New Testament

To Eat or Not to Eat, That is the Question.

One of my favorite sandwiches for lunch is a Cold Cut Combo. It’s a sub served with three meats: bologna, ham and salami. Under the Old Covenant that God had with the nation of Israel this sandwich would not have been found on any menu because it was considered an unacceptable meal.

In Leviticus 11 and in Deuteronomy 14 God gave the children of Israel instructions concerning animals that were acceptable/unacceptable for food. Pigs are probably the best-known animal on that list. But they are also accompanied by many other animals that are popular to eat today, but were still considered unclean to Israel such as the rabbit, catfish, shellfish and crabs, etc. You can read the chapters to find other animals if you’d like.

When it comes to the animals you read about in the above references, people go to many extremes trying to explain why God placed such restrictions into His Law for Israel. One popular explanation is that the unclean animals often carried transmittable diseases and were basically unhealthy. While that is true for many of them, it is not true for all of them. For example, have you ever heard the expression healthy as a horse? The horse is a physically healthy animal but it was still considered unclean for consumption. On the other hand, cattle and goats were considered clean but they can carry deadly diseases such as anthrax.

Was health one of the reasons God gave the restrictions on food? Probably so; but was it the only reason? Obviously with the examples above, the answer to that is absolutely not. We need to remember that it was God that determined whether or not an animal was clean or unclean, not Moses, not Aaron and not anyone today who thinks they will live to be 100 simply because they did not eat pork chops or bacon. God said ‘Don’t Eat’ and they were expected to not eat.

The thing about this topic is that many people today still teach that God has dietary restrictions concerning clean and unclean animals for His people, but is that doctrine taught in the New Testament? If it is I have yet to find it. The New Testament does teach against the consumption of blood (that is contained in all animals to a certain extent and ignored by many Christians) but not against the consumption of any species of animals in particular (Acts 15:20-29).

As a matter of fact, listen to what the Holy Spirit inspired apostle Paul told Timothy concerning a future time (from their point of view) when people would depart from the faith and teach that certain meats were to be abstained from for spiritual reasons. He said, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4-5). Sounds simple enough!

Concerning the transition between the Old and New covenant, which is the underlying issue of the foods discussion, listen again to the teachings of the Holy Spirit – “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross…So let no one judge you in food or in drink…” (Colossians 2:14,16). Now, I’m perfectly aware that the meat and drink of Colossians 2:14-16 refer to religious observances that are not spiritually enforced by God any longer; but when a person says something must not be eaten to please God are they not making that a religious observance???

If a person chooses to place certain dietary restrictions on his or herself, that’s fine. It may be a matter of conscience, but that’s your conscience and not everyone else’s. What isn’t fine is when a person teaches and tries to place those restrictions on others. It’s nobody’s job to make someone not eat something any more than it’s someone’s job to make someone eat something. Peace in Christ is more important than any piece of meat on the table! That’s the whole gist of Romans 14.

To eat or not to eat…there is no question to it! God in the New Testament says we can eat and give thanks to Him while doing so.

Think about it. EA

I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” (Romans 14:14)

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Why did God Require Animals to be Sacrificed?

There are times in the Bible when a person can miss the blessing of something because they don’t understand the purpose or point of God’s command. This is especially true when it comes to understanding why God had people do certain things in regards to their sin. 

Many Christians today take for granted what God was trying to teach his people under the Old Testament. Some look at the Old Testament as old, and unworthy of study or care; but if a person misses why God had his people do certain things under the Old Covenant, they’ll never come to a fuller appreciation of what God has accomplished for us under the New Covenant of today! And there are very few places where this is more true than when it comes to the animal sacrifices found from Genesis to Malachi and right on into the gospels we read.

Let’s think about why God required what he required under the Old Testament, and how it can better help us understand the sacrifice that Jesus made on behalf of humanity when he established the New Covenant.

