The calendric system utilized by the Hillelic Pharisees between 41 and 365 C.E. becomes an essential issue for our study. Various present-day researchers, both from rabbinic Judaism and neo-Christianity, have, without adequate foundation, concluded that the Hillelic system was the original method required by Scriptures.
Both rabbinic Judaism and neo-Christian groups, as a result, have assumed that the Israelites always had waited to declare a New Moon Day until the night that its first crescent was witnessed. For some Christian messianic groups, it is presumed that authority to continue this practice in Christianity is brought forth from Romans 3:1-2 and Matthew 23:3. The question is, Do these passages actually support such a conclusion?
The willingness to accept the pro-Pharisaic interpretation of the two above passages comes as the result of two circumstances:
• The assumption that the Jews from this period must have known and practiced the true system.
• The victory of the Hillelic Pharisees in their political struggle against their religious rivals, leaving predominantly Pharisaic records as our primary source for Jewish practices of the first and subsequent centuries C.E., somehow proves their authority.
Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of Jews today adhere to one form or another of rabbinic Judaism. As a result, there has been a tendency in modern Judaism to accept the Pharisees and the scribes, founders of the rabbinic schools of Judaism, as authoritative. Due to this prejudice, present-day researchers tend to isolate the evidence to the Pharisaic reports and then offhandedly disregard all other contrary statements.
Once these steps have been taken, scriptural evidence is reshaped with an eye toward making it compatible with the Pharisaic system—i.e., they tend to view the scriptural records through the mindset of the Pharisees.
Our present task is to expand our discussion brought forth in our post titled Jewish Authority, which already demonstrates that the rules and systems of the Pharisees and scribes have no authority in Yahwehism. To adequately judge the authoritative worth of the Pharisaic calendar system, we must compare that evidence with the passages from Romans 3:1-2 and Matthew 23:3 to see if the scribes and Pharisees do have any authority that requires the followers of the messiah to follow their lead.
Some neo-Christian and quasi-Christian advocates of the Pharisaic calendar systems base their authority for beginning the scriptural year upon their interpretation of, first, a statement made by the apostle Saul that the Jewish people “were entrusted with the oracles of Yahweh,”1 and secondly, based upon the words of Yahushua the messiah:
On the seat of Moses the scribes and Pharisees have sat down: Therefore, all things whatsoever they tell you to keep an eye on, keep an eye on and do. (Matt. 23:2-3)
Interestingly, the rabbis of the post-Temple destruction period also concluded that their Nasi was sitting on the seat of Moses in the court of the Great Sanhedrin.2 There can be no doubt that the seat of Moses is a reference to the leadership in the Jewish court of the Great Sanhedrin, which tried to model itself after the court of Moses.3
The above scriptural statements that (1) the oracles were entrusted to the Judaeans or Jews (more specifically understood as to the Levitical priests, scribes, and teachers who were assigned this task) and (2) that the Pharisees and scribes were sitting on the seat of Moses are then understood by some as granting the Jews authority over the oracles, thereby giving precedence for many of the Pharisaical interpretations and formulas for calculating new moons, intercalating years, determining the festivals of Passover and Pentecost, and so forth.
Unfortunately, those advocating this view have misread their own evidence. To begin with, the scribes were not just the transmitters of the Torah; they were teachers of the Torah as well.4 Further, they were the originators of the Pharisaic oral laws,5 which they advocated in order to “build a fence around the Torah.”6
Doctrinally, the scribes of the messiah’s time were overwhelmingly from the Pharisaic sect.7 It was also true that the scribes and the Pharisaic religious leaders were metaphorically sitting on the seat of Moses, i.e., controlled the court of the Great Sanhedrin.
Next, Yahushua the messiah did not say that these scribes and Pharisees had authority from Yahweh to take control of that seat of Moses; instead, “the scribes and Pharisees have sat down.” Therefore, the passage only indicates that the scribes and Pharisees had seized that position on their own authority.
Domination of Pharisees
We must keep in mind that during the time of the messiah in the 1st century C.E., the power of the scribes and Pharisees in Judaea was very strong. Even the Sadducees, the second most powerful religious group in Judaea, although they held the high priestship and many positions on the sanhedrin, were in Yahushua’s time and after subject to the civil power and authority of the scribes and Pharisees.
Josephus, for example, indicates that in his time (in the latter half of the 1st century C.E.) the Sadducees had surrendered most of the community laws and rituals to the Pharisees:
They (the Sadducees) accomplish practically nothing, however, for whenever they assume some office, THOUGH THEY SUBMIT UNWILLINGLY AND PERFORCE, YET SUBMIT THEY DO TO THE FORMULAS OF THE PHARISEES, since otherwise the masses would not tolerate them. (Jos. Antiq., 18:1:4)8
More to the point, “Moses sat to judge the people.”9 When he judged the people, it was based upon Yahweh’s commandments, laws, and statutes. Therefore, the expression “the seat of Moses” refers to the civil government’s position over Judaea as regulated by Yahweh’s commandments, laws, and statutes. Nevertheless, the scribes and Pharisees did not directly pass judgment from Scriptures. Rather, they made judgments based upon the oral laws, which were embellished interpretations of Scriptures.
Yahushua directs us, stating that, when the scribes and Pharisees were instructing from the Torah to judge the people, “all things whatsoever they tell you to τηεῖν (terein; keep an eye on),10 keep an eye on and do.”11 He does not say, “all things whatsoever they tell you to do, do,” two very different statements. The scribes and Pharisees will tell you to keep the Ten Commandments, the festival days, and other statutes found in the Torah. Those things you shall keep an eye on and do. In other words, check that their instructions are authentically derived from Scriptures and only then proceed to follow their teachings.
Authority Not Granted
Yet this instruction does not grant the scribes and Pharisees any authority to reinterpret Scriptures. Neither do Yahushua’s words instruct us to follow the formulas and doctrines of the scribes and Pharisees and do what they tell us to do. Instead, he and his disciples warned against Jewish fables, the traditions of men, and the traditions of the elders and fathers (which formed the backbone of the religion of the scribes and Pharisees).12
Within this context, we recognize that the scribes and Pharisees had their own formulas and doctrines, but Yahushua’s instructions did not grant these formulas and doctrines any authority.
On the contrary, Yahushua tells the Jews opposing him:
If anyone desire his will to practice, he shall know concerning the teaching whether it is from the deity, or if I speak from myself. He that speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he that seeks the glory of him that sent him, he is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him. Has not Moses given you the Torah? Yet not one of you practices the Torah! (John 7:17-19)
How, then, can one legitimately be sitting in the seat of Moses if they are not teaching and instructing or practicing what Moses commanded in the Torah?
The heart of Yahushua’s instructions was the premise that the duty of a good Yahwehist was to give respect to government. Saul writes that we are to render unto all men their dues, “to whom respect (is due), respect; to whom honor (is due), honor.”13 Yahwehists are even to be willing to suffer if the judgment rendered by the proper authorities is wrong. To demonstrate, Keph (Peter) writes:
For what glory is it if sinning and being buffeted you endure it? But if doing good and suffering you endure it, this is acceptable with Yahweh. For to this you were called; because also the messiah suffered for us, leaving us a model that you should follow after in his steps. (1 Pet. 2:20-21.)
Confirming that his statement refers to Yahwehists giving respect to the established governmental authorities, Keph also writes:
Be in subjection therefore to EVERY HUMAN INSTITUTION for the sake of the sovereign; whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to them who are sent, for vengeance on evil-doers and praise to well-doers, because so is the will of Yahweh, by well-doing to put to silence the ignorance of senseless men; as free, and not as having freedom as a cloak of malice, but as a servant of Yahweh. (1 Pet. 2:13-16)
Saul (Paul) supports this view, stating, that Christians are to be obedient and “subject to rulers and authorities.”14
The instruction to be in subjection to “every human institution” and “to rulers and authorities” would include the institution of the scribes and Pharisees occupying the seat of Moses in the Great Sanhedrin. Yet these instructions do not mean that the doctrines, formulas, and interpretations of the scribes and Pharisees were correct, no more than Roman laws on religion were correct, even though the Jews were subject to Roman authorities and laws.
