One of the principles of Noahide Laws is that the 7 Laws are not a religion in and of themselves and are not to be used to form a religion. This principle is found in many books explaining the Noahide Laws and The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner has it falling under the Prohibition of Idolatry.
Man made religions always ends with causing its followers to worship falsely and causing them to do prohibited service to the Creator or to the creation thus causing them to fall into idolatry, no matter how good the intentions were in the beginning.
The 7 Universal Noahide Laws contain no religious rites or ceremonies. This causes a problem with many folks that leave one of the many false religions of the world. It causes what I have coined, “a worship void”. Because of this void many reject the Noahide Laws as way of living and service to the Creator, they will seek out another religion to fulfill that void.
Even though Judaism is not a religion but it is the way a people obey commandments given to them, many will trade their old religion for this lifestyle because it fills the void that is created when they leave their old religion. Many even myself when I was studying for conversion rejected the Noahide Laws without even studying them and knowing what they were.
Many people that leave Christianity, still read the Hebrew Scriptures as if they are talking to them (baggage carry over from the church system) and this causes many to create their own form of religion (even if it for themselves. – It is still an unauthorized way of keeping the commandments). Without proper teaching on how to study the Hebrew Scriptures, they will see verses that say to keep the commandments and thus they will strive to come up with their own way of keeping the commandments and in doing so they offer up a strange unauthorized service to the Creator.
New and old religions are unauthorized.
Lets look at a few verses to peer into what they are saying.
Aaron’s sons, Nadav and Avihu, each took his fire pan, placed fire on it, and then incense on it. They offered it before God, [but it was] unauthorized fire, which [God] had not instructed them to offer. The Living Torah by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
Do not burn any unauthorized incense on it Furthermore, do not offer any animal sacrifice, meal offering or libation on it. The Living Torah by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
The above verse is part of the instructions that God gave Aaron about the Incense Atar.
In the footnote to the verse in Exodus 30:9, Rabbi Kaplan includes,
“Unauthorized – Donated by an individual and not made special for this purpose (Rashi). Or made with unauthorized ingredients(Ibn Ezra; Ramban).”
When we look into both of these passages we see that the Creator is particular in how one serves Him.
the Creator is particular in how one serves Him.
With the sons of Aaron we can see that their zeal to serve the Creator caused them to offer unauthorized service that cost them their lives.
Those who are fleeing false religions and clinging to the Hebrew Scriptures really need to take hold of this and understand the danger they are in, in trying to keep the commandments based on their own thoughts. There is so much proof that this is an unauthorized form of service to the Creator. By trying to keep the commandments of the Creator by your own thoughts without proper Torah guidance is as dangerous as remaining in a false religion.
Aaron was given specific instruction about the Atar of Incense. In the footnote to that verse the Sages (Torah scholars) of Israel noted that unauthorized ingredients were forbidden on the Atar.
When man creates a new religion, even if it includes the 7 Laws he is mixing unauthorized ingredients together to form something that was never commanded to begin with.
If the 7 Noahide Laws are not a religion then, what are they?
They are Divine commands that are of and in themselves Divine values for mankind to live by. When a gentile has in mind that the Noahide Laws are Divine commands and values they recognize the Kingship of the Creator. (Paraphrased from To Perfect the Work – The Lubavicher Rebbe’s call to teach the Noahide Code to all mankind).
The Creator spoke to Adam and Noah in the giving of these laws. Then Abraham taught the way of God to his children and household. These 7 Laws were never written or codified to man like the one given to Israel, the priestly nation.
The generation of the flood was judges by the Creator by these laws, before Noah there was six after he flood there was an additional 7th added pertaining the eating of meat.
As it is stated in Genesis 9, the eternal covenant given to mankind, includes everything that God told Adam and Noah. The generations that followed even up today may have forgotten the words spoken by the Creator the Creator has not forgotten them. Later on in the Prophets we learn that God does not change – and He did not change what He expects from the non-Israelite nations.
Today the authority of the 7 Laws comes to us by the fact the Creator had Moses write them down at Mount Sinai as part of the Torah. Through this we today can still learn of their Divine nature of the 7 Laws, and through the keeping of them because the Creator told us to – We recognize His Kingship over the earth.
Understanding that the Noahide Laws are Divine in their nature helps us understand their importance. They, the 7 Laws, were given to mankind to form a Divine value system that would reach across all cultures and lands.
For thus says the Creator that created the heavens, He is God; that formed the earth and made it, He established it, He created it not a waste, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the Creator, and there is none else.
The Creator created the whole earth to be inhabited by man. The Laws/instructions He gave Israel are not to be kept in every land of the planet. For example, Rabbi Tovia Singer tells of a story about a person he knows that lives on one of the islands. He said that if the kosher laws was for him that he would starve but since the kosher laws was not put on all man kind the man can inhabit the island the way the Creator wanted him to and observe the 7 Laws and walk righteously before the Creator.
This above verse is one more example that the Creator gave a set of instructions – not a religion, so man could inhabit the far reaches of the earth and still live by Divine values that he was commanded to by the King.
They, the 7 Laws, were given to mankind to form a Divine value system that would reach across all cultures and lands.
Once one gets past the worship void and settles in to learn the 7 Laws and keeps them, one finds a freedom and a peace that is hard to explain. The 7 Laws has away of changing your God view and your world view. They are very communal in nature; through them we learn to live and act with God and man.
The Torah/Instructions tell us that it’s way are peace – the 7 Laws are the Torah for the nations and through them peace and harmony can be achieved.
Below is a link to a great article explaining the role of a gentile in the world. In it you will see that through Israel and the nations the Creator’s plan for mankind is amazing.
The Creator’s original plan for man was simple and no religion was needed for us to follow Divine commands. Through the 7 Laws we walk with the Creator as Noah did. We do not only keep the Divine commands but at any moment we are free to talk with the Creator, sing and dance before Him as a free people. To do all of this we are free from buildings, prayer books, dogmas and what ever ingredient man can think of to try to serve the Creator – we do not need to add unauthorized ingredients the 7 universal and categorical Laws/instructions are enough to get the job done.
Terry W. Hayes – ben Noach
Photo Credit: Mine