WWYD?Embracing TORAH!

What Would Yahushua Do?

Who sits on "Moses' Seat?"

These questions and many more we will ask as we seek out the TRUTH from the Scriptures like the Bereans did in Shaul's (Paul's) time. For "Moses' Seat" is intricately connected to our New Testament faith in the Messiah spoken of and prophesied within the TaNaKH (Torah/Prophets/Writings) for ages. It is a guidepost for our faith as you will soon see.

To begin, did you know that every single Greek translation of the New Testament has textual differences, that NONE agree completely? For example, in Matthew 23:1-4, because of a misunderstanding of Hebrew thought and customs as well as a mistranslation of the ORIGINAL Hebrew when the Greek Gospels were being written, the words of Yahushua became confusing and His intentions obscured as the various Greek manuscripts had Yahushua telling his Disciples that the Pharisees and Scribes sit upon Moses' Seat, therefore do as they say but their deeds are false so don't do as they do. Huh? That is the confused response most of Christianity has had to those words of the Messiah for a thousand years or more. Most just shrugged it off and chalked it up to one of those "mysteries" the Messiah will explain when he returns, because surely, in light of "Grace" and "Freedom," the Messiah wasn't telling us to obey the Pharisees, whom Yahushua vigorously rebuked, whom He once called a "brood of vipers." To this, I agree! Where doctrinal conflict arose, He WASN'T telling us to obey the Pharisees but to OBSERVE MOSES! Huh? There's that confused response again. Let's look at it further and you too will see what Yahushua HaMachiach (Jesus, the Christ) REALLY told us, his Talmadim (Disciples).

First, lets look at the King James Version of Yahushua's words translated from the various existing Greek manuscripts.

(Mat 23:1-4 KJV) 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.

Yahushua is very clear here in Matthew, isn't he? The Messiah is telling us, since the Pharisees and Scribes sit in "Moses' Seat," a "seat" of religious authority, we should OBSERVE and DO WHATSOEVER they tell us. But oddly he then tells us to NOT DO as they do because they say one thing but do another. So, WWYD? He would observe and do as the Pharisees and Scribes tell him, as they sit in Moses' Seat, right? Let's look further...

What is Moses' Seat?

Moses' Seat is a symbolic physical seat within ancient Synagogues where the Chief or Elder Priest would sit. It is a seat of authority and judgment within Pharisaical Judaism, usually beautifully and ornately carved and in a very prominent position within the Synagogue. It was, in that day, where the LAW and judgments came forth.

When a Chief or Elder Priest sat in Moses' Seat and spoke, it was received as the FINAL WORD, similar to when a King or Pharaoh sits upon his throne for official decrees. In our day, the Pope upon the Roman Catholic throne is similar to Catholics as the Chief Priest upon Moses' Seat is to those in Pharisaical Judaism back then. It is the corruption of Moses' Seat by those who sat in this position of authority that Yahushua specifically addresses in Matthew.

The HEBREW Matthew!

It may come as a surprise to many but many Biblical scholars, now more than ever, believe that the Gospels, as well as other New Testament books, were originally written in Hebrew, then later translated into Greek. Think about it! Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all Hebrew speaking Israelites. Their mother tongue was Hebrew or Aramaic, not Greek. Some, such as John, may only have had a cursory understanding of Greek in order to conduct business with foreigners, let alone a fluent and comprehensive understanding of Greek that would be required to write the complex Greek Gospels.

Up until recently, the only existing manuscripts of the Gospels were Greek manuscripts. Because of this, many assumed that the Gospels were originally written in Greek, and if Hebrew Gospels ever existed, they were either destroyed or lost over time. However, recent discoveries of a Hebrew Matthew adds new light to the Gospels by challenging some assumptions Christianity has adopted for over a millennia and helps answer some of the Gospels most "problematic" texts, such as Matthew 23:1-4 discussed above.

A 14th century polemical treatise "Even Bochan" written by Shem-Tob ben-Isaac ben-Shaprut Ibn Shaprut, a Castilian Jewish physician, living later in Aragon, in the 12th/ 13th book contains a Hebrew version of the complete text of Matthew. Although it has considerable revision to make it more in line with Greek and Latin texts, the Hebrew foundation of the Gospel of Matthew is unmistakable. This Matthew is a HEBREW Matthew, not a translation of Greek or Latin into Hebrew. To avoid getting too detailed, thus bogged down in academia and Hebrew word puns, there are numerous grammatical clues that point to an original Hebrew construction, probably copied from a more previous Hebrew manuscript. This Hebrew Matthew seems to have been preserved by Jews, independent of any Christian or Messianic influence.

Getting back to Moses' Seat in Matthew 23:1-3 again, Shem Tob's Hebrew Matthew gives us a completely different picture of Moses' Seat than given in the Greek and Latin originated King James Version. Below is an English translation of the Hebrew Matthew 23:1-2 by Nehemia Gordon, a Karite Jew, and a scholar who is a translator of the Dead Sea Scrolls and an expert in ancient Hebrew/Aramaic texts. [For Nehemia's intro to his newly published book on Moses' Seat and the Hebrew Matthew, click here.]

