The Abomination of Desolation

Chapter 6: The Law

 

 

“Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and say to them, ‘I am יהוה your Elohim. Do not do as they do in the land of Mitsrayim, where you dwelt. And do not do as they do in the land of Kenaʽan, where I am bringing you, and do not walk in their laws. Do My right-rulings and guard My laws, to walk in them. I am יהוה your Elohim. And you shall guard My laws and My right-rulings, which a man does and lives by them. I am יהוה.’” Leviticus 18:2-5

 

Those who cling to the supposition that God is okay with people eating animals but also acknowledge that the “moral law” still has some precedence, even if the Law of Moses does not, now have 3 strikes against them: that we were originally given a strictly vegetarian diet, that we have been commanded not to kill, and that we have been commanded not to eat anything with blood in it, with the intent of prohibiting anything that has been genetically modified, which is “all flesh” now, as it was already that way before the Flood. While it is possible to avoid genetically modified plant foods, because the engineering of crops was only started recently by humans, and has not been extended to the full range of available plant foods yet, it is not possible to avoid genetically modified animal foods, because the engineering of animals was carried out by the malicious gods over 5000 years ago and has continued ever since.

Moreover, the only alleged allowance to eat flesh that was ever given by God only has any merit with the understanding that it would have been a temporary necessity for survival (and we dispute the validity of this interpretation emphatically). Even so, it was also the very thing which angered him so much that it caused mankind’s downfall and near-extinction. We do not live in a world where such means are necessary or even beneficial in any way whatsoever; therefore there is no allowance for it, no justification for it, and no reason for it. It is always a sin.

This should suffice to establish the mandate for strict vegetarianism in the Bible. However, some will object that there is no deliberate command in the New Testament to eat only that which is clean—i.e., no blood (not possible), no corruption (“without blemish”—not available since before the Flood, much less in the present age), and kosher/humane slaughter (not possible—oxymoron). Yet the idea that God simply changed his mind about the commands not to eat certain things, or that such rules do not apply to us, though they did to ancient Israel, begs the questions of how Christians can think they have inherited Israel’s legacy and therefore some sort of dispensation of God’s grace, how they can regard everything God says which they happen to agree with as universally applicable for all time when his will is clearly capricious and arbitrary by their logic, and why he ever issued such commands in the first place.

Those who would look to the New Testament for their immutable axiom must allow for it to speak for themselves. What it says is that anyone who would observe the Law is validated (James 1:25), and that anyone who falters on a single point breaks (and is condemned by) the whole of it (James 2:10). Like Jews, most Christians will argue that this means that we should not even try to obey God because our efforts are futile. Can anyone not see that all they are really trying to say is that they just do not care at all about what God wants of them, while invoking God’s Word as their justification? If we let the Bible speak for itself, what we do not find is that eating meat was ever allowed at all until “the fear of every living thing is upon you … they are delivered into your hands.”

“And the fear of you and the dread of you is on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the heavens, on all that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea—into your hand they have been given.” Genesis 9:2

The Bible uses the same idiom of things being given “into your hand” when speaking of cities and nations being conquered, or people being sold or taken into captivity. When seen in this light, the meaning of Genesis 9:3 becomes a lot clearer, and it becomes apparent that God recognized in Man his utter failure to carry out his function as the steward of his creation, and understood that he was its, and therefore his, greatest enemy. Furthermore, there is a scientific basis for this, and it only applies to those who eat meat and dairy—the implication being that the remarks are not directed at vegans! This makes sense if we consider that they were not even delivered to Noah until he was 600 years old, and were made as soon as he apparently ate an animal carcass for both the first and the last time in his long life.

The scientific basis is that animals become afraid of predators when they smell the odor of what they have been eating coming off of them. This certainly applies to human predators as well as any others, whether the humans intend to kill them or not. The animal smells dead animals exuding from the skin, and instinctively go on their guard.

While this may sound like a novel concept, it actually has roots in Scripture—just not any scriptures that Christians or even the Western world as a whole are aware of. Of course, Christians will balk at the notion that Buddhism and Christianity even share anything in common, much less that they both originated as offshoots of the same sect, but it still needs to be said, because it is impossible to fully comprehend one without the aid of the other, and this is one point which is discussed in the Buddhist scriptures but not in the Christian scriptures. We have noted already that the Mahayana sect technically forbids eating meat, but so does the Theravada tradition, though most Buddhists—even monks—are unaware of this. One remarkable passage in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the longest and most detailed account of the Buddha’s final teachings in the Pali Canon (and therefore the final authority on Buddhism according to the Theravada tradition), explains that it is impossible to have maha-maitri (‘great loving kindness,’ or ‘great compassion,’ i.e. agape) for other creatures when they are afraid of you, and that such fear is the tangible product of eating the flesh of other animals. Notice that the allowance was only even made due to the weakness of men, on a provisional basis, in order to get them to begin to be righteous, and that the true adept discerns the intent as to avoid all meat, as we have said about Genesis 9 and the Law of Moses.

Then Maha-Kasyapaika-gotra asked, “If it is very important to uphold the impropriety of meat-eating, would it not then be wrong to give meat to those who do not want meat?” [The question here is whether it is wrong to give meat to monks who do not want it, which by the Buddha’s reckoning should be every Buddhist monk, but clearly the implication extends to forcing one’s own food choices onto others, particularly their own children, who are vegans by nature—whence the practice of carnism ultimately originates.]

[The Buddha replied:] “Excellent, noble son, excellent! You have understood my intention. One who protects the authentic Dharma should not do that. Noble son, henceforth I do not permit my disciples to eat meat. If I have said that [one should view] the country’s alms-food as the flesh of one’s son, how could I permit the eating of meat? I teach that the eating of meat cuts off maha-maitri.”

“Blessed One, why did you permit the eating of meat that was blameless in three respects?”

“Because I stipulated these three types of blameless as a provisional basis of training; I now discard them.”

“Blessed One, what was your intention in talking of the ninefold great benefit and the abandoning of the ten types of meat?”

“Because those pronouncements were stipulated to restrict the eating of meat; they are also withdrawn.”

“Blessed One, what was your intention in stating that meat and fish are wholesome foodstuffs?”

“I did not say that meat and fish are wholesome foodstuffs, but I have said that sugar-cane, winter-rice, ordinary rice, wheat, barley, green lentils, black lentils, molasses, sugar, honey, ghee, milk and sesame oil are wholesome foodstuffs. If I have taught that even the various garments for covering the body should be dyed an unattractive color, then how much more so attachment to the taste of meat foods!”

“In that case, does it not follow that the five milk products, sesame, sesame oil, sugar-cane sap, conch-shell, silk and so forth also violate the precepts?”

“Don’t cleave to the views of the Nirgranthas [Jains]! I have imposed the bases of training upon you with a different intention: I stipulate that you should not even eat meat blameless in the three respects. Even those meats other than the ten [previously forbidden] kinds should be abandoned. The meat of corpses should also be abandoned. All creatures sense the odor and are frightened by meat-eaters, no matter if they are moving around or resting. If a person eats asafoetida or garlic, everybody else feels uncomfortable and alienated—whether in a crowd of many people or in the midst of many creatures, they all know that that person has eaten them. Similarly, all creatures can recognize a person who eats meat and, when they catch the odor, they are frightened by the terror of death. Wherever that person roams, the beings in the waters, on dry land or in the sky are frightened. Thinking that they will be killed by that person, they even swoon or die. For these reasons, Bodhisattva-mahasattvas do not eat meat. Even though they may appear to eat meat on account of those to be converted, since they do not actually eat ordinary food, then how much less so meat! Noble son, when many hundreds of years have elapsed after I have gone, there will be no stream-enterers, once-returners, non-returners or arhats. In the age of the Dharma’s decline, there will be monks who preserve the vinaya and abhidharma and who have a multitude of rituals, but who also look after their physical well-being, who highly esteem various kinds of meat, whose humors are disturbed, who are troubled by hunger and thirst, whose clothing looks a fright, who have robes with splashes of colour like a cowherd or a fowler, who behave like cats, who assert that they are arhats, who are pained by many hurts, whose bodies will be soiled with their own feces and urine, who dress themselves well as though they were munis [sages], who dress themselves as shramana [Samaritans, known to the Hindu culture as ascetic wanderers after the Babylonian exile], though they are not [cf. Revelation 2:9, 3:9], and who hold spurious writings to be the authentic Dharma. These people destroy what I have devised—the vinaya, rites, comportment and the authentic utterances that free and liberate one from attachment to what is improper, selecting and reciting passages from each of the sutras according to their inclinations [cf. 2 Peter 1:16-2:22]. Thus there will appear [so-called] shramana, sons of Shakyamuni [so-called Buddhists], who will claim that, ‘According to our vinaya, the Blessed One has said that alms of meat-stuffs are acceptable’ and who will concoct their own [scriptures] and contradict each other.

“Moreover, noble son, there will also be those who accept raw cereals, meat and fish, do their own cooking and [stockpile] pots of sesame oil; who frequent leather-makers, parasol-makers and royalty … The person I call a monk is one who abandons those things.”

“Blessed One, what should be done by monks, nuns, upasakas [male lay followers of Buddhism] and upasikas [female lay followers of Buddhism], who depend upon what is offered to them, to purify alms-food that contains meat in such places where the food has not been verified?”

“Noble son, I have taught that it does not contradict the vinaya in any way if they wash it [the vegetarian food, after the meat has been picked out or it has been verified that it had none] with water and then eat it. If it appears that the food in such places contains a lot of prepared meat, it should be rejected. There is no fault if one vessel touches another but the food is not actually mixed together. I say that even meat, fish, game, dried hooves and scraps of meat left over by others constitute an infraction. Previously, I taught this in cases arising from the needs of the situation. Now, on this occasion, I teach the harm arising from meat-eating. Being the time when I shall pass into Parinirvana, this is a comprehensive declaration.” Mahaparinirvana Sutra501

We can hardly fault the Buddha for diverging from the Samaritan and Jainist teachings which influenced him by allowing dairy in his disciples’ diets and silk (though not leather) into their lifestyles. After all, he was living in the 6th century BC, so it is not as though he had access to the most cutting edge scientific research available to us now. However, those living today have no such excuse, especially where it concerns things that were known and have been widely disseminated for that great amount of time, and in light of modern animal farming practices which did not exist back then and which cause a great deal of suffering. It is extremely implausible to suppose that the Buddha would not have been wholly opposed to animal farming practices based on this. So while he was not advocating veganism as we know it, he was certainly advocating the ethic behind it, which is what we will also find in the Old Testament in those places where milk from living creatures is allowed or even extolled as nourishing food for humans. The point here is to say that even food which has touched the flesh of murdered animals is unclean and must be washed or discarded, even if it means the monk has to go without food for the whole day, which is a concept we will see applied in the New Testament to the meat-eater himself. (Far from merely having been forbidden from eating meat, the Bible actually forbids Christians from touching meat-eaters. This is discussed in Chapter 10.)

Having established this precedent in the ancient scriptural traditions, this is undoubtedly what was meant when God told Noah that the fear of every living thing was on him—not that he was free to eat whatever he wished (which begs the question of why he imposed dietary restrictions on Israel later, and then did away with them again), but that the animals would no longer obey him, because he had defiled himself and they knew it. Compare this with the story of Daniel, which we will discuss later. Daniel tamed the lions that were set upon him to kill him, specifically because he chose to die instead of betraying his vegan ethic just once. Had he not been a vegan, a very different result would have ensued, as the Bible attests.

If this story seems far-fetched, then we simply need to give due consideration to the fact that taming lions and other carnivores is more than merely possible where there is no fear. For example, see the film Run With Lions,502 featuring Namibian conservationist Marlice van Vuuren. Van Vuuren runs the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary with her husband Rudi, and can attest that simply being kind to the most vicious carnivores and asserting dominance (dominion) over them may cause them to befriend you.

For years, we have been observing the reactions of wild animals to the presence of human vegans as opposed to those who eat animal flesh, secretions, and by-products. The animals seem to be able to detect the odor of people who eat animals, much like they do with animal predators, and it sparks a fear and flight reaction, which is exactly what we are told in Genesis 9:2. Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation503

So animals can smell fear, as the old saying goes. That is, the fear which animals have for us is a tangible byproduct of our consumption of animal proteins, and is not natural to these animals in regards to vegans, as well as people who take care of injured animals and have thus earned their trust through experience. So it is no wonder that it has been prophesied that different species which had been predator and prey will feed together, and that a little child will lead them; if animals are frightened by the scent of a meat-eating human, then of course they will also be frightened by the scent of a meat-eating nonhuman, but only due to that nonhuman’s diet, rather than its species or some other factor. Is this not obvious, based on what we have seen in the preceding chapter? It is obviously also the reason behind the remark in Genesis 9:2 (and consequently, of the “allowance” of 9:3), considering that just four verses earlier Noah is described as having just eaten meat, presumably for the first time in his life.

And Noaḥ built an altar to יהוה, and took of every clean beast and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. Genesis 8:20

The very next verse (Genesis 8:21) even says that Yahweh smelled the “sweet savor” (KJV, DV, ERV) or “pleasing aroma” (NIV, ESV, ISV), and that he decided (consequently, it seems) that he would not curse the earth again for man’s sake, nor ever destroy all the living creatures of Earth again. Even in this context, the condemnation of Man in 6:5 (that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time) is repeated and interjected, as if to remind the reader that God hates mankind and to preempt any notion of thinking that he suddenly must have been okay with mankind’s treachery now that he had relented and spared a few of them, thereby elevating them to the pinnacle and dominant position of his creation, above even himself. Note well that the mercy which God extends to Man is in spite of Man’s treachery, not because he was pleased with the aroma of one man’s sacrifice:

And יהוה smelled a soothing fragrance, and יהוה said in His heart, “Never again shall I curse the ground because of man, although the inclination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, and never again smite all living creatures, as I have done.” Genesis 8:21

This phrase, “pleasing aroma” (rendered “soothing fragrance” here), makes it seem as though God was delighted in the smell of the sacrifice from the previous verse. However, as with most of the cases which would seem to work against our thesis, it is simply a mistranslation with an overtly antithetical bias. The only English translation which gets it right is the Jubilee Bible, which says “And the LORD smelled a savour of rest.” In fact, what it says in the Hebrew is “Yahweh smelled the smell of Noah.” The name of Noah does mean ‘rest,’ but it is ‘rest’ in the sense of death (cf. נחת, H5183). The actual meaning of this phrase as it would have been understood to the Hebrew audience is ‘the smell of death,’ and pertains not to the sacrifice, but to the stench of the rotting corpses which the receding floodwaters was beginning to uncover. (For a detailed explanation of this, see Appendix B.6.)

So when God proceeds to say “The fear of every living thing is upon you,” it means that the stench of death has polluted the world, to the point that God repented of the destruction, though not of his abhorrence of the sin, and that he noticed this stench on Noah’s skin and clothes, if not that the animals knew that the destruction was wrought by humans. The Hebrew context clearly indicates that, upon smelling the stench of billions of rotting corpses, or possibly the smell of death on Noah (it is a play on words and can be read either way), God observed that the destruction which he regrettably unleashed on the whole world because of Man’s sin was lamentable. The smell actually made him decide he would never do it again, because the ground and the animals other than men were too precious to lay waste to again. The alternative, the way which it is commonly read, suggests that God wiped out the whole world because of this sin, and then decided the sin itself (murdering animals) was actually delightful and the Flood was unnecessary. To say that this is simply illogical is to give this position too much credit; to call it blasphemous is to merely hint at how much it provokes God’s wrath.

As for how this applies to the case of Daniel, it is common knowledge that, according to the story, Daniel was sentenced to death but emerged from a den of lions unscathed, while his companions were similarly sentenced to death and similarly emerged from a fiery furnace unscathed. What most people are unaware of is that they were all uncorrupted by food that others ironically considered fit for kings, and that the reason God protected them is that they practiced strict vegetarianism (i.e. veganism), even when threatened with martyrdom. The text of Daniel makes this very clear by contrasting the outcome of God’s protected servants against that of the non-vegetarians, because of the “fear of every living thing” that Christians so relish and revel in.

In the third year of the reign of Yehoyaqim, sovereign of Yehuḏah, Neḇuḵaḏnetstsar, sovereign of Baḇel came to Yerushalayim and besieged it. And יהוה gave Yehoyaqim sovereign of Yehuḏah into his hand, with some of the utensils of the House of Elohim, which he brought to the land of Shinʽar to the house of his mighty one. And he brought the utensils into the treasure house of his mighty one. And the sovereign said to Ashpenaz, the chief of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Yisra’ĕl and some of the sovereign’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, having insight in all wisdom, having knowledge and understanding learning, capable to stand in the sovereign’s palace, and to teach them the writing and speech of the Chaldeans. And the sovereign appointed for them a daily ration of the sovereign’s food and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end thereof they should stand before the sovereign. Now among them were from the sons of Yehuḏah: Dani’ĕl, Ḥananyah, Misha’ĕl, and Azaryah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names. For he called Dani’ĕl, Bĕlteshatstsar; and Ḥananyah, Shaḏraḵ; and Misha’ĕl, Mĕyshaḵ; and Azaryah, Aḇĕḏ-Neḡo. But Dani’ĕl laid it upon his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the sovereign’s food, nor with the wine which he drank. So he asked permission from the chief of the eunuchs not to defile himself. And Elohim granted Dani’ĕl kindness and compassion from the chief of the eunuchs, but the chief of the eunuchs said to Dani’ĕl, “I fear my master the sovereign, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would make my head guilty before the sovereign!” And Dani’ĕl said to the overseer whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Dani’ĕl, Ḥananyah, Misha’ĕl, and Azaryah, “Please try your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearances be examined before you, and the appearances of the young men who eat the portion of the sovereign’s food. And do with your servants as you see fit.” And he listened to them in this matter, and tried them ten days. And at the end of ten days their appearances looked better and fatter in flesh [NIV: “healthier and better nourished”] than all the young men who ate the portion of the sovereign’s food. And it came to be that the overseer took away their portion of food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. Daniel 1:1-16

Then the sovereign rose up very early in the morning and hurried to the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he called with a grieved voice to Dani’ĕl. The sovereign spoke and said to Dani’ĕl, “Dani’ĕl, servant of the living Elah, has your Elah, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Dani’ĕl said to the sovereign, “O sovereign, live forever! My Elah has sent His messenger and has shut the lions’ mouths, and they did not harm me, because I was found innocent before Him. And also before you, O sovereign, I have done no harm.” Then the sovereign was very glad and gave orders that Dani’ĕl be taken up out of the den. And Dani’ĕl was taken up out of the den, and no harm was found on him, because he trusted in his Elah. And the sovereign gave orders and they brought those men who had accused Dani’ĕl, and they threw them, their children, and their wives into the den of lions. And the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they reached the floor of the den. Daniel 6:19-24

This makes it abundantly clear that as late as the Babylonian captivity (i.e. during the Buddha’s own lifetime), at least several of the prophets (Samaritans/shramana) of the BC era considered the laws of God to forbid consumption of animal products, and that strict obedience demanded martyrdom before defilement. In fact, the ideals and the prophetic revelations of Daniel are so profoundly in line with the spirit of the New Testament that most scholars even dispute the book’s authenticity, claiming it is evidently a more recent forgery, while Jews reject it (and Daniel himself) altogether. And lest anyone think that having your bones crushed by a lion means something other than that it uses its powerful jaw to rip your flesh apart due to the scent of the meat in your body triggering its fight-or-flight instinct, there is also a precedent for determining that carnivores which are capable of crushing bones are unclean in the Law of Moses. This is significant, if for no other reason than that the authorship of Genesis is attributed to Moses, and to the same God that made the pronouncement of 9:3.

