If the accusations of the Pharisees against Jesus are put to a logical test they turn into a fallacy in Matthew 12:24. This is why I would love to hear the input of you guys.

Matthew 12:24- 27: But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “Only by Beelzebul, the prince of the demons,” does this man drive out demons. 25Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste. 26If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out?"

What rebuttal could the Pharisees give in this context, to this seemingly rhetoric question?

closed as off-topic by Yishai, rosends, sabbahillel, Isaac Moses, msh210 Jan 3 '17 at 4:26

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    Sam probably is right, however, that a defense of a pharisaic claim against Jesus, is likely off-topic. (Although personally I don't know why it should be worse than a question about a claim of a rabbi as recorded in any other work of questionable veracity, such as a Hasidic tale, or an ahistoric work such as Seder HaDortot) – mevaqesh Jan 3 '17 at 1:26

Deut. 13:2-4 (numbered 1-3 in Christian Bibles)

If there will arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of a dream, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder of which he spoke to you happens, [and he] says, "Let us go after other gods which you have not known, and let us worship them," you shall not heed the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of a dream; for the L-rd, your G-d, is testing you, to know whether you really love the L-rd, your G-d, with all your heart and with all your soul.

Judaism accepts that it is possible for someone to actually be able to produce a miracle and yet still be an evil-doer. The main proof of any would-be miracle worker's righteousness, is that his message not contradict the Torah.

Therefore, if in fact Jesus did exorcise demons, it is still possible that this was a test to see if the Jews would accept teachings contrary to the Torah. Rather than being a house divided, the evil pawns (demons) agreed to be removed in order to ensnare innocent souls into joining a new religion other than true Judaism. That is what a "test" of faith is, according to the Bible.

Since the OP is bringing Christian sources, (and although Jews do not believe in the New Testament) it is also proper to answer that the OP's question is easily solved even according to the New Testament.

Matthew 7:21-23 - The Sermon On The Mount: False Followers

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven will enter. "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

Here we see that Jesus himself does not accept the successful casting out of demons as a certain sign of the exorcist's righteousness. He actually says that casting out demons can be accomplished by people who practice lawlessness.

2 Thessalonians 2:9

The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power, sign, and false wonder.

So now we come full circle. If the NT agrees that the anti-christ is the "lawless one" and he is called "lawless" because that is how Satan works...and casting out demons can also be performed by lawless people...then ipso facto :) the NT just said that Satan also casts out demons!

So if Jesus knows this, why can't the Pharisees use this as an answer too??

It seems that the apostle Paul is also in agreement with this line of reasoning.

2 Corinthians 11: 12-15

But I will keep on doing what I am doing, in order to undercut those who want an opportunity to be regarded as our equals in the things they boast about. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions.

If a demon (servant of Satan?) masquerades by pretending he is listening to the "righteous decree" of a true prophet, and running out of a victim's soul; then maybe the one telling him to leave is Satan pretending to be of the light?

There is no "house divided". It is just a con game. The NT tells us that Satan is capable of really good cons.

Mathew 24:24

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible.

So the Pharisees were just thinking what the New Testament was thinking all along. :)

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    I am stunned by your answer. Many Thanks it helped me clear out any doubt about my conversion to Judaism! – Johannes Jan 3 '17 at 11:06
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    @Johannes You are most very welcome. I am stunned, :) I had no idea you were asking about something so important. You must have given this much thought. If you wish to ask me other questions, (especially about topics that might not fit with this forum) Please feel free to email me at Davidariel25@gmail.com. I would be honored if you chose to share anything with me. Much Success. :) – David Kenner Jan 3 '17 at 19:45

The answer is that, for Jews, Satan is not an entity running a kingdom in opposition to God. Believing Satan to be a separate power wholly apart from God and His influence, and that the demons are working for him, would be deemed idolatry.

Google "shtei reshuyos" or "shtei reshuyot" for sources on why Jews consider this heresy or idolatry.

  • that is not totaly and exactly true. I have seen mekubalim saying other things. Of course there is not a thing that is out of God's influence. – eeerrrttt Dec 6 '18 at 6:09
  • citation needed. it is possible that some modern self-styled "mekubalim" are not up to par; or that an elevated metaphorical kabbalistic idea of sitra achara is presented simplistically such that it seems that this is the case. Meanwhile, mainstream non-kabbalistic Judaism certainly rejects the notion of two domains. Kabbalists need to deal with sources such as Berakhot 33b: mivami.org/talmud/Berakhot.33b – josh waxman Dec 6 '18 at 11:18

The answer is simple. If the original statement was "this man drives out demons...", the Pharisees could have said that they drive out demons by asking God. They perhaps could have continued that by saying, 'You aren't really driving out the demons. You are "horse trading" with Beelzebul.' But at that point of the conversation, it didn't really matter because Jesus's answer was too snappy and could only be countered with another zinger.

  • @Eastwood. The logic of your answer is weak. – Clifford Durousseau May 31 '18 at 16:23
  • The point of the answer is that the Pharisees are stodgy and could only answer by dry logic. They were expecting Jesus to deny that he uses the devil so all they needed was a bit of false testimony to win. Jesus saw this coming so he changed the discussion into an emotional argument, which, if it resonated with the audience, is very hard to disavow. Logic is not used in the answer. – Clint Eastwood Jul 13 '18 at 15:12

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