Monday, September 2, 2013

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy (At Least For Messianic Non-Jews): The Four Year Anniversary of the First Fruits of Zion Shift From One-Law

 

"…James clearly stated that the council did not demand full Torah observance from the Gentiles:

We have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the Torah”—to whom we gave no such commandment. (Acts 15:24, NKJV) 

Thus the apostles did not place the Gentiles under full obligation to the aspects of Torah specifically associated with Jewish identity such as circumcision,"  ("One Law and the Messianic Gentile by Boaz Michael and D. Thomas Lancaster, 2009)

Four years ago at this time, First Fruits of Zion shifted from One-Law (the view that non-Jews are included in the covenants and thus obligated to observe the Torah of Moses).  

And they based their shift on a non-original, scribal addition to Acts 15:24!

That whole clause "You must be circumcised and keep the Torah" isn't even in Scripture!  You only see it in translations such as King James that are based on the corrupted Western Textual Tradition.  You'll notice that all of the modern English translations of the Bible exclude that non-original clause from Acts 15:24:

New International Version: "We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 
New Living Translation: "We understand that some men from here have troubled you and upset you with their teaching, but we did not send them! 
English Standard Version: "Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 
New American Standard Bible: "Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls,
NOW LET'S HAVE SOME TRUTH!

James actually explained that non-Jewish Believers in Yeshua would be (1) included in the New Covenant and; (2) be obligated to keep Shabbat and all of Sinaitic Torah.

Here's James' quote: 

"After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things," (Acts 15:16-17)  
AND:
"Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world...Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God," (Acts 15:18-19)

He's quoting from, at a minimum, Amos 9:11-12 (LXX); Zechariah 2:11; Isaiah 2:2-3; Isaiah 45; Isaiah 56:3; Isaiah 56:6-7; Micah 4:1-2; Jeremiah 31:31-33 (LXX); Ezekiel 36:25-27

Here are the major prophecies to which James refers in Acts 15:16-17:
"11 In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and will rebuild the ruins of it, and will set up the parts thereof that have been broken down, and will build it up as in the ancient days: 12 that the remnant of men, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, may earnestly seek me, saith the Lord who does all these things," (Amos 9:11-12 LXX)
"And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee," (Zechariah 2:11)
"Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people..." (Isaiah 56:3)
"Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people," (Isaiah 56:6-7)
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, [that] the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem," (Isaiah 2:2-3) 
"But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem," (Micah 4:1-2) 
"31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda: 32 not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took hold of their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; for they abode not in my covenant, and I disregarded them, saith the Lord. 33 For this is my covenant which I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will surely put my laws into their mind, and write them on their hearts; and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people," (Jeremiah 31:31-33 LXX) 
"Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them. ]" (Ezekiel 36:25-27)

Here is the prophecy to which James refers in Acts 15:18-19

"If they will declare, let them draw nigh, that they may know together, who has caused these things to be heard from the beginning: then was it told you. I am God, and there is not another beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none but me. 22 Turn ye to me, and ye shall be saved, ye that come from the end of the earth: I am God, and there is none other," (Isaiah 45:21-22 LXX)
CONCLUSION

Those passages show that "joining" the L-rd involves joining the covenant and keeping things such as Shabbat--all the commands of the Sinaitic Torah which continues under the New Covenant.  In short, James confirmed Peter's assertion that G-d had brought non-Jews into the Covenanted People of G-d (thus proving that circumcision is not initiatory but rather faith and grace).

To my fellow Messianic Jews and Messianic Non-Jews, don't be discouraged that some have deserted us!  This happened to Paul:
"For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica..." (2 Tim. 4:10)
"You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes," (2 Tim. 1:15) 
 For my part, I'll fight for One-Law until I am dead.  We are the ones that the Prophets spoke of;  We are the ones whom G-d has "turned" from paganism to follow the Truth.

The Law SHALL go forth!  Translation:  No man can stop it!  And He says that the non-Jews "SHALL be my people".  Translation:  No man can exclude them!

Blessings to the true brothers and sisters in the L-rd Yeshua,

Peter

46 comments:

  1. I must say I don't understand much of your obsession with FFOZ or you fighting mentality. Consider that nobody in the scholarly world defends the One Law position. If the One Law Theory was the all and everything which would solve the great riddle of the NT — by this I mean the relation of Jew and non-Jew in the Assembly of Messiah — then the contemporary scholarly community, which is to a high degree free from traditional dogmatic and ecclesiastical constraints, would certainly have detected it, at least as a hypothetical option. But is hasn't.

    I understand even less why you say: "For my part, I'll fight for One-Law until I am dead". With respect for your engagement, why such a fanaticism? Fanaticism always obscures reason. The right attitude in searching for the truth is not taking a position beforehand and then defending it till death. It is simply following the lead of the evidence. We should go where the evidence leads us. If in one stage of research the evidence leads to the left, we should go to the left; if in a later stage it leads to the right, we should go to the right. We should only follow the lead of evidence, without taking a position. Positions only becloud reason and evoke our passions. A truly faithful search for the truth requires a dispassionate interest in the truth, which means that we must abstain from our natural desire to anticipate the result of our findings. For if we don't, why do we pretend to research, if we already 'know' the outcome? Truly searching the Scriptures requires a lot of patience and keeping an open mind, subjecting all our pretentions and assumptions to the authority of the text itself.

    That's where the scholarly work begins to be part of the pilgrimage of faith. Tim Hegg once said that leadership in the messianic movement requires having strong convictions. That may be true in practical matters, but I respectfully disagree with him if he meant that it requires strong scholarly convictions. A true scholar is never guided by his convictions, he is simply led by the amount of evidence he meets and this evidence alone will in the long run result in certain convictions.

    The attitude of simply accepting the evidence, and be indifferent to the direction it leads to, causes an attitude of true humility and devotion to the truth. We and our convictions are not important. We are only servants. What the Scriptures say is important and we should simply empty ourselves as much of 'convctions' as is possible, in order to become transparant media for the light which radiates from the Scriptures.

