Clean and Unclean Part 2
By Your servant, Dan Baxley
Most in the Christian Community are taught and have been taught for many, many years, that the Law has been abolished, done away, is no more – But is this true? Did our Savior come to destroy the LAW? Why don't we let Him answer this question --?
(Mat 5:18) For verily (truly) I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Well, is earth still here? Guess it is, so what must we assume then? Yes, that the LAW is still in place but it is in the application of the LAW where most become confused – including me. Is the LAW YaHshua is mentioning all of the Old Testament Covenant? Is the LAW the ten points written by God Himself, known as the Ten Commandments? Is the LAW all of the Hebrew Writings? I am of the opinion that His statement is to include the Writings of the Prophets because His statement is prophetic in its nature. My Bible says Heaven and Earth, as we know it, will not pass until after our Lord has returned and after the 1,000 years (Isa 65:17, Rev 21:1).
I do not have all of the answers but I do see the Jewish side of Christianity and the Gentile side -- Christianity is built, or was built, originally, upon the Jewish or Hebrew foundation. When the Apostles taught their Book of choice were the Hebrew Scriptures from which they quoted many times in support of their teachings and used as proof YaHshua was who He said He was and who they said He is. YaHshua said He has His words and it is His words that give us the broader understanding of the LAW. Where He expanded on the truth and understanding, seemingly, at times, a contradiction to the LAW, He consistently called it "Law of Moses", or "Their Law" and so did the Apostles. The Law was not changed but clarified and a separation is recognized in the Law of Moses to govern the nation Israel and the moral Law and physical Law beneficial to all men and women of every race.
It is not for the Jewish Christian to make the Gentile Christian Jewish and it is not for the Gentile Christians to make the Jews into Gentiles. This, of course, is all tied in with which parts of the LAW (Torah) one side or the other wants you and me to observe, keep, and perform. One thing is constant, when it comes to the LAW, among both Gentiles and Jews of the Christian faith -- the “moral law” -- the conduct of “love” which seems lacking when one group gains control over the other.
The Christians, composed primarily of Gentiles (none Jews) have rejected the LAW save the Ten Commandments, for the most part, and turned to Pagan traditions. The Christians, in their freedom, choose to incorporate pagan festivals and traditions into the religion they thought they were saving. Following the death of the last Apostle the leadership having come through a great deal of persecution found a method of compromise and at the same time a method by which to bring pagan gentiles into the fold, so to speak, and this was to rename pagan practices and traditions with Christian names. "The end justifying the means", as they say. What we have today is a Christian Church steeped in pagan clothing to the point of even preaching a different Messiah from the person the Apostles told us about. The message of Salvation has not been lost and lives are changed, repentance does take place but they call on someone else and practice pagan religion disguised as the religion the Apostles taught. Their course is set but you can decide to make the change and to turn to YaHshua as your Messiah and Savior. Paul met 12 disciples of John and asked them of which baptism they were and they said of John, so then Paul instructed them in the Gospel message surrounding YaHshua as Messiah and Savior and they immediately believed and went straight away and were baptized then in the Name of YaHshua. John's baptism was of "repentance", YaHshua's baptism is of the "Spirit", and one day will be literally of "fire". (See link on Baptism)
Today's Christian community has a pattern and is pretty much set in its own customs, traditions and festivals, most of which can be found in pagan lore and practice of old. The design of Christianity was established by the Roman Church, her daughters, the Protestant groups came out of her and many smaller groups out of them. This makes the fields ripe for gleaning out your own groups or "cult" because it is not difficult to prove to anyone seeking truth that the Christian Churches of our modern era are based on pagan practices. This is not to question believer sincerity or even their act of "repentance", like those disciples of John, not at all and the time will come for all professing believers to bow before the one true God and to confess the one true Messiah and Savior, YaHshua. There is a dangerous movement afoot, however, that is attempting to capitalize on the unrest trembling throughout the Christian communities and it is a dangerous movement and may be just as dangerous and distorting as when the early Church fathers, after the Apostles, decided to incorporate pagan ritual, traditions and festivals to appease the masses and to gain converts.
