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“For I am the LORD Who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of the animals, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that swarms on the earth, to make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the creature that may be eaten and the creature that may not be eaten.” (Leviticus 11:45-47 MKJV)
Question: Why do you think nominal Christendom, for the most part, celebrates Easter and eats ham instead of lamb, goat, or beef? Think about it.
It’s taught and believed that Christians are free from the Law of Moses and can eat anything they choose, because the apostle Paul said, “Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the Word of God and with prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5)
If you’re willing to stand by that interpretation of Scripture, how about eating some roast skunk? Or some rat, mouse, snake, owl, hawk, stork, vulture, cockroaches, or flies? For a vegetable side dish, how about a poison ivy salad or fresh dieffenbachia leaves dressed with cyanide? (Realize, the word “creature” or “created thing” includes not only animal but also vegetable.)
If that doesn’t sound ridiculous enough (not that my thinking is ridiculous, but to show you how ridiculous the notion of eating all things is), let me go further. For a drink with your meal, take the product of a cow’s body. No, not the milk… the urine. Now you have a meal according to your doctrine. You who argue with God’s intent and counsel, eat your meal or eat your words; your choice.
According to the Scriptures, eating skunk is no worse than eating pig, shrimp, mussels, scallops, clams, shark, lobster, crab, or octopus. Yet, while many won’t eat skunk, they wouldn’t hesitate to eat some of these others.
Is it a matter of culture? To be sure, other cultures will eat every creature in existence. But why does Western, Judeo-Christian culture not eat some of them? For those who received and believed the Scriptures, there’s a foundational reason for the difference in diet.
From a nutritional standpoint, many experts will tell you shellfish are scavengers, bottom feeders; they eat the remains and wastes (yes, fecal matter) of the various creatures of the waters. You eat what they eat when you eat them.
Credible nutritionists will tell you pork is one of the worst meats you can eat, of those Westerners regularly consume. Note how they have to treat pork products against parasites, unlike beef, lamb, venison, buffalo, or other meats pronounced clean by the Bible. Pork is also difficult to digest.
We live near a pig farm and know people who have worked there. Frequently, they throw hog carcasses on the field, and coyotes come and feed on them. The coyotes are mangy, sickly, and die a slow, unpleasant death, eaten of parasites. Workers witnessing the operation declare they would never eat pork.
What, then, was Paul’s intent and meaning in the words regularly quoted by proponents of eating pork and other unclean meats? There are clear qualifications in that verse as to what one can eat. He said, “…for it is sanctified by the Word of God.” The Word of God in that day was the Old Testament. The Word of God was very clear on what was clean and unclean and never contradicted itself. By prayer we bless the food before us, but can we bless that which the Lord has forbidden or called unclean? Obviously not.
Which brings us to another passage used to excuse men to do their own pleasure and consequently destroy themselves:
Acts 10:9-16 MKJV
(9) On the next day, as these went on the road, and drawing near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.
(10) And he became very hungry and desired to eat. But while they made ready, an ecstasy fell on him.
(11) And he saw the heaven opened and a certain vessel like a sheet coming down to him, being bound at the four corners and let down to the earth;
(12) in which were all the four-footed animals of the earth, and the wild beasts, and the reptiles, and the birds of the heaven.
(13) And a voice came to him, saying, “Rise, Peter! Kill and eat!”
(14) But Peter said, “Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”
(15) And the voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has made clean, you do not call common.”
(16) This happened three times, and the vessel was received up again into the heaven.
People have taken this passage to justify a lawless diet, but this passage isn’t at all talking about diet. Peter was being instructed to go to the Gentiles whom the Jews deemed unclean, an unholy people, which they were.
Acts 10:17-22 MKJV
(17) And while Peter doubted within himself what the vision which he had seen might be, even behold, the men who were sent from Cornelius had asked for Simon’s house and stood on the porch.
(18) And they called and asked if Simon whose last name is Peter was staying there.
(19) And while Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you.
(20) Therefore arise and go down and go with them without doubting, for I have sent them.”
(21) And going down to the men, those sent to him from Cornelius, Peter said, “Behold, I am the one you are seeking. For what reason have you come?”
(22) And they said, “Cornelius the centurion, a just man and one who fears God, and one of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear words from you.”
Arriving at Cornelius’ home, Peter said, “You know that it is an unlawful thing for a man, a Jew, to keep company with, or to come near to, one of another nation. But God has shown me not to call any man common or unclean. Therefore I came without complaint, being sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me” (Acts 10:28-29 MKJV).
The vision was an instruction by parable to Peter to now take the Gospel to the Gentiles. He wasn’t instructed to join them in their thoughts and ways that made them unclean. Rather, he was sent to convert and instruct them to a godly way of life (read Acts 10 and 11).
