Christ next exposes their corruption in their views and practices concerning the sacred things of God.  These “blind guides,” through their covetousness, taught that to swear by the temple itself was nothing, but to swear by the gold of the temple was a serious matter.  Thus they made the base material of the building of greater importance than the house which was the place where God’s presence dwelt among His people.  Surely they deserved the moniker of “fools and blind.” 

The same can be said regarding their teaching on the altar.  They held the altar itself in small regard, even though that was the place where propitiatory sacrifices were offered to God.  But the gift upon the altar, if that was sworn by, made one a debtor!  Surely, they deserved condemnation for such rank theological stupidity.  It is the altar which sanctifies the gift, not the other way around.  Therefore, the man who swore by the altar swore, not by it only, but by the gift or sacrifice upon it as well.  He who swore by heaven swore by the throne of God, and the divine Being Who sits upon it.  He who swore by the temple swore not by the building only, but by the One Who dwelt  there in Shekinah glory.  It is noteworthy here that Christ does not condemn those who swear, as He appeared to do in the sermon on the mount.  This helps to persuade me that He did not mean there to issue a blanket condemnation of all swearing under any circumstances, but was forbidding excessive swearing, because it does discredit to the character of the swearer.  At any rate, we may say that he who swears, particularly when he brings God into the matter, had best exercise the utmost solemnity, and make sure he is in a situation which requires such a drastic step.  And he must surely be careful to fulfill his oath, lest he be found a liar before God Whose Name he has taken upon his lips.