The Word “Pharisee” has been very much overused in our church culture.
These days, anyone who calls on Christians to take devotion, and Obedience to God seriously is labeled a Pharisee, and dismissed out of hand in this antinomian age. So also are those who call upon the church to exercise due discernment in this age of false prophets and other religious charlatans. Furthermore those who do not fall in lock step with the abominable “unconditional security” teaching are also called “Pharisees”.
Most people who throw this name out have no idea what the real Pharisees represent, they just call any theological opponent “Pharisee” as a way to dismiss criticism. To any Christian, being called a Pharisee would be an insult.
The Pharisees in the gospels, were at one time the “back to the Bible ” movement of their day. They tried to maintain the only true faith against the Hellenism (Greek humanistic culture) which sought to impose it’s pagan values on the whole world.
At a time when the High Priest of Israel took on a Greek name and a Pagan Gymnasium was established in Jerusalem, and untold thousands of Jews were defecting from the faith, the Pharisees took on the task of preserving the observance of the Torah. I believe God used them mightily in the intertestamental period.
But by the time of the coming of Jesus, the Pharisees had developed a system of rigid external observance of the Torah, and would resist Jesus and his disciples. Ironically the Pharisees were closer theologically to Jesus than the Sadducees, Essenes or any other Jewish sect. Many of the first disciples of John the baptist were Pharisees, as were many of the first Christians.
The destruction of the Temple in 70 AD created a crisis in Judaism, how to practice the faith without a Temple or Priesthood. A council in which the Pharisaic school in great part attempted to resolve. Pharisaic leaders such as Rabbi Akiva and Johannan Ben Zakkaiestablished a new religious center for Judaism in Jamnia and redefined Judaism completely.
From an Israel Biblical Studies article,
According to Rabbinic sources, when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 AD, Yochanan ben Zakkai (a leading Pharisaic proto-rabbinic leader who opposed the Saddusaic leadership) established a center of learning in Jamnia. This attracted proto-rabbinic scholars to this area. After the Temple’s destruction, Jamnia gradually became a new spiritual center in Israel. Israel’s legislative body (the Great Beit Din later referred to as the Sanhedrin) relocated to Jamnia (Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashanah 31a). Other names often associated with Jamnia are Gamliel II, the leader of Bet Din and Akiva ben Joseph, a charismatic leader from the days of Bar Kochba Revolt.
The relevance of this is that this redefinition of Judaism along Pharisaic lines, has continued in direct continuity to this day, and is currently launching an effective attack on Christian claims about scripture, the Deity of Christ, his sacrifice , the need for blood atonement, etc. the Noahide deception is part of the fruit of this virulent assault by neo-Pharisees.
One of the most notable of the neo Pharisees is a Rabbi named Tovia Singer. He is a winsome, adept communicator who is launching a direct assault on loot ever tenet of the Christian faith. He is open about being a “Parushim’, (Hebrew for Pharisee). He is right, there is a direct line from the councils of Jamnia , to the Hasidic and Orthodox, rabbinic Judaism of today. It is not an insult to Rabbi Singer to be called a Pharisee.
Singer considers himself zealous for the Torah, a defender of the faith against the corruption of Christian theology. He reminds me of Saul of Tarsus ,(May God grant him the same end). Most importantly he is getting to people. The internet now has numerous testimonies of former Gospel preachers who have been talked into renouncing Jesus, repudiating the ministry , and denying blood atonement, etc, in part due to Pharisees such as Singer.
I was going to give a rebuttal to one of Rabbi Singer’s popular antiChristian Argument, (That the Psalms do not say, “They Pierced my Hands and My Feet”, which is one of the Christian arguments for the prophecies predicting Messiah would be crucified. This is what Singer and the other neo-Pharisees do, they attack every Christian understanding of fulfilled prophecy concerning the Messiah.
However I have found a beautiful rebuttal by a fellow Christian Pastor who is also concerned about this, so I will give you the link. I feel I need to show you what many are up against, and how others are defending our faith in the face of so many defections.
This brother is named RL Solberg, and He has written a book about this subject, (Which I plan to order, called “Torahism”. Here is the Link to his rebuttal of Singer’s argument,