The ‘ger’ was expected to do what??

We’ve discussed ‘one law for all.’  Honestly, the alien/sojourner, the ger who joined him/herself to Israel is expected to do it all…  Look at this list of requirements from the Torah:

  • Keep the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10; Deu. 5:14)  (Targumim translate ‘within your gates’ as ‘in your cities/towns’)
  • Observe Pesach (Ex. 12:48-49)
  • Observe Feast of Unleavened/Chag HaMotzot  (Ex. 12:19) or be ‘cut off.’
  • Observe Shavuot (Deu. 16:10-11)
  • Observe Yom Kippur (Lev. 16:29)
  • Observe Sukkot (Deu. 16:13-14) (Same note as above on Targumim)
  • Participate in sacrifices (Lev. 17:8-9; 22:17-18, 31; Num. 15:14-16)
  • Observe all laws of purity!!  (Lev. 17:12, 15; 18:26; Num. 19:10;  (Proper observance of sacrifices and festivals required ritual purity!)
  • Obey moral laws (Lev. 24:16; Num. 15:14-16, 26, 29-30)

NOTE:  I was going to put an asterisk next to each verse where the Chumash incorrectly translates ger as ‘proselyte’ or ‘convert,’ but after looking all of them up I realized that at least they were consistent in their bias.  All of the preceding verses cited incorrectly translate ger. In doing so, they ‘anachronistically’ apply Second Temple Judaic proselyte conversion to the ger of the Torah, thus ‘adding’ to the Word of God.  But, we have written about that.  Hardly a… nuance.

But, there is hope.  Maybe the translators of the Chumash got tired or careless….  They got it right near the end of the Torah:

  • The ger/stranger was to keep ‘all the Words of the Torah’ (Deu. 31:11-12):

Deu 31:11 When all Israel comes to appear before Hashem, your God, in the place that He will choose, you shall read this Torah before all Israel, in their ears.  Gather together the people -the men, the women, and the small children, and your stranger who is in your cities – so that they will hear and so that they will learn, and they shall fear Hashem, your God, and be careful to perform all the words of this Torah. (Chumash, Stone’s Ed., pgs. 1095, 1097)

Ooops!

I am thoroughly enjoying Tim Hegg’s Fellow Heirs which compiles some of these verses prompting me to dig out some more…  E-sword is such a handy tool!

About Pete Rambo

Details in 'About' page @ natsab.wordpress.com Basically, husband of one, father of four. Pastor x 11 years, former business and military background. Micro-farmer. Messianic believer in Yeshua haMashiach!
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47 Responses to The ‘ger’ was expected to do what??

  1. loammi says:

    Nice catch…and if we just say we follow Him and walk as He walked-that would include em all..otherwise we are NOT walking as Messiah walked. I don’t need a name, brand or label; I will just follow my leader, and He followed Torah

    Liked by 3 people

    • Vince Hirschler says:

      Pete very good indeed, so often people forget Yeshua [Jew] is the first born and His brethren are those who seek Him natural born or [adopted] grafted into the tribe. If seeking Him [He is the law incarnate] are equal under Him [ yet not the same as a finger isn’t an elbow, ankle or a toe]. Our only advantage is Our Messiah, whom is Eternal life, not our genetics.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Jack Jackson says:

    The only thing I have ever seen that makes a difference between the “ger” and the remainder of Israel is that Israel was not to eat an animal that “died of itself”, but that these could be given to the ger or sold to the alien. We have believed that YHVH was making a provision for the ger that maybe didn’t yet have a herd. Maybe they were supposed to being giving meat with an open hand to the ger and when they were holding back, YHVH was taking the meat for the ger for them.

    Lastly, Tim’s book is a great read. He is very thorough in his work, including numerous foot notes. The book was initially published through FFOZ, until they parted company. He had another series through them called something like “You have heard it said” discussing some of Paul’s comments which was also excellent. He also wrote a quite well written counter argument against “divine invitation” as he broke from FFOZ, and as Tim is very thorough, his response to the 29 page paper was a 69 page response.

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    • Pete Rambo says:

      I believe the meat allowance was because the ger was typically poor and always listed with widow and orphan. The poverty was rooted in not having land-ownership rights, but that gets amended in Ezekiel 47:22 (if I remember the reference correctly.)

      It is important to note that the children of the ger must have been considered ‘native born’ and therefore could in the second or third generation own land… but studying that a little more.

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    • Zion says:

      @Jackson,

      In Leviticus 17:15, we read that at ger is not to eat something which dies of itself or he will be considered unclean, and then we read of Deut 14:21 that a ger can eat of that which dies of itself without any unclean status.

      There is no contradiction here, and even in Jewish commentaries, the ger in Leviticus 17 would be considered a covenanted ger versus the ger in Deut, being just one who is temporary living in the land or passing through, but not in covenant. There are different versions of ger and foreigners… the key distinction would be of a ger who is in covenant, versus one who is not.

      You can’t have gentiles responsible for a covenant they never agreed to.

      Like

      • Jack Jackson says:

        So are you saying YHVH will not hold them accountable to lying, stealing, murder etc unless they enter the covenant? What is sin then? Is sin not the transgression of the law (Torah)? What about Romans 2:14-15? Don’t even the gentiles show evidence of the Torah on their hearts, their conscience bearing witness?

