Should Gentiles Keep Torah? [Part ll]

Last week’s blog received more attention than any blog I have written since my blog on the fact that Israeli teachers don’t carry firearms in schools. There were over 200 comments on Facebook, plus lots of likes and shares. Charisma posted it on both their news and magazine sites as well. I had no idea that the topic would attract such interest.

But not all of the response was favorable. One self-proclaimed authority, with an alarming number of followers, wrote me and said:


“REPENT and start teaching the TRUTH: TORAH to the NATIONS. You are a FALSE teacher. Just as is Michael Brown and every other Messianic Jewish rabbi who teaches like you.”

Just in case I was not taking him seriously enough, he sent me another message, stating his credentials:

“I am a Levite Cohein. I read Torah and ALL of Scripture in Hebrew, not English. I teach from Hebrew. You would do well to learn from my teachings…Read my WRITTEN teachings. They will blow you away and astound you…”

Confident? Yes. Humble? Hmmm….

Well, first of all, it is an honor to be included in the ranks of the foremost Messianic Jewish apologist in the world, Dr. Michael Brown. Secondly, anyone who uses ALL CAPS that much, should NOT be taken seriously.

He was not the only one that responded in disagreement. The arguments went like this: Yeshua told us to make disciples, to teach His commands, Yeshua kept the Torah and said He did not come to take it away, so “clearly” we must teach Gentiles to keep all of the Torah, as there is one law for all people. Other passages were quoted regarding the alien living amongst Israel—that they were also expected to keep the Torah in ancient times.

LET’S DEAL WITH THE ALIEN PASSAGE

This is shoddy scholarship at best, that picks and chooses passages that seem to support their theology, while excluding others. The One Law Movement seems to have key Scriptures that appear to prove their point, regardless of context or full exegesis, no different from Jesus Only Baptism movements or even Mormons, who memorize specific verses for purposes of outreach – without really being familiar with the Scriptures.

For instance, one verse pointed out to me over and over by probably more than a dozen people was:


“One Torah shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.” (Ex. 12:49)

Seems clear until you look at it in context.

1. It is referring to those in Egypt who left with the Israelites. These were non-Hebrews who became convinced, probably during the Ten Plagues, that it was time to hightail it out of Egypt. (Ex. 12:38) They recognized that Yahweh was God and united with the Hebrews. The Hebrew word (גר) translated stranger or alien, can also mean convert in Modern Hebrew.

In other words, they were non-Hebrews seeking to be one with the Israelites. God was merely saying, okay, if you want to be part of my people, you have to go all the way.

2. The One Law folks (or at least the ones who responded to my blog) seem to entirely miss v. 48, which sheds great understanding on v. 49.

And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. (Ex. 12:48)

We see here that in context it is referring to non-Jews who were living amongst Israel wanting to keep the Passover. So the inference is that non-Jews living amongst them could choose not to keep the Passover, and not be circumcised nor required to adhere to all ceremonial customs in Torah.

3. But even looking at v. 49 alone, “One Torah shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you” it is clear that is not referring to the entire Gentile world, but those “who dwell among” Israel; who live in an Israeli community. I doubt that even one person who challenged me lives here in Israel! Or, is even part of a Messianic Jewish community!

A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE

Nevertheless, as stated in the previous blog, there was a fundamental change after Acts 15, that permitted fellowship among believing Jews and Gentiles without the Gentiles being expected to follow all of the Torah. This was a revelation from God to the Apostles. Paul refers to the fact that the Nations are heirs together with Israel as a mystery in Ephesians 3.

With the coming of the New Covenant, there is a change of relationship between the circumcised and the uncircumcised. Since the New Testament teaches specifically on the relationship of Jew and Gentile in the new reality of the body of believers, we cannot simply transfer the practices of pre-Yeshua times into the New Covenant period. (Dr. Daniel C. Juster)

While I have fought long and hard against Replacement Theology (the Church is the New Israel), there were some changes between the Old and New Covenants. Under the Old Covenant non-Jews who wanted to be part of the people of Israel had to convert to Judaism. By the leading of the Holy Spirit, this was changed in Acts 10 and 15, and restated in Acts 21:

But concerning the Gentiles who believe,