- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
The Unclean Food Deception
Today we are going to cover a very important topic: does the New Testament say that you can now eat the foods that are prohibited in the Old Testament? A lot of people are going to say yes, and they will most likely reference Paul's writings in order to prove their point. Let's take a closer look at the scriptures and find the answer.
In 2 Peter 3 15-16 we see that some of the things that are written are hard to understand if you are unlearned with the other scriptures and it will lead to your destruction. This means that people are going to use his writings to say one thing, when he was trying to say another thing. And that is changing the scriptures, which is a huge offense. You have to read scripture the way it is meant to be read; context is key.
With that being said, let's get in to the scriptures.
Matthew 15 11
People like to say this verse is saying that whatever food you eat, it does not defile you. But this verse is not even talking about food. Turn to verse 1 and we will read to verse 20. Notice how the Pharisees are asking the Messiah why the disciples are transgressing the tradition of the ELDERS by not washing their hands before they eat. This was not a law in the Torah. How does he answer? He asks them why they transgress the commandment of YHWH by enforcing their own tradition and not enforcing a scriptural law such as honoring your mother and father? That's part of the Torah. The first ten commandments (there are actually over 600, those first ten are not the only ones, read it in the first five books).
So what does make a man unclean? Verses 16 to 19 tells us. Evil thoughts of murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. Sin makes you unclean. But what does verse 20 say? Eating with dirty hands does NOT defile a man. This is not about food at all. This is saying that having some dirt on your hands and you eat something does not make you unclean like an unclean animal in scripture. But knowingly indulging in foods that are not good for you? That is another story, but we will go into that momentarily. If he was talking about unclean food or dirt and unclean food, verse 20 would say he said neither dirt or unclean food defiles a man.
He wasn't against the Pharisees for preaching the law of eating clean meats. He was against them because they =neglected the weightier matters, and they were being hypocrites who enforced their own traditions but always liked to point their finger at others. These were the same guys that Isaiah was talking about in Isaiah 29 13, talking about their love for the Most High with their mouths but their heart is not with him. They are hypocrites. That is why the Messiah came. He came to preach the truth of the Torah to his lost people as they were being led astray by these prophets.
Mark 7 19
Cross reference this with the version in Mathew and we get a clearer understanding. Now, it says that when the meat goes through the belly and into the draught, it is purged. Now what does this mean? Remember, the start of the argument was that the Pharisees were accusing the disciples of not washing their hands before they eat. So this was about dirty hands. If I grab a piece of bread with dirty hands, what gets on the bread? Dirt. If I eat it, it does not make me spiritually unclean like a sinner because only sin defiles us. Nor does it mean I become physically unclean like an unclean animal as an unclean animal cannot be made clean.
Romans 14 1-3
I recently got into a discussion with someone who said that when it says all things, it means you can eat all things including the unclean meats. But read verse 2 again. This is not about eating unclean meats. One person believes they can eat all things, and another eats "herbs". It is saying that if one person eats meat and another one does not, don't get onto them for it. There is no harm in someone being a vegetarian. When it says all things, it means eating all five food groups; dairy, fruit, grain, vegetables and meat.
Verse 2 contrasts the person who "eats only vegetables" with the one who believes "he may eat all things"— meat as well as vegetables. Verse 6 discusses eating vs. not eating and is variously interpreted as referring to fasting (not eating or drinking), vegetarianism (consuming only vegetables) or eating or not eating meat sacrificed to idols.
Verse 21 shows that meat offered to idols was the underlying issue of this chapter: "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak." The Romans of the day commonly offered both meat and wine to idols, with portions of the offerings later sold in the marketplace. So what this chapter is talking about is eating foods offered to idols, and how it might be good to be careful of what you eat as it may offend someone who is weaker in the faith and is not on that level of spiritual maturity as you are. This is not in reference to unclean meats. That is prohibited.
Acts 10 15
Read it untverse 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Master, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” Why is he refusing? He was there when Mashiach supposedly said food did not defile us (which I disproved earlier in the article), so he should have had no problem in eating it. Read it until verse 28. This was symbolic on calling people unclean. It was not about eating unclean meat. Nowhere in this chapter does it say Peter did eat.
Now we will debunk the idea that this chapter nullifies the dietary part of the law. Here is what is commanded of them in this chapter.
- Abstain from food sacrificed to idols
- Abstain from sexual immorality.
- Abstain from strangled animals (as all their blood is still in them) and from blood.