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    1. Greet, I don't know in your case, but in my case the position was taken way before the OL became famous. Well, maybe I know your case since you and yours were not on the receiving end of the holocaust.

      I, as a Jew, who's family was on the receiving end of Nazi atrocities takes the position that my people should never repeat the same thing towards other people. Seeing my people act in a racist manner toward who is not like them evokes in me the horrors of the holocaust. So, yes, I take a position. My position is that God has only one people, and that is the only scholarship I need.

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    2. Messianic613,

      I wonder this about yourself, I have seen you defend the ritual of the proselyte, not based on simple exegesis of scripture, but instead based on tradition or scholarship, but in this case, your point concerning seeking truth is missed.

      I also wonder why you put so much stock in 'norms', what I read above, is that no one in majority accepts this view, so it must not be true or it is not really worth accepting... if that is the case, majority of Christianity should be the accepted norm of scholarship on all things of the Bible, Messianic Judaism or One Law can close up shop.

      Despite what you said, no one is free of bias, even contemporary scholarship, everyone approaches with their own additions being added.

      Concerning One Law, you said no body in the Scholarly world supports One Law... However technically many do, the argument is over foundational understanding. Judaism agrees that a gentile convert is to keep the Torah, Judaism disagrees that the gentile world is responsible to the Torah, so does One Law. The argument then is over how is a gentile brought into the covenant... This is where it gets tricky, Judaism does not recognize the Messiah, does not recognized the body of Messiah, it does not recognize the Apostolic Writings, it does not recognize Gentiles being considered sons of Abraham, or part of the commonwealth of Israel... Judaism would only recognize these things if a gentile went through the proselyte conversion of Judaism. Then you have Christianity, claiming they are in covenant because of the Messiah, yet also claiming they are not responsible to the covenant. So there is a bias, which results in a confusing message on both sides, this is where One Law fits the gap in my opinion, this is where seeking truth comes in and trying to settle these obvious contradictions, which none of the contemporary scholarship today, are doing...

      We also have to consider what is happening beyond our intelligent understanding, and consider the work of God. You have hundreds of thousands of gentiles, in America alone, and many in various parts of the world, who are seeking a Torah observant lifestyle, they feel drawn to the Torah, sure some will be drawn for the wrong reasons, as is true for anything, however not all are drawn for the wrong reasons. While, the contemporary scholarship, as you said, has not even considered the hypothetical, why is that?

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    3. Judaism would only recognize these things if a gentile went through the proselyte conversion of Judaism.

      I meant that within the context of what Judaism does recognize, obviously a gentile converting would not make Jews recognize the Messiah.

      *for clarification*

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    4. Messianic 613,

      Re: "If the One Law Theory was the all and everything which would solve the great riddle of the NT — by this I mean the relation of Jew and non-Jew in the Assembly of Messiah — then the contemporary scholarly community, which is to a high degree free from traditional dogmatic and ecclesiastical constraints, would certainly have detected it, at least as a hypothetical option. But is hasn't."

      The scholarly community would have certainly detected it??? Gert, the consensus of the scholarly community claims the following:

      (1) that Jesus fulfilled (abolished) the Law;

      (2) that Paul was anti-Law;

      (3) that an entity called the "Church" has superseded Israel...

      I could cite to dozens of THE most prominent scholars in the world who hold to those idiotic views. So I find your assertion that such scholars should have the authority to decide the merits of One Law to be, frankly, absurd.

      Nevertheless, I do appreciate your comment. It's good to have all perspectives on the record.

      Shalom,

      Peter


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    5. Peter, what you say about the consensus of the scholarly community is deadly wrong. Everyone acknowledges that Mark Nanos, James Dunn, Peter Tomson, to mention only a few, are scholars of a high quality in their respective domains. None of them holds to the three items mentioned by you. You are terribly simplifying.

      My only point is that we shouldn't go beyond the domain of evidence. It is not about leaving the One Torah vision at all. My expectation is that in the long run the scholarly world will embrace the One Torah vision, if it truly is the option that solves all the problems and riddles. That's the true test of all hypotheses: are they able to integrate all the factors involved in a unified theory, which can be presented as a convincing vision. Since this is what all research, in whatever discipline is about, what is wrong with what I said?

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    6. What you said is "taking a position," no?

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    7. Messianic 613,

      Re: "what is wrong with what I said?"

      I've answered that already.


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    8. Here's a thought about scholarship...what if those scholars who think that the NT actually represents a collection of different views on issues such as the role of Jews and non-Jews, Torah obligation etc. are correct?!

      Maybe that's why everyone is arguing all the time.

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    9. Anonymous,

      If the answers were clear, there would not be all these arguments. Those scholars make just as many assumptions concerning gentiles as anyone else... And the fact that you say "would if", only further proves this to be true.

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    10. Well, we agree that the NT is definitely not clear. What I'm saying is, maybe the scholars who argue that the NT is a collection of texts that reflect communities with different opinions on the issues may be the best explanation of why it is so unclear.

      If the texts reflected a unified view, they should certainly be more clear.

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    11. Anonymous,

      Re: "If the texts reflected a unified view, they should certainly be more clear."

      We do not agree at all!

      "At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children," (Matthew 11:25).

      If those "wise and learned" men couldn't understand what the Scriptures said about Yeshua, does that mean that the Torah was not unified?

      ABSOLUTELY NOT!

      Just because SOME men fail to grasp the NT (Apostolic Writings) doesn't mean that there is something wrong with the NT itself!

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  2. Guess what? A careful read of the gospels reveals that most of the time the disciples didn't get it either...before or after the resurrection.

    In fact, if they all got it there wouldn't have been any disputes about gentiles at all.

