Friday, November 11, 2016

Hebrews 13:9 and "Foods"

Not that I have time over the next few days to hash out this issue, but Hebrews 13:9 might have some bearing on our recent discussion concerning foods and the Mosaic Law (Torah).

"Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them" (ESV).

Compare Heb. 13:10.


Duncan said...

This may be relevant but we need some context of what foods are being referred too and why?

The scriptures never claim eternal life from food alone and many in this time were fortunate to eat anything everyday.

Duncan said...

Another thing that comes to mind is Jesus disputes with the scribes and Pharisees. What was the function of the scribes in this period. What exactly were they spending most of their time writing down?

Duncan said...

Edgar Foster said...

For right now, I found that NET Bible has this note about Heb. 13:9:

tn Grk “foods,” referring to the meals associated with the OT sacrifices (see the contrast with the next verse; also 9:9-10; 10:1, 4, 11).


From the NIV, Zondervan Study Bible:

ceremonial foods. These outside teachings seem to call for Judaistic dietary practices related to OT priestly ritual (cf. Lev 6:26; 7:31– 32). The author's brief response connects to the argument of the earlier chapters: these practices afford "no benefit" to those who partake of them (7: 19; 9: 9– 10; 10: 1).

Zondervan. NIV, Zondervan Study Bible, eBook: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (Kindle Locations 285629-285631). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Zondervan. NIV, Zondervan Study Bible, eBook: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (Kindle Locations 285627-285629). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Edgar Foster said...

Also from Vincent's Word Studies:

With meats stands for the whole system of ceremonial observances, in contrast with grace, working on the heart. See Hebrews 9:10. This ceremonial system yielded no permanent benefit to those who lived under it. See Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:9, Hebrews 9:13, Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 10:1, Hebrews 10:2, Hebrews 10:4.

Edgar Foster said...

One more link for tonight in order to establish context for Heb. 13:9:


Duncan said...

Does Hebrews 9:10 work against the argument since it references drink which is not meat & diverse immersion's.

As a system of ritual which we already established was at odds with the principles "I want obedience not sacrifice".

How does this change the principles of clean and unclean foods? Or should I say law since there are as we know today empirical reasons behind most of the rulings with the subsequent results over time. Clean and unclean can now be established anywhere on the planet in any diversity of animals. The results are observable so this cannot be included in actions that have had no benefit to those observing them.

Hebrews 13:9 seems to be referring to something done as a talisman.

Duncan said...

It seems to me that a critical term here is ξέναις. How would this fit with the hebrew traditions of Leviticus or Deuteronomy.

Edgar Foster said...

I've seen some understand ξέναις as "strange/foreign" to Christian teaching or practice.

No, Heb. 9:10 does not necessarily work against the argument. See Romans 14:17; Colossians 2:16.

Vincent's Word Studies on 9:10: Meats and drinks and divers washings (βρώμασιν καὶ πόμασιν καὶ διαφόροις βαπτισμοῖς)

Βρώμασιν, clean and unclean meats. πόμασιν drinks, concerning which the Levitical law laid down no prescriptions except as to abstinence in the case of a Nazarite vow, and of the priests when they were about to officiate. See Numbers 6:3; Leviticus 10:9. For βαπτισμοῖς washings see on Hebrews 6:2.


The ancient children of Abraham might have had good reason to abstain from pork, some things that constituted dangers for them, no longer are major dangers for us. We have more knowledge of curing meats and eating pork in moderation today doesn't have to be morbidity-inducing.


One thing against the clean/unclean distinction is that the NT seems to obliterate the distinction. We've covered this ground before, so I'll spare everyone the NT references for this view.

Some diets/ways of eating might bring benefits, but I tend to believe there's more than one way to eat healthy. However, I don't think it's right to impose my views on others.

The bulk of scholarship understands Heb. 13:9 as a reference to ritual meats. I'm open to alternative views if the evidence goes in that direction.

Duncan said...

"I've seen some understand ξέναις as "strange/foreign" to Christian teaching or practice." 63-64 CE?

