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Frequently Asked Questions

God gave humans dominion over animals (and the earth) in Genesis 1:26–28. Christians often think this means humans can do anything to animals with impunity. However, the context is often skipped, as Genesis 1:29–30, 2:8–9, 2:15–22, and 3:2 specify that humans (and animals) were to consume only vegetation. The overall context is the Garden of Eden, where God designed humans and animals to live harmoniously and peacefully without harm or death for either (Gen 1:20–2:25; Rom 8:18–25). Additionally, in Genesis 2:19–20, as encouraged by God, Adam named animals, implying a friendly relationship identical to how humans name companion animals today. Furthermore, ‘dominion’ is used again in Psalm 72:8. Psalm 72:1–17 is a prophecy discussing the character of a just and righteous king (72:1–2) who will defend (72:4), rescue (72:12), feel pity for and preserve the lives of the poor (72:13), and liberate their children. This ruler will stop an oppressor (72:4), save the helpless (72:12), pity the weak (72:13), and free the violently oppressed because he values their lives (72:14). Importantly, this king’s dominion (72:8) will bring prosperity (72:16–17), righteousness (72:3), and peace (72:7).

Additionally, Psalm 72:1–17 finds its prophetic fulfillment in Jesus. How did Christ show dominion as a king (Luke 1:31–33)? Jesus felt compassion (7:13) and promoted mercy (Matt 5:7) and peacemaking (5:9). His most important teachings were to treat others the way you desire to be treated (7:12), love your neighbor as you love yourself (22:39), and for leaders to serve others (Luke 22:24–27). Thus, human dominion over animals within Genesis 1:26–28 means compassionate and benevolent caretaking (Psalm 72:1–17; Luke 6:31; Gal 5:14), a relationship where humans serve the animals (Mark 9:34–35). Indeed, God called this original design of humans serving animals and their collective vegan diet to be ‘very good’ (Gen 1:20–31). Unfortunately, this ‘very good’ vegan relationship was lost through human disobedience (2:16–3:24; Rom 8:18–25). Satan gained dominion over the earth instead (John 12:31; 2 Cor 4:4). Now that Satan is bound and imprisoned (Rev 20:1–3, 20:7), Jesus and his believers now reign (20:4–6) incompletely, but their dominion will be fully realized on the New Earth (Ps 8:4–8; Heb 2:5–8) after Christ returns (Rev 22:7–20). Isaiah 11:6–9 prophesies humans becoming caretakers (servants) to animals on the everlasting New Earth, where there will forever be no harm or death for either (Rom 8:18–25; Rev 21:1–4). Isaiah 11:6 describes restored dominion perfectly: “Wolves and sheep will live together in peace, and leopards will lie down with young goats. Calves and lion cubs will feed together, and little children will take care of them.”

The Bible instructs Christians to live according to how Eden was designed (Matt 19:1–9; Rom 1:18–32; 1 Cor 11:3–16; 1 Tim 2:11–15, 4:1–8). The Bible also encourages believers to conduct themselves based on how the New Earth will be (Matt 6:9–10, 19:10–12; Phil 1:6, 2 Pet 3:10–13). How should Christians presently express dominion over animals as God desires? Psalm 72:1–17 shows that humans (as rulers) should be righteous and just. Humanity should defend, rescue, value, and protect the lives of animals. Furthermore, humans should feel pity for them, stop their tormentors, and free them and their offspring from violent oppressors. Human rule over animals should bring prosperity, righteousness, and peace. Following the emotion and encouragements of Christ, humans should feel compassion (Luke 7:13) towards animals and be merciful (Matt 5:7) peacemakers (5:9) to them. To assist, our ministry advocates expressing dominion over animals using New Earth Abolition (NEA), a system of ethics that focuses on God’s peaceful and harmonious plans for humans and animals on the New Earth, combined with Jesus’ teachings on equal reciprocity and servanthood. Thus, our ministry teaches that dominion over animals (Gen 1:26–28; Ps 8:4–8; Heb 2:5–8) requires a vegan diet (Gen 1:29–30; Isa 32:20; Rev 22:2) and is appropriately expressed by humans being servants (caretakers) to the animals (Matt 23:11–12), treating them how we want to be treated (7:12, 22:39) and living peacefully and harmoniously with our fellow creatures, as well as fostering peace and harmony between animals (Gen 1:20–2:25; Isa 11:6–9), as much as possible.

