Does the Bible Say We Can Eat Anything?
There is a debate going on among New Testament believers as to whether there are any impermissible items to eat or not. Since the debate seems to be growing in intensity, it seemed practical to bring this matter to the forefront and see if some of the smoke on this issue can’t be cleared. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to look at the New Testament passages dealing with food, and see just what they are saying.
Before we get started, let me be clear: salvation is through belief in Y’shua/Jesus, alone. However, once we have become a child of God through belief in Y’shua, then we must live obediently to God’s instructions, which tell us how to live pleasingly before Him. Therefore, what we are discussing in this article is not a salvation issue, but one of living obediently to God.
I began my life in a Southern Baptist church where I was told that the dietary laws in the Old Testament were no longer in effect. I grew up eating the typical American diet. As an adult, my health began to deteriorate due to a serious infection picked up while in the hospital. As I sought the Lord for an answer, I was surprised when He began to teach me about eating. HE taught me most of what I’m going to share with you. Since it was from Yahweh (the name of God of the Bible) the proof for it can be found in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
Please get a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to find the references for the Old Testament dietary laws. I will mostly deal with what the New Testament has to say since the controversy comes not from Torah observant Messianics or Jews, but from those “churched” people who have been taught that the New Testament abolished or canceled the laws – God’s instructions - in the original covenant.
The first instance is in Matthew 15:
1) Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Y’shua (Jesus) from Jerusalem, saying,
2) “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
3) And He answered and said to them, “And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
So, we see that the Pharisees were calling Y’shua (Jesus) on transgressing a TRADITION, but not for transgressing a commandment of God. He goes on to talk to them about honoring their parents and then says:
7) “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you saying,
8) ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
9) BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS THEIR DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”
10) And he called to Himself the multitude, and said to them, “Hear, and understand.
11) “Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” (capital letters theirs)
passage, Y’shua is not even dealing with “unclean” as food because He is
talking to Pharisees and scribes, the most pious of all Judaism!
“Unclean” wasn’t even in the realm of the conversation with these people (who
didn’t even consider “unclean” to BE food), but simply whether or not by eating
with ceremonially unwashed hands defiled a man. Y’shua goes on to make
18) “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.
19) For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders,
20) These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.
Some translations add a parenthetical clause after this statement which says: (“And thus Jesus declared all foods clean.”) This was inserted by the editors of the various translations, but is NOT found in the original text. This is their editorial OPINION, but is not part of what the Messiah said. How can it be when He was talking about washing or not washing hands and NOT talking about food? This same event is also found in Mark 7:1-23.
Whenever this discussion comes up I’m always confronted with Peter’s vision at Joppa, found in Acts 10, so let’s look at it.
The chapter begins with the story of Cornelius, a Roman centurion, “a devout man, and one who feared God with all his household, and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually.” He was visited by an angel who tells him to send for Peter, also known as Simon at a tanner’s house by the sea. He does. While the men are coming to the tanner’s house, Peter goes up on the rooftop to await the noon meal and received a vision from God.
10) And he became hungry, and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;
11) and he beheld the sky opened up, and a certain object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,
12) and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.
13) And a voice came to him, “Arise, Peter, kill and eat!”
14) Put Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.”
Bible historians date the events in this chapter to be approximately 48-50 A.D., fifteen to seventeen years AFTER Messiah ascended to heaven. So even in the years with Y’shua (Jesus) on earth as well as the interim years to this time, Peter had not eaten anything considered “unclean” by the original covenant. And as we will see, this passage interprets itself and clearly tells us that this vision has nothing to do with food!!
Once Peter’s vision lifts, the Holy Spirit tells him that there are three men looking for him and that he is to go with them for God has sent them. The next day, these men take Peter with them to Cornelius’ house.
25) And when it came about that Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshipped him.
26) But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.”
27) And as he talked with him, he entered, and found many people assembled.
28) And he said to them, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call ANY MAN unholy or unclean.
