On Fri, 16 Nov 2012 01:37:21 -0600, "Zacharias Mulletstein"
>God is not a cow. Cows are meant to be milked, and slaughtered. The Bible
>is clear on this.
Jesus & vegetarianism
So when we talk about changing one's life, giving one's time, life,
energy, mind, resources to God and worship him with all one's heart
mind soul, etc., well we all agree to that.
To be non violent, not to kill others (humans and animals alike, not
even for food (it is quite clear that the Early Christians were
vegetarians, see below), we all agree on that. We are citizens of the
spiritual world and we should not unnecessarily use our valuable time
in mundane pursuits. Unless we give up material life and turn with
great determination towards spiritual life our life will be a loss and
end up in disappointment.
On the other side when we start taking about the resurrection of the
flesh and that Jesus died for our sins, well these are theological
concepts that were superimposed on the teachings of Jesus from Paul on
and really miss the point of his actual teachings to mankind.
Quote from the book "Food for peace":
Major stumbling blocks for many Christians are the belief that Christ
ate meat and the many references to meat in the New Testament. But
close study of the original Greek manuscripts shows that the vast
majority of the words translated as "meat" are trophe, brome, and
other words that simply mean "food" or "eating" in the broadest sense.
For example, in the Gospel (Luke 8:55) we read that Jesus raised a
woman from the dead and "commanded to give her meat." The original
Greek word translated as "meat" is phago, which means only "to eat".
So, what Christ actually said was, "Let her eat."
The original Greek word for meat is kreas ("flesh"), and it is never
used in connection with Christ. In Luke 24:41-43 the disciples offered
him fish and a honeycomb and he took it (singular, we can guess which
one). Nowhere in the New Testament is there any direct reference to
Jesus eating meat.
This is in line with Isaiah's famous prophecy: "Behold, a virgin shall
conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. He shall
eat butter and honey, so that he may know the evil from the good."
(Isaiah 7:14-15) (this itself says that meat eating destroys all good
discretion in man. It is quite typical, that the second part of the
sentence is omitted in Matthew 1:23).
Jesus rebuked strongly the pharisees with the words: "...and if you
had known what it means: "I desire mercy and not sacrifice, ...you
would not condemn the innocent," (Matthew 12:6) which clearly
disapproves of the killing of animals, as this is a verse taken from
Hosea 6:6: "I desire mercy instead of sacrifice, the knowledge of God
more than burnt offerings..." (note: again the the 2nd part of the
sentence is omitted in Matthew 12:6).
He strongly opposed the custom of temple animal sacrifices, violently
driving those who were selling oxen, sheep and pigeons and the
money-changers out of the temple (John 2:13-15).
His words: "...you shall not make my father's house a house of trade
(which in earlier translations always was translated as "murders'
We all know that according to Matthew 3:4 John the Baptist was
refusing to eat meat. ("...and his food was wild locust (bean) and
wild honey." (orig. Greek: enkris, oil cake and akris: locust/honey)
But we never hear of the sheer overwhelming evidence which points to
Jesus being a vegetarian: No less than seven of Jesus' twelve
disciples refused meat food (the rest we do not know). This naturally
reflects the teachings of Jesus, as: "...a servant is not greater than
his master..." (John 14:16).
The seven are:
1. Peter, "...whose food was bread, olives and herbs..." (Clem. Hom.
2. James: Church Father Eusebius, quoting the Churchfather Hegesippus
(about 160 AD) is stating:
"...But Hegesippus, who lived immediately after the apostles, gives
the most accurate account in the fifth book of his memoirs. He writes
as follow: '...James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the
government of the Church in conjunction with the apostles. He has been
called the Just by all from the time of our savior to the present day;
for there were many that bore the name James.
