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First Covenant

Covenant Connection

Volume 3, Issue 5


September 2008... Elul 5768

Revolutionary Doctrine


Revolutionary Doctrine

• Protocols of the
Elders of Zion

• Online Classes

• New-Old Book Out: Restoring Abrahamic Faith

 • Pride Suppresses the Law: Abortion; the 40-Day Rule; Responses to
Rape and Incest

• The New Year

• Prayer


A Filipino Noahide asks us to give a blessing and lend our name to a new Filipino political party's effort "to impose the Noahide law" on the Philippines and make it "a Noahide nation." We wrote back:

"The First Covenant Foundation endorses every lawful effort to establish the Seven Noahide Laws as guiding principles of decency and justice anytime, everywhere."

Since most people still don't understand First Covenant basics, let's parse that sentence:

1) Lawful effort. We support effort which is lawful. In other words, we recognize the legitimacy of each nation's laws - as when they outlaw crimes like murder and stealing. The nations' laws collectively reflect the universal human craving for fairness and justice. Even when a nation has cruel, unjust laws, if it's a Nazi or Arab tyranny, for instance, one can't assume that ALL its laws need be tossed aside.

2) Establish the Seven Noahide Laws. Most of the Law is already established in the nations' laws. Whenever they try to do justice through their laws, by forbidding obviously criminal acts, they are already doing much of what the Law requires. As nations learn more about law and God and justice they will do even better. "Imposing" righteousness won't work.

3) Guiding principles of decency and justice. The Seven Universal Laws aren't a system of rigid, detailed laws, even though that's what most "Noahide" websites teach. Rather, they give us an outline or framework of general principles and standards. They're a light in the darkness, a clear expression of God's will. They help us distinguish between right and wrong, between decency and its opposite, between civilization versus savagery.

4) Anytime, everywhere. The Seven Noahide Laws apply to every individual, to every nation, clan and tribe, to every court and society and government generally. They aren't meant for some messianic future but for now, this instant, and all time. That means that they are capable of being implemented now and always. And that means that they need to be and are so inherently attractive that most nations, clans, etc., will, sooner or later, choose to accept them for themselves in full.

We hope this helps clarify (a) what we, First Covenant, are all about; and (b) the basic nature of the Law.

Every nation needs to try to keep up the Law and Noahide standards - general standards - of civilization if it wants God's blessing or, put it this way, if it wants to thrive and survive as a nation. Every "Noahide authority" concurs. But here we have conflict: Every nation must decide for itself how to enforce those general standards - how to achieve law and order and decency and justice as lovingly and efficiently as possible - based on the unique circumstances and qualities of each nation. Most self-styled "authorities" on the Noahide Law, and "Noahide" websites, disagree with us there. Nevertheless, that is self-determination and that is what it means to be a sovereign nation. Every nation must determine the details of its own laws for itself.

What we just said must be true because the Noahide Law and the First Covenant system don't make sense otherwise. "It is forbidden to depend on miracles," the Torah teaches. What fantastic miracles would be needed for the nations to accept Noahide Law in any other formulation! If the Law isn't inherently attractive, only miracles, or brute power, could "impose" the Law on anyone. That's just logical. So, too, say Israel's Sages.

We follow the hallowed methods of Torah-interpretation laid down for Israel at Sinai. In something big like this, logic alone doesn't suffice to confirm a point of Torah. It takes affirmation from Israel's early leading Torah Sages as well. The affirming Sages in this case are, among others, the Talmud's Rabbi Yochanan (See Sanhedrin 56b), Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 10:12), and the Yad Rama, Rabbi Mayer Abulafia (c. 1200). One of our mentors, Bar-Ilan University's Arnold Enker writes, "the Yad Rama is the basis for the major revolution we have seen in our thinking about these issues."

We stand for that revolution. When you see the different "Noahide" groups boycotting and denouncing us for teaching the Law not as they do, remember, please, that they have a radically different conception of the Law. They advocate old thinking, what some call "traditionalist" thinking. In fact, it's not traditional - it's not classical - but merely stale, based on relatively recent (in Torah thought, relatively recent means less than 600-years old) misinterpretations of the Law. So they reject Rainbow Covenant's central premise, that "every nation must determine the details of its own laws for itself."

