Clement of Alexandria said: Happiness is found in the practice of virtue.
The apostle Matthew partook of seeds and nuts and vegetables without flesh.
Hegesippus in the Epistulae ad Faustum wrote: James the Brother of the Lord was holy from his mother’s womb and did not eat flesh. Eusebius said James was raised by his parents as a vegetarian and another brother Jacob lived only on seeds and plants and touched neither meat nor wine.
Eusebius also wrote that all the apostles abstained from eating meat.
Veganism was very popular among early Jewish Christian sects and some of their early Aramaic writings still survive to this day. One of these manuscripts stored in the Vatican quotes Jesus as saying: The flesh from slain beasts in his body will become his own tomb because he who kills – kills himself – for he who eats the flesh of slain beasts eats the body of death.
Many early influential Christians were vegan. Among them were Basil the Great, Origin, Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria.
St. Augustine wrote that Christians who abstain from flesh are without number.
Clementine wrote: The eating of flesh is as the heathen worship of devils.
The abstaining of animal flesh and milk was practiced before and after the time of Christ by the Nazrites, Rechabites, Essenes, Therapeutae, Zakokites and Encratites. Also the Ebionites, Marcionites, Manichaeans and Priscillianists. It was common for members of these groups to live over 100 years.
But let’s go back to the beginning.
Genesis 1:29 says that God gives all seed bearing plants and trees with seeds in the fruit as food. And to all animals, birds and creeping creatures he has also given every green plant for food.
So Adam and Eve as well as all the animals in the Garden of Eden were vegans.
But in Genesis 4 God was not happy with Cain for not offering chopped up and dismembered animals as a sacrifice like his brother Abel did.
And in Genesis 8 God liked the smell of burnt animals that Noah had killed and offered up as a sacrifice after the flood.
Genesis 9:3 prohibits the eating of flesh with blood. But it permits the eating of animals with no blood. Some animals do not have hemoglobin and use hemocyanin to transport oxygen. These include crustaceans such as crabs, lobsters and shrimp. Although now classified as arthropods they were formerly seen as reptiles. In fact the Hebrew word translated here as animal means reptile. In this time period reptiles included amphibians, mollusks, snails, fish and insects.
So now eating animals with hemocyanin is OK while eating animals with hemoglobin is not OK.
Genesis 9:5 quotes God as saying: Your life I will seek at the hand of every creature you slay.
In Numbers 11:4 it says during the Exodus there was rabble among the Israelites in the wilderness that complained they wanted to eat meat along with the manna. So God reluctantly sent them quail.
But in Numbers 11:33 it says that God destroyed them while the meat was still in their teeth. So here God kept his threat.
But Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 12 and 14 have another set of instructions. Animals which chew the cud or have cloven hooves now have God’s approval to be consumed. And the animals in the water have to possess fins and scales in order be eaten. And some birds may be eaten.
Leviticus 17 also has a unique set of rules saying it is OK to kill any animal if it is for a sacrifice but you have to kill the animal in the open field and then bring it to the temple where the priest will sprinkle the blood upon the altar. And if you are out hunting you can eat whatever you kill as long as it is a permissible animal and if you pour out the blood first.
Leviticus 11:22 says you can eat locusts. A la John the Baptist.
Leviticus 11:23 says you cannot eat winged insects with 4 feet. But insects have 6 legs. So which insects are kosher to eat and which insects are not kosher to eat has been debated ever since.
As rules kept on being added it was obvious that these ordinances were just Levitical regulations and human commandments. They soon became Hebrew laws and traditions that have been compiled and changed throughout the centuries.
Because these laws contradict themselves what is written in these books cannot be God speaking through Moses.
Moses could not be the author because how could he write about his own death in Deuteronomy 34:1-8?
After the Levites appointed themselves to be the Priests they thought they could say just about anything they wanted.
But what they were trying to promote went against many people’s beliefs which was that God would not command the sacrifice of animals. And that God would not approve of devouring their flesh. So many Jewish people wound up separating themselves and forming these aforementioned groups and communities. And Jesus grew up in one of them.
The prophets of God also disagreed and railed against the controversial priestly injuctions of sacrifice.
