HIDING THE KEY OF KNOWLEDGE
Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
Lawyer, as referred to in this passage, most likely refers to the Jewish occupation of a scribe. Scribes were originally copiers of the word of God. Their office grew to include the responsibility of keepers and guardians of God's word. It was further expanded to include the interpretation and teachingof the Law of Moses. By the time of Christ, the lawyer or scribe was a very prominent profession in the Jewish community and a recognized authority on Jewish law.
Due toerrors of the scribes, or lawyers, as they interpreted the prophecies of the coming of the Messiah, they failed to recognize Jesus Christ as God's son and the Savior of the world. In doing so, they lead the Jewish nation in error because they relied on the teaching of these lawyers. In other words, these lawyers held the key to the true knowledge of God's will, but failed to make its truthsknown to the Jewish nation. By misinterpreting the law, the lawyers, in a sense, hid the key of knowledge. Without the key, the lawyers themselves could not enter into this knowledge, and since they depended on these lawyers for proper interpretation, the Jewish people were also kept from understanding the truths of God's will.
Another passage expressing this same thought is found in Matthew 23:13. 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. Here, Jesus brings this same accusation against both the scribes (lawyers) and the Pharisees. Next to the duties of the scribes, the Pharisees probably held the most prominent position within the Jewish community, a position most Jews looked up to in religious matters.
The kingdom of heaven, in the verse above, is understood to be the gospel of Christ that would lead to eternal life in heaven. The gospel of Christ, in this instance, was locked up and kept from the Jewish nation. The key to this gospel was lost in the man-made traditions established and required of all Jews by the scribes and Pharisees which distorted and confused the true word of God. Had they rightly interpreted the prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah, no doubt many more Jewish people would have come to Christ, accepted Him as their Savior, and become obedient Christians. However, due to their traditions and misinterpretations of the law, as well astheir pious, selfish attitude, the scribes and Pharisees convinced many that Jesus Christ was an imposter, thus preventing many Jewsfrom becoming His followers.
Just as Jesus warned His disciples about false prophets and teachers during His ministry on earth, by example we are warned today of similar false teachers that deceive mankind, who hide the key of knowledge from those that are seeking God's plan of salvation offered through his Son, Jesus Christ. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that brought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction (2 Peter 2:1). To the Roman Christians, Paul warned, Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:17-18). Paul also wrote to the Galatian church warning them about false teachers that would pervert the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:7).
Christian preachers, teachers, and obedient members of the body of Christ, hold the key of knowledge of salvation offered by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Much of the world today lacks this knowledge, either by their own indifference or being led astray by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive (Ephesians 4:14). Do you realize the great responsibility you have for the spiritual well-being of your family, friends, and neighbors? Are you hiding your key, or are you using it to open the knowledge of Jesus Christ to others seeking God's promised eternal salvation?