The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

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Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

Introduction to the Gospels (Good News of the Kingdom) and Acts
Mattityahu (Matthew)  •  Mordichai (Mark)  •  Lukas (Luke)  • Yochanan (John)
Crucifixion Week Chronology3-Year Harmony of the Gospels1-Year Harmony of the Gospels  
Hitgalut (Revelation)  •  P’yilut HaShliyakim (Acts of the Emissaries)  •  The Chosen (Video Series)

The Good News of the Kingdom
According to

Yeshua, the Righteous King

~ 23 ~

12. The King Condemns Legalism (23:1-12; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47)

1Then Yeshua spoke to the crowds and to His disciplestalmidim, 2The Scribes, Torah teachersSofrim and the PhariseesP'rushim sit on MosheMoses’s seat.[2] 3So everything they tell you to observe, whatever it is, observe and do it, but don’t do as they do; for they speak, and don’t act. 4They bind heavy burdens onto men’s shoulders that are too heavy to bear;[4] but they won’t lift a finger to help carry them. 5Everything they do is done only to be seen by others. They make their tefillin[5a] broad and their tzitziot[5b] long. 6They love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues. 7They love deferential greetings in the marketplaces, and being addressed as ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ by others. 8But don’t you be called ‘Rabbi,’ for only one is your Rabbi, the Mashiach, and all of you are brothers.[8] 9Don’t call any man on the earth your father, for only one is your Father, He Who is in heaven. 10Neither be called masters, for only one is your Master, the Mashiach. 11But the one who is greatest among you will be your servant. 12Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

13. The King Pronounces Seven Woes (23:13-36; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:47)

13But woe[13a] to you, Sofrim and P'rushim, you hypocrites! You shut the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces; you won’t enter in yourselves, and you won’t allow in those who want to enter.[13b]

14Woe to you, Sofrim and P'rushim, you hypocrites! You swallow up widows’ houses while you make a show of davening[14] at great length. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

15Woe to you, Sofrim and P'rushim, you hypocrites! For you travel around by sea and land to make one proselyte;[15a] and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much of a son of Gei-Hinnom as yourselves.[15b]

16Woe to you, you blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the Temple, that doesn’t count for anything; but whoever swears by the gold of the Temple is obligated to keep that oath.’ 17You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold, or the Temple that sanctifies the gold? 18‘Whoever swears by the altar, that doesn’t count for anything; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it is obligated to keep his oath?’ 19You blind fools! For which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears by it, and by everything on it. 21Whoever swears by the Temple, swears by it, and by Him Who was living in it. 22Whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God, and by Him Who sits on it.[22]

23Woe to you, Sofrim and P'rushim, you hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin,[23] and leave undone the more important matters of the Torah: justice, mercy, and faith. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone. 24You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel![24]

25Woe to you, Sofrim and P'rushim, you hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and unrighteousness. 26You blind PhariseeP'rush, first clean the inside of the cup and of the platter, that its outside may become clean also.[26]

27Woe to you, Sofrim and P'rushim, you hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs,[27] which appear beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

29Woe to you, Sofrim and P'rushim, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets, and decorate the tombs of the tzaddikimrighteous, 30and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn’t have taken part in killing the prophets.’ 31So you brag to yourselves that you are sons of those who killed the prophets. 32Then finish what your fathers started! 33You serpents, you sons of vipers, how will you escape the judgment of Gehinnom? 34Pay attention! I am sending you prophets, sages, and Sofrim.[34] Some of them you will kill and crucify; and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city. 35On you will fall the guilt of all the righteous blood ever shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of ZechariahZ'kharyah [ben Berechiah], whom you killed between the sanctuary and the altar.[35] 36Most certainly I tell you, all these things will come upon this generation.[36]

