(by Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw)
The rumor going around is that I (Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw) doesn't think Torah is required for gentiles. This blanket statement only has a small element of truth in it, and it seems confusing to those in the western mindset. For does not Hashem say “I shall have one Torah and one people?” Absolutely! The question is then “Oh so you think the Torah is only for the Jews?”. Did I say that? No, you see how such individuals are very linear thinking. Let me explain the Jewish position of the Notzri:
A child starts school, math is a major requirement of every level of education, no matter if it is in the United States or in Uganda or Germany or Israel or Russia or China. Everyone must know math right? Now lets us math as a metaphor for Torah observance. A child at 4 years old goes to school, they first learn 1+1=2, the child needs to see this to make sense of it. So the teacher says “if I have one apple (and she puts an apple on the table) and then I put another apple with it (puts it on the table) how many apples do I have?” the class then shouts “two, two apples”. The teacher then says “good job class”. The children have mastered addition and subtraction after a few years, they have practiced it, they have learned it, they got it down. Around second or third grade they learn multiplication and they spend a few years mastering that, then there is middle school or jr high school math, then high school math, then college math and then masters classes etc. There is always a higher level of math to be learned and how it is applied.
The issue is, in recent years, there has been this movement known as “One Torah” often times this is taught by individuals who are so used to the greek style of theology that mirrors the slogan of the early 1990s Nike commercials “Just Do It”. Essentially, One Torah theology does not allow for an elevation of observance and it does not teach the concept of doing Torah for the sake of Hashem, it is instead the ideal of “Just do this so I don't smack you”. The ideal is to essentially start out at 8th grade math but do not do not go past 8th grade math. So we can see why Judaism has never adopted a One Torah theology and the great harm it can do. Because One Torah theology is incompatible with the basic premises within the Torah, Ketuvim, Nevi'im and Brit Chadasha. We can look at the Scripture and see an elevation of observance being taught as we progress. We even see this in the Brit Chadasha when Rav Sha'u; advocated for circumcision for some and not for others. We must also remember the model of observance of Avraham Avinu. We see a man who started out as a goy (heathen) then a ger toshav aka Bn'ei Noach (one who starts striving for observance) (Acts 15), then an Ivri (Hebrew) then a Ger HaTzaddik (Righteous Gentile) then the Torah calls him Yehudi (a Jew) after his circumcision at the age of 99. This is the path for the believer, but it is rejected by the One Torah fringe groups.
For the verse that precedes Exodus 12:49 “There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.” which they build their doctrine on is “If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.” (Exodus 12:48). So what is the “one law” that Hashem commands? It is that the uncircumcised may not eat of the Pesach. But when taken out of the context of the surrounding passages the “One Torah” theologian then says that G-d requires the same thing from every person in terms of level of observance whether you are in your first year of your walk or the 70th year of your walk. There are also further problems if verse 48 didn't exist. For instance, you would have millions of dead type 1 diabetics on Yom Kippur for the feat of not going to hell. Your would have millions of deaf and mute individuals unable to vocally recite the Shema in the morning and afternoon. You would have millions of doctors in sin for saving lives on the Shabbos. You would have disabled people in sin because of certain mitzvos they are unable to keep because of their own physical or mental restrictions. This is the very reason we have hazel and halacha.
For a newborn baby who just came out of his mother's womb isn't told, “ok move out of the house and get a job and a place of your own”. The child has to first learn to open it's eyes, it has to learn to hold it's head up on it's own, it takes time for certain muscles and motor functions and verbal skills to form until that child can do anything on it's own. The new believer is in the same place in the spiritual sense as the new born baby is in the physical sense.
Given the fact, that I don't believe in throwing the baby in a pool without protection from drowning, I have been told “I was told you don't believe Torah is for gentiles”. First Fruits of Zion has been accused of the same thing as have many others such as Dan Juster and several others. And this is the way conversion has happened for millennia all through Judaism. This is a foreign concept to Christians who have found out that Messiah Yeshua was a Torah teaching and Torah observant Jew. Because their minds are still very linear, they think that they need to immediately start to fulfill all of the mitzvos from the beginning and buy a “Torah Kit” essentially with the kippa and the tallis and the tzitzit and look the part. What happens then? They defile the Torah because they have ran before they could walk and they defile the mitzvos. Because they become haughty, arrogant, puffed up, full of pride and self righteousness and they put down anyone who disagrees with them on the smallest of points because they are so rocky in their own faith that their own ideology becomes a golden calf. The reason for this, is because of the fact they have not marinated in the mitzvos one at a time to learn how to fulfill them for the sake of Hashem. For the ultimate goal is to become Baali HaTorah (a master of the commandments), and do we master them all at once? Heaven forbid.. Just like the pieces that put together a car, a person who has mastered the electrical components of a car, does not mean he knows everything there is to know to build a gas tank. If he tries, he may put together the gas tank but it will not be up to the standard of the individual who knows the dimensions and materials and who has the molds for the best kind of gas tank.
