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BIBLE STUDY on the Gospel of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
Matthew chapter 23 denounces and condemns the Scribes and Pharisees in their moral inconsistency.
Jesus is still in the Temple, and in the presence of the opponents with whom He had been arguing, but here He now addresses Himself to the apostles and the multitude. The change of His lecture is accompanied by a change in His subject. He had exhausted His hypocritical foes' power of proof and argument, He now proceeds to deal with them as hopeless reprobates by portraying to the multitude their true character, and by heaping upon them the sentences of condemnation which were justly their due. This is quite a chapter!
Jesus warns the multitude against the scribes and Pharisees; pronounces woes upon the scribes and Pharisees; weeps over Jerusalem.
This chapter concludes the battle between the Lord Jesus and the religious rulers. He warns the multitudes about them and then denounces the religious rulers in instantly recognizable terms. No words that ever fell from the lips of the Lord Jesus were more scornful and severe than here. It is a merciless condemnation to say the least. If you read this chapter carefully, you will see that some of it applies to you, as does most of the Bible.
Jesus Warns Against The Scribes And Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-12)
Jesus' public denunciation of the Pharisees took place at the Temple, the stronghold of His enemies.
Matthew 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, (KJV)
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples . . . the multitude is the common people that were around Him in the Temple. The high priests and elders, Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees have left Him, being confused and silenced by Him.
Matthew 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: (KJV)
Saying, The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses's seat . . . These religious rulers were in the place of authority, and they controlled the Old Testament Scriptures. They took over that which they had no right to do. They occupied very much the same position that church leaders do today. People looked to them for the interpretation of the Truth. Christ does not speak here of the Sanhedrim, or grand council of the nation, and of their legislative power; but of those that were the teachers of the people, and the interpreters of the Law; the ones that read Moses' Law, and explained it to the people.
Matthew 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. (KJV)
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do . . . meaning all that they teach is consistent with the Law of Moses; all the commands of Moses which they read to them and properly explain. Christ accuses them of teaching many things contrary to that Law, and of making it void by traditions (Mat.15:1-6).
But do not ye after their works . . . let their doctrine be the rule of your lives, if it agrees with the Law of Moses; but do NOT let their actions be an example by you. Obey the rules to their instructions, but do NOT imitate their practices. WHY? He tells them.
For they say, and do not . . . the interpretation they give to the Law is correct, but their lives do NOT go along with what they teach. It is not the duty of men to imitate their teachers unless they are living lives that are righteous . . . they are instead to obey the Law of God, rather than to structure their lives by the example of evil men (Rom.2:21-23). But, just remember, all people are sinners, we simply must stay away from those teachers that do not do as the teach.
Matthew 23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. (KJV)
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne . . . bind heavy burdens is derived from the custom of loading animals. The load is bound up, and then laid on the beast. So too the Pharisees assign weighty burdens, or grievous and heavy precepts, and insist that the people obey them, although they give no assistance. The heavy burdens refers not here to the ceremonies and rites appointed by Moses, which Peter says "neither our fathers nor we were able to bear," (Acts 16:10). The Pharisees were rigid in requiring that all the people should pay the taxes, give of their property, comply with every part of the Law with the utmost rigor, yet pampered themselves, and bore as little of the expense and trouble as possible. Sounds like our government today, with Congress giving themselves pay raises, and taking advantage of all their freedoms. They have NO compassion on the common people!
Lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers . . . such crafty wicked men were the Scribes and Pharisees. With one of their fingers . . . not even in the least degree, will not render the least aid. They made things "light" for themselves, and "heavy" for others, and aggravated the burdensome rites and institutions of these people.
Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, (KJV)
But all their works they do for to be seen of men . . . all their prayers, alms deeds and fastings, were done in a public way, so people could see them, and they might have praise and glory from them. They did NOT seek the glory of God, nor the good of their fellow man.