If Scripture follows its preceding patterns of Joseph and Daniel, the dream is given in Scripture and below it is given the interpretation. This is the same pattern we find in this passage. Peter does not say that this vision made pigs, shellfish, or any other unclean animal clean. Peter himself tells us what the vision was all about! It was about him going into the home of a Roman, a Gentile, and sharing the gospel with these “unclean” people. This is the first documented time that this has happened – that the gospel was specifically shared with Gentiles. Scripture uses the same words, “unholy” and “unclean” both times to make sure we understand that this was about MEN! The end of the chapter tells how God circumvents any misunderstanding that the Jews who came with Peter might have had by orchestrating events that demanded the baptism of these Gentiles, for which Peter is called to give an account to the council in Jerusalem. (See Acts 11:15-18)
Let’s look at this in another way. Believers in Messiah are taught that the Word of God does not contradict itself. We are also taught that if we get a “revelation” we believe is from God, that it must not contradict the Word of God. This premise is correct. So, let’s apply that premise to this section of Scripture that supposedly changed what God said.
Peter receives a vision he believes to be from God. The church has taught that this vision turned unclean to food in an instant. However, does this doctrine fit the prescribed premise, above, that the church also teaches?
must remember that when Peter had this vision, the only “Word of God” he had by which to judge whether or not an
instruction was from Yahweh, was the Old Testament since the New
Testament wasn’t written and compiled until around 135 A.D. Therefore, what did
the Old Testament say that would apply to Peter’s “new revelation” supposedly
changing unclean to clean in an instant?
4. You shall follow Yahweh your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.
5. "But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against Yahweh your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which Yahweh your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. Deuteronomy 13:4-5
As a Jewish male, Peter was trained in the torah (traditionally call the “law”) of God. Do you think he would have accepted instructions from a voice in a vision that contradicted the written instructions of the Word of God? The same Word of God that Peter and the disciples now knew in the flesh as Y’shua/Jesus? (John 1:1-5) NO! He would not!
Therefore, according to the criteria that the church has set for defining what is God’s truth, the teaching of unclean being “magically” transformed into clean in an instant does not hold up and again, Peter tells us the vision was about the Gentiles being “grafted in,” becoming part of, and treated no differently by God than the “cultivated olive tree” of Israel (Acts 10:28; Romans 11:11-24).
So, once again, we have seen that Scriptures used to defend eating anything have
absolutely nothing to do with this topic.
The next “biggie” I hear is found in 1 Timothy 4.
1) But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,
2) by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a
3) men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.
4) For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is
received with gratitude;
5) for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.
This Scripture was the basis for my Southern Baptist upbringing that everything was permissible to eat as long as it was prayed over and received with gratitude. However, I was doing that and I was seriously ill and not getting any better. Had I not obeyed what God taught me in this area, I would probably now be dead.
To break down this verse, first I’ll show you how God showed this to me, then we will go and look at the Greek words and see if they confirm what He said.
God showed this to me as a writer and showed me that the foods men would say to abstain from partaking were foods that God had created TO be eaten. The “everything” in v. 4 is referring back to the subject “food” mentioned in the preceding sentence. So, “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected” ONLY if it is “food which God has created to be gratefully shared in…” That was enough for me, but probably won’t be for you, so let’s look up just what “food” means.
Food = Strong’s #1033, broma, bro’-mah; food (lit. or fig.), espec. certain allowed or forbidden by the Jewish law.
This passage is NOT saying that “unclean” has now been okayed by God to be considered “food.” In fact, quite the opposite is true. The Greek clearly tells us that what God previously said was allowed or forbidden according to the “law” is also the rule for the New Testament believer.
Paul is talking about men coming along in the later times and telling you that
you can’t eat chicken or salmon (a clean fish with fins and scales) or telling
you to abstain from what God proclaimed to be food. Paul is NOT endorsing
eating just anything and thinking that’s okay with God! We seem to constantly
forget what Yahweh has said about Himself:
“For I, Yahweh, do not change;” Malachi 3:6
“Y’shua the Messiah is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.”
Let me ask you a question: is the body of Messiah sick and dying? Have you looked at the length of the prayer lists in most churches today? If we are obeying correctly, according to the Word of God, then God needs to apologize to us for not taking better care of us or we’ve missed it somewhere!
we at least following the bare basics required in Acts 15? In this
chapter, a discussion had arisen concerning believers who were from the
Pharisees who said that circumcision was necessary (for salvation) and these
were also directing observance of the Law of Moses. (v5)
apostles and elders came together to look into the matter and after much
debate, Peter arose and testified about his involvement in the engrafting of
the gentiles and clearly says that salvation is by grace; it cannot be earned by
circumcision, and then in verse 13, James weighs in:
13) And after they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me.
14) Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name.
