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Are there Pharisee's in your church?
Do you know what a Pharisee is?
Do you know how Jesus felt about the Pharisee's?
In order that we may provide answers to the above questions, we shall have to study our Bible along with our history books as well.
Webster's New Dictionary says that a "Pharisee is a very self righteous or hypocritical person."
The following is an excerpt from the Zondervan Bible Dictionary which states; that a Pharisee was one of the three prominent societies of Judaism at the time of Christ. There were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes.
The Pharisees were by far the most influential of the three groups.
The origin of this most strict sect of the Jews is shrouded in some obscurity, but it is believed the organization came out of the Maccabean Revolt somewhere around 165 B.C. There was, however, a group of Jews resembling the Pharisees as far back as the Babylonian Captivity.
The name "Pharisee", which in its Semitic form means "the separated ones, seperatists," first appeared during the reign of John Hyrcanus (135 B.C.). Generally, the term is in the plural rather than in the singular.
They were found everywhere in Palestine, not only in Jerusalem, and even wore a distinguishing garb so as to be easily recognized.
According to Josephus, their number at their zenith of popularity was more than 6,000.
Because of the significant role the Pharisees played in the life of the Lord and the Apostles, knowledge of the character and teachings of this group is of great importance for the understanding of the New Testament. They are mentioned dozens of times, especially in the Gospels, and often form the foil and fabric of the works and words of Jesus.
Three facets or characteristics of the Jewish nation contributed to the development of the Pharisees, or paradoxically, it may be said that the Pharisees made these contributions to Judaism, so that ultimately Pharisaism and Judaism became almost synonymous.
The first of these is Jewish legalism, which began in earnest after the Babylonian Captivity. The temple worship and the sacrifices had ceased and Judaism began to center its activities in the Jewish Law and in the synagogue. The Pharisees studied the traditional exegesis of the Law and made it part of Jewish thought.
The rise of the Jewish Scribes, who were closely associated with the Pharisees, also gave great importance to Jewish legalism.
The Pharisees, who were more of a fraternal order or religious society than a sect, were the organized followers of those experts in interpreting the Scriptures; they formalized the religion of the Scribes and placed it into practice. This is why the Scribes and Pharisees are often mentioned together in the New Testament.
The Pharisees were not the pratical politicians like the more liberal Sadducees, but were the religious leaders of the Jews.
The highest qualification for membership was strict adherence to the Law of Moses, oral or written. Josephus, a contemporary Jewish historian, describes them as "a body of Jews who profess to be more religious than the rest, and to explain the laws more precisely."
A modern authority on Judaism, C.F. Moore says, "the Pharisees were a party whose endeavor it was to live in strict accordance with the Law thus interpreted and amplified by the study and exposition of the Scribes, and the tradition of interpretation which they had established, and to bring the people to a similar conformity."
Another contributing factor to Pharisaism was the development and organization of the Jewish religion itself after the Captivity and Revolt. Formulation and adaptation of Mosiac law by Scribe and Rabbi, increased tradition, and a more rabid separatism from almost everything resulted in almost a new religion much the opposite from that handed down in the Covenant by the prophets.
The Pharisees ferreted out and sought the death of any liberal or antinomian person, especially if he were a fellow Jew. The Jewish ability to die for their "religion" made the people all the more proud of their traditions and law. This pride even developed into a feeling of superiority over other nations and people.They became a closely organized group, very loyal to the society and to each other, but separate from others, even their own people. They pledged themselves to obey all facets of the traditions to the minutest detail and were sticklers for ceremonial purity. They even vowed to pay tithes of everything they possessed in addition to paying the temple tax. They had no association with people who had been defiled through sickness. In truth they made life difficult for themselves and bitter for others. They dispised those whom they did not consider their equals and were haughty and arrogant because they believed they were the only interpreters of God and his word. (sound familiar?)
It was ineviatable, in view of these factors, that they bitterly opposed Jesus and his teachings. If they despised the Herods and the Romans, they hated Jesus doctrine of equality and claims of messiahship with equal fervor.
Jesus in turn condemned their theology and life of legalism. They often became a fertile background against which He taught God's free salvation by grace through His own death and resurrection. Clashes between Jesus and the Pharisees were frequent and bitter, as examples in the Gospels reveal; He calls them a generation of vipers and condemns them for impenitence, condemns them for work-righteousness, upbraids their pride against others, scorns their lovelessness on the sabbath, rebukes them for not being baptized, teaches them regarding divorce and taxes, and condemns them for their covetousness.