    Look,

    Paul clearly presents post-Jesus-antinomian doctrine in Galatians.

    The writer of Matthew likely holds your one-law view.

    Acts looks like some kind of attempt at unification of the communities.

    You can argue all you like, call people names...whatever. I guess you have to make it all fit because if it doesn't, the whole thing is a house of cards for you.

    For me, the resurrection is either a historical fact or it isn't. I believe it is. I have no problem if there were different communities with different ideas about what it all meant. And I have no problem if the NT texts we have reflect different understandings/commentaries on those events.

    I just think its so funny how smug you are in your thinking that you have it all "grasped"!



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    1. Anonymous,

      Where did I say I had it all grasped?

      Here's what I do know: the Bible calls itself a "Book of the Law." If the only "law" that Gentiles are supposed to follow is ethics (which can be derived from reason alone) then the entire Bible is worthless since it would only be telling us what we already know.

      But the Bible is very valuable because the Law reveals G-d's love to us, tells us things about Him that we would never know unless He revealed them.

      It is very sad that you think Paul "clearly" was against the Law. Have you read Acts 21 by any chance? Please read it tonight and then we can talk about it tomorrow if you like.

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    2. " I have no problem if there were different communities with different ideas about what it all meant."

      Well, oh, learned one...Can you show us in the NT where one community ex-communicated the other? Can you show us where one community tells the other they are not Jews if the believe in Yeshua?

      Like always, you talk nonsense....

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    3. Peter,

      I didn't mean to imply that Paul was anti-law in the ultimate sense. What I meant to convey was that Paul redefines the role of the Law now that Messiah has come.
      In Galatians he calls it a pedagogue, not the nicest of terms in the first century. And as I am sure you are aware, a pedagogue was a temporary servant to children until they were mature enough to be on their own. Paul is explicit in his allegory, now that Messiah is come, there is no need for the Pedagogue. This is not to say that for Paul the Law doesn't still function, post Jesus, it does...but its role now is to make clear what sin is to the lost, so that they will see their need for Jesus. Paul states this in first Timothy 1:9 the Law is "not for the righteous but for sinners..."

      Secondly, on your point about ethics. I agree with you that the Bible is a disclosure about both G-d's Law and His Love. But the aim of the Bible,at least for Paul, is that man cannot reach G-d by his own efforts/behavior. It doesn't matter whether were talking about ethical commandments or the 613 commandments, take your pick. Salvation is by grace through faith. The faith of Abraham which came before circumcision and the Siniatic Covenant. I am sorry to say it but circumcision etc. for Paul, is the pedagogue.

      That being said, the bible would still be necessary, not as a book of ethics but as a disclosure of G-d's plan of redemption.

      Lastly, regarding Acts 21. I have, of course, read it many times. The fact that Paul was willing to pay the expenses to end the vow, aka to prove he kept the law may simply be his willingness to do what he said he was willing to do..."be all things to all people."

      But lets suppose for a second that Paul did believe that he was obligated to keep the
      Law (613 commandments) out of obedience as as a believer in Acts 21...
      The only way I could reconcile that with Galatians and Romans is to assume that Paul only intends that obligation for born Jews who become believers and not for gentiles who become believers. Gentiles would be required to live ethical lives, out of obedience and this would of course include the cessation of idolatry/pagan practices.

      I don't want to go round and round with all of you on this but Paul is saying things in Romans/Galatians/Ephesians etc. about the Law that are very different from the things Jesus is saying about it,in Matthew,for example. I do not see how to reconcile Matthew with Paul's letters.

      You tell me, how do you reconcile "I did not come to abolish the Law..." in Matthew with ..."by abolishing in his flesh the enmity, which is the commandments contained in ordinances..."(Ephesians)?

      or ..."heaven and earth will pass before one yud or stroke of the yud passeth away from the law..." (Matthew) and ..."now that faith has come we are no longer under the pedagogue (the law)"...Galatians 3?

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    4. Just one last note on Matthew. Matthew's notion of salvation is very different than that stated by Paul.

      Jesus is clear: Not everyone who says "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven but those who DO the WILL of my Father in heaven...the Father's will is to obey his law as Jesus than says to those who are "lawless or without law", that "I never knew you."

      The great commission is to make disciples teaching them to "obey" all that I have commanded you.

      Matthew 25 is about JUST ACTIONS explicitly leading to salvation.

      For Matthew, salvation IS based on works of the Law, provided you accept Jesus' authority, emphasis and interpretation of it.

      This is the opposite of what Paul taught.

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    5. What I meant to convey was that Paul redefines the role of the Law now that Messiah has come.

      I disagree, Paul points out the role of the Law all along, which is that it always pointed to justification by faith. We see the same language in Romans 8... But we see the context being that of faith based justification, and the context is not based on sanctification or committing righteous acts, he is not discarding the Torah saying it no longer serves as an instructor in obedience to God. Saying that Paul is discounting the purpose of the Torah, now in the life of a believer, is ignoring the context of Galatians. All through Paul's writings he uses the Torah to teach both Jews and Gentiles.

      In 2 Tim 3:16, we see Paul write:
      All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;

      Of course at this time, Paul did not have a "New Testament", instead he was referring to the Tanakh. Understanding the role of the Torah in the perspective of justification is different than understanding its role in the perspective of righteous living. They are distinct, however they function together.

      From what I gathered from your perspective, you think 'Paul threw out the Torah, concerning obedience because we are not saved by the Torah', but hopefully you can see, that does not make any sense.

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    6. Zion,

      Two things,

      First, what I am saying is that Paul redefined the Torah's role. Before Jesus, it was a guard. Paul literally calls it a prison guard in one place in Galatians 3.

      As I stated, for Paul, its role now is to show what sin is to the lost/unsaved, demonstrating their need for a savior.

      The former role of Torah is no longer functioning for Paul, now that Messiah/faith has come. For Paul you are free from it. This is the whole point/tenor of Galatians.

