The Meatless Kingdom | 5

The Meatless Kingdom | 5

Introduction

Until now, we’ve tried to remain chronological in our analysis. We’ve tried to only consider the most popular, oft-cited stories, verses, and passages that meat-eaters use to justify their diet. We’ve also considered Biblical archeology that suggests that meat eating only developed because of ritual animal sacrifice, and that these religious rites originated with pagan Mesopotamian culture, not Hebraic. 

As we pivot our analysis from the familiar characters and events described in Torah to those of the Gospels and Apostolic writings, we’re going to have to take a survey of the words of God’s prophets. This may be a much longer study than the others so far, and it may take us out of our preferred chronology, but it’s going to be helpful to hear these words in light of what we’ve read so far; these words will also help us understand why it is I believe Jesus was himself a vegetarian and why the “fish accounts” in the Gospels are later interpolations and not original to his sayings.

Broader historical analysis

Our study into the words of the prophets will begin with a reading and analysis of Acts 7:39-51. Why start here? This passage is an excerpt of the words of Stephen, one of the earliest martyr’s of The Way. His words are a broad history of the people of God until his time, and they lend some insight into the issues previous prophets have addressed. Unsurprisingly, we find some insight to our present issue of sacrifices, temple-worship, and—therefore—meat eating. I want to give a verse-by-verse exegesis of verses 37-51 when possible as it relates to relevant topics related to our topic. We’ll then share the words of the ancient prophets that corroborate Stephen’s own analysis and interpretation. We begin with Acts 7, verses 37-41

This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear. This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust him from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt, Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for as for this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

So far, we’re given the all-too-familiar story of Moses and the idolatry of the Hebrews when they left Egypt and were camped at the base of Mt. Sinai. In verse 37, we’re reminded, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.” This prophecy is of Jesus Christ. Jesus is like Moses—a law-giving prophet sent by God who has to deal with stubborn people and return as many hearts as possible to the truth before they’re destroyed. (This is important to remember for the remainder of our studies.)

We can’t forget that even though the Hebrews agreed to leave with Moses to worship YHWH, their hearts weren’t truly set on that intention. We saw their complaining. We’ll see their idolatry. While Moses was in the Mountain communing with God and being instructed, they resorted to idolatry. In Exodus 32, we learn that Aaron had consented to make a golden calf at the behest of the crowd. We read, 

And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.[1]

Please notice a few things with me: 1) he made a graven image of a singular golden calf; 2) Aaron says, “These [plural] be thy gods [plural].” Already, the false idea in the minds of these worshipers is that the Most High is somehow a plurality. This is evident by the third point. 3) Aaron appropriates what we should consider to be their familiarity with Egyptian worship with true worship, saying, “To morrow is a feast to YWHW.” The text says that they “offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings.” Moses hadn’t yet come down from the Mountain with the alleged prescriptions of “proper” animal sacrifice and meat eating. Where did they learn of these practices? The progression here clearly indicates that these people—not yet instructed in the ways of YHWH—already began adulterating true worship by practicing pagan worship to Yah. This is proof that the Hebrew practice of animal sacrifice isn’t original with Yahweh or God’s people but rather the pagan nations![2] 

It’s tempting to think that Moses actually did receive commandments concerning animal sacrifice in a tabernacle. But we should consider Stephen’s next words in verses 42-51:

Then God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, O ye house of Israel, have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness? Yea, ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, figures which ye made to worship them: and I will carry you away beyond Babylon. Our fathers had the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness, as he had appointed, speaking unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen. Which also our fathers that came after brought in with Jesus into the possession of the Gentiles, whom God drave out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

Stephen, not speaking his own opinion, cites the prophets—who spoke on behalf of YHWH—as people who decried such ceremonies: “have ye offered to me slain beasts and sacrifices by the space of forty years in the wilderness?” The answer to this rhetorical question should be obvious: No. No such command or practice was known. (this prophet and his words are going to be seen later.) Furthermore, the practices of the tabernacle and temple are made suspect as Stephen—again citing the prophets—recalls, “the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet…‘what house will ye build me? saith the Lord.” He ends the rebuke in the most profound way: “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” These words are almost identical to Jesus’ own, who himself also was a prophet. Jesus, in his teachings to the woman at the well, says the same thing: God doesn’t dwell in a particular mountain or temple; he seeks people to worship him in spirit and in truth. The conclusion here is obvious: true worship doesn’t involve temple ceremonies.

