There are 95 verses in the bible that have the word "Pharisee, and Sadducee, as well as the plural form for each", with an additional 5 verses that has only "Sadducees" in them.
As I would read in the Gospels about the Pharisees, and Sadducees, I assumed that they were the priests that served in the Temple. When I really got into studying them in the Scriptures, and in secular writings, I found out many things that I didn't know about them. I will relate here a condensed list of what the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, believed and practiced.
A truth that we will not cover at this time is that ALL priests were Levites. But not all Levites were priests. This will help in understanding this article for It Is Related.
We have found that although many, if not all, of the priest and Levites were of either the Pharisees Sect, or the Sadducees Sect, at the time of Jesus. And yet, there were many of both Sects that were not either priests or Levites. There were even women who were Pharisees. The Apostle Paul was both a Pharisee, and from the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5)
The information below was gathered from Scripture, Commentaries, and Secular Historical writings.
This is what they believed and how they acted. I hope this will help you to understand Scripture better when you read of them.
The author of this Sect is unknown, that is, we don't know when it started.
The name means "divided," They separated themselves from the people and the manners of the world.
They meddled with the affairs of the government. (Jn. 3:1)
They were dreaded by the Roman government.
They were in great esteem with the people.
They boasted of, and trusted in, their being the seed of Abraham. (Mt. 3:9)
They were legalists - following the letter of the law but not the spirit.
They insisted of being formal.
They didn't care if their legal ceremonies had any spiritual meaning.
They were strict observers of the traditions of the elders. (Mk. 7:3)
They believed in both Fate and Freewill.
They believed in the resurrection of the dead.
They held that every soul is incorruptible or immortal.
They believed in Angels and Spirits.
They believed in and defended the doctrine of rewards and punishments in a future state.
They exposed themselves to public notice. Doing all they could to be seen of men. (Mt. 6:5)
They prayed publicly on the corners of the streets. (Mt. 6:5)
They had a trumpet blown before them when they gave alms. (Mt. 6:2)
They Chose the uppermost rooms at feasts. (Mk. 23:6)
They chose the chief seats in the synagogues. (Lk. 11:42)
They looked for and expected greetings in the markets. (Lk. 11:42)
They wanted to be called "Rabbi" by men. (Mt. 23:7-8)
They pretended to be more holy than others. (Mt. 23:27)
They believed that they were so good that they needed no repentance. (Lk. 18:11)
They fasted at least twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays) (Mt. 9:14, Lk. 18:12)
They made long prayers to gain the attention of men. (Mt. 23:14)
They call the common people unclean, looking down on them.
Many used the pretence of holiness as a cloak for sin.
They were covetous. (Lovers of money) (Lk. 16:14) Devouring widow's houses. (Mt. 23:14) (cheating, or robbing the widows out of their homes, etc. as payment for the pretence of praying for them and their dead husbands.)
They hated the Sadducees.
They practiced baptism of their Proselytes (converts), and circumcision of the men.
They controlled the Synagogues. (Jn. 12:42)
The Pharisees sided with the Herodians. (Mk. 3:6, Mk. 12:13)
Jesus called them Hypocrites, Vipers, Serpents, (Mt. 12:34, 23:33). They were pretty to look at as was a snake but like the snake they were filled with deadly venom.
The Sadducees started from "Sadok or Saduk", a disciple of Antigonus of Socho.
Antigonus taught "Be not as Servants who serve their master for the sake of reward; but be ye as servants that serve their master not for the sake of reward, and let the fear of God be upon you"
Sadok and a fellow scholar, who's name was "Baithos or Baithus", heard, but didn't understand him. They concluded that there were no future state of rewards and punishments.
Their followers became known as Sadducees.
They held to the scriptures only.
They rejected the traditions of the Elders.
They denied fate.
They believed in free will only.
They claimed there was no resurrection of the dead. (Mt. 22:23, Mk. 12:18)
They believed that the soul dies with the body.
That there is no after life. (Mk. 12:23,26)
And there are no Angels or Spirits. (Acts 23:8)
They hated the Pharisees, yet joined with the Pharisees to kill Jesus.
They were closely connected with the best priestly families. (Acts. 5:17)
They had little or no following with the masses, but rather found favor with the ruling class.
They were Rationalist.
They were selfish.
They represented Carnal unbelief.
They were the scornful infidels of that time and country.
They sat on the Sanhedrim. (Acts 23:6)
They were filled with blind zeal. (Acts 5:17)
They started the persecution of Peter and John. (Acts 4:1)
May the Lord help us. When we look out there today and see entire church bodies that fit the description of the Pharisees or Sadducees. May each one of us look at ourselves to see how many of these descriptions of both the Pharisees and Sadducees applies to us. Remember, They thought they were right with God, when in truth they were far from Him.
Since the above article was printed in a newsletter that had limited space, I did not print everything that I found, nor did I give a reference list of the books searched.
There were many kinds of Scribes. The Rulers, Kings, etc. Used them long before there was an Israelite nation. Each group or sect had it's own set of Scribes. There were Pharisees who were scribes. There were Sadducees who were scribes, The Priests used the Levites as scribes. (One of their duties in serving the priests).
In each place where it is said "Scribes and Pharisees", it can be read as "Scribes of the Pharisees"
It can be seen in the scriptures that different groups of Scribes and Pharisees came to accuse Jesus and John the Baptist, depending on where they were. Some were polite, some were nasty. Sometimes two different groups of Scribes and Pharisees came from different places on the same day. One thing they all had in common was their hate for Jesus.
As stated above, the Priest and Levites usually belonged to either the Pharisees or the Sadducees. Some of them did approach Jesus, but most of the Pharisees that attacked Jesus were not either Priest or Levites.
There are a few places where the word "Nethinims" is used. These were the Temple Slaves. They were not Jews, but were Gentiles. They were not allowed into the Temple any further than "the porch of the Gentiles". They were the "Gibeonites" who tricked Joshua into making a pact with them that he would not attack them. When Joshua found out the truth, he made them and all of their descendants Slaves to the Temple and the Israelite people. They were set to cut wood and to carry water for the Temple and the Israelite people. They were not, nor could they ever be a priest.
The Priest were of, and could only be, Aaron and his sons and their descendants forever. Aaron was from the tribe of Levi. All of the rest of the Levites and their descendants were assigned to be helpers to the Priests. Now that is another whole study.