        To say these “gers”, or any gentile otherwise, are not subject to Torah, when it defines sin, is to eliminate any need for a Savior until one is joined to YHVH in the first place.

        Why then did Yeshua so love the world that He was willing to die for “all the world”?

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        Another related verse I like to point to is Isaiah 24:5 “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”

        In this passage, decidedly pointed at the inhabitants of the earth, they are judged for transgressing the laws, changing the ordinances and breaking the everlasting covenant. As best I can tell, there is only one ‘everlasting covenant,’ though it is revealed in parts…

        Thoughts?

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      • James says:

        There’s only one covenant that God makes with all mankind (actually, “all flesh”) and it’s recorded in Genesis 9. Various Rabbinic Sources (I know someone’s going to criticize me for even mentioning them) extrapolate thirty or more laws from the original Seven that Judaism believes God have to humanity through Noah.

        No other covenant, and certainly not the Sinai (Mosaic) or New Covenants, were made generally with all of humanity in mind. Those covenants are specifically made with the Children of Israel and their biological descendants. As we’ve discussed before, it is only because of certain promises God made to Abraham that allows non-Jews (the modern day descendants of the Children of Israel) to be “grafted in” and enjoy the blessings of the New Covenant, which includes the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection from the dead, and the life of the world to come.

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        There’s only one covenant that God makes with all mankind (actually, “all flesh”) and it’s recorded in Genesis 9.

        In one sense, you are correct, but it is a unilateral covenant with NO if/then expectations. God’s simple covenant is that He will never again judge the earth by a flood. The so called ‘Noahide laws’ are a straight up fabrication that are designed to separate the ger from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Scripture nowhere ever affirms the Noahide laws and they did not come into being until sometime around the Second Temple or even post destruction period. That wiki link’s interpretation of Acts 15 is laughable.

        You said it right here: “Judaism believes God have to humanity through Noah.” But, I do not find it in Scripture.

        What I do find, based on your ‘all flesh’ quote, is that kol basar, “all flesh,” will be judged by fire for eating unclean, and I don’t even see the unclean in the Noahide list.

        I would ask, on what basis will God judge mankind/all flesh if not His standard of righteousness? Does He have differing standards? His Word says that differing weights and measures is an abomination He hates.

        There is one everlasting covenant that has layers to it. Yes, part of it was given at Sinai, and it is the measure of righteousness for all mankind. It was the standard by which Messiah was judged and is the standard by which His shed blood is applied. My sin was ‘lawlessness’ which is defined by what law?

        So… Pardom me if I call ‘Baloney’ on the Noahide laws. 😉

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      • James says:

        You certainly have the right to your opinion Pete, but on the other hand, you’re stuck. There is no other covenant that explicitly includes the people of the nations. I know. I looked. It threw me for a loop when I discovered that Gentiles aren’t addressed in any of the New Covenant language at all. It took me months to figure it out (this was before Lancaster put out his “What About the New Covenant” lecture series).

        I think the “mystery of the Gospel” Paul references in Ephesians 3 is just how non-Jews can be included in the New Covenant blessings without directly being covenantal (Sinai) members. That’s why there was such a conceptual struggle between Paul and the so-called “Judaizers,” the latter believing that the only was the Gentiles could be saved (included in the New Covenant blessings) was to undergo the proselyte rite and convert to Judaism. Paul wrote Galatians to convince a group of Gentile communities (i.e. “churches”) that they *could* be included and that conversion was a waste of time and indeed, it would be a sign of a lack of faith in the sacrifice of Messiah, who died to inaugurate the New Covenant and make it accessible, even to the Goyim.

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        Then the Gentile non-believer is better off staying that way since there is no covenant and therefore no standard to which he/she is held.

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      • James says:

        I think you realize that based on various parts of the Bible, all of humankind will be judged in the end. The question is, by what standards will the non-believing Gentiles of the nations be judged. I don’t think it will be by the Sinai covenant which they have no part of. It would have to be by a covenant incumbent upon all humanity. That’s not what the Sinai covenant is.

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        Okay, I agree that all humanity will be judged by a standard. Where is it? What is the standard?

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      • James says:

        That’s a very good question, Pete. I’m sure we’ll disagree on the answer but I do not believe we can reasonably infer that said-standard for all humanity must be the Torah, the conditions of the covenant God specifically made with the Children of Israel, the physical descendants of Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        Then what is the answer? I’m curious….

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      • Jack Jackson says:

        Also, what happened in the garden? Why are men under death sentence for sin? For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The wages of sin is death.

        Again? As Pete asks, what is sin, that is what is the standard.

        Also, what does John 3:16 mean when it says “For God so loved “THE WORLD”……? I hope this doesn’t turn into a “typical Christian debate” that will suggest “THE WORLD” mean only some people from some various people groups.

        To identify the “problem” we must first go back to the beginning and find the problem is sin that we inherited from “our common 1st Father” namely Adam. We are all offspring of Adam and Eve, and again also all are from one of 3 sons of Noah. In our pursuit of “Torah” let us not forget to also read the words of Yeshua that are also in our “NT’s”. There appears to be “one creation” that was created in His image.

