Is it a sin to eat blood and strangled animals? This question has been a topic of debate among religious communities for centuries. While the Old Testament clearly states that consuming blood and strangled animals is forbidden, the New Testament brings a different perspective on this matter.
In the Old Testament, numerous passages emphasize the prohibition against eating blood and strangled animals. Leviticus 17:10-14 states that God set His face against anyone, whether an Israelite or a foreigner, who consumes blood. It explains that the life of a creature is in its blood, and blood is given to make atonement for one’s life. Therefore, the Israelites and foreigners residing among them were strictly forbidden from eating blood.
However, in the New Testament, the laws of the Old Testament are no longer binding for Christians. Under the New Covenant, Christians are guided by the law of Christ, which is often referred to as the law of the Spirit. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament laws, and believers are now under a new and better covenant.
Some individuals point to Acts 15:19-21 and Acts 15:24-29 as evidence that the prohibition against consuming blood and strangled animals still applies in the New Testament. However, it is crucial to understand the context in which these verses appear. The issue discussed in these passages revolves around the early Church’s struggle to navigate the transition from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
At that time, the Church consisted of both Jewish and Gentile converts who faced challenges in reconciling their different backgrounds and practices. Jewish believers, rooted in the law of Moses, attempted to impose circumcision and the observance of Mosaic laws on the Gentile believers. This created tension and threatened the unity of the early Church.
To address this issue and establish a middle ground, Church elders proposed certain requirements, including abstaining from food sacrificed to idols, sexual immorality, the meat of strangled animals, and blood. These requirements were meant to temporarily ease the tension and provide a framework for unity until the Gentile believers became more familiar with the law of Christ.
It is important to note that this temporary law was introduced to resolve a specific problem within the early Church and is not intended to bind Christians today. The ultimate law for Christians is the law of Christ, which surpasses the Old Testament laws.
The prohibition against eating blood and strangled animals in the Old Testament was specifically related to the atonement made through animal sacrifices. Animal blood was used to make atonement for Old Testament believers, and that is why they were forbidden to consume it. However, for Christians, the atonement comes through the precious blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Cross of Calvary. It is His blood that cleanses and redeems, not the blood of animals.
In conclusion, while the Old Testament clearly prohibits the consumption of blood and strangled animals, the New Testament provides a different perspective. Christians are no longer bound by the Old Testament laws but are under the superior law of Christ. The temporary requirements mentioned in Acts 15 were meant to address a specific issue within the early Church and should not be taken as permanent regulations for believers today. The focus for Christians should be on following the law of Christ, which is guided by the Spirit and the teachings of Jesus.