Answering Objections: Torah and Gentiles

Many thanks to those who took time to give thoughtful replies to my August 29 post, “Jews, Gentiles, and MJ: Whaddya Think?”

Let me start with Dorla. I want to start with her because she eloquently summarized some common points we often hear from the One-Law point of view (all Jews and Gentiles today should believe in Yeshua and keep Torah). Dorla said:

The first Sabbath was celebrated at the end of Creation and there were no Jews or Gentiles. So why would it not be required of all of us?

I would like to answer this commonly raised evidence for the One-Law way of thinking. I am not picking on Dorla or anyone else. I think the logic of this argument is somewhat compelling and I can see why numerous people believe it. But it is false logic, as I intend to show. Dorla’s argument couild be put into a proposition like this:
1. God rested in the seventh day in Genesis.
2. In so doing he was instituting the Sabbath.
3. Thus, the Sabbath was instituted before Mt. Sinai and is not limited as a command to Israel.

What is the problem with this thinking? The problem is that line #2 is a false assumption. God did not institute the Sabbath in Genesis (at least the text says nothing about it). The Hebrew word for Sabbath simply means to cease or rest. God rested, but he did not institute anything. He did not utter a command about it.

Still, this raises the question: why did Genesis tell us about God resting?

Well, one possibility would be to agree that God was instituting a commandment of Sabbath. We’d have to admit this is possible. But it faces the problem of not being stated. If God expected humankind to follow the Sabbath, why didn’t he tell them?

Are there other possible reasons for God’s action and the inclusion of this story in Genesis? Yes, I would like to suggest one (and I am not breaking new ground here). God already had Israel in mind when he created the world. God built into the creation of the world allusions to his coming covenant with Israel. God set the pattern for Israel in his own work of creating. That is why God can tell Israel in Exodus 20:11 that he had rested himself on the seventh day. God did it for Israel as a sign and a pattern. In creation, God foreshadowed his love for and election of Israel. Yet he did not then make the Sabbath a commandment for Adam, Noah, or even Abraham.

We also heard from my blogger friend Judah Gabriel. His argument was something like this:
1. The New Testament tells us that breaking Torah is sin.
2. Saying that Gentiles don’t have to keep all of Torah is telling Gentiles to sin.
3. Thus, the Torah is required for Gentiles according to the New Testament.

I have a very simple answer to Judah. I hope he will hear it and think about it. My answer is: It is a sin to break a commandment that is intended for you, but it is not a sin to do something another person is commanded not to do. I will use an example that even Judah would agree with. The High Priest is not allowed to marry a divorcee. Yet it is not a sin for another Israelite to marry a divorcee. In the same way, if God did not command Gentiles to abstain from pork, then they are not breaking a command to eat it (note that pork is included in the things God called “good” in Genesis 1).

We heard from Geoff Robinson, who argues that all Torah is obsolete, nailed to the cross of Jesus. One of his arguments goes like this:
1. Hebrews says there is a change in the laws of priesthood.
2. If any part of the law changes it all changes.
3. Therefore, the law is completely changed.

The problem with this argument, again, is the middle proposition. If you change any part of the law, is the whole thing changed? That does not follow. In fact, the law changed within the period of Torah and there was no such annulment of the whole Torah. In Leviticus 7, when Israel is in the wilderness camped around the Tabernacle, the law is that all meat must be slaughtered at the Tabernacle. Yet in Deuteronomy 14 when Israel is about to move into the land and this will no longer be practical, the law changes and meat may be slaughtered anywhere. Change in Torah does not annul Torah.

Finally, we heard from Christian for Moses who suggested some research by Flusser and Van de Sandt indicates a very pro-Torah stance in the early church, particularly the Didache. From this, he infers that Acts 15 meant to impose the Noahide laws first on Gentiles and allow them to learn the rest of Torah later. I haven’t read the research he refers to, but I have read the Didache. FFOZ (ffoz.org) has a new product out on the Grace After Meals (We Thank You is the title) and they have proposed that the Didache has in it a Messianic grace after meals prayer (fascinating!). The problem with what Christian for Moses is saying is that the evidence is miniscule and to read back from the Didache into Acts 15 is completely without foundation. Early Christianity had a diversity of views and we should not assume uniformity. Also, Christian for Moses misunderstood me: I do not subscribe the the concept of the Noahide laws as an existing concept in the first century. I believe it came much later. I do not think Acts 15 had anything to do with Noahide laws.