What of the instructions James and the elders gave to the Gentiles to counter the influence of the “Judaizers” as recorded in Acts 15? Were they told that they shouldn’t eat pork or skunk? No. But consider that the passage clarifies their thinking:
“For Moses of old time has in every city them that preach him, being red in the synagogues every Sabbath day” (Acts 15:21).
In other words, they were saying, “These are the more urgent matters – do these for now until you grow and are able to handle more, and as you do, you’ll do well. The Law of Moses is available to you when you’re ready for more.”
Are we suggesting all the Law of Moses was to be kept? No. There are both ceremonial laws fulfilled and laws that continue as good counsel.
The Lord didn’t lay everything on me at once when I first began to walk with Him. I was so foreign to Him and His ways that if I had tried to change all my habits and customs at once, I would have imploded. It is impossible. It was very difficult for me to change diet habits; it was difficult forsaking my family, my church, my beliefs, and my friends; it was difficult ceasing to celebrate Christmas. The list goes on.
It took years to learn and change. This change is impossible and unnatural for anybody all at once, as it’s impossible for a newborn to be an adult overnight. But some things have precedence over others. It is a matter of priorities. We need to realize the Gentiles were alien to the things of God.
The nature of creation didn’t change by the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Pigs didn’t suddenly become lambs. The Levitical priesthood, animal sacrifices, ceremonies, and ordinances of the Law of Moses ended, however, because the prophetic shadow laws (laws signifying things to come) were fulfilled in Christ. At the cross, God was finished with those particular symbolisms. Jesus Christ fulfilled their message and purpose forever.
Is it an absolute law not to eat the unclean? It is law, but absolute, or for everyone at all times, no. Many things aren’t absolute though we try to make them so.
God has often made exceptions to the rules. For instance, He commanded the children of Israel to enter and take the land of Canaan and dwell there, yet two and a half tribes were permitted to dwell outside Canaan. God commanded the Israelites not to murder, yet they were commanded to slay man, woman, and child of the Canaanites. Jews were not to marry women of the nations around them, yet by God’s will, Samson married a Philistine (Judges 14:1-4).
Why does God have His exceptions? To confound us for good, lest at any time we worship the Law rather than the Lawgiver.
Why are so many people sick? Isn’t it partly because of the things they consume physically, as well as mentally and spiritually? Why do people have heart disease, cancer, diabetes, cavities, gallstones, kidney stones, appendicitis, arthritis, mental diseases, worms, parasites, and a host of other maladies? One of the causes is certainly diet, part of which is made up of unclean meats.
God has promised blessings, like health and protection, for true believers. How is it nominal Christians are all sick, suffering, and dying with those who don’t profess faith in Christ. It’s because those Christians don’t believe and obey God, notwithstanding their profession of faith in Christ. (Read God Heals Today, His Way.)
People often defend unclean diet with the Lord’s words from Scripture, “Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (Matthew 15:11 MKJV). Then let them partake of a tall glass of whiskey and a cigarette, perhaps with some heroin or crack cocaine, and see how they’re affected and how they affect others.
Obviously, Jesus didn’t mean what one might like to think. He wasn’t changing the Law, as has been taught by ignorant and thoughtless teachers. But the simple and the lawless will do as they please and destroy themselves, while the wise will fear and save themselves from the wrath to come.
Some scribes or translators of the Bible have concluded the Lord changed the Law, or they decided to change it themselves. They’ve added words to this effect in the Gospel of Mark, inferring Jesus said something that He didn’t (in red):
Mark 7:14-19 ESV
(14) And He called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear Me, all of you, and understand:
(15) There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”
(17) And when He had entered the house and left the people, His disciples asked Him about the parable.
(18) And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,
(19) since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)
The words in parentheses appear in some, but not all, Bible versions, because they were added by men who had no fear of God, paying no heed to His admonition:
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book” (Revelation 22:18).
Thus they opened wide to eat whatever they pleased, bringing upon themselves the plagues God promised for those who add to His words.
Read Christian Physical Diet.
Listen to a segment from a discussion of Romans 14 and 1 Timothy 4:4-5 here.
Consider what this diabolical reasoning infers. If certain foods are no longer unclean to eat, with no biological changes having taken place in the animals or us, then God only withheld these foods to test His people, a religious restriction with no meaning other than discipline. Does that mean that now adultery and fornication are okay, since Christ has removed the restrictions? One could justify these, and many do. Didn’t He say iniquity would abound?
Consider the alternative to this doctrine: Why not prosper, eating that which is clean? Doesn’t even knowledge in the world and science and nature teach the folly of eating the unclean?