Apologetics Hebrew Roots Theology
R. L. Solberg  

Gentiles and the Torah

If you ask reform Jewish rabbis the question: “Are Gentiles expected to keep Torah?” meaning the Sabbath, the feasts, the kosher foods laws, circumcision, and so on?” To a man, they will all say, “No, of course not.” If you ask orthodox Jewish rabbis the same question, they will give you the same answer. I’ve even asked Messianic Jews—who are ethnic Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua, Jesus, as their messiah and savior—I’ve asked them, “Are Gentiles expected to keep Torah?” Same answer. “No, of course not.” I’ve also asked (and read) many protestant and Catholic theologians and clergy on this question and got the same answer. “No, Gentiles have never been expected to keep Torah.”

The only people who think Gentiles are expected to keep Torah are our friends in the Hebrew Roots world of Torahism. This is ironic since it is a movement made up of 100% Gentiles. And you’d think the fact that they have never been expected to keep Torah should put an end to Torah-observant Christianity. But for some reason, that’s not the case. So let’s dig into the Torah and learn why—with the lone exception of Torah-observant Christians—everyone agrees that Gentiles are not required to keep Torah. And once that fact is fully understood, we’ll see that Torahism falls apart completely.

Given to Whom?

We’ll spend most of our time in the Torah, looking at the giving of the Law and clearing up some common Hebrew Roots misunderstandings about things like the “mixed multitude” and the “same law for foreigners.” And the first question we want to look at is this: Was the Torah given solely to Israel, as both Christianity and Judaism affirm? Or was it given to Gentiles as well? Let’s start with the words of the Torah itself. Exodus 19 is where we find the beginning of the story of the giving of the Law.

The Lord called to [Moses] out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

Exodus 19:3-6

The first thing to note is to whom Yahweh made this promise. Who does God say will be His treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation? His words were addressed to “the house of Jacob” and “the people of Israel.” In biblical Hebrew, the phrase “house of” refers to a person’s physical family and descendants. So the phrase לְבֵ֣ית יַֽעֲקֹ֔ב (l’bayit ya’akov, house of Jacob) is an explicit reference to the descendants of Abraham through Jacob. Don’t forget that, after Jacob wrestled with Yahweh, the Lord told him, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Gen 32:28). So, the phrase “people of Israel” in Exodus 19:3 is a synonym for “house of Jacob.” This is a common Hebrew literary technique known as parallelism, which involves restating the same idea in different ways for emphasis. The phrases “say to the house of Jacob” and “tell the people of Israel” mean the same thing.

At Sinai, God entered into a covenant with the descendants of Jacob, not the Egyptians who enslaved them. Yahweh told Israel, “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians” (19:3). He sent them ten plagues and drowned their army as they pursued the Israelites. And at Mount Sinai, Yahweh entered into a covenant with His people—those who had been enslaved in Egypt for 400 years. This ethnic group referred to in the Torah as “the Israelites”—or sometimes just “Israel”—is referred to today as the Jewish people.

In the opening verses of Exodus 19, Yahweh promised these people if they kept His commands, out of all the other nations and people groups on earth, they alone would be His treasured possession. Although the whole earth belongs to the Lord, Israel would be His holy nation. The word holy (קָדוֹשׁ qadosh) means “set apart, removed from common use.” So the idea of a holy or “set apart” nation further underscores the exclusivity of God’s covenant with Israel alone.

God did not command the Amalekites to circumcise their men or the Hittites to keep the Sabbath. And He certainly didn’t require the Amorites to make sacrifices in His temple. What Yahweh commands in the Torah He commands of Israel alone to set them apart from all the other nations and peoples. This is further demonstrated when Moses gave the Law for a second time, he told the Israelites,

When your son asks you in time to come, “What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?” then you shall say to your son, “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.”

Deuteronomy 6:20-21

The Law was given specifically to the people who were slaves in Egypt and later rescued by Yahweh. Leviticus makes this set-apartness abundantly clear when it reveals the connection between unclean foods and unclean people.

You shall therefore separate the clean beast from the unclean, and the unclean bird from the clean. You shall not make yourselves detestable by beast or by bird or by anything with which the ground crawls, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.

Leviticus 20:25-26

The reason for the kosher food laws was to identify and set aside Israel as God’s own people. And this sense of holy separateness extends well beyond the Torah into the rest of the Tanakh. For example, in a prayer of gratitude, King David taught the uniqueness of Israel as a nation.

And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O Lord, became their God.

2 Samuel 7:23-24

The psalmist describes Israel in ethnic terms, “O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob (there we have the “house of Jacob” idea again), his chosen ones!” (Ps 105:5-6). In Nehemiah, we read how “the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners”—all non-Israelites—to confess their sins, read from the books of Moses, and worship Yahweh (Neh 9:1-3). And did you know that the expression “My people” is never used by Yahweh to refer to any other nation, only Israel?

This is not to say that Yahweh did not allow Gentiles into His ways or worship. He certainly did, up to a point. He didn’t afford them the full rights and privileges of the Israelites. Chad Bird writes this,

Though not given full citizenship in Israel, they were protected and—if they maintained ritual purity—even allowed to participate in the Passover (Ex 12:47–48) and other sacrifices (Num 15:14).

Chad Bird, Unveiling Mercy, (New Reformation Publications, 2020), p. 123.

We will look more at this aspect in a minute. But first, let’s talk about this mixed multitude.

