The Pharisees - Part 4

Posted in: 2011
By Tom M. Ballinger
Jul 27, 2011 - 12:14:31 PM

Plainer Words Since 1968
July 27, 2011
The illustration of EXPERT KNOWLEDGE is as follows: After Paul pronounced blindness upon Israel, she was, judicially, set aside (Acts 28:28). All of the future promises made to Israel were set in abeyance. The Apostle Paul received the last communiqué from Jesus Christ after Acts 28.
The latest report to come from Heaven came to Paul, the prisoner of the Lord. The latest Word was by verbal transmission. It was from the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9-10) to His prisoner. It was the message that revealed the Truth which concerned The Mystery. The Mystery had been hid from ages and generations. It announced that Christ is, NOW, among the nations and is their hope of Glory (Colossians 1:26-27).
While Paul was imprisoned, he was permitted to have visitors. He was able to explain to his visiting associates the Dispensational change which had taken place at Acts 28:28. Paul instructed them in the Truth of the Mystery. These men, such as Timothy, Tychius, Titus, Epaphras, Demas, Mark, Epaphroditus, Archippus, Crescens, and others, carried this good news from Paul’s prison back into the communities in the Roman Empire where the Christians were. They carried this Gospel of the Mystery back as “Expert Knowledge.” Paul received it, verbally, from Christ. He had a new set of apostles (the men named above) who were, verbally, instructed by Paul.
These men were messengers (i.e., apostles), and they carried the message and announced the “glorious gospel of the blessed God” to the established assemblies. They had the word of Paul. They did not, as yet, have an epistle from him. The result was that, at the time, there was no “Standard Knowledge” of the Mystery—because, as yet, a quill had not been inked and placed on inexpensive papyrus sheets as the original manuscripts in writing.
The revelation of the Mystery was first made known as “Expert Knowledge.” When the Apostle Paul dictated the “Prison Epistles” to an amanuensis; thus, reducing Present Truth to writing, it became “Standard Knowledge.”
Therefore, it could be said that the Mystery was, NOW, made manifest which is to say, it is, NOW, plainly revealed.
“Even the Mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but NOW is made manifest to his saints” (Colossians 1:26).
The latest report from God was, NOW, available as the written Word of God and was in circulation for all to read and believe. It was on paper in black and white—NOW becoming “Standard Knowledge” for all who wanted to learn.
Now, making the application is simply this—when Paul received the revelation of the Mystery and tutored his associates in it, that was “Expert Knowledge.” It was known, only, to a few. In fact, those who had been taught the new revelation, instructed in it, and became initiated into it were the possessors of the “Expert Knowledge.” They passed it on to disciples. However, when the Apostle Paul committed it to writing, it, then, became the STANDARD KNOWLEDGE.
Therefore, the STANDARD for the calling of the Church over which Jesus is the Head is found in a cluster of epistles “stamped” as Prison Epistles. These are not to be mixed with the epistles written during “The Acts of the Apostles.” To go by any other is not following the STANDARD for Present Truth which has been set forth in writing. The Mystery “is, NOW, made manifest to His [Christ’s] saints” (Colossians 1:26), and it is the only acceptable STANDARD. The conclusion that must be drawn is that it is an absolute necessity to rightly divide the Word of Truth.
The “CHOICE MORSEL” of spiritual food to be considered in this writing is Israel’s so-called “Second Law;” with the Law of Moses (the Pentateuch)  being the “First Law.” This “Second Law” was developed into the “Traditionary Law of the Jews.” It was spawned and developed by a newly formed sect of Jews during their Babylonian captivity. This sect, later, became known as the Pharisees. They saw that the written Law of Moses had many levels of interpretations. The Pharisees’ theory was that Moses gave the “Oral Law” in order to “complete” and explain the Written Law. They believed that Moses had, orally, transmitted to Joshua an interpretation of the written Word of God. And, in turn, Joshua transmitted the interpretations, orally, to the Elders, and the Elders, by word of mouth, to the Prophets. Then, finally, the Prophets delivered it to the “Great Synagogue.” The Pharisaic tradition was that the “Great Synagogue” was formed by 120 prominent men. Tradition has it that these men operated under the auspices of Ezra upon their return from captivity. The Pharisees took to themselves great authority as God’s spokesmen.
