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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

Sadducees and Pharisees Still Exist But So Do Christians!

Posted Friday, April 1, 2011, at 4:39 PM

During the time of Christ's earthly ministry, there were two major religious/political parties of Judea and of the Jews living abroad. A third, but much smaller party, was that of the Essenes. Both major parties had representatives in the Sanhedrin, the court of law.

By way of background, there was a Great Sanhedrin which was made up of 71 rabbis meeting daily at the Temple in Jerusalem. This was similar in many ways to both our Congress and our Supreme Court, depending on the role it played. Sometimes the Sanhedrin had the role of deciding judicial cases. Other times it had legislative duties. Every city that had a synagogue, had a Lesser Sanhedrin, made up of 23 rabbis that met daily at the synagogue.

The Sadducees were the liberals of Jesus' day. Most of the priests were Sadducees. They were of the elite class of the day. They often applied Hellenism to their lives. Sadducees didn't believe in an afterlife, didn't believe in a resurrection, and didn't believe in the existence of angels. Because they were mostly priests, their temple and synagogue duties were in connection with the Mosaic Ceremonial Law. Thus, they believed in a literal interpretation of the Laws of Moses as opposed to the Pharisaic oral law added to the Mosaic law. They opposed Christ and His followers. Their way of opposing Christ was by bringing up rhetorical questions and hoping to catch Christ in a lie or blasphemous statement. One example is found in Matthew 22, Mark 12, and Luke 20. The Sadducees came to Jesus and posed a scenerio, in which a man dies, leaving his wife to his brother. Each of seven brothers die, leaving the wife to the next one in line. They asked Christ who would be her husband after the resurrection.

Jesus replied, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

The Pharisees were the conservatives of Christ's day. They were from the common folks and were generally respected by them, inspite of the fact they thought they were better than everybody else. As opposed to the Sadducees, the Pharisees believed the oral law (Rabbinical interpretation of the law, passed down to each generation). Jesus told His disciples to beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees. He told His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount that their righteousness should exceed that of the Pharisees. This was because the Pharisees put great emphasis on the outward appearance and little or none on the heart. In fact, He told the Pharisees that "they were white washed sepulchres full of dead men's bones." The Pharisees put great emphasis on tithing and fasting. Jesus said that was good, but they needed to practice righteous judgement (giving people the benefit of the doubt). Jesus also condemned their practice of putting their prayers on public display to be noticed.

Today, liberal theologians and teachers believe much like the Sadducees. As stated above, the Sadducees incorporated Hellenism into their lives. There were many schools of thought within Hellenism, but Hellenistic Judaism was very humanistic. Hellenism tought that man was basically good and could make his own heaven on earth. There was no need of a resurrection or an afterlife. The supernatural was explained by natural laws. They believed in evolution as God's way of creation instead of the literal interprtation of Genesis. Because they didn't believe in the resurrection, they could not believe in the resurrection of Christ.

One of the major dangers facing conservative, Bible believing Christians is Pharisaism. Pharisees were correct in their beliefs of a future rewards and punishment following a resurrection of the dead. They were right in their belief of heaven and hell. They were correct in their belief of angels. Jesus didn't condemn their belief of the supernatural. Jesus didn't condemn their practice of tithing and fasting. He did condemn their hypocrisy and putting their worship on display to attract attention to their selves. there is nothing wrong with public worship, evangelism, and even reading the Bible or praying in public, but it is wrong to do those things to impress others.

In the New Testament, we find no specific record of Sadducees becoming Christians. This is because of their unbelief regarding the resurrection and in the afterlife of eternal rewards and punishment. There is one place in Acts that tells of priests getting saved. Acts 6:7, "and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."

If some of these priests were Sadducees, they were formerly of that order and didnot remain Sadducees.

There are several records of Pharisees becoming Christians. Nicodemus was a Pharisee. Joseph of Arimathea was also. Of course the greatest Pharisee was Paul, the Apostle (Acts 23:6 and 26:5 and Philippians 3:5). There are many places throughout the Gospels which tell of Christ going to the homes of or associating with Pharisees and then getting into conflict with them.

Well, if you don't believe in a future resurrection, the resurrection of Christ, or in angels; or if you believe that man is basically good and in somekind of theistic evolution, that's just sad you see!

On the other hand, if you think you can impress God with outward acts or if you look down on others, that's just not fair you see!.

Seriously, it seems that liberals believe like Sadducees and practice their opposition to Bible believing Christians like both Sadducees and Pharisees. Conservatives are orthodox in their beliefs, just like the Pharisees of old, but they tend to add some of their own interpretations to their beliefs.

I leave this blog entry with a couple notes from a good Prohibitionist friend of mine:

Don Webb:

"We're Christian...

Not Conservative! Not Liberal!

This should be our motto!"

"If we would all stop this finger pointing of 'that's Communist!' when we suggest a reasonable way of getting America back to it's greatness - and back to a greatness that God desires us to have - and could have - if our people would only obey the Principles of the Jubilee, and realize that government is God's 'minister to thee for good.' (Romans 13).

Again, we all need to reject BOTH the Democratic and Republican parties, and organize a genuine Christian-based, populist independent political party. And to go with this, we need to also genuinely adhere to 2 Chronicles 7:14, 'If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.' or else all the other will be of nought."

This comes from Don Webb, Prohibitionist from Alabama. Agree or disagree, the Prohibition Party tends to stick together inspite of in-house debates on liberal vs conservative or the "Right/Left Paradigm".

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Richard D. Swift
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My wife Susan (Sue) and I have lived in Soddard County since September of '96. We both graduated from Bible Missionary Institute, our denomination's small four year Bible college in Rock Island, Illinois. I was born and raised in Pomona, California while my wife was raised in Monmouth, Illinois. I am an ordained minister in the Bible Missionary Church. We attend and are members of the Dexter Bible Missionary Church. I've been employed by Tyson Foods for 14 years. My wife is a CNA. I've always been conservative in my political views and have always been active in politics and the Pro-Life movement. My politics have not always been Republican. From 2003-2009 I was vice-chairman of the Prohibition National Committee, the steering arm of the Prohibition Party. In '09, I joined the Constitution Party of Missouri. But, I've been attending the GOP rallys and club meetings since last year and have been campaigning for certain Republican candidates since we moved to this area. I'm on the SEMO Life Chain Committee.