The Mixed Multitude

A common argument of Torahism is that when God rescued Israel out of Egypt, a mixed multitude of Gentiles left with them, as indicated in Exodus 12:38, “A mixed multitude also went up with them, and very much livestock, both flocks and herds.” Our Torah-keeping friends claim that this mixture of Jews and Gentiles was later present at Mount Sinai when the Law was given and, therefore, the Law was given to Jews and Gentiles. And although the Torah does not explicitly mention Gentiles at Sinai, it’s not unreasonable to believe that the mixed multitude was still with Israel when Moses delivered the Law. In fact, Jewish tradition holds it was this mixed multitude who stirred up trouble by introducing the idea of a golden calf and declaring, “These are your gods, O Israel” (Exodus 32).

However, if there were Gentiles present at Mount Sinai, does that mean the Law was given to both Jews and Gentiles? Not at all. Regardless of the ethnic make-up of the crowd, as we just saw, Yahweh made His covenant specifically with the people who descended from Jacob and were enslaved in Egypt, as distinct from the Egyptians who enslaved them.

Imagine a big business rally in a hotel conference room where the CEO of the company promises a $10,000 bonus to each of his employees. Although everyone in attendance hears the promise—including TV reporters, security guards, and waitstaff—only those who meet the criteria, only his employees, would be eligible for the bonus. It’s the same thing with the Torah. Despite who else may have been there at the giving of the Law, God’s words in Ex 19 make it clear that the criteria of eligibility in His promise—the people with whom He was making this Covenant—were the descendants of Jacob.1 

Same Law for Foreigners

Another common argument from our Torahist friends is that when foreigners lived among the Israelites, they were required to live under the Law of Moses. Therefore, the Law applies to Gentiles as well. This is an amateur contextual error that arises as a result of cherry-picking verses. Let me show you what I mean.

To make this argument, Torah-keepers typically reference Exodus 12:49, which says, “The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you” (Ex 12:49). They point to this verse and say, “See? The Law of Moses applied to both Jews and Gentiles.” However, when that verse is read in context, it tells a very different story. Verses 43-51 record the original institution of Passover. The text begins by stating, “And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it’” (v. 43). (There is that national set-apartness again.)

Yet, in this passage, Yahweh does allow a provision for non-Jews who want to keep the Passover. They have to first show their allegiance to Yahweh by being circumcised (v. 48). So, when this text says that the “same law” applies to the native and the stranger (v. 49), it’s not talking about the entirety of the Law of Moses. It is about God’s specific command that everyone who participates in the Passover feast must be circumcised. That is the law that applies both to the Israelites and foreigners among them. Verse 49 is not a blanket statement that the Torah shall apply to the sojourner in the same way it applies to the native-born Israelite.

The same is true of a similar passage in Leviticus. “There shall be one standard for you; it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God” (Lev 24:22). In context, the “standard” Yahweh is speaking of here is not the entirety of the Mosaic Law but rather the standard of punishment for murder. “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death” (Lev 24:17). That law applies both to the Israelites and the foreigners among them.

We see the same thing in Numbers. “One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you” (Num 15:16). This verse comes from a passage discussing commands about sacrifices. The specific process for offering sacrifices is spelled out in verses 4-12, and then the Lord says,

Every native Israelite shall do these things in this way, in offering a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you, and he wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he shall do as you do.

Numbers 15:13-14

This passage teaches there is a proper way to offer sacrifices in Israel, whether you are an Israelite or a Gentile. And yet, the Torah maintains a distinction between the “native Israelite” (v.13) and the “stranger” (v. 14). The very fact that the Torah consistently refers to non-Israelites as “sojourners,” “foreigners,” and “strangers” shows that they were considered to be other than Israel.

Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and all other Gentiles weren’t expected to eat kosher, keep Shabbat, circumcise their men, or keep the annual feasts. And even the sojourner in Israel was not subject to the Mosaic Law in the same way the native Israelites were. For example, there was a different dietary standard.

You shall not eat anything that has died naturally. You may give it to the sojourner who is within your towns, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God.

Deuteronomy 14:21

This is the Torah telling us in no uncertain terms that non-Jews are allowed to eat things that Jews are not. Notice the Israelites’ holiness—their set-apartness—from the foreigners and the sojourners among them. This is also evident in God’s commands about loaning money. Every seventh year the Israelites were commanded to release what they had loaned to their Jewish neighbor.

And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, his brother, because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed. Of a foreigner you may exact it, but whatever of yours is with your brother your hand shall release.

Deuteronomy 15:2-3

You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

Deuteronomy 23:20

The Torah teaches a clear difference in the treatment of Jews and Gentiles under the Law of Moses. Israelites can require repayment and charge interest on loans made to Gentiles, but not so with their fellow Israelites. This would make sense if the Mosaic Law were for national Israel. Would we say that the laws of Ireland were given to everyone in the world because when any foreigner is in Ireland, they’re required to live under Irish law? Of course, not. The passages we looked at underscore that the Torah was the law of the nation of Israel, not a universal law given to all people.

Lastly, consider the perspective of Messianic Judaism on the application of the Law. As ethnic Jews who have come to faith in Jesus, Messianic Jews are keenly aware of how Yahweh explicitly gave the Mosaic Law to the ancient people of Israel for their specific needs at their particular time in history. Here’s a quote from the book Reading Moses Seeing Jesus which was written by three Israeli scholars:

Let’s jump a few thousand years back to the time of the ancient Near East, a culture and mindset completely foreign to ours today, whose social structures are badly damaged by the Fall. Within this context, God raises up a new nation with new laws to live by, in order to create a new culture for them. In doing so, He adapts His expectations to a people whose attitudes and actions are subject to influence by the pagan nations around them. These laws aren’t the permanent, divine ideal for all peoples everywhere at all times. They are specific to that people with their specific needs in that ancient era . . . Take for example God’s ideal for marriage—a monogamous union joining husband and wife as one flesh (Gen. 2:24). When God is dealing with Israel, a nation of fallen humans affected by their surroundings in the ancient Near East, God’s ideals are distorted and forgotten. Therefore, God is on the move to restore His ideals through this small new nation. The laws of Moses are a first step in that process.

