Following is a paper my 13 year old son wrote for a research class in the fall of 2012. He chose this topic because we had just dealt in depth with it as a family as Abba began to open our eyes to the fullness of what He desires as a walk of righteousness.
This is guaranteed to challenge you, but I encourage you to follow along as he digs into the unchanging Word of our King.
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate from scriptural and scientific evidence that God’s dietary laws are unchanging through the course of time.
In this paper I will address many arguments that people claim are biblical but in fact bend the evidence to fit their proponent’s presuppositions. Many people misunderstand Acts 10; Mark 7; Romans 14; Titus 1:14-16 and First Timothy 4:4-5,trying to make these verses say what they want them to say. I will, in this paper, explain what all these verses mean. I will unravel these verses with the help of my heavenly Father.
Is it possible for the majority to be wrong? Is it possible for brilliant minds to develop doctrine and theology that is settled for hundreds or maybe even thousands of years, only to be wrong? The Pharisees of Jesus` day were the equivalent of today’s top seminary teachers and preachers. Were they wrong about some of their ‘settled’ pet doctrines? We see Jesus correct them on many counts where they have added or subtracted from the Law of Moses, thus violating Deuteronomy12:32,“Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.”
Man has a habit of altering or not understanding rightly the Word of God- Martin Luther, in 1517, led a restoration against another group of religious leaders that taught, as ‘Divine Ordinances ( Mark 7:8-9)’, the doctrines of men. Brilliant theologians and centuries of logic had been used to support fallacies- and though none were overturned in a day or by a single paper, Luther’s demand to return to the ‘pure word’( 1 Peter 2:2 ) overturned many doctrines of men. History is littered with seemingly wise and smart men who were wrong. No matter how convinced one may have been of the world being flat, no matter how many peers confirmed this errant thought, in the end, the thought was wrong. The same is true for theology where a little man named Luther began asking hard questions of the establishment.
This paper will not overturn 1800 years of errant understanding or willful disobedience to biblical dietary instructions as given by God to Moses. However, it will ask and attempt to answer some very hard questions. Because there are almost no sources in Protestantism that agree, and because the scriptures are the source of all truth, I will show what scripture teaches, how Jesus lived, what he taught, how the apostles lived, what they taught and thus- what we should believe. One may argue that it may appear that I am avoiding dealing with opposing sources. But I am using the greatest source people argue from, thus, I need not deal with opposing sources. Essentially, I am going back to the foundation. I will address some commonly misused scriptures as well as introduce some scientific evidence. I would encourage you to prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to speak truth.
Biblical Objections & Evidence
1 John 2:3-6 states: “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” John in this verse is talking about Jesus. He (John) is telling us to walk like Jesus. It is sin not to keep God’s commandments. This is specifically stated in these verses. So what are the commandments? The commandments are the commands given by God in the first five books of the Bible, known as the Torah. Many people get skittish when they hear the word Torah because the word ‘law’ or ‘bondage’ comes to mind immediately. Really though, the word Torah in Hebrew translates to ‘instructions’. The Torah is more of a guard-rail to keep you from falling off of a spiritual cliff. We then move to the walk of Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 11:1-2 Paul says: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.” Paul says to imitate him as he imitated Christ. So how did Jesus walk? We know that he was raised in Israel by a Jewish family belonging to the tribe of Judah. By living in Israel he was exposed every day to the Mosaic law. We also know that He perfectly kept the law. And since He perfectly kept the law, He must have perfectly taught the law. This relates to my paper in that we need to keep all the commandments. Thus saying I will start my paper.
To start this paper I will use scripture to explain what clean and unclean animals are.In Leviticus 11, God lays down the boundaries concerning clean and unclean foods. The Biblical clean animals that God’s people could eat were animals that had a split hoof and chewed its cud. Such animals were: goats, sheep, cow, deer, and caribou, just to name a few.
To meet the requirements of cleanness for fish, they had to have scales and fins. Examples of these fish were: salmon, trout, crappie, and tuna. These are just a few of fish that the people of God could eat. Also, the people of God could eat certain insects. The insects had to have four jointed legs. Examples of such insects were: grasshoppers, crickets and locust.
We know that John the Baptist lived off wild locusts and honey. In Genesis 1:29, God also gives Adam all the seed-bearing plants in the garden. Therefore God clearly defines what food is in Gen. 1:27-29 and Lev. 11. So throughout this paper when I say “food,” I will be using God’s definition.
We can rightfully assume plants that bear seed and give fruit are clean. These were all the kosher (kosher: ritually clean) foods that anybody who was grafted into God’s people (“the alien within your gate,” Deut. 31:12) could eat. I will define food from a biblical perspective. Food: anything clean that God‘s people could eat.
While I may be running the risk of using the definition of food as an argument, God defines food as clean foods. People, however define food as anything that is edible. An example of such is: in China they eat all kinds of things and they define it as food. One may argue that in the Bible there are examples of non-Jews eating thing other than what God defines as food, and it is still called food. If I saw this I might believe it. We cannot impose our definition of food on scripture.
