The Meatless Kingdom | 7

The Meatless Kingdom | 7

This is the last post in this series on sacrifices and meat eating. In this post, we're going to evaluate Paul's writings in light of the Essene/ Ebionite doctrine and practice. What did Paul teach, and what has his impact been on believers? Most believers today take Paul to be an authority on religious matters. He has 13 epistles in what's called the New Testament, so it's no wonder why people assume he's a particularly blessed messenger. After all, why would God allow for 13 epistles to be in the Bible if they weren't authentic and his Apostleship genuine? But these same readers are unaware of the information we've presented thus far; they'll be unaware of the information presented here. In reality, what we're going to discover is that Paul taught the opposite of James, Peter and the other Apostles, and thus Yashua the Messiah.
As before, we'll present quotes from ancient writers that provide deep insight into some of the issues the Apostles were facing.

Paul's Doctrine
Our concern is with regards to animal sacrifice and meat eating--food issues. Paul addresses these topics in three well-known places: 1 Corinthians 8 and 10, and Romans 14. In 1 Corinthians 8 and 10, respectively, he says the following:
1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. 2 And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. 3 But if any man love God, the same is known of him. 4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) 6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 7 Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth. 25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, that eat, asking no question for conscience sake: 26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. 27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. 28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: 29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience?
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.

In these two passages, Paul is very clearly saying the following:
  • 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)
In Romans 14, Paul says very similar things:
1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him [...] 14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. 16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. 20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. 22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. 23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

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 contradict multiple places in Scripture; he even contradicts himself. We're going to carefully look at each one.

Contradiction #1

Assuming that YHWH delineated which foods were clean and unclean in Leviticus 11, which includes "clean and unclean animals," Paul's conclusion that "all things are pure" and that "there is nothing unclean of itself" are contradictions. Paul, a "former pharisee," should've known that
Contradiction #2
Why would Paul say that this is merely a matter of "strong" and "weak" conscience and not to judge one another over these things but then condemn the vegetarian believers in this passage, 1 Timothy 4:1-4:
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
Once more, not only does this contradict the Leviticus restrictions (if they're authentically given by YHWH) but also his own conclusions in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 and 10! Here, Paul judges the people who teach against meat eating claiming they've seared their conscience and are teaching satanic doctrine. The only consistency in Paul is his assurance that "every creature of God is good [for eating]...stop judging!" In reality, Paul doesn't want the vegetarians judging the meat eaters. But meat eaters, apparently, can judge all they want.

Contradiction #3
The other contradiction is with James and the Apostles. In Acts 15, the issue of Gentiles and food is addressed. We read James' judgment:
28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
James' decision, witnessed by the 12 and Paul himself, contradicts Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 as well as Romans 14. Do James' words sound anything like what Paul  said? Remember, Paul said not to bother inquiring about the condition of the food in the market "for conscience sake" unless a weak brother is watching. To Paul, it matters not if you're in an idol's temple eating that meat, or if the thing is strangled; it doesn't matter if it's clean or unclean because it's all sanctified by prayer--it matters not if it's meat or herbs. Just eat it--so long as it's not brought to your attention or a "weak" brother is with you.

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.

As already intimated, the trouble with this analysis is that it takes one side: Paul's. We only have the events from Paul's hand, not anyone else's. The judgment is therefore isn't righteous, for out of the mouth of two or three witnesses must a thing be established. Christians, in their zeal for their "faith only" doctrine and hatred for Torah, wrest judgment. The reality of the situation is more enlightening. 
Paul v. Peter: the other side of the story
Now we're going to consult the ancient witnesses who give us the doctrine and practice of the Essenes/ Ebionites/ Nazarines. Without this, we don't have the full picture of what took place. 

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 practice 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 the controversy we saw briefly mentioned 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. However, 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, thus 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

In a study “The Hebraic Book of Revelation: Part 2A,” found on, 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 read,

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.

Series Conclusion

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. 

An astute and unbiased reader of the New Testament can’t deny that Paul gave the Gentiles permission to eat what they liked (once 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!