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      • James says:

        On the one hand Genesis 9 is the only covenant recorded between God and all of humanity, so I’d have to say that these were the only standards God gave to people in general, thus these are the only standards to which they are held accountable.

        On the other hand, there seem to be consequences attached to NOT coming to faith in the God of Israel through the Jewish Messiah (New Covenant), so I think there’s more going on here. I suspect a complete answer would require a careful search of the scriptures (and I imagine someone has done all of the legwork by now, but a quick Google search doesn’t yield satisfactory results).

        One thing about outright rejecting Judaism’s understanding of humanity’s accountability to the Noahide laws is that the Jewish people have had custody of the Torah and a relationship with God long, long before your ancestors or mine had any knowledge of salvation through Messiah. While not every interpretation of the Bible from a Jewish perspective may be spot on, they’ve got a lot more experience and history with Biblical exegesis than Christianity (which, like it or not, Hebrew Roots is a part of).

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        James,

        A cursory reading of the NT will yield a huge list of offenses/sins that the Gentile is accountable to turn from, many of which are not Noahide, but all are rooted in the Torah. That simple fact, coupled with the complete lack of recording in Scripture of some differing standard makes the Noahide argument highly suspect at best. At worst, a complete fabrication (which I lean toward, considering the same authors created the proselyte system of whole cloth).

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      • James says:

        Gentiles in Messiah or the general population of pagans? It’s difficult to believe that God will judge the entire population of unbelieving humanity for all of the Torah mitzvot since they never agreed to the conditions of the Sinai covenant as did the Children of Israel (“All that the Lord has spoken we will do!” see Exodus 19:8).

        Like

      • Zion says:

        @Jackson,

        Sorry, I am just now responding. I try to stay away from the internet on Shabbat, and then it was labor day weekend, had some fun.

        You said:
        So are you saying YHVH will not hold them accountable to lying, stealing, murder etc unless they enter the covenant? What is sin then? Is sin not the transgression of the law (Torah)? What about Romans 2:14-15? Don’t even the gentiles show evidence of the Torah on their hearts, their conscience bearing witness?

        The Law of Moses is contained within covenant, that being the Mosaic and the New Covenant, if you are not part of either one of those covenants, you cannot be held to the responsibility. It would be absurd to hold someone to a contract they never joined. However divine law exist outside of these covenants, seen in Romans 1, it is referenced as a natural law…

        So we have two issues, I hold to a One Law perspective, that is, that gentiles who are in the Messiah, *note I did not say all gentiles in the world, only those who are in Messiah, are now in covenant, through Him and thus are obligated to covenant responsibility, such as we see in Isaiah 56, Ephesians 2. If I am wrong, and thus we are not in covenant, then we have no responsibility whatsoever to the Torah, it is an impossibility. So its either or.

        To say these “gers”, or any gentile otherwise, are not subject to Torah, when it defines sin, is to eliminate any need for a Savior until one is joined to YHVH in the first place.

        Not true, as again, before the Law of Moses was revealed at Sinai, men were judged for their sins, this would be understood as divine law… Which is not contradictory to the Law of Moses at all, but the law of Moses is more elaborate.

        Why then did Yeshua so love the world that He was willing to die for “all the world”?

        Like I said above, before the Law of Moses was revealed, man needed a redeemer, right in the garden, when the only known law was to not eat from a certain tree and that law was broken. Sin entered the world and thus the need for redemption…

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  3. James says:

    First of all, I still think the status of “Ger” established 3,500 years ago and applied to a tribal community (which Judaism no longer is) can’t be lifted out of the desert and the ancient nation of Israel and planted in the lives of non-Jewish people living outside the modern nation of Israel today…especially when that status was a multi-generational process to assimilate the descendants of the Gentile resident aliens after the third generation (Deuteronomy 23:7, also see Rabbi Yisroel Ciner’s commentary on Parasha Ki Seitzei at Torah.org).

    This process allowed for eventual assimilation of non-Jewish families into Israel and by the third and fourth generation they no longer retained their Gentile identities. This is in conflict with how the Ger is applied in One Law theology today, since the expectation in One Law is that the Gentile in Yeshua retains non-Jewish identity. Your children and grandchildren, assuming they also grow up to practice a One Law theology, will continue to be non-Jewish and all of your descendants (unless they convert) will be Gentiles. Additionally, and this is the kicker for me, the legal status of the Ger operates independently of faith in Messiah and predates Yeshua by thousands of years, so becoming a “Ger” in One Law logically doesn’t require faith in Messiah. It pretty much puts the cart before the horse.

    But let’s have a look at the list:

    Keep the Sabbath: I don’t have a problem with the ancient Gerim (plural of Ger) keeping the Sabbath since they were embedded in the Israelite community and culture. If everyone else stopped performing forbidden work, logically, the Ger, who was becoming enculturated and expected to teach their children and grandchildren these things, would observe Shabbat.