Seth D. Postell, Eitan Bar and Erez Soref, Reading Moses, Seeing Jesus: How the Torah Fulfills its Goal in Yeshua, (One For Israel Ministry, 2017), Kindle location 1814-1816.

What about Murder and Adultery?

At this point, Torah-keepers will often shift their argument to the parts of the Torah that deal with morality. They ask, “If God didn’t give the Torah to everyone, are you saying that murder and adultery were only forbidden for Israel and they are okay for everyone else to do?”

Obviously not. That would be silly. And honestly, that is a sophomoric way to look at Scripture. The Torah—in fact, the entire Tanakh—shows Yahweh judging Gentile nations for their moral failings, for murder and adultery and wickedness. These are universal laws of right and wrong that existed long before the Torah was given at Sinai and that every human being is aware of because we’re all made in God’s image. And while all nations are judged on these moral laws, only the nation of Israel is ever judged for not keeping Sabbath or not eating kosher, or not circumcising their males. Because Yahweh didn’t give those specific commands to everyone, they were just for Israel to set her apart from all the other nations on earth.

The Messianic Jewish organization IAMCS made a great statement on this issue. This comes from Jewish believers in Jesus:

The gift of the Torah to the Jewish people at Sinai was not revelatory in the sense of the moral aspect of it. Noah was an “ish tzadik” or “righteous man” (See Gen. 6:9); and Abraham obeyed God’s statutes and commandments (Gen. 26:5), even long before the law at Sinai was even given. Torah is not a revelation of morality. Nor is the moral aspect of it unique in any way. A basic understanding of moral law is already embedded by God in the understanding of mankind. God did not appear to Israel at Sinai to present a moral code. God gave the law at Sinai, creating a unique nation. There are things given in the Torah which are unique to Israel. 

International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues (IAMCS)

Gentiles & The Law

What, then, is the relationship of the Gentile Christian to the Law of Moses? If the evidence we just looked at in the Torah wasn’t enough for you, you can flip over to Acts 15 where that exact question is asked and answered at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:1-29). Paul, James, Peter, Barnabas and the other elders determined that Gentile believers were not required to be circumcised or keep the Law of Moses; that they don’t need to become Jews in order to follow the Jewish Messiah. Instead, they said, “

It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality.

Acts 15:28-29, emphasis added

That’s it. The Council did not require them to keep Shabbat, the feasts, the kosher food laws, the purity laws, or any other civil or ceremonial observances. They were given “no greater burden” than these four restrictions. And those restrictions were given to foster unity with their Jewish brothers and sisters in Christ.

Jewish Believers and the Law

This brings us to a really interesting question I’ve been studying a lot lately, and where my understanding is shifting a bit. The question is this: What is the relationship of the Jewish follower of Jesus to the Law of Moses? I’m still working it out and will save the details for another time. But let me say this. I have come to believe that Jewish followers of Jesus have a different relationship to the Torah than do Gentile followers of Jesus. Neither are required to keep Torah as a matter of salvation or righteousness, of course. There is nothing any of us can do to add to what Jesus has already done on our behalf. But I have come to see how Jewish believers in Yeshua may have a sort of calling to maintain the boundary markers of their Jewish identity by keeping Torah, at least in a fashion appropriate under the New Covenant. But that is for another discussion. And in either case, the Bible is crystal clear: Gentiles are not and have never been under the Law of Moses.

Conclusion

Keeping Torah is not required of Gentiles. And at the same time, traditions like Shabbat, kosher food laws, circumcision, and the feasts have not been prohibited or forbidden under Yeshua. We’re free in Christ to observe such traditions. Provided, of course, they are undertaken as a matter of personal preference or conscience (or cultural calling) rather than a requirement of salvation or a condition of righteousness.

But when it comes to Gentiles who want to be “Torah observant,” things start to get a little strange, in my opinion. Biblically speaking, Gentiles are free in Christ to observe whatever Jewish traditions they want. I’ve attended a Passover Seder and a couple of Sabbath services at a local Messianic synagogue, and I loved it. I learned a lot and was blessed by the experiences. So I understand the motivation behind wanting to adopt the Mosaic traditions. These are the same rituals Jesus kept! However, Jesus was Jewish. Which means that, unlike Gentiles, He was born under the Law of Moses (Gal 4:4-5).

The danger in Torah-observant Christianity is the belief that keeping Torah is required of all Christians. Far too often, Torah-keepers look down on Christ-followers who don’t keep those traditions. They characterize them as “lawless” and “walking in sin.” I’ve been accused of this many times. But the bottom line is this: if you’re not Jewish, the Law of Moses has never applied to you.


[1] See Exodus 19:1-6, 25:22, 30:31, 31:13-17, 35:1-4; Leviticus 4:2, 7:23, 7:29, 7:38, 9:3, 16:34, 22:18; Numbers 2:2, 5:6, 5:12, 6:2, 9:2, 15:38; Deuteronomy 1:3, 4:1, 4:44-45, 32:52, etc.

25 thoughts on “Gentiles and the Torah

  1. Eric L

    Sorry only time for a short reply, R.L. Two thoughts: (1) “made up of 100% Gentiles” is incorrect in metro ATL anyway. We have attended only 2 Hebrew roots fellowships. One of them was c. 30% ethnically Jewish, the other about 8% Jewish. The largest Messianic synag. in Atlanta (an hour from us) is much higher % than either of those, I believe.

    (2) Now we can be fully joined to Israel – yay!

