"TO EAT, OR NOT TO EAT...?"
THAT IS THE QUESTION
Are the so-called "dietary laws" of the Bible merely "Jewish" restrictions, and not to be observed by Christians? Millions of professing Christians eat pork products, seafood of all kinds, rabbits, squirrels, even rattlesnake. Most believe the "dietary laws" have long since been "done away." Did Jesus Christ approve of eating pork? Did the apostle Paul? Did Christ "make all meats clean?"
By Garner Ted Armstrong
Practically all human societies observe some kind of dietary laws. To Hindus, any meat is forbidden. In India, a vast nation which will soon overtake China as the worldís most populous country, there are millions of cattle. But the Hindus are vegetarians. The country is protein deficient as a consequence. In the 1970's when India faced massive starvation, the worldís largest peacetime armada plied the oceans, bringing US grain to Indian ports, while millions of cows placidly grazed in the pastures, or ambled about in city streets, helping themselves to fodder from sidewalk vendorís stalls.
Such is the hold of religion on the masses.
Islamic Arabs, together with other Islamic countries such as Indonesia, Iran, and Albania, eschew pork and seafood, adhering closely to the so-called "Jewish" dietary laws of the Bible.
But professing Christians, including Catholics and Protestants, believe it is perfectly all right to eat any of the forbidden foods listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. Christ came to DO AWAY with those old laws, they say.
Coming right behind the weekly Sabbath as an object of hatred is any proscription against pork and unclean meats. Virtually the entire "Christian" professing world believes that the Old Testament is "done away;" that Christ came to "nail the law to His cross." Later in this book you will see ample Biblical proof that the exact opposite is true; that Christ came to LIFT the law to a spiritual plane; to make it far more BINDING! But to get right to the heart of the matter, letís first look at the "proof texts" used by those who argue that Christ "made all meats clean."
A frequent passage quoted by fundamentalists to justify eating pork and seafood is found in Mark 7:15-23: "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.
"If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
"And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
"And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
"Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? [Note: The Greek word "broma" is not strictly confined to meat, but can also be translated "victuals"].
"And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
"Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
"All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." The obvious spiritual lesson is that evil thoughts and motives defile a man spiritually, whereas any chance encounter with an inedible foreign substance in his food is "purged" in the digestive process.
Carried even further, the scripture is clear that, even in the extreme case of ingesting poison accidentally, and even if DEATH should occur as a result, this would not defile a man SPIRITUALLY, or cause him to lose eternal life! Notice that the subject matter had nothing whatsoever to do with clean or unclean meats!
The matter arose because of the Phariseesí condemnation of the disciplesí practice of eating BREAD prior to going through RITUAL washings! The introduction to the entire controversy is contained in the first thirteen verses of Markís 7 th chapter: "Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
"And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
"For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft , eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
"And when they come from the market, except they wash , they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables.
"Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread [notice that not one word was spoken about meats; clean or unclean!] with unwashen hands?
"He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
"Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
"For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
"And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
"For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
"But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
"And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
"Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye" (Mark 7:1-13).
The context of the entire controversy had to do with "unwashed hands" versus the many ceremonial washings of the Pharisees! MEAT was not the subject, but unwashed hands! Christ spoke only of how dirt; some foreign substance, might become transferred from oneís HANDS to oneís food; how the digestive process "purges" any such foreign matter, but that the man himself is not defiled! All of the Pharisees, and every other Jewish person of the time, including Christ and His disciples, strictly adhered to Godís laws concerning clean and unclean meats. Meats were not remotely a part of this discussion! There is no justification whatsoever for wresting this simple analogy of Jesus Christís into a statement that He pronounced pork, possum, skunk, rattlesnakes, clams, lobsters, crabs and crayfish clean , and fit for human consumption!
Usually, that distorted version of Christís analogy is coupled with the vision given Peter at the house of Cornelius, in which Peter is commanded to discontinue referring to Gentiles as "unclean." Read the entire passage, taking careful note of the emphasized portions : "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:
"And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
"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:
"Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
"And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
"But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
"And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed , that call not thou common.