An interesting key note is that God associates holiness with what His people, the people who are grafted into the tree of Israel, could eat. Proof of this is that near the end of Leviticus 11 God says, “Be holy for I am holy” (Lev. 11:45b) 1 Peter 1:16 states, “For it is written: Be holy for I am holy.” The larger context of what Peter is saying is that God ties our outward purity with our inward purity. Paul says the same thing in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them,’ says the Lord, ‘and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.’ Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” Paul here is saying the same thing that Peter was. They are both saying that God associates outward purity with the inward. The inward purity is spiritual purity, and the outward purity is how we act and eat.
We now discuss what God considers unclean. Unclean animals in the Bible were: swine; though it has a split hoof it does not chew cud, any kind of equestrian; canines, because they have paws; and felines, which have paws as well. Others in the list include rabbit, opossum, raccoon and squirrel.Fish that are unclean are any fish with skin and fins. Fish like this include: catfish, shark, squid, swordfish and eel, just to name a few. Also, they could not eat any kind of shellfish such as shrimp, clams, mussels, lobsters, and a few others. They could not eat any kind of bird of prey eagles, falcons, vultures (Ever wonder why God did not give them any feathers on their head?), flamingos, crows, buzzards, and some others. Also, they could not eat any type of reptile. They also could not eat any kind of amphibian, frogs, salamanders, toads, newts, or blind worms. Interestingly enough, some species of these amphibians are deadly poisonous.
Is there any connection among all these unclean animals? One apparent connection is that almost all of the unclean animals are scavengers: they live off all the junk and refuse that all the other animals leave behind. So basically, all scavengers, the vacuum cleaners of the earth, are unclean.
So when God gave these food laws, He did it to keep His people safe medically. When God, the king of the universe, gives us a command, it is not our job to ask, “Why?” He calls us His children. We are not His teenagers.We don‘t need to know everything.
We will now move on to Noah and his relation to the law. According to the Bible, Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless man living on the earth at that time. He constantly followed God’s will and enjoyed a close relationship with Him (Genesis 6:9). At that point, there had to be a law because how can a man be righteous and blameless without any standard against which to compare his righteousness? If Noah was righteous and blameless, it could be safe to assume that he obeyed the dietary laws. But how could he obey the food laws if they were not written until Leviticus 11? Well, Noah could have sat on his great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Enosh’s knee. (One can do the math! I will not!). And Enosh could have passed the oral law to Noah because Noah knew what was clean and unclean when he loaded all the animals onto the ark. So at this point some of the law had to exist because Noah knew what was clean and unclean because he took seven of each clean animal and two of each unclean animal. The reason he put seven of each clean animal is so that he could eat and sacrifice clean things. While some people believe that Noah only brought more clean animals onto the ark than unclean for just sacrifices, there is a reason to combat this. If Noah had eaten an unclean animal, that animal would have gone extinct. The reason is that there were only two of each unclean animal, male and female. If he had eaten either one of the genders they would not be able to reproduce, thus going extinct. So, Noah had to know the distinction between clean and unclean. Why then, do some people think that the law could have been mixed up? The oldest descendant could have passed the law to the youngest one living before the older died. Since people lived a long time at that time period one person could pass the law through 5 or 6 generations before he died. There also had to be law from and in the time of the Garden of Eden. Proof of this is that when Cain murdered Abel, he knew he did wrong. How? Romans 4:15 states, “Where there is no law there is no transgression.” There had to be a law for him to know he had done wrong. Therefore, there was probably the law in the time of Eden. God judged Cain. If God is a just God, He would judge according to His law. So what this means is that there had to be law in order for Cain to break it. The existence of the law before Sinai proves that they knew what the law was and how to please God by following His commands. Therefore, the law had to be in effect, thus the dietary laws were in effect.
I will now address one of many common objections that people use from the Bible to declare that God made all foods clean. Mark 7:1-23 states: “One day Pharisees confronted Jesus at Jerusalem. They noticed that Jesus and His disciples did not follow the Jewish ritual of washing hands before eating. They asked Jesus ‘Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old customs? They eat without performing the washing of the hand ceremony.’ Jesus replied, ‘You hypocrites! Isaiah was prophesying about you when he said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. Their worship is a farce, they replace God’s commandments with their own man-made teaching.” For you ignore God’s specific laws and substitute your own traditions.’” Then He said, “You reject God’s laws in order to keep hold of your own traditions…” Picking back up in verse 14: “Then Jesus said, ‘All of you listen, and try to understand. You are not defiled by what you eat; but by what you say and do.’ Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the statement he made. ‘Don’t you understand either?’ he asked. ‘Can’t you see what you eat won’t defile you? Food you eat does not come in contact with your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then come out again’ (thus cleansing all foods). And then he added, ‘It is the thought-life that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, eagerness for lustful pleasure, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you and make you unacceptable to God.’” Matthew 15 is the parallel passage to Mark 7.
