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The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
But now, after that you have known God…how turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements…You observe days, and months, and times, and years. Galatians
Luke 16:15-17 NASB:
15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.
16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it.
17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail. (See verse 17 below under the KJV for further explanation.)
And he said unto them,…. That is, Jesus said unto them, as the Syriac and Persic versions express it: “ye are they which justify yourselves before men“: from the sins of injustice, unfaithfulness, covetousness, and all others; and would be thought, and appear to be righteous; but it is only in the sight of men, who can only see the outside of things, and judge thereby:
but God knoweth your hearts; and what is in them, the deceitfulness, hypocrisy, covetousness, and cruelty of them, which are hid from the eyes of men:
for that which is highly esteemed among men; or what is high in the account and esteem of men, as the outward appearance of these men for morality, religion, and holiness; their zeal for the ceremonies of the law, and the traditions of the elders: [PLEASE NOTE THEIR ZEAL FOR THE CEREMONIES OF THE LAW AND TRADITIONS OF THE ELDERS]
is abomination in the sight of God; who knew full well from what principles, and with what views they acted, to gain popular applause, and amass riches to themselves, without any concern for the glory of God, and the good of men: see Isaiah 65:5.
The law and the prophets were until John,…. Till the time that John the Baptist began his ministry; for till then, the law and the prophets, with the Hagiographa, or holy writings, for into these three parts the Jews divided the books of the Old Testament, were the only writings they had; and which contained the whole of the revelation granted to them; and which they wrested, and put false glosses on; and therefore it was no wonder that they derided Christ, and despised his ministry: and whereas spiritual things were promised in these writings, under the notion of temporal ones; which they not understanding, might imagine the doctrine of Christ, concerning the contempt of worldly riches, was contrary to: and since they valued themselves on having the law and the prophets, Christ observes, that
since that time, the kingdom of God is preached; the Gospel, and the mysteries of relating to the kingdom of the Messiah, his person, office, and grace; and to the kingdom of grace, which lies not in outward, but in inward and spiritual things; and to the kingdom of heaven, or glory hereafter; and which is a superior dispensation to that of the law and the prophets, and sets things in a clearer, plainer, and better light:
and every man presseth into it; the Gospel dispensation, the kingdom of the Messiah; “that he may enter into it”, as the Syriac and Persic versions add; which the Scribes and Pharisees did all they could to hinder; see Matthew 23:13 large multitudes crowded the ministry of John, of Christ, and of his apostles; the people flocked in great numbers to hear the word, and seemed disposed to embrace the doctrines of the Gospel, and the ordinances of it; they pressed on one another to hear it, and through many difficulties, discouragements, and obstacles, the Pharisees threw in their way; there was scarce a man but seemed very desirous of attending upon the preaching of it, and pressed hard for it; and with much force and violence, with great eagerness and endeavour broke his way to it; though a different sense is given by others reading the words, and “every one suffers violence to himself for it”, as the Arabic version; or “is oppressed for it”, as the Ethiopic; that is, suffers reproach, contradiction, and persecution, for the sake of hearing it.