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Lesson # Matt. 23:2
Study Material - Matt. 23:2
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
2 Saying [lego] , The scribes [grammateus] and [kai] the Pharisees [Pharisaios] sit [kathizo] in [epi] Moses [Moseus] ' seat [kathedra] : KJV-Interlinear
2 saying, 'The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; NAS
The word for seat means cathedral. A cathedral is said to represent the focal point of authority, or a higher authority which goes without question. Professors are said to speak from the chair of authority. The Pope, when he speaks is said to speak 'ex cathedra', or from the seat of divine authority, according to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.
So it is with these Pharisees and priests who have seated 'themselves' in the chair of Moses.
They seated themselves without appointment, without election, even without inheritance. Jesus received His election from God the Father in eternity past, His appointment from the Holy Spirit in the presence of John the Baptist, and He inherited His royal position as the heir of the dynasty of David.
Jesus received power and position in both the Royal line and in the Priestly line of the nation of Israel, the chosen people of God.
The Priests and Pharisees et. al., appointed themselves to their respective positions. They elevated themselves through politics, through friendship and connections. They ignored the responsibilities of their positions, responsibilities which meant teaching scripture and doctrine to the people, and instead they sought easier life styles. They invented even greater appearances of power and authority by inventing regulation after regulation.
A corrupt leadership will attempt to enhance their power and authority by invention of laws which have nothing to do with right and wrong, but are intended to regulate the lives of their constituents. This point will be brought out in later verses as Jesus continues to speak in this chapter.
The Pharisees presumed their authority. They made changes to the content of their philosophy without authority, and in effect all they stood for was false and deceptive.
Now comes along Jesus who by all appearances has the very authority they wished they had, and presumed they had, but lacked the reality of their lusted power. Even the common person, of whom the priests resented for their lower stature in life, even these common folk who lacked formal education, knew that there was something amiss in the teaching of the Pharisees, and knew that the teaching of Jesus had a genuine ring to it.
God does not send false prophets. God does not speak to false prophets, Jer. 14:14, 23:21, 32, 27:15, 28:15, 29:9, Isa. 3:9-10. They appoint themselves. They run to their non-appointed positions. They appoint themselves to the teaching of their human invented philosophies. And the masses who are more or less indifferent plead from within their attitude, to be taught pleasing ideas. Indifferent people want to hear illusions. Indifferent people want to be told that whatever it is that they do in life or whatever it is they believe in life, is ok. 'There, there. It will all be ok!' When in reality things will not be ok.
People need truth, even though they do not agree with it, and especially when they do not agree with it. Only by hearing the truth, can a person then begin to consider their spiritual position and have the opportunity to make the changes necessary in their lives.
Fools hear the truth and pray that they had never heard it, because now they are on notice that a change is necessary in their lives. They face a disruption of their learned habits, learned beliefs, and they face the possibility that they should follow a pattern of thinking that is different than what they want to follow. By way of illustration I'll use a woman who marries a man. She may be very outgoing in her manner, very aggressive in life. She may be a career woman, extremely intelligent, well educated and so forth. Now she is faced with a role of subordination to her husband. Can the two blend together without her making massive changes in her life? Of course. She may be a rocket scientist and very good at it. But in life our day to day occupations must also subordinate themselves to our spiritual education. Can any of us accomplish that ? Of course. We go to work and do our job. We sooner or later find time during the day to open our Bibles and we study for a few minutes, several times a day or in a fashion which compliments our daily schedule. We read our e-mail. We ponder doctrine while we eat lunch, etc., etc.
So just as we all face our responsibility to learn Bible doctrine and to grow up spiritually, so too any role we assume in life whether it be marital of something else, we can blend our daily lives with our responsibilities with others in our life. A woman is not automatically relegated to the kitchen, just because she is female, a man is not automatically dictator without question just because he is a male. Both have the responsibility to work together for the greater structure which is the marriage and the family. Self becomes less important, as the organization we are in, becomes more important than self.
If you are single then you look to yourself of course, but we all have three areas of responsibility in our spiritual life. We have already studied these. When you marry then self has to take a back seat to the marriage. When you have children, then self goes into the trunk so to speak as your families needs become greater than the needs of self.
Now are we off track here? No. The Pharisees sought public position and authority. In so doing they have placed themselves in a position which should have made their own needs subordinate to the needs of the people they were supposed to teach. They did not. They instead placed their own lusts in the forefront of their responsibilities, and sought their selfish interests ignoring the needs of the people they were responsible for. Politicians do this. People in social circles do this. Their approbation lusts, their power lusts, their ambitions get ahead of their responsibilities and they eventually abuse their power and authority.
Rather than helping those who need help, they impose heavier burdens on them. The Pharisees taught human ideas. They promoted human traditions. They taught false ideas. They compromised legitimate principles of life in order to satisfy their own selfish purposes.
They desired the seat of authority, but they neither earned it nor deserved it, nor were they qualified for it.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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