One Law

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Introduction

One Law: We are all responsible to obey all of God’s Law, the Law of Moses, or Torah, that we are able to obey. (Ex 12:49) I believe God has only one set of laws defining holiness and sin (1Jn 3:4): we call it Torah, God’s instructions; it includes the Mosaic laws in Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

No one has ever been saved by keeping Torah (Ro 3:28); its purpose is to reveal holiness to God’s people. (1Ti 1:5) Since holiness is required to see the Lord (He 12:14), and is based on God’s eternal nature (1Pe 1:16), Torah is applicable to everyone for all time (Mt 5:19), Jew and Gentile alike. (Mi 4:2) Those who persist in willfully breaking any of these laws are guilty of breaking the Law as a whole (Ja 2:10-11), thereby grieving and angering God. (He 10:26) God commands us to hide the words of Torah in our heart (De 6:6), exhorting us all to love His Law and to meditate on it all the time. (Ps 119:97)

Proof

A detailed proof and perspective is presented in Keep My Commandments, and may be summarized as follows: [1] Christ teaches us, at the outset of His ministry in the Sermon on the Mount, that Torah will endure as long as Heaven and Earth remain. He strongly discourages anyone from breaking even the least of Torah’s commands, or teaching others to do so, and enjoins us all to both obey and teach Torah. (Mt 5:17-19) [2] In the midst of His ministry, Christ affirms that every single law in Torah has intrinsic moral significance as an expression of loving God and Man. (Mt 22:36-40) [3] At the end of His earthly ministry, in His parting words, Christ commands His Jewish disciples to teach all nations to observe and obey all things whatsoever He has commanded them (Mt 28:19-20); God makes no Jew-Gentile distinctions in His Law.

As we believe on Jesus Christ and partake of the New Covenant, whether we be Jew or Gentile, God gives us new hearts (Eze 36:26) and begins to write Torah into our minds and hearts (He 8:10), putting His Spirit within us and causing us to walk in His ways (Eze 36:27), moving in our inward man to delight in Torah. (Ro 7:22) As we grasp its immeasurable value (Ps 119:72), how it testifies of the nature of God and Man (Ps 119:130), how all who delight in it are blessed (Ps 1:2-3), we will never strategize to limit its applicability or scope.

Opposition

By definition, objection to One Law opposes these basic principles by presuming that certain Torah commands have no timeless, intrinsic moral value, and then either [1] claiming Christ has abolished Torah altogether, contradicting His initial teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, or [2] dismissing Christ’s final command in the Great Commission by arbitrarily classifying God’s laws into types (moral, ceremonial, civil), and presuming that certain kinds of laws (ceremonial and civil) are distinctively Jewish, not intended for Gentiles. This error arbitrarily redefines sin itself, and thus attacks the very foundation of our faith.

Motivation for opposing One Law is simple: our old man cannot perceive Torah’s intrinsic moral value, so it will not delight in Torah or be subject to it as a whole. (Ro 8:7) Opponents may cherry pick many different scriptures to refute One Law, but I find that they must wrest each one from context to do so (2Pe 3:16), ignoring the fact that each passage can easily be interpreted consistently with One Law without doing any injustice to the context. Further, many key texts supporting One Law are generally either superficially dismissed or altogether ignored; I cannot see how One Law opponents are striving for a unified understanding of scripture as a whole.

Because of the fundamental, practical importance of this topic, I have written many extensive articles supporting One Law, answering all objections I encounter as well as I can, and am continually open to considering the strongest arguments against it in their most convincing form. Only when we are comfortable fully answering all of the strongest objections to a point of view can we be reasonably sure that we fully understand it and have found the truth as we ought.

A representative work opposing One Law is One Law Movements, an article by Daniel C. Juster (hereafter, the author), considered by many the founder of the modern Messianic movement, one who ought to be more than qualified to address this topic. I consider each point he makes, as well as I understand it, and answer as well as I can. I find no substance in his reasoning, that he consistently takes verses out of context, and that he commits numerous logical errors. If I have misrepresented him in any way, or if my answer is incomplete or inappropriate, please feel free to challenge me.

The Debate

[1] “Acts 15 specifically declares that nothing should be required of the Gentiles but four laws, three of them related to blood.” (p.5, 12)

The Apostles never actually say what the author suggests, that “only these four Torah laws are required of Gentiles, and nothing more.” What James actually says is, “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.” (Ac 15:19-20

Since it is evidently absurd to think Gentiles are free to murder, cheat, lie and steal, inherent in the author’s claim must be a presumption that the Apostles recognized certain “distinctly Jewish” parts of Torah that they did not wish to impose on Gentiles, like dietary, feast and cleanliness laws, which are evidently presumed to be unnecessary, undesirable or inappropriate for Gentiles in some way, and that the four laws they mentioned were the only Jew-specific parts of Torah they felt they had to impose.

