Did You Know ...


Did you know that the Pharisees were the free-willers of their day? There is a segment of Arminianism today that claims to believe that God is sovereign and has sovereignly chosen that man has the free will to choose good and evil and will be punished or rewarded based on their works. This is the same belief as the Pharisees, as historian Alfred Edersheim shows:

"Although every event depended upon God, whether a man served God or not was entirely his own choice. As a logical sequence of this, fate had no influence as regarded Israel, since all depended upon prayer, repentance, and good works. Indeed, otherwise that repentance, on which Rabbinism so largely insists, would have no meaning. Moreover, it seems as if it had been intended to convey that, while our evil actions were entirely our own choice, if a man sought to amend his ways, he would be helped of God. It was, indeed, true that God had created the evil impulse in us; but He had also given the remedy in the Law. This is parabolically represented under the figure of a man seated at the parting of two ways, who warned all passers that if they chose one road it would lead them among the thorns, while on the other brief difficulties would end in a plain path (joy). Or, to put it in the language of the great Akiba: 'Everything is foreseen; free determination is accorded to man; and the world is judged in goodness.'" (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, pp. 318-319)

Jewish historian Flavius Josephus also wrote that the Pharisees believed that "... it hath pleased God to make a temperament, whereby what he wills is done, but so that the will of men can act virtuously or viciously. ... that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life ..." (Complete Works, p. 376)


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