Today there are Gentiles attempting to restore the Old Covenant and this is a problem. This article, however, is not about the history of Jew and Gentile, suffice it to say that the words from the Apostles and in their writings we have a history proving the Gentiles were not to be made into Jews and that we are under a new Covenant, a Covenant made with YaHshua as our Savior and redeemer, saving us from the penalty of the LAW for the Jews and from the penalty of Sin for the Gentile. The Apostles of YaHshua were not Gentiles but were Jews and they did not give up their Jewish traditions and way of thinking. They attended synagogue until the local, unconverted Jews, denied them. As time moved forward to the destruction of the Temple and eventually all of Jerusalem the Gentile Christians became the leaders in the faith. Certainly many Jewish converts lost their tribal identity as they were driven from among their Jewish roots by those seeking to destroy them from among the Jewish population and at a minimum keep them out of the synagogues. But, in the face of all of this, the Jew was no more required to give up their Jewishness than the Gentiles was supposed to become a Jew. The Jewish converts and the Gentile converts were to come together as united in YaHshua.
This article is about “clean and unclean meats” which is not a problem with most Jewish converts, they see it clearly – there is a difference in meats to be or not to be consumed by them. As it turns out, for the Gentile, it is a matter of good health, while for the Jew it is a matter of “law”.
Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, Says:
(Act 24:14) But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
(Act 28:23) And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning YaHshua, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
(Rom 2:12-14) For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Paul makes it plain, you can “sin” without Law, and it is by this “sin” (moral obligation to conscience) that those outside of or not having the Law of Moses, perish. I have heard teachers press the issue in defining sin as “transgression of the law”, quoting John as the final word.
(1Jn 3:4) Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
If we think John is speaking about the laws of times and seasons, the civil codes and the list of Holy Days, those delivered in the Old Covenant, a Covenant made with Israel, then he has excluded a good portion of converts coming to YaHshua that are not Israelites, not Jews, not having, or even knowing, these writings we call the TORAH, or the LAW -- the Law of Moses. The Messiah Himself referred to the LAW (TORAH) as the LAW of Moses –
(Luke 24:44) He (YaHshua) said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."
(John 7:23) Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? (If this were a LAW of God then YaHshua, the author of the Law of what sin is, would have been breaking the Sabbath, and by the Jewish Law He was -- He used common sense to point out to the Pharisees how they break their own law all the time and how "good" must prevail in our judgments about these things)
(Act 13:39) Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses. (There is not salvation in the LAW only death. Our Savior, YaHshua, justifies us even though we are not able to justify ourselves and certainly not by the Law -- He is our Savior to deliver us from the penalty of the Law, which is death -- in Him we have life)
We have already read that there is “sin” outside of the Law of Moses, so, John, when he writes that sin “is the transgression of the law” he has to be speaking of the law of sin found in “nature”, otherwise, how could a person “sin without law” as Paul reveals? This verse, written by John, is used by some attempting to restore the Old Covenant, a covenant delivered to Moses, written by Moses and presented to the Israelites. When they do this they are, knowingly or unknowingly, claiming to be Jews/Israelites themselves. This is a dangerous approach (Rev 3:9 “… those who say they are Jews and are not…”)
The New Covenant is a Covenant of life, eternal life, and it is a Covenant made originally with Abraham, before Israel came into existence. Abraham was not a Jew, the Jews and the Israelites had not come on the scene yet. Our Creator and God made a covenant with Abraham and later made a covenant with the offspring of Jacob (Israel), forming a nation in the land of Canaan. It is the Covenant of Abraham we are to have a part, a covenant not broken as is the covenant made with Israel. The covenant made with Abraham was not obedience to “law” to gain righteousness, but one of “faith”. Abraham believed YaHWeH without proof, he believed YaHWeH would do all that He promised and it was this, unquestioned belief that was counted as “righteousness”, not any act or outward performance on his part. This was an internal act and sign of belief, a mental acceptance.
(Rom 4:3) What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."
(Rom 4:13) It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.
(Heb 8:8) For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
(Heb 8:13) In that he said, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away.
(2Co 3:6) Who also has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.
