Many Christians have the opinion that the Dietary Law is not valid anymore and that you can eat pork without hesitation. There is no clear statement in the Bible that proves that the dietary law (found in Leviticus 11) has been abolished. Often things are taken out of context or interpreted completely wrong. It is also argued that Jesus has fulfilled the law and therefore no one has to obey any of God’s commandments. We stand alone under grace and no longer under the law. However, the law is still valid and should still be obeyed. You can find more about this here: Did Jesus abolish the law?
If you just wanted to know whether Christians are allowed to eat pork, then the following scriptures should suffice as an answer:
Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: […] And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you. (Leviticus 11:4, 7-8)
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. (Matthew 8:31-32)
God wants to protect us through the dietary law and not restrict us
First of all, it is important to understand why God gave us commandments in the first place. Not to restrict us and to rob us of our freedom, but much more to protect us. To make sure that we do not suffer any harm. After all, God knows that dangers lurk in this world and He wants to help us walk on the right path. God’s commandments are only for our own good and not for God’s good . He gave us the law out of love.
Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess. (Deuteronomy 5:32-33)
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. (1 John 5:19)
Pork and meat from other unclean animals is still harmful
When God commanded the people which animals they can and cannot eat, He did so for a good reason. He didn’t just want to test people’s patience. In fact, He wanted to show people which meat they can safely eat and which they cannot. There are animals that humans shouldn’t eat because they are simply unhealthy. The meat of some animals is harmful to humans and leads to cancer and other serious diseases. And that still applies today! The animals did not suddenly mutate by a strange coincidence and therefore became healthy for us. They shouldn’t be eaten today any more than they were 3000 years ago. Why should that have changed?
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:8)
What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it. (Deuteronomy 12:32)
God did not abolish the Dietary Law
There is not a single scripture in the Bible that expressly states that the Dietary Law has been abolished. Jesus and his disciples were Jews. And they kept the commandments of the Old Testament and with it the Dietary Law. Certainly none of them would have thought of eating pork, rabbit or shrimp.
Many Christians refer to this passage in the Bible, which is supposed to imply that God declared all animals to be clean. This text passage has a completely different meaning than assumed if you read it in it’s context. The Dietary Law isn’t invalid.
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 upon 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. (Acts 10:9-16)
In no way can it be understood from this passage that God declared all animals clean. At most only the animals that were actually in the vessel at that given time could be clean. However, one cannot simply conclude from this scripture that God has completely abolished the Dietary Law and that every animal can be eaten without hesitation. On the contrary: this verse actually proves that the animals in this vessel are still unclean and God should have cleansed them first so that Peter could eat them.
In fact, this vision has a completely different meaning, as the Bible tells us immediately after this revelation. The meaning of the vision was about God not seeing the Gentiles as unclean, despised beings, but rather worthy of saving. That’s why the verse:
And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (Acts 10:15)
The Jewish law had forbidden Jews to enter the house of Gentiles. This is what this whole topic is about.
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 shewed 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? (Acts 10:27-29)
This scripture shows us how important it is, to read the Bible in its context.
There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. (John 4:7-9)
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16)
What surely cannot be tolerated are Bible translations that voluntarily added verses to the scripture to justify disobedience to God’s commandments. See for yourself:
“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. (Mark 7:18-20, NIV)
The actual wording does not include this sentence because it would not fit the topic at all:
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? And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. (Mark 7:18-20, KJV)
This verse is not even about eating unclean animal meat. It refers to the Jewish Law about eating with dirty hands, which was only a man made commandment which was not given by God. Therefore the Disciples did not adhere to it:
Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread 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. (Mark 7:5-9)
Paul and the salvation of the Gentiles
There are other verses from Paul that suggest that it doesn’t matter whether you eat clean or unclean. To do this, however, one must first know Paul’s motives. He tried to teach the Gentiles and wanted them to be saved through faith in God and his Son Jesus. Paul knew very well that the Gentiles would not easily cease to give up their pagan customs and manners.
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 Ghost. (Romans 14:15-17)
But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. (1 Corinthians 8:8)
But as Jesus said: Faith without deeds is dead. Paul, however, had the opinion that deeds follow faith. Strictly speaking, that is correct. But that sadly has never been the case with most people. Of course, nobody is judged for unknowingly eating pork. Because faith in God saves and not what you have ingested. But whoever professes to have God as his Father also professes to keep his commandments.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38)
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (1 John 5:3)
People are not defiled by food, but by disobedience to God’s commandments.
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. (Isaiah 66:17)
Studies show: pork is unhealthy
Add to this the important fact that there are many studies these days that clearly show that pork is unhealthy. Many doctors even advise their sick patients to give up pork completely in order to become well again. It is surely no secret and scientifically proven that pork makes you sick. Among other things, pigs are unable to sweat, which means that toxins collect in their cells and organs, which people then eat. Furthermore, they are omnivores and do not spare anything. Similar to shrimp: because they eat all the waste from the ground of the sea. It’s actually pretty obvious why we shouldn’t eat these animals and why they harm our health.
The consumption of pork is today very common, specially in the west. However, even today there are still countries and cultures where people consciously avoid pork, because it is viewed as inferior meat. Nowadays, pork is only produced and consumed as much as it is because it is the cheapest to produce.
There are even studies showing that Jews are far less likely to get cancer than other people. A clear connection should be evident here. After all, most Jews (provided they obey the Dietary Law) do not eat pork, but only the meat of animals that God has declared clean.
Yet pork is just one of many animals whose meat should not be eaten. See Leviticus 11 for a detailed description of which animals are clean and unclean.
Importance of the Dietary Law
Only those who truly keep God’s commandments can actually come to Him. For whoever breaks the commandments knowingly sins against God. And sin separates us from God. It is surely the best for everyone to keep His commandments in order to remain well and healthy. There are still plenty of clean animal species that can be eaten without hesitation (see link above).
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)
Whether you believe in God or not, from a health point of view it is only best for everyone to adhere to God’s Dietary Law.
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