Welcome to House of Israel’s
Shabbat Service
Thank you for joining us.
Call No Man Rabbi
Is It Okay for a Messianic Leader to
Take on the Title of Rabbi?
Zechariah 8
20 This is what Yehovah Almighty says: "Many peoples and the
inhabitants of many cities will yet come,
21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say,
'Let us go at once to entreat Yehovah and seek Yehovah
Almighty. I myself am going.'
22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to
Yerushalayim to seek Yehovah Almighty and to entreat him."
23 This is what Yehovah Almighty says: "In those days ten men
from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Yehudi
by the hem of his robe and say, 'Let us go with you, because we
have heard that Elohim is with you.'"
Matthew 23:1-12 (KJV)
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,
Matthew 23:1-12
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.
So, why are there so many self designated
Rabbis in the Messianic and Jewish Roots
Movements? Jewish and even some nonJewish congregational leaders in Messianic
assemblies still hold onto the title of Rabbi.
If Yeshua strictly commanded his followers not
to be called Rabbi, then why do so many
leaders who claim faith in Yeshua still hold
this title?
*What are Scribes, Pharisees and Rabbis?
*What Is the Seat of Mosheh?
*The Authority of the Rabbis
*What’s Wrong With Being Called Rabbi?
*What’s Wrong With Being Called Father?
*What’s Wrong With Being Called Teacher?
*On Being a Servant and Being Humble
Then Yeshua said to the crowds and to his
disciples: “The teachers of the law and the
Pharisees sit in Mosheh's seat.”
Who are the Teachers of the Law?
Greek grammateu,j (grammatoos) - (1) one
skilled in Jewish law and theology scribe,
expert, scholar (MT 2.4); (2) as a town official
secretary, town clerk (AC 19.35)
one who has special functions in connection
with documents.
1. chief executive officer of a governmental
entity, secretary (of state), clerk, title of a
high official in Ephesus
2. an expert in matters relating to divine
revelation,
a. specialists in the law of Moses: experts in the
law, scholars versed in the law, scribes;
b. interpreter of teaching connected with the
ministry of Jesus, ext. of 2a scribe, instructor
gra,mma (gramma)
1. a unit of an alphabet, in our lit. only
of a Greek character: letter
2. a set of written characters forming a
document or piece of writing, a
document, piece of writing
46
If you believed Mosheh, you would
believe me, for he wrote about me.
47 But since you do not believe what he
wrote (literally, “his letters”), how are
you going to believe what I say?“ (4th
Gospel 5)
See what large letters I use as I write to
you with my own hand! (Galatians 6:11)
And the Jews marvelled, saying, How
knoweth this man letters, having never
learned? (4th Gospel 7:15)
manqa,nw (manthano – This is the verb
form of the word for disciple) learn; find
out, discover; learn by experience;
attend a rabbinic school
•
•
•
•
Mirriam\Webster
: a member of a learned class in ancient
Israel through New Testament times
studying the Scriptures and serving as
copyists, editors, teachers, and jurists
a : an official or public secretary or clerk
b : a copier of manuscripts
: writer; specifically : journalist
Who are the Pharisees?
Farisai/oj, (Farisai-os) - Hebr.
~yviWrP.h;= (Prushim) Aram.
aY"v;yriP., (Perishayah) The
Semitic words mean ‘the separated
ones, separatists’.
Rulers of the synagogues
Who are the Pharisees?
According to Josephus…
Pharisees, the organized followers of
the experts in interpreting the
scriptures (scribes). It was the purpose
of the Pharisees to take the pattern of
a pious Israelite as established by the
scribes, and to put it into practice as
nearly as possible.
Understanding Phariseeism
1 Believe in Two Torahs
2 Have absolute authority to interpret
Scripture
3 Random, irrational interpretation
4 Traditions take precedence over Scripture
5 Enact new, man-made laws
1 Believe in Two Torahs
“Our Rabbis taught: An incident with a
certain gentile that came before
Shammai. He said to him: How many
Torahs do you have? (Shammai)
answered: Two, the Written Torah and
the Oral Torah (Babylonian Talmud,
Sabbath 31a)
The Talmud explains that the Oral Torah was
revealed to Mosheh in a second revelation at
Mt. Sinai. It was not written down in order to
keep it out of the hands of the Gentiles. It
was given exclusively to the Rabbis as secret
knowledge.
The Mishnah was written around 200 CE
2 Have absolute authority to interpret Scripture
Even if they instruct you that right is left and left
is right you must obey them (Sifre
Deuteronomy #154 on Deut 17:11)
Devarim 17
9 Go to the priests, who are Levites, and to the
judge who is in office at that time. Inquire of them
and they will give you the verdict.
10 You must act according to the decisions they give
you at the place Yehovah will choose. Be careful to
do everything they direct you to do.
