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Jamsy

Eating Pork Blood Stew

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Until four years ago, I've been a Catholic for most of my life. As a catholic, I grew up eating anything I want to eat. However, since I started reading/studying the bible. I've come across verses about prohibitions against certain food. In particular, I'd like to cite this verse:

 

Acts 15:20

Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

 

The last part, blood', is what's gnawing at me. I come from a country where pork blood stew is one of the delicacies. I grew up eating this dish and there are times when I actually crave for it. I know that there are other religions that prohibit their members from eating/drinking blood as well as the other foods that were cited/prohibited in the Old Testament. Am I sinning against God because I continue to eat blood-based food?

 

I find this verse comforting, though:

 

Matthew 15:11

It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”

 

I feel justified by the last verse, but am I right about my interpretation of this verse? I hope you can enlighten me.

 

 

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Hi Jamsy,

 

The context of Acts 15 deals with sacrifices, or from feasts which were kept in idol's temples. The issue was also later addressed in both Corinthians and Colossians.

 

The food laws that set Israel apart from the nations have been fulfilled and ended in Christ. Mark 7:18–19, “[Jesus] said to them, . . . ‘Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him?’ . . . (Thus he declared all foods clean.)”

 

So yes, you're correct.

 

God bless,

William

 

 

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The prohibition of eating pork is part of the Mosaic law and is no longer in effect. The prohibition of eating blood is part of the covenant God made with Noah and as far as I know it is still in effect. Genesis 9:3,4 says, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood."

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The prohibition of eating pork is part of the Mosaic law and is no longer in effect. The prohibition of eating blood is part of the covenant God made with Noah and as far as I know it is still in effect. Genesis 9:3,4 says, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood."

 

Pretty good article on the subject: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/4-principles-exercise-christian-liberty/

 

God bless,

William

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I agree with what it says but it doesn't mention the covenant with Noah.

 

Isn't this a "symbolic connection" between "blood and life", a concept also basic to the sacrificial systems found in Leviticus 17:11 and the atoning work of Christ Hebrews 9:14,22?

 

The law was stated in the covenant with Noah, reinstated in the Mosaic, explained in Leviticus, and fulfilled it in the NT.

 

Point being is that animal sacrifice or rather its blood takes the place of the life of the worshiper "for the life of the flesh is in its blood", symbolically redeeming them. Because animal blood is the sign of salvation, people may not consume it. This is transformed in the NT where Christ's shed blood actually atoned for sin, and those who drink that blood spiritually receive the benefits of his death through faith.

 

Note: As far as I am aware those that suggest the law still remains from the Noah Covenant are arguing from the perspective of Theonomy.

 

God bless,

William

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There is a difference between the covenant with Noah and the law revealed by Moses. The Mosaic covenant was with Israel alone and is not binding on us today. The covenant with Noah was with him and with all of his descendants, which includes all of us. We are still bound by its provisions.

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There is a difference between the covenant with Noah and the law revealed by Moses. The Mosaic covenant was with Israel alone and is not binding on us today. The covenant with Noah was with him and with all of his descendants, which includes all of us. We are still bound by its provisions.

 

How so? What about remaining single? Are we still bound by a literal approach to be fruitful and multiply? Are relationships with such disadvantage made null according to the Covenant?

 

Still think it is symbolic and fulfilled: the symbolism of the blood and its relation to the flesh was the issue. Blood represented life and was to be poured out in respect for life.

 

I see it as an anti-type of the coming works of Christ John 6:54.

 

I guess this kinda thing can make a weaker brother stumble. If so and they find offense I'll just order my steak more done rather than the preferred extra rare while in person.

 

God bless,

William

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What about remaining single? Are we still bound by a literal approach to be fruitful and multiply?

The command to be fruitful and multiply was given to the whole human race, not to a specific individual. It seems to me that this is the only command we have obeyed. Jeremiah was commanded not to marry and the New Testament tells us that single people who don't have family responsibilities can sometimes serve God better than married people can.

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The command to be fruitful and multiply was given to the whole human race, not to a specific individual. It seems to me that this is the only command we have obeyed. Jeremiah was commanded not to marry and the New Testament tells us that single people who don't have family responsibilities can sometimes serve God better than married people can.