    Acts 15 – the first four are the threshold to get in, circumcision is waived (thankfully!) and the rest will be learned as they go, for “Moses is taught in synagogues everywhere” at the close of the scene. In other words, a very grace-filled approach for Gentile believers, showing there is time for them to learn Torah as they go

    1 Peter – we Gentiles are now joined *by God* to the commonwealth of Israel; in light of Peter’s experience at Cornelius’ house this was revelatory – a deeper connection to Israel (and her Torah) than was previously enjoyed by Gentiles who joined *themselves* to Israel – also Romans 11.

    Ephesians shows the traditional dividing walls of separate observances for Jews and Gentiles that kept them from fellowshipping in each others’ homes for example has been obliterated by the cross. Part of what it means that we are now ONE with Jews, is the full enjoyment of Torah. He has made one person of the two.

    1. Eric L

      Whoops – that’s what I get for commenting in a hurry! As I’m sure you know, the joining to the commonwealth is in Ephesians, not 1 Peter as I stated above.

      From 1 Peter, speaking to Jews and Gentiles – he echoes Exodus 19 with “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession”. In other words, we Gentiles, joined in the church to God’s people, now also join with them in their high Exodus 19 calling, and – in the new covenant – “Yahweh entered into a covenant with His people” including his Gentile people. Equal and joint heirs, hallelujah!

      There is no reason to give Exodus 19 more emphasis than 1 Peter 2, they are both true, but only the latter delivers the entire Torah blessing to the Gentiles. We have been upgraded in the new covenant!

    2. Yitz

      Eric, are you a member of the Torahism club?

      If so, you really shouldn’t keep mitzvot, the High Holy Days, Shabbos, etc. It’s a form of cultural appropriation.

      1. Eric L

        Hi Yitz,

        by Torahism club, do you mean Gentile converts to Xianity that follow Torah? Then I guess I am 🙂

        As far as cultural appropriation, not sure if that is a tongue-in-cheek comment or not. In general, I suppose I’m not opposed to cultural appropriation . . .haven’t thought much about it.

        In the case of the “culture” laid down in the Torah, God had a chance to create the culture (including holidays) he wanted for His people. Happily, I have been adopted into that culture, so I can enjoy all it’s benefits, but I haven’t appropriated it, as much as been appropriated by it.

        1. Yitz

          Clever argument but it doesn’t work on me.

          Gd worked with the culture around Him. For instance, some ask: why did He gives the Israelites chukkim? Or why korbanot? The Rambam asked that very question, and his answer is still, to this day, breathtaking: the Israelites wouldn’t have accepted it otherwise. Being from the Levant, they were used to sacrificial offerings. Does it mean, though, that animal sacrifice is an institution we ought to practice today? No. Gd, in the eyes of Maimonides, is too sophisticated for it. And we’ve moved on.

          But these things (minus any Temple rituals) have now been interwoven into Jewish culture.

          Here’s another way of looking at it. Eric, what do you think of the Bavli? I’m guessing you don’t even read it.

          For centuries, we have been persecuted and outright killed thanks to our cultural practices.

          If you want to join us, you have to do it on OUR terms, following OUR rules. You can’t just walk in and declare yourself “Torah observant.” You need to actual make giyur. With a real Rabbi (not one of those Messianic hacks who isn’t even Jewish but claims it).

          I don’t mean to be rough with you, and I apologize if I’m perceived in that light, but you’ve got to understand: Christians = Christians. They follow Christian traditions. They have Christmas and Easter. They’ve never celebrated Pesach or Tisha B’Av. It’s not their culture. These High Holy Days aren’t suddenly theirs because they like the idea of being “Jewish” without having to actually BE Jewish.

          In other words, JC could be Jewish but you can’t.

          Do I sound tongue-in-cheek now?

          1. Eric L

            Yitz, I appreciate your reply. You are much beyond me. I have not read the things you reference.

            We definitely see this differently.

            You state: “If you want to join us, you have to do it on OUR terms, following OUR rules.”

            G-d can declare it in a moment and change it if HE wants, on HIS terms, on HIS rules — and he did, whether you or I want to recognize it or not.

  2. Anonymous

    You asked the wrong question “Are Gentiles expected to keep Torah?” meaning the Sabbath, the feasts, the kosher foods laws, circumcision, and so on?

    1. Eric L

      Anonymous — what would be the ‘right’ question, or a less peculiar way to ask it?

  3. Anonymous

    Indeed, you asked the question in a peculiar way “Are Gentiles expected to keep Torah?” meaning the Sabbath, the feasts, the kosher foods laws, circumcision, and so on?

  4. Andy

    You asked the question in a peculiar way, “Are Gentiles expected to keep Torah?” meaning the Sabbath, the feasts, the kosher foods laws, circumcision, and so on?

    The New Covenant foreshadows the Old Covenant sacrifices, priesthood, temple, etc. So yes, even I a theonomist would say no to the way you asked it.

    The application of these laws regulating sacrifices, the priesthood, etc have been changed (Heb 7:12), hence the sacrifices, feasts, etc of the old order are not binding upon the believer today in their shadow forms (Col 2:13-17).

    Of course the ultimate authority is Jesus’ sermon on the mount in Matt 5:13-20 that the only way to be salt and light is to follow the Torah.

    Now it does take some academic exercise to unwap the shadows and types that Jesus fulfilled from the rest of the Law, but we’re basically left unequivocally with the 10 commandments and the civil laws that are generally applicable from those that were specific to Israel.

    Paul declares in the new covenant era: “ Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law” (Rom 3: 31)

    But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (1 Tim 1: 8– 11)

    And here’s one of the best defense of civil laws in the New Covenant from George Gillespie, one of the signers of the Westminster Confession:

    “Things immutable, and common to all Nations are the laws concerning Moral trespasses, Sins against the Moral law, as murder, adultery, theft, enticing away from God, blasphemy, striking of Parents. Now that the Christian Magistrate is bound to observe these Judicial laws of Moses which appoint the punishments of sins against the Moral law, he proveth by these reasons.