"This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
"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 inquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate,
"And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.
"While Peter thought on the vision , the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
"Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.
"Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?
"And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
"Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.
"And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.
"And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.
"But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.
"And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
"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 showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
"Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?
"And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,
"And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.
"Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
"Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.
"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: [note this carefully: Peter did NOT say he had learned that pork and seafood was clean, but that no MAN was "unclean;" that God was not a respecter of PERSONS].
"But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
"The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
"That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
"And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
"Him God raised up the third day, and showed him openly;
"Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
"And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
"To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard the word.
"And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 10:9-45).
Note the following salient points:
(1) Peter, even in vision, refused to eat unclean meats.
(2) He said he had NEVER done so, which proves he never did so during his three and one-half yearsí experiences with Jesus Christ in the flesh.
(3) Peter was told, as a result of his refusal to eat unclean meats, not to CALL ANY MAN "UNCLEAN."
(4) He was NOT told to quit calling MEATS unclean!
(5) Peter learned that God was not a respecter of PERSONS; nothing was said whatsoever about changing the laws of clean and unclean meats.
(6) This occurred YEARS after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ; YEARS after Christ ascended to heaven! Anything which was "New" Testament in nature was long since in place, yet Peter still insisted that he had never eaten unclean meats!
His statement that he had NEVER eaten unclean things bears logical scrutiny. Clearly, Jesus Christ never said one word to His disciples during His earthly ministry about changing the laws concerning unclean meats. Had He done so, (and He had hundreds of opportunities), Peter would have learned long previously, directly from Christ, that pork and shellfish were clean.
Why would Jesus Christ wait for YEARS after the resurrection, and then, through an enigmatic vision, show Peter that it was alright to eat pork? Why only Peter? Why did not ALL the disciples receive the same vision, if that was the purpose of the vision? Clearly, the purpose of the vision was understood by Peter, and was immediately confirmed by his meeting with Cornelius and other gentiles; his witnessing to them, and Godís forgiveness and mercy extended to them by sending His Holy Spirit to convert them!
There is not the slightest hint in this passage of scripture that God ever changed His laws concerning unclean meats.
"Eat That Which Is Set Before You"
For decades, those who are convicted that pork and seafood (and all other unclean meats) are not to be eaten have wrestled with Paulís statement in Romans 14, which SEEMS to say that if one is eating at a friendsí house, and one is presented with a dish of pork, one should "eat that which is set before him," and "ask no question for conscience sake."
Is that what Paul meant?
Here is the passage in dispute: "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.
"But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat , now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
"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 Spirit.
"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.
"For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
"It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine [Greek: "oinos," meaning fermented wine], nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
"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" (Romans 14:14-23). How ironic that many a self-righteous Christian-professing person strictly abstains from WINE, which Christ Himself drank, yet cheerfully devours catfish, shrimp, crab, pork, sausage, and many varieties of unclean meats! The fact that Paul includes the statement that, if it would offend a brotherís conscience one should abstain from either eating meat (no particular KIND of meat is ever discussed) OR DRINKING WINE!
Now, before coming to any unwarranted conclusions, notice carefully the CONTEXT in which this whole passage is contained. It begins with the first verse: "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
"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" (Romans 14:1-6).
The entire passage is concerning JUDGING one another because of certain personal choices, such as vegetarianism versus eating flesh, or perceived efficacy of one day or another.
There were "luck" and "unlucky" days among the Gentile traditions; days which were propitious for planting, for buying or selling, for marriage, or for travel. Notice that not one word is said about clean or unclean, for this was not the subject. The lesson of the passage was that the CONSCIENCE must not be defiled! This is why Paul said, "...he that doubteth is damned [condemned] if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin."
Obviously, Paulís expression, "believeth he may eat all things" does not mean that one believed he may eat carrion, or poisonous mushrooms, or ground glass and nails! Nor did it mean he believed he could eat snakes, mice, or pigs. The expression is clearly meant to imply that one person had no major dietary restrictions against EDIBLE MEATS, while another did have such restrictions, and believed he should practice vegetarianism!
