Matt. 23:13 (again!)

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Martin Marprelate, Feb 1, 2016.

  1. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    I posted this back in August, but perhaps it is worth looking at it again.

    Matt. 23:13. "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 do so."

    I though it might be worth having a thread on this verse because a weight is being put on it in various discussions which I do not believe it will bear.

    The context of Matt. 23 is our Lord's attack on the Jewish leadership. It is not a soteriological discussion. That does not mean that it cannot be used to discuss soteriology, but to use v.13, without support from elsewhere in the Bible, as the lynch-pin for a whole theological position is very unwise.

    Van wrote elsewhere:
    Click to expand...
    First of all, there is nothing in the verse that tells us that these men were 'in Adam'- that is, fallen, unregenerate. That is Van's own assumption. But on his understanding, unregenerate men can enter heaven by their own will and in their own strength. Such a view is know as Pelagianism and is generally regarded as being outside Christian orthodoxy. But it gets worse! Apparently, the arbiters of who gets into heaven is neither Father nor Son nor the Holy Spirit, but the scribes and Pharisees. They are able to operate an effective bar upon who gets into heaven.

    We have to square Matt. 23:13 with other Bible texts. This is called the 'Analogy of Faith.' The Bible does not contradict itself, and therefore there must be a way to reconcile this verse with others.

    John 3:19. "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

    This verse teaches that unregenerate people do not seek Christ, the Light of the world, because they prefer their fallen lifestyles (cf. also John 3:3, 5; 6:44; Rom. 1:28; 1 Cor. 2:14 etc.).

    John 6:39. "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day."

    This verse teaches that the Father has given to the Son a people to be saved, and He will lose none of them (cf. also John 6:37; 17:2, 6).

    John 10:26. "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I told you."

    This verse teaches that people do not become Christ's sheep by believing, but they believe because they are Christ's sheep.

    John 10:27f. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand."

    Hear we learn that Christ's sheep are distinguished from others by their ears and their feet; they hear the Shepherd's voice and the follow Him. Moreover, no scribe, no Pharisee, no one at all is going to stop these sheep from attaining to eternal life.

    [To be continued]
     
    #1 Martin Marprelate, Feb 1, 2016
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  2. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    Matt. 23:13. "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 do so."

    So if this verse doesn't mean what Van thinks it means, what does it mean? Does it really mean that the scribes and Pharisees were actually preventing people from getting into heaven?

    Well first of all, let's consider what 'allow' means in English. People are not allowed to speed in Britain or America. There are laws against it. Do they still do it? They do in Britain. People are not allowed to shoot each other in the USA. There's a whole thread about the large number of gun murders on this very forum.

    Next, there's the Greek word translated 'allow' in the NKJV and 'suffer' in the KJV. The word is aphiemi, and it's root meaning is 'send away' or 'discharge.' It is translated in the KJV as 'forgive' 47 times, 'leave' 52 times, 'let alone' 6 times, and 'suffer' ('allow') 13 times. So you can see that it has a wide range of meanings, but in Matt. 23:13 it surely need mean no more than that the religious leaders did not look kindly on those who were coming to the Lord Jesus, and obstructed them as much as they could.

    The best example of this is their treatment of the man born blind in John 9. They did their very best to stop this man following Jesus, and when he persevered, they excommunicated him (v.34). Even then, they couldn't prevent the man from worshipping Jesus (v.38). Everyone who genuinely seeks Christ will find Him (cf. John 6:37b), but the fact is that no one will genuinely seek unless he is born again (John 6:65; 8:47 etc.).

    I have previously posted J.C. Ryle's comments on this verse. I apologize for doing so again; you can look up any good commentary and find the same thing, but Ryle is brief and pithy:

    'The first "woe" in the list is directed against the systematic opposition of the scribes and Pharisees to the progress of the Gospel. They "shut up the kingdom of heaven:" They would neither go in themselves, nor suffer others to go in; they rejected the warning voice of John the Baptist; they refused to acknowledge Jesus when He appeared among them as the Messiah; they tried to keep back Jewish inquirers. They would not believe the Gospel themselves and they did all in their power to prevent others believing in it: this was a great sin.'

