Written by: Damien Powell
The topic of the dietary laws in a big topic when it comes to Scripture and it is one that most people struggle with because of the taste buds. But we must ask ourselves in every situation, what does the Word of YHWH say? We as followers of Messiah YESHUA must walk in obedience and follow Him as He walked. Hebrews (Ibrim) 13:8 says
“YESHUA ha”Mashiach is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
“El is not a man, to lie; nor a son of man, to repent! Has He said, and would He not do it; or spoken, and would not confirm it?
Being that we know this knowledge, how do believers come to the conclusion that He suddenly changed His mind about the dietary laws? Yes, everything Elohim created is good because He is perfect; however, it is good for the purpose that He intended for it. Some food is meant to be eaten and others are meant to serve as vacuum cleaners for the earth. For example Job 39:27-30 says
“Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high? It dwells on the rocks, and lodges on the crag of the rock and the stronghold. From there it searches out the prey, its eyes see it from afar. And its young ones suck up blood. And where the slain are, there it is!”
Elohim is our Creator and as our Creator He commanded that we not to eat certain foods for a reason because He is the manufacturer of our bodies. I don’t see one person running to Ford, Chevy, Honda, or Nissan complaining because the manufacturer said don’t put water in your gas tank! The manufacturers who BUILD cars know what is best for it just as Elohim is the manufacturer of our bodies and knows what is best for it. Why question Him when He says don’t eat what is an abomination?
YHWH Himself says in Leviticus 11:46:
“This is the LAW concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about on the ground. You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.”
Some believers will go as far as to say that eating unclean food is not a salvation issue when YHWH in Isaiah 66:17 says:
“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 YHWH.”
YHWH compared flesh of pigs in the same sentence with a rat. Most people would say eating a rat is disgusting when he is no cleaner than a pig or the crustaceans in the ocean. We were purchased at the cost of YESHUA’s blood for our sins; therefore, our bodies are not our own but belong to YESHUA! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Or do you not know that your body is the Mishkan (Temple) of the Ruach ha’Kodesh (Holy Spirit) who is in you, which you have from Elohim, and you are not your own? For you were bought with a price, therefore esteem Elohim in your body and in your spirit, which are of Elohim.”
So we belong to Him and He has laws given to us to keep us clean and pure, plus the Ruach ha’Kodesh lives within us and we cannot defile Him with any impurities whether it is food, drugs, lust of the eyes, etc. as Scripture says Ephesians 4:30
“And do not grieve the Ruach ha’Kodesh of Elohim, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Noah knew which animals were clean and unclean!
The most common answers you get is “the law was done away with when YESHUA was crucified for our sins,” or “that doesn’t apply to us today because that’s Old Testament,” or “Elohim didn’t want the Israelites to eat pork because He did not want them to catch certain diseases,” such as trichinosis worms that are found in pigs. People claim that the dietary laws have been abolished because we now have the technology and proper cooking techniques to remove impurities out of forbidden food. I am concerned for a Christian who would use YESHUA’s death as a golden ticket to live and eat how they want. Believers will say the law is done away with, so if Satan is lawlessness then why are you following a lawless doctrine that Satan promotes? Which is why YESHUA said in Mathew 5:17-20 that He did not come to destroy The Torah or the prophets.
Before there was the Levitical law, almost 1,000 years before Elohim’s covenant with Yisra’el on Mount Sinai Exodus 20, YHWH had already made a distinction between clean and unclean meats in the days of Noah. In Genesis 7:2 YHWH tells Noah to take into the ark
“Of all the clean beasts take with you seven pairs, a male and his female; and of the beasts that are unclean two, a male and his female.”
And what is more amazing about this passage is that Noah already knew which animals were clean and unclean, even though the scriptures don’t specify the dietary laws until Leviticus Chapter 11. This is enough proof to show that Elohim’s Torah, laws, and Commands were pre-existing and forever. So even in the days of Genesis there were certain foods that were forbidden and Noah already knew it. The distinctions of food existed before the covenant and long before the Israelite sacrificial system or Levitical priesthood.