    1. If it were not so, then it is free and arbitrary to the Magistrate to appoint what punishments himself pleaseth. But this is not arbitrary to him, for he is the Minister of God, Rom. 13.4. and the judgment is the Lord’s, Deut. 1.7; 2 Chron. 19.6. And if the Magistrate be Keeper of both Tables, he must keep them in such manner as God hath delivered them to him.

    2. Christ’s words, Matt. 5.17, Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill, are comprehensive of the Judicial law, it being a part of the law of Moses …

    3. If Christ in his Sermon, Matt. 5, would teach that the Moral law belongeth to us Christians, insomuch as he vindicateth it from the false glosses of the Scribes & Pharisees; then he meant to hold forth the Judicial law concerning Moral trespasses as belonging to us also: for he vindicateth and interpreteth the Judicial law, as well as the Moral, Matt. 5.38, An eye for an eye, &c.

    4. If God would have the Moral law transmitted from the Jewish people to the Christian people; then he would also have the Judicial law transmitted from the Jewish Magistrate to the Christian Magistrate: There being the same reason of immutability in the punishments, which is in the offences; Idolatry and Adultery displeaseth God now as much as then; and Theft displeaseth God now no more than before.

    5. Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, Rom. 15.4, and what shall the Christian Magistrate learn from those Judicial laws, but the will of God to be his rule in like cases? The Ceremonial law was written for our learning, that we might know the fulfilling of all those Types, but the Judicial law was not Typical.

    6. Do all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10.31; Matt. 5.16. How shall Christian Magistrates glorify God more than by observing God’s own laws, as most just, and such as they cannot make better?

    7. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14.23. Now when the Christian Magistrate punisheth sins against the Moral law, if he do this in faith and in assurance of pleasing God, he must have his assurance from the Word of God, for faith can build upon no other foundation: it is the Word which must assure the Conscience, God has commanded such a thing, therefore it is my duty to do it, God hath not forbidden such a thing, therefore I am free to do it. But the will of God concerning Civil justice and punishments is no where so fully and clearly revealed as in the Judicial law of Moses. This therefore must be the surest prop and stay to the conscience of the Christian Magistrate.

    Though we have clear and full scriptures in the New Testament for abolishing the Ceremonial law, yet we nowhere read in all the New Testament of the abolishing of the Judicial law, so far as it did concern the punishing of sins against the Moral law, of which Heresy and seducing of souls is one, and a great one. Once God did reveal his will for punishing those sins by such and such punishments. He who will hold that the Christian Magistrate is not bound to inflict such punishments for such sins, is bound to prove that those former laws of God are abolished, and to shew some scripture for it.”
    —George Gillespie, Wholesome Severity Reconciled With Christian Liberty, 1644.

    1. Eric L

      Thanks for clarifying. Curious, you mention we are left with – among other things – the 10 commandments. Do you personally observe Saturday as Sabbath and/or do you think Gentile Christians generally should?

      1. Yitz

        Should Gentile Christians keep Shabbos? Absolutely not!

        Jews have died at the hands of Christians because they kept Shabbos. You can’t do it. With all respect, it’s just not part of your cultural-ethnic heritage.

        1. Eric L

          Hi Yitz, not sure if you accept New Testament scriptures as a guide for life or not. If so, have you considered the passages from my earlier comment – from Acts, Ephesians, and 1 Peter? They seem to make the case that for Gentile converts to Christianity, Shabbos *is* now part of our (new, adoptive) cultural-ethnic heritage.

          Gentiles have been able to “adopt in” to God’s people for a long time, and those who chose to could keep Shabbos with a clear conscience. For God to open up the floodgates for Gentiles to become *full* members of the commonwealth of Israel, by an act of grace through faith, is beautiful.

          Yes, of course, generations of the ignorant have persecuted and killed Jews and ethnic non-Jews who kept Shabbos, but the gross misdeeds of the ignorant should not prevent future generations from having access to what is right.

          1. Yitz

            Even IF Peter recommended that Christians become Shomer Shabbat, he lost the debate against Paul. I mean, clearly, right? Christians have never been Torah observant for 2,000+ years. Why change now?

            And you can’t merely adopt an ethnic heritage. No, it just doesn’t work that way. If (chas v’chalila) I were to convert to the Shinto religion and move to Japan, does it mean I have the right to act as if I’m Japanese by birth? Am I allowed to walk around in a kimono? No; why? Because it’d be cultural appropriation through-and-through.

            There’s a spectrum to it. Things that have been welcomed openly by the West – because it’s “cool” – is okay. For instance, Asians mass market the idea of eating with chopsticks. It doesn’t mean I’ve the right now to take part in an Indigenous Sun Dance. No, that would be VERY offensive to those of Native American heritage.

            So no, I don’t care what your “New Testament” says. The fact is, you CAN’T – under ANY circumstance – STEAL MY CULTURE. You have your own. And you’re not Jewish (you aren’t even a convert).

            And no, just. . . no. Gd NEVER opened “the floodgates” for Goyim to suddenly become “Jewish.” That hasn’t happened, and nor should it. Ever. Because my culture is mine. Not yours.

            So, I don’t care about any Christian theological arguments (though I like it that R. L. Solberg’s doing it). In my book, it’s merely cultural appropriation for a Christian to keep Pesach or Shabbos, especially when they can’t even pronounce the Hebrew terms right and claim that MY matzah now means some weird Christian thing about JC’s blood or whatever.

            Just. . . stop, okay? Is it too much to ask of you?