Concerning The Protocols of
the Elders of Zion

This is huge. If they have it right, the rabbis of Israel should dictate to the nations the details of their laws. And the rabbis must base their dictates on completely inflexible ancient Instruction. Things like mercy, compassion, and reasonableness, in their view, just take away from Divine commandments. Which means, if they have it right, that every teenage shoplifter should have his or her head cut off (since the "proper" penalty for all Noahide Law violations is, so they say, decapitation with a sword). If they have it right, the kindly neighbor lady who worships "Gentle Jesus" at Catholic mass is a criminal, an idolatress, whom Noahide courts ought to execute. But they do not have it right. That is not justice; that is not Torah; that it is not God's system.

We keep hearing from rabbis who want to "train" Noahides in Judaism. They do not have it right. We keep hearing from "progressives" condemning "harsh Old Testament laws," claiming that the Law (what little they know of it) mandates "stoning disobedient children, forcing women to submit to abusive husbands, or unbetrothed virgins to marry their rapists." [We quote from an editorial in a local paper.] They don't have it right either. We all keep hearing from the Muslim world, too - unfortunately - and they have it all wrong just like the Nazis got it wrong. They have swallowed the idiocy in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the famous anti-Semitic tract - a pamphlet, forged by Russian Czarists, supposed to be the record of a secret world-wide conference of rabbis - which teaches that all good men must wage all-out war against a monstrous Jewish conspiracy seeking world domination.

Obviously, one of the problems here is that, if the Stale Thinkers are right, the rabbis of Israel do seek world domination! Truth and Torah aren't glorified by Noahide Law "experts" insisting that Isaiah 2:3, "Out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the word of HaShem from Jerusalem," means that a rabbi or rabbis in Jerusalem should in fact dominate the world and dictate the nations' laws to the nations. Neither does it honor HaShem or make His Name great by claiming that He requires Noahides (but not Jews!) to execute each other for each infraction!

We hope to have more in the next issue about the Protocols and their effect on the world - and how the truth about the Law will, sooner or later, make them a dead letter. As for what "training" a Noahide should seek, check our website, and your next Covenant Connection.

Online Classes

Speaking of the training a Noahide should seek. . . Thanks to a First Covenant member in the country of Malaysia, on the other side of the world, we can now offer First Covenant classes - classes in Noachism, as he puts it - online, complete with lessons and self-test questions. We have a lesson posted already. By the time you read this, we might even have a second lesson up, covering the famous, ancient Thirteen Principles of Faith. Go to http://yeshiva.noachism.org.

Naturally, we welcome your support, your comments and ideas. We have high hopes for this new venture. We need your help to forge ahead, to make this resource even better - and, we hope, advance the cause of Noachism!

Restoring Abrahamic Faith

We wish every Christian would read Dr. James Tabor's new book, Restoring Abrahamic Faith. It's an updated, expanded version of a remarkable long pamphlet of the same name, which we first read almost 15-years ago. We loved it in its first incarnation - we read and re-read it, and kept it as a desk-reference - and we're delighted that it's finally coming out as a book.   Dr. Tabor, an old friend, is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina (at Charlotte), the author of The Jesus Dynasty, a scholarly but internationally acclaimed best-seller, and. . . well, James is a star, and you really should just look at what he's been up to. R AF explores what it calls the "faith of all the ancients, from Noah, through Abraham and Moses. . . . "   We cut off that quote because it continues with "Jesus the Nazarene and his early followers." We disagreed with a lot of the old RAF, but we loved the way it makes sense of so much of the Bible and the world. The author  has his own beliefs, naturally. We know, since we're old friends, that he generally rejects Israel's Oral Torah - we know about his early bad brush with it but we think he's mostly just too proud to accept it, like many non-Jews (Jews, if they reject it, usually reject the Written Torah too). Yet he reveres Hebrew Scripture, the Tenach. He regards the Talmud as being only about as worthy, God-forbid, as the Dead Sea Scrolls or Greek-language scripture. This leads to myriad problems - he's missing out on vast treasures of truth and holiness; he doesn't recognize the full scope of Israel's mission in the world, or how Israel fulfills it; and he keeps ticking us off by presumptuously reeling off HaShem's holy names. His philosophy in RAF doesn't work out completely logically, either, since the Written Torah is horribly diminished without the other. Still, despite all this, and what we didn't list [we assume that the new RAF, which we're still waiting for, is much like the old, only better] this brilliant author's brilliant insights into the plain meaning of black-letter Scripture make RAF good reading.

