Why Not One Law For Everyone? (by Derek Leman)

Why Not one Law for everyone by Derk LemanDerek Leman, a messianic rabbi from Atlanta, GA in this guest post for Jewish Studies for Christians deals with an issue of whether or not Jews and Gentiles are bound by the same commandments. While there are other well-argued opinions, I am happy to present his post to you for your careful consideration and engagement. (You are cordially invited to visit one of his blogs “Messianic Jewish Musings” of this talented and prolific author. To do so, please, click HERE).

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Whose commandments are they? That is, for whom were they laid down as stipulations? Does that still matter or did something change, such as God issuing a new covenant that made the original commandments a law for everyone? Or did a new people come to God who were then transformed in some way, made to have the same relationship to God as this first people, the Jewish people?

The logic of “one law” or of the divine obligation of all people of faith in Messiah to the same laws as those given to Israel is usually based on one of a handful of arguments. Aren’t non-Jews grafted into the Jewish tree through Messiah and if so, doesn’t this eliminate the Jewish-Gentile differentiation? If a commandment is holy, then isn’t it unholy not to follow it? Since the Torah is the only ordered list of God’s requirements, it has to be for everyone, because God nowhere gives a “law for the Gentiles,” right?

People often base their opinion about the commandments on their experience and not on the Bible. I am not against the importance of our personal experience with God. It’s just that experience can be misinterpreted. It seems to be far better if we interpret our experiences with reference to the great ideas that are in the Bible and find answers which bring together Bible and experience.

So, for example, a Christian may experience a deep awakening upon discovering the joys of Passover and Sabbath and the rhythm of the Torah calendar. Likewise, eating a restricted diet can feel like intensifying holiness. And the whole experience of becoming a Torah-observer may feel like getting very close to God. Then, when encountering Jewish beliefs about Torah — that Torah is a covenant between Israel and God, not between the nations and God — such a person might feel as if they are being denied membership in an exclusive club.

I would like to explain why, in simple terms, God’s way is not one law for everyone, and suggest a middle path for non-Jews who want to have a closer relationship with Israel’s Torah.

First, it would be helpful if people would go back to the giving of the Torah from Sinai in Exodus 19. Would Jewish people be asking too much if we say, “Please keep in mind the importance of this event as something special between us and God?” When you read Exodus 19, can you not see God is making a covenant with the Jewish people? Yes, there are clever work-arounds such as “Gentiles were there too in the form of the mixed multitude.” But those tortured arguments look like a way to deny the simple truth: Torah was given as a covenant to Israel. The commandments are the stipulations of the covenant.

Second, what is in the Torah? Do people who want to read it as “one law for everyone” actually take into account what is actually contained in it? Many things in Torah no longer apply to anyone today, Jewish or non-Jewish. Do you need laws about how to treat your slave? Have you seriously entertained the idea of taking a war-bride after giving her a month to mourn her father? Were you considering stoning your rebellious teenager? Reading the Torah calls for some maturity in reading, some willingness to learn history, to see the difference between the ideal in Torah and the time-bound social and civil legislation it contained for an ancient nation in a barbaric world.

Third, when people talk about how they are “Torah-observant” or say that they “keep the commandments,” they mean only a handful of them. What they are really talking about is the observances given to Israel which the church has not made part of its practice: Sabbath, dietary law, circumcision on the eighth day, tassels on one’s garment, and festivals. There is no Temple anymore, so the laws about offerings and giving the tithe to the priests cannot really apply. But these few commandments that differentiate Israel from the nations — which can be referred to as the sign commandments, since they are signs of Israel’s uniqueness — are a cause for controversy. It may help (or maybe not) to point out that the Sabbath is specifically said to be such a sign: “Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations” (Exod 31:13). When God said this, it is clear the “you” was Israel, and Israel’s generations are still very much alive today.