 

Morning Theo,

 

Now you have lost me, the Scriptures say,

  • Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

And to your point where a command was later amended the same can be said about the command in question. Mind you, these commandments are not conditional. The actual Covenant is unconditional and it does not depend upon anything Noah or his descendants had to do to fulfill the Covenant. The promise is based upon God’s faithfulness alone. If it were up to any other party the Covenant has already been broken, obviously, every living creature does not follow “You must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it”.

 

The Covenant:

 

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, zI establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 aI establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, b“This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set cmy bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 dI will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember ethe everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

 

Lastly, I must admit that your argument has taken me off guard. I have never seen anyone disregard the New Covenant for an Old Covenant outside Judaism. Wonder if this will work in the United States, can I refuse anything more than the Bill of Rights thereby rejecting the Constitution with all its amendments?

 

God bless,

William

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Morning Theo,

 

Now you have lost me, the Scriptures say,

  • Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

And to your point where a command was later amended the same can be said about the command in question. Mind you, these commandments are not conditional. The actual Covenant is unconditional and it does not depend upon anything Noah or his descendants had to do to fulfill the Covenant. The promise is based upon God’s faithfulness alone. If it were up to any other party the Covenant has already been broken, obviously, every living creature does not follow “You must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it”.

 

The Covenant:

 

Lastly, I must admit that your argument has taken me off guard. I have never seen anyone disregard the New Covenant for an Old Covenant outside Judaism. Wonder if this will work in the United States, can I refuse anything more than the Bill of Rights thereby rejecting the Constitution with all its amendments?

 

God bless,

William

That is an excellent point. We are under the new covenant, which by it very nature, supersedes all pervious covenants. Besides, if the command is binding (i.e. be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth), at what point does it cease to be binding? At what number is the Earth full?
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Wow there people ...

Let's throw out the entire Old Testement just for the sake of this argument.

Are you actually claiming that the decision of the First Jerusalem Council, as recorded in infallible (God Breathed) scripture is wrong and abrogated?

 

Acts 15:22-29

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:

 

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

 

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

 

Greetings.

 

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

 

Farewell.

 

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Wow there people ...

Let's throw out the entire Old Testement just for the sake of this argument.

Are you actually claiming that the decision of the First Jerusalem Council, as recorded in infallible (God Breathed) scripture is wrong and abrogated?

 

Acts 15:22-29

22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:

 

The apostles and elders, your brothers,

 

To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

 

Greetings.

 

24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

 

Farewell.

 

We would do well not to flaunt our Christian liberties to those Judaizers still worshiping in the temple. Of course what was writ ended at its destruction. We shouldn't flaunt our liberty with those battling conscience conviction although these things are clean to us. For the sake of peace, we should get along with the Juadizers, and if it means refraining from those things in order to not make a weaker brother stumble so be it.

 

Consider earlier verses...

  • Act 15:5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses."
  • Act 15:6 The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter.
  • Act 15:10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?

I think this is written for compromise for the sake of peace.

  • Act 15:24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said.
  • Act 15:25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul—
  • Act 15:28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements:

What seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and why burden us with following requirement? Charity, given the earlier context this was a treaty. And it was later reiterated that all these things we eat are clean, but Paul said he would refrain from eating even meat if it causes a weaker brother to stumble holding true to this example.

 

Matthew Henry

 

Here is the direction given what to require from the Gentile converts, where observe,

 

(1.) The matter of the injunction, which is according to the advice given by James, that, to avoid giving offence to the Jews,

 

[1.] They should never eat any thing that they knew had been offered in sacrifice to an idol, but look upon it as, though clean in itself, yet thereby polluted to them. This prohibition was afterwards in part taken off, for they were allowed to eat whatever was sold in the shambles, or set before them at their friend's table, though it had been offered to idols, except when there was danger of giving offence by it, that is, of giving occasion either to a weak Christian to think the worse of our Christianity, or to a wicked heathen to think the better of his idolatry; and in these cases it is good to forbear, 1Co_10:25, etc. This to us is an antiquated case.

[2.] That they should not eat blood, nor drink it; but avoid every thing that looked cruel and barbarous in that ceremony which had been of so long standing.

[3.] That they should not eat any thing that was strangled, or died of itself, or had not the blood let out.

[4.] That they should be very strict in censuring those that were guilty of fornication, or marrying within the degrees prohibited by the Levitical law, which, some think, is principally intended here. See 1 Co 5:1. Dr. Hammond states this matter thus: The judaizing teachers would have the Gentile converts submit to all that those submitted to whom they called the proselytes of righteousness, to be circumcised and keep the whole law; but the apostles required no more of them than what was required of the proselytes of the gate, which was to observe the seven precepts of the sons of Noah, which, he thinks, are here referred to.

