Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Roman Catholic Misuse Of Moses' Seat (Matthew 23:1-2)

  • Discussion:
          -"After Jesus established His Church and gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven, Peter’s chair became the new seat of authority under the New Covenant. This is why, when the Pope officially speaks on a matter of faith and morals with the intention of proclaiming a universal doctrine for the Church (which is rare), we say He is speaking “ex cathedra” (from the “chair”). Jesus’ use of the “chair of Moses” certainly shows a continuum of authority as the New Covenant replaced the Old." (https://www.scripturecatholic.com/qa-seat-moses/)

          What needs to be understood, however, is that the reference to Moses' seat was a symbolic expression of teaching the Pentateuch, which is the first five books of the Bible (Exodus 18:13-16; Luke 4:16-20):

          "Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn." (1 Kings 2:3)

          Furthermore, this "Seat of Moses" would pertain much more to civil law than issuing religious dogma. Moses was judge; the priesthood constituted a theocracy. These Jewish leaders did not continually make up new laws, but rather upheld the laws that God had originally given to His people through Moses.

           Roman Catholics assume without proof that there exists a logical connection between Moses' seat and their chain of so-called apostolic successors. They commit eisegesis by applying Matthew 23:1-2 to their church hierarchy. Catholics cannot produce a single inspired saying of Jesus Christ or the apostles that cannot be found in Scripture. The New Testament says nothing concerning a chair of Peter, let alone apostolic successors. Christ says nothing in Matthew 23:1-2 about adherence to extra-biblical authorities or traditions. There is no evidence for a tradition of successors from Moses' seat. Neither is there any evidence existing that the Jewish people attributed infallibility to their leaders. In fact, we know from Scripture that the Scribes and Pharisees did indeed promulgate doctrinal error. They were even referred to by Jesus as "blind guides" and "hypocrites" (Matthew 23:16).

           Whatever teaching from the writings of Moses and the Prophets that the scribes and Pharisees had enforced, Christ instructed the people to obey. He told them to not emulate the moral and doctrinal error of these religious leaders:

           "therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them." (Matthew 23:3)

           These men made themselves appear extremely pious and zealous in their daily religious practices before others, but God knew that their hearts were in reality far from Him. He knew that these Jewish authorities were only seeking flattery from the public. Their worship of God was only outward, which is something that He absolutely detests. We should all take this passage of Scripture as a warning against arrogance.

            It is ironic to see that there exists striking parallels between the scribes and Pharisees back in the days of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry and the modern Church of Rome, which are anything but positive. Catholics appeal to a traceable lineage to lend credence to the veracity of their arguments, yet Christ rejected the Scribes and Pharisees who advanced the same logic (Matthew 3:7-9; John 8:36-45). The Church of Rome claims to possess divine oral tradition, yet Christ strongly rebuked the religious leaders of His day who made identical claims (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:7-13). Roman Catholic officials unashamedly wield religious titles of honor, yet Christ expressed emphatic disapproval of the leaders who reserved such for themselves (Matthew 23:8-12). Just as the critics of Jesus asked by what authority He performed miracles (Luke 20:2), Roman Catholic apologists ask the same question in regard to us making interpretations of Scripture. Perhaps all of these likenesses are symptomatic of the Church of Rome being a hive festooned with pompousness and religious hypocrisy.

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