April 13, 2018 – Matthew 23:13

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in.

– Matthew 23:13

This is the Lord Jesus’ words exposing and judging the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of Judaic religious circles. Why did the Lord say they shut up the kingdom of heaven against men? It is because that the Christ is the gate to entry into the kingdom of heaven, and the coming of Christ brought the kingdom of God. They didn’t accept Christ but resisted Christ, and even nailed Christ to the cross. They themselves did not enter the kingdom of heaven, nor did they let others enter.

In people’s minds the Pharisees were devout servants to God, and they were the most trustworthy of religious leaders. However, when the Lord Jesus came to carry out His work, the God-resisting nature of the Pharisees was revealed. It was these Pharisees who frantically resisted and condemned the work of the Lord Jesus. They fabricated all kinds of rumors and bore false witness to deceive the common people: They said that the Lord Jesus was deceiving all under heaven, that He cast out demons through Beelzebub, the prince of the demons. And once the Lord Jesus was resurrected three days after being nailed to the cross, they bribed soldiers to spread rumors about the Lord Jesus’ body being stolen away by His disciples. The Pharisees fabricated all kinds of lies and used all the tricks at their disposal to block people from seeking out and inspecting the true way. Their goal was to suppress the work of God so that they could forever hold dominion over God’s chosen people. Although they appeared devout on the outside, in essence they hated the truth and were antichrists who stood as enemies to God. It’s just like what the Lord Jesus said when He exposed and condemned them: “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33).

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