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MATTHEW CHAPTER 23

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1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 

 

Mat 23,1-39

(6l) Responsibility >> Protecting the Gospel >> Expose hypocrisy in the Church – Jesus told the Pharisees the truth regarding their own darkness. If what He said to them wasn’t true, they could have cited Him for slander, but all His indictments were provable. They couldn’t claim innocence since everyone knew about them, being public figures. They were brazen in their audacious exhibition of religious hypocrisy, and they didn’t care who knew, because they were able to justify themselves to the people, not just because they were ignorant, but also because they were taught to respect their leaders. Exodus 22-28 says, “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.” Nevertheless, Jesus exposed their wicked, dark motives, refusing to respect their religious authority, but held them in absolute contempt. We get ourselves in all kinds of trouble placing respect where it doesn’t belong, protecting pastors and ministers who are caught in flagrant hypocrisy. There are many instances in Scripture that teach us to expose hypocrisy in the Church, not to deal lightly with it but to remove the stumbling blocks.

(157g) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Deceiving and being deceived >> Deceiving -- Being that deception is also a spirit, it hardly matters whether we are the one deceiving or the one being deceived, we are still partakers of it. To unravel the web of satanic deception is all but impossible. It resembles being lost in the woods; we get lost because we can't see the forest through the trees; we can't step back far enough to get a wider-angle view of our circumstances. Only God can unravel the twists and turns of bad religion for those caught in it. 

(178l) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Hypocrisy >> Jesus rebukes the Pharisees >> Rebuked for having no love for God – Jesus made fools of the Pharisees. So horrified of Him were they that they had Him killed, though He was a man of peace. They never expected Him to come with a sword, yet feared Him more than a sword, yet they showed no fear of God in their contempt for Him. Jesus had a mouth that He used to slash His victims, so severely did He mutilate their souls that they would rather be run through with a blade, in that possibly they would heal from a slashing, but how would they ever come back from His words? Their lives were ruined. He not only told them that they didn’t know God but actually proved it. The Pharisees considered themselves religious leaders of Israel, therefore Jesus told them to their faces that they knew nothing about God, so much that almost everything they believed about Him was wrong. This is what sin does; it alienates people from God and if they continue in sin, especially for generations, it will twist their mind so they cannot know God.

Mat 23,1-36

(181k) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Self deception >> Deceiving and being deceived -- Jesus used the term "Key of knowledge" in Lk 11-52; what did He mean by this? It is something the Pharisees were able to take from the common man; it is the obedience of faith. The Pharisees replaced it with their own self-made religion. When we look at their religion and the effect it had on Israel, how nearly every alteration they made to God's old covenant law pertained in one way or another to channeling money in their direction, until their religion held no resemblance to the Old Testament. The Pharisees were obviously deceived but they knew the Old Testament inside-and-out. They intentionally deceived the people and fed them a religion that profited themselves. They were deceiving and being deceived, as it says in 2Tim 3-13, meaning that we cannot deceive others without first deceiving ourselves, and the consequence of self-deception is that truth becomes gibberish.

Mat 23,1-14

(198g) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Ordained by man >> Having evil motives for seeking leadership positions >> In the ministry for their own personal gain -- These verses go with verses 23-36. Jesus’ main point to the Pharisees in verses 1-14 was their phony belief system; then in verses 23-36 He attacked their depraved lifestyle, saying that their entire lives were in direct violation of the Law of Moses. Meanwhile, they worshipped Moses like they should have worshipped God, passing off themselves as keepers of the law. They considered themselves righteous and in touch with God, while they swindled people of their money, even stealing widows houses, one of the most egregious sins of the Pentateuch. If the Romans or a businessman confiscated widows’ houses, the Pharisees would be in an uproar about it, but when they did, it was perfectly justifiable.

Mat 23,1-7

(166e) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Wisdom of the world >> Nature Of Man’s Wisdom >> Man’s wisdom is fixed on gaining personal advantage

Mat 23,1-4

(23d) Sin >> Pride wants to be first – The Pharisees placed themselves in the chair of Moses by their own authority, as psychopaths do the same, placing themselves in chairs of political and corporate power using their personality traits, such as aggressiveness, charm and lack of empathy for the people they dominate and oppress. Jesus advised His disciples to follow the instruction of the Pharisees but not to follow their example. This indicates that technically they did not have the teachings of Moses wrong, being experts in the Law of Moses, though they didn’t teach it in balance with the prophets, such as Isaiah, Jeremiah and the others. Such writers as Amos, Obadiah and Jonah were so-called Minor Prophets, only because their books were shorter, not because they had things less meaningful to say. The Scribes and Pharisees read them as secondary to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, consisting of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, all written by Moses. They took pride in their Jewish roots, being sons of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

