I heard the President of “P.E.T.A.” claim that Jesus was a vegetarian, and that the apostles taught the first church to be vegetarian. Is it wrong to eat meat?
I have no quarrel with anyone, who, for personal reasons, elects not to eat meat. That is entirely a matter of choice. It is altogether a different situation, however, when: (a) Folks attempt to bind this notion upon others; and, (b) they attempt to buttress their opinions by misrepresenting the Son of God.
“Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds”
Christ, on two occasions, fed vast multitudes with bread and fish (see Mt. 14:15-21; 15:32-39). It is rather unreasonable to argue that Jesus provided fish for these thousands, and yet ate none of the food himself. Moreover, if it is sinful to eat meat, would it be any less evil to provide such for others?
Acts 10 :9-15
9* ¶ On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.
10* But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;
11* and he *saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,
12* and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.
13* A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!”
14* But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.”
15* Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.”
In Acts 10 the apostle Peter, by means of a heavenly vision, was instructed that God had “cleansed” meats – even those considered ceremonially unclean under the Mosaic regime (vs. 15). Granted, the ultimate application had to do with the reception of the Gentiles; be that as it may, the symbolism would have served no purpose if those animals were to be viewed as prohibited still.
“But concerning the Gentiles who have believed, we wrote, having decided that they should abstain from meat sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication.”
“It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles.”
1 Cor. 8:8
“But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.”
1Co 10:25 Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake;
1 Tim. 4:1-5
1 ¶ But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,
3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;</>
5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
The apostle Paul stated that meat was created by God to be received with thanksgiving, and that to forbid such is an expression of apostasy (1 Tim. 4:1-5).
9* So when they got out on the land, they *saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.
10 Jesus *said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.”
11* Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.
12* Jesus *said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord.
13* Jesus *came and *took the bread and *gave it to them, and the fish likewise.
14* This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.