Yet there is no evidence that the Apostles ever thought this way about Torah, that it was a burden of any kind, inappropriate in any way for any one, or that they ever divided it up into parts of varying goodness or applicability; it would violate everything they knew about Torah, as well as Christ’s parting words to them. Further, the four laws they do outline for Gentiles are not actually explicit Torah commands at all.

The apostolic concern was evidently not about whether Gentiles should be generally obedient to the laws of Torah that they all loved and cherished; context shows that the Apostles were renouncing a heresy requiring Gentiles to become Jewish in order to be in right relationship with God (by being circumcised after the manner of Moses, vs 1), which implied that Gentiles would be obligated to obey not only Torah, but also many other burdensome, man-made Jewish additions to Torah. (Mt 23:4) In their conclusion, the Apostles noted explicitly that Gentiles could be in a right relationship with God without becoming Jewish, without obeying Oral Torah, refuting this initial heresy. (Ac 15:17) The four apostolic prohibitions for Gentiles must be considered in the context of this purpose.

The Apostles did not consider Torah itself to be a burden; they knew it was good (Ro 7:12) and a wonderful blessing to all who discover it. (Ps 119:165) Telling Gentiles not to concern themselves with seeking out and living by Torah itself would have been extremely harmful for Gentiles (Ps 119:155), so their use of the words trouble and burden in the context of this debate is very significant. (Ac 15:28) It suggests that the Apostles considered their recommendations in light of the heresy they were addressing, requiring Gentiles to obey burdensome Jewish additions to Torah; the Apostles only wanted to add a couple of necessary things to Torah, which were very reasonable applications of Torah in their cultural context, similar to oral Torah in that they were extensions and applications of Torah, but actually good for them and not burdensome.

The Apostles were trying to help Gentiles by pointing out four common Gentile practices which were inconsistent with the spirit of Torah and which would hinder their access to Torah within Jewish synagogues (Ac 15:21), which were the only consistent sources of remotely godly instruction available to Gentiles at the time. The apostolic intent, evidently, was to enable Gentiles to participate in local Jewish communities where they would learn more about Torah and be encouraged and taught how to obey it. (Ps 119:130)

The first of the four apostolic prohibitions, abstaining from foods offered to idols, can only be inferred from Torah indirectly in the context of weaker brothers. (1Co 8:4,7) There is nothing wrong with this practice in itself, so the prohibition necessarily relates to how the practice is perceived by those who are not spiritually mature, including most observant Jews of that day.

Regarding fornication, Torah does not explicitly forbid prostitution nor having relations with prostitutes, a practice rampant in the idolatrous religion of that day. Paul’s appeal to abstain from the practice is not based on a specific Torah command, but on the concept of an unequal yoke. (1Co 6:15-16) Yet, clearly, such activity is generally unhealthy, immoral, inconsistent with the spirit of Torah, and abominable to practicing Jews.

The remaining two prohibitions relate to dietary law: Torah forbids eating blood with the flesh (Ge 9:4), a command which cannot be perfectly obeyed since it is virtually impossible to remove every red blood cell from a piece of flesh. The Apostles are evidently further and explicitly clarifying that blood should be avoided as much as possible, not drunk outright, or ingested from animals killed so as to maximize the blood content of the flesh. These prohibitions are not explicitly found in Torah, but are certainly consistent with its spirit, and were common rituals in pagan worship.

Each of these practices would have been abominable to any observant Jew but common among the nations, and not necessarily obviously wrong to those unfamiliar with Torah. They are not explicit Torah commands, but they were very critical, reasonable and practical applications of Torah in that day. Anyone known to be participating in any of these behaviors would not have been welcome in a Jewish synagogue. Encouraging Gentiles to separate themselves from their culture in this way was clearly in their best interest, even for very new believers living in non-Torah observant communities, if they were to grow in their faith through Torah-based instruction.

These principles are repeated years later by the Apostles in the same spirit. (Ac 21:25) There is no indication that the Apostles were trying to relieve Gentiles of their general moral duty to learn Torah and to try to follow it as God’s standard of righteousness (2Ti 3:16-17); this would have been very uncharitable. The Apostles were relieving Gentiles of the inappropriate requirement made by Jewish authorities that they become Jews and submit to rabbinic authority and burdensome oral tradition in order to be in right standing with God. The article, No Greater Burden, may be helpful here.