I will now attempt to say what these verses mean. Is Jesus declaring all foods clean? No, He is correcting the religious leaders, the Pharisees,who are saying that whatever people touched food-wise is unclean because they did not wash their hands before touching clean things which they can eat.The Pharisees believed people who touched clean things with unclean hands defiled whatever they touched, and therefore it was unclean. The Jews had oral laws or traditions that had to be followed when preparing clean animals. Otherwise the clean food became unclean. It is peculiar that in verse 19 in parentheses is the sentence “Thus he declared all foods acceptable.” Hope Egan, author of Holy Cow!, puts it this way, “Thus nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him unclean, where unclean means having an unclean heart. Eating unclean bread does not make a man’s heart unclean. Instead, the Master points out that unclean bread ‘entereth not into his heart, but into his belly, and goeth out into the drought, purging all meats’ (Mark 7:19 KJV). That is to say, it passes through the digestive system and goes out the end opposite it came in. This is the plain meaning of the passage. Yet some translators take the clause ‘purging all meats’ as a narrator’s parenthetical statement and translate ‘purging’ as ‘Thus He declared all foods clean.’ The ‘Thus He declared,’ however, are not in the Greek text; they are supplied by the translator to make the new construction of the sentence fit. The Greek text literally says, ‘purging all foods.’ Jesus was not setting aside the Law; He was talking about (ahem) ‘going potty.’” 1 what this means is that dirty, not ceremonially unclean, foods are cleansed when they enter the stomach. This is what Jesus is talking about. (A detailed discussion of the Greek confirming this conclusion can be found at: ( http://q.b5z.net/i/u/10105283/f/FAQ_-_Mark_7_-_Against_Commandments_of_Men_or_Commandments_of_God.pdf or http://tinyurl.com/a2ag2ra) The phrase ‘thus he declared’ was added to make it clear that Jesus was the one, in the Greek version, receiving the action of the verb.Matthew 15 confirms this. Verse 20 points directly to hand-washing. Remember though, that if He did say this, food is defined as anything clean that God has ordained clean. Plus, if he said what we think he said and the Jews understood it the way we understand him they would have immediately stripped him of his credentials as a rabbi and take him outside and stoned him on the spot. So he must have been talking about something entirely differently.The question is, what? He was talking about the actions of the heart defiling the man and not what he eats. So this passage is not about food.To put this another way, lamb is a ‘clean’ meat, even if I drop it on the ground and drag it through the dirt. It might be DIRTY, but it is not ‘unclean’ by the Leviticus 11 definition. This is what Jesus meant. Man cannot make unclean something that God has ordained to be ‘clean.’ (And, by definition, cannot make ‘clean’ that which the Creator made ‘unclean.’) Four reasons that confirm this understanding are:
1. Deuteronomy thirteen says that if a prophet comes and teaches contrary to the Law, then that prophet is teaching them to follow other gods and Moses instructed Israel to stone the false prophet. Jesus was not stoned, therefore, the rabbis understood he was speaking of hand washing and oral traditions, NOT changing the Law of Moses.
2. According to Deuteronomy thirteen, Jesus would be disqualified as the Messiah because He was overturning the ‘perfect’ (Ps. 19:7) Law of Moses.Some people say that Jesus can change the law if he so pleases because He is the ultimate law giver. While Jesus is the law-giver, why would He change it if it was already perfect. Can the ‘perfect’ be made ‘more perfect?’ This just does not make any sense. One may argue that God would change the Law in regard that the people of God no longer lived in the land. This is wrong. Some of these laws (specifically Leviticus 20) are not in force. They have not been abrogated. There is a difference.
3. Matthew fifteen is a parallel passage to Mark seven and it is clearly about hand washing (15:20). One may argue that all the Gospels are making different points for every book that was written. If that were so why bother writing four different books, when the authors could have worked together to say each different points. In addition, Jesus parables and other things He told His disciples and other people, probably had only one meaning.
4. Peter did not get the memo (Acts 10:14-17) even after asking for clarification (Matt. 15:15-20)!
In light of point #4, Acts ten is another passage that is often misused to redefine God’s instructions for clean and unclean. Here is a brief overview of what this passage is: Peter is in Joppa at the house of Simon and goes up onto the roof to pray. While he is up there he gets hungry. While lunch was being prepared Peter fell into a trance. He saw the sky open and something like a large sheet descend. On this sheet were all sorts of clean and unclean animals. A voice tells Peter to kill and eat these animals. Peter responds by saying that “nothing unclean has ever entered my mouth.” This happens three times. While Peter was still wondering about this vision, three men came looking for Peter. God tells Peter to go with these three men, because they are from Cornelius. So Peter goes and asks them why they have come. They reply by saying that they are from Cornelius who fears God and is held in respect by the Jews and is inviting Peter to give him the message of Christ. Then Peter agrees to go with them and they travel to where Cornelius lived in Caesar ea. When they arrived at Cornelius’ house, Cornelius bowed at Peter’s feet. But Peter raised him up, saying that he is just a human. They then went into Cornelius’ house where he had assembled some other people to listen to Peter. When Peter goes inside he tells them that he knows it is against the Jewish laws to go into the house of a Gentile but God has showed him that he is not to think of any man as unclean. Emphasis added.