            STOP STEALING MY HERITAGE. ENOUGH JEWS HAVE DIED IN THE PAST THAT EVEN IF I LIKE YOU, I’M NOT GOING TO SIT HERE AND WATCH IT HAPPEN.

            STOP. If you love JC, stop.

            Thanks for your understanding.

            This is NOT up for debate.

  5. Eric L

    Yitz,
    I understand you see it as stealing.

    For me, the only thing that matters – more than my feelings, my culture, what I think is best – is:
    What did JC and his immediate disciples teach?

    I’m not clear what you mean by Paul won the debate over Peter. They both teach that the “floodgates” are open.

    I may be a dirty stinking Assyrian, but Paul was my Jonah and I have repented and found life on G-d’s terms, not my own [this is a quick and dirty metaphor, not trying to debate Jonah]

    1. Yitz

      “For me, the only thing that matters – more than my feelings, my culture, what I think is best – is:
      What did JC and his immediate disciples teach?”

      What did they teach, Eric? Paul (can we count him as an “immediate disciple”? After all, he claims to have seen the guy) taught that the “law” doesn’t belong to Christians, and that it’s a dead path towards – get this – eternal damnation. Even though Devarim 30:14 kinda says the opposite.

      “I’m not clear what you mean by Paul won the debate over Peter. They both teach that the ‘floodgates’ are open.”

      They fought each other; you don’t know this? Yeah, it got real bad. This is what scholars say, btw. And yes, Paul one in terms of Christians not having to keep mitzvot, etc.

      “I may be a dirty stinking Assyrian, but Paul was my Jonah and I have repented and found life on G-d’s terms, not my own [this is a quick and dirty metaphor, not trying to debate Jonah].”

      Funny that the citizens of Ninveh didn’t have to make a single sacrifice to be absolved of their sins. All Yonah taught them is to merely repent and do good deeds – be a decent person, y’know?

      Also, I’m afraid I don’t understand your point about connecting Paul to Yonah. Why? And didn’t Paul say that the “law” was sin (see above)?

      P.S.,

      “G-d can declare it in a moment and change it if HE wants, on HIS terms, on HIS rules — and he did, whether you or I want to recognize it or not.”

      No. He did not. Nor will He. Don’t speak for Gd. The Torah is clear: “Torah is not in heaven.” Read Bava Metzia 59a-b, B.T., and Devarim 17:8-12. The decision is up to us, when there’s a Sanhedrin. Klal Yisrael. So, you’re wrong and I’m right – whether or not you want to recognize it or not solely depends on you.

      But here’s a hint why I’m right. My last parting gift, for now:

      “‘If the heavens above will be measured and the foundations of the earth below will be fathomed, I too will reject all the seed of Israel because of all they did,’ says Adonai.” – Yirmiyahu 31:36.

      Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench, is 36,200 FT below sea-level. It was discovered by two non-Jews in 1960.

      Our observable universe is about 93 billion light-years in diameter. However, its true size is estimated to be at least 250 times greater.

      As it stands, two Goyim discovered the lowest point on earth and nobody yet knows exactly how large the universe is.

      Therefore, an unbiased reading suggests that we haven’t yet broken the covenant, and therefore, we Yehudim are still His chosen people.

      1. Eric L

        ——————-
        Hi Yitz,
        At the outset: You mention in your last reply, Israel being rejected by G-d and I’m not sure why. I want to be clear I do not subscribe to that. No rejection or replacement of Israel. There is a remnant of G-d followers (true/spiritual Israel) within national Israel, and neither of them will be rejected by me! Nor can I answer for Calvin, Luther, or myriad other church “fathers” who were anti-Semites. They were not me, I am not them.
        ——————-

        There was a time when Gentiles were dogs who could only “eat the crumbs that fell from their masters’ table” (Mt. 15). God-fearers (Gentile converts) were second-class citizens in the synagogue/church, not even being able to eat together with ethnic Jewish believers! Even Hellenistic Jews were discriminated against in the early church (Acts 6). The written Torah distinguishes between Jew and Gentile, and the oral traditions of the day went even further, keeping the two at odds.

        But a big change in the relationship between Jews and Gentiles was coming, for those who could hear the truth. “Many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 8). When and where is the kingdom of heaven? It is now, and it is here.

        One reason this is so hard to see, is because many teachers reduce salvation to a single thing: Being forgiven and made right with G-d. But it also includes being added to the assembly of God’s people, aka Israel.

        Hey Gentiles, remember that when you were separate from Messiah, you were also “alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without G-d in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ” (Eph. 1).

        Part of salvation, according to the plain words of the Bible, is being no longer alienated from Israel, no longer being separate from Israel’s covenants.

        By destroying the “law of commandments expressed in ordinances” (in context, clearly not the entire written Torah), JC has made peace between Jew and Gentile, and pulled down the “dividing wall of hostility” between the two.

        This was the same dividing wall fought over by Paul and Peter in Galatians. Guess what? They were not fighting over anything in the written Torah; their fight was over the oral tradition of not eating with Gentiles.

        Paul, when describing his life before conversion, says he was trying to “destroy the church of G-d” and was “extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions” (Gal. 1). He left all that behind, and expects Peter to do the same, and expects the Ephesians to do the same.

        No one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly . . .But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter (Rom. 2).

        Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Eph. 2).

        There are not TWO households of G-d! There is one, a very Jewish household LOL. And Hashem has opened the doors for all the adopted children (Gentiles) to enter the house with all the full benefits of the born children (Eph. 1:5, technical term for full membership in the new family).

        These are the plain words of Scripture, not mine. God changed it, I don’t speak for him. I am just hitting copy/paste LOL. You say, “The Torah is clear” and then quote the Talmud to prove it. Press “eject” on the Talmud (like JC and Paul did with its precursors) and all will become clear.

