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Query for the Month

of November 1999

Next up-date: December 1st 1999 (God willing).

 

A perpetual question....
What does it mean to "be led by the Spirit"?

 


Query:

Why do some Christians say it's wrong to eat meat? God gave Noah permission to eat it didn't He? Genesis 9:1-4.

 

Response:

The food Adam and Eve ate in the garden of Eden was the PRODUCE of the plant - fruits, grains, nuts - NOT the plants themselves. It was the same with the animals and birds - they also ate grass, the fruit of the ground.

Genesis 1:29-30

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb [plant] bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat [food]. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creeps upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

However, after Adam and Eve sinned and the "curse" of disobedience came upon all the inhabitants of the earth, the LORD God told them that they would need to eat the plants as well to gain the nourishment to keep them alive.

Genesis 3:17-19

And to Adam He said, "Because you have hearkened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it: cursed is the ground for your sake; in sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb [plant] of the field; in the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return."

God didn't make the ground hard to work. It is us who deal with it against all the common sense laws of nature and therefore have to "wrest" from it a reluctant crop. We are the cause of a great deal of erosion, drought and famine, and we are the cause of many of our sicknesses. Our selfishness and desire to do our own thing, refusing helpful advice so often, leads us into many health problems. It was in love to us that God suggested we eat some of the plants as well as the product because in the plant body there are many elements which can help restore the balance in our bodies, and bring us back to health.

Contrary, to many "learned" opinions today, it is not necessary to eat meat to obtain the proteins and minerals we need. What we do need to do, is eat a good variety of foods over a period of time, and our built-in systems will extricate all we need to live healthfully.

I believe that in the centuries that followed the transgression of Adam and Eve, the majority of men and women disobeyed more and more the wise advice from their Creator and eventually formed two distinct groups. Thus we have at the end of the book of Adam's experiences these words:-

Genesis 4:26

"then men began to call upon the name of the LORD".

The margin note of my Bible gives me this alternative translation:-

"then men began to call themselves by the name of the LORD".

This simply means to me that Christians [the followers of the LORD God], and non-Christians, were now well developed and had formed two distinct groups of law-abiding and law-breaking citizens and used names to distinguish themselves. As it is today, the law-breakers did what they wanted and soon began to kill each other and also the animals that lived amongst them. See where Lamech killed a man who disagreed with him, and another who had succeeded in bruising him!

Jewish translation of Genesis 4:23-24

"I have slain a man for wounding me, and a lad for bruising me." The Torah, by the Jewish Publication Society of America.

With the killing came the blood lust and the desire to eat the animals, at first in an effort to obtain their powers, and later because of the taste. Thus in the 16 centuries before the Flood there were developed groups of mankind which ate of the flesh of animals and birds in defiance of the word of God which says, "Thou shalt not kill". Exodus 20:13.

No doubt, in time, as has happened elsewhere, the children of God were corrupted by the evil doings of the children of men, and some of them succumbed to the taste of meat and blood. In like manner, Abraham saw nothing wrong in marrying two women at the same time because it was the legal code in his day. Genesis 16:1-3. Note that this was a crime committed by Lamech also!

So, after the Flood, when there appeared to be little plant food available, and Noah approached God about eating the flesh of animals, he was given permission to do so. But note the prohibition regarding the blood!

Genesis 9:1-6

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moves upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

Every moving thing that lives shall be meat for you [with the notable exceptions of the unclean foods of Leviticus chapter 11]; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat.

And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man."

Here God appears to be breaking His own commandment, but when faced with overt disobedience, He often has to go with His people while teaching them a better way.

This is a most important principle in God's dealing with sinful men and women. Much of the apparent contradictions in the Bible are simply the results of God and man disagreeing. What can He do when faced with open rebellion by His people - kill them? No, He must face the fact and work with them.

Consider the case of the slaying of the inhabitants of Jericho when Joshua and the others attacked that city. The "Captain of the host" gave Joshua permission to attack the city and fight with the "king thereof, and the men of valour". Joshua 6:2. This would have been a "fair" war, if such a word can be used in context with killing and maiming of those who can fight back. But what did Joshua do? He went back to his fellows and at the last moment just before they attacked the city claimed that they had the right to kill every man, woman and child, and the animals. To "devote" the city to the gentle LORD Jesus was his intention!! Joshua 6:16-21.

Thus the fighting men of God's people killed the cats, dogs and canaries of that city as they also killed all the children!! Verse 21. And our God gets blamed for it!

This is the principle that allowed Jesus to feed the multitude with fish and bread. Matthew 14:21. This why He ate the passover lamb and agreed to the slaughter of millions of animals in the sanctuary services of the Old Testament.

But, back to our subject....

When the blood is removed from the body of the animal (called "kosher" by the Jews), there is very little flavour left in the meat compared to the red meat eaten by most today. But the fact that the "germs" of diseases are stored in the blood and the fat are of little consequence to those who want to do their own thing and partake of tastes of their own liking. The health law given to us through Moses is consistently disregarded by many who claim to be following the God of Abraham, Isaac and Moses, whom Jesus called "Father".

Leviticus 3:17

It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that you eat neither fat nor blood.

However, apart from the health considerations, there is the enormous crime of taking a life of one of God's creatures simply because of the enjoyment of a flavour! The commandment is explicit - "You shall not kill" - not, "You shall not murder" as some would have us believe.

Even in the giving of permission to eat flesh, God still said that animals killing men would be held accountable for their actions. Genesis 9:5. But all men have done is accept this as making them more important than God's other creatures! Ah, vanity, vanity!

The great crime of meat eating is that so many professed followers of God are prepared to kill God's creatures simply to satisfy their perverted appetite. Even if all the people of God ate meat and God appeared to be giving permission for all to do so, that would still not be right, for sin is transgressing God's law, and the loyal follower of the meek and lowly One would not want to exercise that permission. Here is the principle:-

Romans 3:3-4

For what if some did not believe [in the church]? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yes, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, "That You might be justified in your sayings, and might overcome when You are judged."

When Jesus was faced with the woman caught in adultery, He stated that any sinless one among the crowd could throw the first stone to kill her. John 8:7. But all her accusers eventually gave up and moved away because none of them were in that situation and they knew it. But there was One there who was sinless! He could have thrown that stone, but He chose not to!! He exercised mercy in place of law and gained a loyal follower.

Just because the word appears to condone the killing of one of God's creatures does not mean that we have to. We are given free choice, and love to govern it, in the hope that we will exercise it wisely.

We are either keepers of the letter, or keepers of the spirit.

And, there won't be any death in heaven or the new world, so what will the meat eaters eat then?

 

Conclusion:

God, the LORD God, gave Noah permission to eat the flesh of animals because of his request, but hoped that his love for his "neighbour" would triumph over his appetite.

 


 

Spiritual Dictionary:

Meat eating:

God, the LORD God, gave Noah permission to eat the flesh of animals because of his request, but hoped that his love for his "neighbour" would triumph over his appetite. Genesis 9:3-4.


Next thought. To be discussed from December 1st 1999.