14. The King Weeps Over Jerusalem (23:37-39; Luke 13:34-35)

37Yerushalayim, Yerushalayim, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not! 38See! Your house is left to you desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see Me from now on, until you say, ‘Baruch haba b'shem ADONAI!  Blessed is He Who comes in the name of ADONAI!’[39]

Chapter 24


  2. Moshe’s seat, or the Seat of Moses, refers to the position of halachic authority the priesthood holds in God’s economy. However, after the Resurrection, the halachic authority was stripped by Yeshua from the priesthood and vested in the Shliachim (Apostles). [RETURN]

  4. The Tradition of the Elders, not the Torah, is a heavy burden. Speaking of the Torah, Yeshua says: “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt 11:30). [RETURN]

5a. Tefillin are small leather pouches that some Jewish men wear on their forehead and arm in prayer. They contain a small scroll with some Scripture in it. See Deuteronomy 6:8. [RETURN]

5b. Tzitziot (singular, tzitzit) are specially knotted ritual fringes, or tassels, worn in antiquity by Israelites and today by observant Jews and Samaritans. Tzitziot are attached to the four corners of the tallit gadol (large prayer shawl), usually referred to simply as a tallit or tallis; and tallit katan (small tallit, a t-shirt-like undershirt). See Numbers 15:38 and Deuteronomy 22:12. [RETURN]

  8. Yeshua is absolutely not teaching against calling a Torah teacher or leading Elder of a synagogue “Rabbi.” But whoever translated Yochanan’s letter from Hebrew to Greek (John 1:38), whether Yochanan himself or some later scribe, felt it important to explain that the Hebew word רַבִּי (rabbi) translates to Greek as Διδάσκαλε (Didaskale), “teacher.” Remember that there is no valid word-for-word translation from any language into another, and that all translation requires the translator to interpret. However, the talmidim who were to become His Emissaries were specifically not to start their own schools. There wasn’t to be a School of Kefa, a School of Yochanan, etc.; there was only to be the School of Yeshua. The same holds true for addressing men as “father” or “master” in the following two sentences. We are to honor our parents, and it is not honorable for a man to routinely address his father by his first name. The context indicates that he is clearly talking about not exalting oneself over one’s fellow servants; see verse 12. [RETURN]

13a. Woe to you. Hebrew ywa, 'owy or oi; woe! alas! oh! a passionate cry of grief or despair. [RETURN]

13b. Some manuscripts reverse verses 13 and 14; some manuscripts omit verse 14 altogether. [RETURN]

14. Davening is praying, or reciting the traditional liturgical prayers, generally while slightly rocking back and forth. It can be done quietly and modestly with a slight rocking motion, or it can be done loudly with an exaggerated rocking motion so everyone can see just how spiritual one is. [RETURN]

15. It was a tradition of the Pharisees to make at least one prostelite each year. It is quite likely that Dr. Luke was one of Rav Sha'ul’s prostelites. [RETURN]

15b. “A son of …” was used to indicate a person’s characteristics. For example Bar-Nabba (Acts 4:36, was called “Son of Encouragement” because of his nature to encourage others. Yeshua was saying that the Sofrim, P'rushim, and their prostelites were “sons of hell” because of their hellish nature. [RETURN]

22. Yeshua was pointing out just how rediculous many of their self-imposed rules were; man-made onerous rules that they falsely claimed carried the full weight of Torah. [RETURN]

23. They tithed of the tiniest bit of herbs and spices they had, but totally ignored the important things that love demands. Cumin is an aromatic seed from Cuminum cyminum, resembling caraway in flavor and appearance. It is used as a spice. [RETURN]

24. There are two classes of “food” under Torah’s dietary requirements: kosher (permitted foods) and treif (forbidden foods); in fact, treif is not even considered to be “food” at all. Because Torah says “You are not to boil a young animal in its mother’s milk,” the Sages declared that meat and dairy could not be eaten together in the same meal; so they had to add a third class, parve (pareve), or neutral, that could be eaten with either meat or dairy. Both gnats and camels are decidedly treif.

