The Abomination of Desolation

Chapter 10: The Apostles

 

 

I speak as a man, because of the weakness of your flesh. For even as you did present your members as servants of uncleanness, and of lawlessness resulting in lawlessness, so now present your members as servants of righteousness resulting in set-apartness. For when you were servants of sin, you were free from righteousness. What fruit, therefore, were you having then, over which you are now ashamed? For the end thereof is death. But now, having been set free from sin, and having become servants of Elohim, you have your fruit resulting in set-apartness, and the end, everlasting life. Romans 6:19-22

 

We have seen how the so-called Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 made no other demands of the Christian converts throughout the world except that they should abstain from eating meat, and from “whoring” (which is practically the same thing, but may also entail fornication, technically). The repetition of the four individual stipulations reiterates how serious they were about this demand, so that the basis in the Law was clear, and so that no loophole could be found. The mere fact that the dispute at that time was over circumcision, which was so quintessential to the Israelite identity, and that the converts were not required to go through with it, yet the opportunity was used to reinforce and permanently establish the no-meat rule, goes a long way to showing just how important the apostles considered it.

Most significant to this discussion is that the recipients of these tidings were converts—hardly what we would consider to be the adepts of the religion of Yahshuah (the “Elect,” to whom his secrets were imparted, as described in the previous chapter). Yet the mainstream Christians find no justification for their wickedness outside the context of the letters (epistles) which the apostles (literally, ‘emissaries’) wrote to these proselytes. Therefore the most important task we have left is to cover these letters, and to explain their meanings, as well as the circumstances of the men who wrote them (as well as of those who received them), in order to convey a realistic understanding of what was actually taking place in the 1st century regarding the newly developing Nazarene sect. After all, we find different things being said to different people, but if there was a singular and clear message which they had wanted to convey, and the Christians of the communities which received the letters had done exactly as they had been told from the beginning, then not only would we not expect to see such differing instructions and tones in the texts, but there would have been no need for any extra instructions to be sent to them in the first place, beyond the news of the verdict in Acts 15.

As the gospel of Yahshuah essentially amounts to the “restoration of all matters,” and those matters consist mainly in how Man interacts with Nature, we would expect to see the apostles preaching this message right from the beginning. Indeed, the book of Acts, like the Prophets and the Gospels, also demonstrates that Yahshuah’s role, as seen both by himself and by his followers, was to replenish the earth, just as Adam and Noah had both been commanded to do. What this really means for us Christians is that we are all supposed to imitate him, and in so doing, return to a state of being under God’s grace (which literally means ‘favor’), even as we have all imitated Adam, and in so doing, have fallen into sin and a state of condemnation. As Paul points out, the converts were convinced of Yahshuah’s witness because of his death and resurrection, but their redemption actually happened by way of their adopting his way of life.

For if, being enemies, we were restored to favour with Elohim through the death of His Son, much more, having been restored to favour, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in Elohim through our Master יהושע Messiah, through whom we have now received the restoration to favour. For this reason, even as through one man sin did enter into the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—for until the Torah, sin was in the world, but sin is not reckoned when there is no Torah. But death reigned from Aḏam until Mosheh, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Aḏam [i.e., even strict vegetarians are condemned to die, due to Adam’s sin], who is a type of Him who was to come. Romans 5:10-14

For we know that if the tent of our earthly house, is destroyed, we have a building from Elohim, a house not made with hands, everlasting in the heavens. For indeed in this we groan, longing to put on our dwelling which is from heaven, so that, having put it on, we shall not be found naked. 2 Corinthians 5:1-3

Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a renewed creature—the old matters have passed away, see, all matters have become renewed! And all matters are from Elohim, who has restored us to favour with Himself through יהושע Messiah, and has given us the service of restoration to favour, that is, that Elohim was in Messiah restoring the world to favour unto Himself, not reckoning their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of restoration to favour. Therefore we are envoys on behalf of Messiah, as though Elohim were pleading through us. We beg, on behalf of Messiah: Be restored to favour with Elohim. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20

Because in Him all the completeness was well pleased to dwell, and through Him to completely restore to favour all unto Himself, whether on earth or in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of His stake. Colossians 1:19-20

So the redemptive work of Yahshuah centers around the restoration of the status lost by Adam, by which he was judged unfit to rule God’s creation, and Paul’s epistles make it very clear that the apostles greatly desired that this restoration to favor should be extended to the whole world. The fact that Yahshuah set a different mold for the world to imitate than Adam had is chiefly evident in the fact that he rose from the dead, as death is the punishment for (or, rather, the natural consequence of) Adam’s sin, but the free gift of God is everlasting life (Romans 6:23). This life had been preached to the Israelites via the prophets, but it had not been preached to the Gentiles (a word which means ‘nations’ or ‘tribes’). So the apostles, when they preached to the Gentiles, harkened to the Prophets, declaring that they foretold that he would suffer, be the first to rise from the dead, and that he would proclaim light to both Israel and the Gentiles (Acts 26:23). The prophet Simeon also declared that Yahshuah was the subject of this prophecy when he was presented at the Temple (Luke 2:25-35). Yahshuah’s mission, as the “light of revelation to the Gentiles,” was “to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and the authority of Satan to God, in order for them to receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are set-apart by belief” in him (Acts 26:18).

“Belief,” as we will see, actually means obedience. The inheritance is not for those who are disobedient, but for those who are “set-apart.” These terms are used very deliberately in Scripture, for conveying very specific dogmatic concepts, to the exclusion of others. We know that according to Moses, it was the Nazarites (and only the Nazarites) who were called “set-apart,” because only they were not under the Law, having a higher standard to live by, and that the Levites were also “set-apart” (though not from the Law of Moses) for the same reason, to serve God in strict obedience. So as it pertains to the New Testament, it is sheer folly to assume that “faith” (or “belief”) means anything other than obedience to the rule of the Nazarites or that of the Levites (in the case of Levites only—John the Baptist was a Levite, but he was also a Nazarite, just like Samuel and Ezekiel), which we know from Acts 15 was nothing but the simple command to abstain from eating flesh. This is not merely incidental to the teachings of the New Testament, but actually their foundation and core, as it is the foundation of the baptism ritual established by John and commanded by Yahshuah, without which a prospective initiate was not even nominally considered to be a Christian—a fact which remains intact to this day, though the ritual itself does not.

Now, it could be argued that Yahshuah’s command to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) was never meant to be taken to mean that all new converts were supposed to be initiated into full membership in the Nazarite sect. It could be argued that he never intended to make everyone his “brothers,” that he just wanted people to generally agree with him in principle, in the sort of “just love everyone and be happy” way that is espoused by so many modern Christians, as opposed to getting us all to imitate him in every respect. Yet this argument would be insufficient, as it is certainly the case that he intended to get everyone to imitate him in regards to the main matters of obedience (loving each other and loving nonhuman animals, too).

“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, for all teachings which I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name He might give you. These words I command you, so that you love one another.” John 15:14-17

This argument also ignores the fact that only those who are “perfect” (since Noah’s time, this means only Nazarites) have God’s authority, and that this authority constitutes the restoration of Man to the status of having stewardship over the planet, which is the whole point of the Gospel. Nor is it ever contradicted in the Bible that the inheritance passed down through Abraham only belongs to those who do imitate him in every respect (i.e. the Nazarites only). So, according to the rule that the Nazarites are those in whom all of God’s authority has been invested, no “hearer” of the Law has any authority over any “doer,” in any respect whatsoever, much less to interpret Scripture and casually give us their satanically-induced opinions about what we, as Christians, are allowed to eat, in clear contravention of both the spirit and the intent of the Law. To the contrary, they are obligated to obey the rule of the Nazarites, on pain of death—and that not of Moses’ doing, but of God’s.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, for that reason the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they shall persecute you too. If they have guarded My Word, they would guard yours too. But all this they shall do to you because of My Name, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin [they would be justified by the Law of Moses, provided they actually kept it], but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father as well. If I did not do among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin [they would not know he had the authority to judge them, and which supersedes theirs]. But now they have both seen and have hated both Me and My Father.” John 15:18-24

So we know that all Christians everywhere and for all time are obligated to heed the commands of Yahshuah and his chosen ones, and that failure to do so equates to being out of favor with God, which is tantamount to going to hell, according to the mainstream Christian paradigm. Ironically, the very same Christians who tell us not to obey “Jesus” are the very same Christians who tell us that we ought to obey worldly authorities, however blatantly evil, based on a misreading of Romans 13:1-4, which is actually a circular argument demonstrating the necessity of the laws of men (like the Law of Moses, for instance), rather than the necessity of government itself, which is explicitly called “evil”—and this is only for those who do not already obey the laws of conscience. It simply does not apply, ever, to anyone who is righteous, as that one is “above the law” (i.e., he adheres to a higher principle, not that he is not bound to any law).

Let every being be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from Elohim, and the authorities that exist are appointed by Elohim. So he who opposes the authority withstands the institution of Elohim, and those who withstand shall bring judgment on themselves. For those ruling are an object of fear, not to good works, but to evil. Do you wish to be not afraid of the authority? Do the good, and you shall have praise from it, for it is a servant of Elohim to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword in vain. For it is a servant of Elohim, a revenger to execute wrath on him who practises evil. Romans 13:1-4

Paul is also routinely invoked to do away with Yahshuah’s rules, as well as the Law of Moses, to the point that many Christians see him as a false apostle, as they do not understand him. The most obvious choice outside of Romans 14 (vv. 14-23) and 1 Corinthians 8 (vv. 8-13) (both of which we will examine in detail later) is Colossians, particularly the second chapter.

Let no one therefore judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths—which are a shadow of what is to come—but the Body of the Messiah. Colossians 2:16-17

If, then, you died with Messiah from the elementary matters of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations: “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle”—which are all to perish with use—according to the commands and teachings of men? Colossians 2:20-23

Here the Christians interpret Paul as saying “Let no one judge you” over the matter of food and drink, but only whether or not you are a member of the body of Christ, which is radically different than they suppose, and assumes you are already baptized into the sect and accepted as good enough (i.e. you have already been a vegetarian for at least 3 years!). What he is actually saying is “Let them judge you by this,” not “Don’t let them judge you by that.” Even leaving that aside, this argument can be easily refuted simply by showing what the context is.

In order that their hearts might be encouraged, being knit together in love, and to all riches of the entire confirmation of understanding, to a true knowledge of the secret of Elohim, and of the Father, and of the Messiah, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, so that no one deceives you with enticing words. Colossians 2:2-4

Therefore, as you accepted Messiah יהושע the Master, walk in Him, having been rooted and built up in Him, and established in the belief, as you were taught [as vegetarians], overflowing in it with thanksgiving. See to it that no one makes a prey of you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary matters of the world, and not according to Messiah. Because in Him dwells all the completeness of the Mightiness bodily, and you have been made complete in Him, who is the Head of all principality and authority. In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Messiah, having been buried with Him in immersion, in which you also were raised with Him through the belief in the working of Elohim, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having blotted out the certificate of debt against us—by the dogmas—which stood against us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the stake. Having stripped [made naked, put to shame] the principalities and the authorities, He made a public display of them, having prevailed over them in it. Colossians 2:6-15

And I certainly did not mean with those of this world who whore, or with the greedy of gain, or swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone called ‘a brother,’ if he is one who whores, or greedy of gain, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 1 Corinthians 5:10-11

The fact that this only applies to real Christians will be evidenced in the next chapter. This ought to suffice, at least, to debunk the notion that Christians are okay if they are just doing what they have been told to do by the world’s institutions. “Who are you,” they will say, “to judge me?” Along with the argument that we should not obey the Law, this is the other argument which the Christians commonly invoke to justify their evil ways. But we have already covered the necessity and the righteousness of righteous judgment, so we will leave off the argument from Colossians and return, later, to the meaning of baptism in order to show that anyone who does not do the works of Christ is not a member of the body of Christ.

Now it should already be evident that there is no precedent in Scripture to support the Christians’ view that it is ever (much less always) okay to be lawless. The only thing that remains now is to show that the apostles were indeed strict vegetarians, and that they commanded all under their authority to be so. Indeed, this has already been demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt, so we will just be reiterating the point by citing the apostles themselves. We start by showing how the only thing Yahshuah and John the Baptist commanded to be preached was the remission of sins and the kingdom of heaven (which entails everything we have covered so far, and naught else), and that this is exactly what they went out and preached.

And in those days Yoḥanan the Immerser came proclaiming in the wilderness of Yehuḏah, and saying, “Repent, for the reign of the heavens has come near!” Matthew 3:1-2

Yoḥanan came immersing in the wilderness and proclaiming an immersion of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Mark 1:4

And after Yoḥanan was delivered up, יהושע came to Galil, proclaiming the Good News of the reign of Elohim, and saying, “The time has been filled, and the reign of Elohim has come near. Repent, and believe in the Good News.” Mark 1:14-15

From that time יהושע began to proclaim and to say, “Repent, for the reign of the heavens has drawn near.” Matthew 4:17

And he went into all the neighbourhood of the Yardĕn, proclaiming an immersion of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Luke 3:3

And He said to them, “To the other cities I also have to bring the Good News: the reign of Elohim, because for this I have been sent.” Luke 4:43

And it came to be, afterward, that He went through every city and village, proclaiming and bringing the Good News of the reign of Elohim, and the twelve were with Him. Luke 8:1

And יהושע went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their congregations, and proclaiming the Good News of the reign, and healing every disease and every bodily weakness among the people. Matthew 9:35

And when the crowds knew it, they followed Him. And having received them, He was speaking to them about the reign of Elohim, and healed those who had need of healing. Luke 9:11

“The Torah and the prophets are until Yoḥanan. Since then the reign of Elohim is being announced, and everyone is doing violence upon it.” Luke 16:16

And He sent them to proclaim the reign of Elohim and to heal the sick. Luke 9:2

“And as you go, proclaim, saying, ‘The reign of the heavens has drawn near.’” Matthew 10:7

And יהושע said to him, “Let the dead [the living dead] bury their own dead, but you go and announce the reign of Elohim.” Luke 9:60

“And He commanded us to proclaim to the people, and to witness that it is He who was appointed by Elohim to be Judge of the living and the dead [the living dead]. To this One all the prophets bear witness, that through His Name, everyone believing in Him does receive forgiveness of sins.” Acts 10:42-43

“Thus it has been written, and so it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise again from the dead [from death] the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning at Yerushalayim.” Luke 24:46-47

And when they believed Philip as he brought the Good News about the reign of Elohim and the Name of יהושע Messiah, both men and women were immersed. Acts 8:12

And having brought the Good News to that city, and having made many taught ones, they returned to Lustra, and Ikonion, and Antioch, strengthening the beings of the taught ones, encouraging them to continue in the belief, and that through many pressures we have to enter the reign of Elohim. Acts 14:21-22

And when Sha’ul had laid hands on them, the Set-apart Spirit came upon them, and they were speaking in tongues and prophesying. And all the men were about twelve. And having gone into the congregation he spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the reign of Elohim. Acts 19:6-8

“And now see, I know that you all, among whom I went about proclaiming the reign of Elohim, shall see my face no more.” Acts 20:25

And having appointed him a day, many came to him where he was staying, to whom he was explaining, earnestly witnessing about the reign of Elohim, and persuading them concerning יהושע from both the Torah of Mosheh and the Prophets, from morning until evening. Acts 28:23

And Sha’ul stayed two entire years in his own rented house, and was receiving all who came to him, proclaiming the reign of Elohim and teaching about the Master יהושע Messiah with all boldness, unhindered. Acts 28:30-31

This ought to suffice to demonstrate to any reasonable person that the true gospel of Christ amounts to living in harmony with Nature, and not some other “gospel.” So this is the underlying message we would expect to see in the Epistles, as well, to the point of evidencing a radical change in lifestyle for new converts, rather than mere belief. Indeed, Paul commanded and even begged at the point of tears for the members of his congregations to be imitators of himself, as he was a Nazarite in imitation of Yahshuah. This is normally in the context of saying that those who wish to uphold the Law without doing this (i.e. the Israelites/Jews), or who pretend to believe in Yahshuah without actually imitating him (i.e. the Gentiles/Christians), are practicing vanity. Notice his use of the word “shame,” which we know to be a euphemism for the guilt of the original sin, applied to Adam, Cain and Noah in succession, as a less symbolic way of describing their “nakedness.”

Become joint imitators of me, brothers, and observe those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. Philippians 3:17

For I bear them witness that they have an ardour for Elohim, but not according to knowledge. For not knowing the righteousness of Elohim, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of Elohim. For Messiah is the goal of the ‘Torah unto righteousness’ to everyone who believes. For Mosheh [Leviticus 18:5] writes about the righteousness which is of the Torah, “The man who does these shall live by them.” Romans 10:2-5

For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, and so is saved. Because the Scripture [Isaiah 45:17] says, “Whoever puts his trust in Him shall not be put to shame.” Romans 10:10-11

For “everyone who calls on the Name of יהוה shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without one proclaiming? And how shall they proclaim if they are not sent? As it has been written, “How pleasant are the feet of those who bring the Good News of peace, who bring the Good News of the good!” However, not all obeyed the Good News. For Yeshayahu [Isaiah 53:1] says, “יהוה, who has believed our report?” So then belief comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Elohim. Romans 10:13-17

If, then, there is any encouragement in Messiah, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, having the same love, one in being and of purpose, doing none at all through selfishness or self-conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each one should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. For, let this mind be in you which was also in Messiah יהושע, who, being in the form of Elohim, did not regard equality with Elohim a matter to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and came to be in the likeness of men. And having been found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, death even of a stake. Philippians 2:1-8

Therefore I appeal to you, to become imitators of me. For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and trustworthy son in the Master, who shall remind you of my ways in Messiah, as I teach everywhere in every assembly. 1 Corinthians 4:16-17

Become imitators of me, as I also am of Messiah. 1 Corinthians 11:1

Brothers, I beg you to become as I am, because I am as you are. You did not wrong me at all. Galatians 4:12

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not fight according to the flesh. For the weapons we fight with are not fleshly but mighty in Elohim for overthrowing strongholds, overthrowing reasonings and every high matter that exalts itself against the knowledge of Elohim, taking captive every thought to make it obedient to the Messiah, and being ready to punish all disobedience, when your obedience is complete. Take a look at what you are facing. If anyone seems to trust in himself that he is of Messiah, let him reckon again for himself, that as he is of Messiah, so also are we. For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Master gave us for building up, and not for overthrowing you, I shall not be put to shame, lest I seem to frighten you away by letters. Because they say, “His letters are truly weighty and strong, but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech amounts to naught.” Let such a one take this into account, that what we are in word by letters when absent, such we are also in deed when we are present. For we do not presume to count ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. But we shall not boast beyond measure, but within the measure of the limits Elohim assigned unto us, to reach even to you. For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we also came to you with the Good News of the Messiah, not boasting beyond measure in the labours of others, but having an expectation, that as your belief grows, we shall be greatly enlarged by you, according to our limits, to bring the Good News in the parts beyond you—not to boast in another’s limits in what has been accomplished. But “He who boasts, let him boast in יהוה [Jeremiah 9:24; “love, justice and righteousness”].” For not he who commends himself is approved, but he whom the Master commends. 2 Corinthians 10:3-18

So much is unspoken here that it is evident that Paul considered his message to be clearly understood everywhere he went. This contradicts the notion which the mainstream Christians have, that the Bible is the source of their doctrines. The Epistles were written to complement and expound on the message of the Gospel, not to establish it. What the message itself was is evident in what was being preached before they were written, such as in the case of the matter of Acts 15, and in the many indications we have seen about what the gospel of the remission of sins and the kingdom of heaven amounts to. So imitation of Yahshuah, or of Paul, according to the rule given to the Gentiles, essentially amounted to nothing more than a life free from all kinds of sins—the most important of which, by far (as indicated by Acts 15), was the consumption of flesh. This was already understood, prior to each of the congregations receiving a letter from one of the apostles, so the fact that any of them even bother to mention it at all again (as we will see they do) shows that they took it very seriously.

This sets the context for the Epistles. Before they can be read and understood properly, it must be clearly understood that the Gospel comes from Judea and was preached to the rest of the Mediterranean world, as it was intended primarily for the Yahudim (the people of Judea, and their descendants in diaspora), and only secondarily for the converts among the Gentiles. What we have are several letters sent to these congregations specifically because the people who wrote them were not present, and because the congregations themselves were in need of instruction and exhortation. What would really be revealing, if we had access to it, would be evidence of what was being taught when they were there, and the only thing we can actually infer about what was being taught then, apart from the kingdom of heaven and the remission of sins (i.e. the authority of Yahshuah and the baptism of John), is the command to abstain from meat.

