Romans 14:1 - 8
ESV - 1 As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. 2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.
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Read Rom.14:14-23 & Col.2:14-17 1 TIM.4:1-6 Where to buy meat (1Cor. 10:25) With whom to eat (Acts 11:3; 1Cor. 5:9-12; 2Th. 3:7-13; Jude 1:12 Where to eat (1Cor. 8:4-13; 10:15-23; 11:17-22)
In Jesus day there were meat sacrifices made in the temple and some of the left over meat was then sold. it was believed by the orthodox jews that this meat was not to be eaten except by the head priests as support for their service. Well some Christians that were stronger in their faith realized God had no problem with them consuming this sacrificed bar-b-Q. However Paul encouraged them even though it was no problem with God to eat this meat that for the sake of younger converts the more mature Christians refrain from it for younger ones sake. Because they had to go into the temple to buy it and temple prostitutes also worked there. The younger Christians saw the mature Christians going in and it only left them wondering if more than meat purchases was going on. Plus still weak in their Christian understanding buying sacrificed meat to a Jew was a sin.
This isn’t so much about days and food as it is about degrees of Christian maturity. We aren’t to make judgments on petty differences and certainly not that might cause one to stumble or to sin. The desire is to live together as Christians in harmony. We are encouraged not to go against our conscience because doing so is sin. If one holds certain days as special such as Christmas, we shouldn’t debate whether or not it is okay to celebrate this day. On the other hand, one who doesn’t hold it to be a special day should not be judged either for there is no authority for it in scripture. Therefore we should not judge one another or discourage one another with petty disputes over such matters. The food primarily here is whether or not the eating of meat is okay. Again it isn’t so much about the meat as it is about conscience. We are allowed to eat meat. See 1 Cor 8:13, but regarding conscience see 1 Cor. 10:23-30.
As regarding the meat of the sacrifices, some was for the priests' sole consumption. Others who could eat of the sacrificial meats were the priests' families, widows, and orphans. Temple prostitutes were never anywhere near the temple of YHWH. Temple prostitutes were of different religions. Any mention of prostitutes is only found outside of Yerusalem. There were very strict rules when approaching the temple. Rules, that if broken, could result in death. Romans, chapter fourteen is one of the “go to” chapters when people want to try to say that Torah is done away with, and that they can do anything they want to do. This, unfortunately, is not the case. Below is the first eight verses to the fourteenth chapter of Romans. It speaks to two things. First is food. Second is “days.” Observe: And receive him who is weak in the belief, not criticizing his thoughts. One indeed believes to eat all food, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. He that eats, let him not despise him who does not eat, and he that does not eat, let him not judge him who eats, for Elohim received him. Who are you that judges another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. But he shall be made to stand, for Elohim is able to make him stand. One indeed judges one day above another, another judges every day alike. Let each one be completely persuaded in his own mind. He who minds the day, minds it to יהוה. And he who does not mind the day, to יהוה he does not mind it. He who eats, eats to יהוה, for he gives Elohim thanks. And he who does not eat, to יהוה he does not eat, and gives Elohim thanks. For not one of us lives to himself, and not one dies to himself. For both, if we live, we live unto the Master, and if we die, we die unto the Master. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Master’s. (Ro. 14:1-8) In dissecting this passage, we need to know to whom Rav Shaul was writing. This is made clearly evident in chapter seven, where we see him stating, “Or do you not know, brothers – for I speak to those knowing the Torah... ” He was writing to the dispersed Hebrews (As he did with the Ephesians). He was writing to the Hebrews of the Diaspora, just as Ya’acob and Kepha did in some of their writings. (James 1:1, I Pe. 1:1). They were all addressing the Jews of Acts 2:5, 8:1, and 15:21. It is VERY important to remember what the Messiah said to His disciples. We see: “יהושע sent these twelve out, having commanded them, saying, “Do not go into the way of the gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Shomeronites, but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’ĕl.” (Mt. 10:5-6). The word “way” here can be translated as a particular way of thinking, feeling, and/or acting. This is differentiated from physical places, because in His next breath, he says not to go into any cities of the Samaritans. The next thought is even more important. He highlights His ministry and that of all of His disciples, including Rav Shaul. They were to seek out Jews wherever they went. The order would be Jew first, Gentile second. (Ro. 1:16, 2:9-10) Those Gentiles (non-Israelites) who heard and accepted the gospel message, as it was spoken to the Jew, would attach themselves to Israel, just as Ruth did… “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you, or to go back from following after you. For wherever you go, I go; and wherever you stop over, I stop over. Your people are my people, and your Elohim is my Elohim.” (Ruth 1:16) In taking the route she took, she accepted the covenant and all that entails. It would be so when pure Gentiles would accept the gospel message (Is. 56:1-7). They would guard the Sabbath and maintain the covenant to Israel. Torah is the tie that binds Israelites to non-Israelites. Now, with this said, we turn back to Romans fourteen. First, we see the mention of food. There are two views to this. Only one of them is proper. We can either eat anything we want, calling it food, or we can eat what is declared as food, not eating everything that the other group declares as food. Those meats which are clean and are acceptable as food are given in Vayikra (Leviticus). If it is clean, then it is considered as food. If it is not clean, then it is not considered as food. Seeing as how pork seems to be a main contention, this can be used as the prime example. Pork was never considered as food, so it would never be eaten, regardless of what one might do between eating meat and vegetables. Pork was never in question in the Tanakh. It was never in question in any of the Greek commentary, either prior to or after the Messiah’s