Does the Apostle abolish the prohibition on the eating of blood according to Acts 10:14-16?
“The prohibition on the eating of the blood was already abolished in the Christian era. Acts 10:14-16 proves this. The Lord God said to Apostle Peter, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
THE EATING OF blood was forbidden by God to His servants as early as the time of Noah (cf. Genesis 9:1-4). The ancient nation of Israel was also forbidden to eat blood (cf. Leviticus 17:10-13). However, others claim that this prohibition was abolished by the apostles and citing Acts 10:14-16 to prove their contention. Does Acts 10:14-16 say that eating of blood already allowed in the Christian era? Let us quote Acts 10:11-16:
“He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." Surely not, Lord! Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.” (NIV)
There is nothing here that says the eating of blood is already allowed. It is only their interpretation of the verse, but this interpretation (that Acts 10:14-16 teaches that eating of blood is already allowed) is against the teachings of the apostles. Why? Is eating of blood no longer forbidden in Christian Era? Let us find out:
“As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” (Acts 21:25 NIV)
The believers or the Christians are exhorted to “abstain from food sacrifices to idols, FROM BLOOD, from the meat of strangles animals.” This means that they are not allowed “to eat any food that has been obliged to idol, or ANY BLOOD, or any animal that has been estrangled.”
“But as for the Gentiles who have become believers, we have sent them a letter telling them we decided that they must not eat any food that has been offered to idols, or any blood, or any animal that has been strangled, and that they must keep themselves from sexual immorality.” (Acts 21:25, TEV)
The Bible explicitly tells us that the eating of blood is still forbidden even up to the Christian Era. Take note that to Apostle Peter whom the Lord said “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This phrase was interpreted by others as God already allowing the eating of blood. Is this really the case? Let us read Acts 15:13-20:
“When they finished, James spoke up: ‘Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: 'After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things' that have been known for ages. It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” (Acts 15:13-20, NIV)
There was an issue brought to the apostles and elders in the first century Church of Christ regarding if the Christians Gentiles are still under the Law of Moses. After listening to all sides, Apostles James made his decision. He said, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, TELLING THEM TO ABSTAIN from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals AND FROM BLOOD.” What Apostle James meant in saying that believers must “abstain from blood” is “not to eat any blood”:
“Instead, we should write a letter telling them not to eat any food that is ritually unclean because it has been offered to idols; to keep themselves from sexual immorality; and not to eat any animal that has been strangled, or any blood.” (Acts 15:20 TEV)
Take note that when Apostle James made this judgment, Apostle Peter was there. He was the “Simon” that Apostle James mentioned who “has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself.” If Acts 10:14-16 means God is already allowing Christians to eat blood as what others interpreted, surely Apostle Peter will disagree with Apostle James when he included in his decision to tell the Gentile Christians to abstain from blood (not to eat any blood). However, that was not the case. Apostle Peter agreed with Apostle James:
“Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. With them they sent the following letter: THE APOSTLES AND ELDERS, your brothers, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: Greetings. We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. SO WE ALL AGREED to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul- men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. IT SEEMED GOOD TO THE HOLY SPIRIT AND TO US not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: YOU ARE TO ABSTAIN FROM FOOD SACRIFICED TO IDOLS, FROM BLOOD, FROM THE MEAT OF STRANGLED ANIMALS and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.” (Acts 15:22-30, NIV, emphasis mine)
Thus, the Acts of the Apostles tell us of many things abolished by the Apostles EXCEPT the eating of blood which is one of the few things remained.
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