It’s difficult to imagine how, in light of Stephen’s assessment of his people’s history, that there should be anything positive left to say about what they’ve done to the worship of YHWH—they’ve profaned it, and they’ve been doing so since Sinai. 

Indeed, we should at least consider it a possibility that the commands to sacrifice animals and eat them at “Feasts unto YHWH” are interpolations intended to make Moses appear to be an advocate of something that he and later prophets—including Jesus the Messiah—weren’t actually advocates of. 

It’s my view that Moses went into the Mt. and received Torah; it’s also my view that his kin corrupted the worship by sacrificing animals. This became a sort of concession, Moses always contending with the stiff-necked people. Later prophets were sent to rebuke these practices but were likewise ignored and, worse, murdered. This culminated with the execution of the Most High’s own anointed son, Jesus. Stephen brings all of this to light. Unsurprisingly, he also suffered at the hands of the insolent, rebellious, gluttonous, idolatrous mob.

A quick aside: don’t eat the fat

Before we look at the words of YHWH’s prophets, let’s start by looking at Deuteronomy:[3]

So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock; Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats, with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape. But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

In this passage, we have another historical account of how at one point in time, there was faithfulness and a blessing from God before there was apostasy: “He made him ride on the high places…he made him to suck honey out of the rock…” and they were given, “Butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs, and rams of the breed of Bashan, and goats with the fat of kidneys of wheat; and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.” People reading this might assume reference to “fat of lambs and rams” is to eating the fatty-meat of the animal. This assumption ignores a few key details. First, in our other studies, we’ve seen how “fat” can be rendered “milk.”[4] In this verse, we know they were given the “butter” and “milk” of “sheep.” Why would “fat” suddenly mean something else when it comes to lamb or ram? Second, the word “fat" is also used to describe “wheat.” The word “fat” is often used to mean “choicest part.”[5] So the best milk, butter, and wheat. In other words, they had the best wine, best milk, best butter, and it’s because their flocks were among the best animals. It was a land of abundance. This is also made evident when we read, “But Jeshurun waxed fat.” He became too rich in abundance of all these good things, and it caused him to forget God’s commands not to make sacrifice to strange gods. Just like we saw in Exodus with the stiff-necked Hebrews.

A third thing people forget, or are probably ignorant of, is that no Hebrew was allowed to consume blood or fat.[6]

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat. And the fat of the beast that dieth of itself, and the fat of that which is torn with beasts, may be used in any other use: but ye shall in no wise eat of it. For whosoever eateth the fat of the beast, of which men offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, even the soul that eateth it shall be cut off from his people. Moreover ye shall eat no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast, in any of your dwellings. Whatsoever soul it be that eateth any manner of blood, even that soul shall be cut off from his people.

Just as there are trace amounts of blood in meat, even if it’s slaughtered “kosher,” there’s fat, too. “In general, red meats (such as beef, pork and lamb) have more saturated fat than skinless chicken, fish, and plant proteins. Saturated fats can raise your blood cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease”[7]. We may try to determine if God’s prohibition on fat is merely a health protocol or if it’s something to do with an ancient pagan practice. The real issue is that one can’t eat animal blood or fat if they don’t kill the animal first. Merely using milk for a drink, butter, or cheese isn’t under the same category because there’s no slaying involved. It wouldn’t matter if the restrictions were purely health-based protocols or denunciations of pagan practices—the fact remains that most believers consume what they’re explicitly told not to. Why? Because they assume Moses was told to sacrifice animals and eat certain kinds of meat, despite the contrary, in-text evidence, archeological discovery, and health-science research. Also…we’re in a very decadent society.

