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Unclean Foods sanctified by God’s Word and Prayer? Misunderstandings regarding 1Tim 4:1-5

5221226283_721815ebe5_o-528x396Among the many verses which are presented as proof texts to say that “the food laws are no longer in effect”, these words written by Paul to Timothy take center stage. Is Paul saying that everything is sanctified just by our prayers, even if God says some things are in fact not holy according to His Word? We must carefully dissect what Paul is saying, before we jump into conclusions and become someone who abolishes God’s Law.

1Ti 4:1-5 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: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

The 2 erroneous doctrines addressed here by Paul are:
1. Forbidding to Marry    2. Abstinence from food*

These 2 doctrines are brought forth by people who:
1. Depart from the Faith
2. Turn their minds towards misleading spirits
3. Turn their minds towards teachings which are not from God, but evil/demonic
4. Promulgate erroneous doctrines under false pretenses
5. Have consciences which are rendered unsensitive towards God

Looking at the above 2 erroneous doctrines and the signs of the people who bring them, we can be assured that it goes against God’s Word. In fact Paul equates these 2 erroneous doctrines to “doctrines of devils”. The only way a person could say that the above verses speak of “God’s separation of Clean/Unclean Meats” spoken of in Lev 11 & Deut 14, is to equate God’s Law to doctrines of devils. God’s Law, of which Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) said that not a jot or tittle will pass and that the person who breaks the least of the commands would be the least in His Kingdom(Mat 5:17-19), would suddenly have to be equated to “doctrines of devils”.

*Furthermore, the word translated “meats” in the original Greek Manuscripts of 1Tim 4:3 is not specifically speaking of meat of animals, rather of food in general. (G1033 – βρῶμα – brōma – Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: that which is eaten, food)

While abstaining from foods such as in the case of vegetarianism or living a celibate life does not go against God’s Commands, enforcing such practices on others and teaching it as God’s Word(when there is no mention of such commands in the Scriptures), could be equated to doctrines born from evil. Such practices were known to be part of the doctrine of Gnostic sects in the 2nd Century AD, and the seeds of their teachings may have been prevalent even in Paul’s time.

There is another simple reason Paul could not have been speaking of God’s Food Laws here. In verse 3 Paul says of “meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” Meats which God created to be received with thanksgiving were listed by Him as clean animals mentioned in Lev 11 & Deut 14. Additionally, Paul also speaks of “people who believe and know the truth” in the end of verse 3.

What is Truth? According to the Bible, “Truth” is God’s Word(John 17:17, Psa 119:151).

Verse 5 is a must when reading verse 4. In verse 4 Paul seems to be saying that we can eat everything irrespective of what God said in the Scriptures. But in verse 5 this is clarified – nothing is to be refused as it is sanctified(made holy) by the Word of God and prayer. Now the question is what exactly is sanctified by the Word of God…. If God says “eat this” and “don’t eat this”… surely what He says to eat, is what is sanctified. Whatever He deemed unclean cannot be sanctified by His own Word.

So in conclusion, Paul cannot be talking of people who were adhering to God’s Commands, in the passage in question. These were foreign doctrines which were not from God. Paul, who walked perfectly according to God’s Law (Acts 21:24), would have adhered to God’s dietary instructions – and when he speaks of Food which should be received with thanksgiving, as it is sanctified by God’s Word and Prayer – he could not be speaking of the food that God deemed unclean and unholy.

Related Articles
Food Laws or Fasting? Misunderstandings regarding Romans 14
Can we eat all meats? Food sacrificed to idols and misunderstandings regarding 1Cor 10:25
Did Christ declare all foods clean? Misunderstandings regarding Mark 7:19
Did God tell Peter that he is free to eat unclean animals which He had banned before? Acts 10:1 – 11:18
Was God’s Law blotted out and nailed to the cross? Misunderstandings regarding Col 2:11-17
Gentiles have to obey only 4 Commandments? Misunderstandings regarding Acts 15

Food Laws or Fasting? Misunderstandings regarding Romans 14

When I was confronted with the idea that “Christians must keep God’s Food Laws” for the first time, my immediate knee-jerk reaction was to quote Paul. Why… didn’t Paul say that we could eat anything as long as we don’t make anyone else stumble?

A few years later, I read the same verses from the Apostle Paul’s letters, and think to myself – how did I misunderstand his words? and why did I misuse them so carelessly? It was for this very reason Peter was quick to warn the congregations about Paul’s writings.

“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”2Pet 3:15,16

I was an unlearned person, as Peter says, perverting Paul’s words to suit my needs, doctrines and agendas. The “Misunderstood Apostle”, as I call him – Paul kept and obeyed the Law (Acts 21:24). To argue or teach that Paul taught against God’s Law in his epistles, is to corrupt his teachings and even the memory of all he did for the faith.

Putting Romans 14 under the microscope
Even though mainline Christianity uses Romans 14 as a means to argue that Paul taught against the food laws and showed a more tolerant way, closer study will reveal that Romans 14 has nothing to do with the clean/unclean food laws established by God.  So let us start from the beginning of the Chapter where he starts to advise on a particular topic, and walk down to see what his words really speak of.

