Both Judaism and Christianity typically teach that G!d’s 613 commands are exclusively for Jews to obey while Gentiles are only obligated to obey general moral laws such as the “Seven Noahide Laws”. For those unfamiliar with the 7 Noahide Laws, they are as follows:
1) Don’t worship any other god, but the One True Living G!d (no idols);
2) Don’t curse G!d;
3) Don’t commit murder/bloodshed;
4) Don’t steal;
5) Don’t commit sexual immorality;
6) Establish a judicial system;
7) Don’t eat the limb/flesh of a living animal.
Some of these principles are established by Noah as instructions to his sons after the family and animals exited the ark upon being the sole survivors of the great flood in Genesis 9 while other alleged laws are assumed. In this chapter of the Bible thought to be the basis for the Noahide Laws, Noah urges his sons and their wives to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 9:1,7) as did G!d to Adam and Eve; Noah also informed his sons that the animals, the birds, and fish would be fearful of man, but man has dominion over them all (vs. 2); they can’t eat meat rare (with blood in it – vs. 3); and, lastly, they can’t murder or cause blood to be shed (vs. 5-6). If we were to go strictly by Genesis 9 alone, then, technically, these four commands would be the Noahide Laws. The Jewish sages expanded on them some to establish the seven, and various sects of Christianity have their own set of laws as well.
It is my position that while these Noahide laws are a great place to start, there appear to be hints of other laws Gentiles could obey and Gentiles of the future will obey. Moreover, whether Jew or Gentile, one ought to obey G!d’s commands, not suggestions, to the best of their ability and understanding out of their love for G!d. If one devotes their time finding excuses or develops arguments against obeying G!d’s commands, therein reveals much, namely one’s heart and alleged reverence for G!d and His authority in their life.
With that said, let us look at a few examples of Gentiles obeying what many would consider exclusive Jewish laws or laws not listed in the Seven Noahide Laws.
First, consider neither Adam, Eve, their sons, nor even Noah were Jewish for the tribes of Israel and therefore, the tribe of Judah, had not existed at this point in the Genesis story, and yet, G!d evidently commanded or, at the very least, welcomed the first family to offer sacrifices to Him. Hence, the first case of domestic violence and homicide, sadly, as Cain was jealous of Abel’s sacrifice (Genesis 4). Second, notice Noah understood the importance of sacrifices as he too offered sacrifices as soon as the flood was over (Genesis 8:20-22). Noah also made sure there were clean and unclean animals on the ark presumably for the purpose of making sacrifices and food (Genesis 7:2,8), instructions not yet documented until much later (Leviticus 1-7, 11). Likewise, many years post-flood, Abraham, who also was not technically Jewish, fashioned an altar to worship G!d (Genesis 12:7; 13:4,18); although the text does not specifically say he also offered sacrifices, it is inferred. Later, when Abraham’s son, Isaac, was older, G!d tested Abraham’s devotion to G!d by instructing him to, you could say, lay his idol down as Abraham set out to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering on an altar. Abraham trusted G!d would provide a better alternative while demonstrating he loved G!d even more than his miracle-baby. Consequently, G!d indeed had a better plan and provided a clean animal instead of Isaac (see Genesis 22). Again, all of this took place well before Jews and Judaism existed or G!d’s commands were documented by Moses.
As another example of Gentiles making sacrifices, in the future, after God physically rescues, regathers, and resurrects the scattered tribes of Israel and reigns on Earth (Zechariah 9-14), the surviving Gentile nations will be required to participate in making sacrifices for the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot in Hebrew, according to Zechariah 14:16-21. Did you catch that? It will be required of Gentiles by G!d Himself to sacrifice in the future – for Sukkot / Feast of Tabernacles for certain! In that same time period, a temple will exist, according to the prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 37-47 so evidently, Gentiles that survive the Battle of Gog & Magog will be bringing sacrifices to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Sukkot, or Feast of Booths or Feast of Ingathering.
