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Mathew 23 ?

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Loyal
Matthew 23:9
And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

In full context
Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,a and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbib by others. 8But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.c9And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.


So the text I get to a point, Jesus is talking about anyone who claims to be a preacher of the word do not call father, anyone that is is on earth. For we have only one father and that is God the father in heaven

What I am having a little trouble understanding is Abraham, he is referred to as father several times in the bible. However he is no longer on earth so that has to play into the equation some how. Just not sure how,

would love to here some thoughts on this

thanks
 
Active
I think there are two different uses of "father". Jesus is prohibiting his disciples from taking on spiritual titles that raise them above others. Most often in the New Testament the apostles address others as brothers.

But Abraham is different. All Jews trace their ancestry back to Abraham, so he is father in a family sense.

I don't take Jesus words to mean that children should not call their own parent 'Father', it's about humility in the body of Christ.
 
Member
Matthew 23:9
And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

In full context
Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,a and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbib by others. 8But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.c9And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.


So the text I get to a point, Jesus is talking about anyone who claims to be a preacher of the word do not call father, anyone that is is on earth. For we have only one father and that is God the father in heaven

What I am having a little trouble understanding is Abraham, he is referred to as father several times in the bible. However he is no longer on earth so that has to play into the equation some how. Just not sure how,

would love to here some thoughts on this

thanks
Thanks for sharing this question Dave M. I really like the verse here: "But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren." This contrasts with a lot of hierarchies in formal congregations and in society generally. It also points out that being alone following Christ as teacher and master is better than following men as teacher and master. Let your relationship with congregations go if it is in the way of you meeting Christ outside the camp (Hebrews 13:13). If Christ is still your master, it is good enough and all that is needed. It also means you don't have to have others' approval to be accepted by Christ. It also points out that Christ is the one who true believers have their relationship with as master and teacher.

We should keep in mind that God the father, son, and holy spirit are all one. To a certain extent when dealing with one of these three, you are dealing with all of them. For example, Jesus is called the prince of peace in Isaiah 9:6, but he is also called the everlasting father there. And the Bible tells us that the holy spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13), so that seems like the spirit is a teacher as well. Or consider: "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:6) So God is in as well as above.

Now concerning your question, and to be more specific, I'll just throw out a conjecture, and that's all it is, a conjecture. I think that the main characters of most every book of the Bible are pictures of Christ. For example, Adam was an obvious picture of Christ according to the Bible's own words. And Joseph (rejected by his brethren and exalted by God) was a picture of Christ. And Joshua even has the same name as Christ. And Jonah was a picture of Christ who spent three days in the heart of the earth and so forth, and Paul was a picture of Christ. I think it very likely that Abraham was also a picture someone, perhaps of the father God.

We read in Hebrews that "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,"

Abraham is called the father of all believers and yet that is what God the father seems to be in absolute form. He is the father of all believers. Our Father, who art in heaven. This is the conjecture, that Abraham is called father because he is a picture of God the father who has a family of believers.

Could the term father really be meaning the natural father? Abraham doesn't really seem to be the natural father of all believers. Rather, the spiritual one.

As an interesting aside on the use of the term father in the Bible, most people think of their earthly mother and father when reading the ten commandments. Honor your father and your mother. However, I think it is just as likely, or perhaps more so, that this means to honor God the father and the Jerusalem above, who is our spiritual mother according to Galatians.
 
Active
Agree with @pajaro on Old Testament characters being types of Christ, and also that the main thrust of Jesus' words here is to create a church that is structured around the principle of brotherhood rather than hierarchy.

I was careful to say that Abraham is father of the Jews in my earlier post. Paul and the writer of Hebrews expands the meaning to spiritual father.

And Jesus himself clearly thought of the commandment to honor father and mother as being about natural parents. See Matthew 15

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites!​
 
Active
Listen to the Lord Jesus, and make the sincere effort to do the things which He says, that is all that is needed to know.
 
Member
Agree with @pajaro on Old Testament characters being types of Christ, and also that the main thrust of Jesus' words here is to create a church that is structured around the principle of brotherhood rather than hierarchy.

I was careful to say that Abraham is father of the Jews in my earlier post. Paul and the writer of Hebrews expands the meaning to spiritual father.

