The Meatless Kingdom | 7
The Meatless Kingdom | 7
30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
- what a person eats is a mere "matter of conscience," even if they're partaking in an idol's temple because "an idol is nothing" (but not everyone has that "knowledge")
- don't bother inquiring whether or not what you're purchasing in the meat market ("shambles") is offered to idols or not because everything belongs to God
- only "weak brothers" are offended by what a "strong brother" eats; hence, ""if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth"
- in verse 29, Paul says "strong believers" have a certain liberty to eat the flesh, but only if it isn't manifested to them that it's indeed offered to an idol (see the second bullet point)
From this passage, we see clearly that Paul teaches the following:
- food issues are "doubtful disputations," meaning "doubtful judgments" or, in other words, things that aren't necessarily that important to contend over
- the one who eats meat shouldn't despise the one who eats only herbs, and the one who eats only herbs shouldn't despise the one who eats meat--both should accept the other
- that "by the Lord Jesus, nothing is unclean"; that something only has that quality if they think it does
- that "meat and drink" has nothing to do with the Kingdom
- that "all things are pure"
The trouble with these conclusions of Paul is that they flatly contradicts multiple places in Scripture, even himself. We're going to carefully look at each one.
Paul v. Peter
We're now prepared to look at "well-known" controversy that took place between these two men.
The only side to this story is given to us in Paul's letter to the Galatians. Famously, he writes the following:
11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
The typical answer supplied in explanation of this controversy is summarized on the Got Questions page titled "What was the incident at Antioch in Galatians 2:11-14?" Their answer is as follows:
When Cephas came to Antioch, Paul opposed him (Galatians 2:11),because Cephas had stopped engaging with Gentiles out of fear of the Jewish leaders (Galatians 2:12).
He had been eating with the Gentile believers, but when a contingency
of Jews arrived from Jerusalem, Peter withdrew from the Gentile crowd.
Many of the Jews in the region, along with Barnabas, fell into that
error, following Peter’s example. Paul branded that as hypocrisy (Galatians 2:13).
Seeing that this segregation was not consistent with the gospel, Paul
rebuked Peter openly, saying, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a
Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to
follow Jewish customs?” (Galatians 2:14).
Peter knew that he had been justified by faith and not by law, but he was still requiring that others live like Jews (as under the law, Galatians 2:14). It appears Peter was motivated by fear of what the Jewish believers would say about his fellowshipping with Gentiles. That fear led to hypocrisy. Peter had received the gift of justification by faith and then, in essence, required others to pursue sanctification by works.
It is possible that the incident at Antioch in Galatians 2:11–14 preceded Acts 15:5–12, which records Peter’s standing up to those who would place Gentile believers under the law and require circumcision.
In Josephus, War 2:8:7 we read the following:
But now if any one hath a mind to come over to their sect, he is not immediately admitted, but he is prescribed the same method of living which they use for a year, while he continues excluded; and they give him also a small hatchet, and the fore-mentioned girdle, and the white garment. And when he hath given evidence, during that time, that he can observe their continence, he approaches nearer to their way of living, and is made partaker of the waters of purification; yet is he not even now admitted to live with them; for after this demonstration of his fortitude, his temper is tried two more years; and if he appear to be worthy, they then admit him into their society. And before he is allowed to touch their common food, he is obliged to take tremendous “oaths,” that, in the first place, he will exercise piety towards God, and then that he will observe justice towards men, and that he will do no harm to anyone, either of his own accord, or by the command of others;
We see here that it was Essene pratice not to admit a convert immediately. The process was a careful observation of the repentance followed by baptism. Only after this process was one "allowed to touch their common food." This is elaborated by Peter himself. See the following quotes:
- NazActs 1:19 When [Kefa/ Peter] had thus spoken, he retired to take food along with his haverim; but he ordered me to eat by myself; and after the meal, when he had sung praise to YHWH and given thanks, he rendered to me an account of this proceeding, and added, “May YHWH grant to you to be made like to us in all things, that receiving mikvah [baptism/ immersion], you may be able to meet with us at the same table.
- NazActs 2:71,72 [Kefa/ Peter] For this I would have you know for certain, that everyone who has at any time worshiped idols, and has adored those whom the pagans call elohim, or has eaten of the things sacrificed to them, is not without an unclean spirit; for he has become a guest of demons, and has been partaker with that demon of which he has formed the image in his mind, either through fear or love. And by these means he is not free from an unclean spirit, and therefore needs the purification of mikvah [baptism/ immersion]j, that the unclean spirit, and what is worse, gives no indication that it lurks within, for fear it should be exposed or expelled. Let no one of you therefore be saddened at being separated from eating with us, for everyone ought to observe that it is for just so long a time as he pleases. For he who wishes soon to be immersed is separated but for a little time, but he for a longer time who wishes to be immersed later. Every one there has it in his own power to demand a shorter or a longer time for his repentance; and therefore it lies with you, when you wish it, to come to our table; and not with us, who are not permitted to take food with anyone who has not been immersed. It is rather you, therefore, who hinder us from eating with you, if you interpose delays in the way of your purification, and defer you mikvah [baptism/ immersion].
