Hypocrisy, Unbelievable Deception
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.
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Condemnation and wrath are reserved for those who parade themselves as if they are true spiritual leaders, who represent God, but in fact are liars, deceivers and hypocrites. “What is a hypocrite?” The dictionary describes a hypocrite as a: dissembler, (concealing one's true motives, feelings, or beliefs), deceiver, liar, pietist, sanctimonious person, a phony, fraud, and a fake. Therefore, Hypocrisy is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or spiritual beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform. This is pure pretense, a false display of feelings, attitudes, or intentions to make something that is not genuine or sincere appear to be true.
How did our Lord treat hypocrites and those pretending to be something they were not? Christ’s warnings to those great pretenders were words of judgment and wrath as He exposed their hypocrisies, deceit, and lies. Scripture repeatedly warns about teachers who are empty of the knowledge of God. They say they offer salvation to others but are void of the salvation they claim to proclaim. False spiritual leaders are cursed for keeping people out of heaven, Matthew 23:13 says, "For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men for you neither go in yourselves, neither permit them who are entering to go in."
False spiritual leaders developed reasoning that perverted the truth. God is a God of truth and a God who cannot lie. God says, I hate lying in every false way. These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:16-19). God is a God who speaks truth and so any false system is a lying system.
Deception is a mask that false spiritual leaders and teachers wear. Matthew 23:27, "Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you're like whited sepulchers which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead bones and all uncleanness." Christ says they are guilty of deception and walk after their own efforts, not by faith but by sight, by works, and by the law. Their works are dead and though they may appear to be good, God sees their heart and knows their motives behind the deeds.
False spiritual leaders pretended to have kind words for the memory of the prophets that were dead and gone, while hating and plotting the murder of Christ. Verses 29-32, of Matthew 23, are last because they show the wickedness of their character. “If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets” (Matthew 23:29). They were saying in essence; “If they had lived in the days of the prophets, they would have heard them gladly and obeyed.” This, in fact, was not true for they were rejecting and rebelling against the Light that had come into the world through Christ.
The last of the seven “Woes,” in Matthew 23:33, was directed to the Scribes, Pharisees and Hypocrites, bringing words of doom, judgment and damnation to hell. Christ was strong and compelling in His instruction to these false spiritual leaders that they by no means, could expect to enter the kingdom of heaven. Their deception of the truth was so great and their lies so damaging they could never have access to the glories of heaven.
Thought: We are called to honor and esteem God and not to take His name in vain––Exodus 20:7. Hypocrisy is outwardly naming the name of God but inwardly subverting the truth, perverting the Gospel and deceiving people into believing lies. “Woe,” unto those who are hypocrites for their judgment will be fathomless and imponderable!