Thursday, December 17, 2015

Are we really to call no one "Father" or "Rabbi"?

Here's something interesting to ponder:

Matthew 23:1. Y’shua then spoke with the crowds and with his disciples. 2. And he said to them, The scribes and the Pharisees sit on the seat of Moshe. 3. Therefore everything that they[1] say to you that you should keep and do. But not according to their deeds, for they talk, but do not. 4. And they bind heavy burdens and place them upon the shoulders of the sons of men, but they do not desire to touch them with their fingers. 5. And they do all their deeds that they might be seen by the sons of men. For they widen their Tefillin[2] and lengthen the Tekhelet[3] of their robes.

6. And they love the chief places at festivals and the chief seats at the assembly. 7. And a greeting in the streets, and to be called Rabbi by men. 8. But you should not be called “My Great One”,[4] for there is only one Who is Great and you are all brothers. 9. And do not call yourself Father[5] for your Father is one who is in heaven. 10. And you should not be called leaders, because one is your leader, the Mashiyach. 11. But he who is greatest among you, let him be a servant[6] to you. 12. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.(AENT)


[1] A very late and unattested reading in Shem Tob Matthew states: “everything ‘he’ (Moshe) tells you to do, do it.” This rendering is nonsense; Y’shua would not mention Moshe when the Pharisees are “they” who sit in Moshe’s seat. Peshitta and Greek texts agree that since the Pharisees sit in Moshe’s seat they should teach Moshe but, instead, they elevate their oral traditions above Torah. The fact of the matter is, if they would actually study Torah, they would know Y’shua is Mashiyach. Y’shua returns to this point in John 5:46-47.

[2] Leather box/straps containing Bible verses that traditional observant Jews bind on their arms and foreheads during daily prayer, except on Shabbat (Deut. 6:8).

[3] The “ribbon of blue” of the “tzitzit” (fringes), as commanded in Num. 15:38. “Tekhelet” can also refer to tzitzit, or even the whole prayer shawl/tallit.

[4] Aramaic here does not mean "Rabbi" as in "teacher" per se, as in Matthew 28 Y'shua commands his disciples to teach the world. Instead, Y'shua is addressing the more literal meaning of “rab” which is “great” as shown in Genesis 6:5, “the wickedness of man was great on the earth.” The previous eight verses teach against elitist behavior, so "do not be called My Great One, for you have One that is Great, YHWH." This is directed to the Rabbis (leaders) themselves, not to the followers. Certainly this does not win popularity among the Rabbis.

[5] This prohibition against calling leaders “father” is to avoid giving high status to men which is due unto YHWH. Catholics openly defy this commandment, but all institutions who use flattering titles for leaders are culpable; see Job 32:21-12. Isaiah 56:10-12 exposes leaders who “can never have enough” and who keep their “followers” in spiritual and often financial poverty by seeking personal gain for themselves. See also 1 Timothy 4:3.

[6] Servant is commonly translated as “minister” which is a term that has taken on a life of its own becoming esteemed and prestigious within a hierarchical identity, which is altogether opposite of a servant. Khabouris omits “a servant” but this reading is confirmed in all other manuscripts and is in 1905.

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