 

But the only ground of this decree being in complaisance to the rigid Jews that had embraced the Christian faith, and, except in that one case of scandal, all meats being pronounced free and indifferent to all Christians as soon as the reason of the decree ceased, which, at furthest, was after the destruction of Jerusalem, the obligation of it ceased likewise. “These things are in a particular manner offensive to the Jews, and therefore do not disoblige them herein for the present; in a little time the Jews will incorporate with the Gentiles, and then the danger is over.”

 

They express themselves with abundance of tenderness and fatherly concern. First, They are afraid of burdening them: We will lay upon you no greater burden. So far were they from delighting to impose upon them that they dreaded nothing so much as imposing too far upon them, so as to discourage them at their setting out.

 

Secondly, They impose upon them no other than necessary things. “The avoiding of fornication is necessary to all Christians at all times; the avoiding of things strangled, and of blood, and of things offered to idols, is necessary at this time, for the keeping up of a good understanding between you and the Jews, and the preventing of offence;” and as long as it continues necessary for that end, and no longer, it is enjoined. Note, Church-rulers should impose only necessary things, things which Christ has made our duty, which have a real tendency to the edification of the church, and, as here, to the uniting of good Christians. If they impose things only to show their own authority, and to try people's obedience, they forget that they have not authority to make new laws, but only to see that the laws of Christ be duly executed, and to enforce the observance of them.

 

Thirdly, They enforce their order with a commendation of those that shall comply with it, rather than with the condemnation of those that shall transgress it. They do not conclude, “From which if you do not keep yourselves, you shall be an anathema, you shall be cast out of the church, and accursed,” according to the style of after-councils, and particularly that of Trent; but “From which if you keep yourselves, as we do not question but you will, you will do well; it will be for the glory of God, the furtherance of the gospel, the strengthening of the hands of your brethren, and your own credit and comfort.” It is all sweetness and love and good humour, such as became the followers of him who, when he called us to take his yoke upon us, assured us we should find him meek and lowly in heart. The difference of the style of the true apostles from that of the false is very observable. Those that were for imposing the ceremonial laws were positive and imperious: Except you keep it, you cannot be saved (Act 15:1), you are excommunicated ipso facto - at once, and delivered to Satan. The apostles of Christ, who only recommend necessary things, are mild and gentle: “From which if you keep yourselves, you will do well, and as becomes you. Fare ye well; we are hearty well-wishers to your honour and peace.”

 

And then there's Calvin that is going off on the Papist because they use this Scripture to gain authority. Here's a clip of the commentary directly related:

 

Besides these necessary things. The Papists do forwardly triumph under color of this word, as if it were lawful for men to make laws which may lay necessity upon the conscience. That (say they) which the Church commandeth must be kept under pain of mortal sin, because the apostles say that that must necessarily be observed which they decree. But such a vain cavil is quickly answered. For this necessity reached no farther than there was any danger lest the unity should be cut asunder. So that, to speak properly, this necessity was accidental or external; which was placed not in the thing itself, but only in avoiding of the offense, which appeareth more plainly by abolishing of the decree. For laws made concerning things which are of themselves necessary must be continual. But we know that this law was foredone − (150) by Paul so soon as the tumult and contention was once ended, when he teacheth that nothing is unclean, ( Rom 14:14 ) and when he granteth liberty to eat all manner [of] meats, yea, even such as were sacrificed to idols, ( 1 Co 10:25.) Wherefore, in vain do they gather any cloak or color out of this word to bind men’s consciences, seeing that the necessity spoken of in this place did only respect men in the external use lest there should any offense arise thereupon, and that their liberty before God might stand whole and sound. Also, in vain do they gather out of all the whole place, and in vain do they go about out of the same to prove that the Church had power given to decree anything contrary to the word of God. The Pope hath made such laws as seemed best to him, contrary to the word of God, whereby he meant to govern the Church; and that not ten or twenty, but an infinite number, so that they do not only tyrannously oppress souls, but are also cruel torments to vex and torment them. −

 

Your thoughts?

 

God bless,

William

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Your thoughts?

 

God bless,

William

I really wanted to think about this for a while before responding at all.

