Torah, Israel, and the Nations: Part 4

We’re in a series about non-Jews and Torah. At least one reader asks why I am not discussing Jews in MJ at the moment. Well, that is an important topic. As it happens, non-Jews in MJ is also an important topic. As I am not HaShem, I can only discuss a limited number of things at once. Ah, but someday, in the World to Come, maybe our Torah discussions will be more complex. Perhaps we will be able to simultaneously discuss dozens of topics.

Anyway, for the moment, since non-Jews in MJ is an issue affecting our movement with some urgency, I thought it might be good to spend a few weeks on the subject.

We are working through a list of ten scriptural considerations that I listed under

This entry was posted in Gentiles, Judaism, Messianic Jewish, Sabbath, Theology, Torah. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Torah, Israel, and the Nations: Part 4

  1. Marc says:

    Derek didn’t God bless and sanctify the 7th day?

    Genesis 2:3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

    The truth is we don’t really know if before Israel Sabbath was kept or not.

    What’s interesting though there seems to be ‘oral’ communication with God and man. As an example how did Cain and Abel know to sacrifice?

    All we know is that God blessed the 7th day and sanctified.

    Marc

  2. Marc:

    Let’s follow the logic:

    1. The Bible does not say that the Sabbath was a command before Sinai.
    2. The Sabbath could possibly have been a command before Sinai.
    3. Therefore the Sabbath must have been a command before Sinai?

    Now, follow my logic:
    1. The Sabbath is not mentioned before the Exodus.
    2. God calls the Sabbath a sign between himself and Israel.
    3. The Sabbath is something God made for Israel to follow.

    Derek

  3. Derek, several questions:

    1) Doesn’t the declarative Sabbath command (Exodus 16) actually PRECEDE Sinai (Exodus 20)?

    2) If God didn’t give the Torah commandments (orally) before Sinai, why did He expect Cain and Abel to know how to properly sacrifice? Wouldn’t that be capricious of God to withhold acceptance of Cain’s sacrifice if He hadn’t given the commandments already?

    3) What about Numbers 15:15, which specifies we are all to be under the same Law?

    4) In Romans 11, in your view, what is the olive tree Believers are (re)grafted into?

  4. Marc says:

    Also Isaiah 56 where it says all will be keeping the Sabbath.

    If you study the Book of Acts what day did the believers meet? It wasn’t even a question whether or not what day of the week was the Shabbat.

    It only takes a little study of early church history to discover that the gentiles moved away from the ‘Jewishness’ of the faith. As the faith was Jewish.

    Marc

  5. Marc:

    You asked on what day the believers met in Acts. This is a moot question. The early part of Acts reflects the Jerusalem congregation’s pattern. The Jerusalem congregation was part of the Jewish wing of the movement. Acts 20 most likely is a Saturday night meeting, I agree. But this proves nothing.

    As I have said before, the Sabbath never was a day of required worship in the Torah. The non-Jewish wing of the movement started meeting on Sunday quite early, in the first century. This is evident in the Didache. There is nothing wrong with Sunday worship.

    Marc, instead of repeating revisionist historical mantras, you really should read serious books and learn some actual history. There is a tendency for sectarian believers like yourself to ignore evidence and simply repeat simplistic “proofs.” Sorry to be so hard on you, but you stuck your neck out on the blog and you speak as if you are an expert.

    Derek

  6. A Fellow Seeker says:

    Hello, all…

    My name is Lamar. *waves*

    First off, might I say that I have so enjoyed the discussion and debate going on here for a little over 3 weeks or so now. I have learned much and gained many valuable insights. I have felt like Corrie Ten Boom watching her father and the rabbi “fuss” over the interpretation of Scripture. My soul (and mind) has so needed this kind of discussion!

    Myself? I am no scholar… nor do I consider myself particularly wise… or even very learned. I do thirst, though… and am very hungry.

