Vol.XII No.X Pg.7
December 1975

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Brother Turner:

How does one harmonize Acts 15:19-21; 28-29; 21:25; with 1 Cor. 10:25-f? Are not blood, fornication, things strangled and meats offered to idols all equally sinful? What about J.W.s issue on blood: transfusions? E.H.


During the time of animal sacrifice blood had a special significance because the life is in the blood and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls Lev. 17:11. It was typical of Christs blood (life) given for our salvation. But types lose their significance when the real thing arrives. Thus, Paul could say Whatsoever is sold in the shambles (meat markets) eat, asking no questions.. . The eidolothutos (things sacrificed unto idols, named in Acts l5:29) were not wrong of themselves. They were forbidden only when a weak brothers conscience was at stake (1 Cor. 8), or when a pagan sought to make a point of it — as though one sanctioned the idol.

The four items given in the Jerusalem letter (Acts 15) are not of the same moral quality, as is obvious from the fact that Paul makes the eating of meats a matter of indifference while fornication is unlawful universally. But these four items do have something in common — and that serves to explain this situation. They were the usual points of conflict in day-by-day relationships between Jews and Gentiles at the time this was written.

Note the reason given for listing these things (Acts 15:21). For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. This does not mean that the Law was bound upon the Gentiles. That was the very error they sought to correct; and to bind even a small part of the Law was an intolerable compromise. Instead, they are reminding the Gentiles of the centuries-old teaching received by their Jewish brethren — a continuing environment — and on this basis urge them to give up conflicting heathen practices. (The fornication is mentioned because it was peculiarly associated with pagan worship.)

These were necessary things to the Gentiles of that day, under the circumstances of that day. That they were not of universal application is evident from the exceptions shown.

It is practically impossible to eat meat without eating blood. As meat was allowed in O.T. times, the pouring out of the blood was of ceremonial significance — because it typified the sacrifice of Christ. But with the coming of the Christian system, the real thing; types and ceremonial significances are removed. (See Acts 10:11-15; 1 Tim. 4:3-5) The New Covenant is not a touch not, taste not, handle not covenant. We abstain from some things on the basis of how they affect our body and service to the Lord, not on a ceremonial basis. There is nothing to indicate, scripturally or scientifically, that the eating of blood is harmful.

J.W.s, like other cults, follow headquarters lead and build their cause around a few bizarre doctrines. Few are interested in objective study.