Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Teleological Test: How to Establish the Illegitimacy of Noahide "Laws" and Other Forms of Quasi-Judaism



What is the purpose of Divine Law?  

Scripture teaches that the purpose of the Torah is twofold:  

(1) It is the means by which the Ruach transforms man into a perfect being:
"The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul..." (Psalm 19:7)
(2) It is the means by which man is drawn into contact with G-d:
"Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant; and teach me Thy statutes," (Psalm 119:35)
So there's the teleological (or "purpose-based") test: 

Is the law or set of laws in question useful as a means by which man can be drawn into contact with G-d and transformed into a perfect being?

Now let's consider the so-called Noahide laws:

 1. Do not murder.
 2. Do not steal.
 3. Do not worship false gods.
 4. Do not be sexually immoral.
 5. Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
 6. Do not curse God.
 7. Set up courts 

Not exactly the sort of law that would've inspired Psalm 119!  In fact, the rabbis characterize this law as "sit and do nothing":
"As the Gemara puts it'...concerning the seven commandments they are thought of as 'sit and do nothing' (sheb ve'al ta'aseh),'" pg. 26, Novak, "The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism"
How can a sit-and-do-nothing approach transform man into a perfect being and bring him into contact with G-d?

Bottom line:

There is no intimacy in the so-called Noahide laws, no revelation of G-d's love for His People, no command of love whatsoever, and the most glaring omission of all:  no mention of the law of blood atonement (quite a faulty theological presupposition).

Now, this little test I've made is only useful for establishing the illegitimacy of false systems of law.  But to know what is the legitimate source of law, please read the following post:

MESSIANIC GENTILE MANIFESTO

And, if you don't have time to read it, let me summarize:  there is One-Law that G-d gave in Scripture for members of the covenant and that is the Sinaitic Torah.  Yeshua did not abolish this Law but commanded that it be observed and that His disciples teach it all over the world.

Shalom,

Peter

24 comments:

  1. The rabbinic idea that the Noachide laws give the Gentiles an entrance to the World to Come is wrong. Nevertheless the Noachide Laws are extremely important for maintaining order in this world. These laws express the basic scriptural norms for all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike. All mankind, without any exception, is included in the Covenant of Noach: Jews and non-Jews, believers in Messiah and unbelievers. All should obey these laws and Gentile States have the obligation to enforce these laws on their populations, like the State of Israel has the obligation to enforce the entire Torah on its population. This implies that idolaters, murderers, sexual perverts should be put to death and that goverments have the obligation to deal with their subjects according to the rule of law, not in an arbitrary way.


    If States would enforce the laws commanded to Noach (cf. Gen. ch. IX), it would be much easier for their peoples to understand and accept the Gospel.

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  2. There is only Divine Law; there is no such thing as a separate body of law called "Noahide Law".

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  3. I am one who would be put to death under the law of Moses. My parents would not kill me so I prayed the Father and told him he would have to do it. Interstingly, he was not interested in my death but in my life. He told me about his son, how much he loved him, how pleased he was with Jesus. He explained how he loved me too, that he made a way for me to live, a way for the Law of Moses to be fulfilled. A subsitutional sacrifice of his son.


    Today, I stand justified in the Law of Moses, before the judgment seat. I live in the Kingdom of Heaven, he gave me his Holy Spirit. I am not waiting for the Kingdom of G-d to come. It came. I entered into it. Every day since the Holy Spirit was first sent, people have entered into it. The Kingdom of G-d is spiritual and it is lawful. Because my flesh is stilll corruptable, I have a paraclete to assist me in legal matters I don't understand completely. But this I know, He will lead me into all truth. I am THE CHURCH (though only one living stone Yeshua does not remain alone) and the gates of hell will not prevail against me.

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  4. Some men like to point to the tares among us and say "see what horrible things THE CHURCH has done. What about the real CHURCH?

    After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

    And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

    And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

    Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

    And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

    And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

    Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

    They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

    For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:9-17 (KJV)

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  5. It seems the Noahide laws, except for the law to establish courts, are all negative prohibitions with no positive instruction - what they should be doing. So, I don't see the Noahide laws as false, but as incomplete. Perhaps they were a temporary restraining order, so to speak, to at least prevent evil at a minimum, with the teaching of how to pursue good following. This fits with Paul's basic requirements for gentiles as meant to be a starting point for further growth, not as complete in themselves.


    If you tell people to stop doing something, but don't replace it with something better, doesn't it follow that the people would slip back into their past behavior?

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  6. You show your ignorance of the Scriptures. The Noachide Covenant is a distinct covenant with distinct legal stipulations. You can find it in Genesis chapter IX. A few distinctive features of this covenant are: (1) It is with all mankind, without any distinction, not with a particular people group; (2) It is relevant only for this world. It contains no promises for the World to Come.



