29 “Woe to you, [self-righteous] scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets and decorate and adorn the monuments of the righteous,30 and you say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have joined them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.32 Fill up, then, the [allotted] measure of the guilt of your fathers’ sins.33 You [a]serpents, you spawn of vipers, how can you escape the penalty of hell?
Matthew 23:33The serpent is the creature used by Satan to introduce evil into the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1ff). Here Jesus continues the imagery of Satan as the serpent working through the religious leaders to continue the propagation of evil through deception, false teaching, and man-made laws and traditions which are given priority over God’s law.
51 “You stiff-necked and stubborn people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are always actively resisting the Holy Spirit. You are doing just as your fathers did.52 Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who proclaimed beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become;
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