It depends on what is meant by heaven. There is the present spiritual heaven, where believers go when they die (Luke 23:43). There is also the New Earth (Revelation 21:1), a restored eternal paradise that Jesus will inaugurate when he returns, which is synonymous with heaven. Animals are present in the current spiritual heaven (Revelation 5:13) and on the New Earth (Isaiah 11:6–9, 34:14–17, 65:25; Hosea 2:18). Revelation 5:13 does not mention what types of animals, but Isaiah 11:6–9 and 65:25 mention wolves, lambs, oxen, lions, and snakes. Finally, Hosea 2:18 and Isaiah 34:14–15 mention a variety of wild animals and birds.

Isaiah 11:6–9, 65:25; and Hosea 2:18 describe a variety of animals that will be present when Jesus returns to create the New Earth. It’s unclear whether those are new or recreated animals. This begs the question of whether animals have immortal souls. The Bible is unclear about this. Humans are explicitly said to have souls (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Some verses seem to indicate that earthly animals do not experience an afterlife (Psalm 49:12, 20; 2 Peter 2:12; Jude 1:10). However, these verses may be just physical observations. On the contrary, Ecclesiastes 3:19–21 specifically questions where the spirits of humans and animals go after they die. Ecclesiastes 12:7 seems to answer the question, implying that both human and animal spirits return to God. Since animals have an eternal spirit, they may have an immortal soul, as Hebrews 4:12 implies that the soul and the spirit are connected but can be separated. Furthermore, Psalm 36:6, 116:6; and Luke 3:6 offer some possible evidence that animals have a soul and thus, experience an afterlife. Luke 3:6 especially may indicate that all types of flesh, thus animals, may see an afterlife. In conclusion, there is good biblical evidence to declare that animals do have immortal souls.

God first promises the Israelites “a land flowing with milk and honey” in Exodus 3:8, and the phrase is mentioned many times in the Old Testament. This is commonly thought to mean that the Israelites were promised a land with plenty of animal milk and bee honey for humans to eat. However, humans tend to think everything is about us. We believe a better interpretation is that a land flowing with milk means that babies are being born from various species. A land flowing with honey then means that the bees are pollinating the flora. Thus, we believe a land flowing with milk and honey means that it is a place where all species thrive alongside their young with abundant vegetation. It is a land where no one goes hungry. This interpretation makes more sense, as Deuteronomy 6:3 discusses “multiplying greatly” and 11:9 mentions “offspring” alongside “a land flowing with milk and honey.” Even if the verse is talking about human consumption of milk and honey, this is still on our current fallen earth. This does not reflect the ideal vegan diet God intended in Eden (Genesis 1:29–30) or the implied vegan diet God has planned on the eternal New Earth (Isaiah 11:6).

Although many animals are described as being on the New Earth (Isaiah 11:6–9, 34:14–17, 65:25; Hosea 2:18), there is no explicit mention of fish and other marine animals. It is thought that fish and marine animals may not experience the New Earth because of what is stated in Revelation 21:1. This verse says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” If there is no sea, there would be no fish and other marine animals. However, Isaiah 11:9 mentions a sea being on the New Earth. Our ministry believes that Revelation 21:1 means that the sea as we know it now, a hostile and terrifying body of water, will be no more. Not the sea itself. Psalm 89:9 and Jeremiah 31:35 describe the hostility of the current sea. Furthermore, a river is present on the New Earth (Revelation 22:1–2). Where would this river empty into if there was no sea? In the beginning (Genesis 1:1), God created the seas (1:9–10) and sea creatures (1:20–22). The New Earth (Isaiah 65:17) is a restoration of Eden (51:3). Therefore, we should expect a New Earth sea that teems with life. Thus, the Christian Animal Rights Association believes that fish and other marine animals will be present in a peaceful sea on the New Earth.

This statement is taken from 1 Timothy 4:1–3, which indicates that demons teach others to forbid certain foods. However, in context, the passage states that this description fits those who prohibit marriage and demand abstinence from foods. No Christian vegan (that we know of) prohibits marriage. This passage is talking about Gnosticism, a competing philosophy in biblical times. Throughout the epistle, Paul criticizes Gnosticism, the Greek word for knowledge. For instance, in 1 Timothy 6:20, Paul states, “Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge.” This assertion makes sense, as God advocates veganism as an ideal in Genesis 1:29 and Daniel 1:1–21 and is implied in Isaiah 11:6–9.

