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Sharing how the Letter to the Gentiles features four initial things for new believers to to abstain from, as they hear other commandments from the Law of Moses (Torah) on the Sabbath, learn them, and inturn observe them as well.
The four initial items for new believers to initially abstain from, are further explained upon here in a little more detail.
With a new believer believing in Christ (Messiah), learning all of the law of Moses at once might seem like a daunting proposition.
This ‘Letter to the Gentiles’ serves as a starting point for new Gentile believers in Christ to strive to observe and uphold – in the beginning of their walk. It specifies four sinful items that a new believer is to initially abstain from, with their observance of the Sabbath – and reads as follows;
19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God,
20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.
21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
Acts 15:19-21 ESV
Other instances of these four sinful items to abstain from as found in the Letter to the Gentiles, also appear in Acts 15:28-29 and Acts 21:25.
How Do We Know These Are Four Things To Begin With?
Now that a person believes, has repented and even been baptised – how do we know how do we know that these four sinful items to abstain from are initial things for a believer to strive to overcome, to begin with?
It tells when it says the Letter is for those who are turning to G-d;
‘…the Gentiles who turn to God,’
(Acts 15:19 ESV)
‘…those who are turning to God…’
(Acts 15:19 NASB)
We thus know that the ‘Letter to the Gentiles’ in no way abolishes Torah Law, as ‘…turning to G-d…’ is a process.
In context the passage of Holy Scripture then goes on to say that ‘new believers will then hear the Law of Moses read every Sabbath day, learn, and then also in turn apply the other commandments in their lives as they mature…’ – when it says;
For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
Acts 15:21 ESV.
Scripture then confirms the interpretation of the Letter to the Gentiles being four things for a believer in Christ (Messiah) begins with – when it says a believer is to;
‘…uphold the law.’
(Romans 3:31 ESV)
‘…we uphold the Torah.’
(Kehillah in Rome 3:31 OJB).
The Initial Four Items To Abstain From Briefly Described
These four initial sinful items to abstain from will now be explained in further detail, in dot point-type form.
1) ‘…abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols…’;
This item includes the abstaining from all things related to idolatry (idol worship), including food that has been sacrificed and the person has knowledge of such having taken place, before they eat said food in question.
We know that the word rendered ‘idols’ here also includes the prohibition of idols (statues, paintings) and the like which are used in the worship of foreign gods, according to the Strong’s Concordance for word number G1497.
Idolatry being forbidden is also featured in the Ten Commandments amongst other places, where it says;
‘“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them…’
(Exodus 20:3-5 NASB)
And according to the Law of Moses (Torah), even the evoking (making mention) of a foreign God’s name is forbidden (Exodus 23:13).
2) ‘…from blood…’;
This item pertains to not eating or drinking any blood, as per Torah Law;
‘…you shall not eat the blood…’
(Deuteronomy 12:16 NASB)
With this item, is the useful practice of ‘Koshering meat’. Koshering meat includes sanitary procedures and practical methods for striving to ensure that no blood remains or is consumed.
An article for further reading on the practice of removing blood from kosher meat may be found here (Chabad; Koshering Meat article), for a reference. It might also be of use to know that some kosher butchers offer meat that has already had blood removed from it.
3) ‘…from what has been strangled…’;
This item is addressing the prohibition against eating any animal that has been slaughtered in a non-kosher way, by way of strangulation.
‘Shechita’ is the approved process to slaughter a clean animal. It is known as being both kosher and humane, and an article on the topic can be found here (Chabad; What is Shechita article), for some further details and a reference.
If a person desires to eat meat, another key benefit of purchasing kosher meat that has been slaughtered by the approved way of Shechita – is that this way of slaughter is essentially a guarantee that the animal has not been strangled (e.g. in a ‘secular’-type slaughterhouse), as the person who slaughters the animal is usually quite observant to Torah Law, and has been trained accordingly.
4) ‘…from sexual immorality.”‘
This item addresses sinful practices which for many are hardest for the flesh to overcome; any unlawful sexual deed.
In the Holy Scriptures, forbidden immoral deeds in this category are listed, and these can be found in such places as Leviticus 18 and Deuteronomy 22, and also spoken of in Matthew 5:27-30, 5:32, and the like. Self stimulation is included in the list of forbidden practices (ref. Matthew 5:27-30).
May the holy God bless you beyond maximum; believing in His risen Son the Lord Jesus Christ (Adonai Yehoshua HaMoshiach). Amen.
Biblical Copyright Translation Disclaimer
“Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
“Scripture quotations marked (NASB) are from the New American Standard Bible® (NASB), copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.Lockman.org ”
“Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Standard Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™”
“Scripture quotations marked (OJB) are from the Orthodox Jewish Bible Copyright Artists for Israel Intl. Used by permission © The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
2 thoughts on “‘The Letter To The Gentiles’ – Where New Repentant Believers Start (Acts 15 And 21)”
I’m new in Torah.
I read articles saying kosher marked foods aren’t kosher many times in grocery stores. What do you suggest to follow law.
Hoping you are well Susan,
Thank you for your message.
Kosher marked foods can be a great comfort and guide.
It is true that at the end of the day, many things can go wrong in the food manufacturing process, from cooking to displaying the product in a retail store – this is a mixed place after all.
Take comfort in G-d and in Christ (Messiah) (Isaiah 50:10, John 14:1), be diligent, and have a great day.