    Menachem, I would’ve loved to have chosen a moniker such as your’s… but ‘A Simple Gentile’ just didn’t seem to fit. Maybe ‘A Complicated Gentile’ would be better… LOL! Well, at least for now…

    At any rate, what I seek is the Truth… and the Way. Wherever the L-RD directs I feel I must follow… even if that means “unlearning” all that I have learned.

    Shalom,
    Lamar

    p.s. — Questions and such to follow…

  7. A Fellow Seeker says:

    Maybe this is neither the time nor place, but I feel I must ask… since the topic does seem to relate.

    What is a Gentile to do? How is a Gentile Believer to live? What standard do we (as Gentile Believers) follow? How does one become more “Christ-like” while remaining a Gentile? Or because I am a Gentile does it really even matter?

    These are the kinds of questions that I wrestle with… have wrestled with… for years and years.

    I would think that the Council’s ruling in Acts 15 be considered “milk”… a starting point, more or less. But should a serious Gentile student of G-d’s Word forever in his walk only do those things? Especially if his mind, heart, and soul is turned towards trying to do what is right? Paul himself seems to imply later that we are responsible for what we have learned. In the Light of Messiah, how can I not be? What should I do?

    What holidays should I keep? Christmas? Easter? All Saint’s Day? Ash Wednesday? Should I reason that since the “Church” keeps these days that they are OK for me to keep as well? Even though each of these (and more) smack of paganism?

    In this “Christian” world of today, how exactly does a Gentile Believer come out and be seperate?

    Over the course of 5 or 6 years now, the L-RD seems to be leading me somewhere… somewhere far removed from this notion of modern (or maybe altogether) “Christianity”… and that scares me. But I hunger for Him… His Word… His Truth… His Ways… for the “meat”. Maybe it’s just me. But it seems the more I learn of Him, the more I see my absolute need of Him… and the closer I want to follow.

    Sorry for all the questions… maybe the answer is right in front of me.

    And please forgive me if this “out of line” for this thread…

    Shalom…

    Seeking His Path,
    Lamar

  8. Lamar:

    I don’t know enough about your situation to give you a firm answer about what you should do. If you love the Jewish people and love being in the Jewish community, then I think you should pursue it.

    If you have fallen in love with Biblical customs, and not necessarily the Jewish people, then I think you need to understand them properly. If they are signs between Israel and God, then I think you should appreciate them without taking them improperly on yourself. Many Christians love biblical and Jewish customs without pretending to be Jews themselves.

    If you do not have a strong calling to worship alongside Israel or join with Israel, then find a great church. In my opinion a great church will be small, community-oriented, serious about Bible study, serious about worship and prayer, and pro-Israel.

    At Christmas you can enjoy sermons and songs about Messiah’s birth without caving in to pagan practices. At Resurrection time, you can celebrate the resurrection without fertility symbols. At All Saint’s day you can read church history and remember great leaders God has raised up. On Ash Wednesday you can begin reading the gospels and spiritually preparing for Resurrection.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with non-Jews forming times and seasons as traditions. Make the best of them. If I were to return to Christianity, I think I would know far better now how to find depth, meaning, and passion there.

    Derek

  9. Marc says:

    “As I have said before, the Sabbath never was a day of required worship in the Torah. The non-Jewish wing of the movement started meeting on Sunday quite early, in the first century. This is evident in the Didache. There is nothing wrong with Sunday worship.

    Marc, instead of repeating revisionist historical mantras, you really should read serious books and learn some actual history. There is a tendency for sectarian believers like yourself to ignore evidence and simply repeat simplistic

  10. Marc:

    Listen, man, I can’t help you if you insist on calling sectarian tripe scholarship.

    You said, “There are also some good books on this subject. About the persecutions of those that kept the Sabbath both Jew and Gentile. Paul warned about the mystery of lawlessness. In fact it was slowly happening in his day.”

    Yeah, I’ve seen Seventh Day Adventist writings of the type you describe. That’s not serious history, Marc. If the books you refer to are not SDA, then please do give us some references.

    Marc, history requires objectivity. These kinds of books are revisionist histories. They don’t just have an agenda, they are driven by an agenda.