'He was holy from his mother's womb; he drank no wine, nor strong
drink, nor did he eat flesh. No razor came upon his head, he did not
anoint himself with oil and he did not use the bath. He alone was
permitted to enter the holy place; for he wore no woolen but linen
garments. And he was in the habit of entering alone into the temple,
and was frequently found upon his knees begging forgiveness for the
people, so that his knees became hard like those of a camel in
consequence of constantly bending them on his worship of
God...'" (Eusebius, Church History II, Ch. XXIII,5-7, Nicene and Post
Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Oxford, N.Y., 1890, Vol I,
It is interesting that Hegesippus is saying that James, the brother of
Jesus, was holy from his mother's womb on which would apply that Mary
was not eating meat either and that she never fed him meat as a child.
That being the case one would think it to be clear that the whole
family of Jesus and naturally he himself was vegetarian. In that sense
the statement of Churchfather Eusebius "he was holy from his mother's
womb" is most indicative pointing towards the vegetarianism of Jesus.
3. Thomas: The apocryphal Acts of Thomas (Ch. 20), which actually were
widely in use among early Christian sects, depict this disciple of
Jesus as ascetic: "He continually fasts and prays, and abstaining from
eating of flesh and drinking wine, he eats only bread, with salt and
drink and water, and wears the same garment in fine weather and
winter, and accepts nothing from anyone, and gives whatever he has to
4. Matthew: "It is far better to be happy than to have a demon
dwelling with us. And happiness is found in the practice of virtue.
Accordingly, the apostle Matthew partook of seeds and nuts, fruits and
vegetables without of flesh. And John, who carried temperance to the
extreme, ate locusts and wild honey..."
(Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, II.I,16: On Eating)
(Note here the strong hint of Clement towards the vegetarianism of
John the Baptist.)
5. Matthias (who filled the place of Judas - Acts 1:21-26). His food
as told by Church Father Clement of Alexandria was the same as
Matthews. (Clement/Stromata III,4,26)
6. Andrew and 7. Jude: Andrew (Peter's brother in both flesh and
faith) and Jude of Bethsaida, originally two of John the Baptists'
followers, must have followed the Baptist's austere diet. (See above
Paul also says: "...It is good neither to drink wine or eat flesh..."
(Roman 14:20-21) though his commitment altogether seems altogether
somewhat less categorical.
Beyond that there are strong arguments of a similar nature by many of
the Fathers of the early Church:
"...How unworthy do you press the example of Christ as having come
eating and drinking into the service of your lusts: I think that He
who pronounced not the full, but the hungry and thirsty 'Blessed,' who
professed His work to be the completion of His Father's Will, I think
that he was wont to abstain, instructing them to labor for that 'Meat'
which lasts to eternal life, and enjoying in their common prayers
petition, not for flesh food but for bread only..." - Quintus
Septimius Tertullianus (AD 155).
This knowledge of Tertullianus was supported by fragments of the
writings by the Apostolic Father Papias (AD 60 - 125).
"...The unnatural eating of flesh is as polluting as the heathens
worship of devils with its sacrifices and impure feasts, through
participation in which a man becomes a fellow eater with devils..."
(2nd century scripture Clemente Homilies - Hom. XII)
Clemens Prudentius, the first Christian hymn writer exhorts in one of
his hymns his fellow Christians "...not to pollute their hands and
hearts by the slaughter of innocent cows and sheep..."
Accordingly the Apostle Matthew, "partook of seeds, and nuts, and
vegetables, without the use of flesh... is there not within a
temperate simplicity, a wholesome variety of eatables, vegetables,
roots, olives, herbs, milk, cheese, fruits?" - Churchfather Clement of
Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens, AD 150 - 220)
"...We, the Christian leaders, practice abstinence from the flesh of
animals to subdue our bodies. The unnatural eating of flesh is of
demonic origin." And about the early Christians: "...No streams of
blood are among them. No dainty cookery, no heaviness of head. Nor are
horrible smells of flesh meats among them or disagreeable fumes from
the kitchen.." - St. Chrysostomos (AD 347-404)
A most important purport to a controversy, much cherished and much
cited by meat-eating Christians we find in the writings of the
Churchfather Jerome (AD 340 - 420), who gave us the Vulgate, the
authorized Latin version of the Bible still in use today.