They make broad their phylacteries . . . phylacteries comes from a word meaning to keep, preserve, or guard. The name was given because phylacteries were worn as amulets or charms, and were supposed to defend them from evil. Superstitious? They were small slips of parchment on which were written certain parts of the Old Testament. The practice of using phylacteries was set up on a literal interpretation of that Passages where God commands the Hebrews to have the Law as a sign on their foreheads, and as frontlets between their eyes (Ex.13:16; Pro.3:1,3. 5:21). One kind or phylactery was called a "frontlet" (Deut.6:8; 11:18), and was composed of four pieces of parchment; on the first of which was written (Ex.12:2-10), some say (Ex.12:2-11) . . . on the second (Ex.12:11-21), some say (Ex.13:11-17) . . . on the third (Deut.6:4-9), some say (Deut.6:4-10) . . . and on the fourth (Deut.11:18:21), some say (Deut.11:13:22). These pieces of parchment, thus inscribed, were enclosed in a piece of tough skin, making a square, on one side of which is placed the Hebrew letter shin, ש, and bound them around their foreheads with a thong when they went to the synagogue. Some wore them evening and morning; and others only at the morning prayer. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6404-frontlets
Enlarge the borders of their garments . . . this refers to the loose threads which were attached to the borders of the outer garment as a fringe. This fringe was commanded to distinguish them from other nations, and that they might remember to keep the commandments of God (Num.15:38-40; Deut.22:12). The Pharisees and scribes made them broader than common people wore them, to make a big show that they had a special respect for the law. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6397-fringes
Matthew 23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, (KJV)
And love the uppermost rooms at feasts . . . I do not think the word rooms, here expresses the meaning of the original. I think it would be more correctly rendered the uppermost places or couches at feasts. To understand this it is necessary to mention, that the custom among the Jews was not to eat sitting, as we do, but reclining on couches. The table was three tables, raised like ours, and placed so as to form a square, with a clear space in the middle, and one end open, probably for servants to bring food. On the sides of the tables, there were placed cushions, capable of containing three or-more persons, or couches on which they reclined. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/4703-couch To recline near to one in this manner denoted intimacy, and was what was meant by lying in the bosom of another (Jn.13:23, Lk.16:22-23). The feet were extended away from the table, and as they reclined instead of sitting, it was easy to approach the feet behind, and even without the person knowing. That is what happened in (Lk.7:37-38), while Jesus reclined in this manner, that a woman that had been a sinner came to His Feet behind him, and washed them with her tears, and wiped with the hairs of her head. She stood on the outside of the couches. So too, the Saviour washed the feet of His apostles as they reclined on a couch in this manner (Jn.13:4-12). Whenever we read in the New Testament of sitting at meals, it always means reclining in this manner, and not sitting as we do. The chief seat, or the uppermost one, was the middle couch at the upper end of the table. This the Pharisees loved, as a post of honor or distinction.
And the chief seats in the synagogues . . . the elders sit with their faces towards the people, and their backs are to the temple, or holy place. The common people sit in rows, and the faces of one row are to the backs of the row that is before them; so that the faces of all the people are to the holy place, and to the elders, and to the ark. The seats usually occupied by the elders of the synagogue, were near the pulpit. They loved a place of distinctive honor (Lk.11:43).
Matthew 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. (KJV)
And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men Rabbi, Rabbi . . .greetings in the markets means demanding respect shown to them in public places. Markets were places where multitudes of people were assembled together. The Pharisees expected, and were pleased with the special attention among the multitude, and desired that all should show them particular respect. To be called Rabbi . . . this word literally means great. It was a title given to famous and distinguished teachers of the Law among the Jews. It was a title of honor and dignity, meaning they had authority and ability to teach. These "higher-ups" appreciated such titles, for it meant superiority. "Rabbi" implied they were superior to the common people.
Matthew 23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. (KJV)
But be not ye called Rabbi . . . the command here is an express command to his apostles NOT to receive such a title of distinction. They were not to covet it; they were not to seek it; they were not to do anything that made anyone think that they wanted it, or that they would be willing to apply it to their names. Anything that would tend to make a distinction among them, or destroy their uniformity; anything which would lead the world to think that there were ranks and grades among them as ministers, they were to absolutely avoid. This title corresponds with the title "Doctor of Divinity," as applied to ministers of the Gospel; and as I see, the force of the Saviour's command is violated by their receiving such a title. It tends to cause pride and a sense of "I'm better that you are", in those who use it, and envy and a sense of inferiority in those who cannot; and the whole trend of it is contrary to the "simplicity that is in Christ", but be not (Jam.3:1). I'm afraid that I have a problem with men of today: #1. Being called "reverend" (Ps.111:9). That word is in the Bible only ONCE, and it refers to Almighty God. #2. Being called "doctor", yes I know, it takes years to achieve that title, but to the lower class of people, it make them feel inferior. #3. To call a mortal man "Father" (Mat.23:9) in a spiritual sense, to me is WRONG! #4. And what infuriates me is calling a mortal man "Holy Father". THAT is utterly blasphemous! I refuse to call anyone any of the above names. And if someone insists on it, it to me, shows that are in the same boat as the Pharisees and scribes. My Saviour and Lord was meek and humble, His TRUE servants should be also! End of sermon.
For one is your master, even Christ . . . Jesus forbade His Apostles to seek such titles of distinction. The reason He gave was that He Himself was their Master and Teacher. They all were on one level; they were to be equal in authority; they were brethren; and they should neither covet nor receive a title which either implied an elevation of one above another, or which appeared to infringe on the absolute right of the Saviour to be their only Teacher and Master.
And all ye are brethren . . . not merely as the descendants of Adam, but too, being in a spiritual relation, they were the children of God's family, and apostles of Christ, so there should be NO superiority one over another. They all were believers and Christians, partakers of the same grace, and standing in the same relation to God the Father, to Christ and one another, and they all have an equal right to the same privileges.
Matthew 23:9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. (KJV)
And call no man your father upon the earth . . .this does not forbid us to apply the term to our earthly father (Ex.20:12; Mat.15:4; Eph.6:1-3). The word Father here means in a spiritual or religious sense. This is what I was saying above. Only our Father in Heaven should EVER be called "Father", for it denotes authority, eminence, superiority, a right to command, and a claim to particular respect. NO earthly man, anywhere, should be called "Father" in a religious sense! And to call any earthly man "Holy Father" is a great sin as I see it. This honor, this glory, this dignity, belongs ONLY and eminently to God the Father in Heaven! Jesus clearly states the Truth here! BELIEVE HIM! "For one is your Father, which is in heaven" who is so, both by creation and adoption, and possesses all paternal authority; and is to be honored and obeyed by all; from whom all wisdom and knowledge is derived, and who has the care and government of all in Heaven and in Earth. NO man anywhere should be called "Father" in a spiritual sense . . . Jesus says so!
