Clean and Unclean Meats
Scriptural Proof Law of Unclean Still In Force
"So you donít eat pork and shellfish," someone will say, "you must be Jewish!" I reply, "No, I just try to follow the Bible, both Old and New Testaments."
Besides the Sabbath and Holy Days, no other belief results in one so easily being mislabeled as a Jew. The Bible is clear on these subjects: the Messiah did not come to destroy the law, He came to fulfil, and magnify, the Law of God, Matthew 5:17-20, Isaiah 42:21.
God wants His people to be healthy, III John 2, and eat with enjoyment, Ecclesiastes 3:13, 5:18. Godís laws include rules having to do with good health. To be a clean people, Godís people should eat clean food. Food that is "clean" doesnít always mean food that has been washed well or free from dirt. Food can be clean from dirt, but still be unfit to eat. When God made animals, birds, fish, and insects, He divided them into two classes ó those good for human food, and those unfit for human food. These the Bible calls "clean" and "unclean." The Bible explains clean and unclean animals, birds, fish, and insects in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.
As Basil Wolverton stated, our Creator never does anything without a good reason. Man cannot always figure out why God commands us to do, or not do, certain things. But, nevertheless, the Almighty expects us to obey, regardless of how much or how little we understand. Unclean animals are generally scavengers, and their digestive systems donít carry off enough poisons.
But the main reason why any animal is unclean is that it was not made to be eaten in the first place. . . . if man could naturally prove that these animals were not fit for food, God would not have needed to tell us about them in the Bible. God had to put these laws in the Bible so that we could know certain creatures are harmful (The Bible Story, Volume III, pages 20-21).
Mankind, however, has a carnal (fleshly) mind, which is diametrically opposed to Godís spiritual laws. The carnal mind, with which we were born, cannot be subject to Godís law, Romans 8:7. Just as unconverted humans naturally want to curse God, lie, steal, and commit adultery, so those without Godís Holy Spirit lust after forbidden food. If God had not forbidden us to eat pork, crabs and oysters, we might not have the desire to eat them!
The Law of Clean and Unclean, found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, was in force long before Moses. Abel was a keeper of sheep, not of pigs, Genesis 4:1-5. Jabal, of the line of Cain, specialized in raising cattle, Genesis 4:20. The Eternal told Noah to take unclean animals onto the ark by twos, but clean animals by sevens, Genesis 7:1-3. After a safe arrival on Mount Ararat, Noah built an altar and sacrificed of every clean animal and clean fowl, Genesis 8:20. By this we learn that Noah already knew which animals were clean and which were unclean, and that he knew that sacrifices to the Eternal must only be with clean animals and clean fowl.
Numerous Old Testament scriptures confirm how the Almighty feels about us eating unclean meats:
Leviticus 10:10 The duty of the priests was to teach the people the difference between holy and unholy, between clean and unclean.
Leviticus 11:44-47 The purpose of the law of clean and unclean is so that Godís people shall be holy, even as He is holy. This law teaches personal cleanliness and righteousness.
Leviticus 20:25-26 We need to put difference between clean and unclean beasts and fowls, so we shall be holy unto the Lord, severed from other people.
Leviticus 27:11 Unclean beasts are not to be sacrificed to the Lord.
Numbers 18:15 Firstborn of man and firstlings of unclean beasts are to be redeemed.
Deuteronomy 14:2-21 The purpose of the law of clean and unclean is that Godís people are to be an holy people unto Him.
Judges 13:4,7,14 Mother of Samson was admonished not to eat any unclean thing.
Job 14:4 Man cannot bring a clean thing out of an unclean.
Ezra 9:11 Canaan was an unclean land [and Israel became unclean just like the Canaanites].
Isaiah 65:1-5 Godís people are rebellious, provoking God by their idolatry, eating swineís flesh and abominable broth, and yet still say "I am holier than thou."
Isaiah 66:3 Godís people are so bad that he who offers an oblation is as if he offered swineís blood, the ultimate insult to the Eternal.
Isaiah 66:14-17 At the Day of the Lord, He will devour His enemies with fire and sword; those who eat swineís flesh, the abomination, and the mouse shall be consumed together.
Ezekiel 22:26 False prophets have violated Godís law, put no difference between the unclean and the clean, and profaned Godís Sabbaths.
Ezekiel 44:15, 23-24 The sons of Zadok shall teach Godís people to discern between the unclean and the clean.
Hosea 9:3 Ephraim shall eat unclean things in Assyrian captivity.
Haggai 2:13-14 Godís people are unclean spiritually.
John the Baptist ate "locusts and wild honey," Matthew 3:4, and wore a garment of camelís hair. Jesus called John the greatest human being, Matthew 11:11, so John obviously followed Biblical laws of health. He ate locusts, which are clean, and wore garments made from camelís hair, an unclean animal.
Jesus condemned the Pharisees who literally strained out a little gnat (unclean insect), but figuratively swallowed a huge camel, an unclean animal, Matthew 23:24. This illustration makes no sense at all if the Savior came to destroy the law of clean and unclean.
Unclean fish are compared to sinful people who are cast into gehenna fire in Matthew 13:47-50. The fisherman casts his net, and when he draws the net in, he keeps the clean fish, and throws the unclean fish away. Likewise, in the Kingdom of Heaven, the angels shall separate the just from the wicked. This parable makes no sense to those who do not understand the difference God places between the clean and the unclean.
The prodigal son was brought down so low that he had to feed swine and wanted to eat the husks he fed the swine, Luke 15:15-16.
In Mark 5:1-17, Jesus cast out a Legion (name for Roman army of 1,000) of demons from a man. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into a herd of nearby swine. So, He allowed it, and the herd of pigs ran violently down a steep place and drowned in the Sea of Galilee. The Savior knew what the demons would do to the swine, and He allowed it, again showing that He supported the Law of Clean and Unclean.
Mark 7: The Things That Defile From Within
Mark 7:18-19 has been used by many to supposedly justify eating unclean meats. Jesus said,
. . . 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?
The RSV renders verse 19, "since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on? (Thus He declared all foods clean.)." This is an unwarranted addition to Scripture. The context is verses 1-5, which describe the Phariseesí practice of always washing their hands before eating, and a host of other traditions of washing pots and cups. The subject is not clean and unclean meats, but unclean hands. Jesus showed that unclean thoughts are the things that most defile a man, not just unwashed hands, verses 20-23. The parallel passage to Mark 7 is Matthew 15. After explaining that inner defilement of the mind is far worse than defilement of the body, Jesus concluded, "These are the things which defile a man [evil thoughts, adulteries, etc. described in Matthew 15:18-19]: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man," verse 20. Ceremonial washing of the hands and cups doesnít affect the inner man. Jesus was not speaking against sanitary, hygienic cleansing with water, either. He criticized the fanatical ceremonial practices of Pharisees, who cleaned up the outside, but inside were rotten to the core, Matthew 23:25. We need to keep the inside, and outside of our bodies pure before God.
The Pharisees watched every word and movement Jesus made. They falsely accused Him of breaking the Sabbath, and claimed that He blasphemed when He said God was His Father, John 5:18. But never did any Jew accuse Jesus of eating, or advocating the eating of, unclean meats. Jesus said He did not come to destroy the Law of God, but to fulfil and keep it, Matthew 5:17.
In Jesusí day, even some of His own followers misunderstood His teaching. In John 6:48-66, Jesus explained that we are to spiritually eat His flesh, and drink His blood (represented by the Passover emblems of bread and wine). Some of the Jews strove against Him, thinking that he was advocating literal cannibalism. Even some of His own disciples left Him over this matter. The Messiah was not promoting eating human flesh and drinking human blood. He consistently taught and practiced Godís laws.
Peterís Vision in Acts 10
Many assume that Peterís vision in Acts 10 permits the eating of unclean meats. But when you read this passage closely, you will see that it does not do away with the Law of Clean and Unclean Meats. The Apostle Peter was staying in Joppa with Simon the tanner. About noon he went up on the flat housetop to pray. He was very hungry, and would have eaten, but instead fell into a trance. In his vision from God, Peter saw Heaven opened and a vessel descending toward him, like a great sheet with four corners, full of unclean wild beasts, creeping things, and unclean birds. A voice came to Peter, saying "Rise, Peter, kill and eat." Peter did not assume that he could now eat unclean meats. "Not so, Lord," he replied, "for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean." The voice from Heaven replied, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." If Jesus had done away with the Law of Clean and Unclean during His earthly ministry, why hadnít Peter, a leading apostle, gotten the picture, some ten years after the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah?
The vessel of unclean animals went up and down three times, then Peter awoke, wondering what the vision actually meant. How dense Peter was! For some reason, he was supposed to understand that he could now eat pork and shellfish! But, it just so happened at that exact moment, three messengers from the Gentile Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, came to Peterís lodging. Cornelius had been notified, also in a vision from God, to seek Peter and was told that God would deal with him through Peter. Then, the Spirit informed Peter to go and receive the messengers. Upon Peterís preaching to them at Caesarea, Cornelius and his entire adult household were baptized and received the Holy Spirit. This showed that God was opening the door of salvation to the Gentiles. Peter understood the meaning of the vision. He said,
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. Acts 10:28.
Jewish tradition, which was based upon a twisted perversion of the Law of Clean and Unclean and the Law of Circumcision, forbade Pharisaic Jews to have close association with uncircumcised Gentiles, those who ate unclean foods. Jewish exclusivism rated Gentiles as spiritual dogs, unclean, and unsuitable for physical contact. At this time, God was showing Peter and the New Testament Church, that Gentiles could become spiritually circumcised. The subject of Acts 12 is NOT clean and unclean foods, but clean and unclean people, and whether or not to accept Gentile believers into the fellowship of the Gospel. The Creator had now granted repentance unto life to the Gentiles, Acts 11:18.
So, in Acts 10:34-35, Peter finally understood that, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him." All of Godís commandments are righteousness, Psalm 119:172, and the Law of Clean and Unclean is part of the laws of God.
Donít Defile Godís Temple, Your Body
In II Corinthians 6:16-17, Paul warns believers not to defile their bodies, which are the Temple of the Living God. He tells us to "touch not the unclean thing." He was speaking spiritually, but this analogy would make no sense to someone who does not understand the Law of Clean and Unclean Meats. Again, the evidence mounts that the New Testament does not do away with the Law of Clean and Unclean Meats. Unknowingly eating unclean meats, in ignorance, is breaking the Law of God. Those who know the scientific and Biblical facts of the matter, and yet continue to eat unclean meats, are guilty of lust, in direct disobedience to the Tenth Commandment. To lust, or covet, is to wrongly desire that which God forbids. One who is a believer and allows his life to be dominated by wrong desires and appetites is guilty of lust. This is defiling his body, which is to be holy in all conduct.
Eating unclean meats is also breaking the commandment against murder. Suicide, killing oneself, and eating poison, is a form of murder. As Herbert W. Armstrong wrote,
And when you put into your stomach all kinds of foul things which the Great Architect who designed your human mechanism never intended, you foul up your body and bring on sickness, disease, aches, pains, a dulled and clogged-up mind, inefficiency and inability ó and you commit suicide on the installment plan by actually shortening your life! (Is All Animal Flesh Good Food?, page 1).