(87b) Thy kingdom come >> Obedience >> Be doers of the word from the heart >> We have no choice but to be doers of the word – The Pharisees fixated on the Sabbath and made up a plethora of extra rules that they demanded other people to follow, though personally they didn’t live by any them, and they were extremely oppressive and turned the people’s lives into a living hell one day a week, the Sabbath, prompting Jesus to quote to them Isaiah 29-13, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: this people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men” (Mat 15,7-9). These religious hypocrites never considered the intent of the Law, which was to give the people a break once a week from all their labors, because if they did, they would have understood Jesus when He said in Mat 11,28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (taken from Jeremiah 6-16). The religion that was handed to them by their ancestors through their ancient manuscripts the Pharisees had essentially reduced to a lot of busy-work, and the intent of the Law had become completely lost. When Jesus came and preached His message of faith and love, He didn’t even sound Jewish to the ears of His own countrymen, more like somebody who came from another culture and nation and tried to impose his religion on them. They saw absolutely no resemblance between what they believed and what Jesus taught, not realizing that He was teaching them the intent of the Law. It should have led them to love God and their neighbor, but this was unappealing to the flesh, so they truncated it. They preferred the laws that were black and white that if the people obeyed them or violated them, it was perfectly obvious; that is why they fixated on the Sabbath. If they saw someone working in their field on the Sabbath, it was a clear violation, but when it came to loving God and their fellow man, they failed to understand the significance of the Sabbath, which was to take a day off to remember God and get together with family and friends and enjoy one anther’s company.

(162kb) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> Being slaves of men >> In bondage to the burdens of men >> In bondage to freedom (licentiousness) 

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2-10 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4 "They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5 "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 "They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 8 "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 "Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

 

Mat 23-2,3

(73a) Respect Authority (Key verse)

(73d) Authority >> Respect Positions Of Authority In the Church -- Jesus taught that there are positions of authority that we are obligated to respect, regardless of whether the person who fills that position is respectable. The book of Proverbs further teaches that a wise man is able to learn even from a fool. This means that we should learn the art of gleaning good from the bad in every circumstance, instead of heaving the good in the dumpster along with the bad. 

(90h) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Righteousness of the law >> We must keep the law because it is righteous -- Had the Pharisees honestly compared themselves to their own law that they knew came from God, which they claimed was the center of their lives, they would have stopped and realized that they had deviated from the path of righteousness. The Law was give for this very purpose, but the Pharisees didn't search their souls because they were not about righteousness. 

Mat 23-4

(1g) False burden (Key verse)

(1l) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Carrying a false burden >> Taking on responsibilities that are not yours – False burdens are really what make people falter in Christianity. Jesus said, "For I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." If we don't know our mission in life, we will invariably pick up false burdens and carry them for miles, until they get too heavy to bear and drop them. Lost, directionless, and with very little energy left to carry our true calling from God, all we can do is go back to the Bible, back to prayer and back to dedicating our lives to finding our true place from God in His Church. We have a special place prepared just for us that when we apply ourselves, will be fruitful.

Mat 23,5-7

(169h) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Loving the approval of men rather than the approval of God >> Love to be noticed by men

(175d) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Prestige gives a false sense of godliness -- With money comes prestige. It doesn't matter how we acquire it; we could be leader of a drug cartel or a televangelist. With money we can portray ourselves to be almost anything and people will have a natural tendency to respect us, because money acts as a kind of seal. It says, 'I wouldn't have this money if I didn't know what I was doing.' Wealth is inherently deceitful. We don't try to be important when we have money; money is important, regardless of our person. People with large sums of money feel they are inherently better than others with less, and think they have right-of-passage into the next life. Money buys any service we want, and thus any lifestyle; it buys authority and makes connections; it buys nearly anything in this world, except truth, of which Jesus exposed in the Pharisees. He was gaining popularity with the people and the Pharisees could not control Him. 

(240e) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Natural disadvantage >> Beware when all men speak well of you >> Natural disadvantage of seeking popularity – There are multitudes of rich and famous people who claim to believe in God, but the Scripture disagrees with them, though it never denies the possibility of some rich people going to heaven. There are many obstacles in the way of salvation, many defense mechanisms that people plant in their minds to protect them from God and His truth, hence almost nobody can be popular in this world and hold to a sincere faith in Jesus. With the rich there are always exceptions, but the famous we could almost say have the sentence of hell stamped on them. It is extremely rare to find people who are successful in this world, admired by all and have a devout faith in Jesus Christ. If they were devout as they claimed, it would be evident in their speech, and their faith would invariably offend people, closing the door to their popularity. This suggests that fame is a greater curse than fortune, though these two are usually found together. Rich and famous people, like the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day, love the accolades and perks that go with being popular. Those who love the approval of man and are content without God and see no deficiency in themselves cannot seek Him, thus cannot acquire a genuine faith in Jesus. They believe in themselves instead of God; they are their own religion.

