Tuesday 7 April 2015

Observance of Torah demanded of Gentiles? 3

"The “legalism” Paul and the other apostles were concerned about was the additions to the Torah, the fences around the law that were elevated to Torah status, or nullified a Torah command.  The laws men made up which were imposed as bondage upon the common people, a heavy yoke, impossible to keep (even the Pharisees who made up many of these “fences” could not keep them). (Lk. 11:45-46, Acts 15:10)"

In Acts 15, it is not the issue of man made tradition that is being addressed in the context, the thrust of the context is what Gentiles are to observe now that they have come to Jesus, Should they become Jews and observe the Torah or should they remain Gentiles but still abandon their idolatry and immorality? The council concluded that the Gentiles were bound to the Torah, I have already addressed Acts 15 in a previous paper:

As for the subject of Luke 11:45-46, let's read it:
"44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”

45 One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”

46 Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.

47 “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ 50 Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all."

There appears to be a little confusion, First, the group that is addressed by Jesus are the UNBELIEVING Pharisees, whereas by contrast, Peter is addressing BELIEVING Pharisees. They are not addressing the same group. The unbelieving Pharisees were trying to place unnecessary burdens on the people of Israel and they themselves did not put themselves under those burdens, namely (surprise surprise) they were being hypocrites. However in the context of Acts, Peter is addressing a different group. Let's look:
"15 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.

5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”"

The two groups who bring up the law of Moses, one group are legalists, whereas the other group are those who believe Gentiles should keep the Law, not for salvation but out of love and obedience, most Messianic groups who preach the Torah as binding on Christians claim to be the latter. Read the Acts 15 article above for more information.

"“Obviously no one can keep the whole Torah. No one is perfect. Therefore, we should not try to keep the Torah because it is too difficult.” Moses must have foreseen our faulty logic. Therefore, he insists in no uncertain terms that, “This commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.” (Deuteronomy 30:11) The Apostle John agrees saying, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3) It’s not about being perfect, it’s about loving God.” –ffoz: Nitzavim: Choose Life, 2007

YHWH said this about the Torah: “You can do it!” (Deut. 30:14, Rom. 10:8) If you want to call following Torah legalism, or legalistic, call me a “Legal Eagle.”  But, wouldn’t you rather be legal, than illegal?"

Forcing Gentiles under the Law of Moses when the apostles and Jesus never did such a thing is not right at all. as for Deuteronomy 30, the objection above has been covered at the end of the paper:

For that matter, John is not referring to Mosaic Observance, but rather to God's moral righteous commands, not ceremonial commands.

"We also must remember that in the Hebrew and Greek of Rav Sha’ul's day, there were not any words to express things like the negative idea we know of in religious circles as “legalism,” being saved or justified by ones works alone.  Therefore, he had to use the same word in the Greek he used for Torah, that word is, “Nomos.”  Thus, it is of the utmost importance when reading and interpreting the Scriptures dealing with Torah in the Renewed Covenant, that we look at the context and usage of the word “nomos” translated “law.”  Is it talking about Torah, or a secular legal system, or a manmade legal system imposed upon the Torah?  Is it talking about depending upon the Torah to obtain salvation?  In that case the Torah is not bad, man’s misuse and misunderstanding of it is the problem.  The examples in the Renewed Covenant are too numerous to mention and it is not the purpose of this work to tackle and iron out misunderstood and misinterpreted passages of the Renewed Covenant. However, to help us in this area, it is always good to keep in mind again, that if our interpretation causes the Torah to be done away with, our interpretation is wrong!  Period!"

No Christian is claiming that the Torah is bad, but even if you want to claim you are not legalistic, When are the ceremonial aspects of Torah EVER forced on the Gentiles? Those commands are not imposed on Gentiles or if they are, are reinterpreted in light of the New Covenant. An example of such would be Paul's quotation of Deuteronomy 25:4 in 1 Timothy 5:18.

As David Pawson explains:
"It is very important to realize exactly what the fulfillment of each law is. Of the Ten Commandments, nine are repeated in exactly the same way, e.g. you shall not steal, you shall not commit adultery. The Sabbath one is not, being fulfilled in a different way.

