This blog was inspired by a friend’s thread on Facebook, although I have been wanting to write on the subject for a long while, this thread helped me put some things in order to be able to write on it.
The subject of this blog is about the responsibilities between Israel and the nations. There are so many from both sides of the fence that confuses this issue. The Torah is plain that there are two separate groups with each one under their own covenant that contains their own instructions.
There are two distinct covenants that list responsibilities of each party under said covenant. I am going to start with Israel’s covenant then I will go to the one for the rest of mankind.
As many knows, Israel accepted the covenant at Mount Sinai. Even though a covenant was given to Noah and his sons for the rest of mankind, it had been neglected and forgot through out the years. So when the Creator spoke to Moses He reiterated the first covenant in the giving of the covenant to Israel. So it is by the Torah given Israel that we rediscover our own covenant and it is why I chose to go with Israel’s first.
I want to start out with a scripture a Jewish friend quoted in the thread I mentioned earlier.
Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them: Ye shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy. (www.mechon-mamre.org)
Now when we look at this verse we need to ask a few questions:
1. Who is the subject of this verse?
2. What is the message given to the subject?
3. What is the meaning of the word holy in its original language?
1. The subject of this verse is to the congregation of Israel and not to anyone else.
2. The message is about being a holy nation.
3. The Hebrew word that is translated as holy is ‘kadosh’ which means separate or be separate from something. Israel is being called to be a holy people – a separate nation from the rest of the nations. This does not mean they have a favoritism over the rest of the nations, only a separate and distinct job than the rest of us.
The Creator by specific design did not call the rest of the nations to be holy i.e. separate. That is not in our job description.
The nation of Israel was given the command to settle the land of Canaan which was to become the Land of Israel, the promised land to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
This was to be the land of Torah, the land would be the place where all of the covenant would be kept and observed. But even before they went into the land, Moses knew that they would mess up on this mission and become scattered. Their mess up became our benefit, for into the nations they brought with them the Torah, the instructions of the Creator. And contained in it was the original set of instructions given to the rest of mankind and how to be forgiven when we mess up. (which is another whole lessen).
The Hebrew Scriptures record specific instructions on diet, clothing, tithing, marital relations, priestly duties, what is expected from a man, a woman, a child, a slave, a general Israelite, a Levite, and so on. Each instruction is for the Israelite/priestly nation.
Here is where the problem of blurring the roles of Israel and the nations begins.
Out of the Roman empire came the Roman Catholic Church who stole the Hebrew Scripture in Rome’s conquest of Israel. When they created the Christian scriptures and religion they sewed it to a tampered with version of the Hebrew Scriptures. By their own admittance the RCC coined the terms Old and New Testaments. By doing this many today even many who are not Christian believes everything in that book is for them. This is a baggage carry over and even well meaning Jews today believe that lie that came from the combining of those books. How do I know? I have seen Jews speak down about pork eating gentiles not knowing that the Creator did not forbid it for them only Israel. A gentile can take on the Israelite diet of the scriptures but it is not commanded of them by the Creator nor are they to command others to do it. It is on a voluntary basis only.
Now with that being said, now on to the covenant with the nations.
We find in Genesis 9 the Creator’s instruction to Noah and his sons and then the story of the rainbow. There are six instructions that were passed down from Adam to Noah that we can find in the Hebrew Scriptures before Noah, after the flood, the Creator gave an additional 7th instruction to Noah concerning the eating of meat from a live animal. From it we also get further instructions on how to care for the creation.
For the nations, the Creator gave us 7 categorical instructions, within these 7 instructions we are shown what is required to walk harmoniously with the Creator, man and nature.
We are called to settle the earth and spread out. Israel is called to inhabit a specific place on the earth and is given specific rules to live by. The instructions, by their own nature separates Israel from the rest of mankind to be a nation of priest and a light to the rest of us.
In Numbers 22 begins what is called, Parshah Balak. It is within this part of the Torah reading we find one of the example of the separation of Israel from the rest of the nations.
For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. (www.mechon-mamre.org)
In the Hebrew Scriptures there are instructions for us and there are some given to Israel only. When reading and studying the Hebrew Scriptures it is important to know the difference between the two. There are some things like diets, festivals and so on that are sins for Israel if not done but are not sins for those of the nations. Many carry a guilt complex around over laws that they were never given to them to begin with. Some try to beat other up with such laws because since it is in the bible they think it is for them and everybody else. To tell you the truth many if not most gentiles/non-Jews do not know how to properly study the Hebrew Scriptures and this can cause a lot of guilt, misunderstanding and miss interpretations of verses.
From Adam through Noah in Genesis 9 we can find the Seven instructions given to us by the Creator. Below is a list, not in any order. These are the Seven categorical instructions.
Prohibition of idolatry
Prohibition of blaspheme
Prohibition of theft
Prohibition of murder
Prohibition of forbidden sexual relations
Prohibition of eating meat taken from a living animal
Set up courts of justice.
Again these are categorical, meaning when studied, many sub-rulings will fall under each one.
These instructions does not contain any religious rites or ceremonies and this points to the issue that we are not to invent any new religions. The Seven instructions is and is not to be come a religion but a way of life for mankind so they can walk and live a harmonious life with the Creator, man and nature.
These instructions are not only a list of dos and don’ts. By the Creator not forming a religion for us to follow and do, we are protected of many of the weird things people do in the name of their religion. Like the thread on the article that inspired me, it was on Christian couples swinging/spouse swapping to spread the Christian gospel. It is the man made religions that these fringe weird ideas are given birth. If the people would only stick to what was commanded of them such behavior would not even be a question.
The Hebrew Scriptures give us a specific lesson on what inventing your own worship of the Creator could do.
The story is found in Leviticus 10, the story of the sons of Aaron who got zealous and put strange fire in pans and went to worship the Creator and He killed them. What was so strange about the fire? The Creator tells us that they were killed because they had worshiped the Creator in a way that He did not command. Even though this happened to Israel it is an example for the rest of us – that the Creator means business when it comes to His commands and the worship of Him.
It is worth the time and study to really find out what the Creator expects out of us. Like I said earlier, many because of misunderstanding and wrong interpretations fall into traps and cause others to fall with them. When one finds the right path the Creator expects of them a tremendous freedom and respect of the Creator and His creation takes over your life.
For me and many others, we use the name ‘Master of the Universe’ in our personal conversation with the Creator. When I hear or say that name a freedom and joy accompanies it.
The Seven instructions are not hard to do, studying them and learning them in their detail is exciting, they are my Creators personal instructions for me – when we do them because the Creator asked us to we are told by the Sages of Israel what we will have a place in the World To Come as righteous among the nations. We are likened to a Jewish High Priest on the day of Yom Kippur.
There is a beauty in the Seven instructions that many miss out on. So many have been spiritually kidnaped by the manmade religions of this world, trapped in one dogma after another.
Every situation in life falls under one of these seven, there is no more guess work involved. When we come to a questionable situation we just look to the seven instructions and they will guide you in your decision process.
Terry W. Hayes
Photo Credit: Mine
The picture above are of two Sabbath candlesticks that I received as a gift. For me (as a person of the nations) they represent the two lights, Israel and the Nations (that follow His Divine instructions). By following His instructions of their respective covenants we both shine a light on the Creators Name and give Him an awesome reputation within His Creation. In Hebrew we call this Kiddush Hashem.
P.S. Here is a link to my latest Youtube video on the Seven Laws and Rainbow