The New covenant brings us all to the Messiah, Jew and Gentile alike and is a fulfilling of the promises (covenant) made to Abraham by and through his seed, YaHshua, our Savior, our Messiah, our Heavenly Advocate, our King, our God, our Brother. (Rom 3:29, Eph 3:6 – Rom 4:13, Gen 12:2-3)
The covenant made with Israel/Judah is a repeat of the covenant made with Abraham (he is neither Jew not Gentile) with added conditions, civil and moral law. We can demonstrate from the inspired words of the Apostles that the Law that is eternal is not the covenant of laws made with Israel, but with Abraham and it pertains to his seed (YaHshua) not seeds. Let’s consider what is taught to the Galatians. Remember, the Law of Salivation is found in YaHshua, this is what we need to focus on, but the “civil law”, the “Health laws” were introduced to the covenant made with the people of Israel for their wellbeing, but the law of Salvation ultimately has nothing to do with that. This is where the confusion comes in. The flesh is destined to perish but we have been given a guide in treating the flesh properly, morally (not becoming whore mongers) and physically (food created as good for the body and those not), and in this we see into the mind of our Creator and we are foolish to ignore these things revealed to Israel.
(Gal 3:15) Brothers, let me use an example from everyday life. Once a person's will has been ratified, no one can cancel it or add conditions to it.
(Gal 3:16) Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his descendant. It doesn't say "descendants," referring too many, but "your descendant," referring to one person, who is the Christ (YaHshua).
(Gal 3:17-19) This is what I mean: The law that came 430 years later did not cancel the covenant previously ratified by God so as to nullify the promise. For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by the promise. But it was by a promise that God so graciously gave it to Abraham. Why, then, was the law given? It was added because of transgressions until the descendant (YaHshua) came to whom the promise was given. It was put into effect through angels by means of an intermediary.
(Gal 3:20-22) Now an intermediary involves more than one party, but God (the Father) has acted on his own. So is the law in conflict with the promises of God (the Father)? Of course not! For if a law had been given that could give us life, then certainly righteousness would come through the law. But the Scripture has put everything under the power of sin, so that what was promised by the faithfulness of the Christ (YaHshua) might be given to those who believe.
(Gal 3:23-25) Now before this faith came, we were held in custody and carefully guarded under the law in preparation for the faith that was to be revealed. And so the law was our guardian until the Christ (YaHshua) came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that this faith has come, we are no longer under the control of a guardian (the LAW). ISV
The Law has no power over our Salvation and the Promise given to Abraham. But this does not abolish the Law, only its penalty of eventual death. Again, the Laws given by our Creator to Israel were to be a blessing, and was to point to the one to come, the seed, or that seed, which is the Messiah, YaHshua. He is our mediator, and why would we need a mediator if all law was removed? Our sin is covered, certainly, by YaHshua, but we should continue to explore the benefits of the laws delivered to Israel. The Law has been moved out of the way for Salvation, otherwise we would all be lost, but YaHshua has volunteered to take the shame for us all. The Law itself, however, is just and good and we should consider it as a look into how YHWH wanted His people to act. The Heath Laws were put in place because the people of the Law, Israel/Judah, were Holy to Him.
(Rom 7:7) What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "Do not covet."
Rom 7:12) So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
(Lev 20:26) You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
While the Law has lost its power over us it should not be ignored. We have a New Covenant, a Covenant tied to the covenant promises made to Abraham. Later YHWH selected a people to represent Him on earth, and they were to conduct themselves in a “Holy” manner and this “holy conduct” was outlined for them, a code of laws to live by, in worship as well as private conduct and civil, or public conduct, even to what was considered to be good food for consumption of a “holy people” to Him.
“Do by nature the things contained in the law…”, and how would you interpret this? The moral law revealed in the Book of LAW (Torah), put together by Moses, and called the “Law of Moses”, include many instructions, some detailing the Holy Days, as well as civil codes to rule over the society of the new nation Israel. Is it, then, being suggested that Gentiles were obligated to these civil laws and obliged to observe the Holy Days? How would this be possible for Gentiles “not having the LAW”? It could not apply to them, the Gentiles, as some would have you believe. It is speaking of “morality” in conduct, not the keeping of the law. Not the observing of the physical attributes but of the moral in matters of conscience which are in “nature” to reveal themselves showing there is a Creator of order and discipline.
