Class Notes: 11/1/2014

Mark 12:38-40; Matt 23:1-4; Jesus warns the crowd about religion part 1

Last time we concluded our study of the doctrine of operation footstool so we are now in Mark 12:38; where Jesus turns away from the Jewish leaders and begins to address the crowd that is listening to Him.

Mark 12:38-40; Jesus tells the crowd to "beware." The word translated "beware" is the second person present active imperative of the Greek word "blepo" that means to look to consider or to be on guard.

The NET Bible translates it "Watch out." The parallel passage in Matt 23; provides us with more detail regarding what the scribes were doing that Jesus told the crowd to watch out for.

Matt 23:1-2;Up to this point Jesus has been speaking to the scribes, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, the Herodians and the chief priests. He had discredited their position to the point where they were speechless (Matt 22:46;)and He now gives a warning to the crowd about religion.

He no longer speaks to the religious leaders.

He tells the crowd that it would be to their advantage to learn of the danger of religion. Religion is the most deceptive thing in the world. It is the greatest enemy of the truth contained in God's Word, and anyone who believes the truth contained in God's Word.

He tells them "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat." The scribes refer to the experts of and teachers of the Mosaic law; the Pharisees are the experts who are taken from the scribes to be appointed members of the Jewish court, the Sanhedrin.


They are religious; they have taken the Mosaic Law and distorted it by their system of legalistic oral traditions . "Moses' seat" refers to the chair of theology in the field of the Mosaic Law. They were the experts in the religion of Judaism.

Matt 23:3; addresses the hypocrisy, duplicity and incompetence of the Jewish teachers.

What they commanded to be done in connection with the Mosaic Law when they were strictly teaching the commandments of the Mosaic law was correct but when they take these commandments and distort them into a system of human works, legalism and religion they are wrong.

So Jesus tells them that when they teach strictly from the Word of God they should obey, but when they distort the Word of God with their application they do not have to obey.

The same problem exists in many churches today especially denominational churches where pastors teach taboos that they extrapolate from the Bible as spirituality by works.

The same thing occurs in the judicial system of our country today when judges violate and distort the constitution and make laws that violate the constitution and divine establishment.

The Jewish theological teachers had authority but their authority was accompanied by deliberate incompetence because they were pursuing their own agenda in order to maintain their power. They did not properly handle their subject, the Mosaic Law.

The only way to obey the Mosaic Law is to start with the cross and God's grace. This is illustrated by the sacrifices and rituals that it uses to represent the cross and reveal the Messiah.

When the unbeliever or the legalist tries to teach the law he inevitably distorts it into a rigid list of dos and don'ts that establish a system of religion, legalism, and ritualism that is nothing but hypocrisy.

These religious distortions of the Mosaic law however do not provide an excuse to ignore or reject the law. It isn't the law that is wrong, it is the legalist and his interpretation of the law that is wrong. Rom 7:12;

While Jesus does not condone the legalistic perversions of the Pharisees He does demand observance of the law in its true Biblical perspective. Remember that Jesus lived in the age of the law and He never sinned so He kept the Mosaic Law perfectly.

The Jewish leaders had distorted the law into a system of salvation and spirituality by works, rather than putting the true emphasis on fact that the law shows us that man is spiritually bankrupt and that only God's grace that is made possible by the Messiah can provide salvation by grace through faith in Messiah alone.

Matt 23:4; This describes the hypocrisy of the Judaism and every other religion.

When Jesus says, "they tie up heavy burdens" this means that they add a lot of taboos to the Mosaic Law. These taboos are extra-biblical. Jesus is comparing the scribes and Pharisees and their taboos to the Egyptian taskmasters who oppressed the Israelites in Egypt.

These taboos are the requirements of their religion and are an impossible burden. Religion does the same thing today. Religious leaders expect everyone to observe their taboos.

Some of the most damaging taboos being foisted on the world today come from the pseudo-scientific priesthood of anti-theistic heathen earth worshiping global warming climate change religion.

The Jewish leaders simply used the Mosaic Law as a springboard from which to launch into a system of religious legalism that contained taboos that appeared to be good because they were based on principles that they extrapolated from the Mosaic Law.

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