    Observe Pesach. Oops. This is conditional. The verses say But if a stranger (sojourner…temporary resident) sojourns with you, and (if he) celebrates the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, so you have to have the Ger who wants to observe Pesach and who is willing to be circumcised. It’s not an automatic command for all Gerim males to be circumcised and then obligated to eat of the Pesach offering. Arguably, an uncircumcised male (Gentile or Israelite) could participate in everything except actually making the sacrifice and then eating of it (see below).
    Assuming the word for “foreigner” in Exodus 12:19 is also “Ger”, and given what I just said in the previous bullet point, there does seem to be an expectation that a resident alien Gentile should not be in possession of yeast and certainly must not eat anything with yeast in it. The word we translate as “cut off” is poorly understood even by Jewish scholars and there’s a lot of debate as to what it actually means. Probably something serious, but we just don’t know for sure.

    All it says is that the natives and the resident aliens are to give a freewill offering on Shavuot and to “party hardy” with the natives of the Land. Since resident aliens are also to not possess or eat leaven and can only eat of the Passover lamb if circumcised, and since the festival of weeks kicks off the forty day period between Shavuot and Passover, making them linked observances, there isn’t any particular inconsistency.

    On Yom Kippur, everyone within the national borders of ancient Israel, whether the native or the resident alien was to afflict themselves (today, that means fasting and a number of other prohibitions, but we aren’t sure what that looked like over three thousand years ago) and to not do any work. That seems to fold in with the rationale about requiring the Gerim to observe Shabbos.

    Actually, Gentile residents within national Israel celebrating Sukkot makes the most sense of all, since it’s a day of rejoicing and also includes the orphan and widow. Even today in Judaism, it’s considered a mitzvah to invite the homeless and other disadvantaged people to have a meal in a Jew’s sukkah, so given the wording here, this was an opportunity to help out the disadvantaged people among the Israelites, which would include the resident alien who, like the widow and orphan, had no tribal inheritance among Israel and had limited access to resources. Like the widow and orphan, the Gentile resident alien lived off the charity of Israel. They were hardly indistinguishable elements from mainstream Israeli society, they were a disadvantaged population among Israel, which diminishes their application to the modern “One Law” Gentile, especially since One Law emphasizes absolute equality between Gentiles and Jews in Messiah and abhors a “second-class citizen” status for “Messianic Gentiles. Believe me, the Gerim, like widows and orphans, were not the cream of the crop when compared to mainstream Israelite community.

    Gentiles, whether resident aliens or not, were always allowed to offer sacrifices in the Tabernacle and Temple(s) through the Priests. 1 Kings 8:41-43 makes it clear that even Gentiles coming from far away lands could approach the Temple and their prayers (and presumably sacrifices) would be accepted. In the days of Yeshua, Gentiles offered sacrifices through the Priests, and Orthodox Jews today believe when the Third Temple is built, Gentiles will participate in the sacrifices. This isn’t really a “One Law” thing Pete, since if the Temple were standing today, we could both offer sacrifices.

    Laws of purity in ancient Israel were largely if not exclusively tied to offering sacrifices, and since I just said above that Gentiles from anywhere could offer sacrifices, it makes sense that they’d have to undergo all of the purification rites associated with the Temple cult prior to being allowed to bring an offering.

    Obey “moral laws” (and the wording is a problem). Let’s break this down. Lev. 24:13-16 specifically has to do with blaspheming the Name of Hashem, which especially within the community of Israel, would be forbidden by all. The rest has to do with the method of offering sacrifices which is no different for the native than the resident alien. For instance, if I as a resident alien wanted to offer the Todah (Thanksgiving) sacrifice, the procedural method for doing so would be the same as how the native would perform the ceremony. Also, the ancient Israelites didn’t distinguish between “moral laws” and “ceremonial law” as modern Christians seem to do, so it’s not like the Gentile resident aliens were assigned “moral laws” to perform.

    And none of this translates into tzitzit and tefillin obligation for non-Jewish believers in the Jewish Messiah today. In fact, we can’t do most of the items on your list today since almost everything on your there has to do with the Tabernacle or the Temple.

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    • James says:

      Apparently your comments section doesn’t like the HTML for making bulleted lists, so my comment is formatted somewhat awkwardly.

      Like

    • Questor says:

      The word we translate as “cut off” is poorly understood even by Jewish scholars and there’s a lot of debate as to what it actually means. Probably something serious, but we just don’t know for sure.

      The idiom “cut off” refers to execution. The most famous reference is in Daniel, in Daniel’s reference to Mashiach.

      Daniel 9:26 (CJB)
      26 Then, after the sixty-two weeks, Mashiach will be cut off and have nothing. The people of a prince yet to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary, but his end will come with a flood, and desolations are decreed until the war is over.

      Genesis 17:14 (CJB)
      14 Any uncircumcised male who will not let himself be circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin — that person will be cut off from his people, because he has broken my covenant.”

      Genesis 9:11 (KJV)
      11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

      Exodus 12:15 (CJB)
      15 “‘For seven days you are to eat matzah — on the first day remove the leaven from your houses. For whoever eats hametz [leavened bread] from the first to the seventh day is to be cut off from Isra’el.

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      • Pete Rambo says:

        Welcome, Questor.