But Peter had a vision that we can now eat whatever we want, right?
Acts 10:9 says:
“About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him to him “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” Surely not, Adonai (My Master)! Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean. The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that Elohim has made clean.”
Even Ezekiel makes the same distinction in Ezekiel 4:14 saying:
“Then I said, Ah, My Master YHWH! See, I have never defiled myself from my youth till now. I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has unclean meat ever come into my mouth.” Ezekiel sounded just like Peter in Acts, he makes a distinction between clean and unclean.
The most well-meaning devout Christians take this scripture completely out of context and take what Elohim told Peter literally and will eat pig, shrimp, crab, lobster, oyster, scallops, catfish or anything unclean without reading the rest of the passages. This passage actually doesn’t have anything to do with food at all. Notice that Peter’s response was “Surely not, Adonai! I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” Notice that even after YESHUA ascended into heaven, Peter was still making a clear distinction between clean and unclean meats. Peter was still obeying the dietary laws of the Torah found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 and we can see they were NOT abolished.
What was the vision about?
If the dream was as clear cut as people think then why did Peter have the dream three times and still not know what it meant? That is because the dream wasn’t about food. Peter had a revelation about what Elohim was saying to him and in Acts 10:28 Peter says:
“You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But Elohim has shown me that I should not call ANY MAN IMPURE OR UNCLEAN.”
Peter is saying that Elohim has accepted gentiles into the church though they were not initially Jewish/Israelite (Native-born). Verse 34 shows further evidence of this with Peter saying:
“I now realize how true it is that Elohim does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”
Acts 11:18 states:
“When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised Elohim, saying “So then, Elohim has granted even the gentiles repentance unto life.”
This passage is heavily misinterpreted by followers of Messiah, but once you finish reading the chapter it’s clear that the clean and unclean meats in Peter’s vision were symbolic of Jews being clean in Peter’s sight and the gentiles being unclean in his sight. But Elohim explains to Peter that everyone is clean in His sight as long as they fear Him and do what is right, which we know is following YESHUA and keeping The commandments. So Peter knew to accept the gentiles to worship with the native-born Israelites, because Elohim does not show favoritism. YHWH was making a point to Peter not a menu!
But didn’t YESHUA declare all foods clean?
Of course He didn’t! As I’ve explained in the past two blogs YESHUA is The Torah (Word) made flesh. Revelation 19:13 says His Name is The Word of YHWH; therefore, He would not come to abolish or do away with Himself since He is The Torah! In Mark 7:17-19 YESHUA says this:
“Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him unclean? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.”
Most people put their Holy Scriptures down without reading the rest of the passage and snack on some unclean foods, but we have to be careful for two reasons.
Firstly, immediately following that verse translators of the Bible put into parenthesis (In saying this, YESHUA declared all foods “clean”.) Whoever translated these Bibles for better understanding placed their own interpretations into the Bible and were incorrect in doing so. The original Hebrew Scriptures and early King James versions (1611 KJV) do not contain the translator’s own thoughts and interpretations into the Bible because YESHUA never said those words. YESHUA said in Revelations 22:18
“For I witness to everyone hearing the words of the nebuah (prophecy) of this book: If anyone adds to them, YHWH shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, YHWH shall take away his part from the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this Book.” Yet translators are adding and taking away from His Word at an alarming rate.
Secondly, the whole passage refers to eating with unwashed hands and evil from within our hearts. Mark 7:5 Says:
“So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked YESHUA, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean’ hands?
Notice that the Pharisees asked YESHUA, the Son of YHWH, why He does not keep the “tradition of the elders” also known as “tradition of men” because YESHUA and the disciples ate with unwashed hands. Eating with dirty hands does not make you unclean; therefore, YESHUA was not referring to abolishing food laws in the passage. He, as always rebuked the traditions of the Pharisees that they added and held it about The Torah.
