Where in the Bible does it say not to eat meat on Friday?

Catholics practice various acts of penitence and spiritual self-discipline during Lent, the (approximately) forty days leading up to Easter. One of those disciplines is a fast that requires Catholics to abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. The rule is based on the authority of the Church, not on the authority of Scripture.

The rule that Catholics cannot eat meat on Fridays during Lent is actually more lenient than what most Catholics in history have had to observe. Centuries ago, the Catholic Church had a law that forbade consuming meat on all Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Later, this rule was relaxed to remove meat from the diet on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays. In 1966, Catholic bishops in America, with the blessing of Pope Paul VI, further relaxed the rule. Nowadays meat is only prohibited on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Fridays of the Lenten season. Catholics are obligated to observe this fast as a minimum; they can make up stricter requirements for themselves, if they so desire.

The stated reason for Catholics not being allowed to eat meat on Fridays during Lent is to remind the faithful that Jesus died on a Friday. Jesus gave up His body (His flesh), and Catholics, in an effort to attain greater communion with Christ, refrain from consuming flesh. The problem with his reasoning is that Jesus died on a Wednesday. There were Two Sabbaths on the week of Jesus death.

  1. Mark tells us the women bought spices after the Sabbath

  2. Luke states they prepared the spices before resting on the Sabbath—two different Sabbaths.

John 19:31 - The first Sabbath was a “high day”— the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread—which, in A.D. 31, fell on a Wednesday, its important to note, that in A.D 33, the Feast of Unleavened Bread was also on a Wednesday. This is an important note, as some believe Jesus died in A.D 33.

The second Sabbath was the weekly seventh-day Sabbath - Sunset Friday - Sunset Saturday, Jesus died at the 9th hour of the day or 3PM. (Matthew 27:45-50)

After the women rested on the regular weekly Sabbath Friday - Saturday, they went to Jesus’ tomb early on the first day of the week (Sunday), “while it was still dark”(John 20:1) and found that He had already been resurrected (Matthew 28:1-6; Mark 16:2-6; Luke 24:1-3).

Jesus was crucified and entombed on Wednesday afternoon, just before the Sabbath began at sunset. The high-day Sabbath, lasting from sunset Wednesday to sunset Thursday, rather than the regular weekly Sabbath, lasting from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. Jesus rose anytime from 3PM Saturday - He was already gone early Sunday when Mary arrived, (Matthew 28:1-6). Jesus rose precisely three days and three nights after He was placed in the tomb.

Catholics don't eat meat on Friday’s but they rationalize eating fish. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops states that fish are a different category of animal. So it’s only the meat of warm-blooded animals that is prohibited. Eggs, butter, and milk are also allowed.

There is nothing in the Bible that remotely suggests that Christians must follow a predetermined fast. Eating meat on Fridays or not eating meat on Fridays—or any other day—is not an intrinsically spiritual issue. Abstaining from meat during Lent is simply a man-made ritual of the Catholic Church. It has no inherent spiritual value and cannot guarantee that a person draws closer to Christ. While fasting can be beneficial, it is good to remember Jesus’ words, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” Matthew 15:11

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© Tony - W.A.M