Some people may ask, "If swineís flesh isnít supposed to be eaten as food, why did God create pigs?" We could also ask, why did God create weeds and poisonous vines? Everything created has a purpose, for the Eternal created nothing in vain, Isaiah 45:18. As the case of poisonous vines demonstrates, God did not create everything to be eaten. Unclean foods are "poison" to the body. As Armstrong states,
The only difference between these poisons we falsely call foods and potassium cyanide is the relative number of minutes, hours, or years it takes to accomplish its mission. (Ibid., page 1).
Animals to be eaten were made so at creation, as well as animals not fit to eat. There is no Bible record where a change was made in the structure of animal flesh, so that which was once unfit for food will now digest properly.
Meats Created to be Received
Some point to I Timothy 4:1-5 in a futile attempt to "prove" that we can eat unclean meats today.
In the latter times, some shall depart from the true faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. Besides forbidding to marry, these doctrines include:
. . . commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
The truth is that God did not create pork and shellfish to be eaten. The word of God forbids us to eat unclean flesh. No amount of prayer can sanctify (set apart for holy use) unclean meat. However, every creature which God created to be eaten, is indeed sanctified. It is blessed by the Eternal, when we ask Godís blessing at mealtime. I Timothy 4:1-5 actually confirms the validity of the Law of Clean and Unclean Meats.
We should not be carried about with different, strange doctrines, which change the truth of God, but we should be established in His way of grace, Hebrews 13:9.
Romans 14: To Eat, Or Not to Eat, Meat?
Romans 14:14 (KJV), states, "there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean." My Oxford Bible margin corrects the KJV mistranslation here. "Unclean" should have been translated "common." The Greek word improperly translated "unclean" in this verse is Strongís #2839, koinos. The normal word for "unclean" is #169, akathartos. These two words are very different. They are used together in Acts 10:14, where Peter said he had never eaten anything that is "common [koinos] or unclean [akathartos]." Koinos, and its related word, koinoo, #2840, is used to mean "unwashed, dirty, defiled before God" (Mark 7:2; Matthew 15:11, 18, 20; Acts 21:28; Revelation 21:27), or "used by the common group," (Acts 2:44, 4:32), or "available to all believers" (Titus 1:4, Jude 3). The key difference between akathartos and koinos is that akathartos means unclean and impure by nature, while koinos means polluted through external use.
The context of Romans 14 is the controversy between meateaters and vegetarians (see verse 2). From I Corinthians 8:7-8, 10:25-28, we learn the reason why some of the Roman believers were vegetarians. It was because they didnít want to eat food offered to idols, even if it was clean meat properly bled, because they felt that the idol contaminated the meat. Since all meat sold in Gentile meatmarkets was suspect, they avoided meat altogether. Paul corrected them on this point. Mere association with an idol, doesnít make meat common, or improper, to eat.
Vegetarians regarded clean meats as common (dirty, defiled before God). That is why Paul did not use akathartos in Romans 14, but koinos instead. He knew that no clean foods which God had sanctified are by nature polluted. But, vegetarians, weak in the faith and weak in understanding Godís Word, wrongly believed that even clean meat was polluted, through association with an idol. The conscience of the vegetarian defiled the meat for him. But that does not make meat actually polluted. Paul did not recommend eating unclean meats, but he recommended not eating any meat at all in the presence of a vegetarian brother, if eating meat offends him, Romans 14:20-21.
Jerusalem Conference Confirms the Truth
The only circumstance in which clean meats are ever common or polluted is when clean animals have died of themselves or when the blood has not been properly drained. Such animal flesh was "common," and it was given to strangers or aliens if they wanted it, Deuteronomy 14:21.
About 50 A.D., nineteen years after the crucifixion, the food laws were still in full force. The decision of the "Jerusalem Conference," given by the Apostle James, brother of Jesus, required Gentiles to "abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication . . . ," Acts 15:29. Gentiles commonly ate their sacrifices with blood, as their sacrifices were often strangled, and then presented to idols. Afterwards, the offerer committed fornication with the temple prostitutes as part of the pagan rites. Under the New Covenant, sacrifices are not required of Gentiles. Also, they are not to substitute their pagan practices in the worship of the Eternal.
Definition of Clean and Unclean
Based upon our understanding of the Biblical Law of Clean and Unclean, found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, the following charts explain which meat is clean, and which is unclean.
1. Clean animals part the hoof and chew the cud: Cattle (beef, hamburger, veal), sheep (lamb, mutton), antelope, buffalo (bison), caribou, deer (venison), elk, gazelle, giraffe, goat, hart, ibex, moose, reindeer; and their products, milk, butter, and cheese.
2. Clean fish have fins and scales: anchovy, bass, bluefish, carp, cod, crappie, drum, flounder, garfish, grouper, grunt, haddock, halibut, hardhead, herring, mackerel, minnow, perch, pickerel, pike, rockfish, salmon, shad, sheepshead, skipjack, smelt, snapper, sole, sunfish, tarpon, trout, tuna (albacore, bonita, yellowtail).
3. Clean birds*: chicken, dove, duck, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, partridge, peacock, pheasant, pigeon, songbirds, sparrow, quail, turkey. Their eggs are also good to eat.
4. Other clean animals: different kinds of locusts, which include crickets and grasshoppers.
Tips for Avoiding Unclean Meats
1. Read the package label.
2. Learn to avoid potential sources of unclean meat: pork and beans, some kinds of Mexican refried beans (frijoles), certain crackers (lard), many cakes (lard or pork shortening), salads with bacon bits, many pizzas (pepperoni), fish oil (shark oil), unknown types of fish (names of fish are not always a guide).
3. If necessary, politely ask questions before you eat at a restaurant or someone elseís house. Do not offend others or be obnoxious when you need to inform a non-believer that you do not eat pork or shellfish.
* The Bible doesnít reveal a specific set of characteristics of clean birds. However, all clean birds have six characteristics: (1) a crop, (2) a gizzard with a double lining that can be easily separated, (3) do not prey on other birds, (4) do not devour their food while flying, but catch it in the air and then land and divide it with their bills (5) their hind toe and middle front toe are both long, and (6) when perching, the three front toes are on one side of the perch and the hind toe is on the opposite side.
1. Unclean animals include: swine (boar, peccary, pig, hog; and their products including bacon, ham, lard, pork), canines (coyote, dog, fox, hyena, jackal, wolf), felines (cat, cheetah, leopard, lion, panther, tiger), equines (donkey, horse, mule, zebra), small animals (badger, coney, hare, ferret, monkey, opossum, porcupine, rabbit, raccoon, skunk, squirrel), larger animals (bear, camel, elephant, gorilla, hippopotamus, kangaroo, llama, rhinoceros, wallaby).
2. Unclean water creatures lacking fins and scales: scaleless fish (catfish, eel, marlin, shark, sturgeon, turbot), shellfish (abalone, clam, crab, crayfish, lobster, mussel, prawn, oyster, scallop, shrimp), soft body (cuttlefish, jellyfish, limpet, octopus, squid), sea mammals (dolphin, otter, seal, walrus, whale).
3. Unclean birds* of prey, scavengers, etc.: albatross, bat, bittern, buzzard, condor, cormorant, crane, crow, cuckoo, eagle, flamingo, glede, grosbeak, gull, hawk, heron, kite, lapwing, loon, ossifrage, osprey, ostrich, owl, pelican, penguin, plover, raven, stork, swallow, swift, vulture, water hen, woodpecker.
4. Other unclean creeping animals: reptiles (alligator, crocodile, lizard, snake, turtle), amphibians (frog, newt, salamander, toad), other (groundhog, mole, mouse, rat, snail, slug, weasel), all insects except the locust family**).
How One Scientist Views Unclean Meats
(This section is taken from Health Guide for Survival by Salem Kirban.)
In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 are guidelines telling us what foods we should avoid. The swine, or hog, is referred to in Leviticus 11.
And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
Our Creator, when He gave us bodies, gave us bodies that balanced out the body chemistry. He created energy out of anions and cations.
In reading this, some will say "Yes, but these instructions were just for the people of Israel in Old Testament times. We now have the liberty to eat pork."
But, in reality, your gastric juices, your body chemistry, is no different than those of the Israelites of some 4,000 years ago!
While we are living in the dispensation of Grace . . . this had to do with our spiritual life. Our human digestive tract has not changed!
Just because todayís hogs are raised on grains and in hog parlors under antiseptic conditions . . . the hog still presents digestive problems.
Dr. Carey Reams, a biochemist, did seven years of research before he found the answer . . . yet it was not the research that helped him find the answer to why we were better off obeying the instructions of Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.
Dr. Reams first discovered that the calories in beef, pork, fish or anything else per gram of lean meat are almost the same. There is very little difference here.
Dr Reams came upon this fact quite unexpectedly. He had a client who was told that he had less than a year to live. As an agricultural engineer, Dr. Reams serviced his orange grove and cattle farms.
This client told Dr. Reams: "Youíve got to help me. Medicine has failed." Dr. Reams gave him a gram scale and told him: "I donít care what you eat. I want you to mark down exactly what you eat on the gram scale and come in for a saliva and urine test every day at 2 oíclock."
Through his tests, Dr. Reams came up with the unusual information that every day this client ate the unclean meats . . . down went the energy level! And every day that he did not eat unclean meats . . . the energy level began to climb.
Dr. Reams began eliminating certain foods from his diet . . . one by one . . . and to Dr. Reamsí knowledge this man is still living today!
What Dr. Reams discovered is that such unclean meats as hogs, shrimp, lobsters, clams, oysters and catfish (along with many others) produce very high energy levels. But the problem is that they expend these high energy levels very quickly!
Dr. Reams emphasizes: "You must have a time limit on it. In other words, the unclean meats digest in a period of 3 hours. The clean meats require about 18 hours. What this means is that the energy in pork and other unclean meats in released in 3 hours instead of 18."
Why would it be bad for these meats to digest so quickly . . . in 3 hours?
It is bad because, according to Dr. Reamsí thinking,
Itís like putting high test gasoline, such as aviation fuel, in a motor thatís not built for it!
With the way we live today, such quick energy tends to burn out our system . . . causing many physical problems.
We may eat these high energy meats for years and appear seemingly healthy, but this continued abuse of our body one day surfaces into a serious terminal disease!
Dr. Reams found that even people who do hard work such as construction workers and farmers, in many cases, come in to see him with serious problems . . . even though they expend a great deal of energy in their work. He states that even some people 30 and 35 years of age look like they are 70 or 75 because of indiscretionary eating habits.
We take these people off the unclean meats, teach them what to eat and in 6 months they look younger than their years!
How many people today are eating "minus" foods which may eventually lead them to an early grave? óby Salem Kirban
Pigs Are Fast Producers of Meat
More than half the farms in the United States raise hogs. Scientific breeders have developed hogs that gain an average of one and one-half pounds every day. Hogs eat more than half the corn grown in the United States. It is no doubt that hogs produce much meat ó fast! But few have stopped to consider the fact that God doesnít want us to eat pork.
Quantity, rather than quality, is the prime motive for unscrupulous farmers. Swine are ready for butchering in 3 to 6 months, but calves take 18 months to become market ready.
Trichinosis Comes From Improperly Cooked Pork
There is evidence available, for those who are willing to accept it, that God knew what He was talking about when He forbade mankind from eating pork. Trichinosis is a disease in man and animals caused by the Trichinella spiralis parasite. Trichinosis is acquired primarily from the consumption of pork, but can also come from bear, dog and walrus meat, all unclean.