Mat 23-8

(109j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit the teacher >> Spirit of truth is our teacher

Mat 23-9

(173c) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Catholicism >> Scripture that contradicts the catholic faith >> Catholic doctrine versus the Bible -- Jesus spoke these words in prophesy about ministers who would want to be called Father, and therefore knew that Catholicism would arise soon after His departure to replace His truth with their religion. Jesus in this verse is entreating the world throughout time not to adhere to the Catholic faith, since no one can be a Catholic with a clear conscience and refrain from addressing their minister as Father. If anyone is a staunch Catholic, their father is the one who stands in front of the congregation every week and perpetuates the illusion of his authority as a priest. 

Mat 23-10

(240a) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Pastor (Shepherd) >> Jesus is the chief shepherd

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11-13 "But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 "Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. 13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

 

Mat 23-11,12

(13k) Servant >> Serve God though small in stature >> Greatest is the least

(77i) Thy kingdom come >> Tapping into the power of God through humility >> The most humble are the greatest servants -- Jesus is explaining three things at once, embedding one into the other. First and most obviously, He is explaining that the most humble are the greatest servants. Next, He is rebuking the Pharisees, contrasting humility against their unrivaled wickedness to illustrate how far off the mark they veered. Finally, the next chapter points to the signs of Jesus' return, but maybe the signs of His return started in chapter 23! That's right, look at Chapter 23 as signs of Jesus' return. How would that change what Jesus said? It would mean that Jesus was warning us that in the last days His church would be full of religious Pharisees! As He speaks against the Pharisees, He speaks to us and says that as you see the Church of God wax cold from a lack of good leadership, look up, for your redemption is drawing near.  

Mat 23-11

(56ka) Paradox >> Opposites >> Least are greatest >> Least are the greatest servants

Mat 23-12

(56f) Paradox >> Opposites >> Humble yourself for the right motives

Mat 23,13-36

(166g) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Wisdom of the world >> Nature Of Man’s Wisdom >> Man’s wisdom contradicts itself 

Mat 23,13-33

(154i) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is rebellious against God >> Witness against hypocrisy – Hypocrisy is a common problem, and it has to do with false priorities, exemplified in verse 24, ‘This gnat needs to go;’ meanwhile the camel is allowed to stay, but Jesus was saying that both the camel and the gnat by weight are offensive to God. They strain out a gnat by arguing for hours about a certain doctrine, but swallow a camel by the way they live. Therefore the best description of a Pharisee is someone who considers the showiness of doctrine to be more important than the obedience of faith. They think that knowing the Scriptures is more important to God than living by them. The Pharisees thought that to have a proper understanding of the law was more important than keeping it, but they didn’t understand that living wrong produces wrong doctrines. So, the person who obeys the law knows the law better than the person who studies the law but doesn’t keep it. Paul said in 1Tim 6-3,4, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language [and] evil suspicions.” Nobody owned a Bible back then, and the Pharisees controlled the manuscripts, and they became well acquainted with them. They figured that since they were so affluent in the Scriptures and had superior knowledge of the law that they were able to please the Lord better than anyone else, but this is simply not true. A person with minimal literacy skills and minimal access to the Scriptures can be just as pleasing to God as the Bible scholar, for God looks at the heart, not at the mind.

Mat 23-13,14

(175b) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Using religion as a front -- These verses go with verses 23-28. Jesus was in the process of eliminating the place that the Scribes and Pharisees held in society as leaders of the old covenant. By the time Jesus finished with them, there would be no more old covenant. A new covenant would replace it, which offered new leadership, which did not attract the old leaders, since they were unpaid positions, which offered very little personal gain. There was no comparison with the leaders of the new covenant to the Chief Priests, Scribes and Pharisees. The only motive people had to believe in Jesus was the hope of eternal life; there was no money involved, no hope of making a financial profit from the gospel. How things have changed since then!

Mat 23-13

(75k) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Jealously manipulating people – Jesus became very angry with the religious zealots of His day. Normally He wouldn’t bother with them until they confronted Him, and then He would let them have it. Jesus had ventured into Jerusalem, which was essentially a death sentence, though it was something He had to do as predestined to occur from the foundation of the world. We can trace the motive of His enemies who delivered Him to the Romans soaked in jealousy, being how the Jews treated all the prophets over the centuries. In fact, Jesus in this very chapter said they were literally guilty of their forefathers' murdering the prophets, because they were doing the same thing, implying that they were obeying the same demonic entities that they also served.