For example, the 15th century Sephardic biblical commentator and leader, the Abarbanel, explains why kosher animals are limited to those that “dividest the hoof … and chewest the cud …” (Leviticus 11:3). In his commentary on this verse, the Abarbanel advanced his theory that animals that chew the cud are not capable of crushing and chewing up bones. Therefore, they feed on plants and do not have the ferocity of wild animals. Their split hooves are without claws so they are peaceful and relatively harmless. Limiting people to such animals means that they avoid eating animals with a cruel and violent nature. Richard Schwartz504

This is not just a matter of whether an animal can crush you or not, due to its anatomy. It applies to the smallest of creatures which have a violent nature. For instance, virtually all insects eat foods that are unclean, and virtually all insects are unclean. There is (only) one exception to this rule, which is the locust: some locusts are unclean, but those which are traditionally kosher happen to be strictly vegetarian.505

The idea here is that eating something which is unclean makes a person so unclean that an animal can detect the change, particularly when the item in question is the flesh of an animal with a violent nature. This is all the more significant when we understand that our choice of food influences our own behaviors and emotions, which also have a profound impact on how animals interact with us. Experimental confirmations of this have been performed by scientists at MIT.506 Meat especially has long been utilized to induce aggression, particularly in military forces and particularly prior to battle.

While science has yet to ascertain the precise causes for this phenomenon, Carlo Sirtori (a professor at the University of Paris-Diderot’s Materials and Quantum Phenomena Laboratory) believes that meat’s phosphorus-to-calcium ratio of 50:1 is worthy of attention, being that this same ratio stands at 1:2 in human breast milk, while abnormal calcium levels have been linked to irritable, aggressive behavior.507 This is hardly surprising, considering that indigenous populations that have historically not engaged in agriculture have created violent societies in relation to those of settled populations, prior to the colonial expansions of the latter. That aggressive behaviors come about as a result of eating animal proteins is evident in the fact that mad cow disease has come about as a result of feeding meat to an animal that was not made to eat it. Likewise, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease was named after kuru (a related disease among the Fore natives of Papua New Guinea) was recognized as a prion (misfolded protein) disease.508 Kuru is thought to have been transmitted by the endocannibalistic rites of the Fore. (They used to eat their own dead; the disease is thought to have been transmitted via the brain matter.)

Now consider that Moses knew that the practices of the Canaanites entailed cannibalism, and that, therefore, if the Israelites adopted their customs, this would inevitably lead them to cannibalism. Obviously he would have had a big problem with this. According to Jewish tradition, Moses had been predestined by God to lead his people out of Egypt before he had been born, and the Exodus Rabbah actually claims that he was chosen to lead Israel specifically because of his kindness to animals, demonstrated by how he tended to his father-in-law’s sheep.

Moses, when tending Jethro’s flock in the wilderness, proved himself a tender shepherd. He was not above carrying a little lamb, becoming footsore in its search for water, on his shoulder back to the flock. God said, “This tender shepherd of man's flock shall be the shepherd of my own flock.” Moses, leading Jethro’s flock into the wilderness, was typical of his leading God’s flock in the wilderness. Sheltering, feeding, and getting drink for the sheep were the forerunners of his obtaining for Israel the sheltering protection of the pillars of fire and cloud, and a supply of manna, quails, and water in the wilderness. Exodus Rabbah 2:2-3

“He made his people go forth like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock” [Psalm 78:52]. “Like sheep”—like the sheep of Jethro which Moses led to the wilderness; so he led the Israelites through the wilderness, for as sheep are not brought into the dwelling-house, and there is no fixed fund out of which to maintain them, so was it with Israel; they had no buildings wherein to dwell, they had to pick up their food in the open. Not however like sheep destined for slaughter, for they are God’s holy flock; he who touches that which is holy unto the Lord incurs guilt, and be who touches Israel, God’s firstborn, shall offend; evil shall come upon them, says the prophet [Jeremiah 2]. Exodus Rabbah 24:2

If nothing else, the metaphor is obvious enough, especially in light of the greater context of Scripture, which often refers to priests as “shepherds,” whether they are “good” or “bad.” This metaphor begins with Abel, whose name means ‘father of the mighty (or of God).’ It extends to Noah, called a “preacher of righteousness” in 2 Peter 2:5, and persists well into the New Testament, where the last and greatest “moses” (messiah in Hebrew) deliberately describes himself as the “good shepherd” and expounds on the meaning. So whether or not Moses was indeed chosen to lead Israel into the Promised Land because of his kindness to animals, Yahshuah depicted himself in the same role. Christians would do well to comprehend this if they would follow him where he has led, but are convinced, contrary to Scripture (e.g., Isaiah 53:6, 1 Peter 2:25), that his role was not to guide them, but to die in the wilderness in their stead as a scapegoat for their gluttony.

For the purpose of understanding, it is very important that we do not simply “sacrifice” the Law of Moses in favor of something else, even if that be the higher heavenly law to which we appeal. Truly, the Law of Moses was never intended (whether by Moses or by God) to be a permanent fixture of any society, but only as a guiding light to the wandering Israel, yet its necessity is self-evident in light of what the Israelites were doing at the time it was given, and also how people still behave to this day. It is certainly not the final authority on the Bible’s position on anything, but we would be remiss to overlook that it points to the final authority, which is far more demanding. Any examination of what the final position of the Bible on anything actually is must by necessity begin with an examination of the Law of Moses, because everything else derives from it. Even the Genesis narrative is simply Moses’ take on Israel’s history, leading into the laws set forth in the rest of the Pentateuch. Without a proper (as opposed to superficial) examination of these laws, no one can claim any understanding of the rest of Scripture. Thus the meaning and purpose of the dietary restrictions in the Law of Moses are critical to understanding what the Bible’s position on the eating of flesh is.

Basically, the dietary restrictions instituted by Moses allow for anything which is plant-based, and disallow those animals which were known to have been the most corrupted (and corrupting) in their DNA at that time, as evidenced by either their carnivorous appetites or their nature as scavengers (omnivores). Viewed in this light, the word which we translate as ‘unclean’ carries the meaning of ‘defiled’—by blood. Therefore, even a list of clean animals can be presented in favor of the argument against eating meat, because it is unhealthy (unclean) to eat the carnivorous animals which violate the rule of Genesis 9:4. (Predators and scavengers never cook or drain the blood of their prey. Only humans do these things. For example, if a wolf is unclean because it eats a deer, then so are we if we do the same. The only difference is that we would cook and clean it, and it is the act of killing and the act of eating, and the will to do both, that makes one unclean, not how the acts are performed.) Nor is this view of corruption simply arbitrary; it is based on principles which scientists are now beginning to observe, and which are therefore no less applicable to us today than they were to ancient Israel. If we fail to observe the intent of the Law, which is to prohibit us from defiling ourselves, then we invalidate the whole thing, for the Law itself makes clear its own intent and how we are to go about fulfilling it.

“Do not eat whatever is abominable.” Deuteronomy 14:3

So we see that God wanted us to avoid eating meat as much because the act defiles us and makes us naturally violent, as that it destroys other sentient creatures. Constantly violating this rule therefore amounts to wholesale contempt for God’s plan for us to live and prosper. This is why breaking the Law on a single point means violating the whole thing, because it amounts to total, resolute rejection of God’s authority to tell us how to live. Contrary to the Christians’ belief, it does not mean accidentally or even consciously making one mistake once, but repeating such a mistake without repenting, thus displaying the will to perpetuate it indefinitely.

Assuming all this is true, we would expect to see a lot of evidence in the Bible to suggest that people who ate meat were disliked or even punished by God for it, and that those who were determined to carry on in their transgressions were regarded as apostate. Indeed, this is exactly what the evidence suggests. In fact, without the pre-established understanding of carnism being the central feature behind Man’s sin and rebellion against God, most of the condemnations of sin in the Bible do not even make sense, unless we just suppose that God is a vindictive autocrat concerned solely with his own authority rather than the well-being of his people. That is just not the God of the Bible, whose reason for telling us how to live is “that it might be well with you.”

“Guard, and obey all these words which I command you, that it might be well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of יהוה your Elohim.” Deuteronomy 12:28

Christians will firmly assert that the Law of Moses has been discarded in favor of placing one’s faith in Christ, as though what is good for us has somehow changed, with the premise that having faith in Christ means you do not obey him, rather than that you do. This is supposed to be a blessing, as it is presumed that following the Law is impossible, even though Scripture (e.g. Luke 1:5-6) contradicts this notion. Following this logic, Christians interpret this conclusion (if only subconsciously) as encouragement to flaunt their supposed freedom from laws, especially God’s and Moses’. However, the man who they claim freed them from “subservience” to Moses explicitly stated that he never had any intention of abolishing the Law (Matthew 5:17-18).

Indeed, Yahshuah followed this declaration by “completing” the Law (i.e. filling in the gaps and explaining it) in such a way as to demonstrate that his standards are much greater and more demanding than what Moses imposed upon the Israelites. The word translated as “complete” in Matthew 5 is πληρόω (pleróo, G4317), which means ‘fulfill,’ as in fulfilling a prophecy, and this is how it is practically always rendered in English. Of the other sixteen uses of pleróo in Matthew, only three do not explicitly refer to the fulfillment of a particular prophecy, and one of those three (3:5) is the most indicative of its meaning in 5:17, where Yahshuah declares that he is making an effort to humble himself and fulfill the mandates of Scripture (in the Prophets) even where the Law does not require anything, in order to fulfill “all righteousness.” Is it not remarkable, then, that Christians feel that their very identity as Christians compels them to reject all standards?

The Christians’ flawed interpretation of the New Testament has much to do with the fact that they view the Law of Moses as a collection of rules that are largely nonsensical. In their minds, God’s original commands to the Israelites were silly, useless and capricious, and not even relevant to Jews (whom they hold to be the “physical” remnant of Israel) anymore. If pressed to offer an explanation for the purpose of such laws, if they were only going to become irrelevant again within 1500 years, they might respond that God is always testing our faith by making demands and seeing whether we obey. In essence, then, God’s laws not only make no sense, but this is done purposefully in order to test our obedience to his supreme, dictatorial authority, because he is unsure of how else to judge us. This detracts from his wisdom and benevolence, which are among his defining characteristics, thus reducing God to the level of Mars and Jupiter.

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. For even if there are so-called mighty ones, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many mighty ones [gods] and many masters [baals]—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. However, not all have this knowledge. 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. 1 Corinthians 8:4-7

We will have much to say about the context of this passage later. The knowledge which Paul is speaking about (v. 3) is the knowledge and love of God. And God is known by his laws, which are the express dictates of his will, and therefore of his being, which are evidence not of his lust for power, which he already has without limitation, but of his beneficent intent. For as we have observed in The End of Learning:

The practices of virtue, as well as those of vice, may be the effect of a mere habit, one may acquire a taste for them; but when virtue is reasonable, when it is related to God, who is the supreme reason of things, it is founded on knowledge. One cannot love God without knowing his perfections, and this knowledge contains the principles of true piety. The purpose of religions should be to imprint these principles upon our souls: but in some strange way it has happened all too often that men, that teachers of religion have strayed far from this purpose. Contrary to the intention of our divine Master, devotion has been reduced to ceremonies and doctrine has been cumbered with formulae. All too often these ceremonies have not been well fitted to maintain the exercise of virtue, and the formulae sometimes have not been lucid. Can one believe it? Some Christians have imagined that they could be devout without loving their neighbor, and pious without loving God; or else people have thought that they could love their neighbor without serving him and could love God without knowing him. Gottfried W. Leibniz509

This failure to know (and therefore love/obey) God is clearly seen in the way that Christians, if they have even bothered to study the Law of Moses at all, categorize its contents in order to selectively choose which aspects of it to obey while acting as though it was actually God who decided to enforce some parts of his own law while rejecting others. The titles of such divisions usually include “moral laws,” “social laws,” “food laws,” and “purity laws.”510 The obvious implication of these divisions is that there was no moral reason for the issuance of the dietary laws, or the sacrificial system, or the feasts, or anything else that is arbitrarily lumped into anything other than the “moral laws” classification. So it really is no wonder that Christians are pleased to declare their freedom from such nonsense, though it is absurd and blasphemous of them to attribute their own nonsense to God.

Does it really need to be argued that the God that all Christians acknowledge as all-knowing, all-wise, all-powerful and all-loving would command anything without perfectly good reasons for doing so, especially where it is a gross violation of his expressly stated will (as indicated in Genesis 2)? Of course, to admit that this manner of reasoning is flawed would be to implicitly acknowledge that the Law of Moses is still applicable in modern times, or at least can be highly instructive as to how we ought to be living. This might not be so, had Christians done their duty and followed Christ’s call to adhere to the natural law. Instead, having failed so magnificently, we now find ourselves in the position where a legal code that is nearly 3500 years old has a lot to teach us.

Consider, for example, the so-called dietary and purity laws, both of which are no doubt viewed by Christians as irrelevant or by secularists as superstitious, at best. As we have seen, the divisions between clean and unclean animals were given for reasons that very few people can begin to grasp, even now. And as we have learned from the study conducted on poultry farmers and slaughterers, the mere act of handling chickens can result in the genetic modification of bacteria in our digestive tract, causing cancer. So we might then be justified in considering the possibility that all the ancient obsessiveness with ritual purity was not mere paranoia and superstition, but tangibly beneficial, and thousands of years ahead of its time. This consideration does not contradict and diminish God’s attributes, as does the Christian point of view, but rather, it establishes them. Therefore it needs to be assumed a priori unless another sufficient explanation can be given for the same purpose.

Indeed, the other divisions of the Law have no less weight and import for us than the so-called moral law portion. The Law existed, and still exists, because God is our Father, and we are his children. A parent will desire that his child would obey without ceaselessly questioning and undermining his authority, if only to avoid explanations that cannot even be properly appreciated at the child’s current level of knowledge and maturity. No sensible human parent would entertain the thought of failing to impose controls over his children even for a moment, knowing full well that to do so would result in disaster. When all Christians will insist that they are God’s children, while with some degree of shame admitting that they are rebellious and untrustworthy, do they really think that God is so irresponsible as to allow them to do whatever they want, or that they are responsible enough to handle such freedom, when even they will admit and profusely insist upon the contrary?

“Or is there a man among you who, if his son asks for bread, shall give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, shall he give him a snake? If you then, being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in the heavens give what is good to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you wish men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Torah and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:9-12

And it came to be, when יהושע had ended these words, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He was teaching them as one possessing authority, and not as the scribes. Matthew 7:28-29

If Yahshuah himself, the supreme authority on the Law in the mind of every Christian, has declared that the Law is a “good gift,” then no Christian has any basis at all for rejecting it, apart from deliberate apostasy. In the very same speech, we are told to enter the narrow gate (life), that there are few who find it, that few apply his teachings, and that only such (not sinners) will be admitted into the kingdom of heaven. Consider the analogy of the Flood, and that the closest thing we have to a real name for Noah is from the Epic of Gilgamesh: Utnapishtim, which means ‘He found life.’

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does them, shall be like a wise man who built his house on the rock, and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not do them, shall be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand, and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat on that house, and it fell, and great was its fall.” Matthew 7:24-27

“Enter in through the narrow gate! Because the gate is wide—and the way is broad—that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter in through it. Because the gate is narrow and the way is hard pressed [‘afflicted’] which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

Now, we have covered the book of Genesis in sufficient detail to show that God’s intent was to give us life and the means to sustain it, including the information about what we must eat in order to do so. Therefore, in order to show that the Law (which is the rest of the Pentateuch) is in harmony with this spirit, we only need to demonstrate that it does not contradict it. To this end, we have chosen one chapter from Exodus and one from Numbers, and selected excerpts from Leviticus and Deuteronomy, to demonstrate how all five books are in perfect harmony. (Really, they were never even seen as five separate books prior to the Classical Era, when Jews began dividing the Law into separate parts, the way Christians divide it now. Back then, it was simply known as the Law, or the “scriptures of Moses.”) We begin with Exodus 16, which describes the events which took place right after Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.

And they set out from Ělim, and all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Ělim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their going out of the land of Mitsrayim. And all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl grumbled against Mosheh and Aharon in the wilderness. And the children of Yisra’ĕl said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of יהוה in the land of Mitsrayim, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to satisfaction! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to put all this assembly to death with hunger.” And יהוה said to Mosheh, “See, I am raining bread from the heavens for you. And the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, in order to try them, whether they walk in My Torah or not. “And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” And Mosheh and Aharon said to all the children of Yisra’ĕl, “At evening you shall know that יהוה has brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim. And in the morning you shall see the esteem of יהוה, for He hears your grumblings against יהוה. And what are we, that you grumble against us?” And Mosheh said, “In that יהוה gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to satisfaction, for יהוה hears your grumblings which you make against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against יהוה.” And Mosheh said to Aharon, “Say to all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘Come near before יהוה, for He has heard your grumblings.’” And it came to be, as Aharon spoke to all the congregation of the children of Yisra’ĕl, that they looked toward the wilderness and see, the esteem of יהוה appeared in the cloud. And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, “I have heard the grumblings of the children of Yisra’ĕl. Speak to them, saying, ‘Between the evenings you are to eat meat, and in the morning you are to be satisfied with bread. And you shall know that I am יהוה your Elohim.’” And it came to be that quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And the layer of dew went up, and see, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. And the children of Yisra’ĕl saw, and they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Mosheh said to them, “It is the bread which יהוה has given you to eat. This is the word which יהוה has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, an omer for each being, according to the number of beings. Let every man take for those who are in his tent.’” And the children of Yisra’ĕl did so and gathered, some more, some less. And they measured it by omers, and he who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little. Each one gathered according to his need. And Mosheh said, “Let no one leave any of it until morning.” And they did not listen to Mosheh, so some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Mosheh was wroth with them. And they gathered it every morning, each one according to his need. And when the sun became hot, it melted. And it came to be, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Mosheh. And he said to them, “This is what יהוה has said, ‘Tomorrow is a rest, a Sabbath set-apart to יהוה. That which you bake, bake; and that which you cook, cook. And lay up for yourselves all that is left over, to keep it until morning.’” And they laid it up till morning, as Mosheh commanded. And it did not stink, and no worm was in it. And Mosheh said, “Eat it today, for today is a Sabbath to יהוה, today you do not find it in the field. Gather it six days, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there is none.” And it came to be that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And יהוה said to Mosheh, “How long shall you refuse to guard My commands and My Torot [‘laws’]? See, because יהוה has given you the Sabbath, therefore He is giving you bread for two days on the sixth day. Let each one stay in his place, do not let anyone go out of his place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day. And the house of Yisra’ĕl called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like thin cakes made with honey. And Mosheh said, “This is the word which יהוה has commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it, to keep for your generations, so that they see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim.’” And Mosheh said to Aharon, “Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and set it down before יהוה, to keep for your generations.” As יהוה commanded Mosheh, so did Aharon set it down before the Witness, to keep. And the children of Yisra’ĕl ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Kenaʽan. And an omer is one-tenth of an ĕphah. Exodus 16

Note the significance of the fact that Yahweh commanded them to keep a pot of manna in the Ark of the Covenant. It is not as though he commanded them to preserve some lamb’s blood for posterity, as a sign of any covenant he made between himself and them. As a matter of fact, there was no such covenant. The covenants stipulated that they would obey him, and the manna was the sign of their obedience (i.e. of their observance of the law against eating flesh), as well as of his graciousness. A pot of lamb’s blood or a sirloin would have been a sign of their disobedience to witness against them in future generations, as the Golden Calf was and is.