The first interesting part is that the vision happened three times to Peter, so Peter clearly did not understand and is “perplexed” by the vision. Peter later comes to realize that the vision is not about food,but that the good news of Christ is not just for the Jews but for the Gentiles, as well. [A side point is that if Cornelius was held in respect by the Jews he must have been following the dietary laws and worshiping on the Sabbath. He was what is generally called a ‘proselyte.’] The clean and unclean animals on the sheet show that Jew and Gentile are one in the Messiah when the Gentile is grafted into God’s people.
Jewish oral law prevented Jews from entering the house of a Gentile because they were considered unclean. But Peter says that God has shown him not to call any man unclean, thus overturning Jewish oral tradition. Most people make the mistake of not reading past verse sixteen, but if you do it is clear that the vision is not about food, but about people. Just because Gideon heard a Midianite say he had a vision about a barley loaf (Judges 7:9-15) does not mean he was not hungry.And just because Joseph had a vision about his brother’s wheat sheaves bowing down to his (Gen. 37:5-8) does not mean there was an agriculture anomaly. But most of all, did Jacob’s vision of the ladder (Gen. 28:12-17) mean God wanted him to go into the home improvement business?!2 While this has nothing to do with the food laws it demonstrates that just because the vision uses a particular imagery, the meaning is often an entirely different matter. One must read everything around the verse (or vision) in order to understand what is being taught. One may say that I am avoiding the meaning of the text by using a false dichotomy to escape the meaning inferred by the vast majority of church history. This would be a false accusation, as church history cannot interpret scripture. With visions one has to interpret the vision with scripture and the context around it. And the context says that Peter`s vision was about people being clean and unclean (Acts 10:28). In chapter 11 of Acts verses 1-18 Peter explains in detail his vision to a group of Jews when he arrived in Jerusalem. The interesting part is that the Jews who he is talking to agree with him and praise God that the Gentiles have been given a chance to come to the Messiah. The hearers did not immediately break out ham sandwiches, so clearly this passage is not about food either, rather it is about people being clean and unclean. One might say that I am arguing from silence, but this is also false accusation. The text obviously says that the vision is about people not food.
Later, in Acts chapter 15:8, Peter confirms that his vision was not about food by saying, “God, who knows the heart, showed that He accepted them (the Gentiles) by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as He did us.” This confirms again that the vision is about clean and unclean people not food. Also, later in Acts 15:19-21, James says “It is by my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should be writing to them, telling them to abstain from foods polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For Moses, from ancient generations, has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.” Emphasis mine. In the last part of verse twenty James says that the Gentiles should abstain from food polluted by idols, meat from strangled animals and from blood. All these things are characteristics of God’s dietary laws. So, if in Acts 10, God showing Peter the vision of the sheet meant God was abolishing the dietary laws, why is James now saying that the Gentiles who are grafted in have to follow them? Verse 28 identifies these four requirements as essentials in order for the Gentiles to enter fellowship. They would learn the rest as they grew in the faith and learned what God expected as outlined in the Law of Moses. (We treat new believers in much the same way today when we do not expect them to be obedient to everything in Scripture to begin attending church. Major issues need to be addressed immediately, but others will be learned along the way.) Peter and Paul agree with James’ judgment giving further evidence that the vision of the sheet was not about food.
A side note- Roughly twenty years after the resurrection of Christ, James calls these four requirements essentials to be the minimum to join fellowship with the Jews. (v. 28) and, as we see in Acts 15:21, expects the Gentiles to:
1. Learn (the Law of) Moses,
2. In the synagogue,
3. On the Sabbath
One may argue that the verse does not say that Gentiles were part of those services in verse 21. One may also argue that the verse could be saying that the Jews had customs that would not go away overnight. One may continue to argue that if the Gentiles are willing to eliminate some of the more offensive practices, then they will be able to get along with the Jews much more easily. In further argument, one might say that I cannot assume that verse 21 is stating that the Gentiles have to obey all the dietary laws. Or that, the verse says absolutely nothing about “expecting the Gentiles to” do these things. There are two things wrong with this. 1. The Jews “customs” are not customs. It is God`s law.
2. If all the Gentiles had to do was follow the dietary laws, then they could commit any other sin they wanted as long as they were following the dietary laws.
While the Sabbath is an unrelated topic to the dietary laws, it proves that the Law was still in existence and was being practiced even after the resurrection of Christ. And, if the law was still in existence it would be safe to assume that the dietary laws were still being practiced.