(178d) Hypocrisy (Key verse)

(240c) Hindering The Kingdom (Key verse)

(240i) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Taking away the key of knowledge >> Hindering people from entering the kingdom – Jesus defended the people who were trying to enter the Kingdom of God, saying that their leaders were shutting off the Kingdom of God, while they did not enter in themselves. How did they hinder people from believing in Jesus? They could be ostracized from the synagogue, which was the Old Testament version of church, which centered around the temple, the synagogues and the Laws of Moses; if the people were ostracized, it was the equivalent of being expatriated to lose their national identity. If they couldn’t practice their Jewish faith, then who were they? It was a very confusing judgment to impose on someone back then, but what they didn’t know was that God was in the process of giving them a new identity in the Christian Church, where they could redefine themselves as believers in Jesus.

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14-22 ["Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. 16 "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.' 17 "You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18 "And, 'Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.' 19 "You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 20 "Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 21 "And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22 "And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.

 

Mat 23,14-39

(183a) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Witchcraft >> Sin is the incubator of witchcraft >> Through rebellion – We see movies on TV about witchcraft, but very few of them parallel the Scriptures. Witchcraft is a violation of the conscience in the act of using God to satisfy our flesh in three ways: through our belief in false doctrine, through the abuse of God’s people, and through sins committed under pretense of doing God’s will. Witchcraft is not in the false doctrines themselves so much as in the fact that we believe them, knowing on some level they are false. Instead of repenting, we assign God’s approval to our corruption, knowing full well that we are hurting people, defiling the name of God and corrupting His gospel. We don’t have to make up false doctrine to practice witchcraft; false prophets do this; we only need to believe them, teach them and live by them as heretics.

Mat 23-14

(48e) Judgment >> Levels of judgment >> Judged according to your deeds >> In the day of judgment – The Pharisees couldn’t hear Jesus’ word because they were not of His sheep (Jn 10-26). Jesus described the Pharisees as outwardly appearing righteous, suggesting that most would consider them as upstanding citizens, but Jesus knew their hearts. They were like the IRS, though a secular institution, there are people in Christendom today that act just like them, televangelist who exploit old women through the airwaves, talking them into giving all their money to the point of being unable to pay their taxes, and as a result losing their house. Do these “Christians” feel bad about what they do? There will be hell to pay!

Mat 23,15-24

(177d) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> False doctrine >> Doctrines of the precepts of men -- The religious leaders of Israel being deceived is a complicated matter, for there are some aspects of deception that are straightforward and some that are not. For example, it is easy to fool young children, because they don’t yet know how life works, but when we become adults and get deceived, there is some level of culpability involved. It is this guilt that can turn religious deception into a very muddy playground of motives. We could say that the Pharisees were duped, but they didn’t believe the truth because they didn’t want to believe it. The truth was unattractive to them; they preferred their religion, because it had given them positions of power and prestige. The Scribes and Pharisees were some of the most renown people of their society, and they didn’t want anyone tampering with their affluence. That was their motive for rejecting the gospel, and they didn’t want anyone else believing in Jesus either, because the more popular He became, the less affluent they appeared to society. People looked up to them as their leaders, so of course they were not interested in the gospel, because it threatened to eliminate everything they cherished, and they hated Jesus for it. 

Mat 23-15

(198c) Ordained By Man (Key verse)

(198e) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Ordained by man >> Men place themselves in positions of authority >> Men raising up men Herein lies a paradox in the power of leadership within a society. In Israel everyone followed the teachings of the Pharisees but no one wanted to be a Pharisee. They had power and influence and even money, but it was still not enough to attract people to the ministry, because they lacked one thing, a soul (sort-of-speak). When Jesus said they make their proselytes twice as much a son of hell as themselves, He was referring to indoctrinating them with their twisted precepts that have deviated from the Scriptures that they are no longer recognizable. When indoctrinating proselytes, they become so hardened to the truth that they develop a reprobate mind, so they become impervious to the truth. When they couple their teaching with its conjugate behavior, it seals their fate, so when Jesus came and visited them, they couldn’t recognize Him as their Messiah.

