'Why do Your disciples transgress thetradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread'".
 
The Pharisees were very concerned about 'the tradition of the elders' even thoughthere was no biblical requirement to wash hands before eating bread. ModernPharisees are focused more on traditions than the Bible. The man made trinitytradition developed in Babylon and passed to all cultures was then brought in byGreeks (Justin Martyr 145 A.D. in water baptism and Tertullian 200 A.D. inGodhead.) and adopted by Catholics and later Protestants, fits this mode ortradition. Jesus often called the Pharisees hypocrites (Matthew 15:7,16:3, 22:18,23:23-29, and Mark 7:6). According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, the Greekword Jesus used that was translated as hypocrite means, "an actor under an assumedrole". "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mintand anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justiceand mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the othersundone. Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!" (Matthew 23:23-24). "Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves" (Luke 7:30).Today one may decide to be either a Sadducee, Pharisee, or a saved believer ofGod. And now more than ever we are looking up for Jesus, as our redemption drawsnigh. It's not about looking busy rather we are about our father's business ofseeing souls saved by his name. He told all to "Occupy till I come" (Back. Foundin Luke 19:13). Jesus said, "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour yourLord is coming. Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will findso doing" (Mat 24:42,46). He also said, "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do notknow when the time is" (Mark 13:33). Also, look at what we are warned in the bookof Ezekiel (the book must be warning people who at least have read the Bible), Sonof man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will Istretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, andwill send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: Though thesethree men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their ownsouls by their righteousness, saith the Lord God. If I cause noisome beasts topass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man maypass through because of the beasts: Though these three men were in it, as I live,saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; they only shallbe delivered, but the land shall be desolate. (Ezekiel 14:13-16). God can saveanyone from anything if it is his will. Nothing is impossible with him. Nowdepending on others will not save you. That is why Paul says in Philippians, "workout your own salvation with fear and trembling" (2:12). And Peter plainly saidthis with the support of the other Apostles and all of the church. Acts 2:38-40Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name ofJesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the HolyGhost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afaroff, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did hetestify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Andnobody will serve God long with true love and acceptance of his word. We must belike the first believers. They all gladly heard, believed, and received the word.1 Corinthians 3:11 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, whichis Jesus Christ.” Acts 2:41-47 Then they that gladly received his word werebaptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and inbreaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wondersand signs were done by the Apostles. And all that believed were together, and hadall things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to allmen, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in thetemple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladnessand singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. Andthe Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. They all had things tobe worried about yet they focused their faith in him who changes not. Thereforethey were in perfect peace through the Prince of peace. In Isaiah 26:3-4. Thouwilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trustethin thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting

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