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MATTHEW 21:18-23:39

  THE SWORN ENEMIES

OF THE

KING


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21:18-22

"Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, 'Let no fruit grow on you ever again.' Immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, 'How did the fig tree wither away so soon?' So Jesus answered and said to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, "Be removed and be cast into the sea," it will be done. And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.'"

This fruit tree reminded Jesus of the spiritual condition of Israel, his people, in that day. Although they were called by God to bless the whole world with the knowledge of God, they were blessing no one. They had God's Word. Herod's beautiful temple at Jerusalem loudly proclaimed, "God is in our midst!" Furthermore, God's covenant Law with the Jews had become so watered down, added too and ignored by the teachings of the Rabbis that it had become a joke. Truly, God's green tree of Israel was indeed barren of any meaningful fruit that should have been present from knowing the one true living God.

These things were beyond the thinking of Jesus' disciples, however. What caught their imaginations was the obvious. Namely, how suddenly the fig tree had withered away before their eyes.
How did the fig tree wither away so soon? they asked. Really? Had they not seen Jesus calm a storm with a word? ... heal and feed thousands? ... turn water into wine? ... the list was endless. Yet, they were puzzled that a fig tree had withered before their eyes at the word of Jesus.  However, our patient Lord met them where they were. He knew them well and went straight to the heart of their real issues. Their spiritual problem was twofold ... they fell short in FAITH and in knowledge of THE POWER OF GOD. So, Jesus began ... If you have faith and do not doubt ... he said, there will be nothing too difficult or impossible for you. Move a mountain? No problem. Wither a fruitless tree? Small potatoes. Question: Do you and I understand that any problem with our great God is, in fact, no problem? Do we act on that truth in our daily lives? Do we believe?

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? - Jeremiah 32:27

Jesus continued, whatever things you ask in prayer
, believing, you will receive. PRAYER ... prayer is the ultimate expression of real genuine faith. Want to see a person's faith? Best place to look is at their prayer life. When one believes God is ... they talk to him. When one believes God's words, they ask him freely, joyfully and accordingly. BELIEVING ... believing ... believing prayer is pure dynamite brother and sister. RELENTLESS PRAYING FAITH IN GOD ALMIGHTY IS THE SOURCE OF ALL POWER! Do you and I believe these words of Christ? Do we regularly act on them? REAL FAITH, REAL GOD, REAL POWER ... the proof is in the pudding.

21:23-27

"Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, 'By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?' But Jesus answered and said to them, 'I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John\where was it from? From heaven or from men?' And they reasoned among themselves, saying, 'If we say, "From heaven," He will say to us, "Why then did you not believe him?" But if we say, "From men," we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.' So they answered Jesus and said, 'We do not know.' And He said to them, 'Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.'"

Jesus was a master at dealing with deceptive and ingenuine people. He knew these fellows had no real question, they were simply looking for ways to trip him up. So, as he often did with such hypocrites, he answered their question with a question of his own. And, it was a doozy! They had to decline to answer. So, he also declined to answer their question.

21:28-32

"But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, eSon, go, work today in my vineyard.f He answered and said, eI will not,f but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, eI go, sir,f but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said to Him, 'The first.' Jesus said to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.'" 

These fellows were all show and no substance. They would not do the will of God. God sent them John the Baptist, the last and greatest of the Old Testament prophets and chosen forerunner of the Messiah. What was their response? They would not do what he said nor believe him. Consequently, they were guilty of not hearing nor doing the will of God. What was John's message? Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 3:2)! Did they repent? No. Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)! Did they follow after God's Lamb? No. But, many tax collectors and harlots responded. Praise God. So it was then and so it is today. God is still calling out a people for his name's sake down here on the earth. And, just as it was in Jesus' day, it is mostly the lowly who are responding to God's Lamb in faith ... and thereby ... doing the will of God.

Jesus answered and said to them, gThis is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.h John 6:29

21:33-40

"Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country. Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit. And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed one, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and they did likewise to them. Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, eThey will respect my son.f But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among themselves, eThis is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.f So they took him and cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?"

21:41-46

"They said to Him, 'He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.' Jesus said to them, 'Have you never read in the Scriptures:

                    "The stone which the builders rejected
                        Has become the chief cornerstone.
                         This was the LORDfs doing,
                             And it is marvelous in our eyes"?

Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder. Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet."

Here, Jesus set before these opposers the great messianic prophecy of Psalm 118:22-23. He was the stone that the builders rejected ... yet, he would become the chief cornerstone of the whole operation. Consequently, he assures them,
the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. Let's think about that for a moment. What nation might that be? Certainly not the nation of Israel that Jesus was speaking too here ... who were rejecting him. No. But a distant nation of Israel that will exist at the time of Christ's Second Coming (at the end of the Great Tribulation period at the end of the last days). That nation ... believing Israel ... consisting of those believing Jews who are left standing at theend of the Tribulation when Christ returns to earth to rule and reign here for a thousand years ... those Jews, combined with all the righteous Jews of all time (the resurrection of Israel having also taken place at that time) ... I say, that nation of all the righteous Jews of all time ... will inherit and enter the long promised Kingdom and enjoy it with their God and Messiah, Christ Jesus. If you would like to read up on this more extensively, see my comments on the 1000 year reign of Christ in my commentary on Revelation.

22:1-14

"And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, "Tell those who are invited, 'See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.'" But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, eThe wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.f So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, eFriend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?f And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, eBind him hand and foot, [NU omits take him away, and] cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

                                                                            gFor many are called, but few are chosen.h 

This parable is a history lesson given by Jesus that contains elements both past and future. Keep in mind that the kingdom ... the Jewish kingdom ... that is promised over and over again in the Old Testament scriptures ... was an earthly kingdom. Jesus' own disciples were expecting it to be so and were looking for it to shortly come to pass. At Jesus ascension, recorded in Acts 1, it was the number one expectation on their minds. As we have in Acts 1:6-7,

Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, gLord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?h And He said to them, gIt is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

The parable of the king, here, addresses this earthly kingdom issue. Clearly, the king represents Jesus' Father in Heaven. The son represents Christ Jesus. Those initially invited to the wedding are the Jewish people in Jesus' day. The servants are everyone who pointed the Jewish people to Christ (from the Old Testament prophets to John the Baptist and Christ's own disciples). However, the invited guests (the Jewish people) were not interested and would not respond to what the Father had in mind for them and his son and, therefore, spitefully abused the Father's servants who invited them and killed them.

How would the Father in Heaven respond? Jesus said, he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. These words, when spoken, were prophetic. They were fulfilled when the Romans decimated the Jews and utterly destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70.

The question is,
after the destruction of Jerusalem, who are the people who are found in the highways who are invited and subsequently respond by coming to the wedding? And especially, who does the man represent who arrives at the wedding dressed inappropriately and is therefore cast out into outer darkness? I would suggest the people are the mixed multitude, both Jews and Gentiles, who will indeed respond to the Father's invitation to the celebration he has prepared for his Son. This is dealt with in wonderful detail in Romans 9-11, and is well worth the reading at this point.

As for who the man represents who will be rejected from the celebration and cast into outer darkness ... in order to identify him, I believe we must fast forward to the actual event in history that this parable is referring to ... namely, the great and glad appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ ... arriving on earth at the end of the Tribulation period to establish his earthly kingdom here. At that exact point in time, the actual wedding celebration referred to in this parable will be fulfilled. Those present at that joyous occasion will be all the Old Testament saints from all time (having just been just resurrected... from Adam and Eve on) ... plus, all the Tribulation saints (consisting of both those who are still alive at the end of the Tribulation as well as those who also were just resurrected) ... plus, all of the Jews and Gentiles who have survived the Great Tribulation and were so roundly bidden to come to Christ in faith. Those who did not respond, however ... who were called over and over again to come to Christ but would not do so will find themselves at that momentous event ... but they will suddenly be ejected from and cast into outer darkness. As we had it back in 1:7 and 7:21-23...

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Rev. 1:7

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Rev. 7:21-23


22:15-22

"Then the Pharisees went and plotted how they might entangle Him in His talk. And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, 'Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?' But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, 'Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.' So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, 'Whose image and inscription is this?' They said to Him, 'Caesarfs.' And He said to them, 'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesarfs, and to God the things that are Godfs.' When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left Him and went their way." 

22:23-33

"The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: 'Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.' Jesus answered and said to them, 'You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels [NU omits of God] in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.' And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching."