Mat 23,16-26

(169c) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world is blind to God >> Blinded by Satan’s thoughts >> Blinded by a false sense of sight

(248i) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Valuing God >> Do not value things that will devalue God Jesus thinks getting our priorities straight is important, for our priorities speak volumes about the content of our hearts. Jesus proved that the religious leaders of Israel loved money more than God by exposing their value system. They set a higher priority on gold than they did on the temple. By their own words Jesus condemned them as hypocrites. They said they loved God more than anything else in the world, but Jesus didn’t buy it. When we listen closely, we can hear the lies and deception exuding from the religious hypocrites of our own time. The Pharisees taught that the offering was more valuable than the altar or the temple or any other aspect of their religion. If we jumble our priorities, everything turns to mud; even a small shift in priority can have disastrous consequences. If the Pharisees had maintained that the temple was more valuable than the offering, they could not have taught that money was more important to God than faith, but that is exactly what they taught. They switched priorities and opened the door to the belief that tithing epitomized our faith, sound familiar? They trained the people that the more they give, the more God was blessed and glorified. This is basically what people teach today! They make great boasts about their faith, but under their breath they teach instead that money is actually more important, and that is how they live.

Mat 23,16-22

(203a) Denying Christ >> Running from God >> Wicked men cannot approach the throne of God >> God chases them away from His presence – Jesus was familiar with the things that the temple represented, God’s throne in heaven, because He came from heaven and He sat upon His Father’s throne as the Ancient of Days. The Pharisees knew that the temple represented God’s throne, but these facts grew distant from their thoughts, enveloped by worldly interests. Jesus had to remind them what they were doing, worshipping God as His chosen people.

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23-25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 "You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.

 

Mat 23,23-36

(198g) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Ordained by man >> Having evil motives for seeking leadership positions >> In the ministry for their own personal gain -- These verses go with verses 1-14. If you are thinking about becoming clergy, do everyone a favor including yourself and search your heart for the reasons you want to pursue this goal, because seeking the shepherds position with the wrong motive is disastrous for everyone involved. With the wrong motive it is inevitable that you will hurt people, which should be the opposite effect that you are intending. At best you will be ineffective, and at worst some peoples' faith will be eroded if not corrupted.

Mat 23,23-28

(171g) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Outward appearance >> Decorating the outside to simulate the inside >> Playing the part to be accepted by God

(175b) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Using religion as a front -- These verses go with verses 13&14

(175g) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Dodging the issue (willful ignorance) >> Evading the heart of the matter

 

Mat 23-23

(123f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Spiritual affection >> Compassion is greater than sacrifice -- God's compassion for mankind was greater than the sacrifice of His Son, suggesting that any sacrifice greater than compassion denotes a fundamental flaw in theology. It signifies a dead religion that does not serve God, much less their fellow man. When we meet people like this, chances are they don't know God any more than the Pharisees. They have yet to meet God's Son who sacrificed every drop of His blood in compassion for His creation, but through His compassion we now have hope, and have been commissioned by Him to have compassion on others. 

(235c) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Tithing >> Be faithful in your tithes >> Unfaithfulness nullifies your tithe

Mat 23-24

(63e) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Sarcasm >> Exaggerate the truth to make a point -- This thing that Jesus said, "Straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel," is the result of majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors. People tend to care about things that don't matter, and the result is that foolish things are done well and important things are left undone or cobbled at best. This stems from a lack of wisdom and points at our priority system as something which we need to give a higher priority.

(175e) Dodging the Issue (Key verse)

Mat 23,25-28

(16f) Sin >> Man’s willingness to be evil >> Using sin to achieve your goals – The Pharisees built a religious empire from deception and actually relied on sin to succeed in their business.

(74j) Thy kingdom come >> Heart of man is sinful >> Sin is conceived in the heart

(159a) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Counterfeit godliness >> Love sickening sweet >> Mask over the real self – The Pharisees adorned the tombs of the prophets while at the same time planning to crucify the prince of peace. This level of hypocrisy is downright spooky! Jesus didn’t tell them to clean up their act but to clean up their hearts, but they needed God’s help to do this. The heart of man is God’s home, even as He lived in a box called the Ark of the Covenant in the inner sanctuary of the Jewish temple of worship. If we invite Him to live in us, He will come and stay, and He will clean us from the inside-out, according to Mat 13-33, but the Pharisees had blackened hearts that had turned to stone, who were in no condition to house the God of heaven.

(174h) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Self righteousness >> Appearing righteous before men – Inwardly, the Pharisees devoted themselves to comprehending the Scriptures, and outwardly they devoted themselves to cleaning the cups and saucers according to their law. God commanded them through Moses to cleanse their kitchenware long before people learned about germs. Louis Pasteur discovered germs in the 1800’s, but God called Israel to cleanliness over a thousand years before Christ to avoid salmonella, ecoli and other diseases. The Pharisees seized on this rite as a showing of their religion, since it didn’t negatively impact their love of money, and many other people have copied them over the millennia according to the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for believing this, yet this aphorism is popular in our society today. They think they are Christians because they make their homes look pretty and clean as a way of seeking favor with God.

