Insights from the Author’s Introduction to The Divine Code

divine code
Cover for the Divine Code found at Amazon.com

Included in the Torah, God also repeated and gave to Moses the Seven Commandments for the Children of Noah, along with their explanations and their details.

All the Gentiles of the world were henceforth eternally commanded to accept upon themselves and to fulfill these seven Divine precepts, because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah, and He made known through Moses our teacher that the descendants of Noah had previously been commanded to do them.

-Rabbi Moshe Weiner
from the Author’s Introduction to
The Divine Code, Parts I-IV (Kindle Edition).

Just yesterday I mentioned buying this eBook online. Although I’ve only begun to read it, I found some interesting details I wanted to share.

According to Rabbi Weiner, who periodically references the Rambam, midrash states that on the first day of Adam’s creation, God gave him six of the seven Noahide Laws (although a number of them wouldn’t have made sense to the first man, because, for example, the prohibition against theft requires someone to steal from).

God again gave these laws, this time including the prohibition against eating a limb from a live animal, to Noah (see Genesis 9). However, both of these revelations were private ones, given by God to individuals. In other words, there were no witnesses.

R. Weiner explains that Gentiles were still obligated to obey the seven precepts, but that they yielded limited benefits.

However, when God gave the Torah to Moshe (Moses) at Mount Sinai (and I find it interesting that I’m writing this just days before the Festival of Shavuot), He gave, again according to midrash, both the written and oral Torahs to Moses with the entire nation of Israel standing as witnesses.

The seven Noahide laws were given as part of the Torah, and as part of the Torah, they can never be annulled, deleted, added to, or subtracted from:

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:17-19 (NASB)

Rav Yeshua (Jesus) affirmed this by his own words (although mainstream Christianity doesn’t necessarily see it that way), which lends some credence to the Jewish idea that we non-Jews are obligated to observe and receive a heightened spiritual benefit from the seven Noahide laws and their detailed explanations as found in the oral Torah. But that assumes Moses really did receive an “oral Torah” at Sinai along with the full contents of the written Torah, and all of that information was passed down in an unbroken line to the present day.

Moses received the Torah from Sinai and gave it over to Joshua. Joshua gave it over to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets gave it over to the Men of the Great Assembly. They [the Men of the Great Assembly] would always say these three things: Be cautious in judgement. Establish many pupils. And make a safety fence around the Torah.

-Ethics of the Fathers 1:1

Of course if you’re not an Orthodox Jew, you might have a different opinion about all that, but let’s roll with it for the time being.

In his Author’s Introduction, R. Weiner goes on to say:

Jewish Sages and faithful Rabbinical authorities in every generation are commanded to explain the Torah to the rest of the Jewish people. They are also commanded to explain the Noahide commandments to the Gentiles, and to teach them how these seven mitzvot should be fulfilled.

The Rabbi continues his explanation stating that only “accepted Jewish Torah scholars” are authorized to explain the Noahide laws to the Gentiles and no other teachers or authorities should be considered valid.

That would tend to leave out any Christian Pastors or teachers, as well as Jewish teachers who are not accepted as authorities, such as some of those within the Messianic Jewish movement.

The non-profit organization Ask Noah International (ANI) has taken up the mantle of educating the Gentiles, but it’s not something universally embraced by Orthodox Judaism in general (or any other Judaism). I’ve even heard it said once (though I don’t recall the source), that Jews within Messianic Judaism are not obligated to teach the Gentile the ways of righteousness, and that their movement is primarily or exclusively for Jews who have come to faith in Rav Yeshua.

Yet from R. Weiner’s perspective, authorized Jewish Rabbis and scholars are obligated to teach the Gentiles the seven mitzvot and the exact meaning of each one, which is the point of the book I’m reading. From the time of Adam to the giving of the Torah, Gentile observance of the seven laws had some merit attached, but when these laws were given to Moses as part of the Torah along with the explanation for them in the oral Torah, an enhanced spirituality was given to the Gentile by their observance.

