A QUESTION OF TORAH
The Impact of Torah on Spirituality
Substantial parts of the first third of this interview, originally given in 2002, have been rewritten (2017) to incorporate our knowledge of, and current position on, the Talmudic 'Noahide Laws'.
Q. I was talking to a Christian the other day about the Noahide Laws and was surprised that he had never heard of them before. He knew about the Mosaic Law and had been taught the standard Protestant doctrine that Messiah had 'done away' with that. I wonder if you could explain to us what the Noahide Law was, how it relates to the Mosaic Law, and what its relevance - if any - is to us today?
A. The idea that a codified law was given by Yahweh to and for Noah and his family and future generations immediately after the Great Flood is certainly an interesting idea but there is no direct evidence of such in the Scriptures. That a law existed - either oral or written - is not disputed by me, but what I serious have to question is that it was the one presented to us by Talmudic Jews which had come to be called the 'Noahite Law'. It is my current view (2017) that this was invented after the giving of the Torah to Moses and that those who invented it were moved by a spirit that had a sinister purpose on mind. But perhaps we could come to that later. I seriously doubt that the so-called 'Noahide Law', in the form it has been presented to us by Rabbinical Judaism, was therefore a precursor to the Torah and that, as many others have come to believe, that this 'Law' was part of some 'evolutionary process'. So I seriously question that the 'Noahide Law' was an ancient, pre-Mosaic, self-contained code of divine mitzvot (commandments) given by Yahweh to the venerable patriarch or that it had, or has, any divine authority. That's not to say that these laws are necessarily 'wrong' in and of themselves. It's the way they have been put together, and how they could potentially be abused, that concerns me. And, of course, we don't want to attribute to Yahweh what man has himself constructed. It is important that we look at it, though, since it is very clear that there was some kind of Torah (Law) before Moses, and certainly in patriarchal times. And though evangelicals dispute it, it seems rather incredible to me that there were no divine laws before the Flood. A word without laws is a lawless one and a recipe for anarchy.
Q. Perhaps we could take a look at the time before Moses?
A. Well, first of all, this 'Patriarchal Torah' (if I can coin that term, so as not to mix it with what have come to be known as the 'Noahide Law') is nowhere listed in the same way the Mosaic Torah is - it is not laid out as a code as the latter is in the Pentateuch [the five books of Moses]. But as you carefully read the Book of Genesis and observe the mitzvot (commandments) that these patriarchs observed (for example, the Sabbath Law given at the Creation, which Moses merely reminded Israel of rather than reveal it for the first time), you will discover that not only were the Ten Commandments [Decalogue] in place and being observed but that there were most definitely laws concerning animal sacrifice too.
Q. Is the absence of a specific code in Genesis because this book was primarily about Israel and not the Patriarchs?
A. Genesis is a highly condensed history covering a very long period of time. There are, or were, other books - which have yet to be discovered or revealed - that amplify this important span of sacred history. There are many claimants such as the Book of Jasher (supposedly mentioned in the Bible) (Josh.10:13; 2 Sam.1:18) and the Book of Adam and Eve. Many, if not most of these, are targums or pseudepigraphic expansions that are either fakes or embellished, corrupted versions of a bona fide core history. About all we can say for certain is that there were earlier histories but that they are either no longer in our Bible or never were in the first place.
Q. And what is your view of that?
A. The Bible does cite many books no longer a part of it, such of the writings of various nevi'im (prophets) and seers (e.g. 2 Chr.9:29; 12:15), which would be nice to read some day. For now, though, we are limited to what we have got and must make do.
Q. Why, then, do you think this Patriarchal Code is not mentioned in Genesis?
A. I can only guess, but since Moses was the author or the Pentateuch, and since his mission and calling was to reveal Yahweh's Torah to Israel, his emphasis would naturally have been in writing the theocratic law of that nation. We find both the Patriarchal and the so-called 'Noahide Codes' incorporated in the Mosaic Torah.
Q. So what you are saying is that the Ten Commandments, including some rules about animal sacrifice, were made known to Adam from the beginning and were observed by the Patriarchs?
