Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] Diseases. You’ve heard the names like SARS, and Ebola, swine flu, MERS, and coronavirus. These could have been prevented by obedience to God’s food laws.
Clean eating, boy that idea has become very popular these days especially for people who are concerned about their health. Eating clean speaks to good nutrition. I mean choosing those foods that really give you the best benefits. And what do you think of? Well, you probably think of eat more fruits. How about those good vegetables, proteins that are lean? But snacks, too many sweets, processed foods, no you got to get rid of those. Yet what about eating clean when it comes to the Bible? Have you ever thought about that? What about clean eating and the Bible itself?
Now we’re not talking about food being free of dirt and that sort of thing. But did you know that the Bible has a clean eating plan? In fact there’s even a spiritual perspective when you choose to become, what you could say a biblical foodie. So let’s talk about eating biblically clean. Now does that mean I eat manna like the Israelites did? Or maybe eating fish and bread like that miracle that Jesus did? Well wait a second. Does God even care? Does God even care about what you eat? Now you might be surprised to learn that a biblical diet instructs all Christians not to eat bats, buzzards, and bacon, or cats, and coyotes, and camels, hare. Not hair that you eat, but hare like the rabbit kind of a hare. Hares, ham. Or what about hawks? Should we eat that? The Bible says, “No, don’t eat pigs or pepperoni or pork.” But you might say, “Wait a second, does that apply to me today?” I mean, I thought that was just for the Jews, that old law that was done away with.
Well stay with me for a second because I hope you’ll accept the challenge to let the Bible, let the word of God transform how you see food because scripture describes animals whose flesh is good, acceptable to eat. And you know the term that it uses? It calls that food clean. And then there’s food that’s not suitable to eat. And the Bible calls that unclean. So scripture describes the flesh of those unclean animals. It says, “It’s an abomination.” It says, “It’s detestable.” It doesn’t sound real appetizing does it?
So what’s the big deal though? What’s the big deal? Well from cover to cover, from Genesis all the way to Revelation, nowhere in the Bible will you find an example of a servant of God, nowhere in the Bible will you find a follower of Jesus Christ eating the flesh of an unclean animal. You’ll find that God does give food laws for clean eating. So that way, we can be a biblical foodie. In fact we’ll find that there’s even a connection between God’s food laws and true worship.
I mean have you ever considered that the Bible actually begins with an issue about food? Adam and Eve, we know the story. Remember their first choice? It was about eating, breaking God’s command of what to eat. You could say that’s a food law. It caused Adam and Eve to sin. And you know the story. They were in the garden and there was plenty, plenty of clean eating. But God told them, “Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” So God was clear. He showed them that certain foods were acceptable and this other unacceptable. And they were to eat clean by obeying God and following His instructions. Yet we know what happened.
But here’s the question, would you allow God to tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat? I mean they decided for themselves. It was a disaster. Adam and Eve would not let God tell them what to eat. So what about us? You see God made a distinction between what was good food and what was not. And yes there was even a spiritual connection. There was a lesson to learn. And when we consider that story we also have to realize that was thousands of years before the Old Covenant. That was thousands of years before Moses, before the Jews, before Mount Sinai. And that story clearly shows that it was at creation, right at the very beginning, that God gave guidance when it comes to food. In fact it was part of God’s law for all time, something that you should really learn more about.
In fact we want to help you to do just that. And so we’ve put together a study guide. And in this biblical guide, it’s called, “What Does the Bible Teach About Clean and Unclean Meats?” Because you want to know what God has to say about it? Does the Word of God actually make a distinction? Does it really matter that much? Something you need to find out about for yourself. So go to our website beyondtoday.tv. There on the website you can read this study guide for yourself or you can download it to your phone, or your tablet, or to your computer, and you can read it there. If not we’ll send you a free copy right to your door. So call us at the number on your screen. And when you do that, absolutely free, this will come to your door. So you can check out what the Bible actually says when it comes to clean eating. So go to our website beyondtoday.tv because you’ll want to know, what does God have to say about it?
So one of the things that you’ll find in Scripture is that there is a consistency. In fact when we move forward from the time of Adam and Eve to Cain and Abel, we find that Abel gave a pleasing sacrifice that God respected. It was, imagine this, a clean animal. It was a lamb. He offered a lamb to God. Now his brother Cain, his offering was not respected. In fact Cain became so upset he killed his brother. Now it’s important that we recognize there was already a command against murder. But you think you can find that before this time in Scripture? It’s not mentioned. But murder was a sin.