When one eats uncooked or inadequately cooked flesh containing encysted Trichinella larvae, the larvae are released from their cysts and migrate from the stomach, and embed themselves in the wall of the small intestine. There, the worms grow to maturity, mate and have young, which enter the circulatory system, from where they penetrate muscle tissue throughout the body. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain are only some of the many symptoms caused by trichinosis infection.
There is no specific treatment or cure for trichinosis, and it can be fatal. Diagnosing the disease in man is extremely difficult since the symptoms are mistaken for at least forty other diseases. According to Raymond and Dorothy Moore, the trichinella spiralis worm pierces the lining of intestines and lodges in the muscles of the diaphragm and legs. This produces aches and pains which are erroneously attributed to other causes. The Moores estimate that 15-20% of all Americans suffer from trichinosis (Home Made Health, page 73).
In the 1960s, America was thought to have had 21 million cases of trichinosis out of a worldwide total of 28 million, with 350,000 new cases developing each year (source: Encyclopedia Britannica, article "Trichinosis"). Feeding raw garbage to swine increases incidence of trichinosis, but even grain-fed hogs can transmit the parasitical disease. There is no federal inspection of fresh pork for trichinosis. It is debatable whether cooking pork actually kills the trichina cysts, for a United States Department of Agriculture pamphlet stated that "In a series of 24 cases of trichinosis reported recently, 22 were said to have resulted from Ďcooked pork.í" Even if thorough cooking removes all danger of contracting trichinosis, who wants to eat cooked worms? Those who persist in eating pork, which God has forbidden, are playing Russian roulette with trichinosis.
Philo Condemns Unclean Foods
Philo, a Greek Jew of Alexandria who lived around the time of Christ, says that the human body naturally lusts for what God forbids us to consume.
It may seem strange at first glance, but Philo places the laws of clean and unclean meats under the Tenth Commandment, which forbids coveting or lusting. He explains that the Eternal prohibits the eating of the unclean animals partly because they are the most appetizing and to abstain from them requires self-control. Eating such things leads to
gluttony, an evil very dangerous both to soul and body . . . . Now among the different kinds of land animals there is none whose flesh is so delicious as the pigís, as all who eat it agree, and among the aquatic animals the same may be said of such species as are scaleless.
How true! Mankind apart from God has a natural inclination to lust after what the Creator forbids.
Our Language Tells a Story
Animal characteristics are frequently used in our English language to illustrate ideas. To "beef" about something is to complain, while "to chicken out" is to cowardly give up. So, likewise, "to eat like a hog" is to selfishly gorge one self. "Pork," or "pork barrel politics," is money, grants, public works, or government jobs used by politicians as patronage with more regard for political advantage than for the public good. As Newsweek magazine said, unscrupulous politicians "talk about economy out of one side of their mouths while voting for pork out of the other." "Pork" is representative of selfishness and lack of concern for others. In spite of voluminous scientific and Biblical evidence that we should not eat pork, many persist to selfishly destroy their bodies by eating pork and shellfish. They cannot give up their bacon for breakfast, or their "gourmet" shrimp, crab, clams, and lobster. There is going to come a time of judgment, both physically and spiritually.
"Kosher Food," and "Kosher Meat," are Jewish, and not Biblical, terms. The word kosher, or kasher, in Hebrew means "fit, proper, right" (Strongís #3787). Esther 8:5 uses this word, as well as Ecclesiastes 10:10, 11:6. In all of these Bible uses, kasher doesnít refer to meat at all.
There are several things that Jews use the word "Kosher" to represent: (1) foods not prohibited by Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, (2) animals or birds that have been slaughtered by the ritual method, shehitah, (3) meat that has been salted to remove the blood (Deuteronomy 12:16, 23-25, etc.), (4) that meat and milk have not been cooked together (Exodus 23:19), and that separate utensils have been employed. In addition, the term "kosher" is used by Jews in reference to foods prepared especially for Passover, and kosher wine is prepared under observation of Orthodox rabbis, to prevent libations to idols and handling by non-Jews.
Many Jews, especially Reform Jews, have abandoned kosher food laws. A Jewish acquaintance told my cousin, "pork never hurt anybody." How uninformed! According to Arnold Schechter (In Health, November, 1991, page 22), "kosher" food is a popular food item today. In 1977, only about 1,000 products were labeled as kosher, while in 1991 the number had soared to over 19,000 items. Companies pay money for a rabbi to certify the food as "kosher," with the "K" symbol. In the United States, 1.5 million Jews include at least some kosher food in their diet, and 4.5 million non-Jews seek out kosher food. In the race to get more of the "almighty dollar," Godís laws have been left far behind.
We should not confuse "kosher" with "clean," for standards of health and sanitation have little to do with determining whatís kosher and whatís not kosher. Remember, a kosher hot dog is still a hot dog: fatty, salty junk food. As Schechter states, while it is true that contaminated pork and shellfish can make people sick, the fact is that the largest number of food poisonings are caused by undercooked beef.
What about the last part of Exodus 23:19? Does it forbid us to mix clean meat and milk? Many Jews, as part of "kosher" laws, believe that dairy products cannot be cooked with meat or eaten at the same meal. They refer to food that is neither dairy products nor meat (e.g. fruits, vegetables, grains, fish and eggs) as neutral, or "pareve (parve)." It appears, however, that the last part of Deuteronomy 14:21 explains what it means, "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his motherís milk." The preceding part of the verse refers to not eating an animal that dies of itself. Young nursing animals are fragile and can die more easily than a full-grown animal. Not only are we as believers not to eat an animal that dies, but also we are not to kill a young animal and eat it before it has been weaned from its mother. When Abraham met the Lord at Mamre, he had Sarah prepare bread, a calf, and butter and milk, Genesis 18:1-8. There is no Bible evidence for not eating milk and clean meat together.
The Jewish shehitah slaughtering ceremony is still done today. The specially trained slaughterer, or shohet, first recites a prayer. Then, he takes a special razor-sharp knife that has a smooth edge with absolutely no nicks, and makes an incision across the neck of the animal or fowl. The cutting must be made by moving the knife in a single swift and uninterrupted sweep, and not by pressure or stabbing. The cut severs the main arteries, permitting the blood to drain from the body, as well as making the animal unconscious.
Animal-rights activists have objected to this method of slaughter on grounds of cruelty. But scientific opinion indicates that severance of the carotid arteries and the jugular vein by one swift movement results in almost immediate loss of consciousness, and any afterstruggle is muscular reflex. As a youth, I assisted my father when we had to slaughter and butcher cattle. We shot or stunned them. The humane and gentle shehitah slaughtering, is more in line with the Eternalís ways.
Properly slaughtering clean animals so as to drain as much blood out as possible, is in line with the Eternalís commands. But, kosher laws of the Jews have twisted Bible food laws.
Donít Eat the Blood
In Genesis 4, we are told that Abel brought an offering to God of the firstlings of his flock of sheep. He knew that the shed blood of a lamb represents atonement for sin, and pointed to the Messiah, who would be the ultimate sacrifice for sin. The Eternal had slain an animal to make clothes for Adam and Eve after they had sinned, Genesis 3:21. That is the major spiritual reason why the Almighty instructed His people not to eat blood. To consume blood is to denigrate the Messiahís shed blood for our sins.
When Noah left the ark, the Eternal clearly instructed him:
Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. Genesis 9:3-4
It is a "perpetual statute" for Godís people not to eat fat or blood, Leviticus 3:17. We are to eat "no manner of blood, whether it be of fowl or of beast," and those who do are to be "cut off" from Godís people, Leviticus 7:26-27. The Almighty will set His face against anyone who eats any manner of blood, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul," Leviticus 17:10-13. Deuteronomy 12:23-25 tells us why we are not to eat blood: "Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Eternal."
As Harold Hemenway explains in his booklet, "Are the Food Laws Scientific?" one of the functions of blood is to transport bodily wastes and poisons to excretory ducts in the body. Why does God warn us not eat the blood? Because waste products are in an animalís blood. Uric acid in blood becomes urine. The taste of meat is heightened in proportion to the amount of blood and the tang that uric acid gives it. Infectious diseases can be transmitted to man by means of ingesting blood of diseased animals. Thus, we ought to avoid eating an animal that dies "of itself," Leviticus 17:15, because its blood hasnít been drained out, verse 13, or, it may have died of disease. Likewise, we should not eat animals "torn with beasts," verse 15, because their throats have not been cut to allow the blood to drain. Stunning an animal with an electric shock before slaughter prevents the blood from draining.
In I Samuel 14:32-34, we are told that Israel sinned by slaying sheep and cattle, and eating their flesh with the blood. Ezekiel said that he had never been polluted by eating of that which died of itself, or was torn in pieces, Ezekiel 4:14. The priests are not to eat anything that dies of itself, or is torn by wild animals, whether it be fowl or beast, Ezekiel 44:31. Our relationship with our Creator is dependent upon us following the Eternal in this matter: "And ye shall be holy men unto me: neither shall ye eat any flesh that is torn of beasts in the field; ye shall cast it to the dogs," Exodus 22:31. Even the dead carcasses of clean animals make one "unclean," Leviticus 11:39-40. Godís people are not to eat of a clean animal that dies of itself, Deuteronomy 14:21.
John S. Fox, in his book, Today, Tomorrow and the Great Beyond, pages 353-354, says:
The harmful presence of blood in killed meat has of recent years been realized fully by modern scientists. It has been found that in meat insufficiently bled, putrefaction sets in rapidly, even though frozen; whereas meat which has been adequately bled will keep for long periods . . . . Science also shows that blood congeals in the flesh to such an extent after death that no amount of boiling can properly remove it.
Leviticus 17:13 instructs hunters to quickly drain the blood of slain animals, and cover it up. So, we should avoid blood. Donít be like Germans who eat "blood pudding," made from pigís blood and suet (fat). There may even be a spiritual danger from drinking blood, as this may open up one to demonic forces. The Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, volume 2, page 716, mentions that "when the fresh blood of the victim is drunk . . . . The result is frequently seen in usual phenomena of possession."
As Acts 15:20 reminds us, abstaining from blood is indeed a perpetual statute of the Almighty.
Donít Eat the Fat
Leviticus 3:17 says to eat neither fat nor blood. Animal poisons are stored and concentrated in the fat. Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock, "and the fat thereof," as an offering to the Eternal, Genesis 4:4. In Leviticus 3:16, we find that "all the fat is the Lordís," and was to be burned on the altar. Thus, a faithful worshipper such as Abel would have no offering fat left to eat himself, for he would have burned it all. Leviticus 3:8-9 and 7:23-24, clearly show that we should eat no manner of fat. Leviticus 7:24 says, "And the fat of the beast that dieth of itself, and the fat of that which is torn with beasts, may be used in any other use: but ye shall in no wise eat of it." There may be "other use" of fat, such as making soap.
Prevention magazine, February 1980, page 134, states:
In the case of heart disease, blame does not fall equally on all fats. Chemically, the fats in food come in several varieties. Saturated fats . . . are most commonly found in meats. Polyunsaturated fats . . . are found more abundantly in vegetables, and in fish and fowl. A large body of research indicates that saturated fats are the ones to watch, in keeping guard against heart disease. Where the diet is rich in these animal fats, heart disease is generally a problem.
Eating saturated animal fats causes a buildup of cholesterol in human arteries and veins, in turn causing atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. But vegetable oils, polyunsaturated fats, significantly reduce cholesterol (Prevention, November 1982, page 79).
