In The Beginning – Was The Dietary Law

My last post was about the Law in general being in the beginning.  In that post I touched a little on how Noah already knew the difference between clean and unclean animals as he was instructed to place seven pairs of clean and two pairs of unclean of each kind of animal on the Ark.  In this post I may ruffle feathers again, so I am going to reiterate my salvation disclaimer here:

“Let me state firstly that it is by the Blood of Jesus ALONE that anyone can be saved.  Salvation DOES NOT COME THROUGH ANY OTHER MEANS including works outside of, under, around or above the Law.  For a true believer in Christ, following His commandments has nothing to do with salvation through self justification but rather having a true heart based desire to follow the will of the Lord….after receiving the free gift of salvation.”

Ok, now I have made my intent above clear….the Law in no way justifies us through works or makes us more holy.  I know that talking about food is a touchy subject so please, I ask for grace and understanding with an open and humbled mind when reading this article.  Please read it all the way through before turning away…and it is a little lengthier than my previous posts….I apologize for that and will try to make them shorter in the future.  Anything like this again, I will break up into two part posts in the future.  I am just as ADHD as anyone else and didn’t expect this to end up being this long.

What I am talking about here has absolutely nothing to do with salvation.  That ship has sailed for those whom I am speaking to in this post.  Salvation is only the beginning of our walk with the Lord, it is not the beginning, middle and end.  We are bought, but put on layaway, awaiting our master to come back to the store and pick us up.  The time in between is a process of sanctification called life and the end result, if we continue on the straight and narrow, is called redemption, when our Lord and Savior comes, claims us and takes us home, whether that happens in mass at the end of days or if it happens one individual per second as people die off for various reasons around the world.

The Lord gave us lots of instructions on how to walk, how to handle our relationships, how to conduct business, how to punish crime, how to handle civil disputes and yes, how to treat our own bodies through what we allow ourselves to eat.  Let’s look at the Adamaic Mandate.

In the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were instructed on day one “Then the Lord G-d took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.  The Lord G-d commanded the man, saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17

Add to that this from Genesis 1: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

I highlighted portions of the above verses for a reason.  Did you know that there are clean and unclean plants?  Don’t believe me?  Try making a salad from poisonous plants and see how you enjoy your meal.  Poisonous plants are non-kosher (kosher means “fit to eat”).  There were not any poisonous or toxic plants in the Garden of Eden, but man was forced out of the Garden and into the cursed earth when man disobeyed G-d.

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Not only did G-d instruct man on what to eat and not eat, He instructed ALL of creation.  In the beginning every creature and man was vegetarian, because there was no death, no blood of life spilled, until the fall of man when a sin sacrifice was made necessary under the Law of G-d and G-d Himself killed the first animal in an example of sacrificial Law and wrapped Adam and Eve in its skin for clothing.  Adam and Eve had partaken of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and as such had come into full knowledge of the Law, making them answerable under the Law for their transgression of disobeying one simple command not to eat from this one tree.

In the days of Noah, as I mentioned previously, it was common knowledge as to what was clean and unclean with regards to animals.  The animals approved by the Lord for sacrifice on the altar as a blood or burnt offering were what was considered clean.  When the Lord instructed Noah to load up the Ark with seven pairs of clean animals there was a two fold purpose.  First, they needed the additional clean animals in order to perform ceremonial sacrifices.  Second, they needed the clean animals to eat meat as the environmental conditions after the flood was so that it became necessary for man to eat animal flesh in order to sustain themselves, due to environmental changes and the degradation of the human genome (and every other genome) after the curse.

There was actually a cult in Paul’s day that believed that it was unlawful for people to eat meat at all, and condemned anyone who did not live a vegan lifestyle (see 1 Timothy 4:1-4…this is about the vegan cult).  They tried to teach that Jesus taught that everyone must adhere to a vegan diet.  That same group of people also prohibited and condemned the consumption of fermented wine.  Consuming an alcoholic beverage in itself is not a sin, but doing it for the pursuit of drunkenness and lost inhibitions is as sin.

The Hebrew word for food is okel (notice that the ‘el’ on the end means “of G-d”).  The Greek equivalent for this word is broma.  This means that when broma “food” is talked about in the New Testament, it is referring to those things which G-d considers to be okel or proper (aka kosher/fit) for our eating.

