Matthew 23:22

ESV And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
NIV And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God's throne and by the one who sits on it.
NASB And the one who swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.
CSB And the one who takes an oath by heaven takes an oath by God's throne and by him who sits on it.
NLT And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.
KJV And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

What does Matthew 23:22 mean?

During this passage, Jesus has warned of judgment coming upon the scribes and Pharisees for foolish teachings about taking oaths. The danger of taking an oath on the God of heaven is that if a person is unable or unwilling to keep the oath, they will be breaking their word to God. Instead, Jesus has taught that people should simply say "yes" or "no" and then do it (Matthew 5:33–37). Adding "enhancements" to a promise suggests a faulty view of what it means to be trustworthy.

Traditional teachers of that era, however, used a system in which a person might be able to swear an oath by something that is sacred without directly swearing by God Himself. They have told the people to swear by the gold of the temple, or by the gift on the altar, without swearing by the temple or alter themselves. Jesus has shown this is ridiculous. You cannot separate the sacredness of altar from the sacrifice or the temple from the gold inside of it.

In the end, everything is God's. Everything a person might swear by, in truth, leads back to God. To swear an oath of any kind by anything connected to God in any way is to swear an oath to God, making the one who swears it vulnerable to God's judgment for breaking it.

Jesus now returns to a point that may have prompted the Pharisees to make these rules in the first place. Apparently, some had decided that swearing by God's throne was acceptable, while swearing by God was not. Others thought that maybe swearing by heaven would be better than swearing by God's throne. Jesus shows that swearing by any of them is the same as swearing by God. To teach that these things are separate from Him is foolishness (Matthew 23:16–21).
What is the Gospel?
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