Rom 14:1  Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
It is clear that there has been some sort of dispute happening in the congregation of Rome, to which Paul is trying to provide his advise. Paul’s writing in Romans Chapter 14 revolve completely around a “dispute which is doubtful” – this is the context! We must remember that there is no doubt or dispute when it comes to God’s Word. We know that not even one jot or tittle will in anyway pass from the Law till heaven and earth last. God’s eternal Word cannot be called a “doubtful disputation”. If God’s Food Laws was the main subject matter, this would make God’s Law and Word (which was kept by Paul) a “doubtful disputation”. In Paul’s own words “God Forbid”!

Rom 14:2-6 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. 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 the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Now to deconstruct this debatable “dispute”. Paul Speaks of 2 categories of people. One eats all things, while the other only eats vegetables. One regards a certain day, while the other does not. One eats, while the other doesn’t. The dispute is hence, regarding eating or not on woman-with-empty-platespecific days. “Fasting” in other words! As we know, eating vegetables or a basic diet that did not include any meat, wine or anything pleasant was constituted by Daniel when he fasted (Dan 10:2,3 & Dan 1:12,16). It is a known fact that fasting was practiced heavily in the 1st century (Mat 6:16; 9:14,15, Mar 2:18-20, Luk 5:33-35). And historical documents reveal that Monday and Thursday were considered fast days in the second temple period (Ta’an. 2:4) The pharisee who prayed in Luke 18:12 about fasting twice a week, would have been keeping these fast days.

It is important to note that these fast days were traditions, and did not have root in Scripture. The “dispute” of Romans 14 is surely whether or not to fast on these days. Some believers were fasting on these days, and some were not. Paul’s advise was, not to judge one another and be thankful whether you eat or fast – or keep the traditional fast days or not – as these were doubtful disputes as they did not have Scriptural backing. It was not wrong to fast. It was not wrong to eat either. It was not wrong to fast on specific days. It was not wrong to fast on other days either. Be fully persuaded in your own mind, of what you do – was Paul’s advise to the congregation.

Rom 14:7-13 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
Paul reiterates that no one should judge or become a stumbling block to his brother on this issue.

Rom 14:14  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. 
This verse is sometimes used to point out that this issue is none other than “clean”/”unclean” foods, as Paul seems to be saying that he is persuaded that there is nothing unclean.

It is worth mentioning the word “unclean” in Rom14:14 in our English versions of the Bible comes from the Greek word “koinos” (G2839 – κοινός – koinos) meaning “common”. The word “unclean” is actually a different Greek word “Akathartos” (G169 – ἀκάθαρτος – akathartos). Both these words can be read in Act 10:14  “But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common(koinos) or unclean(akathartos)”. In fact this is the only place where “koinos” is translated as “unclean” in the whole of the New Testament.

While unclean(akathartos) was used to denote something unclean like “unclean foods”, common(koinos) was used to indicate something “ritually impure”, such as in the case of eating with unwashed hands. “Ritual impurity” was not part of God’s Law, but was connected to Tradition. (Read this study for a in depth look at the difference of God’s Law & Tradition). Basically, unclean(akathartos) was part of God’s Law, while common(koinos) was part of tradition.

So with the above information, let’s try to understand the point Paul is trying to make. In the context of the issue of fasting, he must be reiterating the fact that there is no “common”/”ritually impure”/”wrong way” of fasting. That he believes there is no wrong way of practicing fasting – but if a person concludes he/she should not fast in a particular way, for him/her, the act of fasting in that particular way becomes “common”/wrong way”. In other words, if we fast, we must do it in the way we are led to do it, rather than adhering something that you do not fully agree with.

Rom 14:15  But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
One of the reasons that people believe the earlier verse speaks of “unclean food” is the fact that this verse contains the word “meat”. Yet again, we must dig into the original words of the Greek Manuscripts, to find the truth for ourselves.

The word translated as “meat” in many of our English translations of the Bible, originates from the Greek word “Bromah”(G1033 – βρῶμα – brōma) which means “food”. The Greek word “Kreas”(G2907 – κρέας – kreas) is the word which means “meat” and is used in verse 21, further down in the chapter. “Bromah” is extensively used in the Septuagint for general food, while “kreas” is the word used for meat. It is a grave error in translations that lead to this erroneous teaching of “don’t eat unclean meats if you become a stumbling block to your fellow brother” – leading all to believe that Paul is giving leeway for believers to eat unclean meats as long as others don’t take issue with it.

Paul’s whole discussion which revolves around fasting is yet again what he is addressing in this verse. Basically what he is saying is “you are not walking in love, if your brother takes issue in the fact you eat, while they fast. Don’t allow food to be a factor which can destroy their faith.

Rom 14:16-19 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Paul continues his advise, asking them to not allow anyone to defame them because of this issue – whether you fast or not, whether you fast on a particular day, or not. He explains that the kingdom of God stands on “righteousness”, “peace” and “joy” in the Holy Spirit, and not on disputed issues of “food and drink”. He asks to serve Christ in whatever personal decisions they take on the issue at hand, as this is the only criterion to be acceptable to God. He advises that we must all strive to edify each other, and take a path of peace rather than engage in disputes/arguments on the matter of fasting.