Fourth, it is possible — and I try to get people to see this — that what is holy and required for one person is not holy and required of all people. One person — a priest in Israel — may not be able to attend a burial or walk in a graveyard. If the whole world follows the “one law” principle, none of our dead will ever be buried. One person — someone under a Nazirite vow — must avoid wine and even grapes and raisins. If the all-commandments-apply-universally notion is followed, well, we will all miss out on some great Cabernet and the joy of raisins in our oatmeal. Likewise, it is possible that Sabbath is a holy sign of Jewishness (just like Exodus says) and that it is not holy for Gentiles. It may be that Israel’s diet was restricted and this marked them as a different people in the ancient world, but that there is no reason why pork is inherently unclean — just as Genesis 9:3 suggests.

Fifth, it is fairly easy to see — but clever and specious arguments are used to avoid seeing what is obvious — that the apostles believed Jews in Messiah should keep all the commandments but that the Gentiles did not need to “keep the law of Moses.” They did not mean by this that Gentiles in Messiah were free to steal and murder. “Law of Moses” means the covenant stipulations from Sinai as a total system. It is clear in reading Paul that he taught his Gentile adherents they were not bound by diets and days and the use of flint knives to remove a foreskin. To many people, this makes Paul seem problematic, anti-Torah. Did it occur to anyone he was being a good Jew and interpreting Torah according to its true sense?

Sixth, it is also fairly easy to see that the church went too far in distancing itself from Torah and the Jewish people. Christian theologians regularly write about this and recovering the Jewishness of Christianity is standard form today in many circles. Yes, plenty of Christians remain oblivious to what the theologians and historians within Christianity are saying about Jewish roots, but the church has definitely turned a corner. It is possible now to argue that Christians practice a form of Judaism and to point this out entirely from Christian thinkers and scholars.

Seventh, it is often overlooked that Christians keep most of what is in Torah, at least what I call the ideals of Torah. Love God and neighbor is the ideal center of Torah. It is expressed in ways we treat the powerless, honor one another, serve those in need, form community, and repair the world. Christians have always been very involved in love and service and good works.

Eighth and finally, there is a middle way for people who want to keep some of Israel’s Torah without those same people denying Israel’s unique relationship to God. It is not necessary to say, “I am grafted into Israel’s tree and so I am virtually an Israelite now.” It is not necessary to say, “All the commandments are holy for everyone and there are no distinctions.” It is possible instead to adopt the philosophy of one of the earliest writings of the Yeshua-movement, the Didache (pronounced deed-ah-KHAY). The Didache came out of the first century Messianic Jewish movement and a few decades after Paul died, the Didache argued that Gentiles could keep Torah. It is possible to see that in Paul’s time this could have been dangerous, it could have rendered Messiah null and void. But after many Gentiles came in, it was possible some of them would want to live close to Jewish communities and worship with them.

So in the Didache, Gentiles were encouraged to “keep as much Torah as they are able” and to live in fellowship with Jewish disciples. The audience of the Didache, then, were Messianic Gentiles — as we often call people today who are in Messianic congregations or, even if not members of a Messianic congregation, live a Messianic Jewish lifestyle and maintain friendships with Messianic Jews. And the Didache does not encourage these Gentiles to simply act as if they are Jewish. Some distinctions remain.

So, for example, in Messianic Judaism today, Gentiles have a welcome place. The best practices of Torah will include making distinctions without discrimination. It is possible to distinguish and not discriminate.

And it is not necessary that Gentiles who choose this middle way should claim that all Christians must do the same. Living as a “Messianic Gentile” (or just as a “Messianic”) does not make a person holier. It is one way and God has many ways for people. The most important commandments are not Sabbath and dietary law anyway. To over-exalt these is to practice a form of cheap self-righteousness.

Jewishness is not a privilege. It is a responsibility. Jewishness is not a status of higher blessing. It is a calling to be a distinguishable people and to pass on that identity to children and children’s children forever. Gentiles who love the Torah should not try to erase Jewish distinction, to render Jewishness inert, to say all Messiah-followers are essentially Jews.

It does matter whose commandments they are. And the ideals of Torah apply to everyone even if some of the specifics are about Israel’s peoplehood. One law for everyone fails to read Torah according to its own distinctions. Being grafted in is a way of explaining how Gentiles come into the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant, one given long before Sinai and which included Gentiles from the beginning (Gen 12:1-3). God did not ever say, “I now take the commandments given to Israel and make them apply to all of Messiah’s people.” But Paul did show his Gentile adherents how they could derive from the Torah what was required of them. And like Abraham (Gen 26:5), it is possible to keep all of God’s statutes without having a specific law-code.

