|Matthew 23 |
1 Then spoke Jesus to the multitude and to his disciples,
2 Saying "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.
3 Therefore, do whatever they command you, but do not imitate their works; for they talk of what is required, but they fail to practice what they preach. [This is hypocrisy, the yeast of the Pharisees, which has leavened the whole lump of Christianity that loudly boasts its religion but walks in continual sin, even without shame. From the word of the Lord within: "The hypocrite may talk of faith and do evil. If you are still sinning, you belong to sin and not to Me. Remember, every person who sins denies Him as Lord and Master. By their evident display of sin, Christians cause my name to be blasphemed among the people." When a person talks about religion but displays sin, that causes his listeners to discount everything he says; and so he scatters.]
4 For they bind heavy burdens which are grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not lift one of their little fingers to help them.
5 They do all their works to be seen by men. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels on their garments. [Many wear robes to look holy. The Catholics even wear strange looking hats with their robes. Some wear large crosses around their necks. Others only dress up in their finest clothes. All is done to make an impression on men, appearing holy.]
6 They love the uppermost rooms at feasts and the most important seats in the synagogues, [They sit up on the stage, they stand in an elevated pulpit. It's all part of the theater, but does not fit with proper worship.]
7 They love to be greeted in the markets and to be called by men, 'Rabbi' [or teacher, master, Reverend, Father, Pastor, Doctor].
8 But do not be called 'Rabbi' [teacher]; for you have one teacher,1 and you are all brothers.
9 And do not call any man 'father' [as a religious title] upon the earth; for One is your Father, who is in heaven.
10 And you must not be called master (leader, teacher), for you have one Master (Leader, Teacher), the Christ2 [Notice Jesus did not say, "I am your teacher; neither did he say, "scriptures are you teacher." He said, "the Christ;" Christ means the anointing or with God's spirit. So Jesus is telling them that the anointing, or the spirit of God, is their one teacher. Now look at what John says: "But the anointing that you have received from him abides in you, and you do not need any man to teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you all things and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it has taught you, abide in him." 1 John 2:27. Notice he speaks of the anointing as "abide in him;" he speaks of the spirit as a "him," whom Jesus has identified as "the Christ." The Christ speaks.]
11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whoever exalts himself will be abased, and he who will humble himself will be exalted.
13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.3
14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers. Therefore you will receive the greater damnation.
15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make one convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.4 [When you witness, teach, or preach supposedly for the Lord , but not according to his specific instructions, you are scattering the sheep. To gather with him, is to be sent to specific person(s) and speak with the words he supplies just before you speak . If you lead someone to the Lord without his specific instructions, your convert is twice as fit for hell as yourself because you are a blind guide that doesn't know how to help your supposed convert become a true Christian.]
16 Woe to you, you blind guides, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath!'
17 You blind fools; which is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
18 And you say, 'Whoever swears by the altar it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is upon the altar, he is bound by his oath.'
19 You blind fools; which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
20 Therefore whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it.
21 And whoever swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it.
22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God, and by him who sits on it.
23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law: judgment, mercy, and faith. You ought to have done these without neglecting the others.
24 You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel. [You follow the insignificant rules and ignore the really important laws.]
25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but within you are full of extortion and excess. [The priests and ministers of today's Christianity dress in fine garments, and they pretend to be very holy; but unless changed by the power of God, like all men, their hearts are full of evil, being uncleansed and unpurified. Being covetous, they draw a salary from your contributions, and from their position they lord it over you.]
26 You blind Pharisee! First cleanse what is within the cup and platter, so that the outside of them may be clean also. [Your heart must be purified and cleansed, even perfected; then you are like Jesus, able to witness, teach, or preach; otherwise you are a blind guide leading your followers into the ditch and captivity. To not be banned from heaven, everyone must become pure and holy before they die.]
27 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but within are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. [Every man's heart is full of uncleanliness, which defile us, as Jesus told us, (click to see). A defiled man is banned from heaven, whatever his lips may say. Jesus came to save us from the evil in ourselves, but we must go to Him, expose ourselves to His instructions, and then faithfully obey what He tells us to do — this is the way of the cross, and there is no other way to avoid being banned from heaven.]
28 Even so, you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity [sin].5 [Dressing up in your Sunday-best makes a fine show of outward appearance, but that does not cleanse your heart that is full of sin: lust, sexual immorality, covetousness, anger, greed, pride, envy, etc. Ministers with their robes, stages, pulpits, choirs, and accompanying music, make fine staged entertainment; but in their ministerial performances, the ministers of Christendom teach that sin is excused because they themselves are full of covetousness, sexual immorality, anger, and pride — hypocrisy and iniquity.]
29 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous,
30 And say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have been partakers with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.'
31 Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves, that you are the children of those who killed the prophets.
32 Fill up then, the measure of the sins of your forefathers.
33 You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?
34 Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them you will kill and crucify; and some of them you will flog in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city.
