Why did God command the Israelites not to eat pork or water creatures without fins and scales? Yet Jesus never confirmed those laws for His followers?
One of God’s reasons was to prevent disease and infections. Hygiene was not that well developed among the former slaves of Egypt. When God lead the Israelites out of slavery through Moses, He promised them, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you.’ 1
# We see God’s preventative measures in many of the hygiene laws.
- Purification after child birth. 2
- The laws about infectious skin diseases. 3
- The exclusion of scavengers like fish without scales, or birds of prey, from their diet. Those creatures might have carried dangerous bacteria because of their scavenging habits. There were no antibiotics and other benefits of modern medicine available. As a preventative program to reduce the risk of disease, God told them to stay away from the various ‘unclean’ animals. 4
# How are Christians to apply it today?
- Scripture teaches:
- ‘One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.’ 5
- ‘The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything, must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.’ 6
We are not to judge others based on our own ideas. For some people, certain classes of food are still ‘unclean,’ for other people they are not. We are free to choose what we eat. Yet Jesus also had a specific ‘diet’ for His followers.
# Jesus’ recommended ‘diet.’
- Recommendation 1, “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him “unclean,” but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him “unclean.”‘ 7 Jesus was more concerned about the results of a ‘spiritual’ diet. We should think and speak what pleases God.
- Recommendation 2, ‘…Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ 8 At first the disciples did not understand what Jesus meant. Then they got it, ‘…He was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’ 9
False teachings are a bigger threat to disciples of Jesus than eating rabbits, pork or shell fish. We should guard against the pollution of bad ‘bacteria’ spread by people who don’t care for the truth.
- Exodus 15:26
- Leviticus 12, Deuteronomy 14:1-21
- Leviticus 13-16
- Leviticus 11
- Romans 14:3
- Matthew 15:10-11
- Matthew 16:11
- Matthew 16:12