Gen 9:4, Acts 15:20 - Life Blood

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RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Wanted to query the group on your thoughts on the below command.

Warnings of eating blood are mentioned several times starting in Gen 9:4. They are repeated several Leviticus 3:17; 7:26, 27: 17:10,12,14). I am sure they are mentioned elsewhere but I didn't study other books on this yet. In the New Testament, it is repeated at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15:20 and because of this, it appears to be a moral command.

Some commentators seem to feel it's related to pagan practices of drinking blood, but the context doesn't seem to fit with the context of Gen 9 and Acts 15. Perhaps you could fit it into Leviticus but we are not told much other than that.

What do you believe this means for us in the modern era? Are we violating this command by eating meat that doesn't have the blood drained?
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Seems to me, rather than feeling the need to follow what amounts to pharisaical exactitude (i.e. kosher definitions), since most animals slaughtered for meat are significantly drained out, that's sufficient. Think of Paul giving counsel to Gentiles concerned about "meat sacrificed to idols;" he doesn't say they need to just go to the Jewish market. So, it must be enough an animal is basically exsanguinated. The intent is not to drink the animal's blood, but generally avoid it.

One should try to grasp the purpose behind the law, without speculating overmuch (there's not a lot spelled out in the text). Idolaters of the ancient world might treat animal blood as ritually significant, and the drinking of that blood (as part of their cult) a means of worship, or of gaining illicit power--or suchlike. "The life is in the blood," is the sort of expression that flows from natural observation, not just divine revelation. Thus, it is reasonable to suppose that those in rebellion to God might turn to the blood of sacrifices (and of the animal kingdom generally) for alleged occult advantage.

So, the real issue behind the prohibition is the divide between those who respect God's authority over all things visible and invisible, and those who despise the Author of life, who are not above trying to use lifeblood in perverse ways. That's my :2cents:
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
One thing that I learned today is that butcher shops always drain blood from the kill. The red stuff in the meat pack is actually called myoglobin. So technically we are eating drained meat. Although, I think there might be exceptions to this but I am not sure what they would be. Perhaps blood sausage?
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Think of Paul giving counsel to Gentiles concerned about "meat sacrificed to idols;" he doesn't say they need to just go to the Jewish market. So, it must be enough an animal is basically exsanguinated. The intent is not to drink the animal's blood, but generally avoid it.
In my mind blood wasn't drained at the butcher. Its something I learned today because I never gave it much thought. I am not accustomed to butching my own food since the grocer does this for me. Basically ignorance. The comment regarding KOSHER foods assumed they had blood drained. It isn't a matter of going back to pharisical standards, it was simply finding an alternative since we don't kill and butcher our own food and assumed this wasn't done.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
No. Just go about your life normally, just don't eat Black Pudding, etc.

You know it wasn't until today that I realized draining blood was common practice. I guess this would be more common knowledge for those dwelling in farms and near butcher shops. For me buying meat occurs at the grocery store. hehe

I have heard black pudding or blood sausage in Western Europe. I am in agreement that this command would be violated if you ate those meals.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Outward washings and dietary laws are no more. But the Gentiles were to be sensitive to their Jewish brethren. It is akin to a missionary org urging its missionaries to the Muslim world to refrain from pork so as not to trouble the minds of their target population.

By all means, if you are starving, eat some blood. To focus on the externals and to trace your eternal safety to the presence of blood in food is silly. To say your state is sinful or not because of how the butcher did or did not prepare the meat is contrary to the principles of New Testament Christianity.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
By all means, if you are starving, eat some blood. To focus on the externals and to trace your eternal safety to the presence of blood in food is silly. To say your state is sinful or not because of how the butcher did or did not prepare the meat is contrary to the principles of New Testament Christianity.
That has always been my thought as well but how do you reconcile that with the command occurring prior to the mosaic economy? Generally speaking, I always equated the dietary laws being tied to Israel. This occurred prior to Israel the nation being established. I guess my question is a hermeneutical one on how to interpret this specific command since its falls outside of the normal mosaic commands.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Here is from PB's own Wes: Can a Christian eat blood pudding?

John Calvin says, "Wherefore, what Tertullian relates, that in his time it was unlawful among Christians to taste the blood of cattle, savours of superstition. For the apostles, in commanding the Gentiles to observe this rite, for a short time, did not intend to inject a scruple into their consciences, but only to prevent the liberty which was otherwise sacred, from proving an occasion of offence to the ignorant and the weak. (Commentary on Genesis 9:4)"
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Great article Perg. Thanks for sharing. Now I won't feel as bad eating blood pudding even though I don't seek it out. hehe
Or if you ever want to conquer Asia on horseback you can take your cue from the Mongols and drain a little blood from your pony as you ride in pursuit of fleeing Chinese hordes.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Or if you ever want to conquer Asia on horseback you can take your cue from the Mongols and drain a little blood from your pony as you ride in pursuit of fleeing Chinese hordes.
Whenever I plan on doing that I will keep that in mind. Perhaps I should include that in my triathlon distance races.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
I always considered back of this command to be the notion of respect for life, and especially not eating animals with the life still in them.

Some cultures do eat animals alive, you know. I believe there's that Mongolian dish where you carve hunks off a live donkey while it's running around and eat them; or in parts of China where, I've been told, people occasionally would eat the brains of a monkey live from its skull. For... some benefit. Not certain exactly what that one was about. Chinese always have the most interesting notions about food.

"3 Cries," another legendary dish, involves baby mice and a bowl of hot oil: cry 1 is picking them up by the tail; cry 2, dipping in the hot oil; cry 3, popping them into your mouth.

Anyway, I always found such things particularly horrifying, and (maybe conveniently to my own preferences) considered it a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the "blood" regulations.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Some cultures do eat animals alive, you know. I believe there's that Mongolian dish where you carve hunks off a live donkey while it's running around and eat them; or in parts of China where, I've been told, people occasionally would eat the brains of a monkey live from its skull. For... some benefit. Not certain exactly what that one was about. Chinese always have the most interesting notions about food.

"3 Cries," another legendary dish, involves baby mice and a bowl of hot oil: cry 1 is picking them up by the tail; cry 2, dipping in the hot oil; cry 3, popping them into your mouth.
I just read this post while eating my breakfast sausage. Not recommended.
 

RobertPGH1981

Puritan Board Sophomore
Anyway, I always found such things particularly horrifying, and (maybe conveniently to my own preferences) considered it a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the "blood" regulations.
I remember watching a TV show when they threw live snails and fish on a fryer and was horrified by it. Seems unnecessarily cruel to treat animals in these ways. In the US lobster is boiled alive because if you don't they release a toxin that can make you sick. Not a fan of lobster because of this but I am not a fan of lobster anyways. But I think your assessment is accurate.
 
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