Sanctifying G-d's Name
Positive Commandment 9
As I mentioned in yesterday's blog post and on numerous other occasions, there are many things that non-Jews can learn from Jewish tradition to help us understand the nature of God and our place as disciples of the Jewish Messiah. While there are a number of commonly applied concepts we can find and study, there are also many demarcation points as well.
The quote I posted above from today's small study of the daily digest of the teachings of Maimonides, seems to tell us that non-Jews do not have a duty to sanctify (make holy) the Name of God, or at least, for we non-Jewish disciples of the Jewish Messiah, it's not considered a mitzvah (a religious duty, an obligation to God, or an act of lovingkindness).
The lesson I read includes the responsibility of a Jew to love, fear, and sanctify the Name of God. Do none of these apply to non-Jews?
The 3rd mitzva is that we are commanded to love G-d (exalted be He), i.e. to meditate upon and closely examine His mitzvos, His commandments, and His works, in order to understand Him; and through this understanding to achieve a feeling of ecstasy. This is the goal of the commandment to love G-d.
Positive Commandment 3
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:29-31While Jesus (Yeshua) is quoting from the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and addressing a Jewish audience, the fact that he commanded his Jewish disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations...teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (from Matthew 28:19-20), indicates that the command to love God applies to the rest of us as well. Also, Noahide.org states the second commandment that must be obeyed by the non-Jewish peoples of the world is to "Respect G-d and Praise Him". This doesn't seem to necessitate "love", but it does define an attitude toward God beyond simple belief.
What about fearing God?
The 4th mitzvah is that we are commanded to establish in our minds fear and dread of G‑d (exalted be He); that we not be calm and nonchalant, but be constantly concerned of imminent punishment [for misdeeds.]
The biblical source of this commandment is G‑d's statement (exalted be He), "You shall fear G‑d your Lord."
Positive Commandment 4
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." -Luke 12:4-5
To make holy; to consecrate. Set aside for sacred or ceremonial use; To free from sin; to purify; To make acceptable or useful under religious law or practice; To endorse with religious sanction.I'd probably expand that a bit to include "to honor", "to elevate", "to treat as holy and separate". When we sanctify the Name of God, we perform acts (prayer, charity, righteous deeds) that lift up the reputation of God in our eyes and in the eyes the world. Based on what we find in the Torah and Talmud, no one would question a Jew's duty to sanctify the Name of God. But does a non-Jew, and particularly a non-Jew who has become a disciple of the Jewish Messiah, have the same duty?
Make holy, to reverence as holy, or to give authority to.
Maybe...maybe not. It depends on what translation of the Bible you're using.
The King James Bible translates 1 Peter 3:15 as:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fearThis seems to give us an answer that we Gentile disciples have the same, or similar duty to God as do the Jews, to sanctify or to make holy His Name. However, virtually every other Bible translation, at least in English, says something like "But in your hearts set apart (sanctify) Christ as Lord" (New International Version), specifying our duty to sanctify Christ or the Messiah, not God the Father. You can see the list of translations for the verse I'm referring to at bible.cc.
There are a number of verses in the Apostolic scriptures that talk about people being sanctified by God or His Spirit (Romans 15:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Jude 1:1) and that we are sanctified in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 6:11), but we don't see a lot said about us specifically sanctifying or making holy the Name of God in our lives or in the lives of others as non-Jewish disciples of the Jewish Messiah.
I can't believe we aren't supposed to, or that we are somehow forbidden to, treat the Name of God as Holy. Yet it is apparent that, from a Jewish point of view, this duty rests solely in the hands of those who received the Torah from the Prophet Moses at Sinai. This may well be true if you believe that only the 7 Noahide Laws apply to all Gentiles everywhere, but did not the coming of the Messiah and the opportunity Matthew 28:19-20 affords us to become his disciples not change anything for us?
It's probably my poor scholarship that is creating the problem here from a Christian perspective, but where can we see that, as Christians or disciples of the Messiah, we have a responsibility to treat as holy and honorable, the Name of God? I hate to say it this way, but it makes "common sense" that we are supposed to revere the Name of God. After all, we know we are to love Him and to reverently fear Him. But where is the Holiness by which we are to treat Him? Didn't Jesus teach us anything about that?
The road is long and often, we travel in the dark.