Sunday, August 23, 2015


      The sects of Jesus’ time:

A.       Revolutionaries or Zealots:  The Zealots advocated the overthrow of the Roman Empire. They were not adverse to using violence. Their devotion to God was total and unwavering. They would do what was necessary to establish God as sole ruler.

B.       The Essenes: The Essenes were one of the three major sects of the Second Temple Judaism. (2nd century BCE to first century CE). They were a communal group, with no private ownership of any possessions. They would seem like a group of hippies from the sixties, with an infusion of religiosity and a bit of mysticism.  They saw themselves as the faithful, who would join with God to overcome evil. The passion and goal was to strive for righteousness.

C.       The Sadducees: The Sadducees were another of the prominent sects of the Second Temple period. Members were from the upper social and economic echelon of Judean society. They were the council and maintainers of The Temple. The Priests, who were held in high esteem by the citizens. The Torah was the sole source of divine authority. They believed in one God, but not in the afterlife. They were an Aristocratic, wealthy, traditional elite.

D.       The Pharisees were another major sect. Their beliefs would become the basis for Judaism. They regarded the Torah as the law. They were concerned with the interpretation of the scriptures. The Pharisees were not revolutionary, paying little attention to Roman rule. They believed in one God and in the resurrection of the dead. Being located in mainly rural villages, the Temple was less assessable, so out of necessity, they spread Judaism outside of the Temple.

E.       Jesus: There seems little doubt that Jesus was Jewish. He was of the Second Temple Judaism period. A charismatic leader, healer, apocalyptic prophet who questioned the authority of all the major sects, the scribes, and the Roman government. He clearly stood out from the contemporary Jewish community, but was not considered The Messiah. He did not fit in well with any of the sects or seem to be your average Jewish citizen. He lived his life in a revolutionary way, demonstrating faith in God in an action oriented manner, with little concern or interest in the rules and laws made by the government or Jewish hierarchy. He did not appear interested in what was, but only in what could be.

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