Our analysis of the prophets’ words has only begun. In no particular order (because they speak under the same inspiration), we’ll begin with our lesson from the prophets.

Thus says YHWH

YHWH says through Amos,[8]

Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD and Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.

The objection is as follows: “God didn’t have an issue with the sacrifices, per say; the issue was that when they did bring the offerings, they were done with hypocritical intentions. Often, the worshippers weren’t repentant. It simply became a hollow ritual.” This is the sort of admission a lot of vegetarian and vegan believers maintain when they’re not ready to accept the fact that God never made a concession to kill animals because they need their Bibles to be infallible. This is also the sort of admission the average meat-eating Evangelical and “Hebrew Roots” believer makes—and for the same reason. The stark reality is that there’s no such disclaimer ever made by YHWH himself. He unambiguously and unapologetically rejects the sacrifices and feast days, often saying it’s pagan. Stephen is quoting Amos and other prophets in this denunciation. If this isn’t clear now, it will be after we see the other rebukes. If it still isn’t clear, then God help you.

YHWH says through Hosea,[9]

Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone. Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye. The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

and

Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.

and

Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin. I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing. They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt. For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.

and

They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD.

and 

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.

and

Is there iniquity in Gilead? surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields.

YHWH says through Isaiah,[10]

To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

So far, I’ve tried to let the prophets speak for themselves as YHWH has instructed them to. For me, these words are all very clear. Yet here, I must highlight some significant statements and reason with you. Notice YHWH’s question: “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me?”—in other words, “Why are you doing this?” Is this the question someone asks if they’re the ones instructing them to do the things in question? Even if he did at one time place significance on the practices mentioned here, he no longer places the same significance on them, saying, “I delight not…” and “Bring no more.” He calls these things “iniquity” and “trouble.” He says he’s “weary” of it all! This isn’t the concession they were given before…if they were ever given one. He asks another question: “When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?” Once more, we find the answer is obvious: nobody required it—certainly not YHWH.

You’ll also notice that the remedy doesn’t include sacrifices with “better motives.” The requirement for atonement here is simply repentance and obedience: “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and plead for the widow.” In short, “If ye be willing and obedient…” This greatly echos the words we just read in Hosea: “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” The theme in the prophets is very clear: the rebellious people are the ones who stop doing the law of God and who welcome and or commit bloodshed in the land—of men and beast. Their solution for their sins isn’t contrite repentance, justice, and mercy. Rather, they think the solution is sacrifice upon sacrifice in their solemn feasts and assemblies—and though they say it’s “unto YHWH,” the Most High says it’s to other deities! Let’s see what else YHWH says through Isaiah. Chapter 43:23-24 is an interesting and somewhat challenging passage some will cite to defend the ritual animal sacrifice. Here it is:

This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings; neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, nor wearied thee with incense. Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.

I believe in light of all other texts so far, the understanding of this text is found in the clause, “I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, or wearied thee with incense.” God never did these things. The confusion comes from statements like the following: “Thou has not brought me the small cattle of they burnt offerings,” etc. To the animal-sacrifice proponent, they view this as God lamenting their negligence of brining these things. However, I believe what he’s saying is that they didn’t bring animals to him—they were bringing their sins and iniquities to the altar. That by doing these things to animals in the name of YHWH instead of learning justice and mercy, they were sinning—but he never caused them to do these things. The next passage is probably one of the strongest condemnations of the rites than any other observed so far:

Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

Probably no other comparison between true and false worship is more clear than this one. We’ll start by noticing God doesn’t require a “house” to dwell in. He owns all of creation. Only foolish men think God needs a tent or temple to live in. Next, look at the person who the Most High takes notice of: “to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and tembleth at my word.” Compare this profile of a true worshiper to the other, that of a false worshiper: “He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burthen incense, as if he blessed an idol.” Notice: the intent doesn’t matter! You may think  you offer the animal or incense to the Most High, but really it’s “as if he blessed an idol.” The objection we saw earlier is rejected by the Almighty himself. It’s no wonder Jesus said the following to the woman at the well:[11]

