A Global Association of Orthodox Jewish Believers in Messiah Yeshua
Is the Torah for Gentiles?
I was once asked, “I am definitely interested in a truly halachic Messianic Judaism. However I am deeply inclined to believe that full Torah is not incumbent on Gentiles. Halacha teaches that all that is incumbent on Gentiles are the Sh’va Mitzvos. How do you reconcile this?”
The Master taught that all the Torah and Prophets are derived from two mitzvot, V’Ahavtah et Adonai Eloheicha, and V’Ahavta L’Reahcha Chamocha. These two aren’t listed in any list of the Sheva Miztvot (and there have been different lists throughout the ages, the most popular one being promoted by the Rambam). Yet this does not mean the Sheva Mitzvot (7 Noachide Laws) do not exist as a standard by which the Gentiles are judged, nor does it mean that the Torah is not teaching a separate standard of holiness for a Jew compared to the nations.
According to the Targumim, the Torah was given to Adam in the Garden for him to avdah and shamrah. It was this covenant that he broke (Hoshea 6:7), and it was this covenant that Messiah keeps and thus merits for himself and for the rest of us, eternal life (Tehillim 133:3). Therefore we who have faith in the Word of HaShem will also receive Mashiach’s blessing which is his inheritance of eternal life (Gen 12:3) based on his perfectly righteous merit alone.
It is this Messiah, by the Ruach HaKodesh, who desires to live through all of his disciples, Jew or Gentile.
So then our position on Gentiles and Torah is taken from the Torah:
Just as HaShem did not force the Torah on the nations but rather gave it as a gift to those who would say “all that you say we will do,” we believe that the Torah should not be forced on any Gentile who does not want it, for one who is forced is not walking in love of HaShem. It is love of HaShem, we believe, that prevents one from engaging in avodah zarah (the first mitzvah of the Sheva Mitzvot in any list). Gentiles who engage in avodah zarah will be judged just as any Jew who does.
The Torah is a beautiful gift, like a bride for her groom (as Shir HaShirim puts it), and though is meant to be shared with the nations, it requires one to make the covenant commitment to be intimate with her and thus receive all that she offers. We believe that this commitment (conversion out of love for HaShem and his Living Torah, the Mashiach) is one that one must make in order to be intimate with Torah, and is just another step of obedience in one’s walk of discipleship to the Master – the Master himself who models that intimacy with Torah for us, and who desires to live Torah through us every step of The Way.
Therefore we encourage nurturing one’s love for HaShem and the Messiah in order to draw one’s soul deeply to Torah and mitzvot, to which end the blessing, commitment, and responsibility of full conversion is offered to one who is not absolutely certain of their status as a Jew. This then becomes just another step of full discipleship to Messiah Yeshua, one even which then one may partake of the Pesach meal “in rememberance of” him.
At the same time, we discourage turning Torah into dogma against traditional Christianity, since such an approach to Torah does not draw people to Torah out of love for HaShem and others, but chases them away in fear and condemnation. There is no condemnation to those in Messiah Yeshua, so therefore the Torah is truly offered as a gift in knowing Mashiach intimately without fear, without condemnation, and in deep intimate love with HaShem and in what he desires for us as his beloved.
Yet Torah is something a Gentile has to want before HaShem will separate them from the nations in order to serve Him. If a Gentile truly desires all that HaShem has for them through Torah and mitzvot, and also desires the special calling HaShem has for the Jewish people to teach Torah to the nations, then we should certainly offer them a speedy and sincere means to full conversion to Judaism so as to help them fulfill that desire, to HaShem’s glory, and for the benefit of all.
I hope this answer is what agrees with your knowledge of Torah, and halacha, and is therefore also agreeable with the Spirit of HaShem, and with your heart.