    I didn’t read church history hoping to de-Judaize it. Just the opposite. I would have soaked it up if I found out that early Christians all were Messianic Jews.

    Sunday worship is not lawlessness. It is a fine tradition for those who choose to follow it.

    Now, unless you have some non-sectarian, serious references, please do not write about your evidences on my blog. Put up or shut up.

    Derek

  11. Marc says:

    “Now, unless you have some non-sectarian, serious references, please do not write about your evidences on my blog. Put up or shut up.”

    Derek with all due respect the only evidence one needs is the Apostolic scriptures. The Book of Acts you can use as historical context.

    I agree that historical writings, the Didache and the like might have objectivity. Only scripture can we rely on with no objectivity.

    Is it or is it not a fact according to scripture that the early believers assembled themselves in synagogues on the Sabbath? That there wasn’t synagogues for Jews and right next store was a church for gentiles?

    Derek you see I consider both sides of debate before I make inform decisions. I have admitted that I’m wishy washy in this topic. But I try to be realistic and pratical.

    So let’s not even look at other sources and writings because they outside sources and writings like you said can be objective and have an agenda.

    Let’s look at scripture.

    And no I am not advocating one law for Jew and gentile.

    What I am advocating is that the New Covenant is very clear. The New Covenant is speaking about Israel and Judah. Not a replacement for Israel and Judah. It

  12. Shannon says:

    It’s my first time here and I will say you are all very intelligent and I appreciate that. You all have something; a great thing in common; that is love of our Messiah. I’m not an avid book lover but when I truly find a book written by a reputable author whom I know has true knowledge of scripture, I soak it in. I love the Bible. That is my first choice of books. But another book I highly recommend; of course just a suggestion, is the new book John Hagee wrote “In Defense of Israel”. He pin points this exact topic that you guys are discussing regarding the New Covenant and who it was really for, etc. It is so awesome and revealed a lot to me that I was lacking. I truly love the Jewish people and the nation of Israel; I am Gentile. I also think that Yeshua was sent by God as His only Son as a sacrifice. Any of us who think “well, thanks God, but that just isn’t enough.” I mean how does that make God feel?? I cannot even begin to imagine. Christ was a gift. But one comment I want to mention is: I think that Yeshua (Jesus) was certainly an observant Jew; but I believe that He was probably more interested in how we recognized the work of the Father; the gift of His Father rather than focusing on the culture. No doubt about it. Yeshua (Jesus) was/is Jewish 100%.

    For example, my husband left a couple of days ago for Israel (by himself) 🙁 Since the Sabbath there falls on Friday at sundown, when does it end?? They stop working, answering phones, etc. at around 5:00 or so (give or take an hour) I tried calling his hotel several times and could not get him. They would not answer the phone. They would not let him have a Shabbat key since he is not “Jewish.” They would not let him use the phone, elevator, etc. and he was told that if he drove, there was a possibility that his car would be stoned. Okay, so, here I am worried to death about him and rightfully so. He was taken (invited) to the home of a man whom he thought was a Jewish man that had invited him over for Sabbath dinner which was very kind. My husband agreed to go. When he got there, the man started talking to him about allah. My husband realized he was in a muslim home (which is okay) but I’m just saying that immediately they tried “converting” him to a muslim. This scared him a bit. He calmly explained to them the story of Abraham (Isaac and Ishmael), he explained to them that no where in the holy scriptures is allah even mentioned but only that it mentions “thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” etc., and so on. My husband is extremely intelligent with scripture (original Hebrew scripture) so the argument became very heated and he asked the driver to take him as far as he could (before getting stones thrown). Naturally when he arrived at his hotel he was shaken a bit.

    He asked the front desk if I had called in. She said “no.” we don’t answer the phones. He said, “is there any way you would turn them on just so my wife can call and know I’m okay?” She said “no. Today is a day of peace.” My husband looked around and noticed in the hallway men carrying guns. He said to her “then why all of the guns?” If God intended for there to be peace and rest, then why the guns? She would not answer. My point of all this is, do you think Yeshua (Jesus) would have said if he were behind the desk “No, you cannot speak with your wife.” Or would He have asked “give me the number and I’ll dial it for you?”

