Yeshua was a Pharisee / Perush

Yeshua was a Pharisee / Perush

History and the Bible show that Yeshua identified Himself as a Perush. In fact, when the Perushim went out to question Yochanan about who he was, he said that one among THEM (the Perushim) was the Messiah to come (Yochanan 1:24-28). “1:24 the ones who had been sent were from the Perushim. 1:25 they asked him, “Why then do you immerse, if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 1:26 Yochanan answered them; “I immerse in water, but among you stands one whom you don’t know. 1:27 He is the one who comes after me, who is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I’m not worthy to loosen.” 1:28 These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where Yochanan was immersing.”

Well, Yeshua didn’t stand behind the Sadducee, Essene or Qumran party (although he may have agreed with some of their theology… i.e. the Essenes didn’t believe in slavery) but He did stand behind the Perushim party. First we have to understand that the Pharisaical party has been given a bad rap by the Christian Church. We see the Besuras shel Mashiach (NT) saying things such as “You brood of vipers”, “beware of the leaven of the Perushims” etc. This makes sense from a Messianic perspective. I, as a Republican have a few things to say about the Republican Party. They are not all positive; in fact there are a few Republican politicians that I would call downright vipers. This doesn’t mean that I think all Republicans are bad. Likewise Yeshua didn’t think the Pharisaical party was all bad… In fact He endorses them! I’ll get to that in a second. (We find that even in the Talmud they are labeled “sore spots” and “plagues” and “destroyers of the world” Berakot 14b; Hagigah 14a; Sotah 3.4)

The Pharisees were a holy party; their name means “set apart” (perushim in Hebrew). They were zealous for G-d and strove after righteousness. The book of Macabees speaks highly of them! By the time of the second temple period however, some… some corruption had crept in even into some rather high positions. Again this wasn’t all of them. We see in Mark 12:28 that one of the Scribes (most, almost all, the scribes were Perushim) agreed with Yeshua and what He was saying.

“EVERYTHING and WHATEVER THEY TEACH YOU DO AND KEEP” This is where we see Yeshua say concerning the Perushim Theology, something that He didn’t say about any other teaching or theology on the planet including the Sadducees and the Essenes and everyone else. He says this… and this is exact from Greek "Then Yeshua said to the crowds and His disciples, “the Scribes and the Perushim sit on the seat of Moses therefore, EVERYTHING and WHATEVER THEY TEACH YOU DO AND KEEP” He goes on to say just don’t do as they do. This is amazing if you think about it. Here Yeshua just gave absolute endorsement to the theology of the Perushim. Whatever and Everything!!! He didn’t say that about the Essenes or the Sadducees but He made it a point about the Perushim.Â
Yeshua is a Jew, a rabbi and a Pharisee, who always upheld Torah, and was Orthodox in His practices. Is this the “Yeshua” of your mind? Or do you have some one else? an idol perhaps?


This is fascinating stuff.

I have nowhere come across this account.

I am a so-called gentile, but I see no problem with what you’re saying at all.

Pharisaism has been likened to ancient Stoicism. This intrigues me and although I have no proof I believe that Jesus ben Pantera’s Pharisaism is basically Jewish Stoicism and that Christianity has misunderstood and misconstrued Jesus’ Jewish Stoical or Pharisaical teachings over the centuries.

I can find so many correspondencies between what Jesus says and between what the Stoics say, but then Christianity, comes along, that is, the books of the New Testament, and the teachings of Jesus somehow get watered down. The Muslims point out that the N.T. is really nothing more than the doctrines of Jesus interpreted by Paul, and maybe they are correct, I don’t know…

Anyway, this is an interesting post you’ve introduced and I hope it gets some response.

