Friday 15 November 2013

Observance of Torah demanded of Gentiles?

I would like to make one thing clear in this article, I am not knocking nor attacking my Messianic Jewish Brothers and Sisters in this article, I am simply addressing an issue that is prevalent within these circles and I have noticed this while scouring the internet or even on Facebook

This is simply addressing the issue of whether Christians are to observe certain ordinances of the Torah and there are many, whether it be some in the Messianic Movement, or even the movements that simply force observance of these things on other Christians, one example of demanding this kind of observance being 7th Day Adventists.

Now one thing we can agree before I begin is that we know for certain that there are moral obligations placed on us by the NT, specifically 9 of the 10 commandments and of course prohibitions against bestiality, homosexuality, incest, witchcraft, idolatry, adultery, covetousness, greed, slander etc minus the death penalty.

But how much of the Torah is actually binding on Christians today?

Firstly, Let's deal with the text regarding Jesus' words in Matthew 5:17-20 which are misused.

"17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus is not disregarding the OT as a whole as irrelevant, he is making the point that it is pointing to him and he is not coming to remove the Law or the Prophets, as some would presume. He goes on to say that ALL must be accomplished, namely his mission of redemption, both his first coming and second and what he will do in those comings, like dealing with sin on the cross, thus paying the debt to God that we owe. He came to fulfill what was written and some of those ordinances have been fulfilled in him.

One person on Paltalk who wasn't a Messianic but nevertheless condemned me (when I was bobo577 which is another paltalk nic I have), to hell for not observing Sabbath, and kept pointing to Colossians 2:16 to try and say that the Sabbath needs to be kept, Let's take a look at it.

"16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."

The interpretation of the text given by the person in question was to say that these are referring to the special Sabbaths rather than the 7th day Sabbath. However, Paul is unambiguous in what he is saying, He is referring to ALL Sabbaths, that one is not to be judged for not keeping these.

I am not to act as judge when someone chooses to observe the Sabbath or not, that is not my business. It is only my business to intervene when one person or the other forces their conviction onto someone else. Paul is clear that the New Moon and the Sabbath were shadows pointing to Christ. He is referring to ALL Sabbaths period.

Another person, a 7th Day Adventist, kept misusing a text in Matthew 24, saying that Sabbath observance was binding on future generations of Christians. He even went as far as saying Adam and Eve observed it, which is absolutely ridiculous and is not even hinted at. I know many point to God blessing that day, but that is not a indicator that Sabbath was required of all at that time. Now let's look at Matthew 24 shall we?

"15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time."

Verse 20 in particular is abused by the 7th Day Adventist I spoke to. There is a reason why Jesus says NOT to flee on the Sabbath. His whole point is missed by the 7th Day Adventist, Jesus was NOT talking about obligatory Sabbath observance, he is simply telling his disciples not to flee on the Sabbath or Winter because of the chaos that may ensue at that time. Not to mention the gates of Jerusalem would of been shut in the winter and Sabbath thus you would NOT be able to leave. If the disaster took place in those two periods, the disciples would of been caught in the destruction because they would not be able to evacuate Jerusalem, that's Jesus' whole point, Sabbath observance is not what he is addressing.

Further more, Colossians 2:16 makes it clear that Jesus is our Sabbath rest, Our Sabbath is in HIM, Hebrews 4 also says this:
"4 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.[a] 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”[b]
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”[c] 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:

“Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts.”[d]
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[e] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience."

Not only is Christ the one who gives us rest, Entering into heaven is also our rest according to the chapter, which shows once we are in heaven, there is no need to strive anymore because salvation is complete. Just to be clear I am not teaching works salvation, far from it. Anyway carrying on.

I also notice that many Messianics insist on telling Christians, INCLUDING GENTILES, that they need to abstain from pork or shellfish or anything else the Torah tells us about food. Firstly in Mark 7:17-19, Jesus himself said:
"17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)"

Mark in verse 19 tells us what Jesus meant in verses 17-18, Also, take into consideration Peter's vision on top of the roof in the book of Acts:
"15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

17 While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. 18 They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

19 While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three[a] men are looking for you. 20 So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

21 Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?”

22 The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to ask you to come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” 23 Then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guests.

The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the believers from Joppa went along. 24 The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. 26 But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.”

27 While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”

30 Cornelius answered: “Three days ago I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. 32 Send to Joppa for Simon who is called Peter. He is a guest in the home of Simon the tanner, who lives by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.”

34 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him."