When the revelation went from private to public, Gentile obligation and the rewards for doing so, became permanent and eternal.

Of course, exactly how the Gentiles are to observe the mitzvot can only be learned from Jewish scholars who are fluent in the portions of the oral Torah which pertain to those mitzvot. Earlier in this book, it was explained that many or even most Rabbis lack that knowledge and experience, and one of the missions of ANI is to be a resource to them.

R. Weiner quotes Rambam from Laws of Kings 8:11 which states that any Gentile who is pious and carefully observes the seven mitzvot will merit a place in the world to come. He goes on to write:

This is so provided that one accepts them and observes them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah and informed us through Moses our teacher…

In a sense, this makes Moses a teacher to the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Remember though, this is only from the author’s brief introduction to the book. I haven’t even started the first chapter yet.

There’s one thing to consider as we go forward. If the seven mitzvot incumbant upon the Gentiles are eternal because they were given to Moses at Sinai and the Torah is eternal, then can we somehow fold them into the Acts 15 ruling of James the Just and the (Messianic) Jerusalem Counsel which gave all Gentiles who are devoted to Rav Yeshua the legal status of “resident aliens” among Israel?

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17 thoughts on “Insights from the Author’s Introduction to The Divine Code”

  1. Shavua Tov, James — I don’t know who was your source for the notion that MJs are not obligated to teach gentiles the ways of righteousness, but that the movement was for Jews, but whoever it was seems to have overstated the matter — or else you misunderstood somewhat. Nonetheless, I think I will agree somewhat that the movement, as it has developed generally so far, is not yet capable of such a high calling. It has not even managed to teach its Jewish adherents sufficiently to pursue Torah and the Jewish literature that elucidates it. Without such a basis of understanding, in word and in practice, the run-of-the-mill MJ (nor MJ congregation, nor its leadership) doesn’t yet have what is needed to instruct gentiles properly.

    Even in the first century, a rabbi of the caliber of Rav Shaul was needed for that. Shimon Kefa was shown the vision for it, but in Antioch we see that he struggled somewhat unsuccessfully with the balance between the distinctive requirements for Jews and for gentiles. Rav Shaul’s deeper background in Torah training gave him tools that Kefa didn’t have. The Acts 15 decision did not assign the teaching of Torah among gentiles to Rav Yeshua’s Jewish disciples, per se, but cited the notion of commonly-available synagogues (v.21) where gentile disciples were expected to learn. What Jewish disciples were expected to do, according to Rav Yeshua’s instructions in Mt.23, was to keep the Torah as taught by the scribes and Pharisees. Thus they could pursue greatness in the kingdom of heaven, as noted in Mt.5:19. Some of these might be expected to become teachers as qualified as the scribes and Pharisees that Rav Yeshua cited, who then could do as Rav Shaul did, or could teach in synagogues where gentile disciples pursuing Acts 15:21 might learn.

    As you noted in another essay or two some time ago, however, these gentile disciples were expected to *exceed* mere Noahide expectations.

  2. I agree that Gentiles in Messiah are not Noahides as such. It would seem that even in the first century, a number of Gentiles became “God fearers” and attended synagogues, however when Gentiles came alongside Israel through faith in Rav Yeshua, they went above Noahide status. The problem some non-Jewish associated with the MJ movement are trying to solve is today what association do we “Messianic Gentiles” have with Messianic Judaism. The Noahide role is one model, probably for lack of anything else.

    As I mentioned before, I can’t recall the source that said Messianic Jews have no obligation to teach Gentiles, but it was likely one of the more conservative opinions within MJ.

  3. Hi, Pete. Long time, no hear from. Yes, the book has its share of anti-Christian sentiments, but keep in mind, the author is probably aware that among the non-Jews reading the book, there are a number of Christians, ex-Christians, or people wondering if Christianity is the only way to salvation. Judaism has “competed” with Christianity for nearly two thousand years and frequently been persecuted by the Church, so a collective Jewish consciousness of all that is bound to work its way into their texts.