Matthew 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. (KJV)
Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ . . . masters are leaders who go before others, claiming the right to direct and control others. This was also a title given to Jewish teachers. This forbids the apostles of Jesus to seek or receive empty titles, which would produce distinctions among them, implying authority to control the opinions and conduct of others, and claiming that others should acknowledge them to be superior to them. "For one is your master, even Christ"; which is said before in verse 8. But since this was a matter of great importance to the honor of Christ, with men being so quick to set up masters themselves, in opposition to Him, or above Him, it was necessary to repeat it; for in an authoritative sense Jesus is the One and Only Master of all things.
Matthew 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. (KJV)
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant . . . as in (Mat.20:26-27). Anyone who shall humble himself, and that seeks a lowly place among men, God will exalt or honor. That is TRUE religion, and God will reward it one day.
Matthew 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (KJV)
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted . . . God will exalt or honor those who are humble, and who do not seek a high place among men. That is true religion, and it is God will's and God will reward it. Matthew 20:26-27 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: (KJV) . . . My opinion: I think there is far too much pride in the lives of Christians. Check out the following Passages carefully:
Psalm 112:1 Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. (KJV) . . . Do you delight in His commndments?
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. (KJV) . . . Do you reverence the Lord? Only when you give God His rightful place, will it bring the instruction of wisdom! Do you believe that humility (lack of pride) is far above honor in God's eyes? It certainly is my friend. Lack of "fear of the Lord" (awe, admiration, high regard, respect, reverence, worship), is too much pride and arrogance and self-importance, and the Almighty Lord will NOT tolerate this from anyone!
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (KJV) . . . Do you place God where He should be, #1 in our lives, by our fear, reverence and high regard for Him? That is just the beginning of knowledge for us, with much more to follow, plus all the Blessings that He has promised His children! I pray that you are NOT one of the "fools" mentioned here. Do you despise wisdom and instruction?
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. (KJV) . . . Froward = always stubbornly set on disobedience and opposition, the opposite of a TRUE child of God who wants to do right by the Lord. IF you fear and reverence the Lord Jesus, you will hate the same things that God hates: pride, arrogance and a nasty mouth.
Eccl. 2:13 Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. (KJV) . . . Wisdom far surpass foolishness, just as "light" can extinguish the darkest darkness!
James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (KJV) . . . Please read this TRUTH carefully. Wonderful Passage!
Proverbs 3:34 Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. (KJV) . . . The Lord Jesus does NOT want us to be proud and arrogant, nor does He want us to scorn, ridicule, have contempt or disrespect for the common people. For more verses on the Fear of the Lord, that we should also consider: Fear (reverence) of the Lord: (Ps.19:9; 25:14; 27:1; 33:18; Pro.8:13; 9:10; 14:27; 15:6; 19;23; 22:4; Jer.5:22; Hos.3:5).
Any fellow Christians, or fellow ministers, by holding too high an opinion of himself, by boasting of his gifts, as better than others, and by arrogantly or eagerly coveting titles of honor among men, or by demanding honor that does not belong to him, or, abusing what he has: "shall be abased" These shall lose the honor they have, and come far short of what they wanted, and they shall fall into disgrace with men, and are utterly abominable in the eyse of God. BUT . . . "he that shall humble himself"; by holding low thoughts, and a meek opinion of himself, who behave humbly among men; not being overjoyed with his gifts, but fully acknowledge that they come only from the grace and goodness of God; and use them for the advantage of others; NEVER coveting honor from men, nor being a show-off with what is bestowed on him: "shall be exalted"; by God, or men, or both; if not in this world, yet in the world to come. This type of language goes strictly against the grain of those in the world! But, according to Almighty God, such modest, humble, persons, are the most esteemed among men; and God gives more grace to them, and will one day give them glory. This is a saying, often used by our Lord on different accounts, both with respect to His disciples, for their instruction, and with regard to the scribes and Pharisees, for their humiliation (Lk.14:11; 18:10-14). "Whosoever shall humble himself, the holy blessed God shall exalt him; and whosoever shall exalt himself, the holy blessed God shall humble him.'' We all should pay close attention to this!
Woes Pronounced Against The Scribes And Pharisees (Matthew 23:13-36)
In this next part, we see the gentle and mild Jesus using the harshest language that is anywhere in the entire Word of God. NO Old Testament prophet condemned and deplored sin as the Lord Jesus denounces it.