Neither do the scribes and Pharisees hold authority over scriptural interpretations or have the right to change what Yahweh, through Moses, had written in the Torah. Jewish institutions would have no more authority in this regard than the Roman government of that time. Indeed, Scriptures specifically command that no one has the right to add or to subtract from Scriptures.15
For example, no one would expect Yahwehists to abandon what Yahweh had instructed about having no other eloahim besides Yahweh because the officials of the Roman government told them they must. The doctrines and instructions of the scribes and Pharisees were no different. Keph (Peter), for example, disobeyed the command from the priests not to teach in the name of the messiah. He told them, “It is necessary to obey the deity rather than men.”16
Accordingly, we are to continue to do what Yahweh commands us even if we should suffer a wrong judgment for doing so. At the same time, if instructed by the government to pay taxes, then pay them.17 If seized and brought to court, go willingly, for you are allowed to defend your good conduct in Yahweh before the court.18 If sent to jail, go willingly;19 if ordered to pay a fine, then do so.
Nevertheless, the fact that those holding these positions of power are to be respected in their status, even when the things they ordered contradict Yahweh’s instructions, does not mean that one must disobey Yahweh.20 If that were the case, then Yahushua and his disciples would have obeyed the instructions of the scribes, the Pharisees, and other Jewish rulers rather than suffer persecution and death at their hands.
Yahushua and his disciples were brought to court, suffered wrongful punishment and imprisonment, and did so willingly rather than disrespecting the rightful authorities.21 Yet Yahushua and his disciples continued to obey Yahweh rather than the Jewish and Roman authorities.
Do Not Follow
Next, Yahushua further clarified his statement about the scribes and Pharisees sitting on the seat of Moses by adding immediately after that the following words:
Yet do not follow after their works; for they say (what to do) and do not (do it). For they bind heavy burdens and things hard to bear, and lay them upon the shoulders of men, but with their own finger they will not move them. AND all their works they do (so they) will be seen by men. (Matt. 23:3-5)22
In the parallel story in Mark and Luke, the entire discussion is summed up in four words, “Beware of the scribes!”23 This account continues:
And they (the scribes ) make their phylacteries broad, and enlarge the borders of their robes. And they love the chief couch at the suppers, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the greetings in the markets, and to be called by men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matt. 23:5-7)24
These words are hardly an endorsement. Therefore, regardless of the fact that Yahwehists were to “keep an eye on” what the Pharisees and scribes pointed out, especially when they instructed the people from the Scriptures, the Pharisees and scribes did not follow their own advice. Instead, they were hypocrites, placing heavy burdens (i.e., their religious formulas and rules) upon the people, AND their works were merely acts that gave a pretext of piety. They did what they did so that they could be seen by men to only appear as someone great and pious.
Hypocrites and Blind Leaders
The messiah’s discussion continues with a long list of sins committed by the scribes and Pharisees, emphasizing several times that they were hypocrites and pointing out examples of the fallacies of their religious formulas.25 As we have previously pointed out, the scribes and Pharisees were not only referred to in Scriptures as hypocrites but also as vipers, as the blind leaders of the blind, and as leaders who have come out of Satan.26
Yahushua warned his followers, “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.”27 He then defines leavening as “the teaching of the Pharisees,”28 which is wrought with hypocrisy, malice, and wickedness.29 Saul refers to these Jewish leaders as guides of the blind, instructors of the foolish, only “having a form of knowledge and of truth in the Torah.”30 This last statement goes directly to the heart of the calendar issues.