A. And some other laws too. Abraham, for instance, we learn, observed the Law of Tithing, was himself subject to a Cohen Gadol (High Priest) (which meant there must have been a Priesthood Order), and participated in a sacred meal with Melchizedek that hints at a Master's (Lord's) Supper which was given millennia later (Gen.14:18). The Patriarchs were not ignorant, lawless savages but highly cultivated persons in terms of their ethics and morals. They may be said to have been Torah-observant just like the Israelites though it is our contention at NCAY that they actually lived a much higher Torah free of the additions given to Israel because of their "hard-heartedness" (Mt.19:8; Mk.3:5).
Q. So that it more closely resembled the New Covenant Torah we observe today?
A. In many respects, yes. There is evidence that the Patriarchs observed festivals somewhat akin to those given to Israel which came to be celebrated in the light of later historical experience only. Circumcision was introduced before the Law of Moses, at least in Abraham's time, and was subsequently abolished in the New Covenant (Gen.17:10 cp. Gal.5:2). There was a simple system of animal sacrifice (e.g. Gen.31:54).
Q. As far back as Adam?
A. The Book of Adam & Eve says so, and the fact that our first parents were given animal skins to conceal their nakedness suggests, does it not, that animals had to be killed, and I am inclined to believe that they were not killed gratuitously simply to make clothes (Gen.3:21).
Q. You mean, the skins were from animals offered in sacrifice?
A. It is mere conjecture, but yes, that is my personal belief.
Q. I wonder if you could tell us what the 'Noahide Laws' are as most people have never heard of them?
A. There are seven laws in all and they run as follows:
- 1. Thou shalt not engage in idol worship;
- 2. Thou shalt not blaspheme the Name of Yahweh;
- 3. Thou shalt not shed the blood of any innocent human being, nor foetus, nor ailing person who has a limited time to live;
- 4. Thou shalt not engage in bestiality (sex with animals), incestuous, adulterous or homosexual relations, nor commit acts of rape;
- 6. Thou shalt establish laws and courts of law to administer these laws, including the death penalty for those who kill, administered only if there is one testifying eye witness;
- 7. Thou shalt not be cruel to animals (specifically, tearing limbs from live animals).
Q. These sound very similar, in some ways, to the ruling made by the Council of Jerusalem in respect of new Gentile converts to the Gospel (Ac.15:19,28-29), don't they?
A. Yes, indeed, because these laws are a minimalist compilation of laws that are required of believers! However, we must put this 'Code' in context, namely, these are the laws which the Talmudic/Rabbinical Jews believe all non-Jews must be taught and live (but rarely teach or evangelise for it). More interesting for Americans, they are the laws which former U.S. President George Bush claimed the USA was founded on and are the bedrock of all society [see Public Law 102-14, 102nd Congress].
Q. Remove these laws and the bedrock of civilisation collapses?
A. Yes, absolutely. I agree. And look how many of them are threatened today.
Q. There are even statutes against abortion and euthanasia!
A. The Noahide Laws could be argued to be a form minimum Torah though I do not believe they are enough to prevent someone claiming them and using them to exercise ungodly control. Are they truly all the necessary laws needed for the nations to prevent totalitarianism and evil? What kind of a society would result if every country implemented them as the first tier of all their laws? Who is to interpret what 'blasphemy' is and what would be the penalty? Sharia law has 'blasphemy' laws and we all know how they work.
There is nothing wrong with any of the seven 'Noahide Laws' individually. It's the package that troubles me. Did you know that the Jewish Lubavicher Movement, the teachings of which the New World Order is based, totally endorses the so-called 'Noahide Laws'? And did you know that they interpret the blasphemy rule (law #2) to include worshipping Yah'shua (Jesus)?
Q. No I didn't!
Violating any of these Noahide Laws is spelled out on page 1192 of the Encyclopedia Judaica - listen carefully to what it says:
In other words, if one person steps forward to accuse a Gentile of violating any one of these seven laws, that testimony alone would be enough to decapitate the accused. A person could be put to death for the flimsy accusation of being cruel to animals, and based on the lying testimony of one person! The Torah teaches that two or three witnesses are necessary! Worse, there is no assumption of innocence until proven guilty, nor of the prosecution having to prove their case. The system is vile, satanic even. On the accusation of one person, the accused may be legally decapitated. 
