Sulam Ya'aqov Messianic Fellowship (The Fellowship Of Jacob's Ladder) LARGE TITLE
Monday, 17 December 2018

The Question of Clean or Unclean Meats

Introduction
This questions falls under the category of ‘things that divide’ and so to answer this question we need to examine the Scriptures, the Tanakh (O.T.) and the Brit HaDashah (N.T.) and then let each saint be convinced in his or her own heart as to what to eat or not eat.

Teaching

Leviticus 11:1-47. King James Version (KJV) The full passage should be read for context.
44 For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
45 For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
46 This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth:
47 To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.
The instructions from the Lord God are twofold, spiritual and health. Verses 44-45 show us that Israel were to be holy as He is holy, they were to sanctify themselves, to be set apart from the other nations as His people. The Lord also wanted them to be a healthy people as eating what is prohibited would harm their bodies and life span.
Both the spiritual and the physical commandments were to teach the people to distinguish between good and evil, pure and impure. Holiness and health go hand in hand.

Mark 7:15-23. King James Version (KJV)

15 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.
16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
17 And when He was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
18 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;
19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
20 And He said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
In these verses, we have L’Adonai Yeshua (the Lord Jesus) teaching Jewish leaders that the spiritual life in God’s eyes regarding cleanness and uncleanness are more about what goes on secretly within our hearts that what we eat. It is then our sins that show rebellion against God for this starts in our hearts and defiles us.

Psalm 51:6. (KJV)

6 Behold, thou desireth truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
What we eat does not defile us as the next verses of scripture shows and teaches: –

1 Timothy 4:4-5. (KJV)

4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving. 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

The key words are ‘every creature’, ‘receive with thanksgiving’ and ’it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.’

These verses are in context within Paul’s teaching on the apostasy seen in the end times and of those who depart from the Faith once and for all delivered and sound doctrine, giving heed to doctrines of demons – among which the Apostle specifically cites food laws!

Evil defiles us more than food, we are instructed to pray to cleanse what is set before us just as we pray to cleanse ourselves spiritually, which then leads into the mental, moral, physical and social aspects of our walk before God.
We may note that missionaries in foreign countries have eaten pig meat and from very poor families just pig fat and even the skin fried, but they prayed as instructed and continued to serve God.

However, Israel being under The Mosaic Law were defiled by eating unclean foods as they broke God’s laws given to them and so this was rebellion before Elohim.

Hebrews 13:8-9. (KJV)

8 Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

Being pre-occupied with meats is unprofitable. Being wise is the balance and serving God profitability is the better way. In its historical setting, Hebrews was written to Messianic Jewish believers but is pertinent for Jew and Gentile being ‘the one new man’. cf. Eph 2:15.

Romans 14:2-4; 13-21. (KJV)

2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
3 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.
4 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.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
18 For he that in these things serveth Messiah (Christ) is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

We should note that Sha’ul/Paul says in verse 14 – “I know and am convinced by Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself.” This is a very strong and convincing verse where the Apostle then teaches in the verses that follow that we are not to ruin the work of God in our Fellowships through meat traditions by judging one another.
The Kingdom of God is not about meat and drink but about righteousness which is what Yeshua (Jesus) taught the leaders of His day.
We are also not to make our brother stumble and so love and sense and sensibility are needed. We need to get a balance where love wins the day and not self-righteousness. Also for the sake of their testimony Jewish believers may wish to refrain from pig meat before their unsaved brethren. Many a Gentile believer will also not eat that which is a poor substitute to fish, chicken, turkey, lamb and beef. We can make a personal choice through love and grace before one another.

So, let us follow the rule of the Apostles which seemed good to them and the Holy Spirit as the early Messianic Community (the Church) developed in the 1st Century as the Gentiles began to be added in by the Lord: –

Acts 15:24, 28-29. (KJV)

24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

There are 4 instructions listed within verse 29 that all Gentile believers are to follow and they all relate to food, blood and sexual relations.

Acts 15:8-11. (KJV)

8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as He did unto us;
9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Let us note that the ‘us’ and ‘them’ is referring to Jews and Gentiles – all of us are purified by faith in Yeshua as Messiah (the Anointed One), for there is no other route to salvation as the early disciples understood and were taught: –

Acts 4:12. (KJV)

10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Yeshua HaMashiach shel Nazaret (Jesus Christ of Nazareth), whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. (cf. from Psalm 118:22-23 and quoted by Yeshua in Matthew 21:42)
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Yeshua/Jesus.
14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

Conclusion

The end of the matter is that we are not under the Law but under Grace so let each man or woman before the Lord decide in their heart what they wish to eat within their own personal diet without being under bondage as we have seen in the verses within this study.

JG/JY.

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