Another chapter that people commonly misinterpreted is Romans 14. The most important verse in this chapter is verse one: “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” The question we must ask is, “What does ‘weak in the faith mean’”? This cannot be a physical type of weakness because Daniel proved he was stronger just by eating vegetables. No, this is a ‘weak in the faith’ type of weak. The second part of this verse says “without passing judgment on disputable matters.” This cannot be talking about food or the Sabbath because those are indisputable matters. While the Bible may not say that the food or the Sabbath are indisputable they have been clearly articulated in scripture. It is like this, if I give one directions so clear down to the most minute detail, is one going to question the directions? Of course not. It is the same way with God’s laws that He gives in scripture. They are clearly outlined in the Old Testament, the only scripture the Romans had, so they cannot be disputed over. One may argue that the sacrificial laws, which are just as clear, must then still be in effect. There is a problem though with this argument. The problem is that there must be a Temple to make the sacrifice at, there has to be a Levitical priest present. The sacrificial laws therefore are not and cannot in the current situation be enforced. [Comment: Jesus was/is the perfect sacrifice for atonement as Hebrews 10:12-14 states. While this shows the atonement sacrifice is ended, it may not mean all sacrifice was done away with. We see Paul, possible author of Hebrews, in Acts 21:20-26, sacrificing and taking Temple vows as described in Numbers 6. I do not understand this, but Paul certainly must have had a more nuanced view of the Law.] Unlike the weak believers, strong believers like Abraham, Noah and Daniel are going to follow what God said because it is indisputable and cannot be argued against. The strong believers are going to eat anything that God has declared clean and the weak believers are going to eat only what they think is clean and not offered to idols whether God had declared it clean because idols mean nothing.Paul is saying that the old believers should not condemn the new ones for not eating meat because they are not sure whether it has been offered to idols or not. First Corinthians eight helps explain the food issue. First Corinthians eight is talking about those who do not want to eat meat because they are not sure whether it has been offered to idols or not. What else are they going to eat? Vegetables. And Paul calls those people weak. This is not an insult. He is saying that new believers don’t understand that idols mean nothing. If God has declared something clean it is clean no matter what. (Same as Jesus said in Matthew 15 and Mark 7.) One may argue that because Paul said in verse 14, “I know and am persuaded in by the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself.” that God has declared all foods clean. There is a problem with this argument, as in 2 Corinthians 7:1 Paul says, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” So either, Paul is majorly confused or we are. If your Bible is contradictory, check yourself, not the Bible!
In the latter part of verse five Paul says each person is completely persuaded in his own mind. So if truth is truth one could use this verse to do whatever one want as long as one is persuaded in one`s own mind. But this is not what the verse is talking about at all. In verses five through nine Paul appears to be talking about the Sabbath. Wait a minute, Paul is talking about food and then addressing the Sabbath, unless he is not talking about the Sabbath at all- an indisputable matter. What he is talking about is fasting. The first century believers would argue or debate about which days they should fast. Paul is saying that it does not matter on which days they fast because it is not outlined in scripture. Both Romans fourteen and first Corinthians eight are about whether we should eat meat offered to idols or not.
Isaiah 66:17 says, “’Those who purify themselves in a sacred garden, feasting on pork and rats and other forbidden meats, will come to a terrible end,’ says the LORD.” This verse is clearly talking about some future time, often called the Millennium or the thousand year rest when Jesus comes back and rules from Jerusalem. So pork and other foods that were considered unclean back in Jesus’ time are clean today in this time and era and then when He comes back they are unclean again…unless God never declared unclean foods clean. There are other instances in the Bible where in the Millennium we do things that we don’t do in this time and era, things like the Sabbath, the Feasts of the Lord and the Dietary Laws. So why then did we ever stop doing these things? Maybe it is because God never told us to stop. What’s more is that when we are obedient to His Law, He will bless you and your land. (Duet. 11: 27; Ps. 112:1, 119: 1-2, 128; Prov. 8: 32- 34; Is. 56:2; Mat 5:6; 10; Luke 11:28; James 1:25; 1 Pe. 3:14; Rev 22:14) I do not know about one, but I want to be blessed. There are curses if you disobey his law. (Duet. 11: 28) Some people may get offended when I say this, but I am not the one saying this, I am only quoting what God told Moses.
Another abused passage is Titus 1:14-16. It says, “This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth. To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and their consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” In this verse, Paul is telling Titus not to pay attention to Jewish myths. Most people look at this and assume that this means God’s dietary laws or the Sabbath are Jewish myths. But that is God’s law.So is God’s law a myth? Are God’s commandments a myth? If God’s law is a myth then Psalm 119 is the biggest joke of all time. No, what this is talking about is the traditions of men being a myth. In the first part of verse fifteen it says, “to the pure all things are pure.” Taking this verse out of context, people could do whatever they want as long as they thought it was pure. So does that mean we can commit adultery or do whatever we want as long as we thought it was pure? Some people believe that only the commandments that are talked about in the New Testament are the ones we should follow. So what about bestiality? That is not talked about in the New Testament. Or what about the third commandment? That is not talked about in the New Testament, either. So this must not be what he is talking about. The text indicates Jewish myths, in other places referred to as the traditions of men. One might ask, “Then what exactly are the things that are impure?” The things that are impure are the things that God has specifically has said not to do.