And in the same way there were already commands about sacrifices and about food. There was already a difference between clean and unclean foods and what a proper sacrifice was long before this, long before the Old Covenant. And of course you may say, “Well, wait a second, that’s kind of a stretch, isn’t it?” Well think about that for a moment. I think we can begin to see that God gave food laws for all time, for all mankind, long before the Jewish people. And here’s an interesting story that I think bears that out. I mean we’re all familiar with the story of Noah. We have this wonderful little diorama here to make this point. In fact what did God tell Noah? “Build a giant Ark.” Okay it was a little bigger than this one.
In fact maybe you learned that little song when you were a kid. “The animals go in two by two, hurrah, hurrah. The animals…” Anyone sing that song? Okay, maybe you learned, but wait a second, was that really the case? Did all the animals go in two by two? Not exactly. In fact when we read Scripture, when we read what it actually says in the book of Genesis, you may be surprised what God actually told Noah. This is in chapter seven verse two. God said, “You shall take with you seven each, or seven pairs of every kind of clean animal,” that’s what the NIV says, “a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male, and its mate.”
Now that may sound a little bit surprising that the clean animals, there were seven pairs. But the unclean, like these little piggies, just two of them and yet all these pairs of the clean animals. And that’s surprising I think, in a number of ways. Think of it this way, God told Noah exactly how to build that Ark. He told them, “Here’s how you do it. This is the structure of this thing. Here’s the size of how big it should be. Here are the materials that you should use to build this Ark.” And God explained every single little detail about its design. But there was one thing God didn’t tell Noah. Do you know what you cannot find in Scripture? God did not instruct Noah about which creatures were clean and which ones were unclean. Why didn’t God explain the difference? Does that make sense?
You see Noah already understood which creatures were clean and which ones were not. You could say it was common knowledge. In fact as you consider this, the unclean, just a couple of them each. And yet the clean ones you’ve got all these seven pairs of each one of them. I mean why would God say, “Take seven pairs of these clean ones?” Well these were the animals that Noah’s family could eat. They’re going to be on that ark for a long time. And they’re also the ones that could be sacrificed as well. And so what we find, as this story of Noah shows, that it was an ongoing law of God. And this was long before the time of the Mount Sinai covenant. There was a distinction between the clean and the unclean. Noah knew it already and he didn’t even need an explanation.
And I think this makes an important point. I mean all these examples we’ve looked at are before Old Covenant law, before the Hebrews, before the Jews. The law of clean and unclean foods definitely predates the Old Covenant. Now certainly it was a part of that agreement, part of that contract, but it wasn’t limited to just that contract. They were commands, commands that God gave for all time like the Ten Commandments. They were always expected of God’s people. So when we finally get to Israel at Mount Sinai, now it was time that God codified these different rules and laws. In fact He had to do it for a number of things that had already been in effect.
Now you might say, “Well, why would that be?” Well remember those Israelites? Where were those Israelites? I mean they had been in captivity. They were slaves to the Egyptians for hundreds of years. They had lost so much understanding that God had to give them instruction. And so we find that God gave these instructions in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. They delineate which creatures are set apart as suitable food and which ones are not. And so remember clean eating, that’s those animals whose flesh is acceptable for food, that’s clean. Not suitable, things that you shouldn’t be eating, the Bible says that’s unclean.
And so we see by this chart God gave specific animals. And we can tell the difference then between a chicken, which would be good to eat, and a hawk that we should avoid those types of birds. Or a cow, well that’s good food, but other animals? No we don’t want to eat those cats that shouldn’t be a part of our diet. And so when God doesn’t give the exact name of the animal, He does give specific instructions how to determine if an animal is clean or unclean. In fact you’ll find this chart on our internet site. So go to the web and you can see this chart and download it for yourself. In fact we’ve got a listing in our study guide as well.
