#3 – The Hypocrisy of the Pharisees – Matthew 23

Mat 23:1-4 Then Yahusha spoke to the crowds and to His taught ones, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on the seat of Mosheh. Therefore, whatever they say to you to guard, guard and do. But do not do according to their works, for they say, and do not do.”

The Master is explaining that as long as the scribes and Pharisees are instructing strictly from what is written in The Torah, guard and do it. But do not follow their example. Their hypocrisy (acting) reveals who they really are.

Mat 23:4 “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but with their finger they do not wish to move them.”

The Master categorizes what these burden consist of throughout the remainder of the chapter. Some today would try and convince folks that the “burden” referred to here is The Torah / Commandments of Yahwah. But John has a different understanding. Consider;

1Jn 5:3 For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy,”

Mat 23:5-8 “And they do all their works to be seen by men, and they make their t’fillen wide and lengthen the tzitzit of their garments, and they love the best place at feasts, and the best seats in the congregations, and the greetings in the market-places, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ for One is your Teacher, the Messiah, and you are all brothers.”

Those who are already wrapped up in the outward appearance (in the world), will easily transition into the (religious) mindset of the scribes and Pharisees. They are all about drawing attention to themselves, their appearance, perks, notoriety, position, etc…They especially loved being revered as the teaching authority on The Scriptures. But those who receive The Spirit in the New Covenant will shy away from these outward expressions, being more conscious of “the inner man”, the “hidden man” reflective of Messiah’s presence in and through them. (also see Eph 3:16, 6:6, 1Pet 3:4)

Mat 23:9-12 “And do not call anyone on earth your father, for One is your Father, He who is in the heavens. Neither be called leaders, for One is your Leader, the Messiah. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”

The Master is not forbidding us to refer to our earthly parents as father or mother. Torah teaches that we are to “honor” our parents. The context of the verse dictates that He is forbidding HIS followers to specifically revere another as their highest spiritual “Rabbi, teacher, father, leader.” Ephesians 4:11-12 confirms ministry gifts given by The Master “for the perfecting of the set-apart ones…” However, Revelation 2:6, 2:15 condemns“the deeds” and “the doctrine” of the Nicolaites.” These are leaders / teachers that are continuing the error of Balaam in putting stumbling blocks before professing believers by upholding the liberty of eating things sacrificed to idols as well as committing (literal & spiritual) fornication. (See articles: “The Parable of The Bride & The Whore” and “Christian Holi-Days”)

Mat 23:11-12“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”

Contrary to the prideful, lofty, me first mindset of the scribes and the Pharisees, The Master establishes the proper expression of those who will gain entrance into HIS Kingdom; Humility:The attitude of “others first.”

Php 2:3 “…doing none at all through selfishness or self-conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

Mat 23:13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut up the reign of the heavens before men, for you do not go in, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

The following 2 verses explains The Master’s meaning.

Luk 11:52 “Woe to you learned in the Torah, because you took away the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”

Joh 9:22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Yehudi for the Yehudi had already agreed that if anyone confessed that He was Messiah, he should be put out of the congregation.”

These same two indictments apply today. Those who are learned (in the Scriptures), but not learned in Messiah, are teaching what they do not understand and have taken away knowledge and understanding from their hearers. And those same teachers forbid their hearers to consider the truths of the True Messiah; That HE was not Greek and does not have a Greek name. HE did not come to start a new religious movement but came to complete what began with the First Covenant. HE did not put an end to The Commandments for HIS followers. HIS Favor (grace) is not a license for his supposed followers to live in sin…and so on.

Mat 23:14 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you eat up widows’ houses, and for a show make long prayers. Because of this you shall receive greater judgment.”

An interesting article on Religious Televangelists some years back stated that their “target audience in America is comprised of older, female rural women.” The article went on to say that most of these older women are generous financial donors. I’m left wondering how many of these older women were also widows…

2Ti 3:6 For among them are those who creep into households and captivate silly women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts…

Mat 23:15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you go about the land and the sea to win one convert, and when he is won, you make him a son of Gehenna twofold more than yourselves.”

The Master doesn’t seem too pleased with their missionary efforts. Why? How can HE be pleased with the efforts of people who are rejecting HIM for who HE truly is? They may have zeal but any effort based on misconceptions will not have HIS blessing nor can it convey a valid eternal message. Again, the problem today is no different. This is why The Master says they were making people “twofold more than themselves.”