Notice how Paul addressed the same problem among the Corinthians. It was the practice of the pagan Romans and Greeks to slaughter animals to various pagan "gods." The animals could then be sold in the "flea markets," or "shanties" where one would find street vendors, not unlike many "third world" countries today. Because many Christians believed the meat was somehow contaminated if the animal were killed in sacrificial rites, they avoided eating it.
Paul explained that a nonexistent "god" or pagan idol had no power to contaminate edible meat. Read the entire passage: "What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?"
"But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
"Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
"Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?
"All things are lawful for me [did he mean robbery, or murder? Of course not! Obviously, all LAWFUL things, not unlawful things], but all things are not expedient : all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
"Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.
"Whatsoever is sold in the shambles [street vendorís meat shops], that eat, asking no question for conscience sake:
"For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof.
"If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.
"But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols , eat not for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof" (1 Corinthians 10:19-28).
Here again, the entire matter is to avoid defiling the CONSCIENCE of a brother. If one person believed the meat had been offered in sacrifice to an idol, and was therefore contaminated, the person who knew that the idol had no power to contaminate the meat; that it was perfectly edible, should not exercise his "lawful" privilege to eat so long as it would offend the conscience of another!
Paul concluded the passage by saying, "But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:
" Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other : for why is my liberty to eat edible meat, even though sacrificed to a dead, non-existent "god"] judged of another man's conscience?
"For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
"Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
"Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved" (1 Corinthians 10:28-33).
Again, in these lengthy passages of scripture, NOT ONE WORD is said about clean or unclean meats! The entire subject is "meats offered to idols," and not whether skunks, possums,
squirrels, rats, or pigs are clean to eat!
Now, before dealing with some additional "proof texts" used by those who argue that pork and seafood are fit to eat; that they were "made clean" by Jesus Christ, who somehow CHANGED the Old Testament laws, or "did away with them," letís notice who it was who handed down the dietary laws in the first place!
"The LORD said..."
"And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
"Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
"Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
"Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you" (Leviticus 11:1-4). The KJV (King James Version) of the Bible invariably uses the capital letters "LORD" when the Hebrew word comes from "YHVH." Of this expression Bullinger says, "JEHOVAH [JHVH or WHVH]. While Elohim is God as the Creator of all things, Jehovah is the SAME GOD in covenant relation to those whom He has created (Cp. 2 Chron. 18:31). Jehovah means the Eternal , the Immutable One, He Who WAS and IS, and IS TO COME." Bullingerís Companion Bible, Appendix 4).
This same appendix contains many of the Divine names and titles. Notice carefully that the Hebrew letters "YHVH" connote the SAME GOD as contained in the word: "Elohim."
Elohim is a PLURAL word, meaning MORE THAN ONE. This is why your Bible says,
"And God [Hebrew: "Elohim"] said, Let us [MORE than One!] make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:26,27).
Our English word "God" comes from an ancient Anglo-Saxon word, itself from an ancient Germanic word, " Gheu. " Etymologists believe the word connoted "to pour," as in either a libation, or as in the pouring out of molten metal into a mold. Our language is PAGAN in origin. God will eventually give all human kind a NEW language, which is pure (Zephaniah 3:9).
Now, turn to and read, in your own Bible, a surprising truth which the anti-law preachers WILL NOT PREACH! It is PLAIN. It is SIMPLE. Even a child can understand it! Yet, they WILL NOT PREACH IT, for if they did, it would DESTROY their arguments against Godís laws!
WHO WAS ĎTHE LORDí WHO HANDED DOWN THE DIETARY LAWS?
The apostle John wrote, "In the beginning was the Word [Greek: " Logos ," meaning "spokesman"], and the Word was with God [" Theos" the Greek equivalent of Elohim in Hebrew; Genesis 1:1], and the Word was God.
"The same was in the beginning with God.
" All things were made by him ; and without him was not any thing made that was made [clearly, we are being told about the CREATOR of the universe, this earth, and all life upon it!]. "In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John [referring to John the Baptist].
"The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
"He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
"That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
"He was in the world, and the world was made by him , and the world knew him not.
