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Kathedra of Moses

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Hoonbaba, Mar 10, 2003.

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  1. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    Here's another question running through my mind:  Is there any historical records that explain the 'kathedra of Moses' (aka chair of Moses) as mentioned in Matt 23:2?  I noticed this is a reference to the authority that the pharisees had.  In fact it's interesting how Jesus even says,

    "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach." (Matt 23:2-3)

    It looks like this say a ton about authority!  Anyway, I noticed how the 'kathedra of Moses' isn't mentioned anywhere in the Bible except in this verse.  So is there any more information on this? 


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  2. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    By the way, it looks like Ex 18:14-26 may be a reference to this 'chair', but is there anymore on this?

  3. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'

    The seat of Moses that Jesus refers to is oral Jewish tradition. Jesus was mentioning their OT tradition.

    There is a thread in the messianic section where someone posted a real good post on this Jewish authority. Maybe in reading this it can help you out.

    Here is the post: I hope the author does not mind me coping his post.

    Halachic Authority has really got me questioning in circles. There are so many facets, and I see such importance for the subject, that I don't take it lightly.

    Before I begin I will make a few brief comments for those who are unfamiliar with Halacha.

    Halachic authority is the authority to make decisions interpreting the Torah forbidding and permitting activities based on these interpretations, and resolving matters between fellow believers. The word "halacha" means "the way to walk." Torah observance requires halachic authority for three reasons. First there are matters about which the Torah is ambiguous and must be clarified. For example the matter of what a "bill of divorcement" must actually say is not clarified. Or for that matter, what is work, or what is it specifically we are to abstain from during Shabbat observance? Secondly is the matter of conflicting Torah commands. For example the Torah requires the priests to circumcise on the eight day after a birth, but also requires rest from work on the Sabbath. Which commandment holds priority? Finally the Torah requires us to establish courts (see Deut. 16:18).

    The Halachic authority was originally given to Moshe (ex. 8:13). But this was too great a task for Moshe to handle by himself, as there were millions of Isrealites in the land at that time. So G-d gave the same authroity to a council of elders (Ex. 18:13-26; Dt. 1:9-18) This is what became known as the "seat of Moshe". Their judgements were regarded as the judgement of G-d himself (Dt. 1:17) and were even called "Torah" (Dt. 17:11) This council became known as the seventy elders whom G-d put His Ruach upon (Num. 11:16-17; 24-25).

    Halachic Authority was also held by kings. This became termed as "The key David"(Is. 22:21-22). These kings were seen as sitting on the "throne of G-d".

    In the time of Yeshua (and some time previous to that) Judaism was made up of variuos sects. The Sadducees held control of the council for some time, but then by Yeshua's time the Halachic authority was divided. After the destruction of the Temple halachic authority primarily rested upon the Pharisees, yet there were pockets of communities that continued to established their own beit din (i.e. the Essences). Each of the various sects had their own Halachic councils with their own Halachic authority.

    There were two main Sanhedrins, a great asssembly, at this time. The first was more a political functioning that was more or less an instrument of Rome. Josephus wrote much about this Sanhedrin. This one was made up of both Pharisees and Sadducees. Then the other, by contrast, was made up soley of Pharisees and these Pharisees were strictly scholars. Hillel and Gameliel were both the Nasi (a president of sorts) of this Sanhedrin.

    The Qumran community, who were essenes, also had their own coucil to determine halacha. They saw themselves as the "sons of light" and were not to mingle with the "sons of darkness" (Man. of Disc. I,9; II, 24). Thus they created their own Sanhedrin.

    So as we can see Halachic authority was very fragmented at this time.

    There are still two main issues before I move onward.
    The sect that was established by Shaul, Ya'cov, and Kefa became known as the Nazarenes. This can be seen in the book of acts in various places. Acts 15, Here we are shown a Halachic court which has worldwide authority and which seems to be led by Ya'akov HaTzadik (James the Just) as Nasi and Kefa (Peter) as Av Beit Din.
    There is no question that they had their own beit din (house of elders), but the second issue is this: Where did they get their authority to make Halachic decisons?

    I think that many passages of the Moshiach have been twisted, and through this twisting they have lost the deeper meaning.

    Mt. 23:2-3 Yeshua makes a surprising statement, he says:

    "The Scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, That observe and keep. but do not according to their works; for they say, and do not."

    This seems to enforce the disciples to follow the authority of the Pharisees. But then there is the newly discovered Hebrew text of Matthew that predates all other Brit Chadasha texts by 100 years. This is what it has to say:

    "Upon the seat of Moses the Pharisees and sages sit. Now all which he says to you keep and do; but their ordinances and deeds do not do because they say, and do not."