Yet another passage that is misused is First Timothy 4:4-5: “For everything God has created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it has been consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” Many people say that “All a person has to do is pray and it will be clean”. Taken to its logical extreme, I could pray over a poisonous tree frog just before I eat it raw and I won’t die. Maybe that’s not what Paul meant. Like many others, this verse has been taken out of context. The word “for” in verse 4 suggests that there was a thought before this verse that had something to do with this verse. Verse three says, “They (hypocritical liars) forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who know the truth.” Now verse 4 makes more sense. Nowhere in God’s law are we told to abstain from marriage, so the food abstention must also be a violation of God’s law. Remember the definition of food in the Bible is foods that God declared to be clean. So, when the hypocritical liars tell the new believers to abstain from certain foods they were telling them to stop eating clean foods that God has given them. In the latter part of verse 4 Paul says, “and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it has been consecrated by the word of God and prayer”. What this means is that food has to be consecrated by the word of God. In order for something to be clean it needs to be consecrated by both the word of God and prayer. We know that it has been consecrated by prayer when and if we pray before we eat. But where in the scriptures, are any kinds of unclean foods sanctified?So then this passage is not about food, rather it is about Paul warning Timothy not to pay attention to the hypocrites who are telling Timothy lies.
Paul is the author of Romans, Corinthians, 1Timothy and Titus. Passages from these books are often misused. We will now examine Paul’s practice and see how he acted. First Corinthians 11:1-2 says “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to traditions, just as I delivered them to you.” So what was Paul’s example?
He kept the Feasts- Acts 20: 6 and 16; 1 Corinthians 5:8; 16:8. One might argue that Paul,when keeping the Feasts, was only maintaining his Jewish culture. This, though, would violate a couple things.
1. The feasts are not a cultural tradition, they are a command from God.
2. There is no difference between the Jew or the Greek.
3. The Gentile is no longer a Gentile, but grafted into Israel.
4. There is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
5. And, thus, there is one law, not two.
He kept the Sabbath- Acts 13:14, 42-44; 14:1; 18:4 etc. One may argue that these passages are nothing but evangelistic. They are not. Paul was worshiping and bringing the good news of the Messiah as prophesied in the Law and the Prophets.
He also kept the law- Acts 21:24-26; 24:14; 25:7-8, 11; 28:17-18. One may argue that there is more than one way of keeping the law. Many people today believe that by Jesus keeping the law, we keep the whole law by believing in Jesus Christ. This is not a complete or correct understanding. To illustrate, just because my mom keeps the speed limit and pays any previous speeding tickets of mine, that does not mean I have the ‘freedom’ to speed through town. If I accidentally get a speeding ticket I have an advocate. (1 John 2:1- My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.) One might argue that if we celebrate Passover we deny the work of Christ. However, not only does Paul tell us to keep the Feast-cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.(1 Corinthians 5:7-8). We celebrate in a fulfilled way, in a remembrance ( Passover has always been a remembrance, as well as a foreshadowing), like an anniversary. In addition, when Jesus had the last Passover with his disciples Scripture tells us, “and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). The point is that following any of God’s laws are not denying Christ’s existence, but rather we are honoring Him by remembering Him and his laws. Paul’s teachings are hard to understand, and often we are confused by what Paul is saying and he is often misrepresented. So either Paul is a schizophrenic liar, or he is falsely accused. Second Peter 3: 14-16 states, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do to other scriptures, to their own destruction.” What this means is that Paul’s writings are hard to understand if one doesn’t know the context of what he is talking about. The odd part about this is that Peter is admitting that Paul’s teachings are difficult to understand if one doesn’t dig deep and are distorted by those who do not understand what Paul says.
Either Paul cannot make up his mind about the law or we have no idea what he is talking about. Here are some examples: Good understanding of the Law- 1 Corinthians 7:19, Romans 7:16, Romans 3:31
Bad understanding of the Law- Galatians 3:10, Ephesians 2:15, Galatians 4:4-5.
If Paul kept the Law and calls us to be imitators of him, then what he did and kept should be our default understanding when reading his letters.
There is scientific evidence to show that God did not just randomly pick animals that his people could or could not eat. There are health concerns to following God’s dietary laws. In the world there are many cultures that follow God’s dietary laws without knowing it, and those cultures have a significantly healthier lifestyle. God is much smarter than we are, and He gave us instructions in how to please Him for just about everything else, so why not food? God designed certain things to do certain jobs. An example of such is plants. God designed them to take in all the carbon dioxide that we humans breathe and turn it back into oxygen. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure is a good way to describe this air exchange.