However, this “Traditionary Law” was never referred to in the Bible as the “Oral Law.” It was known in New Testament Times by other titles, such as … “the tradition of the Elders,” “your tradition,” “the tradition of men,” “the law of the fathers,” “the traditions of my fathers,”  “the tradition from your fathers,” and “our law.” A brief survey follows showing the use, Biblically, of the aforementioned titles.
“Tradition of the Elders”
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders [the Oral Law]? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread” (Matthew 15:1-2).
“Your Tradition”
The Lord Jesus, in His confrontation with the Pharisees, asserted that the Pharisees  transgressed “the commandment of God by your tradition [the Oral Law]” (Matthew15:3).
Christ further stated in Matthew 15:6, “,,,thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.”
“And He [Jesus] said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition [Oral Law]” (Mark 7:9).
The Lord Jesus said that you [Pharisees] are “making the Word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye” (Mark 7:13).
To make the Word of God “of none effect” means, to nullify it; to invalidate it; to make it void. The Lord Jesus Christ blistered them because of their reliance on “your tradition” [the Oral Law] instead of God’s!
“Tradition of Men”
“For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men [the Oral Law], as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do” (Mark
“The Law of the Fathers”
Even Saul of Tarsus was an astute Learner of the “Oral Law.”
“I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city [Jerusalem] at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers [Oral Law], and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day” (Acts 22:3).
Gamaliel was a noted Pharisee and an eminent doctor of the law, not a doctor of the Law of Moses, but an eminent scholar of the “Law of the Pharisees.” The Jews celebrated him as "the glory of the law," the first designated Rabban "our master" (according to Fausset’s Bible Dictionary). Saul, later, called the Apostle Paul, was schooled in harmony with “the perfect manner of the Law of the Fathers”
Paul admitted that in his Pharisaic days, he was zealous toward God, based upon the Law of the Fathers, but his zealousness nullified the Word of God.
“The Traditions of My Fathers”
Paul mentioned in his following testimony about how he profited “in the Jews’ religion.” The “Jews’ religion” was centered around the Jews’ Oral Law.
“… I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers [Oral Law] (Galatians 1:13b-14).”
“Tradition From Your Fathers”
Peter acknowledged that even the Jews who were scattered abroad (1 Peter 1:1) had been subjected to the Pharisaic teachings of the “Traditional Law.”
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers [Oral Law]” (1 Peter 1:18).
“Our Law” and “We Have a Law”
The prominent Pharisee, Nicodemus, referred to the “Oral Law” as “our Law” in John 7:51, as he spoke to an angry mob, “not being one of them,” he said:
“Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?”
Nicodemus had believed on Jesus Christ, as recorded in John Chapter 3. He didn’t want to see a lynching, so he reminded that “any man” must be given a fair and proper hearing.
Later, in the Gospel of John, the Chief Priests and officers saw Christ in a crown of thorns, and wearing a purple robe, standing by Pilate, and they cried out, “Crucify Him, crucify him.” Pilate told them to take Christ and you crucify him because he found no fault in Christ (John 19:5-6).
“The Jews answered him, We have a law [the Oral Law], and by our law [the Oral Law] he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God” (John 19:7).
The Chief Priests, along with the Pharisees, being part of the elite, didn’t have to tell Pilate about Moses’ Law; he knew about it. They did have to remind him that they had their Law, “the tradition of the Elders.”
No Subscription Price
We endeavor to put in print and in plainer words, Bible Studies which we recommend to students and teachers alike. This is our 43rd year of publishing Plainer Words. Plainer Words is emailed to anyone upon their personal request.