Restoring Abrahamic Faith

by James D. Tabor

Restoring Abrahamic Faith is an engaging, challenging exposition of the ancient Hebrew Faith written by biblical scholar and historian Dr. James D. Tabor. This thoroughly revised edition of Tabor’s 1993 publication examines all the great Questions of Biblical Faith:
Who is God?
What are the Holy Scriptures?
How does one know the will of God?
How should we live?
What does salvation mean?
What about the so-called “Lost Tribes” of Israel?
Is the present return of Jews to the Land of Israel significant?
What about the coming of the Messiah?
Who was Jesus and what was his message?
To order, or for more information about RAF, go to genesis2000.org.

Pride Suppresses the Law: Abortion; the 40-Day Rule; Responses
Rape and Incest

Speaking of people too proud to accept rabbinic rulings, or the Oral Torah, a lady asks whether we "would make abortion a crime." She asked that of two Christian clergymen: one said that human life begins at conception, when the sperm hits the egg, so abortion, in all cases, is simply murder; the other pastor agrees that abortion is murder but would still - with uncertain logic - exclude rape and incest victims from having to carry the fetus to term.

Our answer to her: You know the Law [See "Pro-Life, Pro-Choice," Covenant Connection v. 2  I. 6, Feb. 2007]: no abortion should be permitted starting from 40-days after conception, unless needed to save the life and health of the mother.  That requires, certainly, a reasonably serious-minded penalty for violations - less than the penalty for murder but still substantial enough to prevent them.

Up to 40-days from conception - and this eliminates the horror of a woman being forced to bear the child of her rapist, or of incest, and many other problems - the fetus is regarded as just a hairy egg, mere water. Post 40-days, and this really should be plain to all of us, thanks to science [See " Pro-Life, Pro-Choice"], the fetus feels pain, has developed a nervous system, plus a heart, which has just begun to beat, and you can easily see fingers and toes developing, and the beginnings of eyes. But the idea that abortion should be outlawed before that is like trying to completely abolish divorce. People may think that it's righteous, but it actually isn't righteous at all.
"It's very hard to convince people of that 40-day rule. But that's the thing about the Noahide Laws. They're obvious, but only if you look at the matter closely. After 40-days, the wrong of aborting a fetus should be obvious. Before that, it's not obvious at all, unless you have a particular religious mindset. . ."

Her response, as to the challenge of teaching or sharing Noahide Law:

Yep, it involves accepting the Rabbis' rulings about issues not clearly set out in the Bible. That's a big stumbling block for many . . . .

Our response, and end of this exchange: Yes, people are so sure that they know better. It takes a lot of humility to accept Torah and we don't often see that. In a few souls, yes . . . Yet when we [we three First Covenant directors], say, find out that a proposition of Torah contradicts us, I can't think of a time when we hesitated - we go with Torah. You argue, but the moment that you become convinced of the Torah of something you go with it. . . .

The New Year

The New Year, Rosh HaShana, the First of the Year and a new start, Torah teaches, is coming up - starting Monday, September 29th, this year, when the sun sets, and continuing through the next day, Tuesday, until sunset. See the article on Rosh HaShana in Covenant Connection, v.2  i.12, Aug. 2007.

We call on God for help. As the prayer that Israel says every morning just before reciting the Hebrew statement of faith known as the shema asks (please understand that this is much richer in Hebrew than in English): Our Father, the merciful Father, Who acts mercifully, have mercy on us, instill in our hearts to understand and elucidate, to listen, learn, teach, safeguard, perform and fulfill all the words of Your Torah's teachings with love. Enlighten our eyes in Your Torah, attach our hearts to Your commandments, and unify our hearts to love and fear Your Name. Amen.

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