35 So that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berechiah, whom you killed between the temple and the altar. [As the Jews killed the prophets, thinking them evil; as the Jews killed Jesus and Stephen, thinking them evil; as the Roman Catholics tortured and killed 9,000,000 souls in their inquisitions, thinking them evil; so did the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Congregationalists imprison tens of thousands, seize property of tens of thousands, and kill a thousand early Quakers — thinking them evil.]
36 Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you,6 how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not [come to me and believe me]!
38 Behold, your house is left to you desolate.
39 For I say to you, You shall not see me from this time forward, until you shall say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
Previous Chapter | Next Chapter
1 for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. Who is that Teacher? In verse 10, he tells us our one Teacher is "the Christ." Notice Jesus did not say, "I am your teacher." He said, "the Christ;" Christ means the anointing or with God's spirit. So Jesus is telling them that the anointing, or the spirit of God, is their one teacher. The man Jesus cannot be our teacher; he is no longer a man on the earth. Neither can his written words be our Teacher because as Paul said: the letter [the Bible] kills, but the Spirit gives life, 2 Cor 3:6; and Jesus said: the words I speak to you are Spirit and Life-giving, John 6:63. The anointing is our one Teacher, 1 John 2:27; the anointing is the Spirit of God. The Light, who is Christ, is in every man that comes into the world, John 1:7,9; the Spirit is given to every man to benefit all. 1 Cor 12:7. The Holy Spirit is promised to teach us all things and to guide us into all truth - this is the Teacher that Jesus is referring to. The Holy Spirit is sent in the name of Jesus by the Father. John 14:26.
and you are all brothers. When brothers are mature, they can teach one another as they hear the Word of God within their hearts. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another [with words from Christ in your hearts, Rom 10:8, Deu 30:10-14] in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Col 3:16; in this verse Paul is speaking to mature brethren, who can hear the Word of God within their hearts, and can share their teachings as they receive them — thus edifying the entire body. He is not speaking to immature brethren, unable to teach, who are limited to milk and not strong food. Heb 5:12
2 for you have one Master [Leader, Teacher], the Christ. Notice Jesus did not say, "I am your teacher;" neither did He say, "scriptures are your teacher." He said, "the Christ;"* Christ means the anointing or with God's spirit. So Jesus is telling them that the anointing, or the spirit of God, is their one teacher. Now look at what John says: But the anointing that you have received from him abides in you, and you do not need any man to teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you all things and is truth, and is no lie; and even as it has taught you, abide in him. 1 John 2:27. Notice he speaks of the anointing as "abide in him;" he speaks of the spirit as a "him," whom Jesus has identified as "the Christ." In the previous verse, (26), John tells us that there were those who were trying to seduce the brothers with false teachings. John also tells us who is an antiChrist: every spirit that does not confess the Christ* is antiChrist. 1 John 4:3; every spirit that does not acknowledge the Christ, (the anointing), as their ruling Lord is antiChrist.
* Some early Greek texts read Jesus, some read Jesus Christ, some early ones read the Christ, (see footnote 3 of the Greek NetBible).
3 If you are a teacher or a preacher, beware! The only people to whom Christ spoke harsh words, were to the money changers in the temple and to the religious teachers of the day, the Pharisees. His severe criticisms included: (click to see them all)
But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Mat 23:13. Woe to you, religious lawyers, for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in you hindered. Luke 11:52
If your preacher is not leading others into the Kingdom of God within (while alive on earth, not having to die first), he is also blocking the way just like the Pharisees whom Jesus severely criticized. If his preachings are not focused as a first priority on seeking the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness, which is within you and does not come with visible signs, he is just like the Pharisees whom Christ severely criticized. If he is preaching heaven is where you go after you die, he is blocking the way into the Kingdom; and he is a blind guide leading his followers into the ditch and into captivity.
4 You travel across sea and land to make one convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
He who does not gather with me scatters. Luke 11:23, Mat 12:30 (To gather with him, is by his direction).
When you witness, teach, or preach for him, not with him, you are scattering the sheep.
To gather with him, is to gather with his specific promptings, and words supplied at that moment.
If you lead someone to the Lord without his specific instructions, your convert is twice as much a child of hell as yourself.
Because you have not been completely perfected, you don't know how to help your convert grow; so your convert will be spiritually weaker than yourself.
But since you have told him he is going to heaven, he remains comfortable with his sinful life and is therefore twice as fit for Hell as yourself.
Now if your convert goes out to witness and preach, those he reaches are twice as fit for Hell as himself; and so each generation becomes weaker and weaker in truth, but stronger and stronger in sin. This is exactly how the Catholics and the denominations of Protestants have become more and more tolerant of sin with time. Every generation becomes more involved in evil, and the sects become more and more tolerant of sin over time.
No man can come to me unless the Father, who has sent me, draws him and gives him the hunger to come to me. John 6:44
The Father draws a person by a combination of stings to wake him up and love to draw him.
From the Word of the Lord within:
"No man can come to me unless he has had a life-shattering experience."