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Christian, Gentiles, Judaism, Messianic Jewish, Theology, Torah. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Answering Objections: Torah and Gentiles

  1. Christian for Moses says:

    Dear Derek,

    Thanks for commenting on the perspective I laid out.

    As can be seen in my argument I wrote PRE-Noahide laws (obviously I did not mean the noahide laws as codified today), and it would be interesting to hear if you think this would have been non-existent in first century Judaism.

    Derek said: “to read back from the Didache into Acts 15 is completely without foundation”.

    This is a strong statement, especially from someone who has not read the actual work that claims this and especially since it has been carried out under the wings of the prominent series: Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum Ad Novum Testamentum. But if you will, elaborate your strong stance.

    Kind regards,

    Daniel
    christian4moses.wordpress.com

  2. Christian for Moses (Daniel):

    I appreciate your response to my response. I was brief in responding to you. Your clarifying question is a good one.

    I am not judging whether Flusser and Van de Sandt succeed in demonstrating that the Didache reflects a Torah-observant community. It very well may. Yet even if you prove the Didache to be from a Torah-observant community of Yeshua followers, this has no bearing on the meaning of Acts 15.

    Why do I say that? Because to say that our interpretation of the Didache should affect our interpretation of Acts would need a heap of supporting evidence. I can think of a few ways you could make that argument: (1) if the two works had the same author or (2) if the Didache community represented the monolithic Christian view at the time.

    Let me say it another way. Your argument for the relation of Gentiles to Torah would look something like this:
    1. The early second century Didache reflects a Torah-observant Christian community.
    2. The community behind the Didache was living out the teaching of the Apostles (including Acts 15) from a faithful understanding given directly by the apostles.
    3. Hence, Acts 15 must have meant for Gentiles to learn Torah.

    The problem is that the middle premise is off the mark historically. The Shepherd of Hermas and other early second century Christian writings show us that other segments of the Christian community were anti-Torah. There was no monolithic early Christian acceptance of Torah. And that is even if I were to admit that the Didache is pro-Torah (which I have not yet admitted).

    The Didache, like other documents outside the canon, is not infallible and cannot guide us to what Acts 15 was all about. It can only tell us how one group thought about these issues.

    Please let me know if I am missing something here.

    Derek

  3. rabbiadam says:

    Response to Derek:
    There is a “One Law” perspective you are missing here. In Romans 11, we read of Paul’s vision of the Olive Tree; Jews were the original branches and stripped out for unbelief; Gentiles who believe are grafted-in, and Jews who believe are re-grafted-in. The question becomes, grafted in to what? As an olive tree metaphor, in context with the rest of Scripture, it is likely that we are all (re-)grafted in to Israel! We are the Israel of God, as Galatians 6:16 puts it.

    What is Israel? It is the people with whom God made a covenant at Mt Sinai. What was that covenant? Torah.

    What is Torah? It is God’s guidelines for righteous living for His People Israel, and to violate it is sin (1 John 3:4, Romans 3:20 & 7:7, etc.). Are you suggesting God has two standards of righteous living for those who are Israel (whether grafted or re-grafted) based on their ethnic background? That makes very little sense. Even among the tribes of Israel, the only one which has any difference in commandments (and only that they have MORE commandments to keep, not LESS or DIFFERENT at the very base) is the Tribe of Levi, which is called to a more direct service in the Temple.

    The only way one can logically argue that Non-Jewish Believers are not supposed to be keeping the Torah is to claim they are not Israel. That makes them outside of God’s Covenant… and I don’t see that, Scripturally.

