Andalus, I'm glad you asked.
The Council of Nicea took place in 325 AD.
The Council in Jerusalem took place around 50 AD. At that time the apostles had the gift of even hearing directly from God. After Jesus left the earth, He send the Holy Spirit to help the church and believers.
1. Acts 1:8 -- power promised from the Holy Spirit to spread the Gospel.
2. Acts 2:1-5 -- The Holy Spirit came on Pentecost.
3. Acts 13:2 -- The Holy Spirit spoke.
4. The Council in Jerusalem agreed with the Holy Spirit -- "It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us" (Acts 15:28).
OK, the Council issue is cleared above (I hope).
Now to pork. First let us establish a principle.
1. In the OT, even if the Jews bring the perfect sacrifice, if their "hearts" are not right with God, the sacrifice will be rejected.
But the sacrifice along with the right HEART is what pleases God. (Example Psalm 51:17-19, etc).
God is after the heart. You may be the most religious person in the world, but if your heart is evil, God will not be moved.
2. In the OT God introduced ceremonial laws to keep Israel as a community and to protect the people from diseases. In olden days neither the Israelites or the Gentiles have good knowledge about hygiene or medicine.
So the laws of quarantine, toilet outside the camp and disposed underground, dietery restrictions, etc, all these protected Israel from diseases that afflicted people throughout the world.
For example, during the 13th and 14th centuries when the plague called 'Black Death' was raging and killing Europeans by the thousands, the Jews were not affected. Why? Because they followed the quarantine laws as given in the Torah (Leviticus).
Today the modern world has excellent knowledge of hygiene and medicine. Remember SARS? People in Asia wearing surgical mask.
So today we don't need religious/ceremonial laws to protect us. They are dispensable.
Today we can rear pork properly and prepare its meat hygienically. THAT IS THE REASON CHRISTIANS EAT PORK.
3. Moral laws. But the moral laws of God has not changed -- adultery, hatred, lies, coveteousness, murder, stealing, uncontrolled anger, etc, are the things God hates. All these are matters of the heart. GOD WANTS A CLEAN HEART.
I can eat pork and still love God and my neighbor. But if I avoid pork and still cheat and steal, I am unrighteous before God.
With regard to the physical harm caused by eating pork, modern science has proved a number of things, such as the following:
Pork is regarded as one of the kinds of meat that contain the most cholesterol, an increase of which in the bloodstream leads to an increased likelihood of blocked arteries. The fatty acids in pork are also of an unusual formation, when compared with the fatty acids in other types of food, which makes them more easily absorbed by the body, thus increasing cholesterol levels.
Pork meat and pork fat contribute to the spread of cancers of the colon, rectum, prostate and blood.
Pork meat and pork fat contribute to obesity and related diseases that are difficult to treat.
Eating pork leads to scabies, allergies and stomach ulcers.
Eating pork causes lung infections which result from tapeworms, lungworms and microbial infections of the lungs.
The most serious danger of eating pork is that pork contains tapeworms which may grow to a length of 2-3 meters. The growth of the eggs of these worms in the human body may lead to insanity and hysteria if they grow in the area of the brain. If they grow in the region of the heart that may lead to high blood pressure and heart attacks. Another kind of worm that is to be found in pork is the trichinosis worm that cannot be killed by cooking, the growth of which in the body may lead to paralysis and skin rashes.
The doctors have confirmed that tapeworm disease is regarded as one of the serious diseases that may result from eating pork. It may develop in the small intestine and after several months may grow into a large worm whose body is composed of a thousand segments, with a length of 4-10 meters, which lives alone in the intestine of the infected person and part of it may appear when he defecates. When the pig swallows and ingests its eggs, they enter the tissues and muscles in the form of larvae sacs containing fluid and the head of the tapeworm. When a person eats infected pork, the larva turns into a complete worm in the intestine. These worms cause weakness and vitamin B12 deficiency, which leads to a specific type of anaemia, which may in turn cause nervous problems. In some cases the larvae may reach the brain, causing convulsions, increased pressure within the brain, epilepsy and even paralysis.
Eating pork that is not thoroughly cooked may also lead to trichinosis (infestation with a hairlike nematode worm). When these parasites reach the small intestine, three to five days later many larvae appear which enter the intestine and reach the blood, from which they reach most of the tissues of the body. The larvae move to the muscles and form cysts there, and the patient suffers intense muscle pains. The disease may develop into infection of the cerebral membrane and brain, and infections of the heart muscle, lungs, kidneys and nerves. It may be a fatal disease in rare cases.
It is well known that there are some diseases that are unique to humans and are nor shared with any other animals except pigs, such as rheumatism and joint pain. Allaah indeed spoke the truth when He said (interpretation of the meaning):
“He has forbidden you only the Maytah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah (or has been slaughtered for idols, on which Allaah's Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”
These are some of the harmful effects of eating pork. Perhaps after studying them you will not have any doubts that it is forbidden. We hope that this will be the first step in your being guided towards the true religion. So stop, research, look and think, objectively and fairly, seeking only to find out the truth and follow it. I ask Allaah to guide you to that which is best for you in this world and in the Hereafter.