Other laws are fulfilled in different ways. One law in Deuteronomy says, for example, that when you are using an ox to thresh the corn, walking round and round, you must put a muzzle on it because it has every right to eat what it is preparing for others. This is fulfilled in the New Covenant, Paul quotes that law and fives it a completely different fulfillment, explaining that in the same way those who live for the Gospel have a right to financial support from others. It is necessary to look at each law and see how it is fulfilled in the New Testament and given a deeper meaning." David Pawson, Unlocking the Bible pg 150

"Not all of the “fences” around the Torah are bad, only those imposed upon people as if they were Torah commands themselves.  Some people need “fences” so as not to break the actual commandments.  For instance, a man may put extra software on this computer to keep him from accessing improper web sites.  He knows that going to those certain sites is wrong, and has no desire to, and does not plan to visit those sites. But when tempted, why have an open door to it?  So he erects a “fence” to keep himself from getting to those sites.  Or, it is like a mother saying to her children, “No cookies before supper,” just as they come in from a hard day of playing.   That is her “commandment.”  They know it would be wrong to eat a cookie before supper, but they are so hungry, and the cookie jar is just in reach.  So, Mom comes into the kitchen and puts the cookie jar on a high shelf, or in a cabinet to where they cannot get to it.  Mom erected a “fence” for her children, to help them keep her “commandment.” An A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) sponsor can be seen as a type of “fence.” They can be called upon to help a person not to “fall of the wagon” and drink when a person is tempted."

I see what they are getting at here, there are some boundaries necessary for some individuals to prevent them from falling, much similiar to Jesus' statement in the Sermon on the Mount that if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out (Matthew 5:27-30), In other words, he making the point of taking measures necessary to prevent you from sinning again.

Not much for me to comment on, but having said that, That again doesn't prove Torah Observance is for the Gentiles.

"The four laws given to the Goyim (Gentiles) in Acts 15 were not exhaustive or the only laws they were to keep.  

The purpose of these starter laws was to: 1) Help Gentiles make a clean break with the pagan world.  2) Enable Jews and Gentiles to fellowship and eat at the same table. (Acts 15:19-21)  These Laws were taken from Leviticus 17-18, called the “Heart of the Torah.”   I often ask those who believe that these four laws are the only laws Gentiles are to keep, “Do you buy beef at the store?”


“It’s saturated with blood right?”


“But you rinse it off and fry it up anyway, in direct opposition to Acts 15.  If it were kosherly slaughtered, there would be no blood in it.  So you don’t even keep the four laws in Acts 15.”

Most Christians do not even keep all of the 10 Commandments.  We will cover that a little later."

Acts 15 has already been covered in the article above. Also, You don't need to resort to kosher slaughter in the New Covenant. Blood can easily be removed and washed away before one can actually eat or cook the meat. As for the 10 commandments, as I have stated in another paper, only 9 of those commands are actually applied to Christians.

Now obviously what Christians are not allowed to do is not limited to the things forbidden in the 10 Commandments, there are other things, including other sexual sins, usury, witchcraft, disobedience to governments (unless they tell you to sin against God), domestic violence, abuse etc. Again, one must read both testaments to determine which laws apply to Christians and which do not.

"Just because not all the 613 commandments are covered in the Brit Chadashah does not mean that the laws not mentioned have been done away with. The books of the Renewed Covenant were written with the idea that these 613 laws were a given, so there was no need to mention them again. The only things Yeshua and Rav Sha’ul and others did were to clarify the priority of the certain laws and bring them into a greater understanding.

The Natsarim Sanhedrin headed up by Ya’akov (“James,” Yeshua’s half- brother) knew the Gentiles would end up learning the whole Torah at the Synagogue every Sabbath, through the annual Torah reading cycle. (Acts 15:19-21)  They would eventually learn and live all 613 mitzvot (commandments).  This would culminate into the Gentile who learned Torah for a whole year to have the opportunity to convert officially to Natsarim Judaism by undergoing circumcision and a mikvah (baptism)."

Acts 15, Again, Need I repeat it, Just read the Article on it.