    I’m not making tacit approval of everything written here, just reading, reviewing, and investigating whether or not adapting the role of Noahide or “righteous gentile” is at all a model for how to view Gentiles within (Messianic) Jewish community.

  4. @Pete — “Reverse anti-Semitism”, you say? Well, after two millennia of direct anti-Semitism, perhaps it is only appropriate that it should be reversed. However, let’s be clear on what such a term would *not* mean. It would not mean the denigration or de-legitimization of gentiles, as such. It would mean merely that Jews would cease to be denigrated and delegitimized for being Jews, and instead honored as the legitimate inheritors of the biblical covenant. The resultant effect on gentiles, if they choose to accept it, would be the receipt of the blessings envisioned in Is.56, and the repair and redemption of a variety of cultures by means of embracing godly values.

    The millennial reign of Messiah ben-David will be a Jewish one, empowered by Jewish values and outlook. While gentile nations will not enjoy the conceit of being the masters of all things — religious, political, et al — as some have thought themselves to be during these past millennia — they will not be “dhimmi”, as if under Islam. HaShem’s anointed king will reflect the deep concern for them that his heavenly Father expressed when He created humanity in the first place. Nonetheless, their prior cultures will be re-developed by means of many of the same processes by which they originally developed, only then guided by better wisdom.

    One may then ponder, at the present time, whether is it possible to get a head-start on those re-developments by learning from the Noahide movement and applying at least some of its lessons. If some of its attitudes are tainted by historical reaction against prior anti-Semitism, perhaps one may apply the same sort of caution expressed by Rav Yeshua in his instructions to his disciples in Mt.23 — that they should follow the authoritative teachings of the scribes and Pharisees, while not emulating their practical mistakes that did not reflect properly the weightier principles and values of Torah.

  5. I don’t know; was Pete referring to the book, or to those who say there’s no obligation to teach gentiles what righteousness entails?

  6. I just read an interesting article at Aish.com called Non-Jews Following the Torah in the Andes. It’s the tale of a non-Jewish family living in the Andes who, after much searching, concluded that no Christian interpretation of the Old Testament (Tanakh) was accurate.

    Their response was to try to observe the Torah mitzvoth as best they could. Eventually, they came to the attention of a Rabbi who, after failing to persuade them to observe the mitzvoth, agreed to help guide them.

    Ultimately, they converted and made aliyah.

    I think it’s relevant to this conversation since Gentiles adhering themselves to Messianic Judaism is one response to discovering mainstream Christianity does not accurately describe the role of Israel in God’s plan for redemption and how the New Covenant and the Messiah are really good news for Israel first, and only afterward, the Gentiles.

    The other primary responses are to either convert to Judaism or to become Noahides, which both require rejecting Jesus (Rav Yeshua) as savior and Moshiach.

    People all over the world are waking up to the reality of Rav Yeshua and the centrality of Israel in God’s redemptive plan for the world. How we/they respond to that is a very difficult and sometimes dangerous step, for it could lead us to rejecting the stone (Psalm 118:22, Matthew 21:42).

  7. I think I should challenge that lemma which you’ve repeated a few times, about Noahides being intrinsically required to reject Rav Yeshua’s proper role in Jewish history. I realize you’re only repeating the mistaken notion that rabbis associated with the Noahide movement parrot; but it isn’t true. The only requirement incumbent upon Noahides that could possibly relate to Rav Yeshua would be to eschew any idolatrous view of him.