"... violation of any one of the seven laws subjects the Noahide to capital punishment by decapitation."
Q. The New World Order of the élites!
It's a devilish set-up using good rules but lacking the proper justice and mercy of the true Torah. As I pointed out earlier, there were very clearly other laws in operation during the patriarchal era so we know there were were considerably more laws than those found in the Talmudic construct. Noah knew, for example, which animals were kosher and which were not. He knew what they were allowed to eat and what they weren't. Unkosher animals were put on board in pairs whereas kosher animals were put on board in sevens.
So why isn't that found in the so-called 'Noahide Laws'?
"Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as Elohim (God) had commanded Noah" (Gen.7:8-9, NKJV).
"Then Noah built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar" (Gen.8:20, NKJV).
Q. Because they 'Noahide Laws' weren't the only laws given to Noah!
Clearly. So let's stop calling then the 'Noahide Laws'. Let's call them what they really are, namely, the Talmudic Pseudo-Noahide Laws.
Q. So how much of the Torah of Moses was known and practiced by Noah and the Patriarchs?
A considerable amount, it would seem. See for yourself:
Two things I want to say about that. First, that's more than seven rules. Second, there is no evidence that Noah was given anything 'new' after the flood so what Abraham was doing was simply a continuation of the Torah that existed before the flood. Notice that Yahweh divides the Abrahamic Torah into three categories:
"Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My mitzvot (commandments), My chukim (statutes), and My torot (laws)" (Gen.26:5, NKJV).
Who is telling is this?
- 1. Commandments (mitzvot);
- 2. Statutes (chukim); and
- 3. Laws (torot).
So don't you think it's likely that Moses knew exactly what these three categories contained?
Q. He must have!
This wasn't new stuff to Moses. These were things already taught the navi (prophet). Moses wasn't caught by surprise. There was no statement like, "Moses was given a preliminary Torah but Yahweh gave to Moses the fullness." Now obviously there were differences - there must have been - as Abraham could not have memorialised the Exodus or the mitzvot given at Mount Sinai, since these were yet to happen in his day. But there would have been something like Pesach (Passover), Yom haBikkurim (Firstfruits) and Chag haMatzah (Unleavened Bread). We can only guess what they were like so I'll not engage in speculation right now. One thing we can be sure of - none of the moral and ethical laws would have changed because Yahweh's morality doesn't change. It doesn't seem Yahweh has changed very much, does it?
Q. Not at all!
Now we know that a different Priesthood operated in patriarchal and ante-Diluvian times - the Melchizedek, to be exact - and that older Melchizedek Priesthood was more similar to the New Covenant Melchizedek Priesthood than to the Old Covenant Mosaic or Levitical one. Nevertheless all three had torot (laws) in common, such as tithing.
Q. What of President Bush's recognition of the 'Noahide Law'?
Bush, like all American presidents, served Illuminati interests, so naturally he would give an imprimatur to a devilish system.
Q. But you said earlier that the 'Noahide laws' were basically good?
Satan cannot present his 'law' in the raw otherwise no one would ever accept it. The good parts are in any way irrelevent. So long as the government power has control over life and death and can interpret 'blasphemy' hwoever it wants, it does not matter how many 'good' laws there are.
Q. Evangelicals teach that in the pre-flood era there were no written laws and therefore no written Torah. How could that have worked?
In my view, it couldn't. We know there was writing because Moses possessed at the very least a written genealogy from Adam when he compiled Genesis:
so Noah must have brought the account with him on the Ark. It is inconceivable to me that there was no written ante-diluvian Torah, and whilst oral tradition has always been strong and therefore important, from which Moses no doubt drew upon also, we know there was writing before the Flood.
"This is the written account of Adam's line..." (Gen 5:1, NIV).