    That is all the verse means. To try to turn it into a theological trampoline and bounce up and down on it is foolishness of the worst kind. If those entering the kingdom were saved- if they had repented of their sins and trusted in Christ for salvation- then Satan himself would not keep them out. The Lord Jesus will build His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it, much less the scribes and Pharisees. If they were not saved, then they would not get in (Rev. 21:8, 27).
     
    #2 Martin Marprelate, Feb 1, 2016
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  3. Van

    Van
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    Once again we have an effort to deny the obvious, fallen men were in the process of entering heaven. They did not enter, and no one enters on their own power. To ascribe that view to me is simply misrepresentation, calculated to obscure the issue.

    Does John 3:19 say or suggest all fallen people hate the light? Nope. Some people believe in Christ, verse 18. The ends driven exegesis continues, fallen people become each and every fallen person. Twaddle.

    John 6:39 simply says each and every one God gives to Jesus is saved forever. This is not in dispute. When God transfers a person from the realm of darkness into the kingdom of His Son, that is the act of giving someone to Christ.

    John 10:26 says folks who are not "of My sheep" do not believe. But all those in believe in God, who believe God's promise of a Messiah, these who are willing and open to the gospel, are "of My Sheep." These comprise the fields white for harvest. The effort to conflate "of My Sheep" with "My sheep" is twaddle.

    John 10:27 is non-germane, we are discussing the attributes of the fallen, not the saved.

    Matthew 23:13 means what it says. No special understanding is needed. Fallen men, who were not being compelled with "irresistible grace" we in the process of "entering heaven." If they had been under the compulsion of "Irresistible grace" they could not have been blocks. Therefore they were unregenerate. And they were entering heaven so they had some spiritual ability. QED
     
  4. SovereignGrace

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    No one stops a sinner from entering into heaven but the sinner. They have zero desire for the things of God.
     
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  5. Van

    Van
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    Every one who enters heaven was a sinner. :)
    The men of Matthew 23:13 had considerable desire for the things of God.
    Folks, just read the verse, or Matthew 13, or the story of the rich young ruler. The bible teaches of folks trying to be reconciled to God through works rather than faith, but none the less seeking God. The claim that no one ever seeks after God conflicts with verse after verse.
     
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  6. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    1. What view do you think I have falsely ascribed to you?
    2. Where does the text say that these men were 'fallen' by which I assume you mean unregenerate (if you don't, what do you mean. All men are fallen).

    So when the Lord Jesus says, 'Men loved darkness rather than light,' what He meant to say was that lots of people prefer light to darkness? Perhaps He just got a bit muddled. It's lucky He has you to put Him right.
    You don't say!

    John 6:39. "This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day." It is Christ who saves those whom God gives to Him. These are the ones who God has loved with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3) and chose for salvation from eternity 'Through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth to which He called you by our Gospel....' (2 Thes. 2:13-14). Those who are God's elect were predestined from eternity to be set apart for salvation by the Holy Spirit and given faith to believe the Gospel.

    'Twaddle'. is your word of the week, is it? Why not try 'piffle' next week? It's sure to impress people with your command of English.
    John 10:26-28. "But you do not believe because you are not of My Sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me, and I give them eternal life......'
    First of all, they do not become Christ's sheep by believing or by hearing the Shepherd's voice; they hear the Shepherd's voice because they are His sheep. The sheep hear the Shepherd's voice. They hear because they are His sheep. It's very plain when you read the whole of John 10.
    Secondly, why does He say, "of My sheep" instead of "My sheep"? Because all the disciples in Israel formed only a part 'of His sheep.' He has just said that He has "Other sheep which are not of this fold" (ie. the Gentiles). The Jewish leaders were not part of His flock, not 'of His sheep,' and therefore they did not believe.


