x455....Pharisees in the Seat

1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. 13* ¶ But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:1-13, KJV).

The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:

The Greek word which is translated as "seat" is --


****kayedra kathedra {kath-ed'-rah} n f

------seat 3; 3

1) a chair, a seat

1a) used of the exalted seat occupied by men of eminent rank or influence, as teachers and judges


This is the word from which we derive the English word "cathedral". (this in itself speaks volumes--how that we are so far away from the command of Jesus--in our concentration of building "cathedrals" to God--in that we spend so much of our time effort and money in the building of buildings which we say are "sanctuaries" or even "temples". --the New Testament tells us that we are the living temple of the Holy Spirit when we have received the Spirit indwelling--a specific change from OT to NT)

Jesus says here that the Pharisees--as well as the scribes--"sit in Moses seat". What does this mean? This speaks of the authority to rule over Israel--given by God to the leadership. In the OT, God gave the authority to rule to specific groups of people (although His first and highest will for Israel was that all would become priests and carry the teaching of God to the whole world)--in the temple it was the priest--the Levites--and as rulers over Israel God chose first the priests----then the judges--then the kings--all of which became corrupted in His sight very quickly. The authority and rule of man--even when directed by God always became corrupted--simply because of sin which was inside of every earthly ruler--this is clearly illustrated to us in the history of Israel which the Bible relates.

When Jesus is saying that the Pharisees "sit in Moses seat" He is saying that they have the rule--they have authority over Israel--and rightfully--as men of Israel his disciples ought to do what they say--ought to cooperate with their authority--however--He clearly says that they are corrupt--that they are not ruling Israel in the proper way--and He specifically makes the command that He is changing this entire system of rule with authority over others!

Just a short time before,, Jesus had made this statement with regard to authority--

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: (Matthew 20:25-27, KJV).

Now, Jesus ties in the Pharisees with this same incorrect use of authority. They are using it for their own good--for their own benefit. They take on their rulership--not as servants--but as titled rulers, exercising authority over others--looking to build themselves and their kingdom up--instead of building Gods kingdom in the earth--which is built upon service to others--(getting people saved---healed--delivered--fed and released!!) and specifically NOT by ruling with authority over others.

The Pharisees are elsewhere, in many many instances spoken of as being totally corrupt--robbers of the poor--etc. Jesus really really did not like their rule. And he very specifically states here that amongst ourselves, we are to simply be brothers--

8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

AS Christian we are to have one master--Christ. All of us are meant to be brothers and sister in Christ--all of us--there are NOT "some" of us who have the right to rule with authority over the rest of us. Christ would then no longer be our master--since we cannot serve two masters!

Christ is the Head of the church--He is meant to be the ruler--to have authority over the church--and NOT any person or group of people. The church is meant to be the group of people who go about carrying on Jesus' ministry in the earth--His "body"--a group of Spirit-filled people who work together continuing Jesus' ministry in the earth--feeding the poor--preaching the Gospel--healing the sick--bringing deliverance to those in need--and releasing others to do the same. (see Luke 4:18)

Jesus is clearly stating to His followers that He wants things to be different in the church. As Christians we are meant to NOT have "rule by authority over others"--as Christians we are all meant to function directly under Christ's authority--He is meant to be our Master--and we are NOT meant to have rulers--masters--we are NOT to exercise authority one over another amongst ourselves--

25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so:....... (Luke 22:25-26, KJV).

The New Testament makes absolutely no governmental authoritative statements. In other words the New Testament apparently makes no governmental statement--This is the reason that for centuries the church has always turned to the Old Testament for it's ideas of leadership and church government.But we see here that Jesus makes the clear statement that He does not want the same government in the church as was in Israel There are other ares of the NT which tell us specifically that the Levitical priesthood is done away with. There are no statements in the NT about choosing a king--no example in the NT for us to follow which says that the church should be lead by a pastor-(or a bishop or anyone of any title!). Instead the leadership of the church is meant to be directly from Christ--through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is the example which is shown to us in the history of the NT church--after the day of Pentecost--they functioned together as brothers and sisters in Christ--without a government--without electing a king or a ruler. They had a real true experience of a living Savior. They had walked with and worked with Jesus in His ministry---He died--but only for 2 days!---He was seen among them living--and then He left--but only to take His prepared place at the right hand of the Father--with all authority and power--to be the Head of the church. They had a real understanding of a living Christ.

