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From: Eddie Chumney
To: heb_roots_chr@hebroots.org
Subject: Acts 15: Why the Four Requirements for non-Jews?

ACTS 15: WHY THE FOUR REQUIREMENTS FOR NON-JEWS ???

Dear Mishpochah (family):

In this article, we are going to continue our study on the subject: "How are non-Jews to express their faith in YHVH?" In doing so, we are going to examine in detail the Torah / Hebraic basis of the FOUR REQUIREMENTS for non-Jews from Acts 15.

KJV Acts 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

KJV Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

In the previous articles on "Acts 15: A Hebraic View", we emphasized that:

#1) The ruling in Acts 15 CANNOT contradict what is written in the Torah

#2) In order to understand the ruling in Acts 15, we need to understand the CURRENT SITUATION of the ruling

In presenting that Acts 15 CANNOT CONTRADICT what is written in the Torah and the prophets, we made mention of Numbers 15:15-16.

KJV Numbers 15:15 ONE ORDINANCE shall be BOTH for YOU of the congregation, and also for the STRANGER that sojourneth with you, an ordinance FOREVER in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.

KJV Numbers 15:16 One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you.

There are NOT "two standards" for Jews and non-Jews who are in COVENANT relationship with YHVH. ONE TORAH is for BOTH for those of the "congregation" and for the STRANGER (non-Jew).

We also mentioned that Messiah distinguished those who are LEAST in the Kingdom and those who are GREAT in the Kingdom based upon whether they broke the commandments and taught others to do so (LEAST) or whether they KEPT the commandments and taught others to do so (GREATEST).

KJV Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The TORAH tells us that BOTH Jew and non-Jew who are in COVENANT relationship with YHVH are to KEEP His commandments. The Messiah taught that those who follow Him are to KEEP the commandments (John 14:15, Revelation 22:14) So, the fact that a believer in YHVH (whether Jewish or non-Jewish) expresses their faith in Messiah by following Torah AFTER they are saved is a GIVEN. Therefore, we need to interpret Acts 15 from this perspective.

Next, we need to understand Acts 15 based upon the CURRENT SITUATION of the ruling. In doing this, we mentioned that the ruling in Acts 15 was made in the framework of the Messianic EXPECTATIONS of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). In doing so, we mentioned the following:

#1) The TORAH and the PROPHETS foretold that with the coming of the Messiah that there would be an END of the EXILE and that the Messiah would REGATHER BOTH HOUSES of Israel an return them back to the land of Israel (Deut 30:1-5, Ezekiel 37:15-28)

The ruling in Acts 15:16 was based upon the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David.

KJV Acts 15:16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

The ruling comes from the prophecy in Amos 9:11.

KJV Amos 9:11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

The "rebuilding of the tabernacle of David" is seen by Orthodox Jews as the restoration, regathering and reuniting of BOTH houses of Israel: Ephraim/Joseph and Judah.

In the book, "Torah Anthology: Yalkut Me'Am Lo'ez" on the book of Amos regarding the Amos 9:11, the following commentary is made on page 456:

"Amos speaks prophetically about the redemption [end of the exile of both houses of Israel) ... God 'will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen'. This refers to the calamity of the kingdom splitting in two in the days of Jeroboam (I Kings 12:13). As of then, and until the time of Hosea son of Elah (2 Kings 17), the kingdom of the house of David was 'fallen' ... the scripture compared Jerusalem and the reigning dynasty of David to a 'tabernacle' -- literally a temporary hut such is used by shepherds. David had been the monarch who shepherded the people of Israel (I Samuel 16:11) ... The scripture conveys that in the coming future, the kingship of the house of David will be established in THREE STAGES. First, a leader will arise of the seed of David, who will "feed them" and he will be their shepherd (Ezekiel 34:23) [NOTE FROM EDDIE: This was fulfilled by the FIRST coming of the Messiah]. He will teach them to practice righteousness and justice and thus establish 'the tabernacle of David' (Isaiah 1:27)[NOTE FROM EDDIE: Messiah taught His disciples how to follow Torah and how to teach Torah to others]. That stage of the future redemption will be followed by another stage when 'I the Lord will be their God'. It will be followed by the coming of the messianic king. 'My servant David' will be 'prince among them' [NOTE FROM EDDIE: This will be fulfilled at the 2nd coming of the Messiah].

#2) With the end of the exile of the house of Jacob by King Messiah that those from AMONG THE NATION would join themselves to the Messiah and Messiah would teach ALL NATIONS the Torah from Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2-4)

Therefore, NON-JEWS would embrace Messiah and the TORAH of the Messiah.