[2] “Galatians 5 warns Gentiles to not receive circumcision or they will be required to keep the whole Torah.” (5-6)

Inherent in this claim is an underlying assumption that parts of Torah are burdensome, wearisome, and that encouraging Gentiles to keep it out of love for God is problematic. Those who delight in Torah (Ps 119:16), who realize what a blessing it is (Ps 119:5), who compare it with finding hidden treasure (Mt 13:44) or winning the lottery (Ps 119:14), do not think like this; the assumption is inconsistent with Torah itself, and with the immediate context.

Paul begins, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (vs 1) He is definitely talking about a burdensome yoke that leads people into bondage, so it is natural for those who consider parts of Torah to be a burden to presume this is Paul’s focus.

But then Paul continues, “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” (vs 2) We can say equivalently, “If we receive any profit from Christ then we are not circumcised.” This is problematic if we consider circumcision to be the physical act of removing a foreskin in compliance with Torah; it implies that anyone, Jew or Gentile, who no longer has a foreskin for any reason at all, is eternally damned. Paul tells all those who are circumcised, Jew and Gentile, that they alienate themselves from the work of Christ and fall from grace. (Ga 5:2-4) Yet Paul himself was circumcised, and he had Timothy circumcised. (Ac 16:3) It is absurd to think that both Paul and Timothy were fallen from grace and had no more part in Christ. What do we make of this?

Since the physical act of circumcision was central to conversion to Judaism (legalism), it had come to represent the conversion process in its entirety, the (legalistic) belief system accompanying it, and those promoting this belief. (Ga 2:12) When Paul says circumcision makes us a debtor to keep the whole law (Ga 5:3), he is speaking in this context of legalism: those who turn to Judaism, or any form of legalism, to ensure a right standing with God, whether they be Jew or Gentile, are obligated to be perfect in order to be saved.

This is very likely the only reason that Paul discouraged Gentiles from receiving the physical procedure of circumcision, as in the case of Titus (Ga 2:3): it was very closely related with conversion to Judaism and trusting adherence to Torah and acceptance within the Jewish community for assurance of eternal life, which is fundamentally opposed to the truth of the gospel. (Ga 2:5) Similarly, in a community teaching that water baptism is essential for salvation, it would be reasonable to discourage any new convert from obeying this command, even though it is required under normal circumstances. In such cases, maintaining clarity in the truth of the gospel and the means of justification is paramount.

Circumcision itself precedes Mosaic Law. Moses did not introduce this rite (Jn 7:22); it was revealed to Abraham as a symbol of justification by faith. (Ro 4:11) All who are justified by faith, whether they be Jew or Gentile, are children of Abraham. (Ro 4:16) Gentiles may receive circumcision as infants, as a matter of cultural norm for health purposes, and certainly out of love for God, being justified by faith and a child of Abraham, and wanting to obey His law, but this does not imply that they cannot then receive Christ, or that they have “fallen from grace” (vs 4), or that they are now obligated to keep Torah perfectly in order to be saved. Paul is not at all concerned about performing the act itself in obedience to Torah, but about doing it in a manner that is inconsistent with both Torah and the gospel, as required by the Jews.

In Galatians, Paul is not addressing our moral duty to obey Torah as God’s definition of sin. Paul is confronting a false gospel (Ga 1:6), the thinking that obedience in itself qualifies us in some way to merit God’s kingdom. Paul is not discouraging Gentiles from obeying Torah in pursuit of practical holiness and righteousness out of reverence and love for God.

While the author claims that Galatians is written only to Gentiles, there is no indication of this in the text, and it is very unlikely that any congregation of that period was composed entirely of Gentiles. The principles Paul gives are not Gentile-specific; any Jew reverting back to Judaism for justification has the same problem as any Gentile would. Paul’s warning is addressed to every man, not just to Gentiles. (Ga 5:3) Concluding from this that Gentiles who are trusting Christ would lose their salvation if they happened to want to follow the “distinctively Jewish” parts of Torah, or that certain parts of Torah are applicable to Jews but not to Gentiles, is an error.

On page 13, the author completes his argument relating to this passage, but does not address the above facts or present anything new of interest. He does, however, make a classic logical mistake when he says, “If one is circumcised, he is obligated to keep the whole law. Thus, if one is not circumcised, he is not obligated to obey the whole law!” He wrongly concludes here that the Inverse of a true If-Then statement must also be true. This is a logical fallacy; a statement and its inverse are not logically equivalent. This is a glaring logical error that anyone trained in the science of reason should catch. The author is either being very careless, or he is demonstrating significant ignorance here.

[3] ‘Colossians 2 warns that no one is to judge the Colossians with regard to Sabbath, New Moons or Feasts. These are a shadow, the substance is Messiah.” (p.6)

The context indicates that Paul was instructing Gentiles to not be intimidated by any criticism related to their non-conformance with Jewish, man-made tradition as they observed Torah. (Col 2:8, 22) These feasts are not merely a shadow, they are a divinely inspired prophetic shadow. (Col 2:17) The substance or body casting the shadow is Christ Himself, suggesting that God has given these feasts for the edification of all men; they are an earthly shadow of Heavenly activity (He 8:4), a means of revealing Christ and His plan of redemption to us.

