Thursday, May 12, 2016
“Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered” (Luke 11:52 KJV).
What is this, “the key of knowledge?”
The best way to handle enigmatic verses in the Four Gospels is to find parallel passages. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John supplement each other. For example, consider today’s Scripture. Matthew recorded a similar statement in his Gospel record: “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” (23:13).
Although today’s Scripture uses “lawyers” (Mosaic-Law scholars), the “scribes and Pharisees” of Matthew are synonymous. All are religious leaders to some degree. Our Lord Jesus had very harsh words for them—not that He was unkind or malicious. Rather, He publicly rebuked them for their many decades—yea, centuries—of misguiding Israel. They were leading Israel to worship the Law of Moses instead of the God of Moses. But, they behaved as to appear honest, faithful, and good. Jesus unapologetically exposed their hypocrisy.
Comparing Matthew 23:13 and Luke 11:52, we understand these religious leaders were hindering, discouraging, Jews from embracing “the kingdom of heaven” (God’s kingdom on the Earth). They had taken away “the key of knowledge” (today’s Scripture). How? If we keep comparing verses, we see they were suppressing, intimidating, others from believing and sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom—that Jesus was Israel’s King, Messiah/Christ, Saviour.
John 9:22: “These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.” And, John 12:42-43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
Her religious leaders hiding the knowledge that Jesus was God’s King for Israel, robbed Jews of everything God had for them in their earthly kingdom. Without coming to Him as Messiah/Christ, they could never enter that kingdom!