#3) ALL NATIONS joining themselves to the Messiah would come from an OUTPOURING of the HOLY SPIRIT (Joel 2:28)

Peter mentioned the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) upon non-Jews as a basis of YHVH adopting them into the New Covenant from having a CIRCUMCISED HEART.

KJV Acts 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

KJV Acts 15:8 And God, which knoweth the HEARTS, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as he did unto us

In Acts 15:19, we made mention that the word "TURN" can actually be translationed RETURNED to YHVH.

KJV Acts 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned <1994> to God:

The Greek word for "turned" is:

epistrepho {ep-ee-stref'-o}  from 1909 and 4762; TDNT - 7:722,1093; v  AV - turn 16, be converted 6, return 6, turn about 4, turn again 3, misc 4; 39  1) transitively 1a) to turn to 1a1) to the worship of the true God 1b) to cause to return, to bring back

The word can actually mean "RETURN TO YHVH".

KJV Matthew 10:13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace RETURN <1994> to you.

Also:

KJV Matthew 12:44 Then he saith, I will RETURN <1994> into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.

In Matthew 10:13, 12:44 this word that was translated as 'turn' in Acts 15:19 is translated in the King James RETURN.

Whether this Greek word is translated as TURN or RETURN is a CHOICE of the translators.

The ruling in Acts 15:19-20 is following by the words in Acts 15:21:

KJV Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

In presenting these verses, we mentioned the Hebraic view from the Rabbis that for a non-Jew who desire to be ADOPTED into COVENANT relationship with YHVH that the NON-JEW would be AWARE of ALL the commandments but would only be asked to follow SOME of the commandments and LEARN and FOLLOW the rest of the commandments as they were taught the Torah on a WEEKLY basis in the synogogues.

In Deuteronomy 33:4 it is written:

KJV Deuteronomy 33:4 Moses commanded us a law, even the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob.

In the Torah commentary on the book of Deuteronomy by Moses ben Nachman (RambaN / Nachmonides: 1195 - 1270) who was an Orthodox Jew who lived in the middle ages and is widely followed by MANY Orthodox Jews TODAY comments on page 376 regarding this verse as it relates to the STRANGER / non-Jew:

"And our rabbis interpreted [reference is: Tanchuma Vayakheil 8) that he did not say, "an inheritance of the 'house of Jacob' or the 'seed of Jacob' but he stated 'of the CONGREGATION of Jacob' in order to suggest that MANY STRANGERS would join them and the TORAH would ALWAYS be an INHERITANCE of JACOB and ALL who CONGREGATE TO HIM, these being the STRANGERS that join themselves to the Eternal to minister unto Him, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob and they will all be called, "his CONGEGATION".

The rabbis teach in [Mechilta, Bachodesh 6] that WHOEVER acknowledges the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN denies the IDOLS and ACKNOWLEDGES the ENTIRE TORAH.

But, what is the PROCESS to ACKNLOWLEDGE the ENTIRE TORAH?

On Page 434 of his Torah commentary on the book of Exodus, RambaN (Moshes ben Nachman / Nachmonides: 1195 - 1270) tells us that the rabbis taught the non-Jew / STRANGER regarding his obligation in following Torah:

"We inform him of some of the LIGHT commandments and some of the WEIGHTIEST ... The convert ... is thus NOT taught the WHOLE Torah prior to conversion but ONLY some of the ESSENTIALS thereof, which is FOLLOWED by the TOTAL commitment to OBSERVE WHATEVER the TORAH commanded".

Next, we are going to look in greater detail the FOUR REQUIREMENTS for non-Jews in greater detail from a Hebraic perspective. In doing so, I would like to share with you an observation on the issue by Jim Johnson. He says:

From: Jim Johnson
Subject: Re: How are non-Jews to express their faith in YHVH
To: heb_roots_chr@hebroots.org

I found when I studied this two important things.

1) They were to observe these four things so as not to put too much of a burden (pressure) on them for (BECAUSE) Moses is read every Sabbath in the synagogue. Which they were attending. So therefore they would hear the rest of the law there and would be lead into the truth of the Torah by the spirit.

2) Those four things were all things that the law states if they were broken that the person would be cut off from his people.

Jim Johnson


Jim is CORRECT that the FOUR REQUIREMENTS are TORAH-BASED for a NON-JEW to express their faith in YHVH. But why?

Before we answer WHY was this the ruling for non-Jews, I need to make an OBSERVATION that I have HEARD over the YEARS in traditional Christianity regarding this ruling. TRADITIONAL CHRISTIANITY makes reference to these FOUR things and SAY the following:

'Non-Jews DON'T need to follow the Torah. We only have to follow the four things mentions in Acts 15:19-20"

What makes this argument OBSURD (that non-Jews DON'T need to follow the Torah) is that these FOUR THINGS are TORAH COMMANDMENTS.

