Dietary Law For Israel
Are we still obligated to keep the dietary law according Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14:3-21? It is clear in these passages The Most High required Israel to follow a particular diet, several animals like pigs, rabbit, chicken, turkey, shrimp and many others were considered “unclean” whereas deer, lamb, fish with fins and scales, beef and so many more were considered “clean”. But according to many passages found in what we call the New Testament seem to contradict what was stated in the Old Testament.
So let us look at a few of the passages, namely let’s start with our Messiah and see whether he confirms or denies the claims that we are no longer under the LAW.
Mat 5:17-20 KJV – 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Why would our Messiah, the chief cornerstone of Israel have to make the statement: “Think not...”? Please understand this is known as the first sermon of Christ, the “Sermon on the Mount” as some call it. This would be the foundation of His beliefs and stance and one of the first things stated is “Think not...” meaning there will come a time or will arise the thought that He came to do away with the LAW and the Prophets yet from the beginning He is making it clear for us to understand that we should not be deceived in believing His ministry or sacrifice destroys the LAW or Prophets. In other words, when the thought arises He is letting us know we are deviating from His intention and His way. We are sinning when we go against the knowledge and way of Christ. So “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets...”
He continues saying, “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in NO WISE PASS from the law, till ALL be fulfilled. (My emphasis added) So unless every single prophecy is fulfilled we are still under the requirements, like the dietary law. Then to be clear Christ makes it clear anyone doing or teaching otherwise will be considered least in the kingdom which according to Revelations 13:10 will either be death or slavery. So obviously Christ from the beginning of His ministry stood with the keeping of the LAW and Prophets.
Another verse to consider is Mat 15:11 KJV - 11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
The idea many convey is that food does not defile us, just what we say and do, like lying or backbiting yet is this the context of the verse. Let’s look back at verse 1-3,
Mat 15:1-3, 11 KJV - 1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But he answered and said unto them, why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
The context or issue being addressed is eating without washing your hands, not the dietary law. Notice Christ says why are you transgressing the “Commandment of God...”. They had created a doctrine which overrode the commandments of God/Yah just like many pastors and Christians have done today. People say, “Well I blessed this bacon so I can eat it.” But that is transgressing the Commandment.
Just to be clear let’s see if Christ explains the context of His statement...
Mat 15:20 KJV - 20 These are [the things] which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands
defileth not a man.
Another verses used is Acts 10:9-14
Act 10:9-15 KJV - 9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12 Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice [spake] unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.
Ok so the thought here is in verse 10 Peter was hungry so we are talking about food. Then in his vision he sees various “unclean” beast and in verse 15 The Most High now calls them clean. But remember “Think not...” also consider He never changes as some suggest. How do we know our Creator never changes?
Mal 3:6 KJV - 6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore, ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Notice what Peter says in verse 14, “... Not so, Lord; for I have NEVER EATEN anything that is common...” Well this is further proof that Christ never did away with the dietary law because as a disciple which literally walked, talked and ATE with Christ would this be such a hard vision for him to understand. Notice in verse 17 below Peter “doubted... what this vision... should mean...”
Act 10:17-20 KJV - 17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, 18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. 19 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
Notice verse 20 gives us the meaning of the vision when the Most High says, “go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. The vision was about people not food. Verse 16 Peter saw the vision 3 times, and there were 3 men vs 19.
Finally notice verse 28,
Act 10:28 KJV - 28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
Let’s look at a few verses from Paul
Col 2:16-17 KJV - 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath [days]: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.
The thought that often is presented is no one can judge/condemn you for what you eat or drink... they were a shadow of Christ, but since we have Him we no longer fulfill the “shadow”. But let me warn you Paul’s writings are no doubt some of the most misunderstood in the entire Bible. Notice something that Peter says concerning Paul’s writings:
2Pe 3:15-17 KJV - 15 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; 16 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. 17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.
Ok so Peter says that in ALL Pauls’ letters were hard to be understood to those unlearned. In verse 17 Peter warns that some are “led away with error of the wicked...” because they misunderstand Paul’s writings. Keep in mind also, there was no New Testament in the 1st century so all the teachings would have been based upon the LAW and the Prophets. (Think not that I have come to destroy...)
So, in Col 2 let’s look deeper into the context. To do this we must study precept upon precept as the scripture says in Isaiah 28:10. Before dealing with verse 16 let’s start with 14 (just to get straight to the point)
Col 2:14 KJV - 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
There were ordinances which were nailed to the cross so we must see whether the dietary law was one of them.