      What "guards" us now is the empowerment of Messiah through the Holy Spirit.

      As far as 2 Tim 3:16, "training in righteousness" etc. means something very different for Paul than REQUIRING/OBLIGATING gentiles to be circumcised and keep Moses.

      If training in righteousness means being circumcised and keeping Moses for gentiles, than what in the world is Paul talking about in Galatians, Romans etc.?

      I think training in righteousness etc. means for Paul, what most Christians take it to mean: The stories of Adam, Noach, the Patriarchs, Moses etc. serve as "examples" or "ensigns" as Paul calls them. of G-d's redemptive plan, the revelation of Messiah and the ethical demands of Torah...at least for gentiles.

      Now please understand, my position is that the writers of Matthew, and of course Jesus, do not share these Pauline views. Matthew may very well reflect views like your own.

      My point is that the NT texts are not all saying the same thing. To reconcile Paul, say with Matthew,is to do violence to the texts themselves.

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    7. First, what I am saying is that Paul redefined the Torah's role. Before Jesus, it was a guard. Paul literally calls it a prison guard in one place in Galatians 3.

      This is not correct, the actual translation is a pedagogue, and the purpose of a 'pedagogue' was for protection, such as protecting a child, to make sure the child was safely escorted to a location, something we seem to need in our 'day and age' right now. So the Law, in context of what Paul is saying, is a protection that leads one to the Messiah. Not some prison guard, if he meant a prison guard, pedagogue should not have been used.

      As I stated, for Paul, its role now is to show what sin is to the lost/unsaved, demonstrating their need for a savior.

      It has always served this purpose, this is not the only purpose and neither does Paul state that, but clearly the Law does serve this purpose and always has.

      The former role of Torah is no longer functioning for Paul, now that Messiah/faith has come. For Paul you are free from it. This is the whole point/tenor of Galatians.

      First of all, faith did not come with the Messiah, faith has been around since the beginning... So we have to understand this in the context Paul is using this terminology, clearly he is speaking in the context of an individual coming to faith, not faith actually coming on the scene, thus the role of Torah does not change.

      The context of Galatians is not freedom from Law, you are not reading the context or at least you are not reading it correctly, Galatians is built on the context of justification/salvation, not sanctification. As long as you confuse the context you will not understand Paul's points.

      Take Romans for example, Romans 3:31 states: Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.

      Paul also states in Romans 8, that the Law is weak through the flesh, and the flesh is in opposition to God, only the spirit will subject itself to God's Law, and anyone who does not subject themselves to God's Law, is not pleasing to God. (Romans 8:3-8)

      Paul is not in opposition to the Law, neither is he in opposition to circumcision, he is in opposition to the circumcision party, who taught justification through identity and any form of opposition to the Gospel.

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    8. Anonymous,

      I'll respond to you hopefully later this evening. Right now I have to take a car to the mechanic...the "check engine" light came on. Hopefully nothing serious... : /

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    9. Anonymous,

      Let's get back to the discussion. You say you've read Acts 21. Now, Acts 21 says:

      "Then everyone will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law."

      So here's our options:

      (1) Paul intentionally deceived the council, pretending to be obedient to the law when, in reality, he was against the law;

      (2) Paul was truthful.

      So let me ask you: do you think Paul was a liar?

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  3. Zion,

    Pedagogue, which I also mentioned in my comment above, is used in verse 24 etc. of Galatians 3. But in verse 23, two Greek words appear , "ephrouroumetha"..ie "under guard"... and "synkleiomenoi"...ie "having been imprisoned"...so literally verse 23 reads: But before faith came we were kept "under guard", "having been imprisoned" until faith would be revealed...

    Secondly, a pedagogue was not some nice, benign figure in the first century. They were depicted in the art of the Greco-Roman world as generally mean, even cruel, ugly, etc.

    I'll admit that some scholars agree with you that pedagogue could have the meaning of tutor or teacher in this context, but others, and I agree with them given Paul's overall depiction of the Law in Galatians, argue that he intends the more idiomatic meaning: "a slave that kept the kid enslaved until he was old enough not to need him" which is literally what a pedagogue would have meant to his readers.

    Thirdly, I never said "faith came after law"...But Paul makes a clear distinction between Faith and Law in Galatians. Again, in Galatians, Paul creates a dichotomy between "Faith" and "Law" and between "Promise" and "Law. Through Faith the Promise was given to Abraham who saw the coming of the righteous seed, the Messiah. And, for Paul, because faith/promise came BEFORE circumcision and BEFORE Sinai, they are DISTINCT FROM circumcision and Sinai. Circumcision and Sinai are for Paul the "Pedagogue" that kept us "guarded and imprisoned" (ephrouroumetha/synkleiomenoi). And now that faith/promise/Messiah has come, we are no longer under the guard/imprisonment/tutor...whatever you want to call it.

    Paul even equates the Torah given at Sinai to slavery/the slave women Hagar!

    Lastly, as far as Romans 3:31, to find out what Paul means by "upholding the Law" you have to keep reading at least through chapter 5-6.

    In chapter 5, the purpose of the Law for Paul is to make sin clear/known and therefore chargeable to our account. It actually makes our sin or "trespass" worse. But by making it worse however, when grace through Messiah comes, grace is magnified as well. In other words, the Law, by making sin really bad, makes grace even more good.

    In chapter 6 Paul does goes on to say we should not deliberately sin so as to cause grace to increase but given everything Paul has said in his letters about circumcision and Sinai there is no reason to conclude that he is now saying sin = not being circumcised and keeping the law of Moses. For Paul, certainly in the context of gentiles, sin = violation of the Torah's ethical demands for moral conduct. These are the violations/sins that are of the flesh and contrary to the Spirit. The list is Galatians.

    Peter,

    "Do I think Paul was a liar?"

