• Stephen

Jesus taught to NOT obey the Pharisees... really?


Jesus said don't obey the Pharisees...

First of all, when you mention 'Moses' seat', most people have no clue as to what it is but we will get to that later on. Secondly, a lot of believers, clergy and laymen, think that Jesus told His followers to NOT obey the religious leaders of the day (the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, etc). Many think Jesus came to do away with obeying God's commandments​ as seen in the Old Testament. But is this what Jesus actually taught? Did He actually say that after His death & resurrection the instructions / commandments of God would be done away with and replaced with a 'feel good' christianity where grace makes void God's law? Lets look at the scriptures to see if this is the truth...

"Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works for they say and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." Matthew 23:1-4

Notice Jesus said this to a multitude of people & His disciples... that what ever they taught from Moses' seat, a reference to where the scriptures, and only the scriptures were taught, that they people were to observe those things. There is a distinction between the scriptures that were taught and supposed to be observed versus the additional traditions and commandments of men which Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for. The religious leaders added to and took away from God's word which Jesus stated were heavy burdens. God gave His children, that included Israel and the foreigners who followed Him in the OT, instructions for life and blessing. Yet the religious leaders rebelled against God and His instructions. We see this throughout the New Testament...

Mark 7:8-13 "For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men... He said to them "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition... making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."

Matthew 15:8-9 "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."

Jesus was quoting Isaiah 29:13 and addressing their rebellion and sins of omission - meaning they were not observing God's instructions. It was no wonder they were not experiencing His life and blessing; because they were continuing in sin. So how does the bible define what sin is?

"Whoever commits sin also transgresses the law: for sin is transgression of the law." 1 John 3:4

You see just like in a family, where the parents make the rules of the house for their children; things they should do and things they should not do - the law / commandments of the house. The problem comes when the children ignore or rebel against the parents rules and 'sin'. When this happens, the relationship in the family is strained. If you ever had a rebellious teenager, you know what thats like; there is no peace, no speaking, no heart to heart relationship that shares the pains and joys of life. The distance that occurs in this type of relationship can feel like a thousand miles. So the same too it is with God, His children and His instructions. The bible is filled with examples of people who followed Him, who rebelled against His instructions that were meant to give us life and blessing. Yet today we see the same symptoms of rebellion and continued sin; of not having our prayers answered, frustrated even though we are going to church and bible study, where there is a distance from God. Sometimes to the point where we don't even think its worth it.

The strategy of the enemy from the beginning is to get us to question God and either rebel or ignore His instructions. Remember when we are obedient we are living in life and blessing. Its like when we drive the speed limit...

When we get our driver's license we are entering a new world where there are laws to obey. Some laws are things we should do and others on things we should not do. If we obey these laws and the speed limit, then it allows us to travel with liberty. To not be burdened down with breaking the law or paying the penalties for doing so. However many believers claim since Jesus fulfilled the law (ref. Matthew 5:17 "... I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.") so we no longer have to - many pastors claim the word 'fulfill' means to "do away with" in regards to God's commandments - that because Christ fulfilled the law, we don't have too. Its like a saying a person who fulfills the requirements and laws of the police academy that they or anyone else does not have to obey any of the laws anymore. However that is not the case. Lets look at how 'fulfill' is defined in scripture...

The word "fulfill" in Strong's concordance is G4137 πληρόω pleroo which means to make full, to fill up; to render full so that nothing shall be wanting, to complete. However many pastors teach it means to complete thus it means God's law has been 'done away with'. It should be interesting to note that the definition continues with this...

G4137 pleroo... to fulfill, i.e. to cause God's will, as made known in the law, to be obeyed as it should be,

and God's promises, given through the prophets, to receive fulfillment.

The great news if we obey as we should we will have life and blessing from God. We won't be engaging in satisfying the sinful deeds of the flesh, again & again & again. We won't be bogged down by sin and how it effects our relationship to God and those around us. We can love Him and our neighbors and do what pleases the Father. Still not convinced? Lets look at another place the word pleroo is used by Paul, the apostle to the gentiles...

"For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient - in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of the Christ." Romans 15:18-19

Now you might be saying "I don't see where 'complete', 'done away with' or anything similar is found here". Yet the word pleroo is here.

Notice the phrase "have fully preached" is G4137. This presents a problem for those who teach it means "to do away with" as seen in Matthew 5:17. If we take that definition and place it here in Romans 15:19 then it would sound something like this...

"I have (pleroo) 'done away with' the gospel of Christ"

All bible scholars and believers would reject such a crazy translation and use of 'done away with' in this passage, or any other. So why do so many people hold to the definition of God's instruction have been done away with? Simple, that is what they were taught and what they continue to believe and teach. Its the traditions and teachings of men, rather than the good doctrine of God!

Lets see how Matthew 5:17 would sound IF we used the translation 'have fully preached'...

"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to 'have fully preached'."

Matthew 5:17

Now this example does not cause conflict with other scriptures - a reasonable person can see it makes sense when we look at Jesus' ministry. That Jesus came to get the believers of the day to stop against adding to God's word & His commandments; in other words that He came to "fully preach" what God put forth in the scriptures; to rightly divide and preach the truth! If we read the gospels we see Jesus spent a lot of time correcting the religious leaders of the time so they could teach the people what was right in God's eyes! To do away with the traditions and commandments of men but to repent and go back to following God in His ways (ref. ).

However a lot of believers today, Instead of being like the Bereans (ref. Acts 17:11) who searched the scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was in accordance with God's word, they traded His truth for a different message. Everyone, even though they have good intentions, have errored when it comes to God's word. So now is the time to correct this error and rightly divide His word of truth (ref. 2 Timothy 2:15).

So when someone says that Jesus said we are to not observe what the Pharisees taught from the scriptures, let them know the truth. That His instructions have not been done away with. That we are to not make void His law as seen here...

"Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law." Romans 3:31

What we see is we are to not ignore God's instructions or choose to continue in sin by using grace as an excuse - rather as believers we are to NOT continue in sin but live a life that is consistent with a daily behavior of loving God & our neighbors in both the Spirit and letter of the law, just like the Messiah did. He is our example on how to live. He is perfect but grace is the saftey net when we sin. We simple repent, ask for His forgiveness and drive on.

#pharisees #law #mosesseat

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