A Roman Catholic Bishop wrote in 375 A.D. thatBishop Epiphanius, The Panarion (c. 375 AD)
“This sect of Nazoræans [possess the Original Gospel written in Hebrew and]
is to be found in Beroea near Coelesyria, in the Decapolis near Pella, and in Bashanitis at
the place called . . . Khokhabe in Hebrew . . . [In his disgust, he says,] They are nothing
but Jews [except for their fidelity to Yahshúa haMashiakh. . .]”
[Likewise, the Ancient Essene Sect of the] “Nasaræans . . . are Jews by nationality, from Gileaditis,
Bashanitis and the Transjordan as I have been told, but descendants of Israel himself.”
There are only a handful of Nasaræans [left as such, for] . . . they have been
united with the sect of the Ebionites [which is another name for the Nazaræans, who also possess the Original Gospel written in Hebrew. They reject animal sacrifices and flesh eating as part of a fraudulent editing of the Scriptures, and thus read them with discernment].
A Nicene Bishop, on the outside trying to look in!
What about Sha’ul/Paul? 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14
Was the Apostle Sha’ul also an Nazarean Essene and in accord with what we established in Part I? Yes! Did he permit eating flesh (clean or unclean) and consider a vegetarian diet to be for “the weak” minded? No! And, further, did he teach that eating food sacrificed to idols was permissible? Not at all!! The answer to these important questions depends upon how one interprets and translates what he said, and that ALWAYS involves assumptions. Does he contradict what we have observed in Part I? No!
Two people or two groups can come to two different conclusions about a matter in Scripture because sometimes matters are seemingly ambiguous or inconclusive and/or there are mixed hermeneutics among groups. Instead of arguing specifically about the matters placed before him, he gives guidelines for maintaining peace among varying opinions — Love Your Neighbor! Furthermore, Sha’ul is responding to questions and statements that he received in a letter. He quotes to them assertions they have said to him and then he responds to it. Some modern Bibles also reflect this as when the LEB says concerning verses 1 and 4 below: “Considered by many interpreters to be a slogan used by the Corinthians to justify their behavior.” Sha’ul gets the blame many times as if he was the one that promoting the statement because the translation does not reflect this truth. Notice in 1 Corinthians 7:1 “Now concerning the things about which you wrote…” 1 Corinthians Chapter 8, continues his answers. Many Bibles have a topical heading like this:
“Concerning Food Sacrificed to Idols”. Since we do not have the letter that the Corinthian Assembly had sent Sha’ul, we have to make assumptions and set the context. Of course, this leads to ambiguity and has given rise to false accusations against Sha’ul.
Sha’ul’s Battle with the Libertine Gnostics
. . . I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.Revelation 2:20
1 Corinthians 8 My Translation using LEB as a base text; with my [brackets] for emphasis interpretation
1 Cor. 7:1 “Now concerning the things about which you wrote…”
1 Cor. 8:1 “Now concerning food sacrificed to idols, we know that [as you wrote] “we all have knowledge”. [Moreover, I say,] Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 If anyone thinks he knows anything [without exercising this love that builds up his brother], he has not yet known as it is necessary to know. 3 Moreover, if anyone loves Elohiym, this one is known by him.”
4 Concerning the eating of food sacrificed to idols: [As you wrote] we know that “an idol is nothing in the world” and that “there is no Elohiym except one.” 5 And if perhaps reasonably argued, there are many elohim and many masters. 6 Yet to us there is one Elohiym , the Aba, from whom are all things, and we for him; And there is one Master, Yahshúa the Anointed, through whom are all things, and we through him.
7 On the contrary, this ‘knowledge’ [your Libertine version of Gnosis] is not “in all/everyone” [as you falsely claim]. Moreover, some are habituated toward idols even until now, [they still] eat this food as an idol sacrifice. And their feeble [babylike] conscience [for some are babes and carnal-minded: 1 Cor. 3:1-3], is being soiled [by this continued practice]. 8 Moreover, [as you wrote] “food will not bring us close to Elohiym. We are no worse if we do not eat and no better if we do.” 1) 9 But [I say], be careful that this [so-called] ‘liberty’ of yours does not become a hindrance to the feeble [babes – impressionable children who learn by imitating others]. 10 Because if someone feeble sees you who possess ‘knowledge’ dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience be built up/constructed toward idolatrous eating? 11 So then, by your [loveless] ‘knowledge’ the feeble brother, for whom Mashíakh died, is destroyed. 12 If you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their feeble [baby-childlike] conscience, you sin against Mashíakh. 13 On which very account [taking even further this rational of love for my brother, I say], if food causes my [Vegetarian Nazarean-Essene] brother to stumble, I will never eat flesh again, so that I may not cause my brother to stumble.
We move to the Letter to the Romans where similar words are used, but in a separate and distinct circumstance. Sha’ul in the following passage, addresses those following the Judæan Establishment mindset, who think they are superior to the Essenes. Whereas, he addressed the Libertine Gnostics at Corinth. Some of the subject matter overlaps but the two are not to be confused with one another.