11 Act according to the law they teach you and the
decisions they give you. Do not turn aside from what
they tell you, to the right or to the left.
Devarim 30:11-12 Now what I am commanding you
today is not too difficult for you or beyond your
reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to
ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and
proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"
Now what I am commanding you today is not too
difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in
heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend
into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may
obey it?"
Definition: Rabban - a title traditionally given to
the head of the Sanhedrin during Tannaitic
times (10-220 CE)
Rabbi – any of the “Great Ones” among the
leaders and teachers of the Torah
The Talmudic account of the dispute between
Rabban Gamaliel II and Rabbi Joshua. These
rabbis disagreed about when Yom Kippur
was to occur in a certain year.
But Rabban Gamaliel sat on the Rabbinic court.
So, Rabbi Joshua was compelled to accept
Rabban Gamaliel’s ruling even though he
knew it to be factually untrue.
Rabbi Dosa reasoned with Rabbi Joshua that
he must give in to Gamaliel’s ruling
because…
“If we go and challenge Rabban Gamaliel’s
court, we must also challenge each and
every court that has presided since the days
of Moses until now… each and every set of
three that preside as a court over Israel are
equivalent to the court of Moses”
(Babylonian Talmud, Rosh Hashannah 25a)
3 Random, irrational interpretation
The Torah was read to all Israel. Very
difficult to copy. The average person
could understand it.
We can understand it when we fill in the
cultural and linguistic gaps.
Exodus 23:2
You shall not go after the majority to do
evil, neither shall you testify in a matter
of strife to incline after the majority to
pervert justice
Torn out of context (does this sound
familiar?) – “creative” – “sound bites”
4 Traditions take precedence over Scripture
A custom of Israel is Torah
Minhag – Any custom practiced for an
extended period of time becomes
binding upon all Israel
Ex: kippah – a man may not walk four
cubits without his head covered nor
make a blessing uncovered
5 Enact new, man-made laws
Takanah (pl takanot) – invented Rabbinic
laws, enactments, reforms
Ex: Washing the hands before eating
“Blessed art thou Lord, king of the
universe, who has sanctified us with his
commandments and commanded us to
wash the hands.”
Matthew 23:1-2
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his
disciples,
2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in
Moses' seat:
What is Moses’ Seat?
Mosheh's seat may refer to the chair found in
many synagogues that represents the place
of authority which a leader would sit in to
pronounce decisions which carry the weight
of authority of Mosheh himself.
Or Mosheh's seat may refer in general to a
Rabbi who teaches with the authority of
Mosheh. Both interpretations suggest that
such a teacher is speaking with the authority
of Mosheh.
The Seat of Moses
The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe,
that observe and do; but do not ye after their
works: for they say, and do not. (Matthew 23:23 KJV)
The typical interpretation of this saying of Jesus
suggests that Jesus is telling his disciples to
obey the Pharisees in everything they teach,
but not to follow their example because they
do not do what they tell others to do.
What’s the Problem Here?
If Yeshua is telling his disciples to obey
everything the Pharisees tell them, then he
should be observing their traditions since that
is what they teach
Yeshua’s confrontation with the religious leaders
over the conflict between the commands of
Yehovah and their traditions
Matthew 15
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law
came to Yeshua from Yerushalayim and asked,
2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition
(takanah) of the elders? They don't wash their
hands before they eat!”
3
Yeshua replied, "And why do you break the command
of Elohim for the sake of your tradition?
4 For Elohim said, 'Honor your father and mother' and
'Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to
death.'
5 But you say that if a man says to his father or mother,
'Whatever help you might otherwise have received from
me is a gift devoted to Elohim,'
6 he is not to 'honor his father 'with it. Thus you nullify
the word of Elohim for the sake of your tradition.
7
You hypocrites! Yeshayahu was right when he
prophesied about you:
8 "'These people honor me with their lips, but
their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are
but rules taught by men.'“
Isaiah says, “learned commandments of men”
The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe,
that observe and do; but do not ye after their
works: for they say, and do not. (Matt 23:2-3)
Shem Tov Hebrew Matthew
George Howard
14th cent Spanish Jew Shem-Tov Ibn Shaprut
His polemic Even Bochan (“Test Stone”)
“So everything he (Moses) says to you,
diligently do. But according to their reforms
(takanot) and their precedents (ma’asim) do not
do, for they speak but do not do.”
They speak but do not do (Matthew 23:3)
They do not do WHAT?
They do not do according to the Torah of
Yehovah
33
They feared the LORD, and served their own gods,
after the manner of the nations whom they carried
away from thence.