This narrative clearly shows that the Israelites were discontent with their food options—bread from heaven, even, which more than qualifies as a “good gift” from the Father. More to the point, the Law itself is seen to be the good gift, because the purpose of the manna was “to try them” to see whether or not they would follow God’s commands—a fact which is confirmed in Deuteronomy 8:16, “so that in the end it might go well with you.” The clear implication of their failure is that meat was only allowed at all under Moses because they refused to obey and be content with the gift of manna. (That is, the Law of Moses was only instituted because they refused to obey the heavenly law.) This is affirmed in Moses’ remark in verse 8, “for Yahweh hears your grumblings which you make against him,” and by God’s in verse 12, “you are to be satisfied with bread.” Clearly, then, the Law was indeed only ever intended for sinners, as Paul declares when he upholds its validity.

And we know that the Torah is good if one uses it legitimately, knowing this: that Torah is not laid down for a righteous being, but for the lawless and unruly, for the wicked and for sinners, for the wrong-doers and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for those who whore, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and for whatever else that is contrary to sound teaching, according to the esteemed Good News of the blessed Elohim which was entrusted to me. 1 Timothy 1:8-11

This is extremely significant, because the context of Exodus 16 is immediately after the Exodus, just before the Law was given to Israel. God explicitly states in verse 4 that his law is to eat bread rather than meat, and the context makes it clear that this law existed before Moses was given the tablets at Mt. Sinai. That is to say that God’s eternal law is described in this context as vegetarianism, and had it not been for the Israelites’ refusal to obey it, no new law with all its dietary restrictions would have been issued, because the people would have been righteous and not in need of one. This fact alone is sufficient to demonstrate that the Law of Moses in its entirety is valid for all sinners (i.e., Christians) and anyone who would desire meat rather than God’s Word (the real “bread from heaven”), and that it is indicative of God’s immutable will, but also that it is totally irrelevant to anyone who already obeys the law upon which the Law of Moses was founded, defined as simply choosing bread over meat without complaining. This is also the main focus of Hebrews, which was intended to call those under the Law to repentance.

For the Torah, having a shadow of the good matters to come, and not the image itself of the matters, was never able to make perfect those who draw near with the same slaughter offerings which they offer continually year by year. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered? Because those who served, once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those offerings is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, coming into the world, He says, “Slaughtering and meal offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and offerings for sin You did not delight. Then I said, ‘See, I come—in the roll of the book it has been written concerning Me—to do Your desire, O Elohim.’” Saying above, “Slaughter and meal offering, and burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor delighted in,” which are offered according to the Torah, then He said, “See, I come to do Your desire, O Elohim.” He takes away the first to establish the second. By that desire we have been set apart through the offering of the body of יהושע Messiah once for all. And indeed every priest stands day by day doing service, and repeatedly offering the same slaughter offerings which are never able to take away sins. But He, having offered one slaughter offering for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of Elohim, waiting from that time onward until His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being set apart. Hebrews 10:1-14

Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer a slaughter offering for sin. Hebrews 10:18

From the above, two things are immediately evidenced: 1) Without repentance and remission of sins, i.e. “year by year,” the offering itself is a visual demonstration not of the ceremonial expurgation of sin, but of its perpetual practice! 2) Yahshuah came to abolish the sacrificial system, i.e. flesh-eating. Christians will implicitly agree with the latter conclusion, yet fail to understand its meaning; they will interpret it to mean that he came to establish a better, more effectual sacrifice in place of the old one. Yet the point is not to say that the blood of bulls and goats cannot effect salvation, but that blood cannot do that, because blood cannot actually pay for blood, as there is no restitution of life. Consider that the loved ones of homicide victims who watch their murderers’ executions report that they are satisfied that justice has been done, but that the satisfaction is hollow, as all they really want is for their loved ones to be restored. Consider also that this is impossible, short of divine intervention. We do not inherit life (that is, resurrection) because of Yahshuah’s death, but because of our deaths, which cancel the debt incurred by our sins (Romans 6:5-7), and because of our redemption while we lived, which happens by way of our following the example of his life, when we stop sinning (i.e. when we learn from his example, and obey the commandments).

New Testament context aside, other things are immediately apparent from the Exodus narrative. The fact that Moses himself was angered by the Israelites’ refusal to obey the command not to leave any of the manna as leftover, even when they were content to live on it rather than on meat, shows that Moses had no more intention of seeing them fall into apostasy than God did. Nowhere is this more evident than in Numbers 11, which records a confrontation so profound that God miraculously intervened to save Moses from a great rebellion against him (Moses) because he was God’s agent. Obviously the cause of the rebellion was the Israelites’ refusal to obey, because they were indeed discontented to eat manna instead of meat. Note that it was not for their own sake that the Israelites were spared, but for Moses’.

And it came to be, when the people were as complainers, it was evil in the ears of יהוה. And יהוה heard it, and His displeasure burned. And the fire of יהוה burned among them, and consumed those in the outskirts of the camp. And the people cried out to Mosheh, and Mosheh prayed to יהוה, and the fire died down. Then he called the name of the place Taḇʽĕrah, because the fire of יהוה had burned among them. And the mixed multitude who were in their midst lusted greatly, so the children of Yisra’ĕl also wept again and said, “Who is giving us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate without cost in Mitsrayim, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic, but now our throat is dried up. There is naught to look at but this manna!” Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like the appearance of bdellium. The people went about and gathered it, ground it on millstones or beat it in the mortar, and cooked it in a pot, and made cakes of it. And its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil. And when the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna fell on it. And Mosheh heard the people weeping throughout their clans, each man at the door of his tent. And the displeasure of יהוה burned exceedingly. And in the eyes of Mosheh it was evil, so Mosheh said to יהוה, “Why have You done evil to Your servant? And why have I not found favour in Your eyes, to put the burden of all these people on me? Was it I who conceived all these people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as the foster father carries a nursing child,’ to the land which You swore to their fathers? Where am I to get meat to give to all these people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat to eat.’ I am unable to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. And if You are doing this to me, please slay me altogether, if I have found favour in Your eyes, and let me not see my evil!” Then יהוה said to Mosheh, “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Yisra’ĕl, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them. And bring them to the Tent of Meeting, and let them stand there with you. And I shall come down and speak with you there, and shall take of the Spirit that is on you, and put on them. And they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you do not bear it yourself alone. And say to the people, ‘Set yourselves apart for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, because you have wept in the hearing of יהוה, saying, “Who is giving us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Mitsrayim.” And יהוה shall give you meat, and you shall eat. You are going to eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a month of days, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes an abomination to you, because you have rejected יהוה who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we come up out of Mitsrayim?”’” And Mosheh said, “The people in whose midst I am are six hundred thousand men on foot, and You, You have said, ‘I give them meat to eat for a month of days.’ Could flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to be sufficient for them? Or could all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to be sufficient for them?” And יהוה said to Mosheh, “Is the arm of יהוה too short? Now see whether My word meets you or not!” And Mosheh went out and spoke to the people the words of יהוה, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the Tent. And יהוה came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him, and placed the same upon the seventy elders. And it came to be, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, but did not continue. However, two men had remained in the camp. The name of one was Eldaḏ, and the name of the other Mĕyḏaḏ. And the Spirit rested upon them. Now they were among those listed, but did not go out to the Tent. And they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and informed Mosheh, and said, “Eldaḏ and Mĕyḏaḏ are prophesying in the camp.” And Yehoshua son of Nun, Mosheh’s assistant from his youth, answered and said, “Mosheh my master, forbid them!” Then Mosheh said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Oh, that all the people of יהוה were prophets, that יהוה would put His Spirit upon them!” And Mosheh returned to the camp, both he and the elders of Yisra’ĕl. And a wind went forth from יהוה, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits above the surface of the ground. And the people were up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail. He who has least gathered ten ḥomers. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. The meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, and the wrath of יהוה burned against the people, and יהוה smote the people with an exceeding great plague. Then he called the name of that place Qiḇroth Hatta’awah, because there they buried the people who had lusted. From Qiḇroth Hatta’awah the people set out for Ḥatsĕroth—and they were at Ḥatsĕroth. Numbers 11

Note the significance of the timing of Eldad and Medad’s prophesying, and of Moses’ approval of it. The narrative leaves no room for interpreting it any other way than that they were trying to warn people not to eat meat, or at least to stop grumbling over it and submit to God’s will (i.e. that they not eat meat). To be a prophet, according to this passage, is to abstain from eating flesh, and to prophesy is to warn against it. This is exactly the same thing that we will see in regards to Acts 15:22-32, where Judas and Silas are explicitly called prophets, and are depicted as prophesying simply by encouraging people to abstain. The only difference, then, between a prophet of God and an animal rights activist is cultural context.

More than anything, this narrative demonstrates that the Israelites were still grumbling after God sent them the manna because they missed their Egyptian diet. God was infuriated, and Moses thought their choice was “evil,” but was happy to have any amount of competition from anyone who would simply agree with him on that point. Needless to say, if simply desiring to eat meat is “evil,” then the Law allows no justification for the act itself, and we can plainly see that the spirit of Law is the same as that in Genesis, and in the New Testament. In every case, it is an abomination. The word ‘abomination’ is even used here in Numbers 11:20, as elsewhere (e.g., Leviticus 11:20), except that the people themselves became so sick of it that they regarded it as abominable, whereas normally it is God or one of his prophets who calls it such.

Forcing this overtly vegetarian view on them by forcing them to eat meat until they had developed a taste aversion is the only reason God gave any animals to the Israelites to be taken as meat. It is not as though the remark (v. 22) about their appetite being insatiable brings no condemnation with it, or that it is any less relevant to the common Christian who eats far more flesh than the average Israelite did. We might suppose that God punished their apostasy with the plague (v. 33), but common sense should tell us that eating nothing for a whole month other than a single item which is poisonous will inevitably result in severe malnutrition, and therefore disease. God did not give them the quail and then strike them with disease, but the disease was the natural consequence of their own decision to complain until he relented and then proceeded to stuff their faces with it. Either way, given the way it is depicted, the writer of Numbers obviously found meat-eating to be altogether abominable, just as God does.

This theme is also evident elsewhere, such as in Numbers 31:16, where the prophet (or “diviner,” i.e. serpent) Balaam returns to King Balak of Moab and informs him how to get the Israelites to curse themselves before entering the Promised Land by enticing them with “sexual immorality” and unclean food sacrificed to idols—practices which were still in effect as of the 1st century, according to Revelation 2:14. Balaam is regarded as wicked, which is no surprise in light of the fact that he abused his donkey (22:28), which is the only time an animal has a voice and speaks in its own defense in the Bible, whereupon an angel discloses that the obedience of the donkey is the only reason he has not killed Balaam.

This story is anecdotal; the strongest evidence from the Law itself is the allowance given the Nazarites in Numbers 6, they being the only people in Israel to whom the Law of Moses did not apply. The Nazarites were not under the Law of Moses because they were “set apart” (holy) and wholly dedicated to Yahweh, and therefore regarded by the Law as perfect and blameless, and therefore having no need of it. In other words, God allowed anyone who wanted to be dedicated to him to completely bypass the laws which applied to everyone else in Israel. This can only make sense if we understand that the Law of Moses was for the unrighteous, and the law of the Nazarites was for the righteous. So the defining characteristics of the Nazarites are the measure of righteousness by the Bible’s standards, which everyone who desired to live among them had to adopt beforehand, so as not to contaminate the Nazarite community upon arrival.

And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, and say to them, ‘When a man or woman does separate, by making a vow of a Nazirite, to be separate to יהוה, he separates himself from wine and strong drink—he drinks neither vinegar of wine nor vinegar of strong drink, neither does he drink any grape juice, nor eat grapes or raisins. All the days of his separation he does not eat whatever is made of the grapevine, from seed to skin. All the days of the vow of his separation a razor does not come upon his head. Until the days are completed for which he does separate himself to יהוה, he is set-apart. He shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow long. All the days of his separation to יהוה he does not go near a dead body. He does not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother or his sister, when they die, because his separation to Elohim is on his head. All the days of his separation he is set-apart to יהוה. And when anyone dies beside him in an instant, suddenly, and he has defiled the head of his separation, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing—on the seventh day he shaves it. And on the eighth day he brings two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the door of the Tent of Meeting, and the priest shall prepare one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and shall make atonement for him, because he sinned by reason of the dead body. And he shall set apart his head on that day, and shall separate to יהוה the days of his separation, and shall bring a male lamb a year old, as a guilt offering. But the former days are not counted, because his separation was defiled. And this is the Torah of the Nazirite: When the days of his separation are completed, he is brought to the door of the Tent of Meeting, and he shall bring his offering to יהוה: one male lamb a year old, a perfect one, as a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb a year old, a perfect one, as a sin offering, and one ram, a perfect one, as a peace offering, and a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, and unleavened thin cakes anointed with oil, and their grain offering with their drink offerings. And the priest shall bring them before יהוה and prepare his sin offering and his burnt offering. And he shall prepare the ram as a peace offering to יהוה, together with the basket of unleavened bread. And the priest shall prepare its grain offering and its drink offering. And the Nazirite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the Tent of Meeting, and shall take the hair from the head of his separation and shall put it on the fire which is under the slaughtering of the peace offering. And the priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake from the basket, and one unleavened thin cake, and put them upon the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his hair of separation. Then the priest shall wave them, a wave offering before יהוה. It is set-apart for the priest, besides the breast of the wave offering and besides the thigh of the contribution. And afterwards the Nazirite shall drink wine.’ This is the Torah of the Nazirite who vows to יהוה the offering for his separation, and besides that, whatever else his hand is able to provide. According to the vow which he takes, so he shall do according to the Torah of his separation.” Numbers 6:1-21

From this it is evident that the Nazarites were supposed to be vigilant in their holiness to the point of adopting it as their lifestyle, and that according to their law, simply being in the presence of a dead body was considered an act of defilement. This ought to inform us why Yahshuah neglected to attend the funeral of his friend Eliazar (Lazarus). More importantly for us, it means that the law of the Nazarites prohibited the eating of flesh. And only the Nazarites were holy in Israel, as evidenced by the fact that they were the only ones who were not subject to the Law of Moses (unless they became defiled, which required purification, or were returning to it after completing a period of dedication, but failure meant rededication and doing the whole period from the beginning again). Moreover, this also necessarily means that the prophets were all Nazarites, as discussed in the next chapter, and that the disparity between the Law and the Prophets is attributable to the fact that the standard of righteousness under God’s law is more demanding than that of the Law of Moses.

Obviously there is a reason all for these rules and rituals, apart from mere capriciousness. Numbers 6 shows that the Nazarites were forbidden from drinking anything which is intoxicating—the only of Noah’s sins which is explicitly recorded in the Bible as sinful. The implication is that alcohol defiles the human body because it is poisonous, or even that it defiles the mind by making the drinker susceptible to suggestion, and therefore temptation. We might make allowance for wine, as it appears that Yahshuah had it from time to time (specifically at Passover), and the Nazarite judge Samson did, yet neither of these two is described as having had to make atonement. So this rule was clearly not as important as not approaching carcasses, but its purpose was essentially the same: to avoid toxic substances that defile the body. (It can hardly be said that observing the Passover meal constitutes an act of defilement, unlike drinking for the sake of being drunk, provided that it is understood what the meal actually consisted of. We have covered this elsewhere in great detail, especially Chapter 12.) Clearly, the same rule would have applied to illicit narcotics, pharmaceuticals, hydrogenated oils, genetically modified organisms, artificial sweeteners, etc. Unlike meat, it is allowable for a Nazarite to consume these things under duress, or on special occasions like Passover, but it is also highly undesirable.

The other key item is that a Nazarite was forbidden from cutting his hair. The text seems to make an illogical association between defilement from going near a dead body and the hair being the symbol of his dedication to Yahweh, so we might ask why and whether the act of approaching a dead body amounts to a Nazarite’s hair being defiled. The answer is that the hair is only sacred from the point that it has not been growing from the last defilement. It is not hard for a technologically advanced race (the elohim) to determine how long it has been since a person has consumed animal proteins based on a single hair from his head. To be ceremonially clean, a Nazarite had to shave off the vestiges of his impurity. Therefore, the length of his hair was a status symbol to the Nazarite—a status of his purity and perfection, and of the length of his devotion to God. The longer he was a Nazarite, the holier he was and the more esteem was imparted to him, and those who were the holiest were the Nazarites “from the womb.”

Even without considering DNA, much can be learned about a person based on his hair. Thinning hair is a sign of sickness from infection, autoimmune diseases, thyroid disease, diabetes and hormonal changes. Excess cortisol secretion (in response to chronic inflammation) causes the hair to be dry and brittle.511 So one of the easiest ways of evaluating how healthy a person’s diet is (and therefore how righteous that person is), is to examine the hair. This would have been especially true in the ancient world, where the major factors were diet- and stress-induced, rather than induced by treatment from chemicals in hair care products and the public water supply.

It has long been believed across many cultures that long hair heightens spiritual perception. According to American government documents, military personnel who have had long hair have demonstrated heightened senses of both sensory and extrasensory awareness. The reasoning is that hairs are extensions of the nervous system and act as antennae to transmit information to the brain and limbic system.512 The conclusion of this research is that cutting one’s hair stifles both sensory and extrasensory attunement to one’s surroundings, which is essentially the definition of spirituality. So the fact that Nazarites are forbidden from cutting their hair has profound implications, just as their other basic rules do.

This may not seem like a big deal, but it is actually critical to understanding the main themes of Scripture, and the gospel of the kingdom of heaven in general, because this gospel was the message of the Nazarites. For instance, when Yahshuah said that the greatest commandment is to love Yahweh with all your heart, soul and mind, and that the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself, he may be quoting Moses, but he is speaking of the law of the Nazarites. A Pharisee finds himself in agreement, because the Law of Moses is based on the law of the Nazarites, and therefore agrees with it. We do not need to look any further than this. To love Yahweh with all your being necessarily entails obeying every last one of his precepts, with no exception: this is the whole idea of what it means to be a Nazarite.

Of course, Nazarites are humans, too, so they may sin from time to time. However, in their case it is not a proper sin, because they do not do so consciously, and are not bound to the same rules as the rest of society because they adhere to a higher law. In fact, many vegans have found themselves having to defend themselves on this point, because there are many who would rather maliciously nitpick and try to pin some sort of inadvertent blame on them than listen to reason. As Romans 3:20 says, consciousness of sin comes by way of the Law. No vegan intends to be ignorant of his rule, or to disobey it. (If he does, he is not a true vegan.) He does not intentionally sin, as everyone who is not a vegan does, so no sin is imputed to him.

For example, a Nazarite may accidentally step on a bug, and according to the Nazarite rule, this might constitute a sin, though it is not a sin by Moses. However, it is only a sin in so far as the life which has been extinguished was sacred (i.e., how intelligent the creature was) and how much it has contaminated the culprit. This is a matter of common sense rather than legalism; if the decay of death does not contaminate his flesh, then he is not defiled. Needless to say, then, a Nazarite follows a set of moral principles rather than specific instructions, from which he may never intentionally deviate. Eating meat only once a week does not make one a vegan, and every vegan will be offended at the association—so it is with Nazarites.