Also in Mark 7:20 YESHUA goes on to further clarify what He was saying:
“What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’
YESHUA is telling you that the heart of a man, and not eating food with unwashed hands, is what makes a man unclean because the heart produces all the evil that makes one unholy. If you eat with unwashed hands then the impurities in the food would be eliminated during the body’s digestive process which would not make a man unclean. YESHUA’s words have deeper meaning than the way people perceive it. Honestly, most people read passages the way they want to justify what they eat and how they live. As I stated in the blog last we we must OBEY!
YESHUA speaks about the words He spoke weren’t His own but from YHWH who sent Him. John 7:16-17:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do Elohim’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from Elohim or whether I speak on my own.”
In other words, YESHUA is only speaking what He was taught by His Father and our Elohim, so there is no way He could abolish any food laws that were previously established. As followers of Messiah we need not to defile our bodies with anything that is unclean whether it is food, hatred, greed, adultery, fornication, sexual immorality, paganism, arrogance, drunkenness, etc.
Another food passage misinterpreted?
Paul’s words are hard to understand sometimes and believers feel that he abolished the laws of YHWH. 2 Peter 3:15-16 says
“And reckon the patience of our Adon (Master) as deliverance, as also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him, as also in all letters, speaking in them concerning these, in which some are hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the other Scriptures.”
Another scripture people point to is Romans 14:14 where Paul says:
“As one who is in Adon YESHUA, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.”
We have to go to 1 Corinthians 8:4-6 to understand what Paul is referring to which says:
“So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no Elohim but one. For even if there are so-called elohim, whether in heaven or on earth, yet for us there is but one Elohim, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Adon, YESHUA HaMashiach, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”
These passages refer to eating foods sacrificed to idols. 1 Corinithinas 7-9 explains the weaker brother that you cannot condemn for not eating meat for just vegetables “However, not all have this knowledge. But some, being aware of the idol, until now eat it as having been offered to an idol, so their consicience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to Elohim, for we are non better if we eat, nor any worse if not eating. But look to it, lest somehow this right of yours become a stumbling-block to those who are weak.” The Romans 14:1-2 “And receive him who is weak in the belief, not criticizing thoughts. One indeed believes to eat all, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.” If a believer wants to be a vegetarian because he does not want to eat meat that may have been sacrificed to an idol then he has the right to do so, do not judge him.
During the time that Paul wrote these scriptures, the practice of sacrificing meat to pagan deities was common for pagan worshippers.
Also, when Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:25-28:
“Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, the earth is YHWH’s, and everything in it.” If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience, But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in a sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for your conscience sake.”
Paul is saying that if you are invited to someone’s house to eat and you have no clue that the meat was sacrificed to an idol then eat without raising questions so you don’t offend them. But if he tells you that the meat has been sacrificed to a pagan deity then do not eat the meat. Again, nowhere in scripture are the dietary laws being abolished even in the Renewed Covenant known today as the New Testament. Paul’s main concern was eating food that was sacrificed to pagan deities, not whether the meat was clean or unclean. Just like Halal meat today where the Muslims say a prayer to their deity before slaughtering the animal. This meat is not permissible for a follower of YESHUA to eat especially if you are aware of it.
We have to think of the time period!
In Corinth which is in Greece only had meat available that was sacrificed to other deities or pagan idols and Paul told those believers that an idol is nothing in this world because our Father created all things. It was harder to find meat that had not been sacrificed to a pagan deity in this location because of the many false deities in Greece. However if one brother is weaker in faith about eating meat sacrificed to an idol versus one who indulges in eating meat, then don’t force him to eat it. We have freedom in Messiah to eat or not, it’s dependent about your belief. However, it must be done out of love and if this issue causes a brother to stumble then do not eat meat sacrificed to idols. Paul is saying that a believer’s walk was more important than the meat in question. Not whether, we could eat pork or shrimp, because that was not even in the equation and completely out of the question to Paul and believers during that time period.
As long as I pray over it and receive it with thanksgiving right?
The last biggest misconception in the Bible is in 1 Timothy 4:3-5 which states:
“They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, Which Elohim created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything Elohim created is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the Word of YHWH and prayer.”