It should be noted that Noah offered sacrifices of praise upon his literal, physical salvation (Genesis 8:20-22) just as the future surviving Gentiles will do upon their literal, physical salvation (Zechariah 14). Likewise, Noah and the other family that survived the flood repopulated the renewed Earth just as the future surviving Gentiles will do.
Sabbath and Other Holy Days
In the previous segment about sacrifices, we briefly explored the Feasts of Tabernacles, a Feast of the LORD, and how it will be celebrated in the World-To-Come, or upon G!d creating the New Heavens and New Earth, in the New Covenant not yet activated. In Isaiah 66:22-24, we also see the seventh-day Sabbath and the monthly new moon celebrations (Rosh Chodesh) will be observed by “all flesh”, meaning all mankind. The Prophet Ezekiel also predicts during that era G!d’s Sabbaths and Feasts are obeyed as well as sacrifices by the reunited and resurrected twelve tribes of Israel (see Ezekiel 43-44). It would appear in the future because all of the once scattered Israelites will be fully restored in the Promised Land of Canaan (Israel), G!d’s laws will also be fully restored while Gentiles obey some additional laws such as the Sabbath and celebrate Sukkot.
Fasting is another command not found in the Seven Noahide Laws and yet the Prophet Jonah instructs the Gentiles of Nineveh to fast as a means to demonstrate their repentance. Fasting is a central part of Judaism, particularly on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), one of G!d’s Holy Days found in Leviticus 23, and all about repentance. Apparently, G!d appreciates the Gentile that fasts as a sign of repentance as well.
Technically, lying is not one of the Seven Noahide Laws either, but according to Nahum 3:1, the Ninevites (see Nahum 1:1), the ones who fasted and repented as mentioned above, were sinning by lying. In other words, lying was one of the offenses that caused G!d to send a prophet announcing G!d’s disapproval of their behavior and their need to repent to be spared from G!d’s wrath.
Likewise, sorcery was another command the Ninevites evidently violated, according to Nahum 3:4, and yet, is not listed in the Seven-To-Heaven list, or list that deems a Gentile righteous if obeyed according to the traditions of Judaism. Sorcery isn’t even in the 10 Commandments and yet clearly, a no-no, for both Jew and Gentile (Micah 5:11-14).
Unclean Food: No Bacon For You!
The vague translations of Genesis 9 make it sound like Noah’s sons can eat anything, but just the fact that Noah brings both unclean and clean animals on board the ark indicates otherwise. G!d specifically informed Moses much later what is food and not food in both Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 for Israelites, but it is interesting Noah understood what animals are clean and unclean before G!d gave Moses such instructions inferring the knowledge of what G!d defines as food predated the covenant given at Mt Sinai.
Clearly, G!d reveals throughout various Scriptures, albeit after carefully studying, that the Seven Noahide Laws may be a great place for Gentiles to start obeying G!d, but Gentiles should at the very least expect some more in the future (ie. Sukkot sacrifices & Sabbath). Moreover, consider the simple fact that Jews are “chosen” to be the light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6) designed to teach the light, being Torah or God’s commands, and all its wisdom and glory to the deceived world (Proverbs 6:23; Psalm 119:18,105-106; Ezekiel 44:23-24; Jeremiah 16:19; Zechariah 8). We also can learn throughout the passages of the prophetic books in the Hebrew Bible, in the future, everyone will know who G!d is and what He expects (Jeremiah 31) – it will be a time when the whole world, will “learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:8-10) meaning Torah, God’s definition of light, His instructions on how to be the light, life, and love. Torah will be taught to the nations and consequently, there will be world peace (see Isaiah 2 and Micah 4).
Moreover, whether Jew or Gentile, everyone has specific responsibilities and purpose then, now, and in the future.
In conclusion, in addition to the benefits of learning Torah, it is apparent to me if certain commands were observed by Gentiles before the tribes of Israel were even established and some of the said commands will be observed by the world after all the tribes of Israel are reunited and re-established in the future, then obviously, they are neither done away with, as Christianity teaches, nor only 7 laws for Gentiles as traditional Judaism teaches. Therefore, I do not believe the 7 Noahide Laws are the only commands Gentiles should obey, but rather, it could be a good place to start.