Just as God intricately designed the plant kingdom He also designed certain animals to do certain jobs and he also made some animals solely designed for eating. Pigs, for instance, were never designed to be eaten. While cooking pig may take away some of the diseases, many people that eat pork do not bring it up to temperature and keep it there for the recommended amount of time. ( Disclaimer: I am not responsible if you lose any food you have just eaten!) They do not have a perspiration system. The perspiration system carries toxins away from the body by sweating. Pigs also only digest their food for four hours and any toxic matter that they ingest is immediately surrounded by fat to protect the pig from sickness. The toxins are stored in the fat. I don‘t know about one but the very first thing that I always went for when I ate pork chops was the fat. Another thing that is terrible about pigs is that they can get a worm inside them called a trichina (pronounced: trick-EE-nuh) worm. This worm lives in the muscles of their host and is awakened by being ingested by someone eating the host animal. It then proceeds to move to the intestines and multiply. Some of them go to odd places. There was a report of a woman who complained of constant headaches and was taken in for surgery just in case she had a brain tumor. When they opened her brain up an eight inch trichina worm crawled out. It has also been proven that all types of flu originate from pigs, not just swine flu. The Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) states “ …more than one hundred viruses come to the United States from China through pigs.” Does H1N1 sound familiar?
Pigs that are “guaranteed corn fed” can’t possibly be because their owners cannot watch the pigs 24/7 until the pigs are slaughtered and even if the pig eats a rat or a snake that happens to wander into the pig pen and the owner sees it happen, what’s he going to do? It just is not possible to guarantee that they are totally disease, trichina or just about anything else, free.
The John Hopkins Institute in 1953 “Of special interest were experiments made with muscle juices and also blood solutions obtained from many species of fishes. 54 species of fishes were so far studied in regard to toxicity of meat extracts.It was found that the muscle extract of those fishes which possess scales and fins were practically non-toxic, while muscle extracts from fishes without scales and fins where highly toxic for the growth of Lupinus albus seedlings.” (pp. 446-448 David I. Macht, published in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine). Remember that God’s dietary laws allowed his people to eat fish with scales and fins, while they were not permitted to eat fish without scales or fins. These are some of the worst things that the pig and other unclean animals can get by being disease magnets.
I will not only name the bad things but the good things as well. There are many healthy benefits to following God’s dietary laws. For one thing, it is possible lose a little bit of weight. The reason why is because when one abstains from something your body goes and gets rid of all the impurities and other things it does not need. And the impurities are surrounded by fat to protect the body, and in order for it to get to the impurities it needs to eat through the fat. So in the process of getting rid of the junk and refuse that the body does not need, one can lose weight. Another health benefit is one won’t be as sick as one usually is. These are some of the healthy side-effects to following God’s dietary laws. There are reasons why God chose some clean animals.
Fish- God remarkably designed certain fish to do certain things. Two examples of certain fish are bass and catfish. Bass are fish with scales and fins, therefore they meet the requirements for clean. Catfish, however, have fins but no scales; they have a skin and because of that they are unclean. Bass eat pretty much anything, as long as it is not dead or dying. Catfish on the other hand eat anything, no limits. It could be, dead, dying, fried, juiced, poisoned or just about anything else. The reason why they can eat just about anything is that their skin and tissues absorb the toxins, similar to pigs. It is almost the same principle for shellfish, which are also unclean. Most shellfish feed by sucking water through a tube and extracting all the microscopic food out of the water. In this way it is fed. But, shellfish, when they feed, suck up water that has cholera in it. Cholera is a toxic pollutant, which is associated with raw sewage. When the shellfish takes in cholera it is miraculously absorbed in to the shell without getting sick. By effectively purifying the water, each shellfish can clean between twenty and fifty gallons of water daily. Eating raw shellfish can result in serious consequences however. Only some shellfish are this way, but all are unclean for one reason or another. While the problem is in the shell, the shellfish depends on its shell to help nourish it if it cannot find food. While there may be some healthy side-effects is it worth taking the chance for all the diseases they carry?They are known carriers of viral hepatitis, which can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer. Although there are many bad things that may result from eating unclean sea animals, there are some healthy benefits for eating clean sea animals. Certain fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines contain a fatty acid called omega-3. Omega-3 aids in preventing heart attacks, lowering blood pressure, easing arthritis and lots of other things. In many fish, a high percent of mercury has been found. But God has designed clean fish to resist the mercury. Dr. Rex Russell has evidence that supports this claim. Russell states, “Do you remember being frightened by the publicity about mercury being found in tuna fish? Actually, the alkylglycerols in the lipids of this clean fish pull out the toxic mercury from its flesh. When we eat the fish, the alkylglycerols also remove mercury and other heavy toxic metals from our bodies.” See how God has designed our world so each thing sustains us and each other.