Heb 9:1 KJV - 1 Then verily the first [covenant] had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
Hebrews 9 states the ordinances were in the first covenant and they were ordinances of divine service not divine eating. Let us continue:
Heb 9:2-7 KJV - 2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein [was] the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. 3 And after the second veil, the
tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid roundabout with gold, wherein [was] the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 And over it the cherubim’s of glory shadowing the mercy seat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. 6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service [of God]. 7 But into the second [went] the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and [for] the errors of the people:
If you notice everything related to these divine ordinances were related to the service of sacrifice, not the dietary law. The only LAW Christ fulfilled was the LAW of Sacrifice which is explained here in Hebrews 9. Verse 6 the priest went to the first tabernacle in order to do the service of The Most High, they went once a year but not without blood which was offered.
So when Paul is referring to the ordinances and not allowing one to condemn you he is referring to the ordinances of sacrifices, not what we eat. (Think not...)
Heb 9:8-15 KJV - 8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which [was] a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 [Which stood] only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed [on them] until the time of reformation. 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us]. 13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Notice in verse 9 of Hebrews 9 these sacrifices were a “figure for the time, which in Col2:17 Paul says, “shadow of things to come. Hebrews 9:9 explains what Paul was saying in Col. 2:17. But also refer to Hebrews 8:5-10
Heb 8:6-10 KJV - 6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10 For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith
the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
The LAW of sacrifice was limited because it depended upon the wicked hearts of men and did not cleanse their heart but this is what Christ (the NT) requires. As Paul states in Rom. 12:1
Rom 12:1 KJV - 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
Now instead of offering temporary sacrifices of bulls, doves, lambs... we ourselves have become the living sacrifices to be offered unto our Creator.
Notice in Hebrews 10:7 Christ comes not just in the parts of scripture we want, but He comes in the whole book. Yes, even the parts the Protestants took out called the Apocrypha.
Heb 10:7 KJV - 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
If Christ came to do away with the dietary law or rather if there is no punishment for eating unclean animals why would the Prophet Isaiah say of the return of our Messiah:
Isa 66:17 KJV - 17 They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one [tree] in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.
Those found eating pig or rodents (rabbits, squirrel...) will be consumed.
There are many other verses like Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 8 which deal with eating, but these verses mainly deal with eating things offered to idols, not eating unclean meats.
Lastly Paul say’s everything written before was written for our learning and comfort, notice:
Rom 15:4 KJV - 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Therefore, we must look to those great cloud of witnesses which did righteously before the Most High for our examples and learning.
I leave you with one of our ancestors, an elder named Eleazar who had rather die than to eat an unclean animal.
2 Maccabees 6: 18-31 Eleazar, one of the principal scribes, an aged man, and of a well favoured countenance, was constrained to open his mouth, and to eat swine's flesh.
19 But he, choosing rather to die gloriously, than to live stained with such an abomination, spit it forth, and came of his own accord to the torment,
20 As it behoved them to come, that are resolute to stand out against such things, as are not lawful for love of life to be tasted.
21 But they that had the charge of that wicked feast, for the old acquaintance they had with the man, taking him aside, besought him to bring flesh of his own provision, such as was lawful for him to use, and make as if he did eat of the flesh taken from the sacrifice commanded by the king;
22 That in so doing he might be delivered from death, and for the old friendship with them find favour.
23 But he began to consider discreetly, and as became his age, and the excellency of his ancient years, and the honour of his gray head, whereon was come, and his most honest education from a child, or rather the holy law made and given by God: therefore, he answered accordingly, and willed them straightways to send him to the grave.
24 For it becometh not our age, said he, in any wise to dissemble, whereby many young persons might think that Eleazar, being fourscore years old and ten, were now gone to a strange religion;
25 And so they through mine hypocrisy, and desire to live a little time and a moment longer, should be deceived by me, and I get a stain to mine old age, and make it abominable.
26 For though for the present time I should be delivered from the punishment of men: yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty, neither alive, nor dead.
27 Wherefore now, manfully changing this life, I will shew myself such an one as mine age requireth,
28 And leave a notable example to such as be young to die willingly and courageously for the honourable and holy laws. And when he had said these words, immediately he went to the torment:
29 They that led him changing the good will they bare him a little before into hatred, because the foresaid speeches proceeded, as they thought, from a desperate mind.
30 But when he was ready to die with stripes, he groaned, and said, It is manifest unto the Lord, that hath the holy knowledge, that whereas I might have been delivered from death, I now endure sore pains in body by being beaten: but in soul am well content to suffer these things, because I fear him.
31 And thus this man died, leaving his death for an example of a noble courage, and a memorial of virtue, not only unto young men, but unto all his nation.
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