    I think there is a third option to the two you've given:

    Paul said he was willing to be "all things to all people that he might win some to Messiah..." (1st Corinthians 9:22)

    I would not call him a liar and he may very well have continued to keep the Law as a Jew.

    But he may have done so as not to offend the Jews he was trying to win for Messiah. Not necessarily because he felt obligated to do so.

    BTW if check engine light stays on continuously as opposed to flashing it is usually nothing serious. Flashing can be more serious. Hope it not a major problem or expensive.

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    1. Pedagogue, which I also mentioned in my comment above, is used in verse 24 etc. of Galatians 3. But in verse 23, two Greek words appear , "ephrouroumetha"..ie "under guard"... and "synkleiomenoi"...ie "having been imprisoned"...so literally verse 23 reads: But before faith came we were kept "under guard", "having been imprisoned" until faith would be revealed...

      Secondly, a pedagogue was not some nice, benign figure in the first century. They were depicted in the art of the Greco-Roman world as generally mean, even cruel, ugly, etc.


      I have not read any sources concerning a pedagogue in a way that was negative, without it simply being an opinion, the closest I have seen anything concerning a pedagogue that could be considered negative is the possibility of them being dogmatic as a disciplinary. So I am interested why you pick a negative perspective here, versus, the most general use of the term?

      I'll admit that some scholars agree with you that pedagogue could have the meaning of tutor or teacher in this context, but others, and I agree with them given Paul's overall depiction of the Law in Galatians, argue that he intends the more idiomatic meaning: "a slave that kept the kid enslaved until he was old enough not to need him" which is literally what a pedagogue would have meant to his readers.

      Most scholars who view Paul as teaching a negative view of the Law are traditional Christian scholars, have you consider any Messianic scholars or the contemporary scholars on this subject? Such as was posted earlier, Mark Nanos? I would recommend you give his material a read if you have not.

      Again, in Galatians, Paul creates a dichotomy between "Faith" and "Law" and between "Promise" and "Law. Through Faith the Promise was given to Abraham who saw the coming of the righteous seed, the Messiah. And, for Paul, because faith/promise came BEFORE circumcision and BEFORE Sinai, they are DISTINCT FROM circumcision and Sinai. Circumcision and Sinai are for Paul the "Pedagogue" that kept us "guarded and imprisoned" (ephrouroumetha/synkleiomenoi). And now that faith/promise/Messiah has come, we are no longer under the guard/imprisonment/tutor...whatever you want to call it.

      I at one time used to believe similar, as is taught in traditional Christianity, however I can't see this view point of Paul, considering the context, to have any weight.

      Paul even equates the Torah given at Sinai to slavery/the slave women Hagar!

      Again this is a failed traditional view, the story is a metaphor representing the flesh vs the spirit, not the law vs faith.

      I would recommend a reconsidering of why Paul was writings Galatians, to me, none of what you have said, deals with the purpose or context of Paul's writing, instead your interpretations assume Paul's intentions. You have to ask, why was Paul writing Galatians, what exactly was he fighting against or having to deal with. The same dilemma can be seen in Acts 15:1, with that as the context, how can your interpretations make any sense?

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    2. Zion,

      I really appreciate your thoughtful responses.

      You know what? Maybe you are correct that I am taking Paul out of context. I really do not want to debate the issue of Paul's view of the Torah. Personally I hold to 2 Peter 3, that Paul writes things that are difficult to understand..." I certainly do not want to "twist" or "distort" them.

      My real concern is over One Law theology.

      I used to be an adherent and promoter of One Law theology. I promoted it with a vengeance. But then, after having had both the opportunity to live within an Orthodox Jewish community for several years as well as the to study the science of Hermeneutics at a reputable Seminary I had to alter my views.

      My attempt in the previous discussions/replies has been to:

      1. demonstrate Paul's unabashed belief that gentiles are not to be circumcised and follow Moses as Jews as part of their coming into relationship/covenant with the One G-d of Israel, Blessed be His name. But rather that they are to remain gentiles, that is, "the righteous of the nations." For me this is expressed in my study and keeping of the ethical commands of the Torah, as expressed in the NT, codified in the Sheva Mitzvos B'nai Noach, and as empowered by the Spirit to do so.

      2. to offer the possibility that certain texts, for example Matthew, of the NT hold a different view than Paul. Perhaps, I am not saying for sure, but perhaps, the Matthew text represents a theology that is closer to One Law. And may even present a different view of salvation all together. For Matthew, obedience to the Torah seems to be part of salvation itself, not just an obedient expression after the fact. There is some post-NT History that may suggest this was the case as well but I do not want to push the point.

      Lastly, I took your advice and checked out Dr. Mark Nanos. I plan to read some of his works but to get started I watched two videos of him this morning. I am including the link to one of those videos here. Its interesting that you mention him, because, at least in this video he does not affirm one theology at all.

      If you don't want to watch the whole thing start at minute 12 and watch until at least minute 22. He gets to the point quite quickly.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cpJbMsy9MQ

      Basically, Dr. Nanos basically sums up what I have been trying to say in all my comments/replies.




      Please let me know what you think.


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    3. Zion, sorry...I meant to write he (Dr. Nanos) doesn't affirm "One Law" theology at all.

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    4. 1. demonstrate Paul's unabashed belief that gentiles are not to be circumcised and follow Moses as Jews as part of their coming into relationship/covenant with the One G-d of Israel, Blessed be His name. But rather that they are to remain gentiles, that is, "the righteous of the nations." For me this is expressed in my study and keeping of the ethical commands of the Torah, as expressed in the NT, codified in the Sheva Mitzvos B'nai Noach, and as empowered by the Spirit to do so.