It is widely accepted that Paul was the “missionary to the Gentiles,” but what is not generally known is that he had no more incentive to preach to the Gentiles than he did the Yahudim. The only reason he ever quit preaching to the Yahudim is that they did not accept his teachings, based on the fact that they did not accept his authority, as he was a relatively recent convert himself, rather than one of the Twelve or an early follower of John the Baptist. So he was not called by God from the beginning of his ministry to be the apostle to the Gentiles. Rather, he became such because the ground upon which he sowed the seed of the Gospel among the Yahudim was unfertile. Had he had his way, everyone would have listened to it.

But speaking boldly, Sha’ul and Barnaḇah said, “It was necessary that the word of Elohim should be spoken to you first, but since you thrust it away, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, see, we turn to the gentiles.” Acts 13:46

And he was reasoning in the congregation every Sabbath, and won over both Yehuḏim and Greeks. And when Sila and Timothy came down from Makedonia, Sha’ul was pressed by the Spirit, and earnestly witnessed to the Yehuḏim that יהושע is the Messiah. However, when they resisted and blasphemed, he shook his garments and said to them, “Your blood is upon your head, I am clean. From now on I shall go to the gentiles.” Acts 18:4-6

I am a debtor both to Greeks and to foreigners, both to wise and to foolish. That is why I am so eager to bring the Good News also to you who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the Good News of Messiah, for it is the power of Elohim for deliverance to everyone who believes, to the Yehuḏite first and also to the Greek. Romans 1:14-16

And as Yeshayahu [Isaiah 1:9] said before, “If יהוה of hosts had not left us a seed, we would have become like Seḏom, and we would have been made like Amorah.” What shall we say then? That gentiles not following after righteousness, have obtained righteousness, even the righteousness of belief, but Yisra’ĕl following after the Torah of righteousness, has not arrived at the Torah of righteousness. Why? Because it was not of belief [obedience], but as by works of Torah [habit/custom]. For they stumbled at the Stone of stumbling. Romans 9:29-32

We are not afraid to openly question and debunk the Christians’ interpretation of Scripture on every point. In most cases, their failure to understand it is due to a singular interpretation of its metaphorical descriptions, rather than a dual or multi-layered interpretation, as it is written and intended to be understood. In this case, the idea of the “stone of stumbling” certainly does apply to Yahshuah, as they believe, but why that particular metaphor was chosen has several significant factors. Was it Christ that the Jews stumbled over, or was it the idea that they would need to imitate Christ in order to inherit life that they stumbled over? The stone of stumbling is actually the altar upon which they cooked their meat, having chosen what was on their dinner plates over the imitation of Christ, and Paul even says so explicitly in the same context of Romans, quoting David to make the point.

What then? Yisra’ĕl has not obtained what it seeks, but the chosen did obtain it, and the rest were hardened. As it has been written [Isaiah 29:10], “יהוה has given them a spirit of deep sleep, eyes not to see and ears not to hear, unto this day.” Dawiḏ [Psalm 69:22] also says, “Let their table become for a snare, and for a trap, and for a stumbling-block and a recompense to them, let their eyes be darkened, not to see, and bow down their back always.” I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Let it not be! But by their fall deliverance has come to the gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy. And if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the gentiles, how much more their completeness! Romans 11:7-12

For if their casting away is the restoration to favour of the world, what is their acceptance but life from the dead [living death]? Romans 11:15

Pay heed, you “Christians,” you spiritual infants and self-professed sinners who call the Nazarites and prophets among you “heretics” and followers of a “cult,” just because they do not teach or put into practice the same doctrines of devils which you yourselves openly profess and blindly submit yourselves to. Authority is not given to you to judge, but to those who are placed above you, in order that you yourselves might be judged. When you blaspheme your own judges, you subvert the natural order and condemn yourselves. If God will not even forgive those whom he has chosen to be set-apart and perfect, if they should stumble and not repent, then how much more will he consign you who are wanton sinners and persecutors of his chosen ones to the fires of oblivion?

And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, have been grafted in among them, and came to share the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. And if you boast, remember: you do not bear the root, but the root bears you! You shall say then, “The branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Good! By unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by belief. Do not be arrogant, but fear. For if Elohim did not spare the natural branches, He might not spare you either. See then the kindness and sharpness of Elohim: on those who fell sharpness, but toward you kindness, if you continue in His kindness, otherwise you also shall be cut off. Romans 11:17-22

The question we need to ask at this point is why Paul still upheld the primacy of the Yahudim, even after he left off trying to instruct them, and even in Romans, which is routinely (and obliquely) invoked by the Christians to evidence their assertion that it is they, rather than those who obey the Law, as indicated throughout Scripture (and by common sense), who are under God’s grace. The answer is not merely that an Israelite who had obeyed the Law and by it had heard the Gospel and was converted to Christianity is “saved,” but that the salvation of the Gospel is offered through obedience to the Law. This is exactly the opposite of what the Christians suppose, yet it is the only logical deduction available to a reading of the Epistles.

Granted, Paul’s epistles are weightier than most people are capable of digesting. This was already observed during his own lifetime. Remarkably, there is evidence on the authority of Scripture itself that his teachings amount not to leeway being given to Christians to do what they want, but to appeals, by way of reason, to the command not to. In order to condense Paul’s teachings for the simple-minded and reiterate the same concepts by his own authority, Peter sums them up by advocating strict obedience to the Law, and avoiding defilement of the flesh.

So then, beloved ones, looking forward to this, do your utmost to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and reckon the patience of our Master as deliverance, as also our beloved brother Sha’ul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, as also in all his letters, speaking in them concerning these matters, in which some are hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the other Scriptures. You, then, beloved ones, being forewarned, watch, lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the delusion of the lawless. 2 Peter 3:14-17

In spite of this, some Christians interpret this as evidence of a feud between Paul’s position and that of Peter and the other apostles. Some, following the precedent of the hedonist Christians, even see in Paul a clear divergence from Yahshuah’s teachings, while recognizing Yahshuah’s appeals to strict observation of the Law. Many who do not understand him, as Peter pointed out, therefore profess Paul to be a false apostle, based on the mistaken assumption that he did not uphold the Law—a position which they arrived at, as Peter forewarned, through the mainstream Christians’ distortion of his teachings. Yet in every case where he discusses the matter of obedience to the Law, Paul makes it very clear that he had no desire that anyone who was under the Law should stop obeying it. In fact, this seems to have been the major point of contention with the converts from among the Yahudim, rather than what people normally suppose, which is that they were advocating circumcision or obedience to the Law while he was advocating the opposite. The main point of contention is no different than what Yahshuah had raised among them, which points to their hypocrisy as having focused on the particulars of the Law, which is not a problem in and of itself, but is so because they also missed the weightier matters of the spirit behind it. (“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”) This needs to be read with the understanding that the one who obeys the Law superficially does so in ignorance, while the one who obeys it in spirit, obeys it willfully and completely—not that the Law produces death, but that it fails to produce life of itself where there is no spiritual understanding. For our purposes, it is the difference between eating a plant-based diet, and ethical veganism.

And we know that whatever the Torah says, it says to those who are in the Torah, so that every mouth might be stopped, and all the world come under judgment before Elohim. Therefore by works of Torah no flesh shall be declared right before Him, for by the Torah is the knowledge of sin. But now, apart from the Torah, a righteousness of Elohim has been revealed, being witnessed by the Torah and the Prophets. Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah. Romans 3:19-21,31

So you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to Elohim in Messiah יהושע our Master. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, to obey it in its desires, neither present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to Elohim as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to Elohim. For sin shall not rule over you, for you are not under the law but under favour. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Torah but under favour? Let it not be! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves servants for obedience, you are servants of the one whom you obey, whether of sin to death, or of obedience to righteousness? But thanks to Elohim that you were servants of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of teaching to which you were entrusted. And having been set free from sin, you became servants of righteousness. Romans 6:11-18

For when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins, through the Torah, were working in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been released from the Torah, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in newness of Spirit and not in oldness of letter. Romans 7:5-6

Not that we are competent in ourselves to reckon any matter as from ourselves, but our competence is from Elohim, who also made us competent as servants of a renewed covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit, for the letter kills [makes one dead] but the Spirit gives life. But if the administering of death in letters, engraved on stones, was esteemed, so that the children of Yisra’ĕl were unable to look steadily at the face of Mosheh because of the esteem of his face, which was passing away, how much more esteemed shall the administering of the Spirit not be? For if the administering of condemnation had esteem, the administering of righteousness exceeds much more in esteem. 2 Corinthians 3:5-9

Having then such expectation, we use much boldness of speech, and not like Mosheh, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Yisra’ĕl should not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were hardened, for to this day, when the old covenant is being read, that same veil remains, not lifted, because in Messiah it is taken away. But to this day, when Mosheh is being read, a veil lies on their heart. And when one turns to the Master, the veil is taken away. 2 Corinthians 3:12-16

Now this I say, Torah, that came four hundred and thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously confirmed by Elohim in Messiah, so as to do away with the promise. For if the inheritance is by Torah, it is no longer by promise, but Elohim gave it to Aḇraham through a promise. Why, then, the Torah? It was added because of transgressions, until the Seed should come to whom the promise was made. And it was ordained through messengers in the hand of a mediator. Galatians 3:17-19

Obviously this affirms everything we have said in previous chapters. So if anyone has a dispute with Paul based on the Law, his dispute is with the Holy Spirit which informed the Law, and he is condemned by his own rule. These teachings clearly would not sit very well with whatever Yahudim thought Paul was incompetent to teach them, but such issues should not bother us, as anyone who has the Spirit can see the Spirit in Paul. They ought to inform us, however, of the hermeneutical context of his epistles, which is extremely important to determining the Bible’s final position both on spiritual and on legalistic matters, as they are basically the backbone of Christian doctrine. So understanding his position in relation to his audience is necessary for demonstrating that he was indeed carrying on the overtly vegetarian legacy of the prophets before him.

First of all, each of Paul’s epistles except the two to the Corinthians and the two to Timothy represents a different audience. They are not open letters, as those of the other apostles generally seem to have been. They are addressed to whole congregations, but he gives his salutations to specific people, addresses issues, gives advice and makes personal remarks specific to their circumstances, and answers specific inquiries which would not concern most congregations in other places and times. We might think of these epistles as what remains of the “sent” folder of his e-mail account. To understand them this way is not to detract from their significance, but to establish it; to ascribe any other significance to them is to mistake what they are for something else, thereby detracting from said significance.

Secondly, each of these audiences received different teachings based on its own need of instruction. The differences in the tones are self-evident and could already be gleaned from the passages we have already cited. It is more than a little ironic that the Christians who justify their carnism routinely make their appeals to the two epistles which Paul assumes a hostile tone in (Romans and Galatians). For instance, compare the ambivalence and harshness in the opening of his epistle to the Galatians (which we cited near the beginning of this treatise) with how he addresses the Philippians.

I thank my Elohim in all my remembrance of you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. It is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, all of you being sharers of the favour with me, both in my chains and in the defence and confirmation of the Good News. For Elohim is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of יהושע Messiah. Philippians 1:3-4,7-8

This difference obviously indicates that Paul was displeased with the Romans and Galatians, rather than that he was just altogether hostile. This means that the Christians, by appealing to the instructions given to those whom Paul felt obligated to put in their place at the bottom of the kingdom of heaven’s hierarchy, are making a deliberate association with the two congregations which ultimately refused to heed him, rather than with those that paid heed. Here is another example to drive the point home, from the opening of his first epistle to the Corinthians (whom he liked), against the closing of Galatians, which demonstrates that he had not changed his mind about the Galatian Christians by the time he had finished writing it.

I thank my Elohim always concerning you for the favour of Elohim which was given to you by Messiah יהושע, that in Him you were enriched in all—in every word and all knowledge—as the witness of Messiah was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Master יהושע Messiah. 1 Corinthians 1:4-7

From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the scars of the Master יהושע. Galatians 6:17

You know this, that all those in Asia [Galatia] have turned away from me, among whom are Phugellos and Hermogenes. 2 Timothy 1:15

This is particularly insightful, because the issue raised in the first chapter of 1 Corinthians is the same as that of the final chapter of Galatians—namely, divisions within the congregations. So it cannot be said that Paul was playing favorites for any reason other than that he considered the Corinthians to be worthy of life while the Galatians had demonstrated otherwise. It was in Galatia that Paul had most of his troubles and decided to spurn the Yahudim there as they had spurned him. On the other hand, the context of the opening of 1 Corinthians (1:9) says that God is faithful, and had called them into fellowship with his son Yahshuah.

‘Fellowship’ is defined as “the condition of sharing similar interests, ideals, or experiences, as by reason of profession, religion, or nationality,” or “the companionship of individuals in a congenial atmosphere and on equal terms.”562 Clearly, Paul was either telling the Corinthians that they had been awarded the same measure of esteem which Yahshuah himself had been given, or else we have to suppose that Paul has contradicted himself on the point that all authority in heaven and earth had been invested into Yahshuah. What could this possibly mean other than that they had been fully restored, in the sense that they had already completely forsaken the fleshly lusts which the Romans and Galatians had still been indulging in when he wrote to them? What could it possibly mean other than that they were all Nazarites, both in terms of their ideology and in terms of their daily practice? Furthermore, what does it really mean to be chosen by God, to be an heir of the promise, ordained by the hand of the mediator, as Paul says in Galatians 3:19? Christians all talk about “fellowship,” with the idea that going to church means they have fellowship with Christ, but they obviously do not even know Christ, and would not tolerate him or his ideology even for a moment, so as to consider whether it has any merit.

The Bible paints a very different picture than what the Christians imagine. There are many indications throughout the New Testament of an initiatory process whereby several stages or thresholds are reached by way of the individual’s acceptance of and affinity to the apostolic teachings. The whole process starts with baptism for the remission of sins, and is completed by the perfect imitation of Yahshuah. Somewhere in between, there is always going to be some sort of evidence that the Holy Spirit has made a dwelling in the individual, but this necessarily has to happen after the water baptism, as the Holy Spirit will not dwell in an unclean vessel. Yahshuah is variously described in the Epistles as a “lamb without blemish” (1 Peter 1:19) and the “firstfruits” of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23), so it is in him that the Holy Spirit was first manifest, as recorded in the narratives concerning his baptism. After that, life is given to those are deemed worthy of having fellowship with him.

But now Messiah has been raised from the dead [from death], and has become the first-fruit of those having fallen asleep [the dead]. For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a Man. For as all die in Aḏam, so also all shall be made alive in Messiah. And each in his own order: Messiah the first-fruits, then those who are of Messiah at His coming, then the end, when He delivers up the reign to Elohim the Father, when He has brought to naught all rule and all authority and power. For He has to reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be brought to naught is death. For “He has put all under His feet.” But when He says “all are put under Him,” it is clear that He who put all under Him is excepted. And when all are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself shall also be subject to Him who put all under Him, in order that Elohim be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

The reference here is to Psalm 8, and describes not the Messiah’s lordship over men, but his stewardship over Creation. This role is imparted and transferred only to those who have conformed to the likeness of Yahshuah. Once they have done this, but only once they have, then they have dominion. Then death is brought to naught. In other words, the full completion of the Gospel of Christ is the end of Man’s rebellion against God, when all have espoused the vegan ethic. This is not an exaggeration or an inference to suit the vegan agenda, but the intent of the passage which Paul invokes to that very end.

For I see Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have established.
What is man that You remember him?
And the son of man that You visit him?
Yet You have made him a little less than Elohim
[Hebrews 2:7 says “angels” here],
And have crowned him with esteem and splendour.
You made him rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens,
And the fish of the sea,
Passing through the paths of the seas.
Psalm 8:3-8

It would be a mistake to think that being in the right place at the right time (including being born to parents who raised you as a “Christian”) gets you into heaven. God does not want disobedient servants to rule over, or for such to rule over his creation; he wants us to have fellowship with his son, to be imitators of him in terms of the perfection which he attained. The Parable of the Wedding Feast seems designed specifically for Christians, to tell them that there is no way to even get to where they want to be without meriting it. Nor is this merely a matter of practicing virtue, but it also necessarily means avoiding fellowship with those who do not. Even the relatively righteous Corinthians had a few bad apples, which we point out to demonstrate that simply showing up in a church to worship Molekh with other abominable sinners who are likewise bent on their own destruction is hardly what the Bible considers fellowship with Christ.

You were running well, who held you back from obeying the truth? That persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens all the lump. I trust in you, in the Master, that you shall have no other mind. And he who is troubling you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. Galatians 5:7-10

If, as men do, I have fought with beasts [savage men] at Ephesos, of what good is it to me? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be led astray, “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Wake up to soberness, righteously, and do not sin, for some do not have the knowledge of Elohim. I speak this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:32-34

While they may not have the right mind and or even a basic understanding of the ritual, Christians will recognize the significance of being of one mind, and of being baptized. If you are not baptized according to their understanding, they will not accept you as one of them. This is a good thing, as it means they have heeded the command. However, it also condemns them, as they reject the baptism of John, for the remission of sins, in favor of another baptism, according to another gospel (Galatians 1), for the perpetuity of each. Yet the paramount importance they place on it means that if they are shown what the baptism really entails, then they have the capacity to repent of their sin and be saved from its consequences. They just need to be shown what the purpose of the ritual is, which is to prepare an initiate for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

In the Bible, the baptism of the Holy Spirit amounts to the restoration of life to the dead (the living “dead”—see 1 Corinthians 15:29). Acts records that Yahshuah was taken up into heaven (1:9) just like Enoch and Elijah, after mentioning the baptism of John and of the Holy Spirit (1:5), and being asked whether he would “restore the reign to Israel” (1:6). His reply (1:8) suggests that his disciples inherited the spirit of Elisha from him, a fact which is confirmed later (2:3-4). This is very significant, because Christians neither know the significance of the baptism of John, and have set up their own abominable practice in direct opposition to it, nor have any idea whatsoever that there is a difference between John’s baptism and Yahshuah’s baptism, apart from the vague notion of “baptism by fire,” which only finds an insufficient explanation in Pentecostalism. The abomination of the Christian rite of baptism is evident in the fact that the Christians worship Mithras, in the form of the Roman Apollo and according to the ancient Mithraic baptismal rite, and that the name of Apollo itself testifies to the fact that he is the son of Lucifer. (It is the Greek derivation of the Sumerian aplu enlil, ‘son of Enlil.’ Enlil is the Sumerian version of Lucifer, or Molekh.) That is, the baptism rite of Christianity is the exact modern equivalent of the ancient Molekh cult initiation rite, particularly when it is administered to infants, and has nothing to do with the cleansing ritual which John practiced, and which Yahshuah commanded his disciples to perform. That is to say that the baptism of John was designed to encourage people to repent of the baptism practiced by the Christians, though it has evolved by adopting the element of water, via its subversion of the baptism of John, so that the Christians are not eating their children the way the ancient Israelites and Canaanites were.

In any case, the Christians allege that the Holy Spirit comes to them through baptism. So we ask what it means to have the Holy Spirit. The answer to this question lies in the fact that the word ‘holy’ means ‘set-apart,’ so the Holy Spirit is the spirit of those who are set-apart—that is, the Nazarites. This ought to make sense, as the people preaching the baptism (Yahshuah and his disciples) and the ones performing it (John and his disciples) were Nazarites. But they were performing it on others, not on themselves, for they had already been ceremonially purified. It was, rather, an initiation ritual for becoming a Nazarite. Only when someone had become a full-fledged Nazarite could it be said that he had the spirit of the Nazarites (i.e. the Holy Spirit). This is why discussion of the Holy Spirit is conspicuously absent from the Old Testament, though it is evident through the Prophets. It also accounts for the major difference between the Law and the Prophets, and why the New Testament falls under the prophetic tradition rather than the Mosaic or Levitical one, for the New Testament is to the Nazarene sect what the Old Testament is to the Israelites at large. (‘Nazarene’ applies to those who followed the Nazarites’ ideology and is basically the NT Greek equivalent to the OT Hebrew term ‘Nazarite,’ being synonymous with ‘Christian’ in 1st century terminology. The Bible uses the word ‘Nazarene.’ The term ‘Christian’ was not invented until later, about a generation after the events recorded in the Gospels.)