"Most people go through life never needing, never seeking a lasting solution."
"He cannot teach us unless we are fully aware of the stings."
You must be specifically sent:
Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest. Mat 9:38
And how will they preach, unless they are sent. Rom 10:15
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran [ahead of me], I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesy, but if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and the evil of their doings. Jeremiah 23:21-22
The prophets prophesy lies in my name. I did not send them, neither have I commanded them, nor spoken to them. Jer 14:14
He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him, that man is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him. John 7:18
Notice, the Father knows who he has prepared by drawing him; but you don't know unless you are specifically sent by him telling you what to do, when to do it, and then giving you what words to say at the time you arrive.
If you speak from your own mind, without hearing exactly what to say, you are seeking your own glory too.
You who.. are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. Therefore you who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? Rom 2:19-22
You are stealing the words from the saints, quoting the Bible from your carnal mind, with your evil imagination's words.
5 You clean the outside of the cup and the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. First cleanse what is within the cup and platter, so that the outside of them may be clean also. For you are like whitewashed tombs, which indeed appear beautiful on the outside, but within are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness...you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity [sin]. Do not read this and assume it only applies to the Jewish Pharisees. Jesus is telling us all that we must have a cleansed heart; all our inward parts are full of greed and lusts and wickedness, until he cleanses us, until he purifies us, until he washes us, until he frees us from all sin, until he perfects us — until then we are nothing but selfish beasts, completely unfit to be in the company of God.
Jesus tells us what defiles our hearts and must be destroyed:
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.
These are the things that defile a man; Mat 15:19-20
Whatever comes out of the man is what defiles the man.
For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lack of restraint, an evil eye [envy], blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.
All these evil things come from within a man, and defile him. Mark 7:20-23
We can all make a fine show with our Sunday-best clothing. We can all pretend to be loving and kind. We can all watch our language to not show our anger. We can all carry our Bibles to look holy. We can all wear a cross on our neck or lapel. But that does not fool God, who sees our hearts, who hears every thought, who knows what is in our heart even beyond what we think. God calls us hypocrites if we are sinning and claiming to be religious; He says our lips utter praise but our hearts are far from Him. He knows all because He is in us all from birth; the Light and Word Christ is in every man's heart, as we drag him through the dirt and mire of our sins. Unless we go to him to be cleansed, we can only expect to be banned from heaven when we die.
The gospel of Jesus promises the release from the bondage of sin, the Kingdom of God while on earth, and union with God. To realize the promises of God, you must seek Him, which Jesus told us to make our first priority in life. Mat 6:33. To seek Him, he said for us to come to Him. He said to sit at his feet and listen for Him was the good part, the one thing needed, and what will not be taken away. So we sit in humble silence as we listen for his voice and words, and watch for his revelations. When we hear his commands, we obey Him. The Bible calls this waiting on God. To wait on God is to persistently sit in humble silence, listen for his voice and words, watch for his revelations, hear his commands, and then obey Him. This waiting is how we receive the promises of the gospel, including salvation from sin:
To those who persistently and patiently wait for him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation. Heb 9:28
And being made perfect, he [Jesus] became the author and source of eternal salvation to all those who heed and obey him. Heb 5:9
If you die still sinning, you would be absolutely miserable in heaven; all your pleasures and desires, having not been crucified while on earth, are not available in heaven, and you would be miserable without them. You would be yearning for the old wine, which you think is better than the new wine because you have not been prepared, crucified, purified, (the new wineskin), and freed from lusts, anger, sexual desires, resentment, envy, greed, lying, jealousy, foolishness, revelry, drunkenness, pleasures, etc. Even your thoughts would be heard by everyone around you; you would be terrified and wanting to run to darkness where you hope your thoughts would not be heard by everyone. A man must crucify his lusts and affections on the inward cross of self-denial before he can enjoy fellowship in the heavens.
6 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you, For Jesus to be killed by the Jews who thought they were doing God a favor, is not without precedent. Many of the Jewish prophets were killed by the ruling class of Israel, who considered themselves to be very religious; those murdered by the Jewish authorities include:
Just as Jesus and many of the true prophets were killed, so were Stephen, James, and many other early Christians. Jesus said: the time is coming when whoever kills you will think that he is doing a service to God. John 16:2. Jesus is talking about religious people: those who believe they are doing God a service by killing his disciples, whom they consider to be heretics. The people of the world, particularly the religious people of the world, will hate and persecute anyone truly born of the Spirit of Christ. Why? Because those born of the Spirit will tell the religious people of the world that their religion is in vain. Just like Jesus told the Jews, and they killed him. Just like the early Quakers told the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Puritans, and Baptists, who killed over 800 of the early Quakers, hanging four in Boston. But as it was then, he who was born after the flesh persecuted him who was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Gal 4:29. All who are determined to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Tim 3:12. And so when those disciples of Jesus appear again, who have truly been purified, crucified, and perfected, they too will be massively persecuted by Christendom once more.
Previous Chapter | Next Chapter