Did the Nazarenes have “issues” with the other Priestly Classes, Scribes and Pharisees (and Sadducees) and Hypocrites? And Visa Versa?
As can be imagined, there might have been some rivalry between the different sects of high priests. Each thought they were adhering to the Law as they saw fit. The Sadducees were the party of high priests, aristocratic families, and merchants. They had different ideas about Jewish Law than the Scribes. They tended to have closer relations to the Romans occupying the territory. The Pharisees were middle-class rabbis and influential leaders in the synagogues and businessmen who were most trusted by the populace. The third class of priests were the Essenes who may have been more associated with the tribe of Joseph (remember, the “Nazar” one), because they were known as Nazoreans or Nazorites.
(Essenes) conformed to the most rigid rules of Levitical purity while aspiring to the highest degree of holiness. They lived solely by the work of their hands and in a state of communism, devoted their time to study and devotion and to the practice of benevolence, and refrained as far as feasible from conjugal intercourse and sensual pleasures, in order to be initiated into the highest mysteries of heaven and cause the expected Messianic time to come (‘Ab. Zarah ix. 15; Luke ii. 25, 38; xxiii. 51). https://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5867-essenes
As mentioned, the Promised Land was divided up between the twelve tribes of Israel. The Levites were the priestly class, received no land and relied on the temple donations to live. The Tribe of Joseph’s land was divided between his sons: Ephraim and Manasseh, north of Jerusalem. The general consensus about the Essenes is that they were conservative Jews and religious zealots, completely out of step with “Modern” Greco-Roman culture. They strictly adhered to Levitical Laws in terms of diet, drinking, and bathing. Ritual bathing pools or mikveh, have been excavated at Nazareth. Thus, it was no surprise to hear a comment like:
Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good be from Nazareth?” Philip *said to him, “Come and see.”
John 1:46 NASB
Essene’s strict adherence to the Law often made them subject for ridicule. Ever seen or heard someone ridicule some as a “goody two shoes?” Seen or heard people belittle someone for abstaining from drink or meat? Even in this Modern day, health-addicts, vegetarians and vegans are regularly subject to ridicule from mainstream comics. So two thousand years ago, it was no different.
Essenes were seen as extremists: conservative orthodox similar to how Hasidic Jews are often viewed. There was serious conflict within the tribes of Israel and especially within the temple leadership. Yashua was very vocal about his disdain for their lack of adherence to the true “spirit” of Mosaic Law. He spoke about it in the Gospel of Luke 13 and especially in the famous ‘eight passages of Woe’ from the Gospel of Matthew 23. It should be noted that in true Yashua fashion, much of what He says is clouded in parables and mystery for those who truly seek him to find. So in order to understand this scripture better, it is good to understand that many times when Yashua refers to the “temple” or the “altar” He is referring to the BODY TEMPLE in which the Living G*D dwells. He said as much on many occasions. Remember when he spoke of destroying and rebuilding the temple in three days?
To learn more, go re-read and reconsider his many other remarks about physical health in this light. As we will discuss later, the Nazarenes are described as Christian Jews in the 4th century AD by Catholic Bishop of Constantia called Epiphanius. He writes that they believed Moses was given the “True Law,” but, unscrupulous and corrupt scribes altered these texts to suit their needs. Have you ever heard of that kind of thing happened anywhere else?