Does the Bible Say We Can Eat Anything?
This article is the short and “to the bare bones” version of the complete study, Does the Bible Say We Can Eat Anything. If you want the bottom line, this one is for you. If you want it really proven from all of the New Testament references to this information, then follow the above link to the article covering the complete study. If you read this and still aren’t convinced, then please do us a favor and investigate ALL of the information in the other article before dismissing what is said here.
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 prudent to bring this matter to the forefront and see if some of the smoke on this issue can’t be cleared.
Matthew 15: 1-20 and Mark 7:1-23 cover Y’shua (Jesus) talking with the Pharisees about eating with unwashed hands, a “law” that the religious leaders had made but was not in the Torah (law). Some translations today include a parenthetical phrase in these passages saying, “And thus Jesus declared all foods clean.” This is the addition of men, of the translators; it is not in the original text. How can it be when the subject was ceremonial hand washing, not unclean food! Remember, this discussion was with the Pharisees, the most religious of the religious Jews. To them (and to observant Jews today), “unclean” wasn’t even considered food.
Whenever this subject comes up, someone always brings up Peter’s vision at Joppa. However, if you read the entire story in Acts 10, you’ll find that Peter, himself, tells you exactly what the vision meant and it had nothing to do with food!
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
Peter DOESN’T 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 – 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
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 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!!
So, once again, we have seen that Scriptures which have been used to defend eating anything have absolutely nothing to do with this topic.
The next “biggie” I hear is found in 1 Timothy 4.
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.
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.
“For I, Yahweh, do not change;” Malachi 3:6
“Y’shua the Messiah is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
Why aren’t we AT LEAST following the bare basics required in Acts 15? In this chapter, a discussion had arisen concerning those 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)
So, the 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:
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 recommend-dation 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 Scripture. 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?
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 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 changed His thoughts on what we eat and not specifically told us?
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)
In fact, having gone through every New Testament word for “food” and “meat” 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.
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 Torah is clearly stated in Deuteronomy 28:58-62. 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. The only diseases listed (Deuteronomy 28:15, 20-22, 27-28, 35) are from NOT obeying what God instructed us to do.
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 a 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 when I talk about this. What do you want me to tell them?” To which He replied, “Tell them that Jesus’ (Y’shua’s) death on the cross did not clean up or 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
God’s Keys to Health and Happiness by Elmer Josephson
What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell, M.D.
(For quotations about this information from a medical source, see the end of Does the Bible Say We Can Eat Anything? (complete study)