        The dividing wall of rabbinic oral traditions (eventually written into the Talmud) has been destroyed so that Jews and Gentiles are now “one person”! No more fighting over ethnicity.

        Do you really think it is better to be ethnically Jewish with the Torah written on tablets vs. being ethnically Gentile with the Torah written on hearts? If so, you are at odds with Scripture. Paul never says Torah is “a dead path towards
        eternal damnation” but rather that the spirit writes Torah on the heart toward LIFE and the letters on stone alone bring DEATH (2 Cor. 3).

        I would be happy to repair to the Sanhedrin if I am in a civil suit or dealing with an assault, or anything specified by the text. There are passages difficult to understand. But when G-d’s plain words are “explained” by humans, they become only confused.

        I tell you with all kindness, you could repent your uncharitable attitude toward Gentiles who love Israel and the Torah. You could repent ignoring the clear words of Scripture showing Gentiles, without the traditional conversion, can be true sons of Abraham with the Torah written on their hearts.

        I urge you to stop resisting the revealed will of Hashem! The workers who were hired late in the day received the same wages as those who worked a full shift in the sun. Don’t be one of the resentful workers who was vicious because of the master’s generosity! (Mt. 20)

        Consider the *wonder* that, in this insane world, some have the G-d-led wisdom to look to G-d’s people for salvation, repenting and trying to “save [themselves] from this perverse generation” (Acts 2).

        Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
        my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
        I have put my Spirit upon him;
        he will bring forth justice to the nations.
        He will not grow faint or be discouraged
        till he has established justice in the earth;
        and the coastlands wait for his Torah.
        I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness;
        I will take you by the hand and keep you;
        I will give you as a covenant for the people,
        a light for the nations,
        Behold, the former things have come to pass,
        and new things I now declare.
        (from Is. 42)

        1. Eric L

          One day you and I will stand side-by-side in New Jerusalem, worshiping the One on the throne, dancing around with a Torah scroll, and kissing it (maybe :). I hope we can keep that in mind while we discuss.

        2. Yitz

          Hi Eric,

          No, I don’t believe we’ve been rejected by Gd. I believe that we haven’t (as of yet) violated the brit – let alone discovering the foundations of the earth, etc.

          In Christianity, there is a concept known as Progressive Dispensationalism. I like it, as they seem to agree that we’re the chosen people as well as – in their POV – Christians. However, they don’t seem to feel the urge to adopt (or rather, steal) our culture.

          And speaking of concepts, in Judaism, there’s the idea of B’Tzelem Elohim (I may have already mentioned it). It’s the idea that we’re all created in the image – or rather – the intellect of Gd (as in Gd-given intellect to choose between good and evil, reason and stupidity, etc.). So no, we don’t need this “Gentiles once ate off the floor” stuff. That’s NT, not Torah.

          As for “not eating together,” simple explanation: Dani’el refused the king’s wine and food because of the Torah she-be-‘al peh. There’s not one place that I know of in Torah She’biktav (the five fifths) where food from a Gentile is forbidden. It was merely part of the many siyyagim later added by Chazal (via the charge of Vayikra 18:30).

          Nor does the Written Torah advise death over transgression (Vayikra 18:5; M.T. Yesodei haTorah, 5:1-2, 4).

          That said, there are certain instances where one should sacrifice their own life rather than desecrate the Torah. One such instance is when we are in galus. And Dani’el found himself in such a situation in Bavel as N’vukhadnetzar sought to destroy Judaism.

          Again, without an Oral Mesorah, how can you explain it? And if I’m wrong, why didn’t HaShem rebuke Dani’el for having put his life at risk?

          You wrote:

          “Part of salvation, according to the plain words of the Bible, is being no longer alienated from Israel, no longer being separate from Israel’s covenants. . . . Hashem has opened the doors for all the adopted children (Gentiles) to enter the house with all the full benefits of the born children.”

          So Christian can use a Shofar now? Why stop there? Why not observe Yom Kippur? Oh, that’s right – your sins are already forgiven – but wait! You’ve got to observe it – you’ve been “adopted. . . with all the full benefits!”

          And what about bris milah? When are you seeing a mohel, Eric?

          But then again, doesn’t “circumcision of the heart” matter more than “of the flesh”?

          Do you see all the contradictions, Eric? You can’t have it both ways. Either you live as a Jew (convert) or you don’t.

          And if “the letters on stone. . . bring death,” why did HaShem bother with it in the first place?

          Keep this in mind as you read the following:

          “It [Torah] is a tree of life for those who grasp it, and those who draw near it are fortunate” – Mishlei 3:18;

          “You [HaShem] teach (תורם) them the good way wherein they should walk” – Melachim Aleph 8:36;

          “For a mitzvah is a candle, and the Torah is light (נר מצוה ותורה אור)” – Mishlei 6:23 [note that the Hebrew mitzvah originates from צוותא, or “connection to Gd”);

          “The end of the matter, everything having been heard, fear Gd and keep His mitzvot, for this is the entire man” – Kohelet 12:13;

          “From Your judgments I did not turn away, for You [Gd] guided (הורתני) me” – Tehillim 119:102;

          “The Torah [law] of Adonai is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of Adonai is faithful, making the simple one wise – Tehillim 19:8;

          What does Romans 7:9-13 have to say in response?

          “I was once alive outside the framework of Torah. But when the commandment really encountered me, sin sprang to life, and I died. The commandment that was intended to bring me life was found to be bringing me death! For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me; and through the commandment, sin killed me. . . . It was sin working death in me through something good, so that sin might be clearly exposed as sin, so that sin through the commandment might come to be experienced as sinful beyond measure.”