The initiation ritual into the sect of the Nazarites was certainly water baptism, and it could not have been supposed that any new initiate would have perfected himself at the very moment of his conversion, nor that of his baptism. Rather, the process had only just begun. After this, the novice was obligated to inform himself about the teachings of the sect. The more he applied himself to the application of the word which had been given him, the more he would rise to prominence within the Nazarite community. So if a Christian is baptized with water according to the convention of his sect, then he has not erred. However, he has received two different traditions, and it is the subversion of the original ritual with false interpretations which leads him into error. The point we wish to make is not that water baptism affords nothing, but that an elderly Christian who was baptized as an infant is still a novice of his sect, and still not fit to inherit life, unless he has deprogrammed himself of the false teachings about his baptism in order to discover its true purpose, so that he can then receive the Holy Spirit, if only as an old man.

Given that the Christians suppose that the Holy Spirit comes to us through their baptism, and only through it—that there is no other means of this—this begs the question of how someone receives the Holy Spirit. According to the Bible, the installation of a member of the Nazarene sect who had passed his probationary period was a ceremonial laying of hands. This probationary period lasted three years, during which time the full members of the sect had sufficient time to observe the new convert and see if he was going to go back to his former ways. At any point during the three years, he was allowed to make the mistake of eating meat once or twice, though he was also severely punished for it, but if he ever did so as a full member, or demonstrated during his probationary period that he had reservations about his decision to join, because he did not want to give up meat, then he was formally excommunicated forever.

Every man born of Israel, who freely pledges himself to join the Council of the Community shall be examined by the Guardian at the head of the Congregation concerning his understanding and his deeds. If his is fitted to the discipline, he shall admit him into the Covenant that he may be converted to the truth and depart from all falsehood; and he shall instruct him in all the rules of the Community. And later, when he comes to stand before the Congregation, they shall all deliberate his case, and according to the decision of the Council of the Congregation he shall either enter or depart. After he has entered the Council of the Community he shall not touch the pure Meal of the Congregation until one full year is completed, and until he has been examined concerning his spirit and deeds; nor shall he have any share of the property of the Congregation. Then when he has completed one year within the Community, the Congregation shall deliberate his case with regard to his understanding and observance of the law. And if it be his destiny, according to the judgment of the Priests and the multitude of the men of their Covenant, to enter the company of the Community, his property and earnings shall be handed over to the Bursar of the Congregation who shall register it to his account and shall not spend it for the Congregation. He shall not touch the Drink of the Congregation until he has completed a second year among the men of the Community. But when the second year has passed, he shall be examined, and if it be his destiny, according to the judgment of the Congregation, to enter the Community, then he shall be inscribed among his brethren in the order of his rank for the Law, and for justice, and for the pure Meal; his property shall be merged and he shall offer his counsel and judgment to the Community. Community Rule 6:13b-23

Whoever has gone about slandering his companion shall be excluded from the pure Meal of the Congregation for one year and shall do penance. But whoever has slandered the Congregation [the Spirit] shall be expelled from among them and shall return no more. Whoever has murmured against the authority of the Community shall be expelled and shall not return. But if he has murmured against his companion unjustly, he shall do penance for six months. Should a man return whose spirit has so trembled before the authority of the Community that he has betrayed the truth and walked in the stubbornness of his heart, he shall do penance for two years. During the first year he shall not touch the pure Meal of the Congregation, and during the second year he shall not touch the Drink of the Congregation and shall sit below all the men of the Community. Then when his two years are completed, the Congregation shall consider his case, and if he is admitted he shall be inscribed in his rank and may then question concerning the Law. If, after being in the Council of the Community for ten full years, the spirit of any man has failed so that he has betrayed the Community and departed from the Congregation to walk in the stubbornness of his heart, he shall return no more to the Council of the Community. Moreover, if any member of the Community has shared with him his food or property which [was not part] of the Congregation, his sentence shall be the same; he shall be ex[pelled]. Community Rule 7:14b-24

Every man who enters the Council of Holiness, (the Council of those) who walk in the way of perfection as commanded by God, and who deliberately or through negligence transgresses one word of the Law of Moses, on any point whatever, shall be expelled from the Council of the Community and shall return no more; no man of holiness shall be associated in his property or counsel in any matter at all. But if he has acted inadvertently, he shall be excluded from the pure Meal and the Council and they shall interpret the rule (as follows). For two years he shall take no part in judgment or ask for counsel; but if, during that time, his way becomes perfect, then he shall return to the (Court of) the Congregation, provided that he commit no further inadvertent sin during two full years. For one sin of inadvertence (alone) he shall do penance for two years. But as for him who has sinned deliberately, he shall never return; only the man who has sinned inadvertently shall be tried for two years that his way and counsel may be made perfect according to the judgment of the congregation. And afterwards, he shall be inscribed in his rank in the Community of Holiness. Community Rule 8:21-9:2

The modern equivalent of the laying of hands ritual is a priestly ordination. The priests (or pastors, ministers) of the local area get together and install a new priest after he passes a three-year instruction period, just like the early Christian converts. Typically, this entails three years at seminary (post-graduate collegiate education in Church matters), with one year of vicarage, which is like a student teaching program, or on-the-job training. The adepts of the Catholic and Protestant hierarchies (the high-ranking clergy) know that what they are doing comes from the ancient Roman rituals, but the initiates (the laity) do not. The adepts intend that no one other than clerical candidates are actually initiated into the Mithraic mysteries, as this is the way it has always been; that is why they reserve the laying of hands for those who are to actually receive the Holy Spirit, though the laity are all told that they receive it at their baptism.

The major exception to this rule is the Pentecostal (or Charismatic) sect of Protestant Christianity, which, due to its reading of the Bible, holds as one of its doctrines that you must be baptized by the Holy Spirit in order to be “saved,” and that this baptism does not happen in infancy, but in adulthood. Most Protestant sects practice infant baptism and even accept as full members those who have been baptized as Catholics. Baptists are the major exception, and Pentecostals are Baptists. Generally speaking, the Protestants also recite the Catholic creeds, wherein it is stated, “We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins,” as though the “one” baptism spoken of in Ephesians 4:5 conveys that the baptism is a one-off, rather than a particular type, that type being that intended to remit sins (which is obviously not even plausible for an infant, who has no consciousness of sin, or for anyone else who has not even committed the sins to be remitted yet). The idea is to discourage any Christian from ever receiving a different baptism than the one he received as an infant, in case he was ever to read the Bible and learn that he was still in need of the Holy Spirit.

In any case, the Bible gives no indication that the Holy Spirit comes through the ritual of immersion, and many indications to the contrary, and only the Pentecostal Christians formally acknowledge this. According to them, baptism of the Holy Spirit always entails speaking in tongues. This has support in Mark 16:17, and is evidenced by the fact that in the book of Acts (e.g., 2:4), when someone receives the Holy Spirit, he is depicted as speaking in tongues. Yet the Pentecostal idea of speaking in tongues amounts to the alleged recipient opening his mouth and spewing out a lot of ridiculous nonsense, which is evidence not of election, but of demonic possession, in accordance with the intent of the churches presiding over the Pentecostal ritual. The matter of speaking in tongues in the Bible pertains to prophesying. The idea of the speech being unclear is not because the one speaking is acting like an idiot and making up a bunch of gibberish, but because the meaning of prophecy is only clear to a prophet, and no one else, as no one else has the Holy Spirit. (A prophet is literally defined in Scripture as one who has the Holy Spirit.) The concept of speaking in tongues is actually used synonymously with prophesying in Scripture, except that it is only prophecy to one who understands, but speaking in tongues to one who does not. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that if someone does not understand, then he has not actually received the Holy Spirit, which means he is not even a true believer.

So also you, if you do not give speech by the tongue that is clear, how shall it be known what is spoken? For you shall be speaking into the air [Satan’s domain—see Ephesians 2:2]. So then tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers, and prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe. 1 Corinthians 14:9,22

And when Sha’ul had laid hands on them, the Set-apart Spirit came upon them, and they were speaking in tongues and prophesying. Acts 19:6

For indeed by one Spirit we were all immersed into one body, whether Yehuḏim or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13

The significance of this ought to be immediately apparent. When the apostles brought their message to the congregations in the Greek-speaking world, they were preaching not to those who had the Holy Spirit, but those who did not. The rules pertaining to them as “hearers” of the Law were much different than those pertaining to the “doers” of the Law, as we already know by virtue of the fact that the “doers” or adepts were “set-apart,” i.e. that they were all Nazarites according to the prophetic tradition. Just in case this is not already understood, we will demonstrate it below.

The first degree of initiation into the Nazarene sect bears the title of ‘disciple,’ which signifies that the initiate has embraced the ideology and the authority of his teacher. The Greek word μαθητής (mathētés, G3101) is translated as “taught ones” by the ISR’s version of The Scriptures, which we are using. It is derived from μανθάνω (manthánō, G3129), meaning “I learn.” Strong’s defines mathētés as “a learner, disciple, pupil.”

3129 manthánō (akin to 3010 /mathētḗs, “a disciple”) – properly, learning key facts; gaining “fact-knowledge as someone learns from experience, often with the implication of reflection – ‘come to realize’” (L & N, 1, 27.15).

3101 mathētḗs (from math-, the “mental effort needed to think something through”) – properly, a learner; a disciple, a follower of Christ who learns the doctrines of Scripture and the lifestyle they require; someone catechized with proper instruction from the Bible with its necessary follow-through (life-applications). See also 3100 /mathēteúō (“to disciple”).

 

Yahshuah’s disciples called him “teacher” and “master,” as the ideology and the authority were his. They, in turn, had their own disciples, just as John had disciples. These disciples had disciples, and so on. At no point in the chain was the authority of the master in dispute, and the novice was expected to obey him in all things (not most things—all things), as opposed to just a general agreement about ideas or ideologies, which he was at liberty to pick and choose from. To ‘disciple’ someone is to mentor him, to mold him into one’s own image, to perfection, as God fashioned Adam and “breathed” the Spirit into him while he was yet an animated corpse.

The kingdom of heaven thus has a top-down hierarchy, where no student (or disciple) is greater than his master, and where ascending in rank at any level is only accomplished by mastery of the subject. This requires “mental effort” and “experience, often with the implication of reflection,” as well as realization and “follow-through (life-applications),” without which no one can even be said to be a disciple—that is, the lowest-level initiate. Furthermore, a disciple has no right, authority or incentive to take on his own disciples until his own master considers him ready, and then that right is by extension only, going all the way back to Yahshuah. This is what it means when we say that he has imparted the Holy Spirit to us, in accordance with his promise. Any initiate who deviates from these protocols is not actually a member of the sect, but a renegade and antichrist. Needless to say, this applies to all baptized Catholics and other mainstream Christians, just as it applied to the Romans and Galatians chastised in Paul’s epistles.

Now, the biblical evidence of all this is abundant, but generally takes the form of subtle nuances of connotation in the text. This is generally the case for the Epistles, but not for the historical context of Acts. So in order to demonstrate that the disciples were those familiar with the teachings and initiated by the baptism ritual, and that they were subject to the adepts (the full members of the sect, the Elect), we begin with some of the more obvious instances from Acts. These passages show that the process begins with the baptism preached by John, which was intended to “pave the way” for the baptism of Yahshuah by way of the remission of sins, that those who excelled in the former were imparted with the latter, and that baptism by water (even in the name of Yahsuah) alone does not impart the Holy Spirit, but the candidate must have been chosen by the consensus of the full members of the Nazarite community.

And a certain Yehuḏite named Apollos, born at Alexandria, a learned man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesos. This one had been instructed in the way of the Master. And being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching the matters about the Master exactly, though he knew only the immersion of Yoḥanan. And he began to speak boldly in the congregation. And when Aqulas and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of Elohim more exactly. And when he intended to pass through to Achaia, the brothers, having encouraged him, wrote to the taught ones to receive him, who, having arrived, greatly helped those who believed through favour, for with power he refuted the Yehuḏim publicly, showing from the Scriptures that יהושע is the Messiah. And it came to be, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Sha’ul, having passed through the upper parts, came to Ephesos. And having found some taught ones [disciples], he said to them, “Did you receive the Set-apart Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Set-apart Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you immersed?” And they said, “Into Yoḥanan’s immersion.” And Sha’ul said, “Yoḥanan indeed immersed with an immersion of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the One who is coming after him, that is, in Messiah יהושע.” And when they heard this, they were immersed in the Name of the Master יהושע. Acts 18:24-19:5

And when the emissaries [apostles] who were at Yerushalayim heard that Shomeron had received the Word of Elohim, they sent Kĕpha and Yoḥanan to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them to receive the Set-apart Spirit, for He had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been immersed in the Name of the Master יהושע. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Set-apart Spirit. And Shimʽon, seeing that through the laying on of the hands of the emissaries the Set-apart Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this authority too, so that anyone I lay hands on shall receive the Set-apart Spirit.” Acts 8:14-19

But a messenger of יהוה spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the way which goes down from Yerushalayim to Azzah.” This is desert. And he arose and went, and saw, a man of Kush, a eunuch of great authority under Kandake the sovereigness of the Kushites, who was in charge of all her treasury, and had come to Yerushalayim to worship, and was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Yeshayahu. And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and join him in that chariot.” And running up, Philip heard him reading the prophet Yeshayahu, and said, “Do you know what you are reading?” And he said, “How am I able, unless someone guides me?” And he called Philip near, to come up and sit with him. And the passage of the Scripture which he was reading was this, “He was led as a sheep to slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation He was deprived of right-ruling. And who shall declare His generation? Because His life was taken from the earth.” And the eunuch, answering Philip, said, “I ask you, about whom does the prophet say this, about himself or about some other?” And Philip opening his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, brought to him the Good News: יהושע! And as they were going on the way, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “Look, water! What hinders me from being immersed?” And Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, it is permitted.” And he answering, said, “I believe that יהושע Messiah is the Son of Elohim.” And he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he immersed him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of יהוה caught Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went his way, rejoicing. Acts 8:26-39

New converts broke bread and shared their food and possessions after being baptized. No one was even admitted into the community without doing this, and Acts 5 tells us that two new members named Ananias and Sapphira were actually killed, apparently, by God, for having merely held back a portion of the wealth they acquired from the sale of their house. The point is clearly that God does not accept anything short of perfection. Perfection consists not so much in doing what one is told, but in wanting to do it, with gusto. So many people think that veganism or even vegetarianism amounts to personal sacrifice, yet to a vegan, it is gain. We who have adopted the Way actually enjoy eating well, are thankful to have the opportunity (the very word for the communal Christian meal literally means ‘thanksgiving’), and like Daniel, would rather die than go back on our decision even once. Far from the wavering opinion of Ananias and Sapphira, it was the fact that the early Christians were so happy which made their ideology appeal to all the sick, constipated, miserable sinners in Jerusalem.

And day by day, continuing with one mind in the Set-apart Place, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising Elohim and having favour with all the people. And the Master added to the assembly those who were being saved, day by day. Acts 2:46-47

Perhaps the best evidence of the grades of initiation and what life was like in the early Christian communities, outside the Dead Sea Scrolls, is in the matter of Paul’s miraculous conversion, recorded in Acts 9. When he arrived in Damascus, he was healed by laying of hands, then baptized, and then he ate with them (which clearly would not have happened until after his baptism). All the while, his promotion was assured as his superiors took note of his zeal, as evidenced by his witness to the Jews in Damascus (and he certainly would not have been allowed to teach the Christians at that time, much less had any reason to do so, as he was still learning from them). True to the convention, he stayed with the other novices/disciples (i.e. apart from the main body of adepts) while he was instructed there, but was saved by the adepts when the Jews came after him.

And Ḥananyah went away and went into the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Sha’ul, the Master יהושע, who appeared to you on the way as you came, has sent me, so that you might see again and be filled with the Set-apart Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes, as it were scales, and he received his sight. And rising up, he was immersed. And having received food, he was strengthened. And Sha’ul was with the taught ones [disciples, novice initiates] at Damascus some days. Acts 9:17-19

But Sha’ul kept increasing in strength, and was confounding the Yehuḏim who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this is the Messiah. Acts 9:22

There are a few indications that some of the disciples were actually baptized by fire before they were baptized by water, which explains why Paul, a special case, was already practically an adept from the beginning of his tenure as a Nazarite. In these cases, for those who had adopted the ideology of the Nazarites but had not been immersed, water baptism was still considered necessary, in order to bring them into the sect and assign them a rank and position. This was clearly a requirement for fellowship, if only because the disciples were required to abstain from having fellowship with anyone who was not holy. This means that no one who had not been baptized by water could be considered a veritable follower of Yahshuah, just as he would not have been considered an heir of the covenant with Abraham unless he had been circumcised. Recall that even Yahshuah was baptized for the sake of prudence.

“Is anyone able to forbid water, that these should not be immersed who have received the Set-apart Spirit—even as also we?” And he commanded them to be immersed in the Name of יהושע Messiah. Then they asked him to remain a few days. Acts 10:47-48

Of course, the Christians will tell us that to be a disciple is simply to be a follower of Christ, or of “the Way,” and does not indicate a specific title assigned to a specific rank. Even the Twelve, it will be argued, were disciples, so the term ought to apply to all ranks, rather than only to initiates. However, this argument falls apart in light of the fact that they were disciples of Yahshuah (only), and that the term is often used in contrast to the one given to the full members of the sect, in the same contexts. These members (those who had been through their probationary period and been deemed masters, no longer in need of instruction) were called “brothers.”

And also some of the taught ones from Caesarea went with us and brought with them one, Mnason of Cyprus, an early taught one [a recent initiate], with whom we were to lodge. And when we had arrived in Yerushalayim, the brothers received us gladly. Acts 21:16-17

It was the “brothers”—and only the brothers—who had fellowship with Christ, just as the Twelve had been promoted to the rank of fellowship (as “friends”) at the Last Supper, having followed him for three years and been found by him to be worthy of the Holy Spirit, right after Judas was cursed and sent away because he had not been. In light of this, it is no wonder that Judas betrayed him to his death. He must have been extremely bitter over the fact that he had wasted the last three years of his life and was the only one who had not passed examination.

And supper taking place, the devil having already put it into the heart of Yehuḏah from Qerioth, son of Shimʽon, to deliver Him up, יהושע, knowing that the Father had given all into His hands, and that He had come from Elohim and was going to Elohim, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, and having taken a towel, He girded Himself. After that He put water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the taught ones, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. And so He came to Shimʽon Kĕpha, and he said to Him, “Master, do You wash my feet?” יהושע answered and said to him, “You do not know what I am doing now, but you shall know after this.” Kĕpha said to Him, “By no means shall You wash my feet, ever!” יהושע answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Shimʽon Kĕpha said to Him, “Master, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” יהושע said to him, “He who has had a bath does not need to wash, except his feet, but is clean altogether. And you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would deliver Him up, so He said, “You are not all clean.” So when He had washed their feet and taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Master, and you say well, for I am. Then if I, Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is an emissary [apóstolos] greater than he who sent him. If you know these teachings, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:2-17

Notice that the authority invested by Yahshuah into his disciples necessarily entailed his touching them with his hands, but only that part of them which was “unclean,” as they had already been baptized. The implication is that Judas had not been, or that his baptism had afforded him no benefit. We might wonder as to whether he was secretly eating meat, just as he was secretly stealing from their purse (John 12:6), as whatever else he could have been buying with the stolen money would have left some sort of trace, unless it was consumed, and simply buying a little extra bread would not have been a concern that merited doing it in secret.

In any case, it was at this moment, the moment when Yahshuah washed his disciples’ feet, that they became full members of the Nazarite sect, and were given the authority which he had wielded, by his command. (It is highly symbolic and appropriate that their feet were washed before they were called “apostles” and therefore “sent.”) No longer were they disciples, for he was going away, but masters, in charge of the fire which he had kindled. From this point on, the biggest dispute between them was over the issue of whether or not they should allow the Greek Christians into their ranks. Ultimately, the verdict is the reason that the apostles/emissaries from among the Yahudim like Paul and Barnabas were sent to Achaea (Greece) and Asia (Turkey) to make more disciples. Christians sometimes invoke Peter’s vision from Acts 10 to justify their carnism, but the vision is clearly about humans—namely, the Greek Christians—and the text even says so explicitly. On the other hand, the fact that humans are often portrayed as animals in prophetic visions (e.g., the dreams of 1 Enoch), only lends credibility to the notion that their lives are no less precious and sanctimonious than our own.