Birds- In Leviticus 11,God lists all the animals that his people could not eat. This is not surprising, as most of them are scavengers and will eat just about anything that they can find. By deductive reasoning we see that chickens, ducks, quail, turkeys and goose are clean to eat. Let us use a chicken as an example. Its diet consists of grass and chicken food if it has been domesticated. A chicken’s craw (part of the digestion system) is very much like a cow’s rumination pouch. Chickens are low in fat and calories and high in cancer-fighting niacin, immune-boosting selenium and metabolism-boosting vitamin B6. Also the prostaglands in chickens have strong anti-viral properties. It seems that God designed chickens for us to eat.
Insects- We know from scripture that John the Baptist lived off of a diet of wild locusts (one of the few clean insects) and honey. Though many people think crickets and some kinds of locust are gross, God designed them with many healthy aspects. Hope Egan states, “On a remote island off the coast of Korea, a small community eats a concoction that includes ground up locust and grasshoppers. With little disease and record-breaking life-spans, they make a good case for the diet followed by John the Baptist.”3 Moshe ben Shaul says, “Locusts… are organic, contain twice the protein and half the fat as beef, and are low in cholesterol, high in magnesium, zinc, iron, and vitamin A- possibly the healthiest meat available.”4
One may argue that cooking unclean foods will take away many of the diseases that have been described. Dr. Rex Russell, M.D. says, “Some people tell me that unlike people in Bible times, we cook meat much better today, and that this renders even unclean meats harmless. One Bible commentary claimed that pork was forbidden in the Old Testament because it was eaten without being cooked, thus passing trichinosis to humans. The author thought that because we now cook meat, we no longer need to follow that law. In my opinion this statement is incorrect. Sophisticated ovens and cooking devices have been found in the most ancient archaeological ruins, including most of Israelites` ruins. They understood that cooking meat was certainly important. Can we safely assume that diseases caused by unclean animals because we now can cook things better…. Even the microwave oven heats meat unevenly, allowing bacteria and parasites (such as trichinosis) to survive in meat… If meat is unclean, don’t count on cooking it to protect you. Some of the most toxic poisons are not destroyed by the heat.5
My conclusion is this: God never in scripture told us to stop the Dietary Laws. Here is biblical evidence that backs this up: Matthew 5:17-19. Jesus said, “Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter, not the smallest stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Last time I looked, the earth is still here and heaven is still here, so the Law must still be in effect and has not passed away.
Another point is that fulfill means “to uphold” not “to complete.” We will experiment by reading the text with both meanings. “I have not come to abolish the Law, but to uphold them.” Now that makes sense. How does the other translation sound? “I have not come to abolish the Law, but to complete it.” This makes no sense. If He has come to complete them then I can murder, steal, lie and not get judged for it when I die because the Law has passed away if Jesus has come to complete the Law. One may argue that the law is divided into three parts, the moral, the civil and the ceremonial, and because Jesus kept the law, we do not have to follow the parts we do not want to or the ones that are inconvenient or uncomfortable for us. There are not three parts of the law. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Jesus, in this passage, is answering the Pharisees who are trying to trick Jesus into sinning. Jesus is saying that all the laws are interdependent. So there cannot be three separate divisions of the law with one standing while two fall. One may argue that this prejudges Jesus` meaning of “ all the Law.” One may also argue that Jesus is talking about the Ten Commandments. But this is wrong, as this scripture is self-explanatory. Jesus, Himself, said all the law and the Prophets. That would mean the whole Old Testament and all 613 of the laws.
In addition, Jesus is the one who died for us, correct? And he had to be perfect? So how could he be perfect if He changed the Law? Being accused of changing the Law was punishable by being stoned to death.We know that Jesus’ death was on the cross, not by stoning. Another piece of evidence is that the Law reveals God (Ps 27:1; John 1:1-14; 14:5-15; 1 John 1:7) and God does not change (Malachi 3:6; Heb. 13:8). So therefore, if God does not change and the Law reveals Him, then the Law does not change either. One might argue that God changes the law as the situation on the earth changes. This is wrong as God would not need change the Law, because it is already perfect. So then why do many people believe that God abolished the law? If God were to abolish the law is should be recorded in scripture. If it took the whole book of Hebrews to transfer the Levitical priesthood to the Melchizedekian priesthood, and God overturned the whole law, then the Bible should be a whole lot bigger. We cannot assume that God had a conversation with an unknown person that is not recored in the Bible. Other important events are recorded. So if God overturned the Law, shouldn’t that be recorded.
It has been a joy writing this paper. I have learned many things through the course of writing this. I hope that one might get something out of this paper, like I did.
1 Holy Cow! Does God Care About What We Eat? by Hope Egan. ( Pg. 103-104)Copyright 2005, First Fruits of Zion
2 Egan (Pg. 55)
3 Egan (Pg. 35-36)
4 Moshe ben Shaul. Petah Tikvah, Jan-March 2004, Vol. 22, No. 1. p.6.
5 What the Bible says about healthy living, Dr Rex Russell, M.D. pg. 152-153. Copyright 1996, Regal Books.