15) And with this the words of the Prophets agree….
19) Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.
21) For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”
Did you notice that three of the four things listed here deal with what we eat? The recommendation was to give the gentile converts some BASIC requirements to follow since Moses (the Torah) was read and preached every Sabbath in every city and from that the gentile believers would learn the rest of what they should do. Remember, there WAS NO “New Testament” compiled at the time these events were unfolding. The ONLY “Scripture” they had by which to live was the OLD TESTAMENT.
When someone becomes a new believer, do you heap on them every single thing they need to do to change their life to be like the Messiah? Or do you give them a few starting points knowing that they’ll get the rest as they go along? This is the example in this passage. It is NOT discounting the validity of what God said in the original covenant, a covenant with which gentiles would be totally unfamiliar. Instead, they decided to give them a few things to start and let them learn the rest as they went along. In the realm of food, apparently things containing blood (as strangled animals would) was the top of the list of abhorrent things for the apostles. Yet today, believers eat meat oozing with blood regularly. If we are “New Testament believers” why do we not adhere to the most basic of the requirements given for gentile believers in the Messiah?
From this passage in Acts 15 it is apparent that James and the apostles knew how God feels about the consumption of blood. This instruction is found in Leviticus 17:10,
“And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.”
Since Yahweh has told us in His Word that He never changes, I do not want His face set against me! He tells us in this passage that this is the fate of those who disobey His Word and eat blood.
covering the next section of Scripture, I’d like to ask you a question. Who has
more authority, Y’shua/Jesus or Paul? If Paul wrote something that you think
contradicts what Y’shua said, then who has the “final say?” Y’shua or Paul?
This is an important difference to think about, because I have found that most
Christians quote Paul as the final authority, many times ignoring or
discounting what the Messiah, Himself, said! It is my belief that there is NO contradiction
between the two and if I think Paul said something that doesn’t line up with
what the Messiah said, then I have to go back and look at what Paul wrote in
the context of Messiah. Messiah said:
“Do not think that I came to abolish (make obsolete) the Torah or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill (consecrate, execute, i.e. carry out).
For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stoke shall pass away from the Torah until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18)
So if the Messiah says that the Torah won’t pass away until heaven and earth pass away, the next logical question is, do heaven and earth still exist? To which you’d reply, “Well yes, of course they do!” If this is such an obvious response, why isn’t it obvious that the “law” (Torah) hasn’t been “done away with” as we’ve been taught in the church? And if we think Paul is telling us that it has been, then who has the final say, Y’shua, who said it hadn’t passed away, or Paul, whom we think said it has?
My response is that Y’shua is the final authority of these two, but also that Paul isn’t saying anything different from His Messiah; we’ve just thought he did. Paul confirms this in Acts 24 when he said,
“…I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law (Torah) and that is written in the Prophets.” Acts 24:14
How can we say that Paul gave us permission to disobey the Torah’s dietary instructions when he made this statement affirming his belief in the entire Torah?
This leads us back to the next passage that confuses people, found in Romans 14.
Paul begins this passage by saying we are to accept those who are weak in faith and the weaker in faith eat only vegetables while the stronger in faith may eat all things. In light of what Messiah said in Matthew 5 quoted above and what we’ve seen that Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4, is Paul advocating eating “anything” as part of eating “all things”? It can mean that only if you are comfortable with the Word of God contradicting itself. He cannot be saying one thing in one place and contradict that in another.
So, how do we know that this isn’t what Paul is saying in this chapter? Because he explicitly tells us later in the chapter:
15) For if because of food (broma, clean according to
the Old Testament) your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking
according to love. Do not destroy with your food (broma) him for whom Christ died.
16) Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil;
20) Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food (broma). All things (broma) are indeed clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense.
21) It is good not to eat meat (kreas) or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. (Romans 14)
Paul clearly tells us that the food to which he is referring is BROMA: clean according to the Torah (remember, to Paul, a Pharisee of Pharisees, “unclean” is not “food.”) The meat Paul recommends not eating, kreas, (Strong’s #2907) is the Greek word noting meat sacrificed to idols. Paul also sums up the point of the entire chapter: DO NOT DO ANYTHING WHICH CAUSES YOUR BROTHER TO STUMBLE. If your brother can only handle eating vegetables, then do NOT eat something that offends him or causes him to stumble when in his presence!
