History and the Bible show that our holy Rabbi, Maran Yeshua identified Himself as a Perush (Pharisee).
The Perushim were the "party of the people". There were different parties, the Saducees and the Essenes just to name a couple.
Fisherman and carpenters were Perushim. How does this prove Yeshua was a Perushim? 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.
Let’s first look at the Pharisaical party. 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 (those where the sadducees). 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. 12:28 “One of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together. Knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, "Which mitzvah is the greatest of all?" 12:29 Yeshua answered, "The greatest is, ‘Hear, Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is one: 12:30 you shall love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first mitzvah. 12:31 The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’* There is no other mitzvah greater than these." 12:32 The scribe said to him, "Truly, teacher, you have said well that he is one, and there is none other but he, 12:33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 12:34 When Yeshua saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of G-d."
Yeshua said to him that he wasn’t far from the Kingdom. Another Perush even stuck up for Yeshua in front of all the other Perushim.
Some Perushim even came to help Him and to warn Him that Herod was looking for Him. Some of the translations of this do not read correctly (Luke 13:31) but in Greek it says this…"depart from here, Herod wants to kill you" 13:31 On that same day, some Perushim came, saying to him, "Get out of here, and go away, for Herod wants to kill you."
And what about Nicodemus? Yochanan 3:1 “Now there was a man of the Perushim named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Judeans. 3:2 The same came to him by night, and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from G-d, for no one can do these signs that you do, unless G-d is with him."
It says in Yochanan 3 that he was a leader in the party (that is who I was referencing earlier). Later on Nickodemus tells some other Perushim not to pass judgment on Yeshua. Nicodemus (that horrible Perushim) was there at the burial of Yeshua too in Yochanan 19:39.19:39 Nicodemus, who at first came to Yeshua by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 19:40 So they took Yeshua’s body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Judeans is to bury.
Why did He call them hypocrites? Because they were saying that they followed the Pharisaical teachings and theology and they weren’t. Was the Pharisaical teachings and theology correct? Absolutely!
This is where we see Yeshua say 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.
Yes Maran Yeshua was a Perush, so were most of the Talmidim and the vast majority of the first believers. A few were Essenes and Sadducees but most were of G-d’s Holy Party of the Perushim.
Later in Scripture we see in Ma’asei Hashilichim (Acts) that there were many believers Perushim in 15:5. 15:5 “But some of the sect of the Perushims who believed.” So here we have beliving Perushims after the death and resurrection of Maran Yeshua! I’ll tell you, we could sure use some Pharisaical (those set apart) believers today.
Rabbi Shaul (Paul) was also a Perush, he was very proud to wear that badge and frankly, he’d roll over in his grave if he heard us all talking badly about the Perushim… Regarding Rabbi Shaul’s speech before the Sanhedrin, Luke depicts "believers in Yeshua and Pharisaism as natural allies, hence the direct continuity between the Pharisaic branch of Judaism and followers of the Way. The link is expressed directly in Rabbi Shaul’s own testimony: he is (now) a Perush, with a Pharisaic heritage (23:6). 26:5 “having known me from the first, if they are willing to testify, that after the strictest sect of our religion I lived as a Perushim.”
His Pharisaic loyalty is a present commitment, not a recently jettisoned stage of his religious past (cf. Phil 3:5-9). 3:5 “… of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; concerning the Torah, a Perush; 3:6 concerning zeal, persecuting the assembly; concerning the righteousness which is in the Torah, found blameless.”
His believing proclamation of a risen Messiah, and by implication, of a risen humanity (Ma’asei Hashilichim 23:6), represents a particular, but defensible, form of Pharisaic theology . “23:6 But when Rabbi Shaul perceived that the one part were Sadducees and the other Perushim, he cried out in the council, "Men and brothers, I am a Perush, a son of Perushim. Concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”
In Pilifim (Philippians) 3:5, Rabbi Shaul states that he was "concerning the law, a Perush." In verse 6, he goes on to say that he was "concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." If you want to know more about the Perushim you can read what they wrote. Josephus has a wealth of information. Josephus was himself a Perush who lived during the time of Maran Yeshua and he even mentions Maran Yeshua and also Yochanan the immerser. Also of course there is the Mishna.
In fact, when the Perushim went out to question Yochanan HaMevaser 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 Eliyahu (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.”
Our holy Rabbi, Maran Yeshua is a Jew, a rabbi and a Pharisee, who always upheld Torah, and was Orthodox in his practices. Is this the "Messiah" of your mind? Or do you have some one else? So, the next time you consider using the adjective Pharisaic as an insult, think about Yeshua. Think about Paul. And please, let’s get rid of the over-simplistic caricature. The Pharisees are the Jewish movement closest to God in Yeshua’s time.
Tags: bad rap, book of macabees, carpenters, corruption, essenes, fisherman, Maran, neighbor, pharisees, rabbi, righteousness, sadducees, saducees, scribe, scribes, second temple, slavery, temple period, theology, Yeshua
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