Tag Archives: Meat

What we do in our bodies – does it affect our souls?

Most Christians are familiar with Messiah’s words to the Pharisees in regards to the question raised on washing of hands.

Mar 7:15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

While we have addressed the issue in concern and misunderstandings stemming from it, in another study; today I plan to showcase a different perspective on the misunderstandings created by the teachings that say “Christ declared all foods clean” and that “nothing that we eat can make us unclean”.

When Yeshua addressed the issue of obeying the “traditions of the elders – the washing of hands”, he was not speaking of the uncleanness brought about through what we eat – but of the uncleanness that is brought about (as per the Pharisees) by eating with unwashed hands. Yeshua’s words on this issue has led Christianity to believe that what we eat does not affect us at all. But is this what the Scriptures say?

What is the Soul?
The soul could be called the life force of a human being, as we see mentioned in the creation account.

Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul(Nefesh)

This life force is directly connected to the blood in a human or an animal.

Gen 9:4,5 But flesh with the life(Nefesh) thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives(Nefesh) will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life(Nefesh) of man.
Lev 17:14 For it is the life(Nefesh) of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life(Nefesh) thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life(Nefesh) of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.
Deu 12:23 Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life(Nefesh) with the flesh.

The Greek word Psyche for Soul
Wherever Nefesh is mentioned in the Scriptures, the Septuagint (The Greek Translation of the Hebrew Bible dating to 3rd Century BC) translates it as “Psyche”.  We see the same word used in the New Testament writings as well, showing that the soul is truly the life force that makes us who we are.

Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul(Psyche) : but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul(Psyche) and body in hell.
Mat 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul(Psyche)? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Act 20:10 And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life(Psyche) is in him.

Does what we do to our bodies affect our souls?
What we do to our bodies, especially in regards to food, can affect the soul as it is closely connected with the blood. What we consume directly affects our blood, which means the food or drink we intake can have a lasting influence on our souls. This is further showcased in the Scriptures by God’s commands regarding the food laws.

Lev 11:43 Ye shall not make yourselves(Nefesh) abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.
Lev 20:25 Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls(Nefesh) abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.

Conclusion
So we see that the food laws that God provided for His people were not merely a matter of ritual purity as most of us think, but something that can affect our life force which is something that supersedes the short life we live today. Let us all try to keep our souls Holy and not become abominable by what God has shown to corrupt this precious gift we received from Him. Shalom

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.