Mat 23:16-22 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the Dwelling Place, it does not matter, but whoever swears by the gold of the Dwelling Place, is bound by oath. Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the Dwelling Place that sets the gold apart? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it does not matter, but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, is bound by oath. Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sets the gift apart? He, then, who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all that is upon it. And he who swears by the Dwelling Place, swears by it and by Him who is dwelling in it. And he who swears by the heaven, swears by the throne of Elohim and by Him who is sitting upon it.”

The blind guides had their emphasis upon the earthly, the temporal. The Master uses the contrast between the eternal; “Dwelling Place” and the temporal; “the gold” to illustrate their blindness. Consider;

Rom 8:5-6 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the matters of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the matters of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.”

Little did they know, but their fleshly mindset caused such blindness that it kept them from seeing the very “Dwelling Place” of Yahwah standing right in front of them! The same is the case for those who encounter the Dwelling Place of Yah today as HE lives in and through those who have received HIS Spirit! (also see 1Cor 3:16, 2Cor 6:16)

Mat 23:23-24 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you tithe the mint and the anise and the cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the Torah: the right-ruling and the compassion and the belief. These need to have been done, without neglecting the others. Blind guides – straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”

The scribes and Pharisees placed great emphasis on one aspect of Torah (tithing), while they neglected the other important aspects reflecting the true spirit of Torah (right-ruling, compassion and belief). Their rigidity reflects “dotting every I and crossing every T” even at the expense of the living. This type of lopsided rigidity results in volumes of man-made dogma containing commentary, commandments, rules, regulations, ordinances, traditions, etc…

Mat 23:25-28 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are filled with plunder and unrighteousness. Blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and dish, so that the outside of them becomes clean too. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you are like whitewashed tombs which outwardly indeed look well, but inside are filled with dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you too outwardly indeed appear righteous to men, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. For a detail look; See Article “Cleaned Up – But Not Filled”

Mat 23:29-33 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in the blood of the prophets.” Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who did murder the prophets – and you fill up the measure of your fathers! Serpents, brood of adders! How would you escape the judgment of Gehenna?”

The Master knows that these actors are of the same murderous spirit (the devil – John 8) that put the prophets to death in previous generations. HE also knows that they will be instrumental in putting HIM to death. Because they are blind to the truth they try to convince themselves (and one another) that they would NEVER do such evil deeds to the righteous by building tombs and decorating their monuments. I have witnessed for years the same outward show from the guilty and unrepentant, as they give money and get behind church building programs to try and convince themselves (and others) of their supposed piety… Yahusha is not fooled by their folly…we shouldn’t be either.

#2 – The Hypocrisy of the Pharisees – Healing Not Allowed?

Mat 12:9-10 And having left there, He went into their congregation. And see, there was a man having a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, “Is it right to heal on the Sabbath?” – so as to accuse Him.

There is NO Commandment in Torah that forbids healing on Sabbath! Notice the real reason for them asking; “so as to accuse Him.” Those motivated by “the accuser” can pretend their religious piety for only so long.

Consider;

Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in the heaven, “Now have come the deliverance and the power and the reign of our Elohim, and the authority of His Messiah, for the accuser of our brothers, who accused them before our Elohim day and night, has been thrown down.

The Pharisees and rulers, in their lawlessness could not determine right from wrong. They taught that healing on the Sabbath constituted work. The Scriptures do not support their hypocrisy.

Consider;

Luke 13:14 But the ruler of the congregation, responding, much displeased that Yahusha had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men should work, so come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.”

So, the Master confronted their hypocrisy by asking what they would do if something happened to one of their livestock on the Sabbath…

Mat 12:11-12 And He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, shall not take hold of it and lift it out? “How much more worth is a man than a sheep! So it is right to do good on the Sabbath.”

Doing good on the Sabbath has always been Yahwah’s desire, allowing man to rest, enjoy, be refreshed and appreciate the Creator and HIS Sabbath! It was never meant to be burdensome, binding or a time to endure!

Mat 12:13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored, as healthy as the other.

If the Pharisees and rulers were right in not allowing healing on the Sabbath, then we should never anoint and pray for the sick on Sabbath? How absurd!


Mat 12:14 But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against Him, so as to destroy Him.

Those who do the desires of the devil prove by their lives who their father is!

Consider;

John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you wish to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it.”

Mat 12:15-21 But Yahusha knowing it, withdrew from there. And large crowds followed Him, and He healed them all, and warned them not to make Him known, in order that what was spoken by Yeshayah the prophet, might be filled, saying, “See, My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My being did delight. I shall put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall declare right-ruling to the nations. He shall not strive nor cry out, nor shall anyone hear His voice in the streets. A crushed reed He shall not break, and smoking flax He shall not quench, till He brings forth right-ruling forever.“And the nations shall trust in His Name.”