    It's very germane as I have shown above, but I can understand why you prefer not to discuss it. :D

    Again, where does it say that these men were 'fallen'? Where does it say that they were not being compelled with irresistible grace? You are swinging hard on the NKJV translation of 'allow,' but as I have shown above, not being allowed to do something does not always prevent people from doing it.
     
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  7. Van

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    I have only encountered one person holding Martin's doctrine who actually represented my views instead of endless strawman arguments.

    Next, we get the nit pic defense, challenge everything such as the men of Matthew 23:13 were fallen, unregenerate men of flesh, supposedly with total spiritual inability. According to Martin's view, to be entering heaven they would have regenerated by "irresistible grace." But they were blocked, thus unregenerate. And all this was explained in post # 3

    Next, I will be asked to explain what I mean by the word "is."

     
  8. Rippon

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    Van, you are out on a broken wing of a tree all by your lonesome.

    As MM has said:"To try and turn it [Matt. 23:13] into a theological trampoline and bounce up and down on it is foolishness of the worst kind."

    "It is not a soteriological discussion...to use v.13, without support from elsewhere in the Bible, as the lynch-pin for a whole theological opinion is very unwise."

    It's interesting that this particular verse as well as 2 Peter 2:1, and 2 Peter 3:9 [by others]are used as if those passages are soteriological. The latter is dealing with eschatology!

    Van has his unique views which a number here have called Vanology. His novel interpretations are being exposed for what they are --unbiblical. That's not to say he doesn't cite Bible passages --he does. However, his spins on Scripture are not in accordance with sound hermeneutics to say the least.
     
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  9. Martin Marprelate

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    OK, back to Post #3.
    Which view of yours have I misrepresented? Is it
    A. That you are denying the obvious?
    B. That 'fallen' men were in the process of entering heaven?
    C. That they did not enter? Or
    D. That no one enters on [sic] their own power?
    Did these men enter heaven or did they not? You don't seem quite sure. Were the Scribes and Pharisees capable of over-ruling the will of God?
     
    #9 Martin Marprelate, Feb 2, 2016
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  10. Van

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    I answer Martin's question, top of post # 7, yet Martin asks again, feigning incredulity.

    This is all they have, offer personal attacks and misrepresent the view as presented. Shuck and jive, folks shuck and jive.

    I have offered 4 different lines of evidence, each supported by multiple passages, demonstrating total spiritual inability is mistaken doctrine.

    Note no actual denial of Matthew 23:13's teaching has been offered. Fallen, unregenerate men of flesh were entering heaven, therefore possessing sufficient spiritual ability to seek God effectively. QED
     
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  11. Martin Marprelate

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    A complete refutation was given in Posts 1 & 2. You have failed to deal with any of it. Specifically, you have failed to deal with the meaning of aphiemi. It will not bear the weight you are putting on it, any more than the Bible permits us to believe that the scribes and Pharisees could frustrate the will of God.
    1. Where does the text say that these men were 'fallen unregenerate men of flesh'? Not in Matt. 23:13.
    2. Did these men enter heaven, Van? A simple yes or no will suffice.
     
  12. JamesL

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    I'm wondering why the leap has been taken that entering the Kingdom of Heaven = Entering Heaven ??

    This false premise has derailed somebody's ability to perceive the truth of what Jesus meant
     
  13. thjplgvp

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    It would seem from reading Mathew 23 that Jesus is speaking to both multitude and also to the disciples concerning the errors of the Pharisees and the religious leaders of Israel.


    When Christ comes to verse 13 it seems he changes audiences and is now speaking directly to the Pharisees charging them with deliberately sabotaging the efforts of those Jews who are wanting to come into the kingdom of heaven and it is interesting that Christ uses the terminology “kingdom of heaven” since the phrase is only used in the book of Mathew which is expressly written to the Jews.


