As a follow-up to Monday’s posting, Veganism’s Political Cause, I present “Part Deux: God’s Instruction to Eat, Eat, Eat Meat”. Think big, juicy steak…
Some folks think that meat eating didn’t start in the story of the Bible until after the great flood of Noah’s time. In that reference, GOD told Noah and his sons (Genesis 9:2-3),
“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”
I, however (as usual), beg to differ. Of course!
Just after the Garden of Eden was vacated and Adam “knew” his wife and she conceived Cain and Abel, Abel grew up and became a shepherd. Now, I have a problem with the idea of Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel keeping sheep that they can’t do anything with except being responsible for. Death had already entered the world with Eve’s sin, so I think that the sheep had to have served a purpose. Back then they weren’t really into “conspicuous consumption”. They had only the things they needed and they didn’t think that it was a good thing to keep things that did nothing but take. If you have a flock of sheep that aren’t meant for anything but for the sheep to eat, for you to herd and consume your time, effort and doctoring, then why would the family have them?
My idea is that they had sheep for a reason. That reason was to eat them. They had a resource, not just a burden that they herded to this field and that field and then another field. They had food on the hoof. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that they were NOT eating meat at the time. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that GOD forbid it. It says that prior to sin, the people and the animals all ate veggies. After the “Big No No”, not only was there punishment for the sin, but soon thereafter, you see the first offering to GOD (Genesis 4:4):
“And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering:”
If the lamb had not been killed, how could the fat be gotten for the Lord? Hmm? If the lamb is killed, according to the Book of Exodus, the Passover was a lamb, that the Lord instructed killed and eaten (Exodus 12:6-11):
“and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
“And they shall take of the blood and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the house, wherein they shall eat it.
“And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
“Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
“And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.”
So we see that they were instructed to eat the rest of the offering. As with most offerings, at least parts of the offering – dove, heifer, lamb, ram, whatever – is eaten by man. Not all offerings were eaten: the consecration offering was totally dedicated to GOD. Other than that, at least part of the offerings were eaten by man.
Stay with me now, GOD says to eat parts of the offering animals in Exodus, and Jesus is GOD and they are one (John 1:1-4), and, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Then when GOD says to eat part of the offering during the Passover, and again during the sanctification of the Hebrews who came out of Egypt, is that any indication that GOD intended at least the priests to eat part of the animal offerings all the time, as He commanded in Exodus 29:27-28?
Does that mean that back in Genesis 4:4 when Abel was bringing the “firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof” that they were offering one of the types of offerings defined in Leviticus? Was it a sin, meat, burnt, peace, or trespass offering in which they would be following the laws of Leviticus, in which it says that the priests get a bit of the offering. Was Adam the family priest: especially considering he used to walk and talk in the Garden with GOD Himself?
So we see that GOD commanded Adam to do animal offerings (or why would he be killing a lamb if he wasn’t supposed to?), and GOD commanded the Israelites to do animal offerings. Thousands of animals in the Old Testament were made into offerings to GOD. That means that thousands of animals were at least partially eaten by man throughout the Old Testament. Remember, they were the stand-in for the ultimate stand-in: Jesus Christ. Blood had to be shed and trees, veggies, roots don’t bleed! Therefore, it had to be an animal that died and the offering had to be made of something with blood. It couldn’t be a non-animal – fruit, veggie, stone, wood – it had to have blood running through veins.
“But, wait! That was Old Testament!” you say. Okay. Let’s look at the New Testament standards.
In the New Testament we see that Jesus ate meat in Matthew 9:10, 26:7, Mark 2:15, 14:3, 16:4 and Luke 24:30. If it’s good enough for Christ, who is part GOD, then why should we not eat meat? Remember, also, that when the offerings were made, GOD "ate" parts of the offerings via fire.
We also see that the regular people ate meat in many verses and that Christ used giving people meat to the hungry and that He thought it a good thing: “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:” (Matthew 25:35). If eating meat was so bad, why did Christ use it as an example of doing something good, something praiseworthy, as something that GOD rewards? For we see in Matthew 25:32-34 that GOD rewarded those who did such a thing:
“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
“And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left,
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”
Next is the part about being hungry and given meat. That’s praiseworthy in GOD’s eyes. Throughout the New Testament the eating of animals is an acceptable thing.