Rom 14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
Paul goes onto finish his advise on the matter of fasting by explaining that “food”(Bromah) should not cause the destruction of the work of God – meaning it should not hinder the work of salvation. All manners of Fasting, whether on a specific day or not, is pure. But it is evil if someone eats and becomes a stumbling block to others through doubtful disputes.

Rom 14:21  It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak
The fact that he is speaking of fasting, is cemented by this verse as he speaks of refraining from meats(kreas), wine and any other thing that makes others stumble, brings them displeasure or make them weak in the faith. The parallels between Paul’s words here and Dan 10:2,3 where Daniel refrains from meat, wine and delightful bread should be noted.

Rom 14:22,23 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
Paul’s final words on the matter, is to instruct them to not cause disputes because of personal faith. Whatever a person believes, must be kept to himself in front of God, in such a situation according to Paul. He exhorts not to fall into condemnation by what each person sees fit to do. And to not doubt yourself if you decide on eating rather than fasting, as your decision must be made in faith without doubts.

Conclusion
Romans chapter 14 is commonly used as an argument to say that Paul endorsed the eating of unclean foods – as long as we don’t make anyone else stumble. Reading the chapter from the beginning provides much needed context and clarity to this misunderstanding. It is clear that Paul is addressing a dispute in Rome. While God’s Word and Law cannot be called a “doubtful disputation”, we know that Paul himself walked orderly and according to God’s Law(Act 21:24).

Rom 14:6 is clear – “He that regards the day, regards it unto the Lord; and he that does not regard the day, he regards it not to the Lord. He that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he that eats not, does not eat to the Lord, and gives God thanks”. Some are eating, some are not eating. And some are regarding a particular day above the other. It appears to be a dispute about fasting. some eat. some fast. some fast on a particular day. some eat vegetables only(a kind of fasting like done by Daniel). So what is Paul’s advice? avoid doubtful disputes as there are no laws on fasting. Let people eat or fast so that they do not make other brothers stumble. Be sure of your decision, but do not create disputes on the matter. Making the issue addressed by Paul here, into one about God’s Food Laws does not align with the entirety of Scripture, nor does it support the context of the chapter. We must be careful in jumping to conclusions when reading Paul’s words, and try our best to deconstruct them without giving way to our preconceived notions.

Science proves that “God knows best”, when it comes to what we should and should not eat

The Food/Dietary Laws written in the Scriptures are looked upon by some, as an ancient tradition that is not practical and has no value to us, who live in the 21st Century. But what if there was scientifically quantifiable proof that the “Clean” and “Unclean” animal division given by our Heavenly Father is reliable, health-wise?

Today, I present a research paper published by the John Hopkins University in 1953, by a Doctor named David Macht. A Pharmacologist, Dr.Macht has published over 900 scientific studies, and three books as well as served in the Medicine Faculty at Johns Hopkins University. The “David  Macht Research Award” was established in 1982, in his honor, and is awarded to Medicine Students to this day.

AN EXPERIMENTAL PHARMACOLOGICAL APPRECIATION OF LEVITICUS XI ANDIn his research, he made a clear connection between the toxicity levels of different meats, and God’s instruction to His people, of what they may and may not eat. (Leviticus 11 & Deuteronomy 14). His investigations were published on the “Bulletin of the History of Medicine” Sep/Oct Issue in 1953, and was titled “An Experimental Pharmacological Appreciation of Leviticus XI and Deuteronomy XIV”.

Please click these images to enlarge and read through his findings, in the page excerpts provided. (I have highlighted some key areas for your viewing ease). In the tables with toxicity levels, any number below 75% is deemed Toxic as per Dr.Macht’s explanation.

AN EXPERIMENTAL PHARMACOLOGICAL APPRECIATION OF LEVITICUS XI AND
AN EXPERIMENTAL PHARMACOLOGICAL APPRECIATION OF LEVITICUS XI AND

AN EXPERIMENTAL PHARMACOLOGICAL APPRECIATION OF LEVITICUS XI AND
AN EXPERIMENTAL PHARMACOLOGICAL APPRECIATION OF LEVITICUS XI AND

Out of all the animals and animal classifications provided in Lev 11 & Deut 14, Dr. Macht experimented on the categories of Four-footed animals, birds & fish. He did the first set of experiments on the animals specifically mentioned by name in the Scriptures, and found out that the meat of Ox, Calf, Sheep, Goat, Deer were all practically non-toxic to our bodies, while Pig, Hare, Coney, Camel were all high in Toxins.

Next, he tested the category of Birds and found out that the Chicken, Duck, Goose, Turkey, Pigeon, Quail meat were all non-toxic, but that birds of prey such as Owl, Hawk, Falcon were all toxic.

The third category also yielded similar results, deeming fish without scales and fins such as Shark, Catfish, Stingray, Eel were all toxic while fish with scales and fins were non-toxic.