The passage is referring to false teachers and has nothing to do with abolishing the dietary laws. Most people will stop reading right there and start eating a piece of pork and not feel guilty about it. But read the beginning of 1 Timothy 4:1-2 it says:
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
What Paul says is pretty clear about false teachers and those who follow deceiving spirits and doctrines taught by demons. Those demons, deceiving spirits, and false teachers are who Paul is referring to about abstaining from marriage which is the opposite of Elohim’s will. Elohim says in Genesis 2:24:
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
Then YESHUA says in Mathew 19:4-6:
“Haven’t you read,” He replied, that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what Elohim has joined together, let man no separate.”
It is clear that Paul is talking about false teachers that go against the Word of Elohim. Paul says in 1 Timothy4: 3 “those who believe and know the truth” are the ones who believe and follow the scriptures and do not deviate. Knowing the TRUTH, we must follow the dietary laws set in place by Elohim in Leviticus 11 because they are set in stone for all believers. Do you want to follow Elohim or demons?
Plus he says for it is sanctified by The Word of YHWH. Who is the Word of YHWH? As mentioned earlier in the blog it is YESHUA! Revelation 19:13 says His Name is The Word of YHWH and we know He is the Word made flesh the Living Torah; therefore He did not abolish Himself. Those foods sanctified by the Word of YHWH is The Torah Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.
Job 14:4 says
“Who brings the clean out of the unclean? No one!”
And how can you bless something that YHWH already called an abomination? Especially if He never changes? It is like saying it is okay to steal as long as I pray first, even though YHWH already told you not to steal in the first place. If we cannot even touch the carcass of an unclean animal externally, then what makes us think we can ingest one internally?
Isaiah 52:11 says
“Turn aside! Turn aside! Come out from there, touch not the unclean. Come out of her midst, be clean, you who bear the vessels of YHWH.”
Isaiah 65:2-5 says
“I have held out My hands all day long to a stubborn people, who walk in a way that is not good, AFTER THEIR OWN THOUGHTS; the people who provoke Me continually to My face, who slaughter in gardens, and burn incense on altars of brick; who sit among the graves, and spend the night in secret places, who eat FLESH OF PIGS, and the broth of uncleanness is in their pots, who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am holy to you! These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all day.”
Notice how YHWH says that these people go after their own thoughts? Similarly to what Solomon says in Proverbs 14:12
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end is the way of death.”
Then YHWH says that they spend their nights in secret places among the graves eating pigs flesh. He just placed pigs flesh and graves together, plus they even eat unclean food in the cemetery with the dead, equating it with death. YHWH also says something very important here. These people say “Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am holy to you” these are believers who say they know and follow YHWH yet are being disobedient to His Commands. They are eating whatever they want and are boldly saying ‘We are still holy, even though we are eating unclean things’. YHWH says these people are smoke in His nostrils.
Mathew 8:28-32 says
“And when He came to the other side, to the country of the Girgashites, two demon-possessed ones met Him, coming out of the tombs, very fierce, so that no one was able to pass that way. And see, they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, YESHUA, Son of Elohim? Have You come here to torture us, before the appointed time?” And at a distance from them there was a herd of many pigs feeding, and the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” And He said to them, “Go.” And they, coming out, went into the herd of pigs. And see, the entire herd of pigs rushed down the steep place into the sea, and died in the water.”
This is a great illustration of how unclean the pig is. Notice how YESHUA cast the unclean demons into the unclean pig? YESHUA did not cast them out into a clean animal because demons cannot live in anything that is clean filled with the Ruach ha’kodesh. This shows that eating unclean foods opens us up to unclean spirits. The pigs then ran into the river and drowned. This is what happens to us spiritually when we eat unclean foods, it drives our spirit to be opened to demonic attacks and to our spiritual death.
Eating unclean things will dampen your ability to see the spiritual things that Elohim has for you and makes it harder for believers to understand the truth. 2 Corinthians 5:15
“And He died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them, and was raised.”
We are no longer to live for ourselves, but for YESHUA only! And that means obeying all of His Words and Commands. Do not let the appetites of the flesh make you turn a blind eye to what Elohim says that we should avoid in Leviticus 11.
As always let us stand up and fight for our Elohim and truth and obey His Word, Ahmein!