Enjoined by God, from blood (Genesis 9:4); and by the Jerusalem council, from blood and idol meats (Acts 15:29), not to offend Jewish brethren in things indifferent (1 Corinthians 9:20-22). The blood was considered as the seat of the life, and as typifying the one Blood that cleanseth from all sin therefore it was treated as a sacred thing. "The children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day, because the angel touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank" (Genesis 32:32); modern Jews, therefore, abstain from the whole hind quarter.

The law defined whole classes of animals, by the not eating of which the Israelites were distinguished from other nations (Leviticus 11); to mark the separation of the church from the world. Also certain parts of lawful animals, to teach typically that even in lawful things moderation and self control are needed (1 Corinthians 6:12-13; Leviticus 3:9-11). So the priests, from wine, during their ministration (See AARON) (Leviticus 10:1-9); also the Nazarites during their separation (Numbers 6:3-4); also the Rechabites, constantly, by voluntary vow (Jeremiah 35). All idol meats were forbidden, namely, such as after the first portion had been consecrated to the idol were then eaten as food among the Gentiles (Exodus 34:15; Psalm 106:28; 1 Corinthians 8:4-10; Romans 14:3).

Paul lays down the principle that Christians should act each according to his conscience in the matter, but not, even in the exercise of Christian liberty, so as to cast a stumbling-block before weaker brethren. This was the principle of the decree, Acts 15:29. In 1 Timothy 4:3-4, he foretells the rise of Gnostic heretics, the forerunners of the ascetics of the apostate Greek and Latin churches who should forbid marriage, and command to abstain from meats which God created to be received with thanksgiving. Holy Scripture does not enjoin, nor yet forbid, vows of abstinence from intoxicants. The sacrifice of one's lawful right for our neighbor's good accords with the law of love: "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." (Romans 14:21; Jeremiah 35.) (See RECHAB.)