During the Monday night, Bible study, “Discovering God’s Will” on June 21, 2010, held in Payson, Arizona; the text of scripture studied was found in John 7:31-34. Following the reading of the text, during the discussion, one woman asked if Jesus were telling the people he was talking to if, they would not go to heaven. A verity of Bible translations were read in order to gain a deeper understanding of the text in question in consideration of the question asked.
John 7:31-34 “Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, “When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?” The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” (NIV)
John 7:31-34 “And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?” The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. “You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.” (NKJV)
John 7:31-34 “But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, “When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?” The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about Him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. Therefore Jesus said, “For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me. “You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come.” (NASB 95)
John 7:31-34 “Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?” The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” (ESV)
Whom Is Jesus Addressing?
In this text, Jesus is addressing the Pharisees.
Why Is Jesus Addressing the Pharisees?
In this text, Jesus is directly addressing the Pharisees because of their long-standing doctrine of teaching and enforcing restrictions to the law of God that God did not expressly command or intend. He is addressing the Pharisees because their beliefs actively prevent people from coming into a true personal relationship with God through Jesus based on their personal understanding and faith.
What Are The Attributes of Pharisees?
1. Pharisees are any people who sit in judgment and call the good works of the Son of God and or the ongoing works of God’s Spirit evil.
- Matthew 9:34 “But the Pharisees said, “It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.” (NIV)
- Pharisees are any group of religious people who only follow “the letter of the law” and force their doctrine (as well as try and force others) to conform to “the letter of the law.”
- Pharisees are quick to jump to conclusions and counter any person who has idea’s outside of their narrow view of religion.
- Pharisees limit or discredit the power and workings of the Holy Spirit of God and do not consider the Spirit’s ongoing function and characteristics in the world.
- Pharisees attribute none “letter of the law” good works to the devil.
2. Pharisees are any people who follow established rules of mechanism and codes (written or not) of ridged rules based on works negating God’s intent. “Legalism”
- Matthew 12:2 “When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath.” (NIV)
- Luke 11:39-40 “Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?” (NIV)
- Titus 1:15 “To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.” (NIV)
- Pharisees are people that follow a strictly ridged traditionalism to a “letter of the law” by strict secular organization of religious conduct and thought and scripture calls this form of interpretation “legalism.”
- Pharisees view doctrine as only correct and scriptural if it follows “the traditional interpretation of the human opinion from the past, having no room for new thought, views, ideas, or understandings.”
- Pharisees view tradition as untouchable and therefore cannot be desecrated.
- Pharisees really place their salvation on own their efforts by secretly seeking to work their way to heaven and justify this belief with the passage of James which says, “James 2:17-18 “But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (NKJV) but fail to understand the implication of James 2:10 “For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” (MKJV) and how these passages of scripture do not contradict the writings of Paul who said in “Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (NKJV) James is really saying that, people who appreciate the gift of salvation will show this loving faith by doing good to all people. This is in fact a command directed by Paul in Galatians 6:9-10 “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (NKJV)
- Jesus answers the Pharisees by saying to place more value in the moral, ethical, and spiritual intent of God.
3. Pharisees are any people who aggressively and at times brutally oppose those who they perceive to be contrary to their traditional views of scriptural doctrine and work tirelessly to tear down all who differ from there strict interpretations.
- Matthew 12:14 “Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.” (NKJV)
- Luke 6:11 “But they were furious and began to discuss with one another what they might do to Jesus.” (NIV)
- John 5:18 “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (NIV)
- James 1:19 “Therefore, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” (MKJV)
- Proverbs 10:19 “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” (NIV)
- Pharisees have zero tolerance for viewpoints and ideas not in a straight line with their “letter of the law” interpretations of scripture.
- Pharisees intimidate others for having a different opinion and understanding of their traditionally held strict opinion of scripture that threatens their “letter of the law” views with retribution of various kinds designed to destroy or undermine the good being accomplished.
- Pharisees are dangerous to confront because they strictly adhere to a human ideology grounded in keeping the status quo and view all new concepts or interpreted analysis of scripture as threatening their perceived scriptural authority and power.
4. Pharisees are any people whose behavior is infectious and when lived continually over time makes permanent.
- Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (NASB 95)
- Luke 12:1 “Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. (NIV)
- Jesus calls people like this “children of hell.”
