Matthew 23:22 MEANING

Matthew 23:22
Verse 22. - By heaven. The Talmndists affirm that an oath "by heaven" or "by earth" was not binding, on the ground, probably, that these were mere creatures. Christ again dissipates such sophistries. To swear by the creature is virtually to swear by the Creator. A brute, inanimate thing cannot be witness to an oath; he alone can be appealed to who owns all. Thus we "kiss the book," calling God to witness our words. Christ had already given a lesson to his followers on this subject in the sermon on the mount (ch. Matthew 5:34-37). He inculcates true reverence, that fear and awe of God's dignity and God's presence which constrains a man to avoid all profaneness and carelessness in regard to things that are concerned with God.

23:13-33 The scribes and Pharisees were enemies to the gospel of Christ, and therefore to the salvation of the souls of men. It is bad to keep away from Christ ourselves, but worse also to keep others from him. Yet it is no new thing for the show and form of godliness to be made a cloak to the greatest enormities. But dissembled piety will be reckoned double iniquity. They were very busy to turn souls to be of their party. Not for the glory of God and the good of souls, but that they might have the credit and advantage of making converts. Gain being their godliness, by a thousand devices they made religion give way to their worldly interests. They were very strict and precise in smaller matters of the law, but careless and loose in weightier matters. It is not the scrupling a little sin that Christ here reproves; if it be a sin, though but a gnat, it must be strained out; but the doing that, and then swallowing a camel, or, committing a greater sin. While they would seem to be godly, they were neither sober nor righteous. We are really, what we are inwardly. Outward motives may keep the outside clean, while the inside is filthy; but if the heart and spirit be made new, there will be newness of life; here we must begin with ourselves. The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was like the ornaments of a grave, or dressing up a dead body, only for show. The deceitfulness of sinners' hearts appears in that they go down the streams of the sins of their own day, while they fancy that they should have opposed the sins of former days. We sometimes think, if we had lived when Christ was upon earth, that we should not have despised and rejected him, as men then did; yet Christ in his Spirit, in his word, in his ministers, is still no better treated. And it is just with God to give those up to their hearts' lusts, who obstinately persist in gratifying them. Christ gives men their true characters.And he that shall swear by heaven,.... As the Jews were wont to do in common, but did not look upon such an oath as obligatory on them; See Gill on Matthew 5:34, though such an one

sweareth by the throne of God; for heaven is God's throne, where he sits, and, in an eminent manner, displays the glory of his majesty:

and by him that sitteth thereon, by God himself. Thus swearing by anything that has any relation to God, is implicitly swearing by him; and therefore ought to be considered as binding, as if he was expressed in it; since an appeal cannot be made to things inanimate, nor indeed to any creature, but to God, the searcher of hearts.

Courtesy of Open Bible