Book information

Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0332-4
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 60 of 72 Section 1 of 4

LIFE-STUDY OF MATTHEW

MESSAGE SIXTY

REBUKING THE JEWISH RELIGIONISTS
AND FORSAKING JERUSALEM WITH ITS TEMPLE

After the Lord had been examined and tested by the religious leaders, in His wisdom He muzzled them. Eventually, He reached the point where He did not talk to them any further. Rather, in chapter twenty-three, He gave them a final word. In this message we shall consider the Lord’s rebuking of the Jewish religionists and His forsaking of Jerusalem with its temple.

I. REBUKING THE JEWISH RELIGIONISTS

A. Their Hypocrisy

In His rebuke of the Jewish religionists, the Lord first spoke against their hypocrisy (23:1-12).

1. Seating Themselves in Moses’ Seat
and Saying but Not Doing

In verses 2 and 3 the Lord said, “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in Moses’ seat. All things therefore, whatever they tell you, do and keep; but do not do according to their works, for they say and do not do.” The scribes and Pharisees said certain things concerning the law, but they did not do them. For this reason, the Lord told His disciples to do whatever the scribes and Pharisees said, for their speaking was according to the Bible. However, He told His disciples not to follow what they did, for their deeds were hypocritical.

2. Binding Heavy Burdens and Laying Them
on the Shoulders of Others,
but Not Moving Them with Their Finger

Verse 4 says, “And they bind heavy burdens and hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with their finger.” The scribes and Pharisees put the burden of law on others, but they would not use even their finger to lift it.

3. Doing All Their Works
to Be Seen by Men

In verse 5 the Lord said, “And all their works they do to be seen by men.” The scribes and Pharisees did everything to make an outward show so that others could see them. They did this because of their pride and because they wanted to receive the praises of men.

4. Broadening Their Phylacteries and
Enlarging the Fringes of Their Garments

Verse 5 also says, “They broaden their phylacteries and enlarge the fringes of their garments.” A phylactery is a part of the law written on parchment and worn upon the forehead as a frontlet and upon the left arm, according to Deuteronomy 6:8 and 11:18. The scribes and the Pharisees broadened it to make it a charm. They also broadened it for the purpose of making a display of how they loved the law, were for the law, and kept the law. This reveals how much they desired to maintain a good appearance in the eyes of others.

The law required the Israelites to make fringes on the borders of their garments with a band of blue, signifying that their conduct (typified by the garment) was regulated by the heavenly rule (indicated by the band of blue), and reminding them to keep God’s commandments (Num. 15:38-39). The scribes and Pharisees enlarged the fringes, pretending that they kept God’s commandments and were regulated by them to a surpassing degree. They did this in order to glorify themselves.


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