(Rom 2:15) Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; And before anyone of us should find too much pride in the Law please read and take to heart what is found in the following verses. Boasting in the Law can become a stumbling block even for the most learned among us. Read the following carefully.
(Rom 2:17-20) Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which have the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. (Note: The form of knowledge but not the true knowledge -- only the appearance of..)
(Rom 2:21-23) You therefore which teachest another, teach you not yourself? You that preach a man should not steal, do you steal? You that says a man should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhorrest idols, do you commit sacrilege? You that make your boast of the law, through breaking the law you dishonour God?
(Note: There is no mention of the law being done away, or finished. We know, our Lord and Savior, YaHshua hung it on the Cross and died for us, in our place, and while that was completed the Word is not finished, not until He returns, and even then another 1,000 years to the re-creation of a New Heavens and a New Earth (Rev 21:1), and until then the Word is not finished or done away -- It is by His Word, given to mankind, that we know and the World will know He is True, His Word is Truth. The priestly order has changed, certainly, but the unchangeable is His written Word, not one jot or title will be abolished until earth and the heavens have passed away)
(Rom 2:24) For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
(Rom 2:25-29) For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
(Rom 7:25) I thank God through YaHshua the Anointed our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
(2 Co 6:17-18) Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, saiys the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
How would you interpret this last verse? Don't let anyone tell you the unclean foods have been changed to clean, there is ample scripture to prove otherwise and to silence the false prophets teachings such lies, just so they can continue their pleasures of the flesh. Certainly we cannot escape this world, and we are exposed to every situation and cannot avoid certain things, by accident or out of sincere love for a brother or sister in the Messiah. Deliberate disregard for the Word, the Word from which the Apostles taught, is foolishness on our part -- Yahshua is the ultimate answer to our deliverance from this body, from this world of fleshly pleasures and abuse of ourselves and of others
We are in a hopeless condition and without our Savior we are lost. It is through Him the Law has no power over us. In times past the Law had a penalty of death, and still does, the complete abandonment and disregard for the perfect Law of the Living Creator God is still death, but because of Yahshua and His willing sacrifice for us we have been granted a pardon. He is the way, the only way. He is the door, the only door by which all must pass to gain eternal life, and enter the Kingdom where no unclean thing will be allowed to enter. It is one thing to say you understand the penalty has been overcome, but a completely different thing to say the Law has been abolish, or is evil and to not even be considered. Without the Law no one would know what sin is or was. Without Law everyone would do just what they think is right in their own eyes.
(Pro 21:2) Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
(Pro 16:2) All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
(Pro 12:15) The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
(Pro 3:7) Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
(Jdg 17:6) In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
I am afraid we have returned today as Israel found itself, once upon a time -- no King, no Prophet, no Word -- everyone doing what seems to be right in their own eyes. Why consider the Word of the God when you are a word unto yourself. Everyone satisfied in their own eyes, writing their own law, making their own judgments with the famous remark by one and all -- "But I think..." -- what about what our Heavenly Father thinks? Making judgments not to make judgments when even our Creator tells us we will one day judge the angels. And how then are we to judge?
YaHshua said that He judged no one -- but wait, let's go to His Words --
By His Word, His WORDS, not our words, so that we might at least try to do what is right in His Eye's not ours. One of the first signs a brother gives when slipping into the world's way of thinking is to repeatedly say, "Well, I think ...", and when that happens the true words of the Living God are tossed aside. Certainly you have a right to your opinion but not as a professing believer to the exclusion of the Word, the written Words of our Creator -- professing believers are supposed to believe every word, His words, not our words or thought, or what others think -- His Words to us trumpet all words of men and women, no matter how bright they may seem. Humans under the influence of Satan and his demonic angels, appearing as angels of light, are constantly attempting to discount the Words of your Bible (1 Cor 11:13-15), even Satan has the ability to appear as an angel of light.