2 Kings 17:34
1 Unto this day they do after the former manners:
2 they fear not the LORD, neither do they (do)
3 after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or
4 after the law and commandment which the LORD
commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;
Read 1,3 then 2,4
The Problem With the Pharisees
They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's
shoulders, but they themselves are not willing
to lift a finger to move them.
Everything they do is done for men to see: They
make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on
their garments long; they love the place of
honor at banquets and the most important
seats in the synagogues; they love to be
greeted in the marketplaces and to have men
call them 'Rabbi.‘ (Matthew 23:4-7)
Heavy Loads
“A person must first put on his right shoe, but
not tie it. Then he must put on his left shoe
and tie it and go back and tie his right shoe”
(Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 2:4)
Everything is a Show
Everything they do is done for men to see:
They make their phylacteries wide and the
tassels on their garments long; they love the
place of honor at banquets and the most
important seats in the synagogues; they love
to be greeted in the marketplaces and to
have men call them 'Rabbi.'
But Wait… There’s More
Matthew 23:13-33
Being Called Rabbi
They love to be greeted in the marketplaces
and to have men call them 'Rabbi.' But you
are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only
one Master and you are all brothers.
What Is a Rabbi?
Usually translated “Master”
Is a Rabbi a teacher?
Used only of Yeshua in Gospels and here in
Matthew 23 where Yeshua tells us not to be
called Rabbi
Hebrew, rav, “great one”
Why We Should Not Be Called Rabbi
Rabbi means “great one” – a term of selfexaltation
Yeshua said not to be called Rabbi
The Rabbis in Judaism exalt their own law over
the written laws of Yehovah
The Rabbis hate Yeshua
Is Paul to be called “Rabbi”
Messianics refer to him as “Rav Sha’ul”
(Am I nit-picking?)
Yet, nowhere in all his writings does he refer to
himself with this title
Paul’s Opinion of Phariseeism (Philippians 3)
2
Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those
mutilators of the flesh.
3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by
the Spirit of Elohim, who glory in Messiah Yeshua, and who
put no confidence in the flesh-4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone
else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I
have more:
5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Yisrael, of
the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the
law, a Pharisee;
Paul’s Opinion of Phariseeism (Philippians 3)
6 as for zeal, persecuting the assembly; as for legalistic
righteousness, faultless.
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake
of Messiah.
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the
surpassing greatness of knowing Messiah Yeshua my master, for
whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I
may gain Messiah
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own
that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in
Messiah-- the righteousness that comes from Elohim and is by
faith.
Calling Men on Earth “Father”
And call no man your father upon the earth: for
one is your Father, which is in heaven. (Matthew
23:9)
What aspect of fatherhood is Yeshua talking about?
We have earthly fathers who have authority
Yeshua is talking about appointing spiritual fathers
who have authority over you
Does Paul Promote Being Called “Father”?
You will not find Paul referred to anywhere in
the New Testament as “Father”
Even though you have ten thousand guardians
in Messiah, you do not have many fathers, for
in Messiah Yeshua I became your father
through the gospel. (1 Corinthians 4:15)
Roman Catholicism has their “Father”
The Pope, or “Papa”, which means daddy or
Father.
He sits on a seat of authority and makes law for
Catholics.
He speaks “ex cathedra” which means “from the
chair” – the place of authority
In connection with papal infallibility, the Latin
phrase ex cathedra (literally, "from the
chair") has been defined as meaning "when,
in the exercise of his office as shepherd and
teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his
supreme apostolic authority, (the Bishop of
Rome) defines a doctrine concerning faith or
morals to be held by the whole Church
Being Called Teacher
Nor are you to be called “Teacher,” for you have
one Teacher, the Messiah. (Matthew 23:10)
Greek kaqhghth,j (kath-ay-gay-tays) - guide,
leader; in the NT teacher, instructor
kaqhghth,j (derivative of kaqhge,omai
'to guide, to explain,' not occurring in the NT)
one who provides instruction and guidance 'teacher, instructor.'
Breaking it down…
Kath-ay-gay-tays
From kath – root word for seat, chair, to sit
And ago – to lead
This rare word literally means one who leads/
guides from a chair – “seated guide”
Yeshua is coming full circle on his teaching
He said that the Pharisees sit in Moses seat of
authority, but misuse that authority
Now he says not to be one of those who place
themselves in a seat of absolute authority,
because Messiah is the only one who
legitimately has that kind of authority
What Kind of Authority Do the Followers
of Yeshua Have?
The Torah is our authority
Right-rulings are for judging and
decisions
Matt 18 – see my teaching on “The
Judgments of the Torah”
A Servant's Attitude and Humility
The greatest among you will be your
servant. For whoever exalts himself will be
humbled, and whoever humbles himself
will be exalted.“ (Matthew 23:11-12)
Philippians 2:2-11
Prayer
The Aaronic Blessing
y
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