      This is based on what you believe Paul's intention is, was the issue Paul was dealing with, over gentiles obedience to the Torah or was it something serious, something that conflicted with the Gospel message? I tend to the think the former would be quite ridiculous and the latter would be more serious. Was he against gentiles being circumcised, or a false doctrine as exampled in Acts 15:1... Gentiles being circumcised is not an issue, how could it be, however teaching contrary to the Gospel message is. Thus Paul's argument from my perspective cannot be just a simple argument of gentile Torah observance, which cannot be sustained in Galatians, instead it is a conflict of justification.

      to offer the possibility that certain texts, for example Matthew, of the NT hold a different view than Paul. Perhaps, I am not saying for sure, but perhaps, the Matthew text represents a theology that is closer to One Law. And may even present a different view of salvation all together. For Matthew, obedience to the Torah seems to be part of salvation itself, not just an obedient expression after the fact. There is some post-NT History that may suggest this was the case as well but I do not want to push the point.

      I don't see a conflict between Paul's writings or the Gospel of Matthew. Consider Matthew 5:19, those who annual and teach others to as well, will be called least in the kingdom of God, but are still considered to be in the kingdom of God. I don't see Paul teaching faith without works, but instead, faith being the cornerstone and good works follow. This is the only way the Gospel makes sense, as we see in the testimony in Acts 15, both Jews and Gentiles are justified by their faith. This does not mean faith is simply a mental ascent, as James says, faith without works is dead, however faith is the initial step.

      Lastly, I took your advice and checked out Dr. Mark Nanos. I plan to read some of his works but to get started I watched two videos of him this morning. I am including the link to one of those videos here. Its interesting that you mention him, because, at least in this video he does not affirm one theology at all.

      I never said he affirmed One Law and I never said I agree with everything he writes, in fact he teaches traditional Judaism, his views on Gentiles relationship to the covenant and relationship to Israel is lacking, he is not a Messianic, but a reform Jew, but offers an interesting perspective on some of the topics you brought up, however, I wanted you to see his perspective on Paul from a perspective different than that of traditional Christianity. Which was more or less what you were arguing from, that being that "Paul taught the Torah is no longer relevant in the Messiah", he offers that the Torah is still relevant, but he believes that, to only be true for Jews, this is where I definitely disagree, but I can appreciate what he teaches correctly, at least from my perspective.

      I am puzzled by your link to Noah, I don't see how you ever came to this conclusion, do you mind explaining?

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    5. Zion,

      I definitely would like to explain. Give me some time as I will be out till late.

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    6. What I can say briefly is that essentially I hold the same view as Dr. Nanos regarding the distinction between Israel and the nations. I believe as he does that for Paul, the New covenant does not destroy this distinction and that Paul does not intend circumcision/613 mitzvoth for gentiles.

      My journey to the Noahide laws is more complex and I will write up a response regarding them late tonight or tomorrow morning.

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  4. I listened to the clip you sent me, I have read many of his articles and seen a few of his videos, I also have his book 'The Mystery of Romans', with that said, is there anything in this particular video that you would like to discuss?

    I see above you said you agree with Mark Nanos regarding distinction, I do as well, however my conclusion is different.

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    1. Zion,

      What I would really like you explain is what you mean when you say you agree with Mark Nanos regarding distinction, but your conclusion is different.

      What specifically and why specifically do you not accept his conclusions regarding distinction?

      And more importantly, who and what remains distinctive with One Law theology?

      As far as my study and practice of the Noahide Laws is concerned, I'll be brief:

      Basically where I am holding now is the product of a 13 year journey from Christianity to Messianic Judaism to Ethical Monotheism to Noahidism.

      The more I studied, the less convinced I became about the inerrancy of the NT. The less convinced I became about the central dogmas of the faith.

      I went from a classic Baptist Christian in 2000, to ethical monotheist in 2007.

      About this time, I took a job in a supervisory position in an Orthodox Jewish community. I immediately was drawn to the beauty of Torah and Mitzvos. I grew close with many of the young Rabbi's in the community and began studying the sheva mitzvos b'nai Noach seriously about three years ago.

      So why am I bothering to post comments on Messianic sites?

      Because, ironically enough, lately, as I have been immersed in Jewish culture, Jewish community and Jewish learning I see, hidden in all of it, somehow, the possibility that Yeshua of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah, that the resurrection happened.

      Its not something I can rationally, logically explain. And beyond the basic outline of the life of Yeshua and the early community, and the parallels I see with Rabbinic thought, its based very little on the NT.

      I have argued ad nauseam that I do not think there is a strong case for One Law theology in the NT.

      But it is more personal than that. I see it as a threat to the distinctive role of ethnic Israel. I am convinced that it is G-d's intention for the literal nation of Israel to assume her role as teacher, servant and light bringer to the nations with Messiah as her King.
      And if Yeshua is the Messiah, I think this is his intention as well.

      Perhaps your answer to my initial questions can shed some light on the issue for me.

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    2. Anonymous,

      You won't find any intimacy with G-d by keeping the so-called "Noahide laws". If all you need is to be ethical then you don't need the Bible. Everyone has a conscience and already knows how to be ethical.

      But the Tanak says that G-d wants more than ethical followers--He wants INTIMACY with us. The prophets all say that the Gentiles will be joined to G-d and joined to His People (Israel), that they will flock to Jerusalem/Zion to learn the Torah, they will keep Shabbat, Sukkot, etc. Have you read Isaiah 56, Isaiah 2, Micah 4, Joel 2, Amos 9, etc, etc?

      Here's something else: you will FAIL to keep the Noahide laws, which means you NEED atonement. As it happens, tonight is Yom Kippur so it's a good time to consider how you have no atonement unless you accept Yeshua. Your Orthodox friends have deceived you but you need to realize that Yeshua is G-d. Thus, to deny Yeshua is to deny HaShem. That's it! There's no way around it!