Look at how the Apostles taught from the Old Testament, as did our Savior, but the majority of Christian followers ignore the Law and the Prophets -- Oh, that's the OLD testament, done away with, right? Wrong, as a matter of fact, when our Savior returns he is going to restore the honor of the Law and the Prophets, and Israel -- This is what is meant by the true Doctrine of Restoration and a New Covenant being made with Israel – A covenant of Peace.
(Eze 34:23-25) And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I YaHWeH have spoken it. And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
(Eze 37:26) Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
(Jer 31:33)But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith YaHWeH, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.
(Zec 14:16) And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, YaHWeH of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (My Note: The Feast Tabernacles, the seventh Holy Day contained in the Law of God -- not done away, not finished, a required observation when YaHshua returns as King of Kings)
(Isa 1:25-26) And I will turn My hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy sin: And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward you shall be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.
(Isa 26:17-18)Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O YaHWeH. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
(Isa 26:19 - 22)Your dead men shall live, together with My dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see My glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard My fame, neither have seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.
(Isa 66:20-23)And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto YaHWeH out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of YaHWeH. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith YaHWeH. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith YaHWeH, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith YaHWeH. (My Note: LORD = YHWH = YaHWeH -- LORD was a term used to REPLACE His Holy Name)
(Isa 66:24) And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against Me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (My Note: The eternal fire, as discribed -- Mat 25:41?)
(Act 3:20-23) And he shall send YaHshua the Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
Even in the days the Law was in full force the people were warned about the one to come, YaHshua, and of the danger in rejecting Him. But how can you say you accept Him if you do not even know His true Name? Born and Named YaHshua, not JESUS, pronounce either as Hey Zeus or GeezUs, neither are equivalents, both are replacements for His true and right and Holy Birth Name, YaH-shua.
Final Comment -- Concerning Roman 14
Paul in speaking to the Gentile Romans and seems to make a very strong case in favor of eating anything you want, except for when a weaker brother or sister is around. This is telling us how we should act around another believer that thinks it is important to continue in the Hebrew Scriptures, it does not say this attitude is wrong, or evil, only that your freedom, as the older in the Spirit, that you take the path of tolerance toward this brother or sister. Not once does it say the Law of clean and unclean meats (flesh) has been changed or abolished. The instructions Paul is giving is to those having received YaHshua as Messiah, both acceptable. If you feel you must follow the Law in all of its intricate detail, then so be it, and the older, more scripturally mature brother, is to allow for this. So, why do those feeling they are spiritually more advanced condemning those that say the rules concerning the clean and unclean meats listed in the Scriptures are wrong? The Protestant Christian teachers take the approach that all things are good and are free, then, to eat anything and with this thinking we could then say that immoral acts of sex is also okay, after all that is found in the Law too.
Doesn't this seem twisted to you, like something is backward? The brother following the word, is at fault (or so it seems), the brother doing as he pleases is doing good? But notice the context, as delivered in the first couple of verses –
(Rom 14:1-2) Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
The subject of Paul’s exhortations is all about eating only vegetables, avoiding meats (animal flesh) altogether, nothing about "unclean" meats.
From earlier writings we see the church troubled over a problem concerning meats sacrificed to pagan idols, as these meats found their way to the market place. It was taught that meats classified as clean animal flesh, even though used in a pagan offering did not render the meats "unclean" and you could give thanks, even if sacrificed to idols, the prayer of thanks was sufficient in removing any perceived tainting of the meat being associated with a pagan ritual. The idea of giving "thanks to unclean meats" would have been unthinkable for a Jewish man like Paul -- the whole subject was over eating tainted flesh offered to other gods. Many among the believers had turned to eating only “herbs” (vegetables, and grains) eliminating the flesh of animals from their diet to avoid the possibility of accidently eating such meats.
Now, remember, Rome was the center of the Empire's administration, a hot bed of the Gentile Empire, the center piece of paganism, surrounded by pagan activity putting the Roman Church of believers in a stressing situation. So, naturally, some resorted to eating only vegetables and avoiding animal flesh altogether, and it is possible this came about for the same reason as stated above.
Paul, in his usual method of teaching both to the weak and to the strong manages to remove the stigma over being a vegetarian or a meat eater by silencing those that should know better and suggesting they, being the stronger brothers, should act as the weaker and not make food or drink an issue. This had nothing to do with eating pig, rats, mice or vultures, which all knew to be unclean for the Jews and the Gentiles would have been very much aware of this.