Harold Hemenway suggests that liver and kidneys are likewise not to be eaten. Since the kidneys and the caul (lobe) above the liver of clean animals were treated the same way as fat (Exodus 29:13, Leviticus 3:15-16), it is likely they were (and still are) prohibited as well. Both the liver and kidneys filter blood: kidneys remove wastes from the blood and make urine, while the liver manufactures blood and stores fat. Since the heart pumps the bodyís blood, Hemenway says that one should not eat heart flesh either.
The phrase, "eat the fat," in Nehemiah 8:10, is an idiom meaning, "eat the fatted calf," not to eat the fat of a calf. It refers back to Deuteronomy 14:26, where we are told to eat oxen and sheep, and consume wine and strong drink, at the Festivals of the Eternal.
The "none of these diseases" promise of Exodus 15:26 was fulfilled in Psalm 105:37, as there was not one feeble person among Israel when they left Egypt. What did the Egyptians eat? They ate the fat and blood of animals (even the modern-day Egyptianís favorite sandwich is meat fat on white bread). The ancient Egyptians refined flour. The rich led sedentary lives. Leaving the table to vomit so as to return and indulge in more food was a common custom in Egypt, as well as in Rome. Today we call this "bulimia." The results of the Egyptian diet have been diagnosed by paleo-pathology reports from Egyptian mummies: arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), dental caries and abscesses, gallstones, obesity, degenerative arthritis, leprosy, tuberculosis, cancer, parasitic infestation, kidney stones, diabetes, and a number of other diseases, even poliomyelitis (Raymond and Dorothy Moore, Home Made Health, pages 190-191). Israel knew this, yet complained of the food God gave them, and through ignorance desired to return to the "flesh pots" of Egypt, Exodus 16:3, Numbers 11:4-5.
Characteristics of Clean and Unclean Animals
Rabbits "chew their cud," but donít part their hooves, so they are unclean. Actually, certain rabbits and some other animals re-ingest part of their feces, so the material goes through their alimentary canal twice. The phenomenon of eating oneís own dung is called coprophagy, and is usual behavior in many insects, birds and animals. But it is a sign of insanity or sexual perversion in man. Rabbits do not have multiple stomachs like clean animals, such as cows.
Hooves protect clean animals from cuts and injury, which are gateways for germs, parasites and disease to enter the body. Thus, clean animals are freer from diseases and parasites than animals without hooves. "Ruminants," or cud-chewers, are not predatory or carnivorous. They get all their nutrition from plants, again resulting in less disease, fewer parasites, and healthier meat. Predatory animals consume fat and blood and diseased animals. When one eats the flesh of unclean animals, the meat digests in three hours, compared to 18 hours for clean meats. The hog digests its slop in three and one-half hours, whereas a cow takes 24 hours to send its food through two digestive processes. Special enzymes and bacteria in the stomachs of ruminants help them break down plant matter into food, without absorbing poisons. In contrast, there are over 42 diseases and parasites humans can get from eating swine.
Hemenway lists numerous diseases which can be transmitted to humans from unclean animals: from the hog: erysipeloid infection, taeniasis, toxoplasmosis, sparganosis, pork tapeworm cysticercosis, salmonellosis; from the rabbit and squirrel: tularemia infection, California encephalitis, bubonic plague (black death, also transmitted by rats); from squirrels: rat bite fever, Lassa fever, louping ill, Lyme disease, meliodosis. While you can catch some diseases and parasites from even clean animals, the severity and quantity of such dangers are significantly less. Even milk from unclean animals is different than milk from clean animals. The enzyme rennin in clean animalsí fourth stomach is what coagulates and turns clean animal milk into cheese.
Characteristics of Clean and Unclean Fish
Recently, Oregon banned harvest of all shellfish on half its coastline. They have paralytic shellfish poisoning disease, which can be transmitted to humans, and cannot be removed by cooking. The disease can lead to death through respiratory failure.
Do you think it is safe to eat catfish? Bible critics had to do some rethinking when it was found that catfish are a principal source of erysipelas, a feverish inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes, often affecting the heart, seriously infecting the bloodstream, and causing various forms of arthritis. Some fish, such as swordfish, may contain nerve toxins (Raymond and Dorothy Moore, Home Made Health, page 74).
One of the primary purposes of scales is to provide the fish with a coat of armor, which protects it from cuts, predators, and parasites. Scales also brilliantly reflect light, repelling parasites like leeches which avoid light. Fins help clean fish to maneuver so as to keep from getting hookworms, and dislodge any that have attempted to attach themselves in spite of the protective scales. Clean fish have gill covers called opercula, which again provide protection from worms, bacteria, and other parasites. Chondrichthyes fish, whose bones are made of softer cartilage rather than hard bone, have a gill which slits open directly to the outside environment. Osteichthyes (bony fish, mostly clean ones) have a different jaw structure than unclean fish, and a lengthened, folded small intestine, whereas Chondrichthyes have only a spiral valve. As a general rule, clean fish are not scavengers. Herring and sardines eat plankton; salmon, tuna and mackerel eat other fish; cod eat mollusks; and flounder and halibut eat most types of food. But shellfish eat dead and decayed plants and animals and waste from sewers, garbage and pollution, and are scavengers living at the bottom of the ocean. Not surprisingly, the meat of shellfish digests in a period of three hours as opposed to 18 for clean fish. Most people know that shellfish doesnít keep like other meats, but is very perishable and spoils quickly without refrigeration.
Names of fish are not always a sure guide for telling which ones are good to eat. When I went deep-sea fishing out of Newport, Oregon, I caught a ling cod (a nice clean fish), along with a rock cod (looks like a catfish, with no scales).
The sick Oregon shellfish I referred to, became ill by consuming the dinoflagellate parasite. This poisonous protozoa is commonly called the "red tide." Symptoms of shellfish poisoning appear in a few minutes, and include nausea, light-headedness, vomiting, and tingling or numbness around the mouth, followed by paralysis of the extremities, and possibly, respiratory paralysis. "Cooking is not preventive, boiling does not destroy the poison," says M. Rosenau in Preventive Medicine and Hygiene, page 826. He says that "the only safe oyster is one which has been protected from contamination with fecal pathogens for at least some months prior to harvesting," (page 822). "Typhoid fever and other intestinal infections (diarrhea, etc.) have been convincingly traced to infected oysters. They may be infected when dredged from sewage-polluted beds in which they live and grow," (page 823). Maybe the Japanese are right: eating raw shellfish is no worse than eating cooked shellfish!
Characteristics of Clean and Unclean Fowl
The six characteristics of clean birds are listed elsewhere in this article. One or more of these characteristics is lacking in all unclean birds. The Jewish Mishnah says that "a bird that seizes food in its claws is unclean; one which has an extra talon, a craw, and the skin of whose stomach can be pealed, is clean," (Hul. 3:6).
Clean birds have, in essence, three stomachs, including a crop, the gizzard and another section between the two. This prevents poisons from being assimilated into its meat, just like ruminant animals. According to Robert Burton (Bird Behavior, page 76), leaf-eating birds such as swans, geese, grouse, ducks, pigeons and other gamebirds, have bacteria in their intestines which break down cellulose. Pigeons and doves use their crop to store, or partly digest, food taken too quickly for the stomach to handle. During brooding season, the crop produces "milk" from seeds eaten, which is regurgitated for the young. This is one form of rumination, making these clean birds similar to clean animals which chew their cud.
As one would expect, unclean birds, such as vultures, owls, eagles, hawks and seagulls, are generally birds of prey (carnivorous), and often feed on carrion (dead or decaying flesh, including fat and blood). On the other hand, clean birds are predominantly vegetarian, eating leaves, nuts, seeds and fruits. This means that clean birds have less disease and fewer parasites. Owls eat rats and other disease-carrying rodents. Eagles eat dead animals. Vampire bats drink blood and bats, in general, can carry rabies.
Characteristics of Clean and Unclean Insects
Iíve never eaten a grasshopper! I guess I would have to be pretty hungry before I would attempt to do so. But, why are grasshoppers clean insects? The NIV translation renders Leviticus 11:22, "Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid [a green cricket-like insect], cricket or grasshopper."
Most orthoptera (an order of insects including grasshoppers and crickets) are vegetarians. Grasshoppers, according to Hemenway, have a crop, gizzard, gastric caeca (intestines) and a stomach, in that order, from front to back. Like clean animals, grasshoppers chew their food with two powerful grinding jaws called mandibles. Unclean insects are generally scavengers, omnivores and occasionally predators. They bite and suck instead of chew thoroughly like the grasshopper. Even though bees are unclean, their honey is fit to eat, since it is converted pollen from flowers, and not actually from the bees themselves.
Many unclean "creeping things" are notorious disease carriers. Hemenway notes that mosquitoes transmit malaria, yellow fever, and other diseases. Flies transmit tularemia, ticks can transmit germs of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and rats host fleas which carry Bubonic plague, and can transmit numerous diseases and parasites to man.
Arabs commonly eat locusts this way: They remove the head, which pulls out the viscera as it comes off, then they remove the tail, wings and legs, leaving the "thorax," which is dried and either toasted for immediate use, or stored. Again, I would have to be really hungry to be motivated to try eating grasshoppers.
How the Swine is Unclean
A pamphlet by C. Leonard Vories, entitled "The Hog: Should It Be Used For Food?" describes the uncleanliness of the hog.
We know that God had some purpose in creating the hog, and we may well believe that He designed that it should be a scavenger in the animal kingdom . . . .
Since starting this treatise, it has been the authorís privilege to spend a few days on a large poultry and stock farm. Many thousand of hens and hundreds of hogs were kept on this farm. When hens would die, they would be put into burlap sacks. After some had lain in the sacks for days and the odor from them had become unbearable, they were then loaded onto a truck and hauled to the hog pen where they became feed for the hogs. This procedure . . . was the regular way of disposing of the dead hens . . . .
When the foul, impure foods upon which the hog will feed are referred to in connection with the teaching that pork is unfit for food, many will say that the hog is no more filthy in its habits of feeding than a chicken. If this were true, there is still a vast difference between the digestive system of a hog and that of a chicken. The chicken has two stomachs ó the glandular stomach and the gizzard . . . Knowing these facts about the chicken, we might believe that the Creator permitted it to be used for food because it has a digestive system something like that of the clean beasts ó a digestive system more capable of eliminating impurities from the food eaten than is the digestive system of the unclean animals. (pages 10-13)
On pages 14-15, Vories quotes Dr. Thomas Nelson in The Defender, December, 1939:
The animals that chewed the cud and divided the hoof, such as the ox, sheep, goat, deer, buffalo, etc., . . . have practically three stomachs, as refining agencies and cleansing laboratories, for the purifying of their food; thus weeding out from their systems most of the poisonous and deleterious matter.
It thus takes clean, vegetable food over twenty-four hours to be turned into flesh . . . . The dietary habits of all such vegetarian animals were also clean, in comparison with that of the omnivorous swine. . . . in about three hours after he has eaten his polluted swill, putrid carrion, or other offensive matter, man may eat the same in second-hand style off the ribs of the pig.
This flesh the law condemns as unclean; not merely ceremonially unclean, but hygienically and physiologically as well . . . . The diet of the pig is so deadly that it generally kills the animal itself in about eight or ten years.
If you examine carefully you will find a small abrasion behind the front foot of the pig. Rub it off clean and press the leg just above the abrasion, and you may squeeze a teaspoonful of dirty matter from it. This is original pork gravy. It is an outlet to a sewer-pipe that may be traced all through the animalís body. It helps to drain off the teeming filth with which the system is filled . . . .