"He came unto his own [the Jews], and his own received him not.
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
"Which were born [Greek: " gennao" either born or begotten], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
"And the Word was made flesh , and dwelt [Greek: " tabernacled" ] among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:1-14).
Here, in your own Bible, is the clear proof that Jesus Christ, the Son of God who died for the sins of mankind, is the CREATOR who said "Let there be light...let the dry land appear...let US make man in OUR image!" The Hebrew word "Elohim." means more than one. It is a word like "family, group, or assembly." One may attend church services for more than 40 years, and never hear that passage preached! WHY?
Simply because it would be DEVASTATING to the doctrinal stance of thousands of preachers! If they were to admit that the God of the Old Testament is the Person of Divine Elohim who BECAME CHRIST, then their false portrayal of Christ as a young man who came to do away with the Ten Commandments and the laws of the Old Testament would not stand up!
Notice further concrete proof: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
"Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds ;
"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:1-3). So Christ was the CREATING AGENT who did the speaking; who gave the commands!
It was THIS Personage of the Divine Godhead, called "Elohim" Who said, "Let US make man in OUR image!" (Genesis 1:26). It was THIS Personage of Divine Elohim who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, and who said His name was "I AM." Jesus Christ enraged the Jews by referring to His pre-human state when He told them,"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am " (John 8:58).
The One people call "Jesus Christ" is the One who WROTE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS with His own finger!
Now, you need to understand that Godís designation of "clean" and "unclean" among animals did NOT BEGIN WITH THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD!
If the anti-law preachers can convince you that the "dietary laws" were purely "ceremonial," and then show that the Levitical Priesthood was eclipsed by the priesthood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7, 8, 9) then they believe they have scored a victory against "those Old Testament laws."
But notice! "And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
"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.
"Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.
"For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
"And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
"And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
"And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.
"Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean , and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth,
"There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah" (Genesis 7:1-9). Therefore, God (the One who became Christ) had revealed to mankind from the VERY BEGINNING which animals were fit for human consumption, and which were not! This had nothing to do with ceremonial rites! It had only to do with the nature of the animal itself; its dietary peculiarities, its digestive processes; its place in the ecosystem!
As a broad generality, many of the unclean animals and fishes, including bottom-dwelling creatures such as clams, mollusks, crabs, lobsters and the hundreds of varieties of catfish, are created for the purpose of scavenging. Even as vultures and other carrion-eaters feed on dead things, and thus fulfil the purpose of helping to prevent disease, so the carrion eaters of the seas, and of fresh water, perform the same function.
The result of eating unclean foods is not only SIN, since it breaks Godís laws, but is inevitably debility, sickness, and vulnerability to disease. It is well known that pork contains
a parasitic worm, which causes trichinosis.
The point is, the Creator of all life revealed to man which kinds of birds, animals and fishes were created for human consumption, and which ones were not! The Bible contains information to the created being, man, from the Creator, Elohim, which man could not have otherwise discovered for himself! While the FDA clearly approves of catfish, shrimp, lobster and crab meat, God DISapproves of all such carrion-eating bottom dwellers!
Godís laws do not concern themselves with appearance, taste, texture of meat, or even the dietary habits of the various creatures (for instance, it is well known that the domestic fowls such as chickens will cannibalize their own), but with the PURPOSE for which each creature was created and put on this earth!
Never forget what you have just learned! Jesus Christ of the New Testament IS THE GOD WHO GAVE THE DIETARY LAWS! He says "I CHANGE NOT," and says, "Jesus Christ the SAME, yesterday, today, and forever!"
Now, notice some further examples of the anti-law teachersí attempts to nullify Godís laws concerning unclean meats:
The Drowned Pigs of Galilee
Here is Markís account of an encounter between Christ and a "legion" of demons, who drowned a large herd of swine: "And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
"And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
"Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
"Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
"And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
"But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,
"And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.
"For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.
"And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.
"And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.
"Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
"And all the devils [demons] besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
"And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.
"And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
"And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil [demons], and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
"And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine" Mark 5:1-18).