Since there is no mention of eating unclean meats here, one might assume this had nothing to do with Torah. But take notice. 1 is based on the first and second commandments, and 2 is based on the 7th commandment. These things are based in the 10 commandments, part of the Torah. Where do we find that third order? Genesis 9 2-4, which says we must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. This is also a law in the Torah. Leviticus 7 26.
Now we will get the proper context. There were Jews that were teaching these people that they would have no salvation unless they were first circumcised. When they brought this doctrine to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, Peter called it a "a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear". Some Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."
Peter states that all are "saved" through the grace of Yahushua Ha Mashiach. As evidenced by this statement, the question they were discussing is whether or not these people were saved through the grace of Yahushua, or by circumcision and keeping commandments. This was also the original question in Acts 15:1.
Peter said, "we believe that through the grace of the lord Yahushua the Messiah we shall be saved, even as they." His point was that everyone is saved by grace, not by keeping the law or by circumcision. Even Jews who had been circumcised and kept the law didn't have salvation until they believed in Yahushua. He also said that to make circumcision or Torah/law observance the requirement for salvation would be to "test Elohim." But how would it "test Elohim?"
So Peter, after detailing the proof that the Almighty had accepted these men in their uncircumcised state, affirmed that they are saved through the grace of Yahushua rather than circumcision or any other act of Torah/law observance. The ultimate decision in Acts 15 by James was not to require circumcision for salvation. Circumcision of the flesh is nothing compared to that of the heart. Deuteronomy 10 16 and Romans 2 25-29.
Deuteronomy 10 16
- "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked."
Romans 2 25-29
- "For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision."
- "Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?"
- "And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?"
- "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:"
"But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of YHWH."
Circumcision is only an outward sign of being set apart to the Almighty. However, if the heart is sinful, then physical circumcision is of no avail. A circumcised body and a sinful heart are at odds with each other. Rather than focus on external rites, Paul focuses on the condition of the heart.
- "As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Messiah."
- "For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh."
So these "false brethren" were actually Torah breakers themselves but they were most interested in circumcising these men so that they could boast about it. The focus on the praise of men was amongst the notable characteristics of some Pharisees of that time:
Please click here for a more in depth study on how works and salvation come into play.
1 Timothy 4 4
This is possibly the most used verse in this argument. "See? It says that we are allowed to eat anything we want so long as we receive it with thanksgiving." See, you are not using the verse in context. Let's go to verse 1 in that same chapter. It says that later on, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. It also says that they would be passing doctrines forbid you from marrying, and commanding to abstain from meats, WHICH YHWH HATH CREATED TO BE RECIEVED WITH THANKSGIVING. Read it until verse 5. These meats are sanctified by the word of Yah and prayer. So he created certain meats to be received with thanksgiving. Now what is the significance of this verse?
Here again we have a verse that is pulled out of context and not harmonized with the rest of the scripture. The previous verse, 1 Timothy 4:3, shows that the subject is persons insisting that people become vegetarians and to even "abstain from meats, which he created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."
What meats did he create to be received? the ones in Leviticus 11. Verses 4-5 are self-explanatory now. Verse 4 shows that "every creature" of him "is good and nothing is to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving." What does it mean "every creature." Verse 5 shows that it is those creatures sanctified or set apart by him, which are the same creatures of Leviticus 11.
Colossians 2 16
Colossians 2 16 is a favorite amongst many as a last resort. But what does this verse really mean? Paul is talking to believers that are keeping the Sabbath day and the new moons. He is saying to not let anyone judge us for keeping those days. Read it from verse 8 to 17 to get a clearer understanding and see how this is actually condoning the celebration of these days as a mandate. So obviously it is not about saying both the holy days or dietary laws can be thrown away. The believers in the Colossian community were being judged for enjoying the festival, as well as eating and drinking in it. Colossians 2 21 says they were told to not handle, taste, or touch. Colossians 2 18 gives an example of asceticism where they participated in self-abasement. They wanted to rob true believers of celebration by claiming that to be holy, you have to deny yourself during the high holy days and Sabbaths.
Paul was condemning the avoidance of anything enjoyable-which was intended to make its followers more spiritual. He says to the Colossians: "Therefore, if you died with Mashiach from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in this world, do you subject yourself to regulations- 'Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,' which all concern things which perish the using- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh." (Colossians 2:20-23)."
