MODERN DAY PHARISEES
WHAT IS THE EXCUSE USED BY LAWBREAKERS WHO CLAIM TO BE LAW KEEPERS?
There is a misunderstanding about Pharisees. A Pharisee is not one who keeps the law too good, they are individuals who appear to be righteous, but...they refuse to be law keepers. The Scribes and Pharisees wanted to outwardly appear righteous but didn't want to actually keep the law! Matthew 23:25-28 describes this attitude when it says,
25 Woe unto you, scribes
and Pharisees, hypocrites! For
ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within
they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Verse 28 joins "hypocrisy and iniquity." (Iniquity is law breaking) So we see from Christ's own words that the Scribes and Pharisees were law breakers, not over-zealous law keepers as most people think.
Look at verse 23 of Matthew 23. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel."
What the Pharisees did was to keep the publicly visible parts of the law such as paying tithes on mint, anise and cumin. Christ says that they omitted and left undone the most important matters of the law. Christ clearly establishes that the Pharisees were not really law keepers but simply hypocrites. Matthew 16:6 says, "Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
If you read everything that the New Testament has to say about the Pharisees and it is evident that their teachings were hypocritical. Their "leaven" was hypocrisy, which is "pretending, acting a feigned part, deceit." You see, the Pharisees were only pretending to be law keepers. As Christ said, they omitted the weightier parts of the law. They also added certain things to the law to make themselves appear more righteous. Matthew 23:4 says, "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."
Individuals that are unwilling to diligently try
to obey God by keeping the law become very angry at the humble
God-fearing people that are trying to obey every word that proceeds out
of the mouth of God. These lawbreakers bring railing accusations
against the law keeper and their excuse is to call those that are the
true law keepers Pharisaical. This
word is not in the Bible
. It is a term invented by lawbreakers to cover their iniquity.
If you are a humble God-fearing person doing your best to keep God's law, and you are called Pharisaical by one of these whited sepulchres, just remember Matthew 5:10-12,
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.