The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Letters and Responses
Letter from Michael Schlitzer about Biblical Doctrine – 23 Feb 2004
I have been a Christian for 20+ years and a vegetarian (although not a vegan) for just a few months. I agree with your references to Christian love covering over a multitude of differences, because, as Galatians makes clear, we are free in Christ. I also agree that Jesus is our final sacrifice, however, the Bible does say that "...without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin..." (I believe that's Hebrews 9). I think your web site kind of stops at the word blood. My point is context. The verse doesn't say "no more blood shed", it says there is no more point to shedding animal blood to cover your sins.
Diet does play a good-sized role in the NT, but in every case, it's not to restrict what we eat - whether clean or unclean, meat sacrificed to idols or meat not sacrificed to idols. We have complete freedom in Christ.
Jesus' blood remits our sin, so we no longer need animal sacrifices. To that point, we don't make animal sacrifices anymore - neither do the
Jews, which I really don't understand, because if you're under the law, how do your sins get forgiven without blood? But that's another topic.
The only point I wanted to make / question I wanted to ask was is this:
If there will be a new heaven and a new earth completely separate from and in place of this heaven and earth, why would you advocate living a "cruelty free" lifestyle to refashion "heaven on earth"?
As a Jew, Jesus observed the law and Jewish ceremonies (except for keeping the Sabbath), so he most probably ate meat, at the very least at Passover, since roast lamb is an integral part of that meal. Since he hung around with fishermen, it's reasonable to assume that he ate fish as well. If Jesus didn't see vegetarianism, etc. as integral to establishing His kingdom, why should we?
Again, I come to this as a vegetarian by conscious choice and as a Christian through the grace of God. Like Paul said, all things are permissible for [us], but not all things are profitable. I know that
I'm free in Christ, eating meat (sacrificed to idols or not) is nothing, and not eating meat (sacrificed to idols or not) is nothing.
Thanks for your site.
Reply by Frank L. Hoffman
Thank you for your letter.
Hebrews 9:22 says: And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (NASB)
The key is "almost", because blood doesn't replace grace. Grace had been operating from the beginning of created time, and that is why they Jewish people no longer need to sacrifice. In fact, they never needed to, because true repentance brings forgiveness through God's grace.
Why heaven on earth? Because Jesus and the prophets tell us to make it a reality. I.e. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matt 6:10) "You shall be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matt 5:48)
Since there is no death in heaven (Rev 21:4), that must be God's heavenly will.
A lot of Jews in the time of Jesus' incarnation were vegetarian and they didn't eat lamb on Passover. No where in the Bible dies it say that Jesus ate the flesh of an animal while He was incarnate.
The way the vast majority of food animals are treated today is a sin against God. If for no other reason to abstain from flesh, this is foremost.
In the Love of the Lord,
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