Now take notice of the “sin offering” mentioned in the passage quoted above (Numbers 6:11), by which a Nazarite was to make atonement. In Hebrew, this term actually means ‘purification offering.’ The Nazarite who defiled himself by eating flesh or being near a dead body was to bring one offering for his purification, and another to atone not for whatever caused him to need to be purified, but for having just defiled himself with the purification offering! Only then was he ceremonially clean. So just being near a dead bird constituted defilement, even if that bird was a purification offering to Yahweh! This proves that the rule about going near dead bodies applies not only apply to human cadavers, but to dead animals as well. It is established, therefore, that Nazarites were strictly forbidden from eating flesh, even as priests engaging in the sacrificial system of the Levites, which was only intended for sinners. The fact that the Nazarite coming back to the Law of Moses had to make a hefty sacrifice is intended to get him to remain as he is, or to provoke his conscience over (to discourage him from) leaving God’s service.

But the Nazarites were not the only ones dedicated to God’s service. The entire tribe of Levi was, too, according to mainstream Jewish and Christian belief. In reality, it was only the priests who were so dedicated, but Christians generally believe that all Levites were priests (all the men, anyway—women and children have not been accounted for in their paradigm). Really, all priests under the Law of Moses were Levites, but not all Levites were priests. This makes sense, as Moses and his brother Aaron (the high priest) were Levites, and the high priests were all patrilineal descendants of Aaron.

The book of Leviticus contains instructions for these Levite priests—hence the name. The majority of the instructions actually pertain to the rest of the Israelites, as the Levites were charged with instructing them in the Law and presiding over the ceremonial rituals derived from it. Most of these are cleansing rituals designed to atone for sin. Large tracts within the book describe what makes a person ceremonially unclean, and just as in the other books of the Pentateuch, some pertain to what is eaten. Many such passages speak of merely touching abominations as constituting defilement, in no uncertain terms, while touching the carcass of either an unclean animal or an abomination constitutes defilement. Thus we see the same law of the Nazarites applied to the rest of Israel: no one is to touch the carcass of an unclean animal.

And יהוה spoke to Mosheh and to Aharon, saying to them, “Speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, saying, ‘These are the living creatures which you do eat among all the beasts that are on the earth: Whatever has a split hoof completely divided, chewing the cud, among the beasts, that you do eat. Only, these you do not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have a split hoof: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have a split hoof, it is unclean to you; and the rabbit, because it chews the cud but does not have a split hoof, it is unclean to you; and the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have a split hoof, it is unclean to you; and the pig, though it has a split hoof, completely divided, yet does not chew the cud, it is unclean to you. Their flesh you do not eat, and their carcasses you do not touch. They are unclean to you. These you do eat of all that are in the waters: any one that has fins and scales in the waters, in the seas or in the rivers, that you do eat. But all that have not fins and scales in the seas and in the rivers, all that move in the waters or any living creature which is in the waters, they are an abomination to you. They are an abomination to you—of their flesh you do not eat, and their carcasses you abominate. All that have not fins or scales in the waters is an abomination to you. And these you do abominate among the birds, they are not eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the vulture, and the black vulture, and the hawk, and the falcon after its kind, every raven after its kind, and the ostrich, and the nighthawk, and the seagull, and the hawk after its kind, and the little owl, and the fisher owl, and the great owl, and the white owl, and the pelican, and the carrion vulture, and the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe, and the bat. All flying insects that creep on all fours is an abomination to you. Only, these you do eat of every flying insect that creeps on all fours: those which have jointed legs above their feet with which to leap on the earth. These of them you do eat: the locust after its kind, and the destroying locust after its kind, and the cricket after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind. But all other flying insects which have four feet is an abomination to you. And by these you are made unclean, anyone touching the carcass of any of them is unclean until evening, and anyone picking up part of the carcass of any of them has to wash his garments, and shall be unclean until evening. Every beast that has a split hoof not completely divided, or does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Anyone who touches their carcass is unclean. And whatever goes on its paws, among all the creatures that go on all fours, those are unclean to you. Anyone who touches their carcass is unclean until evening, and he who picks up their carcass has to wash his garments, and shall be unclean until evening. They are unclean to you. And these are unclean to you among the creeping creatures that creep on the earth: the mole, and the mouse, and the tortoise after its kind, and the gecko, and the land crocodile, and the sand reptile, and the sand lizard, and the chameleon. These are unclean to you among all that creep. Anyone who touches them when they are dead becomes unclean until evening. And whatever any of them in its dead state falls upon, becomes unclean, whether it is any wooden object or garment or skin or sack, any object in which work is done, it is put in water. And it shall be unclean until evening, then it shall be clean. Any earthen vessel into which any of them falls, whatever is in it becomes unclean, and you break it. Any of the food which might be eaten, on which water comes, becomes unclean, and any drink which might be drunk from it becomes unclean. And on whatever any of their carcass falls becomes unclean—an oven or cooking range—it is broken down. They are unclean, and are unclean to you. But a fountain or a well, a collection of water, is clean, but whatever touches their carcass is unclean. And when any of their carcass falls on any planting seed which is to be sown, it is clean. But when any water is put on the seed and any part of any such carcass falls on it, it is unclean to you. And when any of the beasts which are yours for food dies, he who touches its carcass becomes unclean until evening. And he who eats of its carcass has to wash his garments, and shall be unclean until evening. And he who picks up its carcass has to wash his garments, and shall be unclean until evening. And every creeping creature that creeps on the earth is an abomination, it is not eaten. Whatever crawls on its stomach, and whatever goes on all fours, and whatever has many feet among all creeping creatures that creep on the earth, these you do not eat, for they are an abomination. Do not make yourselves abominable with any creeping creature that creeps, and do not make yourselves unclean with them, lest you be defiled by them. For I am יהוה your Elohim, and you shall set yourselves apart. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart. And do not defile yourselves with any creeping creature that creeps on the earth. For I am יהוה who is bringing you up out of the land of Mitsrayim, to be your Elohim. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart. This is the Torah of the beasts and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth, to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the living creature that is eaten and the living creature that is not eaten.’” Leviticus 11

We would suppose that the churches, the Bible translators and the publishers of Bible commentaries do not even see a difference between unclean animals and abominations. They would say that the belletristic language of the text uses synonyms to express the same idea multiple ways. Yet these words are not synonyms, and anyone who reads through the Law will see that it is very legalistic in the sense that it uses deliberate words to convey specific ideas, however repetitively, rather than changing it up with synonyms, just like modern legal speech. This makes the meaning of each term clear and indisputable. God never intended to make his law subject to interpretation; the interpretative bias of the scholars is wholly unscriptural.

The difference between an animal which is “unclean to you” and one which is “an abomination to you” is that some animals, though identified as clean based on their diets, are identified as unclean to eat based on their genetic traits, while some are simply abominations, and therefore unclean across the board. It just so happens that those identified here as abominations are the carnivores, omnivores and scavengers, while the clean ones are the herbivores.513 And this is just from a simple reading of the text and a little knowledge of the animal kingdom; it does not require a whole lot of understanding, much less as much as the Bible commentators presume to wield.

There is not much more to say than this, because the other book of the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy, is largely a reiteration of the rest of the Law. A few things do stand out as relevant, however. Among them is 12:20-27 (quoted in the previous chapter: “Do not eat it, that it might be well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in the eyes of Yahweh”) and its surrounding context, which indicates just how abominable the practice of eating flesh really was in the eyes of God, and of Moses:

Commenting on the above Torah verse (Deut. 12:20), modern Torah scholar and teacher Nehama Leibowitz points out how odd the dispensation is and how grudgingly permission to eat meat is granted. She concludes that people have not been granted dominion over the animal kingdom to do with them anything that we desire, but that we have been given a “barely tolerated dispensation,” if we cannot resist temptation and must eat meat, to slaughter animals for our consumption. […] Rav Kook also regards the same Torah verse as clearly indicating that the Torah did not regard the slaughter of animals for human consumption as an ideal state of affairs. […] The negative connotation associated with the consumption of meat is indicated in the Talmud: The Torah teaches a lesson in moral conduct, that man shall not eat meat unless he has a special craving for it … and shall eat it only occasionally and sparingly. Richard Schwartz514

Once again it is shown that the flesh of a burnt offering may be consumed (may be, albeit very begrudgingly, from God’s perspective), but the blood may not be. This is crucial for establishing the point of the text, which is that it is allowed, if you “crave” it (meaning, you are already a sinner: it was their craving for meat rather than the act itself that brought the Israelites to ruin in Exodus 16—the desire always precedes the act, unless it is not premeditated, in which case it is not as blameworthy). Even so, there are still restrictions, and those restrictions exist for your own benefit, meaning that God himself has explicitly told you it is never in your interest to consume animal flesh, and this is part of the reason he has forbidden it. There is also an implication in this statement, “that it might be well with you and your children after you,” that consuming something which defiles you in terms of genetics also alters the DNA of your descendants, and that this can be avoided by obedience. Obviously this is indeed what happens, not just after your DNA is altered before you procreate, but even after, in your children, when you feed them the same abominations that brought about your own mutations.

As we can see that even the Jewish scholars have got this right, we have to ask whether those who “crave meat” are really any better than the Canaanites who worshiped Molekh. (There is a reason for asking this, which will become apparent later.) Is the meat-eating Christian obedient to God? Of course not; only one who does not defile himself is. But even Christians will agree that there are degrees of defilement which even they will not cross, based on their views on morality, without any precedent in Scripture. This is why we have to ask whether they are really better than the Canaanites, because the context we just referenced sets up the Bible’s condemnation of cannibalism as a matter of meat cravings gone too far, but certainly no further than the average meat-eater’s appetite.

“When יהוה your Elohim does cut off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, guard yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire about their mighty ones, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their mighty ones? And let me do so too.’ Do not do so to יהוה your Elohim, for every abomination which יהוה hates they have done to their mighty ones, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their mighty ones.” Deuteronomy 12:29-31

The context here is that of sacrifice, where sacrifice has been associated with eating meat, so we already know that the burnt offerings were eaten. This means the Canaanites were literally cooking and eating their own children. This is further evidenced by the fact that Jericho, the first city which the Israelites destroyed after they crossed the Jordan River, was founded upon the sacrifice of a firstborn. This seems to suggest that this was a common practice, and there is evidence that it was widespread. For example, the legendary Mycenaean king Agamemnon (a Philistine by descent who lived during the Judges period) is depicted in Homer’s Iliad as having sacrificed his daughter for a fair wind when he took his fleet to besiege Troy. The Israelites were certainly acquainted with the custom, for even their kings practiced it.

And Yehoshua warned them at that time, saying, “Cursed is the man before יהוה who rises up and builds this city Yeriḥo—he lays its foundation with his first-born, and with his youngest he sets up its gates.” Joshua 6:26

In his days Ḥi’ĕl of Bĕyth Ěl built Yeriḥo. He laid its foundation at the cost of Aḇiram his first-born, and at the cost of his youngest son Seḡuḇ he set up its gates, according to the word of יהוה, which He had spoken through Yehoshua son of Nun. 1 Kings 16:34

While the average meat-eating Christian will readily object that this is a detestable practice, to the vegan Christian, it is indistinguishable from the practice of cooking and eating animal flesh. The reason God says they “even” do that is that most of us would have serious reservations about doing it, but the Canaanites were so ravished by their appetites that they had a desire to eat human flesh. So it is no wonder that God commanded their extermination for the whole world’s sake, and why the prophets so hated the cult of Molekh, as we all know.

The Christian who sees a huge difference between his Sunday pot roast and the cannabilistic rites of the Canaanites is fooling himself; the difference is in his head more than in the nature of what goes in his mouth. It is a matter of the degree or severity of the sin, not of a kind which makes one a sin while the other is not. The cardinal sin is the appetite for flesh and the intentional pollution of the body which then leads to the act of killing, and without which, no such killing would occur.

It has been observed that human flesh tastes like pork. Perhaps this is why pigs are the sole exception to the rules determining the clean and unclean statuses of Leviticus 11, as God wanted to deter the Israelites from developing a taste for human flesh. Either way, we know that they failed to heed his commands and fell into apostasy, going so far as to pick up the rites of the Molekh cult, so what is to keep pork-eating Christians from thinking they do not also have it in them to do exactly the same? Surely the apostate Israelites must have had a practical reason for preferring statues over the living God—that reason being their carnivorous appetites.

Consider the contrast between the great restraint evident in Deuteronomy 12:20, as well as the disgust exhibited in Numbers 11, with the enjoyment of fruits, vegetables and grains that God commands the Israelites to partake in. As the chapters of Deuteronomy which precede 12 are the context of the allowances in that chapter, they show that God regards vegetarianism as more than merely preferable to carnism, but actually essential to the notion that the Promised Land is a blessing to Israel. In every instance, failure to abide by God’s rules for living in the Promised Land merits the same destruction as those whom the Israelites have dispossessed. We ask Christians to consider the implications, in light of all the talk of the Second Death in the New Testament, and of Christ being the “bread from heaven,” which they openly reject and despise in favor of slaughter offerings, just as the Israelites despised their manna and gorged on quail.

“Therefore you shall guard the commands of יהוה your Elohim, to walk in His ways and to fear Him. For יהוה your Elohim is bringing you into a good land, a land of streams of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey, a land in which you eat bread without scarcity, in which you do not lack at all, a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you dig copper. And you shall eat and be satisfied, and shall bless יהוה your Elohim for the good land which He has given you. Be on guard, lest you forget יהוה your Elohim by not guarding His commands, and His right-rulings, and His laws which I command you today, lest you eat and shall be satisfied, and build lovely houses and shall dwell in them, and your herds and your flocks increase, and your silver and your gold are increased, and all that you have is increased, that your heart then becomes lifted up, and you forget יהוה your Elohim who brought you out of the land of Mitsrayim, from the house of bondage, who led you through that great and awesome wilderness—fiery serpents and scorpions and thirst—where there was no water, who brought water for you out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, in order to humble you and to try you, to do you good in the end, “you then shall say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand have made for me this wealth!’ But you shall remember יהוה your Elohim, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, in order to establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is today. And it shall be, if you by any means forget יהוה your Elohim, and follow other mighty ones, and serve them and bow yourself to them, I have warned you this day that you shall certainly perish. Like the nations which יהוה is destroying before you, so you are to perish, because you did not obey the voice of יהוה your Elohim.” Deuteronomy 8:6-20

“‘And it shall be that if you diligently obey My commands which I command you today, to love יהוה your Elohim and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your being, then I shall give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, and you shall gather in your grain, and your new wine, and your oil. And I shall give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be satisfied. Guard yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other mighty ones and bow down to them. Then the displeasure of יהוה shall burn against you, and He shall shut up the heavens, and there be no rain, and the land not give its increase. And you shall perish quickly from the good land which יהוה is giving you.’” Deuteronomy 11:13-17

These examples ought to be more than enough to establish what the intent of the Law in regards to eating meat was. Yet it cannot be denied that the Bible gives no indication that there was anything considered (by God) to be morally wrong with the actual practice of consuming meat and dairy products during the Old Testament period, apart from the consequences of disobedience to God in general, in terms of our roles as stewards. This is still important, as it demonstrates that some measure of sin is allowed under the Law of Moses, because it is for sinners (only), while the law of the Nazarites does not, and the latter is the standard for admission into the kingdom of heaven. So even though only a select few (the vegans) are worthy to eat of the Tree of Life, because all others contribute to the way of death, it still falls upon the Prophets to clarify the finer points of the Law, so that those who would be perfect, yet who know that the Law is good, can find the incentive they need to set themselves apart from it, and to serve Yahweh with their whole hearts, rather than the Law, with something less.

Christians will recognize, as we have previously asserted, that the first and greatest commandment is “You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind,” that the second is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” and that “On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.” It is important that we realize that the Law and the Prophets are in conformity here, lest we fall into the trap of thinking that the Christians are right, and the Law has no validity (by which they mean to say also, and more importantly, that the Prophets have no validity). It is also important that we accept that the Golden Rule (that is, the lesser of these commands), which is the highest ideal any Christian ever aims for, is merely redundant and irrelevant against the more important commandment.

Little do the Christians realize that the greatest commandment, as recorded in Deuteronomy 6:5, is actually to obey all the commandments, as it is nothing less than an appeal to observe the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5) and the rest of the Law of Moses (the rest of Deuteronomy) with one’s whole being. As love is fulfillment of the Law, it cannot be said that one who does not fulfill it, loves God—yet all who love God obey him, with all their being, so that there is no fault in them, according to the Law. This is the point of saying that this is the greatest commandment, for it is God’s law, and whoever accomplishes God’s law loves God, and vice-versa. A single premeditated infraction constitutes rejection of the Law, and of God, in principle and in its entirety.

“Guard, and obey all these words which I command you, that it might be well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the eyes of יהוה your Elohim. All the words I am commanding you, guard to do it—do not add to it nor take away from it.” Deuteronomy 12:28,32

So, no matter how you look at it, if you truly love God (according to his standards, rather than those merely ascribed to him), then no other commandment ever needs to be considered, because you have fulfilled the Law in its entirety. This, too, we have established from Romans 13, as we have established from John 14:15 that one must necessarily obey God’s commands if he is going to presume to love God. And obeying the commandments necessarily means you are not killing God’s creatures, whether you are under the Law of Moses, or the Law of Yahweh.

“If anyone does not stay in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up. And they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you stay in Me, and My Words stay in you, you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. In this My Father is esteemed, that you bear much fruit, and you shall be My taught ones. As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Stay in My love. If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love. These words I have spoken to you, so that My joy might be in you, and that your joy might be complete.” John 15:6-11

Now the objection will be made that the Law of Moses does not just allow for killing, but actually requires it in the form of animal sacrifice. It will be argued further that animal sacrifice means eating animal flesh, so that, too, is mandated. This is certainly true (at least under the Law of Moses), and constitutes the greatest contradiction in the whole Bible, for it was never meant to be this way. A close examination of Scripture will show that the circumstances of the sacrifices are very particular, that they do not apply to anyone now living, and that they actually constitute the only exceptions to the general “Thou shalt not kill” rule, which necessarily means that all meat-eating outside the context of the sacrificial system is actually strictly forbidden. Again, we are allowing for last resorts in survival situations, but even Noah built an altar to worship Yahweh before he ate any flesh, which is not an act of desperation, and which no one ever does.

From the time of Noah, at least, if not Abel, there was a way of life which included not just keeping the earth but also tending herds. Tending herds means keeping them safe, which includes destroying threats, even if those threats come from within. This is important to the reason why the laws were given in the forms they were, because in order to be effective in their purpose of teaching righteousness, they needed to be understood in terms of simple analogy.

Let us take a flock of sheep as the example. When a flock has too many rams in it, the rams tend to become violent and attack each other, as well as the other sheep (ewes included). Those animals not killed by the violence become wounded, leaving them open to pain and sickness. This characteristic is true of many species, especially those whose groups are dominated by alpha males, but none so much as the human species. When it comes to the Bible, we need look no further than the dispute between Moses and Korah to see how the priesthood of Aaron was already in jeopardy before the Israelites were even in the Promised Land, and why recognition of Moses’ authority was so important to the preservation of the Law itself.