        Certainly, minimally, I would agree that ‘cut off’ would mean removal and being cast aside, as in the removing of the foreskin in circumcision. ‘Execution, as in ‘Judgment’ fits in some cases, but is the Hebrew phrase exactly the same? I’ll have to look into that further when I have time.

        Any way you slice it, being cut off is not good. 😉

        Shalom!

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  4. Zion says:

    @James

    First of all, I still think the status of “Ger” established 3,500 years ago and applied to a tribal community (which Judaism no longer is) can’t be lifted out of the desert and the ancient nation of Israel and planted in the lives of non-Jewish people living outside the modern nation of Israel today…especially when that status was a multi-generational process to assimilate the descendants of the Gentile resident aliens after the third generation (Deuteronomy 23:7, also see Rabbi Yisroel Ciner’s commentary on Parasha Ki Seitzei at Torah.org).

    I think you misunderstand the One Law, position, the reason much attention is given to the “ger”, is for the purpose and for an example of understanding a gentiles relationship to Israel… One Law, does not look to the ger as our current day status, but as a fantastic example of what it means to be part of Israel, a likening if you will. Paul uses the 3500 year old language in Ephesians 2, maybe he is being anachronistic? :P, and applies it to gentiles, but he goes even further, to state that we have an even greater status than the ger and the alien. If One Law, relied on the ger as our status, instead of our relationship in the Messiah, we would be going backwards, our relationship and status is greater than before.

    Additionally, and this is the kicker for me, the legal status of the Ger operates independently of faith in Messiah and predates Yeshua by thousands of years, so becoming a “Ger” in One Law logically doesn’t require faith in Messiah. It pretty much puts the cart before the horse.

    Agreed, however that is not One Law theology, again we look to it as an example, our relationship to the covenants and Israel, is only found in the Messiah.

    On the same coin, you have Bilateral Ecclesiology with which you are a advocate for, which promotes that gentiles are nothing more than Noahides… well that is even worse… one definitely does not need Yeshua to be a Noahide, and it means that in Messiah, nothing at all has changed for a gentile, ultimately devaluing Yeshua’s work and purpose among gentiles.

    planted in the lives of non-Jewish people living outside the modern nation of Israel today…

    Isaiah 56, is in relation to gentiles keeping the covenant, keeping Sabbath, and are not in the land of Israel, in fact are not converts, as they fear they will be kept separate from God’s people, meaning they clearly are not gentile converts, as a convert would never have this issue. Another proof they were not converts, thus they were not living among the land or the people, yet were keeping the Covenant, were because eunuchs could not convert… so, saying that the Torah cannot apply outside of Israel to a gentile or to a gentile who does not reside with a Jewish community, is not accurate, according to Isaiah 56, in fact, it is the opposite. This is a side issue, but something to consider, there are more pieces to this paradigm than most consider.

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    • James says:

      Interestingly enough, D. Thomas Lancaster in his Torah Club commentary on Acts 15 actually understands the legal decision made by James and the Council of Apostles and Elders as granting Gentiles “resident alien” status among the nation of Israel based on his understanding of Leviticus 17 and 18.

      I reviewed his work about 18 months ago and based on Markus Bockmuehl’s book, “Jewish Law in Gentile Churches: Halakhah and the Beginning of Christian Public Ethics,” he believes that non-Jews are saved as non-Jews and, referencing the aforementioned chapters in Leviticus:

      In those chapters, the Torah describes the sins of the Canaanites, warns the people of Israel against imitating their ways, and prescribes four prohibitions which both the Israelite and the stranger who dwells among the nation much keep. “These correspond to the four prohibitions of the apostolic decree, in the order in which they occur in the apostolic letter.” [Richard Bauckham, “James and the Jerusalem Church,” in “The Book of Acts In Its Palestinian Setting, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1995), 459]

      In his article “The Gentile Believer’s Obligation to the Torah of Moses” for FFOZ publication Messiah Journal (issue 109/Winter 2012), Toby Janicki says about the Acts 15 decree:

      At first glance it appears that the Gentiles have very few commandments to deal with, but upon closer examination each of these four prohibitions becomes, in a sense, an overarching category which contains many sub-category commandments. This may be one of the reasons the Apostle James adds the phrase about Moses being read in the Synagogue every Sabbath. The new Gentile believer would need to attend the local synagogue to learn how each of these four prohibitions plays out practically in everyday life.

      Referring back to Pete’s list of those things the Ger was either required or encouraged to perform while living among the ancient Israelites (including my initial response to his list), we see this is a subset of the overall commandments issued to the Children of Israel by God through Moses. Based on this subset, we cannot reasonably infer that somehow the Gentile Gerim were obligated to the entire set of mitzvot as were the Israelites, but only those mitzvot where they are specifically mentioned.

      Putting this all together, I think the best we can come up with for those of us who identify as “Messianic Gentiles” is that we have some overlap in terms of obligation with Messianic Jews but we do not possess an identical obligation to God with Israel, that is, the Jewish people. By legal precedent, both in specified portions of the Torah and in Acts 15, the Gentiles who are attached to Israel in the present (Old Covenant) age, have been given a lighter “yoke” to bear so that, in Peter’s words (Acts 15:10-11, “why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

      Peter wasn’t kidding when he called the Torah “a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear.” The history of Israel in the Tanakh is a litany of her failures in obedience and in straying away from God and the Torah and into idolatry. The reason for the establishment of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-40, Ezekiel 36:22-30) is to make it possible for the Jewish people to perfectly obey God’s Torah by writing it on their hearts rather than on external objects, and to give them a new Spirit so each and every Jewish person would have a perfect apprehension of God greater than the prophets of old.