"The Pharisees and sages sit upon the seat of Moses. Therefore, all that he (Moses) says to you, diligently do, but according to their reforms (takanot) and their precedents (ma‘asim) do not do, because they talk but do not do."

Takanot are "reforms that change biblical law" and Ma'asim are "acts or deeds that serve as precedent."

Yahushua, in his rebuke of Pharisaical traditions of men, compared the deeds and reforms of the Pharisees and Scribes with the deeds and reforms of the Samaritans in 2 Kings 17:34, adding even further scholarly weight to Shem Tob's version of Matthew 23:1-2.

(2 Ki 17:34 KJV) Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;

The KJV over complexes this simple passage. Nehemia's translation of this Hebrew passage makes it more clear...

2Ki 17:34: The Samaritans do "according to their statutes and their judgments" but "they do not do" according to the Torah

Do as Moses says in Torah, not as the "religious leaders" do!

Yahushua IS what is written, SAID what is written and DID what is written. Yahushua is TORAH; the Word of Elohim (God)!

Throughout the five Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Revelation), Yahushua repeatedly taught, and always rebuked, using exact references to the TaNaKH (Torah, the Prophets and Writings). For the Shem Tob's Hebrew Matthew 23:1-2 to reflect Yahushua rebuking the Pharisees and Scribes with comparison to TaNaKH Scripture from 2 Kings 17:34 adds considerable scholarly weight to the accuracy of these Hebrew verses. So if it is accurate to Yahushua's words spoken to his Disciples and followers, what does it mean to us, his modern-day Talmadim (Disciples)?

Ok, WWYD? Contrary to the twisted Pauline doctrinal influences of modern, Gentile Christianity, or as I call it, "Institutional Christianity," Yahushua tells us, when conflict between the Pharisees (Rabbis) and Moshe (Moses) arise, we are to do as Moses' tells us to do. What did Moses' tell us to do? Well, it is all written in Torah, the five books of Moses!

(Mat 5:18 KJV) For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law (Torah), till all be fulfilled (His Second Coming).

YHWH promised us Gentiles that in the "last days" He would, "just this once," show us His might and power and the trustworthiness of His Word, specifically the Torah. Is it any surprise that YHWH would bring forth a "new revelation" that would guide us, the Gentiles who are called by His Name, back to TRUTH, that being the validity and relevance of Torah to a New(er) Covenant Believer? For YHWH has not changed, nor will He ever! When He tells us in His Torah that His Feasts (Festivals) are FOR EVER, a PERPETUAL Covenant and that His Sabbath, on the 7th day (Saturday) is for ALL our GENERATIONS, that is exactly what He means.

Yahushua confirms this when he tells his Talmadim/Disciples and followers to look to Moses' Seat and OBSERVE and DO what Moses' has told us in Torah, yet do not do as the "religious leaders" do. The religious leaders (Pope, Pastors, Preachers) have abandoned Moses even though they now sit in a position of authority! They do as if Torah has passed away and is no longer valid, they change the day of Sabbath with Takanot to show their own authority over Scripture and with Ma'asim they hid and have forgotten the Holy Name of their Elohim (God), YHWH, thus breaking the Third of Ten Commandments by taking His name in vain.

(Jer 16:19-21 TFV*) O YHWH, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. {20} Shall a man make elohim unto himself, and they are no elohim? {21} Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is YHWH.

You reading this now, on this web site, is YOUR CALL to return to the original faith of the Messiah and his Disciples! As prophesied, this is the day and the hour Yahuwah is calling the Gentiles to him, to know His might, His hand (His ways and leadings; Torah), and His Holy Name, YHWH (Yahuwah). This "RESTORATION" has never happened before, nor will it happen again, as ONCE means exactly that; ONCE.

Even after Yahushua's death, resurrection and the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), the Apostles, debating what must a Gentile DO after salvation, gave the Gentiles certain SPECIFIC commandments from Torah that MUST BE OBEYED for them to remain in fellowship with other Believers. Contrary to popular Christian doctrines twisted from Paul's teachings, the observance of Torah and Sabbath is encouraged by the Apostles.

(Acts 15:19-21 KJV) Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: {20} But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. {21} For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

Basically, they are saying, "They are babes in the Messiah, barely able to stand, let us not trouble them with what WE KNOW about serving Elohim (God) in Torah, for they have plenty of time to learn this later as MOSES IS TAUGHT EVERY SABBATH IN EVERY CITY. We have had our WHOLE LIVES to learn Moses, they have not."

YHWH is calling us to "come out of her (Babylon)!" Abandon the foolish and deceptive doctrines of "religious leaders" and reject the pagan influences that have infected the "Faith that was ONCE delivered to the Saints." Return to the Faith of our Fathers where Torah and Grace co-exist in perfect harmony as YHWH intended. Enjoy the beauty and intimacy of YHWH's prophetic Festivals and the Sabbath Day, the times and seasons He has PROMISED to meet with you! These are not "Jewish" times and seasons, but YHWH's alone. He established them in His Torah, return to Him!

Baruch HaShem Yahuwah!

Robert G.

Special thanks to Nehemia Gordon for making the pro-Torah foundation of Matthew come alive with his teachings on "Moses' Seat and Shem Tov's Hebrew Matthew." His book on this topic is NOW AVAILABLE <here>.

*TFV = Tradition-Free Version