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Monday, December 21, 2009

What is the scriptural basis for the abstinence of blood and is it relevant for Christians today?

A conference occurred in 49 C.E., in which the apostles and older men of Jerusalem who served as a central body of elders for all Christians held a discussion. In this discussion, Jesus’ half brother James brought to the council’s attention certain essential things that he deemed important to include in their decisions, in particular, "to abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood." (Acts 15:19-21) He referred back to the writings of Moses, which reveal that even before the Law was given, God had disapproved of immoral sex relations, idolatry and the eating of blood, which would include eating the flesh of strangled animals containing blood.—Genesis 9:3, 4; 19:1-25; 34:31; 35:2-4

The decision was made, and as they themselves stated, was made in accord with God’s holy spirit:

"The holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you, except these necessary things, to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper."—Acts 15:28, 29.

So the divine prohibition against blood applies to Christians today. Throughout human history, God consistently made it clear for humans to abstain from blood. God began with commanding Noah and his family to abstain from blood. (Gen. 9:4) He repeated this through the Mosaic law (Le 7:26,27; 17:10, 11, 13, 14) and He continued to remind us through the pages of the New Testament. (Acts 15:28, 29; Acts 15:19, 20)

"This law [of abstaining from blood] was ancienter than the days of Moses, being given to Noah and his sons, long before the days of Abraham: and therefore when the Apostles and Elders in the Council at Jerusalem declared that the Gentiles were not obliged to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses, they excepted this law of abstaining from blood, and things strangled, as being an earlier law of God, imposed not on the sons of Abraham only, but on all nations, while they lived together in Shinar under the dominion of Noah: and of the same kind is the law of abstaining from meats offered to Idols or false Gods, and from fornication." (Italics his) -The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, by Sir Isaac Newton (Dublin, 1728, p. 184)

"It ought to be observed, that this prohibition of eating blood, given to Noah and all his posterity, and repeated to the Israelites, in a most solemn manner, under the Mosaic dispensation, has never been revoked, but, on the contrary, has been confirmed under the New Testament, Acts xv.; and thereby made of perpetual obligation." - Joseph Benson; Benson’s Notes, 1839, Vol. I, p. 43.

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Questions about blood