The arguments in the link you posted are weak.$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/beef11680

B12 does not originate in meat but bacteria. If we were still drinking portable stream water it would never be an issue. Cattle are just as deficient as "civilised" people today.

The simple explanation as to what meats could be eaten was that only ones that were able to be seared on the outer surfaces and could at that point be eaten safely. Lamb being a good example. But there are other issues with pork.

Duncan said...

"No, Heb. 9:10 does not necessarily work against the argument. See Romans 14:17; Colossians 2:16."

is reference to:-

"Also from Vincent's Word Studies:

With meats stands for the whole system of ceremonial observances,"

Leviticus 10:9 & Numbers 10:9 applicable to the priest and maybe the Rabbi -
Ps. 69:21, Mark 15:23, Matthew 27:34.

But to the Jew in General?

I think drink is referring to something else.

Also see "Essene ritual bathing" as a number of bibles translate as "baptisms".

Duncan said...

Duncan said...

Duncan said...

With regards to cooking pork sufficiently to reduce the risks:-

I have sent you this link before but pay particular attention to the comments on freezing & then minimum cooking time to make safe.

What can happen when you cook it long enough to make safe:-

So I suppose you could make a hog roast relatively safe in those terms - extended cooking times with lower temperature but at the end of the day if the meat requires these levels of precaution to be "safe" it certainly leaved a significant question mark over its consumption.

Pay particular attention to the use of "salt peter" in the curing process, the very same chemical that keeps modern cigarettes alight & the most significant cancer causing elements in a cigarette. Given time I believe that the risk emphasis will change:-

"We have more knowledge of curing meats and eating pork in moderation today doesn't have to be morbidity-inducing. " - the evidence forces me to disagree.

This is for developing countries but it only takes a slip up in production which I believe happen quite regularly (or more regularly than publicized).

Duncan said...

Duncan said...

Duncan said...

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan, I know quite a few Americans who eat pork regularly, and members of my family have done the same for years. I eat pork from time to time, but not regularly. And when eating pork, I don't take all these precautions suggested above. Despite consuming pork--and my family has not always done so in moderation--some family members have outlived those who would not stick to such a diet. I'm not 51, and if I live to three/fourscore--if the system lasts--I'll be happy. Dare I say again that these things are personal matters.

BTW, I've watched some of the videos from, but suffice to say that I'm skeptical about some of the claims.


Duncan said...

I appreciate what you are saying but life span has so many factors that gauging it this way would be futile (Like the smoker who claims, someone in their family smoked 40 a day and lived to be 100). A parasite does not have to be independently fatal but if your excrement or handling of these meats infects others then it is not personal.

The best way IMO is to gauge it against general quality of life. The protracted suffering of life style related illnesses over a fairly active & pain-free life.

These kinds of infections an there consequences can be mostly avoided:-

"videos from, but suffice to say that I'm skeptical about some of the claims." - and so is doctor Greger - him and his team seem to be doing better than most but he recognizes that all science is provisional. There are many older videos on his site that reference forward to newer ones as more evidence becomes available - but so far the trends are converging on a single conclusion.

Duncan said...

This is an average - it cannot speak for individuals.

Of course, tempered with Ezekiel 18:20. How much better we can complete the great work if we stay healthy for as long as possible.

On the other hand, moderation produces moderate effects.

Edgar Foster said...

I'm going to make one last contribution to the thread since theology needs to be the focus here. My argument (or claim) is not exactly like that of the smoker, since I include myself too as a consumer of pork, who's lived 1/2 century or more. And I'm not arguing that anyone should eat pork to his/her delight, but I'm speaking about the moderate consumption of pork and its potential effect on one's health.

We agree on having about the general quality of life issue. However, what I've observed in numerous relatives/friends, whop pretty much eat what they want, work hard/exercise, don't smoke, abuse alcohol (etc) is that their quality of life is decent. No life is perfect or free of pain, and the only way I'm leaving this earth will be in a box. :) So, I'll take reasonable measures to enjoy good health, but my chief focus will be serving God (spiritual matters).