Yahushua’s words must also be placed within the backdrop of other statements found in the Scriptures. Numerous times, Scriptures remind us that it was the shepherds (religious leaders) who were blind and causing the Israelites to go astray.31 The shepherds were feeding themselves (i.e., making personal gain for themselves) and not the flock, yet they ruled the flock “with force and with harshness,”32 the precise condemnation that Yahushua placed against the scribes and Pharisees.33
These shepherds even caused their people to forget Yahweh’s name by means of their visions, substituting it with the title Baal (English “Lord”).34 Yahweh did not send them, yet they came claiming authority from Yahweh. Nevertheless, “they will not profit this people at all, says Yahweh.”35
Yahushua makes it clear that these shepherds were thieves and robbers who had crept in over the side fence, not coming to their position through the gatekeeper’s authority at the front gate. They came to only steal, kill, and destroy. They were like hired servants, paid to tend the flocks, yet they held no true concern for the sheep. When the wolf came to attack the sheep, these hirelings abandoned the flock.36
As a result, personal interpretations, teachings, and alterations to Scriptures by the scribes and Pharisees can hardly be held up as either truthful or inspired. Yet governmental authority, even when that authority belonged to the Pharisees and scribes, was to be respected, for Scriptures command, “You will not denounce (accuse, curse) a ruler among your people (i.e., publically).”37 Saul’s conduct before the high priest and the Sanhedrin in Acts 5:1-5 is an excellent example of this principle.
Tampering With Scriptures
The negative attitude expressed in Scriptures toward the scribes and Pharisees leads us to conclude that scribal and Pharisaical interpretations and alterations are an inappropriate premise upon which to claim divine authority. The plain fact is, although Scriptures (the oracles of Yahweh) are accurate in content, our present Hebrew (Masoretic) text has suffered a great deal from doctrinal tampering by Jewish scribes, especially in several important, howbeit peripheral, ways.
This point is especially true concerning the tetragrammaton and trigrammaton. Let us demonstrate.
According to the Talmud, our present Textus Receptus was the product of an attempt by the rabbis and scribes from the Hillelic Pharisee school to provide a single standard text (c.100 C.E.). They used as their guide three scrolls formerly belonging to the Temple of Yahweh at Jerusalem. Being, as they were, scrolls from the Temple collection, these documents were assumed to be of the highest quality and as close to the original text as anyone could find. Whenever two of these temple scrolls agreed, that became the reading for the new single text.38 The final edition became the forerunner to our present Masoretic text.
Yet historical evidence proves that our present Textus Receptus is descended from only one line of recensions, the one that was favored by the Hillelic branch of the scribes and Pharisees, the Babylonian recension. This was no mere accident. It was the Hillelic branch of Judaism that came to power after the fall of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 C.E. That they would favor their own text is understandable.
Other recension types kept in the Temple collection, such as those following the Palestinian recension, representing the majority of the early Temple texts, were ignored. Further, as demonstrated by the fact there had to be agreement between at least two of the parent scrolls, the proto-Masoretic texts themselves did not always agree. In this regard, the charge made by early Christians that the Jewish scribes had in a number of places tampered with the original text cannot go unnoticed.
Tampering by Masoretes
It is also manifest that the vowel pointing later added to the Textus Receptus by the Masoretes (6th-7th centuries C.E.) cannot itself be considered proof of the original pronunciation of the trigrammaton יהו (Y-ah-u) or its variant spellings יו (Y-u) and יה (Y-ah).
As G. R. Driver so poignantly observes:
The evidence, however, of the Biblical text cannot be used, as it is liable to the suspicion of having been altered to suit the views of its editors.39
This suspicion is fueled by the many known alterations in the Textus Receptus initiated by Jewish sofrim (counters, editors).40 For example, these scribes admitted to removing the sacred name יהוה (Yahweh) entirely from the text 134 times, replacing it with adonai (sovereigns) and eloahim.41
The Masoretes (6th century C.E. and following), who subsequently vowed to make no further changes to their received text, also admitted that they deliberately placed pseudo-vowel markings around the sacred name so that it would be read adonai or eloahim instead of Yahweh.42 Therefore, those to whom the Scriptures had been entrusted, against specific commands not to add or subtract from the text, did just that by adding the pseudo-vowel markings.
