THE L.I.F.E. PLAN THE SADDUCEES BLOCK 4. THEME 7 - THE CONFRONTATIONS LESSON 3 (135 of 216)

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1 THE L.I.F.E. PLAN THE SADDUCEES BLOCK 4 THEME 7 - THE CONFRONTATIONS LESSON 3 (135 of 216)

2 BLOCK 4 THEME 7: THE CONFRONTATIONS LESSON 3 (135 OF 216): THE SADDUCEES LESSON AIM: Show the opposition of the Sadducees to Jesus. SCRIPTURE: (Acts 23:8) For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. Another faction within Israel which opposed Jesus and with whom he had direct confrontation was the Sadducees. They fared no better than the Pharisees in their ability to trap Jesus in his words and in the doctrine which he taught. Like the Pharisees, the party of the Sadducees developed during the time between the Testaments. They developed from the priests, claiming a sort of elitism as the Pharisees had claimed through the scribes. The word, Sadducees, is suspected to come from the name Zadok. The most famous Zadok of the Bible was the high priest who served during the reigns of kings David and Solomon. The high priests liked to claim their descent from him who was himself a descendent of Aaron, Israel s first high priest. Whether they actually descended from this Zadok or not, it did contribute to their aristocratic status in Israel. The Sadducees were smaller in number than the Pharisees but by the same token, exerted much influence upon the nation of Israel. They were not so popular among the people but this was not their aim anyway. Their aim was to make themselves seem indispensable to the ruling empire so that they could continue to hold political power in Israel. The Sadducees were just as committed to Jewish nationalism as were the Pharisees but from a different perspective. Largely influenced by the liberalities of the Greek empire, the Sadducees were not as concerned with the law of God as they were with politics, social status, and the promotion of a religious front. In this regard, they were the exact counterparts of the Pharisees. The Pharisees not only promoted following the letter of the law of God, but also developed the oral law as well. To the Sadducees, the oral law was completely ignored. They only recognized the law of God but were even skeptical, to say the least, of it. They certainly felt that the law of God had nothing to do with politics. The Sadducees were very influential among the Sanhedrin, the civil and religious tribunal of the Jews. By way of theology, the Sadducees also went in the opposite direction from the Pharisees. Their bend toward liberalism would not allow them to embrace some of the key doctrines of the Scriptures. Among them were the doctrine of the resurrection from the dead, and the Messianic hope of Israel. They also did not believe in the doctrine of angels or spirits. Paul used these theological differences between these two groups to his advantage when he was opposed and arrested in Jerusalem after his third missionary journey. The Pharisees and Sadducees also made various attempts to entrap Jesus on these theological issues. To read and study the confrontations Jesus had with the Pharisees and the Sadducees will help us to learn how to confront error, to stand up for the truth, and to be apologetic concerning the faith. In two chapters in the book of Matthew, we find Jesus involved in a confrontation with the Sadducees. In Matthew sixteen, the two

