The majority suggests that Noah was vegetarian before the flood because of the word “Remez” in Genesis 9:3. This is NOT the case. Noah ate and enjoyed clean meat before and after the flood.
Remez is usually translated “creeps, moves” as in “creeping things”. This is in contrast to that which does not move, namely, the plants. In Gen 9:3, God is lifting the temporary ban placed on consuming or killing living, moving flesh. Remez does not solely refer to bugs or even land animals as the same word is used to describe the fish of the sea in Psalm 104:25.
This ban was enacted in Gen 6:21. Edible plants and meats were to be gathered and stored for use on the ark. Some propose that humans were vegetarians prior to the flood…NOT TRUE! Abel’s offering from the flock included the fat portions in Gen 4:4.
Also, upon leaving Eden, Yahweh provided garments for Adam and Chavah by killing an animal (Gen 3:31). Yahweh does not waste life, and it is probably at this juncture that He taught Adam and Chavah how to utilize the animals for making clothes, tools, and for food. The first thing He did after banishing them from Eden is to teach them a lesson about the nature of life and death.
Humans have not been vegetarians since access to the Tree of Life was restricted, and will not be vegetarians until the Tree of Life is brought down from Heaven (Rev 22:1-5), which also heals the earth and removes the curse.
The flood was the second curse upon the earth (Gen 8:21, Gen 3:17), bringing further difficulty to raising crops and sustaining life. Sacrifices and offerings brought to the Temple cause a practical curse reversal to the Land, the People, and the earth in general.
Denying the eating of animals and sacrificing them as we are commanded in scripture (on the grounds of Biblical morality) is akin to denying the need for the redemption that Messiah will bring to our mortal bodies. It is akin to saying, “I can conquer death and mortality on my own and don’t need to obey and recognize that death is a legitimate part of my reality and that blood must be shed because of humankind’s sin.”
Yahweh has commanded us to kill and eat lamb at Passover for a reason.
Gen 6:21 says that the food Noah was to store was to be food for the animals and for Noah’s family. This means that no new food was to be made, but only that which was stored. The clear implication is that Noah was to eat the stored food rather than to slaughter animals on the ark.
Gen 9:3 says “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” This does not solely refer to food for eating, but for consuming the moving things for any purpose. The word here for “food” is le-aklah and can mean “food, fuel, devouring, or consuming”. It can be figurative of devouring with the sword or fire.
This means that even taking a camel’s skin (Matt 3:4) to be used as a coat is “consuming” that animal! This also means that using the animals on the ark for clothing or tools (such as a mallet or pick made from a bone) was considered “consuming” and NOT to be done!
The command in Genesis 9:3 was not simply DIETARY but was a matter of killing for any purpose. Notice that the animals came to Noah to get on the ark… no tigers tried to bite him. No snakes attacked him or his family. The animals did not fear Noah, but came obediently.
In Gen 9:2 it says the fear and dread will return! It makes sense that God restricted the killing of animals while simultaneously removing their fear of man, then after returning their fear He lifted the ban!
The flood story has NO ethical or moral pertinence to the regular consumption of animals and should have NO bearing on our emotional connection to eating them. Yes we should be merciful and kind to animals and long for the day when death is no more a part of our reality.
Gen 8:20 shows that Noah erected and altar and is the first post-ark instance of consuming a moving thing. When an altar is built it is to be dedicated with burnt offerings AND peace offerings! (Deut 27:5-8) Peace offerings proceed burnt offerings because no sin is being atoned for. It is a fellowship offering.
Lev 7:15 and Deut 12:27 teach us that the ALL of the flesh of the peace offering must be eaten and the blood is to be poured out. Lev 3:6-11 tells us that the FAT must be offered to YHWH. This is exactly was Abel did in Genesis 4:3-4. This means that Abel was making a peace offering and ATE the flesh of the animal. His offering was probably a progenitor or the root of Passover (Exodus 23:14-19) as it occurred “in the course of time”.