    It is also interesting that Jesus in his previous altercation with the Pharisees (Matt 21) that because of their refusal to believe and because of their deliberate tampering with the fruit (souls) God expected from Israel they forfeited their part of setting up the kingdom of God and the gentile nations (alluded to) would take their part in the future (till the time of the gentiles be fulfilled).


    Matthew 21 certainly address the Pharisees resistance to bearing fruit (souls) for the Kingdom of God so it is likely that Matthew 23 is a similar attack by Christ. The religious leaders who were primarily the Pharisees were using the law to prevent people from embracing Christianity. The Pharisees could not stop people from being saved but they could badger them to prevent them from choosing Christianity as a life style.


    While I am not a fan of Calvinism I believe salvation is not the direct connotation of this verse rather it is the badgering or persecution of the religious Jews against those Jews who are wanting to embrace Christianity.


    BTW to say the original post was not about soteriology and then immediately apply it to Calvinist Soteriology was misleading.


    thjplgvp
     
  14. Van

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    And the absurdity continues. Matthew 23:13 says fallen men who were in the process of entering heaven, and therefore seeking God, were blocked. This demonstrates both fallen, unregenerate men have some spiritual ability, and (2) they were not being compelled by irresistible grace.

    Neither post 1 or 2 refuted anything. You ask why they are considered fallen, but do not say they were regenerated. Then you start talking, spuriously, about other verses, not Matthew 23:13.

    I believe Matthew 23:13 is but one example of 4 different lines of evidence, none of which have been refuted, teaching total spiritual inability is bogus.
     
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  15. Van

    Van
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    One of the tools of denial is to claim parts of scripture can be ignored if they are not the main subject of a passage. This is bogus. In the sentence, She got on the yellow school bus, yellow school are not the subject, but to turn around and claim she got on a green city bus is absurd. The men who were entering heaven, were blocked. To claim they were not really entering heaven, or were not really blocked is absurd nonsense.
     
  16. JamesL

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    which translation are you reading that in?

    are you suggesting that people were trying to kill themselves, and Pharisees were keeping men from dying?

    Nobody goes to heaven without dying, you know
     
  17. Van

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    Hi JamesL, not sure what your point is. It seems an effort to change the subject. The issue is that fallen people, unsaved have limited spiritual ability, they can receive and accept the gospel. Martin maintains they cannot unless compelled by irresistible grace. That view has been shown to be bogus.

    If you want to debate entry into the spiritual realm of God during our physical lifetime, start another thread and state your case.
     
  18. JamesL

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    I'm merely trying to dissect what you've stated.

    You said these men were entering heaven, which they could not possibly do until they died. And that the Pharisees were preventing some from entering heaven

    So, the logical conclusion is that you believe the Pharisees were keeping them from dying.
     
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  19. Internet Theologian

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    Yes, such were some of you...1 Cor. 6:9ff

    That text says nothing of the sort but your presuppositions and looking for a proof text has made it say this to you. Dogma should always rule, not a proof text to support an ax one intends to grind. The lost have no desire for the true God.

    Much of nothing here but some pretense as to a self-proclaimed victory with no substance. You'll have to do better than alluding to some pretend audience ('Folks') and to Scriptures not exegeted nor commented on that allegedly prove you as correct.

    The RYR didn't seek God, didn't keep the commandments, and broke all the 10 as have all the lost. He was a covetous idolater, and like the religious lost whom you exalt, merely thought he sought after God. The only one good, as he found out, is God. Not him nor anyone else, yet you make men out to be good.

    So then Cain must have been really seeking God by his own works. How terrible for him to be rejected. Poor fellow, he was seeking God but got rejected. His effort to seek God should have gotten a reward, as per you he was sincere. Too bad you weren't there to intercede for his efforts.

    Not so, it conflicts with your false interpretations of Scripture and flies in the face of your misunderstanding thereof and against your exaltation of man. No one seeks after God, it is God who seeks after man, and specifically of the elect. Note Romans 3:10ff.
     
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  20. Martin Marprelate

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    Exactly right! Thumbsup Genesis 3:8-9.
     
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