Majority of Christian denominations today would agree that the dietary laws of God written in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 are already done away with, that the death of Jesus Christ made that specific law obsolete and not binding anymore. However, if one should take enough time to read the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, there is NO SINGLE PASSAGE that made this assumption true. As a matter of fact, the Bible is clear that the food laws of God are still very much valid and beneficial today as it was thousands of years ago.
In this post, I will share with you 5 scriptures telling us that the food laws of God were never rendered powerless, that every Christian should follow it if they want to please God.
Scripture #1: Genesis 7:2
“You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female.”
In this passage, God commanded Noah to take with him in the ark clean and unclean animals. This happened thousands of years before God made a covenant with Israel. God does not have to explain to Noah which of the animals is clean and unclean, because Noah has already observed God’s commandments. Noah is not an Israelite. Thus, the argument that the dietary law only applies to the Israelites is faulty.
Scripture #2: Isaiah 66:17-28
“Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves, to go to the gardens after an idol in the midst, eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse, shall be consumed together, says the LORD. For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory.”
This scripture is a prophecy revealed to Isaiah. It is a future event waiting to be fulfilled. Pigs and mice are just some of the unclean meats listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. If God intends to stop reinforcing His dietary law the moment that Christ was crucified, then why do we find this prophecy talking about God consuming those people eating unclean meat? It will only make a PERFECT sense when we know God still wants us to follow His food law today.
Scripture #3: Acts 10:12-16, 28
“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… 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.”
This incident is about Peter’s vision. Many people assume that God is showing here Peter that eating unclean meats now already acceptable. People often use this to back up their claim that Christians are now free to break God’s food law because of the vision of Peter. But a careful analysis of this scripture would show us the opposite.
First, notice that only four-footed beasts and creeping things, and fowls of the air mentioned here and not sea creatures. If God wants to declare that all foods now are clean, then it would not be difficult for God to include sea creatures.
Second, Peter did not IMMEDIATELY made a conclusion that God is telling him that the food laws are now done away with. Instead, Peter responded, “Not so, Lord; for I have NEVER eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” This means that even after about 30 years after Jesus’ death, Peter and other apostles never ate unclean animals – this clearly go against the common assumption of Christians today.
Third, God is showing Peter that Salvation is now available for Gentiles, a group of people whom the Jews refer to be “unclean”. This is God’s intent as what we see in the later verse 28, saying “but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
Scripture #4: Matthew 8:28-34
“And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and PERISHED IN THE WATERS. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.”
So what is Jesus our saviour has to say about clean and unclean meat? Simple, He wants us to still follow God’s dietary food laws.
In this post, Jesus allowed the demons to possess a herd of swine. Jesus knows that swine or pigs are never intended for food. We know that Jesus never waste food as evidenced by an incident in Matthew 15:26, where He commanded the disciples to pick up leftovers after feeding a great multitude. Jesus allowed the wastage of pigs because He knows it should never be eaten.
Scripture #5: Revelation 18:2
“…And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”
Revelation is a book of prophecy talking about future events. In this passage, the Bible still retains the distinction between clean and unclean meat. This scripture only shows that God’s word is consistent.
From these scriptures, it is clear that God’s food laws are binding. God, in His infinite love and wisdom, knows what’s best for us. Since He made us, it is clear that He knows what’s best for us, including the food that we should consume. The food laws are more than just a commandment for our physical health, but it is also a way that to show our faith to God by trusting Him that what He tells is for our own good.