    That would merely be ensuring that Noahides do not fall into the same error that gentile Christians did sometime during the first few centuries CE. They mistook the exceptional honor accorded to a Jewish Admor (i.e., a master rabbi and teacher) for worship of a god-ling. They did not have comparable alternative examples to draw upon, such as the more recent ‘Hasidim have produced in Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, or the Baal Shem Tov, or even the very modern confusion among some of the Jews who are devoted to the Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson and believe he will return from the dead as Messiah. Thus they mis-read the apostolic writings out of their Jewish context and failed to see what HaShem was doing with a very truly human rabbi by exalting him in the same manner that Rav Shaul described as the future transformation of disciples who at some later point are to be resurrected or raptured. Of course, there can be only one whom HaShem appoints to the role of messiah, and Rav Yeshua is asserted to be that one, chosen from among all human neshamot and prepared to serve in that role, for reasons known only to HaShem. Properly recognizing that there is only One G-d, HaShem, “the Father”, and that His anointed one was then exalted to fulfill the appointed messianic role and accomplish HaShem’s purposes to redeem humanity, avoids the error of idolatry.

  8. Understood, but I’m pretty sure if I approached one of the Rabbis at AskNoah.org and said I wanted to become a Noahide and also still wanted to remain a disciple of Rav Yeshua, they’d take a dim view of me.

  9. A point of clarity: My 11:08 post wasn’t in response to ProclaimLiberty’s 9:51 (which wasn’t posted visibly yet).

  10. I wonder if Pete meant something like reversed-bigotry.*
    (*Whether, as was unclear, in the one way or the other or
    both; the kind of sensitivity so common to evade history.)

    Let us, indeed, reverse anti-Semitism please!

    Or, as that isn’t exactly possible
    allowing for the reality of time and sin,
    let us come out on the other side — learned.

  11. @James — A gentile asking the rabbis at AskNoah about Rav Yeshua shouldn’t be surprised if their response is tainted by a reasonable expectation that the gentile’s query is itself tainted with the idolatry surrounding Christology. One might wonder if they would take a similarly dim view if the query were about discipleship to Rebbe Nachman, and Bratislaver ‘hasidut. Even for that, they might worry about the gentile’s cultural biases tending toward idolatry, much as they might share the common rabbinic disdain of Schneersonite messianism. I suspect they would tend to discourage anything that did not fit within the basic framework they have carved out and defined as Noahidism.

    Further, as may be seen in your subsequent essay, there are some inconsistencies in what they deem valid motivations for Noachides. For example, they would seem to take a dim view also of a “wise” gentile whose insight into HaShem’s requirements for humanity convinces him that it is “reasonable” to follow them (setting up a false dichotomy between reason and obedience).

  12. I have to admit PL, there are times when I don’t really understand some of the rulings of the sages. When it doesn’t pertain to non-Jews, that’s fine and well, but when it has to do with Gentiles in relationship to Israel, I do have to care. While I think an argument can be made that a moral code for the people of the nations is contained in a small subset of the Torah (and I agree with a general morality for everyone such as charity and kindness), how modern Orthodox Judaism interprets that seems overly complex. On the other hand, the Judaisms of the first century recognized the role of Gentile God fearers and permitted them into their synagogues, so we do have some sort of role for non-Jews derived from Torah.

  13. By the way, I don’t think being anti-Christian (or averse to Christianity) on a personal level and conceptually (not in terms of oppression or elimination) or ex-Christian is the same as being bigoted against gentiles. And I think you (James) reflected that a bit in including the idea of (readers) wondering if Christianity [as such in history, which I don’t see as biblical] is the “only” true way.

    As for Messianic Jews (some) saying there is no obligation to teach gentiles, maybe sometimes what is meant is that these Noachide expectations don’t need to be inculcated or perpetuated (at least not in Messianic community). That, then, can go in a number of quite different directions… some angles can (theoretically) be dismissive of gentiles. But there could also be more positive takes.

