I periodically “lurk” in a private Facebook group for “Messianic Gentiles.” I was actually surprised to have access to this group, but discovered that a friend of mine, who was already a member, added me as a member as well (I guess ordinary group members can add anyone they want without having to go through a moderator).
Anyway, I peek in every now and then to see what people are talking about. As it turns out, there are a lot of comparisons being made there between these Messianic Gentiles and Noahides. Some of the recent references have been posts originating at the Noahide World Center, specifically a free e-book download of a Siddur for Noachides as well as the same siddur as an app for Android.
I too have wondered in the past if there’s a favorable connection between being a non-Jewish disciple of the Jewish Messiah King and being a Noahide, at least relative to a non-Jews’s status and role in Jewish religious and communal space.
To that end, I began to peruse the AskNoah.org forums and even, at one point, exchanged messages with a Rabbi.
That didn’t end well and I concluded that my journey into considering myself a “Ger Toshav” with an unusual Messianic twist had hit a brick wall.
I took another look at their forums just now but can’t quote anything because each one displays the disclaimer:
All material posted to this forum becomes the exclusive copyright property of Ask Noah International Inc., and may not be published or re-used elsewhere without the express permission of Ask Noah International Inc.
OK. I’ll respect that.
So let’s go to the source:
Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
–Genesis 9:8-17 (NASB)
According to numerous sources including Jewish Virtual Library, the seven general laws for all of humanity derived from this portion of Genesis 9 are:
- Do Not Deny God
- Do Not Blaspheme God
- Do Not Murder
- Do Not Engage in Incestuous, Adulterous or Homosexual Relationships.
- Do Not Steal
- Do Not Eat of a Live Animal
- Establish Courts/Legal System to Ensure Law Obedience
Whether or not God holds the entire human race to these standards in the final judgment we’ll just have to wait and see. However, is this applicable to the non-Jewish disciple of Rav Yeshua (Jesus)? Does our devotion to our Rav not distinguish us at all from a non-believing world of secular atheists?
Granted, a non-Jew who becomes a self-declared Noahide is not an atheist, since he or she is professing faith in the God of Israel, but then again, the seven basic standards a Noahide adopts are also the standards that the rest of humanity will be judged by. No difference in expectation, except the Noahide voluntarily acknowledges those expectations while the non-Noahide either couldn’t care less or has some other moral/ethical/religious orientation that may or may not embrace some or all of the Noahide laws.
To be fair, I don’t think the private Facebook group I mentioned above sees non-Jewish Messianic disciples as wholly equivalent to Noahides in all respects. I think it’s a model for attempting to construct a relationship between (Messianic) Gentiles and Jews in (Messianic) Jewish religious and communal space.
It may also be an attempt to equip said-Gentiles with a set of tools and resources that are at once consistent with (Messianic) Judaism and also specifically crafted for the Judaicly-oriented non-Jew (hence the siddur for Noahides).
However, I think we need to be exceptionally clear that we take on board more as disciples of Yeshua than what the Noahide receives. While we non-Jews are not named participants in the New Covenant (see Jeremiah 31:27), through Hashem’s great grace and mercy, we non-Jewish devotees of our Rav are granted access to many of the blessings of the New Covenant, which includes the indwelling of the Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection into the world to come.
These are blessings identical to what the named participants of the New Covenant, that is, the Jewish people…Israel, will receive in Messianic Days. God made the covenant with them, but He also is “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
The plain text of Genesis 9 really only promises that God won’t destroy all life by flooding again. It’s not even made exclusively with human beings, but with every living species. There’s no mention of attaining a spiritual knowledge of Hashem through His Spirit dwelling within us. Nor does this covenant speak of forgiveness of sins, and certainly not of everlasting life in the Kingdom of Messiah.
However, these blessings are all well documented in the New Covenant language we find in Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36 and elsewhere in the Tanakh (what Christians call the “Old Testament”).
I prefer to think that being a disciple of our Rav gives us a different role and status than the Noahide, although there certainly can be some overlap.
I’ve been approached online, both in the comments section of this blog and privately by email, to “come over to the Noahide side, we have cookies.” Both Jews and Noahides have attempted to induce me to abandon Rav Yeshua, and while I don’t doubt their motives are sincere, I have asked them to respect my wishes and my faith and desist.
I know there are non-Jews who consider themselves Noahides in the two synagogues in my local community. More power to them. We don’t interact, mainly because I don’t have a connection to local (or remote for that matter) Jewish community.
But even in isolation, once we have declared our devotion as disciples of our Rav, we have an obligation to stay the course, regardless of the personal difficulties involved. Who said a life of faith was easy? Who said you’d be accepted by everyone or anyone?
If I were a “standard” Christian, going to church each week and being in Christian community would serve my needs (but not my family’s needs), however those of us who view God, Messiah, and the Bible through a more “Jewish-focused lens,” are really neither fish nor fowl. We don’t fit in the Church and it would be disingenuous of us to attempt to enter Jewish community in the guise of a Noahide.
The aforementioned Facebook group is an attempt to offer the “Messianic Gentile” some sort of interface into Jewish community on their own grounds and using their own resources to define their roles, both among Jews and among themselves. That’s probably a good thing, though no one group can meet the needs of everyone who may identify as one of them (or something similar).
However, at the end of the day, you need to know who you are in relation to God and what that means (and doesn’t mean) for your life. Assimilating into a church as a Christian might be the easy way out, but it’s not who we are. Assimilating into a synagogue (Messianic or otherwise) as a Noahide might be the easy way out, but it’s not who we are (and forget about converting to Judaism, Orthodox or otherwise…the people of the nations are to have a role in the Kingdom).
Whether the rest of the Christian and Jewish world likes it or not, we were granted a unique place and role in relation to God and his plan of redemption, first for Israel, and then for the rest of us. Our particular perspective takes into account the primacy of Israel, the Jewish people and nation, in God’s plans, but it also acknowledges the special and specific place Rav Yeshua has as the mediator of the New Covenant and what that means to both Israel and the nations.
Traditional Christianity does (somewhat) the latter but not the former, while Noahides in Jewish community do the former but not the latter.
We do both…even if we have to do it alone.