Having looked now at some possible origins, developments, beliefs, and comparisons of five major Jewish groups in Jesus' day, the obvious question that remains to be asked is: what of their end? Since these groups all had their roots in Judaism (which flourished within a free Jewish state, whether under
independent rule or favorable foreign occupation), it stands to reason that if those conditions were altered, then changes were inevitable. Hopefully, it has become clear to the reader that the Jewish state did not end because Rome was hostile to their religion. On the contrary, Rome's stated policy on the
religion of other conquered nations was: religio-lictus
, which is Latin
for a lawful religion recognized as legitimate within that nation. However, due to the seditious nature of a certain element that led to the fall of Jerusalem and the Jewish state in A.D.70
, life for the Jews would never be the same.
For the scribes whose role in Judaism was more function than political, as long as there remained a need for the preservation and reproduction of God's revelation and the chronicles of Israel's history, they would always have their place in Jewish society, no matter the state of it (even to modern times).
, God had inspired holy men made wise through the knowledge of His revelation to record His continuing record. However, failing to recognize and embrace Jesus as their expected messiah, the first century self-righteous scribes had abdicated their position as the truly wise of Israel,
as once seen in their predecessors. God would no longer use these "whited sepulchers" as vessels for His continuing revelation. He would choose a tax collector, Galilean fishermen, a Gentile physician, a turncoat Pharisee, etc., men unlearned in the hierarchy of Jewish tradition and wisdom (with the exception of one),
to confound the wise of the day and complete the record of His revelation.
Since the Pharisees were mainly identified with the synagogue that had taken root in Jewish society, theirs would be the remaining party to survive the demise of the Jewish state. Following the end of all other rivals, their name would no longer be necessary and eventually all became known simply as, the Jews.
For the Sadducees, whose whole purpose and function revolved around Temple
life, with the destruction of the Temple
and the dispersion of the Jews, their reason for being no longer existed. Hence, as a party, they ceased to exist.
As might be expected, one may be led to believe that with the severity in which Rome overcame the sedition of the Zealots, they in turn were finished. And indeed they were for a time, but another resurgence would occur under the proclaimed messiah, Bar Cochba, in A.D. 132
, only to be thoroughly put down within
three years by eight of Rome's best legions.The area's name was then changed from Judea to Palestinia (after the Philistines). The region would remain in the hands of foreigners until A.D. 1948
when David Ben Gurion would become Israel's first new national leader.
And finally, archaeology tells us that the Essenes of Qumran met a violent end during the Jewish wars between A.D. 66-70
. However, an ultra-orthodox group similar in many respects, called Hasidims, emerged in Poland in the mid to late 1700's
, and a number are quite active here in the United States today.
There has been much controversy over the Jew's place in society in every generation, but one must never forget God's Covenant with Abraham: It was everlasting! His cursings and blessings remain in effect today, not only for them, but to those who would treat them with hostility or kindness. God will preserve
these chosen people until their final redemption at the end of the age. Therefore, they are to be appreciated and respected for their chosen role in introducing and maintaining a viable witness to the One True God of all creation and every nation. They remain His living witness to Sinai!