    So what part of us is he after??? We happen to observe the sabbath in our special way. We agree not to go anywhere on Saturday night or Sunday (except church). We of course still use our electricity and modern day essentials but what’s most important is we acknowledge God for His holiness and not just culture. Hope I’m making sense here.

    God will never abandon Israel or the Jewish people. He made a covenant with them and God would never break such a covenant. I of course still struggle with Christmas, it is already stressing me out. On one hand I have three little ones hoping to have a Christmas tree this year and on the other I have a husband who refuses. In the middle I am. Do I worship my tree? No! So,in Jeremiah 10 when he is speaking to idol worshippers, is he speaking of the what we now call “christmas tree?” And if so, was so much that he was speaking of the “object” or what they “did” with the object? I mean so many of us will sit in front of the TV and keep a remote “glued” in our hands, or we’ll walk down the streets with iPod’s and MP3 players stuck in our ears with no regard much to our surroundings. How is it any different? This is a debate within my family.

    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated here.

    Derek, I see the love you have for God and the Messiah. So, may God Bless you and keep you.
    Shalom,
    Shannon

  13. Shalom Bayit says:

    Shannon

    I feel bad about your husbands experience. However I know of hotels in Hawaai where the guests pay lots of money to be deprived their telephones and other access to the outside world. For the sake of peace. However the guests know what to expect in advance.

    It sounds as if someone failed somewhere to properly educate your husband on what to expect so he could enjoy his experience. Israeli tourism is important and they should address this. Hope someone does.

  14. Shannon:

    Thank you for sharing. I fail to understand, however, why 24 hours of being unable to communicate while someone is away in a foreign country is a matter of such concern. When I travel overseas, I often experience periods of no communication. Did you have some reason to believe your husband had been hurt? I don’t want to make light of your pain, if this incident was painful to you, but your scenario suggests that somehow you were treated unjustly.

    The truth is, your husband could have gone to any number of pay phones, internet cafes, or similar establishments to communicate with you.

    I think what you were trying to say, if I read you correctly, is that:
    1. The Torah is merely a matter of culture.
    2. Jesus rose above the mere level of culture and asked people to have a more pure religion concerned with the Father.
    3. Messianic Jews are being backwards by insisting on culture and rejecting Jesus’ more pure, Torah-free religion.

    Am I correct in reading your comment that way?

    Listen, I don’t blame you for thinking this way. I’m not even upset that we disagree. Five years ago, I would have agreed with you.

    That’s what the journey of Bible study is all about. Keep reading. Keep thinking. Perhaps one day you will see that Jews are still Jews and God has given something to Jews called Torah.

    It is not culture. It is command. Divine command.

    Now, perhaps you meant to make a different point. Perhaps you meant to say, “Shouldn’t those who observe the Torah be more sympathetic and helpful toward non-Jews and to exercise compassion in helping people, even if in so doing it involves a minor bending of religious policy.”

    My answer to that would be, “Yes.” I too am bothered by fundamentalist Orthodox bullying. I have experienced it myself. I had a security guard practically tackle me in Israel to prevent me from bringing a bag of dried apricots into the hotel. Best I can tell, since he could not verify that they were kosher (prepared by Jews and not Gentiles), they were forbidden.

    Yes, there are communities who take the rules far beyond Torah and even Talmud. Yes, the kosher hotels in Israel can be irritating.

    What you need to know is that many Torah-observant Jews agree with you. Torah and tradition can be misinterpreted. Some segments of Orthodoxy are way over the top, trying to outdo one another in halakhic rigor.

