In Matt. 23:15 the Lord denounced the Scribes and Pharisees by saying: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more THE CHILD OF HELL THAN YOURSELVES." Since Jesus said that one proselyted by these religious hypocrites was "twofold more the child of hell than" they were, this necessarily implies that they too, were CHILDREN OF HELL. The thought is that they and those proselyted by them were such as were lost and would not escape the damnation of eternal torment.


1. POSITIVE IN WORDS, BUT NEGATIVE IN ACTION. In Matt. 23:3 Jesus said concerning those who were children of hell "...but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not." From the beginning of man on earth God has expected man to show respect for Him and DO HIS WILL. Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden because they failed to DO AS GOD commanded. Only those who were DOERS of God's will were pleasing to Him during the Mosaic dispensation. Now, in the gospel age, God expects us to reverence Him and obey His commandments. In Matt. 7:21 Jesus said that the person who DOES the will of the Father which is in heaven is the one who will enter into the kingdom of heaven. James 1:22 tells us to "be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." Titus 1:16 describes some who "profess that they know God: but in works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." We may say the right things, but in order to be saved eternally, we must DO them!

2. IMPROPER MOTIVES. We learn from Matt. 23:5 that "all their works then do for to be seen of men..." Although they are negative toward many of their duties, they do other works, but do them in order for men to see them that they might receive the praises of men. Some today will only do things if others see them or will learn of what they do. In fact, often times, they make it a point to "broadcast" what they do. Dear reader, please turn to and read Matt. 6:1-6 and you will see that Jesus very plainly condemned those who do "alms before men, to be seen of them." He says: "Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." An unholy desire to be exalted by men will cause some to act in such a way as to manifest pride and arrogancy and to court the favor of people. In order to please God with our actions, our motives must be pure.

3. HYPOCRITICAL. We learn from Matt. 23:14 that some would "devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers." Jesus said they would therefore "receive the greater damnation." Ungodly acts cannot be properly covered by a hypocritical prayer. In Matt. 6:5 Jesus said hypocrites love to pray in public places that they may be seen of men. Jesus did not condemn fasting but He did condemn people fasting for the purpose of impressing men and thus receive glory from them. Solomon said in Prov. 11:9 that "a hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor ..." A hypocrite is often double-tongued. He speaks well of a man to his face but speaks behind his back in such a way as to destroy him. He may appear as a close friend, yet seek to destroy one's influence. He obviously thinks that he can exalt himself by destroying another. All of us should earnestly strive to be free from hypocrisy.

4. UNGODLY ZEAL. In Matt. 23:15 Jesus shows that children of hell may be so zealous that they will "compass sea and land to make one proselyte." In other words, they will spend whatever time, effort and means are necessary in order to accomplish this. They manifest great zeal, but again they have base motives. In reality, no good but much evil is produced by their fervent efforts. Every Christian out of a pure heart should zealously engage in every good work as ability and opportunity allows. Zeal must be directed by proper knowledge. Saul, before his conversion, was very zealous in persecuting the church. this was sinful! Later, however, he fervently preached and practiced the faith that he once destroyed!

5. INCONSISTENT. In Matt. 23:16-26 Jesus shows the inconsistency of those to whom He was speaking. They said, "whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!"as They also said, "whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty." Jesus showed also that they would pay tithes of the very smallest matters, but would omit weightier matters of the law such as judgment, mercy and faith. They would strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Today, many people are just as inconsistent in their reasoning concerning spiritual things as were those mentioned in Matt. 23 who were children of hell. For example, a person may insist that all denominations are wrong, and yet he may be a member of one. Or a person may say, "the Bible teaches there is only one true church, but I believe that there are saved people in all churches and that one church is just as good as another." A person may be inconsistent by not practicing what he teaches. He may "condemn" others for "condemning" others. Or one may insist that it is wrong to argue, but he may even "fight as well as fuss" with his wife! We need to sincerely endeavor to be consistent in life and in teaching.

6. MAY APPEAR BEAUTIFUL. Jesus said: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful out- ward, but within are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleaness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." (Matt. 23:27,28). No doubt, many who appear pious and sweet are low and mean. Outward beauty does not always indicate inward purity!

Are you a child of hell? A careful examination in the light of divine truth is of great value.

by Carrol R. Sutton in The Instructor, Vol. 4, No. 12, December 1967.

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