Should Gentile Believers Eat Meat with the Blood In It?
God commanded Noah that he and his progeny could not eat the blood of the animals which they ate for food. They had to completely drain the blood out of the animal before eating it.
In Genesis 9, we read:
9 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered.3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. (Gen 9:1-5 ESV.)
These laws automatically apply today to all humans, including Gentiles. Why? Because Noah and his family are the progenitors of the entire human race after them. Everyone prior to Noah was killed in the flood. Hence, this command about blood in meat is a universal command applicable today. Of course, it was repeated in the Law given Moses as well. See Lev. 17:14; Deut 12:16.
The command to Noah and Moses explains why James decided in the conference in Acts 15:29 that Gentiles must abstain from eating food with the "blood" in it. James said the following applies to Gentiles who accept Christ:
You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell. (Acts 15: 29 NIV.)
However, some insist that Peter's vision five chapters earlier -- in Acts 10 -- about a blanket from heaven of unclean food -- necessarily means that the 12 Apostles incorrectly in Acts 15 allowed James to impose a food prohibition on Gentiles eating meat with blood in it. This is wrong.
In Acts 10, Peter sees a blanket of unclean foods that God presents to him to eat, and God says "if I make" something clean, then do not call it unclean. Peter then was "pondering" what the vision meant. Then Peter encounters Cornelius, a Gentile. At the time, some popular Rabbinic tradition said Peter should not even touch a gentile as supposedly unclean. This tradition is not in the Mosaic Law itself. Then Peter realizes the true message of the vision in Acts 10:17 was about Cornelius, not about the food laws. Peter says to Cornelius after Cornelius bows to Peter:
“Stand up. I myself also am a man”. 27 And while conversing-with him, he went in and finds many having come-together. 28 And he said to them, “You know how it is unlawful for a Jewish man to be joining[q]or coming-to[r] a foreigner. And-yet God showed me that I should be calling no person defiled or unclean. 29 Therefore, having been sent-for, I indeed came without-objection. So I ask, for what reason did you send-for me?” (Acts 10:26-29 DNLT.)
The fact Peter five chapters later in Acts 15 agrees with the prohibition of eating blood in foods is a second reason to know Peter did not believe the vision of the blanket was about food laws. Rather, as expressed in Acts 10:28, Peter realized the blanket vision was about not calling a Gentile unclean when God says he is clean. Because God never says in the Bible that a Gentile was unclean to touch, no man should say otherwise.
Thus, if the prohibition against eating blood in Acts 15 is binding, (and it should be), then it would show that in every age—the Patriarchal, Mosaic, and Christian ages—that the eating of blood from meat has been forbidden. It is inherently wrong although I believe it was wrong solely as a health law, signified by the 'clean' v 'unclean' label. James Burton in his Commentary on Acts (ACU Press, 1977) at 300 concludes that this is the case. As to Genesis 9:4, he stated:
“This makes it clear that the denial of blood as food to man antedates the Mosaic law. Thus, they are wrong who see these restrictions as a symbolical binding of the Law on Christians. The authority they have for Christians of all ages derives neither from Moses’ law nor from the commandment of Noah, but from the authority of the Holy Spirit....”
So if you acknowledge your duty to obey either Genesis 9:1-5, Leviticus 17:14, or Acts 15:29, or all three, you should only eat meat that is prepared to be kosher. Non-kosher meat will have at least the blood in the muscle tissues, which is what Kosher preparation removes.
In Kosher meat, the meat undergoes complete bleeding and the meat is "soaked in salt and water [which is] so important in removing residual blood." See link. Under Kosher tradition for home or the butcher, this washing and salting must be done three times on each piece of meat. See link. Also, coarse salt, not table salt, is necessary, because table salt is absorbed by the meat. Id. So Kosher salt is the type of salt to use. It removes the blood rather than being a table salt that is absorbed into the meat. Such table salt thereby retains the blood.
Why would God prohibit eating meat with the blood still in it? Is there something in the blood of animals that is not good for us?
God's Reason Explained by Science
The Hebrew word for "unclean" is tawmay, and means it is toxic. It is "polluted" (See this YouTube Video at 55 seconds.) Did you know that there are meat additives added today to the non-Kosher meat you eat to suppress the toxic effects of heme iron found in animal blood?
Here is Dr. Greger's Nutrition Facts.org website video on this meat-industry practice: link. The National Institute of Health article Dr. Greger cites explains: "The major promoter [of colorectal cancer] in meat is heme iron, via N-nitrosation or fat peroxidation. Dietary additives can suppress the toxic effects of heme iron." (link).