Christ Himself states the same about the sabbath: it was made for Man, not just the Jews (Mk 2:27), teaching us all how to enter His eternal rest. (He 4:10-11)

The article, Let No Man Judge You, may be helpful here.

[4] “In Galatians 4:10 Paul writes that he fears that he labored over the Galatians Gentile congregations in vain because they were now observing ‘special days, months, seasons and years.'” (p. 6)

In this particular text, Paul mentions that the Galatians were observing special months, and seasons, evidently considering some to be more important than others, a concept we cannot find in Torah, only in Jewish oral tradition. He calls these concepts “weak and beggarly elements” (Gal 4:9), expressing concern about their desire to return to spiritual bondage.

As we have already noted, the context of Galatians is not about general obedience to Torah, but about legalism, seeking to be justified through obedience to Torah. (Gal 3:11, 5:4) the author’s application of the text implies that it is actually sinful or wrong for Gentiles to try to keep Torah; it implies that all of Paul’s work with them was pointless, even if they were obeying Torah purely out of love for God and His laws. Yet there is nothing about keeping Torah for the right reason that invalidates any of Paul’s teaching, or makes it vain. (1Ti 1:8) In fact, Paul himself was still keeping Torah (Ac 21:24), and encouraging all Gentiles to follow his example. (Ga 4:12), Php 4:9)

[5] “(Paul) never writes anything like ‘for a discipled life of blessing, you all need to keep the whole Torah.’ If that had been his view, he had plenty of opportunity to make it clear. If that had been his view, the context would seem to demand that he express it. But he did not, either in Galatians or elsewhere.” (p. 6)

Even if this argument were true, it would be an argument from silence, and therefore a logical fallacy. But it is not true; Paul does, in fact, state that Torah is established as God’s instruction in righteousness for both Jews and Gentiles, making no distinction between them: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Ti 3:16-17) At the time Paul wrote this, the Tenach (Old Testament) was the only scripture anyone had, and it is all rooted and grounded in Torah. Paul says all of it is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, how to live in holiness. This cannot be stated more clearly.

[6] “To my knowledge, there is not one believing Bible scholar who is respected and received by his peers who holds to the views of the “One Law” movements. ” (p.7)

This is a well-known logical fallacy: argument from authority. We find the same argument for evolution: “No scientific scholar who is respected and received by his peers holds to a strict view of Creation Science.” Well, when one of the criteria for being respected is that you profess to believe in evolution, then we no longer have true science. The same follows in this debate: if all the institutions who pay Bible scholars reject One Law, it is no surprise that their employees do as well. The carnal mind is at enmity with God and is never subject to His law (Ro 8:7), so institutions dependent on the general population for financing cannot be expected to be neutral here.

The Psalmist has more understanding than all of his teachers, more than the ancients, standing alone in his pursuit of God. (Ps 119:99-100) The Apostle Paul had no difficulty standing in truth all on his own. (2Ti 4:16); each of us will bear his own burden before God when it comes to finding the truth — we must do it for ourselves. (Ga 6:5) When others disagree with us we must humbly and honestly consider their reasons, but we should never abandon the truth itself merely because we are standing alone in it.

[7] “Scripture does not specifically state that all of Mosaic law applies to both Jews and Gentiles. This set of laws was formally given specifically to the Jews at mount Sinai, and it therefore applies only to them; Jews have a covenant responsibility to keep it. Gentiles are only responsible to keep the moral law found within Torah, that which is obviously common to all nations, which is repeated in those parts of the New Testament addressed specifically to Gentiles.”

This is not a quote from the author’s article, but it seems consistent with arguments made by others, and relates to content within the article on pages 7-8, where the author seems to be trying to argue that since Gentiles living in or near ancient Israel were not required to do the exactly same things that the Jews were required to do, that God has a different moral standard for Gentiles.

An example of this is that Jews were not allowed to eat an animal that died naturally, while foreign guests and those living near Israel were allowed to eat it. (De 14:21a) While Torah does in such instances impose different legal requirements on those within and outside of a Torah-observant culsture, this does not disprove One Law since civil toleration is not equivalent to endorsement. (Mt 19:8) There is no civil penalty for failing to love God with all of our hearts, yet our moral duty is clear.

