The abstaining from blood and things that are strangled are very hard to understand. Does it mean to abstain from meat that has not been slaughtered according to the Law, or does it mean to abstain from murder, e.g. blood, and enmity of the government, e.g. hanging from a stake until suffocation/ strangling as it was common practice Deuteronomy 21:22-23?
NKJV - 29 That you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.
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Leviticus 17:11 (NIV) “For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.” Some Christians believe that the admonition against abstaining from blood, the eating of meat with blood was in reference to the fact God considered the blood of man and animals sacred. Just as the Jews drained the blood from temple sacrifices to atone for their sins, so Christ atoned for our sins when he was drained of his blood on the cross when the soldier stabbed him in the side and blood and water drained out. Some people still follow Old Testament laws out of respect and recognition of the sacredness of this fact. But it is not necessary, as you can see if you consider the context and reason for that verse. Context is critical in studying any part of the Bible. In this instance in Acts the context is around the relationship between Jews and the Gentiles, and pagan and Jewish practices. Many of the Jewish or Mosaic (Moses) dietary laws set the Jews apart from the practices of the rest of the world. Their laws against marrying non-Jews, their geneolgy etc. Were all to keep them set apart as a people. The blood commandments were a very well known and strictly followed part of Jewish dietary law, most likely given to protect the Jews from parasites transferred in raw meat or by consuming blood, just as pork was forbidden because of parasites. However, it was more likely given to set the Jews apart from the pagan practices of the Gentiles. But when Christ came he abolished many of those Mosaic laws. When we accept Christ we become "New creatures, neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female," under our salvation. That's why the Mosaic laws no longer apply (according to God), but some people still follow them because of conscience or tradition. The admonition you're asking about however, comes from a letter regarding the Gentile converts, most of whom worshipped idols and whose religious practices were pagan rituals involving blood and strangling of animals. Remember, the Gentiles and the Jews were mingling for the first time as they worshipped Christ in a new religion - and the admonition was more to keep the peace by telling the newly converted pagan Gentiles to not offend their Jewish brothers, many of whom still "kept kosher" and the law of Moses. The admonition had nothing to do with salvation, and more to do with convictions, conscience and the relationships between Gentiles and Jews. Before Christ, the Gentiles themselves were unclean and Jews were not to mingle with them. For Christ to even speak to a Gentile, let alone Gentile women, was totally in opposition to the Jewish law and was why his disciples were so shocked when he did it. Remember, Christ came to save the Jews FIRST, then the Gentiles. That's why he asked the Gentile/Cannanite woman who asked for his healing (Matthew 15:27) if it was right for him to take "the children's bread and feed it to the dogs?" The Gentiles were "dogs" to the Jews. She replied that even the dogs got to eat the crumbs that fell under the table. It was only after the Jews rejected Christ that he turned and offered salvation to the Gentiles. The New Testament (and Christ himeself) makes it clear that “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). In short, this is an admonition to respect each other, to avoid pagan practices and to be at peace with one another. It doesn't impact our salvation, only our relationships with each other. A modern day example might be Christians who celebrate Halloween, and those who don't.
In my opinion, the references to abstaining from blood and from things strangled are with respect to dietary restrictions contained in the Law, rather than to any other meanings or connections related to the shedding of human blood, or crimes punished by hanging or strangulation. Passages in the Law pertaining to the abstention from animal blood include Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 3:17, Leviticus 7:26, Leviticus 17:10, Leviticus 17:14, Leviticus 19:26, Deuteronomy 12:16, and Deuteronomy 12:23. The specific prohibition against eating animals that have been killed by strangulation is not found in the Law, but is a corollary to the prohibition against blood, since an animal killed by strangulation (rather than by having its throat cut) would not have had the blood drained from it prior to be being prepared as food.
My belief is based on the destination of the blood. When eaten are drank it goes into the digestive tract and apparently has no life-saving purpose other than as food, eventually voided as increment. When it is taken in the body as a life-saving blood it is incorporated into the life-saving blood of Christ. The blood is treated totally different, in that it is cleaned and the poisons that collect in it is voided out, not the blood of life.
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