In today's world, there is a vast misunderstanding of WHO the Lord Jesus really is. There is SO much Liberalism every where, that it gives the impression that all Jesus ever talked about was love. YES! He did speak of Love! BUT . . . this very chapter clearly speaks of: #1. His hatred of sin, #2. His hatred of the hypocrites lifestyle, #3. His Holy and righteous wrath that brought down condemnation on the Pharisees and Scribes, #4. His Holy and righteous wrath that shall be seen on Judgment Day. #5. ANY one who has not believed God (1 Jn.5:10-13), and accepted Jesus, God's only begotten Son (Jn.3:15), shall one day stand at the Great While Throne Judgment and hear the horrible judgment:
Rev.20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV)
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (KJV)
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (KJV)
The church today in general is giving the wrong impression of WHO Jesus really is! The biggest problem is that many of them have strayed from the Bible, and misunderstand WHO Jesus is. He is NOT the "love-child" that the liberals think He is. YES! Absolutely, He loves sinners and died for them on the cross! I will NEVER go against this FACT, this TRUTH! but also He is going to judge sinners. We need to have a correct perspective of Him. Jesus really is greatly misunderstood in our day. John 10:28-30 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one. (KJV)
John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (KJV)
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (KJV)
Romans 5:8-10 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (KJV)
Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)
1 John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (KJV)
1 John 4:7-10 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (KJV)
1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. (KJV)
YES! Absolutely, God is LOVE! BUT . . . God is also a God of WRATH!
Rev.20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (KJV)
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (KJV)
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (KJV)
Judged according to deeds: (Job.34:11; Ps.62:12; Pro.12:14; 24:12; Isa.59:18; Jer.17:10; Eze.7:3,27; 16:59; 39:24; Zec.1:6; Mat.16:27; Lk.12:47-48; 20:47).
Judged according to opportunity and works: (Gen.4:7; Job 34:11; Pro.11:31; 12:11; 24:12; Ps.62:12; Isa.3:10-11; 5:1-6,15-16; 24:2; 28:24-28; 59:18; Jer.17:10-11; 32:19; Eze.7:3-4,27; 9:4-6; 16:59; 18:18-32; 33:18-20; 39:24; Hos.4:9; 12:2; Amos 3:2; Zec.1:6; Mat.10:14-15; 11:24; 12:37; 21:33-36; 23:14;; 25:14-30; Mk.6:11; 14:21; Lk.9:5; 10:12-15; 11:49-51; 12:47-48; 13:6-9; 19:12:27; 20:47; 21:1-4; Jn..3:19-20; 5:45; 9:41; 12:48; 15:22,24; Rom.2:5-12,27; 1 Cor.3:8,12-15; 4:5; 2 Cor.2:15-16; 11:15; Gal.6:5-10; Eph.6:7-8; Col.3:25; 1 Tim.1:13; 2 Tim.4:14; Heb.2:2-3; 10:26-30; 12:25; Jam.2:12-13; 1 Pet.1:17; 2 Pet.2:20-23; Rev.20:12-13).
The Lord uses the term "woe" eight times in this section and calls scribes and Pharisees hypocrites seven times. He accuses them of blocking the way to Heaven by their false leadership.
Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (KJV)
But woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . #1, Woe unto you. You are guilty, and punishment will come unto you. This is the most appalling, and most terrible of all discourses ever delivered to mortals, and was pronounced by Him the Temple, in the presence of multitudes. Never was there a more terrible reproof, more weighty knowledge of the workings of hypocrisy, or in a more skillful attempt in detecting the concealments of sin. This would be the last of His public discourses; and it is a most impressive summary of all He ever had said, of a wicked and hypocritical generation (Mat,3:7; 6:2). . . . Hypocrites.
For ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in . . .
these did NOT believe in the Messiah themselves, nor did they embrace the doctrines relating to His person and office. Have any of the Pharisees believed on Him? The answer seems to be NO! They did not receive Him, they rejected Him and also the counsel of God, against themselves, not being baptized with the baptism of John, the forerunner of Christ; nor would they allow others, that were inclined to profess their faith in Him, and be baptized, but discouraged them all they could, by their reproachful treatment of the person, miracles, and ministry of Christ, and by their threatenings and menaces, and by their excommunications of such as made a confession of Him. He accuses them of blocking the way to Heaven by their false leadership.
Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. (KJV)
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees hypocrites . . .#2, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees hypocrites . . .the same character (hypocrites) is given as before, and the same woe denounced, with another reason given for it.
For ye devour widows' houses . . . meaning all the goods in the houses of such as were left with fatherless children, with little to support them; who being left alone, and none to advise them, and being weak. These were greedy dogs (Isa.56:11), as Isaiah calls them,. These could never have enough, easily imposed upon them, took all their substance, stripped them bare of the necessaries of life, prevailed on them to sell their houses and goods, or got their little estates into their hands, pretending to take care, and dispose of them for them, to their advantage.
And for a pretence make long prayers . . . a pretense that they were very holy, good men; or pretended that the substance of these widows, which they got into their hands, was for their long prayers for them; or they made long prayers for them in return for their substance. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. In other words, these men made long prayers, but they were heartless and crooked and had no thought whatsoever in helping these widows.
Therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation . . . because of their plundering and distressing the poor, the widows, and the fatherless; and too. because of their hypocrisy in doing this under the cover of religion and holiness. I feel certain that there are there are degrees of punishment in Hell (Lk.12:47), that hypocrites, and all such who oppress the poor, under the mask of godliness, will be partakers of the greatest degree of it. I also believe there are different stations in Heaven (1 Cor.3:13-15).
Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. (KJV)
Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . #3. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . again, the same character and woe, are still continued, and another new reason added, confirming the unfairness of them.
For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte . . . that is, to the Jewish religion, and their particular sect. There were two sorts of proselytes among them; one was "a proselyte of the gate", one that might dwell in any of their towns, and cities, and who is thus described, the other is a "a proselyte of righteousness"; and he was one that submitted to circumcision, and the rest of the ceremonies of the law; and was in all respects as an Israelite himself; and of this sort is the text to be understood. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12391-proselyte
And when he is made, ye make him two fold more the child of hell than yourselves . . .
to their former errors in heathenism, some of which they might still retain, they added new ones, they received from them, equally as bad, and were but more and more deserving of Hell, and even more than their masters; and they trained them in the most bitter prejudices against Christ, and His Gospel; and many of the proselytes proved were violent persecutors of the followers of Christ, than the original Jews themselves (Acts 14:2,19; 15:5). They went out and witnessed, but they were NOT bringing anyone to God. None of their converts were actually born again.
Matthew 23:16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! (KJV)
Woe unto you, you blind guides, which say . . . #4. Woe unto you, you blind guides, still meaning the the Scribes and Pharisees, as before, though not named, who pretended to be "guides of the blind" (Rom.2:19), but were them selves blind, and unfit to be guides of others. They were ignorant of divine things, of God in Christ, of the TRUE Messiah, of the true meaning of the Scriptures, of the holiness of the Law, and of the Gospel of Christ; and the way of salvation by Him. Their minds were blinded by the God of this world (2 Cor.4:4), and with a greedy, and unquenchable covetousness after the things of it. "Ye blind guides" (Mat.15:14).
Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing . . . Whosoever shall swear, (Mat.5:33-37), it is nothing. It amounts to nothing. It is not binding.
But whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor . . . the gold of the temple; either the golden vessels in the temple, the candlestick, etc., or the gold with which the doors and other parts of the temple were covered; or the gold in the treasury. This, it seems, they considered far more sacred than any other part of the temple, but it is not known why. He is a debtor . . . he is bound to keep his oath. He is guilty if he violates it,
or is bound, or is a debtor, to make good his oath; he cannot be excused, but must be obliged to fulfill it; or if he does not, he is guilty of perjury.
Matthew 23:17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? (KJV)
Ye fools, and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth thegold? . . .to sanctify is to make holy. The gold had no holiness except what it derived from the temple. In any other place, it would be no more holy than any other gold. It was foolish, then, to suppose that that was more holy than the temple from which it received all the sanctity which it possessed. Ye fools: (Ps.94:8; Pro.1:22; 8:5).
Matthew 23:18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. (KJV)
And whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing . . . the altar of burnt-offerings, in the court of the priests, was made of brass, and was about thirty feet in length and breadth, and fifteen feet in height (2 Chron.4:1). On this altar were offered all the beasts and bloody oblations of the Temple.
But whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty . . . of perjury, if he does not make good his oath; he is bound to perform it, it is obligatory; whatever he swore should be a gift for the altar. The gift that is upon it, was a gift or offering made to God, so called because it was given or committed to Him. The gift upon this altar was always beasts and birds.
Matthew 23:19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? (KJV)
Ye fools, and blind . . . like verse 17, and is justly repeated, since this is the same example of their folly, blindness and stupidity.
For whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? . . . any gift, or offering, before it was brought, and laid upon the altar, was common, had no ceremonial holiness in it, and could be put to any use . . . but when it was brought, and laid upon the altar, it became holy; for, according to the law, and whatever touched the altar, and indeed all, or any of the vessels of the sanctuary, was holy (Ex.29:37; 30:29). Anyone with any common sense will easily see, that the altar must be the greater: so these scribes and Pharisees must be extremely stupid to give out, that an oath made by the altar was not binding, when one that was made by the gift, was binding; seeing the gift, or offering, received its sanctity from the altar: hence, of the two, an oath made by the altar should be more sacred and obligatory than one made by the gift.
Matthew 23:20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. (KJV)
Whosoever therefore shall swear by the altar . . . an oath automatically supposes the God of the Temple, of the altar, and of the gifts, who witnessed it all, would punish the perjury.
Sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. . . but by all the gifts, and offerings that are brought, and laid upon it, whatever gifts and sacrifices are offered upon it; which, by being put there, become holy, as the altar itself was holy; so that he that swears by the altar, swears also by the gifts of the altar; and consequently, according to their own traditions, such oaths were binding.
Matthew 23:21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. (KJV)
And whoso shall swear by the temple . . . meaning God, because the Temple was His House. In the first Temple, or Solomon's Temple, He dwelt between the cherubims, in the most holy place. He manifested Himself there by a visible symbol, in the form of a cloud resting on the mercy-seat. Cherubims, God, between the: (Ex.25:20-22; 1 Sam.4:4; 2 Sam.6:2p; 1 Ki.8:10,13; 2 Ki.19:15; Ps.80:1; 99:1; Eze.10:4). The splendor of His glory was exhibited, which was the symbol and proof of the Divine Presence. This the Jews called Shekinah (theophany), the Presence of Almighty God. The Jews unanimously acknowledge that five things were lacking in the second temple, which were found in the first: #1. The ark; #2. The Holy Spirit of prophecy; #3. The Urim and Thummim; #4. The sacred fire; and #5. The Shekinah.
Sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein . . . the Lord had long before this time abandoned the Jewish Temple (Eze.10:4,18; 11:23), and God had now made the Human Nature of Jesus the Shekinah (Jn.1:14). Him that dwelleth: (2 Chron.6:2; Ps.26:8). Common swearing, and the shocking frequency and multiplication of oaths in civil cases, have destroyed all respect for a godly oath. People seldom feel themselves bound by it; and thus it is useless most often to require it as a confirmation, in order to end strife or ascertain truth.
Matthew 23:22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. (KJV)
And he that shall swear by heaven . . . Jesus says clearly here, that all who swear at all, do in fact swear by God, or the oath is good for nothing. To swear by an altar, a gift, or a temple, is of no power, unless it be meant to appeal to God Himself. The important thing in an oath, is calling God to witness our sincerity. Any time that a real oath is taken, it is God Who is pleaded to. It is ridiculous and wicked to swear by anything else.
Sweareth by the throne of God . . . the throne of God is in Heaven. It is the place where He sits in glory, displaying the glory of His majesty and power.
And by him that sitteth thereon. . . by God Himself. To swear by anything that has any relation to God, is swearing by Him; and therefore must be considered as binding. Throne of God: (Ps.11:4; Isa.66:1, Mat.5:34).
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. (KJV)
Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . #5, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . same people, different subject. Ye pay tithe. A tenth part. The law required the Jews to devote a tenth part of all their property to the support of the Levites (Num.18:20-24). Another tenth part they paid for the service of the sanctuary, commonly in cattle or grain; but where they lived far from the place of worship, they changed it to money (Deut.14:22-24). Besides these, there was to be every third year a tenth part given to the poor, to be eaten at their own dwellings (Deut.14:27-29). So that nearly one-third of the property of the Jews was devoted to religious services by law. This was beside the voluntary offerings which they made. How much more mild and gentle are the laws of Christianity under which we live!
For ye pay tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin . . .minor things such as garden herbs.
And have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith . . . judgment is justice to others, giving to all their just dues. Mercy is compassion and kindness to the poor and miserable. Faith is being faithfully devoted to God, having confidence and trust in Him. Faith in God here too, means that we are to give to Him what is His rightful due.
These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone . . . paying attention to even the smallest points of the law of God is proper, BUT it should not hinder with the higher and more important parts of that law (1 Sam.15:22; Hos.6:6; Mic.6:8). Christ returns to the former labels He had very rightly given to these men, and very rightly repeats them here; and which are confirmed by the instances of their conduct and practice, which abundantly show their hypocrisy and deceit. They are SO strict in observing some smaller outward things, which gave them credit with the people, and especially the priests and Levites, some little trifling ceremonies and traditions of their elders, while they neglected internal (heart) religion, and those things which were of the greatest moment and importance. The tithing of herbs is from the Rabbis, not of Moses. Should Christians tithe? http://www.hisservants.org/tithing_h_s.htm
Matthew 23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. (KJV)
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel . . . this is a proverb. To strain out a gnat; is printed in some versions, which makes more sense. A gnat has its origin in the water, not in rivers, but in pools and marshes where there is stagnant waters. It is used here to mean a very small matter, where as a camel is a large object. The Lord says: "You, Jews, take great pains to avoid offence in small matters, foolishly observing the smallest points of the law, like a man carefully straining out a tiny insect from his wine; while you take no pains at all to avoid great sins, like hypocrisy, deceit, oppression and lust . . . just like a man who would swallow a camel." The Arabs have a similar proverb: "He eats an elephant, and is suffocated with a gnat." Simply meaning: he is troubled with little things, but pays no attention to huge matters of importance.
Matthew 23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. (KJV)
Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . #6, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . again, the same people, different subject. The cup and the platter.
For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess . . . the outside looks OK, but the inside was filled with the extortion, oppression and wickedness. The Pharisees took great pains to seem righteous, but they obtained a living by extortion and crime. Their cups, neat as they appeared on the outside, were NOT filled with the fruits of honest industry, but were extorted from the poor by wicked deeds. Instead of excess, some versions read wickedness. The Lord Jesus cannot be thought to be too hard on these men, nor does He continue the denunciations of woe against them, without a reason. They make big show of a pure and clean soul, but under it lies hidden a leprosy. They are like "vessels full of uncleanness"; outwardly washed with the water of fraud and craftiness; but everything within is unclean.
Matthew 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. (KJV)
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also . . . Christ Jesus rightly called one a blind Pharisee, who was so thoroughly careful to cleanse his cup and platter; and yet had no conscience of filling them with that which was gotten in an unjust way, and so defiled himself and them. If they would first be filled with the fruits of honest industry, then the outside and the inside both would be clean. By this suggestion to the cup and platter, the Lord Jesus taught them that it was necessary to FIRST cleanse the heart, so that their external conduct might be pure and holy.