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26-28 "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 

 

Mat 23-26

(246a) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm superimposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> The outside is a manifestation of the inside -- Outwardly, the Pharisees were full of robbery, deceit and fraud, and inwardly (not surprisingly) they were full of the same things. This is who they really were, but they portrayed themselves as devout worshippers of God. We cannot hide our real identity for long; it will eventually surface. For some, the real self emerges as a soft glow of radiant light due to a relationship with Jesus, and for others, it emerges as a thick sludge of human motivation. The treasures of the heart must issue from the body in the form of words and deeds according to the spiritual principles of Scripture, which Jesus augmented as an inescapable fact of life. Jesus wasn't speaking to the Pharisees; He knew they were already dammed. He was instructing us through them to instead of modifying our behavior, work on the inner person of the heart through the word of God and prayer, so that the natural flow of words and deeds emerge as fruits of the spirit, unforced by sinful flesh. This teaching is of course contrary to the philosophy of the world who wants to tweak human behavior and leave the inner man unchecked, behaviorism.

Mat 23-27,28

(145g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Demon possession >> Human state >> Filthiness >> That which Is unclean -- It would seem impossible that the Scribes and Pharisees who had Jesus murdered were not demon possessed. If they were, then why didn't Jesus simply exorcize their demons? If they were possessed, they would have so identified with the demons and so intertwined in them that God would need to override the will of man to extricate them, and God is unwilling to do that. In fact, it is just as likely that the Scribes and Pharisees were not demon-possessed at all. They did not need to be, since they were already doing Satan's will, in fact, fulfilling his every whim. With every demon possession case Satan risks exposing himself through the deeds of a demon possessed person and through a possible exorcism, which brings glory to God by demonstrating that demons are subject to Christ (which he does not like to admit). Satan's goal is to provide spiritual undercurrents within society that he has trained to believe only in a natural world, called secularism. 

Mat 23-27

(26a) Sin >> Consequences of sin >> Death >> Dead to God through sin

(170e) Outward Appearance (Key verse)

Mat 23,28-36

(185c) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Mystery of lawlessness >> Having no grounds for your hate >> Hating the Church without a cause

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29-31 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, 'If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' 31 "So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.

 

Mat 23,29-36

(40m) Judgment >> God is glorified >> God defends His righteous ones through judgment – In AD 70 when the Jews lost their place and their nation, God forgave the Jews for crucifying His Son, but He didn’t forgive them for rejecting His gospel. Jesus was looking at the Pharisees when He spoke these words, but He was more looking through them. He was talking to the spirit of murder in the Pharisees, which also resided in their fathers and forefathers, who murdered the prophets centuries earlier. He was talking to the sins of generations past, saying that they were about to be judged in one generation. He took all the sins of mankind from Adam to the last man to be born in sinful flesh and placed them all on Jesus as He die nailed to a cross. After His resurrection, the clock began ticking again, and God began adding up the unrepentant sins committed on the earth by mankind, nationally, and individually. These sins have a cumulative effect, and their power of destruction has been growing over the centuries and will be judged in the last days by the most horrendous events that have ever befallen mankind (Mat 24-21). The offense of sin has exponentially increased through man's rejection of God's mercy. Although millions of Christians have been saved over the age of grace, they are a select few compared to the sea of humanity that will never see the Kingdom of Heaven. In the last days when God judges mankind, He will heap upon the last generation all the sins committed since the cross. Jesus spoke a principle of genetics in these verses: as generational sins accumulate in the individual, so they accumulate in society and among nations.

(49f) Judgment >> Enemies of the prophets are destroyed – Jesus placed a negative connotation on the fact that the Pharisees were born to their respective families who murdered the prophets. They did not choose their mother and father, yet Jesus accused them of their sins. To be the sons of those who murdered the prophets was to be guilty of shedding the blood of Christ. Jesus accused them of being sons of murderers, referring to their DNA, that genetically they inherited a predisposition for murder. They had three forces working against them: their DNA gave them inclinations for murder, they were trained by their murderous parents to do the same, and they were already making plans to murder Christ. On top of all this, Jesus was talking just as much to the devil as He was to the Pharisees when He spoke about the coming judgment of their generation, speaking about Himself when God judged the sins of the world through His own flesh. That is, God judged Satan at the same time that He judged the sin of man, making no distinction between them, showing that in the eyes of God there was no difference between man and demons when they act in rebellion against God, being why He sends them both to the same hell.