The Pharisees in turn, accused Jesus of blasphemy, of being in league with the devil, of breaking the Law, and they often planned to destroy Him.
Jesus's longest and most scathing rebuke of the Pharisees is found in Matthew 23; "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones. all of uncleaness"
The picture of the Pharisees painted by the New Testament is almost entirely black, but all Bible students should bear in mind that not everything about every Pharisee was bad.
The same can be said for some members in the churches today, there are those in the church that are there to earnestly worship the Lord; then there are others that are of the Pharisees. They are there to be seen in their distinguishing garb, which includes robes of various colors and fine silk suits or dresses; going about boasting of their new luxury cars, their big fine homes and their other riches; they then boast about their knowledge of the doctrines of their denomination, and desiring that others look up to them; they also believe that they and the leadership of their denomination are the only interpreters of God's word. If the Lord sends someone to them to show them the error of their ways, they reject this person because he is not from their society (denomination).
Over the past several years I have watched several so-called religious television broadcasts; including the Pope's Easter mass from the Vatican; it appeared as though all of the people around him are dressed in the distinguishing garb of the Pharisees, some even appeared to be dressed as court jesters.
I have also watched several televangelists in the U.S. that are wearing different color robes, some are now wearing their collars turned around, they are doing anything they can to let people know they are clergy. (Pharisees)
Are they attempting to impersonate their mother, the Harlot?
Did Jesus wear any distinguishing garments while here on earth?
Absolutely not!!
He wore clothing the same as the common man; had Judas not pointed Him out to the Roman soldiers, they couldn't have picked Him out from any of the others that were there with Him.
Not only did Jesus dress like the common man, He did not wear gold bracelets, chains, rings or watches as do some of the ministers (pharisees) in the church today.
Jesus also didn't go about robbing his followers, (demanding their tithing money) so that he could build big church buildings with stained glass windows, and huge pipe organs; some with huge statues and idols of dead people along with golden communion utensils.
Jesus could have had all these things and more, but yet He preached from the hillsides and the seashore. His disciples went from house to house breaking bread and expounding on God's word, evangelizing if you will.
Should we not be doing the same today?
Do we really need all these large buildings with their expensive furnishings?
Couldn't this money be used to help those in need instead?
Over the years I have received scorn and have been ridiculed because of standing up for the Lord and the truth that He has shown me, I have also been criticized for not attending certain denominational churches.
However, I have no desire to attend or support financially, any church that does not accept all of God's truth.
If any church continues to accept as truth the teachings that came from the HARLOT CHURCH, then I have no other choice than to refrain from it, for we are told to, "come out from her"; we are not to accept as truth the teachings of this harlot church.
If we are not to accept her teachings on the Sabbath, shouldn't we also reject her teachings on other subjects such as Easter and Christmas, etc.?
We are told that in the latter days, that even the very elect could be deceived, I believe that we are now in those latter days and there are many wonderful people in some of the churches today, that are being deceived by the leadership in their churches.
We need to be constantly in prayer and study.
These finger pointing, self-righteous, Pharisees need to be in study as well, and not studying some pre-written lesson or sermon that was written by someone from their denomination, but studying the precious word of God.
I have a commission from God to tell others the truth that I have been shown, if however, one chooses to reject this truth, they are the one that has to stand before God and answer as to why His truth was rejected.
I have done the work that the Lord has given me to do, after I have told someone the truth, then I am no longer held responsible for that person not knowing the truth; the Bible says "it is better never to have known the truth, than to know the truth and turn from it"; if that person wants to argue or debate, I shake the dust from my shoes and turn them over to the Lord, my time that I have left on this earth is too short to be spent in debation, I have to spend my remaining time telling others that are receptive to His truth.
I ask the question again; Are there Pharisees in your church?
Are there those in your church that fit the definition of a Pharisee?
Are there those that come dressed in distinguishing garb?
Are there those that say they and the leaders of their denomination are the only interpreters of God's word?
Are they open minded and willing to accept the truth of God's word from a stranger sent by God?
If not, these are of the Pharisees.
If you were to look at yourself in the mirror, would you perhaps see a Pharisee looking back at you?
If so, I would suggest that you call upon the name of the Lord and ask his forgiveness, for he loves you and is willing to forgive you of all your sins.