Eating Blood

Question

Noah was commanded not to eat blood in Genesis 9:4 - why? Did this commandment change? Why do Christians eat blood now (i.e. black pudding, etc)?

Answer

Noah was given the command for the same reason the command was given to Israel years later:

Genesis 9:4 - But flesh with the life thereof, the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

Leviticus 17:11 - For the life of the flesh is in the blood...

Leviticus 17:14 - For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.

God's instruction was to remind them of two things:

  1. Something had to die in Eden so that mankind could continue to live - Genesis 3:21 (see Hebrews 9:22)
  2. Blood represented the life of the animal, and that belonged to God (which is why it was poured out on the ground and covered - Leviticus 17:13)

Meat with the blood was only prohibited to Israel (Deuteronomy 14:21). These passages are not binding upon all nations. Circumcision, distinction between clean and unclean animals, and animal sacrifices were all practiced by the patriarchs of Israel but are not binding upon believers in Christ.

Galatians 6:15 - For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Colossians 2:14-17 - Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Hebrews 10:11-12 - And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…

That being said, if you have a fellow Christian that has a problem with what you are eating, his conscience comes first over yours:

1 Corinthians 10:25-33 - Eat anything that is sold in the marketplace without questions of conscience, for the earth and its abundance are the Lord's. If an unbeliever invites you to dinner and you want to go, eat whatever is served without asking questions of conscience. But if someone says to you, "This is from a sacrifice," do not eat, because of the one who told you and because of conscience — I do not mean yours but the other person's. For why is my freedom being judged by another's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I blamed for the food that I give thanks for? So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also try to please everyone in all things. I do not seek my own benefit, but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved.

Written by Matthew Smith