Isaiah 66:3 says He who slews an ox is like one who kills a person and whoever sacrifices a lamb is like one who breaks a dog’s neck.
Jeremiah 7:22 Thus says the Lord of Hosts the God of Israel I did not speak to your fathers nor command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Hosea 6:6 says I desire mercy and not sacrifice. This verse is quoted twice by Jesus in the gospels.
The prophet Daniel refused to eat meat or drink wine and thus had a superior appearance, was healthier and had special abilities. The steward of Nebuchadnezzar after seeing this fed the 4 youths that accompanied Daniel a vegan diet and they all became masters of literature and science. Daniel also was an expert in understanding the meaning of dreams and visions.
According to the Roman historian Josephus at the time of Jesus the three main groups were the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Essenes. There were also the Zealots who were active in the rebellion against the Roman occupation and the Samaritans who were a racially mixed group living in Samaria the capital of Israel.
Jesus grew up in Nazareth by the Sea of Galilee and this whole area was Essene.
Qumran was right by Nazareth and was the center of Essene activity. The Essenes did not eat meat.
So was Jesus a vegan? It makes since because Jesus’ parents taught their children to avoid the devouring of flesh.
The early followers of Jesus were known as Ebionites and they believed that all followers of Jesus should be vegetarian.
James the brother of Jesus was the authority and condemned those who even tasted meat.
Peter and the Apostle John were also leaders. They all believed in a God who was not blood thirsty and who did not demand sacrifices.
In the Epiphanius, Jesus is quoted as saying: I come to end sacrifices and feasts of blood. If you cease not the eating of flesh and blood the wrath of God shall come to you. Even as it came to your fathers in the wilderness who lusted for flesh and were consumed by the plaque.
The Jesus Movement became more and more popular and it spread to other countries and even Rome.
Being a Jewish Roman citizen born in Rome, Paul saw this offshoot of Judaism as an opportunity for position and power. Due to his efforts Christians became numerous in Rome. For the most part they lived in peace and could practice their professions without trouble. But because of their secrecy, their refusal to take part in public religion and the Christian practice of eating the blood and body of Christ they were viewed with suspicion.
In only about 10 of the first 300 years of their time in Rome were Christians persecuted on a large scale. Occurring most prominently in the reign of Nero.
When Constantine became Emperor he saw the advantage of embracing this Jewish teaching. He met with the Bishops and worked out the mutually beneficial details adding Pagan beliefs to the Christian faith. Thus the birth of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Along with the Bishops, the Popes have always been of Jewish ethnicity because they are the ones that created the religion as well as the later Protestant sects.
Billy Graham is Jewish. His son Franklin recently became a vegan.
Constantine made a public announcement that he had a vision of the Cross and also a dream where Christ appeared to him and said to use the cross as an emblem in his engagements with the enemy. Christ told him ‘By this symbol you will conquer’.
As detailed by Hieronymus, Constantine also put out an official edict that Christians who advocated the abstaining of meat should be put to death.
But now it has come full swing as Pope Benedict XV1 recently said that the degrading of living creatures to a commodity contradicts the mutual relationship of animals and humans that is valued in the Bible.
Many Christians did not believe Paul was authentic and there was a lot of hostility between them and Paul.
In Romans 14 Paul accused his accusers of being weak for not being understanding toward Christians like himself who ate meat. In 1 Corinthians 8 he says that what you eat doesn’t commend you to God. But he drew the line in eating meat at an idol’s temple so as not to be a stumbling block to a weaker believer.
In Galatians 2 he opposed Peter to his face accusing him of being a hypocrite because Peter ate with Gentiles and was worried about what his Jewish brethren would think. He also demeaningly called Peter, James and John ‘so-called’ pillars of the faith.
Paul took issue with everyone about the killing and eating of animals.
Did Paul really become a convert because of an epiphany on the road to Damascus? Did Constantine really have a vision and a dream? Or did they feign Christian beliefs in order to control the masses similar to what is happening today.
In Romans 13 Paul says that the ruling elite is from God and therefore if you do not submit yourself to the authorities you are disobeying God. Sounds more like Paul is an envoy from some ruling establishment than a messenger from God.