    My point is not a supercessionist one. I don’t believe in supercessionism, I believe in Joining Israel. As to the branches stripped off for unbelief, some would say that I am saying that the Chosen People are not the Chosen People. That is not the case. It’s just that the boundaries of the Chosen are in flux and many who are Chosen of God turn away from God by resisting His Messiah. God has still chosen them, they are not choosing Him, and both are necessary. Not all people who are of Israel are a part of Israel, if you understand what I mean.

  4. Christian for Moses says:

    Hi Derek,

    Tnx for your elaboration.
    I think I should have explained a bit more on how they came to this idea. First of all, they did not propose that the Didache reflected a Torah-observant community, and neither am I.
    Let me roughly sketch it:
    Several scholars have pointed out that the Didache, when stripped of the interpolated words of Jesus, is

    […]an entirely Jewish document, a kind of ethical instruction for would-be converts –or perhaps for Gentile G’d-fearers. This is clearly indicated in chapter 6, which is more than strange in a Christian text, but which makes excellent sense if addressed to G’d-fearers by Jews: “If you can bear the whole yoke of the L’rd, you will be perfect, but if you cannot, do what you can. And concerning food, bear as much as you can [of the dietary laws], but keep strictly from that which is offered to idols, for it is the worship of dead gods.” O. Skarsaune, In the Shadow of the Temple (Illinois: IVP, 2002), p.212-213

    And thus they (i.e. Flusser and vd Sandt) reason its in fact an adaptation of the Two-ways document [it being a document being used by the Synagogue for converts or G’d-fearers], and deduce from here that Acts 15 was merely confirming the common held view by the Synagogue, which as David Flusser also argued in his work (Tussen oorsprong en schisma, 1984, p.327 English: Judaism and the Origins of Christianity) did not prohibit additional observance:

    It is easy to show that the fulfilling of other Jewish commandments in the eyes of Judaism was not prohibited to non-Jews. On the contrary: the keeping of the Noachide commandments was being considered as a minimum-requirement when men wanted to be considered by the Jews as G’d-fearing.

    You are very right in saying that early Christianity was not monolithic in accepting Torah observance, and in fact it would be great if we could find out more about the silent period between the NT and the first writing of the church, as it appears to be very difficult to find writings that reflect the full understanding of the NT, as can also be seen in the survey conducted among others in Jewish believers in Jesus (2007). But as Seth from judeoxian.wordpress.com once pointed out to me, oftentimes those in power are the ones writing the history books.

    In any case, the comment has become quite long, what Im trying to convey, I hope youve got,

    Blessings,

    Daniel
    christian4moses.wordpress.com

  5. Daniel (Christian for Moses):

    I better understand the argument now: (1) The Didache is thought by some scholars to be an adapted document for God-fearers, (2) the Didache contains an admonition for God-fearers to move on to full observance and not remain in minimal (Noahide) levels of observance, and (3) this gives a possible parallel to understand Acts 15 in the same way (start with minimal and grow into full observance).

    I still say, though, even if (2) is proven, (3) does not follow. Now, (2) does show that (3) would be within the range of Second Temple Jewish ideas. Yet that is a far thing from determining that Acts 15 means (3). Showing that an idea existed in a certain period in no way means we must interpret a different text according to the same idea.

    You said in your original comment on “Jews, Gentiles and MJ: Whaddya Think?” that you feel the apostolic council was thinking along the lines of Flusser and Van de Sandt’s interpretation of the Didache. You would need to make a compelling argument from Acts 15 for that (which you may be able to do). I feel that there are compelling arguments against that from the text of Acts 15 (I have a series of articles on this blog about Acts 15, which you could find by going back into the “Gentiles” category).

    Great discussion. And BTW, your blog is fascinating.

    Ketivah vachatimah tovah!

    Derek

  6. judahgabriel says:

    Derek,

    You did not address my argument fully. Isaiah, Zechariah, Psalms — these talk about gentiles and all nations keeping his commandments, his Sabbath, his Feasts.

    You addressed a part of my argument, by saying Torah disobedience is not sin because it’s not applicable to gentiles. Let me address that:

    If breaking Torah is sin only for Jews, why would Paul make the statement about “breaking Torah is sin” this in his letters to gentiles?