AN EXPERIMENTAL PHARMACOLOGICAL APPRECIATION OF LEVITICUS XI ANDOverall, Dr.Macht’s Experiments have provided solid scientific proof that the meats declared unclean actually does pollute our bodies with harmful toxins. These toxins, in time, will build up in our bodies and lead the body into all kinds of illnesses.

We have to remember that anything an animal eats will become part of its flesh and eventually become a hazard to us, if we end up eating that animal. Most of the animals categorized as “Unclean”, if not all, are specifically there to clean our environment of pollutants and garbage. Why would we want to make those pollutants a part of our bodies?

Much like parents advice their children not to put dirt in their mouths, because they care about their children’s well being – Our Heavenly Father has also instructed us on what to eat and what not to eat, for our own sake. God Almighty, who created our bodies and all the different kinds of animals knew which animals are good for us and which ones aren’t. Dr.Macht’s research merely proves that God in all His glory, is all-knowing and all-powerful. And that His instructions regarding food was for the benefit of us all.

The following List and examples would hopefully be a helpful guide in figuring out what to eat, and what not to eat, according to God’s Word, which will in turn lead us all to better health and well being.

Clean Food classification according to Lev 11 & Deut 14
MEAT: It must have a hoof and the hoof must be parted; it must chew its own cud. A cloven hoof is a divided or split hoof. Animals that chew their cud are known as ruminants, whose stomach consists of four chambers. The process that occurs in the four stomachs allows ruminants to eliminate bacteria, toxins, parasites and other items that might become part of the flesh and eventually end up in the human body when it is consumed at the table.
• Cattle • Sheep • Goat • Deer • Gazelle • Roe deer • Antelope

FISH: A fish must have fins and scales, whether in the seas or the rivers (fresh or salt water). Scales help the fish repel toxins in the water. They tend to be very picky eaters, rejecting dead foods, polluted or otherwise contaminated areas to feed in.
• Cod • Flounder • Haddock • Halibut • Perch • Pollack • Red snapper • Sea bass
• Rainbow trout • Tuna • Bass • Bluefish • Mullet • Orange roughy • Herring
• Mackerel • Pompano • Salmon • Sardine • Etc.

FOWL: Fowl must not be a meat-eating fowl. If a bird eats rats or snakes or other animals that are unclean to begin with, they will be ingesting the poisons and toxins contained in the meat of the animal they are eating.
• Chicken • Geese • Turkey • Ducks • Doves • Pigeons • Partridge • Quail • Etc.

Unclean Food classification according to Lev 11 & Deut 14
MEAT: If it has no hoof; if the hoof is not parted; if it does not chew its own cud.
• Camels • Rock badgers • Rabbits • Pigs • Horse • Etc

FISH: If fish do not have fins and scales (bony tubercles are not considered scales).
• Swordfish • Sturgeon • Sharks • Lumpfish • European flatfish • Catfish
• Sculpins • Monkfish • Etc.

SEAFOOD: All crustaceans and mollusk shellfish. Shellfish have a unique ability to purify water of pathogenic bacteria such as those found in raw sewage. Clams and oysters can filter up to fifty gallons of seawater a day. These creatures clean the seas of waste, but the waste becomes part of their flesh.
• Crabs • Lobsters • Shrimp • Prawns • Crayfish • Clams • Mussels • Oysters • Scallops • Etc.

FOWL: Anything that eats dead meat, such as birds of prey are deemed unclean.
• Eagle • Vulture • Buzzard • Kite • Falcon • Raven • Ostrich • Owl • Vulture • Haron
• Stork • Bat • Etc.

CREEPER: Any animal that creeps.
• Mole • Mouse • Lizard • Gecko • Reptile • Chameleon • Etc.

How many of each animal did Noah take into the Ark? Hint: It wasn’t 2 of each

We have all been taught that Noah took Animals of each kind into the Ark, two by two. Most people teach this to their children. Teachers teach it at Sunday Schools. We see pictures of it in story books and have watched it in cartoon form. We even sing songs to that extent in our gatherings. But what is the truth? and does it matter to us today?

I would have read this story in the Old Testament many times, and for many years believed myself that “2 of each” was correct . But what does the Bible really say?

Most of us, like myself read Gen 6:19-22 and made the assumption that God told Noah to take “2 of each” of all animals into the Ark.
Gen 6:19-22 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them. Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. 

But God spoke to Noah again, and described what he wants done more thoroughly right after these words
Gen 7:2 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.

Wait a minute. Why did God say 2 at first and then say “sevens” and “two”
What God meant by 2 of every sort was that Noah had to take the Male and Female of each animal. Then He went onto describe the numbers of Animals he wanted saved.
Clean Animals = Seven Pairs of each kind (Seven Males & Seven Females)
Unclean Animals = Two Pairs of each kind (Two Males & Two Females)

“Clean” and “Unclean” animals before “Moses and the Food Laws”?
The interesting fact is that God’s classification of “Clean” and “Unclean” animals, written down in Leviticus 11 & Deuteronomy 14 through Moses, had been there even at Noah’s time. Noah knew which animals were “Clean” and which were “Unclean”.