Malachi 2:8 But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble H3782 at the Torah; ye have corrupted the covenant of Lewi, says Yahweh of hosts.
H3782 כָּשַׁל kashal (kaw-shal’)
v. 1. to totter or waver (through weakness of the legs, especially the ankle).
2. (by implication) to falter, stumble, faint or fall.
the one who loves another has fulfilled the Torah . . .Romans 13:8, 10
Love does no wrong to a neighbor
Rom 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the Torah. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Torah… 11-14 …
14:1 Moreover, [in accord with this Torah of love, you of Judæan Establishment mindset] embrace those [of Essene mindset, whom you say are] ‘feeble in the faith’ [or, stumblers in the Torah]—but, do not embrace them in order to have condemning arguments. 2 Indeed, one person trusts Elohíym, eating all things [permissible by Judæan Establishment Law, both animal flesh along with ‘food from the earth’] but [in your words] the ‘weak’ one eats only vegetables [food from the earth]. 3 The one eating animal flesh do not be despising the one not eating animal flesh; And the non-eater of animal flesh, do not be condemning the one who eats animal flesh for Elohíym has embraced him. 4 Who are you to be passing judgment upon the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for YHWH is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems a particular day for fasting as better than another, while another esteems all such non-binding days alike. Each one should become convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the fast day, observes it in honor of YHWH. The one who eats on that same day, eats in honor of YHWH, since he gives thanks to Elohíym, while the one who abstains from eating on that same day, abstains in honor of YHWH and gives thanks to Elohíym. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to YHWH, and if we die, we die to YHWH. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are YHWH’s. 9For to this end the Mashíaḥ died and lived again, that he might be [established as the] ‘Adon’ both of the dead and the living. Ps 110:1
10 Why do you pass a condemning sentence upon your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Elohíym; 11 for it is written, “As I live, says YHWH, every knee shall bow to me and every tongue shall confess to YHWH.” 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to Elohíym. 13 Therefore [abiding in His Torah of Love], let us not condemn one another any longer [over ambiguous matters], but rather let us decide to never put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Lev. 19:13-18 14 I know and am persuaded in the Adon Yahshúa that nothing [I have said] is profane of itself, except only to the one who is reckoning it profane – to that one it is profane. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you serve to eat [since you offer him no other choices], you are no longer walking in love. By what you serve to eat, do not destroy the one whom Mashíaḥ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of Elohíym is not mere eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the ruáḥ ha’qodesh [expressed by the Torah of love]. 18 For the one serving the Mashíaḥ in this way is acceptable to Elohíym and approved by men. 19 So then, let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual edification. 20 On account of food, do not destroy the work of Elohíym. Indeed, each food is permitted [‘mutar’ by Judean Law], but it is wrong to make another [Essene] to trip and fall by what he eats at your table. 21 It is virtuous not to serve flesh to eat or even wine to drink or do anything that causes your brother to trip and fall. 22 The faithfulness that you have, guard between yourself and Elohíym. Happy is the one who has no reason to condemn himself for what he approves for himself. 23 But whoever has doubts whenever he is served your food is condemned if he eats, because the eating he does is not from out of faithfulness to Elohíym. For whatever does not proceed from faithfulness is falling short of the target.
15:1 ‘We who are the strong’ [as you phrase it] have an obligation to bear with ‘the weaknesses of the weak’ and not to please ourselves. 2 [According to the Torah of love,] let each of us please his fellow for his benefit, toward edification. 3 For the Mashíaḥ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” [Psalm 69:9; a parallel fulfillment] 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and through the encouragement of the scriptures we might have expectation. 5 May the Elohíym of perseverance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with the Mashíaḥ Yahwshúa, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the Elohíym and Father-Mother [Aḅ + Ama = Aba, one in two in one] of our Adon Yahwshúa the Mashíaḥ. 7 Therefore, embrace one another as the Mashíaḥ has embraced you, for the kavód (reputation) of Elohíym.
So, Sha’ul is actually convincing others who were judging vegetarians as being “weak”. He was, in reality, teaching them to love others.
Lets take a look at another passage where Sha’ul is addressing others.
Some departed from the faith in various ways, as Sha’ul said they would in 1 Timothy 4:1-6. One way, as given by example was in regard to marriage.
3 Forbidding marrying, refraining from foods [through extreme ascetic practices] which YHWH provided for the faithful who recognize the truth, partaking of such food with thanksgiving; 4 How that originally all the creation of God [including marriage and a vegetarian diet] was good, and none of it is to be rejected, but with gratitude receiving it. 5 For it is consecrated by the word of Elohiym and prayer. 6 These things establishing for the brethren, you shall be a good servant of Yahshúa ha’Mashíakh nourishing upon the faithful words and closely following the good teaching.My Translation
This passage is normally wrongly translated so as to teach that people are permitted to eat whatever they want. It does not teach this. It is a coherent instruction concerning eating and drinking the instruction of the word, with proper discernment, as a wise “money-changer”.