God judges each soul according to the heart. There is no mercy for those of His people who knowingly despise Torah (He 10:28-31); even the prayers of those who turn away from Torah are an abomination to Him. (Pr 28:9) To whom much is given, much is required (Lk 12:48); God does not hold people accountable to obey laws they have know way of formally discovering (Ac 17:30), but God does hold people with more access, more community support, and more knowledge of His ways more accountable for their actions and to a higher standard of compliance. (Ja 3:1)

Such differences in toleration and enforcement do not necessarily imply a differing ultimate moral standard. The ultimate definition of sin and holiness is found in the nature of God Himself (1Pe 1:16); though God reveals Himself progressively over time, His heart and His way cannot be inconsistent from one people group to another, or from one time period to another, since He never changes. (Ja 1:17)

There are, in fact, clear statements within Torah stating that the moral duties are the same for the twelve tribes of the house of Israel (Jacob), and for Gentiles dwelling permanently among them as part of the local culture and community. (Nu 15:15-16) God does not distinguish between Jew and Gentile when giving commandments to Man.

This principle is repeated in the New Testament where Paul states that the Tenach (the entire Old Testament) is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness for any man of God (2Ti 3:16); he makes no distinction between Jew and Gentile.

In spite of this, it is argued here that since God does have distinct laws for His Levitical priests, both what they are to do and how they are to live, and that certain laws apply only to women, that Torah does not apply equally to all people. While it is true that God does give specific laws for specific purposes to subsets of people with unique roles, yet God clearly specifies these kinds of laws, who they apply to, and what these roles are. The laws that apply to only to priests or to women are evidently to help them fulfill their unique roles. However, in doing this, God never implies that any of His laws are morally neutral, that they are not “moral” law.

When Christ is asked about the importance of the various laws God has given His people, which of them is the greatest, He tells us: “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Mt 22:36-38) He follows with God’s second priority: “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” (vs 39) Then Christ summarizes the nature of the entire body of His law, all of His instructions, Torah: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (vs 40) All of Torah is “moral law,” reflecting the two greatest moral laws; every law is a way of fleshing out the concept of love: love for God and love for Man. Any classification of God’s laws into sets where some have no moral nature or content, such as civil and ceremonial law, is inconsistent and contradictory.

As noted in the initial Proof provided earlier, unless one is claiming that Torah has been abolished altogether, which contradicts the passage noted next in [8], this is the only remaining strategy against One Law: arbitrarily classify God’s Laws into two sets, A and B, so long as A laws are not explicitly repeated in the New Testament, then argue from silence that since the New Testament does not strictly impose A laws on Gentiles, that Gentiles are not responsible to obey them.

This argument can easily be leveraged to promote nearly anything, such as homosexuality, pedophilia and bestiality: claim that moral law only forbids non-consensual sexual relations, and observe that the New Testament never explicitly condemns consensual sexual relations.

All commands God gave at Sinai, including the Ten Commandments, were given directly to Israel, but God never specifies that any of these laws apply only to physical descendants of Israel (Jacob), that they are not applicable to Gentiles who are also wanting to be in covenant with Him. He never says Gentiles who are seeking Him, those He has chosen to be His own, are to be treated any differently from a moral standpoint. He does state the reverse, that there is one law for the congregation of Israel and for the stranger, or Gentile, that dwells with and among Israel. (Nu 15:15-16) Although God enforces this standard differently at times, He evidently has the same general moral standard for everyone, and it is the only perfect standard that there is.

[8] “Matthew 5:17 and 18 teaches obedience to the least of the commandments. This was addressed to Jews.” (p. 9)

The author seems to be proposing that since Yeshua wasn’t addressing Gentiles in the Sermon on the Mount, that the sermon does not apply to Gentiles. Using this logic we could discount the entire New Testament as well; Yeshua only taught Jews … He was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel (Mt 15:24), and everything Paul taught was based squarely on Torah (supposedly only for Jews) and the teachings of Christ (again, only to the Jews). There’s nothing much left for us Gentiles except general moral law, commonly known by all, and for which we evidently don’t need any scripture.

As in [7], any strategy in rejecting One Law, by definition, resorts to claiming that Torah as a whole is specifically for Jews and not for Gentiles. However, Christ’s parting word to His Jewish disciples is that they are to teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever He has commanded them. (Mt 28:19-20) This includes His command in the Sermon on the Mount to continue to observe all the commands in Torah, even the least important ones. (Mt 5:17-19) This proves One Law as well as any doctrine in scripture can be proved. If direct, unambiguous statements are unconvincing, then nothing can be. It cannot be said more clearly in any language. The article, Keep My Commandments, addresses this text in detail and may be helpful here.