And he said to them, “You know that a Yehuḏite man is not allowed to associate with, or go to one of another race. But Elohim has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Acts 10:28

And a voice came to him again the second time, “What Elohim has cleansed you do not consider common.” Acts 10:15

By the use of the word ‘cleansed,’ this particular context indicates that the converts have been set apart from the moment of their water baptism, and the adepts are therefore obligated to treat them as true followers, rather than as men of the world or enemies of the Way (sons of Belial). It does not mean that an adept is obligated to treat such a novice as a brother, but as a disciple, to whom he is bound as a teacher, in service and humility. Yahshuah himself set the precedent when he washed his disciples’ feet, which would be considered an act of service and humility in any cultural context, and even then, he declared that he was their rightful head and authority, as their teacher.

Although it is derived from the very ancient Nazarite rule, this hierarchical structure was only created among Yahshuah’s disciples at the Last Supper—not for a moment, but for all time. It was the basis of the early Christian establishment, as evidenced by the fact that the “brothers” in Jerusalem were considered the final authority on the matter of circumcision by all the congregations around the world. For example, Paul affirms the different ranks of the Nazarite hierarchy to the congregation he established (or helped establish) in Ephesus, ascribing ranks to the various positions, in order of precedence, while delineating between the “set-apart” (or “holy”) ones and the “children” who have not yet put on the mantle of perfection. It is to these disciples, the ones under his charge only, that his exhortations apply.

And He Himself gave some as emissaries, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as shepherds and teachers for the perfecting of the set-apart ones, to the work of service to a building up of the body of the Messiah, until we all come to the unity of the belief and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the completeness of Messiah, so that we should no longer be children, tossed and borne about by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men, in cleverness, unto the craftiness of leading astray, but, maintaining the truth in love, we grow up in all respects into Him who is the head, Messiah, from whom the entire body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the working by which each part does its share, causes growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. So this I say, and witness in the Master, that you should no longer walk as the gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having been darkened in their understanding, having been estranged from the life of Elohim, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart, who, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecency, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Messiah, if indeed you have heard Him and were taught by Him, as truth is in יהושע: that you put off—with regard to your former way of life—the old man, being corrupted according to the desires of the deceit, and to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the renewed man which was created according to Elohim, in righteousness and set-apartness of the truth. Ephesians 4:11-24

More evidence of the specific degrees of initiation can be gleaned from Acts. James addressed the “men” at the Council of Jerusalem, as well as his “brothers” (15:13), as both his own sect and the general assembly were represented there. In this case, “men” encompassed both of the groups which James did not associate with. At this time, Paul was sent out as an evangelist (letter-bearer), which is to say, the third rank (after emissary/apostle and presbyter/elder) to speak on behalf of the entire assembly. The recipients of the letter were the “brothers” of Syria and Seleucia, i.e. the full members (the “shepherds” of the “set-apart ones”) who, as the leaders of their own communities, had nowhere to look for answers to arbitrate their disputes except to the prophets in Jerusalem.

Then it seemed good to the emissaries and elders, with all the assembly, to send chosen men from among them to Antioch with Sha’ul and Barnaḇah: Yehuḏah being called Barsabba, and Sila, leading men among the brothers, having written by their hand this: The emissaries and the elders and the brothers, To the brothers who are of the gentiles in Antioch, and Syria, and Kilikia: Greetings. Acts 15:22-23

Notice the exactness and consistency of this language. These terms are not used randomly and synonymously, but are invoked to designate certain groups of individuals, in descending order of preference, just as we would expect from contemporary conventions. The “shepherds” (the Nazarites or “set-apart ones”) are in charge of the “flock” (the disciples/novices), just as the “emissaries” (apostles/adepts) are in charge of the shepherds. Paul remarks that he had stayed in Ephesus to instruct the disciples for three years before committing them to God’s care, just as he had been taught in Damascus for three years. It would hardly be possible to invent a clearer indication that the epistle to the Ephesians (and by default, each of his other epistles) was a letter to those he had converted to the way of the Nazarites.

“And now see, I know that you all, among whom I went about proclaiming the reign of Elohim, shall see my face no more. Therefore I witness to you this day that I am clear from the blood of all. For I kept not back from declaring to you all the counsel of Elohim. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Set-apart Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of Elohim which He has purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves shall come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men shall arise, speaking distorted teachings, to draw away the taught ones after themselves. Therefore watch, remembering that for three years, night and day, I did not cease to warn each one with tears. And now, brothers, I commit you to Elohim and to the word of His favour, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those having been set apart.” Acts 20:25-32

Philippians 1:14 indicates that those preaching the Gospel were “brothers.” Acts 12:17 has Peter saying, “Report this to James and the brothers.” Again, a clearer indication that Peter was not among the brothers could hardly be contrived. Yet he needed to report his release from prison to them, as they were set above him, being, as they were, “brothers of the Lord.” The connotation of ‘brothers’ is not one of familial relations, but of ‘the brethren,’ which is actually the most common translation. Not content to exclude women from election, or even to implicitly encourage a patristic interpretation of the text, the publishers of the NIV have rendered it “the other brothers and sisters.” Paul uses it the same way, but it is only used to denote those who had already adopted the ideology and lifestyle of the Nazarites, as distinguished from “my brothers, my relatives according to the flesh, who are Israelites” (Romans 9:3). (The implication is that he held others to be his brothers according to the spirit—that is, the Set-apart Spirit.)

Because those whom He knew beforehand, He also ordained beforehand to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, for Him to be the first-born among many brothers. Romans 8:29

I call upon you, therefore, brothers, through the compassion of Elohim, to present your bodies a living offering—set-apart, well-pleasing to Elohim—your reasonable worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you prove what is that good and well-pleasing and perfect desire of Elohim. Romans 12:1-2

That these “brothers” were indeed set-apart and dedicated to the service of Yahweh is evident throughout the New Testament. This effectively means that there is ample proof in the Bible that there was not a single Christian in the 1st century who had any amount of esteem among his peers, his superiors or his inferiors, who was not a strict vegetarian. Acts 22:12 has Paul speaking of “a certain Ḥananyah, a dedicated man according to the Torah, being well spoken of by all the Yehuḏim dwelling there,” which is positive proof that Yahshuah sent him not just to a random Christian in Damascus, but to a Nazarite specifically, to be baptized into that particular sect. This also necessarily means that wherever Paul spread his message, it was the teachings of the Nazarites which he had brought with him. So poorly is this understood that the NIV actually tells us this Ananias was “a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living [in Damascus].” The NASB says he was “devout by the standard of the Law,” while the KJV and ESV say he was “a devout man according to the law,” and the ISV says “a devout man with respect to the Law.” Virtually every English version of the Bible calls him “devout,” with the exception of the Douay-Rheims (Catholic) Bible, which simply calls him “a man according to the law,” and Darby (DBT), which calls him “a pious man according to the law.” So the implication with these is exactly the same: they have all got it wrong.

What is the actual meaning of this term? If any man was ever devout, why would it need to be said that he was devout according to the Law? The same type of language is not used to describe any other righteous person, like Abraham or Noah, or to describe anyone under the Law of Moses. To be “dedicated according to the Torah” simply means to be a Nazarite, and is hardly to be “a devout observer” of it. The necessary implication of the former is that he had no part in animal sacrifice, while the implication of the latter is that he took it very seriously.

We realize that the ISR rendering of “dedicated” is just one of those possible. ‘Devout’ is certainly a faithful translation of the Greek term, εὐλαβής (eulabḗs, G2126). However, it ignores the hermeneutical context of Scripture. The NIV implicitly admits this when it offers the rendering of “godly men” in Acts 8:2, where it implies strongly that Stephen was one of them, which necessarily makes him a Nazarite (and therefore a vegan), too. The other instances of the term are Acts 2:5, which conveys that it only applies to certain Yahudim “out of every nation under heaven” (i.e. Yahudim who are described as not being Judeans/Jews, though they were in Jerusalem, and it would be absurd to suppose that either Yahudim or Jews only are capable of being described as devout, pious or God-fearing in the New Testament, when it was the Gentiles who were converted in the context of Acts 2, and it was the Jews who persecuted them), and Luke 2:25, where it is used to describe the Nazarite prophet Simeon.

So not only do we find that the only individuals who are called “devout” in the NT were, in fact, dedicated as Nazarites in accordance with the law of Numbers 6 (this is the meaning of “according to the Law”), but we also find that the entire Christian community in Jerusalem which received the testimony of the disciples at Pentecost, while the Jews rejected it, were those who had already been living according to the Law—whether the term actually denotes Nazarites or whether it denotes those who were faithful according to the Law of Moses. That is, the whole movement of Christianity was not an outgrowth of Judaism—whether in terms of the apostles or in terms of their audience—but of the Nazarite sect in Judea. This is obviously why Paul felt compelled to tell the Romans (2:13) that it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous in the sight of God, but the doers. According to Paul, if you are not practicing the Law—if you have not received the spirit of Yahshuah and you are not “perfect”—you are dead already.

For the word of the stake is indeed foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of Elohim. For it has been written, “I shall destroy the wisdom of the wise, and set aside the learning of the learned ones [Isaiah 29:14].” Where is the wise? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Has not Elohim made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of Elohim, the world through wisdom did not know Elohim, it pleased Elohim through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. For the foolishness of Elohim is wiser than men, and the weakness of Elohim is stronger than men. But Elohim has chosen the foolish matters of the world to put to shame the wise, and Elohim has chosen the weak of the world to put to shame the strong. And Elohim has chosen the low-born of the world and the despised, and the ones that are not, that He might bring to naught the ones that are, so that no flesh should boast in His presence. 1 Corinthians 1:18-21,25,27-29

Yet we speak wisdom among those who are perfect, and not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age that are being brought to naught. But we speak the wisdom of Elohim, which was hidden in a secret, and which Elohim ordained before the ages for our esteem, which no one of the rulers of this age knew, for if they had known, they would not have impaled the Master of esteem. But as it has been written, “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, nor have entered into the heart of man what Elohim has prepared for those who love Him [Isaiah 64:4].” But Elohim has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all matters, even the depths of Elohim. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man that is in him? So also, the thoughts of Elohim no one has known, except the Spirit of Elohim. And we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is from Elohim, in order to know what Elohim has favourably given us, which we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Set-apart Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual matters with spiritual matters. But the natural man does not receive the matters of the Spirit of Elohim, for they are foolishness to him, and he is unable to know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual discerns indeed all matters, but he himself is discerned by no one. For “Who has known the mind of יהוה? Who shall instruct Him? [Isaiah 40:13]” But we have the mind of Messiah. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

This is why it is so important to take note of the audience before we blindly assume that these words are applicable to all people in all places and times, or even to all people who call themselves Christians but despise God and thoroughly reject his authority by the works of their lives. To be dedicated is to be faithful, and to be faithful is to be obedient. If God says “Do not pollute your flesh,” then you are by no means dedicated or faithful in any sense if you go ahead and willfully do it anyway. If this applies to you, then the command was certainly not addressed to you. At the same time, however, they could be, if you were simply to repent.

Do you not know that you are a Dwelling Place of Elohim and that the Spirit of Elohim dwells in you? If anyone destroys the Dwelling Place of Elohim, Elohim shall destroy him. For the Dwelling Place of Elohim is set-apart, which you are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Do you not know that the set-apart ones shall judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge messengers? How much more, matters of this life? 1 Corinthians 6:2-3

You know that you were gentiles, led away to the dumb idols, even as you might be led [even as you are not capable of staying away of your own accord]. 1 Corinthians 12:2

Paul gives instructions like this to his congregations based on this assertion that the believer ought to treat the unbeliever as potentially redeemable. This is exactly why he says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)—to remind his audience of their former ways, so that they do not boast in their separation—though the Christians have taken it to mean that all do sin and are literally incapable of being righteous. This blatantly false and worthless doctrine is the largest obstacle we typically meet in response to our reasoning, as it is the Christians’ first line of defense against the Bible’s commands to be holy and righteous. This is why they reverse the roles; those who have no love for God or understanding of Scripture pretend that what we who are knowledgeable and truly dedicated present from Scripture is merely our interpretation of it, and they preach to us about how we need to turn our hearts to Jesus. Relationships with people who behave this way are simply untenable, and this is why it is not possible for us to be in the world—why it is necessary for a true believer to be truly set-apart.

And what agreement has Messiah with Beliyaʽal? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what union has the Dwelling Place of Elohim [the body of the set-apart one] with idols [with animal flesh, demons]? For you are a Dwelling Place of the living Elohim, as Elohim has said, “I shall dwell in them and walk among them, and I shall be their Elohim, and they shall be My people [Exodus 29:45; Leviticus 26:12].” Therefore, “Come out from among them and be separate, says יהוה, and do not touch what is unclean, and I shall receive you [Isaiah 52:11]. And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me, says יהוה the Almighty [2 Samuel 7:14, which is a messianic prophecy].” 2 Corinthians 6:15-18

At the same time, though, the apostles understood that cutting off all relations could be disastrous. In a marriage situation, as an example very pertinent both to their situations and ours, that is not even really a last resort. The one who is holy before he marries simply will not marry one who is not. If he converts and becomes holy, then he is obligated to give his spouse the same chance at repentance which he was given. This idea will be important to us later for identifying the Essenes as Nazarenes, for it is often alleged that the Essenes were celibate, which they were not. (And it is well known that the Essenes were strict vegetarians, so if it could be shown that the 1st century Christians were not what history calls the Essene sect, then one of the most compelling arguments for the positive necessity of veganism in the Bible would be invalidated.)

And to the rest I say, not the Master [i.e., “this rule is from me, not from Yahshuah, so it only applies to those under my charge”]: If any brother has an unbelieving wife, and she thinks well to live with him, let him not send her away. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he thinks well to live with her, let her not send him away. For the unbelieving husband has been set-apart in the wife, and the unbelieving wife has been set-apart in the husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are set-apart. And, if the unbelieving one separates, let him separate himself. A brother or a sister has not been enslaved in such matters. But Elohim has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you shall save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you shall save your wife? Only, as Elohim has distributed to each one, as the Master has called each one, so let him walk. And so I order in all the assemblies. 1 Corinthians 7:12-17

Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a sister—a wife—as do also the other emissaries, and the brothers of the Master, and Kĕpha? Or do only Barnaḇah and I have no right to refrain from working? 1 Corinthians 9:4-6

Notice that Paul says that the children of unions between the faithful and the faithless are set-apart, rather than unclean. Needless to say, this would only apply in a situation where the faithful one has enough leverage over their welfare, at least, that they are not being fed meat. It clearly has no bearing in a situation where a wife does not obey her husband if he commands her not to feed them this way, or vice-versa. We may not naturally think of this as a realistic situation, given the supposedly egalitarian views of our modern society, but in the 1st century it would have been inconceivable that a wife could have gone against her husband in this way, and everyone in the congregation of Corinth would have understood this without any explanation. More likely is that it would have been very easy for either a man or a woman to convince his/her spouse to adapt to the circumstances, because the convention of the Christians was to abstain from meat altogether, and no one who truly loves his/her spouse would even consider deliberately contravening him/her on the most important matter of his/her whole paradigm and way of life, much less on a daily basis. Considering that all Christians (men and women alike) were subject to a rigid hierarchy which placed strict demands of obedience onto them, and the one rule which was most rigorously enforced was the no-meat rule, while the sole command which Yahshuah gave to his disciples before his death was that they love each other, that is practically the most un-Christian thing which the apostles could have imagined. In fact, the ideal relationship, as envisioned by Paul, comprised of mutual love and respect, is actually likened to Yahshuah’s relationship with the whole body of believers, so that the metaphor used to describe the perfect relationship is of a body which had been defiled, but has been redeemed by baptism and remission of sins. It is implied, therefore, that the role of the believing husband is to convert his unbelieving wife, in order to present her to God without the stain of her defilement.

Husbands, love your wives, as Messiah also did love the assembly and gave Himself for it, in order to set it apart and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, in order to present it to Himself a splendid assembly, not having spot or wrinkle or any of this sort, but that it might be set-apart and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27

At the very least, it will be understood that to continually do the thing which your spouse (or anyone) finds most offensive out of every possibility in the world is to destroy your chances of having a perfect relationship with that person. So even outside the context of Scripture, it is extremely unwise to continually provoke someone you intend to spend your life with, especially over such a foolish and self-destructive decision as maintaining a carnivorous appetite in light of a multitude of compelling reasons not to. Surely this is what Paul had in mind when he told the Corinthians (8:11) not to destroy the one for whom Christ died (as discussed later). In Paul’s vocabulary, the one who loves the taste of death more than his wife, or more than her husband, is committing adultery—and we already know that this is consistent throughout the Prophets.

There are, of course, always going to be exceptions to the rule that the 1st century Christians were wholly supportive of their unbelieving spouses, and heeded when they raised these kinds of issues. History records that even Poppaea Sabina, wife of the emperor Nero, was a Christian. We suspect Nero’s persecutions of the Christians were largely rooted in some kind of attempt of hers to persuade him to become a vegetarian (which would have severely crippled his rule over the Roman society), as was his cold-blooded murder of her, which he deeply regretted. Recall that we have said that demons become violent and desperate when the prospect of repentance is laid before them, as their very existence is on the line. Paul’s remarks about battling not against flesh and blood are often interpreted as evidence that he saw his struggle as being with Nero’s demons, on account of how he treated the Christians. Yet even Nero had the sense to see that his was a model wife, and his murder of her did far more to hurt his standing with the Senate and with the plebs than following her in converting to Christianity ever could have, much like the British royal family’s murder of Diana Spencer hurt its reputation more than Prince Charles’ extramarital affairs had.

But most marriages and other close relationships in the 1st century were far more symbiotic and less psychotic than what was exhibited by the Julio-Claudian dynasty or by the Mountbatten-Windsors and the rest of today’s post-Roman Babylonian society. Paul was writing not just to normal people who were basically all among the peasant class of society, but those whose good natures are evident in the fact that they had converted to the ethical paradigm (whether by way of Christianity, or by way of Greek philosophy, which was largely rooted in the views of Pythagoras, and therefore the philosophy of the Nazarites). The ethical vegans of today would similarly find his words much more reasonable than the common man would, provided that they are properly understood, if only because they are already in agreement. Notice how a certain Stephanas is called the “first-fruit of Greece,” just as he called Yahshuah the first-fruit of all the set-apart ones, as well his synonymous use of the terms “brothers” and “set-apart ones.”

And concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to come to you with the brothers, but he had no desire at all to come at this time; however, he shall come when it is convenient. And I urge you, brothers, you know the household of Stephanas, that it is the first-fruit of Achaia, and that they have assigned themselves for service to the set-apart ones, that you also be subject to such, and to everyone who works and labours with us. 1 Corinthians 16:12,15-16

This clearly indicates that not only was he speaking to those who had already been acquainted with his teachings for quite some time, but that the higher they were in the hierarchy, the more obligations they had to serve, because there were more people under their charge. This is counterintuitive, because in the same context he makes it clear that they were subject to him, even as he exhorts the full members of Corinth to be subject to what are obviously their inferiors. In fact, with the exceptions of Galatians, which is addressed generally, from Paul, “an apostle … with all the brothers and sisters with me,” to “all the assemblies in Galatia” (1:1-3), and of Romans, which is likewise addressed from “a servant … called to be an apostle and set apart … to all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his set-apart people” (1:1,7), Paul consistently identifies his audience as the set-apart ones (that is, the brethren) from among the congregations in Greece and Asia.

Sha’ul and Timothy, servants of יהושע Messiah, to all the set-apart ones in Messiah יהושע who are in Philippi, with the overseers and attendants: Philippians 1:1

Sha’ul, an emissary of יהושע Messiah by the desire of Elohim, and Timothy our brother, to the set-apart ones in Colosse, and true brothers in Messiah: Favour to you and peace from Elohim our Father and the Master יהושע Messiah. Colossians 1:1-2

Sha’ul, an emissary of יהושע Messiah by the desire of Elohim, to the set-apart ones who are in Ephesos, and true to Messiah יהושע: Ephesians 1:1

Sha’ul, a servant of יהושע Messiah, a called emissary, separated to the Good News of Elohim. Romans 1:1

Notice how the ISR gets it right by calling him a “called emissary,” whereas other translations say “called to be an apostle,” which does not have the same meaning. Somehow the translators get the “set apart” in this context right (where the ISR translates it as “separated”), though they elsewhere give it a rendering of “holy.” Perhaps they think that there is no way to obfuscate the meaning enough in this particular case, on account of the fact that it is clearly a predicate adjective with no linking verb, without making it altogether nonsensical (consistency with their policy would require it to read “holy to the gospel”), but they obviously have no idea that being set apart necessarily means being a Nazarite, because they want to convince themselves and allow Christians to believe that one can be holy without being set apart, though they have actually invented the former term to replace the latter. According to the Bible, none of these “Christians” are sanctified and holy, but according to the wishful thinking of their apostasy, all of them are. Whoever would argue with this will find that the Bible affirms it in the following passage, which also explicitly informs us that the self-description of Romans 1:1 is not just baseless, superfluous verbiage, but even that his companion Barnabas was likewise a Nazarite, as he was.

