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Wednesday, December 19 2012
Why Did The Sadducees Fear The Messiah?
"For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both"
The Sadducees were one of the major sects of Judaism (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism) at the time of the first coming of the Messiah. Along with the Pharisees and the Herodians, the Sadducees formed the religious council of authority in Jerusalem - whose disparate beliefs and teachings had drifted far from what the LORD had commanded to their fathers (see How Did The Messiah's Levite Priesthood Change? and Who Was Their Messiah?).
Despite their ruling the people as a single religious council, the Sadducees and Pharisees actually held very different, even opposing, beliefs i.e. "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both." When the apostle Paul, a Pharisee (see The Passed Over Pharisees) was arrested for preaching the Gospel, he effectively defended himself by striking (after they physically struck him) at the heart of the council's weakness - their blatant division. Paul identified himself as a Pharisee, appealing to the Pharisees' belief in the resurrection of the dead, thereby forcing about half of the council, the Sadducees, into conflict with the Pharisees on the council. They took the bait: "And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided."
"23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. 23:2 And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. 23:3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?
The Pharisees opposed the Messiah's teachings, and Christianity, because they viewed it as a contest for followers, while the Sadducees moreover opposed the Messiah's teachings, and Christianity, because of their disbelief in the spirit world and the resurrection. The Pharisees viewed Christianity as competition, while the Sadducees viewed Christianity as opposition. Together, for their own differing reasons, they had the Messiah assassinated.
"4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 4:2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 4:3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. 4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand." (Acts 4:1-4 KJV)
"O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance"
John the Baptist was a plain speaker. He favored no one, he feared no one (see Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?). "When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"
"3:1 In those days came John the Baptist [see Ahead Of The Prophet], preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [see Repent, For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand]. 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
As explained above, when you realize the differences in the beliefs, and the motives, of the Sadducees and the Pharisees, it's much easier to "hear" what they were saying to the Messiah, even when they came at Him together.
"16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.
Despite the different beliefs of the Sadducees and the Pharisees, the Messiah viewed them exactly as John the Baptist did before Him - as vipers and hypocrites.
"16:5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
"Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God"
While the Sadducees and Pharisees sometimes debated with the Messiah together, they also sometimes came separately, because of their different beliefs. In this example, the Pharisees came first with a money question - keeping in mind that the Pharisees feared the Messiah because they regarded Him as a competitor for followers.
"22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
The Sadducees then came to debate their disbelief in the resurrection - they feared the Messiah because He was a threat to the very basis of their error-riddled religious doctrines.
"22:23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, 22:24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
Fact Finder: (a) Was "the LORD God" born as Jesus Christ? (b) With whom did the LORD God make the New Covenant?
This Day In History, December 19
211: Publius Septimius Geta, then co-emperor of Rome, was assassinated by his own Praetorian Guard (see The Politics Of Rome and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars; also Whatever Happened To Those Romans?).
1154: Henry II was crowned king of England.
1562: The French Wars of Religion between the Huguenots (French Protestants) and the Catholics began at the Battle of Dreux.
1741: Vitus Bering, Danish navigator and explorer, died at age 60. The Bering Strait and the Bering Sea (located between Russia and Alaska - Alaska was then Russian territory) are named after him.
1793: French forces recaptured Toulon from the British.
1915: German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer died at age 51 of rheumatic fever and kidney failure brought on by a common cold or influenza infection. "Alzheimer's disease" was named after Alzheimer, from his professional studies of "presenile dementia" (i.e. dementia with onset before the age of 65).
1917: The first National Hockey League game was played on artificial ice, in Toronto.
1932: The BBC World Service began broadcasting overseas as the BBC Empire Service.
1941: Adolf Hitler (whose military experience consisted of his having been a corporal in the German Army during the First World War) became Supreme Commander-in-chief of the German Army (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1941: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Japanese forces invaded British-held Hong Kong.
1946: War broke out in Indochina when Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh attacked French colonial forces in Hanoi. The French left in the 1960s (after dividing Vietnam into North and South, which resulted in the Vietnam civil war) and were replaced by the U.S. who remained until the 1970s.
1972: Apollo 17, the last manned lunar flight returned to Earth.
1986: Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, considered the father of the Soviet atomic bomb, was released from exile. He had been seized in January 1980 and sent to the closed city of Gorky, 400 kilometers east of Moscow where he was kept in isolation.
1998: During the Lewinsky scandal, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached ("Charge with a crime or misdemeanor") President Bill Clinton on 2 counts - perjury and obstruction of justice.