So what’s the BIG DEAL?
One of the reasons this is important is, that we are giving a wrong picture to people when we say “2 of each”. It simply is not the truth. Another reason this should interest some, would be because saying “2 of each” hides the fact that the Food/Dietary Law division which was written down by Moses, was actually in effect even in Noah’s time.

God’s Commandments & Instructions are valid for us today, in the same way they were valid in Moses’ time and even before. As we see by this simple study, the division of “Clean” and “Unclean” animals has been there even in Noah’s time. It is a pity that 2000 years after the Messiah, that we have the notion that these dietary laws have been done away with, when in fact it was even in effect before Moses. And as far as I understand, the scriptures say that God’s Word does not change – they are forever (Matthew 5:18, 24:35, Isaiah 40:8, Psalm 119:160). Then how can these instruction given direct by God Almighty, change?

Links of interest

Did Christ declare all foods clean? Misunderstandings regarding Mark 7:19

Living in an island nation, I was brought up as any other child in our country, to love our sea food. Prawn, Crab, Cuttlefish were the norm in our diet. A meal without seafood at least once a week was unthinkable. With the Dutch, Portuguese & English influences in our country, we had come to love Pork as well. I myself was a fan of Bacon and had prawn & cuttlefish regularly. I couldn’t think of a life without Seafood in my diet. Growing up, we were taught that God is now more loving than in the Old Testament. He was portrayed as the “God of Love and Grace” instead of the Old Testament version which was the “God who was a consuming fire”.

Furthermore, it was taught that Yeshua(Jesus’ true name) came with a New Covenant, a new teaching, new Laws and we were no longer under the Old Covenant Laws. This worked out fine with our lives, society and our diet, because most of what we ate was what God had told His People not to, in the Old Testament (ie; Pork & Fish without scales and fins which included prawn, crab, cuttlefish, shellfish, lobster, etc).

When I first started looking at the Scriptures as a whole, where no verse can go against or annul another, something dawned on me. Does this mean, we have to still eat and not eat according to what God said in Leviticus 11? But what about Paul’s writings? He seems to be saying that we can eat anything. And doesn’t the Gospels even show Messiah Yeshua declaring all foods clean?

Before I addressed Paul, I needed to see whether our Savior (who we are meant to follow) really did change the Food Laws given by God. The only place I could find Him saying something close to “We can eat anything we want” was in Mark 7.

Mark 7:19 was of particular interest. So I read through a couple of English Translations of the Bible, and most of the versions said that “Jesus declared all foods clean”. Interestingly enough, the KJV did not contain this part, while all of the other versions had this in brackets.

New International Version “For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
English Standard Version “since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
New American Standard Bible “because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.)
King James Version “Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?”

Why didn’t the KJV, one of the earliest translations into English done in 1611, not contain this portion? And why did the rest of the versions carry it within brackets? As I dug into the issue, I found out an interesting piece of information.

The Original Greek Manuscripts do not even carry “(In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean)” which is in Mark 7:19. You can check this for yourself here, in The Codex Sinaiticus.

This had been a later addition by some of the translators to give this verse more clarity. And this was the reason why the KJV Bible did not have this part included. Since this was cleared out, I now had to make sure whether the decision by the Translators to add “(In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean)” was valid. Whether Yeshua was clearly stating that the Food Laws were no more. Looking at the context of the 7th Chapter of Mark leading upto verse 19 was essential to make this decision. Let us study Mark 7, from verse 1, and work our way down to the verses in question.

Mark 7:1-21Is it about eating any food or eating food without the tradition of washing the hands?
Reading Mark 7:1-4, I recognized that the story began with the Pharisees accusing some of Yeshua’s disciples of not washing their hands before eating bread. And Mark went on to note how the Pharisees and the Jews would not eat without washing their hands according to the “Tradition of the Elders”. And how they don’t eat without washing after coming from the marketplace and how they have a lot of these traditions like washing of cups, pots, brazen vessels and tables.

Now, some would associate the Pharisees with the Old Testament and conclude that these washings were from the Old Testament Law of God. But, praise God, I had been privileged to learn about the Pharisees and how they had their own Law & Teaching additionally to God’s Law.  (Learn who the Pharisees were, here).  This made all the difference as I understood what Mark meant by Tradition of the Elders” in verse 3.

In verse 5, the Pharisees ask Yeshua, why His disciple don’t walk according to the Tradition of the Elders”, eating with unwashed hands.

This is what Yeshua addresses in the verses that proceed. Not holding to the Tradition of the Elders & Eating with unwashed hands.

In verse 6&7, He starts by quoting Isaiah 29:13, showing their hypocrisy saying, that they honor God with their mouth but their hearts are far from Him and that in vain they worship Him, teaching “Commandments of Men” as “Doctrine”.