This question is derived from Revelation 22:15, which states, “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” This verse is talking about those who will be excluded from the eternal New Earth, which is synonymous with heaven. This verse is why many believers think that dogs will be excluded from heaven. However, in biblical times, dogs did not have the esteemed status like they do today in Western nations. Thus, calling a human a “dog” then could be referring to them as a gentile (Matthew 15:26), a male prostitute (Deuteronomy 23:18). or a Judaizer (Philippians 3:2). Revelation 22:15 is not talking about the literal animal, but rather some unrepentant sinful human. This also fits with the description of Revelation 21:8, which is also about those excluded from the New Earth. In conclusion, it is appropriate to believe dogs will be on the New Earth, as Isaiah 11:6–7 and 65:25 describe a variety of domesticated animals living there in peace.

The short answer is no, but this question features many components.

Will Humans Eat Passover Lamb on the New Earth?

Jesus stated in Luke 22:15–16, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 22:15–16 is occasionally invoked to say that there will be meat-eating on the New Earth. Luke 22:15–16 could be interpreted to mean that Jesus will eat Passover lamb in the world to come. Passover was typically celebrated by slaughtering and eating lambs (Exodus 12:1–28), but killing animals will not be present in the fullness of the kingdom of God (Isaiah 11:6–9) – the New Earth (66:22). Regarding Luke 22:15–16, the phrase the “kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15) and its interchangeable synonym, the “kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 22:2), can refer to God’s kingdom being currently spiritually present in the hearts of Christians (Luke 17:21) as well as the kingdom in its fullest at the end of time (2 Peter 1:11), also known as the New Earth (Isaiah 65:17). The kingdom of God/heaven is both “here/already but not yet” (Hebrews 2:8). Therefore, the kingdom is present but has not reached its final consummation. Importantly, in Luke 22:15–16 Jesus seems to be talking about the spiritually present kingdom of God (Luke 17:21).

It is important to note that Jesus is not talking about literally eating in Luke 22:15–16. In John 4:34, Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” When Jesus implied he would “eat the Passover” in the kingdom of God, he was saying he would accomplish God’s will by fulfilling the Passover (John 1:29, 1:36) and transforming it into the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:17–20). Therefore, because of Jesus, eating Passover lamb (Exodus 12:1–28) was forever replaced by symbolically eating the body and blood of Christ (Luke 22:17–20). Therefore, killing and eating Passover lambs will not exist on the New Earth (Revelation 21:1–4) because the Passover (Exodus 12:1–28) was ended and replaced with the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:17–20).

Does the Parable of the Wedding Feast Teach that Humans Will Eat Meat on the New Earth?

The Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1–14) is sometimes cited to say that meat will be present on the New Earth. Importantly, a parable is an allegory or metaphor that is meant to convey an idea or message through symbolism and not to be taken literally. Jesus parallels the kingdom of heaven to a king who organized his son’s wedding feast. Calves and oxen are killed for the event. Certain invited guests disregard the invite, while others slaughter the king’s servants. In retaliation, the king sends soldiers to kill the homicidal guests and set their city aflame. Then the king invites new guests, who accept the invitation to the wedding feast. The king symbolizes God the Father, the son represents Jesus, and the wedding feast symbolizes the gospel era. The servants are the early church evangelists and apostles. The initially invited guests represent the Jews of Jesus’ generation. The subsequent guests who accept the invitations are the gentiles. Importantly, the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matthew 22:1–14) expresses the gospel’s accessibility to every human, irrespective of culture or ethnicity. The kingdom of heaven within the parable describes the kingdom within Christian’s hearts (Luke 17:21) as they accept the gospel, which then improves the world. Importantly, this parable does not express that animals will be killed for wedding feasts on the New Earth, just like it does not encourage Christians to kill homicidal wedding invitees and immolate their city!

Will Meat Be Served at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?

Revelation 19:6–9 and Matthew 8:11 prophesy a future feast on the New Earth that will celebrate Jesus and his marriage to the church (Eph 5:25). It is commonly believed that meat will be served at this New Earth wedding feast because of Isaiah 25:6–8. This passage states, “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.” Based on Isaiah 25:6 and 25:8, the setting of this feast likely finds its final fulfillment on the eternal New Earth (Rev 21:1–4).

Numerous translations of Isaiah 25:6, such as the NIV, NLT, BSB, CSB, HCSB, CEV, and NET, indicate that meat will be served at this New Earth banquet (Rev 19:6–9; Matt 8:11). However, these are inaccurate translations, as the original Hebrew of Isaiah 25:6 does not use the word ḇāśār, which is usually the Hebrew word translated to the English term “meat.” It is unclear what precise food Isaiah 25:6 describes. One author stated about Isaiah 25:6–8, “When סמנים (rich foods) is used (this plural form occurs only here), one ought not think it refers to meat, but rather to foods that have been prepared using a lot of oil.” Thus, Isaiah 25:6 is most likely talking about foods prepared with much olive oil, as this foodstuff is commonly mentioned in the Bible (1 Kgs 17:12 CEV; Ezek 16:13 CEV). Therefore, the GNT of Isaiah 25:6 seems to describe it best: “Here on Mount Zion the LORD Almighty will prepare a banquet for all the nations of the world--a banquet of the richest food and the finest wine.” Since the world to come is a restoration of Eden (Ezek 36:35), humans (and animals) will only eat plants (Gen 1:20–31) on the New Earth (Isa 66:22). Therefore, Isaiah 25:6–8 states that on the eternal New Earth (65:17–18), there will be a marriage feast (Rev 19:6–9; Matt 8:11) of wine and heavily oiled plant foods.