Yahweh’s warnings about scribal tampering with Scriptures are well-documented. To demonstrate, about the year 600 B.C.E., the prophet Jeremiah wrote:
How do you (scribes) say, We are wise, and the laws of Yahweh are with us? Certainly, behold, the pen has practiced deceit, a lie of the scribes. The wise are put to shame; they are terrified and are captured. Behold, the word of Yahweh they have rejected and their wisdom is their own. (Jer. 8:8-9)
Scribes Claim Superiority
This statement shows that the scribes tended to believe in the superiority of their own wisdom. It confirms that by the beginning of the 6th century B.C.E., the lying pen of the scribes, whose primary duty was to recopy Scriptures, was already wont to tamper with Scriptures by imposing their own interpretations on that text.
Neither did this feeling of superiority cease over time. In the Mishnah (composed about 200 C.E.), for example, the noted sage Rabbi Judah warns his readers:
Greater stringency applies to (the observance of) the words of the Scribes than to (the observance of) the words of the Torah.43
Similarly, in the Babylonian Talmud we are given the justification for this belief:
My son. Be more heedful of the words of the sofrim (scribes) than of those of the Torah. For the words of the Torah contain positive and negative injunctions (for the transgression of which there is no death penalty) but whoever transgresses the words of the scribes incurs the penalty of death.44
Put another way, the words of the Scriptures will provide an injunction to do or not to do something (e.g., you will not eat unclean meat), yet except for the exclusion of that person from religious services or the community at large, such injunctions had no further penalty.
Wearing of Phylacteries
The scribes, on the other hand, gave themselves legal power to mete out punishment, even the death penalty, for transgressing their interpretations of how these laws were to be observed. Their wearing of phylacteries,45 which stems from their interpretation of two passages in the book of Deuteronomy,46 is an good example.
H. L. Ellison points out the following regarding the days of the messiah:
We may be sure that all Pharisees wore them, not merely during morning prayer but throughout the hours of daylight.47
In turn, the Pharisees had made certain legal requirements concerning their use. The Mishnah states:
If a man said, ‘There is no obligation to wear phylacteries,’ so that he transgress the words of the Torah, he is not culpable; (but if he said), ‘There should be in them five partitions,’ so that he adds to the words of the Scribes, he is culpable. He was not condemned to death either by the court that was in his own city or by the court that was in Jabneh, but he was brought up to the Great court that was in Jerusalem.48
As a result of this self-empowerment, the scribes and Pharisees even expanded the more important legal crimes found in Scriptures.
For example, in Scriptures, if one breaks the Sabbath day, which begins at sunset, he deserved the penalty of death.49 Under the definitions of the scribes and Pharisees, the Sabbath day began Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., well before sunset, with the interpretation that they were trying to protect the Sabbath day.50
In Scriptures, one could receive the death penalty for blaspheming (speaking evilly of) or profaning (defiling, polluting) the sacred name.51 Under the laws of these Jews, meanwhile, unless you were considered pious or privileged by the scribes and other rabbis, merely uttering the sacred name, even while giving thanks or praise, was defined as blaspheming and profaning the sacred name and, therefore, worthy of death.52
Combining this evidence, it becomes clear that the Judaeans were indeed entrusted with the oracles of Yahweh but that the Jewish scribes and their Pharisaic leaders abused that privilege.
Yahushua’s condemnation of the Pharisees and scribes and his loathing of their burdensome traditions proves that they had abused their position. Their over-interpretations are echoed in the “corrections” and “additions” found in the Masoretic Text until this day.53 As we have already shown, the Temple scrolls existing at the end of the 1st century C.E. had already suffered under the hands of Jewish editors intent on disguising the sacred name even prior to the formation of the Textus Receptus.
Therefore, the editions that remain to us are not only late but have been subject to scribes, Pharisees, and other Jewish religious leaders motivated by a desire to suppress both the tetragrammaton and the trigrammaton.54 In fact, it is incredible that so much of the primitive orthography actually remains, no doubt partly due to a hesitancy about tampering with the original text. Nevertheless, tamper they did.
The evidence demonstrates that there is no scriptural authority whatsoever for following any of the interpretations, alterations, or doctrines of the scribes and Pharisees based upon the passages in Romans 3:1-2 and Matthew 23:3. It is just the opposite. Although they were entrusted with the Torah, they had no right to change it, and because of their own authority, they sat themselves down on the seat of Moses, which did not give them a right to reinterpret Scriptures.