Q. Do you believe that the Moral Torah was, and is, written in all men's hearts?
A. The moral, yes. Everybody 'knows' was basic righteousness is. We all know it is wrong to steal. Mankind has always known that. So having such things written down is not always nevessary. To deny them is revelation not against an externally imposed religious teaching but a against living principle implanted in all human beings. To deny these moral and ethical torot (laws) means to deny self because they are integrated with self, however much one may be in denial. When a nation turns against the ethical written or unwritten Torah it may be said to have "ripened in iniquity" and is ready for destruction, just as the Canaanite nations were when Joshua entered their lands, for they rejected all of these laws.
The Gospel of John says that every man born into the world comes with a portion of the Light of Messiah (Jn.1:9, KJV) which teaches the emet (truth) of these torot (laws) to the inner man as well as giving him the ability to recognise that Yahweh is the Creator and that Yah'shua (Jesus) is Master and Deliverer, and to choose Torah whether written or unwritten.
Q. It seems to me that the 'Noahide Laws' cannot be the minimum laws the nations have to obey because Zechariah propheses that the nations will come to Jerusalem to observe the annual feasts too (Zec.14:16-19)?
A. Yes, but that is later - post-Mosaic - Law. In the Millennium the nations will all come under Theocratic Rule. I do not presently know the extent of that theocratic codex but it will definitely include most of the so-called 'Noahide Laws', Israel's Festivals, and probably quite a few other torot (laws) too. At that time the nations will be required to observe more than an imaginary 'minimum'.
Q. Will there be a two-tier set of laws during the Millennium, do you think?
A. Yes, I believe that. The Millennial world will consist of two categories of nation - (a) Israel, living the whole Torah; and (b) all the other nations, living a new 'minimum' Torah.
Q. That is a new concept for me. I assumed that there would only be one universal law in the Millennium.
A. No, the Millennium is not the final state of man. At the end of it, the demonic hosts will be released again and those who have not voluntarily subjected themselves beyond the then 'minimum' (whatever that is) will lack the proper spiritual covering and be subject to temptation that otherwise they would have been able to resist.
Q. Ah. Dictatorship of the minimum but free choice in the rest.
A. It is the will of Yahweh that we live the whole Torah - as Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself said, there are different rewards in heaven, different categories of obedience and privilege based on the way we chose to live in Him. It was for this reason that He said that those who failed to observe the least of the mitzvot (commandments) would be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven (Jn.14:2; Mt.5:19).
Q. And Paul said, did he not, that there were different kinds of resurrection?
A. Yes, several categories. A resurrection to damnation (Jn.5:29), and three heavenly resurrections which compare in their spiritual brightness and glory to the heavenly bodies we see - the stars, the moon and the sun (1 Cor.15:40-42). And no doubt there are degrees within at least the stellar category as by analogy the stars have different brightnesses when viewed from earth. Paul talks about a "third heaven" (2 Cor.12:2) and the apocryphal Book of Enoch, which is quoted in the New Testament, speaks of seven.
You will have observed amongst Christians - and even within the Messianic assemblies - that people are all obeying to different degrees. That is our free choice, and on the basis of that free choice, we will one day be rewarded. It also follows that if we are disobedient in any area of Torah, in large or small matters, that this gives Satan and his demonic malakim (angels) rights to blind and harass. What is most pleasing to Yahweh is that we are obedient in all things, blameless and righteous, because in that way He can not only give us maximum protection down here but can shower blessings and rewards upon us in equal measure, both here and/or in the eternities.
Q. So there is no one 'Noahide Law' for the Gentiles and one law - the Torah - for Istael?
A. No, this is a Talmudic distortion. All the nations are required to obey the Torah and will be judged on that basis.
Every believer is required to observe a very minimumW, just as the first Gentile converts were as a result of the decision of the Council of Jerusalem. BUT every believer should be striving to be obedient to the whole Torah! That which pleases Yahweh the most, and which gives us the greatest shalom (peace), simcha (joy), blessings, and sanctification, is when we are living all the mitzvot (commandments). I guarantee it! If you love Yahweh with all your might, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself, you will pretty quickly be observing all the Ten Commandments; and once established in them - or even whilst you are becoming established in them - you will want to obey all the other mitzvot (commandments) as well, to the very least of them! It is a natural unfolding for those who truly love El Elyon (the Most High God).