This brings up an astonishing event I have witnessed repeatedly in the recent past. People who know me know that I eat a biblically clean (kosher) diet, yet Christians eat nasty unclean items in my presence with a very belligerent attitude, daring me to say anything to them about what is on their plate. Of course, I do not, but what they miss is that they are disobeying a NEW TESTAMENT Scripture by their very attitude and actions! I have been convicted by Yahweh to obey His word, to eat according to His word and I can prove from His word that what I’m doing is biblical, if someone wishes it proven. However, whether or not that ever happens does not excuse the attitude and actions of Christians in mine or other Messianic believers or Jews presence. Do you really think you’ll be able to minister to a non-believing Jewish person with this attitude and doing this action? They’ll find you offensive and ignore you. How will you ever “provoke them to jealousy” according to Romans 11, doing these things? You may not like what you are reading, but the truth sometimes isn’t pleasant. The question now becomes: “What is more important to you, insisting on your right to do whatever you like about what you put in your mouth, or obedience to the word of God and considering your brother, according to Romans 14?”
The last passage to cover in the New Testament is found in 1 Corinthians 8. I would suggest you read the entire thing in light of what we’ve already covered. Paul cannot be contradicting the Messiah or what he wrote cannot be divinely inspired Scripture. Therefore, we need to “read” this in a new way, a way that is compliant with what Messiah said so that it fits seamlessly into the body of Scripture.
8 is summed up in its last verse:
13) Therefore, if food (kreas) causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat (kreas) again, that I might not cause my brother to stumble.
This is just reiterating what he wrote in Romans 14, this time dealing with food sacrificed to idols.
Paul gave us even more insight into how he felt about the Old Testament being applicable for the Gentiles when he said,
“‘Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,’ says the Lord.
‘AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
AND I WILL WELCOME YOU.
AND I WILL BE A FATHER TO YOU,
AND YOU SHALL BE SONS and daughters TO ME,
SAYS THE LORD ALMIGHTY.’
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1
In 2 Corinthians, which was written to Gentiles, Paul is saying that there are unclean things we need to avoid and that there’s something we have to do to cleanse ourselves from fleshly defilement as well as being cleansed from spiritual defilement! We need to come out, be separate, and do not touch, much less eat, what is unclean!
Did Y’shua/Jesus eat pork products or anything “unclean”? No. Y’shua lived according to the law, didn’t He? We’re told that He was without sin, which 1 John 3:4 defines as “lawlessness,” so we know that He did not disobey the Torah instructions because we know He wasn’t “lawless” or sinful. Therefore, according to 1 John 2:6, neither are we to disobey the Torah instructions since we are to “walk as He did.”
IF God has said in Scripture that you can now eat pork, shellfish, catfish, shark, etc. and that’s okay with Him, then why aren’t you eating rats, bats, and turkey buzzards? “YUCK!” you say, they carry disease! How about armadillo? They’ve been documented to give people leprosy! Why not maggots if “everything is clean” and you are not “under the law”? Why not add them to your plate? You see, once we begin to take this thinking to its logical conclusion, it is easy to see the fallacy of this stance and to see that it couldn’t possibly be what God was saying. He has already told us that He is always the same; do you really think He has changed His thoughts on what we are to eat yet did not specifically tell us?
“BUT,” you say, “what about Y’shua’s teaching in Luke 10?” This passage deals with Y’shua sending out the 70, sending them two by two. He sends them out with several directives, one of which is:
And whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat what is set before you;”
Of course, being sent out among the Jews wouldn’t present a problem as they ate a “clean” diet, and in this passage, that is what He’s saying since He’s sending them to:
“…every city and place where He Himself was going to come”
And we know that He during His life on earth He only traveled a short distance from His home.
To be balanced about the Word of God, we see that Messiah tells us that when we are out on His business and the people are receptive to His message, we are to eat what is set before us. This keeps us from offending them before they can hear His message. We also know that we can partake of something deadly and it will not harm us (Mark 16: 15-20). However, that does not give us a license to eat anything whenever we want. This is a specific exemption for a specific purpose and ONLY if you are received in that city. There may also be times when He will tell you NOT to eat what is set before you as a warning to protect you from potential disease in what is offered to you. This is a situation in which you must heed His voice and listen carefully. If you don’t, it could prove to be deadly for you.
we were given another “argument” saying that the Old Testament doesn't
uphold the dietary laws (!) since in Genesis 9:3, Yahweh said to Noah:
"Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the
The belief that this Scripture (“every moving thing”) disputes the dietary law, giving a license to eat anything, is incorrect and the Bible proves this in several ways:
1) Noah knew the difference between clean and unclean. In obedience to YHWH's command, he took 7 of every clean animal and only 2 (1 male, 1 female) of the unclean animals (Genesis 6:19-22; Genesis 7:2-3).
