“For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure 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.” (Gal 1:13-14)
Conversation in these verses means behaviour, mannerisms, and lifestyle. Paul is speaking about his actions, beliefs, and how he lived before he believed on Jesus Christ as his Saviour. He calls it ‘the Jews’ religion’ signifying that it was different from what he now believed. It was no longer his religion.
Before being saved, Paul was a Pharisee (Acts 23:6; 26:5). The Pharisees were the religious leaders of the people of Israel. They added a lot to the law, what we call the Old Testament today, making it of none effect and very labourous to the people.
Jesus was harsh on the Pharisees because of their teachings, which were the traditions of men, and because of their works-based salvation.
The ‘Jews’ religion’ was not what Moses taught. It was a counterfeit as it included what he taught, but also included a lot of man’s wisdom and opinions which actually made the scriptures of none effect. So, they appeared to be following the scriptures, but they were a corrupted form of them. Jesus compared them to whited sepulchres in Matthew 23:27; appearing beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead mens bones.
If the ‘Jews’ religion’ was what Moses taught, Paul would have continued in them.
The ‘Jews’ religion’, the religion of the Pharisees, was a false religion. And among the children of Israel, there was a remnant that believed what Moses taught and not what the Pharisees taught, to include some Pharisees such as Paul and Nicodemus. (Romans 9:27)
Let us see what Jesus taught about the Pharisees. When reading through the gospels, we see that he encountered them a lot. He has quite a bit to say to them and about them. From these conversations, we can know what Jesus thought of them and their teachings.
Nothing in the bible is there by accident or coincidence. Jesus wanted us to be aware of these people, not only as false prophets, but as a teaching that is contrary to Jesus’ teaching and God’s word itself.
In Revelation 2:9 and 3:9, Jesus, when speaking to the church of Smyrna and Philadelphia, calls them the synagogue of Satan. Makes sense since their father is the devil.
So, let us see what Jesus says about the Pharisees and through it we will see that what the Jews believe today is still what the Pharisees taught, but is known as Judaism.
The Pharisees did not believe the scriptures.
“And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (Mark 7:9)
They did not believe the scriptures as Jesus noted when he said, For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. (John 5:46)
[Judaism teaches that the Talmud is above the scriptures. The Talmud is a blasphemous book, really a collection of books, and is the teachings of the Pharisees.
“It’s (the Talmud) a central pillar for understanding anything about Judaism, more than the Bible,” says Steinsaltz, one of the world’s best known Talmudical scholars.”1]
The Pharisees were hypocrites.
Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites because they taught one thing but did another.
“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” (Matthew 23:1-7)
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…” (Matthew 23:13)
“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:7-9)
The Pharisees taught the traditions of men as doctrine.
The Pharisees added to the law many arduous traditions. These were extrabiblical and a lot of times changed what the word of God said.
“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)
When the Pharisees asked Jesus why his disciples did not wash before eating as is the ‘tradition of the elders,’ Jesus replied, ‘Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.’ (Mark 7:7-8)
[Judaism includes the traditions of men. One such is the Shabbos Goy, a gentile who will do simple tasks for a Jew on the sabbath. Is it allowed or not? The Rabbis gives many reasons for and against the use of a Shabbos Goy, which in my opinion only causes confusion…very exhausting.
Another is selling any product in their pantry that contains yeast, also pots and pans that were used with yeast products such as baking pans used to bake bread and the like; these are sold to gentiles until after Passover and then they are bought back. They never leave their home; they store them in a closet or shed until after Passover.]
The Pharisees boasted that they were children of Abraham.
“They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” (John 8:39)
John the Baptist addressed the Pharisees when saying, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9)
Both Jesus and John the Baptist were clear in their message to the Pharisees. The fact that they might have come physically from Abraham has no merit with God when it comes to their salvation.
Being a child of Abraham will get you nowhere. You need to be of the spiritual seed of Abraham.
The Pharisees were self-righteous and despised others.
