CLEAN AND UNCLEAN ANIMALS
The commandments that God has given concerning food (Lev. 11
and Deut 14) are not abolished anywhere in the New Covenant.
Even before the Torah (the Law) was given did Noah know to
separate clean and unclean animals (Gen 7:2,3).
When taking one verse out of its context it may seem that all animal
flesh is edible in the New Covenant. These verses are often quoted
when people want to show that the commandments concerning food
that God has given are no more valid in the New Covenant.
”This he said, making all meats clean.” (Mark 7:19, ASV)
When reading the whole context, it is to be seen that the issue here is
only of washing one's hands before meal. Mark 7:3: “For the Pharisees,
and all the Jews, except they wash their hands diligently, eat not,
holding the tradition of the elders.” The same issue is told in Matthew
(verses 1-20) where Yeshua
come out of the heart that defile and then adds: “these are the things
which defile the man; but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not
the man” (15:20). The issue was about how to eat and not about
what to eat (Mark 7:1-19; Matthew 15-20).
“Rise, Peter kill and eat” (Acts 10:13).
“…What God hath cleansed, make not thou common.” (Acts10:15).
In the book of Acts (10:1-11:18) we find Peter’s vision in which a sheet
filled with unclean animals was let down in front of him a voice came
to him saying: “Rise, Peter,kill and eat.” Peter was perplexed in himself
what might mean the vision which he had seen and he was pondering
about it. With this vision God wanted to make it clear to Peter that the
Gospel was meant also for gentiles. It is forbidden to a Jew to converse
with a foreigner not being Israeli or to go and visit them but in this vision
God showed that no human being is to be said common or unclean.
During these years after Yeshua’s death Jews had not told the Gospel to
gentiles, thus all believers being only Jewish, but Peter now went to visit
Roman gentile. After returning to
of it unto brothers, they stated: “Then to the Gentilesalso hath God
granted repentance unto life.” Also here the issue was not food but
the gentiles held unclean by Jews and becoming clean by receiving
the Gospel and faith in Yeshua.
Peter eating with gentiles in Galatia
After some years
He visited the gentile believers and ate with them but when Jewish
believers came to the place he separated himself from the gentiles.
Paul rebuked him of this in Gal. 2:11-13: “But when Cephas came
For before that certain came from James, he ate with the Gentiles; but
when they came, he drew back and separated himself, fearing them
that were of the circumcision. And the rest of the Jews dissembled
likewise with him; insomuch that even Barnabas was carried away
with their dissimulation.”
Here too the issue was not what to eat but about the company in eating.
“Whatsoever is sold in the shambles, eat, asking no question for
conscience’ sake,” (1 Cor. 10:25).
This is the verse often used to show that the commandments
concerning food are no more valid: ”Whatsoever is sold in the
shambles, eat, asking no question for conscience’ sake,” (25).
“If one of them that believe not biddeth you to a feast , and ye
are disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no
question for conscience’ sake” (27). It is Paul giving an advise of
an issue of this kind here: “But if any man say unto you, this is
offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it,
and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness
thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why
is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?” Also here it is
not about clean or unclean animals but about meat offered in
sacrifice unto idols.
“… Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings,
carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation”
Out of Hebrews 9 also these words are often referred: “which is a
figure for the time present; according to which are offered both gifts
and sacrifices that cannot, as touching the conscience, make the
worshipper perfect, being only (with meats and drinks and divers
washings) carnal ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation.”
This is written
before the destruction of the
refer to eating, drinking or washing in every day life but the ordinances
given concerning ministering in the
and resurrection and all in vane because the new order and ordinances
had all ready come. So here the issue is about the sacrificial service
of the old Covenant and about the sacrificial cleansings that priests
were to do before offering to YHVH. They had to offer animals,
fine flour, and cakes made of it, food anddrink offerings to the Lord.
Both the legs and inwards of an animal were to be washed with water
like priests themselves and a person who had defiled himself had to
wash himself with water. (Ex. 29:40, Lev.1:9,13; 2:1; Num. 19:7-22)
Observing these ordinances was now needless because Yeshua the
Messiah had by one offering replaced these former animal, food
and drink offerings. Out of the context comes a conclusion that
these verses do not abolish distinction to clean and unclean animals
but only animal offerings and washings (mikveh: emersion) i.e.
cleansing rituals, which are not part of and include in serving God
in the New Covenant.
“For one believes that he may eat all things…” (Rom. 14:2).
Romans 14:1-4: “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. Let not him that eateth
despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge
him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that
judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or
falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him
stand.” Here the issue is not clean or unclean animals but how to
deal with vegetarian versus meat dishes.
The issue in the following verses is fast. Romans 14:5-7: “One man
esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day
alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that
regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth
not theday, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth
to the Lord, forhe giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the
Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth
to himself, and no man dieth to himself.”. The words “One man
esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day
alike” are often used when people want to abolish Sabbath and
other feasts or holy convocations that God himself has ordained
(Lev. 23) but looking carefully to the context one sees that the issue
here is not about feasts but about fasting. Paul writes here that
everybody can freely choose a day when he fasts. Orthodox Jews
have ordained themselves certain days of week when they do not
eat but the one who believes in Yeshua may freely choose if he
eats or fasts and when he fasts.
“… For [it is] a good thing that the heart be established with grace;
not with meats,…” (Hebr. 13:9).
“Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For [it is] a
good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats,
which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.”
(13:9). Here the issue is about doctrines and not about ordinary food.
“Handle not, nor taste, nor touch!” (Col. 2:21).
“If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as
though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances,
Handle not, nor taste, nor touch (all which things are to perish with
the using), after the precepts and doctrines of men? Which things
have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and
severity to the body; but are not of any value against the
indulgence of the flesh.” (Col. 2:20-23).
This passage does not concern ordinances given by God but by
men as it says: “after the precepts and doctrines of men”.
There are certain sects in whom it is defined what is permitted to
do and to eat.
“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” (1 Tim.4:3). God has not created
everything or what ever to eat with thanksgiving but if e.g. eating
meat or drinking coffee is forbidden are these ordinances given by
men and are not to be followed or observed by a believer.
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect
of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are
shadow of things to come; but the body isof
Christ.” (Col. 2:16,17).
If we read this carefully we see clearly that those who obey God
are not to be judged. Many translations are provided with a word
“just or only a shadow” added in the clause all though it is not in
the original text as to make it carry an opposite meaning. These thing
are not ONLY shadows of things to come but they ARE shadows and
disclosers, for ensamples.