      Thanks to the “seed of Abraham” and God’s promise to Abraham that he would be a “father to many nations” and a “blessing to the nations,” we people of the nations (Gentiles) are able to share in the blessings of the New Covenant by also having our sins forgiven and there being no partiality between Gentile and Jew in access to the Holy Spirit and the promise of the resurrection and life in the Messianic Era of peace and tranquility.

      But that equality is specific to those blessings and based on what we know of the Gerim and Acts 15, we do not also share in identical obligations. Blessings yes, obligations, no. There are some duties that will always be exclusive to the Jewish people, just like serving in the Temple is a duty that is specific to the Levitical Priests.

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      • Zion says:

        @James

        I disagree with Lancaster’s understanding of Acts 15, and thus yours. I don’t think we can build an entire doctrine of gentile relationship based on a few points made in Acts 15 or on 4 vague dogmas… and even more so, to build such a doctrine we would first have to make sure, we even understood what was happening in Acts 15. From a Christian perspective, Acts 15 is about how the Law is done away with, for both Jew and Gentile, from a One Law perspective, it is about an erroneous gospel (15:1), and a burdensome yoke, which is not referencing the Torah at all. From a BE perspective, it is simply reiterating that gentiles are Noahides, and then from FFOZ perspective, it has its own version as you described. This in itself, makes Acts 15 inadequate to fully summarize gentile relationship to Israel and the Covenants and our responsibility as gentiles, there is simply too many possibilities.

        Peter wasn’t kidding when he called the Torah “a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear.”

        The problem I described above is seen right here in your statement, Peter never says the Torah is a yoke that neither our father or we can bear, that is your own assumption and from a One Law perspective, I would say, it completely defies the Torah itself to make such a claim, when Torah states plainly, “this is not to difficult for you”, or the implication that God removed the burden of Egypt, only to put another burden on Israel (the Torah), that they simply cannot bear, I don’t find the interpretation of the Torah as a burden to be an adequate assumption, knowing what the Torah teaches. To me it is more reasonable to believe this is referring to a yoke of the Pharisees as they were the subjects making the claim in Acts 15:1 and we already have Yeshua saying a similar statement in Matthew 23… I find that more convincing.

        Most references to gentiles relationship to Israel and the covenants are found mainly in Paul’s writings, we have Matthew 28, and a few vague places in Acts, but the general views and understanding are in Paul’s writings.

        Paul said it was a mystery, there is nothing mysterious in saying that gentiles are God-fearers, or Noahides, or even what Lancaster said, it was a standard practice and more than likely would have been common sense during such a time, far from a mystery. Instead it was something much greater, something not yet revealed or fully understood, and probably won’t be fully understood, until we are there, in the Kingdom…

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      • James says:

        I disagree with Lancaster’s understanding of Acts 15, and thus yours. I don’t think we can build an entire doctrine of gentile relationship based on a few points made in Acts 15 or on 4 vague dogmas

        I’ve built my understanding on a Gentile’s status among Israel and thus our obligations to God based on the overarching Biblical panorama which includes elements of the Abrahamic Covenant, the New Covenant, the status of the Ancient Ger, and then how James and the Council issued binding halachah for Gentile inclusion as disciples of Yeshua within a Jewish social and religious venue.

        Acts 15 is about how the Law is done away with, for both Jew and Gentile, from a One Law perspective, it is about an erroneous gospel (15:1), and a burdensome yoke, which is not referencing the Torah at all. From a BE perspective, it is simply reiterating that gentiles are Noahides, and then from FFOZ perspective…

        I disagree. Acts 15 does not establish Gentile disciples as Noahides. That’s a total misreading of the text. The entire Gentile world, religious or not, is obligated to the Noahide laws. The Gentiles in Messiah had much higher expectation set upon them/us and, as Janicki’s Messiah Journal article states, those deceptively simple conditions can be unpackaged into a wider expanse of responsibilities, and yet still be a subset of Jewish responsibilities to God.

        Peter never says the Torah is a yoke that neither our father or we can bear…

        Um…what?

        Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” (emph. mine)

        Acts 15:10-11 (NASB)

        It sure looks like what Peter said based on the Biblical quote above. I do understand that God said:

        “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, [r]that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.”

        Deut. 30:11-14 (NASB)

        And yet time and again, Israel did fail God. I’m not saying that to be mean but because it’s part of the Biblical record, and it’s the entire reason behind why God’s plan of redemption for Israel includes the New Covenant, as I outlined both in my previous comment to you and in my new blog post.

        I’m not saying the Torah is a burden. It’s a delight. The problem isn’t in the Torah. The problem is with human beings. We’re broken because of the fall and we live in a broken world. That’s why Messiah will come again to complete his action of redeeming both people and the rest of creation.