The Torah is not one law for everyone. But neither do we have to forbid people from keeping it. There is a middle way.

What do you think?

 

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  1. Kat

    Shalom Daniel,
    I see you put a great deal of effort into translating, but it seems that your tools have lead you to disconnect faith from the fruit of the Spirit. My understanding (self-study) of the Biblical Hebrew word faith connects faith to the fruit of the Spirit. (Definition -Faith is knowing that we will act with firmness towards God’s will.) Isn’t it God’s will for me to produce fruit? The Ten Commandments lead to Christ for two reasons, not one: 1. God’s provision to “pay the debt”. 2. I believed the commandments were good (Exodus 32:26 “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.) Why would I come to Christ only to toss aside the commandments for a different gift?
    Galatians 3:24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.
    Thank you
    Kat

    1. Daniel

      Shalom Kat,

      If faith is “knowing that you will act with determination towards God’s will,” then how do you explain the two accounts in which Yeshua praises two Gentiles for their “great faith?” See Matthew 15:21-28; Luke 7:1-9. Also consider this one in which Jesus questions the disciples faith: Mark 4:35-40.

      Faith is certainly NOT about “knowing that YOU WILL DO anything in relation to God’s will,” because that is self-centered and (spiritually) idolatrous.! See Romans 1:25; 10:1-4.. Rather, faith is knowing God and trusting in Him, which is exactly what characterizes the Gentiles Yeshua praises for their “great faith.” and it is precisely what is lacking in the disciples who actually believe Yeshua will let them drown. Much like the thief on the cross, those two Gentiles weren’t keeping the 10 commandments, (and nor were they following Jesus), but they all recognized Yeshua for who he was, and they all knew of and trusted in the God of Istrael’s abundant mercy. This is what pleases God and so Yeshua praised and blessed them! See Jeremiah 9:23-24; Hosea 6:6.

      In the end, faith is not YOUR work, it is God’s. See Deuteronomy 30:6; John 6:28-29; Ephesians 2:8-9 I pray he will do his work in you so that you may do his will and give him ALL the glory. For God’s will is not that you do works to establish your own righteousness, (e.g., Deuteronomy 26:5), but that you obey the gospel and trust in Christ’s righteousness, apart from your works. See Jeremiah 23:6; Romans 3:21-22, 28; 4:5-7; 10:2-4. Shalom.

      1. Daniel

        Sorry Kat, that last citation to Deuteronomy is wrong. I meant to write Deuteronomy 6:25. Forgive me. Shalom.

  2. Bill Gaffney

    Daniel,

    Jesus, Paul and the disciples all kept the law. Paul takes the Nazarite Vow twice in Acts,

    When Paul deals with the other disciples in Jerusalem he is talking specifically about them trying to have gentiles adhere to the law. As I have said the law was meant for Jews, not Gentiles.

    No one is trying to put Gentiles under the mosaic covenant. This really is two separate issues.

    As far as Dvorah she is Jewish by the fact she went through that process. Nothing can change that. If Jews are still are in a marriage to God with the Mosaic covenant in force, which I believe they are, it has nothing to do with whether they are Christian or not.

    The problem here is you really lack understanding of the law, how God intended it and it’s purposes.

    Bill

    1. Daniel

      Shalom Bill,

      Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman. But the son of the slave was born according to the flesh, while the son of the free woman was born through promise. Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants. One is from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery; she is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia; she corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written,

      “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear;
      break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor!
      For the children of the desolate one will be more
      than those of the one who has a husband.”

      Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now. But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the slave woman and her son, for the son of the slave woman shall not inherit with the son of the free woman.” So, brothers, we are not children of the slave but of the free woman.

      Galatians 4:211-31.

    2. Daniel

      Bill,

      I have no doubt that the Apostle Paul kept the law along with the Jews he instructed. But you fail to understand why they kept the law. Here is a good clear verse penned by the Apostle Paul himself which should help you understand why they would do so:

      “To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (THOUGH NOT BEING MYSELF UNDER THE LAW) that I might win those under the law.”

