Let's do a quick examination of this short passage:
Luke 11:52 "Woe to you Torah experts! For you have taken away the key of knowledge! Not only did you yourselves not go in, you also have stopped those who were trying to enter!” (CJB)
While it’s true that Yeshua was addressing the Pharisees of his time, it resounds into our world today – a world that, as in the days of Noah, is largely devoid of love and respect for God and His Torah; where morality is a thing of the past, and people no longer have respect for anyone or anything, including themselves … a world where pursuit of intellect, education, knowledge and success through hard work are ridiculed; and many feel “entitled” to endless handouts from the government….
(1) "Woe to you Torah experts!"
So, who are today’s "Torah experts?” During the early days of the “Messianic Movement,” those teachers consisted of pastors and rabbis – educated people with seminary or yeshiva training. (For instance, Conservative Baptist minister, Moishe Rosen, born into a Reform Jewish family, created “Jews for Jesus” in 1973, and ultimately led Hebrew Christian congregations for an organization now known as Chosen People Ministries.)
That all changed with the advent of the Internet and “social media” where people enjoyed a plethora of Bible teachers of various “flavors” - each of whom featured their own interpretations of the innumerable passages, which they all, of course, touted as “the proper interpretation of God’s Truth.”
Naturally, everyone began to share/recommend their favorite teacher(s) and exchange the information they had gleaned from each one. The problem is, when knowledge is shared by word-of-mouth, the original teachings tend to become skewed and generally “watered down.”
Regardless, instead of digging into Scripture, it was easier for those seeking knowledge about Torah, to read some articles or watch some videos on somebody’s “ministry” page, which they could then share and discuss … and also to fight and argue about - because they were ALL rapidly becoming “experts”….
After all, while doing their “research” they had picked up a few Hebrew terms here and there (with many constantly trying to impress others via their insertion of these terms into their regular conversation (i.e., “I wish you a tov week with lots of shalom, chaverim!”).
Proverbs 19:2 Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, And he who hurries his footsteps errs.
Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for want of knowledge. Because you rejected knowledge,I will also reject you as cohen for me. Because you forgot the Torah of your God, I will also forget your children. (CJB)
Still others began to impress their online friends with some info from the Talmud (which they had gleaned from some of their Hebrew Roots teachers or their more “advanced” friends); and hey, that Kaballah and Gematria stuff was too cool to pass up – especially for those who liked intrigue and conspiracy theories; it was like a brand-new twist on fortune telling. Talk about being able to IMPRESS!
Anyway, it’s no wonder that MOST of today’s "Torah experts” are mainly lay-persons - "wannabe's"- with no real knowledge, education, or formal training. They have never taken one yeshiva or seminary class, and don't have any real knowledge of Scripture, nor training in how to properly deal with people. Many reluctantly admit (when confronted) that they have never even read the Bible all the way through – and, yet, some of them will actually argue that it does NOT matter!
Matthew 24:10 At that time many will be trapped into betraying and hating each other, 11 many false prophets will appear and fool many people; 12 and many people's love will grow cold because of increased distance from Torah. 13 But whoever holds out till the end will be delivered. (CJB)
(2) "For you have taken away the key of knowledge!"
So, how did they take away the "key of knowledge?" Well, the "key" has always been Torah (the first five Books of the Bible containing all of ADONAI's Divine Instructions - which are non-negotiable.
Since most don’t have a clue as to HOW to teach, they never lead people in the pursuit of actual Bible STUDY. Instead, they concentrate all their efforts on telling people how badly they were “deceived in the pagan churches” (they LOVE to throw around the word “pagan”.) They relentlessly hammer the need for Torah observance – with each “teacher” teaching THEIR respective idea of Torah and “how to” keep it.
(Never mind that they are talking to myriad followers who haven’t got the slightest clue what Torah actually is, because they never even READ, let alone, STUDIED it to discover how and why it is applicable to ALL who accept YHWH as their God! These “teachers” with their verbal “sledge-hammers” never seem to realize they are trying to reach people who have been taught throughout their life that, “we Christians are under grace; the law was abolished at the cross, and besides, it only pertained to the Jews.” See Exodus 12:49, Numbers 15:13-16, Isaiah 56:6, Galatians 3:28 and Romans 10:12-13.)
It’s truly a case of “the blind leading the blind!”
In the meantime, these illustrious “teachers” constantly sit behind their keyboards to bash Christianity (a place where most of us FOUND “Jesus” in the first place!) and endlessly fight with Christians (and even those who are already Torah observant), because – according to the self-proclaimed “experts” - nobody but they themselves are “doing it right.”
So, the “key of knowledge” was lost somewhere in the over-abundance of misinformation promulgated by the self-centered and arrogant seeking glory for themselves….
James 4: 1. From where is it, that there are among you arguments and conflicts? Is it not from the lusts which war in your members? 2. You covet but do not possess; and you kill and envy, and effect nothing: and you fight and make attacks; and you do not have, because you do not ask. 3. You ask, and do not receive because you ask wickedly, that you may feed your lusts. 4. You adulterers, don’t you know that the love of the world is hatred towards Elohim? He therefore who chooses to be a lover of this world is the enemy of Elohim. (AENT)
(3) "Not only did you yourselves not go in, you also have stopped those who were trying to enter!”
Yes, these mostly self-proclaimed Torah teachers will often use terms such as, “Do your oown research!” or “Check it out for yourself!” But, the reality is, MOST WON’T bother, because they aren’t really interested in reading or “studying.” (Remember, the pursuit of intellect and knowledge – although easier to obtain today than ever before! - has waned considerably over the last 50 years or so. People desire “instant gratification.”)
Peruse social media and you can see for yourself that most seem to prefer “mind-numbing” things that don’t require any deep thought at all … cool-sounding memes, short blurbs found on someone’s Facebook wall, or someone droning on in a “YouTube” video (many of which, today, are made by people who can’t even speak proper English, much less, form cohesive thoughts as they meander their way through some “great findings” they wish to share with the entire world)….
As for their “research?” Well, judging by the things some of the folks on the social media circuit espouse, their “research” consisted of “browsing the ‘net’ and landing on some ear-tickling article, video or website that happened to agree with their respective ideology or taught them something “cool” they had never heard before. They didn’t actually READ the Bible or a book by some learned scholar. But they will argue that they “DID their research”, and will readily tell YOU to do YOURS, if you don’t agree with the things they say!
Titus 1:15. For to the pure, everything is pure; but to them who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but their understanding is defiled, and their conscience. 16 And they profess that they know Elohim, but in their works they deny him; and they are odious and disobedient and to every good work reprobates. (AENT)
Matthew 15: 8. “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is very far from me.” 9. And they revere me in vain, while they teach the doctrines of the commandments of the sons of men. (See Isaiah 29:13) (AENT)
Hopefully, after reading this article, you can understand how and why these “teachers” … these modern “pharisees” .... have stopped others from receiving the true Torah by taking away the “key” – and ironically, fulfilling the words of Luke 11:52…