Now you might say, “Well why would God do that? What’s the point? Is it still important even today?” Well God says, “Yes. Yes.” It’s important to discern the difference. And in fact it’s very practical. Like His instruction to Adam and Eve, it was this from the beginning to today as well as tomorrow. There’s a powerful object lesson in this whole situation. Because God says, “The point is we should make a difference. There is a distinction. We should choose to eat clean and avoid the unclean.” And in fact in the book of Leviticus He makes that very point. What is it? Well before He gives those instructions in Deuteronomy and right after He gives those instructions, He says something absolutely critical. Here’s what he says, “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself.”
So what’s the reason that you’re to eat clean? Why change your diet and avoid unclean foods? Holiness, it’s about holiness. You see it’s a reminder to choose godliness, godliness in the way we think, in the way we act, choosing right from wrong, clean from unclean. God is calling His people out. And He instructs them to separate themselves from this unclean world. The influence of wrong ways of thinking, why aren’t they everywhere? God’s people have to distinguish what should be on their life’s personal menu. Isn’t that what God wants? That we recognize the difference between the good and the bad, the right from the wrong, and what’s supposed to help us make that connection? Food, food.
So the question is, would you go so far as to allow God to tell you what you should eat? Now to help make that decision, be sure and go to our website beyondtoday.tv. That way you can download your free copy or read right online. What does the Bible teach about clean and unclean meats? You can also call us at the number on your screen because you’ll want to know, what is the purpose for that distinction? Our study aid will help you to determine what the Bible, what God is telling you about food and how it reflects in our actions. So go to our website or call us at the number on your screen. Because there is a key I think you’ll begin to find.
God made us. He made my body. Does He have a right to tell me what He knows what’s best for me to eat? And I think He does. In fact as I studied into this I realized this is not a Jewish thing. This is a Biblical thing. And we’re not talking about kosher law. You know that’s food that’s blessed by a Jewish rabbi. You see the rabbis took some of these ideas, they extrapolated Biblical ideas, things from the Bible, and they added man-made ideas, man-made rules, and man-made regulations. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about God’s biblical food laws. And I came to understand that even though the Old Covenant had passed away, it didn’t do away with the laws that existed all the way from the very beginning. It was that way from creation.
Now oftentimes the question comes up, “Well what about Jesus? I think there’s a section of scripture where Jesus made everything good to eat.” Have you heard that before? Well in Mark 7 it discusses that very thing and oftentimes this section of scripture is used to try to prove that. Well let’s look at it. Mark 7:18 is where Christ addresses the religious leaders of the day. And this is what He says, “Don’t you perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him because it doesn’t enter his heart, but his stomach, and is eliminating, thus purifying, all foods.” You say, “Aha, there it is. Christ purified everything.” Well, okay. Is that really what He’s saying?
Well context is everything. What is the context of this whole section of scripture? Is it clean and unclean foods? In fact if you look at this there’s nothing here about clean or unclean animals. When we skip back to the beginning of the chapter, we find what Christ is addressing. Here’s what He says in verse 2 to kind of set the stage. It says, “The Pharisees saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, unwashed, hands.” Unwashed hands. The Pharisees and the Jews don’t eat unless they wash their hands in a special way. They held the tradition of the elders. And so when we look at the context this had everything to do with the way they would ceremonially wash their hands all the way up to their elbows. Actually it has nothing to do with God’s food laws.
I mean imagine if Christ was saying, “Eat anything you want,” to this group of Jews before him. Imagine if He would have said that. That would have created one of the biggest controversies of all time. You think the Bible would have recorded that for us? I mean His listeners knew He wasn’t referring in any way to God’s law. If they would have thought that they probably would have picked up stones and killed Him right there.
Christ’s point was those religious leaders and us today as well, yeah we need to keep God’s law but quit worrying about man-made traditions and think about your heart. Think about your holiness. We need to be set aside as God’s people. Now there’s another section of scripture that’s often used to say that, “Well, those old laws were done away with.” And that’s found over at Acts 10. That’s the story of Peter and his vision. He had a vision where a great sheet came down out of heaven and there were all kinds of unclean and common animals, all the creepy crawly stuff was in there.
And then in Acts 10:13, in this vision, in this dream, Peter hears a voice. And that voice said, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat.” What’s Peter’s reaction? Peter says, “Not so, Lord. I’ve never eaten anything common or unclean.” I’m always surprised by that because here we are, we’re 10 years after the crucifixion. If Christ had said, “Eat anything you want,” Peter would have known by now and could have been, you know, snacking on all those creepy-crawly things all along. But he says, “No, I never did that.” Well does this show now that Christ cleaned everything up and now you should eat it, Peter? I mean even Peter wondered about that in verse 17. “Peter wondered within himself what this vision meant,” it says. Now a day later, a day later, God reveals the real meaning to Peter and he comes to understand this.