      1 Corinthians 9:20 (emphasis supplied).

      As you can see, Paul did so to win souls, but he also rightly understood that the law and the prophets were until John (the Baptist). See Luke 16:16. As for the law’s purpose, the Apostle Paul explains it very clearly in Romans 5:20-21 and in Galatians 3:24-26. I urge you to prayerfully read those verses. Shalom.

  3. Kat

    Daniel,
    I have been under works/ under law by committing to keeping the Ten Commandment), but that didn’t make me under a different covenant. Aren’t we under the covenant of grace? Isn’t fruit of the Spirit achieved by faith?

    1. Daniel

      Shalom Kat,

      The fruit of the Spirit is not achieved by faith (for that would make faith a work and the Creator subject to the creature), rather the fruit of the Spirit is faith. See Galatians 5:22 (KJV reads faith, whereas modern English translations change this to faithfulness) Faith is not a work of our own, but the gift of God, so that no one can boast.. See Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 12:7-9.

      As to your commitment to the law, this is what the Apostle Paul had to say about it: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if you be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. CHRIST IS BECOME OF NO EFFECT TO YOU, WHOEVER OF YOU ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW, YOU ARE FALLEN FROM GRACE. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.. Galatians 5:1-5 (emphasis supplied).

      For a longer answer, please see the rest of my comments on this page, particularly the one to Bill. The law is there to convict us of our sins and brings us to Christ. See 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Galatians 3:24-25. The law cannot justify us; it can only condemn us, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. See Romans 3:19-20. In sum, God’s Word makes clear that no one can keep all the law perfectly,(Romans 3:20), which is the only standard God accepts. See James 2:10. Now, I ask you: If God were to tell you plainly that you were not going to be faithful to a man you were about to marry, could you in good concsience promise that man that you would be faithful to him? How could you do so and then claim to believe God’s Word? Shalom.

  4. Clarence Wagner

    I loved this article and agree with this article and it is what I have taught for over 30 years. I completely affirm those Gentile Christians who want to draw closer to the Torah and observance. But, I never believed it was required of them or made them more holy than anyone else. If it is good for them and they feel blessed by practicing any or all of the Torah observances, then go on and be blessed. However, it is not required of Gentile Christians. Personally, living as a Christian in Israel for over 30 years, my family and I enjoy observing Sabbath, the Biblical holidays (some call them the Jewish holidays), because they have imparted an amazing understanding of the nature of God and his travail with the Jewish people. And, these rememberances enriched our family life. However, other “Torah observances” we did not practice and did not feel condemned because we were not obwerving them. I like the “middle road” analogy and feel it allows for a Gentile Christian to observe as much or as little of the Torah observances as he or she chooses. But, should not be done with a spirit of arrogance which criticizes Christians who do not observe as they do — I have see too much of this and everyone is hurt. If the purpose is to make one personally feel closer to God by following more of his commandments, go for it… as long as one realizes that it does not make them more holy or special. The only thing that makes you more holy and special is how you are viewed by God, and if observing more of these commandments makes you feel more holy and special to God, then it is between you and God. It is your journey, while others have another journey. What is important is our relationship to God and how we walk it out is between God and ourselves.

    1. Daniel

      Shalom Charles,

      I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said. But I wonder isn’t God alone holy and, if so, wouldn’t God be the only one who could make and consider something or someone holy? I often think “holiness” or what is “holy” cannot be so by degrees. It either is holy, or it is not. Perhaps the Jewish conception of holiness, or of what is holy, includes some category like “humanly holiness” that I fail to grasp. Is that the case?

      My own view is that we cannot be truly holy unless and until the LORD joins his Son’s spirit to ours. See 1 Corinthians 6:17; 12:13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:4. I mean isn’t He the potter? See Romans 9:20-23. And isn’t circumcision inwardly, of the heart? See Romans 2:29; Deuteronomy 30:6. Shalom.

      1. Drs. van den Berg

        You’re absolutely right, Daniel. Gal 5:6 Gal 5:11 it also include clear. I do not know whether I’ve done there well. However, I have written this with respect to the Jews that Yeshua not yet really knows who also read this blog too, following Hand 16: 3 and 1 Cor 9:11.