Re. my previous post, hope following throws further light on subject:

The philosophers had turned their attention away from the investigation of truth in itself, and from metaphysical discussions as to the meaning of existence, to the practical application of moral philosophy. The primary interest of the Stoics and Epicureans was practical and ethical, and their aim the attainment of the ‘end’ of man — the blessed life. These two were the only philosophies which at this time possessed any vitality. They offered men a guide of life and a moral creed, and so they were a living force in the world. The other schools, who maintained their devotion to theoretical speculation — the Academics, Peripatetics, and Sceptics, — had no practical influence and were purely ‘academic.’

It was the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers who encountered S. Paul. This is not the place to summarise their doctrines: it is sufficient to point out that they represented two great types of thought and character which will always divide men. Thus (1) in ethics the Stoics were on the side of the ideal. Duty, law, and virtue, were their favourite conceptions; virtue for its own sake their doctrine; and their ‘end’ the condition of the wise man who, having risen superior to all the circumstance of life and to human passions, is ‘self-sufficient’ — ‘a king,’ or rather ‘a god,’ in himself. The Epicureans on the other hand adopted the common-sense standard of the world; an enlightened prudence with practical experience of life was their guide; and their ‘end’ was pleasure. Such a theory was of course open to great perversion and misunderstanding. But it would be a gross injustice to Epicurus to say that he aimed simply at the gratification of the sensual desires. His ideal was not so much pleasure as happiness, which he found in freedom from the distractions of life and in which the enlightened pleasures of the mind and of social intercourse form the chief ingredients. In fact Epicureanism is most fairly described as the ancient representative of modern utilitarianism.

(2) In regard to religion, the Epicureans believed in the gods; but to satisfy their own conception of blessedness, the gods were banished to a distant celestial sphere of bliss altogether removed from the disturbances of this life and the cares of providence. So this world was left to itself; and their view of it was very much that of modern materialism. In fact they held the atomic theory of modern science, although of course in a crude form. Their theory carried with it the denial of life after death. Like everything else, the human soul was composed of material atoms which, in themselves indestructible, were dissipated at death, so that personal existence came to an end. But neither theories of the universe nor physical science were in themselves attractive to the Epicureans. They only studied these subjects as weapons of criticism for the sake of deliverance from popular superstitions and the fear of death. Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum — that was the guise in which religion presented itself to the eyes of the great Epicurean poet Lucretius; and the attitude of these philosophers towards worship was simply that of emancipated men of culture. The Stoics on the contrary had a strong belief in God and in spirit. But even their faith will not stand a thorough examination. They believed that throughout the universe there was a pervading spirit, a universal reason, a creative word of God — the anima mundi. And of this spirit the human spirit was a part. Our souls therefore share its immortality, although at intervals cosmic conflagrations will occur, when all the universe, including all human spirits, will be reabsorbed into the fire of the divine spirit. Such a creed is pure pantheism; and the Stoics were no less materialists than the Epicureans, for after all their ‘spirit’ was itself but refined matter, or as S. Chrysostom bluntly puts it ‘their god is a body.’ Still, apart from the logical and scientific theories, the Stoics were possessed by a real religious fervour. To this Deity they addressed the language of personal worship and fervent devotion; and by their use of predestination they made up for the absence of the divine intervention in daily human life. For all things proceeded according to the law and will of this universal reason, and therefore man could have faith that he was under the protection of the divine providence.

(3) Once more, the same difference underlay their respective doctrines of human society. The Epicureans attached a great value to friendship, but as one of the greatest pleasures of life and as an essential factor in man’s highest happiness. The Stoics treated it dogmatically and on a priori grounds. As each human soul was a fragment of the pervading spirit, — the anima mundi, which was God, — all men were brothers. And so from the side of philosophy they were breaking down the barriers between city and city, and race and race, which so hopelessly divided the ancient world. In fact they had anticipated Christianity in rising to the conception of the world as one great ‘city of God.’