In conclusion, after careful examination, there is no evidence that humans (or animals) will eat meat on the New Earth. Instead, on the eternal New Earth (Isa 65:17–18), all humans and animals will be eating a vegan diet (Isa 11:6–9, 32:20 NLT; Rev 22:2) just like they did in Eden (Gen 1:20–2:8, Isa 51:3).

In Matthew 22:37–39, Jesus said that the Second Great Commandment is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Other instances of the Second Great Commandment (Matthew 19:19, Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:14) also use the term “neighbor.” The word “neighbor” is an English translation of the Greek term pl?sion, which contextually means “anyone nearby,” which could be applied to animals. Furthermore, Jesus is asked in Luke 10:29, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus then tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–37), which involves a battered man on the roadside. Two Jews disregard the beaten man, but a Samaritan shows him kindness by caring for his wounds and taking him to a safe place. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–37), Jesus declares a “neighbor” as anyone, irrespective of any differences. The use of a Samaritan, a people generally loathed by a Jewish audience, suggests a universal application. Therefore, our ministry applies the Second Great Commandment (Matthew 22:39) to animals. Critics could say that the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–37) should not apply to animals because the Samaritan was a human. Although, the Samaritan was also a man. Surely no Christian would agree that the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–37) declares that only men should be considered neighbors. Therefore, the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–37) shows that the Second Great Commandment (Matthew 22:39) applies universally to all persons of creation, animals included.

This question is derived from Mark 7:27, which states, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” A parallel passage can be found in Matthew 15:26. In context, Mark 7:24–30 and Matthew 15:22–28 discuss the pericope known as the “Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith.”

Mark 7:24–30 states, “And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.”

Jesus’ pericope is allegorical, as the children represent the Jews, and the dogs represent the gentiles. The bread represents Jesus’ mission of salvation. Jesus calls the woman a dog to express that she is a gentile. The woman states that the dogs still eat the bread crumbs, though. Jesus intended his ministry primarily for Jews, but also for his apostles and disciples to minister to gentiles later (Romans 1:16). Therefore, the dogs in this pericope are symbolic of gentiles. With the pericope known as the “Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith,” Jesus is teaching the accessibility of salvation to all humans, regardless of ethnicity or culture, and is not really discussing animals.

Christians and many Christian organizations commonly use this passage when discussing the ethics of meat, stating that meat-eaters and vegans should tolerate one another or that vegans are considered “weak.” However, that is taking this passage out of context. The author, the Apostle Paul, is talking about meat sacrificed to idols. This was a very hot button issue in several early churches, including in Rome and Corinth. Paul is more explicit about this issue in 1 Corinthians 8:7–8. Those who eat only vegetables were those who thought they would be supporting other gods with their purchases or consumption of meat sacrificed to idols. Paul is stating that their conscience is weak. This passage is essentially Paul stating that those who think differently about food sacrificed to idols should tolerate one another and not fight. Importantly, the passage is not discussing the ethics of meat, such as gluttony or cruelty to animals. Therefore, this passage has little relevance today with whether Christians should eat meat. Veganism is God’s ideal, as seen in Eden (Genesis 1:29), and is implied on the New Earth (Isaiah 11:6–9). Paul knew the Old Testament well (Philippians 3:5) and thus it would not make sense for him to criticize what God wanted all along.

This passage is often used to say that God does not care for animals. The passage states, “For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.” In context, Paul is talking about how Christian ministers should receive compensation for preaching the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:14), which is made more explicit in 1 Timothy 5:18. Some translations make it seem like this passage states that God does not care for oxen and that the original verse, Deuteronomy 25:4, was written for humans all along. However, Paul is not saying this. He is taking the principle of Deuteronomy 25:4, which demands that an ox should be able to eat from the crops he works in the field and applies it to humans. He is stating that ministers who preach the gospel should be fairly compensated. We believe this passage shows the unity of creation. Paul takes a principle addressed originally to animal treatment and applied it to humans. We believe this principle also works in reverse. For instance, many passages that were written exclusively to humans could be applied to animals. For example, Proverbs 24:11 states, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.”

