Thursday, June 5, 2014

Is it wrong to eat Pork?

The Israelites (The Jews) were given very strict dietary restrictions by God. The most well-known is Leviticus 11:7-8 which states,
...and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you. You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.
Those who are not very familiar with the different covenants in Scripture often find these restrictions confusing. One who is used to eating Pork may read this passage and even feel guilty thinking they have committed a sin.

No, it is not wrong to eat Pork today. This restriction along with many others was given only to the nation of Israel. It is not a command for us today. As has been discussed in another post all the laws given in Leviticus (and other books of law) were given specifically to the Israelites, for a specific purpose at a specific time. The specific purpose is found in (Leviticus 20:22-26).
‘You are therefore to keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them, so that the land to which I am bringing you to live will not spew you out. ‘Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I will drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.‘Hence I have said to you, “You are to possess their land, and I Myself will give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples. You are therefore to make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; and you shall not make yourselves detestable by animal or by bird or by anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated for you as unclean. Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.
God wanted Israel to be holy and pure. He wanted them to be completely different from the extremely evil pagan nations around them. Some of the laws promoted good health, some kept them from immoral practices, others taught lessons about holiness and others prevented them from doing anything that even resembled an idolatrous practice. There are some laws that are hard to understand, but remember that the reason a particular law was given, was to keep them “set apart” as God’s holy people.

It appears that during the time of the New Testament there was still confusion over whether or not some foods were unclean. In Acts 10 Peter has a vision in which God shows him all different types of animals, both “clean” and “unclean”. He tells Peter to eat these animals and Peter says he can’t because they are “unclean”. God then tells him, “What God has cleansed, do not consider unholy” (Acts 10:15).

Later, in his letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes, 
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and pray.

It is wrong to forbid people from eating certain foods because all food is to be accepted with gratitude. The laws concerning clean and unclean foods are no longer in affect for the believer today.

By Cliff Sabroe
(Quotes from NASB95 Emp Mine)