PHARISEE CONTROL TACTICS: THE SPIRIT OF FEAR (Part 3)
It all started in Babylon during the Captivity in roughly 600 BC. It continued to develop over the next four centuries. It came to its full fruition with the emerging Pharisee Party two centuries before the Lord.
JUDAIC ROOTS OF UNREAL CHRISTIANITY
In the first century AD, the Lord Jesus called that last generation of Israelites the most wicked of all. Much of the wickedness, though, was being performed by, you guessed it, a few, those few not in the pew. Whether it was the vaunted Sadducees who controlled the temple and worked hand in glove politically with the otherwise hated Romans, or the ultra-casuistic Pharisees who created an entirely new “word of God,” the Oral Torah in which they themselves were the god and which was designed to suit themselves and gain and maintain power, the Jewish religious leaders lived to lord it over the people. The millions of Israelites at that time, whether at home in Judea or abroad, were under the absolute authority of such leaders, most especially the Pharisees, the Separated Ones. This was largely the genesis of rabbinical Judaism.
The people had no say so. They were told what to believe. They were held to extremely strict standards. Those who refused the authority of the Pharisees were utterly despised by them as mongrels and traitors to the commonwealth. What does that tell us? This is why the Pharisees had such disdain for Galileans and utter disgust for Samaritans.
They saw themselves as God’s highest and best. They were so “aware” and “in-tune” they legitimized an unwritten minutia-ridden oral law code that overstepped the Law of Moses and no one knew the finer abstract workings of this code than them.
They created it, taking upon themselves the guise of God, though God had nothing to do with it. And they then browbeat their constituents into compulsory acceptance under threat. This put everyone else on the defensive, both due to ignorance of the law and because one could never know for sure if they had violated it until confronted with the violation. It should be clear then, that Israelites lived on the edge and were often in a state of worry.
Yet the Lord indicated that the scribes and Pharisees inherited the seat of Moses, and He said one must do as they teach. The inference is that one must obey them as it regards the Mosaic Law. He also said, however, that one must not follow their example because they only talk the talk and do not walk the walk.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” [Matthew 23:13]
Who else other than the Lord Jesus had the boldness to instruct disciples in this way? Who else dared to use his position of authority to tell Israelites that the Pharisees set a rotten example? We know that answer is next to no one because if one did he would have an ugly fight on his hands in seconds.
It is why the nation was so afraid of the religious leaders. Their entire lives were subjected to whether or not a person was in good standing in the synagogue and only the few at the top had absolute control of their fate. The people thus must make sure they crossed every yod and dotted every tittle or the man would come down on their head. The most successful obeyers developed the worst attitude and became sideways browbeaters in league with the top-down browbeaters. If you kept trying to succeed at this idiocy but couldn’t pull it off (because you were normal), you got it from everywhere. Those who hated the entire insufferable enterprise, however, knew they best keep their opinions and facial expressions to themselves or word would get out. You couldn’t trust anybody. They would out you. You could get ratted out by any number of Judases in a heartbeat.
Here we have another of those amazing traits regarding humanity. Why not rise up? Why not make the attempt to throw off the yoke? There were only a few who fit this category, for one thing. But those who actually did it and meant to make something of it eventually began banding together. Their effort was not necessarily against the religious leaders but for national Israel. They couldn’t see how playing church would oust the Romans. But they were not about to do it God’s way. These were the Zealots. They were otherwise known in the New Testament as robbers. A faction of these, known for hidden daggers in their cloaks to be used on a moment’s notice, was the Sicarii.
The Zealots grew more ruthless over time. They developed a few key leaders who held sway over thousands of Israelites. In the end they would bring forth the Great Revolt that brought down the nation.
Another major sect was the Essenes. These were for the most part monastics that had long before rejected the authority of the corrupt temple priests and created their own highly-controlled aesthetic order. This too, of course, was run by an elevated religious caste.
What was a first century Jew to do? There was little escape from the suffocating lack of personal liberty and freedom in the Lord. Much of everything God did in the very beginning in the times of Abraham and Moses to create a people for His Name eventually got twisted and subverted. It developed into heavy-handed domination by a ruling cabal of autocratic religious despots and political subversives given over to money and power.
© 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Posted on March 13, 2020, in Real Christianity and tagged Babylon, Christian Pharisees, Clergy-Laity Division, Essenes, Hidden Agenda, Lord Jesus, Pharisees, Sadducees, The Love of Wealth and Power, Unreal Christianity, Zealots. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.