The Ignorant Know-It-Alls, Part 1: Where There’s a Will To Disbelieve, There’s a Reason to Disbelieve


Warhorse soldiers and local sheiks meet over a meal

15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.

19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

~ Mt 11:15-19

Will the Tribulation be 7 years or 3-1/2?  Are you sure?  Are you so sure you are willing to risk your salvation on it?  Will Jesus return on Pentecost some year or the Feast of Trumpets?  How sure are you?  Are others who disagree with you lost, corrupt and/or going to get what they deserve in the Great Tribulation?

The Pharisees were sure about many things.  They were very sure.

Like many things, I’m sure it probably started with good intentions.  When the Jews returned from Babylon, they still had to fight many things, including their own carnal nature.  Nehemiah was a very zealous man, and he was instrumental in ensuring they got on the right track and stayed there.

The Jews were not ignorant that it was their disobedience that landed them in captivity.  In particular, the Sabbath and the land sabbaths were disregarded prior to their evacuation from the land, and so they set their minds on keeping the Law meticulously.  It seemed reasonable to them that if the Law was strict, then they would make even stricter rules to ensure a fence or barrier was set around the boundaries of the Law so it would not be violated.

By all human reasoning, it probably sounded like a good thing.  Of course, the problem is that it was exactly that: human reasoning.  When your righteousness comes from yourself, then by definition you are practicing self-righteousness.  That type of righteousness will not and cannot please God.

So, the Pharisees became puffed up.  They had lots of knowledge, but their practical application was missing the mark.  Their knowledge and their assurance of their righteousness became a dangerous form of pride to them.

Jesus did not fit their view of what the Messiah should look like.  Jesus broke the rules — their rules.  They were shocked at His behavior, and they did not view Him as righteous — by their standards.

They criticized John because he lived differently than they did.  John did not live in a luxurious home.  He subsisted most of the time on a dish of locusts and wild honey, although he might have actually been eating cakes made from a flower from the locust tree (carob) rather than the insects (would he have had time to catch them year-round?) and “date honey” which would have held the flour together.  If that were true, then it makes more sense why Jesus would say John did not eat or drink.  This would have been a reference to eating “lower classed” fare, and locusts and bee honey would have been more of a delicacy that required more work to gather and make.

The Pharisees criticized Jesus for just the opposite, however.  He did eat and even drank wine, and He was called a glutton and a lush.  Basically, the Pharisees were criticizing no matter what if one fell outside of their narrow expectations.  They had expectations of what the Messiah would be like and what He would do.

And, they were sure that Jesus was not the Messiah.  They were so sure that they arranged for His death.

Are we so sure about things that are not explicitly stated in Scripture?  Could we actually not recognize the Christ if He visited our congregation one Sabbath because He did not fit our expectations?




  1. John from Australia

    John writes:

    Will the Tribulation be 7 years or 3-1/2?

    Isa 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

    “year of the LORD’s favor… Christ ended his quotation at this point (Lk 4:19-20), probably because the “day of vengeance” will not occur until his second coming” (The NIV Study Bible).

    The “day of vengeance of our God” is associated with the second half of the Christ’s week; so the typology is that the Great Tribulation is associated with the second half of the Antichrist’s week.

    My answer – the tribulation will be 3-1/2 years; which equals 1/2 a prophetic week.

    This chart, which looks better in the article, provides the argument.

    Below provides some typology of Jesus Christ’s two half-week commissions.


    1Co 15:50a Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;…

    There are ‘two’ kingdoms of God, one in the ‘flesh’ – earthly and one not in the ‘flesh’ – heavenly…

    Jn 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep [probaton].
    Jn 21:16b … He saith unto him, Feed [poinaino] my sheep [probaton].

    “As Good Shepherd (10:11, 14), he [Jesus] commissions Peter to act as shepherd in his absence, in view of his imminent departure… He, and not Peter, is still the “one Shepherd,” acting on the Father’s behalf (10:16). Peter’s voice in a New Testament letter attributed to him bears this out: “And when the Chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Pet 5:4). Peter will act as shepherd in Jesus’ place, yet the “lambs” belong not to him but to Jesus…” (J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John, NICNT, p.1044).

    Eze 34:2b Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

    Eze 34:23 And I [God] will set up one shepherd [Jesus Christ] over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant [the representative] David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
    Eze 34:17 And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats.

    “It is not surprising that the New Testament took up this shepherd motif and echoed chap. 34 together with other texts that gave expression to it. Jesus’ self-proclaimed purpose “to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) attests the undertaking of a divine mission. The allegory of the “good shepherd” in John 10 betrays the influence of v.23 especially the “one shepherd” of John 10:16. The same verse is reflected in Rev 7:17 (“the Lamb … will feed [poinaino] them”). The parable of the last judgment (Matt 25:32-40), with its segregation of sheep and goats, is indebted to vv.17-22, especially to v 17, and again envisages (the glorified) Jesus as discharged of a divine function, this time judgment” (Leslie C. Allen, Ezekiel 20-48, WBC, p.165).
    Jer 23:1 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the LORD. [NKJV].

    Jer 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch [semah]
    Jer 23:6b and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

    “The Jeremiah passage on which Ezekiel’s shepherd discourse appears to be based (Jer. 23:1-8) also predicts the “raising up” of a future Davidic ruler who will rule wisely, exercising justice and righteousness over a reunited Israel. He is designated by the title “righteous shoot” (semah saddiq) and given the symbolic name “Yahweh our righteousness” (YHWH sidgenu)…” (Joseph Blenkinsopp, Ezekiel Interpretation, p.160).

    Jer 33:15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch [semah] of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment (mishpat) and righteousness (tsedaqah) in the land.
    Jer 33:17 For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;

    2Ch 9:8 Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the LORD thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment (mishpat) and justice (tsedaqah).
    Jer 23:4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.

    Jesus Christ raised up Israel the Church at his first advent and commissioned Peter to act as ‘shepherd’ after his ‘departure’. In the future, Jesus Christ will raise up Israel the Kingdom and commission the human descendants of David to act as ‘shepherd-kings’ after his ‘departure’. See Daniel 9 and chart for more.