On a close analysis of this filthy scrofulous serum, or the Ďcultureí of its bacilli under varied conditions, it is seen to contain the elements of many dangerous diseases and combinations; yet how toothsome is pickled pigís feet to ignorance, unbelief, and disobedience.
His [the swineís] body is eaten, his head is turned into head cheese, and even his ears and tail inserted. His blood is turned into blood pudding; his stomach is transformed into tripe; his feet are pickled; his intestines are used for sausage covers; his heart, liver, and kidneys are cooked; and his very bristles are sought for wax ends, etc.
Since much of a hogís fat is made into lard to be used in shortening in cooking and baking, Vories concludes that "more animal fat is eaten through the use of pork than is consumed by the eating of any other flesh foods" (page 28). Since animal fat increases blood cholesterol, which leads to hardening of the arteries and heart disease, and since heart disease is our number one killer, it is safe to say the eating swineís flesh is the source of our number one health problem.
Pigs cannot be easily killed by strychnine or rattlesnakes. Indeed, pigs have been used to rid ranches of snakes. How can pork be good food to eat?
From His Tail to His Snout
Not only do most people violate Godís law by eating unclean meat, they go "whole hog" and eat every scrap of the animal God uses to epitomize as unclean. Here is a humorous poem, "From His Tail to His Snout," written by John T. Reagan, which is a commentary on Bible verses relating to unclean foods:
Do you think, brother, that in Godís great plan
When He was prescribing the best food for man,
That He made a mistake in leaving the swine out
For he was not good from his tail to his snout?
I Corinthians 3:17
Oh, the carcass of an old dead horse or a cow
Donít get too rotten for a dirty old sow;
Though we holler a lot abut boils and gout,
We eat Miss Piggy from her tail to her snout.
We couldnít eat the buzzard; weíd think it a crime,
But how much more filthy is he than the swine
That we make into pie, or we cook him with kraut
And eat him or die, from his tail to his snout?
We cook him with cabbage or boil him with greens;
With his mangy old hide we season our beans;
With his scabs and his boils within and without
Sweet Piggy we eat from his tail to his snout.
On filth they feast, while in stink-holes they lay
And still for their carcass our money we pay.
The preacher, professor, or the judge on his bench
Eat the carrion-eater, his filth and his stench.
In the filth you can see him clear up to his eyes,
His slimy old carcass all covered with flies;
Most dead with cholera, (due to butcher, no doubt),
We still think him good from his tail to his snout.
II Corinthians 6:17
We eat the old grunter, we eat the young shoat;
The fat that we fancied may be pus or bloat.
It would smell as good, and as healthy no doubt
As the hoofs and the hide, the tail and the snout.
We may like him lean, or may like him best fat;
Just as well eat the dog, or else eat a cat;
Just as well eat the buzzard, the owl or the bat,
The lizard or the snake, the mole or the rat.
Our most sensitive natures would almost run wild
If we handled the corpse of a man or a child.
But we sit at our tables and cram down our throat,
With the greatest relish ó the corpse of a shoat.
God made him a scavenger; He says heís unclean,
What other creature is as filthy and mean?
If we eat his flesh, or touch his dead carcass,
With sin and disease it surely will mark us.
ĎTis sad, brother, although Godís Word is just,
We eat the slop-eater, for eat him we must.
The dirtiest of beasts we will not do without
But eat them we will, from the tail to the snout.
Now we sing and we talk of Godís love so divine;
Like vultures, then feast on the dirty old swine.
We might shun many ills, and diseases, no doubt,
By not eating him ó from his tail to his snout.
I Corinthians 10:31
Yes, we worship the Lord, and pray and shout,
But that old hog flavor we canít do without;
For ham, bacon, sausage, we go the whole route
And eat the whole hog from his tail to his snout.
II Peter 2:22
In Godís Word we find he is classed with the dog;
No matter how highbred, he is still a hog.
Though you wash him, or teach if you will,
He still will go back to his mire and his swill.
Weíd be better off if we obeyed Godís command
And ate vegítables, grain and fruit of the land,
Then it wouldnít take half of the tonic and pills
To relieve all mankind of their swine-fed ills.
You may think of fresh pork as a very rare treat,
But our bodies are made of just what we eat,
And the food he has eaten, the filth of the land,
Goes into our body as food, second-hand.
III John 2
No wonder we are weak and heart beats are slow,
Sanitariums full, hospitals oíerflow,
For we eat such unclean, abominable things
That are creeping, crawling, or flying with wings.
God forbid us to eat these dirty old creatures,
No matter what is the theory of preachers;
If left to manís opinion ó weíd not know the right,
But thank the Lord, in His Word there is light.
Luke 4:2, 3
And now, my brother, you may no doubt recall ó
Indulgence of appetite caused Adamís fall,
Our Savior was tempted on this point no doubt,
Then why do we eat from his tail to his snout?
Now Iíve told you my story, recited my piece;
If you can eat pork with your conscience at ease,
If sin, filth, or disease, you care little about ó
Keep on eating the brute,
FROM HIS TAIL TO HIS SNOUT!
Leprosy: Associated With Unclean Meats
Following the Law of Clean and Unclean Meats in Leviticus 11, the twelfth chapter covers circumcision and cleansing of a woman after childbirth, the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters cover leprosy, and the fifteenth chapter discusses cleansing of men and women with bloody issues. Leprosy, the most dreaded disease of the Bible, is contagious in some stages. To have the disease meant separation from loved ones through quarantine, and a slow and painful death. Transmitted through blood, excretions, and possibly sexual intercourse, leprosy was dreaded and feared in ancient times like AIDS is today.
Just as Israel is to eschew unclean foods, so Israel is to quarantine those unclean individuals infected with leprosy. Today, leprosy is called "Hansenís Disease," and is said to be caused by an acid-fast bacillus similar to that which causes tuberculosis. There are approximately ten million cases of leprosy worldwide. The majority of United States cases are in the Gulf coast regions of Florida, Louisiana and Texas, and southern California. Smithís Bible Dictionary, article "Leprosy," quotes Dr. J. Hutchinson: "We find that nearly everywhere the disease is most common on the seashore, and that, even when it spreads inland, it generally occurs on the shores of lakes or along the course of large rivers."
The source, or cause, of leprosy does not appear to be clear. It may be included in the "diseases of Egypt," mentioned in Exodus 15:26 (see also Deuteronomy 28:27, 35). Leprosy may result from unclean practices associated with living near the ocean or large rivers and lakes. It is possible that eating shellfish and/or polluted water could be the culprit. Dr. George Bushe (Notes on "The Book of Leviticus," page 100, 1861 edition) states that ancient and modern physicians confirm "that persons who indulged in pork were peculiarly liable to leprosy and other cutaneous [skin] disorders." The Bible establishes a close association with unclean foods and skin diseases such as leprosy.
Leprosy is a type of sin. It was hereditary, contagious, ever tending to increase, incurable except by the power of God. Those who had it were ashamed and a disgrace. Leprosy rendered one alone in the world (quarantined), deforming, and unclean, making one unfit for the kingdom of God. New-born babies of leprous parents are often as pretty and healthy as any, but soon the leprosy starts to produce visible signs. What a type and example this unclean disease is, of the nature of sin!
Abomination of Desolation
Time and again in Leviticus 11, and once in Deuteronomy 14, unclean meats are called an "abomination." Leviticus 20:25, Isaiah 65:4 and 66:17 associate swineís flesh with "the abomination." In Daniel 11:31, the "king of the North" is prophesied to pollute the sanctuary, take away the daily sacrifice, and place in it the abomination that makes desolate (see also Daniel 8:9-14). The Hebrew word for abomination means "filthy, detestable."
Antiochus Epiphanes (ruler of one of the four divisions, or horns, of the Grecian Empire established by Alexander the Great) conquered Jerusalem and defiled the Temple by placing an idol of Jupiter Olympus in the Holy of Holies, and thereupon offered swineís blood upon the altar. What Antiochus Epiphanes did in 168-163 B.C. is a type of the end-time desecrator of Godís Temple, Matthew 24:14-16. Antiochus even forced Jews to build idolatrous temples in every city and village, and offer swine upon them every day (Josephus, Ant. 12:5:4). We cannot logically condemn Antiochus Epiphanes for his sacrilegious act in desecrating the Temple of the Eternal, when we allow any swineís flesh to enter our temples (bodies).
The ultimate insult against God is associated with the pagan practice of offering the unclean blood of pigs! Such a person places himself above God, II Thes-salonians 2:1-11. It is not a coincidence that "the abominable" will not be included in the New Jerusalem, but will be put into the lake of fire, Revelation 21:8, 27. Far from being merely a physical issue, clean and unclean meats, in the Bible, is also a spiritual issue. Those involved in gross idolatry eat and sacrifice unclean animals. Godís people abhor such abominations.
One cannot understand the Abomination of Desolation without an understanding of clean and unclean meats.
Inquisition a Type of Great Tribulation
The infamous inquisition of the middle ages was marked by the Catholic Church forcing "heretics" and Jews to recant their faith and be baptized into the Catholic Church. Those who kept the Sabbath and the Law of Clean and Unclean Meats were special targets of persecution.
In late 14th Century Spain, mobs threatened Spanish Jewry with extinction. While thousands of Jews accepted death, over 100,000 Jews compromised their beliefs, and were "baptized" into the Catholic Church. But secretly, they continued to practice their faith. The Inquisition was established to stamp out completely los marranos [Spanish curse word for swine, as these "converted" Jews were known]. Finally, in 1492, all professing Jews, as well as crypto-Jews, marranos, were finally expelled from Spain.
The lesson of the Spanish Inquisition is that compromising oneís faith does not result in escaping punishment. If you have accepted the Sabbath and the rest of Godís Laws, including the Law of Clean and Unclean Meats, you ought to stick with them, because compromise is not going to be an easy escape. The Inquisition is a type of the coming "Great Tribulation," and may even involve the same religious issues, as well as the same persecutors.
Law of Clean and Unclean Results in Separation
It is impossible to deny that one of the results of following Godís Law of Clean and Unclean is that often it separates us from nonbelievers. This should not be surprising, for the Sabbath does the same thing. However, separation as required by God, is NOT equated with Pharisaic Judaismís definition of separation. We are not to stay away from nonbelievers. We are to be a light in the world, not out of the world. The Law of Clean and Unclean teaches us to avoid abominable foods, and all ungodliness and abominable beliefs.
In the office environment where I work daily, my beliefs often separate me from my fellow workers. I cannot go to the annual Christmas Party, nor the annual Company Picnic (always on a Saturday). Sometimes, my department has a mini party, and they bring in pizza. Once again, I cannot participate! Nonbelievers will almost invariably order pizza with pork sausage on it. There is no way I will compromise, pick out the unclean meat, and eat the rest. So, I have to be careful to take advantage of the few social opportunities that I do have. Once, on a business trip with fellow employees to Houston, Texas, we had an enjoyable meal at an expensive restaurant. As I judiciously ordered from the menu, avoiding unclean foods, someone at our table ordered a gigantic platter of Cajun crawfish! I had to fight not to gag at the smell and sight of this slimy mess. No wonder God calls such things an abomination!
Suppose the Law of Clean and Unclean Meats was done away by the sacrifice of Christ. Then, logically, the Sabbath and Holy Days, and many other laws would also be null and void. The result would be, that nothing would separate the believer in the Messiah from the nonbeliever. The way of the Creator should separate the believer in some ways from evil practices of this world. We are to come out of Babylon, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth, Revelation 18:4, 17:5. This requires separation.