These Sadducees were the liberals of their day. They saw themselves as great enlightened, intellectual and rational thinkers. They didn't believe in an afterlife nor the resurrection. So, they decided to call Jesus on the carpet with what they considered a unanswerable hypothetical based, tongue in cheek, on Jesus' clear and absolute belief in the afterlife and the resurrection. Jesus, however, called them on their faulty thinking ... telling them that their problem was they were just ignorant. Ignorant of both the Scriptures, as well as the power of God! Then, he quoted them Exodus 3:6, which clearly states that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive. So much for these Sadducees' "there is no afterlife" theory! Aye? I love it. Notice that when the onlooking multitudes heard these words, they were astonished at his teaching. Apparently, they never heard authoritative teaching based on the Word of God before!
God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. The New Testament, by the way, also teaches this same truth. As you have it in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8,

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.


22:34-40

"But when the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?' Jesus said to him, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.'"

What happened to Ellen G. Whites "glowing" fourth commandment? Just "askin". But, Jesus nails it here. For the first and great commandment, he quotes Deuteronomy 6:5. Then, he adds on to it saying the second is like it ... quoting Leviticus 19:18. Then, he takes them even a step further stating that all the rest of the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments. That certainly gave them something to chew on!

22:41-46

"While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, 'What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?' They said to Him, 'The Son of David.' He said to them, 'How then does David in the Spirit call Him "Lord," saying:

     
                                                                                             "The LORD said to my Lord,
                                                                                                      Sit at My right hand,
                                                                                      Till I make Your enemies Your footstoolh?

If David then calls Him "Lord," how is He his Son?' And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore."

The Pharisees and Sadducees had been questioning Jesus. Now, he turns the tables on them saying, I have a question for you fellows, What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He? They had a quick comeback. He's The Son of David. Well then, why does David call him his Lord in the Messianic Psalm 110 verse 1?, Jesus replied, and quoting the verse to them. Now, that's a tough one, is it not? Well, actually it's not if you understand who really Jesus is. The physical descendant of king David ... yes ... but, much more importantly, the incarnate Son of God and therefore David's God and Lord! Says here, they didn't ask him any more questions after this. No, I bet not (ha). In the "for what it is worth" department, I do not believe that Jesus cared for that title, The Son of David. It was a title coined by the Jews. It is found in Jesus' genealogy (Matt. 1:1), but as a designation, not a title. He often called himself The Son of Man, but never, unless I'm mistaken, The Son of David. According to the angel that announced his birth...

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David... Luke 1:32

And again,

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Matthew 1:23

And again,

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21


23:1-12

"Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: 'The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Mosesf seat. Therefore whatever they tell you [NU omits to observe, that] observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.  For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on menfs shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, "Rabbi, Rabbi." But you, do not be called "Rabbi"; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher [NU omits the Christ]. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.'"

The scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses' seat ... in other words, were among the leaders of God's people, the Jews, in Jesus' day. The glaring problem with them, however, was they, Talked the talk, but didn't walk the walk! They were always out imposing rules on the people of God that they themselves didn't lift a finger to follow. Jesus' words here are applicable to you and I who are living under grace as well. As we have it in
James 1:22-25,

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves
. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

And again, in
1 John 2:29,

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that
doeth righteousness is born of him.

23:13-14

"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. [NU omits: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widowsf houses, and for a pretense meake long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation]."

This is the first of 8 woes Jesus proclaimed on the scribes and Pharisees. Rejecting faith and God's sent Savior (see verse 23), these leaders of Israel offered dead ritual in place of salvation! Woe indeed to all such who, to this day, follow in their footsteps. Real life, beloved, is not something you do, it is found in someone you know. It is having a real relationship with the Savior through faith.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9


23:15

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves."

Sound familiar? These works purveyors are still rampant in our world today. They follow hard on these scribes and Pharisees' footsteps. Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Muslems come to mind. And, there are many others. But the bottom line is that God has sent a Savior into our world ... a Savior who died for our sins (taking their penalty of death upon himself [Romans 6:23]) and opening the door to God ... once and for all ... by faith in himself. There is no other way. For, all other religions ... all of which are based on dead works ... are blind alleys ... dead-end streets of empty works.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:8-10


23:16-22

"Woe to you, blind guides, who say, eWhoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.f Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that [NU reads: sanctified instead of sanctifies] the gold? And, eWhoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.f Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who [NU reads: dwelt instead of dwells] in it. And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it."