Both sides like to focus on one meaning of the vision or the other. The vision in actuality is a double vision. It has the meaning of not only foods being made clean under the New Covenant, but also the fact that Gentiles are not lesser than Jews, and are able to participate in being part of God's family. Not only are foods clean as stated before, but Gentiles now have equal access through the merits of the Messiah.

Acts 15 also gives us the picture on these issues:
"22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:


24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.


30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. [34] [d] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord."

The Acts 15 council dealt with the issue of what Gentiles were to observe, and tells us what was required of them.

Colossians 2:16 I already covered but i'll briefly say again, We are not to act as judges towards a person's diet, or their choosing to observe Sunday as special, Sabbath as special and the Jewish Feasts. Also, Romans 14 says the following:
"14 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living."

Again, I am not going to condemn Messianic Jews or other Christians to hell if they wish to keep certain dietary laws if they want to, they are free in the matter, But you are not allowed to force Gentiles to observe these things, nor am I or others to condemn people who choose to abstain from certain foods.

Also, there is a level of inconsistency when Torah Observance is forced on Gentiles. It wasn't just Sabbath and food laws given on Mount Sinai, there were other commands.

Here are some examples.

Observe Leviticus 15
"15 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When any man has an unusual bodily discharge, such a discharge is unclean. 3 Whether it continues flowing from his body or is blocked, it will make him unclean. This is how his discharge will bring about uncleanness:

4 “‘Any bed the man with a discharge lies on will be unclean, and anything he sits on will be unclean. 5 Anyone who touches his bed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 6 Whoever sits on anything that the man with a discharge sat on must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

7 “‘Whoever touches the man who has a discharge must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

8 “‘If the man with the discharge spits on anyone who is clean, they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

9 “‘Everything the man sits on when riding will be unclean, 10 and whoever touches any of the things that were under him will be unclean till evening; whoever picks up those things must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

11 “‘Anyone the man with a discharge touches without rinsing his hands with water must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

12 “‘A clay pot that the man touches must be broken, and any wooden article is to be rinsed with water.

13 “‘When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off seven days for his ceremonial cleansing; he must wash his clothes and bathe himself with fresh water, and he will be clean. 14 On the eighth day he must take two doves or two young pigeons and come before the Lord to the entrance to the tent of meeting and give them to the priest. 15 The priest is to sacrifice them, the one for a sin offering[a] and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement before the Lord for the man because of his discharge.

16 “‘When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening. 17 Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed with water, and it will be unclean till evening. 18 When a man has sexual relations with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both of them must bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

19 “‘When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.

20 “‘Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. 21 Anyone who touches her bed will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 22 Anyone who touches anything she sits on will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 23 Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, they will be unclean till evening.

24 “‘If a man has sexual relations with her and her monthly flow touches him, he will be unclean for seven days; any bed he lies on will be unclean.

25 “‘When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period. 26 Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period. 27 Anyone who touches them will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

28 “‘When she is cleansed from her discharge, she must count off seven days, and after that she will be ceremonially clean. 29 On the eighth day she must take two doves or two young pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting. 30 The priest is to sacrifice one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement for her before the Lord for the uncleanness of her discharge.

31 “‘You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place,[b] which is among them.’”

32 These are the regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission of semen, 33 for a woman in her monthly period, for a man or a woman with a discharge, and for a man who has sexual relations with a woman who is ceremonially unclean."

To those Messianics who say to Gentiles they need to keep the Torah and abstain from certain foods or keep Sabbath, Do you keep these laws listed here too? Now these aren't carried over into the NT, but if you are going to insist Sabbath and Food Laws still apply to us, Why not these too? I am not going to ask if you keep these nor do I expect a response from you saying you keep these considering these are personal matters, but ask yourself if you should be forcing Torah observance on Gentiles in light of what has been written here.

Or What about these laws Leviticus 12?

"12 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

6 “‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering.[a] 7 He shall offer them before the Lord to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.

“‘These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. 8 But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’”"

Now again I am not asking for a response for this is a private matter, but I sincerely doubt these are even carried out even by Messianic Communities, though I could be wrong. But, this goes back to my earlier point, Should you be forcing Torah observance on Gentiles?

Now don't get me wrong, I am not bashing the Torah, there are very good principles found in there which are carried over into the NT, and they are very helpful, such as making amends, how to live among others and other things, Including the fact that God is God and we are not.

I want you guys to think about these issues that have been raised in this article and study and check out what I am saying with the scriptures, then you can tell me and others what the Bible says.

Hope this article has been a blessing.

Answering Judaism.

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