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Old 05-28-2013, 01:18 AM
 
Location: somewhere flat
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Pharisees are often portrayed negatively by Christians. I recently heard a preacher blame the Pharisees for the beheading of John the Baptist. Such was not the case. Herod was responsible for it. People talk about having a Pharisaical attitude. This negative attitude is part and parcel of an attitude of anti-Semitism that developed over the centuries, culminating in the Holocaust, and is still quite prevalent today. Much of it is due to ignorance and misinformation.

It is true that Jesus leveled much criticism against the Pharisees, or, at least that is how the Gospel writers, who wrote decades after his death, depicted him doing. The Pharisees were responsible for
creating synagogues as places of prayer, worship and study of the Scriptures. The scribes associated with them preserved and copied the Scripture onto the scrolls that were read in the synagogues. They were very popular among the Jewish people for they made the teachings of the Bible accessible to all, rich or poor. This system of worship and study was the foundation for Judaism today and helped preserve it after the destruction of the temple. It also became a model for Christian houses of worship.

Rabbi, a term often applied to Jesus, was used by the Pharisees to refer to teachers. Jesus in many cases actually agreed with the Pharisees. In Matthew 23:2 &3, he says: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach (NIV)." Although in this chapter Jesus gives a scathing polemic (seven woes) against them, surprisingly, according to Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, their rabbis devised a very similar list! They characterized seven types of Pharisees: legalistic, prideful, hypocritical, etc.. The last type they praised for serving God out of love.

The Pharisees, as opposed to the Sadducees, the Temple elite, believed in resurrection and the immortality of the soul. They sided with Paul over this issue in Acts 23:6-9. For more about them, see the book mentioned above. I highly recommend it. The authors are Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg.

Shalom! Peace!
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Northern Wisconsin
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Yes the Pharisees get all the criticism they deserve. Have you even read the Gospels???. They wanted to stone Jesus, they called him evil, possessed, in league with the devil and they rejected him and pronounced the death sentence on him, brought Him to Pilate, then falsely accused Him, and demanded the execution of an Innocent Man. And on top of all that, they rejected Jesus who is God. So they rejected God. Get it. They even made that clear when they said, We have no King but Ceasar. So they are idolaters. So yes they are very bad.
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulJourn View Post
Jesus in many cases actually agreed with the Pharisees. In Matthew 23:2 &3, he says: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach (NIV)."
A little thought about this passage should turn it back around to further criticism rather than approbation. The point being made is that they are in a position not only of religious power but of civil power and it is best not to "fight City Hall." Appropriate translation of the Greek* would be "have seated themselves in Moses seat"(NAS) or arrogated to themselves that power.

*The Greek does not have a reflexive form and it must be determined from other indicators. In this case, the verb tense is not the simple present tense, "sit," but the form meaning "have sat down."
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:05 PM
 
Location: somewhere flat
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Originally Posted by augiedogie View Post
Yes the Pharisees get all the criticism they deserve. Have you even read the Gospels???. They wanted to stone Jesus, they called him evil, possessed, in league with the devil and they rejected him and pronounced the death sentence on him, brought Him to Pilate, then falsely accused Him, and demanded the execution of an Innocent Man. And on top of all that, they rejected Jesus who is God. So they rejected God. Get it. They even made that clear when they said, We have no King but Ceasar. So they are idolaters. So yes they are very bad.
Phew!!! It's getting hot in here!!! Yes, I've read the Bible from cover to cover, and the Gospels a few times. I've been studying the Bible for decades.

If you read the Gospel of John carefully, it was mostly the priestly class (the Sadducees) who were responsible for arresting Jesus and sentencing him to death. It is true that, according to John 18:3, there were some Pharisean priestly sympathizers among those who arrested him, but it was mostly the chief priests who wanted him put to death (see Jn.18:12 & 13,19,24,28,35; 19:6 & 7,15,21). In 19:6, it says: "As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, 'Crucify! Crucify.' " Verse 15 says the following:

But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!"
"Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked.
"We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.


So it was the chief priests who said your quote, not the Pharisees. The chief priests had secretly convened a kangaroo court, and not the full Sanhedrin. Obviously, they had not invited Nicodemus, a Pharisean member of the council. We know, according to John 12:42-43: "Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God." Nevertheless, not all of the Pharisees, as seen here, were non-believers. They, like Nicodemus, who secretly came to Jesus by night, were closet believers, and they would not have been among those who condemned him to death. Nicodemus, in fact, came out of the closet when he accompanied Joseph of Arimathea and anointed Jesus' body (John 19:38 & 39).

