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Woes From God On The Scribes & and Pharisees #1

 

            “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. 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. 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. 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! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? (Matthew 23:13-22).

 

            The Greek word “oùaí” is defined “exclamation of grief, alas, woe” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). “Woe is a word of solemn denunciation and of punishment” (Gospel Advocate Commentary; H. Leo Boles). In Matthew 23, Jesus pronounced seven “Woes” upon the scribe and the Pharisees for the sins which they committed against God and His people. The first three woes were pronounced against them because of the sin of hypocrisy in their dealings with the people of God (Matthew 23:13-15).

 

            Jesus stated that they “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men” (Matthew 23:13). The scribes and Pharisees would not enter the kingdom themselves nor would they allow others to do so. Jesus said that they were condemned by this action. When men pervert the gospel it causes them to break their relationship with God and causes those who follow their example to be separated from Him as well (Galatians 1:6-9; 5:4).

 

            Jesus said that the scribes and Pharisees were “hypocrites” because of their demands on the widows but they, for pretense made their prayers long (Matthew 23:14). These prayers were designed to cause men to see them and to praise them as being pious. Jesus stated, “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward” (Matthew 6:5).

 

            Jesus pronounced a woe upon the scribes and Pharisees because they converted men to the Jewish teachings then led them into their hypocrisy. Jesus said that they would make the proselyte “twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). John wrote that when men listen to and bid false teachers “God speed” they also partake of their sins. He wrote, “”Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into you house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 1:9-11). Paul warned Timothy of the dangers of listening to false teachers and told him to preach the truth as he had been taught it (I Timothy 4:1-3; II Timothy 4:1-4).

 

            The fourth woe on the scribes and Pharisees was because of their hypocrisy in swearing oaths against that which was holy. They taught, “Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing: but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! (Matthew 23:16). Jesus called them “fools and blind” and reminded them that the temple sanctified the gold (Matthew 23:17). Jesus concluded that those who swore an oath by anything were, in truth, swearing by the one who created all things (Matthew 23:18-22).

 

            Paul’s exhortation to Timothy was “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (II Timothy 4:5). Paul also told Timothy “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach” (I Timothy 4:6-11).

 

            Jesus told those Jews who believed on Him that only the truth had the power to set them free and make them His disciples (John 8:31-32). Salvation belongs to those who hear the will of God and follow the example of Jesus in doing what pleases Him (John 8:28-30; Matthew 7:21-23). Let us do the will of the Father so that He might welcome us into His eternal kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46).

                                                            --PER