And Qoraḥ, son of Yitshar, son of Qehath, son of Lĕwi, took both Dathan and Aḇiram the sons of Eliyaḇ, and On, son of Peleth, sons of Re’uḇĕn, and they rose up before Mosheh with some of the children of Yisra’ĕl, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, called ones of the meeting, men of name. And they assembled against Mosheh and against Aharon, and said to them, “Enough of you! For all the congregation is set-apart, all of them, and יהוה is in their midst. Why then do you lift up yourselves above the assembly of יהוה?” And when Mosheh heard, he fell on his face, and spoke to Qoraḥ and all his company, saying, “Tomorrow morning יהוה shall make known who is His and who is set-apart, and bring him near to Him. And let Him bring near to Him the one whom He chooses. Do this: Take fire holders, Qoraḥ and all your company, and put fire in them and put incense in them before יהוה tomorrow. And it shall be that the one whom יהוה chooses is the set-apart one. Enough of you, sons of Lĕwi!” And Mosheh said to Qoraḥ, “Hear now, you sons of Lĕwi: Is it little to you that the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl has separated you from the congregation of Yisra’ĕl, to bring you near to Himself, to perform the service of the Dwelling Place of יהוה, and to stand before the congregation to serve them, and that He has brought you near to Himself, you and all your brothers, the sons of Lĕwi, with you? Yet you seek the priesthood as well? Therefore you and all your company are set against יהוה. And Aharon, what is he that you grumble against him?” And Mosheh sent to call Dathan and Aḇiram the sons of Eliyaḇ, but they said, “We are not coming up! Is it little that you have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, that you would also seize total rule over us? Also, you have not brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey, nor given us inheritance of fields and vineyards. Would you bore out the eyes of these men? We are not coming up!” And Mosheh became very displeased, and said to יהוה, “Do not respect their offering. I have not taken one donkey from them, nor have I done harm to any of them.” Then Mosheh said to Qoraḥ, “Tomorrow, you and all your company shall be there before יהוה, you and they and Aharon. And take each one his fire holder, and you shall put incense in it. And let each one bring his fire holder before יהוה, two hundred and fifty fire holders, and you and Aharon, each one with his fire holder.” So each one took his fire holder, and put fire in it, and laid incense on it, and stood at the door of the Tent of Meeting with Mosheh and Aharon. And Qoraḥ assembled all the congregation against them at the door of the Tent of Meeting. Then the esteem of יהוה appeared to all the congregation. And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, and to Aharon, saying, “Separate yourselves from the midst of this congregation, and let Me consume them in a moment.” But they fell on their faces, and said, “O Ěl, Elohim of the spirits of all flesh! When one man sins, are You wroth with all the congregation?” And יהוה spoke to Mosheh, saying, “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Move away from around the tents of Qoraḥ, Dathan, and Aḇiram.’” So Mosheh rose up and went to Dathan and Aḇiram, and the elders of Yisra’ĕl followed him. And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Please turn away from the tents of these wrong men! Do not touch whatever belongs to them, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” Then they moved away from around the tents of Qoraḥ, Dathan, and Aḇiram. And Dathan and Aḇiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, with their wives, and their sons, and their little children. And Mosheh said, “By this you know that יהוה has sent me to do all these works, that they are not from my own heart. If these die as all men do, or if they are visited as all men are visited, then יהוה has not sent me. But if יהוה creates what is unheard of, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the grave, then you shall know that these men have scorned יהוה.” And it came to be, as he ended speaking all these words, that the ground under them split apart, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Qoraḥ, with all their goods. So they and all those with them went down alive into the grave, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. Numbers 16:1-33

It is no wonder that Korah wanted the priesthood. The priests were supposed to be the shepherds of Israel. There are many instances where the title is given to Yahweh (e.g., Psalm 23:1; 80:1), but more often it is applied to whoever the Holy Spirit has come upon. We will have much to say about this later. For now it suffices to point out that the good shepherd has good intentions, and that no one else has the rightful authority to make decisions for his flock.

He feeds His flock like a shepherd, He gathers the lambs with His arm, and carries them in His bosom, gently leading those who are with young. Isaiah 40:11

Then He remembered the days of old, Mosheh, His people, “Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of His flock? Where is He who put His Set-apart Spirit within him?” Isaiah 63:11

“But he who enters through the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” John 10:2

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” John 10:11

“I am the good shepherd. And I know Mine, and Mine know Me.” John 10:14

God wants what is best for his sheep. Therefore he chooses the shepherd who is going to gather them and take care of them, as in the case of Moses. In contrast, the evil shepherd is the one either elevated by men or raised by God to punish his sheep when they have strayed too far, so that they can be brought back to pasture. He does not care for the well-being of the flock, but scatters it and feeds off it.

“For look, I am raising up a shepherd in the land who does not visit those straying, nor seek the young, nor heal those that are broken, nor feed those that still stand. But he does eat the flesh of the fat and tear off their hooves.” Zechariah 11:16

If it is not already evident that every meat-eater is indicted as an evil steward of whatever God has given him, it at least ought to be evident that he is being punished for his sin (straying from God’s commands). The whole point of this kind of analogy is to teach the simple-minded not to become proud and rebellious (i.e. violent), the way Korah was proud and rebellious. We might barely imagine how perverse the Israelites would have become had the priesthood fallen to his descendants rather than Aaron’s. Aaron was not perfect in the beginning, but he protected his flock, whereas Korah brought his to ruin in a very small amount of time.

Now, knowing the nature of the sheep, a good shepherd does not allow the proud sheep to bully and kill the peaceful ones. Instead, he will kill them (which God ultimately does to all sinners) or cast them out (which God also does to sinners, and which finds analogies in Scripture apart from that of the scapegoat, such as that of leprosy). Casting them out serves the purpose of giving them the chance to reform before returning instead to the immediate justice of death, as warranted in Korah’s case. Had Korah or his rebellion been allowed to run amok, the innocent would not have been protected from the consequences. So the Law acts as a barrier of protection, and anyone who lived through the rebellion of Korah would have understood that the only ones who were ever in any sort of trouble were those who followed him because they had rejected Yahweh and his prophets, in favor of a violent, arrogant alpha male. Moses, in contrast, celebrated the competition of Eldad and Medad, and even complained to Yahweh both about the prospect of leading Israel in the beginning and about his heavy burden after, all of which demonstrates that he did not stay in power for his own sake or have any qualms about sharing it with anyone who was of the same mind as he. In a word, Moses was a good shepherd whose burden was to keep the alpha males of Israel in check for the sake of the flock.

This idea that God kills off the rams helps us establish that an evil shepherd is, in fact, a ram and not a shepherd. That is to say that when God raises up an evil shepherd to punish the flock, what really happens is that there is no good shepherd to cull the herd and keep the influence of the rams in check. This is the result of the flock rejecting the authority of the shepherd, rather than that God never appointed one, for he has never failed to make his will known. More importantly, the fact that the evil shepherd is the one preying on the herd ought to inform us of what God’s position on this kind of justice is, for without realizing that it is the herd’s own fault, we will be led to believe that God does not do enough to care for the herd, when he is actually doing everything he can without infringing on our right to choose.

“Say to them, ‘As I live,’ declares the Master יהוה, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wrong, but that the wrong turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Yisra’ĕl?’” Ezekiel 33:11

Knowing that even the shepherd tasked with culling the flock does not prey on the flock, it is apparent that raising animals just to eat them is a sin, even by the comparatively lax standard of the Law of Moses which begrudgingly makes allowances for the sin. Given the fact that most people do not raise any animals and have little or no idea what happens to any farmed animals prior to bits of their flesh winding up on their plates or in mislabeled packages at their grocery stores, but they do eat them, they obviously cannot see the message or the original intent of the Law and how it pertains to what they are doing. To them, the animals exist only to feed them, and certainly not because God has some other will for them which is entirely antithetical to this process. Thus the abomination of the flesh becomes an abomination of the Word of God as well. That is, it is not only a perversion of the natural law of sin and death, but of the intended message of the written law as well, as it pertains to the lesson that it was trying to teach.

The lesson, essentially, is that killing does not equate to eating—it equates to death. Eating constitutes consuming or digesting, so eating what is killed amounts to digesting death. This lesson was already given to the Israelites before they were given the Law, in response to a sin which was committed again and again, as we shall see in the next chapter. The Law of Moses would not even have been given in that form had it not been for the infamous Golden Calf incident. Most have heard of it, but do not know what ultimately became of it. This, too, was used to teach a lesson, which Christians would do well to learn.

And he took the calf which they had made, and burned it in the fire, and ground it into powder, and scattered it on the face of the water and made the children of Yisra’ĕl drink it. Exodus 32:20

This concept of eating the sin is so pertinent to the rest of the sins for which Israel was condemned and punished throughout the Bible that it could very well be the origin of the sin offering itself, which is more or less equivalent to the Bible’s only allowance for eating meat. Moses was telling his people that if they wanted to eat beef so badly that they would worship it as a golden image the moment he stepped away, then they could eat it as gold, too. What other purpose could it have served than to destroy the image in such a way that it would never be built again? This is how a parent punishes a child, or even a pet which poops where the master does not want it to, after which he puts its face in it to show it what it has done.

Truly, being forced to eat something makes you accept your responsibility for it. It becomes a part of you which has to be worked out through your digestive system. If you eat the wrong thing, you will suffer indigestion; if you eat the wrong thing over and over, you will die. The Israelites had already demonstrated that they were unwilling to abide by God’s law, and that they would keep complaining and rebelling until they had what they wanted, which was sin. God’s response, in the form of the Law, was that if they were going to cause one of their flock to die for their sin, then they would at least have to bear the shame and the consequence of it by digesting the moral implications as well as exciting their tastes.

This also has a major impact on the form which the particular dietary restrictions within the Law took. One must chew solid food before it can be swallowed. Thus the animals which chew the cud are more likely to be clean, because the “food” has been duly considered before it gets processed out. This is the meaning of the passage which says that solid food is for those who have their senses developed to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:12-14). If we did not have this understanding, we might read Hebrews and be led to think that meat is good for adults, and preferable to milk, which is good for children. But if we dig deep enough in Scripture, we find that milk is used as a metaphor for rudimentary understanding even in the Old Testament.

“And you shall drink dry the milk of the gentiles, and shall milk the breast of sovereigns. And you shall know that I, יהוה, your Saviour and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Yaʽaqoḇ.” Isaiah 60:16

It is also used as a metaphor for God’s esteem, which explains why the Promised Land is described as “a land flowing with milk and honey.” The word ‘esteem’ is then applied to the Ark of the Covenant, or else the Tabernacle (which was built to house it), which means that ‘milk’ actually has a spiritual connotation in Scripture. After all, it is not as though there were rivers of milk running through the valleys. That would be absurd. But where the metaphor is not used, the description of the land promised to the remnant of Israel is that of a land which produces an abundance of fruits, vegetables and grains.

“Rejoice with Yerushalayim, and be glad with her, all you who love her; rejoice greatly with her, all you who mourn for her; so that you feed, and shall be satisfied with the breast of her comforts, so that you drink deeply, and shall delight yourselves in her overflowing esteem.” For thus said יהוה, “See, I am extending peace to her like a river, and the esteem of the gentiles like a flowing stream. And you shall feed; you shall be carried on the side, and be fondled on her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I comfort you. And in Yerushalayim you are comforted.” Isaiah 66:10-12

“Has a nation changed its mighty ones, which are not mighty ones? But My people have changed My esteem [the Tabernacle] for that which does not profit [the Temple].” Jeremiah 2:11

“‘Because of the sowing of peace the vine does give its fruit, the ground does give her increase, and the heavens do give their dew. And I shall cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these.’” Zechariah 8:12

“And I shall rebuke the devourer for you, so that it does not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor does the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” said יהוה of hosts. “And all nations shall call you blessed, for you shall be a land of delight,” said יהוה of hosts. Malachi 3:11-12

They hated the one who reproves in the gate, and they despise the one who speaks the truth. Therefore, because you trample on the poor and take grain taxes from him—you have built houses of hewn stone but you are not going to dwell in them, you have planted pleasant vineyards but not drink wine from them. For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, afflicting the righteous and accepting bribes, and turning aside the poor at the gate. Therefore the wise keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time. Seek good and not evil, so that you live. And let יהוה Elohim of hosts be with you, as you have spoken. Hate evil and love good, and set up right-ruling in the gate. It might be that יהוה Elohim of hosts shows favour to the remnant of Yosĕph. Amos 5:10-15

Just to show that the phrase rendered “milk and honey” actually has the meaning of “cream and sweetness,” take a look at Job 20:17 and its context. Honey, here, is “evil” and “poison,” the theft and oppression of bees. “Honey,” on the other hand, is good and wholesome.

“Though evil is sweet in his mouth, he hides it under his tongue, though he fondles it and does not forsake it, but still keeps it in his mouth, his food is turned in his stomach, the bitterness of cobras is in him. He has swallowed down riches, then vomits them up—Ěl drives it out of his stomach. He sucks the poison of cobras; the tongue of the poisonous snake slays him. He looks not on streams, the rivers flowing with honey and cream. He is giving back what he laboured for, and does not eat it—like wealth from his trade, but he does not enjoy. For he has oppressed, he has forsaken the poor, he has seized a house which he did not build. For he shall not know ease in his innermost, neither save what he desires. There is no left-over after he has eaten, therefore his good does not last. With all his plenty he is in distress; the hand of every labourer comes against him. It shall be, at the filling of his stomach, that He casts on him His burning wrath, and rains it down on him while he is eating. The heavens reveal his crookedness, and the earth rises up against him. The increase of his house departs, flowing away in the day of His wrath. This is the portion from Elohim for a wrong man, and the heritage Ěl has decreed for him.” Job 20:12-23,27-29

Job is supposedly the oldest book of the Bible, so Christians are bound to agree that the origin of the phrase is closer to what they have variously translated as “honey and cream” (NIV), “honey and curds” (ESV, NASB), “honey and butter” (KJV), “honey and buttermilk” and “honey and cream,” but never as “honey and milk.” The variable word in question, chem'ah (חמאת, H2529), is used ten times in the Old Testament, and it certainly does convey an animal product of some kind (whether butter or curds), but it is never translated as ‘milk.’ In fact, it is used together with the Hebrew word for milk, to their mutual exclusion, in four of the remaining nine instances. So that, combined with the fact that “honey” is associated with evil in the same context of Job, and that the same word itself (חמאת) is used similarly in Proverbs 30, should give Christians cause to reconsider the validity of their notion of a Promised Dairyland.

If you have been foolish in lifting up yourself,
Or if you have plotted evil,
Put your hand on your mouth.
For as milk under pressure brings forth curds,
And as a nose under pressure brings forth blood,
So wrath under pressure brings forth strife.
Proverbs 30:32-33

The word translated as “honey” (מדב, H1706) really means ‘gum’ or ‘syrup.’ It can apply to the honey of both bees and fruit (especially dates), so the honey that Samson ate was certainly the former type, as the context of Judges 14 makes that clear, but the “wild honey” that John the Baptist ate (Matthew 3:4) was certainly the latter type. (This will be explained later.) The meaning in Genesis 43:11 and Ezekiel 27:17 is thought to be dibs (grape molasses). In all cases it refers to sweetness, and is used to describe both literal sweetness, as with manna (Exodus 16:31), and figurative sweetness, as with the Law (Psalm 19:11) and love (Song of Songs 5:1). Needless to say, sweet taste does not derive from blood and flesh, but from fruit, and figurative sweetness does not derive from violence and bloodshed, but from gentleness and happiness.

The comments in Job are particularly insightful because they give us a view into the ancient Near Eastern concept of sweeteners. Among other things, the lesson from the animal kingdom is that we ought not to complain (as the Israelites did) for lack of food just because we have fastidious tastes, for there are plenty of plants to choose from that are sweet. In one instance, Job disparagingly mentions the nectar of mallows (disparagingly because he was mourning, not because he did not like it), implying that honey was actually derived from any number of plants, but those of the Malvaceae family in particular. It is known that the ancient Egyptians made confections from marshmallow plants (hence the term ‘marshmallow’) which were used to treat sore throats.515 This suggests that Job was denying himself honey made from marshmallows as a remedy for his sickness, right in the context of how animals nourish themselves by eating grass and fodder.

“Does the wild donkey bray when it has grass, or does the ox bellow over its fodder? Is tasteless food eaten without salt? Is there any flavour in the juice of mallows? I refuse to touch it, they are like food when I am sick.” Job 6:5-7

If read wrongly, according to modern translations, one might suppose that God’s promise to bless Israel with a “land flowing with milk and honey” is a clear indication that he has no problem with the exploitation of animals and insects for human tastes. Yet we can see here that the meaning was clearly foreign to the ancient Israelites, and already ancient by the time they adopted it, as well as being metaphorical. The significance of both terms is in relation to their texture, and can only possibly apply to foods of plant origin (which fits all other descriptions), or to blood (which is obviously not the case, as blood was forbidden), and possibly to dairy products, but only if we suppose that it is human processes that produce them, rather than the land itself, which would render the description void. In any case, the most literal application of the phrase in relation to food brings us back to our main point by making a clear distinction between what is evil (carnism) and what is good (vegetarianism).

“He eats curds and honey when He knows to refuse evil and choose the good. For before the Child knows to refuse evil and choose the good, the land that you dread is to be forsaken by both her sovereigns. יהוה brings on you and your people and your father’s house days that have not come since the day that Ephrayim turned away from Yehudah—the sovereign of Ashshur.” Isaiah 7:15-17

Christians assume this is a messianic prophecy, and that the context therefore does not matter at all, because the preceding verse is cited in Matthew. We do not dispute that the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 (“the maiden conceives and gives birth to a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”) applies to Yahshuah. However, like most prophecies, this one is rich with layers of meanings, and it applied more to the context of the time. In that context, it is apparent that the son is only eating curds to begin with because of economic hardship. Let us not forget that Yahshuah was born in a stable because there was no room in the inn, even though he was born of the royal line of David in the city of David. According to Isaiah’s prophecy, the choice is between meat (evil) and dairy (good), specifically because the land was to be laid waste, so that the ground did not bring forth its fruits—and this because of the sins of Israel, which all amount to the choice to eat meat.

And it shall be in that day that יהוה whistles for the fly that is in the farthest part of the rivers of Mitsrayim, and for the bee that is in the land of Ashshur. And they shall come, and all of them shall rest in the steep ravines and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all weeds and in all pastures. In that day יהוה shall shave with a razor hired beyond the River—with the sovereign of Ashshur—the head and the hair of the legs, and also remove the beard. And it shall be in that day that a man keeps alive a young cow and two sheep. And it shall be, that he shall eat curds because of the plenty milk he gets, for everyone left in the land shall eat curds. And it shall be in that day, every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand sheqels of silver, let it be for thornbushes and weeds. With arrows and bows one shall go there, because all the land shall be thornbushes and weeds. And to all the hills which were tilled with the hoe, you do not go for fear of thornbushes and weeds; but it shall be for sending oxen to, and a place for sheep to roam. Isaiah 7:18-25

We do not mean to say that children necessarily should not suckle because milk’s only goodness is in the metaphorical description of God’s grace or esteem. On the contrary, it would not be an appropriate metaphor if there was nothing good about it. Human breast milk is good for human children, but it could hardly be more apparent that the metaphor pertains to the act of chewing, with the meaning of contemplating and giving due consideration to the weightier principles of the text. The implication is that anyone who is still under the bondage of sin, and who is therefore still under the Law, has not learned to choose what is right over what is wrong, because he is an infant, spiritually. Even so, human breast milk is forbidden in Judaism unless it is suckled right from the breast by a young child,516 which clearly agrees with natural law.

The kind of consideration which a Nazarite (or anyone who would truly fulfill it) needs to give to the Law is the kind which addresses the issue of why the Law was instituted in the first place. Weaning, so to speak, means understanding that to steal a calf from its mother and kill it, in order to steal the milk to which the calf is naturally entitled and which it needs, is to violate the commandment, “You shall not steal.” The same applies to eggs, in so far as chicks die so you can have them, and more especially to honey, which is a bee’s only food. A bee labors intensely its whole life to produce only one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey; a human who eats several tablespoons in one sitting has stolen the entire lifetime food supply of the hundreds of bees which produced it, just to enhance the flavor of his meal, when he easily could have chosen a different sweetener. Even if it is allowed that it is in keeping with the command itself because the Bible does not explicitly say “Thou shalt not eat the honey of bees,” this is not in keeping with the spirit of the Law, and no one whose righteousness does not exceed that of the legalists in search of loopholes (e.g. Genesis 9:3) will ever enter the kingdom of heaven.