        1. Drs. van den Berg

          Act 16:3

          1. Drs. van den Berg

            I think I am tired Daniel. I mean Act. 16:3 and 1 Cor 9:20

  5. Bill Gaffney

    PS Is the Rabbinic (oral) portion of the law more strict? Not really. Many times (in fact most of the time) it allows more flexibility. Jesus would have followed the oral law.

  6. Bill Gaffney

    D’vorah,

    You have been doubly blessed. To have a rabbi say to you what he said about always having a Jewish soul is unheard of for a Rabbi (I assume he is not Christian) to say to someone who is returning to or newly going to Christianity. Jesus had a Jewish soul. Paul had a Jewish soul. The disciples had Jewish souls.

    My former wife converted from Christianity when she married her first husband, whose family was Jewish. She returned to Christianity after they were divorced. She always wondered if she was still Jewish. She had an observant Messianic Jew tell her she still was.

    Don’t beat yourself up for your attempts to find God and don’t let others beat you up either. God honors those sincere attempts. You know have experience to share with others who have similar struggles.

    Now should you keep observant or not. The very Jewish answer is yes to both parts of the question. That is between you and God.

    God has never abrogated His part of the marriage covenant with Israel and that is why many Jews still keep their part of the covenant. Jesus never replaced that nor called for it to be replaced, nor did Paul. Just remember to listen for God, and not man, in your answer.

    Bill

    1. Daniel

      Bill,

      If you oblige a Christian to keep the Law AND trust in Christ you are putting him under two covenants, which is exactly what the Judaizers did to the new converts in Galatia. See Galatians 1:8-9; 3:1-9; 5:3-5. I fear you don’t understand the new covenant. It really has been the message from the beginning (see Galatians 3:6-9), so I will try to illustrate it here with God’s Word in Exodus 20:25:

      “And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it. Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.”

      God has given you the rock made without hands (the promised Christ) to trust in and to worship him. He does not accept your own works because they are idolatry and a snare for your soul. Neither does he want you to place yourself above others because that too leads to the very sin (pride) which discovered the nakedness (fall from grace and condenmation) of both man and angel. See Genesis 3:5-7; Isaiah 14:12-15. Cf. Daniel 4:13-33; Proverbs 8:13. Only one thing is needful. See Luke 10:38-42; Romans 10:17. See also Matthew 23:37; Isaiah 30:1,7,15. Shalom.

      1. IAN

        Dear Daniel you have made some excellent comments. however I feel I need to correct you in your understanding of Acts 15 and to the ruling of the Jerusalem council. I believe you have fallen into an incorrect understanding of verse 20 & 21. Read Acts 15:21which gives the reason for the ruling. The four rules are to do with sacrificial sexual idolatry vs salvation not the Noahic rules! Verse 21 points gentile belivers to the Torah which is read every sabbath and leads to living a holy life. Please read ‘Lifting the Veil’ Avram Yehoshua. There is only ONE TORAH the written word for Jew & gentile believers and Yeshua is the living Torah,
        It is a blessing to search for the truth of scripture through the Holy Spirit.
        SHALOM

        SHALOM

        1. Daniel

          Shalom Ian,

          I thank the Lord for your comments and correction Ian. To God be the glory if I say anything right! My understanding, and I am probably wrong, is that the Talmudic tradition encouraged Gentiles to comply with the Noahide laws, (though in v. 20 only part of them are listed), and approved of those Gentiles that did so. That was what I understood from the reference to the teaching of Moses in the synagogues. But I thank the Lord you brought the matter to my attention, as I am stirred up now to investigate the matter more thoroughly. Shalom.