Rousas John Rushdoony, in his book, Institutes of Biblical Law, explains that holiness, as defined in Scripture, involves separation, or cutting:
The law simply states the principle of the cutting or separation. Wherever there is law, there is inescapably a line of separation. Conversely, wherever there is no law, there is no line of separation. Antinomian [against Godís law] sects may speak earnestly of holiness, but, because of their denial of law, they have denied the principle of holiness. (page 83-84)
Godís food laws are a prime example of holiness:
There is no question but that these [food] laws were and are basic to good health; there is also no question about the fact that they are laws of holiness. These laws of holiness are a "blessing" (Deut. 12:15) to the physical life of Godís people, i.e., to their health. In this respect, they are another law of separation from death. Health is thus an aspect of holiness, and the fullness of health is in the resurrection. (page 87)
Herbert Armstrong and the "Pork Obsession"
As reported in his Autobiography, Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) faced opposition from other ministers during the early years of his ministry in Oregon (The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, Chapter 29). During the spring and summer of 1933, Elders Sven (Sam) A. Oberg and A. J. Ray, who had moved up from California, opposed Armstrongís preaching. Armstrong reports that Ray had developed an "obsession" against eating unclean meats. Elder Ray continually emphasized this doctrine, giving the impression that the eating of pork was the greatest of sins. Ray demanded that Armstrong state his position on the subject.
Armstrongís position on pork was simple: he believed that God forbids us to eat unclean meats. However, Armstrong believed it was merely "a physical FOOD question, rather than a spiritual principle or Gospel subject. Unless a man broke the tenth commandment by lusting after it, the eating of pork did not violate the Ten Commandments, which constitute a SPIRITUAL law (Autobiography, page 487)." Regarding Mark 7:15-23, Armstrong explained that this shows that what comes out of the heart of man ó evil thoughts leading to actions of adultery, murder, theft, deceit, blasphemy, and pride ó are violations of the Ten Commandments; but, nothing from outside, entering into his mouth, defiles a man spiritually. Acts 10:28 shows that God has not changed unclean animals, but instead shows that we should not regard Gentiles as unclean. Armstrong understood that I Timothy 4:1-5 does not make unclean foods healthful, since the Word of God does not sanctify pork. He believed, however, that eating pork was a PHYSICAL violation, not a spiritual sin. The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, Romans 14:17. Hence, Armstrong did not preach to the world about unclean meats. He personally did not eat unclean meats, and taught all converts not to eat unclean meats. Finally, Armstrong challenged Ray to give him scriptural grounds for preaching about unclean foods to the unconverted.
The pork issue was extremely important in the first years of Armstrongís ministry. He did not at that time believe that eating pork was a sin, only that abstinence from unclean meats is a good physical health law. Many of the Church of God, Seventh Day, ministry of the time believed pork was a BIG issue, and would not baptize converts unless they first abstained from eating pork, and began keeping the Sabbath. Armstrong said that he would baptize converts first, then afterwards teach them about unclean meats. Sometimes, it was long afterwards.
Mrs. Amy Larson of Portland, Oregon, a church member since the late 1930ís, relates that she once had HWA to dinner and served him roast pork. He said nothing, but took a little. It was only later that she found out he taught against eating pork. He didnít wish to offend Mrs. Larsonís husband, who was antagonistic towards the church.
It is very surprising that Armstrong gave the impression of being a "liberal" with regard to church doctrine during the early years. Let us examine his position on unclean foods during the early years, which basically was the same throughout his ministry.
It sounds plausible to suggest that breaking the Ten Commandments is spiritual sin, while breaking Bible health food laws is only a physical violation. But letís look closer. Actually, what is the difference between spiritual and physical? In a real sense, breaking any one of the Ten Commandments is physical sin:
1. No other gods
2. No graven images
3. Donít take name of Lord in vain.
Example of Physical Violation
Striving for money, or fame
Bowing down to a physical idol; making a "god" out of an enter-tainment idol
Swearing, a physical act of speaking disrespectfully against the Almighty
4. Remember the Sabbath
5. Honor thy parents
6. Donít murder
7. Donít commit adultery
8. Donít steal
9. Donít lie
Example of Physical Violation
Working on oneís job on the Sabbath
Cursing oneís parents
Killing an innocent person (executing a convicted criminal is not murder)
Having sexual relations with anotherís mate
Taking what doesnít belong to you
The only commandment that is expressed in mental, and not physical terms, is the Tenth Commandment, "donít covet." However, covetousness is idolatry, Colossians 3:5. If you continue to harbor lust for your neighborís wife, sooner or later those evil thoughts will produce sinful actions. The Messiah expanded the meaning of the Ten Commandments so that sexual lust is adultery, etc. But, Jesus did not do away with the physical basis for the commandments; He magnified the Commandments.
How can one say that breaking the Ten Commandments is only spiritual sin, when these same commandments are expressed in physical terms, and breaking them more often than not is shown in physical actions? It usually takes physical actions to break the Ten Commandments, which are supposedly only "spiritual." What foolishness! The Ten Commandments are both spiritual and physical.
Does the Kingdom of God, the heart of the Gospel, NOT include teaching the validity of the Laws of the Kingdom of God? Of course not! The Savior told His disciples to preach and teach ALL things which He has commanded us, Matthew 28:19-20. It is ludicrous to claim that Romans 14:17 precludes faithful ministers of God from preaching to the unconverted about clean and unclean meats. The subject of this chapter is not even clean and unclean meats at all, but vegetarianism versus meat eating (see verse 2).
Elder Ray seems to have been a loud-mouthed "Foghorn Leghorn" preacher who delighted in turning people off by his anti-pork obsession. However, it also appears that Armstrong went to the opposite extreme by avoiding the topic too much and being too weak on clean and unclean meats. There were few "World Tomorrow" radio or television broadcasts preaching what the Bible says about clean and unclean meats. But I have heard hundreds of broadcasts on evolution, social, and prophetic topics. This is unbalanced to the extreme!
We should consider the fact that diet affects us in many ways other than physical. Can we live on a diet of unclean meats, nutrition-depleted "junk food," and expect to have healthy skin, eyes, boundless energy, ambition and courage, a radiant spirit attuned to Godís will? Our nation needs to come to repentance, and return to our Heavenly Father, just like the prodigal son, while feeding swine, "came to himself" and returned to his father. The world needs to hear bold, fearless believers in the Messiah proclaiming Godís whole way of life, which includes the Bible teaching against eating unclean meats.
Persecution and Pork
Why were Spanish Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism called "marranos," which means "swine"? Why is the German language epitaph against Jews dreckzig judensau (dirty Jewish pig)? Because, to a Satanically-deceived mind, those who avoid pork and other unclean meats, by their actions condemn those who do eat these abominations. So, pork eaters blaspheme those who donít eat dirty pigs by calling them dirty pigs! To the unconverted mind, this makes perfectly good sense!
If people find out that you donít eat pork, you may be chastised and ridiculed even more than over the issue of the Sabbath. Maybe this is why Armstrong taught this doctrine with a "low profile." Josephusí monumental First Century work, Antiquities of the Jews, explains in detail Jewish beliefs, practices, Feasts and sacrifices to a largely Roman audience. But Josephus only briefly mentions that there are certain animals forbidden to be eaten (3:11:2), and he doesnít specify which ones. Perhaps even Josephus was concerned that the Romans would ridicule him for not eating pork and shellfish!
I have sensed this unknowingly for some time. As a newly baptized youth, I had to defend my religious convictions before a hostile draft board. I was a conscientious objector, and refused to be drafted into the army and go to Vietnam. The FBI did a thorough character investigation of me. The draft board members grilled me over my religious beliefs, trying to poke holes at my sincerity. My beliefs in not becoming part of carnal warfare, and observation of the Sabbath and Holy Days, did not seem to unnerve them. However, when I unwisely told them of some of my other beliefs, such as not eating pork, one draft board member laughed me to scorn. It was a harrowing experience, but it did help me to be grounded in the faith.
As a result of this experience, I generally do not bring up the subject of clean and unclean meats with unconverted friends and acquaintances. Most of them know that I observe the Sabbath and Holy Days, but almost no unbelievers except some of my relatives know that I do not eat pork. I am not ashamed of what I believe, but I figure that the Sabbath is the BIG issue that separates lawkeepers from lawbreakers. If someone comes to understand the Sabbath, they usually come to see that Godís Law is not done away. They learn that His law includes statutes forbidding us to eat unclean meats. Probably more people are receptive to the Sabbath than the truth about pork. (However, some refuse to eat pork, on Biblical grounds, yet do not keep the Sabbath, proving that there are "Heinz 57" ways of disobeying God.)
Even though I disagree with the explanation Armstrong gives for not preaching publicly about clean and unclean meats, the effect is that his stance is probably an illustration of being "as wise as serpents, as harmless as doves." People do not want to be told that God forbids them to eat pork and shellfish, for their "god" is their belly. They may avoid, ridicule, or even persecute you needlessly, if you are obnoxious about your anti-pork beliefs. I believe that a presentation of the law of clean and unclean should be part, although not a major part, of the message of the Gospel proclaimed to the world. We must teach others to live by every word of God. The world hates the word of God, but we must continue to proclaim the Truth, no matter what the consequences!
Dietary Laws and Our Survival
Emanuel Rackman, in the October 2-8, 1992, issue of The Jewish Week, gives a very interesting analysis of how dietary laws have made an enormous contribution to Jewish survival.
First, food laws enable Jewish parents to teach their children that they were Jews, and because of that, they eat in a special way. Almost from birth, Jewish children are taught about God through what they eat, and donít eat. Second, observance of the dietary laws makes it necessary for Jews to seek each other out to find kosher food. Third, food laws limit the dining of Jews with non-Jews, preventing intermarriage. Fourth, observing dietary laws means that a Jew has to ask himself every time he sees food whether he is permitted to eat it. This is an excellent teaching tool, helping to induce self-control and curb impulsive behavior.
These purposes of Godís food laws likewise have great value for Messianic believers as well. Speaking of Bible food laws, Dr. Samuel Belkin, late president of Yeshiva University said: "Reasons may elude us, but the purpose we can fathom."
Unclean Food and Employment
Putting into practice our understanding of Godís laws of clean and unclean meats can sometimes present problems in a society that is far removed from the Eternal. An employee I once supervised, resigned his position to work for the South Dakota Pork Producerís Association. It is easy to see that my beliefs would forbid me from taking such a job.
But what about working for a restaurant that serves some unclean meats? While almost any job, other than organic farming, presents problems to the faithful believer, I believe that there are definitive lines separating right from wrong. However, I do not know in every case where to draw the line. Each individual should prayerfully consider what the Messiah would do. Certainly a catfish restaurant, and a hog slaughterhouse would not be places I would look for employment. If I depend upon the Eternal, He can supply my needs by giving me a job with a reputable company not involved with unclean meats. Although, if I rebel against God, I might end up like the prodigal son, and find myself feeding swine, eking out a meager living.
Should Farmers Raise and Sell Hogs?
If we strive to live by every word of God, we will follow the Bible food laws, and abstain from eating unclean meats such as pork and shellfish. But what about raising hogs, and selling them to the unconverted person who doesnít know any better? Matthew 22:39 instructs us to "love thy neighbor as thyself." God did not create pigs to be eaten. Pork is harmful to the body and detrimental to good health. It is not love to be responsible for someone elseís sickness and early death. They donít know better, but we should know better! Jesus permitted unclean spirits to enter unclean animals ó pigs ó and for them to run violently down a steep slope into a lake and drown, thus removing them from the market place. This action shows that Jesus does not sanction selling pigs to others for food.