Here, it’s important to note that the “wait period” referred to by Josephus is, really, a matter of will and desire of the one who is converting. If the "convert" delayed their repentance and learning, they'd be prevented from the fellowship table for a longer time. You can clearly see that the issue at hand was Gentiles who were former idolaters and meat eaters. So long as they continued in meat eating, and delayed their immersion, they could not share the fellowship table of the disciples/ apostles of Yahshua.
The significance of this distinction can’t be underscored enough as it provides the key to understanding a controversy we see briefly mentioned in by Paul in Galatians 2. Paul says Peter was at the table with Gentiles until men who were sent from James came, at which point Peter excused himself. No other detail is given; but with Peter’s words in The Nazarine Acts, we can see the Essene/ Ebionite polity at work: Peter must’ve discovered that the Gentiles he was sitting and eating with hadn’t been baptized and were likely eating meat sacrificed to idols. Paul disparaged Peter’s behavior because Paul taught contrary, proving he’d gone against the Acts 15 decision of James and the Apostles.
The Essene/ Ebionite understanding of meat was that it was the habitation of devils and that sitting with meat eaters meant sitting with idolaters. To ensure one didn't come under diabolical influence meant separating oneself from them until they repented and were baptized. Peter, James, Jesus, John, and the other Apostles are clearly the "weak" brothers Paul refers to in his epistles.
Paul is rebuked and exposed
a study “The Hebraic Book of Revelation: Part 2A,” found on
torahtothetribes.com, we’re given incredible insight to the meaning
of “Nicolaitans.” Whether or not the presenter of the study is in
agreement with me is besides the point. The information he provides
proves to be of much more signficance than he probably realizes. We
Doctrine of the Nicolatians; in Greek, from Nakao, to conquer and Laos, the people or laity. Nicolaitianism was a form of Aramaism; The Aramaic word ניכולא (nichola) means “Let us eat!” ..the Greek word Νικολαΐτης (Nicolaitans) was formed from the Aramaic ניכולא nichola, combined with the Greek plural ending ‘tian’ ίτης. The root meaning of Nicolaitans, therefore, would be “let-us-eat-ers”...the etymological connection between “Nicolaitans” and “Let-us-eat-ers,”proves this was group of Gentile Christ-followers who were at odds with the decision of Jerusalem Council and the will of יהוה and Moses. They set aside the teaching of the Moses and the teaching of the apostles given in Acts 15 and were slipping back into their former pagan practices; it was two fold 1) eating anything they liked – in essence doing away with the food laws, 2) and devouring one another with their gnostic know how!
I ask you, dear reader, who in the New Testament do we see teaching that it's ok to eat meat sacrificed to idols? Paul. Who, therefore, is Yahshua rebuking? Paul.
We've seen from the beginning that the perfect, revealed will of YHWH is a vegetarian diet. There was no blood sacrifice after the fall; Abel brought what was more likely to be milk or an un-slain first born creature, for nothing in the text suggests a slaying. The so-called "permission" from Him to Noah to eat all things is null and void based on the fact that the distinction is made between things with the blood in it (animals and other creatures) and the rest of the living things (non animal/ creatures). The next scene is that of the Exodus, where we see that for many decades the Hebrews wandered without eating meat, relying instead on God's provision of Manna--they fell into destruction only when they craved and ate meat, failing the test of God. We saw from the Prophets a direct, scathing rebuke of animal sacrifice--as well as human--without any supposed "caveat" of "proper intention" on that of the sacrificer. God's desire was explicitly "mercy" far and above any sacrifice whatsoever.
Then we entered the New Testament era, learning that John ate what's considered to be Manna, and we saw discrepancies in the stories where we allegedly see Yahshua serving and eating fish; we also took note that that no lamb was present at the Last Supper. Our last proof came in our examination of Paul and what he said compared to ancient witnesses outlining the Essene/ Ebionite faith and practice, which included references to Peter and James' own diet and polity concerning Gentiles coming to the faith.
astute and unbiased reader of the New
deny that Paul gave the Gentiles permission to eat what they
more, I refer you to 1
Cor 8, 10; Romans 14).
He contradicts not only Jesus, Peter, and James--along with the other Apostles in Acts 15--but also himself. The man is a spouter of lies, a "double minded man" who is, thus, unstable in all his ways. Yet billions of people accept his writings as inspired, authoritative scripture. All
one has to do is take
a survey of the Christian churches today who take Paul as their
apostle and you’ll see Gentiles doing the same: eating whatever they want. Some who are a bit more discerning will try to keep the Leviticus 11 delineations, but as we've seen, there's reason to doubt that we need them. The true diet is the one sanctified at creation: a vegetarian one. Repent of your pagan idolatry!