And as they were doing service to the Master and fasted, the Set-apart Spirit said, “Separate unto Me Barnaḇah and Sha’ul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2

Based on this, it is evident that Romans was Paul’s earliest epistle, as he had not yet been regarded as an apostle, though he had been separated and called to be, just as he had not yet been to Rome, whereas he certainly had been by the time Philippians was written, and just as had already been to the other congregations by the time he had written them, and calls himself an apostle, rather than “called to be” one. This explains why Romans is the least useful and the most accessible of his epistles to Christians (followed by Galatians), as not only was it written from his lowest point of understanding, but he was also deliberately including the modern pseudo-Christians’ ancient equivalents as his audience, while he excluded them in his other letters. Consider his use of the word “all,” implying inclusion, which is repeated in both of his letters to the Corinthians in such a way as to clearly and expressly indicate that the letter is addressed first to the set-apart ones, and then secondarily to everyone under their tutelage. This is especially useful in demonstrating that in both cases, the one helping him, presumably by taking his dictation, was a “brother” (a lesser rank than he—elsewhere he calls Timothy his “son”).

Sha’ul, a called emissary of יהושע Messiah by the desire of Elohim, and brother Sosthenes, to the assembly of Elohim which is at Corinth, to those who are set-apart in Messiah יהושע, called set-apart ones, with all those calling on the Name of יהושע Messiah our Master in every place, theirs and ours. 1 Corinthians 1:1-2

Sha’ul, an emissary of יהושע Messiah, by the desire of Elohim, and Timothy the brother, to the assembly of Elohim that is at Corinth, with all the set-apart ones who are in all Achaia. 2 Corinthians 1:1

It is crucially important that we recognize the organizational and hierarchical structure of the sect, so that the significance of the Roman vs. Greek dichotomy which we will examine later is not lost. If it cannot be shown that the Christians in Greece and Asia were of one opinion, and that this opinion was formulated in Palestine by the apostles themselves, and represented by their chosen successors, being representative of all of them (as opposed to just a single group, or a single congregation) as surely as the Catholic bishop of Rome represents the view of all Catholics, because all Catholics submit to his authority, then the historical significance of the dispute will not be established. If this were the case, then some ignorant Christian might be reasonably led to the conclusion that these epistles have no underlying current of thought apart from whatever he wants to ascribe to it (the default being the anti-Christian Roman view), and that he is no more or less obligated to abide by the rulings and the authority of the apostles than the ancient Christians supposedly were. So, with that in mind, here are a few more examples of how Paul addresses his audiences on a personal level, indicating awareness of the organizational structure, and reinforcing the authority of the apostles (both himself and those above him).

All the set-apart ones greet you, but most of all those of Caesar’s household. Philippians 4:22

Do all matters without grumblings and disputings, in order that you be blameless and faultless, children of Elohim without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding on to the Word of life, for a boast to me in the day of Messiah, that I have not run in vain or laboured in vain. Philippians 2:14-16

But whoring and all uncleanness, or greed of gain, let it not even be named among you, as is proper among set-apart ones—neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather thanksgiving. For this you know, that no one who whores, nor unclean one, nor one greedy of gain, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the reign of Messiah and Elohim. Ephesians 5:3-5

This last example is a clear command to abstain from eating animal flesh, put four different ways, as an explicit reminder of the mandate and each of the four stipulations of the Council of Jerusalem, which are even reworded in such a way as to make it even clearer that eating flesh causes defilement. There is no way around this. “Let it not even be named among you” can only be understood to mean, “Do not give anyone cause to suspect that you may be doing it.” Not only that, but it is a matter of recognizing that no one who does will enter into life, so no Christian can possibly make the argument that it does not matter if he sins, because Jesus will cover his sins. Simply being guilty of it merits, and will effect, condemnation (damnation). Failing to repent of such sins does not mean failing to acknowledge Jesus as your personal savior, but failing to heed the message and stop sinning.

Now, in spite of the reference to Acts 13:2, it may be objected that we have not adequately shown that Paul was himself a Nazarite, or that the other apostles were, so that his use of the term “set-apart ones” does not necessarily mean ‘Nazarites’ or even ‘Nazarenes’ (i.e. Greek converts). By implication, it does not necessarily mean his epistles are addressed from strict vegetarians to strict vegetarians. This is not an obstacle to our argument, as there is actually plenty of evidence in Acts that this was indeed the case. Roughly half the book is dedicated to a narrative of Paul’s life, which culminates in his strong desire to go to Jerusalem in order to complete the obligation of his Nazarite vow, though he suspects he will die in the process. The “we” of the text suggests that the author (thought to be Luke) was likewise a Nazarite, for “we” had caught up with him and were going to Jerusalem for the same reason. Barnabas was also certainly a Nazarite, so it stands to reason that the others like Silas and Timothy were, as well.

And Sha’ul, having stayed several days more, having taken leave of the brothers, was sailing for Syria, and Priscilla and Aqulas were with him, having shaved his hair [i.e. he was consecrated] at Kenḥrea, for he had taken a vow. And he came to Ephesos, and left them there, but he himself went into the congregation and reasoned with the Yehuḏim. And when they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he declined, but took leave of them, saying, “I have to keep this coming festival in Yerushalayim by all means, but I shall come back to you, Elohim desiring so.” And he sailed from Ephesos. Acts 18:18-21

For Sha’ul had decided to sail past Ephesos, so that he might lose no time in Asia, for he was hurrying to be at Yerushalayim, if possible, on the Day of the Festival of Weeks. Acts 20:16

And on the next day we left and came to Caesarea, and went into the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven [one of the appointed deacons], and stayed with him. Now this one had four maiden daughters who prophesied. And as we were staying many days, a certain prophet named Ḥaḡaḇ came down from Yehuḏah, and having come to us, he took the girdle of Sha’ul, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Set-apart Spirit, ‘Thus shall the Yehuḏim at Yerushalayim bind the man who owns this girdle, and deliver him into the hands of the gentiles.’” Acts 21:8-11

And when they heard it, they praised the Master. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands of Yehuḏim there are who have believed, and all are ardent for the Torah. And they have been informed about you that you teach all the Yehuḏim who are among the gentiles to forsake Mosheh, saying not to circumcise the children nor to walk according to the practices. What then is it? They shall certainly hear that you have come. So do this, what we say to you: We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be cleansed with them, and pay their expenses so that they shave their heads. And all shall know that what they have been informed about you is not so, but that you yourself also walk orderly, keeping the Torah. But concerning the gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should keep themselves from what is offered to idols, and blood, and what is strangled, and whoring.” Then Sha’ul took the men on the next day, and having been cleansed with them, went into the Set-apart Place to announce [as their master/chaperone] the completion of the days of separation [the duration of their vow]—until the offering should be presented for each one of them. Acts 21:20-26

There can be doubt that the vow of these men, like his, was that of the Nazarite, for the purification at the end of their separation lasted seven days (21:27), in accordance with Numbers 6. Notice how the charge that they (and especially he, Paul) had taught others not to circumcise and obey Moses is regarded as false, and how the opportunity is used to once again reiterate that what they had instructed was to abstain from meat. So it seems that there was at least some sort of convention in place for becoming a Nazarite in order to atone for the sin of eating flesh, whether it was only actually practiced by a few or by the whole lot of converts. This would seem to indicate that, after his baptism, a new convert was a Nazarite for the whole duration of his three-year probationary period, and that full membership into the sect did not require one to be wholly set-apart at the time, but rather that they had been—thus the only difference between a Nazarite and a Nazarene is that the former is one for life, but both are “doers” of the Law.

“For having found this man a plague, who stirs up dissension among all the Yehuḏim throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Natsarenes.” Acts 24:5

“And this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the Elohim of my fathers, believing all that has been written in the Torah and in the Prophets, having an expectation in Elohim, which they themselves also wait for, that there is to be a resurrection of the dead, both of the righteous and the unrighteous. And in this I exercise myself to have a clear conscience toward Elohim and men always. And after many years I came to bring kind deeds to my nation and offerings, at which time certain Yehuḏim from Asia found me cleansed in the Set-apart Place, neither with a crowd nor with disturbance, who ought to be present before you to bring charges if they have any matter against me.” Acts 24:14-19

“And we think it right to hear from you what you think, for indeed, concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” Acts 28:22

As for the exact reason that Paul shaved his head, it is not entirely clear that he was consecrated at that time (presumably this happened at the end of his tenure in Damascus), but it was a matter of cleansing, according to the text. He may have broken his vow, whether by drinking wine or by eating meat, or he may have come near a corpse, but the only other thing that could have warranted shaving his head would have been that he had completed the duration which he had initially set out to complete. This latter explanation is likely, even though the ritual would not have constituted a cleansing, because the cleansing mentioned later was evidently only a requirement for entering the Temple. Galatians 1:15 even seems to indicate that he was actually a Nazarite from the womb, unless it is simply meant to connote a sense of predestination. If Paul was indeed a Nazarite from the womb, then it is almost certain that he never once ate any flesh, because it would have meant that he was not participating in the sacrificial rituals at the Temple while he was still of the Pharisee sect. However, this assumes that he was not ignorant of the true nature of the Nazarite customs and ideology, which is evidently not the case, on account of his having been a Pharisee and a persecutor of Christians. It is also somewhat unlikely that he was a Nazarite from the womb, as Acts 18:18 indicates he had taken the vow, rather than having been born under it, but this is not certain, as either the author’s understanding or the text itself may not have been exact, or we may just be reading it wrong or reading too much into it. (It could have been a different vow on top of his Nazarite vows which merited the cleansing.)

Even a Nazarite from the womb could have shaved his head for a number of reasons, but the fact that he needed to go to Jerusalem indicates either guilt or completion of his vow (and his return to the Law of Moses). It is fitting, therefore, that he was prevented from finishing the task, which would have been done by offering two sacrifices, so that he presumably lived the rest of his life as a Nazarite, rather than as a sinner. If he had truly sinned by approaching a dead body (the most likely thing that would have caused him to shave his head—especially if the “dead body” is understood as his mingling among the Gentiles), then perhaps God felt that his remorse was sufficient to cover the defilement, and that the acts of his life were such that God would rather have had him continuing his work than killing a couple of birds. In any case, the most logical explanation is that he was so strictly adherent to the Nazarite custom (whether by vow or by birth) that, after being near a “corpse,” and ignoring the pleas of his friends and peers, he would rather have died for his faith than not make an attempt to be cleansed at the Temple. We will see plenty of evidence to set the precedent for this interpretation (that he needed to be cleansed to keep his purity after interacting with meat-eaters) later on, sufficient for near certainty.

So while Christians are content to have deceived themselves into thinking that the position advocated by Paul in his epistles is hedonism and wanton indulgence of immoral lusts (especially carnism), the exact opposite is true; he neither tolerated it in himself or in others, nor felt like it was not already so well understood that merely mentioning it once or twice in each epistle would not have amounted to beating a dead horse. To the contrary, he informs us that his primary motivation for treating his body severely (i.e. ascetically, by fasting) is so that he would not be seen as a hypocrite for instructing others to do the same.

Do you not know that those who run in a race indeed all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to obtain it. And everyone who competes controls himself in every way. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible crown. Therefore I run accordingly, not with uncertainty. Thus I fight, not as one who beats the air. But I treat my body severely and make it my slave, so that when I have proclaimed to others, I myself might be rejected. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

In spite of this, Christians will still insist that this is not necessary for salvation—that eating meat is allowed, or at least that it will be forgiven, provided that one simply believes in Jesus. They will tell us that, according to Ephesians 2:8-9 (that is, according to their misunderstanding of it, and in blatant contradiction of James 2:14-26), salvation is by grace, not by any works of the flesh. However, this ignores the fact that the works being spoken of are the Christians’ rituals (religious ceremonies, a.k.a. sacraments—which is what they ascribe their atonement to, ironically), not simply anything we can possibly do, as we see clearly in the first chapter of Isaiah. In other words, the connotation is that we are saved by God’s mercy, as opposed to sacrificial atonement.

This interpretation also ignores the fact that the same context says that it is “through faith” that the grace saves us, and what the meaning of ‘faith’ actually is according to Scripture (as opposed to their notion of it). The contrast between faith and works is between what God says he would have us do (i.e. faith means following God’s commandments) and what men have devised in place of what God would have us do (i.e. religious ceremony, which destroys the commandments). They will fall back on John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). Yet this, too, is deliberately taken out of its context in order to reduce the whole message of the Bible into the exact opposite of what it means: that atonement, and therefore salvation, is by sacrifice. To them, this fallacy may sound nice, because they think it means they can do whatever they want, but “belief” is never defined in Scripture along their parameters, with all the theological errors of their leaven, so it is really no more applicable to Christians than it is to all Mormons or Muslims, for instance. (In point of fact, most Muslims have more faith in Yahshuah than most Christians, as they at least subject themselves to the dietary restrictions of their sect, which include the Nazarite restriction of alcohol and the restriction of pig flesh under Moses, among other things.) In fact, even Jews who do their best to follow the Law of Moses are far more right with God because of their works, though this is obviously not saying much.

As we have already said, the very same faith which the Christians always fall back on as their means of their salvation, both in the context of John 3 and in that of Paul’s epistles, actually constitutes in obedience. The ISR’s translation, which we are using, actually renders the term “belief-obedience,” as if those who are honest enough to simply call it what it is are obligated by necessity (and we say this to shame the Christians) to go out of their way to describe it in such a way as to not allow for the common interpretation that faith is the intellectual affirmation of the veracity of the circumstances of the death and resurrection of the Messiah, regardless of how antithetical to Scripture that interpretation is. Put in the context of John’s longer explanation of Yahshuah’s simple statement in John 3:16, as well as in the greater context of Scripture, the words “whoever believes” clearly mean ‘whoever obeys.’

“He who believes in the Son possesses everlasting life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of Elohim remains on him.” John 3:36

Who is wise and understands these words, discerning and knows them? For the ways of יהוה are straight, and the righteous walk in them, but the transgressors stumble in them. Hosea 14:9

This also clearly shows that when Paul says that salvation is by faith and not by works, so that no man should boast, he is simply reiterating that election is by grace rather than by merit—not, in contradiction of the rest of Scripture, including his own remarks, that heaven is open to sinners. That is to say that the Holy Spirit, which gives us the will to not sin, is not our own, but that we who have it, have it on lease from God, having been given it when we did not deserve it. Those who do obey, on the other hand, once they have received it, do so deserve it. Have we not already seen this in earlier chapters, in our discussions of light and of dominion and stewardship?

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of Elohim, to those believing in His Name. John 1:12

For as many as are led by the Spirit of Elohim, these are sons of Elohim. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear [cf. “the fear of every living thing”], but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father [cf. Mark 14:36; “Abba, Father, all is possible for You. Make this cup pass from Me. Yet not what I desire, but what You desire.”].” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of Elohim, and if children, also heirs—truly heirs of Elohim, and co-heirs with Messiah, if indeed we suffer with Him, in order that we also be exalted together. Romans 8:14-17

This is entirely dependent on whether or not someone is obedient. That is, if you are not obedient, then you are not of the Spirit, and you are not “called,” or “saved.” Paul opens this epistle to the Romans not just by calling himself a “called emissary” (1:1), but by reaffirming his appointment to the “office of the emissary,” indicating rank, “for belief-obedience among all the nations” on behalf of the name of Yahshuah (1:5). Moreover, he closes it the same way.

The favour of our Master יהושע Messiah be with you all. Amĕn. And to Him who is able to establish you according to my Good News and the preaching of יהושע Messiah, according to the revelation of the secret which was kept silent since times of old, but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the everlasting Elohim, for belief-obedience. Romans 16:24-26

We also have evidence that Paul was preaching this “belief-obedience” everywhere he went. This ought to make sense, as the description of his title in Romans 1:5, combined with the depiction of his calling in Acts 13:2, indicates that he really was the apostle to all the Gentiles (that is, ‘the nations’), so that Yahshuah’s command to make disciples of all nations and teach them to obey everything he had commanded them, was chiefly carried out by Paul and his companions. So if he had failed in anything regarding obedience to Yahshuah’s instructions, then by Yahshuah’s own remark in Matthew 5:19, he would have been called the least in the kingdom of heaven. As it is, he held the highest rank (that of apostle), and was even defended by God in his dispute when Peter, the greatest of the Twelve, which means Paul was (at that time) the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, with the exception of James the Just, whose epistle we will get to later. In the meantime, we find in Paul’s epistles ample evidence to suggest that his notion of “belief-obedience” (or “belief,” or “faith”) is synonymous with righteousness (i.e., abstinence from sin) and self-control (i.e., temperance, or abstinence, in the face of temptation).

And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was a female Yehuḏite, he sent for Sha’ul and heard him concerning the belief in Messiah. And as he reasoned about righteousness, and self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “For the present, go. And when I find time I shall send for you.” Acts 24:24-25

And I was alive apart from the Torah once [i.e., “I was a vegetarian as a child”], but when the command came, the sin revived, and I died. And the command which was to result in life, this I found to result in death. For sin, having taken the occasion through the command, deceived me, and through it killed me. So that the Torah truly is set-apart, and the command set-apart, and righteous, and good. Therefore, has that which is good become death to me? Let it not be! But the sin, that sin might be manifest, was working death in me through what is good, so that sin through the command might become an exceedingly great Sinner. For we know that the Torah is Spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin. For what I work, I know not. For what I wish, that I do not practise, but what I hate, that I do. But if I do what I do not wish, I agree with the Torah that it is good. And now, it is no longer I that work it, but the sin dwelling in me. Romans 7:9-17

And I say: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not accomplish the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are opposed to each other, so that you do not do what you desire to do. Galatians 5:16-17

And the works of the flesh are well-known, which are these: adultery, whoring, uncleanness, indecency, idolatry, drug sorcery, hatred, quarrels, jealousies, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, murders, drunkenness, wild parties, and the like—of which I forewarn you, even as I also said before, that those who practise such as these shall not inherit the reign of Elohim. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no Torah. And those who are of Messiah have impaled the flesh with its passions and the desires. Galatians 5:19-24

Flee whoring. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits whoring sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the Dwelling Place of the Set-apart Spirit who is in you, which you have from Elohim, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price, therefore esteem Elohim in your body and in your spirit, which are of Elohim. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

And this I pray, that your love might extend more and more in knowledge and all discernment, for you to examine the matters that differ, in order to be sincere, and not stumbling, until the day of Messiah, being filled with the fruit of righteousness, through יהושע Messiah, to the esteem and praise of Elohim. Philippians 1:9-11

And you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, as also the rest. But Elohim, who is rich in compassion, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Messiah—by favour you have been saved—and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Messiah יהושע, in order to show in the coming ages the exceeding riches of His favour in kindness toward us in Messiah יהושע. For by favour you have been saved, through belief, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of Elohim, it is not by works, so that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah יהושע unto good works, which Elohim prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:1-10

Who cannot see that there is no justification in Scripture for the eating of flesh, and many condemnations of it? 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 is so straightforward that the only explanation for how Christians as a whole are so obtuse is that they have no comprehension even of the terms used in Scripture. We must literally suppose that every single Christian has a mistaken assumption about the meaning of the term ‘adultery,’ both in the literal and in the theological sense, if there has never been any reference to it either in arguments for vegetarianism or in arguments against Christian practices and beliefs. Do they really think that everyone in Jerusalem was hanging out in brothels all day? Is that the conclusion they draw from the fact that no one answered when Yahshuah said, concerning adultery, “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone?” All it would take to overturn the idea that there is no condemnation of eating meat in Scripture is a simple defining of this term based on a cursory examination of the text. Have none of the Christians read the Old Testament? If not for the fact that we are told that God himself sends them the spirit of delusion, this would seem more plausible than that they all got their interpretations of it so wrong.

