Isn't the Torah Only for Jews?

The teaching this week is an excerpt from one of the first BEKY Books (Books Encouraging the Kingdom of Yeshua).  It will be a series of booklets with simple answers to the most common questions from Christian friends and family when an individual begins observing Shabbat and other commandments of the Torah.  We have some great booklets on kosher eating on the way from Robin Gould, an excellent teacher and writer.  This excerpt is from What is the Torah? The section subtitle is "Isn't the Torah Only for Jews?":


Thankfully, the Torah isn't only for Jews! In fact, every commandment in the Torah is not for everyone.  There are man commandments, woman commandments, child commandments, priest commandments, government commandments, farmer commandments, merchant commandments, property commandments...you get the picture.  There are only a certain number of commandments that can apply to any given individual, but certainly, observant Jews keep more of the Torah than Christians.  

On the other hand, most Christians freely keep more commandments than the Big Ten, such as tithing, not raping, abstaining from bestiality, and many others.  Many are beginning to keep the appointed feasts of Israel, such as Ezekiel mentioned, as well.  The Spirit is beginning to write some "new" things on the hearts of the sheep from another fold:

Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, 'The LORD will surely separate me from His people.' Nor let the eunuch say, 'Behold, I am a dry tree.'  For thus says the LORD, 'To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, to them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off. (Isaiah 56:3-12)

Do you see the equivalent expression in the first verse?

Foreigner ≈ Eunuch

What does a foreigner in Israel have in common with a eunuch?  Neither has the hope of covenant offspring, for the foreigner, although allowed to reside within the borders of Israel, was forced to live under the laws of Israel:

           One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.  (Exodus 12:49 KJV)

           One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. (Numbers 15:16 KJV)

His offspring, however, were not considered part of the covenant community, for demanding his compliance with the precepts of Torah was primarily to prevent him from tempting Israelites to transgress the Torah.  For instance, a Gentile who opens his shop on Sabbath tempts the native-born Israelite to transgress the Torah and lose the beautiful Spirit of rest in Messiah on the Shabbat (Nehemiah 13).

In order to be admitted into the congregation of Israel, the stranger, like Ruth, needed to decide voluntarily to become part of the community.  Although Modern Judaism would call this a conversion, in ancient times the process was less formal.  The stranger was expected to go beyond the ethical commandments, called Noachide[1] laws, and to embrace the full covenant of Israel out of love. 

To this group of people Isaiah directs his prophecy.  Those who formerly had no share in the covenant and Kingdom would be given a place even better than natural-born sons and daughters.  The native-born Israelite would not have to fight so much adversity to learn the written commandments, but for the one "brought near," it would be a struggle, for he did not have the family foundations to launch him on his path.

A "name" in Scripture is one's deeds as much as the actual written or spoken name.  It is one's reputation for doing.  When a stranger is guaranteed a "name that will not be cut off," it is an assurance that his or her deeds of the Spirit, the Torah written on the heart of flesh, will be remembered, for it is deeds of the flesh that will be cut off.  What a promise to the righteous stranger![2] Isn't this what Paul assures the Ephesians in Chapter Two, that they have been brought near to the Covenant through the blood of Yeshua?   

Keeping the Sabbaths of Israel, which includes both the weekly Shabbat and the special sabbaths of the appointed feasts, is an outward sign of a changed heart that is no longer a stranger to the Torah.  In verses 6 & 7, Isaiah continues his encouragement to Gentile believers:

Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to Him, and to love   the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath and holds fast My covenant; even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples."

Yeshua quotes this very verse when he overturns the moneychangers' tables in the Temple!  The moneychangers were part of a sect of the Pharisees known as The House of Shammai.  According to their doctrine, a Gentile had no part in the World to Come no matter how righteous he was.  Shammai refused to teach Gentiles the Torah, unlike the House of Hillel, of which the Apostle Paul was a member. 

The House of Hillel was willing to invite a non-Jew into the covenant life of Israel and teach him the Word, so Paul was the perfect ambassador to the Gentiles!  The House of Shammai made it practically impossible for a Gentile to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even though it was prophesied that Abraham and Sarah would be mother and father to many nations.

Frequently the Shammaite moneychangers would funnel the funds from Gentiles who sent or brought Temple sacrifices, directing them into the pockets of politically-appointed Temple officials.  Since they did not believe that even righteous Gentiles had any part in the World to Come, why offer their sacrifices?  Yeshua rejects this doctrine and states unequivocally that room should be made for the stranger to draw near.  He doesn't just hint to Isaiah's welcoming words to the righteous Gentiles, he quotes him, reminding the Shammaite Pharisees that it was written that the Temple was to be a house of prayer for all nations.  

