Mathew 23:13. “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.”

There are eight woes spoken in this chapter. This first one uncovers the hearts of the Pharisees, much to their chagrin.  Jesus is building up their case against Him, at this point, with just about every word He speaks.

Here, He tells them that they have willfully  shut their eyes and turned away from the light of the gospel. Not only did they refuse to enter into the kingdom of heaven, but they warned others away as well. Their teachings, based on tradition, were far more precious to them than the offer of the Messiah, Who had come to fulfill the law and, by doing so,  to set it aside and replace it with the grace of salvation.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

4 thoughts on “Woe!

  1. willhartbrown

    Where does the Bible speak of setting the Torah aside? Perhaps Jesus simply wants people to return to the essence of Torah. I mean, he is speaking to Jews in the Gospels (primarily).


    1. That’s an excellent question. It is true that God was speaking primarily to the Jews especially in the gospel of Matthew, where He is presented as Messiah.

      Romans 6:15 would be a good place to start running a study on Law vs. Grace. When Jesus died, the veil in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was completely divided in two; remarkable when you consider that the veil was estimated to have been about four inches thick, and it was split from top to bottom. Once Jesus,the supreme sacrifice, had died, there was no more need for the ritual sacrifices of the Law.

      You are correct that we can still learn much from the Pentateuch, and we should. But we are no longer dependent on keeping the law in order to achieve eternal life. Also, the law given by God to Moses had been so much added to, twisted and distorted through the years by the religious leaders and factions that it had become a heavy burden rather than the guide it was meant to be.

      I recommend the book of Hebrews, as well as Galatians, to read about the importance of not clinging to the Old Testament law as a means to salvation.

      And thank you for your question.


  2. willhartbrown

    Heads up: I could discuss with you. I have my material together. I just ask questions so I can built a better stance myself. That said, was “keeping the Law in order to achieve eternal life” ever something that the Law was supposed to be? Heck, what does salvation mean in the OT?

    (I don’t mean to be difficult. I know where I stand. And I may make a blog post about it one day.) 🙂


    1. The Law was not so much an instrument of salvation as it was a proof of faith; it set aside the nation of Israel, as God’s chosen people, from all other nations. It was meant, as we learn in Galatians 3:24, to be a “schoolmaster,” to bring us to Christ. The Law was perverted over time to become indeed an instrument of salvation, although that is not what God ordained. It pictured the final sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God. In Hebrews 11, we are told of many Old Testament saints who “by faith,” not by works, have entered in to the presence of God.

      In the book of Job, he says “I know that my Redeemer liveth” indicating a knowledge and understanding of salvation through the redeeming death and resurrection of Jesus. It’s a wonderful study.

      I don’t think you’re being difficult. I don’t mind questions at all. Please feel free 🙂


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