1 Corinthians 6:12-13 makes it abundantly clear that “whoring” has nothing to do with sex outside of marriage, or all those alleged sins which we have cited from the Catholic Catechism, and everything to do with “eating and drinking.” Or shall we just assume that he is talking nonsense in vv. 18-20, after moving on to a completely different and unrelated topic? Considering how utterly insurmountable this proof of Paul’s commands to abstain from flesh is, it is really impossible that the Christians could have universally misinterpreted the meaning of 1 Corinthians 6 unless they were dead set on coming to the wrong conclusion, to the point of making sure that they have not paid attention to the plain speech of the text. Moreover, this chapter actually sets the basis for one of their two main arguments from the NT (along with the one from Genesis 9:3) in favor of doing exactly what they are commanded not to.

Paul’s arguments in Romans 14 (vv. 14-23) and 1 Corinthians 8 (vv. 8-13) are often cited as giving Christians the go-ahead to eat as much flesh as they desire, but only by taking them out of their deliberate context. If examined carefully, it becomes apparent that Paul’s arguments are in reference to food offered to idols only and leave no room in any Christian community where there is even one vegetarian. In the historical context, the entire sect was strictly vegetarian, and admission into it depended on strict observation of the whole Law for life, and a probationary period of no less than three years. So the fact that Paul is speaking to Greeks and Romans who were, in his eyes, and as explained in the context, new to the faith and far from perfect, is the whole reason that this issue has even been raised. That is to say that, whereas he had been addressing the adepts first in the previous chapters of 1 Corinthians, in ch. 8, and in Romans, he is speaking only to sinners, who he and the testimony of Yahshuah both claim will never inherit the kingdom of heaven (so long as they are sinners). Paul is trying to teach what it takes to get there first and foremost, so that his disciples will not fall into the trap of dogmatic division, but rather learn the importance of obeying their masters, having heard it from him whose authority was not questioned. In so doing, they were to learn the precedence of compassion as the essential message of the Gospel, which becomes the major theme of both epistles toward their ends. Most pertinent to us is that anyone who does this will, by the change of his paradigm, inevitably have compassion also on the animals he is accustomed to destroying.

Keep in mind that in Paul’s view, the Law of Moses is irrelevant to one under the higher law of conscience, which he defines as love and as doing no harm. By his reasoning, a sin only becomes an offense when there is consciousness that it is a sin, which is why we have the Law, so the Law is useful for instructing us in matters of righteousness. However, conscience serves the same purpose. So obeying one’s conscience is necessary for righteousness, but does not contravene the Law of Moses, for the Law is fulfilled when the mandates of conscience are obeyed. Having said this, we begin our closer examination of these two important passages with the context of the Romans 14 entry.

And receive him who is weak in the belief, not criticising his thoughts. One indeed believes to eat all food, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. He that eats, let him not despise him who does not eat, and he that does not eat, let him not judge him who eats, for Elohim received him. Who are you that judges another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. But he shall be made to stand, for Elohim is able to make him stand. One indeed judges one day above another, another judges every day alike. Let each one be completely persuaded in his own mind. He who minds the day, minds it to יהוה. And he who does not mind the day, to יהוה he does not mind it. He who eats, eats to יהוה, for he gives Elohim thanks. And he who does not eat, to יהוה he does not eat, and gives Elohim thanks. For not one of us lives to himself, and not one dies to himself. For both, if we live, we live unto the Master, and if we die, we die unto the Master. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Master’s. For unto this Messiah died and rose and lived again, to rule over both the dead and the living. But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Messiah. For it has been written, “As I live, says יהוה, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to Elohim [Isaiah 45:23].” Each one of us, therefore, shall give account of himself to Elohim. Therefore let us not judge one another any longer, but rather judge this, not to put an obstacle or a stumbling-block in our brother’s way. Romans 14:1-13

Notice that this is the exact same argument as the one in Colossians 2 (and elsewhere), referenced toward the beginning of this chapter. Clearly he is talking about the same thing and going in the same direction with it. It supposes that the addressees were already vegetarians; it only applies to those who have had their passions crucified with Yahshuah, and have adopted his way of living. Whoever has not done both these things is not even a brother, in any sense. However, someone who has no knowledge of hermeneutics might simply read v. 2 and mistake the difference between a raw plant-based diet and a more general plant-based diet for the difference between vegetarianism and omnivorism. So it needs to be pointed out that v. 2 actually says πάντα (pánta, G3956), meaning ‘all’ or ‘all things’ in a very general sense. This term is so ambiguous that it can only really mean “all foods,” as that is what the context implies. However, as we have discussed previously, flesh is not even food, much less regarded as such in the context of Scripture; the two are not used interchangeably anywhere in the Bible, even when they are actually treated as such on account of the fact that people eat flesh as if it were food.

It needs to be remembered, by those who would think of this argument as implying meat is good, that this is their view, not Paul’s or that of the apostles and early Christians, and that it says “all foods,” which emphatically excludes the flesh of all types of animals in the vocabulary of Scripture. The imposition of Acts 15 (as delivered to Antioch by Paul’s own mouth and hand) rules out the mere possibility that the converts in Rome were even eating any meat, unless they were doing so against the express demands of Paul and the rest of the apostles in Judea. There is no mention of meat at all in the context, because it went without saying that it was not an option for them, and was not even considered a food (something to be eaten) by any Christian in the whole world. So the meaning is “Do not criticize someone who eats differently, according to his own conscience.” Eating meat is unconscionable already, even apart from the Law and Prophets.

In other words, Paul is saying that whoever is unsure (that is what it means to have a “weak” conscience) eats only vegetables, as opposed to other plant-based foods, such as fruits, seeds and grains. He is saying, ultimately, that a brother who is not a raw vegan should not judge another brother who is a strict vegetarian for the same reasons, and vice-versa. Both are already assumed to have at least attained recognition as a vegetarian by this time, as we will show in the next chapter. In the meantime, here is the rest of the passage, which the Christians invoke to justify themselves, with our comments in brackets to aid in the interpretation.

I know and am persuaded in the Master יהושע that none at all is common [i.e. “unclean”] of itself. [That which is created is good in and of itself.] But to him who regards whatever to be common, to him it is common. [If you have a problem with the idea of eating a certain food, you should avoid it. Eating meat is wrong to someone who merely thinks it is.] And if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. [If you are eating meat and your brother does not approve, you are selfishly and unnecessarily causing your brother to stumble.] Do not by your food ruin the one for whom Messiah died. Do not then allow your good to be spoken of as evil. [If what you are doing is seen as wrong and creates division, do not do it, even if you think it is right.] For the reign of Elohim is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Set-apart Spirit. [Do not do it, for the sake of keeping peace, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. If you are being guided by your own fleshly impulses, then you are not being guided by the Holy Spirit.] For he who is serving Messiah in these matters is well-pleasing to Elohim and approved by men. [You will not be despised if you do the right thing.] So, then, let us pursue the matters of peace and the matters for building up one another. [Let us all be vegetarians so no one has any reason to complain.] Do not destroy the work of Elohim for the sake of food. [Do not put your carnivorous tastes ahead of the establishment of the kingdom of heaven, which, as the goal of the work of God, is antithetical to animal slaughter.] All indeed are clean, but evil to that man who eats so as to cause stumbling. [Everything is a pure creation, but it is wrong to eat whatever causes dissension, i.e. meat.] It is good not to eat meat or drink wine, nor to do whatever by which your brother stumbles. [Abstinence from flesh and abstinence from alcohol both constitute righteous pursuits. This policy also applies to other habits which could cause people to think badly of you.] Do you have belief? Have it to yourself before Elohim. [Are you righteous? Then let God see you be righteous by being obedient to him.] Blessed is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. [Blessed is the one who does not accrue demerit by eating something which he finds acceptable when his neighbor does not, which brings him under judgment the same way as if he had done something which his own conscience was against. The implication is that if my conscience tells me it is wrong, you should not do it, just as if your conscience had told you the same. For all you know, my conscience is more aligned to God’s will, because I am further advanced in my knowledge than you are.] But he who doubts, if he eats, is condemned, because it is not of belief [whoever is troubled by conscience over his sin is condemned by it, because he has been disobedient], and all that is not of belief is sin. [The one who eats what is forbidden does so in disobedience. Therefore it is a sin, even if your conscience does not tell you it is.] Romans 14:14-23

There are several points of contention in this interpretation of the passage. First and foremost, it may be objected that Paul is clearly indicating that, if for no reasons other than purely intellectual, he is on the side of the Romans who have carnivorous tastes. That is to say that he finds the mindset of the meat-eaters more appropriate, as it is true that “nothing is unclean in itself.” However, we have already demonstrated that he was certainly a Nazarite, and extremely particular about obeying the Law (not just of Moses, but of Christ), so this objection is defeated and moot.

As with the argument in Colossians 2, v. 10 says “your brother.” You were not a “brother” (i.e., you were not accepted into the community) if you did not live according to the communal rules, which were codified as law in the Community Rule, and by the common precedent handed down by the apostles. These common rules were those of Acts 15—basically, to abstain from consuming flesh—and whatever the individual communities added to them. Verse 21 is what Paul added: “It is good not to eat meat or drink wine—whoever does, causes his brother to stumble.” Yet everyone is supposed to accept whoever eats whatever kind of food. Meat is certainly not included in what is allowed for in the rest of the chapter leading up to this explicit condemnation; in fact, it is mentioned expressly to indicate the one exception (with wine) to the rule that all is allowed. (And this is definitely an explicit prohibition: the word used here is κρέα or kréa, G2907, which denotes the ‘flesh’ of a sacrificial victim, rather than one of the various words for ‘solid food’ which are likewise routinely translated as “meat.”)

The point of the entire argument in Romans 14 is clearly to say “accept everyone who eats according to his own conscience,” not “accept everything that everyone does, whether or not it is done according to conscience.” Flesh is never eaten according to conscience, and anyone who would say otherwise has no conscience. Paul himself says as much (1 Timothy 4:2), and chose his words carefully enough to allow all things (pánta) while simultaneously prohibiting flesh (kréa) and wine (specifically, onion—wine made from grapes), in accordance with Yahshuah’s teachings and the basic rules of all Nazarites everywhere.

But let us assume for a moment, as the Christians do, that the notion that Paul was opposed to the Law is actually valid, and that the rules ascribed to him are preferable, according to God, to those established by God himself for all eternity. By the same token, Paul elsewhere tells servants to obey their masters, and women to be silent—multiple times, even. So if the Christians still insist on using this one passage to declare themselves clean in clear defiance of God’s will, as revealed throughout Scripture, and without allowing for an accurate reading of it without their bogus, self-derived interpretation, then they at least ought to be consistent enough to try to reinstate the old slavery systems which theoretically should not have been done away with (because that constitutes lawlessness, or perhaps “weakness” in any case where someone has an ethical objection to it, or “cultish” behaviors when someone protests against it), and to suppress women and actively work to undo the effects of the women’s rights movement. Or they can just admit that Paul’s views have become a stumbling block to them, and repent, but we certainly do not expect that as the general rule.

Apart from this matter of disobedience to the rules established at the Council of Jerusalem, the only specific reason that Paul gives here for his disapproval of eating meat is that “it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.” Does this mean, in other words, that there is nothing wrong with eating meat, but because there are Christians who are weak in faith and understanding (vv. 1-2), the proper, “Christian” thing to do is to accommodate these people and their misguided beliefs? This is exactly what the Christians routinely allege when they ridicule us for obeying God. The implication is that vegetarian Christians have a lot of growing up to do, and hopefully, once they have been properly educated in the faith, they will give up their foolish beliefs and everyone can happily return to a carnivorous diet. On the other hand, the mere fact that he gives a reason at all would be taken by the Christians as a blanket statement to end all debate on the subject once and for all, if it actually supported (or seemed to support) their views, instead of demolishing them. We know this because that is what they do in regards to all other such passages (e.g., Genesis 9:3 and Mark 7:19).

We might suppose we are a little more objective here and inquire as to whether Paul’s views are consistent with those of the other apostles and prophets, but in reality, the case is already closed if we are supposing that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and that a single phrase amounts to a divine truth or a universally applicable divine mandate (i.e., if we are supposing the mainline Christian view), or even just that it is reasonably consistent within itself. Either way, the command was given long before these words were written, and was well known to all of the Christians worldwide, so any discussion of the words needs to be put into the context of the command. Had Paul decided to take the position of the novices who were disgruntled about the fact that they had to give up their carnivorous tastes (and again, this is only the case of the Romans and the Galatians—by far the two most apostate and barbaric civilizations in the “civilized” world at that time), then he would not have felt compelled to remind them of their obligations to be obedient, much less by reminding them of his own authority as an apostle. The obedience he commands is not just a matter of listening to one’s peers, as equals, but much more of heeding the verdict of James and the apostles as described in Acts 15. Nor would anyone who heard this epistle being read to him have mistaken it for anything else.

One of the most common objections to a reading of Romans 14 (or 1 Corinthians 8) from a position of understanding is the fact that the chapter begins with a comment about people who are “weak in the faith,” and this seems to be directed at people with dietary restrictions (i.e. vegetarians). In fact, the opposite is true; in the context of the Christian communities, if the issue was really over whether or not eating meat was associated with faith, or the lack thereof, then it only could have meant that the one weak in the faith was the one who had only recently converted, or else lacked the resolve to fully commit to the doctrines of the faith, which necessarily included vegetarianism. However, this is not the case at all, as the matters under Paul’s purview were different types of foods, not different types of edible items. One first had to adopt the vegetarian lifestyle just to be regarded as a Christian at the most superficial level.

Another point we wish to make is to put this argument in its proper context. Paul begins this passage at the beginning of the chapter by saying, “Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him” (14:1-3). We could look at this and say, as the Christians do, that to only eat vegetables is to be weak in the faith. However, this is a matter of receiving new candidates, so it already rules out the possibility that they were eating meat. If not, then the command to be obedient which follows is clearly intended for these new disciples, so that admission into the sect was not intended to be exclusive, but full membership obviously still was. If a new member had not quit eating meat by the time his probationary period was up, then it goes without saying that he had not submitted to the authority either of the community rule, or of the apostles and Nazarites in Judea, and never would have been recognized as a member of the community in any sense.

The association with weakness is not dependent on what is being eaten, but on the level of knowledge the person has attained in matters of conscience. Perishing, however, is a matter of not knowing that it is wrong to eat meat. By the same token, the one who knows better and, by his example, teaches those who do not that it is okay to do it, is culpable, and his sin is not just against the one whose conscience has been wounded, but against the body of Christ. The implication is that having a weak conscience means you are open to following someone else’s lead, whether good or bad, because you cannot discern good and evil for yourself. No implication as to whether it is good or bad to have a weak conscience is made, for as Paul says, we are all at different levels of knowledge, with different vocations, yet all are part of the body of Christ. What is bad is having knowledge and abusing it, or refusing to abide by the rules governing the whole body.

So while the interpretation of this passage, that it is the vegetarian Christians who are weak in the faith, is not without merit (which is not to say that it is correct), it fails to consider the full context of the situation. The Roman civilization is perhaps the most barbaric that ever was, in terms of its violence and pitilessness. Among other things, the Romans relished in gladiatorial combat the way modern societies find amusement in football (soccer) and other sports, and invented the “scorched earth” policy of warfare in order to destroy whole populations by famine, so as to reduce the numbers of casualties on their own side whenever they marched off to pillage, rape and enslave foreign nations and cities. They worshiped the war god Mars as one of their chief divinities, and the city of Rome bears the name of a man who, upon his deification and worship, was naught but an alternate form of Mars. In fact, the entire Roman religion (which they took very seriously) was based on sacrifice, and sacrifice was nothing more or less than a matter of killing animals in order for them to be eaten.

So we can just imagine what kind of change in lifestyle becoming a Christian would entail for a Roman in comparison with a Greek or an Israelite, and what kind of incentive Paul had to tell them to just obey, regardless of whether they agreed or not. Even without the understanding that he had asserted his authority and that of the other apostles to silence the opposition, are we really to suppose that Paul was admitting that people coming out of the pagan culture of Rome had a stronger grasp over proper Christian ethics than did those who had grown up with it and had been taught by Yahshuah and the Twelve themselves, face-to-face? If that were the case, then it would be proper to ask why Paul was not asking the Christians in Judea to begin eating meat so as not to cause their meat-eating brothers in Rome to stumble. Furthermore, and more to the point, it would be appropriate to say that one was weak in the Christian faith if he was a vegetarian only out of adherence to the Law of Moses, but the Law of Moses does not make a strict demand of vegetarianism the way that the Council of Jerusalem did, so the only way to interpret it, really, is that those who are “weak” are those whose consciences have not been exercised to discern good and evil—meaning, necessarily, those who eat meat or are tempted to do so.

What we must infer, therefore, is that Paul was not speaking of the difference between an omnivorous diet and a vegetarian one, but of someone who does not eat bread, because they are following the precedent of John the Baptist, rather than of Yahshuah. The same arguments still apply (perhaps much more so now) among the different schools of thought within vegetarianism: some advocate a raw food diet, while some advocate a gluten-free diet, which is not exactly a good idea,563 some a fruit-only (fruitarian) diet, and some a strict vegetarian (vegan) lifestyle, etc. The only inference which we could reasonably make from this context in favor of eating animal products does not detract from vegetarianism, but from veganism, and even that is not a matter of detracting from the basis of the vegan ethic, but of saying that, in the context of the ancient world, where animals did not suffer as much as they do now on “factory” farms, it hardly matters if one is eating dairy products or not. The focus is, of course, on meat, because meat requires killing. So even if the vegan ethic lacks support in Romans 14, because the one who is weak eats only vegetables, the vegetarian diet and the notion that it is wrong to kill does not. (If it did, then Paul’s testimony would be bunk, because it would contravene the Law.)

But this is all just to cover the different possibilities of interpretation in order to silence the enemies of the Gospel. The real issue is over those who were “weak in the faith” (or weak of conscience) being those who had been baptized with water but had not received the Holy Spirit—that is, the novice initiates, or the early followers of John the Baptist. So it is no wonder that Paul greatly desired to travel to Rome, in order to impart the Spirit to them. In the meantime, he was instructing the Christians in Rome to keep the standard for admittance into their community relatively low, for the sake of evangelizing and bringing more people in. In no way does that detract from the fact that the new applicants were still commanded not to eat meat, and the policy itself is very much in line with the judgment of Acts 15, “that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from [meat].” After all, it was Paul himself who had influenced it, while Peter had previously wished to deny admission to these previously meat-eating men on account of their weakness.

Now let us consider the Christians’ defense more carefully. Regardless of whether the dispute was between meat-eaters and vegetarians or between the two types of vegetarians, the main point which Paul makes to set the stage for his argument in Romans 14 is telling both sides not to judge each other. Why, then, if he is really trying to tell them not to bicker about it, because everything is acceptable, does he not simply leave it at that? Why does he make an argument in favor of abstaining from anything if his purpose is only to resolve the conflict between these sides by telling them not to cause each other to stumble by judging their dietary habits? Instead, he goes a step further by instructing the meat-eaters to become vegetarians so as not to cause their brothers to stumble. Is it really because he believes that such people are “weak in the faith,” and would lose their way if this accommodation were not granted? Or could it be that this is more of a rhetorical tactic taken in order to get his audience to do the proper thing (i.e. abstain from meat) while not offending their delicate (Roman) sensibilities? After all, he could have told the sides not to judge each other and simply left it at that. Instead, he explicitly instructs the meat-eaters to change to a vegetarian diet so as to accommodate the beliefs of other Christians. Is this truly because Paul believed that the vegetarians were weak in faith?

We have already shown how the Bible constantly paints Paul in the picture of a Nazarite who feared God, but nothing and no one else. If the Christians’ fallacy-ridden argument has any merit, then his dispute is not with a small percentage of rebels who were creating division by adding to the list of things not to do, when all they had to do was believe in Jesus in order to merit salvation, but with God (for having set the rule), with Christianity at large (for having adopted it), and even with himself. We cannot even imagine a scenario where Paul approaches James the Just, or Yahshuah, the way our critics do us, and says, “You obviously don’t have the spirit of Christ. This is a dangerous heresy. You’re weak. You need to adapt to the rule of lawlessness.” In fact, Paul even cites as his compass Yahshuah’s statement, as recorded in Matthew 15:11, that humans are not defiled by what they eat (hence “I know and am persuaded in the Master Yahshuah that none at all is common of itself”).

