July 21, 2022
Traveling to the Galilee region in Israel one can visit the ancient synagogue at Chorazin. Walking through the synagogue you'll find the "Chair of Moses" or the "Moses Seat." See the picture below.
Some say in Jesus' day that those who would read the Torah portions on the Sabbath in the synagogue sat in this chair until they were called up to read during the Shabbat service. All historical evidence shows this to be unlikely. Even Jesus' words reflect it may not have been a practice in His day. When He was to read in the synagogue there is no indication that He was sitting in the "Moses Seat." We read ...
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. (Luk 4:16-20)
Jesus was sitting and then stood up when He went to read. No where does it say He was sitting in the "Moses Seat" or the chair of authority. This is not absolute proof that the "Moses Seat" was not used that way in those days but this along with other clear historical evidence shows it wasn't.
The "Moses Seat" probably had everything to do with what we study in this lesson on Exodus 18 - the establishment of the judiciary in ancient Israel. Jethro advises Moses on the set up. Moses is the one who settles the major disputes and legal cases. Thus, the idea of sitting in "Moses Seat." It seems related to those who had authority to make judgments and decisions based upon the Torah. We remember Jesus saying ...
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you--but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. (Mat 23:1-3)
Jesus is saying that the Pharisees (most rabbis are Pharisees) are saying they have the authority of Moses and can make judgments and decisions based upon the Torah. The problem is, even tough they made a ruling or a decision on a certain practice or action, it was found that some of them did not "practice what they preached." That is exactly what Jesus is teaching us.
This is seen in the "Inter Varsity Press Bible Background Commentary: New Testament," a superb scholarly resource giving the historical and ancient cultural background on the words of the New Testament. We find ...
Mat_23:1-2. Some scholars have pointed to a prominent seat in many synagogues as a “seat of Moses” (cf. Mat_23:6), but Jesus presumably means this expression figuratively. The Pharisaic scribes who articulated the law believed their traditions were rooted in Moses’ own teaching and fancied themselves Moses’ successors for their own generation.
This is such an important study for us. Jethro clearly advises Moses to pick those who will serve as judges to judge partially with decisions based upon the truth and not influenced in any way either financially or otherwise. God is setting this up through Jethro for all Israel and us as well. Moreover, it was set up by a PAGAN, a non-Hebrew, a GOY, גוי, (plural goyim גוים)is a term for a gentile, a non-Jew. Once again we see how God expresses His "love" for all mankind in the way He inspires His writers of the Hebrew Scriptures to treat a GOY, גוי, (plural goyim גוים) - a gentile, a non-Jew.
Examples abound in His Word. Here's a few. We remember Pharaoh’s daughter, a pagan princess who saved Moses and became is step mom. Remember Hagar, the pagan Egyptian servant girl of Sarah’s. The Angel of the Lord first appears to her. Not Abraham. Not Sarah. But to a pagan servant. And remember Ruth coming out of the pagan Midianite culture who turned to the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of Israel and became an ancestor of the Messiah, of Yeshua Adonaynoo, Jesus our Lord. This chapter is a clear indication that God wants all men to be rescued from their sin and to be His people. Check it out …
“Say to them, 'As I live!' declares the Lord GOD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?” (Eze 33:11)
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. “Therefore, repent and live.”(Eze 18:32)
“Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” (Isa 45:22)
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2Pe 3:9)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Joh 3:16)
There is no separation in the eyes of the Lord as He looks down upon mankind. All lives matter to Him.
I mentioned the podcasts regarding the feast of Shavuot or Pentecost. This is so closely connected to these events and also in chapter 19 when the Hebrews finally make it to Sinai. It shows conclusively the Lord's intention that all men, of any race, or any color, can have a chance to decide for Messiah Jesus, receive the Holy Spirit, and be the Lord's disciples. Here's the link to the those lessons - https://lightofmenorah.podbean.com/?s=shavuot
I also mentioned I will provide the link to the article written by the Christian pastor on the southside of Chicago. He shows that there is a purposeful ignoring of the horrible deaths by gun violence weekend after weekend on the southside. Jethro advised Moses to pick men who would be judges and one characteristic of such a man is a hatred for dishonest gain. This may not mean money. It could mean "political points" to bolster their image as a mayor, governor, senator, etc. This is what is happening in Chicago and it goes against the foundation of Western society's judicial system founded in Exod. 18. Here's the link to the article - https://www.foxnews.com/us/highland-park-shooting-chicago-pastor-calls-justice-violence-ridden-community-south-side
Who is this guy, Rev. Ferret? What's his background? Why should we take time to listen to him? Here's a link to check out his background - https://www.dropbox.com/s/ortnret3oxcicu4/BackgrndTeacher%20mar%2025%202020.pdf?dl=0