The Eucharist and Levitical Law

Hi guys

I’m a former Catholic who is considering returning to the Catholic faith. I have been attending a Reformed church for almost four years and have read a lot against the Catholic faith.

I have listened to quite a number of podcasts by Matt Slick, who runs CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministry). He has a whole section attacking Roman Catholicism.

One of the things he says is the following:

[quote=“Matt Slick”]The RC Eucharist cannot literally be Christ’s blood because when Jesus instituted the supper, Levitical Law was still in effect since the death of Christ had not yet occurred and the New Covenant was not then instituted (Heb. 9:15-16). So, since the disciples were under O.T. Law when Jesus instituted the Supper, then how was Jesus NOT urging the disciples to violate the command in Lev. 17:14 which says that they were NOT drink the blood of any flesh? (Furthermore, the Jerusalem council also forbid drinking blood in Acts 15:19-20).

How would Catholics answer this? Thanks for any help you can give me.

The Catholic Answers magazine article "Are Catholics Cannibals?" might help.

Jesus said:
Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) (Mark 7:18b-19)
Similarly, St Paul said:
Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for any one who thinks it unclean. If your brother is being injured by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. Do not let what you eat cause the ruin of one for whom Christ died. So do not let what is good to you be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God does not mean food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; he who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for any one to make others fall by what he eats; it is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble. (Romans 14:13-21)

In light of the above passages, it seems there is nothing inherently wrong with consuming blood or any other food or drink. Therefore, the decision of the apostles and elders to prohibit the consumption of blood in Acts 15 is probably best understood, not as an unchangeable, divine commandment, but as a temporary, disciplinary rule, deemed expedient at that time but which might be changed if circumstances changed. Based on what is said in Acts 15:21 about Moses and synagogues, it seems fairly clear that the decision was issued out of concern for Jewish sensibilities, either to make it easier for Christians to evangelize Jews, since Jews consider even Gentiles bound to observe the prohibition against the consumption of blood that was part of God’s covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:4), or to help prevent those Jewish-Christian brothers, who might be “weak in faith” (Romans 14:1) and still have scruples about blood, from stumbling.

First, Jesus clearly identified His Body and Blood as the “New Testament.” The book we know as the New Testament is called that solely because of the Eucharist. Search out “New Testament” in the 1611 King James or the 1582 Douay Bibles. Jesus used the term to describe His presence in the Holy Eucharist.

As to Matt Slick, Mr. Slick teaches that baptism is no longer necessary - “faith alone/sola fide” borrowing the man-made doctrine of Luther to formulate the Gospel according to Matt Slick. Jesus (and His Church) says baptism is necessary (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16). Whom do you trust?

I’m a non-Catholic Christian also looking into this. There’s a thread that you may be interested in here: Real Presence Input Wanted

I understand that part of the answer is essentially found in the following
Leviticus 17:11

For the **life **of the flesh **is in the blood; **and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement by reason of the life.

the blood of Jesus fulfills this and is different to that of the animal sacrifice considered in the prohibition of Lev.

Just to add what’s already been pointed out.

Ask Matt if he ever had a medium rare steak? Was he breaking some sort of law by doing it? No, Christianity is not under Mosaic law and never has been. Acts 15 ruling was a discipline given to the Church at that time for Jewish sensibilities. I think Matt probably knows that but continues to propagate his non sense.

Rewind and ask ourselves why did God tell them in Leviticus to avoid blood? Because the blood is the life of the being:

Leviticus 17:10-11New Living Translation (NLT)

10 “And if any native Israelite or foreigner living among you eats or drinks blood in any form, I will turn against that person and cut him off from the community of your people, 11 for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord.[a] It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible

Precisely why Jesus told us to drink His and precisely why we all should want to.

Jesus said :

Mark 7:14-15New International Version (NIV)

14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15** Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them**. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”

And said this well before the cross. So there goes his theory that drinking his blood was not permitted.

And I want to point out that Matt Slick has repeatedly lost debates to well known Catholic apologists Dr. Sungenis and Mark Bonocore. So much so that he no longer debates heavy weights, he tries to pick on uninformed layman Catholics on his radio show.

Please take the time to listen his stumbling, bumbling lack of response to sound Catholic teaching:

I’m sure Mr. Slick would love for these youtube clips to just disappear. But they are out there for all to see.

Best wishes on your journey…:slight_smile:

Originally Posted by Matt Slick
The RC Eucharist cannot literally be Christ’s blood because when Jesus instituted the supper, Levitical Law was still in effect since the death of Christ had not yet occurred and the New Covenant was not then instituted (Heb. 9:15-16). So, since the disciples were under O.T. Law when Jesus instituted the Supper, then how was Jesus NOT urging the disciples to violate the command in Lev. 17:14 which says that they were NOT drink the blood of any flesh? (Furthermore, the Jerusalem council also forbid drinking blood in Acts 15:19-20).

This ^ is a really superficial understanding of scripture.

First of all:

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.e People came to him and objected, “Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests fast* while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”

Mark chapter 2

The Apostles were not bound by Mosaic Law as long as they were Jesus’ Apostles.


Paul’s Rights as an Apostle.
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord?

Am I saying this on human authority, or does not the law also speak of these things?
It is written in the law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.”d Is God concerned about oxen,
or is he not really speaking for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope, and the thresher in hope of receiving a share.