Indeed, it would be proper to say that a Christian vegetarian who believed that any food made him unclean through some manner of magic, or strictly because it was identified as unclean by the Law of Moses, is indeed weak in faith. The fact that Paul nevertheless sided with the vegetarians demonstrates that there is a higher logic that gives testimony to their side—namely, that one is defiled by his unconscious, uncompassionate desire to consume animal flesh for nothing more than the fulfillment of carnal desire—and this in blind disobedience to the command and the testimony of those who know better, such as himself. A vegetarian who held his viewpoint for this reason would indeed be strong in faith, as the apostles were. Over and over we see him criticize anyone who has not graduated to his level of piety (never mind his level of comprehension), but in the case of the Romans in particular, we find many instances of his going out of his way to try to instill in them a sense of humility, so that if they truly wanted to be holy, and seen as such, then they would be led to think that they actually had to earn it.

For I say, through the favour which has been given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he should think, but to think soberly, as Elohim has given to each a measure of belief. Romans 12:3

Let love be without hypocrisy. Shrink from what is wicked, cling to what is good. Romans 12:9

Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, on your part, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:17-18

See how just two chapters before doing it again, he exhorts them to be righteous just for the sake of quelling dissension. Are we really supposed to believe that this sets the precedent not for fostering the universal vegetarian ethic within Christianity, but actually the marginalizing and ostracizing of the same which we currently see the modern Christian using it to justify? Knowing how hard-hearted and openly malicious these demon-possessed lawbreakers are, and how Paul had experienced exactly the same treatment from the Jews of his era, he likely found it easier to persuade his audience by appealing to their willingness to make a concession for the purpose of keeping the peace with other Christians, than by challenging the morality of meat consumption directly. Judging by the hostility that the message of Christian vegetarianism has received in modern times, he certainly did make a wise tactical choice in this regard, especially considering that it was up for grabs whether the Nazarites and Christians in Palestine were even going to admit these Gentiles into communion. For example, “Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God” and “Let him not judge him who eats, for Elohim received him” imply that it took a lot of effort on their behalf for him to convince the Twelve to accept them, so they would really be doing themselves a disservice by creating division. He basically hints that his own standing among the apostles depends on his success in converting the recipients of his letters to the Christian ethic fully, every time he remarks about how proud he is of them, or how he desires that they imitate him, so that they do not put him to shame. Recall that it was Abel’s success in teaching his flock the way of righteousness for which he was esteemed, and that it was Cain’s failure to do the same for which he was shamed.

Now, if someone wants to make the argument that we ought not to judge someone regarding his dietary habits, then we would refer that person back to our chapter on the Prophets. Obviously there is a difference between an adept telling a novice that he ought not to judge, and a novice saying the same thing to an adept. If God inspires you and commands you to judge, and your judgment is righteous, then you have a divine obligation to do it. This is not the context of Romans 14, and the object which Paul aims for here is to get people to do what we are aiming to get them to do, not the exact opposite of it, which is what the Christians are aiming for when they tell a God-appointed judge not to judge. And we do not merely mean the goal is to get them to stop eating meat, but to get them to stop rebelling against God’s authority.

Furthermore, if the Christians continue to insist that the context does not matter, and that this passage (like all others) has a universal application, regardless of the situation, then the conclusion of that reasoning is that no Christian should ever be eating meat. There are huge numbers of people on the planet now whose ideas of Christianity are severely shaken by virtue of the fact that they doubt the high ethics of the religion on the basis that it is, at best, supportive of the mainstream view that eating meat is perfectly fine and moral and allowed by God. Over and over, Paul and the other apostles tell their audience not to do anything which is going to hurt the Gospel or the name of Christ, yet to an outsider, nothing could be more despicable and hypocritical than a Christian who acts like he has a monopoly on the truth and on morality, and then turns around and completely rejects every single matter of conscience except what already fits into his narrow-minded paradigm, and every single truth available to him, even going out of his way to attack it and provoke well-intentioned people to defend themselves.

However one looks at it, the biggest and most pressing ethical issue in the world today is the matter of the human consumption of meat. The Christians, having taken a firm position on the wrong side of the line, without even allowing for any kind of discussion or criticism, even from the very source they claim to hold as their supreme and infallible authority, pushing it down other people’s throats, do more to detract from the name of Christ and the gospel of the kingdom of heaven than any militant group of atheists ever could. It has long been observed that the greatest enemies of the Gospel are Christians, and that the chief reason for the existence of atheism is their hypocrisy. We find it utterly deplorable that they will presume to judge everyone who does not agree with them, when they are blatantly wrong about everything they practice, believe and profess, and then tell others not to judge when the tables are turned. No ethical vegetarian in his right mind would look at such a feeble approach to morality and think it something to aspire to, which is probably why there are so few Christian vegetarians. But if the Christian can take the beam out of his eye by putting aside his own sins, then perhaps his witness will hold some sway over those who see his good deeds, and they will glorify God. Then, perhaps, he could be called strong in the faith. This is clearly what Paul intended, as surely as Yahshuah commanded it.

And that brings us to the next long citation, which is perhaps the favorite of the Christians who want to justify their lust for flesh. For it is one of the most obvious places in all of Scripture to look if you are searching for evidence of a vegetarian ideal, but to someone with no understanding (i.e. to a Christian), it seems to be an allowance of carnism. We have already seen how whoring and idolatry are practically (though not always) euphemisms for eating meat in the Bible, so we will not belabor the point too much here, but it bears constant reminding. First we will present the text of 1 Corinthians 8, again with our rewordings in brackets for the purpose of aiding comprehension, and then we will examine whether the Christians’ claim that to speak of meat offered to idols is actually any different from speaking of meat, period.

So then, concerning the eating of food offered to idols, we know that an idol is no matter at all in the world, and that there is no other Elohim but one. [As a note, in the modern context this applies especially to kosher meats, which is to say virtually all meats you will find at any supermarket except for pork products—and we do not mean to say that these are kosher by the Bible’s standards, but they are labeled as such if they meet the conventional requirements. We would also point out that the logos and other icons of packaged foods and restaurant chains typically center around the modern equivalents of the ancient idols, especially where it concerns meat and dairy production. These typically portray an anthropomorphized animal that appears to be or is even stated to be “happy” and laughing or smiling. We might say that this is just several steps along the path of the Golden Calf episode. Whether meat-eaters realize it or not, they are certainly in the habit of worshiping the companies and the restaurant chains which they support as consumers and patrons.] For even if there are so-called mighty ones, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many mighty ones and many masters—for us there is one Elohim, the Father, from whom all came and for whom we live, and one Master יהושע Messiah, through whom all came and through whom we live. [cf. “By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.”] However, not all have this knowledge. [Not everyone understands this. In the modern context, Christians have assumed the doctrine of monotheism, because there is one God for them, though there are indeed many gods and many baals to chose from, but they have failed to recognize the more complicated truth behind pantheism due to this assumption, and to their ignorance of the more esoteric teachings of Christianity.] But some, being aware of the idol, until now eat it as having been offered to an idol, so their conscience, being weak, is defiled. [But the converts to Christianity, as opposed to the adepts/elect, due to their associations with Jewish dogmas and rituals, are ignorant of God’s will, and the sinful lusts and lifestyles they had prior to their conversion have caused them to remain in sin by eating food which is unclean.] But food does not commend us to Elohim [We will not attain salvation merely by eating the right foods if our spirit is lacking], for we are none the better if we eat, nor any worse for not eating. [By themselves, outward motions do not equivocate to inward faith.] But look to it, lest somehow this right of yours become a stumbling-block to those who are weak. [Do not abuse your freedom by doing things which others will find objectionable. As this is in reference to food offered to idols, an example would be as follows: I could eat some fruit which a Buddhist has left in front of a Buddha statue, and that would greatly annoy this person, or offend a mainstream Christian. Both have valid reasons to be offended, though it is only because of their own superstition that they regard this food as any different from any other. So it is better that I find some other fruit to eat, lest the Buddhist or the Christian in question be influenced to think it is okay to do what will inevitably and unnecessarily offend someone else, knowing that I am knowledgeable about spiritual matters.] For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s place, shall not his conscience, if he is weak, be built up to eat food offered to idols? [Or if he sees you eating meat, will he not think it is okay to eat meat, when it obviously is not? We do well to remember that food blessed by a rabbi is ceremonially dedicated to Lucifer, and that this is the modern equivalent of all the meat sold in Roman markets.] So this weak brother, for whom Messiah died, shall perish through your knowledge! Now sinning in this way against the brothers, and wounding their weak conscience, you sin against Messiah. [Eating meat in front of a vegetarian is a sin against Christ.] Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I am never again going to eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. [Paul was a vegetarian.] 1 Corinthians 8

Keep in mind that not just Paul, but indeed all the 1st century Christians were vegetarians as a keynote of their paradigm, and no one was even allowed into the sect without becoming one. So what we see here is essentially the same argument as the one made in Romans 14: “For your brothers’ sake, I command you to abstain from meat.” And we can argue all day and night about whether or not this makes a vegetarian “weak.” The command remains, and it remains the same. Again, is the one who obeys the command the weak one, or is the one who disobeys the weak one? To whom will God credit the righteousness—to the obedient, or to the disobedient?

Wake up to soberness, righteously, and do not sin, for some do not have the knowledge of Elohim. I speak this to your shame. But someone might say, “How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?” Senseless one! What you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And as to what you sow: you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, it might be wheat or some other grain. But Elohim gives it a body as He wishes, and to each seed a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another of fishes, and another of birds. 1 Corinthians 15:34-39

Now, 1 Corinthians 8 is very revealing, not just because of an assumption we make about idolatry being exactly synonymous with meat-eating in general in the minds of everyone living in the ancient world, including Paul, but because that is exactly how he presents it in the context of 1 Corinthians. In case it is not clearly understood from our previous analysis that whoring and idolatry are actually euphemisms for eating meat, especially in this particular context, Paul is very explicit in making the association in 1 Corinthians 10, which puts the finishing touches on this argument (and which is therefore absolutely necessary for understanding where he is going with the reasoning in ch. 8).

For I do not wish you to be ignorant, brothers, that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were immersed into Mosheh in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed, and the Rock was Messiah. 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

This is the translators’ bias: the text here should actually read ‘Moses’ instead of ‘Messiah,’ because it is not talking about Yahshuah, the one to whom the proper name of Messiah has been affixed. Even though the Greek uses different words to distinguish here, the name of Moses is simply the proper designation of the word ‘messiah’ in ancient Hebrew, so Paul is clearly trying to make an analogy between the Israelites who followed Moses and the Christians who follow Yahshuah, because Yahshuah is the ‘moses’ or ‘messiah’ of his era. This is self-evident, because he says exactly that in the sentences which follow. Therefore, he is using the example of the Israelites’ lust for flesh in Numbers 11 specifically in order to say that Christians should not do the same as they did, and explains all this in plain speech which leaves no room for doubt that, in Paul’s mind, eating meat is a cardinal sin. Notice that even with the knowledge that a golden calf was involved in the Israelites’ apostasy, he actually makes no association with an idol when speaking of idolatry—just eating and drinking and partying.

However, with most of them Elohim was not well pleased, for they were laid low in the wilderness. And these became examples for us, so that we should not lust after evil, as those indeed lusted. And do not become idolaters as some of them, as it has been written, “The people sat down to eat and to drink, and stood up to play.” Neither should we commit whoring, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell, neither let us try Messiah, as some of them also tried, and were destroyed by serpents, neither grumble, as some of them also grumbled, and were destroyed by the destroyer. And all these came upon them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come, so that he who thinks he stands, let him take heed lest he fall. No trial has overtaken you except such as is common to man, and Elohim is trustworthy, who shall not allow you to be tried beyond what you are able, but with the trial shall also make the way of escape, enabling you to bear it. Therefore, my beloved ones, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men, judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Messiah? The bread that we break [the Christians’ agape feasts], is it not a sharing in the body of Messiah? Because there is one bread, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Look at Yisra’ĕl after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the offerings sharers in the altar? [“If you participate in their meals, do you not participate in their idolatry?”] What then do I say? That an idol is of any value? Or that which is offered to idols is of any value? No, but what the gentiles offer they offer to demons and not to Elohim, and I do not wish you to become sharers with demons. You are not able to drink the cup of the Master and the cup of demons, you are not able to partake of the table of the Master and of the table of demons. Do we [“Ought we”] provoke the Master to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? [“Do we have the right to disobey?”] All is permitted me, but not all do profit. All is permitted me, but not all build up. Let no one seek his own, but each one that of the other. You eat whatever is sold in the meat market [actually just ‘market,’ as we will show later], asking no questions because of conscience, for “The earth belongs to יהוה, and all that fills it.” And if any of the unbelievers invite you, and you wish to go, you eat whatever is set before you, asking no question on account of the conscience. And if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it because of the one pointing it out to you, and on account of the conscience, for “The earth belongs to יהוה, and all that fills it [Psalm 24:1].” [If you discover that you are being offered flesh, then abstain, because you are obligated by conscience to obey God, who does not allow you to murder his creations.] Now I say conscience, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for what I give thanks? Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the esteem of Elohim. Cause no stumbling, either to the Yehuḏim or to the Greeks or to the assembly of Elohim, as I also please all men in all matters, not seeking my own advantage, but that of the many, that they might be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:5-33

As if we have not already demonstrated that the translators have deliberately presented us the exact opposite point of view of Scripture as the one which its authors meant to convey, this is one of the worst cases. The Greek word rendered “with thanks” here in v. 30 is actually χάριτι (cháriti, G5485). Furthermore, this word is not the same word or root of the other “thanks” in the sentence, which is εὐχαριστῶ (eucharistō, G2168), and which therefore denotes the Eucharist, specifically. Put it this way: when we presently typed our exact transliteration of χάριτι into the word processor, it automatically “corrected” it by changing it to “charity.” That is to say that Microsoft Word intuitively has a better comprehension of the meaning of this passage than any “Christian,” including Bible scholars. The passage really ought to read (is meant to be read as), “If I partake of compassion, then why would anyone have any cause to criticize me (or feel provoked) at the Eucharist?”

So there it is: Paul calls meat “evil” and food for demons, which has no value (Belial), and says that you cannot be eating meat and eating at the table of Christ at the same time, which, for the Christians at the time, was actually a reality, because they ate together and rejected the company of meat-eaters altogether. Once again, we see that it is wrong in Paul’s eyes to provoke another’s conscience, which effectively ought to silence any dispute which any Christian could possibly have to ethical vegetarianism. Muslims and Jews will balk at your eating pork, Christians at your eating food literally offered to idols, vegetarians at your eating meat altogether, and vegans at consuming both meat and dairy. The only way to cause no one to stumble is to eat a plant-based diet, because only a strict vegetarian obeys the laws of God and of everyone’s conscience! Love, according to Paul, is fulfillment of the Law, because it does no harm to a neighbor (and even if you do not accept that you are obligated to love God or his creation, in spite of Paul’s repeated insistence, then doing harm to a neighbor still includes being a stumbling block to someone else’s conscience), and this is exactly what veganism is all about.

Moreover, Paul makes it plain that it is not his command, but God’s command which he has admonished the Christians in Corinth to obey, contrary to the modern Christians’ assertion that it is by Paul that they find their allowance (as though Paul contradicts the rest of Scripture, rather than deliberately upholding it and even falling back on it, and that his authority on this matter supersedes all else, which is convenient for them, seeing how their interpretation is that Paul says what they want him to say). This is just two chapters after the remarks which the Christians think give them the green light for their sin, and indeed they will even make the same inferences from ch. 10 itself. It is this hypocrisy which is termed ‘adultery’ or ‘whoring.’ If not because they simply cannot abide by it, we can hardly even imagine how the NIV translators decided upon “sexual immorality” in its place in v. 8, as they have at least presumably read the book they have published, and the cause of the plague which killed 23,000 Israelites is explicitly said to have been their lust for meat, right in the context, with no mention of anything of a sexual nature either in the epistle, or in its source, the book of Numbers.

But the Christians, being even more evil than the Israelites and completely ignoring Paul’s barrage of pleas for them to repent, will tell us that the context of 1 Corinthians only applies to meat sold in meat markets, or to meat offered to idols. So that is the next objection we must refute. This we will do in a later chapter, but as a sufficient understanding of the meaning of the ancient text requires a long explanation, for now we will move on to the other epistles. After all, we are not so limited in our approach as the Christians, who are obligated to believe that their doctrines only have a few isolated points of reference as support, as such support is conspicuously absent in the rest of the Bible. Here is some more of the evidence against them:

We give thanks to Elohim always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of the belief, and the labour of love, and the endurance of the expectation in our Master יהושע Messiah in the presence of our Elohim and Father, knowing, brothers beloved by Elohim, that you were chosen. Because our Good News did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Set-apart Spirit and in entire confirmation, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Master, having received the word in much pressure, with joy of the Set-apart Spirit, so that you became an example to all who believe in Makedonia and Achaia. For from you the word of the Master has sounded forth, not only in Makedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your belief toward Elohim has gone out, so that it is unnecessary for us to say whatever. For they themselves report what kind of reception we had with you, and how you turned to Elohim from idols, to serve the living and true Elohim. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-9

For the appeal we make does not come from delusion, nor from uncleanness, nor from deceit. 1 Thessalonians 2:3

For the rest then, brothers, we beg you and call upon you in the Master יהושע, that as you received from us how you should walk and to please Elohim, you should excel still more, for you know what commands we gave you through the Master יהושע. For this is the desire of Elohim: your set-apartness!—that you should abstain from whoring, that each one of you should know how to possess his own vessel [body] in set-apartness and respect, not in passion of lust, like the gentiles who do not know Elohim, not to overstep and take advantage of his brother in this matter [note that the victims of slaughter are “brothers” of men, according to this], because the Master is the revenger of all such, as we indeed said to you before and earnestly warned. For Elohim did not call us to uncleanness, but in set-apartness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but Elohim, who also gives us His Set-apart Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

So, then, brothers, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or by our letter. 2 Thessalonians 2:15

And we trust in the Master as to you, both that you do and shall do what we command you. But we command you, brothers, in the Name of our Master יהושע Messiah, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 2 Thessalonians 3:4,6

And if anyone does not obey our word in this letter, note that one, and do not keep company with him, so that he is put to shame. However, do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15

Command and teach these matters. Practise these matters, be in them, so that your progress might be plain to all. Pay attention to yourself and to the teaching. Continue in them, for in doing this you shall save both yourself and those who hear you. And command these matters, in order for them to be blameless. 1 Timothy 4:11,15-16,5:7

Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in sins of others. Keep yourself clean. The sins of some men are obvious, leading on to judgment, but those of some men follow later. In the same way, the good works are obvious, while it is impossible to conceal those that are otherwise. 1 Timothy 5:22,24-25

In the sight of Elohim who gives life to all, and of Messiah יהושע who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you: that you guard the command spotlessly, blamelessly, until the appearing of our Master יהושע Messiah. 1 Timothy 6:13-14

Do your utmost to present yourself approved to Elohim, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of Truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

However, the solid foundation of Elohim stands firm, having this seal, “יהוה knows those who are His [Numbers 16:5],” and, “Let everyone who names the Name of Messiah turn away from unrighteousness [Isaiah 55:7].” But in a large house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some unto value and some unto no value. If, then, anyone cleanses himself from these matters, he shall be a vessel unto value, having been set apart, of good use to the Master, having been prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:19-21

For an overseer has to be unreprovable, as a managing one of Elohim [a steward of God], not self-pleasing, not wroth, not given to wine, no brawler, not greedy for filthy gain, but kind to strangers, a lover of what is good, sensible, righteous, set-apart, self-controlled, clinging to the trustworthy word, according to the teaching, in order to be able both to encourage by sound teaching, and to reprove those who oppose it. Titus 1:7-9

Indeed, all matters are clean to the clean, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving no matter is clean [“all things eaten by sinners are unclean”], but both their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know Elohim, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unfit for any good work. Titus 1:15-16

Likewise urge the young men to be sensible. Show yourself to them an example of good works in all matters. In teaching show uncorruptness, seriousness, soundness of speech beyond reproach, in order that the opponent is put to shame, having no evil word to say about you. Titus 2:6-8

For the saving Gift of Elohim has appeared to all men, instructing us to renounce wickedness and worldly lusts, and to live sensibly, righteously, and reverently in the present age, looking for the blessed expectation and esteemed appearance of the great Elohim and our Saviour יהושע Messiah, who gave Himself for us, to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people, His own possession, ardent for good works. Speak these matters, urge, and reprove with all authority. Let no one despise you. Titus 2:11-15

Reject a divisive man after the first and second warning, knowing that such a one has been perverted, and sins, being self-condemned. Titus 3:10-11

Remember those leading you, who spoke the Word of Elohim to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their belief. Do not be borne about by various and strange teachings. For it is good for the heart to be established by favour, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. We have an altar from which those serving the Tent have no authority to eat. Hebrews 13:7,9-10

Note this well, “Christians.” The Bible says that you do not have permission to eat from the table of Christ. There are so many implicit references to the fact that this privilege is only open to those who have at least espoused the beliefs and practices of the Nazarites wholly, if not actually taken their vows, that we are obligated to put off discussion of it until later on. For now, though, we present several passages from different apostles and their epistles to demonstrate that they all have this in common. Note the repetition of the term ‘crown,’ as its significance is of paramount importance to a proper reading of the text. This significance is not merely symbolic, and will be explained later. Also note that to the apostles, this “crown” is everlasting life itself, though it is a body of righteousness, which is merited by temperance and perseverance, and yet attainable (and losable) in this life.