Jesus did say to kill and eat the fattened calf in Luke 15:23, although in context, this was part of the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11–32. Jesus often spoke in parables, which are analogous to what we call allegories today. These are fictional stories that are told to convey an ethical or spiritual truth. Like George Orwell’s Animal Farm is an allegory for the Russian Revolution, the Parable of the Prodigal Son is an allegory for God’s forgiveness and grace. The parable is meant to express God’s blessing on those who repent and receive forgiveness rather than on believers who follow the law just for reward or praise. Importantly, parables are not to be taken literally. They are symbolic of a message, not an endorsement of a behavior. Just like most Christians would agree that Jesus was not endorsing slavery in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant seen in Matthew 18:25, we believe Jesus was also not endorsing the slaughtering of calves with the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

This statement is taken out of Romans 1:25. This verse states, “because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” Christians often utilize this verse to criticize animal rights activists, declaring that the activists are worshipping the animals instead of God. However, Romans 1:25 here is taken drastically out of context. Romans 1:23 criticizes those who worship images that look like humans and animals. Thus, Romans 1:25 is criticizing idol worship, a consistent theme in the Bible that goes back to the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:4). In conclusion, Romans 1:25 is not a criticism or a condemnation of serving animals or treating animals with respect.

Isaiah 35:9 states, “No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.” In context, Isaiah 34:14–35:10 discusses the future New Earth, which is an eternal paradise that will inaugurate when Jesus returns. Isaiah 11:7 and 65:25 state that many animals will be on the New Earth, including lions. However, Isaiah 35:9 says that “no lion shall be there.” How can we reconcile these verses? We believe Isaiah 35:9 is talking about the current violent nature of the lion, as the second part of the verse mentions that there will be no more “ravenous beast.” This matches with Isaiah 11:7 and 65:25, which both state that lions will eat straw like the oxen. This matches the context too, as Isaiah 34:14 describes hyenas peacefully mingling with other animals. Additionally, jackals are described as lying down with harmless plants in Isaiah 35:7. Presently, lions and hyenas are carnivores, and jackals are quite vicious now, but they will all be peaceful and herbivorous on the New Earth. In conclusion, Isaiah 35:9 basically states that lions will no longer be harmful on the New Earth.

Jesus stated in Matthew 7:12 ESV, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus stated similarly in Luke 6:31 ESV, “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” However, other translations (like the KJB) address the Golden Rule in Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31 to “men” instead of “others.” This difference in interpretation is based on the Greek word, “anthropoi.” The root word, “anthropo” is the Greek word for human. For instance, anthropology means the “study of humanity.” Thus, the Golden Rule appears to have been written to humans. However, Paul (2 Corinthians 1:1) teaches in 2 Corinthians 3:6 the difference between the “Spirit of the law” and the “letter of the law.” Following the letter of the law would mean to follow only the written words in the verse, while the Spirit of the law would mean to follow the broader principle. For instance, Ephesians 5:18 states, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” Following the letter of the law would mean that you avoid wine but get drunk with beer instead. Following the Spirit of the law, Ephesians 5:18 condemns drunkenness with all forms of alcohol. In conclusion, although the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31) was not written to animals at the time, with Paul’s (2 Corinthians 1:1) teaching of the “Spirit of the law,” in 2 Corinthians 3:6, Christian Animal Rights Association applies the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31) to humans, as well as animals.

The Bible indicates that Jesus will physically return (Matthew 24:44) to usher in a paradisiacal New Earth (Revelation 21:1). The Bible states that believers (1 Corinthians 6:14) and certain animals (Isaiah 11:6–9, 65:25; Hosea 2:18), or perhaps all animals (Psalm 36:6; Luke 3:6), will reside on the New Earth. Isaiah 34:14–17 may even indicate that animals will breed on the New Earth. How then can there be enough room for all believers and animals? Revelation 21:9–27 speaks about the New Jerusalem, a cosmic paradise that will descend upon the New Earth. The city measures 12,000 stadia in height, width, and length. Importantly, a stadion is about 607 feet. The New Jerusalem then calculates to be about 1,380 miles in height, width, and length – and that is just one city! Plus, our concept of space and time on the New Earth might be different. Regardless, the Bible suggests that the New Earth will be much larger than the current Earth.