Q. It's ironic that those who claim to have everything, even to walking in the very presence of Yahweh, seem to be obeying the least!
A. Absolutely, yes. They talk about 'being saved' and 'eternal security' and yet walk in disobedience. The Torah reveals whether we are sinning or not - that's one of its stated purposes in the New Testament. If you're still not obeying on the level of the Ten Commandments you're in serious trouble already if you claim to be a follower of the Master Yah'shua (Jesus). Didn't He obey every mitzvah (commandment)? Didn't He tell us to follow His example?
Q. It's pretty difficult to walk in Torah alone, don't you think?
A. Ah, now there's a very important observation, because you can't. Torah-observance is not only personal but corporate. Israel is a community which regularly assembles. And the closer they are to Yahweh the more they want to be together, because "togetherness" is the Messianic Way - not togetherness for togetherness' sake but together with Yahweh in His Ruach (Spirit). You can only live the first part of the 'Golden Rule' (or "Royal Torah/Law" as Paul calls it - Jas.2:8), and the first Five Commandments, as a 'solo Christian' - the rest requires people!
Q. And yet there are 'people' and there are 'people' ...
A. The degree of intimacy and fellowship we are able to enjoy is always based on the mutual degree of Torah-faithfulness. "Birds of a feather flock together" and churches and messianic assemblies form around the degree of obedience their founders and current leaders are willing to give to El Elyon (the Most High). Furthermore, you cannot live Torah as an 'independent church' but only as a collection of assemblies. The New Testament Messianic Community was, and is, not only about individual congregations, but a fraternity of congregations under a single apostolic mantle.
This evening we shall be observing Sukkot - the Feast of Tabernacles. It is one of those feasts that requires congregations to gather together. In the Millennial Theocracy it will be at the New Jerusalem (which is why the nations will gather to Jerusalem in the prophecy of Zechariah you mentioned earlier). That is why a portion of the tithe is saved up for such journeys because this gathering is so important. Because the Theocracy is not presently in place, we must for now gather in other locations - but gathering is most definitely the operative word. And you can't possibly do that as a solo believer.
I've brought along a letter sent to me by a lady from Arkansas to show you - she is not a member of NCAY but regularly reads our sermons. This is what she wrote in response to the sermon I shall be giving tomorrow on the Sabbath about Sukkot:
"Thank you for the most joyous and spirit filled sermon that I could have ever hoped for just before leaving for the Feast. I am waiting for my son to fly back from Texas and come on up and pick me up. I just decided to check my e-mail and there is this great sermon. I am now so filled with excitement and with his Spirit that I want to run so fast and greet all of our brothers and sisters that will be there.
"I just had not fully realized the impact of Passover and how important the faith is to be obedient. I have never missed a Passover in my walk with the Father but I just now finally realize why I think he prompted and helped me in getting there. Thank you so much for this sermon and the reminder of how great our Heavenly Father is and he loves us so much even though we may not fully understand his ways".
Now that is the true spirit of Torah. When you are full of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) neither tempest nor earthquake will keep you away from such a gathering as Sukkot. The whole spirit of the New Covenant in Messiah is one of FAMILY. The whole Torah is about the Family of Yahweh. The more obedient we become, the closer too is our messianic community (church) family bond, and the more we long to be together with one another to worship Him. That corporate unity is so intimate that it is allegorically depicted in the Book of Revelation as being a single person, the Bride of Yah'shua (Jesus).
Q. So there's a kind of spectrum of 'spiritual affinity', do you think? The more you are obedient, the more you become welded together with the Body of Messiah?