Unclean animals were created for a purpose, but not for food. Farmers should not raise hogs, rabbits, worms, and other unclean animals, for food.
Unclean Foods and the Unconverted
What if a female believer is married to a nonbeliever who insists on having his bacon for breakfast? The Bible says she must honor and obey her husband. Yet, the Bible also says to stay away from unclean meats and do unto others as we would have them do unto us. While unclean meats might not be the only area of potential conflict between partners of a "mixed marriage," it could be one of the most divisive issues. In discussing oneís beliefs with an unbelieving mate, the believer desperately needs the wisdom of God.
Hereís how it might work with the right approach: The believing wife tells her husband that she loves him very much. She says that, based upon her understanding of the Bible, she cannot continue to eat pork and shellfish. However, she says that out of love for him, she will continue to cook his bacon for him if he wants it. She adds that she would prefer not to have it in the house. She refuses to argue about the Bible. She does not bring up the subject again or nag him about it. She cheerfully continues to prepare meals as he desires. There are few good husbands, being smothered with such love, who will not eventually give in to such a loyal loving wife as this! They would be crazy not to!
If the roles are reversed, and the husband is the converted believer, the point of contention over unclean meats will probably not be so severe. The husband tells his wife that he loves her deeply, and that through his Bible study he has come to believe that he personally should not eat pork and shellfish. He says that she can cook it for herself, if she wants it, but that he doesnít want to eat it anymore, and wishes she would do likewise. Thereafter, he doesnít bring up the subject, and continues to love her. Few good wives will react with hate against such a loving husband!
Showing an unconverted mate love and tenderness is the best approach.
Early Church Kept Food Laws
Early true believers were called Nazarenes. Although everything we know about them was written by their enemies, we learn this about them:
Nazarenes, an obscure Jewish-Christian sect, existing at the time of Epiphanius (fl. A.D. 370) in Coele-Syria, Decapolis (Pella) and Basanitus (Cocabe) . . . they dated their settlement in Pella from the time of the flight of the Jewish Christians from Jerusalem, immediately before the siege in A.D. 70; . . . [this writer characterizes them as] more or less than Jews pure and simple but adds that they recognized the new covenant as well as the old, and believed in the resurrection, and in the one God and His Son Jesus Christ.
. . . while adhering as far as possible to the Mosaic economy as regarded . . . sabbaths, foods, and the like, they did not refuse to recognize the apostolicity of Paul or the rights of (Gentile) Christians. The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, Volume 19.
Rushdoony states, "Quite obviously, [early] Christians were not only keeping the laws concerning diet but also observing the laws of sabbath observance and circumcision. Clearly, while the church had some problems with antinomianism, it also had many members eager to keep the whole law of God without any departures from Hebraic practices" (Institutes of Biblical Law, page 795).
Anti-Jewish sentiment put extreme pressure on Bible-believing Christians who kept the Sabbath and the law of clean and unclean. The infamous Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) pronounced the edict, "Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews." This made true Christianity suspect as Judaizing. As the Sabbath was proscribed, so was the law of clean and unclean. Hostility to Jews (and Bible-believing Christians) has often been marked through history by hostility to Bible food laws. Rushdoony notes that the last 1,900 years of western history has been marked by a general adherence to Bible dietary laws, but with steadily losing influence is most areas as far as pork and shellfish are concerned, and horse meat in France (page 791).
Trypho the Jew chastised false "Christianity" for living no different than nonbelievers:
I am aware that your precepts in the so-called Gospel are so wonderful and great, that I suspect no one can keep them; for I have carefully read them. But this is what we are most at a loss about: that you, professing to be pious, and supposing yourselves better than others [see Isaiah 65:1-5], are not in any particular separated from them, and do not alter your mode of living from the nations, in that you observe no festivals or sabbaths . . . [other than those days the heathen observed, including Sunday] and . . . you yet expect to obtain some good thing from God, while you do not obey His commandments . . . (Dialogue with Trypho, x).
Jerome wrote of the Ebionites, that they acknowledged the pre-existence and virgin birth of Christ, but " . . . while adhering as far as possible to the Mosaic economy as regarding circumcision, sabbaths, foods and the like, they did not refuse to recognize the apostolicity of Paul or the rights of heathen Christians," (Commentary in Isaiah, ix, 1).
Various "heretical" Messianic sects, often mislabeled "Judaizers," observed Sabbaths and the Law of Clean and Unclean meats down through the ages. A Paulician group in Phrygia, known as Athinganoi (Greek for "touch not"), were condemned as "Judaizers." This group "observed all the laws of Moses, though refraining from circumcision on the one hand, and practicing Christian baptism on the other . . . ," (J. Starr, "An Eastern Christian Sect: the Athinganoi," The Harvard Theological Review, vol. xxix, no. 2, April, 1936).
A Waldensian group in northern Italy during the late 12th and early 13th centuries, known as Passagii, accepted both the Old and New Testaments literally, holding that "the Old Testament is to be observed in the matter of feasts, circumcision, choice of foods, and in almost all other respects, with the exception of sacrifices," (Wakefield, page 175, cited by Lawson Briggs, What Became of the Church Jesus Built?, page 117). "They observed the law of Moses (except as to sacrifices), circumcision, the Sabbath, distinction of clean and unclean foods all forming part of their system . . . the Passagians appealed to the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments in support of their doctrine" (Bluntís Dictionary of Sects and Heresies, quoted in Blackwell, A Handbook of Church History, pages 115-116).
Papal decrees lambasted the Waldenses, who became quite numerous, and a papal bull of 1267 instructed the ruler of upper Burgundy to stamp out these "Judaizing Christians because they . . . wished to sanctify the Seventh Day in memory of the Mosaic Sabbath . . . during the thirteenth century" (Newman, Jewish Influence on Christian Reform Movements, page 403).
In the late 1500s in Hungary, Andreas Eossi led a Sabbatarian group in Transylvania. They saw the seventh day Sabbath as a type of the future "spiritual marriage" of Christ and His Church. They kept the annual Sabbaths and Holy Days. They understood that the Passover with unleavened bread and wine is the continuation of the Old Testament Passover, but now observed in remembrance of the Redeemer who died for the sins of mankind. These zealous believers declared Christmas, Easter, etc., the inventions of popes. They made a distinction between clean and unclean meats, but did not circumcise. Above all, they respected the Ten Commandments (see Lawson Briggs, What Became of the Church Jesus Built? pages 167-169).
In the early 1600s in England, John Traske, a Puritan minister, was introduced to, and accepted, the Sabbath, from Hamlett Jackson. Traske came to understand that the Ten Commandments were not done away, and from this, went on to understand the truth concerning clean and unclean meats, and began keeping the Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the rest of the Holy Days. Coxís Sabbath Literature indicates that others in England in the late 1600ís also kept the Sabbath, Holy Days, and eschewed unclean meats, in spite of being persecuted for being "Judaizers."
Lawson Briggs, author of What Became of the Church Jesus Built? explains what true "Judaizing" is:
What is "Judaizing"? Were these Sabbath keepers "Judaizing"? Is believing and obeying the Old Testament being like the Jews? Absolutely not. Jesus never condemned the Jews for honoring and obeying the Law, but because by their man-made additions and fables they made the law of god of no effect (Mark 7:13). That is not what Sabbath and Holy Day keepers do. . . .
Not keeping the Sabbath, Holy Days, [clean meats], etc., (judging oneís self more righteous than God, in effect), is Judaizing. Adding doís and doníts that God never commanded, while making a strait-laced observance of manís customs into a sort of penance ó an unacceptable self-imposed fine offered to God while continuing to disobey what He commanded. That is what the Jews did.
German Sabbatarian Baptists in the late 1600ís and early 1700ís in Pennsylvania practiced and taught "Mosaic ceremonies and customs," including the Holy Days (Briggs, pages 199-200).
A renegade Seventh Day Baptist church of Pine Grove, West Virginia kept the annual Passover, and avoided unclean meats. "In short here an attempt was made to apply the provisions of the Mosaic law governing the domestic life of the early Hebrews to American Seventh Day Baptists" (Randolph, p. 201, cited by Briggs, pages 269-270).
The Church of God, Seventh Day, of Marion, Iowa, founded in the mid-1800ís, early settled on keeping the annual Passover with foot washing, were against eating unclean meats, and believed man is wholly mortal in this life (Briggs, p. 263). In an 1866 issue of the Hope of Israel (predecessor of The Bible Advocate), published in Marion, editor W. H. Brinkerhoff mentions the dread disease of trichinosis, and recommends abandoning the use of swine flesh entirely. "Swine was unclean to the Jew, and you had better regard him thus to the Gentiles," he says. The May 1868, article, however, contained a rebuttal in favor of pork by William Lockhard of Emporia, Kansas. Again, in the mid-1880s, some articles in the church paper were in favor of eating pork. In the 1920s, when A. N. Dugger was a prominent leader, the predominant view was anti-pork.
Modern Sabbath-Keeping Churches on Unclean Meats
Today, most Sabbath-keeping groups teach against eating unclean meats. Those who do not teach against eating unclean meats, or donít mention the subject very much, still generally do not eat pork and shellfish. There are few Sabbath-keeping groups who do eat unclean meats.
Article 21 of the Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs states:
. . . because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures.
Point 14 of the 1940ís Fundamentals of Belief of the Radio Church of God (later renamed Worldwide Church of God), says:
We believe that certain foods called "unclean" are not to be eaten under any circumstances as they are harmful to body and health and also violate our bodies which are called the temple of the Holy Spirit of God.
However, the 1991 "Statement of Beliefs of the Worldwide Church of God" omits any reference to unclean meats, although most WCG members still do not eat unclean meats. This omission is in line with the liberal Systematic Theology Project (STP), published in 1978 by the Worldwide Church of God. Although renounced by Herbert W. Armstrong before his death in 1986, the STP was the springboard for further liberalization of doctrine in the Worldwide Church of God, which intensified after Armstrongís death. This 375-page dissertation exhaustively covers subjects such as the Sabbath, Ten Commandments, Tithing and Healing. The STP even discusses minor topics such as repeating the Lordís prayer, rapture, speaking in tongues, and the cross. Yet I cannot find any reference to clean and unclean meats. Even in the healing section, where the subject of unclean foods should have logically come up, "natural foods" are encouraged (page 11), but there is no mention of Bible laws of unclean meats. This cannot be an accidental omission! The target audience of the STP was the general public. In the liberal theology of the Worldwide Church of God, there is apparently little place for a proclamation to the world of Godís laws of clean and unclean meats!
The Church of God, Internationalís 1980 "Statement of Beliefs" does not mention clean and unclean meats either. Garner Ted Armstrong, son of Herbert W. Armstrong, and leader of the CGI, has preached sermons in which he disparages those whom he feels are overly concerned with avoiding unclean meats. GTAís church uses the STP as the "starting point" for church doctrine. Although not mentioned in the official CGI statement of beliefs, most CGI members do not eat unclean meats.
The Church of God, Seventh Day, has for the most part not been so shy as to hide from the world its beliefs against eating unclean meats. The September 20, 1948, issue of The Bible Advocate, listing 36 points of "What the Church of God Believes," says in point eighteen:
The people of God and the followers of Christ in this age are to use for food those things which were given by God for that purpose, as distinguished from those things designated as unclean for human use. Gen. 7:1,2; Lev. 11:4-20; I Tim. 4:5; Isa. 66:15-17.
