Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Gospel of Light vs. The Gospel of Darkness

Earlier today I came across this in Nanos' "The Irony of Galatians":

"The receipt of the Holy Spirit of God and miracles wrought among themselves bear witness that they are righteous ones--while yet remaining non-Jews-for they are children of Abraham, indeed children of God, and thus full heirs.
     These Gentiles, in Paul's view...are now equal in status with the historical righteous ones of God....These Gentiles have not become Jewish proselytes but fellow heirs of Abraham while remaining members of the nations....They have become the equivalents of proselytes--righteous ones of God though not of Israel, of a new community creation consisting of Israel and the nations worshipping together..." pg. 99
Footnote pg. 99:  "...I believe [Gentiles] are rather equal with [Israelites], though actually remaining righteous Gentiles, so that both Israel and the nations are represented as one...though different relative to membership in Israel."
This is Bilateralism in a nutshell, the idea that Gentiles are excluded from citizenship/membership in Israel (contra Eph. 2).  And if excluded from citizenship in the Kingdom of Israel then Gentiles have no rights--and they are left in limbo--neither proselyte (covenant member) nor "guest" (non-covenant member):
"But for these Gentiles, according to Paul's response in this letter, that will no longer do:  Gentiles in Christ are not to regard themselves as liminals on the way to becoming proselytes and certainly not as mere guests needing to now commence this process," pg. 96.
Well, that clears it up:  Gentiles are not proselytes (family of Israel) nor are they "guests" (non-family members).  What schizophrenic nonsense!

Did Yeshua come to bestow "liminal"(i.e. ambiguous) status on Gentiles?  Did He come only to offer confusion and insecurity?

Or is it possible that Gentiles have a "right" to the Torah?


"Moses commanded us a Law, even the inheritance (Heb: "Morasha"; LXX: "Kleronomia") of the congregation of Jacob," (Deut. 33:4)
If the Torah is only the inheritance of Israel then the only way Gentiles could have a "right" to this inheritance would be to somehow become part of the family of Israel.  Thankfully, Yeshua is Israel (See Ex. 4:22, Hosea 11:1, and Matt. 2:14-15).  Thus, given that Gentiles have "adoption to sonship through Yeshua the Messiah" (Eph 1:5), they also become adopted into the family of Israel and have a very real status as citizens in the Kingdom of Israel (Eph 2:12).

Still, the following passages seem to beg the question "what is the inheritance?":
"That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs (sunkleronoma), and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Messiah by the gospel" (Eph. 3:6)
 "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance (kleros) of the saints in light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.(Col. 1:12).   
If we consider that the Torah literally means "light" (from Hebrew word for light) then following passages help explain that Yeshua is the real Torah:

'I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"(John 8:12)

"Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a Light on my path." (Psalm 119:105)

So the Kingdom of Israel is a Kingdom of Light, illuminated by the Torah which is Yeshua.  This helps us then to understand Eph. 3:6 and Col. 1:12--Gentiles may give thanks for being able to enter the Kingdom of Light.

This is the message then of the true Gospel (Good News):  Gentiles do not have to live in a realm of darkness (a Torah-less Kingdom) but through Yeshua have an inheritance in the Realm of Light, the Kingdom of Israel.

The Bilateralist then preaches a different Gospel, that Gentiles are excluded from the Kingdom of Light, doomed to a realm of darkness outside of Israel.


  1. Lol, it really does present a limbo situation for gentiles. I have described this elsewhere as, having one foot in the door and one foot out of the door, neither in or out... it makes for a terrible belief, and leads to confusion.

  2. Hovav Ben Avraham AvinuAugust 8, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    Nanos is not a Bilateralist, first of all because he is not a believer. Also, He does not believe Paul says gentiles have no part in Torah, what he does believe is that they are not members of the nation Israel.
    This however is specially in the cenario that the World to Come has begun and there is one people of G-d composed of the ones from historical Israel and from the nations. They are not the same nation, but they are part of the same covenant, with certain differences. Bilateralists believe in convenantal differences that go much further than Nanos proposes Paul believed. They are not the same at all. Nanos can, and have been used, to justify one law as much as Billetaral Ecclesiology.
    Let's just remember that in the Torah the ger also has some covenantal differences, or at least a different relation to Torah and the Land than the natural israelites. For example: they do not own land. Even more serious: male proselytes from Moab or Amon can never marry a israelite woman, not even the tenth generation. Edomites and Egyptians can only do so after the third generation. And caananites can never do so.
    Also, if we do believe that convenatal status has always been based on fatih, than the uncircumcised ger can not eat the Pesach sacrifice.
    What I mean is: advocating for certain differences between natural borns and proselytes does not mean some one is a billateralist. He may even be a one law, and he may not be so either. Don't put everybody in the same group please : )

  3. You don't know what you're talking about. He says that the message of Galatians is that Gentiles are not only excluded from Israel but also that Gentiles would compromise the Good News if they try to observe Torah:

    Pg. 85 "This is the case even though they may not have considered sufficiently the Jewish practices that they will be obliged to observe once they acquire this [proselyte] status. And the dissociating message [in Galatians], in short, is that they must not complete this course [toward Torah observance], for to do so is to compromise the good news of Christ for themselves by trying to live according to two incompatible realities..."

  4. Hovav Ben Avraham AvinuAugust 9, 2014 at 6:03 PM

    Well, I think I know what I am talking about since I have read the book :P Anyway, he IS against proselyte conversion and proselyte status, but not against Torah observance, as you added. He does believe Paul opposed proselyte conversion. He does believe Paul thought that gentiles were in different terms with the Law than jews. HOWEVER he is not a bilateralist, his ideas being at leat ambiguous with regard to the gentiles in Paul's thought. What he is certain is that Paul opposed proselyte conversion.

    Shavua Tov

  5. Hovav Ben Avraham AvinuAugust 12, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Just to complete it, here you have what he says in his website:

    I remain focussed on investigating the implications for Jewish - Christian relations of my reading of Paul as a Torah-observant Jew founding Jewish subgroup communities. These "churches" were attracting some non-Jews, but nevertheless dedicated to practicing and promoting Judaism for non-Jews as well as Jews. In other words, I propose to that we should be investigating Paul's Judaism in the intra-communal context of other Jewish groups, including other groups of followers of Jesus, which together with Paul's groups represented a coalitoin we might describe as Apostolic Judaism.

    Gentiles are seen as practicing JUDAISM,

  6. Yeah, Judaism minus the Torah (which then makes it NOT Judaism).