        Paul said it was a mystery, there is nothing mysterious in saying that gentiles are God-fearers, or Noahides…

        I can’t speak for Lancaster (I can only quote him) but I never said that. See my comments above. We Gentiles have a special status (too lengthy to mention here but I’ve blogged about it at length) in relation to the Jewish people and to God that goes well beyond the Noahide status. It’s just not the same identical status as the Jewish people.

        The “mystery” that Paul states, in my understand, and what was not revealed to former generations of Jews including the prophets, was how the Gentiles of the nations (sort of a redundancy there) were to be saved, that is, be counted among the redeemed under the New Covenant, without being direct Covenant members as are the Jewish people (see Jeremiah 31:27 where the prophet names the actual covenant members). It was a mystery only first revealed in the days of the Apostles and will be revealed in its fullness when the New Covenant comes to us in its completeness.

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      • Zion says:

        Um…what?

        Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.” (emph. mine)
        -Acts 15:10-11 (NASB)
        It sure looks like what Peter said based on the Biblical quote above.

        I don’t see the Law anywhere in there, you are assuming the burden or yoke spoken of here is the Law. While ignoring there were other yokes and other burdens. In Matthew 23, Yeshua himself describes a YOKE of the Pharisees that was burdensome, He also describes His own Yoke, as being easy and the burden being light… the disciples and their fathers, does not automatically mean Abraham, or the forefathers, which seems to be your assumption. We read in Mark 7, about the “traditions of the fathers” or the “customs of the fathers”, this is not referring to Abraham or Moses… instead this is in line with what Yeshua states in Matthew 23.

        The other issue, is that if the burden was the Law, then what was troubling to gentiles in Acts 15, was not the false gospel being preached to them seen in verse 1, instead it was troubling them to think that they might have to obey God, that would be hilarious and terrible.

        I’m not saying the Torah is a burden. It’s a delight. The problem isn’t in the Torah. The problem is with human beings.

        Then you’re contradicting what you said above, you said the burden and yoke being described in Acts 15 is the Law, and now you are saying it is the people… so you can’t have it both ways.

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      • James says:

        How is “yoke” understood in Judaism?

        My Jewish Learning

        Jewish Virtual Library

        Haaretz.com

        If I’m assuming that “yoke” must mean Torah and you’re assuming “yoke” must mean the halachah of the Pharisees (and the first century Jewish movement of “the Way” was basically Pharisaism with a Messianic twist and an unusually liberal policy on admitting Gentiles), then the best we could hope for, you and I, is to say that we are both making assumptions that support our individual theologies. Happens all the time in religious arguments, even between theologians who belong to the same religious stream.

        And no, I’m not contradicting myself. The Torah is a delight but it is also a burden because human beings are imperfect. When God changes human beings under the New Covenant (see the aforementioned passages from Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36</strong), then it will become possible for human beings and specifically Jewish human beings to observe the mitzvot without fail because God will make it natural for them to do so. The Torah itself changes not at all under the New Covenant, thus it is still a delight. Only people change and that change will enable them to fully appreciate and live out that delight, observing the commandments as they exist today.

        Now, since we are still in Old Covenant times, the Torah is a delight but it is also a weight due to human imperfections. Even Paul struggled between the delight and the burden:

        I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

        Romans 7:21-25 (NASB)

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      • Zion says:

        @James,

        If I’m assuming that “yoke” must mean Torah and you’re assuming “yoke” must mean the halachah of the Pharisees (and the first century Jewish movement of “the Way” was basically Pharisaism with a Messianic twist and an unusually liberal policy on admitting Gentiles), then the best we could hope for, you and I, is to say that we are both making assumptions that support our individual theologies. Happens all the time in religious arguments, even between theologians who belong to the same religious stream.

        I actually have evidence of the term yoke, already being used, Yeshua says His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Now either Yeshua is offering a different yoke and burden than the Torah, and thus creating a contradiction or the heavy yoke and burden referred to in Acts 15 is not the Torah. Unlike making an assumption, we can actually use prior statements and words in their context, to come to a much better understanding. But that is not all, we have another example, in Matthew 23, Yeshua says the Pharisees tie heaven burdens on people… are the Pharisees the Torah or were they a sect who had a place of authority and thus certain teachings and rulings that would have been put on people and some being burdensome, the later is obviously the case, we even have proof.

        So there is plenty of evidence to suggest that Acts 15 when speaking of a heavy yoke and a burden, is neither referring to Yeshua’s light yoke and easy burden or to the Torah itself, but instead to what we have already read and encountered in the Gospels, a perfect example being in Matthew 23.

        I see no evidence for your argument, and if your argument is not correct, then your entire understanding of Acts 15 is moot.

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      • Zion says:

        @James

        One more point, you said in reference to the Law:

        And no, I’m not contradicting myself. The Torah is a delight but it is also a burden because human beings are imperfect.

        You are blaming the Law’s difficulty on the failure of the people at times to not keep it, thus you are putting the cart before the horse…

        The scripture, clearly tells us, “this is not too difficult for you”, yet you are saying it is, and Israel failed many times to keep it, thus it was too difficult, as if God’s word lied… That is in every way a contradiction.

