To Eat Meat or Not To Eat!

As we head into Romans 14 the beginning of which is used by many to state we can eat what we choose to eat (which is true, you can eat what you choose to, but G-d did not give us this permission) and that no one can tell you which day to regard to the L-rd…in other words which day is the Sabbath.

I have written about this verses before, but will do so again here.

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.  One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.  The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.  Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.  He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. Romans 14:1-6

In verse one, Paul starts speaking about those weak in faith, but not judging them on their opinions.  Who the weak are is important, but not for this time.  Remember, we are looking at verses which many believe to be anti-Torah or dismissing the commandments.  It is important to note that we are dealing with opinions here.  This means that we are not dealing with should one follow the commandments.  For that is not an opinion, at least from G-d’s perspective.

Paul says some believe they can eat all things and while those who are weak eats only vegetables.  No where in Torah is it said to eat only vegetables, but it is halacha to eat only vegetables when the meat has been handled by non-Jews.  Why?  There was a concern the meat may have been offered to idols, which was a practice during those times by many gentiles.  The gentiles coming into the Jewish faith system at that time were pagan.  Those believed in pagan gods and idols.  They made sacrifices to these so-called gods.  Even those who had accepted Yeshua as their savior turned back to these elemental things.  Paul deals with this in most of his epistles. Galatians 4 is just one example of this turning back from where they had come.

Therefore, many Jews would not eat meat prepared by gentiles and ate only vegetables.  Paul went on to state that no one is to judge those who eat meat or those who do not eat meat.  Simple enough.

Next Paul makes the statement that so many misinterpret.  V5 – One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Now, as I have previously mentioned, the Sabbath is not discussed anywhere within Romans.  Not one time.  Let’s take a look at see what Paul is saying here.  First, remember we were just reading where Paul was talking about food.  To eat or not to eat…meat.  In verse 5, Paul is still dealing with meat.  From a grammar perspective, if one is to change subjects in a letter, do you continue in the same paragraph or do you start a new one?  Notice here, this is the same paragraph as the verses before it.  It is kind of funny that I am discussing grammar, b/c I am by no means a grammar scholar.  Pretty poor in my opinion.  Anyway, v6 clarifies what Paul is revealing here.  I believe Paul is discussing fasting.  Some contend he is still writing about whether one eats meat or not.

Paul is discussing not eating at all on certain days.  Whereas the previous discussion was about eating meat or not anytime.  Can you recall back in Luke 18:12 the discussion about the one bragging about fasting twice a week?  Also, in Didache (an early church document dated by most scholars to be from the late first century AD) which states, “Your fasts should not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays. You should fast on Wednesdays and Fridays” (Didache 8:1). Interestingly, from the Didache, we see not only that Pharisees fasted on certain days of the week, but that fasting among the early Christians was also a common practice, and that certain days (Wednesday and Friday) were set aside by some for the purpose of fasting. Thus, these days were “esteemed.” Is this activity fact or opinion? Opinion of course.   This is why I see Paul discussing fasting here, but in no way is Paul addressing the Sabbath.

I hope this has been of benefit to you.  Have a question or a comment?  Let me know!

Until next time…kadosh, kadosh, kadosh is HaShem!