The Bible is the holy, inspired, infallible Word of God. Within the Bible, there are different stories and principles that the Lord gave us through special revelation. In the New Testament there were Jewish or religious groups that began teaching unbiblical doctrines. Two of those sects were the Pharisees and the Essenes. The importance of learning about these groups is so that we can see how they were wrong and to make sure we don’t mirror their actions. In this paper I will be comparing the Pharisees’ views on God and Jesus with that of the Essenes’.
The Pharisees’ were the religious leaders of the Jews, and most of the time, in the New Testament, they were associated with the scribes. They were extremely influential and were very popular with the people. They taught some sound doctrine, but by Jesus’ day their sect was nothing more than empty religion and useless practices. (Jensen, 46) The Pharisaical view was monotheism, the belief in one and only one God. The word monotheism comes from the Greek word monos, which means one, and theos, which means god. Thus, monotheism is a belief in the
existence of a single god. (“Monotheism”) “For the Pharisees, God is primarily one who makes demands. For them, the Scriptures of the Old Testament were a set of rules that must be kept at all cost.” (“Jesus Challenges the Pharisees”)
The most noted characteristic of the Pharisees was their passion for traditions. For a little while, they acknowledged the Law of Moses and the prophets as truth from God but they would pretend that their traditions were from Moses as well. When in actuality their traditions were just strict observances passed down from generation to generation. The Pharisees looked at themselves as more holy because they kept their man-made rules. This is why they were called Pharisees, the word means, persons separated from others. (Watts, Shimeall, 307) “Josephus wrote that the Pharisees have delivered to the people a great many observances by succession from their fathers, which are not written in the Law of Moses. Instead of studying and debating, the Pharisees accepted what was passed down to them and expected all others to do the same.”
The Pharisees thought that keeping the whole law was the way they would become worthy and holy. The Pharisees were careful students of the Jewish law. Perhaps
they remembered what God had done, years before. He had punished the people who did not obey the law. He allowed their enemies to defeat them. So the Pharisees wanted to obey the agreement that God had made with his people. They would even die for the law. Their religion was really about behavior, and what was on the outside not what was in their hearts. (“The Pharisees Oppose Jesus”). Jesus although, did not condemn the Pharisees for lacking knowledge of the Law. They knew it well but they did not understand it. They could become so manipulative in interpreting one law that they over turned...