Our opinions might converge more than one would expect, but the bottom line for me is not binding theists/Christians to food laws from ancient Judaism. If someone wants to avoid pork, hamburger, chicken and so forth, I have no problem with that decision. On the other hand, it seems that the Bible (OT and NT) gives me the freedom to consume meat if that's what I choose to do. But I'm aware that some ways of eating are likely better than others. Lots of things factor into good health. Lastly, determining causes and effects is also tricky.

Edgar Foster said...

Caught a typo. Should have said that I am 51. Regarding the rules being applicable to Jews in general or only priests, the respective contexts for Heb. 9:10 and 13:9 both involve priestly activity. Again, 13:10 states that "we" have an altar from which those serving at the tabernacle cannot eat. Chapter 9 of Hebrews likewise focuses attention on the tabernacle, its furnishings, and the high priest.

Duncan said...

Your observations of life with family and friends are somewhat different to mine. I am 48 and the number of people I know with autoimmune illnesses is more than significant.

Just as an example the number of brothers that either have or have been lost due to prostate cancer.

Here you can see how things get twisted out of shape as dairy is not even a good source of calcium. Higher levels of calcium do not equal good adsorption. If quantity was the key then grinding up bones and eating them would be the way to go. Optimal odsorbtion is achieved with dark leafy greens. Like all the largest land mammals eat.

It is not a food for humans and it is closely associated to breast cancer also. Another one that I know of many who suffer or have been lost too.

I also lost a nephew in Cott death.

We do agree that spiritual things must take priority.

One thing I am interested in is the differences and similarities between phnuma and praxis since you mentioned spirituality.

Edgar Foster said...


I'm sorry to hear about your nephew's death and the other situations you mentioned. Okay, I'll reveal some personal information here and let you know that my wife has an autoimmune disease; I won't say what it is, but let's just say that no doctor can tell her why she has this disease. I don't think it's connected with her diet.

Why do people get prostate cancer? Do we know the cause/causes with any precision? Now I'm not trying to demean or lessen the pain that comes from losing such dear brothers. However, I'm not sure that we can link the consumption of meat (pork or other meats) with these particular illnesses.

I'm not a medical doctor or health professional, but my study of causes/effects have shown that it's difficult to say what cause brings about a certain effect. I'm leery of agendas and propaganda. But one thing I do like about the British (among many things) is that good old UK commonsense. I feel that's about all we can do in this world when it comes to matters of health. We have all these conflicting claims, sophisticated assertions, and very little time to sort things out. Sorry if I sound like a fatalist or a defeatist, but I just feel that life in this world is short.

Maybe we can discuss pneuma and praxis sometime, but I just link spirituality with "things of the holy spirit." Colossians bids us to look upward rather than earthward: we find that conceptual juxtaposition between spirit and flesh, heaven and earth.

Duncan said...

Let's focus on Kenya.$$[id=2699510]&title=If%20you%20are%2055%20and%20healthy,%20don’t%20take%20the%20prostate%20cancer%20test%20—%20scientists

Duncan said...

South Sudan.

Note the modern reality

Now see:-

Note the three decades ago data.

Changes over time highlight the possibilities. Correlation is not causation but it is very suggestive

Edgar Foster said...

Okay, there's lots of data to sift through here, but in the first link, numerous potential factors are mentioned for the incidence of prostate cancer in Africa. Diet/lifestyle could be one factor, but we're not sure. Note all the qualifiers in the article near the end as well.

I will have to read the other links at a later time, but so far, I'm not sure what point I'm supposed to learn. I thought we were focusing on the consumption of meat. Nothing I've read so far makes me even question the consumption of animal flesh. IMO, as long as we don't consume blood and so forth, to each his/her own when it comes to food.

Edgar Foster said...

Duncan, after reading another message you sent, I now see the point you're trying to make about dairy consumption. Not sure I agree, but I see your point.



Duncan said...

