Gentiles and the Torah

Torah inside of the former Glockengasse Synago...
Torah inside of the former Glockengasse Synagogue in Cologne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is meant by the “Law of Moses.”  The Law of Moses is the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament.  If the Law of Moses has been done away with, then we might as well take Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy out of the Bible.

At the first Pentecost following the resurrection of Jesus, the Jewish believers in the Messiah were filled with the Holy Spirit,  Sometime later, Gentiles who believed in the Messiah were also filled with the Holy Spirit.  So the question among the Messianic Jews was “what do we do with these Gentiles who are coming into the faith?”

The Gentile converts had formerly been pagans and were not familiar with the Law of Moses.  In addition, some Jews were teaching that you had to be circumcised and follow the Law of Moses BEFORE you could be saved.  (Actually, both the Old and the New Testament teach that you are saved by the blood not by works.  The blood of Christ–the Lamb of God–is the ultimate sacrifice that takes away all sin.)  So the council at Jerusalem met with Paul and others to decide what to do with these formerly pagan Gentiles whom God had accepted and were new to the faith.

Acts 15: 1-2 (KJV) states the problem:  “And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.”

Here’s the verdict from James, the leader of the council and the church in Jerusalem:  “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.  For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day” (Acts 15: 19-21 KJV).

Notice that James says that the Gentiles can hear the Torah preached in every city in the synagogues on the Sabbath.  The printing press had not been invented.  The New Testament had not been written and canonized.  The Torah was read in the synagogues.  The council in Jerusalem wanted the Gentile believers to hear the Torah and learn.

If you are a believer, the Ten Commandments should be written on your heart (Jeremiah 31: 31-33; 2 Corinthians 3: 3; Hebrews 10: 16).  Can you recite them?  If so, can you recite them in order?  We should study the entire Bible, without skipping over the Torah.

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