I was studying some things that had me stumped and I went to one of my favorite places on the internet to inquire about the practices of the Jews and the law. Itís called Askmoses.com and they advertised something along the lines of ďhuman questions, heavenly answers, 24/6.Ē You could learn about the customs and traditions and the law in a Jewish online chat format manned by Rabbi Earl from Ireland or Rabbi Linda from Denver. Sometimes youíd see a Rabbi Rabenowitz from Israel or my favorite, Rabbi Bruce from Australia.
I would often go there to play ďstump the rabbi.Ē It wasnít a game they offered, itís just one I made up. But one time I needed a sincere answer and thought that would be the quickest way to solve my query. I was searching for Mosesí seat.
Mt:23:2: Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
M't:23:3: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
The term doesnít appear in the Old Testament and the rabbis I chatted with could find no reference; they concluded after much research on their end that no such thing exists in Jewish law, tradition or history.
One would draw a logical conclusion then, that since the literal seat Jesus described canít be found in Jewish history, that another meaning ought to be applied in what Jesus said, and that Mosesí seat therefore must represent a position of authority.
Iím pretty hard headed, so I did more research. My studies lead me to conclude that itís an actual seat of stone that was situated at the front of the local synagogue. It was reserved for the Messiah.
I even found a picture.
So why does any of this matter?
Lu: 4:16: And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
Lu: 4:17: And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
Lu: 4:18: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Lu: 4:19: To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Lu: 4:20: And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
Lu: 4:21: And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Lu: 4:22: And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?
Lu: 4:23: And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
Lu: 4:24: And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
Lu: 4:25: But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
Lu: 4:26: But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
Lu: 4:27: And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
Lu: 4:28: And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
Lu: 4:29: And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
Lu: 4:30: But he passing through the midst of them went his way,
And then he sat down. The Jews got very angry over his brief message Ė and not only because of his closing statement Ė this day is this prophecy fulfilled in your ears, but I think itís because of where he sat down.
He sat in Mosesí seat giving everyone there a clue as to his mission and identity. To the listening multitude that day, his words were designed to offend.
And while Mosesí seat is symbolic of authority, itís also an actual, historical seat.
Brother Royce Ellis