Verse 8-13, He further establishes and clarifies their mistake showing that they are laying aside God’s Commandments and are holding onto the Traditions of Men, which include washing of Cups and pots and such other things. He says that they reject God’s Commandments, so that they can keep their own Traditions. And that they make God’s Word of no effect by Their Traditions. (For more information on this verse, read “Who were the Pharisees”). Observe how Yeshua is pointing out the difference between God’s Commandments and Traditions of Men.

What is the context so far? is it Food? Or is it man made traditions? Isn’t the whole conversation revolving around eating food with unwashed hands which was the tradition in focus? Let us read on.

In Verse 14&15, He said, Nothing that goes into a person from the outside can make him unclean. It is what comes out of a person that makes a person unclean. What is Yeshua saying, if and when we take it in context? Is He saying that we can now eat whatever we want?

What Yeshua said was not a statement, but a Parable. In Verse 17, the disciples ask what He meant by the Parable.

Now we come to the verses in question
Yeshua answers the disciples in verse 18-23 saying, whatever enters into man cannot make him unclean, but only through sin that proceed from the inside of man. It is clear that He says that man is defiled by the Sin which is inside.

But is He in the same go, saying that God’s Food Laws are of no use because whatever we eat is purged out of the stomach? Is the same Yeshua that called the Pharisees, hypocrites for making God’s Law void, saying that God’s Food Laws are now void? Before we make a decision on this, I would like to focus your attention onto Matthew 15. In this chapter, Matthew is recording the same story which is in Mark 7. (I will not go into discussing the whole chapter from the beginning, though reading it for yourself will show that it is identical).

Let us read from Matthew 15:15
Just like in Mark, the disciples, in fact Peter(as Matthew records), asks Yeshua to explain the parable to them. Yeshua goes onto say the same thing “whatever enters into man cannot make him unclean, but only through sin that proceed from the inside of man”.

Matthew 15:20 is the Key
Yeshua, then explains what He was talking about the whole time. He says, “These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”
Doesn’t this single verse explain everything? Whoever uses Mark 7:18,19 to say that Yeshua gave us freedom to eat whatever we like, will have a hard time explaining Mat 15:20. What Yeshua’s whole argument was that “a person does not become unclean by eating with unwashed hands, but by the sin that comes out of the same person.

The fact is, that this whole conversation revolved around “eating with unwashed hands”. Mark 7 and Matthew 15 talks about the same instance and Matthew records Yeshua’s words to be regarding the issue of “Eating with unwashed hands”. There is no mention of God’s food Laws in these chapters and no translator has the authority to add phrases such as “(In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean)” with or without a proper understanding of context.

I will not be addressing the verses written in Paul’s epistles on this post, which I am planning on doing on a later date. Even though the point of this study is not to prove that God’s Food Law still stands, I hope, you have adequately seen that Mark 7:18,19 cannot be used to prove that Yeshua did away with God’s Food Laws written in Lev 11.

Did God tell Peter that he is free to eat unclean animals which He had banned before? Acts 10:1 – 11:18

A lot of people read the events around Peter and the vision he saw, to say that “God revoked the Food Laws”. Is this true? Can we come to the conclusion that God was trying to communicate to Peter that the Food Laws were no more after Christ’s death through this Vision? The objective of this study is not to conclude whether the Food Laws are valid for today, or not. (This will be a separate study, hopefully in the near future). The objective of this article is to study the said passage, so that we can figure out what it means, and what it does not mean. Whether God really did tell Peter to start eating all animals without separating clean and unclean, or whether God’s message was something else.

Let us start at the beginning of the Chapter and work ourselves down step by step. Since this is a verse by verse commentary, I have underlined the critical verses, if you want to get the facts, fast.

Acts 10:1
We know a few things about Cornelius. He was a Centurion of the Italian Regiment. He was posted in Caesarea, a place in Palestine. Mar 8:27, says that Yeshua Himself visited Ceasarea.

Acts 10:2
He was a godly man. He feared God with all his household, helped the poor and prayed constantly to God.

Acts 10:3
It says that he saw a vision about the 9th Hour. Later in verse 30, he confesses that he was fasting and praying at the 9th hour in his house. This was a separated time of prayer as seen in Acts 3:1. In this vision he saw, an Angel of God speaking to him.

Acts 10:4
And the Angel says that his “prayers” and the “compassion he had towards the poor” has reached God.

Acts 10:5,6
He is given direction to send men to Joppa(another place in palestine) to bring Simon Peter to him, so Peter could direct Cornelius as to what must be done.

Acts 10:7,8
When the Angel had left Cornelius, he called two servants and a god-fearing/devout soldier and told them what had happened and sent them to Joppa, as he was commanded.

Acts 10:9
While Cornelius’ men were approaching Joppa the next day, Peter went upstairs to pray around the 6th hour of the day.

Acts 10:10
It says Peter was very hungry, but the food was still being prepared. And he suddenly fell into a trance.

Acts 10:11,12,13
Peter saw the Heavens open up, and a great sheet with all kinds of animals let down to earth. And Peter heard a voice saying “Rise, Peter, Kill and Eat”.

