Proofs that Jesus was Vegan 慈愛耶穌食全素. By Chapman Chen

Summary: “I came to abolish sacrifices, and unless you cease from sacrificing, my anger will not cease from you,” says Jesus Christ in the Ebionite Gospel. Contrary to mainstream churches’ belief, Jesus Christ was vegan. Jesus’s natural brother, James the Just, is reported to have been vegan. “Who and whatever James was, so was Jesus.” (Eisenman 1997). In fact, Jesus was an animal rights activist. He cared about sparrows, asses, pigeons, lamb, etc. His rejection of animal sacrifice brought him into head-on confrontation with the Temple Priests, resulting in his arrest, trial and crucifixion. Jesus also deliberately held the Last Supper before the Lamb-eating Passover (John 13). 

Instances of Jesus eating meat in the gospels are products of either misinterpretation or later interpolation. E.g., in the miracle of “five loaves and two fish,” Jesus broke loaves but not fish (Matthew 14). “Fish” may also be a mistranslation of the Greek word for “fishweed.” Luke’s story of Jesus eating fish to prove to the eleven disciples at evening on the day of his Resurrection that he’s no ghost is clearly a forgery, for both the date and the venue contradict Mark and Matthew. This may be connected with the fact that some time after Jesus’ ascension to Heaven, Paul’s meat-eating gentile Christian camp seized power and denounced vegan Jewish Christianity as heresy. 

Jesus in The Ebionite Gospel 

In the Ebionite Gospel, Jesus is quoted as asserting “I came to abolish sacrifices, and unless you cease from sacrificing, my anger will not cease from you.” The Ebionites were a group of Jewish Christians who survived the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem. They had their own gospel which was originally written in Aramaic, the mother tongue of Christ, and thus closer to the genuine teachings of Jesus Christ than the canonical gospels which are Greek translation alienating people from the actual words of Jesus Christ. And according to Epiphanius, the Ebionites were vegan, rejecting animal sacrifice as immoral, insisting that they were acting in accordance with the teachings of Jesus himself.

Jesus’ Natural Brother was Vegan 

Jesus Christ’s natural brother, James the Just, is reported to have been a vegan. Church historian Hegesippus, as quoted by Eusebius, wrote:

“After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother’s womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh…” 

Now, “holy from his mother’s womb” means James the Just was brought up as a vegetarian ever since birth or even since his conception. So why would Jesus’ parents raise James as a vegetarian, and not raise Jesus as a vegetarian? It was a vegetarian family. Thus it is pretty obvious that Jesus was in reality a vegetarian (cf. James Dean 2018). As biblical scholar Robert Eisenman points out in his monumental work James the Brother of Jesus (1997), “Who and whatever James was, so was Jesus.”

Jesus Cared about Animals  

Although Jesus’ animal rights speeches and acts as recorded in the canonical Gospels were probably tampered with by Paul’s carnivorous gentile Christianity camp (see the last paragraph). Some fragments of Jesus’ love for innocent animals survive in them. E.g., “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father” (Matthew 10:29);  “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day? (Luke 14:5). 

Jesus Died for the Cause of Animal Liberation

Actually, Jesus is a pioneer in animal liberation, and even died for the cause.

The Lost Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity by Keith Akers (2000) argues that the central event of the Christian faith, the Crucifixion, was predicated upon Christ’s readiness to struggle for animal rights. Jesus Christ’s rejection of animal sacrifice brought him into direct confrontation with the Temple Priests, resulting in his arrest, trial under Pontius Pilate, and crucifixion. 

“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.” (Matthew 21:12)

The primary reference is to those who were “buying and selling.” What does that mean? That means the huge business of animal sales for sacrifice! The Temple was both a site of worship and a butcher shop. Jesus was disrupting the Temple’s primary revenue stream — the trade of animals for ritual slaughter. 

The gospel of Mark correlates Jesus’s attempt to dismantle the sacrificial system with the plot to kill him. Like Matthew’s gospel, Mark’s account of the Temple Cleansing starts by saying that Jesus “began driving out those who were buying and selling there.” It goes on to relate how he explained to the people why he was doing this, by quoting Jeremiah’s opposition to animal sacrifice: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. But you have made it a ‘den of robbers.'” And immediately afterwards, “the chief priests and the teachers of the law heard about this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him because the whole crowd was amazed at his teachings.”(Mark 11:18) 

In the Gospel of John, Jesus actually used a whip to drive herds of oxen, sheep and pigeons out of the Temple courtyard (John 2:14-15). It is a unbelievably powerful visual image. The overturning of the currency tables seems to be what is stuck in the Christian consciousness, and yet the most dramatic and frenzied scene in this event is obviously the freeing of the animal herds (cf. Kamran Pasha 2009). 

As Akers argues, the direct attack on the Priests’ principal source of livelihood, the animal sacrifices, could not be ignored.

Jesus would not Like you to Eat Lamb on Easter

It is explicitly recorded in the Gospel of John that Jesus deliberately held the Last Supper before the Passover. “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father… he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas…to betray him” (John 13: 1-2 KJV). 

“Then led [the Jewish leaders] they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover” (John 18:28 KJV). 

According to the Gospel of the Ebionites, Jesus resolutely refused to eat lamb in the Passover. The disciples asked him, “Master, where would you like us to arrange the Passover meal?” “I simply don’t want to eat lamb with you in the Passover!” replied Jesus. And during the Last Supper, Jesus blessed wine and bread, NOT meat. 