So, why these FOUR TORAH COMMANDMENTS ???

YHVH'S PEOPLE ARE CALLED TO BE A HOLY NATION

These reason for these FOUR requirements for non-Jews is these are the TORAH commandments for NON-JEWS (as well as Jews) to be HOLY before YHVH. These FOUR things come from Leviticus Chapters 17-18, 20.

YHVH's people are REDEEMED to be a HOLY PEOPLE.

KJV Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and KEEP MY COVENANT, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

KJV Exodus 19:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an HOLY NATION. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

KEEP MY COVENANT = HOLY NATION

In the NT, it is written:

KJV 1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an HOLY NATION, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you OUT of DARKNESS (DISOBEDIENCE to TORAH) into his marvellous light (OBEDIENCE to TORAH):

DARKNESS = NOT FOLLOWING TORAH

KJV Isaiah 8:20 To the TORAH and to the testimony: if they SPEAK NOT according to this word, it is because there is NO LIGHT in them.

LIGHT = TORAH

KJV Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the TORAH is LIGHT; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

BELIEVERS IN MESSIAH = WALK IN LIGHT = FOLLOW TORAH

KJV Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: WALK as children of LIGHT:

HOW DOES THE TORAH TEACH THAT NON-JEWS ARE HOLY BEFORE YHVH ???

Since YHVH has called ALL those who are in COVENANT relationship with Him to be HOLY, how does this help to explain the ruling in Acts 15:19-20 ???

KJV Acts 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

KJV Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

In the Artscroll Tanach Series on Vayikra (Leviticus) Book II in the section entitled: "Overview: Holiness and Sancification" on page XVIII it says:

"The Torah uses the term HOLINESS specifically with regard to THREE areas:

#1) Idolatry
#2) Sexual immorality
#3) Forbidden foods

"One who curbs himself from forbidden activities in those areas is on the way to HOLINESS; but one who indulges in these vices is contaminated (Tamei)"

KJV Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols (#1: IDOLATRY)

and from fornication (#2: SEXUAL IMMORALITY)

and from things strangled (#3: FORBIDDEN FOODS)

and from blood (includes #1 (MEAT offered to IDOLS), #2 and #3)

IDOLATRY = JEALOUSY OF YHVH = EXILE / CUT OFF

KJV Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols (#1: IDOLATRY)

The TORAH says that STRANGERS are FORBIDDEN to commit IDOLATRY.

KJV Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,

2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have NO OTHER GODS before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a JEALOUS God,

On Page XLV of the "Overview: Holiness and Sanctification" in the Artscroll Tanach Series, Vayikra (Leviticus) Book II it says:

"Ramban (Moses ben Nachman: (1195-1270)) notes that, with reference to God, the term JEALOUS is found ONLY in connection to IDOLATRY"

It goes on to say on Page XLV:

"This teaches that worship has a special status, like the intimacy of the husband-wife relationship. A woman who commits adultery becomes forbidden to her husband"

On Page XLVI it says:

"... offerings to an idol is like a wife who commits adultery ... to worship an idol is to mar the basis of loyalty to God and it arouses His jealousy"

KJV Leviticus 17:7 And they shall NO MORE offer their SACRIFICES unto DEVILS, after whom they have gone a WHORING. This shall be a STATUTE FOREVER unto them throughout their generations.

KJV Leviticus 20:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the CHILDREN of ISRAEL, or of the STRANGERS that SOJOURN in Israel, that giveth any of his SEED unto MOLECH; he shall surely be PUT TO DEATH: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.

KJV Leviticus 20:5 Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will CUT HIM OFF, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit WHOREDOM WITH MOLECH, from among their people.

CONCLUSION: Therefore, the STRANGERS who SOJOURN with the native-born nation of Israel are REQUIRED by TORAH to ABSTAIN from IDOLATRY.

The punishment = EXILE / CUT OFF.

Those STRANGERS who have a desire to be in COVENANT relationship with YHVH are seeking to be ADOPTED into the COVENANT which is the OPPOSITE from being CUT OFF from the covenant.

SEXUAL IMMORALITY = CUT OFF FROM THE COVENANT

KJV Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from ... fornication (#2: SEXUAL IMMORALITY)

The TORAH says that STRANGERS are FORBIDDEN to commit SEXUAL IMMORALITY.

K JV Leviticus 18:20 Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour's wife, to defile thyself with her.

It is forbidden to commit adultery in the Torah.

KJV Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

Homosexuality is forbidden in the Torah.