In that era, one of the first things a believing Gentile would do is observe the Shabbat, resting on the Seventh Day, and observing the appointed feasts of Israel, for repeatedly Israel is warned in the Torah to welcome the stranger, alien, orphan, and widow at those times.

Gentiles in Scripture denote either an uncircumcised pagan or someone who is not a Jew or Israelite by birth.  The first application is negative, but not the second one.  The first is rooted in the individual's behavior, but the second is rooted in his ethnicity, which is his Creator's choice.  A person's spiritual behavior is his or her own choice.

A righteous Gentile, according to Paul's epistles, is not a pagan, but one learning the Torah with the sensitivity of the Holy Spirit. He appreciates its teaching and instruction for Godly living, following the footsteps of Yeshua.  He is a child making a name in the Temple of Jerusalem above like a natural-born son or daughter.   Resting on the day commanded in the Torah is a testimony and prophecy of a day yet to come, a day about which John prophesied. 

The Holy City Jerusalem in that day will have to bar her gates neither day nor night, for no one would willingly violate the testimony of the Lamb.  Hearts have been changed, and the day of rest in written on the hearts of those who dwell there.  No need to lock the gate, for all the sons and daughters of Abraham obey the terms of the New Covenant, for they love Yeshua that much!


[1] Orthodox Judaism has defined the Noachide laws as: Do Not Deny God, Do Not Blaspheme God, Do Not Murder, Do Not Engage in Incestuous, Adulterous or Homosexual Relationships, Do Not Steal, Do Not Eat of a Live Animal, Establish Courts/Legal System to Ensure Law Obedience.  The Tosefta (Av. Zar. 8:6) records four possible additional prohibitions against: drinking the blood of a living animal, emasculation, sorcery, and all magical practices listed in Deuteronomy 18:10-11.

[2] A "stranger" in Hebrew has different connotations, and within modern Judaism, the terms have very specific definitions.

BOP Training

I concluded another training session with Federal Bureau of Prisons chaplains this week, and I believe that both last week's session and this week's were fruitful and will help Bureau chaplains to meet the needs of Messianic Sabbatarian inmates.   We are hoping that the BEKY Book series will be an asset to both chaplains and prisoners who have basic questions.  

Spanish

Is there anyone out there who can record Creation Gospel Workbook One (MP3 audio) in Spanish for a Spanish web channel? We can supply the Spanish workbook if there is anyone out there who would volunteer to record it. 

Online Class and ABQ Shavuot Night Yeshiva

Enrollment in the Monday night Creation Gospel Workbook One class is closed, but I may offer a Torah portion study class beginning in the fall.  If you've ever been frustrated by the lack of answers to the study questions in the workbooks, this may be the class for you!

We are also looking into having a 3-night yeshiva class close to Shavuot in Albuquerque, NM. The topics will be more in-depth than those at the average conference.  There is also a possibility for enrollment both in the physical class as well as a limited number of online participants.  We'll send more information when we know the specific dates, location, and number of seats available and online logins available. 

 


Lemalah Children's Centre

The first occupants of the Kenyan Children's Centre have begun the school year.  Two staff members need to be hired in order to free Pastor Ndungu to continue traveling to proclaim the Torah in Kenya and surrounding countries.  We would like to be able to set a minimum amount of monthly support from The Creation Gospel so that the orphanage can set a budget.  There is also a young man who needs to start university, and it will cost around $800 per semester.  

If you'd like to commit to a monthly amount of support for the Centre's payroll, school uniforms, shoes, food, and health care, we welcome your assistance.  If you'd like to sponsor all or part of the young man's college tuition, please notify us and we can put you in touch with Pastor Ndungu.  Education is important to the Torah community there so that they can strengthen their economic position by giving back to that community when they graduate and obtain decent jobs.  I can't tell you how strong the mutual commitment is within that group of believers.

To donate via PayPal,
CLICK HERE and specify "Kenya" or send a personal check to:

The Creation Gospel
PO Box 846
East Bernstadt, KY   40729

From our home to yours,

Shabbat shalom!






The Creation Gospel
PO BOX 846
East Bernstadt, Kentucky 40729
bigdaddy@israelnet.tv