2) After the flood, upon departing from the ark, Noah offered sacrifice to YHWH from the clean animals, knowing that YHWH would not accept an unclean offering (Genesis 8:20) This again shows that Noah knew the difference between clean and unclean, even before the Torah ("law") was given through Moses.
3) Had Noah and/or his family eaten from the unclean animals taken on the ark, then he would have wiped out a species that YHWH had so carefully preserved! Of each unclean species, there were only two: a male and a female. So, if YHWH were saying man could eat of the unclean, He'd have just made that species extinct.
4) The position that this disputes the dietary law can only be true if Scripture can contradict Scripture, if YHWH can change His mind, and thus we are saying that we believe that YHWH can contradict Himself. Since the Bible is inerrant (Psalm 19:7-11) and God doesn't change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8), then this belief is obviously a mistaken one.
We can see that the Messiah did not contradict everything else He said, whether in the New Testament as the Messiah or as the “Word” of God in the Old Testament. He even told us that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. The only ones He gave were in the OLD Testament (see Lawlessness Study) as He was the one who spoke forth the Torah commands as the “Word” (John 1:1-5). In the New Testament, Y’shua simply synopsizes the focus of the Torah – how to live righteously with God and with man.
The instructions of “the Word” (Y’shua) have not changed from ancient times, and WILL be kept in the future. So what makes us think that we are exempt from the requirements He has placed upon men at these other times? Isaiah 65-66 is a prophetic passage of Scripture. In it, Yahweh clearly tells us how He will feel in the end of days about this subject:
2) I have spread out My hands all the day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, after their own thoughts
3) A people who provoke Me to My face continually, sacrificing [to idols] in gardens and burning incense upon bricks [instead of at God’s prescribed altar];
4) Who sit among the graves [trying to talk to the dead] and lodge among the secret places [or caves where familiar spirits were thought to dwell]; who eat swine’s flesh, and the broth of abominable and loathsome things is in their vessels;
5) Who say, Keep to you yourself; do not come near me, for I am set apart from you. These are smoke in My nostrils, a fire that burns all the day. (Isaiah 65, AMP)
3) [The acts of the hypocrite’s worship are as abominable to God as if they were offered to idols.] He who kills an ox [then] will be guilty as if he slew and sacrificed a man; he who sacrifices a lamb or a kid, as if he broke a dog’s neck and sacrificed him; he who offers a cereal offering, as if he offered swine’s blood; he who burns incense [to God], as if he blessed an idol. [Such people] have chosen their own ways, and they delight in their abominations; (Isaiah 66, AMP)
having gone through every New Testament word for “food” and “meat” and “flesh”
in the Strong’s Concordance, I can tell you that there is not ONE word that
gives us permission to do away with or ignore the dietary instructions given in
the Torah. Other than broma (Strong’s
#1033) and kreas (#2907) at which
we’ve already looked, the other words used in the New Testament for food, meat
or flesh are:
5160, trophe = nourishment; by impl. rations (wages)
1304, diatribe = to wear through (time), i.e. remain,
(as in “having food and raiment, let us be content.” 1 Timothy 6:8)
1035, brosis = eating (lit. or fig.); by extens. (concr.) food (lit. or fig.), the act of eating
5315, phago = to eat (lit. or fig.)
