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Lesson # Matt. 16:1
Study Material - Matt. 16:1
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1 The Pharisees [Pharisaios] also [kai] with the Sadducees [Saddoukaios] came [proserchomai] , and [kai] tempting [peirazo] desired [eperotao] him [autos] that he would shew [epideiknumi] them [autos] a sign [semeion] from [ek] heaven [ouranos] . KJV-Interlinear
1 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Him asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.
The two groups, the Pharisees and the Sadducees are peoples that followed two different philosophies.
The Pharisees saw their following from the common folk finding their membership from the local rabbi's and following the rabbinic traditions. They were the more conservative and fundamental of the two, if you considered conservatism of the day as those who held to the traditions that had evolved over the centuries, claiming that their origins were from the writings of Moses, but in reality their traditions came from many centuries of opinions of the meanings of scripture, then from interpretations of the interpretations, wherein the scriptures were all but lost in the shuffle. The Pharisees were a separatist group all but ignoring the civil side of society and defiant against anything that conflicted with the Judaism philosophies of the day. Thus their conflict with Jesus arose over their interpretations of their own religious law.
The Sadducees on the other hand claimed their origins from the handed down rights and prestige of the priesthood. They held the offices of high priest, were the more prominent and wealthy of society, and held the lucrative activities of the temple concessions and money flow. They were the aristocratic peoples of Judea. They had long since left the scriptures behind in their philosophies, not believing in a resurrection, not believing in spirits, angels, or such. They did not follow the rabbinic traditions but were more politically oriented in Jesus' day. They aligned themselves in the Sanhedrin, the seat or court of justice for the region which included Jerusalem, and oversaw generally civil cases in that region. Occasionally they heard criminal cases, however their authority in the case of the death penalty had to be confirmed by the Roman authorities. The Sadducees would be considered the liberals of Jesus' day. Compromise, expediency and obtaining any resolution to their desires at any price was acceptable as long as they remained in power.
By the way, you'll note that both above definitions of liberalism and conservatism do not apply to Christianity. In our current day, ultraconservatives would align with the Pharisees of old (traditions should rule ones life) and the liberals of today would align with the Sadducees of old (government should rule ones life). In either case we ignore the ludicrous philosophies of politics and public opinion, and we pursue the common sense of Bible teaching, which by the way will 'generate within us' a solid foundation in social norms and values, as well as an understanding of life and all hat is going on around us in this world.
Both groups approached Jesus and demanded to see yet another even greater sign, a sign from heaven, that He is who He says He is. They probably expected God the Father to drop down out of the clouds and tell them face to face that Jesus was His Son.
Now if you have read the last few studies, then you know of the great miracles that Jesus has performed. Miracles that no human could possibly perform, even in todays advanced technology. Those miracles could only come from a higher source of power. Jesus Christ possessed that power, as God, and performed all things in His own name. He performed these things in full view of the public, and all that He did could not be refuted.
The scriptures spoke of Him and of His coming. Even Daniel (that book in which we have completed our study) gives tremendous detail of the historical events leading up to the birth of Christ. Isaiah, in which we have only begun our study, and is often referred to a the Paul of the Old Testament, is filled with many detailed prophecies regarding the coming and life of Jesus Christ. And likewise many other books of the Old Testament which contain prophecies, books which we will eventually get to as we continue our study of the entire Bible.
These learned men, knew these scriptures, yet they rejected the true interpretation of the facts before them, facts as they applied to their own current events. How can people be so closed minded, or naive by choice? Could this happen in our current day of enlightenment? Of course. It happens in every generation. Just as people ignored the rise of Mussolini and Hitler in the 30's, in their attempts to negotiate with them rather than correctly identify them as truly evil and then stop them before it was too late, so too we have similar activities in the Middle East today. Evil is there today yet we have many appeasement oriented peoples who oppose any violent actions, seeking proof after proof and yet they ignore the facts that already exist.
People who reject and therefore lack Bible doctrine within their souls have one huge handicap. They have an inability to assimilate facts and match them with reality. Two plus two just never seem to add up for them. We do not get into the current politics of the day, but current events do have a lot of helpful teaching principles from which we can learn and even apply doctrinal principles to life. Were these events concerning Iraq to occur during David's or Joshua's day, you would be hard pressed to find two living camels let alone anyone to ride them. And peace would continue for decades as a result.
Hummm! I wonder how many I have now insulted by the above remark, or have we now people on this study with backbone and common sense? We'll once again study David et al and see just how ruthless they were when dealing with their enemies. Or even Christ at the second advent (a future event) when He returns, and just how many millions if not billions will die instantly upon His arrival.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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