of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise
and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will


What is your view of the Noahide Laws?



The Jewish Encyclopedia explains the origin of the Noahide Laws as follows:

Laws which were supposed by the Rabbis to have been binding upon mankind at large even before the revelation at Sinai, and which are still binding upon non-Jews. The term Noachian indicates the universality of these ordinances, since the whole human race was supposed to be descended from the three sons of Noah, who alone survived the Flood. Although only those laws which are found in the earlier chapters of the Pentateuch, before the record of the revelation at Sinai, should, it would seem, be binding upon all mankind, yet the Rabbis discarded some and, by hermeneutic rules or in accordance with some tradition (see Judah ha-Levi, "Cuzari," iii. 73), introduced others which are not found there. Basing their views on the passage in Gen. ii. 16, they declared that the following six commandments were enjoined upon Adam: (1) not to worship idols; (2) not to blaspheme the name of God; (3) to establish courts of justice; (4) not to kill; (5) not to commit adultery; and (6) not to rob (Gen. R. xvi. 9, xxiv. 5; Cant. R. i. 16; comp. Seder 'Olam Rabbah, ed. Ratner, ch. v. and notes, Wilna, 1897; Maimonides, "Yad," Melakim, ix. 1). A seventh commandment was added after the Flood—not to eat flesh that had been cut from a living animal (Gen. ix. 4). Thus, the Talmud frequently speaks of "the seven laws of the sons of Noah," which were regarded as obligatory upon all mankind, in contradistinction to those that were binding upon Israelites only (Tosef., 'Ab. Zarah, ix. 4; Sanh. 56a et seq.).

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica
, the Noahide Laws were first listed in the Babylonian Talmud (500-600 AD). They claim to be derived from commandments God gave to Adam and Noah, but Genesis contains no such listing.  It is by some creative interpretation that the rabbi's have derived these laws from Genesis.  If you run a Google search, you find many sites, but I have not been able to find a site that references each law to a specific verse in Genesis.  Some of them but not all of them, and the ones that do have been given a rabbinic interpretation of the text to derive the laws.  For example, Gen. 9:6, "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." becomes a prohibition against eating the limb of a living animal, or eating the flesh of an animal having a beating heart.  There is surely a long history of oral rabbinic lore behind the Babylonian Talmud, and I interpret it in the light of the attitude of Jesus toward the Rabbi's and their traditions (oral interpretation handed down by the rabbi's).  We find this attitude of Jesus displayed in the following verses:
Mark 7
[1] Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem,
[2] they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed.
[3] (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders;
[4] and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.)
[5] And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?"
[6] And he said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, `This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
[7] in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'
[8] You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men."
[9] And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!
[10] For Moses said, `Honor your father and your mother'; and, `He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die';
[11] but you say, `If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban' (that is, given to God) --
[12] then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
[13] thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.
This is the way we should understand the Noahide Laws -- as traditions of men.  I understand that much of the modern focus on these laws, which we find on the Web, arises in Orthodox Judaism as an effort to impose the application of the Jewish scriptures on all men, finding there a special place for Gentiles.  Those who are concerned that these  "Noahide Laws" will ultimately bring the World into subjection to Mosaic rules rightly understand their modern application to be motivated to this end. 

We need not be concerned about it.  Jesus is king, remember?

[18] And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me

It is not likely that the apostles and other early disciples were influenced by the Noahide Laws because they had received the Lord's evaluation of such things as in Mark 7 above.
  Furthermore, Jesus was careful to specify what is to be preserved from the Torah and applied to his disciples:
Matt. 22
[35] And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him.
[36] "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
[37] And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
[38] This is the great and first commandment.
[39] And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
[40] On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.
"All the law" surely refers to the Noahide laws as well as the Mosaic code.  I find no record that Jesus ever acknowledged either the existence or the authority of such a listing of Gentile Laws. 

Do not be deceived!

Return to List of Questions     E-mail      Return to Home Page