Even to say that abstaining from all forms of animal cruelty as well as from violence (including and especially harboring malice) toward one’s fellow humans is sufficient for God is not enough. One must first make the decision to do so and then learn how, by carefully examining the reasons the Law was instituted in the first place, before this is even possible. Then it is a matter of realizing that the spirit of the Law is compassion, and compassion is more than abstaining from violence, entailing conscious efforts and informed choices. Anyone who sees cruelty and turns the other way cannot be said to be practicing compassion. So anyone who sees his neighbor drinking milk or eating veal and allows it is unrighteous; at the very least, he has a moral obligation to say “You shouldn’t steal” and “It’s wrong to kill,” if not to do his very best to persuade the culprit to repent. Moreover, if that person believes that the use of force is mandated by the overtly evil manmade institutions of government and law enforcement, to the end of protecting individual or economic interests, then it is certainly also mandated in wresting away the culprit’s stolen possession, for it was both forcefully taken and forbidden by God.

The bottom line with the allowances in the Law is that animal sacrifices were only ever meant to be performed as an atonement for sin, and the Law was given as a warning in order to prevent sin, not to institute and sustain it, with the expectation that everyone under the Law would studiously avoid the sins identified in the Law. Thus the spirit of the Law on this point is essentially ethical vegetarianism, and nonviolence in other areas. More to the point, the spirit of the whole of the Law is “Don’t sin.” Violence toward animals is a sin, and against the spirit of the Law; the only exception in terms of the letter is the sacrifice intended to curb sin where it already exists, which cannot possibly be done where the sin persists. In such cases even the sacrifice is an abomination, for it has produced no atonement or remission of sin, and all that is left to say about it is that the offering is just another murdered animal to be eaten by a ravenous sinner.

This is even more relevant with the understanding that even where the sacrifice was intended to effect the opposite outcome, it actually made the situation worse. The sacrificial system was actually so much against God’s law that God was forced to reject the High Priest when he allowed his sons to abuse it in order to indulge their appetites. The position of the Prophets was that the unjust violence to animals performed by the priests in superficial accordance with the Law actually constitutes violence not just to the innocent victims, but to the Law itself, and by implication, God.

Her rulers in her midst are roaring lions, her judges are evening wolves, they shall leave no bone until morning. Her prophets are reckless, treacherous men. Her priests have profaned the set-apart place, they have done violence to the Torah. יהוה is righteous in her midst, He does no unrighteousness. Morning by morning He brings His right-ruling to light, it has not been lacking, yet the unrighteous one knows no shame. Zephaniah 3:3-5

Ezekiel 22 (quoted in Chapter 9) is even more explicit and uses the same term, “roaring lions,” to describe the priests and potentates upholding the sacrificial system and rejecting the Law itself. Christians will recognize “roaring lion” from 1 Peter 5:8, where it is used to describe Satan, who “prowls around looking for someone to devour.” It is not that all the priests and clergy of Israel were evil, necessarily; they were only evil in and of themselves if they rejected the Law and taught the laity to follow suit rather than to be obedient. The sacrificial part of the Law was the recourse for violating it, as opposed to the purpose of the Law, so if the priests had neglected to instruct and produce the fruits of righteousness amongst their flock, then they had already failed at their one and only real function.

This is why it is said, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” i.e., “I want you to listen to and obey my instructions, not try to bribe me with the blood I’ve given you as recourse for your disobedience, short of the punishment you deserve.” Mercy amounts to strict obedience, as it entails total fulfillment of the Law. Sacrifice amounts to strict disobedience, as it is a ritual intended to expurgate sin, and its continuation can only mean persistent rebellion.

Some will say, however, that strict obedience to the Law would necessitate fulfillment of the sacrificial obligations. Actually, this is an argument used only by those who wish to justify their disobedience and their attempts to do away with the Law, and therefore a false dilemma. The dilemma is that you are either bound to the rigorous application of all the details of the Law of Moses, or you are free from it entirely. Christians usually cite that the “moral” aspect of the Law is upheld in their religion, though obviously nothing could be further from the truth, when the only point they attempt to establish is that the only sin is the “pride” or “self-righteousness” of attempting to fulfill the Law. (We, the authors, have seen this dilemma, along with the ad hominem insults which follow, employed in virtually every discussion we have ever had with any of them on this subject, usually within the first two or three exchanges.)

The Law actually makes no requirement which is impossible or even difficult to fulfill (becoming a vegan is easy—resisting God and one’s own conscience, on the other hand, takes strenuous effort), nor is there any command which requires the death of something. These stipulations are for the disobedient only, and for certain feast days and other occasions where the priests were expected to make intercession, all of which were instituted specifically in response to the whole nation’s apostasy with the intent of steering it back to obedience, rather than propagating vain rituals. Those who would actually fulfill the Law inevitably recognize the insufficiency of the Law of Moses to produce the fruits of righteousness, and are thus led to the simpler instructions of the higher laws espoused by the Nazarites, and which are therefore evident in Yahshuah’s teachings in the Gospels. This is why Yahshuah and the other high priests of his sect were allowed to go straight into the Holy of Holies without making a sacrifice for themselves first, because they were already perfect according to the Law, though perhaps not the Law of Moses. Furthermore, Moses himself explicitly voiced his wish that the whole nation would turn from him and go this way (Numbers 11:29).

So all that is left is to explain how eating roasted animal flesh amounts to ritual purification, seeing how that is supposed to make atonement for sin. Again, this is only even relevant as far as it pertains to the Law of Moses, because it has no basis either in natural law or in the rest of Scripture. In fact, the Prophets had a very different view. Elsewhere in the Bible, atonement is made by washing (baptism), by applying a hot coal to the sinner’s own lips, and simply by repentance. Yet never is atonement made, in the estimation of the Prophets, by the death of the innocent in the place of the guilty—upon which the entire dogmatic apparatus of Christianity is based, supposedly on the very same Law which it rejects outright.

To sin is to die; to repent is to live: that is the spirit of the Law of Life, the law of karma or of natural consequence. Certainly the spirit of the Law in this regard is “an eye for eye,” and justice is not served when a man gives up someone else’s eye in payment of the debt of having destroyed another person’s. Each of us has probably been told that “Two wrongs don’t make a right” at some point in our life. Of course, the meaning is that committing a second sin does not atone for a first. Though essentially an act of violence as much as purification, it was not wrong of the angel to touch the coal to Isaiah’s lips, but it served to atone for his sins because it served to remind him of his obligation to obey, without going so far as to take his life, which is what justice would have demanded. The fact that it was in his own interest is evident in the fact that he repented, was redeemed, and became the great prophet we all know him to be, though previously he had been a sinner without the hope of resurrection.

Isaiah was made right without having to surrender his life because, according to the Law of Life, he was already dead when he sinned. Most people just want to blame someone else for their sins; with Christians, the scapegoat is usually Satan, as in the case of Adam and Eve. The sacrificial atonement ritual was designed to symbolically represent the act of “digesting” what was done in order to expurgate the sin as the feces were expelled from the bowels. It only had its desired effect if it caused the sinner to admit his sin and then dwell on the consequences, and then remove it from his life. Wherever this is done, God has mercy, even apart from the Law, as we see so clearly in the matter of David’s sin and repentance compared to Saul’s. This kind of association and the repentance which it entails should have been easy for anyone who participated in the sacrificial rituals, as meat causes inflammation, so the effect on the body is very tangible, but only someone who normally eats a healthy plant-based diet (i.e. someone who is not accustomed to sinning already) would even know the difference. As it is, most people are devout sinners, so they think that being sick is a normal and natural part of life, and would not consider themselves in poor health because they would compare themselves to other sinners.

In regards to the sin of eating flesh itself and the allowances made by the Law of Moses (though not outside that context), the allowances amount to lifted restrictions. Most of the dietary laws in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 focus entirely on naming that which is forbidden as unclean. The only statement regarding clean animals is Deuteronomy 14:4-5, which lists only herbivores. Should anyone decide that he is being obedient if he is only eating what is allowed, then he must take this into consideration. For example, chickens would be prohibited as surely as pigs are, as chickens are omnivores; they are just not on the list of prohibited items because they were not available at the time, as they are native to rain forests.

Furthermore, it is not feasible to suppose that Moses even had any knowledge of exotic animals such as kangaroos and koalas. Simply listing the major orders of species would have been impossible to someone before the modern era, and supposing Moses had such knowledge because it was imparted to him supernaturally, it still would have served no practical purpose to the Law. Even then, more species are being discovered all the time, so the assumption that everything that God could have to say about whether or not a certain animal is acceptable as food is utterly preposterous: at the very least, every newly discovered species would be clean, without regard to its endangered status, for no other reason than that it was not listed by Moses once upon a time. No matter how they are interpreted, it is abundantly clear that these stipulations were not intended for all people and for all time, and even the Christians will agree with this, as their laissez-faire ideology absolutely depends on it.

So, in conclusion, the Law of Moses does prescribe vegetarianism, because that is its ethical basis (its “spirit”). A few commands like “You shall not muzzle the ox when it treads out the grain” (Deuteronomy 24:5) demonstrate a legitimate concern for the well-being of the creature which has been enlisted to aid Man in his work, which invalidates the “kosher” label of every animal farm or meat producer which does far worse to its victims than muzzling them. This is the “moral” law which carries over into the present age, thus nullifying the entire meat and dairy industries, which thrive on callous exploitation and prolonged torture far more than anything which the wicked Israelites ever could have envisioned, and on a much larger scale. (That which is considered the most “humane” treatment now, like simply allowing livestock to graze and eat grass, was the universal standard then. For example, the ancient Israelites would not have separated a calf from its mother in order to steal its milk. Rather, they would have allowed it to suckle and graze until it was fully grown, and only then end its life. This makes much more sense, economically, than modern farming practices.) More importantly, this particular command (the one in Deuteronomy 24:5) is invoked twice in the New Testament (1 Timothy 5:18 and 1 Corinthians 9:9), so it is clear that this particular aspect of the Law—the compassion—was never meant to be done away with altogether … and compassion is blatantly antithetical to murder.

Eventually, the particulars of the Law all boil down to the fact that the love of flesh is the love of sin, because the Law teaches us the consequences through negative reinforcement (if you want to worship the Calf, you can eat it, too), so only someone who loves to sin could desire to do it. If the person desiring to sin was the shepherd, then the whole flock would suffer the consequences. Therefore it was even more important that the priests were perfectly in line with God’s will than that the common people were.

Again, this precedent was already established by the time the Law of Moses was given to Israel, before the Levites were set apart to minister to the priests and the people. God set them apart to himself and gave them as a gift to Aaron and his sons to help them minister at the Tabernacle and to the congregation. They had no inheritance like the people did, because they were a ransom for the people. They bore their sins; it was put upon them to eradicate the sins of the land. Therefore, if the priests erred and failed to carry out their function, then the whole nation was steeped in sin.

And יהוה said to Aharon, “You and your sons and your father’s house with you are to bear the crookedness against the set-apart place, and you and your sons with you are to bear the crookedness against your priesthood.” Numbers 18:1

The iniquity of the priesthood was obviously the desire to eat that which was forbidden by God’s law, which is to say animal flesh. So Aaron was the scapegoat of Israel, and so was each of the priests serving under him. If the scapegoat loved the sin, then no atonement could be made, because he was not innocent, and was only going to further his own agenda, which means there would be no repentance. This is compounded by the fact that the meat itself was supposed to be set-apart. Anyone who bore the sin (i.e. anyone who approached the Tabernacle to make atonement) apart from the priests was condemned to die, while anyone who ate any meat at all apart from the sanctioned sacrifices was cut off from Israel, as was any priest who ate something which was unholy (i.e. any meat at all which was not from a sanctioned sacrifice).

“This is yours of the most set-apart gifts, from the fire: all their offerings, all their grain offerings and all their sin offerings and all their guilt offerings which they render to Me, are most set-apart for you and your sons. Eat it in the most set-apart place—every male eats it. It is set-apart to you.” Numbers 18:9-10

“And see, I have given the children of Lĕwi all the tithes in Yisra’ĕl as an inheritance in return for the service which they are serving, the service of the Tent of Meeting. And let the children of Yisra’ĕl no more come near the Tent of Meeting, lest they bear sin and die, because the Lĕwites shall do the service of the Tent of Meeting, so they themselves bear their crookedness. A law forever, throughout your generations: that among the children of Yisra’ĕl they are to have no inheritance.” Numbers 18:21-23

It could be inferred from this that the Levites were to bear their own sin, but it would make more sense to infer that they bore the sin of the children of Israel. After all, that is exactly what we are told they were set apart for at the beginning of the chapter. Not only that, but they had also been taken as the redeeming price for the firstborn of Israel, which had been spared during the Tenth Plague, which is the origin of the Passover custom, and therefore ultimately of the obligatory sacrificial system under Moses. Clearly, the Levites were the scapegoats of Israel, and bearing the sins of Israel meant eating the flesh of the sacrificial scapegoats—the sin offerings. What this means is that only someone who wanted to bear their sins rather than atone for them would ever have any cause to play the part of the priest by eating animal flesh.

Even so, another objection could be made, in that not all meat was regarded under the Law as a sacrificial offering, or that the two concepts are not literally synonymous in Scripture. The implication of this is that meat may have been allowed under the Law apart from the rules concerning the duties of the priests. However, this objection is easily refuted by the fact that the Law requires that specific steps be taken to ensure a proper slaughter before any animal can be eaten, and that this was the duty of the priest. To this day, Jews who see themselves as under the Law of Moses make enormous efforts to ensure that the meat which they eat is suitable for consumption (kosher), even if they do not have priests to perform these duties, because they are not Israelites and they therefore have no Levites among them to carry out the duties.

As at every meal the Deity was supposed to be present and to claim His own, every meal became a sacrifice, and the killing of the animal a sacrificial act (see I Sam. xiv.); and so strong did this feeling remain, even after the lapse of centuries, that when the Second Temple was destroyed, the rigorists abstained from eating meat on the plea that as the sacrifices had been discontinued, all meat was rendered unfit for food (Tos. Soṭah, end; B. B. 60b).

The donative character of the Hebrew sacrifices appears also from the material used, which is always something to eat or drink, the common dietary articles of the Israelites. The phrase “food of God” (Lev. xxi. 6, 8, 17, 21; xxii. 25; Ezek. xliv. 7) proves the use for which such offerings were intended; and Ps. l. 13 also reveals this intention. The Jewish Encyclopedia517

This leaves no room for doubt, at least from the totemist point of view, that throughout their history, Jews have never considered that there was a difference between meat and animal sacrifice. Furthermore, it establishes that those who have taken their religion seriously have considered all meat that is not from a sacrificial offering unclean and unfit for human consumption. However, we do not even need to invoke Jewish customs derived from interpretations of the Law, or any of the scholarly opinions of old rabbis to establish this, as the Law speaks for itself on this point. To Yahweh, it is the same as murdering a human.

“Any man from the house of Yisra’ĕl who slaughters a bull or a lamb or a goat in the camp, or who slaughters it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the door of the Tent of Meeting, to bring an offering to יהוה before the Dwelling Place of יהוה, blood-guilt is reckoned to that man. He has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people, in order that the children of Yisra’ĕl bring their slaughterings which they slaughter in the open field. And they shall bring them to יהוה at the door of the Tent of meeting, to the priest, and slaughter them as peace offerings to יהוה.” Leviticus 17:3-5

In other words, if anyone ate any meat that was not part of a sacrificial rite sanctioned by Yahweh, the act warranted his being cut off from Israel. This is especially drastic if we consider that the Israelites were in the wilderness; as their survival depended on manna, it practically amounted to a death sentence. Now consider the implication for modern-day Christians, as it only took one offense to merit this punishment. A few examples of how these laws are obviously not observed by any Christian omnivores are as follows:

1) Milk (or any milk derivatives) and meat cannot be mixed, according to Deuteronomy 14:21. That is, they are not served at the same meal, served or cooked with the same utensils, or stored together. Jews always use separate sets of dishes and cooking utensils for milk and meats, and sometimes even store and prepare them in different kitchens, and they wait up to six hours after eating meat before consuming milk products.518

2) All injured or sick animals (terefah) are forbidden.519 This is virtually all farmed animals, regardless of farm conditions. Most farming processes, however, only arrange for the slaughter of animals which are injured in some way before they are killed. Simply being near this other meat (as in, in the same production facility) constitutes contamination, but it is irrelevant, as all the flesh from the other animals is already unsuitable. In reality, the policy of animals being maimed and beaten all the way to the point of death is routine on animal farms. Some commonly practiced nonfatal injuries, such as debeaking and cow fistulation (or forage analysis), can cause permanent, chronic pain. Moreover, such practices would be totally useless if conditions for the animals were not so terrible as to be potentially fatal.

3) Certain types of fats (chelev) are forbidden, presumably for the same reasons that blood is.520 It is safe to assume that any processed meat which has not been certified kosher is contaminated by chelev.

4) Non-kosher milk (chalav akum) and cheese (gevinat akum) are prohibited, for reasons which also apply to eggs and yogurt.521 To say that all milk from dairy farms is contaminated with pathogens, viruses and blood from diseased cows is a gross understatement. In fact, dairy farmers actually prize cows that have leukemia, as the leukemia causes them to produce more milk. As many cows (roughly 80% of all dairy cows in the US) are infected with the bovine leukemia virus, the milk from those cows contaminates all pooled milk supplies, and their flesh contaminates all the meat it is ground with when they are finally slaughtered.

5) Vegetables are checked for insect infestation before being cooked and served.

6) Any food that poses a health risk (sakanah), and any meat from an animal which had a life-threatening disease at the time of its death, or from any animal that had been poisoned (including unsanitary water), is forbidden. In every case, this alone demonstrates that the spirit of the Law allows for no meat or dairy consumption whatsoever, regardless of what the letter says, and regardless of how it may have pertained to well-nourished animals in the Middle East four and a half millennia ago.

 

Jews take these laws so seriously that food cooked by non-Jews (bishul akum) is considered unclean. The lesson behind this rule pertains to intermixing, which is no less applicable to Christians today, as we will see later on. In Judaism, even plants grown near grapevines are considered contaminated, and forbidden, while bread is only acceptable if it is made from the five allowed grains, and baked by a Jew.522

These are just a few examples. In fact, anything that comes from any animal which is not suitable for consumption is restricted by the Law of Moses, and this applies to every animal that is not killed in a specific, humane way (if reason can be twisted so much that the term ‘humane’ can be applied to senseless murder). Furthermore, virtually everything the average person eats is contaminated—most of it by byproducts from animals which are expressly designated as unclean (especially pigs). Pig derivatives alone are found in cheese (including “vegetarian” cheeses),523 candy, gel capsules, ice cream, margarine, creamer, soups, seasonings, powders, emulsifiers, pasta, biscuits, jelly, and most of the “natural flavors” listed on a food’s ingredients—not to mention other household products like cosmetics (all types) and brushes, including toothbrushes.

It is a relatively easy feat to show that all meat consumption in the ancient world, and especially in Israelite society, was the result of a sacrifice. We do not even have to resort to assuming that those under the Law of Moses lived by the commandment which prohibited killing, or that there is no verb in the Hebrew lexicon that equates to our ‘murder.’ The assumption is that they generally did adhere to it (as people generally do in all societies), and that this is why sacrificing animals was such a big hit with them, because they simply had no other recourse for eating flesh.