A. Oh yes, and a hundred times 'yes'! Yah'shua's (Jesus') High Priestly Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane was passionately filled with the desire that His talmidim (disciples) would dwell in echad unity (oneness) with one another, just as He was one with Yahweh His Father (Jn.17). This 'bringing together', this 'uniting', this 'togetherness' is the heart and life of Torah. It is the Law of a Nation - a Covenant People - deeply in love spiritually with Yahweh through His Messiah and deeply in love spiritually with one another. So deep is this ahavah (love) they cannot bare to be away from one another! If you read the Book of Acts you will discover that this ahavah (love) between the talmidim (disciples) was so great that they gathered together every day! And it was by this shavah/agapé (love) - love manifested in togetherness - that they became known. They worshipped, worked, and ate together as much as they could, and it was not long before they realised, under apostolic leadership, that the most desirable way to live was in a gathered community. The Jerusalem qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) lived like that. They pooled all their belongings and placed them at the apostles' feet for distribution as the Ruach (Spirit) gave revelation.
Q. Do you think it is just a lack of obedience that keeps people apart?
A. No, but it is a major part of it. People are afraid because they maybe have had bad experiences in intimate contact with other people, especially in our cold and callous world where abuse is becoming the norm. The moving force to bring people into community must always start with ahavah (love) and purity. They must see that there is this ahavah (love) and that it is desirable. Then obedience will become more and more spontaneous for them. But at some point they do have to trust Yahweh's Torah and not see it as a millstone around their necks.
Q. May see Torah as a burden ...
A. It is a burden if you don't start with a ahavah-love-relationship with Yahweh and are unacquainted with grace. Yah'shua (Jesus) says that His cross - His burdens - are light, but that must always be understood to be a relative things. Most unbelievers would flee from the ministry of suffering we bear. And that is because you cannot bear it unless you have the Ruach haMashiach (Spirit of Christ) within you. It is the revelation of His ahavah (love) and the presence of His Ruach (Spirit) that makes the cross light, because He is the one supporting it. There have been times in my life when I have been under the burden of crushing desperation and within seconds He has lifted it - not taken it away, but helped me bear it in such a way as though it seems He was bearing it all by Himself.
Q. What you are saying is that we not only need to come to Torah from the right direction - from ahavah (love) - but that we in a way have to be fed it in proportion to our ability to receive it?
A. That seems to be what the Council of Jerusalem decided. They realised that a whole way of life which their ancestors had been living for centuries couldn't suddenly be loaded wholescale on the formerly pagan Gentiles. Like little children who can only manage milk, the meat must come later (Heb.5:12-14). Of course, external habits can be developed which then become natural and desirable to them as they grow older ... or fall away from them if they have not discovered the ahavah (love) behind Torah. For Torah to have any meaning at all there must first be an encounter with the Almighty. And once this has been achieved, there must be a living encounter with people. Ahavah (love) must flow between the individual, his Elohim (God), and those in the family of Elohim (God) like an electric circuit in a building. By interacting with believers and unbelievers, they soon see the loving nature behind the mitzvot (commandments) - why adultery and theft is harmful and the bringers of sorrow. It is therefore perfectly right to begin with the simple things and let the details take care of themselves to some extent.
Q. What about alcohol? How do you teach children about that?
A. Firstly, by example. They have to see the blessedness of not having it in the home, and be taught of the destructive effects it has on society. As far as Torah is concerned, the alcohol ban is a priestly one. Under the Mosaic Covenant, alcohol was not permitted of those priests on duty in the temple. That is a type of our bodies - the body being the temple of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) (1 Cor.6:19). Under the Old Covenant a Cohen (Priest) could drink alcohol off-duty, provided it was in moderation. But we live under a New and Better Covenant (Heb.7:22; 8:6) - we are all Cohenim (Priests) in the making and our bodies are the temples of Yahweh. If we are living in the Ruach (Spirit) we should be living in that priestly office always, for we are a Royal Priesthood of Believers (1 Pet.2:9).
