Shutting the Kingdom


The leaders of Jesus’ day obeyed all the commandments, but the people still suffered under them. What were they doing wrong?

Author: Chaplin Mark

The problem was they obeyed the law with their minds, but not their hearts.

They were too legalistic, and hypocritical. They had flaws, as anyone does, but they focused on criticizing the sins of others, rather than repenting, and correcting themselves.

“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.” (Matthew 23:13)

Our Lord Jesus pronounced eight “woe’s” in Matthew 23 on the religious leaders of His day. This one condemns them for refusing the liberty that Christ was bringing with the new covenant.

The first “formal” message that Jesus preached was taken from the great prophecy in Isaiah 11:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18).

Later, the apostle Paul noted that “before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed” (Galatians 3:23).

These self-righteous leaders were so enamored with their positions and prestige, that they refused to rejoice in the “liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Galatians 5:1), and kept the prison doors of legalistic self righteousness shut fast–even against those who were responding to the good news of the Kingdom!

It is interesting to note that Jesus condemned both groups (Pharisees and Sadducees) for the same problem. Yet they were much different in their positions.

The Pharisees would be analogous to the fundamentalists of our day and the Sadducees to the liberals. Both camps claimed belief in “inspiration” and both camps prided themselves on their knowledge of Scripture.

Their common error was distorting the truth of God with interpretations that clouded the message — thereby shutting up the doors, out of unbelief, that led into the “glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

May God keep us from such confusion.

The Christian life is not a constant high.  I have

my moments of deep discouragement.  I have to go

to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 

‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’

Visit my website at

15 Responses to “Shutting the Kingdom”

  1. […] all the commandments, but the people still suffered under them. What were they doing wrong? Click here for […]

  2. You say, “The leaders of Jesus’ day obeyed all the commandments, but the people still suffered under them. What were they doing wrong?”

    This is not meant to be offensive to God. God is the almighty. He is the Great Physician. He is the creator. Word cannot adequately describe who or what God is, but…

    My heart was broken today. I called on God for a miraculous healing of Michelle. He is the Great Physician, you know. Michelle went to the hospital instead. I cried.

    Where is God when He doesn’t show up? And yes we still suffer. Believers and nonbelievers alike. Why is that?

    • Hi Archie,

      We can be in Christ, but we still live in a fallen world. God is a healer, but he is also sovereign.

      The closer we get to him, the more we are tested with dead times, when we pray and there is nothing. There is one thing that has been on my heart for 20 years. It has not come to pass yet.

      We cannot look at the negative circumstances, and say, “where is God?” He is there, but we cannot feel Him. That is the test.

      God’s Word is sovereign, and He will do what his Word says, but it will be in God’s way and in God’s timing.

      I had an encouraging email from a pastor in Germany. He had a Word for the saints. I will forward it to you. It’s theme is that God will have the last word on any issue, so do not go by the government’s word, the doctors’ word, the newspaper media’s word, your friend’s word, etc. Just trust him, and submit to whatever God’s perfect will is.


    • never thought i would miss out in the real kingdom & the mercy seat will still be there many say i’m forgiven already b/c God truly knows all still hoping.

  3. This is so touching. I have been away for a few days and got back and saw this. Oh how I understand what the two of you are feeling. I too have thought where is God when the saints suffer so greatly. I was in North Carolina this weekend where a dear sister I’ve known for 25 years passed suddenly. Her ministry had just begun and she’d shared with me the things God said he would do in her life, and her ministry. I asked now what?
    Why doesn’t God just heal everybody?
    The answer. Why does God heal anybody. Sometimes I act as if I’m so deserving of His attention, I SPEAK OF MYSELF AND NO ONE ELSE. He knows what he is doing.
    When I reflected on this I soon realized nothing matters except our relationship with His son. And each of us must stay ready for we know not the hour he will call us home. Please pray for me. Your words have truly touched me.

    • Hi Rev Williams

      I guess this is what carrying our cross includes. It is not an easy path to walk.

      What part of NC were you in?

    • To the Rev and Marianne
      I just finished reading two great books for the “more than first” time. The first was written by a saintly man of God from North Carolina I think who lived from circa 1870 -1952 named Rufus Moseley. It was called Manifest Destiny. The second was comprised of two works by the late Watchman Nee, “The Normal Christian Life” & “Sit Walk Stand”. What I noticed about these two men who never met, and likely never read each other’s work, was how similar a lot of what god revealed to them separately was. One point I distinctly remember is that frequently what hinders our answer is not knowing where we are in God’s view. I liked Nee sharing that Ephesians says that our posture to the enemy is to stand, because our work towards him is mainly to hold that which Christ has already won. If we were to be on the offensive, it would imply we have to wrest from satan, something which belongs to him, but instead we’re told that we’re to stand and hold because it’s already ours in Christ. We don’t have to win anything (ie territory, healing, etc) because Christ already took the battle to the gates of hell and won, so that he’s seated in the heavenlies far above all principalities and powers, rulers, and their dominions, with a name that is above every name both in this world and the one to come. “It is finished” – now we have to stand as Paul said, and not relinquish to the enemy anything that Christ has won for us, as we too are seated with him in heavenly places Paul said.

  4. Hi Marianne,
    Don’t know if you are familiar with this prophecy or not or even if those that read it will understand, but I would like to offer this link. Maybe it will encourage those that can receive it.

    Click to access 1679Prophecy.pdf

  5. This prophecy does not sound biblical to me.
    “Wherefore as the Spirit of God shall open seal after seal”
    Well, according to my bible, Jesus Christ will open them.
    “These will have might given them to overcome the dragon and his angels even as David overcame Goliath and the Philistine army. This will be the standing up of the great prince Michael”
    That sounds to much like dominion teaching. It is not we, who will bring Jesus Christ back to earth.
    “There will be some who will be fully redeemed, being clothed upon with a priestly garment after the Melchisedek order. This will qualify them for governing Authority.”
    And again, dominion teaching. We will be kings and priests in the Millennium at the earliest but not before.
    There is even more.

    • hi GYOD

      Your observations are duly noted. It sounds like another topic for discussion, doesn’t it?

    • A Pastor once said that w/o true deliverance it would be hard to be Christ like or maintain a Christian walk. The case for me & daughter Hope names are in his life book.

  6. In my studies of the Holocaust, there
    *were* people who willinly went to the Concentration
    Camps thinking it was God’s Will.

    There was also an armed resistance at Auschwitz!

    When the Nazi Army invaded Austria, the jewish lawyers
    were the first ones given deporation orders to report to the camps.

    These lawyers said they would follow the law. They
    went to their deaths willingly; thinking that if they
    were law-abiding they would be spared.

    They were wrong.

    For people to go to a guillotine at a concentration
    camp with joy would be a victory for Evil incarnate.

    There is God’s Will (Fate) but there is also Free Will.

    An armed resistance to Evil incarnate would by joyful.

    Getting people to willingly report to slave labor camps
    for their own death and torture is exactly is what is
    being planned.

    It seems the Great Deceiver is living up to its name.

    We all live in very confusing times.

    I also spoke recently with a Holocaust survivor from Greece
    who told me that the leaders of the Catholic church in
    her town gave the Nazis the names of all the jews in her

    Those who don’t know history are condemned to repeat it.

    • hi phil

      we only submit to civil authority as long as they line up with God’s will. Once they stray from that, civil disobedience is allowed.


  8. sorry Marianne the Moseley book is called Manifest Victory

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