  7. Brachah D'vora bat Avraham

    I thought Daniel wrote a very sincere response, and I did read all of the verses he listed. However, more background will be useful. Although raised Christian (and baptized) I strayed very far and in my attempts (yes by my own efforts) to reconnect to God (without understanding that I could return to my baptism by repentance). I converted to Judaism in an attempt to “belong to God” when my attempt to become a Catholic nun had failed. It is true that I only ended up feeling further from Him and experiencing His wrath as a result-feeling He hated and rejected me. So I sought acceptance with false gods and then when that failed and I was on the verge of being forever lost, I was told that Christ had forgiven me and I could return to Him. When I returned to Christianity, I told my old rabbi.I thought since I had not confessed Christ as the Son of God and Messiah, I had to do so before the very persons where I had denied Him. (I had understood previously that should I confess Him, I would not be granted orthodox conversion). He was understanding, but said “once a Jew, always a Jew,” for in conversion, I had been given a “Jewish soul”. This then created confusion as to my remaining obligations regarding keeping Passover, Succoth, Yom Kippur and whether,, as my pastor says, “you are not a Jew”. I do feel that I stood at the foot of Sinai and agreed to keep His commandments, and then as Israel, I broke them all. I have, of course made thorough confession and know Jesus as my only Hope and I belong to the Father only in Him, yet Sabbaths, Passover and Succoth I always wonder if I should be keeping them in some way. If I do so, will I anger Him again, or if I do not, will I be cut off from Israel? What a mess I have made of my life. I think only He can straighten it out. I know I have no righteousness apart from Christ and it is impossible to please God apart from Him, but these days also bear witness of Him. All I know is that by Him alone do I belong to the God of Abraham, the God of Israel.

    1. Daniel

      Brachah D’vora bat Avraham

      I just read your comment and these words came to mind:

      “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3.

      “The LORD is near unto them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit.” Psalm 34:18.

      “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17.

      Never worry, never trust in your own feelings or your own understanding brother. Just trust in the Lord, for He cares for you. See Proverbs 3:5-6; Psalm 55:22; Matthew 6:30; 1 Peter 5:7.

      Shalom.

    2. Daniel

      Dvorak,

      Shalom. You have been given the following advice: “Now should you keep observant or not. The very Jewish answer is yes to both parts of the question.”

      I want you to consider the above quoted words carefully. Can “yes” be the answer to a question which asks if you should do one thing OR another? The Lord has given you a way to discern this device and escape it. See Proverbs 1:17. Putting a person under two mutually exclusive covenants is the oldest trick in the book. See Galatians 2:16-21; 3:1-5, 10-14; 5:3-5. Don’t be fooled. See Proverbs 29:5; Habbakuk 2:4.

      “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: NOT ACCORDING TO THE COVENANT THAT I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I WAS AN HUSBAND unto them, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 31:31-32 (emphasis supplied). See also Romans 7:1-6.

      Trust in the record which God has given of his Son Jesus Christ with your whole heart and you shall be saved. See James 1:8; Psalm 12:2; Ezekiel 11:19; Jeremiah 24:7; Romans 10:9. Shalom.

  8. gustavo vargas angel

    Daniel:
    Very good ¡ because, as humans, frecuently we forget who we are nothing more than nothing, and pretend become God. Great mistake¡ The degrees, titles, shields that we could get here on earth are less than nothing to the eyes of the Lord (who possibly is laughing on us when tallk about). Your words comfort my spirit, and give new strenght for a new day. Very well said, best for you¡

  9. Snjezana Virag

    Hello,
    Jesus had been taught and He did not taught anything other than what is written in the Torah. When he spoke of Scripture, He meant the Torah. The New Testament says that Jesus embodied the Torah. He was the Word of God clothed in human life.
    The Apostle Paul never said that the Torah is opposed to Christ and he kept mitzvah prescribed by the Torah, although he was an apostle of Christ. Whoever is born of God has the testimony in himself that the Torah is God’s instructions for the best possible life on earth. We are on the earth, and God wants to dwell on earth with us and this happens when we live according to His instructions. God is a God of order and not of disorder. In His sovereignty He laid the Law of life in Christ that is living and activeTorah.
    Jesus is the Torah, and he certainly did not come to deny himself. Because when you deny the Torah then you deny Jesus. He came to show us that God is the true God and that any human failure to fulfill the whole Law has been overcome by His sacrifice for us. But Jesus’ sacrifice was first to God, because God is just, and could never justify sin that has not been paid for.
    Christ didn’t abolish the Law but gave him a purpose and the purpose is Christ, himself. So the Law that is at the foundation of Judaism is the path to true relationship with God. And truly this relatioship comes from Jews, as Jesus is. It is wtitten that the older will serve the younger. Christianity without Judaism is like a lost flock. I think that Judaism is like an older brother who went all the way with God to take us by the hand and brought us and keep us near to Christ by himself.
    In one house can be a lot of children and although they all equally loved, all do not have the same responsibility.
    Keeping commandes is not against the Christ, on contrary, it is the way to show that we love him, respect and follow.
    If the Law is written in our hearts we know the truth and we can see what is perfect God’s will for us. Then the love and appreciation happens by itself because the love poured into our hearts and this is the greatest commandment that is fulfilled with Christ. And it’s proof that Christ came to realize God’s Law on earth and not to abolish it.
    Let God’s bless you all,