They had a false humility (verse 23) and were destined to fail because they were based on the "commandments and doctrines of men". Paul encourages the Church to hold fast to its teachings and proper understanding; it is not a treatise on which foods to eat or on which days to worship the Almighty. We must be careful not to read preconceived notions into these or any other scriptures."
1 Corinthians 10 25
1 Corinthians 10 25. Unclean meats? We are going to read until verse 28. It says that if you find meat being sold in the shambles (that's a butcher's slaughterhouse), just buy it and eat it. Don't be asking questions on it if you know without a doubt that it is a clean food. Verse 27 says something similar. "If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake." But if you go to verse 28 you will see that if anyone tells you that this food was offered to some false god, abstain from it if it is for your conscience's sake. So these verses are not eating whatever you want. Here is what it is about; any clean food that is offered to you, don't worry about it and just eat it with no problem. Even if it was offered to a false idol, you are eating it without reverence to that idol.
Genesis 9 3-4
"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."
There is the argument that before the giving of the law at Sinai, there were no dietary laws for food such as pork, shellfish, etc. This is from Genesis 9 3-4, which says that everything with life before Noah may be eaten, but if there is still blood in it, it must not be eaten. But we must go further into Genesis to understand this. For example, clean animals and unclean animals are given a clear distinction in Genesis 7 2 and 8 20. Why would these animals be called unclean? Because they were not meant to be eaten.
Before we go into how these animals are not all meant to be eaten, we must ask one question; why is Noah now allowed to eat these things if the law never changes? It is commonly assumed among a lot of Christians (and Torah keepers like myself) that before the flood, everyone was vegetarian/vegan. When we read Genesis 6 20-21, we see that Noah is commanded to keep these animals alive. And the same food for the animals is the same kind given to them, which would be diverse types of herbs and grains. But not once is this said in scripture. Consider this; perhaps Noah and his family were not allowed to eat any of the animals as that would have led to the extinction of those animals. Remember, there were only a few of each animal taken onto the ark. Even if you consider the fact that the animals would have most likely procreated, it was still a small population of these animals, meaning one death could wipe out an entire species. All this was saying is that they were temporarily prohibited from eating meat.
Back to the argument. They assume that the law was first created at Sinai. However, there is evidence to the contrary. There had to have been some moral code given and passed on before then. We see evidence of this in how Cain and Abel made offerings and that we see that Abraham followed the laws, statutes, and commandments in Genesis 26 5.
What do we do with Genesis 9 3-4? To find the answer, we must into the translation. This says every moving thing was permissible to eat for Noah.
- ”The noun (H473 Remes) and the associated verb (rmś) each occur seventeen times in the Old Testament, ten times each in Genesis 1-9. This word group is distinct from both the wild (predatory) beasts and domestic flocks and herbs. Neither verb nor noun is ever used to refer to larger animals or to domesticated animals. In no place is remes (H743) a catch-all category for all creatures. It is one category of creature only. The division of the Hebrew terms used up to this point in Genesis reflects the nature of the animal…”
- ”These animals were typically characterized as being the prey of hunters and predatory beasts.”– John H. Walton’s, The NIV Application Commentary: Genesis (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001, pp. 341-342).
This is saying that this word does not mean every creature. In fact, it implies the exact opposite. According to this, the “remes” animals would include cattle, antelope, deer, gazelle, and other clean animals according to Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. Noah was not allowed to eat all things. It was the exact opposite. It should state that every clean moving thing can be eaten. As we can see, this standard was applied to Noah and his sons, all of whom do not descend from the 12 Tribes since Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will not be born for quite some time. To say that this only applies to them and that the Almighty did not hold the other nations up to this standard is incorrect.
Paul Nison at Torah Life Ministries made a very good point in this video, with a rather clever clickbait title.
The Purpose of the Dietary Laws
I've heard many excuses to say why the Almighty gave these laws.
1. It was temporary to teach them obedience.
Can someone show me a scripture on this?
2. Because the other nations used these animals.
Source: Got Questions?
- "This detail further insulated the Israelites from pagan practices. The Canaanites kept herds of swine and sacrificed them to idols. The connection between swine and pagan worship became so strong that the prophet Isaiah equated the sacrificial offering of pig’s blood with murder—both are called “abominations” (Isaiah 66:3)."
But there's a problem. According to scripture, cow is clean. What did the 12 Tribes worship when they came out of Egypt? Exodus 32 4 says they worshiped a golden calf, which is a cow. Also, let's check out some of the animals that were sacrificed by the other nations.
