One of the key issues that concerns many modern Christ-followers is whether or not “the Law of Moses” applies equally to everyone.

Among the texts used to support this position is the apostle Paul’s brilliant argument that the nations have become part of the commonwealth of Israel, and that because of their connection with the Jewish Christ they were granted the same rights and privileges as the Kingdom’s original citizens. (Eph. 2:11-22)

Therefore, it is but natural to ask: Does the Torah apply to everyone? The answer it is both yes and no.

On the one hand, the Torah is clearly applicable to everyone. The very affirmation given by the elders and apostles to the Nations in Christ Jesus, highlighting only four forbidden categories of behavior, was based on the well-known fact that the Torah was already familiar to most Gentiles in the Roman world. (Acts 15:19-21) Keep in mind that close to 7-10% of the entire Roman population was Jewish and synagogues were used by both Jews and Gentiles as public communal centers that they often shared.

On the other hand, the Law of Moses was never for everyone. Within it there were always laws that applied to different groups of people. There were laws that were applied only to Levites, others that were prescribed only for priests and high-priests, others only for men, some only for women and yet others only to sojourners with Israel.

So, is there really one Law for Everyone? Yes, in some very important ways it surely is. But is it applicable to everybody in the same way? No, it is not.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

36 COMMENTS

    • Yes, but the article was about one Torah law (which itself contains hundreds of laws including the so-called Noahide laws). But the idea of exactly seven Noahide laws being for all non-Jews is not Biblical. It is a later invention. (Though I admit that if all people would keep at least those seven, it would be a much better world.)

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  1. The best thing a non-Jew can do is to get a Bible, start at Genesis & read the text slowly. Note what applies to them individually. That is what they will b judged on. G-D is no repecter of person. Sin is the transgression of His commandments.
  2. It would be great to see an expanded article or video explaining how the law/what parts of the law are applicable to gentiles.
  3. ... Dr. Eli ... now that I am a Jew ... I AM a Jew, I have been transformed into a Jew ... the moment I 'clicked' & registered here, I had a rather profound experience of being ushered 'in' ... & since that time, I've been satiating myself with the Word, the Water's of Life here .... inner transformations happen daily for me, as I deepen, strengthen, & am clean & purged from all remnants of dead faiths-denominations, that are stagnant or superficial ,,,I know now that one can be born into, adopt, or choose as a 'piece of clothing' ... but, absolutely nothing compares with being born-into or won-into deeper, richer relationship with YWHW, His Most Holy Son, our Lord, Saviour & Messiah: Jesus Christ ... being 'grafted into' Israel itself ... so ... I am a Jew ... do you know how happy this makes me? ... whenever the veils of conversation of spiritual meaning lift, & I'm asked, 'well, what is your Faith, anyways?' ... I now answer 'I am a Jew' ... a Messianic Jew ... so, which Law's now pertain to me? ... all Justice is mine, through YHWH & secular law is a shadow shifting changeableness, but YWHW's Law's are Established Forever ; in Him 'where there is no changeableness of turning' ...
  4. What are the seven Noahide laws? I’m not familiar with them . Can you please tell me about them?
    Thank you so much Dr. Eli.
    Shalom
  5. I am not under law but the Ten Commandments are a wonderful teacher for a good life. The health laws I find in the Torah are very good as well. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind and your neighbour as yourself encompasses everything.
  6. Re. your statement "yet others only to sojourners with Israel", I have a couple of questions/suggestions.

    First, a suggestion:
    I believe what you really mean to say there is something like "and yet a few others apply to sojourners as well as to Israel." Based on your Jewish Apostle Paul course, I am fairly sure you are referencing Leviticus 17-20 here. The way you have written it in this article would imply that the specific laws you reference apply to sojourners but NOT to Israel proper. However, the language used in the instances where alien/sojourner/stranger is specifically listed is typically "“Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them" [Lev 17:13] , or equivalent.

    Second, a question:
    I believe I see a conflict between the position articulated in this article and that put forth in the JAP course. However, I may not be seeing it as I should or as you intended. In order to help me work through this, can you point me to an article or class in which you or your colleagues discuss "yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear" [Acts 15:10 ESV] ? That would be a great jumping-off point for me in understanding how you approach the One Torah matter. Thank you.
    • To lay some context out, firstly, Acts 15 is concerning Gentiles that are "turning to God" (v.19). These are probably pagans that just accepted the God of Israel--"Fresh converts to Jesus" one might say. This is not in reference to Gentiles who have believed for many years and are well into the "process of sanctification". But secondly, the chapter is about Pharisees who are advocating for these new believers being circumcized according to the custom of Moses and keeping the Law of Moses
        in order to be saved
      (vv. 1, 5). Now this is blatant salvation by works, but what would Pharisees mean by "custom/Law of Moses"? Pharisees were among the strictest adhereants to tradition and custom. Maybe they had this in mind. If so, then Peter was referring to the body of Pharisaic tradition that was more than any of them could bear. But in the end, James decided to place only four injuctions on those "turning to God" for the reason that they would be listening to Moses in the synagogues every Sabbath (v.21). The plan was to be easy on new believers and let them learn about the Bible and the Jewish Messiah gradually in the synagogues. This process is identical to that of an adopted child. The child will get lots of grace at the beginning to give him time to "get up to speed". The biological child and the adopted child will have the same standard, but the biological child will have a higher expectation placed on him and a lot of grace will be given to the adopted child because of his ignorance/unfamiliarity.

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    • Torah (by definition) is the Hebrew word for "instructions/guidance", and it shares a common root with words like "parents" and "teachers" (who are our instructors). Torah is also used to dennote the first five books of the Bible which is the same as "Law of Moses". (Later Rabbinical thought added their oral traditions to "Law of Moses", so in most Jewish circles, that is included in the term.) And the Ten commandments are essentially a summary of the entire Torah and the content of the stone tablets.
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