I personally find this to be a perfect approach, when you find yourself in a situation where young believers, or new converts are not really approaching the word correctly, but are wanting to do the right thing, and may become a little extreme in their journey. When it is not a matter of SALVATION, which would be a denial of YaHshua as Savior, then the practice of personal worship can and does vary among believers. We cannot possibly all know and have the same knowledge at the same time. This is why the law of conscience rules in the mind of the believer for the younger and the older brethren. For the sake of the others, for their feelings, for the sake of their conscience, you should keep silent and go along, being at ease knowing whether it is an act of Salvation or not, and when it is not, it is a matter of conduct that is harmless then silence is golden. Especially if you see yourself as spiritually older, then be patient, while you have the greater freedom it has not been shown to them yet. By not making an issue out of something not clearly given in the word, the Bible, something that is vague and may only be your opinion then don’t make an issue out of it. You see, the Bible has nothing to say about being, or not being a vegetarian directly.
The elder brother should know his or her own freedom from the laws of men and traditions of others but a younger brother may not, as yet, and you do not want to be responsible for causing the younger to go against their own conscience. It will be soon enough the Spirit will reveal more truth to the new arrival to the body of the Messiah, and it may be possible our Lord would use someone for His own purpose in reaching others, of the same attitude, of being repelled at the thought of eating animal flesh. But, in truth, eating only vegetables is not covered in the word as a righteous thing or not -- it is neither. It is not wrong to avoid meats, as it is written, the context of Paul to the Gentile Romans is all about not eating any meats at all, avoiding animal flesh altogether. Some were doing this as a holy act of cleanliness, a righteous thing to do trying to avoid anything sacrificed to an idol. Paul is pointing out, the older, stronger brother should know this and see it for what it is, harmless.
Paul simply said not to make it an issue and he included "drink" also. Why drink? For the same reasons, the pagan temples conducted drink offerings also and, like the meats ended up in the market place. Also, as we see even today, some believers abstain from alcohol for various reasons. Some see all alcohol as drinks of the devil, others commit to not having any wine until after Yahshua's return, (based on a statement made by YaHshua when He said He would not drink until He sat with His disciples in the Kingdom). Not a bad reason to abstain, but there is no command from our Savior to do the same, no scriptural backing, but the argument, as it is, Biblically, may do more harm than good in the long run.
Weaker brethren see this as the right thing to do, to abstains from drinking alcohol, and we should not tempt them to go against their own mind. Some of the stronger brethren would do well to keep a lid on their own strong drink practice as I have witnessed (myself included) a little too much freedom with the wine. We need not get in a battle with those opposed to strong drink as it should not be an issue -- we have more important things to consider instead of arguing over drink and meats. These are not issues of salvation, but you can see how individuals can make religion out of the things they do, the things they handle or not handle becoming customs and traditions not found in the Holy Bible.
Again, however, keep it in the context of what is written, Romans 14 is all about eating vegetables only and avoiding all flesh as a food, as some in the Gentile church of Rome were doing as part of their religious life. Paul simply said, it is okay, go along with it, don't make it an issue, move on. He never once said, or made reference to the written word being abolished as that was not the subject of his urging the Roman Church to quit scrabbling over the eating of animal flesh or not.
The First Century Church was learning from the Holy Bible, the Scriptures handed to us from the Hebrews, this was the text book available and the apostles used it to reveal the relevance of YaHshua as Savior. As time moved forward, letters sent from the Apostles became more numerous and copies were made and began to circulate through the people, eventually being collected into what we call the New Testament writings, then added to the Scriptures. These were, essentially, letters to the Church and the main source for all of this was and should still be the Hebrew Scriptures. From these letters we see the Apostles teaching from the Old testament, quote after quote is used to spread the message and to encourage the followers. We need to remember the written word of that day, the Scriptures, consisted of the Law (Moses) and the Prophets and was the same Bible the Jews and other Israelites used.