During the days of Yeshua, the Torah cycle wasn't on the one year cycle like it is today. Now don't ask me where you can find the three year readings that were done during that time and in what order because that history is lost. So unlike today where we have personal Bibles, the talmidim tried every way possible to memorize all they could when they were in the schul. To help each individual learn the commandments the rabbis would immerse the people in each mitzvos and help them connect to each commandment from Hashem. At the same time, they lived in the Biblical times, so much of this way something they were easily accessible to in terms of knowledge, despite having personal Bibles. So as we see from Acts 15, when Paul mentions learning certain commandments (which actually include all 7 of the laws of Ger Toshav or Noahide Laws because the other three laws were initiated into secular law and the other 4 Paul mentions) and after they have mastered them, they can then go into the schul and learn the rest of the Torah (which was on a three year torah cycle). So we see that application of the Torah during the days of Paul even, required at least 4 years possible 8 years because of the fact it was important for each person to learn to do the Torah for the sake of Hashem.
This model also aligns with that of rabbinical halacha, where a person masters the written Torah at the age of 7, at the age of 13 he masters the Mishna, at the age of 16 the Gemera etc. We see this same practice was done and initiated in the Guf HaMashyach. So it is rather obvious that even those in the New Testament didn't follow “One Law” Theology.
Because of the overwhelming evidence, of Paul talking against One Torah Theology that the school of Shammai was trying to push on the Guf HaMashyach trying to get them circumcised the second they wanted to learn the commandments, which you see all through his letters (these were the “Jews” he took issue with that he makes note of often). As well as the cited evidences in the Torah and other places as well as the rabbincial texts, one must conclude that the One Torah Theologian falls into one of a few categories. Either A) He has no scholarship whatsoever, B) He has a little scholarship but he is lazy in discipleship and wants everyone at the same place so it is easier to teach them but it causes a lot of problems obvious, C) He is simply intellectually dishonest, D) it is easier for the One Torah Theologian to sell his wares if he tries to get them on this path of “you start here and end here....this is all you ever need to know and don't expect to grow”, or E) He is trying to start a cult where he can limit a person's observance to better identify the person who is under him as his and only his.
If One Torah Theology had ANY Biblical backing then there would be set perimeters of how observant a person has to be and at one point they should stop studying and when they should stop applying more in their life. These perimeters are the very definition of “lukewarm”, because if you have a cup of hot coffee on your desk and it stays on the desk and you don't drink it.....what happens to that cup of coffee? It will not get freezing cold and turn to ice, and it will not remain hot, it will instead go to room temperature. The only way this will change is if action is taken and the coffee is reheated or put in the freezer.
So in conclusion, One Torah Theologians are nothing more than individuals who prey upon those who are over-zealous (and zealousness is a good thing) for mainly financial gain, and by the time they have your money with their fraudulent institutes...the money is paid, they have it, so it doesn't matter to them when you finally find out that what they teach is 150% unbiblical. This is what has made the ephramite identity movement so financially successful for several years, because it is mainly a big marketing ploy with a bunch of former pastors, with no rabbinic training leading the charge, and they live very well off of these ploys. Then they demonize people like myself, and First Fruits of Zion saying “well they don't believe that Gentiles should keep Torah”. This is an utter lie and has no basis in truth, instead there are several graduating levels like there is in academic models. This is why my conversion classes I teach take several years and it is not just a “here's the books bye bye” kind of thing, this is also why organizations like First Fruits of Zion have various levels in their “Torah Club” mailers. So the next time you hear that “Rabbi Eh'bed Baw'naw doesn't believe that Torah is for Gentiles”, just tell him, “actually that is not true, he believes in applying Torah for the sake of Hashem and doing it responsibly”.
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah at Beit Geulah in Morganton, NC (www.BeitGeulah.com)