4620, sitometron = a grain-measure, i.e. (by impl.) ration (allowance of food); portion of meat
1034, brosimos = eatable, used only 1 time in Luke 24:41 referring to broiled fish and honeycomb
4371, prosphagion = something eaten in addition to bread; i.e. a relish
5132, trapeza = a table or stool (as being four-legged), usually for food (fig. a meal);
4561, sarx = flesh (as stripped of the skin), i.e. (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extens.) the body (as opposed to the soul [or spirit], or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred), or (by impl.) human nature (with its frailties [phys. Or mor.] and passions), or (spec.) a human being (as such)
Examples of 4561 (sarx):
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41
And the two shall become one flesh. Mark 10:8
All flesh shall see the salvation of God. Luke 3:6
And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:14
That which is born of the flesh is flesh… John 3:6
…I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; Acts 2:17
…no flesh shall be justified in His sight…Romans 3:20
…and make no provision for the flesh… Romans 13:14
…not many wise men after the flesh, not many might…1 Cor. 1:26
…if we walked according to the flesh…2 Corinthians 10:2-3
…he who was born of the bondwoman was born after the flesh: Gal 4:23
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…Eph. 6:12
…have no confidence in the flesh. Phil. 3:3
For though I be absent in the flesh…Col. 2:5
As far as I can tell from investigating every listing of this word in the Strong’s, no example of this word in the entire New Testament is in relation to what is eaten.
If Yahweh has exempted us from the dietary instructions in the Torah, then He has been grossly unjust to not exempt us from the penalty of disobeying them. The penalty of disobeying His teaching and instruction are the diseases that come from eating these unclean items; a link that medical science has more than proven, such as the following diseases linked to shellfish: hepatitis A, yersiniosis, shigella, V. parahaemolyticus, poisoning and even death from V. vulnificus; toxoplasmosis, taeniasis or cysticercosis, trichinosis and cirrhosis of the liver from eating pork.
The penalty of disobedience to God’s instructions in the Torah is clearly stated in Deuteronomy 28:58-62:
58. If you are not careful to observe all the words of this Torah which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, Yahweh your God,
59. then Yahweh will bring extraordinary plagues on you and on your descendants, even severe and lasting plagues, and miserable and chronic sicknesses.
60. And He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you.
61. And every sickness and every plague which, not written in the book of this Torah, Yahweh will bring on you until you are destroyed.
62. Then you shall be few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven for multitude, because you did not obey Yahweh your God.
It’s interesting to note that there is no disease listed under the first part of this chapter (Deuteronomy 28:1-14) when obedience to God’s Torah is followed (which includes the dietary instructions). The only diseases listed (Deuteronomy 28:15, 20-22, 27-28, 35) are from NOT obeying what God instructed us to do.
I’d like to take a moment to clarify a point. I am not speaking of a rabbinically kosher diet based upon the rulings of rabbis who have ruled such things as:
flesh of birds and mammals) cannot be eaten with dairy.
Fish, eggs, fruits, vegetables and grains can be eaten with either meat or dairy. (According to some views, fish may not be eaten with meat).
Utensils that have come into contact with meat may not be used with dairy, and vice versa.
Grape products made by non-Jews may not be eaten…(and there are many more)
As an example to show you the difference about which I’m speaking, the Bible simply says we are not to cook the kid in its mother’s milk, which is a specific prohibition. In principle, it tells us not to cook meat in the milk that would nurture that creature. However, the rabbis expanded this principle to say that no meat and dairy can be combined in a dish or in the same meal, nor can you use the same dishes for meat and dairy, nor the same refrigerator or sink! This is adding to the word of God, which we are not to do, and making God’s word a burden to His people, something for which Y’shua specifically condemned the Pharisees and leaders of His day.
Therefore, I am speaking of eating strictly according to the Word of God, which is a biblically clean diet, and obeying the rules and principles that God put in His word without following additional rules that have been made by men.
Still, people hold to what they’ve been taught vs. what God said in His word. It is not unusual to hear people (who don’t study the word, but quote their preacher, thus “rules made by men”) say, “But, 1 Timothy 4 also covers that anything is now clean..." One day, Yahweh gave us this answer to that statement:
In reality, even you don't believe what you said, that "anything" is clean. What that statement refers to is what your culture says is clean. You consider shellfish, pork and catfish "food" but wouldn't consider rats, bats, roaches, maggots, turkey buzzards, and other things your culture calls disgusting, "food." Therefore, even you don't really consider "anything" to be food. The true issue is whose definition you choose to live by: that of your culture or God's.