    There are some that argue that however it reads, Yeshua was not imploiring them to follow blindly all Pharisiac Halacha, because in vs. 16-22 he clearly opposed a point of Pharisiac Halacha.

    Then in Luke 11:52 he rebukes the Pharisees for taking away the "key". This "key" is probably in reference to Is. 22:22:

    "The key of the House of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut and no one shall open."

    This key is then made clear to be Halachic authority.

    Then In Mt. 16:18-19 Yeshua says he would give "the keys of the Kingdom" to Kefa and his students:

    "And I also say to you that you are Kefa, And upon this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of Sheol shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

    We can also see this in Matthew 18:15-20

    "18:15 "If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother. 18:16 But if he doesn't listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 18:17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a Goy or a tax collector. 18:18 Amayn I tell you, whatever things you will bind on eretz will be bound in heaven, and whatever things you will loose on eretz will be loosed in heaven. 18:19 Again, amayn I tell you, that if two of you will agree on eretz concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them."

    Here Yeshua refers to an assembly that has the power to bind and loose. These are two Semitic idioms used in Rabbinic literature as technical terms referring to Halachic authority. To "bind" means to "forbid" an activity and to "loose" means to permit an activity.

    Another issue also comes out of this following verse:

    "And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock
    of offence to both the houses of Israel…"

    The ancient Nazarene texts explain the two houses as the two houses of Shammai and Hillel, and these two houses did not accept the moshiach.

    The final quote I bring to you comes from the Nazarene commentary on Isaiah 8:20-21:

    "The Scribes and the Pharisees tell you to listen to them… answer them like this:
    "It is not strange if you follow your traditions since every tribe consults its own
    idols. We must not, therefore, consult your dead [sages] about the living ones…."

    So it is clear that the original Nazarenes were not "following Pharisaic Rabbinical Halakhah."

    Yet, Y'shua and the Netzarim obviously accepted the Pharisetical halacha in most areas, so where does the standared lay today?

    The Torah proclaims that Halacha is to be regarded as the Torah itself. How do we know which halacha to follow? What authority is any[/] beit din established upon today?

    What about the authority Y'shua passed to Kepha? Does it currently exist? With the Netzarim beit din under James Trimm? With another beit din? Under no beit din? Has that authority reverted back to a "non" messianic sect?

    And finally, if not most importantly...
    Did Y'shua denounce the authority of the beit din of his time because of unrighteousness, or because of non-belief in the Messiah?

    The answer to the final question would guide us entirely. If Y'shua denounced the beit din of his day because of unrighteousness, then we can gladly accept any beit din established today upon the principle of the beit din living a righteous lifestyle.
    However, if he denounced it on the basis of their unbelief in his claim to be HaMoshiach, then we are to seek a messianic beit din. That would leave us with James Trimm's international beit din.

    I think I've asked MORE than enough questions to get the ball rolling.

    Shalom and blessings to all,
  4. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    Wow that's some fascinating stuff!

    But are there any particular books on this teaching/understanding of Jewish authority?  I'd like to know more :)

    God bless!

  5. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'

    Umm...that's about all I'm packin here. I would assume the guys in the messianic section could help.
  6. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'


    This is what I find very compelling evidence proving the authority of Peter as having the keys.

    The key David"(Is. 22:21-22). These kings were seen as sitting on the "throne of G-d".
  7. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    Hi chelcb,

    I just found a page that looks to be the exact same thing you posted:


    Actually I think the post in the messianic section was a literal cut/paste of various parts of that article.  In anycase, I see one minor problem with the Isaiah 22:21-22 passage mentioned in the article:  The Eliakim mentioned in Isaiah 22 wasn't a king, but rather the one who was 'over the household' (2 Kings 19:2, Is 37:2), which is often translated palace administrator.

    But other than that, the entire article was fascinating!

    By the way, anyone want to read some protestant scholarly quotes that pretty much give a good reason to believe in the papacy? :)

    Personally, I was shocked to see some protestants like Adam Clarke, or F.F. Bruce, and William Albright drawing out the parallels between Isaiah 22:21-22 and Matt 16:18-19

    God bless!

  8. chelcb

    chelcb 'Totus tuus'

    The Eliakim mentioned in Isaiah 22 wasn't a king, but rather the one who was 'over the household' (2 Kings 19:2, Is 37:2), which is often translated palace administrator.

    Well that's the point. A administrator is a sucsession position. It shows that Peter's chair was supposed to be passed down.
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