Many animal rights activists often quote Exodus 20:13 to dispute against Christians harming animals. Exodus 20:13 ESV states, “You shall not murder.” The much older KJB translation of Exodus 20:13 states, “Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20:13 is one of the Ten Commandments and was most certainly written about not killing other humans. However, in 2 Corinthians 3:6, Paul (1:1) teaches the difference between the “Spirit of the law” and the “letter of the law.” Following the letter of the law would mean to follow only the written words in the verse, while the Spirit of the law would mean to follow the broader principle. For instance, Ephesians 5:18 GNT states, “Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit.” Following the letter of the law would mean that you avoid wine but get drunk with vodka or rum instead. Following the Spirit of the law, Ephesians 5:18 condemns drunkenness with all forms of alcohol. Thus, the Christian Animal Rights Association applies the “Spirit of the law” (2 Corinthians 3:6) to Exodus 20:13. Therefore, our ministry advocates that “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13 KJB) and “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13 ESV) applies to animals too.

This question is derived from Matthew 7:6, where Jesus states, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” This verse could be interpreted to mean that animals should not be given ethical treatment. For historical context, dogs were not culturally esteemed in biblical times like they are today. Dogs were known for being scavengers (Psalm 59:14–15) that lick sores (Luke 16:21) and drink blood (1 Kings 22:38). Calling a human a “dog” was a term used to denote a gentile (Matthew 15:26, Mark 7:27), a Judaizer (Philippians 3:2), or a male prostitute (Deuteronomy 23:18). Just like today, pigs were not culturally admired in biblical times (Proverbs 11:22). Wild pigs were known for being destructive (Psalm 80:13 CEV). Additionally, pigs (Leviticus 11:7) and dogs (11:27) are both considered unclean.

The Bible is considered holy (Romans 1:2), and a pearl is symbolic of the gospel in Matthew 13:45–46. In Matthew 7:6, Jesus warns his listeners to be careful with whom the Bible and the gospel are shared because they may not be receptive and may even become violent with the evangelist. Therefore, Matthew 7:6 is not really talking about animals. Second Peter 2:20–22 CEV communicates a similar idea, stating that Christians who knew the gospel but turned away are similar to washed pigs rolling in the mud and dogs returning to lick their vomit.

Ezekiel 40–48 seems to prophesy a future temple where priests will conduct animal sacrifices. Isaiah 56:6–7 and 60:6–7 seemingly prophecy a restored temple on the New Earth (66:22) where animals will be accepted as sacrifices. Additionally, Jeremiah 33:18 ostensibly prophesies that future animal sacrifices will be conducted by priests forever. However, this notion of a restored temple with animal sacrifices conflicts with the numerous passages and verses that state that humans and animals will no longer harm or kill one another (Isa 11:6–9, 65:25; Hos 2:18; Rom 8:18–25; Rev 21:3–4), on the eternal New Earth (Isa 65:17–18).

The New Testament clarifies this issue, as the temple and its sacrifices became spiritualized. The prophesied temple (Isa 56:6–7, 60:6–7; Ezek 40–48) was symbolically fulfilled in Christ (John 2:19–22). Specifically, Jesus is this nonphysical temple’s foundation (1 Cor 3:11) and cornerstone (Acts 4:11). This figurative temple’s foundation also consists of the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20–22). Christians are individual stones built on the foundation and cornerstone to create this symbolic temple (1 Pet 2:4–5) where God’s spirit dwells (Eph 2:19–22). The prophesied animal sacrifices conducted by the priests (Isa 56:6–7, 60:6–7; Jer 33:18; Ezek 40–48) is symbolically fulfilled in Christians who instead forever offer spiritual sacrifices (Heb 13:15, 1 Pet 2:4–5). In summary, there will be no future physical temple or animal sacrifices, as both are fulfilled spiritually. This concept is confirmed by a description of the New Earth (Rev 21:1), where Revelation 21:22 states, “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.” This figurative temple (Rev 21:22) and symbolic sacrifices (Heb 13:15, 1 Pet 2:4–5) align with the other descriptions of the New Earth (Rev 21:1), which state that humans and animals will not harm or kill each other, for all eternity (Isa 11:6–9, 65:25; Hos 2:18; Rom 8:18–25; Rev 21:3–4).

Questions About Meat Restrictions

Colossians 2:16 states, “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.” Colossians 2:16 is commonly employed to show Christians can consume whatever they want without restrictions. However, the context is often overlooked as Colossians 2:8 states, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Similarly, Colossians 2:20–22 states, “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— ‘Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch’ (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?