(49k) Judgment >> Judgment day >> God judges the world >> The great tribulation

(61i) Paradox >> Three implied meanings God's judgment is prophesied to fall: On Jesus/On the nation of Israel in 70 AD/On the whole world in the last days – Jesus said that every sin will be charged against “this generation.” When He said this generation, He was speaking about three separate events: judgment would fall upon Himself on the cross, judgment would fall upon Israel in A.D. 70 and judgment would fall upon the world in the last days. The Father placed upon His Son all the sins that man had ever committed or would ever commit and wiped their slate clean so the nations could begin anew without a mounting pile of generational sins charged against them. However, un-repented sin has been accumulating against the nations for the last 2,000 years. Although Jesus paid the penalty of man's sin, the fact that man has not met God with the proper response of faith has nullified His grace and mercy in those who do not believe. When Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation,” He was speaking in part about the last generation, referring to all the judgments of the seven seals encoded in the book (Revelation chapter 5).

(93m) Thy kingdom come >> Following Jesus >> Exception >> Following evil along the broad way – A person can inherit a genetic predisposition for certain sins. In conjunction with modeling that goes along with being born into our respective families, the children have little hope of escaping their vice of heritage, yet some children choose not to go down that road, but Jesus did not give the Pharisees this escape. Instead, they followed in their father’s footsteps by evidence that they had Jesus killed, the Son of God, the very person they had been waiting to see ever since Moses promised Him to the nation of Israel, “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you [Moses], and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him” (Deuteronomy 18-18).

(157k) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Having a murder spirit – The Pharisees stood in front of Jesus, glaring at Him with bloodlust, but they were not responsible for the blood of Abel or the blood of Zechariah, though Jesus said, “whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” He blamed them for murdering these men. How could Jesus make this accusation? He said they were responsible for the blood that was shed thousands of years before they were born, saying, “all these thing will come upon this generation.” He was talking about Himself. The sins of the whole world would be heaped upon Him while nailed to the cross. God through Christ was about to forgive the whole world for every sin that was committed. His blood sacrifice also forgave the sins that were yet to be committed. The Father was wiping man’s slate clean and giving him a new start as though the world had never sinned, as though Able had not been murdered by his brother, Cane, as though Adam and Eve had never eaten the forbidden fruit on that fateful day.

(163f) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the word of God >> Used to destroy the mouthpiece of God

(180g) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves steal, kill and destroy >> Wolves have a killer instinct – This is the most profound statement in the Bible about genetics. Jesus said that the Pharisees were sons of those who murdered the prophets, and that they had a tendency to behave similar to their forefathers. This is partly based on genetics and partly based on environmental influences. We were born to a certain family, we have received their genes and have a tendency to adopt their ways, so we have both nature and nurture working in tandem to produce our behavior. There is a fairly new field of study called epigenetics that goes a long way to explain how we genetically receive behavioral traits from our parents. Jesus essentially said that it was inevitable the Pharisees would murder Him, because their forefathers did the same to the prophets of their time. They had their genes and adopted their viewpoints and lifestyle. Jesus said to the Pharisees, ‘You are no different from your relatives who murdered the prophets.’ We can rise above these familial influences, but it is an uphill battle. More often than not we just surrender to them and follow the rut into our parents’ mistakes. However, the born-again Christian who follows Christ can escape these forces through God’s help. With the indwelling Holy Spirit and a willing heart, God can make us whatever He desires, but it takes obedience and faithfulness, which were things the Pharisees did not have.

(245ll) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Manifestations of the devil >> Manifestation of the spirit of murder

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32-39 "Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? 34 "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 "For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'"

 

Mat 23,32-36

(62n) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Righteous deception >> Jesus deceives the world

(217g) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> When God gives up on you, you are already in hell

(218c) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> You cannot control the judgment of God >> You cannot control how God responds to persecution – The religious leaders of Israel persecuted the apostle Paul from city to city, and Paul and Barnabas said to the Jews who refused to believe, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles” (Act 13-46). The Jews said at Jesus’ crucifixion, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” (Mat 27-25). The Pharisees who crucified Jesus Christ had no hope of eternal life, though not to say the Roman soldiers who directly assisted in His death could not be saved. Those who ran the whip across His back could have repented of their bloodlust, though it was highly unlikely they did. Those who pounded the nails in His hands and feet could have repented, though it is highly unlikely they did, but there was a centurion guard, who stood below His cross and watched Him die and showed a repentant heart, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Mat 27-55).