But even if we did not know about the harmful effects of eating pork, this would not change our belief that it is haraam in the slightest, or weaken our resolve to abstain from it. You know that when Adam (peace be upon him) was expelled from the Garden, it was because he ate from the tree from which Allaah forbade him to eat. We do not know anything about that tree, and Adam did not need to enquire into the reason why it was forbidden to eat from it. Rather it was sufficient for him, as it is sufficient for us and for every believer, to know that Allaah has forbidden it.
Look at some of the harmful effects of eating pork; look at the research of the Fourth Annual Conference of Islamic Medicine, Kuwait edition, p. 731 ff; and al-Wiqaayah al-Sihhiyyah fi Daw' al-Kitaab wa'l-Sunnah by Lu'lu'ah bint Saalih, p. 635 ff.
But we ask you once again: Isn't pork forbidden in the Old Testament which forms part of your Holy Book?
“Do not eat any detestable thing. These are the animals you may eat… The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud, you are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.”
See also Leviticus 11-1-8.
We do not need to quote evidence that pork is forbidden for the Jews. If you have any doubt then ask people and they will tell you. But what we think we need to draw you attention to is some other things that are also mentioned in your Holy Book, this time in the New Testament which tells you that the rulings of the Torah still apply to you and cannot be changed. Does't it say in the Bible that the Messiah said:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
With this text, we do not need to look for another ruling on pork in the New Testament, but we will add here another quotation which shows definitively that pork is impure:
“A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus: ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.' He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs.”
Perhaps you will say that this is abrogated, and that Peter said such and such and Paul said such and such…?
This is changing the words of Allaah and abrogating the Torah and the words of the Messiah who confirmed to you that it would abide as long as heaven and earth remain. Can this be abrogated by the words of Paul or Peter?
I'm sorry Mulood, you're ignorance may confuse people more. So instead of arguing with something you wish not to understand, let me ask you this:
Why did Muhammad fail to follow the Torah?
According to the Torah, if you wish to impose the ceremonial rules on modern society, the Jews and Muslims, in addition to refusing to eating pork, SHOULD REFUSE TO USE INDOOR TOILET WITH MODERN PLUMBING.
Do you have a little spade you use in the morning and dig the ground to cover your natural call? Because that is advised in the levitical rule along with dietary restriction against pork.
Please separate the ceremonial rules with the moral laws. The former are only for a period; the latter are for all time and for all people.
"Why did Muhammad fail to follow the Torah?"
"It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong). (The Noble Quran, 3:3)"
Jesus knew after his ascension some of his followers would denounce the Law. Jesus Christ himself obeyed the Law faithfully. It was only after his departure from this world that St. Paul, a forceful orator, and a member of the "elite" circle of the society, who took to heart the Greek 'advanced' civilization (as many people now-a-days, take pride in being 'Westernized') prevailed upon the illiterate and simple-minded Christians to abandon the Law. The fact that he himself had never met Jesus Christ, and those who opposed him were constant companions of Christ, is most revealing. Jesus Christ corrected Pharisees' misinter-pretation of the Law. For example, his disciples in their hunger plucked the ears of corn on Sabbath day. When the Pharisees objected, Jesus Christ replied, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27). But he never said anything against the Law, including the dietary laws. St. Paul on the other hand denounced the Law, saying that "the Law worketh wrath; for where no law is, there is no transgression." (Romans., 4:15)
1-You see, if that is what Jesus Christ had intended to be the tenant of Christianity, why did he not declare so when he was with his disciples in this world?
2-Why did he advocate the theory of unchangeability of Mosaic Law?
3-Did St. Paul want the people to believe that Jesus Christ was not sincere in his pronouncements when he was with the people?
The questions are numbered!!!
Mulood, I'm glad you asked.
I purposely avoid writing lengthy post, so I'll just offer a few points for you to digest and see if you'll "get it".
Concerning Romans 4:15 that you quoted, Paul simply means to show that the law teaches us what is sin and what is not sin.
If you have an appointment with your doctor tomorrow at 4 PM, you're arrival at 4:10 Pm will indicate that you were late. But if just the date and no time is given, you can come in at 10 AM or 5 PM. Nothing will indicate that you arrived early, late, or on time; only that you showed up on that day.
No law, no sin. With law, you will know if you have broken or kept it.
Moral laws are for all time. Ceremonial laws are provisional and discarded with advance of society in time. I don't think the Jews are stoning adulterers today. To keep order, that was followed when Israel was a tight-knit community. Now they live in cities and abide by the laws of the country.
Adultery is still wrong, but need not be enforced with stoning anymore, since tight-knit communities exists no more among them. The laws of the land prevail.
1. Mark 7:15.
2. Jesus was a Jew, and to fulfill the demand of a perfect Jew, so as to be sinless, He followed the law to the letter (Matthew 5:17-19, 48).
Thus Jesus qualified to be the perfect sacrificial lamb (John 1:29) for the sins of the world --- "When I see the blood I will pass over you." (1 John 1:7).
3. Paul received revelations and did not contradict Jesus in any way (Ephesians 3:3-4; Colossians 1:26).
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