Those who lead in the NT church were told to be as submissive as any other person--

1Pe 5:5* Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

This is the governmental statement of the NT--all of us are to be subject--to submit to one another equally. (the same Greek word is in this verse translated as "submit" as well as "subject"). It was clearly understood by the early church that they were under the direct guidance of a living Christ--a living King who ruled from a higher set than the seat of Moses--Christ rules from the right hand of God the Father.

The church has come a long way in teaching us as individuals that we are to be lead of God--that we are to be Spirit-lead. Yet we are still largely clinging to the wrong "dark-ages" concept of church government and leadership. There is no faith walk in the leadership system in our churches. There is no recognition that God can and will speak through any or all of us. There is no recognition that Christ is the Head of the church--that He will give the instructions and be the leadership of our churches. There is no recognition that Jesus has already given the instructions for setting up the church in the Bible--a simple and direct system of people working together as brothers and sisters--continuing His ministry in the earth--healing the sick--feeding the poor--bring deliverance and the Gospel to the lost--and releasing others to do the same. This is what apostleship is all about--why not give it a try?--instead of continuing in the priestly/pastoral authority handed down by human tradition.

WE all have the right to serve God in our ministry--ministry is simply the gift--the anointing which God has "given unto every one of us" in order to build up the body--in order to get people saved and free.

Jesus specifically requests a change from the old covenant system of leadership--of a "seat" of government (a "kathedra")--a system of rulership with authority over one another. Rather He asks for a simple system of brotherhood held together by the bonds of love and faith in a heavenly leader.

In the book of Collosians the Bible tells us that Jesus "made an open show" of someone who stressed Sabbath days and"meat" (this is a reference to the tithe). This must be the pharisees. They are the only people whom Jesus made a show of and criticized. Jesus was clearly telling us not to operate the new covenant church by the pharisitical government of authority of leadership, tithing and sabbath worship.

The new testament tells us that we are "grafted in" branches. It says that some branches were pruned. The branches which were pruned, were the old covenant ministrations (2 Corinthinas 3 calls this the ministration of death), which are the Levitical priesthood and the pharisitcal government. These are the branches of Israel--of old covenant law--which were broken off to graft in the new.


Kingdom of Heaven

13* ¶ But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Matthew 23:13)

18* And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19* And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16: 118-19)

The Pharisees and scribes of the Ot--the leadership of Israel--had the keys of the kingdom of heaven--but they were corrupt--they did not serve in their leadership. Jesus took the keys of the kingdom away from them--and He gave them to common people (to Peter a fisherman--what an insult to the "delegated authority" of the scribes and pharisees!)--to a group of people whom He called "the church"--the "church" which is defined as a group of people who follow after Jesus--how believe in Him as Lord and Savior--and who carry on His ministry in the earth as His body--with Him as the Head.

The leadership of the Pharisee and scribes was corrupt in that it did not allow others to enter into the kingdom--and they did not go in themselves. Jesus is saying that they did no operate by the principle of the kingdom as He illustrated them in His servanthood --and in so doing they disallowed others from serving God--from entering in the kingdom of heaven, which is the operational system of God in the earth.

(the "kingdom of heaven" always refers to sowing and reaping--to the planting of the Gospel --of the growth of Gods' kingdom in the earth. It is a term which is only to be found in the Gospel of Matthew--the Gospel directed toward the Jews. The "kingdom of heaven is in fact the new covenant ministry--the servant ministry--the sowing of seed--the serving of the will of the Father)

So the pharisees and scribes of Israel--at that time--had the keys ot the kingdom of heaven--they were the ones who were supposed to function in the principles of the kingdom, foremost of which is to allow people to enter in. But they did not function in kingdom ways--nor did they allow others to do so--they were not allowing others to serve God fully--to enter into the kingdom of heaven--to enter into the sowing and reaping of ministry.