Mat 23-32,33

(47h) Judgment >> God Judges the world >> Prison of the bottomless pit

Mat 23-32

(48g) Judgment >> Levels of judgment >> Judged according to your standard of measure

Mat 23-33

(186c) The Reprobate (Key verse) – Most people who seek God for eternal life are not worse sinners than the apostle Paul, who became God's standard of grace and mercy for the rest of us (1Tim 1,13-16), but there are some who have crossed the line. They don't have to be terrible sinners, going to show that the formation a reprobate mind really has nothing to do with the amount of sin committed but the type of sin committed. When a person has repeatedly blasphemed the Holy Spirit, eventually his heart irreparably hardens to stone. If we have not done this, salvation is still on the table, regardless how many sins we have committed. We can even disobey the Holy Spirit as Christians and still believe in Jesus for eternal life, so long as we don't make a habit of it. If the Holy Spirit speaks to us and we refuse to do what He says, knowing it is God but lying to ourselves, that is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. We can do that and still be saved, but every time we do, our heart grows a little more distant from God, and the likelihood of remaining saved edges a little closer to the line that only God knows, marking the point of no return. Crossing it, we are no longer saved, nor can we return. We may not have broken God's laws more than the average person, but we have forsaken the voice of God who spoke in our hearts, continually disobeying Him. Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked me, as in the day of trial in the wilderness” (Heb 3-7,8). Remember Israel. They are an example of blaspheming the Holy Spirit and look what happened to them. To this day they still can’t believe in Jesus. God will not strive with us forever (Psalm 103-9), but will wait us out and lead our children to the promise land. One-hundred percent of the time the reprobate mind forms around projecting our own faults onto God. Therefore, at the heart of the reprobate mind is arrogance to actually accuse God of personality problems and character flaws. 

(186j) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> The reprobate >> God’s role in forming a reprobate >> Marked out for destruction – Jesus proclaimed the Pharisees as reprobates; the difference between them and a psychopath is slim to none. A reprobate is essentially a religious psychopath, someone who cannot repent or be saved or believe in God. Those who have heard the voice of God and rejected Him as the Pharisees did, have the least hope of all creatures on the earth. They are less than snakes, less than lizards and scorpions. They are the most debased of all creatures, because they have rejected the hope of eternal life. Each time they resist His voice decreases their opportunity they will ever hear His voice again. Only God knows who has blasphemed the Holy Spirit to the point of developing a reprobate mind. Jesus condemned some of the Pharisees for this, who demonstrated a deep-seated hatred for Him and eventually killed the very embodiment of the Holy Spirit. Taking action in this venue will lead to a place in the depths of hell; it is a place that befits a person who would try to kill God. It would be unjust for God to let anybody into His heaven who hated Him, and God can’t change their hearts without forcing them, and He refuses to turn them into robots, and He refuses to un-create man in His image, having given him an eternal soul. Nobody ends up in hell by mistake or by accident; people determine in their hearts to go there, and the same is true for those who go to heaven. Everyone has resolutely set their face toward whatever destiny they achieve, and they will let nothing stand in their way.

Mat 23,34-37

(242a) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecution to the death >> Killing God’s prophets The common people who lived in the region surrounding Galilee loved Jesus (Mat 15,29-31), but Jerusalem had a history of martyring the prophets. Jesus was basically accepted everywhere and by everyone with the exception of Jerusalem and the religious leaders of Israel. He didn’t perform many miracles in the city limits; His reputation followed Him there. Had Jesus kept His distance from the city that “kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her,” He probably would have never been crucified, but He went there expressly for that purpose. Jerusalem was the hub of Israel’s religion, thus the hometown of all the priests of the temple and the high priest, along with many of the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees, and while He was there, He told them what they deserved to hear, which sealed His fate. It was all preordained.

Mat 23-34,35 

(151e) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> New Testament bears witness of the Old >> The Patriarchs >> The Old Testament prophets

Mat 23-35,36

(37a) Judgment >> The cross >> God judged the sin of the world through Christ

Mat 23,37-39

(50da) Judgment >> Last Days >> Great Endtime Revival >> Jews lead the world into revival >> Israel prophesied to believe in Jesus at the end of the age – In these verses Jesus prophesied that the Jews would lose their place and their nation and prophesied that the Jews overall would not repent of their unbelief until the last days at the Great Endtime Revival, when they say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” God will use them to call out the gentiles to salvation by the hundreds of millions. It was not so much a promise that Jesus was making to the Jews as it was a prophecy of condemnation due to their unbelief. The Jews since they were chosen through Abraham have been through more turmoil, hardship and persecution than any other people in the world. They have always been the most hated people on the earth, not because of what they have done, but because of their identity as God’s chosen people according to the flesh.

 

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