Monday, March 26, 2012
Does The Law Of Clean And Unclean Meats Still Apply Today?
Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Gen. 7:2 (Before the law of clean and unclean animals was given to the Israelites, Noah knew God’s law. Noah knew which animals were clean and unclean. It wasn’t just for the Israelites, it was for all mankind. It is an issue of obedience, health, and holiness. Eating an unclean animal has physical health consequences that God wants us to avoid. God also calls us to be holy in regards to our bodies. Eating unclean meats is an unholy act.)
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. Gen. 9:3-4 (God gave Adam and Eve animals and plants for food. But some plants are poisonous and are meant for other purposes. So too are some animals unclean and meant for other purposes. Also, we are not to eat meat with the blood still in it. This is God’s creation and He knows better than anyone what animals he intended to be for food.)
Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. Lev. 17:14 (God knows the blood carries in it things which will harm us if eaten.)
It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood. Lev. 3:17 (God also knows that the fat also carries in it things which will harm us if eaten.)
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Ye shall eat no manner of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat. Lev. 7:23 (Even the fat of clean animals is not in our best health interest, so says the creator.)
There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. Mark 7:15-20 (Is Jesus saying all meats are clean? No, the proper context of this account is about the disciples eating food with unwashed hands mentioned in verse 2. The Jews had extra rules and traditions apart from God’s law that involved all kinds of washing of hands and dishes before eating. The words “purging all meats” is not apart of the original Greek text and should not be there.) And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? Mark 7:2-5 (Jesus is responding to the accusation of his disciples not washing their hands before eating and thus defiling themselves. Jesus explains that dirt from unwashed hands does not make them unclean. This account has nothing to do with clean and unclean meats.)
These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. Matt. 15:20 (At the end of Jesus’ response in the Matthew account, he also puts his words in proper context. He is speaking about eating with unwashed hands, not clean and unclean meats.)
Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. Acts 10:9-15 (Does Peter’s vision show that God has cleansed all meats? No, if you read further, verse 28 reveals the meaning of the vision. God is showing Peter that Gentiles are now made clean by God and are able to receive salvation. Notice Peter’s response to God’s command to kill and eat unclean meat. Well after Christ had died, Peter refuses to eat unclean meat and says that he has never done so. This shows what Peter believed about clean and unclean meats even after Christ’s death.) And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Acts 10:28 (The vision was not about clean and unclean meats, but about salvation being opened to Gentiles. If all meats were cleansed at Christ’s death, Peter didn’t know it, and God would not have been able to use the analogy of unclean meats to get his message across.) Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) Acts 10: 34-36 (The vision was to show that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, Jews and Gentiles.)
I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Rom. 14:14 (Is Paul claiming nothing is unclean, thus all meats are good for food? Once again, no he is not. The word “unclean” in this verse is the Greek word koinos, and should be translated as “common” or “defiled” just as it was in Matthew 15, Mark 7, and Acts 10. So nothing is defiled of itself. Paul is not talking about clean and unclean meats. He is speaking in the context of those being weak in the faith in regards to foods sacrificed to idols. I Corinthians 8 also speaks about those weak in the faith because of foods sacrificed to idols. Those weak in faith, felt that eating food sacrificed to idols made the food unclean and thus defiling themselves. In I Corinthians 8, Paul explains that these idols are not real, that there is only 1 God, and so these foods are still good for food. But for the strong in the faith be mindful of those without this knowledge, and not cause those weak in the faith to stumble.)
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Rom. 14:1-2 (Here is the proper context for above verse. Paul is addressing those weak in the faith. Paul says those who are weak eat herbs, or are vegetarians. They became vegetarians to avoid eating meats sacrificed to idols and thus defiling themselves. Meats sacrificed to idols were not entirely used, and were then taken and sold on the open market. So there was no way of knowing for sure if meat you were buying in the market place was formerly sacrificed to idols. I Corinthians 8 explains that this is not an issue in and of itself. This verse also shows those not weak in the faith believe that they may eat all things. This is true, but they may eat all things that are of course clean. These verses are not talking at all about clean and unclean meats, but about meats sacrificed to idols.)
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: I Tim. 4:1-4 (Every creature is good, including the parasites, maggots, and tapeworms, but that does not mean every animal is good for food. Many other animals simply have other purposes other than for food. Abstaining from meats or becoming a vegetarian is called a doctrine of devils. Demons understand that meat contains certain proteins vital for the proper development of the brain and that mental weakness invites their influence.)
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. I Cor. 3:16-17 (We are not our own. God dwells in us and He does not want us defiling ourselves with unclean meats that will cause disease and sickness.)
"Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things--they will meet their end together," declares the LORD. Isaiah 66:17 (Eating pig is put in the same sentence and category of eating “rats and other abominable things.”)
Read Lev. 11 and Deut. 14, it tells of God’s laws concerning clean and unclean animals. Most of it common sense today. Of course the Israelites didn’t have all the health knowledge we have today, so it was more of an obedience issue for them, although it is still an obedience issue today as well. Pig is the only major sacrifice that our society would need to make to adhere to the laws on clean and unclean meats. There are few other seafood items as well such as crab and lobster and a few other rarely eaten animals. We need to realize that the creator of the world knows better than we do for which animals are good for food and which animals serve other purposes. All it takes is a little research on the animals that are deemed unclean to understand that God really does know what he is talking about and what he is doing.