Acts 10:14
Peter says “Not So, Lord”, meaning “may it not be”, I have “never” eaten anything which is unclean or common/unholy. This poses and interesting question. If, as some believe, Yeshua(Real name of Jesus) had taught the Disciples that all things are Clean, and everything can be eaten, why is Peter rejecting this “commandment” from heaven? So, it is safe to say, that Yeshua would have never taught any disciple to break God’s Food Laws.

Acts 10:15,16
Then the voice replies Peter saying, “What God has cleansed, do not call common/unholy”. This happens 3 times and the sheet was taken up back to Heaven. In this vision, did God revoke his food Laws and say God has cleansed all food, and not to call or segregate foods as clean and common/unholy or unclean? It is very clear. But, let us read on before jumping to any conclusions.

Acts 10:17
It says that Peter was unsure of what the vision meant. Why? it was so clear. God had told him to eat all things. But, Peter was not so sure what all of this meant. God had commanded not to eat unclean animals before, and now suddenly, He is asking Peter not to call Unclean animals Unclean! While all of these thoughts were in Peter’s mind, the men from Cornelius had reached the gate of the house where Peter stayed.

Acts 10:18,19,20
While the people asked for Peter, He was still thinking what the Vision meant, when the Holy Spirit spoke to him saying “3 men are looking for you, Arise, Go with them, without doubting anything, I have sent them”. Is this vision somehow connected with the arrival of the 3 men from Cornelius’ house? Let us read on.

Acts 10:21,22
Peter goes downstairs and declares that he is Peter and asks for what reason they are looking for him. They tell him that Cornelius, a Centurion, a God fearing just man, who is known by even the Jews with good report, saw an Angel asking him to send for Peter, to hear what he has to say.

Acts 10:23,24
Peter asked them to stay with them in Joppa, and left Joppa the next day with some of the other believers. The next day, they entered Ceasarea, and Cornelius was waiting for Peter in his house, and he had invited his friends and relatives as well.

Acts 10:25,26,27
As Peter was entering the house, Cornelius rushed to him, fell down, and worshiped him. But Peter “took him” up saying “Stand up, I am also just a man”. And then Peter entered the house to see many who had gathered.

Acts 10:28,29
Peter talks to the assembly, and says “You know, that it is unlawful for a Jew to keep company with, or visit foreigners”. Let’s stop here for a minute and study what Peter really meant, before we proceed. First of all, we should see that it was a known fact by all, that Jews did not keep company with foreigners. Otherwise, Peter would not start his speech by saying “You know”. We see this separation throughout the bible(John 4:9) So much so, that Jews did not even talk with non-Jews (John 4:27). They tried to even refrain from stepping into buildings that foreigners were in(John 18:28). Had God Almighty, instituted such a Law? God has always advised Israel not to go after the nations, and their ways, but never to not keep company with them or talk to them. in Deut 4:6-8, God even advised Israel to keep His Laws so Gentiles will see the good things of God and obey God. This law, of division between Jew and Gentile, like many other laws, were forced on Israel by their teachers and rulers, such as the Pharisees. (More about them in a future study). So, in short, It was a custom, or man made law, that no Jew could visit or keep company with a Gentile.

Now we finally get some solid answers to the questions we asked in Acts 10:15,16. Peter goes on to say, “but God has showed me that I should not call any man “common/unholy” or “unclean”. That is why I came promptly to you, as soon as I was asked to come”. It is very clear, by reading this admission, that Peter understood his vision the moment the 3 men asked him to come with them to Ceasarea. He understood that “God had showed” him the vision concerning not calling any man “Common/Unholy” and “Unclean”. Putting no difference between a person who knows God, and a person who is searching for God. Remember, ultimately, all are children of Noah, a child of God.

Peter goes onto ask why they asked him to come.

Acts 10:30-33
Cornelius explains what happened to him and tells Peter that they are present, to learn what God has commanded them to do.

Acts 10:34,35
Then Peter says that he “understands” that God does not respect any particular individual or nation, and that He has accepted all who “fear Him” and “does what is righteous”, in all nations.

Acts 10:36-43
Then Peter goes onto witness about Yeshua and preaches the Gospel to the people.

Acts 10:44-48
Then something fantastic happen. While Peter talks to the people, the Holy Spirit falls on the people. And some of the believers who were of the “Circumcision party”, who had come with Peter, were astonished. (We will check who “the Circumcision party” was, shortly). The Gentiles spoke in tongues, and magnified God. Then, Peter asked “Can anyone forbid these people who have received the Holy Spirit to get baptized? And Peter commanded them to get baptized in the name of the Lord. And he stayed with them for sometime.

Acts 11:1
The apostles and believers in Judea had heard that the gentiles received the Word of God.

Acts 11:2,3
When Peter came to Jerusalem, “those from the Circumcision” opposed Peter. Notice, that it was not the “Apostles” and “all the believers” who opposed him. It was only those of “the Circumcision”. Some think that “the Circumcision” is, all Jews. Not so. (Gal 2:12,13 showcases how Peter was scared of the Circumcision, and how the “other Jews”, who were not of “the Circumcision Party/Group” also followed him). They believed, as per the name which is used to call them, that you needed to be circumcised to be saved.