      Shalom,

      Peter

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    3. Thank you for sharing your history, it is interesting to know where people are coming from. A little about myself... I grew up attending both Church(non-denominational) and Synagogue(conservative), I was circumcised the 8th day, and I am a gentile, 110% to be sure :P. At the end of high school and all through my college years, I was agnostic, leaving behind any religious affiliation, at the end of college I had a drawing to a nearby Orthodox Synagogue, I was there six months until a friend introduced me to a Messianic Synagogue in the area and it rocked my world, restoring my faith in Yeshua, and being a mix of church and synagogue, just like I grew up. After a period of time, I moved away from the area, but God then opened a door for me to work in Israel, I was a bit reluctant, but I decided to take it... while in Israel, my faith grew, I studied with the Orthodox and Messianics, and now today, I am still on this beautiful journey. I have great relations with the Jewish community where I live and among the Messianic as well. Concerning my belief of scripture, I consider the Apostolic Writings to also be the inspired words of God.

      What I would really like you explain is what you mean when you say you agree with Mark Nanos regarding distinction, but your conclusion is different.

      And more importantly, who and what remains distinctive with One Law theology?


      This topic is a quite large and there are already many post on this blog, concerning One Law, but if you are interested in more elaborate understanding, I would recommend you visit www.torahresource.com, Tim Hegg post many free articles, also www.messianicpublications.com, pulls from an array of great One Law teachers.

      I will briefly describe the issue, concerning the question you asked, it revolves around how one defines distinction and to what extant this distinction serves... for some, Jewish distinction is found in the Mosaic commandments, thus any gentile keeping the Mosaic commandments is destructive to Jewish identity. Some argue more specifically and say it is not the Torah in general, instead it is in "Jewish Sign Commandments", they define sign commandments as the Sabbath, tzitzits, circumcision, etc. While others argue the distinction to be purely Jewish culture and traditions, found more in Reform and Secular communities. It is a definition, that seems to be different for different people and it goes into society norms as well, what distinguishes between a man and a woman, long hair? pants vs dresses? can men have long hair, can women wear pants?... etc. This is not an easy question, and from a One Law perspective, this should not separate Jew and Gentile... can a man and a woman be in the same bed together and remain distinct? That is at least as intimate as the question gets, you can't get much closer than that... :P

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    4. Because, ironically enough, lately, as I have been immersed in Jewish culture, Jewish community and Jewish learning I see, hidden in all of it, somehow, the possibility that Yeshua of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah, that the resurrection happened.

      Praise God!

      I have argued ad nauseam that I do not think there is a strong case for One Law theology in the NT.

      You are not the only one... :P

      But it is more personal than that. I see it as a threat to the distinctive role of ethnic Israel. I am convinced that it is G-d's intention for the literal nation of Israel to assume her role as teacher, servant and light bringer to the nations with Messiah as her King.

      From my opinion, this threat is assumed and it lacks a logical conclusion. For example, in a One Law Congregation, and I have attended many, where there is both Jews and Gentiles, usually the Jews in the congregation are held at an honorary level, not in the sense, that they are greater, but that they are the natural branches, the ones to whom all this belongs, while as gentiles, we are grafted in or adopted. This distinction is not lost or confused, it is foundational to our very existence as gentiles and Jews. Going further, if Israel is to be a teacher, what is the end result when the student(gentile) learns, is the student now also equipped to go and teach, or is the student who goes to teach, viewed as diminishing the teachers role? Because, if I were to follow your understanding, I would have to assume, that gentiles can never be teachers and can never be light bringers, because that is a threat to Israel's distinctive role... I don't find that conclusion logical, do you? In Matthew, we read that Yeshua wanted his Jewish Apostles to go and make gentile disciples, does this diminish Israel's calling, or is it a fulfillment of Israel's calling. Isaiah, Micah, and few other prophets clearly teach the Torah going to the nations, does this diminish Israel's purpose or role?

      Do you consider Isaiah 56 to be a threat to Israel's distinct role?

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    5. One last point, if gentiles observing the Torah are destructive to Israel's role, then Israel should not allow gentiles to convert, the massive multitude of gentiles standing at Mount Sinai receiving the Torah with Israel should have never been allowed... Clearly this massive amount of gentiles receiving the Torah with Israel in the Exodus story, and also in the time of King Solomon, should have never been allowed, but surprisingly, enlarging Israel with gentiles becoming covenant members, was not an issue, in fact it was welcomed, it was completely acceptable, how do you reconcile this in your understanding?

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  5. You won't find any intimacy with G-d by keeping the so-called "Noahide laws". If all you need is to be ethical then you don't need the Bible. Everyone has a conscience and already knows how to be ethical.

    I want to further what Peter said here, the Laws given to Noah predate the Mosaic and predate Israel's existence, being responsible to the Laws of Noah, makes Israel's calling worthless, gentiles don't need Israel, they just need Noah... not only that it devalues the Messiah's role, and gentiles identity found in the Messiah, and now considered son's of Abraham, not Noah, finding gentiles inclusion in the fulfillment promised to Abraham, through the Messiah. Unlike Noah, which was a generic set of rules applying to all mankind, despite any covenant affiliation, gentiles are now considered to be in covenant because of the Messiah, this changes the whole situation...

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  6. Great answers Zion.

    Gmar Chatimah Tovah to all.

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    1. Thank you, Gmar Chatimah Tovah to everyone as well!

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  7. [Preliminary, I want you to inform that, because of the time-difference between the US and Europe, that my comment was composed after Shabbat Yom Kippur. I follow the rabbinic halachah on electricity &c, and wouldn't like to create the false impression that I posted here on a Shabbat or Yom Tov].

    I don't agree with Zion's observation that being responsible for the Laws of Noach makes Israel's calling worthless. This not only contradicts the opinion of the Sages — which is that these two levels of observance, of the Gentiles and of Israel, support one another — but it also seems to me out of line according to Scripture.