So the first question is, “Why did God have animals sacrificed?” If we’re not required to sacrifice them anymore, why were they ever sacrificed to begin with??? If God was going to send Jesus all along, then why didn’t he have people just say they were sorry and then forgive them when Jesus died? Why did God have people do something when it seems like it was useless in dealing with sin? Did God even care whether or not someone sacrificed an animal? If He did, then why did he say he didn’t sometimes? These are some of the issues and questions a person can have when they read about these things in the Old Testament and New Testament.
So did God really ask for, require and even command animal sacrifices? Contrary to what some try to teach, he sure did! When Adam and Eve sinned and they made fig-leaf bikinis, and God said that wouldn’t do, what did He give them? He gave them clothes to wear! Now, you don’t have to be a tanner to know that you can’t get an animal-hide outfit to wear without the animal losing its life. Right from the get go with sin, a sacrifice was made. From the garden, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses and all throughout the history of the children of Israel you will find God requiring the sacrifice of animals for sin. There’s even a book called Leviticus that deals with the intricacies of how to properly deal with the sacrificing of burnt offerings, peace offerings, guilt offerings and sin offerings that God commanded.

But if God required the sacrifice of animals then why did he at times say he didn’t want them??? I mean there are multiple places in the Old Testament where God plainly says, “NO!!!” Read them for yourselves:

  • To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats.” Isaiah 1:11
  • For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 (quoted by Jesus in Matthew 9:13, 12:7)
  • For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.” Psalm 51:16

As if that’s not enough, the New Testament says this about sacrificing animals as well:

  • But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.Hebrews 10:3-4

If this is true then what was the whole point of it all? The point has to do with the context that all these verses are given in. There was, and still is, a big lesson about sin and the human heart behind all that sacrificing that God called for! The majority of the time, God’s people in the past, like His people of today, were missing the whole point of worship, sacrifice and sin.

When blood gets spilt – God takes notice! He noticed Abel’s blood (Genesis 4:10). He warns all men to take notice (Genesis 9:6). Judgment was pronounced upon the scribes and Pharisees because of bloodshed (Matthew 23:34-35). Even when an animal dies, God takes notice (Matthew 10:29b). When an animal was killed or sacrificed, God commanded that the utmost respect be shown toward the blood (Leviticus 17).

Why does God take notice of every drop of blood that gets spilt? Because life is in the blood: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul’” (Leviticus 17:11). God called for the blood sacrifice of animals because He was teaching His people about the cost of sin. (more…)

How Accurate is the average Manger Scene?

The following post is named “The Birth of Jesus was as Follows…” by a preacher named Steve Higginbotham and it comes from his blog PreachingHelp.org.

I usually write an article in Keltonburg’s bulletin similar to this one at this time of the year but this year I decided to let Steve’s do the talking this time. It is an excellent article that may surprise you. Despite the plea from so many in the “pro-Christmas” crowd there is a lot of biblical ignorance about the manger scene that is so popular in front yards, on mantles and on Christmas cards. Read and enjoy or read and learn or maybe do both of them :) .

“At this time of the year, more will be said about the birth of Jesus than at any other time of the year. Yet, each year I can’t help but be a bit disturbed by all the biblical ignorance and inaccuracies associated with the birth of our Savior. When it comes to one of the most fundamental tenants of Christianity, the incarnation of Jesus, and one of the most pivotal historical events that ever occurred, I find that many cannot discern between fact and fiction. As fundamental as the birth of Jesus is, people do not really know the account of his birth as well as one might think.

Doubt me? Then give the following “True/False” quiz a shot and see how well you do? (more…)

“Will it be Thanksgiving or Thanks-Given?”

Is it possible to know a word but not know what it really means? Sure it is. In school I learned that “supercalisragilisticexpialidocious” was actually a word, but until I started writing this article all it meant to me was “write-off.” But how about when it comes to words that are little more common? How about a word that we have heard or used so much this week? Take the word “thanksgiving” for instance. Is it possible that we can use a word that so many ears recognize without truly understanding the meaning it is meant to have? Has thanksgiving become a misunderstood word taken for granted? Despite the fact that thanksgiving is a word that we say and hear so much this time of the year the true essence of the word describes what our words sound like to God.

The word thanksgiving means, “gratitude, grateful language to God as an act of worship; thankfulness.” Thanksgiving Day is not meant to be a day that bottles up our recognition of God into one meal. It is meant to make us slow down and show some emotion. Thanksgiving is something that God enjoys, desires and deserves. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” It has to do with how we feel about our blessings. We cannot trust our emotions to lead us to salvation (Proverbs 3:5; Jeremiah 10:23; 17:9 & 1 John 5:13) but that does not change the fact that salvation and all the other recognized blessings of life will lead a person to certain emotions (Acts 8:26-39; Philippians 4:4 & 1 Timothy 6:7-9). (more…)