death. Pork was out. Pork is still out. Pork is not what is in question in Romans. What is in question in Romans is the thought that still goes on today with people who eat meat and people who eat vegetables. They both still look down upon the other. What Rav Shaul was speaking of was that neither group, eating properly, should look down on the other. I will touch upon this in another passage, here in a bit. Another way of viewing it was that there were restrictions on the eating of meat, so those who were fearful of the regulations... of breaking them... simply chose to eat vegetables. It was the safest route to take. Faith did not need to be stimulated for them to eat vegetables. It took a greater amount of faith to eat meat, though. Now, as for the “days” that are mentioned in Romans fourteen. Remember, Rav Shaul was writing to Hebrews (Ro. 7:1). The “days” that he is mentioning in Romans fourteen are Hebrew days, and not pagan/heathen days. The two would never be mixed. That is, there is not to be a combining of the Hebrew calendar with any from the world. The Hebrew calendar is one of the things that make Israel a peculiar people (Is. 8:20). It sets them apart (makes “holy”) from all others. The days that are spoken of here are NOT those days in which Christianity has come to teach as sanctified. Sunday has not replaced Vayikra 23:3. It never has, and it never will. Easter has not replaced Vayikra 23:5-8. Christmas has not replaced Vayikra 23:34-36. Just as an aside, we are coming upon Yom Teruah within the next day or so, so that is something to look forward to. It is the day of the awakening blast. In Hebrew tradition, it is also called “The Day That No Man Knows.” It is reminiscent of the Messiah, coming for His Bride. Now, back to the discussion of Romans fourteen. Romans 14:5 talks about those who consider one day better than another or all days being the same. There were some who might have thought that Pesach was more important than Yom Kippur, or Shavuot better than the Feast of Unleavened Bread. None of these days was any more set-apart than the others. They all pointed to Messiah. These were the shadow of the substance of Him. Nothing else is to be included along with the Hebrew days of observance. Anything that was added would go against the thought of adding to Torah. This was/is not to be done. Now, since I am talking about Romans fourteen, I will, of necessity, have to speak of Colossians. Colossians 2:6 is a hint of how we should walk. We are to “walk in Him.” That is, we are to walk and do the very same things He did. This is shown to us in Romans 8:4 and I Jn 2:6, where we see: “…so that the righteousness of the Torah should be completed in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” “The one who says he stays in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked.” Now, there is a thought that is shown in Colossians that Christianity tries to pervert, so that they can get away with observing any days that they want to make up. This follows along the same thought as was covered in Romans fourteen. There is a warning in Colossians 2:8, where we see: “See to it that no one makes a prey of you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary matters of the world, and not according to Messiah.” Following along, we are then brought to the thought about food and “days” again. We see: “Let no one therefore judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths – which are a shadow of what is to come – but the Body of the Messiah.” (Col. 2:16-17) This passage is not inclusive of man-made traditions (Sunday, Christmas, & Easter). What is included are solely and specifically the testimonies of YHWH – nothing else. There was food and drink associated with some of the mo’edim (feasts/festivals), and many self-righteous people (just as today) would put others down if they didn’t follow along exactly as they thought things should happen. Again, in regard to the days that were to be observed, it is the same problem as was shown in Romans fourteen. Now, I know that there will be those who try to use the thought presented in Col. 2:20-22 to try to say that Torah is done away with, but this too would be an error. Col. 2:20-22 states: “If, then, you died with Messiah from the elementary matters of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations: “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle” – which are all to perish with use – according to the commands and teachings of men?” Rav Shaul wrote about this elsewhere, when he said, “So we also, when we were children, were under the elementary matters of the world, being enslaved. But now after you have known Elohim, or rather are known by Elohim, how do you turn again to the weak and poor elementary matters, to which you wish to be enslaved again?” (Gal. 4:3,9) These “elementary matters” that are spoken of are the things of the world, and not the things of YHWH. These “elementary matters” are the teachings of men, rather than the teachings of YHWH. There is a vast and great difference. The “days, months, seasons, and years” that are spoken of in Gal. 4:10 are those observances of pagan/heathen nations. Those are the things that believers in Messiah died to. To finish up, I want to quote two people. Before I quote them, I want to say that I have not even scratched the surface of the deeper thoughts that I have presented here. I also know that there will be objections to what is written here, but those objections will be based almost solely on emotional arguments as well as improper use of Scripture. Those arguments are easily resolved, but those who object, object with the intent of not listening to reason. They simply want to disagree, without any thought that was given to what is presented. When these things are brought up, I will counter them with good reasoning, as well as understanding. So, without further delay, I want to quote Bishop Horne as well as Maimonides. "'Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer; and when this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written on the subject." ~~ Bishop Horne “I do not presume to think that this treatise settles every doubt in the minds of those who understand it, but I maintain that it settles the greater part of their difficulties. No intelligent man will require and expect that on introducing any subject I shall completely exhaust it; or that on commencing the exposition of a figure I shall fully explain all its parts. Such a course could not be followed by a teacher in a viva voce exposition, much less by an author in writing a book, without becoming a target for every foolish conceited person to discharge the arrows of folly at him.” ~~ Maimonides
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