ACTS 15 - WHY THOSE 4 THINGS?
This is a very good question sent by Email:
"I have been pondering over something for years and wonder if you might have the answer or can shed some light on it.
Why did they only tell the Gentiles to abstain from meats offered to idols, from blood and from things strangled and from fornication?" 15:20, 29
The major issue at the Yerushalayim council was how to bring the former Gentiles into the fold, especially considering these folks were steeped in all sorts of Pagan ideas and practices that needed to be halted entirely. The 4 things they needed to change right away were those practices that directly dealt with how they lived and worshipped their idols. They could not serve Yahuah doing those same things! The 4 things had to do with what was to be stopped, and then they could continue to learn how to live according to Yahuah’s instructions by hearing “Mosheh” read in the synagogues.
“Mosheh” is a reference to Torah, and the opportunity to hear it would come every weekly Shabath.
Here is the KJV rendering of the area of the text you mentioned, with the concordance number for each Greek word used:
Act 15:28 For1063 it seemed good1380 to the3588 Holy40 Ghost,4151 and2532 to us,2254 to lay2007 upon you5213 no3367 greater4119 burden922 than4133 these5130 necessary things;1876
Act 15:29 That ye abstain567 from meats offered to idols,1494 and2532 from blood,129 and2532 from things strangled,4156 and2532 from fornication:4202 from1537 which3739 if ye keep1301 yourselves,1438 ye shall do4238 well,2095 Fare ye well.4517
term “Hagios Pneuma” (Holy Ghost / Spirit) would be Ruach ha’Qodesh in
Hebrew, of course. They turned single words into short phrases as
their best-guess to the meaning for each Greek word. For one thing, the
word “meat” is not in the sentence at all, but only the Greek terms “apechomai”
(abstain) and “eidolothuton” (idol sacrifice/service/offering). This
would include a great deal, such as participating in ANY pattern of Pagan idol servitude,
going to a party and lifting a cup to toast “the gods”, or celebrating on a
day that is only derived from a Pagan background (such as Saturnalia), even
if it had been “cleansed” and turned into another meaning. And, it would
also include the offering of “meat” to an idol. But we know that Shaul
explained that we could eat the meat that had been offered to an
idol, but not if it caused a brother to stumble (1 Cor. 8:4).
Eating meat and offering it to an idol are two different
Eating meat and offering it to an idol are two different things.
The word “blood” (aima) can mean literally eating blood because an animal had been throttled and not properly “bled” before cooking it, but it can also be taken to mean “bloodshed” - so both interpretations are certainly applicable.
To take this short message as it is without understanding the context and what the Gentiles were used to doing, and claim that people born out of the Covenant may do whatever they wish except for the four things, is misinterpreting a great deal. If this were the case, it would mean that former Gentiles (who have become fellow citizens of Yisra’el through the covenants) could covet, lie, misuse Yahuah’s Name (cast it to ruin), ignore Shabbath, bully and misuse their parents, and still be fine with Yahuah. The 4 things all seem to point to the practices that went on at the Pagan temples, including “porneia”, which was central to idol-worship, through the temple prostitutes.
After stopping their idolatrous patterns of living, the next step for these who were “turning” to Yahuah was to hear the instructions of Yahuah:
Act 15:21 For1063 Moses3475 of old time1537, 744, 1074 hath2192 in every city2596, 4172 them that preach2784 him,846 being read314 in1722 the3588 synagogues4864 every2596, 3956 sabbath day.4521
It’s amazing that Christianity misses this blatant reference to the weekly Shabath.
It must be a
WHO IS LEW