Last Days Prophecy
SERVANTS' MINISTRY, Inc.
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Pharisees and Sadducees
The Sadducees and Pharisees were the ruling class of Israel. There are some similarities between the two groups but there are some important differences.
The Sadducees: During the time of Christ and the New Testament, the Sadducees were aristocrats. They were wealthy and held powerful positions, including that of chief priests and high priest, and they held the majority of the 70 seats of the ruling council called the Sanhedrin. They kept the peace by agreeing with the decisions of Rome (Israel at this time was under Roman control), and were more concerned with politics than religion. Because of their position with Rome and were the wealthy upper class, common people did not hold a high opinion of them. The common man related better to those who belonged to the party of the Pharisees. Although the Sadducees held the majority of seats in the Sanhedrin, history shows that much of the time they had to go along with the ideas of the Pharisaic minority, because the Pharisees were popular with the masses.
In religion, the Sadducees were more conservative. The Pharisees believed that tradition was equal with the written Word of God, while the Sadducees considered only the written Word to be from God. The Sadducees preserved the authority of the written Word of God, especially the books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy). The following is a short list of beliefs the Sadducees held that contradicted Scripture:
#1. They denied God's involvement in everyday life.
#2. They denied any resurrection of the dead (Mat.22:23; Mk.12:18-27; Lk.20:27; Acts 23:8).
#3. They denied any afterlife, believing that the soul perished at death, and therefore denying any penalty or reward after the earthly life.
#4. They denied the existence of angels and demons (Acts 23;8).
The Pharisees: the Pharisees were usually middle-class businessmen, so were more in contact with the common people. The Pharisees were held in much higher regard by the common man than the Sadducees. Although they were a minority in the Sanhedrin and held a minority number of positions as priests, they seemed to control the decision making of the Sanhedrin far more than the Sadducees did, again because they had the support of the people.
In religion, they accepted the written Word as inspired by God. At the time of Christ's earthly ministry, the Written Word would have been what is now the Old Testament. But the Pharisees also gave equal authority to oral tradition and tried to defend this position by saying it went all the way back to Moses. On the rise over the centuries, these traditions added to God's Word, which is forbidden (Deut.4:2). The Pharisees strictly obeyed these traditions along with the Old Testament. The Gospels abound with examples of the Pharisees treating these traditions as equal to God's Word (Mat.9:14; 15:1-9; 23:5,16,23; Mark 7:1-23; Luke 11:39-44). BUT . . . they did remain true to God's Word in certain important doctrines. In contrast to the Sadducees, they believed the following:
#1. They believed that God controlled all things, yet decisions made by individuals also contributed to the course of a person's life.
#2. They believed in the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6).
#3. They believed in an afterlife, with applicable reward and punishment on an individual basis.
#4. They believed in the existence of angels and demons (Acts 23:8).
Although the Pharisees were opponents of the Sadducees, they set aside their differences in the trial of Christ. At that time, the Sadducees and Pharisees united to put Christ to death (Mark 14:53; 15:1; John 11:48-50).
Both the Pharisees and the Sadducees earned numerous rebukes from Jesus. I think that the best lesson we can learn from the Pharisees and Sadducees is to NOT be like them. Unlike the Sadducees, we MUST believe everything the Bible says, and unlike the Pharisees, we must NOT treat traditions as having equal authority as Scripture, like the Catholics do. We must NOT allow our relationship with God to be reduced to a legalistic list of rules and rituals.
Signs of the Times
The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested Him by asking Him to show them a sign from Heaven. He told them: Matthew 16:2-3 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (KJV)
Events are moving SO fast in today’s wicked world. We must closely watch the signs of the times, for if we believe the end of the age is near, then these really are the times of the signs spoken of in the Bible.
Signs of the Times
Church and Israel Not the Same
One World Government
Pharisees and Sadducees
Signs of Israel
What Is to Come?
Who or What is the Antichrist