    Think about it: Paul tells the Romans, for example, that coveting is a sin because Torah says so. If your theology is correct, surely Paul would have follow up and said, “But for you gentiles, covet all you wish. For the Torah is for the Jew only.”

  7. Christian for Moses says:

    Dear Derek,

    Although there exists no causal relationship between (2) and (3), a correlation is not necessarily off base.

    Derek said: “Showing that an idea existed in a certain period in no way means we must interpret a different text according to the same idea.”

    I do think, if we assume for a moment that the idea existed in the respective period we should not rule it out a priori but that it would be only fair to consider it, as is done with many other concepts that are found in Rabbinic literature as well, by most of MJ.

    As for my compelling argument:) Ill be honest with you, I dont think this interpretation is the only possibility, the text is quite ambiguous and thus calls for care in interpretation.

    Personally, I think the situation was along these lines: the church was suddenly being faced with the strange fact that non-Jews were part of G’ds people. Normally this was only possible for Jews and thus some called for conversion of these non-Jews. The Apostolic council then rules that these should not be converted to Jews but are acceptable to G’d as non-Jews in the people of G’d. Note that Im not saying these become Jews or Israelites[1], but are part of the people of G’d as non-Jews. They are commanded to keep 3 or 4 commandments[2]. And I deduce from the Didache’s/Two-ways recommendation to additional observance that Acts 15:21 represents a desire that non-Jews will slowly learn more and incorporate at their own pace.

    Flusser and Sandt argue that at this point the Torah was thought of as universally relevant and only later this perspective was changed to a more exclusivistic point of view. Huub vd Sandt in personal correspondence directed me to the following paper, that I havent read yet, M. Hirschman, “Rabbinic Universalism in the Second and Third Centuries”, Harvard Theological Review 93 (2000) 101-15, but which may shed more light on this.

    All in all it comes down to this, Torah is not obligatory for non-Jews but is neither forbidden to be observed, thus if a non-Jew desires to participate with the larger Jewish community and keep kosher and keep Shabbat he need not make sure he breaks at least one of the 39 categories on Shabbat but is permitted to keep it. And this is desirable.

    Btw thanks for your kind remarks of my blog, although it may not deal much with issues like this, your comments will be appreciated,

    Daniel

    [1] although I find Ephesians Ch.2 to be difficult to reconcile with this, as it seems non-Jews become part of the commonwealth of Israel, whatever that may be.
    [2] depending on manuscript (i.e. Alexandrian or Western)

  8. geoffrobinson says:

    Let me clarify my argument.

    1) The fact that the Torah was nailed to the cross comes from Scripture. I wouldn’t say that that means Torah is obsolete. Torah reveals God’s will, His nature, our nature, our sin, etc.

    2) I was anticipating those who would say that the Torah is eternal. I pointed to a change in priesthood showing a change. If there is a change, it cannot be eternal.

  9. jjohnms06 says:

    Just wanted to comment on this post because this is something I think is very important and probably accounts for some of the issues that exist between Believers

    I believe that entire Torah is for all believers in Yeshua/Jesus and there are many spiritual as well as physical examples of this. Scripture tells us “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of a man” Ecc 12:13. There are also others that speaking that those who love the Lord will keep His commandments.
    Yeshua did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it.

    In a more physical example- Gentiles have been adopted by the Lord as His children. If you or I were adopted we would be required to observe the same rules as our new siblings. I beleive this is the same in God’s family. Furthermore, there was a mixed multidue of people with the Isrealites who were present when the law was given. Those who were now a part of Gods family observed these laws. And since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever I see no reason why He would make only part of His commandments for a Gentile believer.

    While I do not believe that the “church” is the new Isreal- THAT IS ONE OF THE CRAZIEST THINGS I’VE EVER HEARD!!!!- I do believe that we Gentiles are a part of His family and should act accordingly, by following all God’s commandments.

  10. Geoff (#8):

    The fact that scripture says Torah was nailed to the cross still requires interpretation. Citing a verse does not prove your interpretation of that verse is correct.