[9] “Many of the One Law people speak as if the Mosaic legislation is the perfect manifestation of the Law. Though the Torah is fully inspired by God it does not in every case give us the ideal, but sometimes accommodates the weakness of the age. … While sometimes the Torah reflects the ideal standard of God, sometimes it does not. So while the Law will be preserved and not a jot or a tittle will pass away, this does not mean it is in all regards God’s perfect standard.” (p.10)

The author has evidently not been thoughtfully singing the Psalms as we are all commanded. (Eph 5:19, Col 3:16, Ja 5:13) The Psalms are filled with clear expressions of the perfection of Torah. (Ps 19:7,  Ps 119:96)

The author attempts to provide several examples where he thinks Torah provides instruction that is unhealthy for us today: slavery, polygamy, rape, divorce … claiming there is now a higher standard under the New Covenant, saying, “This is why I speak of New Covenant Torah, the teaching of Yeshua and the Apostles providing our foundation of Torah and then applying the Torah of Moses as is fitting to the New Covenant order. I call this New Covenant halakhah.”

Yet the foundation of Torah, all of Torah, is loving God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. (Mt 22:37-40) There are no laws in Torah which are not based on this ultimate standard, and there is no higher standard: there cannot be. Torah is perfect and timeless (Ps 119:160), applicable for every culture and age. (Ps 119:155) God’s statutes relating to the author’s examples are perfect, so any deviation from them is more harmful to society and offensive to God.

Any teaching that is not rooted in this fundamental truth, springing from a delight in all of Torah as God has given it to us, is a false way (Ps 119:128), of the flesh (Ro 8:7); all such sentiments are vain thoughts. We are to hate them. (Ps 119:113) Those who speak against any part of Torah reveal that they have no light in them. (Is  8:20)

[10] “While not joining in the covenant of Passover, Gentile proselytes of the gate already celebrated Sabbath and Feasts with the Jewish community in the time before Yeshua. However, there is no place in the New Covenant where this is made a covenant responsibility.” (p. 13)

This appears to be another argument from silence, similar to [7] above, and is evidently also a misunderstanding of the nature of national covenant responsibility. God makes both the Old and New Covenants with the nation of Israel, not with any Gentile nation or with isolated individuals. Yet this does not imply that Gentiles have no obligation to keep Torah. In fact, the very definition of the New Covenant is not a different standard of holiness, but about God enabling and empowering us to live according to it, writing Torah on the minds and hearts of His people (He 8:10) and causing them to walk in His statutes. (Eze 36:26-27)

Gentiles’ only access to God is through this same New Covenant that God will one day make with Israel (Ps 50:5), and God calls all who believe on Him children of God, children of promise. (Ro 9:6-8) Believing Jews and Gentiles are now the people of God, an holy nation (1Pe 2:9-10), and holiness is undefined outside of Torah (1Pe 1:16), so Torah is not optional for anyone. (He 12:14, Ps 119:118) God will write His Torah equally and fully on any heart, Jew or Gentile, that participates in this New Covenant. The article, The Covenants of Promise, may be helpful here.

[11] “In Romans 14, concerning matters of purity laws and special days, there is again no exhortation to appropriate Torah as one learns, but simply to be convinced in conscience concerning one’s life pattern. This portion of Romans is understood by all interpreters to be written to Gentiles, not Jews.”

If we read the text carefully in context, we find that none of the issues mentioned in the text are actually Torah-based instructions. And, regardless what scholars may claim, there is no indication in the text itself indicating it is written only to Gentiles and not also to Jews: the rest of the epistle addresses Jews explicitly (Ro 2:17); there is no evidence that this particular chapter should be treated any differently.

Paul is not saying that Torah is optional for Gentiles, he is saying extra-Torah matters are optional for both Jews and Gentiles; how one applies Torah in extenuating circumstances can be a matter of conscience.

Torah does not teach us to regard one day as more important than another (Ro 14:5), only to set one day aside for rest, and to observe His feasts. But it is not wrong to value the Sabbath as more important than a weekday, or one of the feasts more than the others. Neither is it wrong to value every day of the year as equally important, and every feast as equally significant.

Torah does teach that some foods are unclean, but it does not teach that clean food becomes unclean of itself, on its own, apart from God’s definition of uncleanness, just because someone performs a superstitious ritual over it. (Ro 14:14) Torah does not call us to being vegetarians (Ro 14:2), but it is not wrong to be a vegetarian, especially if we live in a pagan culture and are worried about eating flesh that has been offered to an idol, or being a stumbling block to others who are weak.

The article, Nothing Unclean of Itself, may be helpful here.

[12] “We conclude this section on exegesis by noting that there is no word in the New Testament that exhorts Gentiles to circumcision, feasts, purity laws, Sabbaths, fast days and more, but that these practices were, and continue to be, central to Judaism.” (p. 13)

The author is again arguing from silence, a logical fallacy. Yet the New Testament is not at all silent on this subject.

