Jews, Gentiles, and the Noahide Laws

Jews, Gentiles, and the Noahide Laws

Within Judaism there is a belief that some laws only apply to Jews while Gentiles have their own set of laws to obey that requires less obedience than what God expects from Jews. Because the Torah tells of righteous people such as Noah who lived long before the law was declared to Israel from mount Sinai it is commonly assumed that laws spoken of or implied before that time applied to humanity as a whole while any moral laws spoken of during the time of Moses was only for Jews. (“Jewish Concepts: The Seven Noachide Laws” n.d.)

Noahide Laws include some basic good moral laws against stealing, sexual immorality, murdering, committing blasphemy, as well as some dietary restrictions like avoiding the consumption of blood. This sounds good, however the problem is that among those who promote the Noahide laws is the belief that gentiles not only do need to obey everything in the Torah, including the Sabbath, but are in fact forbidden from keeping the Sabbath in the same manner as the Jews. (“Noahide Laws”, 2015, June 29).

However, there are some major concerns with this common Rabbinical teaching which shares similarities with mainstream Christian theology by claiming that the Sabbath as well as other laws in the Bible are not for anyone who is not a Jew. For one thing, the Sabbath was established and sanctified by God at creation, long before there were any Jews. “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:3. Also, the commandment regarding the Sabbath says “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8. The very fact that God said to remember suggests God already spoke of it (which God did).

When we read the Torah we can see that before the Ten Commandments were even given from mount Sinai the date of the Sabbath was already known by Israel. “Then he said to them, ‘This is what the Lord has said: “Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.”” Exodus 16:23. Regarding Sabbath keeping among Gentiles the Jewish prophet Isaiah wrote God’s words, “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants—everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant—Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:6-7

Regarding other laws the Torah states, “’You shall have the same law for the stranger and for one from your own country; for I am the Lord your God.’” Leviticus 24:22. So it is clear that the notion that only some laws were for Gentiles and the rest are for Jews is not taught in the Jewish Bible and to be faithful to the God of Israel it is more important to follow God than human tradition. “Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” Proverbs 30:6

References:
Noahide Laws. (2015, June 29). New World Encyclopedia, Retrieved from http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Noahide_Laws&oldid=989082.
“Jewish Concepts: The Seven Noachide Laws” n.d. Jewish Virtual Library http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/The_Seven_Noahide_Laws.html

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