So we can't blame all the Pharisees or all the Jews for killing Jesus. Knowing crowd psychology, it is easy for one to see that some rabble-rousers could stir up a mob to do horrendous things! Take Hitler. We can't blame all Germans for the Holocaust. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Schindler, who was even a member of the Nazi party, opposed the extermination of the Jews.

Peace out!

Last edited by SoulJourn; 05-28-2013 at 12:35 PM..
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:13 PM
 
9,403 posts, read 9,003,457 times
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Yes even today there is a religious stronghold through the indifference which the Pharisees held through the people of the Jewish faith which is anti-Christian ,....As Jesus is overruled by the customs which will never forgive or forget the times and issues which Christians stood up to the Jews and blamed them or condemned them , which was not the issue from Heaven as Christians believed , so because the Nazi had a inverted cross called the swastika which was believed to be a cross of Christ , which Jesus rejected , ...Issues like these will never be forgiven , as the spirit of strife and religion of this world will hold these people back , which they will be condemned in Heaven at their passing from life ....... See Jesus said the Pharisees were arrogant , as they would clean the outside of their cup but leave the inside of their cup unclean , which Jesus said that the Pharisee would be clean on the out side appearance , but evil heart on the inside ....... Even Saul of Tarsus who later became Apostle Paul would track down and kill Christians , which was more then they did in the sight of the Roman as they never tracked down Jesus and stoned Him ...... Pharisees where faithless religious and self-righteous who did not know the scriptures through the Gospels
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Old 05-28-2013, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Woodland Park, CO
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The Pharisees thought they were justified in the eyes of God because of their pious attitude and adhering to the law.

The LAW will not make you righteous (!) but they defended their stance, stepped on those who needed grace, and finally eliminated the One who came to set us free. They thought they were free, but were bound; they thought they could see, but were blind.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
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Originally Posted by little elmer View Post
The Pharisees thought they were justified in the eyes of God because of their pious attitude and adhering to the law.

The LAW will not make you righteous (!) but they defended their stance, stepped on those who needed grace, and finally eliminated the One who came to set us free. They thought they were free, but were bound; they thought they could see, but were blind.
But they had "right doctrine," didn't they?
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Niagara Falls ON.
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Originally Posted by nateswift View Post
But they had "right doctrine," didn't they?
No they certainly did not have the "right doctrine". They took the Law of God and perverted it to their own liking. They added to it and made it even more difficult to observe. They believed that this "letter" of the law observation made them righteous but completely ignored the "spirit" of the law that God cares about. They were full of pride because of their self righteousness while they were inwardly rotten to the core. They measured themselves by their deeds while completely ignoring faith.

They still exist today in great numbers within the Church.
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Southern Oregon
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Originally Posted by lucknow View Post
No they certainly did not have the "right doctrine". They took the Law of God and perverted it to their own liking. They added to it and made it even more difficult to observe. They believed that this "letter" of the law observation made them righteous but completely ignored the "spirit" of the law that God cares about. They were full of pride because of their self righteousness while they were inwardly rotten to the core. They measured themselves by their deeds while completely ignoring faith.

They still exist today in great numbers within the Church.
I might buy that if you had said "completely ignoring love."
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Old 05-28-2013, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Florida -
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There is a danger in categorically painting a 'group' of people with one broad brush stroke. Yes, the term "Pharisee" is often euphemistically used to describe those who are legalistic in their attitudes and often lacking in love or faith. But, as you may recall, Saul/Paul was a Pharisee, as was Nicodemus and others ... who were also among the most prominent early Christians.

Similarly, in ancient times, the term "live like a Corinthian" referred to a lifestyle dedicated to pursuing fleshly lusts ... although many in the church at Corinth, were noteworthy Christians.

My point is that no 'group' at any time has ever been totally 'good or bad', or 'saved or lost.' Even today, the 'Christ's true church' is comprised of individuals spread across many different denominations, nations and groups. Likewise, there are "tares" (or lost, condemned people) in every denomination and group.

God doesn't 'group' people, and neither should we.
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