The Ten Commandments: Are they still relevant? – Part 5
As we concluded in Part 5 in this series, the Apostle Peter had stood up to ask his Jewish brothers in:
Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
Now that this has been reiterated, it now makes better sense when we read in the Gospel of:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
The church then came up with their decree that the new pagan converts should follow, and we find this decree beginning in:
Wherefore my sentence is that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.
The new converts from the pagan religions were about to receive a church decree that consisted of four rules, excerpted from the LAW OF MOSES, that the Apostles were about to impose upon them. Why you might ask? It was not for their own sakes, but for the sensibilities of the Jewish people that were sharing the same church services with them and partaking of the same love feasts. These four were:
- Abstain from pollutions of idols
- From fornication
- From things strangled
- From blood
Why these four? The first one: is it not the second commandment of the ten? Then they were to keep themselves from fornication: why? As Paul instructed the church in 1 Corinthians 7:9, “But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.” Then they were being commanded to abstain from things strangled. Again, why? Because to the devout Jews who were now sharing this new church movement with the new pagan converts, the method that was used in how an animal was slaughtered, either for the sacrificial system or for their personal consumption, was of extreme importance. It bore heavily upon the requirement to keep kosher in their daily food consumption. Finally, they were now expected to abstain from blood. Why? The proscription is found in:
And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood.
The idea of eating blood was absolutely abhorrent to the Jewish psyche and this proscription was pounded into their thoughts from the time that they were old enough to understand the Scriptures. This should now bring new light and understanding upon the following pericope found in the Gospel of John 6.
John 6:50-53, 59-61, 66
50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
59These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
In today’s vernacular, “Holy Jehoshaphat! Yes Jesus, it offends us!” The judgment that came along with this proscription was that God had said, “I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.”
For the Jew…this meant that they would never obtain an entrance into Abraham’s bosom when they died. It had the same effect for them as if someone had said:
“Don’t pass GO, but do GO straight to hell. And you won’t be collecting your $200, and there isn’t any ‘Get Out of Hell Free’ cards either.”
For the Jew…the Lord Jesus might as well have said, “Curse God, and Die!” it was that serious to the Jewish psyche.
This is why we read in the Gospel of John “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Furthermore, just as a side note to my readers: Exactly what is apostasy? Does it not happen when those people who proclaim to follow God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as being led by His Holy Spirit stop following? It is, so with that in mind let us look at the numbering of that verse: it is John 6:66. Coincidence? I think not! Did God plan this? I think so! We will continue in Part 7, so stay tuned. Y’all come back now.