        Israel has not always failed to keep the Torah, going through the book of Kings and Judges we read at times when Israel kept it and at times when Israel did not. So there should never be a time when Israel kept it, for your argument to be true. The fact that there were times when God was pleased with Israel and states they walked in the ways of God, proves it was not.

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      • James says:

        If what you say is true, then what’s the point of Hashem making a New Covenant with Judah and Israel whereby he gives them a new heart and new spirit, writing the Torah on their heart so that it becomes their nature to obey rather than repeatedly sin? This is the centerpiece of God’s redemptive plan for national Israel (and through them, the rest of us).

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      • Zion says:

        This goes back to the fall of man, ultimately the purpose of all things leads and points back to a restored relationship of man to God, and to the Garden of Eden. The New Covenant is given because the Mosaic is not effective in itself to change the hearts of men, thus another covenant must be cut, the problem is not the Law, but men’s hearts. It entails greater promises and a fulfillment of purpose, that the Mosaic Covenant could not cause in man. Just remember, man needed redemption before there was a Mosaic Covenant and a New Covenant, these are simply pieces on the way towards the original purpose and the redemption of mankind.

        Now, If we say the Torah was too difficult, then we are saying Israel was setup for failure by God Himself, its not that simple, because the Torah makes provision for failure, by instituting the sacrificial system, so disobeying the Law of Moses, is not a breaking of covenant, it is not that simple, that is too generalized, because the covenant allows for failures to be made and to remain in covenant. King David was the perfect example, he was considered a man after God’s own heart, not because he was perfect, he sinned on many occasions, thus breaking the Law, it was instead that he would repent, obeying the Law and be reconciled to God, this is all encompassed in the Law of Moses, which is “not too difficult for you.” However, the Law of Moses cannot redeem man, only the Messiah can. The Law instead is one step in the sanctification process of man, with more and greater steps to come.

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      • James says:

        The New Covenant is given because the Mosaic is not effective in itself to change the hearts of men, thus another covenant must be cut, the problem is not the Law, but men’s hearts.

        Which is exactly what I was saying.

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      • Zion says:

        I must have misunderstood you, because It sounded like you were trying to say the Law was a burden, and you thought that the reason for the New Covenant was to some how remedy this burden, but that is not accurate.

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      • James says:

        I said the Torah is a delight, but people are broken.

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  5. vatis4yah says:

    Beloved Brothers and Sisters. please consider the blind man in Mark 8:23,24
    Took two touches before he saw EVERY MAN CLEARLY !!!

    Like

  6. Hey Pete have you listened to this yet?
    [audio src="http://www.inthatday.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Prof_Rachel_Elior_Public_%20Lecturer_Univ_Chicago_2014.mp3" /]
    It’s an audio file of Prof Rachel Elior talking about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the solar calendar, the Saduccees and the Essenes.

    This article touches upon what the audio goes over in much greater depth http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Features/From-the-sun-to-the-moon

    WAAAY worth a listen.

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  7. Pingback: Torah and the Christian: An “In-a-Nutshell” Explanation | Morning Meditations

  8. James says:

    I can see the pingback displayed in the comments, but I thought I’d let folks know that I took my response to Zion above and expanded it into a more complete thought on my blog. I realize it’s midday Friday (depending on your time zone) and those of you who go offline for Shabbos have just a short amount of time to read (and respond if you care to) before Evev Shabbat, but the inspiration was upon me now and so I wrote.

    Like

  9. Zion says:

    Wow, I have missed a lot of conversations, I will try to review them and answer a few…

    Like

  10. Jack Jackson says:

    Going back to where James last commented, James a lot more happened in the garden than the breaking of a command not to eat a piece of fruit. It is what happened to Adam and Eve after they ate the fruit which is the matter, namely their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked.

    Who told them they were naked, or that it was wrong? I contest that no one told them. I contest that they then “knew the difference between good evil” and were accountable. If one had looked in on this matter of Satan beguiling the women they might have accused her of coveting the fruit first, but she had yet know the difference between good and evil, now understood any consequences. It was after Adam also ate that their eyes were open.

    I believe God’s Laws are not arbitrary. I don’t think He flipped a coin to decide “heads lying will be wrong, tails it will OK”, then He flipped the coin to determine which it would be. Just as gravity here is a natural law, so lying being wrong is similar. It is these that I believe their eyes were opened to. The holy spirit has been around before “man” and one of His roles is conviction of sin. He doesn’t need to convict us on everything in Torah, especially when most won’t respond to conviction on more common things like lust, coveting, lying, stealing…….. Once a person is guilty of not obeying that convict, they have sinned. Once they have sinned, they need a savior. It won’t matter how many sins one has, it only takes one, and then the wages of sin is death.

    This whole argument on whether there are 10, 2, Noahide, Torah ger/gentile will all boil down to “all have sinned and fallen short or the glory of God” and “the wages of sin is death”. Only those who are not at an age of accountability will be justified. I believe before Adam and Eve ate, they were “not accountable” because they didn’t know “good from evil”, just like an child.

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  11. Pingback: Reflections on Romans 8 | Morning Meditations

  12. Pingback: Ten Lepers Cleansed: Another Perspective | natsab

  13. Pingback: Should Christians celebrate Passover? | natsab

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