Yeshua is the Passover lamb and His blood speaks a better word than that of Abel (Heb 12:24). Here we see connection between Yeshua and Abel, therefore Passover and Abel. The gospel was typified in Abel’s death, yet fulfilled in Yeshua.
We also see that Noah made a burnt offering (the peace offering is not mentioned but would have been assumed by the reader). A burnt offering required two male lambs (Num 28:3). This means that there must have been more than 2 pairs of lambs on the ark (thus the need for 1 pair of unclean, 7 of clean… not for eating purposes). Also, this means there were 14 total of each kind of clean animal, 7 males and 7 females as one cannot have 3.5 males and 3.5 females.
Further, it says that Noah left the ark in the second month on the 27th day of the month… awfully close to the new moon (Gen 8:14). A Hebrew month can last between 28 and 31 days. It makes sense that Noah erected the altar and performed the burnt offering on the New Moon. Interestingly enough, Numbers 28:11 requires 7 lambs to be offered for the New Moon burnt offering.
We could theorize that Noah performed a daily burnt offering (2 lambs) plus the New Moon offering a day later (7 lambs) adding up to 9 lambs plus 1 ram. Now, a lamb is a sheep in its first year. A ram is an adult male sheep. This means there would have been a need for more than 7 male sheep on the ark, and 9 of them had to be less than one year old. This creates a problem as Noah was on the ark for approximately 377 days. This means that the lambs he took on the ark must have been -12 days old.
It’s a good thing that Yah didn’t place a ban on procreation as well. 😉
ACQUAINTED WITH DEATH.
Have you ever thought about where your hamburger comes from?
Most of us who have eaten meat, have never slaughtered an animal. Those who hunt, and especially those who slaughter their own livestock, understand not only the physical drain, but also the emotional drain that occurs when taking the life of an animal.
In ancient Israel, a person bringing his offering would approach the tent of meeting with his animal, lean into the animal, and take its life by slitting its throat and draining the blood as he watched the life of the animal slowly slip away (Lev 3:1-2). The priest would then take the animal and perform the temple ritual. I’ve heard stories about men approaching the entrance and, while leaning into the animal, becoming overcome with grief, unable to take the life of the animal. At this point the priest would perform this duty for the man.
This is similar to God’s injunction for us to raise a lamb in our homes and slaughter it on the 14th of Aviv for Passover. I dare say that most of us often look on those who lived in Old Testament times and say “We have the gospel. They must have had no clue what Jesus has done for them.” Yet most of us have never taken the life of an animal. Most of us have never become acquainted with death like they had. They experienced the picture of Messiah in a way that most of us will never.
Have you ever lost a beloved pet? It can be one of the most saddening things to experience. Now imagine that in the context of the Gospel picture of the Passover lamb and having to take the life of the animal in your own hands.
Death is a result of the Fall. Death entered our world when Adam and Chavah sinned and were exiled from the Garden of Eden. Those of you who have read The Deuteros Man already understand the direct connection between the Temple and the Garden. The first thing that YHWH did after ejecting Adam and Chavah from the Garden is to teach them how to take the life of an animal, just as the priest would do for the man who had not the faculties to take the life of his animal for the offering.
“And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.”
The Father could have made them garments from flax or cotton, but He didn’t. He showed them the nature of life and death. He acquainted them with death; already foreshadowing the death of Messiah. In fact, the audience would have understood that the skin of the sacrifice belongs to the priest who offers it (Lev 7:8)! This was clearly a Temple reference and must be understood in Temple context.
Although the text doesn’t specifically state that God showed them how to eat the meat, use the bones, or offer the fat portions on the altar, we know that Abel understood this when he brought his fat portions. Therefore, somewhere along the way, God must have taught these things to Adam. I propose that this is precisely and logically where He would have done that.
There is no need to specifically state that Adam and Chavah ate the meat, etc because it would have been assumed by the audience (ancient Israel) who would have considered that to be the norm. In fact, to gather that they DIDN’T, it would have necessarily have to have been stated in the text. (Remember, this is Temple language just as the Abel narrative was Temple language of a peace offering which ALWAYS requires that the flesh be eaten!)