The 1974 "Doctrinal Beliefs of the Church of God (Seventh day)" of the Denver, Colorado group, says in point 24,
Godís people are to use for flesh food only those animals, birds, and fish which were designated by Him for that purpose. All others are to be regarded as unclean and unfit for human consumption.
The 1988 edition moves it to point 17, and says,
The distinction between clean and unclean meats with respect to foods is to be observed today as Godís will because it was God-given for manís benefit.
There have long been anti-pork and pro-pork advocates in the Seventh Day Church of God groups. The reason that the late 1980ís proposed merger of the Denver, Colorado and Meridian, Idaho, groups failed, was probably because the Meridian group has many pork eaters.
The Salem, West Virginia, Church of God Seventh Day group, in point 24 of its Doctrinal Points, says:
The Bible teaches the eating of clean meats, but the eating of unclean meats is an abomination to God. Lev. 11:46,47; Deut. 14:3-20, Lev. 20:25, 26; Is. 66:15-17; 65:3,5; I Tim. 4:1-6; Col. 2:21,22; II Cor. 6:17, 18; Rev. 21:27.
The Assemblies of Yahweh (Bethel, Pa.) "Statement of Doctrine," 1981, point 22, says:
We affirm that adherence to the law of clean meats in Lev. 11 and Deut. 14 remains in effect and binding in our era, and that it is important to our physical health, II Cor. 6:16-18.
Yahwehís Assembly in Messiah (Missouri), in their 1982 edition of "The Foundation of Faith," point 18, says:
That having been cleansed and made holy by the faith of Yahshua, we believe it is important to be clean inside as well as out. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we joyfully adhere to the law of clean meats of Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. This is an object lesson in holiness, teaching us the difference between the clean and unclean, the holy and unholy, II Corinthians 6:16-18. We are to eat clean, think clean, live clean, be clean and holy before Yahweh . . . .
Several groups who broke off from the Worldwide Church of God do not mention clean and unclean meats in their doctrinal statements. These are generally the more liberal groups, including the Association for Christian Development (Washington), the United Church of God (Pennsylvania and Maryland), and the United Biblical Church of God (Florida).
While we strongly believe in not eating unclean foods, this doctrine is not as major a doctrine as the Sabbath. Since Doctrine of Clean and Unclean Meats is a distinctive doctrine, and a point of difference between ourselves and others, it properly belongs in our statement of beliefs.
SDA Waffling on Pork Issue
The pork teaching of Ellen G. White, founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, changed over the years. In her Testimonies for the Church (Volume I, pages 206-207), Mrs. White says that the Lord showed her that pork is "nourishing and strengthening food." She was rebuking a brother in the church for teaching that swineís flesh is forbidden food. Mrs. White wrote to a brother and sister Curtis, telling them it would be "fanatical" to deprive themselves of "nourishing food."
In 1863, Mrs. White received "light" on the subject of pork, according to SDA historian J.N. Loughborough (Rise and Progress of Seventh-Day Adventists, page 214). Yet, in 1865 at a SDA conference, Ellenís husband James White, admitted that the Whites had eaten a 200-pound porker. In spite of the evidence that the Whites originally taught that pork was nourishing food, Uriah Smith, an apologist for Mrs. White, wrote in 1868 that Mrs. Whiteís visions never taught that swineís flesh was good and nourishing food (The Visions of Mrs. E.G. White, a Manifestation of Spiritual Gifts According to the Scriptures, page 95).
In Spiritual Gifts, Volume IV, page 124, Mrs. White claims a vision against pork: "God never designed the swine to be eaten under any circumstances." Thus, "divine inspiration" was claimed for opposite teachings! This is a pathetic example of the "lying spirit" of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Moslems and Pork
The religion founded by Mohammed (570-632 A.D.) is known as Islam, and its followers are Moslems. Mohammed borrowed tenets for his new faith from his garbled understanding of Christianity and Judaism. The Koran forbids eating meat from animals that died of themselves, blood, swineís flesh, and animals slaughtered as offerings to other gods. This is commendable. However, Moslems eat camel flesh, which the Bible forbids. And, Moslems forbid alcohol, which the Bible allows (in moderation).
"Itís The Principle"
Some people act as if the doctrine of clean and unclean meats is like a carton of milk. Once you drink the milk, you can throw away the empty carton. Likewise, these people believe that once you learn the principle of unclean meats, that we should not have unclean thoughts or actions, then you donít have to actually avoid unclean meats. They believe you can throw away the doctrine of unclean meats but still follow the principle that this doctrine teaches or contains. "Itís the principle" that is important, this erroneous reasoning goes, and not the basis for the principle.
This is exactly what the famous "Bible Law" teacher, Rousas John Rushdoony, concludes! After noting that Acts 10 does not do away with the Old Testament dietary restrictions, Rushdoony continues with the following perverse reasoning:
The sabbath law is no longer law for us, in that it no longer is a civil and religious offense to fail in oneís observance, but it is a principle of life and a moral rule. Similarly, the dietary laws are not legally binding on us, but they do provide us with a principle of operation. The apostles, as they moved in a Gentile world, did not allow diet to be a barrier between them and the Gentiles. If they were served pork or shrimp, they ate it. On their own, they maintained the kosher rules as Godís rules of health and life. . . . With reference to our salvation, the laws of diet have no significance . . . . With reference to our health, the rules of diet are still valid rules. We do not observe the sabbath of Israel, but we do observe the Lordís day. We do not regard the kosher legislation as law today, but we do observe it as a sound rule for health.
. . . If the dietary laws are totally abrogated, so is the sabbath. But both remain, not as laws but as principles for the health of man, the sabbath for manís spirit, and the rules of diet for manís body (Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, pages 301-302).
There is not one Biblical example showing Paul or any other Apostle ate unclean foods with Gentiles. Paul did not publicly eat unclean food, and privately keep kosher laws! He was no hypocrite. Paul says in Acts 20:25-27 that he held nothing back from Gentile listeners of his message. The LAWS OF GOD, including laws of diet, DO HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH OUR SALVATION! The Holy Spirit is given to those who obey, Acts 5:32. Obedience and faith are requirements for qualifying for the gift of salvation. Godly obedience is primarily the result of our loving God, because we want to do what He says.
The same false reasoning that does away with the Sabbath, also does away with the law of clean and unclean meats. Refusing to admit that they are doing away with Godís law, Protestants such as Rushdoony claim that the "principle" of the law remains. "Itís not a law," they claim, "itís just a principle." However, if you violate the Bible Sabbath and keep instead a pagan-derived Sunday, you cannot honestly claim to be following the "principle" of the Sabbath! Such reasoning is purely Satanic (see Genesis 3). When you hear someone emphasizing "the principle" of the law, while throwing out the framework of the law itself, you had better flee quickly!
The teaching of "itís the principle," is one of the most damaging doctrines of demons, causing people to depart from the faith of the Bible, I Timothy 4:1. Recently, we heard of a Sabbath-keeping minister who used "itís the principle" theology to justify divorce with the right to remarry on the basis of "fraud" of any kind. Notwithstanding the fact that porneia, as used in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, means sexual fornication, this minister says, without Biblical authority, that porneia means fraud of any kind, because of the "principle" shown in the case of Joseph and Mary. This line of thinking would say that if Mary was a bad cook, and held back this information from Joseph, that he could have divorced her and remarried, if he found out she had deceived him as to her lack of culinary skills.
Such reasoning is the result of taking a law of God, keeping only its "principle," and tossing out the law altogether. Jews today in Israel keep the "principle" of the Bible law of Sabbath land rest. They "sell" their land to an Arab during the Sabbatical Year, and continue to farm it under a sham "lease arrangement." At the end of the Seventh Year, the Jew then voids the "lease" and continues to own and farm the land. Well did our Savior say that such people make void, or of none effect, the law, through their tradition, Mark 7:1-13. After all, they believe, "itís the principle."
The Kingdom of God is Not Meat and Drink
Some read Romans 14:17 as if it relegates the Law of Clean and Unclean to a lowly, unimportant teaching of the Bible. Knowing the many Scriptures we have covered on this topic, it would be a Bible contradiction if this verse tells us that the Law of Clean and Unclean is not important. Knowing that the subject of Romans 14 is not clean and unclean meats, but eating meat versus vegetarianism (see verse 2), letís look at this often misunderstood verse:
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).
It would be better not to eat meat at all, nor to drink wine, if this would offend a Christian brother and cause him to weaken his faith, verse 21. Food, even clean food, does not make one righteous before God, but only the Holy Spirit, which produces peace and joy. See also I Corinthians 8:1, 7-13, where the subject is meats offered to idols.
In Colossians 2:16-17, Paul says not to let others judge us, say we are wrong, in eating and drinking, in respect of a holy day, a new moon, or the Sabbath days, which are a shadow of things to come. Instead, let the body of Christ do the judging. The "in meat, or in drink" (margin: "eating and drinking") has to do with meat (meal) and drink offerings associated with holy days, new moons, and the weekly Sabbath (see Numbers 28 and 29). In Hebrews, Paul tells us that the Old Testament sacrificial system is no longer necessary because of the eternal sacrifice of the Messiah. Paul said that these rites "Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation," Hebrews 9:10. It is unfortunate that the King James Version uses the word "meat offering" when "meal offering" is the proper translation.
So, let us not be carried about with different and strange doctrines. "For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats [meal offerings and other sacrifices], which have not profited them that have been occupied therein," Hebrews 13:9. Animal sacrifices are not essential to the Kingdom of God message. We have a perfect sacrifice, a Messiah, who made the "big sacrifice" once and for all. None of these verses show that the Law of Clean and Unclean Meats is done away, or watered down in any way.
The Law of Clean and Unclean is NOT just a principle of good health. Like any of the Almightyís laws, Bible health laws are based on the Ten Commandments. The statutes support the Ten Commandments, and further define love to God and love to man. They are all part of the loving character of the Eternal. There are no scriptures in the Bible which authorize eating the meats which Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 forbid. Godís laws stand or fall together.
Call me a Judaizer if you will, but following the Law of Clean and Unclean results in blessings from the Eternal. Like the Sabbath, it separates us in some ways from nonbelievers. The Law of Clean and Unclean stands or falls with the Sabbath. What you put into your body is a very important physical and spiritual issue.
There is a clear demarcation between good and evil, right and wrong. We do not have the authority to decide what is sin, but only the responsibility to choose whether or not to sin. Eating unclean meats is a sin, which violates the Ten Commandments. We should choose life, and not the ways of death.
"Are the Food Laws Scientific?" by Harold Hemenway, Seattle, Washington: 1987, 33 pages.
"Clean and Unclean Meats," Answers magazine, January-February, 1984.
"Is All Animal Flesh Good Food?" by Herbert W. Armstrong, Radio Church of God, 1958.
"Laws of Health," Chapter 33 of The Bible Story, by Basil Wolverton, Ambassador College Press, Pasadena, California, 1962.
"The Health of The Nation," Americaís Promise Newsletter, April, 1987.
"The Law of Clean and Unclean Meats ó Applicable Today?" by Church of God, The Eternal, Eugene, Oregon: 1987, 9 pages.
"Shehitah," Encyclopædia Britannica.
Shehitah, by J. Berman, 1941.
"Trichinosis," Encyclopædia Britannica.
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