“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.” (Luke 18:9-10)
We know the parable of how the Pharisee prayed thanking God that he was not such a sinner as the publican next to him. Whereas the publican knew he was a sinner and was asking God to be merciful on him.
Jesus knew in their heart that they thought themselves better than others and despised those who were not as they were.
[You can find the same attitude among those who follow Judaism. They believe they are better than the Gentiles and that they will heal the world from its wickedness by their good works. They in turn are our saviour.]
The Pharisees were leading people to hell.
Jesus was harsh on the Pharisees because they were leading people to hell by not teaching the truth.
“But Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:13)
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. (Matther 23:15)
The Pharisees in the first century were evangelizing, going out and spreading their false religion. This is why you see Paul able to enter synagogues in Gentile nations. He was trying to go to the Jew first because as a Jew himself, he knew the deceit they were entangled in, and he so wanted them to understand and to see the error of what they were believing. His heart hurt for his people. (Romans 9:1-5)
He finally gave up around the 18th chapter of Acts when he said, ‘Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.’
[Judaism is still leading people to hell. They even Judaize people with what is called being a Noahide or a righteous Gentile. A Noahide follows the seven laws of Noah and worships the Jewish god. This is condemning these people to hell.]
The Pharisees did not worship God.
The Pharisees did not believe the scriptures they had in front of them. They revered Moses, but did not believe his teachings. They believed that doing the works of the law is what kept them right with God.
The Pharisee religion did not have the Father or the Son.
“Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” (1 John 2:22-23)
They did not worship the God of the scriptures as Jesus tells us in John 8:42 & 44a. Their father was the devil.
“Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.”
[Judaism does not worship God either. They do not acknowledge the Son, Jesus Christ, so the bible clearly says they do not have the Father.
Neither do they love Jesus. It is quite the opposite. Jews will spit at his name or anything representing him.2
Judaism teaches that you have to do good works and keep the commandments to complete the life cycles that lead into the world to come.3]
The Pharisees were liars.
“He [their father the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44b)
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (1 John 2:22)
[Judaism is a lie as it deceives Christians into thinking it is only what we know as the Old Testament and that they worship God the Father, but from what we have read so far, we know that is not true.]
The Pharisees hated Jesus and wanted him dead.
“But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.” (John 8:40)
“He that hateth me hateth my Father also.” (John 15:23)
“The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.” (John 5:15-16)
“And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.” (Mark 3:6)
[The Talmud, the Jews holy book, says he was the bastard son of a whore, an idolater, sorcerer, and blasphemer. It also says he is in hell burning in fiery excrement.
Judaism hates Jesus Christ.]
The Jews’ Religion – Judaism
Now that we read what Jesus taught about the Pharisees, let us see what the Jews believe today about where their religion comes from.
“Judaism is the teachings of the Pharisees,” says the author of the article, Who Were the Pharisees? in the Jerusalem Post.4
“The most important of the three were the Pharisees because they are the spiritual fathers of modern Judaism.”5 (The three being the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Essenes.)
“The Pharisees were the ancestors to Rabbinic Judaism-what we do now.” – Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg6
“All mainstream forms of Judaism today consider themselves heirs of Rabbinic Judaism and, ultimately, the Pharisees.”7
“Phariseeism lives on in rabbinic Judaism of today.”8
If Judaism is the teaching of the Pharisees, then it in no way can be the teachings of Moses and what we know as the Old Testament.
Therefore, Judaism does not worship the same God as we do. No, their god is the devil.
Where did Christianity come from if not from Judaism?
Christianity did not come on the scene when Jesus’ ministry came about or after his death, burial, and resurrection. No, it was a continuation of the Old Testament law given to Moses and the people at Mt. Sinai.
All the ceremonial laws and ordinances were put on the children of Israel until the time of reformation when Messiah would come and fulfill them. (Hebrews 9:1-10)
The book of Hebrews was written to the Jew explaining the transition and what the ceremonial laws meant in relation to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Judaism or Phariseeism on the other hand was a perversion of Old Testament law and put the Jew above the Gentile. We see this in their attitudes towards Gentiles and sinners.