In first-century Israel wine was stored in open jars, and of course gnats love wine. So to avoid swallowing the gnats that had fallen into their wine, they would strain their wine through their teeth and spit out the gnats so that not even the smallest of treif would be consumed. Yet Yeshua says that they would have no compunction about eating an entire camel! [RETURN]

26. Those who are concerned only about outward appearance clean only the outside of their cup and have no concern about the filth that is inside. [RETURN]

27. In order to prevent someone from accidentally coming into contact with a tomb in poor light and becoming ritually “unclean,” they were always kept brightly whitewashed so they would be highly visible. [RETURN]

34. After the Resurrection, Yeshua will send His Emissaries (Apostles) and the leaders of Israel will have them killed, flogged, and persecuted. [RETURN]

35. Please note that this is directed toward the leaders, not toward the Jewish people as the Replacement Theology heresy teaches. The phrase “son of Berechiah” does not appear in the Hebrew manuscripts of Matthew. This is likely Z'kharyahZechariah the father of Yochanan the Immerser who was murdered in the Temple for refusing to reveal the location of his son when Herod was murdering all the children in the area (Matt 2:16-18).

The Protoevangelium of James

And when Herod knew that he had been mocked by the Magi, in a rage he sent murderers, saying to them: “Slay the children from two years old and under.” And Mary, having heard that the children were being killed, was afraid, and took the infant and swaddled Him, and put Him into an ox-stall. And Elizabeth, having heard that they were searching for John, took him and went up into the hill-country, and kept looking where to conceal him. And there was no place of concealment. And Elizabeth, groaning with a loud voice, said: “O mountain of God, receive mother and child.” And immediately the mountain was cleft, and received her. And a light shone about them, for an angel of yhwh was with them, watching over them.

And Herod searched for John, and sent officers to Zacharias, saying: “Where have you hidden your son?” And he answered them, “I am the servant of God in holy things, and I sit constantly in the temple of yhwh. I do not know where my son is.” And the officers went away, and reported all these things to Herod. And Herod was enraged, and said, “His son is destined to be king over Israel.” And he sent to him again, saying, “Tell the truth; where is your son? For you know that your life is in my hand.” And Zacharias said: “I am God's martyr if you shed my blood; for yhwh will receive my spirit, because you have shed innocent blood at the vestibule of the temple of yhwh.” And Zacharias was murdered about daybreak. And the sons of Israel did not know that he had been murdered.

But at the hour of the salutation the priests went away, and Zacharias did not come out to meet them with a blessing, according to his custom. And the priests stood waiting for Zacharias to salute him at the prayer, and to glorify the Most High. And he still delaying, they were all afraid. But one of them ventured to go in, and he saw clotted blood beside the altar; and he heard a voice saying: “Zacharias has been murdered, and his blood shall not be wiped up until his avenger come.” And hearing this, he was afraid, and went out and told it to the priests. And they ventured in, and saw what had happened; and the fretwork of the temple made a wailing noise, and they rent their clothes from the top even to the bottom. And dod not find his body, but they found his blood turned into stone. And they were afraid, and went out and reported to the people that Zacharias had been murdered. And all the tribes of the people heard, and mourned, and lamented for him three days and three nights. And after the three days, the priests consulted as to whom they should put in his place; and the lot fell upon Simeon. For it was he who had been warned by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death until he should see the Christ in the flesh. [SOURCE]

There are numerous varying translations of the extra-biblical Protoevangelium of James, with varying chapter and verse divisions. [RETURN]

36. Yeshua is prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the end of the Levitical priesthood by the Romans in 70 CE. Josephus claims that 1.1 million people were killed in the siege. [RETURN]

39. Psalm 118:26 [RETURN]

Originally posted on Tuesday, 26 May 2020
Revised on Wednesday, 04 November 2020

Page last updated on Wednesday, 02 June 2021 10:57 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return