Q. Alcohol is not mentioned in the Ten Commandments ...
A. No, nor are many other things, but that is because they are categories of mitzvot (commandments). They are known as the ten devarim or "ten Words". Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself is called the (singular) Davar (Word) (Jn.1:1) but we all know that the concept of Davar (Word) is not simply a single unit in a sentence - davar conveys a whole range of meanings depicted as one - it's another echad concept - one in many, and many in one. Some people translate davar (or the Greek equivalent logos) as 'reason' or 'intent', the spoken as well as the unspoken. It contains a whole cluster of meanings, rather like a galaxy which is both a single entity as well as being composed of millions of other entities called stars. The davar or "Word" could also be rendered Torah.
Q. "In the beginning was the Torah" ...?
A. Yes, absolutely. Torah contains the divine intent of Yahweh - it is His heart expressed in human deeds and a code detailing a way of living. It is the way given to us to be the most happy one and the most closely identified with Him. It is the revelation of His heart by which our hearts become united with His.
Q. In NCAY people enter progressive and deeper covenants of obedience. Can you explain how this works for us?
A. There are three categories of covenants just as there are three categories of mitzvot (commandments). Our job is to first of all teach the people these things. Once they have a desire to live them, they are invited to enter into covenants with Yahweh to obey Him. These three categories correspond to:
- (a) Loving Yahweh and loving our fellow man - the 'Golden Rule' or 'Royal Way';
- (b) Submitting to the rule of the Ten Commandments; and
- (c) Submitting to the rule of all the rest of the mitzvot (commandments). This is a matter of free will always.
Q. And presumably this Submissiveness to Yahweh's Torah is what qualifies them for Priesthood Orders?
A. Right. It is their personal consecration to Yahweh.
Q. Which categories of Torah apply to who?
A. Each Priesthood candidate is trained for a minimum of one year during which time he or she is taught the Torah in depth and enters covenants stepwise.
Q. Not all at once?
A. Oh no, for most that would be too much. We have both covenants of intention as well as covenants to actually commit to live aspects of Torah. Thus a catechumen or investigator covenants to make baptism his goal and consciously strives for it, and the members of the local assembly or branch covenant to help him all they can. He knows that before he can be baptised he must have a proper understanding of the Apostles' Creed and therefore part of his covenant is to strive to this end. Only when he understands and believes it - which must be at his own pace - can he enter baptismal covenants which include a covenant to strive to be obedient to all the mitzvot (commandments) ... again, a covenant of intent, because he will likely not know what they all are yet, or be able to even understand all of them.
Q. Could you give me an example of a covenant to live a Torah principle?
A. Yes, take alcohol, for instance. Giving up alcohol is required of anyone wanting to become a full member. A person's baptismal covenant may include the intent to give up alcohol and smoking, for example, with the understanding that when he is ready for Chrism (Confirmation) or Bar/Bat-Mitzvah that he must actually quit. Thus his Chrism Covenant will be a covenant of action.
Now this covenant to quit the action of drinking or smoking may not necessarily mean that he has overcome the craving to drink or smoke. This is an inner process which must be overcome spiritually before such a person can be considered ready for the ministry as, say, a Deacon or Deaconess.
Q. So there is a three-stage process ...
Of course, sometimes the (c) can happen before (b), and that is most certainly preferable, but realistically this does not commonly happen. Bad habits - addictions - are overcome by a more complex process as a rule. (See Mark Graeser, The Eight Stages of Changing Wrong Behaviour).
- (a) Intention;
- (b) Physically quitting a bad habit; and
- (c) Spiritually overcoming.
Q. This would apply to problems like unnatural sexual compulsions, gluttony, and other things too, I guess?
A. Yes, the whole gamut of human problems stemming from the Adamic nature and the inherited sins of our forefathers. And almost without exception it involves deliverance ministry ...
A. Yes. They are frequently, if not invariably, a part of the equation.
Q. So at what level is obedience to the Ten Commandments required?
A. That is a requirement of those aspiring to be Deacons and Deaconesses. The Ten Commandments are taught across the whole age range in NCAY, from children to youth. We expect all applicants to the Deaconate to be living the Ten Commandments as a matter of habit. If they have spiritual problems underlying their living of this, it is usually taken care of during their training as Sub-Deacons and Sub-Deaconesses and thereafter.