The author has evidently overlooked Paul’s admonition to Gentiles to avoid all uncleanness as a manner of life, and that those who fail here have no part in God’s kingdom. (Eph 5:3) The only definition of uncleanness we have is in Torah. One may observe that uncleanness can refer to sexual impurity and argue that Paul is only addressing this, but the text refers to all manner of uncleanness, which must include Torah’s entire definition.

Peter exhorts strangers (1Pe 1:1-2), Gentiles who are trying to follow God, to holiness. He does so because it is commanded in Levitical law. (1Pe 1:15-16, Le 19:2) There is no definition of holiness outside of Torah, and no one will see God without it. (He 12:14)

Paul commands Gentiles to sing Psalms (Eph_5:19), texts like Psalm 1 and Psalm 119, which are simply filled with exhortations to keep the whole law, to love it (Ps 119:97), to meditate on it day and night. (Ps 1:2) We are to memorize these psalms, sing them, praying through these amazing texts, speaking them to ourselves, teaching and admonishing ourselves and one another through them. (Col 3:16) Just try actually doing this, and then refuting One Law.

Paul says our inward man delights in Torah as an entity (Ro 7:22), not parts of Torah; what resists any part of Torah is the carnal mind, which cannot be subject to Torah as a whole. (Ro 8:7) When we break any part of Torah we break it all. (Ja 2:10) As a whole, Torah stops every mouth, both Jew and Gentile; every single person is born under it, has broken it, and is therefore guilty before God. (Ro 3:19)

Paul exhorts Gentiles to keep the Passover (1Co 5:8), and not merely in a metaphorical way. (1Co 11:20) The article, The Lord’s Supper, may be helpful here.

As we noted earlier (in  [3]) in comments on Colossians 2, Christ asserts that God designed and ordained the Sabbath day for Man, not just for the Jews. (Mk_2:27)

James says anyone, Jew or Gentile, breaking any of Torah is guilty of breaking it all (Ja 2:10), and he tells us to obey it all, calling it the Law of Freedom. (Ja 2:12)

The Apostle John defines sin for anyone, Jew or Gentile, as violation of Torah (1Jn 3:4); there is no other definition of sin ever given to us in any text of scripture. John adds that those who abide in Christ do not sin, they do not violate Torah as a manner of life, and that those who do sin do not know Him (1Jn 3:6), but are of the devil. (1Jn 3:8)

And as Paul the Apostle summarizes all of the challenges and difficulties related to how law and grace and faith work together for Jews and Gentiles; he does so in an unmistakably clear voice. He says that faith in Christ establishes Torah. (Ro 3:31) If anyone is qualified to say Torah doesn’t apply to Gentiles, it is Paul, but he says faith in Christ establishes Torah, including Mosaic Law, as God’s standard of holiness for all people. To think we are establishing God’s Law while we are encouraging anyone, even a Gentile, to carelessly break it, to treat it as optional, is to deceive ourselves and others. (Mt 5:19)

And finally, as we noted above in [8], Christ’s parting words to His Jewish disciples are that they teach all nations to observe and obey all things whatsoever He has commanded them. (Mt 28:19-20) God does not have two sets of rules for His people, one defining holiness for Jews and another defining holiness differently for Gentiles. It cannot be said more clearly in any language. This proves One Law as well as any doctrine in scripture can be proved. If direct, unambiguous statements are unconvincing, then nothing can be.

The author has evidently not seriously considered any of these texts, nor any of the several dozen more which contradict his claim. It is easy to forget that the early church only had the Tenach, the Old Testament. Take away the New Testament and try to refute One Law … because that is the only scripture the early church had to work with. Perhaps then it might be more obvious why Paul and the Apostles weren’t constantly stating the obvious, repeating all the commandments in an effort to ensure that everyone thought they were still pertinent. Perhaps they were generally taking all of Torah for granted as God’s standard of holiness, because there was nothing else to compete with it, and because God never changes. (Ja 1:17)

[13] “One of the serious problems with One Law interpretation is that it seems to ignore the awesome change that has come through the death and resurrection of Yeshua.” (p. 13)

The author is evidently finally appealing to a form of dispensational thought to seal his rejection of One Law, committing the circular reasoning logical fallacy, assuming what he wishes to prove. Yet Paul bases his teaching on justification on the lives of Abraham (Ro 4:1-3) and David (Ro 4:6-8), and Yeshua’s born again teaching was given well before the Cross, in what most would consider the Old Covenant dispensation (Jn 3:3), chiding a Pharisee for not already understanding this concept. (Jn 3:10)

The work of Christ is timeless (He 4:3), as well as the gospel (He 4:2); nothing changed in 33 CE. The temple and the sacrificial system was still fully functional during the time of Paul, well after the cross (He 8:4-5); it is dormant now (He 8:13), and it will return. (Re 11:1) All of God’s principles are timeless. (Ps 119:152) The articles, Limited Atonement of All and Ready To Vanish, may be helpful here.