  14. Peace be to all and a good health.
    Sorry guys, this is not to criticize your improper searh for the truth from many other sources, for thou only putting yourself into an automatic condemnation of accurseness for transgressing the mandatory impose order of God in the NT gospel book, that there is no mediator between God and men except Yeshua Messiah, Jn. 14:6.. Who have the whole truth by saying “I am the way, the truth and the life.” So, there is no other else in regards to this kind of topic. That’s why Yeshua Messiah Covenant was called an Everlasting Covenant, which means that there is no other alternative beside the NT book, for its being the latest and most updated records of the Plan of God progressively.

    So, your problem of not understanding the NT book is not only by your inherited sin eaten by Eve. And now boarding in every people bodies and pampered! But thou also mixed up the created hatred made and taught by your obsolete judaism religion against Yeshua Messiah, for so long of traditional period of persecuting the truth. And with all this long historical fact in the gospel book exposed by Yeshua himself, how could thou acquire this promise salvation covenant of God? When God gave all the Authority to Yeshua Messiah’s Name rather than to Moses, Heb. 3:3.. And read Jn. 3:16-21 as God concluding final judgment for all the people of the world. So, there is no really other alternative can anybody could do to be redeem and be save, as other religion is always decieving the world.

    When the truth of these Concluding New Covenant Plan of God, there are only Two Group of Class of people to be Caught in the cloud to ENTER in heaven and meet the Lord in heaven forever. And there is no religion among them, 1Tes. 4:16-17..
    May our living lord God Bless us all

    LOVE : New Jerusalem-Holy City

  15. There is no mediator between God and men but Messiah. Those who normally post here don’t disagree* with that.

    I awoke today thanking God for my sleep and my morning and and my morning routine. Sleep, breakfast, etc. don’t “save.”

    *Except that you, Santos, like Origen, have made it not real, more a fiction (as readers can go back to your other posts to see).

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/patristic-literature
    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Origen
    https://www.britannica.com/topic/School-of-Alexandria
    http://www.ucatholic.com/saints/st-leonides-of-alexandria/
    While I don’t find it important to agree with “‘church’ fathers”
    or to figure out exactly what is what with Origen and his father,
    it is also worth saying that Eusebius is “unreliable” as a historian
    (he was more a [dishonest] theologian and intelligent manipulator).

    I’m not an expert on Origen, but it is possible you have made “the New Testament” or Yeshua even more not real than Origen did.

  16. Peace be to all and a good health
    Marleen, regarding to what thou said that thou already have faith believe to Yeshua M. ever since long time ago. Frankly speaking, after the transition of the Messianic Period or Christianity that already took end since last 1993 and then followed by the Parousia Period or the 2nd Advent Period, which also begun in 1994 to date. And believe it or not, not one of all the people believers of many world christian religion have no correct faith believe knowledge to Yeshua M. which they taught to their members. Although they claim they have faith to Yeshua M.! And this are the facts of the scriptures ever since it was written, but many that claim they have read the H. Bible but they did not know that thier claimed faith believe were only in fantasy unto their own condemnation. Because in the previous Messianic Covenant or Christianity there were only 144,000 Chosen Israelites have been given and rewarded of these Complete Knowledge faith believe to Yeshua M., read Rev. 7:1-8 & 14:1-5.. Is this not very clear from the quotation, they were the only recipient of this faith believe knowledge of knowing his name and the Father’s name or as a Complete Sealing made by Yeshua M. and no to any other people. And this was what we have also said that the holy people have different distinction mark from other people! And this is the proof to other world christian religion.

    Since we have already ask this question to many other belivers of Yeshua M. then i’ll ask it again to you- “into what name of the father did your pastor, priest, minister or rabbi have they baptized you?” And none of them can not answer us! Frankly speaking, only those 144,000 kept for their self this given knowledge of faith believe to Yeshua M.! So the world religion were all blank to this knowledge, especially the gentile  people.
    May our living lord God Bless us all.

    LOVE : New Jerusalem-Holy City

    P. S. Thanks james, this is really the problem of many believers of Yeshua Messiah which they do not know really their claims.

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