And Jesus himself clearly thought of the commandment to honor father and mother as being about natural parents. See Matthew 15

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites!​
Thanks Hekuran, for your comments. It is always good to find someone who sees the types played out in scripture (types of Christ,etc.). I ran across a scripture about Abraham sacrificing Isaac in Genesis 22, which seems to bolster the idea of Abraham being a type of God the father, while Isaac would be a type of Jesus: "And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?...And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:"

Considering the commandment about father and mother - even though Matthew 15 seems to be about natural father and mother on the surface, it is not as clear to me as it is to you that this is about natural parents. The Jerusalem above is our mother, and this would be the true believers. God the father is the true believers' father. If one honors these I would think all is as it should be. Natural father and mother come in all states of good and evil and are sometimes not even in the picture when it comes to the human experience. To recap the scripture: "For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother:and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death." Anyone who curses God the father and the true believers is likely an unbeliever and therefore has spiritual death. That is the meaning as I see it. If one takes what gift belongs to these but claims it is devoted to God, and doesn't really honor God the father in truth, then they have followed their own traditions and not God. I'm not sure you will see this the same, but we may disagree concerning the meaning of this.
 
Loyal
But Abraham is different. All Jews trace their ancestry back to Abraham, so he is father in a family sense.
I agree... we all have biological fathers, (grand fathers, great grand fathers, etc... )
But we only have one Spiritual Father. We should not call any man "father" in a spiritual sense.
Our Spiritual Father is in heaven.
 
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Staff Member
Hope this helps

NIV study bible notes

23:8–10 The warning is against seeking titles of honor to foster pride. We should avoid unreasonable literalism in applying such commands.

IVP Commentary

Religious Leaders Must Not Seek Honorary Titles (23:7-11)
Social etiquette dictated the manner of greetings: one must greet one's social superior first (Manson 1979:99; Goodman 1983:78). Sages were objects of special honor (as in t. Mo`ed Qatan 2:17). Fitting this context of public honor and salutations (vv. 6-7), in Jesus' day Rabbi was probably an honorary greeting, "my master" (vv. 7-8; only gradually did it come to be added as a title to a given teacher's name). But whereas Jesus' disciples will carry on his mission of teaching, they will make disciples for him rather than for themselves (28:19).

Some people used abba ("papa") as a respectful title for older men and other prominent individuals (Jeremias 1971:68), and may have especially viewed Bible teachers in these terms (see, for example, Sipre Deut.34.3.1-3). But with God as their Father, Jesus' disciples are all siblings (compare 12:48-50; 18:15; 28:10). Matthew's original readers, who knew all about the titles and power Pharisaic teachers were claiming for themselves, would hear Jesus' teaching as a warning not to be like their competitors by seeking honorary titles or a position above others.

John Meier, a Roman Catholic scholar, notes Jesus' prohibition of the title father and questions the use of ecclesiastical titles, which arose even in Matthew's church in Syria a few decades after his Gospel (1980:265). But while we Protestants may determine "pecking order" by different means, most of our churches offer the same temptations for personal advancement. In most church services, ministers (including guest ministers performing no function in the service) grace the platform; many churches use various forms of social conformity to increase offerings. In some circles ordained ministers are taken aback if they are not greeted with the title "Reverend," which literally means "one worthy of reverence, one who should be revered." Is it possible that the very criticisms Jesus laid against the religious establishments of his day now stand institutionalized in most of his church?
 
Member
I think there are two different uses of "father". Jesus is prohibiting his disciples from taking on spiritual titles that raise them above others. Most often in the New Testament the apostles address others as brothers.
I think this concisely and accurately answers the question most specifically. While the other replies also have great scriptural validity(IE: referencing the symbolisms, TYPES, etc.) they do veer away from the direct context of the question. In the end, the concept Christ was expounding had little to do with verbal literalism...but was a matter of intention/direction of heart. Since in Christ all mankind is made equally justified and righteous; whom were all equally unjustified and in sin-none have right of superiority over others. Jesus said Himself that He came not to be served but to serve; and thus we should be of like mind to serve one another in humility. Jesus was specifically combating the arrogant air of the Pharisees and their desire for earthly acknowledgement in titles such as "father." It was not the term, nor the application....but the ideology that the term was reflective of higher station and authority. There are still applicable symbolisms and principles that pertain to Abraham, David, even Adam to an extent being "fathers," of either mankind or of the "chosen nation Israel," to whom we are adopted in as family through the blood of Christ. However, each of these peripheral trains of thought would merit further introspection in and of themselves; for this is a very limited and thus flawed presentation of things that are better explained in depth. (ergo the post sub-threads delving into types, symbolisms, and contextual applications that are peripheral to the initial question posed. (Take it easy folks, LOL. I am aware that this reply contains a very condensed and "paraphrased," version of the principles referenced and is by no means purported to be comprehensive.)
 
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