Because not all blood of the animal is removed from non-Kosher meat due to the presence of "residual" muscle blood (conceded by Dr. Mercola), such meat-industry additives are necessary to counter the toxic effect of the heme iron solely present in animal blood in the non-kosher meat you eat.
So is the necessity of such an additive a clue to what is the problem?
The ill effects of meat in all the modern health studies have one thing in common: all the meat eating examined involves eating meat that has not been drained or purged of all blood. The chicken or beef you eat has lots of traces of blood, along with its heme iron, unlike Kosher meat. The blood in meat is apparently the likely culprit in meat for any of its ill health effects. Numerous scientific studies support meat including fish -- actually non-Kosher-prepared meat -- are causally related to the leading 18 causes of death in the USA. See Dr. Greger's book, How Not to Die. As Dr. Greger explains at one of his webpages:
Those eating meat-free diets don’t get any of the heme iron found in blood and muscle, which may be a good thing. The avoidance of heme iron may be one of the key elements of plant-based protection against metabolic syndrome, and may also be beneficial in lowering heart disease risk. (See The Safety of Heme v Non-Heme Iron (June 5, 2015).)
It appears that God knows best. By removing all traces of blood in meat, you have removed what is harmful to your health in the meat. Then apparently you have rendered irrelevant all the studies that show eating meat - always presumably non-kosher meat -- increases substantially the risk of death from heart disease, cancer, etc. But until you eat only Kosher-prepared meat, you are not only violating God's law, but also you are endangering your health. Which is likely why God prohibited eating such meat with any blood in it in the first place.
Listen to your Heavenly Father, and you will "prolong your days," He says. (Deut 5:33.) Jesus said you are not morally defiled by eating food God prohibits as "unclean." That clean versus unclean terminology did not signify it was immoral to eat, but rather it was "unhealthy" to do so.
Yet, even though you commit no moral sin in eating meat with blood in it, it is still a command from your Father in Heaven about something He hates you to eat. He intends for you to respect such a command for your own good. So why violate a health-based food law now that you know your Father's aim in prohibiting such food was to protect you from something potentially very deadly which will shorten, not prolong your days?
Chlorophyll from "green vegetables inhibits heme induced [toxic] effects," according to a July 2005 article in the Journal of Nutrition.
A useful YouTube video is 7 Facts About Unclean Meats is for Christians to accept these commands as for our health. He points out that prior to the flood, God had man eating a vegeterian diet -- see Gen. 1:28-29 ("the fruit of the tree, for you shall be meat" - "I have given every green herb for meat.") After the fall, in Gen. 3:18, God added vegetables to the list of authorized foods. Only after the flood, and Noah was leaving the ark after all vegetation was destroyed by the flood waters, God for the first time authorized eating animal meat. Gen 9:3. However, Genesis 7:2 shows God already made known the distinction between clean and unclean animals. Noah was to bring animals that were clean in 7 pairs, but unclean animals in 2 pairs. At 9:25 of the video, he shows Acts 10 reveals Peter never ate any unclean meat.
The vision of unclean meats presented to him was responded to by Peter as exclaiming that he never has eaten such meats. Three times, Peter refused, which showed Peter knew there was another meaning to that vision other than to eat such meats. He also shows that in the new heaven and earth, we are vegetarian because Rev 21:4 says there is no more death nor pain -- implying there is no more killing of animals. (Video 10:08.) God in Isaiah 65:25 speaking of the same period says the animals will only eat straw and from the dust of the earth, and not do any more harm. The video author does a good job at 15:00 et seq. explaining Mark 7, and how the context shows Jesus was not talking about unclean meats, but eating with unclean hands which is only a "tradition of the elders." Also, at video 18:00, he does a good job to explain Acts 10 - Peter's vision of unclean foods.
The video makes one mistake. The narrator raises Isaiah 66:15-17 that speaks of those who sanctify and purify themselves "in the gardens behind the tree in the midst" eat certain unclean foods, God will consume them with the "fire and the sword" together. He says that those eating unclean meat will be killed for simply that reason, and hence you go to hell for eating unclean meat. However, the context has to do with some sanctification ritual in the gardens behind a tree and these people ALSO are eating unclean foods. Thus, their destruction is not simply because they were those who ate unclean foods. So he made a non-logical leap there.