KJV Leviticus 18:26 Ye shall therefore KEEP MY STATUES and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your OWN NATION, nor any STRANGER that SOJOURNETH among you:

CONCLUSION: Therefore, the STRANGERS who SOJOURN with the native-born nation of Israel are REQUIRED by TORAH to ABSTAIN from SEXUAL IMMORALITY.

The punishment = EXILE / CUT OFF.

Those STRANGERS who have a desire to be in COVENANT relationship with YHVH are seeking to be ADOPTED into the COVENANT which is the OPPOSITE from being CUT OFF from the covenant.

EATING FORBIDDEN FOODS = CUT OFF FROM THE COVENANT

KJV Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from ... things strangled (#3: FORBIDDEN FOODS)

The TORAH says that STRANGERS are FORBIDDEN to EAT FORBIDDEN FOODS and DRAIN the BLOOD of an ANIMAL BEFORE EATING

KJV Leviticus 17:10 And whatsoever man there be of the HOUSE of ISRAEL, or of the STRANGERS that SOJOURN among you, that EATETH ANY manner of BLOOD; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will CUT HIM OFF from among his people.

KJV Leviticus 20:25 Ye shall therefore PUT DIFFERENCE between CLEAN BEASTS and UNCLEAN, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.

KJV Leviticus 17: 14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall EAT the BLOOD of NO MANNER of FLESH: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be CUT OFF.

CONCLUSION: Therefore, the STRANGERS who SOJOURN with the native-born nation of Israel are REQUIRED by TORAH to ABSTAIN from FORBIDDEN FOODS and BLOOD FROM ANIMALS.

The punishment = EXILE / CUT OFF.

Those STRANGERS who have a desire to be in COVENANT relationship with YHVH are seeking to be ADOPTED into the COVENANT which is the OPPOSITE from being CUT OFF from the covenant.

ABSTAIN FROM BLOOD = CUT OFF FROM THE COVENANT

KJV Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from ... BLOOD

In addition to abstaining from eating the blood of animals and forbidden food, the STRANGER is to ABSTAIN from a variety of BLOOD contaminations. This includes abstaining from marital intimacy during the time of the month when the woman is "unclean".

KJV Leviticus 18:19 Also thou shalt NOT APPROACH unto a WOMAN to uncover her nakedness, as long as SHE is PUT APART for HER UNCLEANNESS.

KJV Leviticus 18:24 DEFILE NOT ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I CAST OUT before you:

KJV Leviticus 18:26 Ye shall therefore KEEP MY STATUES and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your OWN NATION, nor any STRANGER that SOJOURNETH among you:

CONCLUSION: Therefore, the STRANGERS who SOJOURN with the native-born nation of Israel are REQUIRED by TORAH to ABSTAIN from BLOOD. This INCLUDES avoiding marital intamacy when the woman is having her monthly BLOOD flow.

The punishment = EXILE / CUT OFF.

Those STRANGERS who have a desire to be in COVENANT relationship with YHVH are seeking to be ADOPTED into the COVENANT which is the OPPOSITE from being CUT OFF from the covenant.

FOUR REQUIREMENTS = HOLY NATION = BOTH JEW AND NON-JEW = TORAH BASED

For traditional Christianity and Messianic Judaism (MJAA and UMJC) who says that Acts 15:19-20 was given so that non-Jews do NOT have to follow Torah are speaking through their IGNORANCE of TORAH.

Historical Christianity has NOT followed the BASIC FOUR requirements given in Acts 15 for non-Jewish believers in the Messiah which are TORAH based from Vayikra / Leviticus 17-18, 20.

James and the other brethren in Jerusalem KNEW TORAH. The PRIMARY requirements that they gave to non-Jews who desired to be ADOPTED into the NEW COVANENT after having CIRCUMCISED HEARTS was to FOLLOW the TORAH commandments for STRANGERS who SOJOURNED with the native-born children of Israel which showed that they had a HEART to PERSUE TORAH HOLINESS from Vayikra / Leviticus 17-18, 20 so that they would NOT be "cut off" from COVENANT relationship with YHVH through Yahshua / Jesus the Messiah.

I hope that this teaching from Acts 15 will help non-Jews to understand that if you are believer in YHVH through Yahshua / Jesus the Messiah and are in covenant relationship with Him, you LIVE that covenant relationship by FOLLOWING TORAH and showing your love for Messiah by keeping His commandments (John 14:15).

If you would like a tape where I taught Acts 15 from a Hebraic perspective, please make your check out for $5 made out to (Hebraic Heritage Ministries) and send to:

Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int'l
PO Box 81
Strasburg, OH 44680

I pray that this teaching on Acts 15 has been a blessing to you.

May YHVH bless each of you in your studies.

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int'l

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