Now, assuming the Israelites really wanted to kill their animals and eat their flesh, can we still call it a sacrifice? When one person’s animal is killed and then sold to another who wants to eat it, and the farmer/butcher is financially compensated for this transaction, there is no loss of value in the exchange of commodities, hence no “sacrifice” involved anywhere in the process. Therefore, without any threat of loss, everyone is incentivized to kill.

That is what happens when a system of animal sacrifice is established. Yet God did not allow it to be established under the guidelines of the Law of Moses in order to perpetuate and accelerate slaughter; it was actually intended to minimize it, ultimately leading to its elimination. In the hands of the Aaronic priesthood, which cared only about its palate, it became exactly the opposite, probably little more than a continuation of what they had had before Moses came along. Moses tried to work within the system to realign its values and salvage something from it, when he would rather have just thrown it out altogether, but the people would not allow it.

The whole notion of sacrifice is absurd, anyway, even apart from this. There is no sacrifice in the Bible, only offerings, and the word ‘sacrifice’ does not belong even in the New Testament, as the metaphorical application of Yahshuah’s actual sacrifice of himself relates it to the context of animal slaughter in the OT, and therefore to a voluntary offering. Sacrifice is indeed a sort of offering, but it entails giving something up with no expectation of return, for someone else’s benefit. The offerings under the Law of Moses were not to anyone’s benefit except the priests, and except in the way of atonement. Even then, the priests benefited more from voluntary offerings, which took the form of grain and foodstuffs (often firstfruits).

Wherever the notion that an animal can be traded as a commodity persists, the ritual of denial of what is actually taking place is perpetuated. This leads us to think that an animal has been sacrificed, rather than that a sacrifice has been made by a human who has lost his property. As sacrifice entails a personal loss, the only person who has made a sacrifice is the one who has experienced the loss. So it is inferred, if only subconsciously, whenever the term ‘sacrifice’ is used, that the lamb or goat or bull has sacrificed itself, when it never even actually had any say in the matter. No sentient creature wants to die; animals struggle to the very end to retain their lives. This is simply a meal following the murder of a victim (victima in Latin), not a “sacrifice.”

Domesticated animals who are exploited as a resource are neither acting on their own free will, making a choice, or communicating their consent to us to be subjected to domination, enslavement or killing. Moreover, it is impossible to fairly describe such a situation as a sacrifice. What we do know for certain, based on observing their emotions and reactions, is that all animals have the same will to live that we have, as demonstrated by how tenaciously they fight for their own lives, for those of their immediate family and even for members of their extended social groups.

Even for indigenous people, who live on subsistence hunting and gathering and who kill animals for food out of necessity, the necessary act of killing does not constitute a sacrifice. Author Sherry Colb describes this as “a ritual of denial,” a ritual intended to absolve the guilt one feels for having caused another sentient being harm. “[I]ndigenous people—like us—created ways of coping with their own violence against animals through rituals of denial. Some indigenous hunters have given thanks to animals for gifts the animals never consented to bestow … We have consumed the flesh and secretions of animals in restaurants carrying the names and images of ecstatic, celebrating versions of those same animals painted on the entrance.”

Whether in the past or in the present, the notion that animals are willing to be harmed or killed as a sacrifice to us is, not only anthropomorphic, it is an irrational way of justifying harm that we know in our hearts is wrong. Robert Grillo524

There are no magical slaughterhouses where animals are fed their favorite meal, make a last phone call to a loved one and voluntarily hold their breath until they die. The act of slaughter is violent, vicious, bloody and hellish. The animals do not sacrifice themselves for your pleasure, tradition or greed. They are dragged in kicking and screaming until their last breath. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can eat meat, dairy and eggs and remain disconnected from this violence. The only way out is … vegan. Gary Smith525

In order for the economy of animal slaughter to be properly regarded as a sacrificial system, the meat would have had to have gone to someone other than the supplicant. What was actually left over from the meal was the blood and the fat, which were dedicated to God (or one of the Canaanite gods), but we already know that God had no use for either of these items, and that causing the supplicants to set them apart was just his way of steering them away from eating the most disease-inducing parts of the meal. The fact that it was indeed a meal rather than a sacrifice is key to understanding why it was so prevalent and so hard for the Prophets to get rid of. This much is authoritatively affirmed by The Jewish Encyclopedia.

The primitive notion of sacrifice is that it is a gift, which is the meaning of the Hebrew word “minḥah.” During the period of cannibalism the gift naturally takes the form of human victims, human flesh being the choice article of food during the prevalence of anthropophagism [human cannibalism]. It is also that which by preference or necessity is placed on the table of the deity. Traces of human sacrifices abound in the Biblical records. The command to Abraham (Gen. xxii.) and the subsequent development of the story indicate that the substitution of animal for human victims was traced to patriarchal example. The Ban (“ḥerem”) preserves a certain form of the primitive human sacrifice (Schwally, “Kriegsaltertümer”). The first-born naturally belonged to the deity. Originally he was not ransomed, but immolated; and in the Law the very intensity of the protest against “passing the children through the fire to Moloch” reveals the extent of the practise in Israel. In fact, the sacrifice of a son is specifically recorded in the cases of King Mesha (II Kings iii. 27), of Ahaz (ib. xvi. 3; II Chron. xxviii. 3), and of Manasseh (ib. xxi. 6). Jeremiah laments bitterly this devouring disgrace (iii. 24, 25); and even Ezekiel (xx. 30, 31) speaks of it as of frequent occurrence. Ps. cvi. 37, 38 confesses that sons and daughters were sacrificed to demons; and in Deutero-Isaiah lvii. 5 allusions to this horrid iniquity recur. If such offerings were made to Moloch, some instances are not suppressed where human life was “devoted” to Yhwh. The fate of Jephthah’s daughter presents the clearest instance of such immolations (Judges xi. 30, 31, 34-40). That of the seven sons of Saul delivered up by David to the men of Gibeon (II Sam. xxi. 1-14) is another, though the phraseology is less explicit. Other indications, however, point in the same direction. Blood belonged to Yhwh; no man might eat it (I Sam. xiv. 32-34; Lev. xvii. 3 et seq.). The blood was the soul. When animals were substituted for human victims, blood still remained the portion of the Deity. No subtle theological construction of a philosophy of expiation is required to explain this prominent trait (see S. I. Curtiss, “Primitive Semitic Religion,” passim). The blood on the lintel (the threshold covenant) at the Passover was proof that that which the Destroyer was seeking—viz., life—had not been withheld. The Jewish Encyclopedia526

The Canaanites, with whom later the Hebrews came in contact, had, as agricultural peoples, a more elaborate and lascivious sacrificial form of worship. From them the Hebrews adopted most of the features of their own priestly scheme, which, even as exhibited in the latest strata of the code, presents some remarkable elements disclosing a non-Hebrew origin (e.g., Azazel, the scapegoat, the red heifer).

This process of adaptation did not proceed without arousing the opposition of the Prophets. They were outspoken in their disapproval of sacrificial religion; and some of them made no concealment of their opinion that the sacrificial rites had no original connection with the worship of Yhwh. At all events, the sacrificial ordinances of the Book of the Covenant are simple, as, indeed, the historical glosses of the feasts at Shiloh would lead one to suppose (see Sacrifice, Biblical Data). Even Deuteronomy cannot be said to have proceeded very far toward a detailed system. The one step taken therein was the centralization of the cult in Jerusalem, with the final official suppression of the High Places, and the assignment of rank to the Levitical priests. The freedom to sacrifice thus received a severe check. The Jewish Encyclopedia527

So Jews recognize that, according to Psalm 106, sacrifices are made to demons (a fact which is confirmed in the NT), and that the institution of the Levitical priesthood constituted a “severe check” to the freedom to sacrifice, which had no original connection with the worship of Yahweh and was actually antagonistic to it, just as we have explained. The Jewish Encyclopedia also attests that sacrifices are, in fact, meals, which at least sometimes include cannibalistic rites. The very kings of Israel that followed David all practiced these cannibalistic rites and used their power to establish them throughout the land, so it is safe to say that the sacrificial system of the ancient Israelites was largely cannibalistic in nature. This is confirmed in the Apocrypha; regardless of whether or not we regard it as canon, the authority of Baruch as a historical source is established by the fact that it is referenced in at least 3 books in the New Testament.528

So Yahweh carried out the threat he had made against us and against our judges, our kings, our rulers, and the people of Israel and Judah. Nowhere else on earth have such things happened as happened in Jerusalem when Yahweh carried out the threats written in the Law of Moses. Things were so bad that we even ate the flesh of our own sons and daughters. Yahweh scattered our people, handing us over to the control of all the nations around us, and they looked on us with reproach and horror. We sinned against Yahweh our God and refused to obey him. Therefore, our nation was conquered, instead of being victorious. Yahweh our God is always righteous, but we and our ancestors are still burdened with our guilt. Even though Yahweh punished us as he had threatened, we still did not turn to him and pray that we would abandon our evil thoughts. We did not obey him or live by his just commands, so Yahweh brought on us all the punishments he had kept ready for us. 1 Baruch 2:1-10

The differences between the modern meat-eating “Christians” and the ancient Jews are that the Jews practiced cannibalism, that the Christians eat a lot more meat, and that they think they are getting away with it. The similarities are self-evident: God has warned them of the consequences of their disobedience, and they have chosen to remain disobedient. However, the punishment is still effected, as it was in ancient Israel, except that they are too ignorant of health and medicine to understand that they all die as payment for their sins.

It is worth repeating here that the sacrificial laws in ancient Israel were exceptions to the general no-meat rule, designed for the express purpose of atoning for sin, and that this means that the spirit of the society that Moses created was a vegetarian one. The sacrificial laws were given, as with any other laws, with the expectation that they be followed, not with the expectation that they be broken. (Whether or not the lawgiver actually thought they would follow them, they were still demanded of them.) There is no doubt that the spirit of the Law was overtly benevolent, and admonitions to abide by it are often followed with “so it may be well with you,” in contrast to the many warnings against breaking it. The Law was meant to serve as a guide, to teach people how to be good and to instruct and remind them concerning the laws which God had declared were to be written on their hearts. It was not conceived for no other reason than to give God an excuse to punish people once they inevitably broke it. (And Christians do suppose it was inevitable, because they cannot conceive that anyone would choose to obey it, or that, having made such a choice, that they would follow through on it. According to their beliefs, it is literally impossible to obey the Law or not be tempted to break it, and to succumb to temptation.)

To suppose that the expectation of the Law was anything short of perfection is to suppose that God is incompetent to tell anyone who adheres to a higher law how to live. That is, unless the Law aspires to the greatest good, then any vegan atheist is fitter for the kingdom of heaven than any Pharisee. What matters is not the Law itself, but the greater good: the heavenly law is based on obligation: “Do … so that,” as opposed to compulsion, like the Law of Moses: “Do not … or else.” Compulsory laws are simply appeals to obligatory laws, but with the threat of consequence where it is expected that some people will not do what they are obligated to do, because they are immoral. We have it on the authority of Yahshuah (e.g., Mark 2:23-27) that the laws were written for men, rather than that men exist to fulfill the laws.

So of course the ideal was a vegetarian one; God only gave Israel the compulsory laws after Moses threw down and shattered the tablets of the Law in his rage against the flesh-mongering he came back to. Vegetarianism is espoused by those who do care for the welfare of animals, not by those who seek loopholes in the obligation and are only coerced by the threat of force, because eating meat is not against the law in any nation, and they therefore need no such loopholes. Looking for excuses to justify sin (as opposed to simply not sinning) provokes God, and it is a shame to every Christian who is so entrenched in his sin that he has not already come to the same conclusion without assistance, but seeks loopholes when he learns that he is sinning and that God will hold him to account for it. The alternative, if we ignore the testimony of Scripture like Christians do and suppose that Yahshuah, the Prophets and the Apostles had no genuine concern for the suffering and death of the animals being “sacrificed” by the murderous Israelites, is that every ethical vegetarian in history has had a sense of morality superior to that of all these figures in the Bible, in which case the whole idea of Christianity is altogether bunk.

Put another way, if the only time you kill an animal is when you break the Law, this means that the only opportunity to even eat meat is if you break the Law. As the expectation is that you obey the law, that you do not break it, this means that those who follow the Law, as was expected and commanded of the ancient Israelites, are necessarily vegetarians. The only exceptions are those circumstances where a sacrifice is offered for a reason other than sin. Even then, any thanksgiving offering other than an animal would have been preferable to it, because it would feed the priests much longer and more efficiently, and would certainly also please God a whole lot more. The thanksgiving offering of a malicious killer is hypocritical at best, and flatly ignores what God regards as a proper offering: a spirit of contrition and the “bull of the lips.”

In order to truly understand the spirit of the Law and how it was applied on a daily basis, we need to consider how much import was given to the sacrifice. When these laws are read nowadays, we do not tend to think about the practical aspects of it. For instance, how many times would an individual make a slaughter offering in his lifetime, and under what circumstances might we suppose he did? It is not as though an ancient Israelite was going to make a sacrifice on a daily basis just because of some new sin that he committed, the way Christians pig out on animal flesh every day. (According to the USDA, Americans consume an average of nearly 9 oz. of meat every day: up 66% from just 100 years ago.)529

Such a policy would have been completely impractical and unrealistic for all but the upper class, as access to fresh meat would have been in extremely short supply compared to today’s standards. Animals in a man’s possession typically constituted the bulk of his wealth. He would have had to kill off his possessions just to keep the Law, which means it would have been too repressive and thus the people would have rejected it. (Indeed, they did reject it, but that is because they wanted more meat than the Law allowed for.) It is fair to say that if one in ten men lived off the rest, which is about how a contemporary government functions, then the other nine could have supported them with a fresh animal every few years. In reality, it was far less than one in ten, as only a few of the Levites were actually priests, and that means that a priest could have eaten meat fairly often, though he only received a tenth of the wealth of his locality. However, even this was not sufficient for them, as they lusted after more, and one of the chief criticisms of the priests in the books of the so-called major prophets is that they exacted more taxes from the poor than they were allowed by the Law.

For most crimes regarded as meriting the death of an innocent victim, a more appropriate punishment would have been to cut off a limb or a hand, as has historically been done in Middle Eastern societies. Simply mistreating a slave so that he lost a tooth meant the slave was set free as compensation (Exodus 21:27). The rule of retaliation (lex talionis) was standard in the ancient world, and no doubt considered necessary for the preservation of justice in any society with any sort of egalitarian ideals. We see evidence of the Law’s original standard form of retaliation in the Code of Hammurabi, centuries before Moses, and it is also the sentiment of the Prophets.

“But if there is injury, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, lash for lash. And when a man smites the eye of his male or female servant, and destroys it, he is to let him go free for the sake of his eye. And if he knocks out the tooth of his male or female servant, he is to let him go free for the sake of his tooth.” Exodus 21:23-27

Therefore יהוה does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is defiled and evil, and every mouth speaks foolishness. With all this His displeasure has not turned back, and His hand is still stretched out. For wrongness burns as the fire; it consumes thornbushes and weeds, and sets the bushes of the forest ablaze, and they roll up like rising smoke. The land shall be burned up by the wrath of יהוה of hosts, and the people be as fuel for the fire. A man shall not spare his brother, and cut down on the right hand, but shall be hungry; and he devours on the left hand, but shall not be satisfied; each one devouring the flesh of his own arm. Isaiah 9:17-20

Animals were precious possessions in the ancient world, right behind land (which not everyone had the means to own), health and freedom. (It was common for people to sell themselves into slavery if they could not afford to eat, or for lenders to enslave them for defaulting on debt payments.) To the average person, parting with an animal would have been like one of us parting with a car; it was the most valuable thing they owned other than their land and house. In fact, the root for ‘sacrifice’ in Hebrew (קרב) means ‘to be close to someone/something,’ and the word itself means ‘close,’ as in ‘close relation’ or ‘relative.’530 In effect, the word for ‘sacrifice’ conveys that one was surrendering his own relative … to death.

This needs to be kept in mind when we consider how serious an affair the sacrifice was. It probably only happened a few times in the average person’s whole lifetime, and perhaps once a year for the landed gentry. We also need to consider that God had every intention of blessing his people, so to see them squander all their wealth and health for something as foolish as their disgusting tastes is obviously enough reason for him to have steered them away from it.

Moreover, the fact that only unblemished (and usually very young) animals were allowable sacrifices meant that most of any flock was never to be eaten. The fact that the milk of these animals was likewise forbidden, and would even contaminate that which was clean by its proximity, means that keeping flocks really served no purpose at all that amounts to animal farming, unless the rules given by God were flatly ignored. One can only wonder, then, for what purpose a righteous man might choose to keep herds of animals, if not because he intended to take care of them. It would not be true, for instance, to say that milking a goat would serve no purpose, when that milk could not be drunk, if it was given to another goat. In any case, the rules defining veganism have only developed since then; it would not have been true to say that a shepherd who tended flocks was exploiting them for their wool, but it would be true to say that now, because sheep are not tended to now on animal farms the way they were back then.

The fact that an Israelite under Moses would have to go to great lengths to make sure his meat was acceptable, and that it was connected either to a grave sin or to an offering of thanksgiving, ought to have served the purpose of reminding the Israelites that meat-eating was a concession granted by God. (They did not need to go to such lengths to eat a simple piece of bread, or manna, or any fruit, vegetable, grain, nut or seed. All they had to do was grow them separately, and abstain from new grains on the first day of Passover, fruits from trees planted within their first three years, and from anything that was tithed or contaminated.) Having to go to these lengths should have served to remind them that they ought to have been thanking God for being so merciful as to accommodate their wickedness in lusting after that which they ought not to have wanted in the first place. The clear implication of all of this is that they were supposed to be reevaluating the morality of their desires, and maybe, just maybe, wrest control of their minds away from their demons long enough to suppress these desires and ultimately get rid of them.

Now consider for a moment what the implication of all this is for us living in the present. There are different types of imitation meats, mayonnaise, milks, margarines and even protein powders mass-produced and marketed in the United States which are suitable for vegans, some of which may even be certified organic. Yet, after exhaustive efforts, we (the authors) literally cannot find any salad dressing whatsoever that does not have any animal product or some amount of distilled vinegar in it. And this is salad dressing we are talking about. In fact, in the case of buying food products (though in no others), the Jews are our friends, because the ‘pareve’ label on a food package implies ‘vegan,’ and there is seldom any other indication whether any processed food is suitable for vegans, even in countries where foods are typically labeled as suitable for vegetarians. (Technically, the ‘pareve’ label does not account for eggs, as eggs are not considered an animal product under Jewish law, but eggs are the easiest thing to check for.)