Matthew 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. (KJV)
Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . #7, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . again, the same people, yet another subject. These men took an awful lot, to hear themselves so often called by this name. It shows great courage in the Lord, to so freely reprove them, and expose their wickedness, who were men of so much influence with the people.
For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness . . . Like unto whited sepulchres (Mat.8:28). Jewish tombs were annually white-washed, to prevent the people from accidentally coming in contact with them as they went up to Jerusalem. The law considered those people unclean who had touched anything belonging to the dead (Num.19:16). Sepulchres were often whitewashed, so that they might be clearly seen. So, being compared to a "whited" sepulchures, they appeared beautiful on the outside . . . but within they contained the bones and corrupting bodies of the dead, worms and rottenness, which arise from the putrefied carcasses, and are very nauseous and defiling. So were the Pharisees, according to Jesus. Their outward conduct appeared fine; but their hearts were full of hypocrisy, envy, pride, lust and malice . . . rightly represented by the corruption within a whited tomb.
Matthew 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (KJV)
Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity . . . how He denounced the religious leaders! If you are a Christian, and if you love the Lord Jesus, you too should denounce the "Pharisees" of today! They are all around us! My friend, if you have a Bible-teaching church in your community and a preacher who teaches Jesus is the only Way to Heaven (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12), stay where you are . . . BUT . . . IF the pastor is preaching some damnable heresy (2 Pet. 2:1), and another Jesus or another gospel (2 Cor.11:4), GET OUT OF THERE NOW!
Do remember this . . . an outward show and appearance of righteousness, is only "unto men", NOT unto God! God is the searcher of hearts (Ps.44:21), and knows what is in man, and He knows all the secret wickedness that was in them; for although the Pharisees imposed upon, and deceived men, they could NOT deceive God; nor was their sin hidden from Christ Jesus, who adds, "but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity": and which was obvious from their ambition and vain glory, in desiring the uppermost rooms at feasts, the chief places in the synagogue, greetings in the markets, and titles of honor and grandeur; from their greed and cruel oppression of the widows, and fatherless, under a pretence of long prayers; from their neglecting the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith, and practicing extortion, excess and wickedness.
Matthew 23:29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, (KJV)
Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . #8, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . again, the same people, yet another subject. This is the eighth and last "woe" in this chapter; and expresses the certainty, both of their sin and their punishment. This is the seventh time Jesus calls the Pharisees "hypocrites" which supports the character given to them, and also furnishes out a sufficient reason, why a woe is pronounced on them. Woe = affliction, anguish, despair, misery, sadness. Here it refers to coming judgment upon them.
Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous . . . but this can only mean, that there is no need of monuments for them; since their sayings are sufficient to keep up the memory of them. This could mean that the Lord reproves them out of their own mouths, for despising the words of the prophets; imagining they achieve enough piety, by bestowing cost in adorning the sepulchres of the prophets; when their sayings are the best remembrances of them, and therefore ought to be regarded more than their tombs.
Matthew 23:30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. (KJV)
And say, if we had been in the days of our fathers . . . they also, probably, publicly expressed their disapproval and condemnation of the conduct of their fathers. All this, in building and ornamenting tombs, was a profession of extraordinary outward piety. The Lord showed them it was a mere pretence. They are saying that if they had lived in the times they did, or had been in the same office with them, they would have opposed, or at least not consented to their actions.
We would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets . . . they would not have joined them in persecuting the prophets, and in shedding their blood, and putting them to death; but would have received them as the prophets of the Lord, would have listened to their advice, and have honored and obeyed them, and this they thought they amply stated, by building and adorning their tombs.
Matthew 23:31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. (KJV)
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets . . . The importance here, lies in the words "unto yourselves." It was an appeal to their conscience. It was NOT by their building the tombs that they were witnesses that they were the children of those who slew the prophets; but in spite of all this pretence to piety; they knew in their consciences, and were witnesses to themselves, that it was mere hypocrisy, and that they really approved the conduct of those who slew the prophets. Killed the prophets: Acts 7:52; 1 Thes.2:15). They plainly owned the fact that their fathers killed the prophets, and that they descended from them. They did not want so much to reproach their ancestors, but to give themselves a better character. But it did not work. NO one can fool the Lord Jesus! Their own words testified against them, that they were a seed of evildoers, and their practices revealed that they were of the same spirit and morality as their ancestors.
Matthew 23:32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. (KJV)
Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers . . . fill ye up then . . . this is a prediction of what the evil men were about to do. Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: (KJV) . . . He would have them to act out their true spirit, and clearly show what they were, and prove to all that they had the spirit of their fathers. This they did by putting Jesus to death, and persecuting the apostles. The measure . . . the full amount, so as to make it complete. By their killing Him, they would fill up what is lacking of the iniquity of their fathers until the measure is full, the national iniquity is complete, for much has been committed as God can possibly bear, and then shall come upon them all this Blood, and they shall be destroyed (verses 34-35).
Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? (KJV)
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? . . . Ye serpents. This name is given to them because of their pretense of being pious, and very devoted to God, but instead were secretly evil. Their heart, with all their pretensions were filled with evil designs, just as the serpent was (Gen.3:1-5). Damnation of hell . . . this refers, beyond any doubt, to their future punishment. So great was their wickedness and hypocrisy, that if they continued in this course, it was impossible to escape the damnation that would come on all the guilty. This is the most stern and severe language that gentle Jesus ever spoke to wicked men. He knew the hearts of men and He had absolute authority to declare with certainly what would be their case IF they did not change their ways. Generation of vipers: (Mat.3:7; 12:34; 23:33; Lk.3:7).
Matthew 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: (KJV)
Wherefore, behold I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes . . . I send unto you prophets . . . He without doubt, refers here to the apostles and teachers of religion. Prophets, wise men, and scribes, were the names by which the teachers of religion were known among the Jews, and He used the same terms when speaking of the messengers which He would send. I send has the force of the future, I will send.
And some of them ye shall kill . . . Stephen was the first "martyr" who was stoned to death by them; and James, the brother of John, whom Herod, to their good liking, killed with the sword (Acts 7:59; 12:1-2). Supposedly the other James was thrown headlong off the pinnacle of the temple.
And crucify . . . punish with death on the cross. Supposedly Peter, Andrew and Jude were crucified. The Jews did not have the power of crucifying, but they gave them into the hands of the Romans to do it.
And some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues . . . Shall scourge, this was done (Mat.10:17; Acts 22:19-24; 2 Cor. 11:24-25), as they did Paul and Barnabas, as the Acts of the Apostles testify.
And persecute them from city to city . . .this was fulfilled it the case of nearly all the apostles.
Matthew 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. (KJV)
That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth . . . meaning that the nation is guilty, their fathers were guilty, and they have shown themselves to be like them. Their thoughts were to slay the Messiah and His messengers, to fill up the iniquity of the land (Eze.9:9). The patience of God is exhausted; and the nation is about to be visited with serious vengeance. These national crimes deserve national judgments; and the proper judgments for all these crimes are about to come upon them in the destruction of their temple and city. All the righteous blood . . . God did not hold them guilty for what their fathers did; but temporal judgments descend on children as a result of the wickedness of parents. A drunken father wastes the property that his children might have possessed. A gambler places his children in poverty and want. An unwise and foolish parent is leads his sons into places of poverty, ignorance, and crime, greatly affecting their character and destiny. The appropriate effects of their fathers' crimes were coming on the nation, and they would suffer.
From the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar . . . righteous Abel was slain by Cain, his brother Gen.4:8-9). Zacharias son of Barschias; it is not known for certain who this was. It seems that the slaying of Zacharias was an incident which had recently taken place. I think that the Lord starts at the beginning with the murder of Abel and brings them down to the present hour. He makes it very clear that God will judge Israel for destroying the righteous. He is certainly contradicting the damnable heresy that everyone will ultimately be saved. Jesus says that they will NOT be saved.
Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-39)
Matthew 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (KJV)
Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation . . . the Lord is predicting the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. All the things which Christ had foretold would come to pass, and had its full accomplishment about forty years after this, in the utter destruction of Jerusalem. The whole nation, many that were still living, were personally involved in that temporal ruin, and as well had NOT escaped the damnation of Hell (verse 33).
Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (KJV)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee . . . Jerusalem rejected Him in His so-called triumphal entry, and now He has rejected Jerusalem. What a sad thing. Sorrowfully He denounced them, but He does love them. And knowing the judgment which shall come, He weeps. I think that Jesus is the only Man living who could preach on Hell because of His love and compassion. And I am certain that when He pronounced those woes on the Pharisees, His heart was breaking.
How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not . . . Christ as a Man expresses a human affection for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and a human wish and will for their worldly good. He very fittingly gives as a symbol the mother hen, which is very affectionate to its young, and which it tries to keep from danger, by covering its chicks with its wings. But . . . they would not! The opposition and resistance to the will of Christ were not made by the people, but by their governors. The common people seemed to want to attend His ministry, as appears from the vast crowds, which, at different times and places, followed Him; but the chief priests, and rulers, did everything they could to keep them away from Him, and their belief in Him as the Messiah. They slandered His character, His miracles and His doctrines, threatening the people with curses, and excommunications, making a law, that whoever confessed Him should be turned out of the synagogue.
Matthew 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (KJV)
Behold your house is left unto you desolate . . . your house meansthe temple. The house of worship of the Jews. Desolate. About to be desolate, or destroyed. To be forsaken as a place of worship, and delivered into the hands of the Romans and destroyed.
Matthew 23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (KJV)
For I say unto you, ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord . . . the day of mercy is gone. He had offered them protection and salvation, and they rejected it. They were about to crucify Him, and Temple would be destroyed. What a strange turn of events. They expected Him to establish the Kingdom, with Jerusalem as the capital. But now He says that their house is to be left desolate and that they will not see Him again until they say, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" admitting that He was the Messiah! Although He is on His way to the Cross, He gives them assurance that He will return, and that indeed shall be His triumphal entry! The apostles were surprised and disappointed at the idea of a postponement; so they come to Him with some questions, which we will see in the following chapter.
Gospel of Matthew
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