Extra-Biblical Oral Tradition Arguments Refuted:
"Moses' Seat is the antitype of the Papal authority and proof of both oral tradition and Papal succession. Matthew 23:2. Jesus relies on the oral tradition of acknowledging Moses' seat of authority, which passed from Moses to Joshua to the Sanhedrin."
False arguments that Catholics and Orthodox use to prove oral extra-scriptural church tradition are refuted.
"Moses' Seat is the antitype of the Papal authority and proof of oral tradition. Matthew 23:2"
Tradition defender: "Jesus relies on the oral tradition of acknowledging Moses' seat of authority, which passed from Moses to Joshua to the Sanhedrin. Of course Moses' Chair was replaced by "Peter's Chair" upon which each of the bishops of Rome sit in succession at the Pope. Unfortunately for sola Scriptura advocates, the "Chair of Moses" is nowhere to be found in the Old Testament. This means that it must have been passed down to the Jews orally, and not in written form but through their oral Tradition. Obey the Pope, for He sits in Peter's Chair."
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"Moses seat" at the Chorazin synagogue.
"The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 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 23:2-3
Refutation of the false Catholic & Orthodox tradition argument:"Moses' Seat is the antitype of the Papal authority and proof of both oral tradition and Papal succession. Matthew 23:2. Jesus relies on the oral tradition of acknowledging Moses' seat of authority, which passed from Moses to Joshua to the Sanhedrin."
Refutation of Catholic and Orthodox false argument:
Moses' Seat was revealed in Exodus 18:13! So much for the statement by Orthodox and Catholic tradition defenders: "Unfortunately for sola Scriptura advocates, the "Chair of Moses" is nowhere to be found in the Old Testament." Perhaps they should read the Bible a little more themselves and they wouldn't make such statements of error.
We call this the Traditionalists "daily double" argument, because it is actually "two for the price of one"! Tradition defenders, not only want to use the expression, "Moses' seat" as proof of succession, they also tell us that the scriptures do not reveal such succession. Only through oral tradition do we learn of the succession of authority of Moses' seat from Joshua down to the current Sanhedrin. They are wrong on both counts, no prize!
We point out that apart from Jesus' statement in Matthew 23:2, there is no record of any tradition or history of "Moses' chair" as traditionalists would have hoped for. What we do have is a direct reference in Exodus 18:13-27.
Here is Moses' Seat in the Old Testament: "It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening. Now when Moses' father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, "What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?" Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me to inquire of God. "When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws." Moses' father-in-law said to him, "The thing that you are doing is not good. "You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. "Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people's representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. "Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. "Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. "If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace." So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel and made them heads over the people, leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. They judged the people at all times; the difficult dispute they would bring to Moses, but every minor dispute they themselves would judge. Then Moses bade his father-in-law farewell, and he went his way into his own land." (Exodus 18:13-27)
So Moses' seat was where Moses applied the Law of God to the people in judgment.
Notice that the task was too great for one man. If Moses' seat really was an antitype of the Papal chair in Rome, then the Catholic church should have a 6 tier organization: the pope + "leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens". But the Roman Catholic church only has three tiers: Pope, Bishops, Priests.
It is also important that while Moses was the actual law giver, those who "succeeded him" had no power to make new Laws. Christ and his apostles and prophets revealed new laws. Contrary to this pattern in both the Old and New Testaments, the Pope believes he has the right to make new law just as the scribes and Pharisees made all kinds of new laws.
It is clear from the Exodus 18:13-27 that there was not "ONE" chair of Moses, but it was a figurative expression. This is proven by the fact that Jesus said that the "Scribes and the Pharisees" were seated on the "Seat of Moses". The Scribes and the Pharisees, even all the leaders of Israel were on Moses Seat. For Orthodox and Catholic defenders to suggest there was a single literal seat, flies in the face of the context of Exodus 18:13-27, Matthew 23:2-3 and all recorded history. Read it for yourself: many were sitting on the seat of Moses at the same time, not a single man.
There was no direct succession ever recorded in history of who sat on Moses Seat. To argue such is to misrepresent history and represents wishful thinking on the part of modern Papal promoters.
The whole problem with the Scribes and the Pharisees was that they were not "men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain" as Jethro suggested. They correctly taught the law, but were hypocrites. This is why Jesus says, "do what they say, not what they do."
It is clear therefore, that Mt 23:2-3 is a direct parallel to Exodus 18:13-27.
Today, the application of Moses' Chair to the church would be the elders/bishops/shepherds who rule the local churches and the various teachers and evangelists and preachers who teach God's word to the congregations each assembly. Just as the Scribes and Pharisees could correctly teach but be hypocrites themselves, so too all leaders in the church need to take this personal warning to heart!
More Pro-Oral Church tradition arguments refuted!
More Anti-Sola Scriptura arguments refuted!
by Steve Rudd
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