    As to your second point, I think I know what you meant to say, but what you said is invalid. The fact that something changes in no way prevents it from being eternal. The Torah does change in limited ways and certainly the application of Torah changes when circumstances require such change. I gave an example earlier about the the change from Lev 7 to Deut 14 in the laws of slaughtering. Another example would be the changes in priestly regulations in Ezekiel in the Third Temple.

    Derek

  11. jjohnmso6 (#9):

    You said: “In a more physical example- Gentiles have been adopted by the Lord as His children. If you or I were adopted we would be required to observe the same rules as our new siblings. I beleive this is the same in God’s family. Furthermore, there was a mixed multidue of people with the Isrealites who were present when the law was given. Those who were now a part of Gods family observed these laws. And since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever I see no reason why He would make only part of His commandments for a Gentile believer.”

    My response:
    1. The argument you make from adoption is a problem. It is a problem because it is not a scriptural argument. You are sort of using your own ideas about adoption policy and holding God to them. Even so, the idea that a family would not hold different children to different standards is not absolutely true. I allow some of my children to do things that I would not allow others to do. I forbid some things of one child and not another.
    2. If you assume adoption is only for Gentiles, how do you explain Galatians 4:5?
    3. What happened to the mixed multitude from the exodus? You assume they remained Gentiles. I would rather assume that they became part of the tribes of Israel, just as Caleb the Kenizzite (Midianite) became part of the tribe of Judah. Thus, we could say the mixed multitude converted and they became Jews (using modern language).

    Thanks for weighing in, but your argument that God never intended parts of Torah to be specific to Israel is as yet unconvincing. You fail to explain verses like Deuteronomy 14:21 and Exodus 12:43-49 and 31:13.

    Derek

  12. Judah (#6):

    Your reply to me makes me think you did not read my original statement. I did not say, “Gentiles can break Torah.” I said: “The Torah is God’s covenant with Israel, not with the nations, and it has application in many parts to the whole world, but it also has identifying marks of covenant relationship that are just for Israel (e.g., Sabbath, dietary law, circumcision, fringes, etc.).”

    Much of Torah has universal application. But some of it is specific, intended by God as seen in the Torah text itself, the be identifying markers for Israel. For each of the examples I mention above I can cite Torah to demonstrate my point.

    Here is the thing: if Torah distinguishes between Israel and the nations, then in order to follow Torah, so must we. To ignore the Torah’s distinctions between Jew and Gentile is to break Torah. I know . . . it’s a different way of thinking. But I just could be right.

    Derek

  13. judahgabriel says:

    Hey man,

    I understand what you’re saying. Yes, Torah distinguishes between Israelites and goyim.

    But your theology leaves some holes, Derek. :-) Isaiah states that even gentiles should keep Sabbath, for example. The Psalms talk about all nations coming and keeping the commandments. Zechariah states all nations will celebrate the Feasts.

    Messiah stated anyone who teaches folks to disregard *even the least* commandment will be considered least.

    Looking forward to your response, bro.

  14. rabbiadam says:

    Derek says: “The fact that scripture says Torah was nailed to the cross still requires interpretation. ”

    As I understand it, the actual wording indicates that it wasn’t the Torah that was nailed to the Cross — unless you mean Yeshua being the Living Torah — but the written ruling against us. I read this awhile back but am not sure where. I know that it’s mentioned on FFOZ’s FAQ, but that’s not where I read it originally. Assuming this is linguistically accurate — I’m not sure whether it’s based on the Hebrew or Greek manuscripts — it changes the whole complexity of the statement.

    If it’s just the ruling against us, then it means that we are now free to keep Torah without the concern of being ruled against in the Heavenly Court. I suppose one could interpret it as also meaning we are free to disgard it, but since John is clear that the Torah is the standard of what is sin and what is righteousness, and since Paul asks the rhetorical question, “Shall we sin, that grace may abound?” and then answers it, “May it never be!”, that blows that whole idea of freedom to disgard it out of the water.

  15. Connie says:

    Re Derek #12.

    I believe that Israel and the nations (Gentiles) are clearly two different groups, as distinguished in scripture, and that God is very often not speaking to the Gentiles. (That may be tough for many Christians to accept.)

