Who were the Pharisees?

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John 7:25-31 When Christ Comes

John 7:32-36 Pharisees

John 7:37-49 Rivers of Living Water
John 7:50-53 Nicodemus
JOHN 7:32  32 The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to seize Him.

What tipped “Pharisees and the chief priests” (John 7:32) into action?
The crowd starting to murmur if Jesus is the Messiah.

What “officers” (John 7:32) did the Pharisees and chief priests send?
The Hebrew temple guards under their control, not the Roman soldiers.

Who were the Pharisees?
The Pharisees were the strictest sect of Judaism. The other Jews respected the Pharisees as their religious teachers and defenders of Judaism, and trusted them more than the chief priests, whom they considered compromised by the occupying Roman overlords.

How many Pharisees were there at this time?
Only a few thousand but they wielded religious, social and political power far greater than their numbers. A large proportion of the seventy or so seat in the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of Israel, were occupied by the Pharisees.

Why were the Pharisees so opposed to Jesus?
Ever since God led the Jews out of Egypt, He spoke to them through judges, kings and prophets until about 400 BC, when His voice fell silent after the Jews kept on disobeying Him. The Jews became alarmed and tried to fill the void by fleshing out the Ten Commandments to cover every aspect of daily life. This endeavor was led by the Pharisees and driven by their desire to protect their Jewish identity from the occupying foreigners who tried to force them to assimilate into the Greek culture (The Pharisees' aversion to assimilation is reflected in Φαρισαῖοι (Pharisaioi), the original Greek word translated "Pharisees" and derived from פְּרִישַׁיָּא‬ (Pərīšayyā), an Aramaic word which means "(those) set apart"). By the first century AD, the Jews' man-made laws had taken on a life of their own and veered far from the letter and the intent of God's original Commandments. For example, the sixth Commandments is: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11). By the time of Jesus' earthly ministry, there were no fewer than thirty-nine different categories of “work,” as well as a dizzying array of do's and don'ts, especially on the Sabbath. For example, you could carry olive oil on the Sabbath but not enough to have a meal with it. You couldn't spit on the ground on the Sabbath because your spit will create a small indentation in the soil into which a seed may fall in and grow, making you guilty of having planted - i.e., worked - on the Sabbath. If you were cut on the Sabbath, you could bandage the wound to stop the bleeding but had to wait until the next day to put ointment in the wound so that it won't get infected. The Pharisees, who had concocted the bulk of such laws, tried to adhere to them, or at least maintain the appearance of it. In so doing, they lost sight of God’s original intent behind the laws given through Moses, became proud, judgmental and hypocritical. As we will see, they could handle neither Jesus' teaching nor His condemnation of their hypocrisy and erroneous theology, and sought to kill Him with increasing fervor.

JOHN 7:33-34  33 Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. 34 You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.”

How much longer is “a little while longer” (John 7:33)?
Jesus will be on the cross at the next Passover, which is six months after this Feast of Tabernacles.

Where will Jesus go thereafter?
He will return to God the Father, who sent Him.

JOHN 7:35-36  35 Then the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?”

Where do the Jews speculate He may go?
To the Jewish communities dispersed in the Greek-speaking world outside Israel.

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