In 1 Timothy Paul says that he does not permit women to teach or have authority over men. Women must be silent. Does this sound like God speaking? Is this really a divine revelation with someone’s hand being guided by God as he writes?
A large number of books have unknown or disputed authors. 1 and 2 Timothy being among them.
In fact more than a few of the books ascribed to Paul have a totally different style leading scholars to believe they are written by someone else. It was the ruling aristocracy who finally approved which books were to be accepted into the official canon. They obviously liked Romans with the obey the rulers part and shunned any books with a different message.
Whoever has control over a people’s religion has power and control over them.
In John 21 the story is told where some of the disciples fished all night and caught nothing. And in the morning Jesus yells to them saying “Any fish boys? Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” As they were coming ashore with their catch they saw Jesus already frying fish with bread. And then Peter went back and hauled by himself the net full of 153 large fish to where Jesus was.
Luke 24 says that Jesus after he died appeared to a group of 10 and said he was hungry and asks for some fish.
Notice that both of these fish stories happen at the very end of John and Luke. They were later additions. John 20:30 and Luke 24:40 being the original end of each book.
Not only do these stories appear ‘fishy’ they strain credibility to the limit. The risen Son of God asking for some dead fish to eat? The Savior of the World coming back from the dead and frying fish on the seashore? The Co-Creator of the Universe not being aware that fish because they have a brain and a central nervous system feel pain just like we do? Shouldn’t He be compassionate? Shouldn’t He care? These are just stories for the gullible.
Some people will say ‘Maybe they didn’t have anything else to eat’. That shouldn’t be a problem for a deity who could perform all these other magic tricks.
He would know that fish are loaded with fat and cholesterol. He would understand that we are much better off getting our nutrients straight from plants.
The story at the end of John makes Jesus out to look like some backyard backward barbecue guy!
Many scholars say that the feeding of the 5000 was done with fishweed which has always been a popular food in Palestine and is served dried. But seeing that these other fish stories are made-up why should this one have any credence?
And what about the Passover dinner? Jesus ate lamb didn’t he?
First of all why would the Son of God eat a baby sheep? He should know that what is on his plate is the result of cruelty.
But even so, according to the gospel of John, Jesus was already dead by the time of the Passover.
What happened was at a later time the Last Supper was equated with the Passover Meal to make Jesus look like a meat eater.
Also Peter, James, John and Andrew the leaders of the Jesus movement who were the most adamant about abstaining from flesh in extra biblical sources are the ones made out in the gospels to be fishermen.
In the gospels there are many contradictions between where people are at certain times and what they did. I learned that as a teenager in Bible Study class.
And there are numerous historical problems:
Matthew has Jesus born during the time of Herod and Luke has him born during the reign of Quirinius who ruled after Herod.
Why is there no record outside of the Bible of Herod’s decree to kill infants?
Matthew says Jesus was in Egypt as an infant and Luke says he wasn’t.
John has the temple incident at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry while the other gospel writers say it was during Jesus’ last week. Romans did not execute thieves so why are there 2 robbers being crucified with Jesus?
And there are 2 different accounts of Judas dying so in effect he dies twice.
In fact syncretizing the events and times and people of each gospel together is impossible because there are so many contradictions. If these stories were inspired the discrepancies would not occur.
The King James Version written in 1611 included the 15 books of the Apocrypha and they were not excluded until 1885.
The Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate also had many Apocryphal books.
Did God all of a sudden have a change of mind as to which ones are the truth?
The King James version is actually a Masoretic text. The Masorites were a Jewish faction that removed the Hebrew from scripture and inserted verses, changed laws and dates and even took out whole chapters of books that they did not want the general public to know about.
For example whole sections of Daniel and Esther were taken out. Many Psalms were deleted. They changed the names of the prophets to English names and translated the Hebrew deities El, Elohim, Yahweh, Jehovah and others to just God or Lord when in fact these were their actual names.
To go over all the codices, canons, creeds and counsels that with an agenda in mind determined what is scripture and what isn’t would take a very long time.
Not only are there numerous additions and subtractions there are mistranslations.