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 

YHWH says through Samuel,[12]

But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Perhaps this is the scene Amos had in mind as YHWH met with him and told him to say, “Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” Many will object and suggest the reason Saul sinned is because he failed to slay all the inhabitants, men and beasts. Though that may certainly be the case, it remains that God prefers obedience, not sacrifice, just as Samuel said. In every case so far, God wants to bless the ones who simply hear, listen, and obey; the ones who repent of their sin, not offer sacrifices upon sacrifices. Besides, if God doesn’t delight in bloodshed at all (which is a clear theme in the prophets), we should be free to question if God even commanded Saul to slaughter those people and animals at all. 

YHWH says in the Psalms,[13]

Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Despite the evidence presented, many will still see a verse like this and assume David means an animal sacrifice. However, we see that there are alternative “sacrifices” people of God can and should offer. See the next Psalm:

And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD.

Contrast these two Psalms with the following: 

Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

If animal sacrifices were acceptable to God, then David’s statement “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire” would be an obvious lie. Such contradictions are unsettling to Bible readers. Therefore, they must assume the sorts of animal sacrifices that “are acceptable” are only the ones offered exclusively to YHWH, and only with the proper motives. This, however, was already demonstrated to be a fallacious claim.

I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.

In this Psalm, God is speaking. He says he will not take a bull out a person’s house because he owns every animal in existence. Further, he says he wouldn’t tell us if he hungered or not; then he asks another rhetorical question: “Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?” The purpose for pagan feasts was to “commune” with their deity. It’s been demonstrated that this was the view of the Hebrews with their feasts and sacrifices, which began at the base of the Mt. Sinai when they invented a “feast unto YHWH.” But YHWH doesn’t eat, thus has no need for feasts; YHWH doesn’t sleep, thus has no need for a dwelling place.

YWHW says through Jeremiah,[14]

Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.

and

Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.

Through the prophet Jeremiah, we learn that YHWH never commanded the offerings and sacrifices. He describes this as the “counsels” and “imagination” of their evil heart—he says it’s backsliding.  

YHWH says through Solomon,[15]

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

and

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.

and 

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

and

The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?

and

Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

The sacrifice of “fools” here in context may be a praise or thanksgiving of the mouth, considering the wise person is “more ready to hear.” This indicates a fool goes into the house and blathers on without discretion—he makes vows he never intends to keep (v. 2). Yet, in light of all we’ve seen thus far from the prophets concerning “sacrifices,” it seems wise to also agree with them: God never commanded the animal sacrifices; a wise person discerns this. 

Conclusion

This section was particularly long, but it was needful to get a full survey of the rebukes of God through the prophets to his rebellious, stiff-necked people. Today, the state of affairs isn’t any different. God has done all he can to make his desire known to all people. What do we do instead? Shed blood because of our lusts. We follow the evil imaginations of our hearts and turn away from mercy and justice. For those obstinate or unsure readers, I echo the prophets: "Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh.” For those more curious about The Way and whose eyes, ears, and hearts have been opened, I welcome you to join me in the next study.

__________

[1] Exodus 32:4-6, KJV

[2] The Meatless Kingdom | 4

[3] Deuteronomy 32:12-17, KJV

[4] The Meatless Kingdom | 2

[5] Leviticus 7:22-27, KJV

[6] Picking Healthy Proteins

[7] Amos 4:4; 5:25-27, KJV

[8] Hosea 4:17-19; 6:5-8; 8:11-14; 9:4; 11:1,2; 12:11, KJV

[9] Isaiah 1:11-16; 43:23-24; 66:1-4

[10] John 4:21-24, KJV

[11] 1 Samuel 15:21-23, KJV

[12] Psalm 4:5-6; 27:6; 40:6; 50:9-17

[13] Jeremiah 6:19,20; 7:21-24, KJV

[14] Proverb 15:8; 17:1; 21:3,27; Ecclesiastes 5:1, KJV