 

My first thought is that for me personally, everything in the decision of the First Jersalem Council is a non-issue. Meat sacrificed to idols is not a big problem at Walmart or Publix or Sweetbay. I have never ever felt a hankering to eat/drink blood (although I have actually had blood and goat milk ... I think it was an Aghanistan drink ... long before I got saved and it tasted nasty.). Animals are no longer strangled and have not been as the usual means of slaughter for more than a hundred years (possibly much longer, not that it matters. The important point is longer than I have been alive). Sexual impurity is dealt with in many other verses and I did not need the Jerusalem Council to point out that it was wrong. If it is a reference to temple prostitutes (since the rest of this seems to deal with pagan temples), then the closest thing to a modern temple prostitute is a modern televangelist. I find televangelists less attractive than the crack whores on the streets of New York. So none of these are issues that I have a personal problem with (Thank God for his mercy).

 

My second immediate thought is identical to the thought that I had with cecessionism. I care far less about the IF of Speaking in Tongues or Prophecy being real in the modern church, than I find the thought that some of the bible has served its purpose and no longer applies to be utterly terrifying and a slippery slope I am reluctant to take even a single step down. What other scripture have we outgrown?

 

My third thought is to attempt to embrace the spiritual truths hidden beneath the specific First Century details and apply them to today and the world that we live in. This causes me some fear. Since we no longer struggle with judiaisers, who are the modern false idols. The world still worship's idols of GOLD. They are just not cast into the form of animals any more, but the form of Man. We worship our golden selves. The ideal image that we want the world to see. So when we buy coffee at Starbucks, are drinking coffee dedicated to idols and encouraging the weaker Christian and worldly reprobate that Chrisrians are all about the same worship of Me, Me, Me that drives others to spend $12 on designer coffee because they are worth it? Do we wear logos on shirts and all of the other trappings of worshiping at this modern temple to the golden idol of man?

 

As far as your scriptures and commentary go, I can't fault the basic logic. I am unsure about the consequences of too quickly embracing the conclusions. Now, I would never pass judgement on somebody else's conscience. Just do not invite me over for blood sausage (although it has far less to do with religious objections, than finding the thought just plain gross).

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A quick question to point out why the abrogation bothers me.

 

Does this apply to sexual immorality as well, so we should stop opposing same sex marriage?

(Most of the Blood and Marraige objections come from the OT and apparently are only to avoid offending people who don't exist any more. Like Judiaisers) ... This is obviously a bit tongue in cheek to make a point about why it bothers me as a concept.

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Does this apply to sexual immorality as well, so we should stop opposing same sex marriage?

 

I see nothing in Scripture to indicate this, but I do find a repeated emphasis to reject sexual immorality unlike some of the laws mentioned which fall under ceremonial laws.

 

(Most of the Blood and Marraige objections come from the OT and apparently are only to avoid offending people who don't exist any more. Like Judiaisers) ... This is obviously a bit tongue in cheek to make a point about why it bothers me as a concept.

 

This is a point reemphasized later in Corinthians.

 

I think the overall point of the commentators was this was taking place at the "gate" of the Temple. There were ceremonial/ritualistic laws that were respected by the Jews, and they took grievance against the Gentiles.

 

Atpollard, even our marriages are made clean in the case of unbelief: 1 Corinthians 7:10-16. My point is that even an unbelieving spouse or children cannot make us unclean, much the same way any food that we put in our mouths cannot defile us.

 

Furthermore, I think the argument by Paul and company is that we are saved by grace through faith. And I think the Judaizers turned to Scriptures such as Exodus 14:31 and attributed salvation towards both God and Moses.

  • Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

In other words.... . there was "Works-Righteousness". Calvin went off on a rant towards the Papists because they used the same Scriptures in order to acquire authority and to this day convict an others' conscience.

 

I totally believe that what we eat falls on the side of Christian liberty.

 

As far as not wanting to go to a person's house that is serving up some blood sausage, reverse your example. And this is what was going on, don't go to someone else house that is convicted over Kosher laws and bring blood sausage though you have the liberty to eat them. I'm sure sitting over a meal with a Jewish friend while dripping blood from your chin is pretty much going to shut down any efforts towards evangelizing :p (though this may make a great topic at the dinner table, who knows).

 

Now, if you have rare steak extra bloody, please bring it to our next outdoor barbecue. I love me some moo moo :D

 

God bless,

William

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This is a point reemphasized later in Corinthians.

 

I think the overall point of the commentators was this was taking place at the "gate" of the Temple. There were ceremonial/ritualistic laws that were respected by the Jews, and they took grievance against the Gentiles.

