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! Matthew 23:13-16
As we continue to look at Jesus rebuke of false religion , we must understand the word “Woe” in the Bible is the greatest condemnation you can receive. The word Woe can mean wretchedness or trouble, it basically means judgment is coming upon you. We often think of the Woes of Revelation, it’s the final judgment. So when Jesus is announcing Woe unto the religious leaders and their system, it’s an act of judgement and condemnation
Continually Jesus calls the religious leaders hypocrites, they don’t practice what they preach. They don’t truly love God and they don’t truly follow the Torah, they use man-made rules and religion to elevate themselves. Notice Christ said the religious leaders will receive “greater damnation” , so much for “soul sleep” as false prophets will receive a greater judgment in Hell than others, why? The Apostle James said “Many should not become teachers, because a greater judgment will be upon you” (James 3:1) There is a great duty and responsibility to be a servant of Christ, many have abused this calling and will suffer eternal consequences
Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. Matthew 23:17-22
Jesus continually calls the religious leaders “blind”, they are spiritually blind because they don’t have the Holy Spirit. As the Apostle Paul said “The natural man does not receive the things from the Spirit of God, because they are foolish to them” (1 Corinthians 2:16) Even though the religious leaders know the scriptures and have dedicated their lives to studying the scriptures, they couldn’t properly discern them because they don’t have the Holy Spirit or received Christ as their Lord
People might say “Jesus is being harsh to these religious leaders” these are the same men who crucified The Lord on a cross! If you are going to be a religious leader than you need to make sure you are filled with the Holy Spirit, the false prophets and false teachers of the Churches today will receive the same condemnation as the religious leaders of Israel, there is a great cost to be a disciple of Christ, make sure you are willing and able to pay that price! Amen!