The Jews attempted to live the word physically and failed just as we are apt to fail and seeing the record of what happened to them we should see ourselves in the mirror of scripture, whether Jew or Gentile, we are just as at fault in our sin. YaHshua has made it possible, through His righteousness, for us to enter the Kingdom to come and we are instructed to follow in His steps, to be followers of Him. He took the PENALTY of the Law to the cross for us (which is death forever) that we might live. Following Him and learning from His Apostles we know one thing for sure -- not once did He eat any unclean thing, nor did He touch any unclean thing, and as we have seen with Peter in his denial, refusal to eat anything unclean we know that unclean animals were not made clean and to this day are unclean to the holy people of God – not an issue of Salvation but a health issue, not from the laws of man but from YHWH Himself, and He should know. YaHshua said that we should not think that He came to abolish the Law and that the Law would remain until all is fulfilled and from a prophetic view it is far from being finished, or “fulfilled”.
If we follow Him as brothers and sisters, and if we are the Tabernacle of the Living God, do you suppose He would want us to bring the unclean into the abode of His Holy Spirit? Do you suppose YaHshua, in us, would enjoy sharing the flesh of unclean animals with us? It is an insult to our Heavenly Father to suggest such a thing. When our God considers the eating of swine and the mouse as an abomination, just what makes anyone think these things are good food for the body of the Messiah on this earth?
There are books on this subject and it seems this truth is increasing as knowledge grows concerning the eating of certain foods. It is being revealed by those in the health industry that certain foods will eventually be harmful to the body, your body, your flesh. Colon cancer is on the rise, with a whole industry built around this devastating sickness of the digestive/elimination track. Arthritis is linked, by some, to the eating of pork and other detestable creatures -- the change in diet has benefited many suffering from this debilitating disease. We have the seasonal Swine Flu going about its business -- SWINE flu? It is my personal observation people consuming shell fish as part of their diet seem to age more than those avoiding the eating of bottom feeders -- that would be creatures such as oysters, clams, lobster, crab, etc., and yes, I have lived that long.
Information Lost, or Ignore?
I went to a Jewish wedding recently, it was really nice, we attended the reception afterward and at the buffet we discovered grilled shrimp on a stick and pulled pork, all you can eat. It isn't only the Christians that ignore the plain written word of the Holy Bible. Sad, but true.
(Isa 66:17) Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following the one in the midst of those who eat the flesh of pigs and rats and other abominable things--they will meet their end together, declares the LORD (YHWH).
Not my words, not at all, but delivered to us in His Words, “…declares YHWH”, and for a God that changes not, do you suppose He made pigs and rats clean?
Many of the illness and physical difficulties we suffer from are inherited, genetic, they say, but not all, some are caused by our diet, and how we live. Common sense tells us that there are limits to what foods we can eat to remain healthy. Either our Creator handed the Israelites the answer to good health and gave an accurate list of things good for the flesh or not – did He? We know He did, we have it recorded for us in the Torah, the Book of Laws (Lev 11:1-47). A pattern is seen right off, the animals are divided into clean and unclean. Do you need someone to interpret for you? Look at the list and you will see creatures mentioned you would never dream of eating but on this 'unclean' list are found foods that (we) gentiles eat in great abundance. Why?
Poster Animal for the Unclean -- the Pig, pork, swine
Pigs have killed millions and are responsible for various diagnosed and misdiagnosed diseases. Historically science has discovered the uncleanness surrounding the pig but still people eat these animals. Oh, they say, the pig is now clean because we have alerted the pig farmers to feed the swine only grains and this makes them clean. This is ridiculous, which is evident when given instructions concerning the preparation of pork for consumption -- cook it and then cook it some more. Why? To kill the parasite known to infest the flesh of pigs. You then eat the dead parasites and this may be the reason for many joint pains and other problems many people suffer from in various forms of "arthritis".
But wait a minute, you might ask, I thought the Messiah made all animals clean, how is it science is taking credit for that miracle? Yeah, that is a problem, modern science reveals the animals on the "unclean list" are really animals we should not be eating. Modern research and science tell us many shell fish and oysters, pronounced as unclean over 3,000 years ago, are poison, especially at certain times of the year. The thing is, while health laws and instructions for preparation has been recorded, and suggested for the protection of the public, they are cautious about abolishing, or banning the consumption of some of these animals as this would lead to the collapse a portion of the meat industry. What this does prove, beyond doubt, is that YaHshua must have meant something different from what the preachers of today are teaching.