The burden of proof is on those who deny the contextual understanding of the recipients of the narrative of Genesis, namely, ancient Israel. The burden of proof is on those who insist that righteous humans were vegetarians before the flood. The burden is for them to demonstrate proof that Pre-Diluvians didn’t eat meat or that it was specifically restricted to eat meat.
In fact, the word used for “food” in Gen 9:3 is le-ahklah, which means “for consuming”. This means that Gen 9:3 is not the first time that consuming animals was allowed as God consumed an animal in Gen 3:21. As we established before, “consuming” is a concept that incorporates the killing of an animal for uses other than simply food for eating. Therefore we see that God taught Adam how to consume an animal as his first lesson upon being restricted from the Tree of Life.
Beware those who point to Genesis 1:29-30 as evidence that we are to be vegetarians or that Pre-Diluvians were vegetarian. This passage is within the context of Eden, BEFORE they were ejected. There is no question that the Edenic diet was purely vegetarian as death did not even exist until after the fall! The Edenic vegetarian diet will resume when death is no more. It makes no theological or prophetic sense to say that meat-eating was allowed after the flood. It DOES make theological and prophetic sense that meat-eating was allowed when death entered the world and that vegetarianism will return when death leaves.
We know for certain that there were carnivorous animals post-Fall and Pre-Diluvian. We also know that the nature of killing was understood (Gen 4:8). In fact, in this passage we see God telling Cain that sin is crouching (rabas) at the door. “לַפֶּ֖תַח חַטָּ֣את רֹבֵ֑ץ” This same word is used in the imagery of a lion which lies down but can also mean “ready to spring forth”. The concept of something lying in wait to pounce when the time is right, was understood by Cain. This means that carnivory was known to Cain by observation at least.
We also have evidence of Pre-Diluvian animal carnivory as fossils demonstrate the presence of dinosaurs with bite wounds, bone fragments from fights and even full lizards within the bellies of certain dinosaurs.
“Not only do these fossils show death, they also show clear evidence of carnivory. For example, the fossil record includes a turkey-sized Compsognathus found with a lizard in its belly; a famous fossil of Velociraptor locked in mortal combat with a Protoceratops, and a T. rex coprolite (fossil dung) found with a “high proportion (30–50%) of bone fragments”. So this looks like clear evidence for carnivory.” –https://creation.com/animal-carnivory-began-at-fall
If some animals were transformed to be carnivorous after the Fall, then why would God wait until the Flood to make humans carnivorous?
The common assumption made by proponents of Pre-Diluvian vegetarianism is that the Flood made life harder for humans, thus requiring them to consume animal flesh for the proteins which would not be available to them from vegetables alone. Yet, why then did certain animals need animal proteins before the flood?
It makes logical sense that humans and other omnivorous and carnivorous species were made that way post-Fall.
It does NOT make logical sense that all other omnivorous and carnivorous animals were made that way post-Fall, but that humans were the exception to that rule and made to wait until after the Flood.
It makes logical sense that an injunction to refrain from consuming moving things was given to Noah at the same time that God removed the fear of man from the animals to draw them to the Ark. It makes sense that that injunction was released as God placed the fear of man back into the hearts of the animals when they were returned from the Ark back unto the earth. Those who make the Flood narrative a dietary thesis are missing the point of the passage and making false assumptions by not looking closely enough at the text. This can be dangerous because these assumptions are far-reaching, as today we have certain factions denying larger sections of scripture including the entire Temple system and the Gospel narrative on the basis that animal consumption is inherently evil and simply “added to scripture” by the “lying pen of the scribes”. This then leads to all sorts of continued heresy.
A proper exegesis of the text supports the logical stream of thought that the Fall brought death and the death of Messiah redeems us from the fall, restoring to us access to the Tree of Life.
As always folks… remember to study the Temple! Shalom!