"Daniel Botkin in the same article mentioned above states:

“For most Christians, the commandments which they have a problem with are commandments which deal with the Sabbath, Feasts, dietary laws, and miscellaneous things like tzitziyot (fringes), mezuzahs, beards, etc.  These things are dismissed as “Jewish rituals, just for the Jews to do until Christ came.”  Yet the Bible nowhere singles out these commandments from the rest of the Torah and says that they are just for the Jews.  Nor does the Bible say that the coming of the Messiah would abolish these commandments.  People think of these things as Jewish practices only because Christians abandoned them centuries ago, and the Jews have continued to practice them.  But the Bible does not give one set of rules for Jews and a different set of rules for non-Jewish believers.  “Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country: for I am YHVH your G-d.” (Lev.24:22).” http://www.abrahamsdescendants.com/free-in-christ.html

Let's read Leviticus 24:
"10 Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. 11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) 12 They put him in custody until the will of the Lord should be made clear to them.

13 Then the Lord said to Moses: 14 “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. 15 Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible; 16 anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.

17 “‘Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death. 18 Anyone who takes the life of someone’s animal must make restitution—life for life. 19 Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury. 21 Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a human being is to be put to death. 22 You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the Lord your God.’”

23 Then Moses spoke to the Israelites, and they took the blasphemer outside the camp and stoned him. The Israelites did as the Lord commanded Moses."

In context, what is being addressed is what to do with a blasphemer, be they Jew or Gentile if they are under Mosaic Law, namely no exceptions are to be granted and both, be they Jew or Gentile are to be put to death. Race is immaterial. It is not saying that  the Bible does not give one set of rules for Jews and a different set of rules for non-Jewish believers." under the New Covenant. It's not even addressing the topic of the New Covenant, but rather what to do with a blasphemer under the Old Covenant.

That's it for now unless the Lord Wills me to deal with more.

Answering Judaism.


  1. Does Ephesians 2:12 say you're still a gentile, still out of Israel? How about Numbers 15:15-16. Are you equal before The Lord with an Israelite, or is God a respecter of persons? Does it not say here that the foreigner and the Native Israelite have the same law and status? How about Leviticus 24:22. Try as you might to escape it, it's there. The yoke their fathers couldn't endure was using the Law for salvation. God never placed that yoke on anyone, since salvation was by grace through faith since Abraham back in Genesis 15:6. The ruling in Acts 15 continues to Acts 15:21. The reason Gentiles only had a few *necessary* rules to follow was that there were synagogues for them to learn the rest of the Torah in after they had started following the restrictions in Acts 15:20. It was clear that since Cornelius was accepted by the Holy Spirit without circumcision or works, one didn't have to do anything other than have faith in Jesus to be saved. Acts 15:1 was thus addressed as heresy by that fact and by the witness of Abraham's righteousness in Genesis. The Pharisees among believers (different from certain men because they are called believers by the Bible) wanted to get the Gentiles to adhere immediately to circumcision and the entire law of Moses (Acts 15:5). That would've been too much for a new believer to bear, and none of them had to deal with any of that, so James decided that it would be made easy for the Gentiles turning to God, by giving them a few easy prohibitions, and letting them figure out the rest at the synagogues around them. Unfortunately, today, very few Christians even do well with those basic prohibitions. Many eat blood, are perfectly fine with meat from Halal and other idol ceremonies, and engage in some form of sexual immorality (such as divorce followed by remarriage). Clearly these weren't the only rules, because things like stealing and murder weren't mentioned. The reason such things weren't mentioned was that they were thought of as "common sense" or "basic morality", which virtually every person has, even though the Law spells them out. As for sexual immorality, the Law defines such, and it can be difficult to figure out what counts without it (for example, homosexuality, sex with a woman on her period, and premarital sex with a virgin you don't intend to marry are implied to be sins there, but there are a wide range of sexual situations one would need to figure out). If the Gentiles were required to do the Law for salvation, or get circumcised, it would be a massive stumbling block few would undergo. If they had to do the whole law for fellowship purposes immediately after being saved, it would be no good, because they would quickly feel overwhelmed by all these new prohibitions. The ruling was for them to have a few relatively easy commands to follow at first, aside from common sense, and pick up the rest later. That's why the four prohibitions are things from the Law.

  2. The New Covenant doesn't involve the Law changing, but involves the Law being written on our hearts: Jeremiah 31:31-34.

  3. Legalism used to mean works salvation instead of grace. Now it just seems to mean following God's commandments (1 John 5:2-3). Interesting how adaptive this buzzword is, that it attacks Jesus' very doctrine (Matthew 7:20-23, Matthew 5:17-20) and gets away with it. It's now up there with 'tolerance' for how quickly its meaning changes.