|Those Who Work Iniquity|
In Matthew 7: 21-23, Yahshua refers to those people who claim to do His will but, yet, will not enter the kingdom of heaven. He states that He never knew them, even though they have done many wonderful things in His name. At the end of verse 23, He describes who they are. There is a discrepancy among the versions as to the words used to describe them. This essay brings out these words and tries to put the meaning into the proper perspective. One needs to relate back to verse 21 to see what must be done to enter the kingdom of heaven.
The whole of the three verses as stated in the King James Version is given. The main word considered in this version is iniquity. Following this quote is a list of various versions and the word that is used. The actual wording for the whole verse may vary, but it is the one word which is of concern in this comparative analysis. After this list comes a few dictionary definitions of some of these words. At the end is a commentary.
|Matthew 7: 21-23|
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
These definitions of words have been taken from Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of the English Language, International Edition.
|Evil:||morally bad; contrary to divine or righteous law; wrong or wicked; sinful or depraved.|
|Illegal:||contrary to the law; not legal.|
|Iniquity:||deviation from right; wickedness; gross injustice; a wrongful act; unjust thing or deed.|
|Lawless:||not subject or obedient to law of any sort; unruly; disobedient; without the sanction or authority of law.|
|Sin:||a lack of conformity to, or a transgression, especially when deliberate, of a law, precept, or principle regarded as having divine authority; the state or condition of having thus transgressed; wickedness.|
|Subverter:||one who overthrows from the very foundation; one who corrupts; one who undermines the morals or character of.|
|Unauthorized:||not endowed with authority; not formally or legally sanctioned.|
|Wicked:||evil in principle and practice; vicious; sinful; depraved.|
|Wrong:||deviating from moral rectitude as prescribed by civil or divine law or by conscience.|
By checking the dictionary meaning of the word (or words) used in the various versions, the reader can obtain an idea of what the translators had in mind. One thing seems to be in common. That is, something not good is involved. However, there are various shades of meaning with these words.
That which is not good concerns a relationship with Yahweh. In verse 21, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, one must do the will of Yahweh. In verse 22, the people have done good deeds. In verse 23, however, they are rejected. Have they sinned for doing good? There are two kinds of sin, that of commission -- deliberately doing something sinful -- and that of omission -- not doing something that should be done. In this passage of Scripture, it appears that it cannot be an act of commission.
Let us then look at the sin of omission. What have these rejected people failed to do? There are numerous references in the Scriptures in regard to what people must do (Proverbs 22: 14; Ecclesiastes 12: 13; John 15: 12; Revelation 22: 14). These verses say that people must keep the commandments of Yahweh. Unfortunately, some versions have altered the passage from Revelation to give a different meaning. If the word lawlessness be closely examined, there is an answer. One who is lawless does not follow the law. What law is taught in the Scriptures? Is it the law of the land? Is it a law that man creates? No, it is the law that Yahweh issued. It is the Law of Moses.
Many churches today do not teach the Law of Moses. They say that the Law was abolished by Yahshua when He was put to death. Nowhere do the Scriptures say this. Yahshua came to fulfill the Law, but would not eliminate it until all be fulfilled. What He did take away were the animal sacrifices and the Aaronic priesthood. Yahshua became the sacrifice, and He became the high priest in the likeness of Melchisedec. He did what man could not do. Thus, we do not offer animal sacrifices but the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart. Also, there is no human high priest as Yahshua is our only high priest.
Some churches use specific parts of the Law of Moses, but according to their own interpretations, not according to what is stated in the Old Covenant Scriptures. One example is the application of tithing. How the churches use it is not in compliance to what Moses taught the children of Israel. Some parts are changed to suit the desires of man, often in accordance with pagan practices of the past. One example is the changing of the Sabbath to the day of the Sun -- seventh-day observance to first-day observance. Again, this cannot be justified in the Scriptures. These churches tell us that it is not necessary to keep the Law of Moses. They teach more from the New Covenant, which actually explains the Old Covenant, including the Law of Moses.
Lawlessness, as used in several versions means not keeping the law, namely, the law of Moses. Other renderings tend to miss this point. Thus, those people of whom Yahshua was speaking were good people, but they have failed to observe the Law that Yahshua gave to Moses. Contrary to popular Christian thinking, this applies to all followers of Yahweh.
The lesson in what Yahshua said is that doing good deeds and not doing evil are not enough. Keeping the whole law is necessary in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is another example of how Scriptural messages have taken on incorrect meanings because of alterations by copyists and translators.