I do realize that the earlier post "naively" states that they do not know why we have such a disparity but the evidence has been available for a considerable time:-

But even this misses the point - dependent on the actual breed of cow that the dairy is taken from, even in a natural state can have massive amounts of these hormones increasing IGF-1.

These are the most widely used and cross bred as they are the highest produces - with this comes the highest levels of the hormones.

Also I see no divide between meat and milk - milk is liquid meat. with all the same risks:-

This is pot calling kettle - there is no fundamental difference.

Combine this with a populations who's genes are more susceptible & obvious results follow. This does not mean other populations immune it just takes longer for the damage to be evident.

The two are connected as these are hormone affected organs.

This explanation misses a point - El Shaddai - a land flowing with milk. Honey was the food of kings. This is not a menu but a symbol of great bounty.

Duncan said...

Just for precision's sake.

I am not claiming that dairy causes cancer, the number of know carcinogens get longer every day.

The issue is, what is capable of making a cancer mass grow larger than 1mm in diameter.

With prostate cancer most older men on autopsy have prostate cancers within the prostate. The question is what elements drive a cancer to function like an embryo with blood vessel connections that allow it to keep growing.

Duncan said...

This is a very complex subject but coincidentally Dr Gegger has just posted:-

and along with it just recently:-

Duncan said...


Duncan said...

Stepping back to Gen 6:3?

Duncan said...


Note:- "These associations were either abolished or attenuated if the source of proteins was plant-based."

"Recently, we showed that humans with growth hormone receptor deficiency (GHRD), also exhibiting major deficiencies in serum IGF-1 and insulin levels, displayed no cancer mortality or diabetes. Despite having a higher prevalence of obesity, combined deaths from cardiac disease and stroke in this group were similar to those in their relatives (Guevara-Aguirre et al., 2011). Similar protection from cancer was also reported in a study that surveyed 230 GHRDs (Steuerman et al., 2011)."

Edgar Foster said...

On the scriptural aspect, Gen. 6:3 could be understood as a reference to how many years remained before the Flood. It's not necessarily a description of how long antediluvians were then living.

It also seems that many factors (and diverse reasons) contribute to relatively long lifespans. Of course, even if we live 120 quality years in this system, we still have to contend with the turmoil of Satan's world besides the fact that 120 years is not that long when viewed sub specie aeternitatis.

There's an interesting article also found here:

Duncan said...

Converging vectors

Duncan said...

Duncan said...

Just in.

Duncan said...

Another converging vector.

Duncan said...

Iceland paradox.

Edgar Foster said...

I'm done on this subject, but here's one counterpoint to think about:

Duncan said...

Its not a counterpoint, its misdirection.

The levels of many problematic elements are reduced in Icelandic cattle. That's inherent in the cow production levels.

Things have moved on but it is as I have said before - take the handle of the pump. Whatever it ends up being it is already fairly solid that its something in the dairy. These kinds of arguments are like which is better for us butter or margarine - the answer is neither.

Basic evidence has been around for some time.

Duncan said...

Just to reiterate - follow the money.

Duncan said...

pg 8

"Director-General awarded prestigious dairy industry
award in recognition of his long and outstanding
contribution to the sector. George Davey received the John
Bryant Gold Medal, which is awarded to individuals who
make significant contributions to the Australian dairy
industry over many years. Mr Davey received the award
at the Dairy Industry Association of Australia (DIAA)
(NSW Division) Annual Gala Dairy Dinner in Sydney on
12 May, 2005"

The hypothesis that a high intake of milk containing A1 β-casein promotes conditions as heterogeneous as DM-1, IHD, schizophrenia and autism is intriguing and potentially important. There is some very suggestive evidence from ecological studies for DM-1 and IHD, and there is certainly a possibility that the A1/A2 composition of milk is a factor in the etiology of these conditions. However, this hypothesis has yet to be backed by good human trials. The evidence in relation to autism comes mainly from poorly controlled clinical trials of gluten-free, casein-free diets where some improvement is noted in the autism characteristics and behaviours. The evidence in relation to schizophrenia is very minimal."

I think I have made the point.

Duncan said...