What was the accusation brought forward against Peter? That Peter went to “men who are not Circumcised” and ate with them.

Acts 11:4-15
To this, Peter replied by conveying the whole story which happened to him, not starting with the 3 men who came to Joppa, but starting with the vision he saw. He tells them the vision, and how as he was having the vision, the 3 men were looking for him at the house, and how 6 believers, present with him, went with him to Caesarea. How Cornelius had seen an Angel, and how the Holy Spirit fell, while he spoke.

Acts 11:16-18
Peter also says that he remembered what Yeshua said “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit”. He told everyone, that God had given the Holy Spirit to the gentiles who believed in Yeshua, and asked them, who was he to withstand God. When “the Circumcision party/group” heard this, they kept quiet and glorified God, saying that God had granted repentance unto the gentiles as well.

So, in conclusion, as we have seen throughout this reading, the Vision was connected to the Gentiles and not regarding them as unholy or unclean. It could not have been about the food. If it was so, “The Circumcision Party” who accused Peter of eating with gentiles, would have ripped him to shreds for breaking “God’s Food Laws”. The key to understanding this misunderstood part of the Word, is Acts 10:28, where Peter said “God has showed me that I should not call ANY MAN “common” or “unclean”.

God’s Commandments, Laws & Statutes. Before or After Moses?

Many Christians tend to believe that God’s Commandments were not there(not available, not adhered to, not instituted) before Moses and the Covenant God made at Sinai. This is what I also used to believe, as this was what was taught to me, all my life.

Reading the Bible though, gives a completely different picture to this story. There are so many instances, we see the patriarchs keeping God’s Commandments, way before it was ever written down and passed down through Moses.

Today, we will try to get to the bottom of this subject and iron out some of the misconceptions it carries.

Cain & Abel
When did God require sacrificial offerings? Apparently, Long before Moses, Both Cain & Abel brought offerings to God Almighty. And it is a known fact that Cain’s offering was rejected while Abel’s offering was accepted. This story teaches us two important things. Firstly, There are offerings that are accepted and there are offerings that are rejected. And secondly, why was Abel’s offering accepted while Cain’s rejected? The reason “most probably” was that even though The commandments were not written down, Abel’s offering was in accordance with the Offering written down in chapter 3 in the Book of Leviticus by Moses and later adhered to, by all(1King 8:63,64). The Commandment was to offer the animal and it’s “Fat”.

Noah
We have all been taught that Noah took Animals of each kind into the Ark, two by two. Most people teach this to their kids, We even sing songs to that extent in our gatherings. But what is the truth? I would have read this passage a dozen times, but I never noticed this fact, till recently. In Gen 7:2 God tells Noah, “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”. When I first “saw” this verse, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had read this chapter a dozen times, but I failed to see that God’s classification of “Clean” and “Unclean” animals, written down in Leviticus 11 had been there even at Noah’s time.

Furthermore, what’s interesting is that, in Gen 8:20,21, Noah built an altar an offered “Clean” animals to God. Again, where was it ever commanded to offer animal sacrifices to God before it was communicated through Moses?

Abraham
Gen 26:5, Highlights an amazing point. God promises Isaac to multiply his seed, “Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws”. For Abraham to know God’s Ordinances, Commandments, Customs and Precepts, someone would have had to teach it to him. He did not only know them, this verse says Abraham kept all of it, a long time before Moses.

Abraham, in Gen 14:20, also gave tithes of all he had to Melchizedek, the priest of God Almighty. This was also long before Moses wrote down the laws of tithing.

In Gen 22, Abraham is asked to offer a Burnt Sacrifice by God, as well.

Jacob
In Gen 28:22, Jacob also makes a promise to God, to give a tenth of all that God gives him.

Walking with God, and being Perfect
In Gen 5:22, 24, It is said that Enoch walked with God. And similarly, in Gen 17:1, Abraham was asked to Walk before God and be Perfect. In Gen 6:9, Noah was called a just and Perfect person. Might there be a connection between obeying God(His Commandments, His Words) and Walking with Him and being perfect? (This is a study for another day)

So what does all of this mean?
Looking at the evidence in Genesis and the fact that God and His Word does not change
(Mal 3:6, Isa 44:6, Heb 13:8, Luke 16:17) Could it be, that the patriarchs kept God’s Commandments, His statutes & His Laws, even though it is not specifically mentioned? We know that Abraham definitely did. As Yeshua(Hebrew name of Jesus) said in John 10:35, If something is written in the Bible, “the Scripture cannot be broken”. In reference to Gen 26:5, no one can say that Abraham did not keep God’s Commandments, proving that Commandments were there long before Moses was even born.

I believe the Commandments would have been passed down from Father to Son. From Adam to Seth, and so on. God did instruct people to teach His words to their sons and the sons of their sons(Deut 4:9)

In conclusion, I believe, according to what we have read, what God did at Sinai through Moses, was to write down the Commandments, Statutes & Laws – The Word of God – so no one could say, that we do not know the ways of God Almighty. (Deut 30:11-13) His ways have always been known by His children from Creation.