In other words, Colossians 2:8 and 2:20–22 refer to hollow and deceptive philosophies, traditions, regulations, precepts, and teachings derived from humans, not God. All of the restrictions on meat eating that our ministry advocates for are found within the Bible, which came from God (2 Tim 3:16–17). Therefore, Colossians 2:16 refers to human-commanded food (and drink) regulations (2:20–22), which include traditions (2:8) such as handwashing before eating and washing cups, pots, copper canisters, and couches (Mark 7:1–13). In conclusion, Colossians 2:16 does not nullify the obligations for Christians to follow the kosher laws (Lev 11:1–47; Deut 14:1–21), the Jerusalem Quadrilateral (Acts 15:19–20, 15:28–29, 21:25), animal cruelty (Prov 12:10), or gluttony (Num 11:4–34; Pss 78:17–31, 106:13–15; Prov 23:20–21; 1 Cor 10:3–6) restrictions.

Mark 7:19 states, “since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?’ (Thus he declared all foods clean.)” Christians often interpret Mark 7:19, specifically the words in parentheses, as repealing the kosher laws of Leviticus 11:1–47 and Deuteronomy 14:1–21. The Greek term for meat is krea (Rom 14:21; 1 Cor 8:13), which is not utilized in any part of Mark 7:1–23. Instead, the Greek word in Mark 7:19 is brōmata, a general term for food. The Greek word to designate unclean animals is akathartos. In contrast, the Greek word for ceremonial impurity is koinos. Peter distinguished these two words with derivatives in Acts 10:14, saying, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common [koinon] or unclean [akatharton].” In context, Mark 7:2 and 7:5 mention eating with defiled (koinais) hands. Therefore, Mark 7:19 does not discuss meat from unclean animals but rather foods that had been defiled (made ceremonially unclean) by unwashed hands (7:2–5).

The Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus, asking why his disciples were not following the elder tradition of washing their hands before eating (Mark 7:1–5). This handwashing elder tradition originated from the Jewish book, the Mishna (not the Bible). The Jewish New Testament Commentary summarizes this Mishna custom, “In the marketplace one may touch ceremonially impure things; the impurity is removed by rinsing up to the wrist.” Not washing the hands was believed to impurify the food after touching it. The impure food would then defile the person when they consumed it. Jesus dismissed this elder tradition as human commanded and not from God. Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees and scribes for rejecting God’s commands in the Bible and yet following human-made elder customs (7:1–13). Furthermore, Jesus stated in Mark 7:15, “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” Christ echoes this notion in Mark 7:18–23, declaring that evil that originates from the heart is what defiles the person, not the food that is ingested. Several translations without parentheses (NKJV, ABPE, ISV, NHEB, WEB) better render Mark 7:19’s parenthetical statement, “(Thus he declared all foods clean.),” basically declaring that the digestive tract expels foods, which leads them to be purified. One writer summarized Mark 7:1–23 well, stating, “Jesus is simply stating here that any dirt or other incidental impurities not removed through elaborate hand-washing will be purged out by the human digestive system in a manner that has no bearing on the heart and mind of a person. Since spiritual purification involves the heart, ceremonial washings are ineffective and unnecessary in preventing spiritual defilement.” Mark 7:19 invalidates the handwashing elder tradition derived from the Mishna, declaring that every food is ceremonially clean. Therefore, washing your hands before eating is not biblically required (7:1–23). Thus, Mark 7:19 does not rescind the God-derived kosher restrictions of Leviticus 11:1–47 and Deuteronomy 14:1–21.

Finally, Mark 7:19’s parenthetical statement, “(Thus he declared all foods clean.),” may not be authentic. Matthew 15:1–20 also records the event described in Mark 7:1–23. The Pharisees and scribes questioned Jesus as to why his disciples were not complying with the elder tradition of handwashing before eating (Matt 15:1–2). Again, Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for rejecting God’s biblical commands and yet obeying human-made elder traditions (15:1–9). Jesus stated in Matthew 15:11, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” Similarly, in Matthew 15:17, Jesus states, “Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled?” Regarding wickedness, which originates from the heart (15:18–19), Jesus concluded in Matthew 15:20, “These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Within Matthew 15:1–20, there is no statement of “Jesus declaring all foods to be clean.” Therefore, the parenthetical statement in Mark 7:19 may not be authentic. This notion was the opinion of biblical scholar Géza Vermes, who stated, “The words of Mark (7:19), ‘Thus he [Jesus] declared all foods clean,’ did not come from Jesus, but were inserted as a gloss by the editor of the Gospel.” Likewise, many scholars recognize Mark 7:19’s parenthetical statement as a possible later addition. Since the parenthetical words of Mark 7:19 may not be authentic to the Bible, “(Thus he declared all foods clean.)” might not be authoritative for Christians.