To sum up — the Stoic was the idealist; the Epicurean the utilitarian. The Stoic was the stern dogmatist, the unflinching man of duty; the Epicurean the practical common-sense man of the world, the philosopher who could make the best out of circumstances. The Stoic was deeply interested in the doctrine of God and the soul; the Epicurean indulged in the dilettante scepticism of the man of culture. To stretch a comparison — the Epicureans were the Sadducees, the Stoics the Pharisees of Hellenism. The Stoic held fast to the law; the ideal of the Epicurean was lawlessness, in the sense, that is to say, of freedom from arbitrary restrictions.

It is obvious on which side Christian sympathy would lie. For Stoicism — and only Stoicism — could make any claim to be a religion, and as such it served the nobler Romans. In the dying republic it was the religion of Cato, the noblest Roman of them all, and under the empire it was the creed which inspired those who ventured to make any open stand for righteousness — Seneca and Barea Soranus and Thrasea Paetus and Helvidius Priscus. This strong religious element really came from the east. It was drawn from the Semitic blood in the veins of its founders, for Zeno was a native of Cyprus and Chrysippus came from Cilicia. There was then a slight kinship of blood. Stoicism and Christianity were distant cousins, many times removed. This relationship was also seconded by some striking resemblances to Christianity in Stoic doctrine and phraseology. Christian teachers could lay hold, for example, of the doctrines of the universal presence of God and the divine predestination, of the city of God and brotherhood of man, and of the ideal of the wise man; and so it was easy for S. Paul to use its language and become ‘a Stoic to Stoics.’ Stoic philosophy, then, was an element in the divine preparation for the gospel. It had been preparing a moral ground for Christianity. Yet there was a great deal wanting. If the Stoics resembled the Pharisees, they also fell into the sins of Pharisaism. Stoicism was the nurse of pride and rigidity. It was not a religion for the vulgar; from them the philosopher stood apart in self-sufficing and contemptuous exclusiveness. But even the philosopher found the ‘wise man’ an impracticable ideal. For after all they had not found God. Their God was but Nature, and what they needed was the gospel of a human personality.

And now Paul stands face to face with philosophy. The contrast between the Christian Jew and the Greek philosophers is striking, but not so sharp as we have been in the habit of thinking. S. Paul was by no means unfitted for the encounter. He was familiar with the life of Greek cities, and must have frequently met with philosophers before. He himself was a native of Tarsus, which ranked as a university-town next after Athens and Alexandria. Cilicia was also a great nursery ground for Stoics; besides Chrysippus other heads of the school, and the poet Aratus, were Cilicians by birth. S. Paul’s own writings shew that he had studied Stoicism; he was at least acquainted with its leading doctrines and had read some of its authors. Above all he had the sympathy of kindred character, for in his stern Pharisaism, his eager pursuit after righteousness and a life according to law, he had been a Jewish Stoic.

I couldn’t agree more! The reason that this fact has been largely misinterpreted is that Christians lost their roots early on and that much innerjewish polemic was used as a basis for antisemitism. It really is time to return to this fact and ask ourselves how much of the modern day misgivings and superstition has grown from taking Pauls mythology literally.

Yeshua was in fact deeply rooted within his own people and faith. He was probably a Mystic, having personal insight of the Way of God for the future of his people. He warned about the consequences of the Sadduccee policy of keeping law and order so that that the Temple business could carry on whilst allowing the Romans to despoil the country with their taxes.

The way of Yeshua was the way of opposition without uprising and yet exemplary behaviour by the standards of Torah. Those who follow him see him as the spiritual leaven of God in difficult times, the anointed one who leads people to freedom out of slavery. Yeshuas freedom was a state of mind that could overcome the weak and decadent Romans - the Zealots chose the sword and, as Yeshua said they would, they died by the sword.

Today it is still this spirit that shows the world how to oppose without uprising and yet depose the arrogant and supercilious. The modern day Zealots (“hawks”) only manage to make the world unsafe, the modern day Sadducees (“church”) utilise the believers to make profits, the modern day Essenes (“pious”) hide in the desert of irrelevance, trying to gain a place in heaven. It is the Perushim that will keep themselves from the decadence of the unbelievers and find the promised land.