Needless to say, the only safe way to abide by the Law of Moses is to be a conscious vegan, acquire raw fruits and vegetables, and prepare your own food. Needless to say, eating meat that is not at least certified kosher (which does not come anywhere near the Bible’s specific requirements) is to be in open rebellion to it. So it also goes without saying, at this point, that simply trying to obey the Law of Moses, which is the highest ideal we would ever expect any “Christian” to appeal to, simply does not cut it. Sacrifices for sins only perpetuate sin; the priest bears the sin of the supplicant and makes atonement, but does not actually dispel his will to sin. Dispelling our will to sin—not making atonement for us—is the whole reason our good shepherd became the scapegoat of everyone who would be one of his flock …

… not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the Set-apart Place year by year with blood not his own. For if so, He would have had to suffer often, since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the offering of Himself. Hebrews 9:25-26

So, brothers, having boldness to enter into the Set-apart Place by the blood of יהושע, by a new and living way which He instituted for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the House of Elohim, let us draw near with a true heart in completeness of belief, having our hearts sprinkled from a wicked conscience and our bodies washed with clean water. Let us hold fast the confession of our expectation without yielding, for He who promised is trustworthy. And let us be concerned for one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging, and so much more as you see the Day coming near. For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins, but some fearsome anticipation of judgment, and a fierce fire which is about to consume the opponents. Anyone who has disregarded the Torah of Mosheh dies without compassion on the witness of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think shall he deserve who has trampled the Son of Elohim underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was set apart as common, and insulted the Spirit of favour? For we know Him who has said, “Vengeance is Mine, I shall repay, says יהוה.” And again, “יהוה shall judge His people.” It is fearsome to fall into the hands of the living Elohim. Hebrews 10:19-31

Ignorance of sin and of its consequences is one veil; the Law (i.e. knowledge of sin and its consequences) is another. It teaches, dispelling the ignorance, and stands in its place to offer freedom from consequence, because God is merciful, but it will not provide this service forever. For the veil which cuts you off from the consequence of your sin also keeps you tied to your sin, and you cannot attain the righteousness which leads to life while you are tied to your sin.

Consider that Moses wore a veil when he spoke to the Israelites, because they were impure and he had been sanctified in Yahweh’s presence. From this it is clear that once you have come out from under the veil separating you from the consequences of your sin, you cannot go back. That is, once you understand the Law, you cannot make yourself clean by spilling the blood of animals. This type of cleanliness is only symbolic, and does not actually make you blameless before God. The veil, therefore, is the illusion that you have been redeemed by blood, when in fact the act by which you think you have been redeemed was only ever aimed at teaching you not to sin, and to therefore bring about repentance, which is the true redemption.

So it is no wonder that Paul pronounced a curse upon anyone who gave the Galatians a different gospel than the one which the apostles had been given, for this is the punishment for eating unsanctioned meat under the Law of Moses. Christians not only cut themselves off from the “body of Christ” when they do this, but also from whatever inheritance they would have in the kingdom of heaven. Furthermore, they do not just presume to eat Christ’s flesh (while ignoring the reason behind the metaphor of his being the “bread from heaven” altogether) once a year on Passover, as ordained by Christ, but every Sunday, as well as on the feasts of Ishtar and Mithras, etc., and on other specials occasions such as Confirmation and Last Rites, but never on Passover. So even the Eucharist is nothing more than an excuse for the bad shepherds to indoctrinate their flocks with the false doctrine of atonement by sacrifice under the guise of a Christian sacrament.

We who understand the Law well enough to accept its mandates ought to know that even strict obedience to the Law does not effect salvation, but that its purpose is to mitigate sin—in order to effect salvation by means of our redemption. That is, while we are under the Law, we are bound by sin, but once we have been redeemed, neither sin nor the Law (i.e. the threat of consequence) has any power over us. The Law was not made for the righteous, but for sinners, and no sinner will enter the kingdom of heaven. So while one might say that the Law allows for the eating of flesh, this is true, but it is only a valid sacrifice if it leads to repentance, and is never without the consequence of a life for a life. This is exactly why the once-and-for-all “sacrifice” of Yahshuah is so much more efficacious as a means of redemption and salvation than the regular murder of dumb beasts which sinners place no value on to begin with. Even such people as care nothing of these animals must recognize the import of the metaphor when applied to a man as esteemed as Yahshuah, whether or not they regard him as the incarnation of God. To fail to grasp the necessary implication of putting an end to sin is to put oneself beyond salvation.

Therefore, having left the word of the beginning of the Messiah, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of belief toward Elohim, of the teaching of immersions, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of everlasting judgment. And this we shall do, if Elohim indeed permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Set-apart Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of Elohim and the powers of the age to come, and fall away, to renew them again to repentance—having impaled for themselves the Son of Elohim again, and put Him to open shame. Hebrews 6:1-6

Now, some will argue that the Law has no bearing on us, whether we are sinners or not, the inevitable conclusion of which is that God has no problem with sin, or perhaps that sinners who profess faith in Jesus will not be held accountable for their sins. They will even go so far as to openly blaspheme the Holy Spirit, arguing that we are all sinners by nature and that there is nothing we can do about it, and that God tolerates every last infraction of his laws—moral, ceremonial or otherwise. Yet we have already seen that Christ himself, true to the Nazarite ethic, said he came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it, and that there was not a single ordinance that was to be done away with until the very end of time—that unless your righteousness exceeds the mandates of the Law of Moses, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

Those egotistical Christians who suppose themselves to be the heirs of God’s covenants with Man, ranging from the matter of dominion in Genesis, to the circumcision (“of the heart”), and to Yahshuah’s “new testament,” must first understand that “salvation” was only ever offered to those outside the Nazarite and Mosaic orders based on certain conditions which were clearly laid out at what the Christians have called the “Council of Jerusalem.” Most Christians think that this so-called council was convened in order to discuss the issue of circumcision of the Gentiles, or else that this became the chief issue due to the dispute between Peter and Paul over it. Actually, Acts 15:5 clearly states that the issue itself was over whether or not “the Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.” Circumcision is actually part of the Abrahamic covenant, not the Law of Moses, and just a one-off rather than a perpetual system of ordinances, so what they have done, essentially, is ignore the major point of contention.

The same Christians know well that the decision of the apostles was that they need not be circumcised (and this is obviously why they focus on that part, because it means they are not obligated to do anything, according to their logic—they would have ignored this, too, if circumcision was demanded). This means the real issue is actually whether or not the Christians are obligated to obey Moses. So the fact that the Christians even bring it up in their discussions about circumcision is proof that they have willingly subjected themselves to the judgment of the council regarding the matter of obeying the Law, which they effectively ignore, except that they think it means they do not have to abide by the Law of Moses or the Covenant of Abraham.

Even though no meat-eating Christian will ever even touch it, the decision of the apostolic body is incredibly important to any discussion about whether or not eating meat is allowable under the scrutiny of the New Testament. The council identified the intent of the Law as necessarily applicable to all Christians everywhere, even if the Law itself was not, even preempting any argument which the hedonists could raise from any new teachings, as these things were “known from long ago,” referring directly to the Law of Moses. The vegan/Nazarite James led the assembly and ordered that while no drastic changes would be enforced, due to the difficulty which converts were having in immediately accepting the lifestyle mandated by their teachings, some restrictions indeed needed to be made, i.e. not all was lawful. This idea that some people are too weak of conscience to be holy is the sole basis for every allowance for any meat in the New Testament, and it is also the primary reason for their admonitions by the apostles in the epistles.

And after they were silent, Yaʽaqoḇ [James] answered, saying, “Men, brothers, listen to me: Shimʽon [Peter] has declared how Elohim first visited the gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name. And the words of the prophets agree with this, as it has been written: ‘After this I shall return and rebuild the Booth of Dawiḏ which has fallen down. And I shall rebuild its ruins, and I shall set it up, so that the remnant of mankind shall seek יהוה, even all the gentiles on whom My Name has been called, says יהוה who is doing all this,’ who has made this known from of old. Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the gentiles who are turning to Elohim, but that we write to them to abstain from the defilements of idols, and from whoring, and from what is strangled, and from blood. For from ancient generations Mosheh has, in every city, those proclaiming him—being read in the congregations every Sabbath.” Acts 15:13-21

Strangled animals are unclean according to the Law, which requires that the animal not suffer any more than is necessary to kill it. This means that Christians are necessarily obligated to abstain from eating the flesh of a creature which is tortured, which means all meat which comes from animal farms. And “whoring” (normally translated as “sexual immorality” or “fornication”), is always a euphemism for ‘adultery’ in the New Testament, as we shall see, despite the translators’ efforts to squelch its real meaning. So every condition which the apostles gave to new Christian converts, which applies to everyone and for all time, amounts to the same thing: “You shall not eat meat, just like Moses said. We can talk about the rest later.”

Knowing this, there can be no doubt that the only thing on the minds of the apostles was not circumcision or the Law of Moses, but whether Christians were eating meat or not. They literally had nothing else to say to them. Even then, their opinion was divided, and the most liberal of them still agreed on the regulations which prohibit the meat-eating Christians of our age from doing what they do every day, saying “It doesn’t matter if it’s immoral. God has allowed it.” If this does not convict the Christian and bring him to repentance, then he is hopelessly beyond salvation. The apostles of the 1st century knew as much, which is exactly why the issue was raised, and why the Christians mentioned in 15:24 were spreading the vegan ideal, which, incidentally, is not even refuted in the context.

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 [Paul] and Barnaḇah [Barnabas]: Yehuḏah [Judah or Jude] being called Barsabba, and Sila [Silas], 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. Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your lives, to whom we gave no command—it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnaḇah and Sha’ul, men who have given up their lives for the Name of our Master יהושע Messiah. We have therefore sent Yehuḏah and Sila, who are also confirming this by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Set-apart Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessities: that you abstain from what is offered to idols, and blood, and what is strangled, and whoring. If you keep yourselves from these, you shall do well. Be strong! They, therefore, being sent off, went to Antioch. And having gathered the crowd together, they delivered the letter. And having read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. And Yehuḏah and Sila, being themselves also prophets, encouraged the brothers with many words and strengthened them. And having spent some time, they were sent back in peace from the brothers to the emissaries. Acts 15:22-33

Notice that Judas and Silas are called “prophets.” David, too, was called a prophet by Peter at Pentecost (Acts 2:30). The implication is that Judas and Silas, who were themselves Nazarites/vegans, encouraged those among the Christians at Antioch who were not. Acts 6 actually states that Yahshuah’s disciples served tables for thousands of believers before they appointed deacons to do it, in order that they could focus on teaching. Yet it is also evident that even the deacons witnessed to the throngs in Jerusalem, for Stephen was one of them. So there is not a clear line between the various roles of a prophet, being those who preach the vegetarian message, those who live by it, and those who encourage the believers who take the message by feeding them accordingly—both physically and spiritually. That the words of the prophets are to be “eaten” and that this is a matter of obeying the Law is evident, for example, in the fact that Stephen himself calls the Law received at Sinai “living words” in Acts 7:38.

That being said, there is a big difference here between a “prophet” (one who feeds the living words) or an “emissary” (apostle) and a “believer” (one who eats them) or a “brother.” Christians tend to think of prophets as only existing before Christ, but in fact there were a lot more prophets after him, due mostly to his enormous influence in bringing the prophetic message to Judea. This is extremely relevant to an examination of the New Testament, as Christians who allow for prophecy in the modern age tend to think of it as a matter of speaking in tongues, or something else which churchgoers do that is equally subjective and satanic, but Paul makes it very clear that a distinction is to be made, and that one is better than the other.

“Let it therefore be known to you, brothers, that through this One forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is declared right from all sins from which you were not able to be declared right by the Torah of Mosheh. Watch then that what was said in the prophets does not come upon you: See, you despisers, marvel and perish, for I work a work in your days, a work which you would in no way believe if someone were to declare it to you.” Acts 13:38-41

Pursue love, and earnestly seek the spiritual gifts, but rather that you prophesy. For he who is speaking in a tongue does not speak to men but to Elohim, for no one understands, but in the Spirit he speaks secrets. But he who is prophesying speaks upbuilding and encouragement and comfort to men. He who is speaking in a tongue builds up himself, but he who is prophesying builds up the assembly. Now I wish you all spoke with tongues, but rather that you might prophesy, for he who is prophesying is greater than he who is speaking with tongues, unless he interprets, so that the assembly might receive upbuilding. 1 Corinthians 14:1-5

Some Christians (Pentecostals) will say that you are not “saved” unless you speak in tongues, because speaking in tongues is the sign of the Holy Spirit. Even if this is true, then how much more so is it true that you must also prophesy? We might say that you are not saved unless you are vegan, because veganism is the sign of the Holy (Set-apart) Spirit. Indeed, the Nazarites, i.e. the vegans of the Bible from whom all the prophets came, were those who were “set apart to Yahweh.” (This is covered in more detail in Chapter 8.) So what else could the term “set-apart spirit” actually apply to other than veganism, short of the Christians’ nonsensical notions of some sort of demonic presence which overwhelms the emotional center and causes you to act like a fool, crawling around, as the Pentecostals do, on all fours and barking like dogs, among the other signs of possession? Can you even imagine Paul and Barnabas doing this, teaching others to do it right in the midst of preaching about matters no less serious than the end of the world, and calling it the true gospel of Christ which edifies (rather than dehumanizes and shames) the body of believers?

Considering that Judas and Silas are said to have strengthened the believers in the same sentence as that they were prophets, and Paul writes that the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort, it is inconceivable how Christians could not make the association, apart from sheer ignorance both of what is in the Bible and of what it is to be a prophet. Christians think a prophet is someone who goes into a trance and foretells the future like Edgar Cayce or Miss Cleo, but the Bible says a prophet is someone who prophesies, which is to say, who encourages people to stop sinning by changing their lifestyle. In the Old Testament, the prophets were Nazarites, and the Nazarites were vegans. In the New Testament, they were Christian adepts (the “doers” of the Law), which is to say, vegans, as opposed to “believers” (the “hearers”). By this standard, every Christian who is a vegan and spreads the vegan ideal to others is a prophet, and everyone who is not a vegan is not a prophet.

The fact is, the matter of Acts 15 was raised because the Christian adepts in Judea did not want any association with the meat-eating converts unless they were willing to make substantial changes. Acts 14:4 identifies the antagonists as Pharisees, meaning they belonged to the sect opposed to the apostles. So it is no wonder that the apostles ruled against them, but it is also no wonder that they were willing to make a concession on the point of the validity of the Law, for they themselves upheld it, and it did not constitute a compromise with their opponents, for they were already in agreement. The compromise was over whether to include the Gentiles in the community of believers at all, which Peter (and we can safely assume at least some of the other disciples) were initially against—because they did not already follow the Law of Moses. The compromise was to include them without making them obey the letter of the Law, provided that they obey the spirit, which is to say, that they would necessarily abstain from meat forever, which is really all that Moses ever could have hoped for.

We cannot fault Peter for whatever short-sightedness he had due to his strict obedience. At least he was obedient and made no compromises about it, and this is exactly why God chose him to lead the congregation: he listened to God and did what he was told. God is not so unreasonable as to turn away a willing and repentant soul. Therefore, Peter was given a dream and reminded that he himself had once been a sinner, and that his job was now to feed Yahshuah’s “lambs” the spiritual nourishment which had been imparted to him. Thus the Gentile converts were included among the community, just as the Pharisees mentioned in Acts 15:5 had been. However, the authority to render judgment did not even rest with Peter, the presbyter of Antioch, or with Paul, the missionary to the Gentiles, but with James.

The disciples said to Yahshuah, “We know that you will depart from us. Who is to be our leader?” Yahshuah said to them, “Wherever you are, you are to go to James the righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.” Thomas 12

Knowing that the Bible itself declares James to be the ultimate authority on Christian doctrine after Yahshuah himself, and that this is confirmed by the Gospel of Thomas, then anywhere we can go beyond this is dependent on what these two men have to say about it. So we will examine the epistle of James, as we will examine the gospels, but we already know from our brief citations that James upheld the Law. The most controversial items left to be covered, therefore, come from Paul’s epistles. Should there be any disagreement between Paul’s epistles and the rest of the New Testament, then we would be obligated to throw out Paul in favor of the rest. Fortunately there is none, and we are not so obligated, and while the Christians may not understand either one at all, there is not even any disagreement between the Law and the Prophets—not even in how they are actually received by those who profess to live by one and not the other.

 

 

 

 


 

 

501 Tony Page, “‘Nirvana Sutra’ on Vegetarianism,” Nirvana Sutra, http://www.nirvanasutra.net/mpnsvegetarianism.htm.

502 Run With Lions, Etienne Verhaegen, 27 Mar 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1ZnGCMyZ-k.

503 “Early Muslim Vegetarian,” The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation, 6 Jan 2013, http://www.all-creatures.org/blog/early-muslim-vegetarian/.

504 Richard Schwartz, “A Vegetarian View of the Torah,” Jewish Vegetarians of North America, http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/view-torah.html.

505 “Locust,” National Geographic, http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/locust/.

506 H.R. Lieberman et al., “Mood, Performance, and Pain Sensitivity: Changes Induced by Food Constituents,” Journal of Psychiatric Research, 1982/3, 17(2), pp. 135-145, http://wurtmanlab.mit.edu/static/pdf/567.pdf.

507 Armando D’Elia, “Consequences of Meat Protein on Human Behaviour,” International Vegetarian Union, 10 Apr 2010, http://www.ivu.org/congress/euro97/consequences.html.

508 Enrique Reynaud, “Protein Misfolding and Degenerative Diseases,” Nature Education, 2010, 3(9):28, http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/protein-misfolding-and-degenerative-diseases-14434929.

509 Gottfried W. Leibniz, Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil, Open Court, Peru, IL, 1985, pp. 52-53.

510 “Law of Moses,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Moses#Content_of_the_Law.

511 “What Does Your Hair Say About Your Health,” PositiveMed, 27 May 2013, http://positivemed.com/2013/05/27/what-does-your-hair-say-about-your-health/.

512 It appears that the source for this, http://www.worldwidehippies.com/2013/11/12/the-truth-about-long-hair/, is no longer available. However, the article’s content seems to be available at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/rael-science/VtaNjiqDzsY/L9GDAc4n25kJ.

513 Pigs, the one exception, are unclean for different reasons, not the least of which is the large amount of fat in their flesh. Also, unlike on modern animal farms, farmed pigs were fed vegetarian diets back then. For instance, Luke 15:16 describes them eating carob pods, while Matthew 8:30-33 suggests that pigs were herded and grazed the way sheep and cattle were, as opposed to being fed insects or animal-based foods.

514 http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/view-torah.html

The last sentence of the quoted text is from Chulin 84a: “The Torah teaches a lesson in moral conduct…”

515 “Althaea (genus),” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Althaea_%28genus%29#Uses.

516 “Kosher foods,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosher_foods#Human_breast_milk.

517 “Sacrifice,” The Jewish Encyclopedia, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12984-sacrifice#anchor24.

518 “Kashrut,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashrut#Separation_of_meat_and_milk.

519-521 Ibid., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashrut#Prohibited_foods.

522 “Pas Yisroel,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pas_Yisroel.

523 “Parmesan-Asiago Cheese on Domino’s Pacific Veggie Pizza Contains Animal-Derived Lipase,” Vegetarian Resource Group Blog, 18 Nov 2013, http://www.vrg.org/blog/2013/11/18/parmesan-asiago-cheese-on-domino%E2%80%99s-pacific-veggie-pizza-contains-animal-derived-lipase/.

524 Robert Grillo, “Why Animals Can’t Sacrifice Their Lives for Us,” Free From Harm, 18 Jul 2013, http://freefromharm.org/featured-articles/why-animals-cant-sacrifice-their-lives-for-us/.

525 Markgil, [comment on thread:] “Saddest Slaughterhouse Footage Ever Shows No Blood Or Slaughter ,” Free From Harm, 13 Oct 2013, http://freefromharm.org/animal-cruelty-investigation/saddest-slaughterhouse-video-ever-shows-no-blood-or-slaughter/.

526 “Sacrifice,” The Jewish Encyclopedia, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12984-sacrifice#anchor26.

527 Ibid., http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12984-sacrifice#anchor27.

528 “Book of Baruch,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Baruch#Use_in_the_New_Testament.

529 Carrie R. Daniel et al., “Trends in meat consumption in the USA,” Public Health Nutrition, Apr 2011, 14(4), pp. 575-583, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21070685.

530 “Korban,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korban#Hebrew_Bible.