[14] “I believe that One Law teachers, though they may personally be humble, are promoting an arrogant and divisive doctrine.” (p. 21)

Doctrines cannot be arrogant or divisive; only people can behave this way. It is certainly true that iconoclasts will find a wealth of material in One Law which they can leverage to destroy the faith of others and gather followers to themselves, but it is an error to reject One Law because of how people abuse it. This is, fundamentally, the association fallacy: irrationally associating the One Law position with the improper behavior of its proponents. There is nothing within or about the One Law position itself that requires us to be divisive or arrogant. If we are truly following Torah with a right heart, we will be weeping for those who do not. (Ps 119:136)

[15] “Peter’s vision of the unclean animals on the rooftop proves that the dietary laws of Torah are no longer binding.” This is not argued by the author, but it is a very common claim.

If all of the animals in the sheet were unclean, unfit for Peter to eat according to the dietary laws, then I would cede my position, but this is not necessarily the case. In fact, there is strong evidence in the text that this was not the case. (Ac 10:12) Further, neither Peter nor any of the Apostles interpreted the vision as an annulment of the dietary laws; they all continued keeping Torah their entire lives, just as they always had. (Ac 21:24) For an-depth study of this text, please see the article, What God Hath Cleansed.

[16] “Paul clearly teaches that we are no longer under law, but under grace.” This is not argued by the author, but it is a very common claim.

This is true, but very easily misunderstood. Paul said: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Ro 6:14) This is true of all believers, both Jew and Gentile. The fact that we are not under the law means that sin will not dominate our lives, not that we are free to sin. It means that we are no longer left to our own strength in following the righteous precepts of Torah, and that the life of Christ in us will enable and empower us to live in holiness, in accordance with Torah. For an in-depth look at this text and similar ones, please see the articles, Not Under Law, Dead to the Law, Delivered from the Law, The Law Was our Schoolmaster.

[17] “Paul teaches that every creature is good for us to eat, as long as we are thankful for it.” This is not argued by the author, but it is a very common claim.

The text is: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (1Ti 4:4-5) If we note carefully the phrase “creature of God,” we notice a key redundancy. Every creature is created by God, so why say “creature of God?” It evidently means creatures that are “of God” for the purpose of eating, creatures God has designed and created as food for us to eat. This is validated in the next verse in that this food is sanctified by the Word of God, Torah; no unclean foods are sanctified by Torah for us to eat. This insight ties the verse in with the remaining context, which is answering a heresy claiming it was sinful to eat meat, even clean animals. (1Ti 4:1-3) For an in-depth look at this text, please see the article, Every Creature of God Is Good.

[18] “Paul clearly says the law is abolished.” This is not argued by the author, but it is a very common claim.

The text is: “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” (Ep 2:14-16) This text cannot be referring to Torah, the law of love, because the laws Christ abolished are “the enmity,” or an expression of hatred forming a partition between Jews and Gentiles, preventing them from fellowshipping together peacefully. (Ga 2:12) The laws Christ abolished were bad laws, or He wouldn’t have abolished them. Yet there are no bad laws in Torah, no laws which express hatred toward Gentiles or position a barrier between Jew and Gentile. The text is evidently referring to Jewish man-made oral tradition that forbade Jews from interacting with Gentiles (Ac 10:28) and was hindering the spread of the Gospel. (Ac 11:19) For an in-depth look at this text and similar ones, please see the articles, One New Man, Christ is the End of the Law, and The End of the Commandment.

Conclusion

The above are all of the actual arguments against One Law that I can perceive within the author’s work, or anywhere else. I believe I have thoroughly and completely answered each and every one of them, integrating all scripture into a coherent position that does no injustice to any text.

It is perhaps true that certain texts proposed in opposition to One Law may be reasonably understood that way in isolation, but the challenge is to consider all arguments for and against One Law in their strongest possible form, and to integrate all of the scripture related to One Law into a single, coherent doctrine that does no injustice to any text. If we are to take any position on any spiritual topic with integrity, this is what is required; any other approach is to handle the Word of God deceitfully. (2Co 4:2)

To date, I have seen no one else attempt this, to address all of the texts mentioned in this work at once and provide a coherent explanation for all of them together. I believe those who reject One Law are picking and choosing which texts to consider, ignoring many of the stronger arguments for One Law, and therefore that they are not rightly dividing the Word on this topic.

If the above are the strongest objections to One Law, then I think we may safely put the matter to rest, and conclude that those who oppose One Law do not yet fully understand God’s way. If there are better arguments than these, please do let me know.

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