- Jesus warns his true followers to avoid such people.
5. Pharisees are any people who obstruct others from a true personal understanding of God.
- Matthew 23:13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. (NASB 95)
- Luke 11:52 “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” (NIV)
- Pharisees block the true attainment of assuring faith by people seeking a real relationship with God, publicly calling anyone who has a different insight as apostate or false teacher.
- Pharisees devalue all non-traditional understandings of God’s truthful intent.
6. Pharisees are any people characterized as pretentious, arrogant, and self-righteousness.
- Matthew 23:12-14 “And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he who shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of Heaven against men. For you neither go in, nor do you allow those entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and pray at length as a pretense. Therefore you shall receive the greater condemnation.” (MKJV)
- Pharisees direct this attitude towards any person that does not hold to their strict interpretation of scripture.
7. Pharisees are any people who miss the spiritual significance of the intent of the scripture.
- Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and you have left undone the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith. You ought to have done these and not to leave the other undone.” (MKJV)
- Luke 11:39 “Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” (NIV)
- Pharisees are people who only follow specifics indicated in scripture but never pay attention to the more meaningful intangible potential written about in scripture.
- Pharisees are people that are (in some way) associated with religion but fail to pay attention to the greater spiritual intent of Jesus’ words and they fail to believe in the intent concerning why something was said, done or directed if a different understanding can be logically formed that contradicts their strict interpretation of “the letter of the law” approach.
- Jesus told these religious parasitical Pharisees that if they belong to God they would pay attention to and identify that Jesus spoke for the intent of God.
- Jesus concluded that judgmental and restrictive Pharisees did not belong to God but to the devil.
8. Pharisees are any people whose limiting restrictive philosophies and practices do not connect scripturally or spiritual with the intent of God: Hypocrisy.
- Matthew 23:3 “… But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” (NIV)
- Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” (NIV)
- Luke 12:1 “… Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (MKJV)
- The Bible teaches that the intent of scripture is of more value than a ridged strict adherence to the sample example shown in scripture designed to teach the moral intent of God.
9. Pharisees are any people who have disregarded the true character and intent of the assignment of the Christian (individually) and church of the Lord (as a whole).
- Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (ESV)
- Matthew 5:42 “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” (ESV)
- Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (ESV)
- Matthew 25:35-40 “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ …” (ESV)
- Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (ESV)
- Luke 10:27 “And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (ESV)
- Romans 14:13 to 15:13 “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. …” (ESV)
- 2 Corinthians 5:16-20 “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he a new creation. Or creatureThe old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling Or God was in Christ, reconcilingthe world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (ESV)
- Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (ESV)
- Hebrews 13:16 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (ESV)
- James 2:14-17 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (ESV)
- The permanent activity of the child of God is reunion of a lost world to God, compassion to all people, sharing the message of hope, demonstrating real love to all people, and helping others in need.
- Pharisees tell people that the church can only help their own kind. This ideology does not conform to scripture. The commands listed just prior direct goodwill to all people where love, compassion, sharing, and helping are concerned.
- Pharisees fail to understand that the command to be helpful does not rest solely with people of the same faith and belief just because a few passages of scripture do also include helping the needed within the church.
- To understand and fully appreciate the intent of God, all passages concerning Christian generosity demands understanding together as a whole in order to comply with the commands of God. To leave any part out of the commands of compassion to anyone is to disregard the command and thus violate the will of God.
Supporting Text 1st Group:
- John 8:13-21 “The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come. Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.” (NIV)
- John 8:24 “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”
Supporting Text 2nd Group:
- Mark 16:16 “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (NIV)
- John 13:33-36 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” (NIV)
Jesus bluntly told the Pharisees that they would not go to heaven because of the ridged and strict way they interpret the law of God and completely miss the intent of God. Therefore, the application to today’s Christian is that if any hold the same or similar attitudes of the Pharisees of Jesus time, they too will not set foot into heaven.
Conversely, Jesus told his followers that if they expressed flexible true love to all other people with kindness and compassion they would see him in heaven. Therefore, the present day application is that we need to also be kind and generous to the people in our lives if we are really going to be the shining light into a dark lost world.
I beg all to consider this vital question. “Which of these two attitudes will you follow?”By Guy Lewis Payson, Arizona Started: June 21, 2010 Completed: June 25, 2010