Lent status: Available
Read: Matthew 23:23-39.
23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of uncleanness.
28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
30 and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prohets.
32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
35 that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zechari’ah son of Berechi’ah, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
It is very important to bear in mind that Jesus never tried to hurt or run someone down, and therefore a child of God should never run someone else down either. Thus, when Jesus called the Jews and Pharisees with whom He spoke “serpents”, “generation of vipers”, it was not intended to hurt or run them down - He merely spoke the truth! Jesus called them serpents, vipers because they were a generation that originated from the devil! Here Jesus holds this generation, whom He calls serpents, vipers, responsible for the deaths of all the prophets, Matthew 23:35: “that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zechari’ah son of Berechi’ah, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” It would have been very unfair of the Lord Jesus to hold the people of that generation responsible for the death of Abel, who had been slain by Cain about 4000 years previously, if they were not in fact the descendants of Cain.
Therefore, the trail that runs from the beginning, of those that killed the prophets; of those that eventually also killed the Lord Jesus; and of those that killed all the disciples after the Lord Jesus, right through until today; is the same trail of one specific family. They all descend from the seed that the Lord Jesus referred to as “serpents”, “generation of vipers”. It is a generation that will never repent because they do not have God’s seed in them. But they do have the devil’s seed in them. This is very important! When the Lord Jesus says in Matthew 23:31, “Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets”, the word “children” does not mean spiritual children. Also not figurative children, but literal children. They are the descendants of those that killed the prophets.
Let us turn to Matthew 12:34, where the Lord Jesus again speaks to them: “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” The generation of vipers is therefore a certain generation on earth. The Lord again addresses them as such in Genesis 3:15, “and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Here the Lord speaks to the serpent. Who was this “serpent”? It was not a serpent and Eve certainly did not eat an “apple”. Nowhere in God’s Word is this to be found, yet how often are we not taught this in churches. This “serpent” was not a serpent but the devil himself. In the original language the word “nachash” is used to describe the devil as a deceiver, an enchanter!
In Revelation 20:1-2, the Bible clearly states who the “serpent” is: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,” Being the last Book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation is also a summary of the whole Bible. As such it also summarizes figures of speech, characters and other things that we read about in the Bible. As is the case with any other book, everything unfolds in the last chapter. If not, that book cannot be understood. No author writes such a book, least of all God Himself Who wrote the Bible. The character of Genesis 3:15, this “serpent”, is also clarified in Revelation 12:9, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Turn to Matthew 23:36, “Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.” This generation is the same “serpent”, “generation of vipers” already referred to? It is the generation which opposes God and His plan on earth. They are responsible for all the blood that has been shed upon earth, from Abel to the last prophet, and still today also for the blood of every martyr.
Let us now consider Matthew 13:24-30.
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
In the original Greek we have, “while a certain man slept, a certain enemy came who sowed tares.”
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in the field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servant said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”
In Matthew 13:36-43, Jesus gave a very important elucidation of this parable to His disciples, which He did not want to give to other people.
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
Both groups are people - one group of the Kingdom and the other the Wicked.
Can the devil repent? NEVER!
Can his children repent? NEVER!
This is what we have on earth today.
39 the enemy that soweth them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
When Jesus put forth the parable, he said in verse 28: “...An enemy hath done this...” But here in the elucidation of verse 39, He says: “the devil has done this!” In other words, the devil transformed himself into human shape. He adopted the form of a human. This is of the utmost importance! All the preachers say that we are in the end of the world. Are we then not in the time of the harvest? Should we not understand these things? But our people do not understand it because it is never explained to them!
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
42 and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear?
Just as the time of harvest is the end of the world, so the time of sowing is the beginning of the world. The time of sowing is the time when God created Adam and Eve and when the Fall came about. Therefore we must investigate what happened there. As we have seen in Matthew 13:25, those tares were sown among the wheat while a certain man slept. Let us now turn to: