The Compassionate Christian
As perhaps the only vegan (let alone vegetarian) in the church that I used to attend I was often persecuted both in private and publicly for my lifestyle and dietary choices. The catalyst for my journey along the plant-based path began as a quest for health yet I soon began to realize that it had much greater implications of ethics, spirituality and compassion. I could never understand why a people who professed to be endeavouring to live compassionate and blameless lives could be anything but. Although I quite happily continued my journey without standing on my soapbox about it many still felt threatened for some reason and their standard response was ‘but God says it’s okay to eat animals and their products’. Some even went so far to say that God commands us to eat animals. One person told me that my dietary choices were ‘unbiblical’. Incidentally this person while a lovely human being in their own right also suffers from a re-occurring debilitating health challenge as they continue to consume the Standard Western Diet in the false belief that God has commanded them to eat that way. I find this response sad, to say the least.
What is a Christian?
There is much confusion in the Christian world about nutrition. I would like to address this confusion as best as I can from a Torah-based perspective. Before I begin however I feel a need to address several issues of definition. Christians are so called because they endeavour to follow the teachings of Jesus the Christ who is the Son of God and was made manifest in the flesh to embody the Torah instruction and mediate as our redeemer and saviour. You will have noticed that I used the word Torah in speaking of Christ’s mission on Earth. A lot of Christians, particularly fundamental and ‘born-again’ Christians turn off when they hear terminology associated with Judaism. This is quite anti-semetic in nature so let’s get something perfectly clear first and foremost. If you are descended from Shem (remember that son of Noah?) then you are considered Semetic. If you claim heritage from Abraham then you are Semetic. (This also includes Muslims) If you are a Christian who believes in and endeavours to follow Jesus Christ then you are by default Semetic. Jesus Christ who spoke Hebrew and was born into the Hebrew culture and largely spoke in a Hebrew context was also born from the house of Judah and was a Jew. Many Christians claim that the laws and teachings of the Torah and Tanakh (the Old Testament) have now been done away with. Yet in studying the renewed covenant concurrently to the Tanakh one quickly realizes that around 70% of the renewed covenant IS the instructions of the ‘old testament’. The Messiah Yeshua (who I, as a Messianic Jew, refer to in His Hebrew context) embodied the Torah because in studying the written Torah we discover that He, being the Word made manifest is the Living Torah! We also therefore note that the instructions regarding the appointed Holy days and Feast times were given by God (YHVH) through the Word that became Yeshua to His Holy set-apart chosen people – the Israelites. This means that they are not just Jewish festivals, they are for all of God’s people. And if you are familiar with the writings of Shu’al (the apostle Paul) you will note that he refers to spiritual Israel. (Ephesians 2:12-2:22)
So where am I going with all this? My endeavour is to make it crystal clear that if you call yourself a Christian (or even a Messianic Jew) then by extrapolation you must be Torah-observant because Jesus Christ is the living Torah and all of what He taught on Earth can be found in the Torah.[i] This is where we are now going to focus much of our study into the dietary practices of a compassionate Christian.
On this note I would like to begin by addressing the Christianity of my former association. This faction of Christianity is Torah-observant in the sense that they observe the seventh-day Sabbath and the Holy festivals appointed throughout the year as a memorial to the Divine plan of redemption for all humanity. There is no observance of Easter or Christmas because these weren’t given as observances by God and a simple Google search will show you that to appease the masses at the time they were ripped from Pagan festivals and dressed up as honouring the God (and Christ) of the Bible. Which is interesting considering Deuteronomy 12:30 and Jeremiah 10:2-4.
The role of Humankind in Creation
These Christians also follow the dietary laws to the extent of the clean and unclean meats. That is where the observance ends however, they do not observe the practice of ensuring the animals they eat are raised or killed humanely. The argument here is that God commanded what animals could and could not be eaten and by extension it is a command that we must eat them. Yes, Israel was commanded to eat the Passover lamb which we know was a symbol of the Messiah who came as the ultimate sacrifice and that as well as the sacrificial system ARE now a part of the law that has been renewed. (I have heard it argued that we should still eat lamb at Passover. In my mind this means that Christ’s sacrifice was in vain. At this festival He commanded us to eat the unleavened bread as a symbol of His body and wine as a symbol of His blood, not lamb) But let’s delve deeper into the law of clean and unclean meats and go way back to the beginning. In Genesis 1:28-30 it clearly says;
God blessed them: God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air and every living creature that crawls on the earth.” Then God said, “Here! Throughout the whole earth I am giving you as food every seed-bearing plant and every tree with seed-bearing fruit. And to every wild animal, bird in the air and creature crawling on the earth, in which there is a living soul, I am giving as food every kind of green plant.” And that is how it was.
Note that in V28 Elohim states that humanity was to have authority over other living creatures but in the next verse He says ‘but this is what you are to eat’. There is NO mention of eating these other living beings. In Chapter 2 of Genesis we get a little bit more background to the meaning of ‘subdue’ and ‘rule over’;
V8 ADONAI, God, planted a garden toward the east, in ‘Eden, and there he put the person whom he had formed. 9 Out of the ground ADONAI, God, caused to grow every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food…… 15 ADONAI, God, took the person and put him in the garden of ‘Eden to cultivate and care for it. 16 ADONAI, God, gave the person this order: “You may freely eat from every tree in the garden 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die.” ….19 So from the ground ADONAI, God, formed every wild animal and every bird that flies in the air, and he brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. Whatever Adam would call each living creature, that was to be its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all the livestock, to the birds in the air and to every wild animal.[ii]
So we can clearly see here that humanity was given the charge of tending and caring for the rest of the creation.
The Sacrificial System
As we go along we are then introduced to the first example of animal sacrifice, and this is response to the disobedience of Havah (Eve) and Adam following their own understanding and eating of the forbidden fruit. The sacrifice here was done by God (who let us remember has the power over life and death so could just as easily raise up this animal again) to provide a garment or covering for the couple who now realized their ‘nakedness’ (ie: the exposure of their sin) and were ashamed. Note that they had attempted to cover themselves with fig leaves but this was not adequate. This account represents the fact that we of ourselves do not have the power to redeem us from sin (literally ‘missing the mark’ of obeying the universal truths of God) only God has this power. As we read in other scriptures where the meaning of this representation is ‘fleshed’ out a little more, ‘the life is in the blood’ (Leviticus 17:11) and therefore a sin of this magnitude whereby death and suffering now entered the world could only be atoned for by the shedding of blood and only God can do this. Does this make sense? This is really the introduction of the sacrificial system and the revealing of the plan of the Messiah’s ultimate sacrifice. By His sacred blood our sin and the curse placed on Adam & Eve is washed away. The next instance we see this is the offering that Abel made in (Genesis 4:4). Again it is a shadow of the Messiah to come.
Let’s skip along a bit now to another well vocalized passage of scripture in the argument for the biblical command of eating animals and their products. Let’s go to Genesis 9;
1 God blessed Noach and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will be upon every wild animal, every bird in the air, every creature populating the ground, and all the fish in the sea; they have been handed over to you. 3 Every moving thing that lives will be food for you; just as I gave you green plants before, so now I give you everything – 4 only flesh with its life, which is its blood, you are not to eat. 5 I will certainly demand an accounting for the blood of your lives: I will demand it from every animal and from every human being. I will demand from every human being an accounting for the life of his fellow human being. 6 Whoever sheds human blood, by a human being will his own blood be shed; for God made human beings in his image.
So there’s more talk about blood and God re-iterates that it shouldn’t be eaten (which is later explained in v4) but wait! He proceeds this by saying that all other living beings have been ‘handed over to us’ moreover that they will fear and dread us and that we can eat them ALL! First of all let us consider the state of the Earth at this point. There has been huge upheaval and perhaps even continental shifts. If the waters covered even the highest mountain would any plant life survive? We do know that olive trees can survive flooding and hence this explains why the dove was able to bring back an olive leaf but what of other plant life. Could this simply be a prophecy of the state of the world to come? Several of the ancient sages and biblical scholars feel that this is a temporary measure and when we compare this with scripture depicting the Messianic age we can concur. We shall explore further on in this article the state of our current world and its treatment of our animal co-habitants. We know that by flooding the world the wickedness hadn’t been completely wiped away, as we see further on after the flood (and it wasn’t that much further on) humanity started going off the rails again. But let’s go back a bit prior to the flood.
Genesis 7:1 ADONAI said to Noach, “Come into the ark, you and all your household; for I have seen that you alone in this generation are righteous before me. 2 Of every clean animal you are to take seven couples, and of the animals that are not clean, one couple.
So the concept of clean and unclean animals already existed. We are then told in Genesis 8:20
20 Noach built an altar to ADONAI. Then he took from every clean animal and every clean bird, and he offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 ADONAI smelled the sweet aroma, and ADONAI said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, since the imaginings of a person’s heart are evil from his youth; nor will I ever again destroy all living things, as I have done. 22 So long as the earth exists, sowing time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.”
Note here that the ‘soothing aroma’ was not because He likes the smell of burning flesh but because of what it represents. Revelation 8:4 talks of the prayers of the saints being represented by sweet smelling incense. So aside from that we see another example of sacrifice.
Many Christians have used these early scriptures to justify their belief that God commands us to eat meat and that He differentiated between clean and unclean animals for health reasons. The advancement of science and technology over the last century has now given us the ability to ascertain conclusively that eating animal products of any kind is detrimental over the long term to our physical health. The consumption of animal products is directly linked to the development of our top killer diseases in Western society; cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity to name but a few. Many Christians argue that if God says it is good to eat then we should eat it and why would God say it’s okay for us to eat something that will harm us? Well, let’s have a look at Numbers 11:4 – 34 and cross-reference it with Luke 11:10-11. This conveys the heart of a loving Father God and His desire for His people. Note however that in Numbers 11:34 the people in their bloodlust are considered spiritually weak. So when it comes to the clean and unclean meat issue we have to remember that it is a determination of ritual cleanliness and purity. The fact that YHVH instructed His chosen people to only eat clean meat (if they were going to eat meat) illustrates His desire for spiritual and moral purity more than anything. In an interesting dissertation on the dietary laws of the Torah, Ya’akov Natan Lawrence[iii] describes the insights of Philo of Alexander (a Jewish scholar 20 B.C -40 A.D) into the symbolism behind the determination of clean and unclean animals;
He notes some interesting metaphorical parallels between clean or kosher animals and the righteous man. For example, the Torah stipulates that for a quadruped to be clean for human consumption it must chew the cud and divide the hoof. Philo says, as the animal which chews the cud, while it is masticating its food draws it down its throat, and then by slow degrees kneads and softens it, and then after this process again sends it down into the belly, in the same manner the man who is being instructed by his learned mentor cannot assimilate a full body of knowledge all at once, but must little-by-little “chew” and reflect on it until he is able to assimilate it into his understanding in a cohesive manner. But understanding, or a body of knowledge, though understood by the intellect is of no use without the wisdom to apply it properly. As the hoof is split, so one has to make one of two choices as to which direction his path will take him in the application of his knowledge: the path of right or wrong, righteousness or wickedness. Thus the wise man will properly discern to follow the right path and renounce the wrong one (The Works of Philo, Special Laws 4.104, p. 626, Hendrickson).
By contrast, Philo notes that unclean animals have solid hooves implying that they make no choice in their footsteps between good and evil (ibid.), and that by implication good and evil are one as epitomized in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which represents all the false (non-biblical) religions of the world and are called spiritual Babylon in John’s book of Revelation. Philo continues that the concave hoof shows us that the uphill and downhill paths are the same in these religious systems. Likewise, the unclean animal with not a hoof, but with many toes (e.g., dogs and cats) show us that there are false religious systems that would tell us that there are many paths which lead to spiritual enlightenment, but which are in reality paths which lead to deceit (Ibid.) and confusion (i.e., spiritual Babylon).
Next, aquatic animals with fins and scales are edible, while all others are not. Philo teaches that those without fins and scales are sucked down by the current, while those equipped with fins and scales are able to not only resist the current, but to swim upstream against the current. This shows us, again, a contrast between the righteous and the wicked. The former not only resist evil, but also prevail against it and make headway in spite of it, while the latter offer no resistance to the current and are pulled wherever the currents take them—usually down river. The former people are devoted to perseverance and temperance while the latter to pleasure. The path of one is narrow and straight while the path of the other is broad and aimless. One leads men’s souls upward, while the other downward (Ibid. pp. 626-627).
The Torah specifies that all reptiles are inedible. Reptiles are those who either have no feet or who drag their bellies on the ground. Philo equates this type of animal with what in modern parlance we would refer to as a “lowlife” type existence. These are those who’s Elohim is their miserable belly and are given to strong alcohol, confections and hedonistic delicacies (Ibid. p. 627).
In the bird realm, those birds that are wild, carnivorous, preying on and plotting to kill others Scripture rejects as inedible. On the other hand, those that are edible are tame, gentle and do not feed on each other. These types of birds are again reminiscent of two kinds of human specimens: the wicked and the righteous (Ibid.).
Whether this is the symbolism or not is a moot point but it does provide for some interesting food for thought because we do know that YHVH uses representations and types to illustrate His plan and His will and to get His message across. It also indicates that the laws of clean and unclean are indicative of setting apart a Holy people. So this is our understanding of the dietary laws. There are also very specific laws to do with how the animal to be sacrificed is to be raised and then killed. http://biblicalkosher.alittlehebrew.com/books/biblical-kosher-eating/abstaining-blood is a good article that explores these laws. This includes a complete drainage of blood and separation of the fat.
Let’s be clear here that I am not writing this paper to refute the fact that God gave permission for His people to consume animal flesh and their reproductive products. There are numerous examples throughout the Word of His people consuming these items. In fact when His people obey His very specific instructions God does bless their increase. What I am endeavouring to draw your attention to however, is the fact that we do not live in a pristine environment, we do not treat the animals and the creation in the way that God has explicitly specified and Christians and Jews alike have a duty to ensure that they do this, when they do not have opportunity to do this then I believe that it is better and more biblically appropriate to refrain from these products all together.
It is interesting to note that in ALL the instances where God granted His people permission to eat flesh it is repeated over and over again to do so in the place where HE chooses (Deuteronomy 14:23). It is given in the context of His feast days and He tells His people to sanctify themselves before doing so (Numbers 11:18 – we also note that the preists had to sanctify themselves before the ritual slaughtering). In contrast we are to sanctify ourselves, examining our own conduct and the spiritual fruits that we have produced before we can partake in the Passover as Yeshua gave us example (1 Corinthians 11:28-29, 2 Corinthians 13:15).
While it is true that the sacrificial system is no longer in place because of the shedding of the Messiah’s pure and sacred blood the commandment of keeping ourselves spiritually and morally clean and pure are still in place. We are after all, the Living temple for the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit and Yeshua within us. Many Christians feel that Peter’s vision in Acts 10:11-15 absolves them from observing the dietary laws of the Torah yet if we read to the end of that chapter we find that this vision has NOTHING to do with clean and unclean foods but it refers to taking the message of the Gospel to the Gentiles. A thorough study of Torah, in particular Genesis 48 and the view of Israel being a set-apart nation from the goyim (gentile nations)will illustrate this further.
From a nutritional point of view there are no benefits to the consumption of animal products aside from basic survival. Which if you were forced to live off cardboard you could probably do just as well. The nutritional issue applies to organic animal products just as much as conventional animal products. The only real difference being that the pesticide residue in organically raised animals is considerably less. All other factors remain the same. The B12 issue is a moot point because around 40% of the population of the USA (which includes those who eat animals and their products) are deficient in B12. B12 is made by bacteria and is destroyed by cooking. It can only be synthesized by bacteria in our gut or by bacteria found in the soil (which ends up on the plants). Many people cannot absorb B12 due to compromised gut integrity. This compromised gut integrity will often result from vaccinations and other drugs that are also non-kosher and the early introduction of grain and animal products to infants. Others will cite the protein or iron issue to fuel their argument to eat meat. The quality of protein (or more specifically amino acids) derived from animal flesh is very poor. It requires a tremendous amount of the body’s energy and nutrient reserves to liberate these amino acids. This liberation also results in acidity. The human body cannot function with acidic blood so in order to stabilize this, alkaline minerals such as calcium are leached from the bones to correct this potentially dangerous situation. Over the long term this results in conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis.[iv] [v]Some experts state that heme iron (the iron available in animal flesh) is superior to non-heme iron (the mineral found in plants) however, conditions such as haemochromatosis (whereby the liver has stored too much iron to the detriment of the heart) have never been found to exist in vegans or vegetarians. In fact the accepted ‘treatment’ of this condition is a vegan diet. Nutrients found in plants are more bio-available, are of better quality, and contain all synergistic co-factors. There is no nutrient found in animal flesh and their products than can be found in better quantity and quality in plants.
The ramifications of an animal-based diet includes disease, suffering and premature death. Many people are now dependant on pharmaceutical drugs to maintain their ‘health’. As a result of their manufacture as well as their metabolism in the human and animal body, these pharmaceuticals end up in land fill and leach into the soil and the water supply, not to mention the tissues of the animals that go into food production. Because of the nature of their chemical make-up many pharmaceuticals continue in their activity for decades disrupting the reproductive cycles of aquatic life and the lives of those creatures dependant on the water. As a result countless fragile eco-systems have been irreversibly damaged and this affects the Earth as a whole.[vi]
How are we to treat animals and the creation, and by extrapolation how we love our neighbours as ourselves.
So back to the Kosher laws and our developing understanding of being compassionate. The following is an excerpt from an article by Dr Richard Scwartz. It is a list of reasons of why the Torah teaches compassion. He uses the word Judaism however as mentioned previously the Torah was given to all of Israel so please substitute the word Torah for each reason. I have added the scriptural references in brackets next to each point.
This article addresses a widely accepted aspect of modern life that contradicts many Jewish teachings and harms people, communities, and the planet — the mass production and widespread consumption of meat. It illustrates how high meat consumption and the ways in which meat is produced today conflict with at least six important Jewish teachings:
1. While Judaism mandates that people should be very careful about preserving their health and their lives, numerous scientific studies have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases.
2. While Judaism forbids tsa’ar ba’alei hayim, inflicting unnecessary pain on animals, most farm animals — including those raised for kosher consumers — are raised on “factory farms” where they live in cramped, confined spaces, and are often drugged, mutilated, and denied fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and any enjoyment of life, before they are slaughtered and eaten.
3. While Judaism teaches that “the earth is the Lord’s” (Psalm 24:1) and that we are to be God’s partners and co-workers in preserving the world, modern intensive livestock agriculture contributes substantially to soil erosion and depletion, air and water pollution, overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, global warming, and other environmental damage.
4. While Judaism mandates bal tashchit, that we are not to waste or unnecessarily destroy anything of value, and that we are not to use more than is needed to accomplish a purpose, animal agriculture requires the wasteful use of grain, land, water, energy, and other resources.
5. While Judaism stresses that we are to assist the poor and share our bread with hungry people, over 70% of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, while an estimated 20 million people worldwide die because of hunger and its effects each year.
6. While Judaism stresses that we must seek and pursue peace and that violence results from unjust conditions, animal-centered diets, by wasting valuable resources, help to perpetuate the widespread hunger and poverty that eventually lead to instability and war.
I encourage you to read the rest of this article at http://www.chai-online.org/en/compassion/judaism/heritage_judaism_veg.htm. While I prefer to advocate that one learns through the Scriptures allowing the Living Torah to be your guide above all other sources, sometimes the insights of the sages and biblical scholars of old can be useful. Although the rabbis have added a great deal of their own doctrine/customs/tradition to Torah observance I do trust much of their insight on observance of the actual Torah. After all, the oracle was given to the keeping of the house of Judah and if it wasn’t for their diligent preservation much of our knowledge and understanding available today would have been lost. In the article above, the author cites the Rabbi Abraham Isaac Ha-Kohen Kook (1865-1935), also known as Rav Kook. He states;
Rav Kook believed that the permission to eat meat was only a temporary concession to the practices of the times, because a God who is merciful to His creatures would not institute an everlasting law permitting the killing of animals for food.
I agree with this based on two instances found in Genesis 9:8 where YHVH makes a covenant with the WHOLE of creation and in Romans 8:19-22 ‘19 The creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed; 20 for the creation was made subject to frustration – not willingly, but because of the one who subjected it. But it was given a reliable hope 21 that it too would be set free from its bondage to decay and would enjoy the freedom accompanying the glory that God’s children will have. 22 We know that until now, the whole creation has been groaning as with the pains of childbirth; 23 and not only it, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we continue waiting eagerly to be made sons – that is, to have our whole bodies redeemed and set free.
When we observe the Torah and the teaching of the Living Torah the Messiah Yeshua as outlined in many of the points above, we suddenly understand that just obeying the Kosher food laws of unclean and clean meat ISN’T ENOUGH. Our endeavour and charge is to be living lights just as Yeshua is and to embody His way of Life, peaceful and pure. In Phillipians 2:15-16 we are exhorted;
…God is the one working among you both the willing and the working for what pleases him. 14 Do everything without kvetching or arguing, 15 so that you may be blameless and pure children of God, without defect in the midst of a twisted and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the sky, 16 as you hold on to the Word of Life.
The following are more scriptures and commentaries that speak of compassion toward our fellow creation;
The term “nefesh chaya,” a “living being” or a “living soul,” is applied to animals as well as to people.
God viewed the creation of animals as well as of people as “good” and gave sea animals and birds the same blessing as people: “Be fruitful and multiply.”
In granting people “dominion” over animals, stewardship not despotism was implied. According to Rabbi Yitzchak Hacohen Kook, the first rabbi of pre-state Israel:
There can be no doubt in the minds of every thinking man that the concept of dominion as expressed in the Torah does not in any way imply the rule of a haughty despot who tyrannically governs his people and his servants for his own personal selfish ends and with a stubborn heart. Heaven forbid that such a repulsive form of servitude be forever integrated (sealed) in the world of the Lord, whose tender mercies are on all His works and of whom it is said, “He shall build a world of kindness.”
Animals as well as people were initially given a vegetarian diet:
“Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”
When, as a temporary concession to human weakness, humans were given permission to eat animals after the Flood, it was recognized that this would mean harmony between humans and animals would be replaced with estrangement and fear:
“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, and upon all wherewith the ground teemeth and upon all the fishes of the sea into your hand are they delivered.”
God made treaties and covenants with animals just as with humans:
“Behold I establish My Covenant with you and with your seed after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the fowl, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that go out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.”
20:8-10 & 23:12 (see also Deuteronomy 5:14)
Animals as well as people are to rest on the Sabbath:
“Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord
thy God, in it thou shalt not do any manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger within thy gates.”
“Six days thou shalt do thy work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest that thine ox and thine ass may have rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.”
23:5 (see also Numbers 22:32)
It is a human duty to relieve animal suffering.
“If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it, you shall help him to lift it up.”
It is bad enough that you have killed the calf, you must not add insult to injury by cooking the calf in its mother’s milk. Animals, like humans, suffer emotionally. We must strive to cause them neither physical pain nor emotional anguish:
“You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”
Although killing animals was permitted as a concession to human weakness and to the primitive practices during biblical times, restrictions were placed (including the laws of kashrut) to spare animal suffering as much as possible and to instill in humans a sense of mercy and the understanding that killing was unnecessary:
“It is forbidden to kill a newborn ox, sheep, or goat until it has had at least seven days of warmth and nourishment from its mother. And whether it be ox or ewe, ye shall not kill it and its young in one day.”
Maimonides comments on this issue:
It is prohibited to kill an animal with its young on the same day, in order that people should be restrained and prevented from killing the two together in such a manner that the young is slain in the sight of the mother; for the pain of animals under such circumstances is very great. There is no difference between the pain of man and the pain of other living beings, since the love and the tenderness of the mother for her young ones is not produced by reasoning but by feeling, and this faculty exists not only in man but in most living things.
Leather shoes may not be worn on Yom Kippur because one cannot ask for compassion if one has not shown it. Rabbi Moses Isserles, known as the Ramah, states: “How can a man put on (leather) shoes, a piece of clothing for which it is necessary to kill a living thing, on Yom Kippur, which is a day of grace and compassion, when it is written ‘His tender mercies are over all His works.’” (Orah Hayim 223:6 Code of Jewish Law, vol.2, p.29)
25:6-7 God has compassion for the Earth as well as it’s inhabitants;
The sabbath (seventh) year will be a year of sacred rest for the land, yet what the land itself produces in the Sabbath year is to feed animals as well as people:
“The sabbath of the land shall provide food for you…for your cattle also and for the beasts that are in your land all its yield shall be for food.”
22:32 (see also Exodus 23:5)
Again the donkey saw the angel of ADONAI and lay down under Bil’am, which made him so angry that he hit the donkey with his stick. 28 But ADONAI enabled the donkey to speak, and it said to Bil’am, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” 29 Bil’am said to the donkey, “It’s because you’ve been making a fool of me! I wish I had a sword in my hand; I would kill you on the spot!” 30 The donkey said to Bil’am, “I’m your donkey, right? You’ve ridden me all your life, right? Have I ever treated you like this before?””No,” he admitted. 31 Then ADONAI opened Bil’am’s eyes, so that he could see the angel of ADONAI standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, and he bowed his head and fell on his face. 32 The angel of ADONAI said to him, “Why did you hit your donkey three times like that? I have come out here to bar your way, because you are rushing to oppose me.
The story of Balaam and the donkey is an excellent example of the treatment of animals.
The Code of Jewish Law states: “It is forbidden, according to the law of the Torah, to inflict pain upon any living creature, even if it is ownerless or belongs to a non-Jew.” The code deals with specific cruelties, such as “It is forbidden to tie the legs of a beast or of a bird in a manner as to cause them pain.” (Code of Jewish Law, book 4, ch.191, p.84)
5:14 (see also Exodus 20:8-10 & 23:12)
Animals, like people, are to rest on the Sabbath:
“The seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; on it you shall not do any work, you, your son…or your ox, or your ass, or any of your cattle.” (see also Exodus 20:8-10; 23:12)
A person may not eat or drink before first providing for his or her animals, based on the following statement:
“And I will give grass in thy fields for thy cattle, and thou shalt eat and be satisfied.”
The mother bird and her young may not be taken on the same day:
If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young; thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, but the young thou mayest take unto thyself; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.
For the compassion shown to the mother, we are promised a long life. Maimonides states that in most cases, this commandment will result in the entire nest being left untouched, because the young or the eggs which people may take are generally unfit for food. (Guide to the Perplexed, Ch. 48, Part 3)
Animals of different species may not work together on the same task because the weaker animal would suffer in trying to keep up with the stronger:
“Thou shalt not plow with and ox and an ass together.”
Animals may not be muzzled during threshing because they are helping humans reap the fruits of the earth and therefore have a right to these fruits:
“Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn”
In his response to a man requesting permission to hunt on his land, Rabbi Ezekiel Landau stated: “In the Torah the sport of hunting is imputed only to fierce characters like Nimrod and Esau, never to any of the patriarchs and their descendants…. I cannot comprehend how a Jew could even dream of killing animals merely for the pleasure of hunting…. When the act of killing is prompted by that of sport, it is downright cruelty.”
40:6 & 50:9-23 (see also Isaiah 1:11-17 & 66:3-4, 6 and Micah 6:6-8)
Attitudes about animal sacrifice:
“Sacrifice and offering thou dost not desire.”
I will accept no bull from your house, nor he-goat from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world and all that is in it is mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.… He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me.
As the sparrow finds herself a home and the swallow her nest, where she lays her young, [so my resting-place is] by your altars, ADONAI-Tzva’ot, my king and my God. 4 How happy are those who live in your house; they never cease to praise you! (Selah)
104:14 (see also Genesis 1:29-30 and Deuteronomy 8:7-10)
“Thou dost cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen man’s heart.”
God’s concern for animals is indicated in the phrase:
“His tender mercies are over all His creatures.”
147:7-9 Sing to ADONAI with thanks, sing praises on the lyre to our God. 8 He veils the sky with clouds; he provides the earth with rain; he makes grass grow on the hills; 9 he gives food to the animals, even to the young ravens when they cry.
A person cannot be considered righteous unless he or she treats animals with compassion:
“The righteous person regards the life of his beast.”
27:23 Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds.
The spirit of man and the spirit of animals come from the same place and go to the same place. Man has no advantage:
For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth?
1:11-17 & 66:3-4 (see also Psalms 40:6 & 50:9-14 & Micah 6:6-8)
Attitude about sacrifices:
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When you come to appear before me, who requires of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings.… When you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean…cease to do evil, learn to do good.
He who slaughters an ox is like him who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like him who breaks a dog’s neck…. They did what was evil in my eyes, and chose that in which I did not delight.
11:6-9 (see also Hosea 2:20)
It is prophesied that in the Messianic era, all will once again be vegetarian and peace and harmony will once again reign:
The wolf will dwell with the lamb
and the leopard with the kid repose.
The calf and the lion cub and
baby sheep (will be) together.
A young child will be their steward.
The cow and the bear will eat together;
their young ones will repose with each other.
The lion will eat grass like the cow….
No one will cause harm or destroy in all My holy mountain,
for the knowledge of God will have spread all over the
earth like the waters that cover the seabed.
Throughout the Bible, God is portrayed as a good shepherd whose example people are expected to imitate in their dealings with other people and with animals. Moses and David were chosen as leaders because they were good shepherds over their flocks.
Ho, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.
Daniel, while in King Nebuchadnez’zar’s household, demonstrated that a vegetarian diet is a healthier diet:
Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s rich food…therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.… Daniel said…”Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s rich food be observed by you, and according to what you see deal with your servants.”…At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s rich food. So the steward took away their rich food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
A promise of a future vision of harmony between man and animal (see Isaiah 11:6-9):
“And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven and with the creeping things of the ground. And I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the land and I will make them to lie down safely.”
6:6 & 8:13
More on attitudes love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings:
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.”
“They love sacrifice; they sacrifice flesh and eat it; but the lord has no delight in them.
God’s concern for the welfare of animals is expressed in the following quote:
“And should I not have pity on Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand person…and also much cattle.”
12:11 But He answered, “If you have a sheep that falls in a pit on Shabbat, which of you won’t take hold of it and lift it out?
12:24-28 Think about the ravens! They neither plant nor harvest, they have neither storerooms nor barns, yet God feeds them.
13:15 However, the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Each one of you on Shabbat — don’t you unloose your ox or your donkey from the stall and lead him off to drink? (In response to their attitude on healing on the Sabbath)
How do you know that animal on your plate was raised in a humane, biblically compassionate way? How do you even know that it was slaughtered according to Torah instruction? Why do so many Christians like their steaks medium-rare? How do you know that the milk, cheese, chocolate, ice cream or cream you are eating doesn’t contain blood or pus from diseased or stressed animals? The USDA actually has an allowance of 750,000 somatic (pus) cells per cubic centimetre (cc), in Europe the allowance is 400,000c/cc.
This is the state of the world we live in today. This is what is in the animal products you choose to consume. This is how we care for the Creation;
*ALL* cow’s milk (regular and ‘organic’) has 59 active hormones, scores of allergens, fat and cholesterol.
Most cow’s milk has measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins (up to 200 times the safe levels), up to 52 powerful antibiotics (perhaps 53, with LS-50), blood, pus, feces, bacteria and viruses.
Of those 59 hormones one is a powerful GROWTH hormone called Insulin- like Growth Factor ONE (IGF-1). It is identical in cows and humans. Consider this hormone to be a “fuel cell” for any cancer… (the medical world says IGF-1 is a key factor in the rapid growth and proliferation of breast, prostate and colon cancers, and we suspect that most likely it will be found to promote ALL cancers).
IGF-1 is a normal part of ALL milk… the newborn is SUPPOSED to grow quickly!
Each bite of hard cheese has TEN TIMES whatever was in that sip of milk… because it takes ten pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese. Each bite of ice cream has 12 times … and every swipe of butter 21 times whatever is contained in the fat molecules in a sip of milk.
Whole milk 49% of the calories are from fat.
“2%” milk 35% of the calories are from fat.
Cheddar cheese 74% of the calories are from fat.
Butter 100% of the calories are from fat.
The calcium in cow’s milk is basically useless because it has insufficient magnesium content (those nations with the highest amount of milk/dairy consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis.
Milk can be thought of as “liquid meat” because of its high protein content which, in concert with other proteins, may actually LEACH calcium from the body. Countries that consume high protein diets (meat, milk and dairy) have the highest rates of osteoporosis. 80% of the protein in milk is casein. Casein is a powerful binder… a polymer used to make plastics… and a glue that is better used to make sturdy furniture or hold beer bottle labels in place. It is in thousands of processed foods as a binder… as “something” caseinate. Casein is a powerful allergen… a histamine that creates lots of mucus.
Cow’s milk is allowed to have feces in it. This is a major source for bacteria.
Cow’s milk and other dairy products fortified with vitamin D is not always Kosher. The vitamin D used is typically vitamin D3 and is always animal-derived. Typically it comes from Pig skin, sheep skin, raw fish liver, and pig brains. Most of the time, Vitamin D-3 is extracted from pig skin and sold to dairy processors.
There are around 9.2 million dairy cows in the United states. Each dairy cow ingests around 330 pounds of feed (perhaps 50 pounds) and water (around 280 pounds or 33 gallons) per day. Allowing for the best dairy production of 55 pounds of milk per day (over ten times what the cow is designed to produce) that means that what remains becomes “slurry”.
That means around 275 pound of urine and feces per day… per cow, for a daily total of 2.53 BILLION pounds of pollution. Per year… that amounts to around 923 billion pounds of UNTREATED pollution entering our streams, rivers, lakes… and drinking water systems.
Cows are hot-blooded mammals. Like all other mammals they pass gas. Somewhat like elephants their compartmented digestive system is rather inefficient… which leads to the creation of MORE gas. During a Discovery Channel documentary on elephants a parting quip was that the average adult elephant passes enough methane gas per day to run a car about 20 miles.
Cows are not much better. The English New Scientist (page 5 -31.8.96) mentions that cattle produce around 48 kilograms (105 pounds) of methane each per year and that more bubbles out of the animals’ manure. Dairy cows eat more because they produce milk. With 9.2 million dairy cows times a minimum of 100 pounds of methane gas per year… that amounts almost a billion pounds of methane gas released into the atmosphere each year. With around 100 million beef cattle… pigs, sheep, and other “factory farmed” animals it should not be difficult to fathom the extent of this problem.
This means that “Beef is a greenhouse-intensive food” and a major cause of global warming (with dairy a significant part of the problem).
Another major point is:
“Milk is a very strong pollutant: it is about 400 times more polluting than untreated sewage. To put it another way, 1,000 gallons of milk has the same polluting potential as the untreated sewage from a town of 7,000 people.” Morlais Owen. Chief Scientist for Welsh Water. North Wales Weekly News. 24.3.88.
In Australia alone, over 700,000 week-old calves discarded yearly as ‘waste products’ of the dairy industry. Most people aren’t aware that in order to produce milk, dairy cows are kept almost continually pregnant. Unwanted calves (known as ‘bobby calves’) are sent to slaughter in their first week of life so that milk can be harvested for human consumption. Unknown to most consumers, the dairy industry continues to cut costs at the expense of animals. Right now they want to make it legal to deny calves food for the last 30 hours of their lives.[viii]
Goat’s milk shares 87% of the amino acid profile of Cow’s milk and if the goat’s are treated the same way then their milk will also carry blood, pus, and other toxins.
Meat (including poultry, cattle, sheep and fish[ix])
Half a billion chickens imprisoned in factory farms in Australia every year. Battery hens who lay ‘cage eggs’ are given a living space smaller than one A4 sheet of paper, while ‘meat’ chickens grow so unnaturally fast that many are crippled before they are sent to slaughter at just six weeks of age.
“Chickens exist in stable social groups. They can recognize each other by their facial features. They have 24 distinct cries that communicate a wealth of information to one other, including separate alarm calls depending on whether a predator is travelling by land or sea. They are good at solving problems. As a trick at conferences I sometimes list these attributes, without mentioning chickens, and people think I’m talking about monkeys.” Says Dr. Chris Evans, Professor of Psychology at Macquarie University, Australia.
As well as scratching and foraging, another important natural behaviour is nesting when a hen wants to lay an egg. Obviously, putting a hen into a cage prevents this and foraging behaviour, which results in signs of extreme frustration. It is also apparent from scientific studies that cage housing inhibits other natural behaviours including flapping their wings, assuming their natural standing alert posture, dust-bathing and preening. All of this adds to the behavioural signs of frustration which have been observed in many studies of caged hens.[x]
Fish have nerve structures which are anatomically similar to those of humans and other mammals. The lips and mouth of fish are particularly well supplied with these pain specific nerve endings—the very area impacted upon by hook and line fishing. Fish avoid painful stimuli suggesting that they experience distress. Studies have also revealed that in a restrictive environment fish, like other animals in captivity, will exhibit abnormal behaviours indicating stress and distress.
Fishing affects more individual animals than any other human-based animal industry. In Australia there are more than 3 million recreational anglers and 24% of households fish regularly. The commercial ‘wild capture’ fisheries seek some 800 different marine and freshwater ‘seafood’ species – under 300 marketing names for domestic and overseas consumption. 241,000 tonnes of fish, crustacea (prawns, cabs etc) and molluscs (scallops, oysters etc) were commercially ‘harvested’ in the 2005/6 year in Australia (State and Commonwealth). This does not account for the fish taken by recreational fishers.
Once caught either by hook or by net – most fish suffer an extended death through suffocation. In their death throes fish writhe, gasping and flapping their gills as they desperately try to get oxygen.
Finning, long line fishing, purse seine nets and drift gill netting are all other methods of commercial fishing that cause suffering to the targeted fish. These methods of fishing do not discriminate – marine mammals such as dolphins, porpoises and seals, turtles and ‘non-target’ fish are also caught and suffer as a result.[xi]
Each year Australia exports 4 million live sheep and half a million live cattle to the Middle East and South-East Asia. The animals are transported by ship and it generally takes around 3 weeks before they reach their destination country. Long-distance sea transportation necessarily means multiple handling, intensive stocking densities, different food and competition for food/water, changes in climatic environment (winter to summer), at times unforeseen problems (fire, cyclone, rejection by importing country ), and other factors which cumulatively cause stress, distress, and, often, injuries and illness. Most Australian grazing animals are rarely handled and are fearful of – and stressed by – human handling. Many animals die during the voyage due to starvation and/or infection.
Long distance sea voyages for slaughter contradict the universally-accepted principle that animals should be killed as close as possible to the point of production to reduce stress. [xii]
Wherever their life starts, young male beef cattle will be vaccinated, then branded, castrated, and dehorned. Females are vaccinated and branded. The calf is thrown to the ground and tied with a rope or restrained in a metal crate, called a “crush” or “cradle,” for these procedures. Branding is the burning in of a logo with a fire-hot iron for identity. This is very traumatic regardless of how the calf is held down. Castration makes the herd easier to handle and it is most often performed without anaesthetic. While most cattle (particularly here in Australia) are grazed on open tracks of land for several months, most will be rounded up and transported to feedlots in order to be fattened up. Those tracks of land are now overgrazed, the soil depleted, the river banks trampled, and the water polluted. After more than 100 years of overuse, these huge stretches of land are no longer habitable for native species.
In the US in particular, they will spend their last few months shuffling around in dirt pens with no relief from excessive heat and cold. The paddocks extend as far as the eye can see. To add weight quickly, their diet is changed to grain and pelleted feed that is mainly comprised of manure from broiler chicken sheds, ground-up fish meal, sawdust, and processed animal parts. Minimal nutrition is managed through supplements in the feed and other additives like hormones, while veterinary care is substituted with preventive dosing of antibiotics. While in the crowded yards, cattle are prone to tick fever, buffalo fly, bovine herpes virus (BHV1), bovine respiratory disease (BRD), acidosis, feedlot bloat, liver abscesses, sudden death syndromes, botulism, and pink-eye. Lameness in the feedlot is common and caused by toe abscesses, injury to the hoof, footrot, swollen joints, broken bones, and muscle damage. With barely a caretaker on the grounds among tens of thousands of animals, and rarely a veterinarian, attention is never directed at serving a medical need. The race is to deliver the animal while still standing and able to walk to the kill line at the abattoir. Waste management has become a serious issue because the disposal of urine and manure is impossible to resolve safely, and local populations no longer tolerate the severe environmental impact like the pollution of the water table.
Cattle are driven from holding pens into channels and ramps designed to minimize resistance and maximize cooperation. This is a characteristic of the theoretical “humane slaughter” approach implemented at about half of the newest facilities. Deregulation across the industry has allowed for much faster kill speeds, about one every ten seconds, therefore the reality is that line workers are under constant pressure to quickly move the animals up the ramps and onto the killing floor. Humane standards, guidelines, and anti-cruelty laws are thrown aside while the animals are beaten with pipes or hit with electric prods — even in their faces, eyes, and their anuses — to get them to continue forward. If they fall or are wounded, they are chained and dragged on. When they bellow and challenge the workers, they are beaten again. Under no circumstance will supervisors allow the line to slow down or stop, because any delay affects the profit. All through the process normal body functions don’t stop, and the cattle continue on walking in their own urine, defecating on one another, and even giving birth.
Workers must keep up with the conveyor systems, which is impossible to do and still kill efficiently. The cattle enter a restraining aisle and their heads are trapped in a box for stunning. Using an air pressure stunner, or captive bolt gun, the powerful impact is meant to make them unconscious. The worker often misses and makes repeated attempts as more animals move forward. A worker wraps a shackling chain around one leg and connects it to the moving overhead conveyor, hoisting the animal into the air. The “sticker” (the person who slits the throat for bleeding) should be killing an animal that is unconscious. Very often, however, the sticker is actually slashing at a completely awake and struggling cow. A bucket is placed to collect the blood or it drains below to a catch basin. If it hasn’t been started before, the face skinning process proceeds as the cow is bled. Ears and other head parts, and the feet and legs, are cut away.
An animal might disengage from the chain above and fall onto a worker or into the filth below. (According to the Unions, animal slaughter is the most dangerous job in factory work today.) At any point in the rush, a task might be skipped, which is why cattle are sometimes discovered still alive even after they have been stunned and partially bled. Workers and inspectors have reported, and video footage confirms, animals are found trying to survive even as the butchering process starts when they are split in half.[xiii]
http://www.chai-online.org/en/compassion/reality/reality_slaughter_process.htm details the reality of the killing process in a standard abattoir.
In Australia, 58% of the land is used for agriculture and principally for grazing animals and the production of crops used in animal feed. Worldwide, livestock now use 30% of the earth’s entire land surface. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), ‘the number of people fed in a year per hectare ranges from 22 for potatoes and 19 for rice down to 1 and 2 people respectively for beef and lamb’.[xiv]
These are just a very very small sample of the atrocities perpetrated on the animals for the production of food, pharmaceuticals, fashion and furniture and the effects on the creation at large. I encourage you to open your eyes to the truth of the world we currently live in. It is a very different world from the world of Moses and even Jesus. If you go to a restaurant or buy a ready-made meal from the supermarket or any processed food think about how many lives it destroyed in the process. Is the 10 minute taste sensation really worth having the blood of many on your hands?
In this current world returning to a vegan diet is perhaps the most compassionate thing we can do when we are no longer able to control how the animals are raised or treated. It will help us observe the instructions of YHVH and Yeshua more fully, it will enrich our purpose and charge here on Earth and add weight to our Gospel message and we will be blessed abundantly with physical as well as spiritual health – Daniel the prophet bears witness to the sensibility of a plant-based diet.
The Word of God, the Living Torah is not a book about nutrition. Many people use the culture of the time to denote certain ‘healing’ foods. I have heard people say that we should eat lamb and meat for health, that we should drink alcohol for health, that we should consume olive oil and salt for good health. NO WHERE in the whole Word does it EVER state that eating the flesh of animals and their reproductive by-products will give you health. Instead when we see reference to health to our bodies it is by applying the wisdom of YHVH’s Word to our lives and carrying His Torah (instruction) in our hearts and minds at all times. This is rather, a book of Spiritual Nutrition that speaks of the fruits that WE are to produce. It speaks of a relationship with our God, our neighbour, and the creation as a whole. When we do see reference to healthful food, whether in this age or in the Millennium to come, it is ALWAYS plant-based.
We are exhorted to eat from the Tree of Life, to produce the good fruits of the Spirit. All of Yeshua’s teaching, while here on earth, and through the Torah and the prophets speak of love and compassion toward Him, toward each other and toward the creation. This is His essence and one that we are to emulate.
When YHVH speaks of the glorious and peaceful time to come, He does not speak of an abundance of roast dinners, He speaks of an abundance of plant-based food and a harmonious relationship with His whole creation. We are heading once again to a promised land. A land flowing with milk and honey – not to eat but as the Hebrew idiom reflects, a land of fertility and abundant blessings. In Nehemiah there is a vision of this;
Nehemiah 9:22-25 You made their children as numerous as the countless stars in the sky. “‘Then you brought them into the land about which you had said to their fathers that they should go in and take possession of it. ….25 They took fortified cities and fertile land, possessed houses full of all kinds of good things, dug-out cisterns, vineyards, olive groves, fruit trees in plenty; so they ate their fill and grew robust, luxuriating in your great goodness.
Deuteronomy 20:19-20 “When, in making war against a town in order to capture it, you lay siege to it for a long time, you are not to destroy its trees, cutting them down with an axe. You can eat their fruit, so don’t cut them down. After all, are the trees in the field human beings, so that you have to besiege them too?
Psalm 1:2-3 Their delight is in ADONAI’s Torah; on his Torah they meditate day and night. 3 They are like trees planted by streams -they bear their fruit in season, their leaves never wither, everything they do succeeds.
Jeremiah 29:4-5 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;
Build you houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;
Isaiah 65:21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
Ezekial 36-28-30 You will live in the land I gave to your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanliness. I will summon the grain and increase it, and not send famine against you. I will multiply the yield of fruit from the trees and increase production in the fields, so that you never again suffer the reproach of famine among the nations.
Eze 47:12 And by the river upon its bank, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for food, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall its fruit be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to its months, because the waters flowed out of the sanctuary: and its fruit shall be for food, and its leaf for medicine.
Joel 22:21-22 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.
Be not afraid, you beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring up, for the tree bears her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.
Micah 4:3-4 And he shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.
Revelation 22:2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Many of you reading this and following the links to the back-up material that I have provided in the end-notes will feel threatened. It is hard to be challenged on a way of life or our habits and face the reality of their ramifications. Many of you will say that by advocating a return to a plant-based lifestyle is placing too many burdens on people and too ‘legalistic’. When you weigh up the personal, planetary and monetary costs of your actions is it really a burden to stop contributing to the suffering of your neighbours? Is it a burden to be compassionate? If it is then why are you a Christian? Or is it more burdensome to be too fatigued, too much in pain and too debilitated by your illnesses to enjoy the life that God wants you to live?
At the time of writing it is less than 3 weeks to this years Passover season. As we examine ourselves and our progress in this spiritual journey I ask that you ask yourself this one question; If we are to be blameless in all things how does a compassionate Christian continue to turn a blind-eye and contribute to the suffering of YHVH’s creation?
May ADONAI bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. May ADONAI lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. xo
[i] If this idea is new to you, you may like to begin by exploring the following samples of scripture and then I invite you delve into an in-depth study of the Torah to enrich your understanding and relationship with your Saviour;
In the beginning was the Word. John1:1-5, John 1:14, revelation 19:13
He is the light of the world. Genesis 1:2 ,3. John 1:9, 2 Corinthians 4:6, John 12:46
The Torah was is a lamp unto our feet. Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 6:23, Revelation 21:23
He did not come to do away with but to fulfil it, make it whole. He is the embodiment and end result of the Torah. The Torah serves as a geneology, an instruction and a prophesy of His life and His Way of Life.
YHVH has made a new covenant with Israel, where He has written the Torah on our hearts. Yeshua’s sacrifice enabled Him to dwell within us. Jeremiah 31: 31-34, Psalm 119:11, 1 John 2:14, Ephesians 5:8, John 15:4-10
[ii] Please note that I am using The Complete Jewish Bible by David Stern. You will find that is congruent with more traditional translations. I use this because it speaks from a Hebrew context and gives a deeper appreciation of the Scriptures.
[iv] http://www.pcrm.org/ The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
[v] http://www.tcolincampbell.org/ Author of The China Study – the longest and most conclusive study on human nutrition.
[vi] SolFood: A recipe for Living Simply & Living Well by Michelle Carnochan.
[ix] Atrocities are also occurring to pigs and other animals consumed by humans and I encourage you to include them in your research to find out what is happening to ALL of God’s creatures but for the sake of argument I am concentrating on the treatment of the ritually clean animals for this paper)