Here, unclean spirits were allowed to enter into unclean animals (which were an abomination to Christ ó He abhorred the fact that they were being raised in his nation) and the result was a mass drowning of TWO THOUSAND PIGS!
In one of the most grotesque wresting and twisting of scripture I have ever seen, I once read a religious tract which alleged that this proved that the PIGS WERE WASHED, symbolically, and therefore CLEAN TO EAT! Those who so blatantly pervert the scriptures shall have their reward in Gehenna fire if they do not repent.
Obviously, Christ knew that the demons would destroy the swine! He would never have permitted them to destroy sheep, oxen, or cattle; the livelihood of an honest and Godfearing herdsman. But the pigs? They should not have been there! The lesson is that Christ allowed UNCLEAN spirits to destroy UNCLEAN animals! Not one WORD about making pigs clean!
Meats Which Are To Be Received With Thanksgiving
Another example of the violent wresting of scripture is found in Paulís instructions to Timothy concerning "spiritism" and the "doctrines of demons." He wrote, "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 [commanding celibacy], 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" (1 Timothy 4:1-5).
Notice carefully the portions italicized. This passage says nothing whatsoever about clean or unclean. Rather, it says one of the doctrines of demons wold be that one should abstain from eating meat (technically, the Greek word merely means "food"}. It was commonly believed by those engaged in witchcraft and "wicca" that animal food was unfavorable for the development of mediumistic powers.
Notice that Paul only speaks of meats which he calls "creatures of God," which are to be received with "thanksgiving." The meats he speaks of are those which are "sanctified by the WORD OF GOD and by prayer!" The word of God includes Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, along with Genesis 6 and 7! One cannot ask God to bless food which the Creator Elohim ó the One who became Christ int he flesh ó has Himself condemned for human consumption!
No amount of human reasoning or twisting of the scripture will render pigs, possums, coons, skunks, clams, lobsters, shrimp, crawfish, catfish or "road kill" clean to eat!
God says "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). Since modern society is filled with "seafood" restaurants (indeed, many a menu has almost NO CLEAN FOOD listed therein!), and since "everyone is doing it," including the members of hundreds of denominations ó church-going, Christian-professing people all ó it seems SO RIGHT!
For generations, men have eaten pork and seafood, and, in many cases, such abominable creatures as snails, eels and snakes!
Now, notice what your Savior says about the laws He will invoke; about the punishments he will decree when He RULES this world with a rod of iron during His millennial reign:
"For, behold, the LORD [YHVH: Christ as a part of "Elohim"] will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.
"For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many [see Revelation 19:11-21].
"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.
"For I know their works and their thoughts : it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.
"And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
"And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.
"And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD.
"For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
"And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD" (Isaiah 66:15-23).
This is a clear prophecy of the second-coming of Christ; of the regathering of the scattered remnants of His people from nations all over the world; of the setting up of His world-ruling government!
We are much, much CLOSER now to that great event, which will come only after the Great Tribulation, the Heavenly Signs, and the DAY OF THE LORD ó the time of the intervention of God in human affairs!
The time setting is inescapable!
It is at the time of Christís return, and the establishment of His KINGDOM on earth!
And what does He say about those who insist on eating unclean meats, such as pork, other "abominations" and "the mouse?" You have seen it with your own eyes. It is in YOUR Bible! Yes, Jesus Christ is the SAME yesterday (as He gave Adam and his family, and Noah, His laws about clean and unclean) today (they are just as unclean now as they were then) and forever (He will destroy those who defy Him, and insist on eating abominable, unclean things!).
The time is coming when neither you, nor any other person will be given a CHOICE about eating pigs, catfish, or oysters! No, then all will be FORCED to obey!
But in the meantime, those who insist on leaning to their own "understanding," and on "going along with the crowd" (after all, arenít those all good church-going people over there, enjoying that steak and lobster on a Sunday afternoon?) are actually in terrible jeopardy of LOSING THEIR SALVATION!
May God cause you to heed His word, and CHANGE your habits, if you have been eating unclean things!
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