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The kosher restrictions of Leviticus 11:1–47 and Deuteronomy 14:1–21 are commonly thought to be no longer binding on Christians because of an erroneous interpretation of “Peter’s Vision of a Sheet with Animals” in Acts 10:9–16. Peter had a vision where a sheet containing all sorts of animals descended from the sky. Then God told him to rise, kill, and eat (10:9–13). Peter responded in Acts 10:14, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” The Lord replied in Acts 10:15, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” It is commonly thought that this vision (10:9–16) repealed the kosher restrictions (Lev 11:1–47; Deut 14:1–21). However, that interpretation takes the vision out of context. The vision is interpreted in Acts 10:17–33. Importantly, Acts 10:28 holds the key, as Peter said, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean.” No Bible verse specifies that gentiles are unclean. Judaism of that time period made it against the law for Jews to associate with or enter the homes of Gentiles, which falsely supported the notion that Gentiles were unclean. Therefore, Peter’s Vision of a Sheet with Animals (10:9–16) asserts that no human is unclean or common (10:28). Peter echoes this point in Acts 10:34–35, stating that God accepts a human of any nationality as long as they fear the Lord and do what is right. Therefore, the Gospel, that those who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection will be forgiven of their sins and receive eternal life (John 3:36), should be preached to all humanity (Acts 10:36–43).

Similarly, in Acts 11:4–10, Peter virtually repeats his “Vision of a Sheet with Animals” after Jewish Christians criticized him for eating with Gentiles and entering their homes (11:1–3). Again, a sheet containing all sorts of animals was lowered from the sky, and God told Peter to rise, kill, and eat (11:4–7). Peter replied in Acts 11:8, “By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.” In Acts 11:9, the Lord responded, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” It is commonly thought that Peter’s vision (11:4–10) repealed the kosher restrictions (Lev 11:1–47, Deut 14:1–21). However, Acts 11:11–18 clarifies that Peter’s vision (11:4–10) implies that no human is unclean or common. Thus, the Jewish Christians who criticized Peter for entering the homes of Gentiles and eating with them (11:1–3) were wrong. Therefore, the Gospel, salvation (16:31), and eternal life through faith in Christ (John 3:16) should be shared with Jews and Gentiles (Acts 11:11–18).

In conclusion, “Peter’s Vision of a Sheet with Animals” (Acts 10:9–16, 11:4–10) proclaims no human is common or unclean, and thus the Gospel (Eph 2:8–9) should be shared with all of humanity regardless of nationality (Acts 10:28, 10:34–43, 11:1–3, 11:11–18). Therefore, Peter’s Vision of a Sheet with Animals (Acts 10:9–16, 11:4–10) does not repeal the kosher restrictions of Leviticus 11:1–47 and Deuteronomy 14:1–21.

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Questions About Jesus

It is unclear (and ultimately unknown) whether Jesus ate lamb meat at the final Passover because the Bible does not explicitly say that he did. Notably, the last Passover occurred before the new covenant (Luke 22:20) started. An aspect of the new covenant, which began soon after Pentecost (Acts 2:1), is encouraging vegan lifestyles (Hos 2:18) and, thus, discouraging animal exploitation. Also, Passover lamb flesh is categorized as ‘consecrated meat,’ the consumption (and animal sacrifice) of which was sternly restricted in the Bible (Exod 12:1–28; Deut 16:1–8), implying that it was bad and needed regulation to limit excessive harm. There is a seeming discrepancy about when Jesus celebrated the event. It is written that Jesus observed the closing Passover (Matt 26:17–26; Mark 14:12–22; and Luke 22:7–16) before his death (Matt 27:50; Mark 15:37–39; Luke 23:46). Importantly, there is no explicit statement that a lamb corpse was served. However, John states that Jesus died before the Passover was celebrated (19:30–34). Fittingly, Pope Benedict XVI said, “According to John, Jesus died on the Cross at the very moment when the Passover lambs were being sacrificed in the temple. The death of Jesus and the sacrifice of the lambs coincided.” This seeming Passover date discrepancy was explained by Pope Benedict XVI, who said, “In all likelihood he [Jesus] celebrated the Passover with his disciples in accordance with the Qumran calendar, hence, at least one day earlier; he celebrated it without a lamb, like the Qumran community which did not recognize Herod’s temple and was waiting for the new temple.” A lamb corpse was likely not present at the last Passover, as this would have been redundant. Christ symbolically represented the sacrificed Passover lamb (John 1:29, 1:36; 1 Cor 5:7–8; 1 Pet 1:19). Importantly, this was the final Passover, as Jesus forever replaced it with the nonviolent Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:15–20).

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