Monday, August 6, 2012

Evidences of Gentile Obligation to Follow Torah

Here's some evidence for gentile obligation to follow Torah that I'm gonna be putting into a book on Acts 15.  Sorry that this is just an outline and that I haven't gone through and fully explained each point.  But it'll give you a taste of the magnitude of the rebuttal that exists for FFOZ's Divine Invitation position:

Evidences for Full Gentile Torah Obligation:


The Abrahamic Covenant promised that Abraham's seed would become a great nation.  This was fulfilled by the Sinaitic Covenant.  Exodus 19:5-6 shows us that the Sinaitic Covenant established the People of Israel as a nation.  Jeremiah 31 shows us that the New Covenant is a reaffirmation of the national covenant (Sinaitic) because it makes explicit references to the nation and to the constituent Houses of the nation.  Yeshua tells us that His blood is the blood of the New Covenant.  Therefore, partners in the New Covenant are members of the nation of Israel.


Epistrepho:  Peter uses this term interchangeably with "immersion" (Acts 2:38 and 3:19) which shows that Peter saw Cornelius' immersion as a rite of initiation into the Israelite religion (Acts 10,11) and also that Luke and James saw the "conversion" of the gentiles (Acts 15:3, 19) in the same way.

Kahal, Ekklesia, and the Expression "Day of the Kahal" as Shavuot:  The latter expression refers to Israel (Dt 9:10; 10:4; 18:16; 5:22).  The Day of the Kahal refers to Shavuot when Torah was given.  Gentiles are included in the New Covenant Shavuot (Acts 11).  Stephen applies ekklesia to Israel in Acts 7:38.  Ekklesia is the word for Church and it comes from the Hebrew word for the political gathering of Israel (Kahal).  

Covenanted (proselyte) and Non-Covenanted (paroikos) Dichotomy of Gerim (LXX).  Ephesians 2 tells gentiles that they are no longer paroikos (non-covenanted germ).

Politeia (Eph 2) as the perfect descriptor for the political connotations of the Hebrew word ezrach (citizen).  


Acts 15:  Shows that the uncircumcised gentiles were "epistrepho" [converts] and were expected to attend synagogue to learn Torat Moshe (Acts 15:21) on the basis that they had become part of the covenanted people for His name (Am Yisrael) via the conversion of the Holy Spirit (which Peter, in re Cornelius, had symbolized with immersion in a mikveh).


Passover:  Familial Symbolism; Federal Institution; Federal Citizenship; Passover Feast as Citizenship Par Excellence

Positive Law Rights:  Intimacy Only Found in Positive Commands of Divine Revelation (i.e. Torah);  The Correlative Nature of Rights/Duties; The Right to Intimacy; Ruach Immersion as Change of Legal Status


Instruction to Abandon Gentile Identity (1 Cor 12:2; Eph 2; Eph 4, etc)

Spiritual Circumcision as Ritualized Circumcision Par Excellence (Col 2:11-13; Eph 2:11-22; Gal 6:15-16; 1 Cor 7:19; Rom 2:26; Rom 3:29-31

Rights Teachings (Eph 2)

Instruction for Gentiles to Imitate Models of Torah Observance (Phil. 4:9)

Instruction for Gentiles to Follow Mosaic Torah (1 Cor 7:19)


Gentiles as the People Called by His Name (Acts 15)

Gentiles will Receive Persecution for Rejecting Idolatry

Gentiles (along with Jews) are Israel (1 Peter 9-10)


The Gentile Corinthians Celebrated Passover:  1 Cor. 5:7-8

The Colossians Observed Moedim:   In Col 2, Paul is attacking the ascetic and gnostic "traditions of men" (2.8) and the "commandments and doctrines of men" (2.22).  This is what Paul was attacking:  non-Scriptural, man-made traditions.  Now observe that kashrut law, Shabbat, New Moon celebrations, these are not "traditions of men" but rather they ARE Scriptural.  Thus, Paul was not attacking Scriptural practices. Also, for the acetics to be judging the Torah-observant Colossians for their feasting, the Torah-observant Colossians must've been keeping those feasts.

Gentile Assimilation into Jewish Communities in First Century:  Fredriksen, Zetterholm, Nanos, Irshai, 


Isaiah 2:2-3; 56:6

Jeremiah 31:33

Micah 4:2

Zech 2; 8:22-23


  1. Looks interesting! I am eager to see more.

  2. Actually, last January, FFOZ published an article in Messiah Journal called "The Gentile Believer's Obligation to the Torah of Moses" which I felt took the topic (and non-Jewish people) fairly deep into the realm of Torah observance. I published a review of the article and you even commented on it.