          If Torah is good, then there’s no room for sin. Sha’ul’s mistake was due to linguistics alone. Torah in Hebrew and Aramaic is אור and אורייתא (from the root, הרא). However, in the city of Tarsus of Cilicia, a highly Hellenized place, it’s the Greek νόμος (law). In other words, it has a much harsher connotation.

          As he wrote later: “If righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain” – Galatians 2:21.

          Even your own NT recognizes this: both Elisheva and Z’kharyah walked blamelessly through Torah (Luke 1:6).

          I think it’s obvious that you’re wrong on this point. Moving on.

          Eric:

          “I tell you with all kindness, you could repent your uncharitable attitude toward Gentiles who love Israel and the Torah. You could repent ignoring the clear words of Scripture showing Gentiles, without the traditional conversion, can be true sons of Abraham with the Torah written on their hearts.”

          That only works if I’m Christian. . . but I’m not. I’m bound by Chazal. By the eternal covenant of Torah – utterly unchanging and timeless.

          You quoted Or LaGoyim in the end – it’s a very Jewish mission.

          1. Eric L

            Yitz – I don’t suppose either of us will convince the other of much. Appreciate your time and attention. Be well.

    2. Yitz

      Eric, if JC taught that not one inch of Torah would be breached – that he didn’t come to “destroy the law,” then what does that entail for millions of Christians throughout history? Indeed, billion of them, actually. Are they are in the eternal barbecue or something?

      And why did it take this long for Goyim to discover the “truth” of “Torahism”?

      1. Eric L

        What a great question. JC taught “whoever practices and teaches [the smallest Torah commands] will be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5). Maybe millions of Xians through history were not as “great in the kingdom” as they could have been. As far as the eternal BBQ — all judgement belongs to the Son (Jn. 5) of course

        Lot’s of Gentiles have loved Torah and clung to G-d’s people, ever since the day the congregation left Israel for the promised land. If more of them are getting the picture of where to find the blessings of the Torah (James 1:25), all the better, though I’m not smart enough to account for why it has taken some longer than others.

        1. Yitz

          No Gentiles took part in yetziat Mitzrayim just as no Gentiles were once enslaved by Par’o. The Exodus is OUR story, not yours and the Erev Rav (“mixed multitude”) doesn’t help your case.

          Because truth be told, they weren’t Goyim but merely fellow Israelites. They weren’t “mixed” in ethnicity, but rather in belief. The slaves that toiled away at the seasonal turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadim worshipped the false god, Ba`alat. Later, the site served as the fifth encampment as the Israelites made their way out of Egypt. Indeed, some suggest that it was in eyeshot of Har Sinai.

          Where’s my evidence? 13th Dynasty Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions were found in said mines, warning the people against the cult of Ba`alat. In fact, a Hebrew prayer to this pagan deity was found defaced by archeologists.

          Judaism has a place for Gentiles – it’s called the Sheva Mitzvot B’nei Noach. The seven laws.

          Study those. Convert. Truly become a spiritual Jew. But please, for the love of all that is good, don’t just “walk in” and claim my traditions, my culture, my land, and my heritage.

          Because that’s sort of like stepping into my own home and claiming that it’s now yours. It isn’t. Stay in your lane.

          1. Jeremy Shiner

            Yitz,

            I don’t doubt at all your Jewish heritage and would never want to insult that. I believe in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I also believe that Yeshuah is the the Messiah foretold in the Scriptures. Leaving that out if I can for the sake of this comment.
            Do you believe that the Covenant with Abraham and his descendants only applies to the Tribe of Judah, son of Jacob or to all of them? There have been some remnant of those tribes found but by no means all of them. In order for all of the prophecies to come true ALL of the tribes of Jacob have to come back to the land. The northern kingdom concurred by the Assyrians never returned in its entirety. But they are promised to be retuned by G-d at some point. I am not a Son of Judah but whether I am a Son of one of the other Sons of Jacob will be brought to light but as of today I do believe the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the One True G-d and creator of all.
            maybe we can start there and agree on that at least.

            Shalom

  6. Jeremy Shiner

    With all due respect I will start here: No one that is not a Jew should be trying to be a Jew. The descendants of Judah, Son of Jacob, are one of the families that inherited the Covenant given to Abraham. So how may Sons did Jacob have?
    12.
    So there are 11 other lines that are part of the Covenant with Abraham. I am a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    If you believe in Jesus, as i do, then you have to believe that Abraham was the Father of the faith Jesus is the messiah of.

    Here is where the history lesson starts.

    David was the last king over a United Israel. After that two kingdoms were formed.

    Northern Kingdom or house of Ephraim or House of Jacob 10 tribes
    and
    Southern Kingdom or House of Judah (Judah and Benjamin) This is important later

    Northern Kingdom through sin or lawlessness were banished and never returned to the Land of Israel.

    Southern Kingdom through Sin of Lawlessness was banished to Babylon. returned to the Land.

    So the Southern Kingdom remains today. 10 tribes are considered lost but the Covenant was given to all those at Mt Sinai. 12 tribes of the Sons of Jacob Plus the mixed multitude so that all those that keep God’s words will be part of this Covenant. There are so many scripters referring to this term I will leave you with one important one.

    Matt 15:24. What sheep?? the Lost sheep of the Northern Kingdom.

    this is such a huge topic that it needs to be studied out. Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah speak at length on this topic.

    God himself told Moses this would happen in the Torah. That those he gave the Torah to would rebel but that he would bring them back one day. It’s beautiful.

    Someone responded to your podcast directly that I would assume would give you enough fodder to write several books. Let the Truth stand in the End. I will wait.

    There are 7 parts but here is the link to the first.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HzqgZtg7u8

    Freedom in Truth and let the Truth Remain

    -your brother in Christ

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