And everyone who competes controls himself in every way. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible crown. 1 Corinthians 9:25

So then, my brothers, beloved and longed-for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Master, beloved. Philippians 4:1

For what is our expectation, or joy, or crown of boasting? Is it not even you, before our Master יהושע Messiah at His coming? 1 Thessalonians 2:19

And if anyone competes in a game, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 2 Timothy 2:5

For the rest, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Master, the righteous Judge, shall give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all those loving His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8

“You have made him a little lower than the messengers. You have crowned him with esteem and respect, and set him over the works of Your hands.” Hebrews 2:7

But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the messengers, יהושע, because of the suffering of death crowned with esteem and respect, that by the favour of Elohim He should taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you shall receive the never-fading crown of esteem. 1 Peter 5:4

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. See, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, in order to try you, and you shall have pressure ten days. Be trustworthy until death, and I shall give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:10

“See, I am coming speedily! Hold what you have that no one take your crown.” Revelation 3:11

And around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, dressed in white robes. And they had crowns of gold on their heads. … the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and bow before Him who lives forever and ever, and they cast their crowns before the throne … Revelation 4:4,10

And I looked and saw a white horse, and he who sat on it holding a bow. And a crown was given to him, and he went out overcoming and to overcome. Revelation 6:2

And I looked and saw a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was One like the Son of Aḏam, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. Revelation 14:14

And His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns, having a Name that had been written, which no one had perceived except Himself. Revelation 19:12

At this point we have covered just about every book in the Bible, to some extent, apart from the ones that are not even worth covering because they do not even belong in it. So it should be plainly evident that the Bible’s position against the consumption of flesh is one of zero tolerance. All that is left almost completely unexamined is the remainder of the epistles (those of James, Peter, John and Jude) and the book of Revelation, which we have also covered briefly.

It is significant that 1 Peter is addressed to the “strangers (foreigners) of the dispersion (diaspora)” of the provinces of Asia, with Pontus and Galatia listed first among them. (2 Peter is, too, by implication of 3:1, though it is not explicitly stated.) Like Paul’s, Peter’s tone is one of criticism mixed with expectation, and his call to repentance and to perfection is no less absolute in its obligation than Paul’s is. Nor does he waste any time in making his admonitions, so we can plainly see what was on his mind when he was writing (or dictating) it. It also takes center stage in his second epistle, as well.

Therefore, having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, set your expectation perfectly upon the favour that is to be brought to you at the revelation of יהושע Messiah, as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance, instead, as the One who called you is set-apart, so you also should become set-apart in all behaviour, because it has been written, “Be set-apart, for I am set-apart.” [This is repeated three times in Leviticus: 11:44, 19:2 and 20:7. The first instance is actually in regards to what the Israelites were forbidden from eating (this is the context of Leviticus 11), and follows the command concerning purification after touching dead animals. The second is addressed to the entire Israelite camp rather than just the Levites, and so by default in Peter’s epistle, every Christian. The third says “so you must consecrate yourselves,” which is literally a matter of pursuing the crown of life. In each case, being “holy” is seen as a matter of not defiling oneself with the corpses of animals, or of making up for it through ritual purification and repentance.] And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear, knowing that you were redeemed from your futile way of life inherited from your fathers, not with what is corruptible, silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, foreknown, indeed, before the foundation of the world, but manifested in these last times for your sakes, who through Him believe in Elohim who raised Him from the dead and gave Him esteem, so that your belief and expectation are in Elohim. Now that you have cleansed your lives in obeying the truth through the Spirit to unfeigned brotherly love, love one another fervently with a clean heart, having been born again—not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible—through the living Word of Elohim, which remains forever, because “All flesh is as grass, and all the esteem of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the Word of Elohim remains forever.” And this is the Word, announced as Good News to you. [This is taken from Isaiah 40:6-8. Notice that it is the message of the voice in the wilderness, i.e. John the Baptist’s, which we have already examined, so once again it points back to the same thing: the restoration prophesied in the Prophets.] Having put aside, then, all evil, and all deceit, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil words, as newborn babes, desire the unadulterated milk of the Word [cf. Isaiah 28:9], in order that you grow by it, if indeed you have tasted that the Master is good. Drawing near to Him, a living Stone—rejected indeed by men, but chosen by Elohim and precious—you also, as living stones, are being built up, a spiritual house, a set-apart priesthood, to offer up spiritual slaughter offerings acceptable to Elohim through יהושע Messiah. Because it is contained in the Scripture, “See, I lay in Tsiyon a chief corner-stone, chosen, precious, and he who believes on Him shall by no means be put to shame.” [This is taken from Isaiah 28:16. The context concerns again the crown of splendor (“crown” is used three times at the beginning of the chapter), the restoration (v. 12: “This is the rest, give rest to the weary … This is the refreshing”), and the fact that Israel was disobedient and instead of obeying, entered “a covenant with death, and with the grave” (v. 15) at Jerusalem (v. 14). Only then does the text say, “Therefore thus said the Master Yahweh, ‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone … and your covenant with death shall be annulled, and your vision with the grave not stand’” (v. 18). Knowing all this, then, it is doubtless that Peter was advocating the abolition of the sacrifice once and for all, especially considering that he pulled the analogy of milk as knowledge from the very same chapter in Isaiah.] This preciousness, then, is for you who believe; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner-stone [Psalm 118:22],” and “A stone of stumbling and a rock that makes for falling [Isaiah 8:14],” who stumble because they are disobedient to the Word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a set-apart nation, a people for a possession, that you should proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light, who once were not a people, but now the people of Elohim; who had not obtained compassion, but now obtained compassion. Beloved ones, I appeal to you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts which battle against the life, having your behaviour among the gentiles good so that when they speak against you as evil-doers, let them, by observing your good works, esteem Elohim in a day of visitation. 1 Peter 1:13-2:12

Therefore, since Messiah suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so that he no longer lives the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but according to the desire of Elohim. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the desire of the gentiles, having walked in indecencies, lusts, drunkenness, orgies, wild parties, and abominable idolatries, in which they are surprised that you do not run with them in the same flood of loose behaviour, blaspheming, who shall give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the Good News was also brought to those who are dead [the living dead], so that, whereas they are judged according to men in the flesh, they might live according to Elohim in the spirit. 1 Peter 4:1-6

For this reason, brothers, all the more do your utmost to make firm your calling [initiation, baptism] and choosing [election, consecration], for if you are doing these matters you shall never stumble at all, for in this way an entrance into the everlasting reign of our Master and Saviour יהושע Messiah shall be richly supplied to you. And so I intend to remind you of these matters again and again, though you know them and have been established in the present truth. And I shall do my utmost also, to see to it that you always have a reminder of these matters after my departure. 2 Peter 1:10-12,15

And we have the prophetic word made more certain, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture came to be of one’s own interpretation, for prophecy never came by the desire of man, but men of Elohim spoke, being moved by the Set-apart Spirit. 2 Peter 1:19-21

For if Elohim did not spare the messengers who sinned, but sent them to Tartaros, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be kept for judgment, and did not spare the world of old, but preserved Noaḥ, a proclaimer of righteousness, and seven others, bringing in the flood on the world of the wicked, and having reduced to ashes the cities of Seḏom and Amorah condemned them to destruction—having made them an example to those who afterward would live wickedly, and rescued righteous Lot, who was oppressed with the indecent behaviour of the lawless (for day after day that righteous man, dwelling among them, tortured his righteous being by seeing and hearing their lawless works), then יהוה knows how to rescue the reverent ones from trial and to keep the unrighteous unto the day of judgment, to be punished, and most of all those walking after the flesh in filthy lust and despising authority—bold, headstrong, speaking evil of esteemed ones, whereas messengers [angels] who are greater in strength and power do not bring a slanderous accusation against them before the Master. But these, like natural unreasoning beasts, having been born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheme that which they do not know, shall be destroyed in their destruction, being about to receive the wages of unrighteousness, deeming indulgence in the day of pleasure, spots and blemishes, revelling in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes filled with an adulteress [translators’ bias: the Greek reads ὀφθαλμοὺς ἔχοντες μεστοὺς μοιχαλίδος, “having eyes full of adultery”], and unable to cease from sin, enticing unstable beings [tempting the weak-willed], having a heart trained in greed, children of a curse, having left the right way they went astray, having followed the way of Bilʽam the son of Beʽor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but he was rebuked for his transgression: a dumb donkey speaking with the voice of a man restrained the madness of the prophet. These are fountains without water, clouds driven by a storm, to whom the blackest darkness is kept forever. For speaking arrogant nonsense, they entice—through the lusts of the flesh, through indecencies—the ones who have indeed escaped from those living in delusion, promising them freedom, though themselves being slaves of corruption—for one is a slave to whatever overcomes him. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Master and Saviour יהושע Messiah, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the set-apart command delivered unto them. For them the proverb has proved true, “A dog returns to his own vomit [Proverbs 26:11],” and, “A washed sow returns to her rolling in the mud.” 2 Peter 2:4-22

John also finds the space to make similar exhortations in his brief letters. Anyone who would mistakenly invoke Paul in support of his own whoring has a similar obligation to listen to John, held by Christians to be the writer of Revelation and the apostle beloved by Yahshuah. Keep in mind that the first command God ever gave Man in the beginning was to eat only fruits.

And by this we know that we know Him, if we guard His commands. The one who says, “I know Him,” and does not guard His commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever guards His Word, truly the love of Elohim has been perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked. Beloved, I write no fresh command to you, but an old command which you have had from the beginning. The old command is the Word which you heard from the beginning. 1 John 2:3-7

Do not love the world nor that which is in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Because all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust of it, but the one doing the desire of Elohim remains forever. 1 John 2:15-17

And this is the love, that we walk according to His commands. This is the command, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. See to yourselves, that we do not lose what we worked for, but that we might receive a complete reward [the crown of life]. Everyone who is transgressing and not staying in the teaching of Messiah does not possess Elohim. The one who stays in the teaching of Messiah possesses both the Father and the Son. 2 John 6,8-9

Beloved ones, do not imitate the evil, but the good. The one who is doing good is of Elohim, but he who is doing evil has not seen Elohim. 3 John 11

James, too, has much to say about this subject, as we might suspect. His epistle is addressed to his “brothers” among the Yahudim of the diaspora. We already know from the Gospel of Thomas (12) that he was the one whom Yahshuah designated as his successor, and we know from Acts 15 what his position on eating meat was, and that the Christian converts among the Gentiles and among the diaspora all submitted to his authority on that particular matter, as did the rest of the apostles. So considering his position in relation to the apostles and the brotherhood at large, we can (and indeed, are obligated to) hold his epistle to be the final authority on the matters in question. That being said, here are some of the things he says about them:

And let endurance have a perfect work, so that you be perfect and complete, lacking in naught. James 1:4

For the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of Elohim. Therefore put away all filthiness and overflow of evil, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your lives. And become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror, for he looks at himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what he was like. But he that looked into the perfect Torah, that of freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer that forgets, but a doer of work, this one shall be blessed in his doing of the Torah. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is worthless [he is a son of Belial]. Clean and undefiled religion before the Elohim and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:20-27

For whoever shall guard all the Torah, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of Torah. So speak and so do as those who are to be judged by a Torah of freedom. For the judgment is without compassion to the one who has shown no compassion. And compassion boasts over judgment. My brothers, what use is it for anyone to say he has belief but does not have works? This belief is unable to save him. And if a brother or sister is naked and in need of daily food, but one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” but you do not give them the bodily needs, what use is it? So also belief, if it does not have works, is in itself dead. James 2:10-17

In other words, if you give someone bad food instead of nourishment (as opposed to that you tell him to eat but send him away hungry), what have you actually done for him? Contrast this notion of “daily food” (cf. “Give us this day our daily bread”) with the Christians’ oft-repeated assertion that everything including meat is acceptable and good to eat, because God allowed Noah and his sons to consume animal flesh—though this was obviously also before the dietary restrictions of the Torah, and the entire Israelite and Christian traditions, each of which was supposed to be progressively more perfect and closer to the Garden of Eden (i.e., the kingdom of heaven) ideal than the ones before it. In the spirit of this ideal, James does not just remark that God will have no compassion on those who have shown none (and Yahshuah has likewise said that we will be judged according to our own standards—pay heed, murderers!), but also that the “daily food” provided by the earth is “precious.”

See, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. James 5:7

The contrast is not between eating meat and not eating meat, but between what goes into a man’s mouth and what comes out of it. The reference is clearly to what was in the beginning, and what was also upheld in the “allowance” (the reiteration of the prohibition) of Genesis 9, with the stipulation that even though he may hold dominion over all other flesh, the man who cannot tame his tongue is not worthy of such dominion, and, in fact, is in violation of the entire Torah, “for in the image of Elohim has He made man,” and the spirit of the Torah is one of charity, humility and compassion. James is telling us that if a man cannot be expected to put the right things into his mouth, then neither can he expect the right things to come out of it. We would simply remark that this is common sense, but the Christians have completely missed it in the case of Yahshuah’s comment to the Pharisees, and overlooked where James has offered it.

So too the tongue is a little member, yet boasts greatly. See how a little fire kindles a great forest! And the tongue is a fire, the world of unrighteousness. Among our members the tongue is set, the one defiling the entire body, and setting on fire the wheel of life, and it is set on fire by Gehenna. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man is able to tame the tongue. It is unruly, evil, filled with deadly poison. With it we bless our Elohim and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of Elohim. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be so. James 3:5-10

So it is the wickedness of the tongue which is the poison defiling the body of Christ. To denounce and persecute a man for his righteousness, as mainstream pseudo-Christians routinely do when confronted about their sins by vegetarian Christians, is to be guilty of the gravest of sins—murder—as surely as to kill an innocent victim of one’s malice is. It is only every good and every perfect gift which come from the Father—not merely any poison/drug which the human body is at least partially capable of processing out of its body. These are “gifts,” yes, but gifts which, being death and decay, lead to the same.

Let no one say when he is enticed, “I am enticed by Elohim,” for Elohim is not enticed by evil matters, and He entices no one. But each one is enticed when he is drawn away by his own desires and trapped. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death. Do not go astray, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of turning. Having purposed it, He brought us forth by the Word of truth, for us to be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures. James 1:13-18

But someone might say, “You have belief, and I have works.” Show me your belief without your works, and I shall show you my belief by my works. You see, then, that a man is declared right by works [ritual purity], and not by belief [obedience] alone. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so also the belief is dead without the works. James 2:18,24,26

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good behaviour his works in meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast against and lie against the truth. This is not the wisdom coming down from above, but it is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and self-seeking are, there is confusion and every foul deed. But the wisdom from above is first clean, then peaceable, gentle, ready to obey, filled with compassion and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:13-18

Brothers, if anyone among you goes astray from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the straying of his way shall save a life from death and cover a great number of sins. James 5:19-20

Finally, the book of Jude was written by a certain “Yahudah (Judah), a servant of Yahshuah Messiah, and brother of Ya’aqob (Jacob, a.k.a. James)” (v. 1). His short epistle has no other theme than reiterating the same points made by James and the others. More than any other book in the Bible it is indicative of the animosity which the Nazarites had for the practice of whoring, and even more, for the mentality and the ideology now universally espoused by the Christians of the Roman persuasion.

Beloved ones, making all haste to write to you concerning our common deliverance, I felt the necessity to write to you urging you to earnestly contend for the belief which was once for all delivered to the set-apart ones. For certain men have slipped in, whose judgment was written about long ago, wicked ones perverting the favour of our Elohim for indecency, and denying the only Master יהוה and our Master יהושע Messiah. But I intend to remind you, though you once knew this, that יהוה, having saved a people out of the land of Mitsrayim, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the messengers who did not keep their own principality, but left their own dwelling, He has kept in everlasting shackles under darkness for the judgment of the great day. Even as Seḏom and Amorah and the cities around them in a similar way to these, having given themselves over to whoring and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, undergoing judicial punishment of everlasting fire. In the same way, indeed, these dreamers defile the flesh, and reject authority, and speak evil of esteemed ones. But Miḵa’ĕl the chief messenger, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Mosheh, presumed not to bring against him a blasphemous accusation, but said, “יהוה rebuke you!” But these blaspheme that which they do not know. And that which they know naturally, like unreasoning beasts, in these they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! Because they have gone in the way of Qayin, and gave themselves to the delusion of Bilʽam for a reward, and perished in the rebellion of Qoraḥ. These are rocky reefs in your love feasts, feasting with you, feeding themselves without fear, waterless clouds borne about by the winds, late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots, wild waves of the sea foaming up their own shame, straying stars for whom blackness of darkness is kept forever. And Ḥanoḵ, the seventh from Adam, also prophesied of these, saying, “See, יהוה comes with His myriads of set-apart ones, to execute judgment on all, to punish all who are wicked among them concerning all their wicked works which they have committed in a wicked way, and concerning all the harsh words which wicked sinners have spoken against Him.” These are grumblers, complainers, who walk according to their own lusts, and their mouth speaks proudly, admiring faces of others for the sake of gain. But you, beloved ones, remember the words spoken before by the emissaries of our Master יהושע Messiah, because they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own wicked lusts. These are the ones who cause divisions, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved ones, building yourselves up on your most set-apart belief, praying in the Set-apart Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of Elohim, looking for the compassion of our Master יהושע Messiah unto everlasting life. And show compassion toward some who are doubting, but others save with fear, snatching them out of the fire, hating, even the garment defiled by the flesh. Jude 3-23

This final remark here is not a metaphor for something else. Jude has told his audience to hate even the garment touched by the person whose flesh is defiled by meat. This is practically incredible, considering that the “sacrifice” of Yahshuah is supposed to be a covering for sin: in effect, Jude’s audience is being told to despise the clothing of sinners in the literal sense, and the core doctrine of mainstream Christianity (atonement) in the figurative. Yet the word for “coat” is actually the Greek word for ‘tunic’ or ‘undergarment’—that which touches the skin, not that which is put over the garment touching the skin. So we are obligated to take it literally: while the custom of the Nazarites was to avoid people who are defiled, as they are “dead,” Jude has added that we are to avoid their clothes, too. How much more, then, ought we to take seriously the commands to avoid the thing which causes them to be defiled!

The NIV footnote for this verse says “The Greek manuscripts of these verses vary at several points.” In truth, it is not “the Greek manuscripts” that vary, but the interpretations applied to them, which have caused some to abuse it in their attempts to destroy its meaning. We see this even more evident in the English renditions of the phrase “even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh” (NIV). Other translations read “the sins that contaminate their lives” (NLT), “even the clothes stained by their sinful lives” (ISV), “even though you are afraid that you might be stained by their sinful lives” (GOD’S WORD), “even the garment spotted by the flesh” (KJV, ASV, ERV, WBT, Darby), “even the garment stained by the flesh,” “also the spotted garment which is carnal” (Douay-Rheims), etc. Only Young’s Literal Translation even bothers to provide an accurate rendering of the ordering of the words with “even the coat from the flesh spotted,” implying that the translators were not intentionally changing its meaning in order to suit their purposes.

This is not rocket science. The examples of the sin being condemned in Jude are explicitly listed as the grumbling of the Israelites after the Exodus, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the apostasy of the Watchers in Enoch, so it ought to be exceedingly clear from this epistle alone that there is no justification for eating animal flesh in any capacity, ever. And that, more or less, concludes the Bible’s position against the eating of flesh. Anything else that can be said beyond it is just the leaven of Pharisees.

 

 

 

 


 

 

562 “Fellowship,” The Free Dictionary, http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fellowship.

563 Andrew Tarantola, “Why You Might Want to Rethink Going Gluten-Free,” Gizmodo, 10 Dec 2013, http://gizmodo.com/why-you-might-want-to-rethink-going-gluten-free-1475646469.