3 groups join forces with each other, attempting to force Jesus to give them a sign regarding his true identity. Not only did he not give in to their pressure, but he took the opportunity to point out their hypocrisy and lack of wisdom. He told them that the best they could do was to forecast the weather but were ignorant when it came to the Word of God. If they had paid attention to the Word of God, they would have recognized that they had already been given many, many signs concerning the Messiah. One of which was that of the prophet Jonah, how he was brought back to life from the belly of the fish. When Jesus would come forth from the grave, they should have been able to make the connection. Jesus also used this opportunity to warn his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Jesus was not giving them a lesson in bread making, but used bread making to illustrate how the wrong doctrine and beliefs of these religious groups, though they were small in number, could have a wide-spread effect in the hearts and lives of people. In the same way that a small amount of leaven can cause a whole loaf of bread to rise, a small amount of false doctrine can derail a person in a religious sense. To know that Jesus had joined these two groups together in this way would have infuriated each one of them. Many of their doctrines were opposite from each other and wrong altogether in reference to the Word of God. On another occasion in Matthew twenty-two, the Sadducees once again sought to impose their doctrine upon Jesus. They began their attack using the Law of Moses, to which they themselves were not even fully committed. They presented a far-fetched scenario about how seven brothers each married the same woman upon the death of each brother, who all had left her with no children. Their question to Jesus was, Whose wife will she be in the resurrection? The answer they received was more than they bargained for. With his answer, Jesus did six significant things. One, he pointed out the ignorance of the Sadducees in the Scriptures. Two, he uncovered their underestimation of the power of God. Three, he answered the question they asked. Four, he answered a question they did not ask, addressing not only their disbelief in the resurrection, but also their disbelief in the angels and spirit beings. Five, his answer ripped them to such shreds that when the news of it got around to the Pharisees, they tried the same thing with similar results. And six, Jesus did such a masterful job with his answer that it put a stop to this kind of question coming from them anymore. From that day forward, no one asked anymore of these ignorant and entrapping questions. It can be said that the Sadducees were directly responsible for the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were very influential in the Sanhedrin, the court which sought to have Jesus put to death. The high priests during the Lord s ministry were Annas and Caiaphas, who were both Sadducees. Jesus had predicted the destruction of the Temple. The construction of the Temple of Herod had been going on for forty-six years at the time of Christ. It continued for another thirty years before it was complete. It stood for only five or six more years after its completion until it was destroyed, burned, and disassembled by Titus in A.D. 70. At that time, the class of the Sadducees disappeared. One by one, the rivals of Jesus have been defeated down through time. The Pharisees and the Sadducees who caused so much trouble for Jesus no longer exist. They take their place with the others throughout history who have gone up against the Rock and have been beaten to powder only to be scattered to the wind. One day, the head of all of Christ s rivals, Satan himself, will be done away with forever. Jesus will have put all of his enemies under his footstool and will continue to reign supreme.

4 LESSON OUTLINE BLOCK 4 THEME 7: THE CONFRONTATIONS LESSON 3 (135 OF 216): THE SADDUCEES The Sadducees: I THEIR HISTORY A. Descended from the priests B. Connection with Zadok C. A social clique 1. Thrived on power and influence 2. Liberal in thought II THEIR CONFRONTATION WITH JESUS A. Jesus stopped their questions B. The Sadducees largely responsible for the crucifixion of Christ 1. The Sanhedrin 2. The high priests III THEIR END A. Ended with the Temple in A.D. 70 B. Jesus rules over all of his enemies SCRIPTURES TO BROADEN YOUR UNDERSTANDING 1. Confrontations with Jesus Matthew 16 Matthew 22 LINES OF THEOLOGICAL CONNECTION 1. NEW TESTAMENT HISTORY The Sadducees The Essenes The Herodians The Zealots The Sanhedrin 2. THE DOCTRINE OF THE SCRIPTURES Ignorance of the Scriptures False doctrine 3. CHRISTOLOGY The trials of Jesus The crucifixion

5 QUESTIONS ANSWER KEY 1. From which former high priest did the Sadducees claim to descend? Zadok 2. What was the chief aim of the Sadducees? To make themselves seem indispensable to the ruling empire so they could influence the government and hold a high position in the land 3. With what influential body were the Sadducees connected? The Sanhedrin 4. Who were the high priests during the time of Christ? Annas and Caiaphas 5. List three teachings of the Word of God that the Sadducees did not believe. The resurrection from the dead; angels; spirits 6. Which group was counterpart to the Sadducees? The Pharisees 7. What word describes the thinking of the Sadducees? Liberal 8. What became of the Sadducees? They disappeared with the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70

6 BLOCK 4 THEME 7: THE CONFRONTATIONS LESSON 3 (135 OF 216): THE SADDUCEES QUESTIONS TO INSPIRE THOUGHT 1. From which former high priest did the Sadducees claim to descend? 2. What was the chief aim of the Sadducees? 3. With what influential body were the Sadducees connected? 4. Who were the high priests during the time of Christ? 5. List three teachings of the Word of God that the Sadducees did not believe. 6. Which group was counterpart to the Sadducees? 7. What word describes the thinking of the Sadducees? 8. What became of the Sadducees?

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