    There is some history of early Christians and even non-Christian Gentiles with close ties to Jewish households keeping some of the mitzvot beyond what we could consider "typical" in the 21st century church, but that still doesn't make us Jews.

  3. James,

    You of all people should know that they speak out of both sides of their mouth. Their new book "God Fearers"says: "the apostles 'loosed' the Gentiles from these sign commandments [of Torah]"

    1. Agreed, "gentiles should seek out torah", "gentiles do not need torah"...

      "Gentiles were given a different religion" That is my new favorite.

  4. "Their new book "God Fearers"says: "the apostles 'loosed' the Gentiles from these sign commandments [of Torah]"

    Peter, does "loosed from" = "forbid"?

    1. Gene,

      Here's a fuller excerpt: "Despite the fact that the apostles 'loosed' the Gentiles from these sign commandments, for the most part they are bound to the rest of the Torah's commandments."

      As you can see, syntactically, FFOZ is saying that gentiles are bound only to non-sign commandments.

    2. In reality, FFOZ is teaching a heretical version of Christianity to Gentiles, and a heretical version of Judaism to Jews.

      I don't study what Bahai teaches either.

    3. Seriously, there is one thing trying to be all things to all people, but quite another when you talk out both sides of your mouth.

      I recently had someone read Detwiler's comments from the UMJC conference and this very smart person's analysis was, "Who is he talking about, and isn't he a Gentile too?"

      It is as if he is Don Quixote in Alice in Wonderland: His enemy is imagined, his "reality" is backward and contorted.

    4. Rick, OK, now tell us how you really feel!

      I will remind you of your words next time you complain about people getting personal on you.

  5. The compound word proselutos did not exist before the LXX (approximately 250 BCE). It was a word coined by the translators of the LXX to convey the idea of a covenanted Gentile.

    FFOZ anachronistically thinks that they can project the 1st and 2nd Century meaning back, not only to obscure the Apostles’ vision (ignoring the vision of Acts 10), but back into the Hebrew of the Torah itself. How much clearer does Numbers 15:15-16 need to be for Don Quixote (Detwiler), living in Alice in Wonderland?

    For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before HaShem. One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you.Numbers 15:15-16

    How ignorant of "One Law" people to actually read the text without Don Quixote's commentary on it! /sarcasm

    1. Rick,

      It's always a blessing when you visit, brother. Your perspective is sorely needed. It does my heart good to know that there are men like you out there.

  6. This one is easy, if you believe that He taught Torah.

    Matthew 28
    Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.

    If He taught Torah, He told His disciples to go out, baptize, and teach Torah.

    The end.

    1. They would try to argue that Torah differentiates between citizens and non-citizens and that gentiles are non-citizens. But then you just show them Ephesians 2 where it says gentiles are now politeia (citizens) in Israel. Still, many do not believe what seems to be so simple.

  7. Maybe, this blog should be renamed, “I have an ax to grind with FFOZ.”

    1. Anonymous,

      Should I not defend the gentiles? The gentile strangers have become citizens with G-d's people (Lev 19:33-34; Eph 2). FFOZ teaches that they should NOT be treated like citizens, a false teaching which makes gentiles feel excluded from G-d's people (Isaiah 56:3). This is oppression (Zechariah 7:10). Israel is commanded to protect the rights of gentiles (Lev 19:33-34).

      Proverbs 31:8-9
      "Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy."

    2. Peter, FFOZ is the most Gentile-centered MJ organization in existence.

      Also, no Gentile rights are being violated. Whatever your disagreement is with Messianic Jewish governing bodies, to call what they are doing "oppression" and "violation of rights" is reaching a bit (or a lot) far, don't you think? Nobody is forcing anyone to join anything and nobody is being held against their will. Gentile believers have many options open to them. Everything is voluntary and people can vote with their feet and wallets. The Gentile livelihood does not depend on "oppressive" and "exclusive" Jews, who make up a tiny percentage of those in the Messianic Movement.

    3. Gene and Anonymous,

      I have a new post about this matter. It will be up in minutes. It's entitled:

      Why I Have an Ax to Grind With First Fruits of Zion and the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, a Response to Gene and Anonymous.

    4. Peter, don't you want to take up Judah's challenge and focus on good things this week:?)