Q. And the Eldership?
A. To be an Elder you need to know the whole of Torah and to be living it at least as a matter of habit though with a good deal of spiritual overcoming.
Q. Don't spiritual issues crop up all the time making full obedience impossible?
A. Yes, ministry is given at every level of the Holy Order. People slip, known and unknown sinful attitudes surface, and so on. Repentance is a daily process, a part of the dynamic of discipleship. Nobody is presently perfect. Here the covenants of intent are seen to be so important. Where there is conscious recognition of sin and a striving to be a zadik - a righteous one - so Yahweh is at work. The problems begin when there is no more striving, which may even lead to the disastrous situation where parts of the Torah are rejected as being unliveable. When that happens you are on the slippery slope to atheism.
We must remember in saying these things that the pre-eminence must always be given to ahavah (love). Without that, nothing else is impossible. Our new birth in Messiah supplies us with that, and keeping that channel open is the first priority. Understanding that we are fallible and need one another's help (Gal.6:2) is central to the whole dynamic of Priesthood ministry - to ministers themselves no less than the unordained. Ahavah (love) itself is a ministry and all can give that in different ways, which is why everyone is called to be a cohen (priest). The Body of Messiah is a mutually nurturing entity. If I cut my left arm, my right hand is soon bandaging me. Everyone is helping everyone else according to their giftedness.
Q. What is the goal of Torah?
A. The goal of Torah is perfection - becoming fully human, becoming an image of Messiah, the fulfilling of our potential, so that we become like Messiah. Through it we die and are reborn. Torah both condemns us and liberates us - the letter-part condemning, and the Ruach/Spirit-part bringing us life, because it is the Davar (Word) that Yah'shua (Jesus) is the perfect incarnation of.
Q. Modern man seems to have great problems with concepts of Torah or Law. How do we help him overcome this fear?
A. He has to see it in action - he has to see its fruits and desire them. And he also has to learn to trust the Davar Elohim (Word of God) even when it challenges his whole way of being. If we are to ever hope of breaking out of the liberal, anarchistic, spiritless and socialistic mode of thinking and being that we have inherited over this last century, we have got to raise up a new generation of children exposed to, comfortable with, and flourishing in New Covenant Torah. Unless the coming generation has this foundation, then our work at NCAY will ultimately fail, because you cannot have a gathering of people without proper theocracy. We have been brainwashed with anti-Torah sentiments at every quarter. Democracy has become our god, or in other words, the will of self. In fact, it has become a guise for Satanism, which is the worship of self. No longer do Western nations come with a message of ahavah (love) and obedience the Elohim (God) of the Bible but a message of 'democracy'. That's what people are fighting for these days. We, by contrast, have to come in the Name and strength of Yahweh as the boy David did before Goliath. And like the adult David, we must love His Torah and meditate on it day and night (Ps.119:97; Josh.1:8).
Torah is a living dynamic. Rooted in ahavah (love) and the anointing of the Ruach (Spirit), it becomes the path to personal and societal liberation. My prayer is that everyone will come to love Yahweh's Torah (Law) and discover that every mark of it is rooted in ahavah (love) and the eternal principles of salvation. Amen. (Kadesh-biyqah, 20 September 2002)
 See Noahide Laws and Decapitation for Confessing Jesus is Lord in The Watcher Files
Comments From Readers
 "Thanks this is interesting and leads me to ponder...Gathering the concept of laws is not my concern knowing Covenant is...The Tree of Life has Two Covenants, be fruitful and multiply and don't engage the Tree of The knowledge of Good and Evil... Mankind today lives by the Tree of knowledge of Good and knowledge of evil!...This is the plight of humanity we have been given choice...Cain chose the Tree of Evil making his brother his slaughter sealing his fate as the father of profanity...Seth is the father of the Rightious that chooses the Tree of Good which leads us to of Restoration killing our Ego where we die to self enabling access to the Tree of life...Which is why we celebrate Pentecost...All history verifies this search for Truth..." (JLS, USA, 4 June 2017)
This page was created on 4 October 2002
Last updated on 4 June 2017
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