You can get a Concordance and look up for yourselves how often the eating of meat is mentioned in the New Testament. Before you scream and shout that “meat” is not always actually animal flesh, it sometimes stands for other foods in the New Testament. I understand that, but that does not destroy the fact that at times – quite often – it DOES mean animal flesh and that it meant that they killed an animal and actually ate it as vegans and vegetarians do not.
What kinds of animal flesh did they eat? We see in the Old Testament that they ate lamb, ram, bullocks, heifers, goats, dove, etc., the animals that met the cleanliness criteria. In the New Testament, they ate those and after the Lamb that Washes Away All Sin was offered for OUR sin, the rules changed.
In Acts 10:9-22, we see the story of the “Great Sheet” that Peter saw. In the story, Peter was on the rooftop praying and was very hungry. Instead of going and getting a snack, he stayed and prayed and fell into a trance. In the trance:
“he saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to earth:
“Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts and creeping things, and fowls of the air.”
These things were the things that did not meet the criteria of cleanliness that was set in the Old Testament. GOD said to Peter, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.” Unheard of so far in the Jewish world, Peter of course said, “Not so, Lord: for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” But God was persistent (as He still is today) and said it a little stronger (Acts 10:15):
“What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”
According to verse sixteen, this was done three times, GOD felt so strongly about it. When someone says “No way!” to you three times and you are GOD, what do you do? His motives were correct: doing the right thing via obeying the dietary laws. But GOD did not punish Peter, He let Peter absorb, analyze and consider the incident and come to his own conclusion. Peter, it states in verse 17, “doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean”.
Some say that this vision is strictly about men. Well, I happen to half-disagree.
When this was done, the death of Christ made all things clean; even what we eat. Remember, Christ already taught His disciples that, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” His death paid the price for all things to be clean (the vision taught us this) and it is not what we eat that makes us unhealthy or healthy. (Where in the Bible does it say that food makes us healthy? Anyone?)
Here’s the “half-disagree” portion: Yes, it can also talk about the men who came to visit Peter shortly after the vision. There were three men and three times the message was given. Maybe it also applies to them. However, I think that the food part of it was just as important. After all, the dietary laws protected the Jewish people against certain diseases and parasites. So for GOD to lower a sheet of “unclean” animals and to tell Peter to “take and eat” was an outrageous thing for GOD to do! For a Jewish person to even consider eating lobster – a scavenger – was considering sinning. That wasn’t something a disciple of the Lord wanted to do. So it must have been a big shock to Peter for GOD to instruct him to eat pig, lobster, ostrich, etc. But GOD did tell him and told him three times so I think He was serious about it, and I think it applied to both animals and man! Remember, it’s not what “goeth into the mouth” that defiles someone. It doesn’t matter what you eat according to Christ. It’s what you do and say.
There is one thing that I want to add here. If you are a Christian, should you be a vegetarian? Yes, you may be a vegetarian because it’s not “what goeth into the mouth” that defiles us. Do I see it as disobedience to GOD’s word to be a vegetarian/vegan? Yep. I do. He commanded us throughout the Bible – both Old and New Testament – to eat meat. From Genesis 9:2-3 to Acts 10 GOD commanded us to eat meat and Christ, who is GOD, and GOD Himself, set the example and ate meat. So being a vegetarian/vegan as a Christian is, IMHO, being disobedient, n'est-ce pas?
The sharing of an animal’s meat is a rewarded thing. So why would it be considered by those who believe the Bible to be the Word of GOD as a bad thing? Vegetarians think they’ll be healthier than those who eat meat. This is their opinion, but would GOD command us to do something that is bad for us? Consider that “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it? or has he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) If GOD is going to “make it good” because He has commanded us to “take and eat” then why on earth would anyone want to disobey GOD and be a vegetarian?
Obedience gets us blessed. Disobedience gets us not blessed (to be nice about it). It is your choice, though. Which do you choose?