    1. Daniel

      Snjezana Virag

      Shalom. You say: “… the Law that is at the foundation of Judaism is the path to true relationship with God.” But the law is clearly not the foundation and nor is it the path because it is not the entire revelation of God’s truth to man. See Ephesians 3:3-5; Colossians 1:25-26; Hebrews 1:1-2. The foundation is comprised first of the promise of mercy which God gave to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:15), and then later the subsequent promises of blessing and favor given to Abraham while he was yet uncircumsized. Genesis 12:1-3; 17:4; 22:14. “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified.” Romans 4:13-14.

      For of a truth “the law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7(a). But how does the law of the LORD convert the soul? Is it by our obedience to it? Or is it by how it convicts us of our inability to obey it (our own sinfulness) and thus our absolute need for, and hope in, God’s merciful promises, (now realized), to save us and bless us through the blood of Jesus Christ? See Romans 2:1-4; 3:23; Galatians 3:24-25. If you meant it this last way, (i.e. that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ), I agree with your statement that the Law is the path (or at least part of it) to the true relationship with God. See Galatians 3:24-25. But if you meant that the Law, or even one’s obedience to the Law, is itself the path to the true relationship with God, then I totally disagree.

      The Law was ordained unto death to multiply transgressions (Romans 5:20;7:10) so that men would ultimately see their exceeding sinfulness before God, (they are dead), and so they might mournfully consider their poverty of spirit and be broken in pieces, so that, by this humble realization, they might meekly repent (of their self-idolatry…remember, ye shall be as gods), and hope and trust in God’s promised mercy alone for salvation. See Genesis 3:5-6; Proverbs 8:13; Isaiah 14:12-14; Jeremiah 17:5-8; Ezekiel 28:12-17; Psalm 34:18; 51:17; Matthew 5:3-5; Matthew 21:44; Romans 1:25; 3:10-27; 5:20-21; 7:13; John 12:24; Ephesians 2:1-3.

      Christ declared: “I am the truth, the way and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” John 14:6. According to Scripture, faith in Christ, (which implies knowledge of the object of one’s faith), is the only path (the way) to a relationship with the one true God, and that path is not just the Law but the complete revelation of God’s plan of salvation (the truth) from beginning to end, which is the Aleph Tav in the flesh, Jesus Christ (the life). See John 17:3; Romans 10:17; Philippians 1:9; 2 Peter 1:2; Revelation 1:8, 11; 22:13. To God be the glory.

      Shalom.

  10. Brachah D'vora bat Avraham

    So what is a Christian to do who in their search for God converted (orthodox) to Judaism including Mikvah and taking a vow to observe the commandments (and denying Christ), and later realized that they could not honour the Father except through the Son and returned to Christianity? Are they to keep the Sabbath and the Passover and Day of Atonement, or would that be displeasing to God and further denying Christ (Hebrews seems to imply this), or are they to do so recognizing that all is fulfilled in Christ, or not to do so at all? What does one do not to break their vow to God but at the same time not to set aside Christ?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      This a very interesting question.

    2. Daniel

      Brachah D’vora bat Avraham,

      Shalom. I have only been in Christ for some years, but these thoughts immediately came to mind when I read your comment and so I thought I would share them with you.

      First, I thought that if you were trying to find God through the Torah, and not Christ, you were still trusting in your flesh, and not Christ, and so your vow could not have pleased God in any event. See Isaiah 6:5; 48:1,22; 64:6; Psalm 51:5; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Ephesians 2:1-2; Romans 7:18, 24 (there Paul claims that nothing good dwells in his flesh so by definition our flesh -without Christ’s spirit- can produce nothing good!). Put differently, God is only pleased with those who worship him in spirit and in truth (those who obey the gospel and are in Christ), and so if you didn’t have Christ’s spirit when you vowed the vow, you were none of his, and your worship a vain thing. See John 4:23-24; Romans 8:9; Philippians 3:3.