So in verse 28 Peter says, “God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” You see this vision revealed to Peter that God viewed everyone equally and God can offer His spirit to anyone He decides to give it to. This is not discussing food. It has nothing to do with food. Peter’s dream of this sheet coming down with all these exotic animals had nothing to do with God’s law. It had to do with people. And that’s important to recognize. In fact when you think about those creepy-crawly things and all those exotic animals, I think of the news headlines dominated by the coronavirus. The sickness has jumped from animals to humans and it is dangerous, like that infamous Spanish flu back in 1918. That originated in animals and ended up killing millions of people.
COVID-19 is thought to originate in bats. And of course markets, like that one in China that traded in giant salamanders, and snakes, and rats and porcupines, they contribute to the opportunity to share viruses between animals and people. You think it might be a coincidence that these animals are designated unclean by God’s food laws that are found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14? I mean God’s food laws also prohibit eating blood. Blood is a known source of infectious disease. Keeping sanitary and humane conditions for livestock and for people for that matter, that’s a biblical principle. And today people don’t think much about it, violated all over the world. And what happens, it contributes to viruses that are now plaguing our world.
Diseases. You’ve heard the names like SARS, and Ebola, swine flu, MERS and coronavirus. These could have been prevented by obedience to God’s food laws, and the sanitation laws, and the quarantine standards that the Bible reveals. In fact it’s interesting when we consider how long these food laws are supposed to be in effect. We see they weren’t done away. Well how long are they supposed to last? Well fast forward to the time of Christ’s return. When Christ returns to this earth to establish His kingdom, there’s an interesting section of scripture that speaks to this in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah 66:15 it says, “For behold, the Lord will come with fire.” Talking about the return of Jesus Christ, verse 16. It tells us that, “He will judge all flesh.” Christ is the judge. He’s coming back to this earth. Then in verse 17 He says something interesting. He says, “Those eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse shall be consumed together, says the Lord.”
Now at Christ’s return eating unclean things is condemned. It says, “Don’t do that.” Those that do so, what will happen? Punishment, punishment. It’s even mentioned back in the book of Revelation. Now here’s the question. If it doesn’t matter today why did God inspire this passage for the future? You see you need to understand that so get our study aid, “What Does the Bible Teach About Clean and Unclean Meats?” You’ll find there are distinctions between clean and unclean that existed at creation. They were obeyed by the early church and they still apply today and at the time of Christ’s return. So go to our website or call us at the number on your screen. We each have a choice of what we eat.
God is the one who set the table and He says it’s up to you to choose what’s right. God gives us this choice on what you could call this buffet of life. I mean we know that obeying the law doesn’t save us. Our faith is in the sacrifice of Christ. We recognize that. But when we understand the spiritual principles that are the basis for God’s law, all Christians should obey His commandments. And it’s important. Choosing to eat clean identifies who we are and to whom we belong. Our perfect, pure, holy God wants us to choose to be holy people in every aspect of life. In fact the only recipe for success is basing your life on the Word of God, the Bible.
Will you accept that challenge every day? Every day when you choose what to eat, that’s your daily reminder. It’s in a sense what you should do. Your body is a spiritual temple. So choose good food, clean eating, according to God’s biblical food laws. And of course spiritually it reminds us that you have to make a conscious effort to choose holy conduct as your way of life both in attitude and behavior. God’s given us a wonderful object lesson in food. So let’s draw even closer to God and choose to eat clean every day because it’s not only a matter of diet it’s a matter of holiness.
[Narrator] Call now to receive the free booklet offered on today’s program, “What Does the Bible Teach About Clean and Unclean Meats.” Wouldn’t it be nice to know what foods God designed us to eat? Our free study aid, “What Does the Bible Teach About Clean and Unclean Meats,” shows what God said we should eat, and what we should avoid in order to honor God and live the life He wants for us. Are all animals like cows, chickens, pigs, or lobsters okay to eat? Learn the truth from God’s word. Order now. Call toll-free 1-888-886-8632 or write to the address shown on your screen.
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