Ellen G. White Writings

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From Trials to Triumph, Page 101

and a dead formalism. In the light of the gospel, the ceremonies committed to Israel had gained a new significance. That which they foreshadowed had come to pass, and those who were living under the gospel dispensation had been freed from their observance. God's unchangeable law of Ten Commandments, however, Paul still kept in spirit as well as in letter.

The question of circumcision resulted in much discussion and contention. Finally, the members of the church decided to send Paul and Barnabas, with some responsible men from the church, to Jerusalem to lay the matter before the apostles and elders. A final decision given in general council was to be universally accepted by the different churches.

The First General Church Council

At Jerusalem the delegates from Antioch related the success that had attended their ministry among the Gentiles. They then gave a clear outline of the confusion that had resulted because certain converted Pharisees had declared that the Gentile converts must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses.

This question was warmly discussed in the assembly, also the problem of meats offered to idols. Many Gentile converts were living among superstitious people who made frequent sacrifices and offerings to idols. The Jews feared that Gentile converts would bring Christianity into disrepute by purchasing that which had been offered to idols, thereby sanctioning idolatrous customs.

Again, the Gentiles were accustomed to eat the flesh of animals that had been strangled; the Jews had been divinely instructed that when beasts were killed for food, the blood should flow from the body. God had given these injunctions for preserving health. The Jews regarded it as sinful to use blood as an article of diet. The Gentiles, on the contrary, practiced catching the blood from the sacrificial victim and using it in the preparation of food. Therefore, if Jew and Gentile

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