1 Cor. chapter 9

And regarding Acts 15: 19-20, this was a prohibition regarding pagan sacrifices - thats what “strangled animals” is referring to… sacrificing animals to pagan gods, and drinking their blood. It has nothing to do with the Eucharist. It never did, even in Leviticus.

In Mosaic Law, the proper use of blood is for atonement. That is why the blood of a sacrifice had to be brought to the “place of meeting”, or alter…and here’s the point: the alter of the One True God was to be used for atonement, not the alters of pagan gods which resided in the “wilderness”.

Jesus’ sacrifice was indeed for atonement, so it was a proper use of blood offering.

One other interesting piece of scripture that I’m not sure has anything to do with this topic, but maybe it does. St. Paul did what he had to do to get Jews and Gentiles together:

Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible.n
To the Jews I became like a Jew to win over Jews; to those under the law I became like one under the law—though I myself am not under the law—to win over those under the law.
To those outside the law I became like one outside the law—though I am not outside God’s law but within the law of Christ—to win over those outside the law.

1 Cor. chapter 9

Many good points have already been made, and quite frankly, I’m not sure the logic expressed by Matt Slick is good to begin with. But here are a couple of additional thoughts.

(1) During the Last Supper, Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment:

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13: 31-35)

During the Last Supper (and prior, I would say, given the authority to bind and loose to Peter and then to all his apostles that he’d already granted) Jesus was already giving them something new. He did not wait until after his resurrection to do so.

(2) The Last Supper was itself the initiation of the New Covenant. It is part of the same act that was completed on the Cross.

And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:20)

In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “**This cup is the new covenant **in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:25)

The New Covenant is re-affirmed and re-presented in the Eucharistic celebration (which is itself a memorial of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection in that the event is truly made present during its celebration). Now, this celebration is entirely grounded in the reality of the cross and resurrection, even when Jesus celebrated it with his disciples prior to the completion of his passion. Jesus made truly present his crucifixion and resurrection to his disciples in the Last Supper even though (from a temporal perspective) it had not happened yet.

Check out a book called Jesus and the Jewish roots of the Eucharist. I posted a link to it below, now some Protestants would argue that in this book the author is saying the Body and Blood is simply spiritual however I read the book twice and found that it more than anything proves the real and actual Body and Blood of Jesus more than anything.

Furthermore look into the Eucharistic miracles, a simple google search should do the trick.

Finally read into what the early fathers of the Church wrote especially Justin Martyr and St Ignatius…

The original Christians, such as Ignatius of Antioch, wrote of the real presence. He also wrote (around the year 105 AD) that those who denied this were heretics and that the Eucharist must be administered by the bishop.

Acts 11 indicates the disciples were first called Christians at Antioch.

Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin created their own views in the 16th century. Zwingli popularized the view of the Eucharist as a mere symbol.

So, who received the truth from Jesus? The disciples who directly learned from the apostles of Christ? Or, some 16th century Europeans who created their own divergent views and could not agree among themselves?

Interesting that the apostles wrote this. They are instructing the people not to drink blood.

Acts 15:20

but tell them by letter to avoid pollution from idols, unlawful marriage, the meat of strangled animals, and blood.

And then again in here:

Acts 15:28-29

‘It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’”

Gentiles who worshipped the one, true God but did not become Jewish were expected to abide by these. The Apostles set this as a discipline for the gentiles to reduce scandal and as a temporary measure against the more extreme position that gentile Christians must become Jewish through circumcision.

That it is a discipline is evidenced by the practice of the Church shortly after and today, and even by Saint Paul’s epistles, which also addressed the issue of food, which was an issue between mixed gentile and Jewish convert communities. Clearly not everyone who is Christian but denies the real presence insists on having all their meat well-done…

The act of the council must be taken into context of common food and dietary practices. Not the sacramental worship of the early Church. The Church does not consider the Chalice to be “normal” blood, or to simply be blood, full-stop. It is fully Christ, each and every particle of it. Furthermore, it is obviously still under the appearance of wine. It is a figure of Christ’s blood, and sacramentally truly his body, blood, soul and divinity.

CARM doesn’t have even a basic understanding of the faith. They have a polytheistic understanding of the Trinity where each separate person of the Trinity has its own will:

Each has a will, can speak, can love, etc., and these are demonstrations of personhood.

This is polytheism. Christians have known from the beginning that God has a single will:

For there is one essence, one goodness, one power, one will, one energy, one authority, one and the same, I repeat, not three resembling each other.

Why would you listen to advice on Christianity from someone who doesn’t even understand the Trinity? I actually used to be reformed evangelical but left because everyone was so obsessed with how we are saved by grace through faith, there was no emphasis at all on understanding the Trinity or the Incarnation.

In the end don’t listen to us, do your own research, pray about this, read the Bible, go back to the foundations of Christ’s Church and see what they did in the months and years immediately following Jesus. That’s where you are gonna find the truth you seek. At least that’s what drove me from where I was to where I am now.

You are gonna have to make this decision, because in the dark of night when you struggle with some question, some dogma of the faith, when you think you made the wrong choice, you are gonna have to remember why it was that you went where you did. If you base this decision on what I say or what someone else says then the only answer you will come up with is, because someone convinced me they were right.

Pray, pray, pray, research, pray and pray…


Here is one answer

Here is one Catholic’s response:
If you consider the fuller context of Lev 17:14, “You must not eat the blood of any creature,…” in relation to who Jesus is, you will find that Jesus is not a creature. Jesus is the Creator of everything, He is God! And God is not created.

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