Just to mention one: Mark 10:25 says It is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to inherit the kingdom of God. The Greek word for rope is camelos but all the modern translations use the word camel instead of the correct translation of rope.
It should say it is easier for a rope to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich man to inherit the kingdom of god.
If the translators were acting under the spirit of God why would they make so many mistakes and why would there be so many discrepancies?
The Old Testament also is full of controversy:
Elisha commands 2 female bears to kill 42 kids for calling him ‘baldy’.
Deuteronomy 18: 18-21 says that all disobedient children should be stoned to death.
Leviticus 20:10 says the penalty for adultery is death. Verse 13 says that homosexuals should be killed.
Verse 14 says if some guy has sex with a girl and her mother all three should be burned alive.
Exodus 22:18 says that all sorceresses (female witches) should be killed.
In 1 Chronicles 20:3 the Ammonites are sawed in half or chopped up with axes under the direction of God’s chosen leader David.
1 Samuel 15:1-3 says the all the descendants of Amelek are to be killed including women and infants.
Psalm 137 says to rejoice while you dash the babies of the Edomites against the rocks.
Deuteronomy 13:6-10 says to stone to death anyone in your family who is not of the faith.
Deuteronomy 13:15 says to put to death with the sword entire cities if they are unbelievers.
So a lot in the Holy Bible isn’t so holy!
These books are not divinely inspired. Not the Old Testament nor the New Testament.
Jesus was a real person though and he would:
Not choose a unhealthy diet that involved suffering and death. He would have love and compassion for all.
He would know that God did not make His creatures to be food and clothing. He would know that they are created with the ability to feel and think and the desire to live just like us. That they have families just like we do. He would think it is wrong to live at the expense of someone else’s suffering. He would say animals don’t want or deserve abuse. He would tell people to respect what God has made. That the bodies of animals are for them not for you to use. He would say what you consume affects your soul. And that animals have souls too!
He would advocate a higher way of living. And champion a morally superior way of making compassionate and wise food choices. He would know that animals are meant to be our companions. And that all animal products are the result of cruelty. He would not degrade living creatures to a commodity. He would know eating animals reduces peoples ability to feel and connect. He would quote the first commandment that says ‘Do not kill’. And He would preach ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. He would say that it is not natural to eat animals and that we do so because of our fallen state.
He would seek to end the worst crime in history. He would seek to bring to the public attention the atrocities which the meat, dairy and egg industries try to conceal. He would preach that no living being should be forced into exploitation!
He would not want animals to be hung up at slaughterhouses with their throats cut struggling to free themselves. He would not want to have their skin ripped off while they are still conscious or semi-conscious. He would not want pigs to burn from the inside out in gas chambers. He would speak out against the millions of baby chicks being ground up every day and say that His Father is aware of each one just like He is aware of every sparrow that falls to the ground.
He would say that cruelty excused and disguised as dominion is sin.
That we should be good stewards of God’s creation.
He would advocate the perfect will of God.
He would not be prejudiced against beings with 4 legs or beaks or scales or feathers or hooves or claws.
He would die for the animals also.
In the Old Testament a day was prophesized when the old order would be reestablished.
Isaiah 11:6-8 says that the wolf shall dwell with the lamb. And the leopard and the goats shall be at peace. Cattle and their calves shall be safe with the lion. The cow shall graze among the bear and their young shall lie down together. The lion and the ox shall both eat straw. And the child can play by the snake’s den.
Isaiah 65:25 says no one will kill or be hurt on My Holy Mountain.
Hosea 2:18 says a covenant will be made between people and animals and we will not fear each other and all weapons of war will be destroyed.
The welfare of animals and a symbiotic relationship between human and non human animals are clearly found in the traditions of Jewish history. As the Jewish people are recognizing the innate cruelty of the animal products industry and the health benefits of a plant based diet, Israel is quickly becoming a vegan nation returning to the perfect state of the Garden of Eden. And once that happens other countries will follow. Jesus would be very happy about that!
Until then Jesus would be protesting at slaughterhouses!
Vegans in the Early Church, the Contradiction of Scripture and What Jesus Would Say
Clement of Alexandria said: Happiness is found in the practice of virtue.