Then there is the shell fish -------- Maybe our Creator was kidding? What do you think. If you have read this whole argument and looked at the scriptures, what do you think? Please do not tell me our Creator made these unclean animals clean – Remember, in the book of Revelation, the last Letter from the Last Apostle, we have the creature known as a "frog", a reptile associated with the unclean side of the list and it is associated with an unclean spirit applied to an event that is to occur at the time of the end -- Revelation 16:13 "... I saw three unclean spirits LIKE FROGS..." Seems frogs are still unclean and compared to unclean spirits -- so, what do you think? If you can explain it to me where I am going wrong, please let me know. Then there appears to be 'unclean' birds also -- read Revelation 18:2, "...every unclean bird." Remember, this book of Revelation is from our Savior and delivered to the Apostle John for us, and these things in reference to the end-times – still unclean.
In case you have forgotten, or did not realize this, clean and unclean animals and restriction concerning them has been from the beginning, from before Law delivered by Moses to the Children of Israel. Remember, Noah and his family disembarked from the Ark and Noah took a certain number of “clean animals” to sacrifice in thanks to YHWH.
Need I remind you, the children of Israel were also called the "children of YHWH – the children of God". Believers of today are also called "children of God" as were the Israelites and taking on this designation we should be concerned with our Heavenly Fathers attitude concerning things He and YaHshua have revealed to His Holy people. Our Creator and Savior did not make known the clean and unclean animals just for the fun of it, He wants us to be blessed with good health. Certainly we are under a new covenant very similar to the covenant made with Abraham and this is why we are called "children of Abraham" (Gal 3:7, Gal 3:29, Rom 4:11) because this covenant is based on “faith”, believing God. The promise we have through Abraham is a promise of the Kingdom. The Law had not yet been delivered to the people of Israel and so, our covenant, like that made with Abraham is not based upon the Law, or the Torah.
Israel is composed of the twelve sons of Jacob and while the Jews claim Abraham as their father, as do the Muslims, the true children of Abraham are those that have accepted the seed of Abraham -- YaHshua our Savior. The Law revealed to Israel after their deliverance from Egypt is not the same as the covenant made with Abraham. The Law is not finished, however, and will not be finished until "heaven and earth pass away", or it will last at least that long. Remember, the new heaven and the new earth are not until after the millennial rule of our returned Savior, YaHshua (Rev 21:1). But we, under the covenant made with Abraham and then again to us through YaHshua, become the children of Abraham. The one thing we can know for sure is that Abraham was considered "righteous" before the Law because he '"believed" what YHWH told him and did not try to make His words say something else. So, while the Law has no hold over us, having accepted YaHshua as Savior and the penalty paid making us then children of Abraham, children of the promise, we know something Abraham knew -- YHWH does not lie.
Reading Genesis, we see where Noah is instructed to take a certain number of "clean" animals and a certain number of "unclean" animals. What can we deduce from this? That's right, this understanding that some animals were unclean has been known from the beginning and was made plain by the instructions to take seven of each of clean pairs and only one pair of the unclean. When Noah and his family left the ark he gave thanks and sacrificed only clean animals to YHWH. (Genesis 7:2, 8)
Certainly the Kingdom is not made up of food and drink and it is not a matter of Salvation, but it is a matter of good health or, at least, the best you can have while in this body of flesh. We are all looking at our diet and so many are searching for good clean health, so why not listen to what YHWH told the children of Israel would be good for them and what would be bad?
Here is a link for more information concerning the "PIG" as food. Remember, this is for your good health. As a temple of the Living God, as you are, would He walk into His Temple to accept the blood of pigs or any other unclean animal? Still, if the religious implications do not impress you go to this link of worldly wisdom, outside of scripture and further your education -- http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/12/eating-pork.aspx?e_cid=20121212_DNL_art_1 Thanks to Emily Gordon for sending me this link.
Peace in His Name, YaHshua.