We are once again warned against the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees. Indeed, the Pharisaic system used an interpretive approach, leading to conflicting viewpoints within their ranks. It usually resulted with a legal solution that was highly complex and confusing.
With regard to the Hillelic calendar system, for example, Gandz gives the following conclusion:
The new calendar of the Pharisees was a failure from the very outset. It tended to disturb the well established order in the Temple and to confuse the communities of the Diaspora. It also left the Jews in a “state of constant uncertainty.”55
Scriptures tell us that Yahweh is “not the deity of confusion, but of peace, as in all the assemblies of the saints.”56 Yet confusion is exactly the outcome of the Pharisaic calendar system, primarily because of its use of human interpretations rather than strictly following Yahweh’s instructions. The festivals and sacred days of Yahweh are prophetic by nature.
Keph tells us:
No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (2 Pet. 1:20)
Yet the Hillelic calendar system was based upon personal interpretations regarding the maturity of barley crops and fruit trees, and of when a crescent of the new moon could be seen by the human eye, or based upon a personal view of whether a Sabbath year in a year of famine should be intercalated or not.
Their system often depended upon chance happenings, e.g., if people who saw the new moon’s first crescent were able to arrive in Jerusalem before the next sunset or if the sky was cloudy, disguising visibility, and many other such things.
Does agreement on some of the doctrinal issues join the messiah and his followers with any of these 1st century C.E. Jewish sects? For example, since Yahushua believed in the resurrection of the dead, in ruach beings, and angels, would that make him a Pharisee? Or because he believed that the 14th of Abib was the correct day for observing the Passover supper, that Pentecost must always fall on the first day of the week, and that one should stand against extra-biblical inventions, such as Jewish oral laws (i.e., the traditions of men), would that make him a Sadducee?
Yet these were the very positions taken by the messiah and the early Assembly. Therefore, there is no basis to follow either the Sadducees or Pharisees.
The fact that both the Pharisees and Sadducees, or any other ancient Jewish or Christian sect for that matter, retained some elements of truth does not make them, their entire doctrine, or their behavior correct.
To accept the Pharisaic rules of the calendar, for example, would be also to accept such things as beginning the Sabbath day on Friday afternoon (three hours before sunset), to accept no healing on the Sabbath, no eating from the fields on the Sabbath, no cooking on the Sabbath, and so forth. All of these positions were unscriptural.
Meanwhile, to accept the Sadducean calendar rules would mean practicing secrecy about how the sacred calendar even works. Both of these Jewish positions are untenable.
If we accept Pharisaic or Sadducean authority in these areas, then, taking it to its obvious conclusion, we must accept their authority in other areas as well. To do so would ultimately lead to denying that Yahu Yahweh, the man Yahushua, was the messiah of father Yahweh.
Indeed, these Jewish sects were so blind that, out of jealousy, they conspired to murder the fleshly manifestation of Yahu Yahweh, the very deity they claimed to follow. At the same time, many Christian sects, born out of a hatred for the Jews, abandoned the Sabbath day, some of the festival days and altered the celebration of Passover to assuage their personal feelings.
In summary, it is a question of what Scriptures actually command and instruct. At the same time, one must recognize that Scriptures do not offer a choice between the interpretations of the Pharisees, Sadducees, ante-Nicaean Christians, neo-Christians (Roman Catholics and those following their lead), or any other such group.
Scriptures have demonstrated that those who embrace the Hillelic Pharisees, the spiritual descendants of the Hasidim, and their method for determining new moons, which always requires visibility of the moon’s crescent after sunset, follow blind guides, causing all to fall into the ditch.
