Were the Gentiles under the Law of Moses?


Clarify Share Report Asked January 08 2017 Img 0572 Michael Johnson Supporter

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I would say that the Mosaic Law (in all its detail, including both the moral/civil law and the religious/ceremonial law) was given specifically to Israel. However, as Paul says (Romans 1:18-32; Romans 2:12-17), God has always given a witness of Himself to everyone (that is, Gentiles as well as Jews), both in nature, and in the human conscience, through which all people have an innate knowledge that some actions are right and others are wrong (that is, the moral portion of the Law). (C. S. Lewis (in his book Mere Christianity) called this "The Universal Law of Right and Wrong", and it was one of the factors that influenced his conversion from atheism to theism and then to Christianity.)

That is why Paul says that, even though God provided the full body of the Law only to Israel, the Gentiles will have no excuse before God for acting against the dictates of their consciences, or for failing to recognize God's witness of Himself in nature.

January 08 2017 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

Img 3185 %282%29 Meluleki Maphosa Amateur Bible Student
In addressing this question I will assume that you are talking about Gentiles before the death of Jesus on the cross. The law of Moses pointed to the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. 

It should be remembered that prior to the cross, God had not provided for any other means for any believer (Jew or Gentile) to be saved. The sacrificial system was instituted by God in Eden to always remind people that without blood there can be no remission of sin (Gen 3:21). Later we read in Gen 4:3 of an established sacrificial worship system long before the advent of the Jews and Gentiles. In other words all descendants of Adam and Eve had been given this ceremony as part of worshiping God. 

The alternative (sacrificing anything other than a lamb or animal) was clearly not acceptable to God. Throughout the bible in the OT we don’t come across any other salvation system for any other people. It would appear to me therefore that when the Hebrews (later to become Jews) were instructed by God through Moses to institute the sacrificial system it was nothing new but simply a reminder of what God had established centuries earlier, it was nothing new. It would further appear to me that the bulk of the world population forgot the system of worship that God had put in place. 

A faithful few (such as Abraham) remained practicing these ceremonies and hence the emergence of a group that continued to practice and another that didn’t. We read in Exod 12:38 that when Hebrews left Egypt to Canaan there were other people amongst them who weren’t Hebrews, presumably they were Egyptians converted to Judaism. These people practiced the same ceremonies and their Hebrew neighbors. There couldn’t be another way to salvation. There is only one way to salvation, it is that way dictated by God Himself. Which means that when Moses instructed them to purify themselves to meet Jehovah, these Egyptians (Gentiles) also purified themselves. When God spoke His law from Sinai they also heard Him. When manna fell from heaven and it was picked up for six days, they were also part of it. When wars were fought along the way they were part of the army of Israel. 

In the NT in Mat 23:15 Jesus tells us that it was common for Jews to evangelize (proselytize) gentiles and convert them to Judaism. This means that there were converts into Judaism who weren’t Jews. Prior to the cross, there was no alternative other than to follow the ceremonial law as put in place through Moses. Sins were forgiven only through the sacrificial system. Heb 10:1-19 makes it clear that these symbols pointed to the cross. They were a dramatization of the great work of Jesus on the cross. When Jesus died God made it very clear that the animal sacrificial system ended there and then Mat 27:51. The veil as described in Exodus was a not a simple curtain as we know curtains today. It was as thick as a man’s hand and as about 4 metres high. It was inconceivable that anything other than a supernatural act could tear it from “top to bottom” not the other way round. I have no doubt that the priests on duty that day witnessed the end of ceremonies that were millennia old. Unfortunately much of the NT Church was troubled about the question of gentiles. We read in Acts, Hebrews, Peter and Romans that it took a while for the Jewish Christians to accept their Gentile brethren as equal believers. None the less the resistance faded. They began to understand that Jews and Gentiles are saved through the same way, the sacrificial blood of Jesus. 

In conclusion I want to say whether Jew or gentile everyone worshiping God needed to follow the worship system set up by God through Moses. By the same token after the cross everyone needs to accept Jesus as Savior there is no alternative in as much as there was no alternative to the Mosaic sacrificial system. God is the same for everyone yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever. He doesn't change. We do well to follow His instructions not like Cain did.

January 08 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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