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Which Biblical commands apply today?

One of the reasons there are many different denominations within Christianity is because there are different opinions about how to apply the commands found in the Bible. Do all commands apply today or only some of them? If only some, how do we determine which apply and which don’t?

The first 9 chapters of Genesis teach us one of the principles to use when discerning whether or not a command applies today. There is a command in Genesis 1 and another in Genesis 9 which are slightly at odds with each other. The Bible shows us how to reconcile the two; thus providing a principle that needs to be used throughout the Bible.

Let’s start in Genesis 1. On the sixth day of creation, God created man. Read the following account of day six. What did God tell man to eat?

Gen. 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Gen. 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Gen. 1:29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;

Gen. 1:30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.

When God created man, man was given plants and fruit to eat. There was nothing mentioned about eating animals.

Genesis 2 through Genesis 8 tell us about the first centuries of human existence. Man’s sin became so great in those days that God flooded the entire world and destroyed all of humanity except for Noah and his family. Genesis 9 tells us about Noah and his family resuming life on dry land after the flood. What do the following verses tell us about food?

Gen. 9:1 ¶ And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

Gen. 9:2 “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given.

Gen. 9:3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.

Gen. 9:4 “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

After the flood, man was given animals as food in addition to plants. Look at verse 3 again and notice the last phrase.

Gen. 9:3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.

This verse clearly teaches us that God changed the rule. Before the flood, man’s diet was limited to plants. After the flood, man’s diet was expanded to include animals. The command in Genesis 9:3 superseded the command in Genesis 1:29.

Since God changed the rules on food, is it possible that God changed other rules at some point in history? Yes, that is possible. It is not the purpose of this post to list other rule changes; instead, the purpose of this post is to establish the fact that God changed the rules on food; therefore, there may be other rule changes in the Bible. As we read the Bible and apply it to our lives, we need to learn the whole Bible so that we can put commands in their Biblical and historical context and discern whether or not the command was superseded by a later command.

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“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”