    Derek

  15. Shannon says:

    Derek,

    Either I completely “miscommunicated” my OPINION to you; or you may have misunderstood it. Maybe read it once more. I in no way undermine the Torah. Let’s get that clear first of all. I 100% believe in the Torah and its importance whether it be Jew or Gentile. Secondly, I never said I felt that I was treated “unjustly”. I was merely making a point about Jesus. I also remember stating that I believe He was/is 100% Jewish. But the statement I was making is this…how did He address the Pharisees/Leaders when He was out picking grain on the Sabbath?? That is exactly my point. It’s my point of saying “how should we treat others?” How would JESUS have treated someone in the situation my husband was in? And to answer your question, “YES”, there is legitimate reason that I need to contact him. He has a wife (me) and three little girls; of course he didn’t HAVE to go to Israel. I know that. But when God calls you to do something ANYWHERE, if you want to be obedient to Him, then you go. You don’t question, you go. He did. However, I have a now seven year old girl who was stricken with brain cancer at age 2. So please forgive me if I tend to seem “worrisome” that my husband is halfway around the world.

    In addition, I have concern that I cannot reach him because he went into the desert (today) with two muslim men. I don’t know much about their culture. All you hear is what you hear on the news. I’m not saying they are all bad people..not at all. I’m not prejudice. But can you blame me for being nervous or worried about my husband? I would have to question myself if I wasn’t.

    Never once did I even speculate that Messianic beliefs are backwards. What would that make me in the eyes of God? Do you really think that is what my post suggested? If so, then I most sincerely apologize. I respect 100% the culture, the Torah, the Talmud, the kosher laws, the Sabbath, the feasts, etc. My heart is with the Jewish people whether Orthodox or Messianic. My heart is for Israel. I pray peace upon them and upon God’s land. I am hurt to think that you took my post that way.

    But to simply answer your question…”yes” you are incorrect in reading in that way. I never once said that Torah is just a matter of “culture.” It was God’s will for Israel. Jesus was living Torah. He was the demonstration of how we are to live also. Let me ask you a question. And it is not a sarcastic question, but one that I find difficult myself to understand. Why did Jesus, when He would travel and heal people, when He rose from the tomb and whoever addressed Him or when He performed a miracle say, “Go and tell no one.” Even the woman at the well? He told her the same the thing. I find that a bit confusing. What was His reasoning for that?

    Everybody has an opinion…but ONLY God/Yeshua can view the heart. Take Care and God Bless.

  16. Shannon:

    I am glad to know I misunderstood your comment. I hope you will accept my apology. I hope you can see how I got the misinterpretation that I did out of your words.

    Derek

  17. Shannon says:

    Please don’t apologize. 🙂 Sometimes I have a bad way of “communicating” words in writing. What is in my heart isn’t always how I put them in writing and it’s something I need to work on. Yes, I can see how. But please know I have such a compassion for the Jewish people, Israel, the Torah and of course my Messiah!!

    Again, God Bless and keep you and thanks for providing such a great website. It’s nice to know that there is a reputable place I can go to learn more.
    Shannon

  18. michael says:

    Hey Derek,
    Your prob. gonna think i’m a real bonehead for asking this, but I’m confused about your position.
    1)Do you ware tzit-tzit,talit,or observe sabbath? I’ve scanned through your blogs but i can’t tell. Also do you think gentiles should enjoy all the blessings of torah? Or are you preposing they remain gentiles and mearly observe a select of the commands? Which ones? (mt5:17-20 comp. jn15:10)
    Do you realize the rabbinical implications of “brought near”?(eph2:13)
    2)How can you see procelyte conversion as a way to preserve jewish identity? If a prohibited marrige takes place there simply are consequences (neither good or bad in the eyes of Yeshua, as far as salvation is concerned) But procelyte conversion is not gonna ‘make it all better’.
    I conject that the first advent took place at a very key moment in history, as that, it was around His appearing that procelyte conversion was in its pre-adolecence if you will(as far as systimatic 4 step conversion method).
    I would conclude that the sages looked at the sciptures and saw the ‘gospel message’ but didnt know how to impliment it. Possibly being with out faith themselves. This may have been what ‘provoked’ the holy One to send His own ‘son’ to the vineyard.

  19. michael says:

    sorry for the bad grammar im in a hurry

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