It’s worth noting that the Pharisees (and anyone diseased in their families) were not healed. Hatred of the Truth and a lack of humility have prohibited many from experiencing HIS goodness!

It’s also worth noting that Yahusha’s method of drawing “large crowds” was quite different than that of today’s methods. HE didn’t need the internet, social media, news media, television, radio, etc… My reason for using this platform is to inform, not draw crowds. Consider Yahusha’s “keys to evangelism”;>)

John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father also does seek such to worship Him. “Elohim is Spirit, and those who worship Him need to worship in spirit and truth.”

John 6:44-45 “No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I shall raise him up in the last day. It has been written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by Yahwah. Everyone, then, who has heard from the Father, and learned, comes to Me.”

Joh 13:35 “By this shall all know that you are My taught ones, if you have love for one another.”

May you have a love for Truth (John 17:17) and hear HIS voice (John 10:27) and follow HIM!

The Hypocrisy of the Pharisees – Matthew 12

Mat 12:1-2 At that time Yahusha went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. And His taught ones were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain, to eat. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, “Look, Your taught ones are doing what is not right to do on the Sabbath!”

The Pharisees were a very rigid sect of Judaism. The Master warned His followers to beware of them. Consider His words later in Matthew;

Mat 23:4 “For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but with their finger they do not wish to move them.”

In the text from Matt. 12, the Pharisees are accusing Yahusha of being lawless by accusing Him of breaking the Commandments through their misapplication of the Commandment to not harvest on the Sabbath;

Exo 34:21 “Six days you work, but on the seventh day you rest – in plowing time and in harvest you rest.

There is no Scripture to support the Pharisees. The followers of Yahusha were not harvesting. They were simply gleaning that which was intentionally left by the owner of the field for those in need as stated in the following;

Lev 23:22 ‘And when you reap the harvest of your land do not completely reap the corners of your field when you reap, and do not gather any gleaning from your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the stranger. I am Yahwah your Elohim.’ ”
The Pharisees were one of the sects of Yehudism guilty of adding to / subtracting from Yahwah’s Commandments. Much like Christianity today.

Mat 12:3-4 But He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he went into the House of Elohim and ate the showbread which was not right for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?

The Master legitimizes the eating of the showbread rather than letting King David and his men go hungry. The priests had a better understanding of the Spirit of the Commandment than the Pharisees did. I personally believe this to be in support of the “Sovereignty & Priesthood” pronounced upon the true believers in Messiah Yahusha. (Rev. 5:10, Rev. 20:6; Exo. 19:6; Isa. 61:6; Rom. 12:1; 1Pet. 2:5-9)

Mat 12:5 “Or did you not read in the Torah that on the Sabbath the priests in the Set-apart Place profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?”

Priests continue to work on the Sabbath through offering sacrifice, offerings and circumcision. The Pharisaical mindset would prohibit such “work”

Consider;

John 7:22 “Because of this Mosheh has given you the circumcision – though it is not from Mosheh, but from the fathers – and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath.”

The Master addresses the issue of “doing good on the Sabbath” later in Matthew 12:12.

Mat 12:6-8 “But I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the Set-apart Place. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion and not offering, you would not have condemned the blameless. For the Son of Adam is Master of the Sabbath.”

The Pharisees would say that they honor the Set-apart Place, but their hypocrisy betrays them. Yahusha clearly states that HE, the One that the earthly Set-apart Place was constructed to represent, is greater than the copy of the Heavenly Set-Apart Place. HE points out the Pharisees’ lack of understanding pertaining to Yah’s reason and purpose for offering, which is the expression of HIS compassion through providing a means for sinful man to be restored to a relationship with Yah. It was never meant to be a means of exclusion, but inclusion! The Pharisees and those guilty of lawlessness cannot understand the true heart of Yahwah. But David did.

Consider;

Psa The slaughterings of Elohim are a broken spirit, A heart broken and crushed, O Elohim, These You do not despise.”

Consider these verses as references to sacrifice and offering acceptable to Yahwah in The New Covenant;

Rom 12:1-2 “I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering – set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim – your reasonable worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim.”

( Also; Rom. 15:16, Psa. 19:14, Eph. 5:10, Php. 4:18, 1Tim. 2:3; 5:4, Heb. 13:15-16, 1Pe. 2:5, 2:20)