He (Yahushua) also told them a parable: Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a ditch? (Luke 6:39)
Click for Bibliography and Abbreviations
1 Rom. 3:1-2.
2 R.Sh., 2:8-9; cf., B. R.Sh., 25a; Erub., 4:2.
3 Exod. 18:13-26, 24:1, 9-11.
4 E.g., Mark 1:22. Also see discussion in Jewish Authority.
5 See Jewish Authority.
6 Aboth, 1:1.
7 E.g. Acts 23:9; NBD, p. 1151.
8 Cf., B. Yom., 19b; B. Nidd., 33b.
9 Exod. 18:13-27.
10 The Greek term τηεῖν (terein), a form of τερέω (tereo) means, “to guard (from loss or injury, prop. by keeping the eye upon” (SEC, Gk. #5083); “watch over, take care of, guard . . . watch, keep watch . . . observe, notice” (GEL, 1996, p. 1789).
11 Matt. 23:3.
12 Isa. 29:11-16; Jer. 10:1-10; Gal. 1:11-17; Matt. 15:1-14; Mark 7:1-13; Jer. 16:19-21; 1 Pet. 1:17-18; Titus 1:10-15; Col. 2:8; 1 Thess. 2:13.
13 Rom. 13:7.
14 Titus 3:1.
15 Deut. 4:2, 12:32; Rev. 22:19.
16 Acts 5:29.
17 Rom. 13:7; Matt. 22:17-22; Mark 12:14-17; Luke 20:20-26.
18 E.g., Mark 13:11; Acts 22:30-23:1-7, 25:1-26:32.
19 E.g., Acts 12:1-11.
20 Note the example given by Saul (Paul) in Acts 23:1-5.
21 An excellent example of this attitude is expressed by the apostle Saul in Acts 23:1-5. Saul condemned a member of the Sanhedrin for illegally ordering him to be struck. Yet when he discovered that the man giving the order was the high priest, he apologized for his remark.
22 Cf., Rom. 2:17-23.
23 Mark 12:38; Luke 20:45-47.
24 Also, Mark 12:38-39; Luke 20:46, cf., 11:43.
25 Matt. 23:2-39; cf., Luke 11:39-48, 20:45-47; Mark 12:38-40.
26 The Pharisees dominated the scribe class (NBD, p. 1151). We are to beware of the scribes (Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47); the scribes and Pharisees are called hypocrites (Matt. 23:1-36; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 11:39-52); they are serpents and vipers: (Matt. 3:5-10, 12:31-37 [cf., v. 14, 24], 23:33-36; Luke 3:7-9, 11:49-51); they are the blind leaders of the blind (Luke 6:39-40; Matt. 15:12-14); and they are out of the devil (John 8:44, cf., v. 37). Interestingly, all other religious sects, Sadducees, Essenes, and so forth, as well as the other leaders of Judaea, were subject to the authority of the Pharisees, see Jos., Antiq., 18:1:3-4; B. Yom., 19b; B. Nidd., 33b.
27 Luke 12:1; Matt. 16:6, which includes Sadducean teaching as leavening, cf., Mark 8:15, which calls these Sadducees “Herodi.”
28 Matt. 16:12.
29 Luke 12:1; 1 Cor. 5:8.
30 Rom. 2:17-23.
31 Isa. 56:10-12; Jer. 23:32, 50:6-7, 51:23; Zech. 13:7.
32 Ezek. 34:1-31, esp. v. 2-6.
33 Matt. 23:3-5.
34 Jer. 23:1-40, esp. v. 16, 27.
35 Jer. 23:20-32.
36 John 10:1-18.
37 Exod. 22:28.
38 J. Taan., 4:2; Soferim, 6:4; Sifre, 356:1.
39 ZAW, 46, p. 23.
40 EJ, 4, p. 833. For a discussion of these changes, see MCE, esp. pp. 183-404. The title sofrim (soferim, sophrim), meaning “counters,” was applied to these early scribes because they “counted the letters in the torah to assure accuracy” (B. Qid., 30a). During the Second Temple period the word came to denote a specific class of scholars (EJ, 15, pp. 79-81).
41 MCM, I, pp. 24-26, §107-115, IV, pp. 27-29, §107-115; CB, 1 app. 32. For other changes in the Isaiah manuscript, see JBL, 76, pp. 58-59.