Having more than adequately made the case for the word of God not changing, for the words of Messiah being true and not contradicting what Paul wrote; that we’ve just misunderstood it by reading the Bible through “Gentile glasses” as opposed to seeing it from the perspective of the men who wrote it (God’s perspective), it is easy to see how we have misunderstood what Yahweh put into His divinely inspired Word since we do not understand His commandments. (See Lawlessness Study)
D. Thomas Lancaster succinctly summarizes:
Every commandment of Torah is spoken by the mouth of God. Each command is therefore holy and eternal. Whether or not a particular commandment seems to apply in our day is irrelevant. Human society may change, but God does not change. Every commandment is a distillation of His essence, a pure revelation of His person. The study of the commandments is the study of God. As soon as we begin to discard commandments, we have begun editing God.¹
If Yahweh was going to change His instructions and teachings (Torah), don’t you think He’d have specifically told us? And, don’t you think He’d have given us at least one living example of this through Y’shua and/or His disciples? Yet, there is NO Biblical record of them EVER eating ANYTHING unclean.
I will end this article by telling you what Yahweh told me when I questioned Him about this. I said to Him, “Father, people get so MAD when I talk to them about this! They “put up their dukes” with me (in my seminar on Biblical nutrition) when I talk about this. What do you want me to tell them?” To which He replied, “Tell them that Jesus’ death on the cross did not change the physical makeup of pork.” You know what, He is right.
¹Lancaster, D. T. Torah Club Volume Five, FFOZ, 2004, p. 433, quoted in Holy Cow by Hope Egan, First Fruits of Zion, Inc., 2005, (emphasis mine)
God’s Keys to Health and Happiness by Elmer Josephson
What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell, M.D.
Excerpt from Dr. Russell’s book:
“Scripture mentions pork many times and always having a negative connotation. The pig’s flesh is described as “putrid,” “filthy” or “unclean.” Humans classify pork as red meat, but the Bible groups pork with blood, bowel movements, road kill, buzzards, snakes, rats and roaches. In my opinion, eating pork may be the most damaging item on this list.”
"the differences between clean and unclean animals appear to be related to their primary food source and to their digestive systems. Scavengers that eat anything and everything are not suitable for food, according to the Bible. Animals described as clean, and therefore good for food, primarily eat grasses and grains.
". . . [But] note that an animal doesn't have to be a scavenger to be unclean. Horses and rabbits, for example, are unclean because they do not have split hooves. Although they are considered to be good food in some countries, studies have shown that horse meat often contains viruses and parasites. Rabbits, as innocent as they appear, are the cause of tularemia (an infectious disease) in humans.
"One reason for God's rule forbidding pork is that the digestive system of a pig is completely different from that of a cow. It is similar to ours, in that the stomach is very acidic. Pigs are gluttonous, never knowing when to stop eating. Their stomach acids become diluted because of the volume of food, allowing all kinds of vermin to pass through this protective barrier. Parasites, bacteria, viruses and toxins can pass into the pig's flesh because of overeating. These toxins and infectious agents can be passed on to humans when they eat a pig's flesh" (Russell, p. 76-77).
Dr. Russell's supporting evidence for his views isn't for the faint of heart. He writes: "In the United States, three of the six most common food-borne parasitic diseases of humans are associated with pork consumption.
These include toxoplasmosis, taeniasis or cysticercosis (caused by the pork tapeworm Taenia solium) and trichinellosis . . .
"It has long been recognized that the meat of shellfish-shrimp, crabs, lobsters, etc.-is especially dangerous. Many illnesses, including instant paralysis, devastate some people every day as a result of eating shellfish.
"The largest cholera outbreak in the United States occurred in Louisiana from August through October 1986. (note: not exactly ancient history; nor was this before modern refrigeration and technological advances.)
(The symptoms of cholera are explosive diarrhea, leading to rapid dehydration, unconsciousness, hypotension and death.) What did the stricken people eat? The incriminating meals were found to include rice noodles with shrimp, pork, vegetables, mussel soup, pig blood coagulated with vinegar, and salty brine shrimp with mixed vegetables.
"Shellfish can be placed in a body of water that is contaminated with cholera bacteria, and they will purify the water. Shrimp, oysters, crab, scallops and mussels are particularly efficient at this. They filter large volumes of water every day. Sewage laden with chemicals, toxins and harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses become concentrated in those shellfish. The cause of cholera outbreaks in several areas has been traced to contaminated shrimp, crab, oysters and clams.
". . . Reading all this, you might not be surprised to learn that the state Legislature of California proposed a law requiring the food industry to label shellfish with a message warning: 'This food may be dangerous to your health.' Why? In a single year, 50 deaths and many hospitalizations were found to have been caused by eating shellfish" (Russell, pp. 78-79).