The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23: 2-3) Historically God’s people have always been likened to sheep with the Lord himself as their shepherd, it is a comforting and picturesque analogy of God and his devoted and trusting followers. His people consider the Bible to be the word of God in which he gives us understanding and directions for life, here he gives us the following four groups so that we can understand the human dynamics that are even at work today in our own times.
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already, in the ages before us. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)
Two thousand years ago, the known world was ruled by Rome. From England to Africa and from Syria to Spain, one in every four people on earth lived and died under Roman law. The Roman Empire in the first century mixed sophistication with brutality, terror, tyranny and greed.The Roman Empire controlled much of the known world and was a precursor of the current day New World Global Order. See, there is nothing new under the sun!
Four main Jewish groups existed at the time of Christ; the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes and the Zealots.
The Pharisees were an influential religious sect within Judaism known for their acceptance of oral tradition in addition to the written Law, and their teaching that all Jews should observe all 600-plus laws in the Torah, including the rituals concerning ceremonial purification. They were mostly middle-class businessmen and leaders of the synagogues. They were often given to an excessive sense of self righteousness and known to follow the onerous specifics of the law religiously while having little sense of the spiritual meaning behind it, and they pridefully boasted of their own righteousness as opposed to that of others. Pharisees believed in angels, demons, heaven and hell and for the most part they represent the hypocritical attitudes present in most mainstream societies today.
The Sadducees were the party of high priests, aristocratic families, and merchants, the wealthier elements of the population. They tended to have good relations with the Roman rulers of Palestine. They generally represented a conservative view within Judaism and did not believe in heaven or hell and were largely secular in their practice of religion much like the Secular Humanists of this time. The Sadducees found particularly objectionable the Christian proclamation that Jesus is the Christ and the resurrection personified.
The Essenes were a small, separatist group that grew out of the conflicts of the Maccabean age. Like the Pharisees, they stressed strict legal observance, but considered the temple priesthood corrupt and rejected much of the temple ritual and sacrificial system.
They were typical of today’s mainstream societal dropouts that are comprised of cults, cloistered religious groups, communes, and those harboring moral objections to the ethics and mores of government.
The Zealots were members of a first-century political movement among Jews who sought to overthrow the occupying Roman government.
The attitudinal characteristics of these group’s are typical of many of the the social, religious and political segments within the societal construct of various nations throughout the world regardless of ethnicity, religion or political persuasion. The essence of these four distinct groups can be observed in the two opposed preeminent political groups In the United States of which the defining differences between them is found in this verse from the bible; “A wise man’s heart inclines him toward the right, but a fool’s heart toward the left.” (Ecclesiastes 10:2)
The group on the Right is conservative, freedom loving and law abiding living according to a Constitution that follows the Judaeo-Christian precepts written into it by the nation’s founding fathers. They universally believe that God is the source of all that is good and righteous, they are lovers of truth.
The group on the Left is liberal and typically follows Secular Humanist beliefs. They assume that all goodness emanates through a government that operates according to their own assumed moral codes and that the Constitution is an obsolete document written by racists. Believing that God is a superstitious myth, they resort to lies and all manner of deceit to convince themselves and others that they alone control nature and the destiny of the world.
Secular Humanism is a philosophy that embraces human reason, secular ethics, and philosophical naturalism as the basis of morality and decision making while specifically rejecting religious dogma as merely superstition. Secular humanism assumes that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without a belief in God.
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God. They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one. Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the Lord? There they shall be in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. (Psalm 14: 1-5)
He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne to his Son. And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life. (1John 5: 10-12) When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25: 31-34, 41)