"A donkey, as well as some sheep and goats whose remains were found in Early Bronze Age layers at Gath dating to 4900 years ago turn out to have been born and bred in the Nile valley.The discovery at the archaeological site of Tell el-Safi shows that animals were part of the extensive trading relations between the Old Kingdom of Egypt and Early Bronze Age Canaan (circa 2900-2500 BCE)."
“That there were trade connections between Egypt and Canaan in the Early Bronze Age is not new. The fact that animals were a part of the trade - and that they went from Egypt to Canaan - is very interesting,” Aren Maeir, head of the excavations in Gath, told Haaretz." (Canaanites Imported Sacrificial Animals From Egypt, Archaeologists Find by Philippe Bohstrom)
A donkey is considered unclean, but sheep and goats are not. These animals are considered clean according to Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. Those are the two main reasons that many people give. But according to scripture this cannot be true. So now we must ask ourselves what the real purpose of these laws are.
The Purpose of the Dietary Laws (2)
Let's see what else Got Questions has to say in that same link.
- "Then there are the hygienic concerns related to the Law’s dietary restrictions. It is well known today that pork carries any number of diseases, and the meat requires stricter cooking techniques than other meats such as beef or poultry. In Moses’ day, there was no knowledge of microscopic pathogens, and the cultural norm was to eat raw or under-cooked meat (Leviticus 19:26). Of course, eating under-cooked pork would have posed a significant health threat to Israel, but God providentially protected them through the Mosaic Law. “If you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26)."
So according to them, one of these reasons may be because of health. Let's see what scripture says.Leviticus 11 43-47.
- "Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby."
- "For I am YHWH your Elohim: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
- "For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your Elohim: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy."
- 46 This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:
- 47 To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.
Se what is the purpose of this law? To sanctify them. What does sanctify mean?
- set apart as or declare holy; consecrate. "a small shrine was built to sanctify the site"
- synonyms:consecrate, bless, make holy, hallow, make sacred, dedicate to God
- "he came to sanctify the site"
- make legitimate or binding by religious sanction."they see their love sanctified by the sacrament of marriage"
- synonyms:approve, sanction, condone, vindicate, endorse, support, back, permit, allow, authorize, legitimize"we must not sanctify this outrage"
- free from sin; purify.synonyms:purify, cleanse, free from sin, absolve, unburden, redeem"they sanctified themselves"
So according to the definition of sanctify, it means to be set apart/holy, approved by religious sanction, and to be free from sin. Does the scripture disagree?
Leviticus 11 44's use of sanctified.
6942. qadash: <<to be set apart or consecrated>>
Original Word: קָדַשׁ Part of Speech: Verb
Phonetic Spelling: (kaw-dash')
Short Definition: <<consecrate>>
How is this used in scripture?
become consecrated (2), become defiled (1), become holy (1), consecrate (43), consecrated (35), consecrates (7), consecration (2), declare holy (1), dedicate (2), dedicated (8), dedicating (1), holier (1), holy (5), keep (1), keep it holy (2), keep the holy (3), made it holy (1), manifest my holiness (2), prepare (2), prove myself holy (2), proved himself holy (1), purified (1), regard as holy (1), sanctified (9), sanctifies (10), sanctify (12), set them apart (1), set apart (4), set apart the consecrated (2), show himself holy (1), transmit holiness (2), treat me as holy (3), treated as holy (1), vindicate the holiness (1), wholly dedicate (1).
So he had these people become set apart/holy unlike the other nations. But set apart how? We can agree that the Almighty is good, right? So his laws are good. He would not give them a bad law. What law did he set before them?
Deuteronomy 30 19
- "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
So the laws he gave them were life. They were good. These laws are good. Malachi 3 6 says he doesn't change his mind. As shown, this same law was kept by Noah and his sons. These laws were meant to lead them to righteousness. How can an unrighteous or subjective law make you righteous by following it? To say that following these laws are for any other reason is not scriptural. The fact that he set apart these certain animals shows that there was a reason.
Now for anyone whose eyes are opened and would like to see which meats are good to eat and which are not, Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 is the place to go. It covers all of the kinds of meats you can eat, whether it is a land, sea, or air creature. When you're done with that click on the link below and you can see why the Most High gave this law on abstaining from pork. Leviticus 11 7-8.
"And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you."
"Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you."
Here is some more info on the Law.
Peace and blessings and all praises to the Most High.
- Swine Foods
Almost everything has pork in it now