 

Atpollard, even our marriages are made clean in the case of unbelief: 1 Corinthians 7:10-16. My point is that even an unbelieving spouse or children cannot make us unclean, much the same way any food that we put in our mouths cannot defile us.

 

Furthermore, I think the argument by Paul and company is that we are saved by grace through faith. And I think the Judaizers turned to Scriptures such as Exodus 14:31 and attributed salvation towards both God and Moses.

  • Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

 

In other words.... . there was "Works-Righteousness". Calvin went off on a rant towards the Papists because they used the same Scriptures in order to acquire authority and to this day convict an others' conscience.

 

I totally believe that what we eat falls on the side of Christian liberty.

 

As far as not wanting to go to a person's house that is serving up some blood sausage, reverse your example. And this is what was going on, don't go to someone else house that is convicted over Kosher laws and bring blood sausage though you have the liberty to eat them. I'm sure sitting over a meal with a Jewish friend while dripping blood from your chin is pretty much going to shut down any efforts towards evangelizing :p (though this may make a great topic at the dinner table, who knows).

 

Now, if you have rare steak extra bloody, please bring it to our next outdoor barbecue. I love me some moo moo :D

 

God bless,

William

 

Hey, you know me. I am all for Christian liberty and agree with everything they said about offending others, especially the Jewish believers. I think that a small weakness in the argument is that these are the same Judiaisers that Paul suggests should emasculate themselves ... so there is some difference of opinion on the policy of appeasement. :)

 

Were sexual immorality not included in the instructions from the Jerusalem Council, I would find it easier to swallow that it was time and place specific. The Bible places a lot of power and symbolism and imagery in 'blood' and, being honest, I doubt they were talking about banning rare steak. How sure are you that GOD changed his mind and it was not just man that changed his mind. There are a lot of issues about which men claim God has changed his mind (to be fair, they claim the same thing that the commentators have claimed ... that times have changed and the situation is different.) So now we ordain women (well, not 'we' as in you and I, but we as in some Christian churches).

 

 

You are correct that it was addressed in Corinthians, and two verses immediately came to my mind as not directly related to eating raw steak, but directly related to the core issue of freedom:

 

1 Corinthians 6:12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.

 

1 Corinthians 10:23-24 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

 

I am confident that we are in agreement on this. The difficulty comes down into where any action is an exercise in liberty to the praise of God, or a harm to someone else.

 

[As a practical matter, Jamsy should probably enjoy her pork blood stew with a clear conscience, but not bring it to a church potluck dinner. She hit the nail right on the head that it is not what you eat that makes you a sinner, it is what you do or do not do for 'one another' and for God. The issue is not that eating is wrong, but that it might hurt the conscience of a weaker Christian.]

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Were sexual immorality not included in the instructions from the Jerusalem Council, I would find it easier to swallow that it was time and place specific.

 

I can't hear the argument of the Judaizers though I read the passages over and over. Maybe I can, we know that some of the Gentile temples or places of worship even had prostitutes. Could the Juadizers be stopping these Gentiles that were coming into the faith at the Temple gates?

 

Regardless, I see a clumping of objections. Some were ceremonial and this of course is moral. The moral objections are not only for a time even today can result in excommunication 1 Corinthians 5, but the ceremonial laws which for the sake of peace and respect were only a matter that had to do with that specific time and place. However, the principle still stands, as we both agree.

 

God bless,

William

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We are under the new covenant, which by it very nature, supersedes all pervious covenants.

It certainly supersedes the covenant with Moses but does the Bible say anywhere that it supersedes the covenant with Noah? I can't recall any mention of this covenant in the New Testament. It gives us the right to eat any kind of animal. For the Jews it was temporarily superseded by the dietary laws given by Moses, but now that those laws have been annulled the whole world is back under this covenant.

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If I may inject something here. While I would not necessarily rule out temple prostitution, if Gentile Christians were have sex with temple prostitutes, then the early Church has much bigger problem who ate what. The prohibitions again such kinds behavior (i.e. immoral sexual activity) abound within the text of the N.T. It seem to me if that were really the issue\problem that entails more than just a Jewish verse Gentile getting along with one another issue but a SIN problem that would no doubt would have been addressed.