42 See above n. 41.
43 Sanh., 11:3; cf., Ab., 1:4-3:3; TNTB, p. 140; Danby, Mishnah, pp. xvii, 446, n. 2; EJ, 15, p. 81.
44 B. Erub., 21b; cf., J. Ber., 1:5, 3b.
45 SEC, Gk. #5440, φυλακτήρον (phulakterion), “a guard-case, i.e. ‘phylactery’ for wearing slips of Scripture texts”; NBD, p. 995, “meaning, ‘a means of protection’ or ‘amulet’.”
46 Deut. 6:6-8, 11:18.
47 NBD, p. 995; cf., Matt. 23:5.
48 Sanh., 11:3.
49 Exod. 31:13-17, 35:2; Num. 15:32-36.
50 For the various rules of the scribes and Pharisees, see the Mishnah at Shab. and Erub. For the death penalty under their law, see Sanh., 7:8. For the Hasidic Jews at Qumran, see DR, 13, “Concerning the Sabbath (day), to observe it according to its ordinance: Let not a man do work on the sixth day (of the week) from the time when the sun’s disk is its full width away from the gate, for that is what it says: ‘Observe the Sabbath day to keep it sacred.’”
51 Lev. 18:21, 19:12, 20:3, 21:6, 22:32, 24:16.
52 Sanh., 6:4, 7:5, 10:1. Also see SNY, Chap. 12, Chap. 13, and Chap. 14.
53 That the messiah and the apostles opposed these traditions of men, see Isa. 29:13, 30:1.; Gal. 1:11-17; Matt. 15:1-14; Mark 7:1-13; Jer. 16:19-21, 17:1-3; 1 Pet. 1:17-18; Titus 1:10-15; Col. 2:8; 1 Thess. 2:13.
54 That the Jewish religious leaders from the mid-2nd century B.C.E. suppressed the sacred name Yahweh, see SNY, Chap. 12; MNY, pp. 1-125; TS, pp. 124-134; NSBD, p. 606; PCBE, 2, p. 914.
55 SHAM, pp. 73, 74.
56 1 Cor. 14:33.
DR = Damascus Rule (Damascus Document)
EJ = Encyclopaedia Judaica. Encyclopaedia Judaica Jerusalem. 16 vols. Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, Israel, The Macmillian Company, Jerusalem, 1972.
GEL = An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon. Founded upon the seventh ed. of Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon. At the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1961.
JBL = Journal of Biblical Literature, 76 (1957), pp. 79-81.
Jos. = Flavius Josephus (37–ca. 100 C.E.)
— Antiq. Jewish Antiquities
— Wars History of the Jewish Wars Against the Romans
MCE = Ginsburg, Christian D. Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible. KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 1966.
MCM = Ginsburg, Christian D. The Massorah Compiled From Manuscripts. 4 vols. KTAV Publishing House, Inc., 1975.
MNY = Reisel, M. The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H. Royal Van Gorcum LTD., Assen, Netherlands, 1957.
NBD = The New Bible Dictionary. Ed. by J. D. Doublas. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1971.
NSBD = A New Standard Bible Dictionary. Melancthon W. Jacobus, Elbert C. Lane, and Andrew C. Zenos. 3rd rev. ed. Funk & Wagnalls Company, New York, 1936.
PCBE = Fallows, Samuel, ed. The Popular and Critical Bible Encyclopaedia and Scriptural Dictionary. 3 vols. The Howard-Severance Company, Chicago, 1904.
SEC = Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, together with Dictionaries of the Hebrew and Greek Words. Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa.
– Heb. = A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible.
– Gk. = A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament.
SHAM = Studies in Hebrew Astronomy and Mathematics, by Solomon Gandz, KTAV Pub. House, 1970.
SNY = Clover, R. The Sacred Name YHWH. Vol. 1. of the series on Yahweh. Qadesh La Yahweh Press, Garden Grove, 1989.
TS = Urbach, Ephraim E. The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs. Transl. by Israel Abrahams. The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1979.
ZAW = Zeitschrift Für Die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft. 46 (1928), pp. 7–25. Driver, G. R. “The Original Form of the Name ‘Yahweh’: evidence and conclusions.”