But didn’t Peter have a vision where G-d said that all things were made clean?  Let’s look at what Peter’s dream was about and his own interpretation of that dream:

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“On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.  But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance; and he saw the sky opened up, an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.  A voice cam to him, ‘Get up Peter, kill and eat!’  But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.’  Again a voice came to him a second time, ‘What G-d has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.’  This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken into the sky.” Acts 10:9-16

Many say that based on this, we can eat whatever we want, but the context of this scripture is incomplete.  We have only read the first half and those who say that have made their own interpretation of what G-d was saying when G-d was speaking directly to Peter.    Do we see Peter going from this vision and eating unclean meat?  No, we do not.  What we do see is Peter interpreting his own vision within the context of the entire scripture both before and after.

You see, Peter did not believe he should associate with Gentiles because they were unclean according to oral law/tradition of men.  Cornelius was a Gentile believer in Jesus.  In Acts 10:25-29 we see Peter’s own interpretation of what G-d was telling him “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 G-d has shown me that I should not call any man unholy and unclean.  That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for.  So I ask for what reason you have sent for me”.  So you see, Peter’s vision had nothing to do with food and in fact Peter was so disgusted by the thought that He told G-d no three times!  I wonder if that was before the cock crowed again?

What about John the Baptist?  Didn’t he eat locusts?  Oh, you mean the fruit from the Locust tree that was available year around?  Don’t let yourself fall prey to an eisegesis view of scripture.  It’s so easy to take a play of words or concepts and run right into the wall of a man made belief.

This is why I wont’ eat pork, shellfish, catfish, shark, dog, cat, horse, or any other kind of meat that does not come from a clean animal.  Unfortunately, eating from a clean animal and eating kosher are two different things, because anything can be made non-kosher in how it is handled and prepared, and I am not talking about how it is slaughtered.  I am talking about genetically modified organisms (GMO), growth hormones and all the other garbage that we allow the food industry to defecate onto our plates every year.  I really need to be watching out for these things too.

I do not condemn anyone who doesn’t adhere to the dietary law.  In fact, if I am in a setting where pork is the only thing being served by people who do not know or forgot that I avoid eating unclean meats, I will eat it and not make a huge scene about it.  Will I go to hell for it?  No, certainly not for that alone…and its not a moral law…but a law of how I should treat my own body.  And there are actually conditions within the Law where eating non-kosher is actually lawfully permitted, such as when it is the only food available and one must eat.

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The worst that will happen is that I am unclean until after the next sundown, but I certainly wouldn’t want to eat it on more than a very rare occasion as it will build up in my system.  Read my In The Beginning article about Baptism to have a better understanding of the Hebrew concepts of clean and unclean.  Did I force my entire household to eat kosher?  No, I did not.  It was an individual choice and one that my late wife ended up adopting as well after she got a sheet from her doctor telling her what she was supposed to eat for some of her health issues…and what it ended up prohibiting was the very things I was already avoiding.  I do a lot of substitutions with turkey bacon and sausage.

Am I trying to “keep the law” or be “under the law”?  No, there are many laws that I am sure I violate from time to time, which is why we need Jesus and His free gift of grace, but I also don’t plan to intentionally and willfully break the invaluable instructions that the Lord has left for us to follow. This is not about trying to become Jewish but about trying to be more like Jesus and His apostles and trying to follow His instructions which haven’t changed, since the beginning.  It is man made traditions and eisegesis laws that has changed.  He has always told us what we can and cannot eat.  Like I said at the start of this article, this has nothing to do with salvation…it has to do with making informed choices.  Discipleship, and we are all at different levels in our walks so I am not going to think less of anyone for breaking a non-moral law when they don’t even think it applies to them.

The purpose of this article is merely to be informative.  It is not to try to convince you of anything, but to take into consideration what I have discussed, what I have brought to light.  This is not a core-doctrinal issue and as I said in my previous post regarding the law in general, the gentile believers in Antioch were only told about four laws to obey, the delivery of that notice being taken part by Paul himself and then there are the seven Noahide Laws which are quite easy to follow if you are a true believer and are in fact universal and should be followed by any true believer just out of common sense.

Oh, if you do decide to go kosher, don’t rely on Judaic Rabbinical guides for what is and what isn’t kosher or you will only be allowed to eat the front half of a cow because according to man made oral law the back half is non-kosher.  I can explain why they think that, but I have already made this way too long…lol.  Research it out on your own in the bible and rely only on what the Lord and His written word tells you.

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Fred Dickey

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