The controversy is based on the fact that in Genesis 1:29 meat-eating
is clearly forbidden, "...I give you every seed-bearing plant on the
face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.
They will be yours for food..."
However after the flood it appears that meat-eating is all of a sudden
permitted: "...The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts
of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that
moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are
given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food
for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you
everything. But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in
it..." (Genesis 9:2-4)
Writing in confutation of Jovinian, a monk of Milan, who abandoned
asceticism, St. Jerome (died A.D. 440) holds up vegetarianism as the
Christian ideal and the restoration of the primeval rule of life.
St. Jerome says:
"...He (Jovinian) raises the objection that when God gave His second
blessing, permission was granted to eat flesh, which had not in the
first benediction been allowed. He should know that just as divorce
according to the Saviour's word was not permitted from the beginning,
but on account of the hardness of our heart was a concession of Moses
to the human race, (Matthew 9:8: "Moses permitted you to divorce your
wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the
beginning.") ...so too the eating of flesh was unknown until the
deluge. But after the deluge, like the quails given in the desert to
the murmuring people, the poison of flesh-meat was offered to our
teeth. The Apostle writing to the Ephesians (Eph. 1:10) teaches that
God had purposed in the fullness of time to sum up and renew in Christ
Jesus all things which are in heaven and in earth. Whence also the
Saviour himself in the Revelation of John says (Rev. 1:8; 22:13), "I
am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending."
At the beginning of the human race we neither ate flesh, nor gave
bills of divorce, nor suffered circumcision for a sign. Thus we
reached the deluge. But after the deluge, together with the giving of
the law which no one could fulfill, flesh was given for food, and
divorce was allowed to hard-hearted men, and the knife of circumcision
was applied, as though the hand of God had fashioned us with something
superfluous. But once Christ has come in the end of time, and Omega
passed into Alpha and turned the end into the beginning, we are no
longer allowed divorce (see Matthew 19:3-9), nor are we circumcised,
nor so we eat flesh, for the Apostle says (Rom. 14:21), "It is good
not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine." For wine as well as flesh was
consecrated after the deluge." (Against Jovinianus, Book I,18)
"The steam of meat darkens the light of the spirit... One hardly can
have virtue when one enjoys meat meals and feasts..." - St. Basil (AD
320 - 79)
Besides that contemporary heathen observers describe the early
Christians as abstaining from meat:
Pliny, Governor of Bithynia (where Peter preached) referred to the
early Christians in a letter to Trajan, the Roman Emperor, as a
..."contagious superstition abstaining from flesh food..."
Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD), stoic philosopher and tutor of Nero, describes
the Christians as "...a foreign cultus or superstition (under imperial
suspicion) who abstain from flesh food..."
And Josephus Flavius says about the early Christians: "...They
assemble before sunrising and speak not a word of profane matters but
put up certain prayers... and sit down together each one to a single
plate of one sort of innocent food..."
The scholar E.M. Szekely claims to have recovered and translated from
an old Aramaic scripture, "...Therefore, he who kills, kills his
brother... And the flesh of slain beasts in his body will become his
own tomb. For I tell you truly, he who kills, kills himself, and who
so eats the flesh of slain beasts, eats of the body of death... Kill
neither men, nor beasts, nor the food which goes into your mouth...
For life comes from life, and from death comes always death. For
everything which kills your foods, kills your bodies also. And your
bodies become what your foods are, even as your spirits become what
your thoughts are..." - E.M. Szekely, Gospel of Peace
And Albert Schweitzer says: "...Ethics has not only to do with mankind
but with the animal creation as well. This is witnessed in the purpose
of St. Francis of Assisi. Thus we shall arrive that ethics is
reverence for all life. This is the ethic of love widened universally.
It is the ethic of Jesus now recognized as a necessity of thought...