 

I think that continuity is the answer. The terms "clean" and "unclear" are technical terms. That which is clean is to be understood as acceptable to or are allowed. That which is unclean is unacceptable to or not allowed. Thus what a good Jew could do or not do, or who a good Jew could associate with, or that which a good Jew could eat, would be designated as either clean or unclean. This is the background and context of the Acts 15 passage. A good Jew not could not having anything to do with that which was unclean. Thus Jewish Christians not would or could have any dealings with Gentile Christians, as understood in the Law. Therein lies the problem with Jewish Christian and Gentile Christian relationship in the early church and the point of Acts 15.

 

The last restriction seems out of place. It states that Gentle Christians are to abstain from fornication. So what would be the reason for this one given the others? There is more than one possible way to look at this (this one may also have to do with blood). Sexual relations were regarded somewhat lightly in the Greek\Roman world of the time as compared to Jewish standards. If one takes the restriction in a general sense, which it could, then it follows that this is restriction covering any and all forms of fornication. While this is clearly a teaching of both Christianity and Judaism the context of this passage does not seem to have this in mind. I do not mean to suggest that some kinds of fornication are allowed while other are not. The restrictions come out of a context having to do with Jewish Christian and Gentile Christian relations. It was understood by both group that fornication was wrong. That is not in question. The question is, what according to the Law would prohibit Jewish Christian and Gentile Christian from having fellowship together? Since it is clear fornication is wrong, according to both the Old and New Testament, something else is envisioned with this restriction. This restriction is also covered by the levitical law. If one looks at Lev. 18:6, and following, the restriction becomes clear: "None of you shall approach a blood relative of his to uncover nakedness." Also in verse 19 of the same chapter it states that a husband is not to have sexual relations with his wife during her menstrual cycle. It is clear then that all restrictions are to be taken in the sense of something which prohibit according to the levitical law and therefore could be a reason for separation among Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.

 

Thus we have the continuity needed to address the context of the passage linking all the elements together.

Edited by Origen
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It certainly supersedes the covenant with Moses but does the Bible say anywhere that it supersedes the covenant with Noah? I can't recall any mention of this covenant in the New Testament. It gives us the right to eat any kind of animal. For the Jews it was temporarily superseded by the dietary laws given by Moses, but now that those laws have been annulled the whole world is back under this covenant.
First, I must point out that the text does not say that either (i.e. the part in bold). But the text does speak of us being under\in the New Covenant. Since it is indeed a New Covenant, as I said above, it supersedes any other covenant. The reason I would say the focus is upon the Mosaic covenant is obvious and I do not think we have to address that.

 

Second, I don't believe the so-called Noah Covenant contains the stipulations given to Noah. The covenant was that God would never again destroy the Earth with water. No where in the text are the commands given to Noah linked to the covenant.

 

Third, the covenant was not just made with Noah and his offspring but with every living creator.

 

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
There are a number points here.

 

(1) The command are given to Noah and his sons.

 

(2) They are not linked to the covenant.

 

(3) The covenant is also made with "every beast of the earth."

 

Now there is simply no way the animals of the Earth could keep the commands yet the covenant is with the animals as well. The text is clear. The covenant concerns what God will never do again.

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In Isaiah, before the new heavens and new earth are established, God speaks about "a rebellious people which walk in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts; a people that provoke Me to anger continually to My face," (65:2,3). One of the reasons these people provoke the Lord is because they "eat swine's flesh, and broth of unclean meat is in their pots," (65:4).

 

Also, God declares that He will consume those people who eat swine's flesh, detestable things, and mice. (Isa.66:17). The context of this prophecy is the end times, right before the new heaven and new earth. This would certainly seem to suggest that the Lord will still expect an obedience to His dietary laws.

 

And Revelation talks of unclean birds which doesn't make sense if all animals have been made clean.

 

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Now there is simply no way the animals of the Earth could keep the commands yet the covenant is with the animals as well. The text is clear. The covenant concerns what God will never do again.

The command given to Noah and his descendants is equally clear. Whether they are part of a covenant or not is irrelevant. They are still binding on us today.

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The command given to Noah and his descendants is equally clear. Whether they are part of a covenant or not is irrelevant. They are still binding on us today.
Then show me where the two are linked together. And please don't say because one comes after the other. Show me where the commands are necessarily linked to God's covenant of not destroying the Earth again with water.

 

Moreover if the commands were somehow linked to the covenant as you say, then the fact that the covenant was also made with the animals make no sense because they are unable to keep the commands. The text is clear when it says that covenant is also made with "every beast of the earth."

Edited by Origen

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