    It would be ridiculous and completely false to say that all mankind are members of the Abrahamic and Sinaitic Covenants, or of the New Covenant. Gentile unbelievers — which are the largest subgroup of human beings — are not member of any of these three, but they are still members of the Noachide Covenant.

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  7. Aliquantilus,




    I defy you to show me where the seven so-called Noahide laws are in Genesis chapter 9! Support your statement, sir!


    I'm not the first person to point out the obvious fact that the Noahide laws are not found in Scripture. Here's the foremost Jewish scholar on this subject:



    "Aside from very general references in the Bible to a recognizable universal morality, one cannot see the Noahide laws as a system of law as a product of the biblical period either on the basis of internal textual evidence [i.e. Scriptural evidence] or on the basis of external evidence provided by the law codes of cognate civilizations. The only two Noahide laws explicitly mentioned in Scripture are the proscriptions of bloodshed (Genesis 9:6) and the eating of flesh from a live animal (Genesis 9:4)," pg. 10 of Novak's "The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism"

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  8. In Gen. ch. IX we see that G-d gives several laws and instruction to Noach and his descendants. The conspicuous examples are the prohibition of “shedding blood” (murder) and eating “flesh with the life thereof”, (often interpreted as the consumption
    of blood).

    If the Creator G-d reveals himself and gives laws and instructions, it is obvious that a person should not blaspheme ths G-d or turn to other gods, particularly so after the terrible judgment of the flood. So the prohibitions of blasphemy and idolatry are reasonably included in the concept of G-d revealing himself as Creator, Sovereign and Lawgiver.

    Normal sexuals relations are presupposed by the instruction to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 9:1), which is of course to be interpreted in its historical context of the situation after the flood. We should have in mind that corruption of marriage was one of the reasons why the flood came, according to Gen. ch. VI, and thus it may be presupposed that Noach and his family knew that they had to keep the
    purity of marriage intact.

    That a system of law should be set up is implied by the injunction that the blood of man and beast will be required by G-d, through the hand of man (Gen. 9:5-6).

    This requirement implies setting up a system of human government.


    The prohibition of eating the
    limb of a living animal may seem a bit peculiar at first, but it follows from the prohibition of consuming blood in Gen. 9:4 and the later Torah legislation which permits the stranger to eat that which has died of itself (Dt. 14:21). That which has died of itself inevitably contains blood. This verse thus
    implies that the non-Israelite may consume blood. Because of this implication it is deduced that the prohibition of Gen. 9:4 cannot be a general prohibition of blood but is literally only about “flesh with the life thereof”, i.e. the limb of
    a living animal.

    Finally, the prohibition of theft is logically contained in Gen 9:2,
    where the creatures are given into man’s power. This is not a permission for a power struggle of all against all in order to grasp as many possessions as is possible for each individual or family, for this would result in endless bloodshed. It would defy any peaceful system of government to permit man to simply take what is perceived to be already in another man’s power. So the prohibition of theft is derived from the this permission in combination with the general idea of maintaining a system of justice.

    The Seven Commandments of B’nei Noach are covered by this analysis.

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  9. Aliquantillus,


    That's classic eisegesis.

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  10. Aliquantillus,

    As long as you are eisegeting, why not read into the text other commands such as blood sacrifice or love for G-d? Why limit yourself to seven commands?

    Bottom line: you're elevating rabbinic, man-made law to the level of Scripture. You're assuming that since the rabbis said it, it MUST be in Scripture somewhere...it's just a matter of "implying" it into the text. But that's circular reasoning.

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  11. You haven't refuted my analysis by your cheap "eisegesis" argument. The logical analysis which I gave stands. Halachah is always based on analysis of all implications and assumptions present in a given text which may be relevant for observance. It is never based on pure historico-grammatical exegesis. The attempt to base everything on hiostorico-grammatical exegesis is a Protestant invention, dating from the XVIth century. Such an exclusive approach of the Bible was never followed ever before. So who is "eisegeting" here? The one who follows the ancient tradition of logical analysis or the follower of the new rules introduced by Luther and Calvin?

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  12. Blood sacrifice is permitted under the Noachide Covenant, but it is not strictly required. It is not possible to deduce the the obligation, neither exegetically, nor by implication. While the prohibitions of blasphemy and idolatry are implications of the true G-d revealing Himself, the positive commandment of sacrifice cannot be derived in this manner.


    It seems, however, that the majority opinion is that after the introduction of the Torah of Sinai, by which Israel was made the priestly nation, the Noachides are no longer permitted to sacrifice. The sacrificial service was now performed by Israel on behalf of them. For the very reason of Israel's election is to be a Priestly Kingdom on behalf of mankind.

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  13. Aliquantillus,

    Your analysis is illogical because you desperately search for evidence that confirms your pre-existing belief and you doggedly ignore all evidence that refutes your pre-existing belief.