Only a universal ethic which embraces every living creature can put us
in touch with the universe and the will which is there manifest..."
Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801 - 90) says: "...Cruelty to animals is
as if man did not love God... They have done us no harm, they have no
power of resistance... there is something dreadful, so satanic in
tormenting those who have never harmed us and who cannot defend
themselves, who are utterly in our power..."
Tolstoy and Dukhobor (Orthodox Russian Christian) were of the opinion
that meat-eating is against the tenets of Christianity.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya
of ISKCON (Hare Krishna Movement) concludes: "...There are many
rascals who violate their own religious principles. While it clearly
says according to Judeo-Christian scriptures, "Thou shalt not kill,"
they are giving all kinds of excuses. Even the heads of religions
indulge in killing animals while trying to pass as saintly persons.
This mockery and hypocrisy in human society has brought about
Paul's teachings and interpretations
And it's absolutely amazing that Paul actually tells it himself:
"...One man's faith (in the idea of salvation from the cross) allows
him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith (in the cross) is
weak, eats only vegetables..." (Roman 14:2)
The smoking gun is right there: It is Paul's concept of faith in the
salvific nature of the cross, declaring the Torah obsolete which leads
him to view the vegetarianism of the apostles as dietetic fanaticism
of Nazarene Jewish origin and hence dispensable.
Further proof are at hand. In fact the following statements make no
sense whatsoever, unless we agree that Paul needed to convince a large
section of early Christians, that there was no problem with eating
"Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.
All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that
causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink
wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. So
whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and
God..." (Rom 14:20-22)
In other words it is O.K. to eat meat as long as nobody is offended
and the community of Christians is not disturbed.
He goes on:
"If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat
whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.
But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then
do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for
conscience' sake-- the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For
why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? If I take
part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of
something I thank God for? So whether you eat or drink or whatever you
do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:27-31)
In other words as far as eating meat, even when offered in sacrifice,
Paul had no scruples unless it is declared, that meat is offered in
sacrifice. In this case do not eat it, to avoid to offend others.
It is very clear: It needed to be saying that meat eating is allowed.
There were Christians who are vegetarians. Beware of meat offered in
sacrifice. Because besides the vegetarian Christians there were others
who were less strict but who would not approve of the idea of eating
meat offered in sacrifice. Meat eating in general is allowed,
according to Paul:
"Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of
conscience, for, 'The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it.'"
(1 Cor 10:25-26)
Again, this makes no sense unless there must have been Christians who
found it difficult to reconcile with their conscience to buy meat in
And again more:
"As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is
unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then
for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what
you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating
destroy your brother for whom Christ died." (Roman 14:14-15)
Later this point of view is reflected in Timothy, possibly addressing
early Christian sects like the later banned Enkratites:
"...They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain
foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who
believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good,
and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving..."
(1 Timothy 4:3-4)
So we can see that there was obviously a large group of people who did
not agree with meat eating in general (hence he says don't let it be a
matter of conscience to you when buying meat in the market).
Definitely the issue was not about eating food offered in sacrifice,
as made out by Christian theologians.
The tensions between Paul are further reflected in the way how he
addresses the disciples of Jesus. He makes it perfectly clear that
their opinions are not what Paul is overly concerned with.
He sarcastically describes the Apostles in Jerusalem (James, Peter) as
"those Super Apostles", "those reputed to be the Pillars":
"...But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those
"super-apostles." I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have
knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way."
(2 Cor 11:5-6)
He clearly is preaching a different Jesus then the Apostles in
Jerusalem. Hence he warns his followers:
"...For if someone comes to you and preaches A JESUS OTHER THAN THE
JESUS WE PREACHED, or if you receive a different spirit from the one
you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put
up with it easily enough."
(2 Cor 11:4)
"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other
than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we
have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you
a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally
condemned!" (Gal 1:8-9)
"And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground
from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with
us in the things they boast about. For such men are false apostles,
deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder,
for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Cor 11:12-14)
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