      Moreover, and even assuming you were in Christ when you made your vow, (though I can’t assume you were), your vowing obedience to the commandments was already contrary to what Christ taught his disciples (i.e., those who worship God in spirit and in truth), let alone the gospel of God which commands you to repent and believe that Christ is your righteousness, and not your own law keeping. See Matthew 5:33-37 (instructing that we should make no vow at all, for anything more than yes or no comes of evil); Jeremiah 23:5-6 (making clear the coming King (Christ) would be called the LORD IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS). Indeed, both Christ and James teach that we should make no vow before God and they do so because our own vows come of evil and condemn us. See Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12. Our vows come of evil and condemn us because we are not GOD! To be sure, we are not God, or even like God,(see Genesis 3:5), and so we cannot make one hair white or black and we certainly cannot control all the contingencies which must be controlled to positively ensure that we will fulfill our vow! (Yours is a case in point). Further, by vowing we not only vainly exalt ourselves by arrogating to ourselves power and righteousness we do not have, but we also lightly esteem God’s righteousness and power for only he, who is holy and knows the end from the beginning, can make a vow and keep it! See Titus 1:2. It is precisely this kind of hubris before the Creator that brings the creature into condemnation. See Genesis 3:5-6; Ezekiel 28:14; Isaiah 14:12-15; Acts 12:21-23.

      Knowing all this, I would suggest you repent of your vow (it was a dead work) by asking forgiveness for having believed that, as a mere creature, you alone could make and keep such a vow before the Creator who is blessed forever. Amen. See Lamentations 3:37 (“Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?”). See also Hebrews 6:1; Romans 1:25. As a Christian, you must completely trust, not in yourself, but in God’s promises to raise Christ from the dead and impute his perfect obedience and righteousness to your account. See Deuteronomy 30:12-14; Romans 1:17; 3:21-22; 4:10-11, 20-24; 10:5-9; Hebrews 10:38; Galatians 3:11. It is my sincere belief that if you, by God’s grace, are moved by his Spirit to do this, God will forgive you for Christ’s sake. The only sin that cannot be forgiven is to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and that occurs when one stubbornly refuses to believe in the record which God has given of his only begotten Son. See Mark 3:29; 1 John 5:10-11.

      Shalom .

    3. Cathy Arvin

      D’vorah The feast are the times G-d has appointed to meet with His people. Yeshuah (Jesus) is seen in all the “Feasts of the L-rd” He would not be angry with you for keeping them. Passover, He is our Passover Lamb, he says to keep it in remembrance of Him and there are Hagadah’s available that point out Yeshua in the Sedar. In the Brit you can see He is our First Fruits. Paul in I Corinth. 5: says to keep the (feast of unleavened) correctly. Also, in I Corinth 11. Shavuot is Pentecost. Rashashana is “Yom Teruah” the day of the Last Trumpet. It is when we should evaluate ourselves and ask for repentance for anything we have done in our walk that would be displeasing. Knowing that He has already paid the price, but we need to have our hearts right. “Yom Kippur” you can see Yeshua all over that one with the sacrifice as well, and we should always pray not only for ourselves but for our community we fellowship within and the whole world. Sukkoth, is the picture of the marriage supper of the lamb, and the time of Yeshua’s birth. It is a feast of joy for us to remember that we are but sojourners on this earth, the earth belongs to G-d. So yes we should keep the feasts for they are a time that we can get really close to Him.
      This is just a short answer to your question. But so you know He would rejoice in you keeping His appointed times to meet with you.
      Cathy

    4. Cathy Arvin

      The Feasts are G-d’s appointed times to meet with his people. Yeshua (Jesus) is in all of them. We should observe them as Messiah did. Know and seeing what He has fulfilled and what He will fulfill when He returns. See Messiah in the Feasts as you celebrate them. Keep the all feast the same as Paul told us to Keep the Passover. 1Co 5:8 Shalom