    As I've shown, there is evidence for many other commands in Genesis 9 that you have deliberately ignored because it conflicts with your pre-existing notions.

    Thus, you have drawn out an unintended meaning from the text (eisegesis).

    Shalom,

    Peter

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  14. Nonsense, you have shown nothing of the kind. The only thing you have done is to make assertions about this. But assertions are no proof.

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  15. Aliquantillus,

    As I've said before, it's very telling that your "analysis" ignores the fact that Noah offered a blood sacrifice. Why did he feel the need to do this? Why was G-d pleased with it? Why did Noah only use clean animals for the burnt sacrifice? You ignore all sorts of things in order to maintain your pre-existing belief that mankind was only obligated to seven laws. Blood sacrifice was an ancient command given to mankind. We see Abel observing it (and Caine violating it and bringing about G-d's displeasure). But the Rabbis ignore this because it conflicts with their post-Destruction theology. They want to believe that they (and everyone) can be saved by works alone--that sacrifice is not required.

    Anyone can see that your analysis is illogical because it is profoundly biased.

    Good discussion though.

    Shalom,

    Peter

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  16. I agree with you Peter, not only that, as you said, we already see human governments before the flood of Noah, we already know God's laws were in enforced, or man should have never been judged so harshly. Paul confirms this in Romans 1. Man knew they were doing wrong, thus man knew of God's Law, despite any laws given to Noah. There clearly was a known law by man, some call this natural law... I consider it to be more than natural, it must have been passed along during that time, from Adam and on.

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  17. No, what you say is simply not correct. First, because you don't clearly distinguish between what can be derived as permissible or even recommendable under the Noachide Covenant; Second, because your notion of eisegesis is not rooted in the Jewish exegetical tradition at all, but in Protestant hermeneutics and thus in Renaissance literary culture. If your notion of eisegesis would be rigorously applied, almost all halachic exegesis should be considered as eisegesis, since it finds its basis in Midrash.

    Please explain to me what is your criterion here. And please also explain why you are so opposed to the notion that there exist Noachide Laws. What is the point in denying that G-d gave laws to Noach?

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  18. From what you say here it is completely clear that you are talking nonsense and haven't studied the subject at all. The orthodox classic on this, Clorfene & Rogalsky's "The Path of the Righteous Gentile" explicitly permits the Noachide to offer sacrifices, in XIV-1 (123): "Although the Jew is forbidden to offer sacrifices anywhere but in the Holy Temple, the Noahite, in the opinion of many authorities, is permitted to build private altars and present offerings to the G-d of Israel upon them even today!".


    The reason why bringing sacrifices is not an explicit commandment for the Noachide is, I suspect, that no details and regulations can be deduced concerning this practice. So if you say that animal sacrifice should be included in the Noachide commandments, my question to you is: What sacrificial service was the Noachide commanded to keep? At what times and occasions should he bring sacrifices? Each morning and evening? Should it be a responsibility of the State by collective regulations (sacrifices brought by State officials), or of the individual?


    These questions make clear that no particular service was demanded, but that worshiping G-d by means of sacrifice is a permission under the Noachide Covenant, not an obligation. The reason seems to be that Israel is the priestly nation that has to perform such service, not the Noachides. Israel as a nation, functions as the clergy and priesthood for all mankind.

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  19. Geert,


    Is it a commandment for people to accept Yeshua as a Savior?

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  20. Peter,


    To retort your question I ask: Should acceptance of Yeshua as Saviour be enforced? And if a person doesn't accept him, should that person be killed because he rejects G-d?

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  21. Aliquantillus,

    To answer the first question, G-d never accepts "strange fire" (remember what happened to the Levites who offered the wrong type of sacrifice? Did G-d's response seem harsh to you?). And now there is only one means by which man be saved--through the sacrifice of Yeshua. No man comes to the Father but through Him. So it may seem harsh to your ears but you need to hear it: anyone who refuses to accept Yeshua will spend an eternity in hell. That's the Law (because the Law is the will of G-d).

    In regard to your other question, I pointed out the evidence you refused to acknowledge--evidence that Noah believed G-d required a sacrifice, that this was a commandment. This evidence refutes your assertion of a mere seven "noahide laws."

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  22. Not only any sacrifice, clean animals. Thus Noah was commanded on clean and unclean. But take it farther, sacrifices to God existed with Cain and Abel... before any Noah Law.

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  23. Peter,
    The question was not about the necessity of faith in Yeshua for gaining eternal life — which I completely affirm — but about faith in Yeshua as part of the 613 commandments of the Pentateuch.


    Your constant misinterpretations and failures to make the proper distinctions here and elswhere betray a devastating degree theological ignorance. I end the discussion here, and will never return to this blog, simply because i cannot take it serious. Shalom.

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