Jesus Broke Loaves but NOT Fish (Matthew 14) 

In the miracle of “Five loaves and two fish,” Jesus neither condoned the eating of fish nor gave it to the masses (Matthew 14). As pointed out by John Vujicic (2009), if you carefully read the text of Matthew 14, you will see that Jesus only broke the LOAVES and gave ONLY THE LOAVES to the people. Twelve baskets were filled with the broken pieces of BREAD. When Jesus made a remark concerning the feeding of five thousand and four thousand, he all along merely made reference to the LOAVES of BREAD AND THE BASKETS which held the broken pieces of bread. Jesus never mentioned in any way the fishes. 

In St. John’s version even though reference is circuitously made to Jesus’s breaking of the fishes, the twelve baskets contained only the broken pieces of FIVE LOAVES. Obviously Jesus used only five loaves to feed the crowd and the reference to the fishes is a subsequent interpolation. 

Even IF the manuscript is correct, the translation is erroneous. It has now been discovered that the word was ψάριαφύκια, the Greek word for “fishweed” (a dried seaweed). ψάριαφύκια has been misinterpreted in this story as “fish”. Undoubtedly dried fishweed would be more probable in a basket with bread, as fishweed remains a well-liked food amidst Jewish and Arab peasants akin to the group whom Jesus was addressing (cf. Raw Matt 2019).

Moreover, according to Denis Giron (2013), this helps explain Matthew 4:18-20, where Jesus gets his first disciples by telling some fishermen to give up their profession and follow him. Jesus even says to them “I will make you a fisher of men”. Could this be Jesus was having them give up their barbaric line of work to do something more righteous? It may sound absurd, but it starts to make a little more sense when you take it in the same context as the story of feeding five thousand, where the disciples never even considered trying to catch some fish, despite being beside the sea. Why didn’t they go fishing? Did Jesus teach it was wrong to eat fish? 

Jesus Eating Meat after Resurrection is Fake News!

Luke’s story of Jesus eating fish to prove to the eleven disciples at evening on the day of his Resurrection that he’s no ghost is clearly a forgery, for both the date and the venue contradict Mark and Matthew. 

Luke 24: 39-43/ John 21:12-13 is the only place in the New Testament that mentions Jesus eating meat, wherein Jesus ate fish in front of 11 disciples on the first night of his Resurrection: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones… And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luke 24: 39-43 KJV)

However, according to the Gospel of Mark 16: 7 and 14:28, Jesus had long told his disciples that he would go to Galilee upon resurrection. According to Mark 16: 9 -19, Jesus revealed himself thrice after resurrection, the first time to Mary Magdalene; the second time to two disciples on their way to Emmaus; the third time to all the 11 disciples. According to the Gospel of Mark, the eleven disciples went up a mountain in Galilee as specified by Jesus, where Jesus met them the first time as well as the last time after He rose from the dead. So the Gospel of Luke’s claim that Jesus ate fish in front of the disciples on the very night of his Resurrection is wrong in terms of both date and venue. Apparently, it is fabricated and not to be believed (cf. John Vujici [2016] Yahweh Conspiracy: Deception of the Ages Unveiled).

Also, we should maybe keep in mind that fish was a well known mystical symbol amidst these early Christians. The Greek word for fish (Ichthys) was used as an acronym whose initials in Greek represented “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” (Keith Akers 1989; Lewis Regenstein 1991). Given how the early Christians employed the term, there is therefore good historical evidence for the argument that all of the “fish stories” that managed to get into the gospels were intended to be taken symbolically rather than literally. 

According to Keith Akers’ (2013) Disciples, Jesus and his Jewish disciples, such as John and Peter, belong to Jewish Christianity (the Essenes, the Nazoreans and the Ebionites), advocating vegetarianism, and opposing animal sacrifice. Jesus cleansed the Holy Temple and offended Jewish leaders, leading to his death, exactly because he could not tolerate hawkers selling livestock for sacrifice. 

After Jesus’ crucifixion, Paul’s gentile Christianity camp regarded meat-eating as without “questions of conscience” (I Corinthians 10:25), but because the veggie Jewish Christianity was still in power in the church, Paul diplomatically advised believers not to cause brethen to stumble because of meat-eating (Romans 14:21). In Romans 14:1-2, Paul disparages those Christians who “eat only vegetables” claiming that their “faith is weak.” Apparently vegetarianism was widespread among Christians in Paul’s day, so much so that he had to contest their assertion that abstaining from meat was an act of piety (Kamran Pasha 2009). The fact that Paul has to make this point means that ethical vegetarianism was being presented as a moral requirement to be a Christian! Later, when Jewish Christianity was suppressed by the Roman Empire, Paul’s meat-eating gentile Christian camp seized the opportunity to take over power in the church, denounced veggie Jewish Christianity as heresy, and almost uprooted it. Jesus might not have foreseen that his disciples would become heretics in his own church. 


Some of the arguments above are to be found in Keith Akers’ very useful work, A Vegetarian Sourcebook, 1989 and Steven Rosen’s enlightening book, Food for the Spirit, 1987. Another sourcebook I would also highly recommend is Lewis Regenstein’s Replenish the Earth: The History of Organized Religion’s Treatment of Animals and Nature–Including the Bible’s Message of Conservation and Kindness Toward Animals, 1991.

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