Do the Rabbis Have Authority?

Do the Rabbis Have Authority?
This is written in response to the following comment I received in an online discussion.
I completely understand your position now, this is Christianity with a Kippah, no semblance to Judaism.
FYI Yeshua kept and taught oral torah and was called a Rabbi, because he was a Rabbi (not merely a teacher) but a rabbi just like those today in Judaism.
Deut 17 upholds the teaching and ruling on Torah.

Actually, it appears the Apostle Paul taught that the Kippah brings shame to Yeshua, (1 Cor 11:3-4) so to be safe, I don't practice that.

Yeshua may have kept most of the oral torah, but we do have examples of Him not doing so both when it contradicted the written Torah and when it did not. (Mark 3:1-5, Luke 11:37-38) He also defended His disciples, who were under His teaching, when they transgressed the oral traditions. (Mark 7:1-5, Luke 6:1-5) There is the one passage in Matthew 23:1-8 where Yeshua tells his disciples to respect the authority of those sitting in Moses' seat, which I will agree with you looks like a reference back to Deuteronomy 17:9 and 19:17. Interestingly, it is in that very passage that He instructs them not to call any other man rabbi.

In both Deuteronomy 17 and 19, it uses the phrase "the judges that shall be in those days." When Yeshua tells His disciples to respect Moses' seat and in the Torah itself, it is also a present tense judge whom the command is to obey. The idea that what a judge hundreds of years ago ruled is still binding today is not found there. However, Deuteronomy 18:18-19 when prophesying of Yeshua says, "whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." Obeying the words of Yeshua, "The Prophet like unto Moses," is, through this passage, part of the Torah.

Yeshua spoke an important parable in Luke 20:9-19:
9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
10 And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
11 And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
12 And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
19 And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.

So, before His death, Yeshua at least mostly kept the oral traditions, and taught obedience to Moses' seat. Yet He also taught that after the death of the Son there would be a change in who would have charge of the vineyard. That the authority of Moses' seat would be given to someone else. The Torah also prophesies of this same thing in saying, "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, UNTIL Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." (Gen 49:10) Shiloh has come and the scepter has departed, returning "the gathering of the people" to Yeshua.

What did Yeshua do with that authority? The parable passage mentions that He would give charge of the vineyard to others. Yeshua said to the Apostles, "All authority has be given unto Me, go ye and teach" (Matthew 28:18) and "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." (Matthew 18:18) In the stories of the early church in Acts we see questions of Torah taken not to the Jewish Rabbis, but to the Apostles. This happens quite notably with the question of circumcision for salvation in Acts 15 and with Paul's mission to the gentiles in Galatians 2:2-9.

In fact, after directly disobeying the command by the Sanhedrin not to teach in Yeshua's name, the Apostles' reply was, "We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29) The Torah plainly says to obey the sentence of the judges, so they could only truly say this if the authority of God was no longer behind the rulings of the Sanhedrin! They no longer qualified as "The judges that shall be in those days."

The authority no longer rests with the Jewish Rabbis and Rabbinic Traditions, especially since they deny Yeshua. The Apostle John put it this way in 2 John:
7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Yeshua Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:

If we would not even be allowed to welcome the Rabbis into our house, then how can it be right to accept them as spiritual authority?

Comments

I agree with you on the fact that the rabbis don't have that authority any more. I especially like your conclusion of if we aren't supposed to allow them into our house, why would we afford them scriptural authority? I know you aren't addressing this subject in this article, but a future topic of where this authority now lies would be good. Of course as you know, the Catholic church has an answer for that, which I obviously don't agree with. Also, what is the extent of that authority. I got into a discussion a few years ago that if I understood him correctly, I thought he felt that authority included even changing Torah, if necessary (he alluded to the Acts 15 ruling as doing just that). I don't agree they did. Interesting subject.
I haven't forgotten our calendar discussion, just haven't had the time to use my brain that much. I'm currently riding on a road trip.
Paul

I do plan to address the question of, "Where does that authority lie today?" as well as to what extent in Who Should We Obey? (Part 2) someday.

Way too short :) , but that just about covers it.

I noticed you mention not wearing a head covering, "...so to be safe, I don't practice that."

Would you wear a head covering if not for Paul? Outside of Paul, do you have any other reason?

If these questions require an inconvenient amount of time to answer, please feel free to ignore.

I think I would be neutral on the subject if not for Paul's teaching. There are references to men covering their heads as a sign of shame or mourning in the Old Testament which leads me to believe the usual was for a man to be uncovered, but I don't think it proves the point. The Levitical priests are supposed to wear coverings or some sort of head gear, but there are special rules for priests so it is a stretch to apply that to others or to say for sure it is the opposite.

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