    The calling of Israel starts with Abraham. After the universal judgments of the flood and the confusion of languages at Babel, which resulted in the formation of distinct nations and people groups — in Jewish tradition the so-called LXX nations of the earth, or of this world — Israel was formed, through the line of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as a royal and priestly nation. HaShem left the other nations on their own and let them go their own ways.

    Letting the nations go their own ways, following the wickedness of their own imaginations, would have provoked new universal judgments from Heaven, had there not be made some provision for this new historic situation. This new provision was the formation of Israel as a priestly and royal nation before HaShem. In Israel HaShem would have a nation that obeyed and served him as a priestly mediator in this world on behalf of the other nations, as a pars pro toto of mankind. Because of Israel, universal judgment on mankind could be postponed until the end of this world.

    The role of Israel is thus universally important, and it has universal effects, but it is delegated to a specially chosen people group. Although within Israel there’s also a hierarchy of Levites and Cohanim, yet, compared to mankind in general, all Israelites are priests, because they belong to the priestly nation. The hierarchy between Israel and the Noachides is often expressed in the word that Noachides are permited to sacrifice what Israelites are permitted to eat (i.e. clean animals).

    According to this model, which I believe is biblical, observance of the Noachide Laws by the nations is very desirable, because it implies leaving idolatry and immorality. Leaving these domains of sin has an elevating effect, because it restrains hatred against G-d and Antisemitism, and thus supports the mission of Israel. When the nation turn against Israel, however, HaShem has to judge them and to protect his nation.

    For clarity’s sake I would like to add that this opinion is compatible with a One-Law messianic perspective. It is not contrary to this model that believers from other nations join Israel and help it in its priestly office. But this doesn’t render the level of observance related to the Noachide laws, which were given by HaShem after the flood, (in Gen. ch. IX) as of no avail. Although it is true that the Noachide covenant and its promises are limited to this world, yet it is important in creating a healthy environment for Israel and for the mission of the Gospel. It is up to the nations and their leaders themselves, to be wise in this and to uphold this covenant or to reject it.

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  8. There was an error in my final sentence. It should be: It is up to the nations themselves, and their leaders, either to be wise in this and to uphold this covenant, or to be foolisg and reject it.

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    1. Messianic613,

      There are a couple of things I think might clarify the issue.

      The Rambam states that a ben Noach can have a place in the world to come (Olam Haba or the next world, if he/she accepts the seven Laws as coming from Moses at Har Sinai (as delineated in the Oral Torah)

      Therefore I think what Zion may be driving at is that by accepting the Noahide Laws, the New Covenant and Israel's role in it is rendered useless. Because if a person can have a place in Olam Haba through the Noahide laws, as the Rambam says, (and this also discussed in Gemerah Sanhedrin), then Israel's new covenant role of spreading the gospel is unnecessary.

      Now that being said, the Rambam does say that if a ben Noach (or nation) takes upon himself the seven Laws merely because they seem wise or reasonable, then they do receive reward/blessings in this life but not in Olam Haba. This sounds something like what you were saying above.

      In the first case above, those who accept the sheva mitvos as from Moses are called the Chasidie Umos Haolam, the RIGHTEOUS/PIOUS of the nations.

      In the second case, those who merely accepting them because they seem reasonable/moral/wise are called the Chakme Umos Haolam...the wise ones of the nations. but again, they have no part in the world to come.

      Now Paul and the Rambam are in disagreement because Paul says that "no one will be made RIGHTEOUOS by works of the Torah." For Paul, this only comes from faith in Messiah.

      So, though I get your point that the nations who accept these laws could indeed be helpful (and not a hindrance) to Israel, this is not the major role of the seven Mitzvot for according to the Sages. Rather they are taught by the Sages as the means for Gentile inclusion in Olam Haba.




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    2. Anonymous, thank you. My opinion of the status of the Noachide Covenant is not based on the idea that the Seven Mitzvot are an entrance to the World to Come. I think that, biblically, this covenant is only reltated to this world and contains no promises for the World to Come. So I agree with you that the Sages made too much of it in this respect, although I agree with the Sages that the full Torah observance of the holy nation (Israel) and the Noachide observance of the secular nations (the goyim) complement each other.

      At best, the observance of the Noachide commandments may function as a 'praeparatio evangelica'. This is also the case with the mitzvot of the the Torah of Israel. The difference is, however, that the covenants made with Israel are actually related to their goal and fulfilment in Messiah (the New Covenant), while the Noachide covenant has no real relation to a messianic fulfilment.

      The Sages' inclusion of the Gentiles in the Olam Habah through following the Noachide commandments is indeed a serious error, as is their general error of meriting the World by fulfilling the mitzvot.

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    3. Anonymous,

      You did correctly understand my points. :D

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    4. Messianic613,

      Thank you as well!

      Just one other comment.

      For the Sages, one doesn't merit Olam Haba through the performance of the Mitzvot. Ethnic Israelites are born with this as their inheritance. As one Rabbi put it "we are born with an A+". (As I side note, the Maharal seems to conclude that this is also true of all humanity but that is besides the point here.)

      For the Sages, performance of the Mitzvot determines one's place/position so to speak in Olam Haba.

      All this being said, though difficult, an Israelite can lose his share in the World to Come by becoming "cut off from his people".

      The Sages describe not only what specific sins an Israelite must commit to be cut off, but also teach that to be cut off these sins would have to be done willfully/specifically so as to deny Hashem and His Torah, and not simply because of yetzer hara!

      The reason this matters is because it changes the role of the Torah for Israel in that the Torah is for sanctification and rectification, not Salvation.

      Paul may be referencing this concept of "cut off" when he uses the Olive tree Model in Romans, but he definitely also later states that Israel is trying to "earn it" as opposed to achieving it through faith. The Sages would certainly not see it that way.

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    5. Zion,

      Awesome!

      Though I do not hold to One Law theology, we can certainly agree that role of the Noahide Laws as the Sages define that role is definitely opposed to role of the New Covenant as defined by Paul.

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