    When Yeshua met the woman at the well, he told her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Her request was nevertheless granted because of her trust (faith).

    Deuteronomy 14:21 says, “You are not to eat any animal that dies naturally; although you may let a stranger staying with you eat it, or sell it to a foreigner; because you are a holy people for ADONAI, your God.” It does not say it’s okay to give/sell the unclean meat only to pagans, but rather to strangers and foreigners living among the Israelis.

    Quotes from The Complete Jewish Bible

  16. jonboze says:

    It is my understanding that Colossians was written primarily to gentiles. If this is the case, we’re talking about people raised in a heathen culture who have little experience with Torah.

    These people have SINNED A LOT.

    Think about people first coming to Christianity, and the immeasurable guilt they feel for the sins they’ve committed over the years. The Colossians will feel the same thing only far stronger. Why? Because their only yardstick for good is full Torah observance. There is no Christianity in the current since yet, only Torah observant Jews.

    When Paul says the ruling against them is nailed to the cross, it’s not referring to Torah, but to the list of all the wrong these men have done in the absence of Torah’s guiding principles. He’s not telling them that there’s no law. He’s telling them that even though they’re outside the sacrificial system of Israel, they can still be forgiven for their sins.

  17. rabbiadam says:

    Thank you, Jon. That was my point.

  18. messianic613 says:

    Apart from the exegetical intricacies involved in explaining Acts XV — the Noachide interpretation of which chapter I find rather rough and unable to do justice to the details of the text — I perhaps may give here below two systematic arguments that should be duly considered in this question of Torah for Gentiles. The first argument is of a systematic theological nature, the second is a philosophical argument.

    The theological argument:
    In one of his longer articles: “Is the Torah Only for Jews?”, Tim Hegg extensively studied the interrelation between the Abrahamic and the Sinaitic covenants. One of his conclusions is (pp. 35-36): “…the subsequent Sinai covenant, embodied in the Torah, is not something separate from or unconnected with the Abrahamic covenant. In fact, in the unfolding revelation of the covenant narratives, the Sinai covenant is clearly given as a means by which Israel would obtain the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant. We see this by the fact that the promises of the Abrahamic covenant, given as unconditional (unilateral), are repeated in the Mosaic covenant as contingent upon obedience (bilateral). […] The two covenants are not separate and distinct, but are woven together. […] The covenant of Abraham came not only with blessing, but with provision to attain that blessing through obedience. […] To the extent that the Abrahamic covenant both envisioned and incorporated the nations, so the Mosaic covenant, the Torah, is given to all covenant members as the divine revelation of God’s holiness, written upon the heart of every covenant member in order to bring about God’s blessings in their lives and in the life of the covenant nation. […] No one would deny that the Gentiles are envisioned in the Abrahamic covenant (“in you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”). But if the Abrahamic covenant includes the Gentiles, then so does the Mosaic covenant, for the Mosaic covenant is given as the means of fulfilling the covenant promises made to Abraham. The two covenants are bound together — they cannot be separated. To say that the Gentiles are blessed in the Abrahamic covenant but have no part in the Mosaic covenant would be like saying a person could be justified without becoming sanctified. Such a scenario finds no place in the biblical record.

    If one studies the interrelatedness of the Abrahamic and Sinai covenants it is not difficult to see that a to relegate a specific group of believers to the position of being included in the Abrahamic covenant (cf. Gal. 3:29: “If ye be Messiah’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”) without being included in the Sinai covenant is destructive of the whole deeper layer of the biblical covenant systematics. Without being related to the Sinai covenant the Gentile believer cannot properly be related to the New Covenant. The covenant is without shows no relation to the New Covenant. It should not be forgotten that the New Covenant — which is the Covenant that brings the definitive forgiveness of sins by means of Yeshua’s blood — is a renewal of the Sinai covenant. Therefore it can never be that the Gentile believer is excluded from the Sinai covenant. By the very means of the covenant he is experiences the blessings of (in an anticipatory way, i.e. before it is accepted by the entire nation of Israel), namely the New Covenant, he must be included in the Sinai covenant as well.

