The Leaven of the Pharisees

An Insidious Strategy

It will be helpful to the reader of this article to recall that the Talmud is the fundamental code of Jewish civil and canon law, the Mishnah and the Gemara. A collection of writings compiled from ancient oral laws by religious leaders of the Jewish people after the return of the Jews from Babylon, which embodied ceremonies, laws and doctrine observed by rabbinical Judaism as practised in Jewry at the time of Christ. It had no divine authority, having been superimposed on the authentic Scriptures.

WE are all aware of certain traits in ourselves and others which we often, loosely, define as "Phariseeism". It was in 1989 that Dr. Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, accused members of the British Government of being Pharisees. Many would no doubt consider that this label would have better fitted the Archbishop himself, for the Pharisees favoured distinctive clothing and titles which emphasised their religiosity as they contradicted God's Eternal Truth by their compromising interpretations.

Furthermore, Dr. Runcie has displayed fervent fellow-feeling for the Pope, whom many consider a "Pharisee of Pharisees". However, when Jesus warned us to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees (LUKE 12:1), He was not referring simply to the taking on of their characteristics: He meant Phariseeism itself. Leaven of course, symbolises something which spreads until it pervades the whole.

It is undoubtedly true that most Christian folk think of the Pharisees as a small insignificant Jewish sect contemporaneous with Christ, who aroused His righteous ire and indignation and became His greatest enemies. They also, rather naively, imagine that the basis of Judaism is the Old Testament, when actually it is the Talmud.

Jesus referred to this traditional lore - a collection of the interpretations and commentaries of the Pharisees - in scathing terms, calling it the doctrine of "them of old time". Speaking to the Pharisees He said: "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? ... Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect... teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (MATTHEW 15). Jesus ruthlessly stripped away these man-made trappings revealing the Word of God in its pristine simplicity. It is obvious that if the Jews had truly loved and studied the Old Testament, they would have accepted Jesus as their Messiah, He being the supreme object of the true Word of God.

It is highly significant that the Talmudic writings should have had their origin in Babylon, whence many corruptions of the True Faith have emanated. During the period 586 B.C. to 1040 A.D., the Talmud academics moved out into Europe, Asia and Africa and spread all over the world.

As Jesus warned, the "leaven of the Pharisees" has permeated doctrine and thought, contaminating the Truth of God with evil contradictions. After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Pharisees through their synagogical dogma, became the ruling force among the Jews. This is confirmed by the Jewish Encyclopaedia which informs that after 70 A.D. Jewish life was regulated by the teaching of the Pharisees and that the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the pharisaic point of view. A new aspect of the past was given to the Sanhedrin; a new chain of tradition supplanted the older priestly tradition as Phariseeism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future.

The leading ideas and methods of the Pharisees found expression in literature of enormous extent - of which the Talmud is the largest and most important - and which is traceable, without a break, to the present century and the Jewish religion of today. While it may be very inconvenient to make reference to this legacy from the past, we should remember that the Talmud teaches that only Jews are true men: the rest of mankind being classified as slaves and animals. The Lord Jesus Christ and Christians are described as suffering degrading torments in hell, while heinous sins, clearly condemned by the Scriptures - such as sodomy, pederasty, bestiality and incest - are excused by the Talmud.

Contest for the Birthright

It is absolutely certain that most Christians today have no appreciation of the act that in the region of 95 per cent of modern Jewry consists not of the descendants of Jacob (Israel), but of Esau and other elements. These are the Ashkenazim Jews, most of whom descend from the Khazars and who were forcibly converted to Judaism. The Scriptures foretold that the descendants of Esau would always be at enmity against God and His true Israel and that they would be covert in their strategy.

It has been in the nature of the Talmudic Jew to insinuate himself into every sphere and to change it to suit the anti-Christian purpose. There are in fact many manifestations of Phariseeism in more recent history. For instance, communism which has threatened the Christian Israel nations for many decades, is a manifestation of Talmudism. Karl Marx who was a Jew, is universally acknowledged to have been the father of modern communism. His 'Das Kapital' is its bible and the ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party' was published by him in 1848 in collaboration with Friedrich Engels.

The prominent participation of a number of Jews in the establishment of the U.S.S.R. - notably that of Leon Trotsky, one of the most outstanding and dynamic of the Bolshevik leaders - is a matter of historical record. It is also fair to say of course that these Jews had made a show of dissociating themselves from their racial kinsmen by virulent agitation against the Jewish bourgeoisie and Jewish tradition generally. Jews such as Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev and Serdlov played superior roles in the Russian Revolution and in the spread of communism throughout the world.

It is also not surprising that we should find noticeable Talmudic traits in the Papacy and the Roman Catholic Church; when we learn that 300,000 Marranas (Spanish Jews who feigned conversion to escape the Inquisition) deliberately infiltrated the Roman Church in order to accomplish the complete takeover of Church and State! Then again, disastrous consequences of International Finance upon the great company of Christian Israel nations, is, of course, better known - the power of Jewish ability and control in the world of finance has been a continuing factor in world affairs for many generations.

The ultimate of all this activity by the Talmudic Jew can only be understood in context of the Identity message of the Scriptures. It is an insidious strategy, albeit done without full understanding, to wrest back the birthright which Esau carelessly exchanged for a "mess of pottage". However, no matter how skilfully, cunningly and mercilessly Esau might manipulate the spheres of human activity, in order to gain world control, his ultimate failure is forever sealed by the words: "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (MALACHI 1:2-3; ROMANS 9:13).

The Lord Jesus Christ as the Coming King of His servant people and as the greatest prophet, well understood this Age long contention that was manifesting itself in the lead-up to His crucifixion. He was looking forward in time to A.D. 70 and beyond to the present century when He declared a fearful judgment:

"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me." LUKE 19:27

Jesus also warned us of the covert element in Esau when He revealed to the Apostle John the workings of great power for evil which is disguised as good, described in the Apocalypse thus:

"I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan" REVELATION 2:9.

Despite having an understanding of all these things, we must remember that judgment is the overruling prerogative of Almighty God and His Son Who shall judge and make war at His Coming (REVELATION 19). As true followers of Christ, we can never condone the cruel persecution of the Jewish people, characteristic of the Roman Catholic Church and others throughout history.

We are ever to keep aware of Satan's devices and not allow ourselves to be deceived by them; we are to beware the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy; we should go forth hating the sin but loving the sinner.

Fortunately there is another opposing "leaven" at work in the world - the leaven of the Kingdom of God as Jesus revealed in the parables of the Kingdom. The Shepherd of Israel (unlike the Church) neither slumbers nor sleeps. Nothing can be hid from Him. His eye is ever upon His true people, to guide and to guard them.

by W. F. Finlayson

Source: "Wake Up!" magazine, Aug/Oct 1990