From a traditional Jewish perspective there are two Laws, one for the Gentile nations and one for the Jewish people. According to the Talmud, the seven laws of Noah apply to all humanity as sons of Noah (B’nei Noah), whilst the Torah and its 613 commandments is are only applicable to the descendants of Jacob (Am Isra’el). Christianity has generally accepted this understanding and has used this to interpret the Jerusalem council’s (Apostolic) decree in Acts 15 and to affirm that Gentile believers do not have to comply with the Torah. The four requirements given in Acts15:20 are then taken to be part of the Noachide laws that are only for the Gentile believers as follows:-
Seven laws of Noah Acts 15:20 Decrees
iv. Abstain from strangled animals
7. The requirement of maintaining justice
Is this a correct understanding of the Jerusalem councils ruling or Halakhah (a set of rulings for the living out of Torah) or is something else behind the four rulings?
The laws of Noah are inferred from the Noahic covenant promises given to Noah and his sons in Genesis 9 and the Book of Jubilees. If one accepts that there is one (echad) covenant with progressive revelation starting with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses to David which finds its fulfilment in the New Covenant, then there is only one Torah (echad Torah). This covenant issue will be covered in the next article on the ‘The Covenants in the Rainbow’.
An in-depth study of these four rulings given in Acts15:20 and 29 as done by Abram Yehoshua in ‘The Lifting of the Veil’ reveals a very different understanding that aligns with the rest of Scripture.
Firstly you will notice from the above list that the requirement of not eating meat of strangled animal is not found explicitly in the seven Noachide rules nor is it found in Torah! It can however be deduced, in that the blood remains in the flesh of strangled animals. The second rule to abstain from pornay’ah in the Greek is very often translated as fornication or sexual immorality. Avram makes the very strong point that this word and its equivalent word in the Hebrew zinute are both used to refer to cult prostitution over 96% of the time in the New and Old Testaments not just any sexual sin.
Now the reason for the Jerusalem’s ruling was all about "Unless you (heathens) are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." in verse 1. So these rulings are all about the minimum requirements for heathens to be saved. If they continued to visit pagan temple, took part in the religious rituals which involved eating meat of strangled animals, drinking the blood and/or having sex with the temple prostitutes they would not be saved. We serve a jealous God (Ex 20) and God hated idolatry as it breaks covenant. Only the Blood of Yeshua can save one: Circumcision cannot! All believers are called to have their hearts circumcised. (Rom 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.) If you have any doubts about the truth of this then please get hold of Avram’s book and research it for your self.
Most people seem to suffer from what I have call ‘blink theology’ as they read verses 20 to 29 but do not notice what verse 21 has to say. For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues." (Act 15:21) The word translated ‘for’ is a primary particle (G1063) gar that properly assigns a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification) for the four rules. So the reason for giving these four minimum rules are for the salvation of pagans, who through attendance every Sabbath will hear the Torah given to Moses and be led into the ways of the Lord.
Does this not turn on the head what so many in the church have been taught that the Torah is only for the Jews (Seed of Abraham) and not for non-Jewish believers? There are not two laws or dual covenants, one for Gentiles another for Jewish believers, but only ONE (Echad) Covenant that contains the requirements for a faithful Bride to obey God’s Teaching for Life, the Torah.
Our next article will look at ‘The Covenants in the Rainbow’ followed by a look at the food requirements from a non-Jewish perspective. I pray that these articles will get you to study Scripture from a Hebraic perspective and help you to take off the Greek spectacles’ with which the church has grown up.
Psa 119:29 Keep me from being deceitful, and be kind enough to teach me your Torah.
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