    The philosophical argument:
    If Gentile believers in Messiah are excluded from the Torah and should only observe the Noachide laws, then they are practically relegated to a secular, non-religious lifestyle. It means that they have religion that is only ethical in nature and knows of no possibilities to sancfiy the specific domains of our earthly life: time (Sabbath and festivals), food (kashrut), clothing (sha’anetz and tzitzit &c), sexual relations (tahor hamishpachah), farming and agriculture &tc, &tc. Left without such means to sanctify their earthly lifestyle the resultant consequence is a secular existence. This is exacly what happened historically in modern Christianity. The only reason that this secularizatioin did not already happen much earlier was that the Catholic Churches adopted and “christened” many ritual practises of non-biblical origin — such as Sunday observance, the Sacraments, holy water &c — and in this way founded a (although essentially pagan) kind of “sacred lifestyle”.

    This conception of relegating the Messianic non-Jews to a Noachide status leaves them with a religion that is almost completely “spiritual”, and which because of the absence of the ritual commandments is of an entirely different character as the religion revealed by God at Sinai. Such a religion shows a practical mindset that is purely rational, and is more familiar with the religion of modern deists like Spinoza and Kant, than with the religion of Israel. It cannot be that the whole treasury of the precious events and truths about the person of our Saviour, Messiah Yeshua, should be left only to the mental level of hearing about them, without celebrating them in the cycle of the feasts and experiencing them in all kinds of ritual reminders in our daily lifestyle. Faith in Messiah is not meant to lead to secularism, it is meant to lead to the sanctification of all aspects of our lives, and this is utterly impossible without the Torah.

    Besides, the distinction between the ritual and the ethical commandments is only of relative validity. Consider for instance the question whether the Sabbath is an ethical or a ritual commandment. Of course it is both. It is a ritual commandment with very important ethical and social dimensions. Should the Gentile followers of Messiah abstain from celebrating it and work seven days a week? What a nonsense. Of course they should celebrate it to the full, for it proclaims and let us experience here on earth a glimpse of the ultimate resting place we have found in Messiah. It is only by means of the Torah that the teachings of Messiah and the doctrine about Messiah, found in the Apostolic Scriptures, become relevant for our lives here on earth. Therefore Gentile believers should certainly try to be Torah observant, and not let themselves be deluded and put off with a Noachide, in fact a secular, position.

  19. messianic613 says:

    Erratum

    An error occurred in the last paragraph of the theological argument. The sentence beginning with: “The covenant is without shows no relation &c” should be replaced by the senctence: “The covenant of Noach is not related to the New Covenant”.

  20. “The problem is that line #2 is a false assumption. God did not institute the Sabbath in Genesis (at least the text says nothing about it).”

    =========================================

    God the Father made the sabbath Holy. He “blessed and sanctified” that day.

    If that is not “instituting” the sabbath day I don’t know what else would.

  21. David:

    The point I made is that God instituted nothing. There is no Sabbath command until Exodus 16. There is no evidence that God told anyone he rested on the seventh day until Torah was given. My point is that it is more like a foreshadowing than an institution, as Gen 1:14 is a foreshadowing of the festivals.

    Derek

  22. Derek, God indeed “instituted” the sabbath on the seventh day, that is the whole point in God blessing and sanctifying the day. He put His stamp or mark on that day.

    Thus the sabbath was “commanded” well before Exodus 16. See Exodus 5 if you need help with that. See Genesis 26 for more help.

    As a Messianic Derek you seem quite confused and more so, quite lost in your “Judaism.”

  23. David:

    It is ironic that you, being against the rabbis and saying Judah is desolate, would agree with a rabbinic interpretation, that Genesis 26 means Abraham kept all of the later statutes of Torah, including Shabbat. I do not find this reading compelling. Nor do I find it compelling that when Moses required Pharaoh to let the Israelites celebrate a festival in the desert in Exodus 5 that this meant the festivals (and Shabbat) were already fully formed.

    Clearly you wish to believe Shabbat was a command before the Torah names it as such and you find what suits your pre-determined conclusion.

    Derek “Lost in Judaism and Happy” Leman

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s