Oaths or swearing a vow to God played a significant role in the lives of God's people under the Law.

Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. Job 22:27

Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows. Psalm 50:14

I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Proverbs 7:14

This carryover of swearing a vow to God under the Law is seen in the life of the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts where he was pursuing such an oath. There, we read,


And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. Acts 18:18

Now, here in our text, we read that the Pharisees and scribes often practiced making vows to God. However, they had gamed the practice and honed it down to a science as to how to get out of performing them! Their GREED had warped their value system. Therefore, they had made up all kinds of little distinctions about what the wording of their vows should be in order to let them off the hook ... and Jesus called them on all these little word games and pointed out how faulty their reasonings were. Bottom line is ... a vow to God is a vow to God ... and you had better pay it!
 

23:23-24

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.  Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!"

23:25-28

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead menfs bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." 

23:29-36

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, eIf we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.f Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathersf guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation."

These are amazing words. I'm sure they did not fall on deaf ears when the Pharisees and scribes heard them. Jesus was claiming deity here in no uncertain terms ... and it runs on through verses 37-39, below. He said here that he will send them prophets, wise men, and scribes in the future and they (the unbelieving Jews) will also kill and crucify and scourge them! Historically, that is exactly what has happened and will also yet happen. I refer you to Fox's Book of Martyrs if you would like to read up on it. "Jesus sent scribes that were murdered?" someone might say. Yes. In fact, it was those men to whom we owe a great debt of thanks that you and I have this written Word of God to study together. Such men, for example, who translated the first complete English Bible ... the Wycliff Bible. Daniel B. Wallace writes of it:

John Wycliffe was the impetus behind a translation of the NT into English that was accomplished in c. 1382. He most likely did very little of the actual translation, but was the prime mover in its production. The OT was done entirely by others. His followers, known as Lollards, were poor Oxford scholars who preached the Word. They had a huge impact on the common folk, largely because they counted their own lives as nothing for the cause of Christ. In the two decades after Wycliffefs death, many Lollards were burned at the stake, some even with their Bibles hanging from their necks to be burned with them.


Wallace also writes of the later William Tyndall's great sacrifice to give us the Bible:

He had a passion for getting the Word of God to lay folks. He wanted the boy behind the plough to know more of the Word of God than the literati of his day. His prayer would come true. By 1525 he had completed his first translation of the NT, but it would not get printed until 1526. Three copies of this first edition exist today, only one of which\discovered just a few years ago\is completely intact.

Tyndale later revised the NT substantially, and the revision was a bona fide masterpiece. He even coined some new words that found their way into the English vocabulary for the next five centuries\words such as ePassover,f epeacemaker,f escapegoat,f and even the adjective ebeautifulf were coined by Tyndale. Altogether, he produced five editions of the NT, but the third edition of 1534 is the one most remembered. Tyndale also did substantial work on the OT, but he did not complete the task. As far as we know, he translated through 2 Chronicles.

He was kidnapped in 1535 in Antwerp, and burned at the stake the next year for heresy. His charge? A corrupt translation of the Bible. The reality? A superb translation of the Bible.

Tyndalefs dying words were gLord, open the King of Englandfs eyes!h

Thank God for the scribes Jesus has sent us! Amen? If it were not for them, you and I would not have the Word of God in our hands.

Also, notice here that there will be more prophets, wise men and scribes to come from Christ Jesus. You can read about them in my commentary on the book of Revelation ... especially chapters 7, 9 and 14.

23:37-39

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, eBlessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!f"

Do you recognize the Old Testament passage that Jesus is referring to here? Who is he saying he is?

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust... Psalm 91:2-4a

In the last part of verse 39, Jesus said,
you shall see Me no more till you say, eBlessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!f He was referring to the great messianic Psalm 118. Just a couple of verses before this quote, that Psalm prophesies that the stone which the builders rejected would become the chief cornerstone. The scribes and Pharisees were very familiar with these scriptures and they knew exactly what our Lord was claiming! So, when exactly will the Jews say these words in history? I believe it will occur at their resurrection.

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Daniel 12:1-2

This will take place just moments before the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ at the end of the Great Tribulation period. Check out my commentary on the last part of Revelation 14, if you wish to pursue this further.



Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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