"Neither Jew Nor Greek!"
As an introduction to our study, let's look at an important text. It is found in Galatians 3:26-28: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
In these verses we learn something very important. God doesn't see His people as Jew and Gentile. In fact, the Bible uses these terms in a symbolic or spiritual way as well as in a literal way. In the literal sense the word Gentile refers to a race of people and includes all those who are not Jews. Obviously a literal Gentile can do nothing to change what he has been born as. But in a spiritual sense, a Gentile is an unbeliever, one who doesn't enjoy a relationship with the true God. We understand that a spiritual Gentile can do something to change his position. He can become a spiritual Jew. A spiritual Jew is one of God's true and faithful people, even today! Paul goes on to tell us in Galatians 3:29: "And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." When we become a follower of Christ, we become a spiritual Jew.
Most churches today teach that the dietary laws of the Mosaic law were given to the Jew only. Still others reason that these Old Testament relics have been done away with by the new covenant. This study will show that the dietary laws of the Mosaic law were given to show God's people what is best for them, and therefore are profitable for all of God's people, even today.
1. What did John say concerning our health? 3 John 1:2
2. What did God promise His people anciently? Exodus 23:25
3. Upon what condition was freedom from disease promised? Exodus 15:26
Here we see that God made His people a promise. If they would obey all of His counsels, He would protect His people from all sickness. Isn't this a wonderful promise? Wouldn't it be great if this promise were still in force today? Let's see if we can find any evidence that the Lord will still fulfill this great promise even in our day.
4. What promise does God give us through the psalmist David in Psalm 89:34?
In Malachi 3:6 we are told: "For I am the LORD, I change not;" and in the New Testament Hebrews 13:8 says: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." In light of these verses, it seems obvious that God's promises to His Old Testament people still stand for His New Testament people today. Take time to read 1 Corinthians 10:1-11. It speaks of the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt. It tells us of the shortcomings of that people and lists the great miracles that God performed in their behalf. Look at the summary that Paul gives us in verse 11: "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." The things that are written in the Old Testament were written, ultimately, for the last generation that would live, just before the second coming of Jesus.
5. Why should the health of our bodies be preserved? 1 Corinthians 6:20
6. What is the body of the believer said to be? 1 Corinthians 6:19
7. What example did Daniel set in this matter? Daniel 1:8
8. What food did he ask to be provided? Daniel 1:12
The word that is rendered "pulse" here is defined in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance as: something sown, i.e. a vegetable.
9. At the end of the ten days' test, how did Daniel and his companions appear? Daniel 1:15
10. At the end of three years' course in the school of Babylon, how did the wisdom of Daniel and his companions compare with that of the others? Daniel 1:18-20
Mankind does not know what the truth is and most of the human race do not know haw to tell the truth or share it. That is why there are so many problems and heartaches and so few answers to man's dilemma. We are told, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32), free from sin and all of the problems and suffering that have come into the world through rebellion.
11. What then was the original diet given to man? Genesis 1:29
It is true, our bodies are made of what we eat and drink! The physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of man affect each other. What improves one aspect will also improve the other two. On the other hand, whatever lessens the physical will also weaken the spiritual and mental faculties. God had given fruits, grains (including legumes), and nuts as the original diet for man. After sin entered, vegetables were added; see Genesis 3:18. It was only after 1600 years, at the time of the flood, that God told Noah that he might eat the flesh of clean animals. No doubt there was not enough vegetation over the face of the earth to support the inhabitants after the flood. However, it is still the original diet that is best for man. Fruits, grains, vegetables, and nuts, prepared in a simple way, make the most healthful diet.
12. Why did the Lord restrict the Hebrews in their diet? Deuteronomy 14:2-3
13. Did God instruct His people as to which animals could be used for food? Leviticus 11:2
The flesh of the unclean was prohibited. In this chapter, the instruction from God carefully delineates what in the animal kingdom is clean to eat, and what is not. The idea of clean vs. unclean meats was not new (post Sinai). Noah had earlier been instructed by God to take into the ark "sevens" of every clean beast, while there would be only a pair each of the unclean (was a Jew, this is instruction for all of Genesis 7:2). Because this instruction to Noah came long before there mankind not just the Hebrew nation. There are sound scientific reasons why the flesh of unclean beasts, creatures, fowl, and fish are not wholesome for human consumption. Certain foods such as pork, fish without fins and scales, lobsters, clams, and oysters are among the forbidden items (see Leviticus 11).
14. What does the Lord say in Leviticus 11:44?
Here we are shown that there is a direct connection between the physical and the spiritual.
15. What does the Lord say will happen to those who disregard this important counsel? Isaiah 66:17
It should be noted that this prophecy, given in the last chapter of Isaiah, deals with the end of this world, and tells what the new earth will be like. You should take time to read Isaiah 65 and 66 to find out what life will be like throughout eternity. Surely we cannot believe that the dietary laws have been done away with when we are told that at the very end of the world, those who eat pork and other abominations will be destroyed.
16. Is it possible to make the unclean clean? Job 14:4
17. Do these principles carry over into the New Testament? 2 Corinthians 6:14-17
We have seen here that God gave us the dietary law to show what is best for us both physically and spiritually. There is no biological difference between the stomach of the Jew and the stomach of the Gentile. Let us look to God's Word and see the true reason for the health laws of clean and unclean meats. Deuteronomy 6:24 says: "And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day." As Christians we follow the Word of God because He created us, and He loves us, and He knows what is best for us. May God richly bless you to understand this great principle and to take advantage of this great blessing.
An explanation of hard to understand Bible texts...
Acts 10:13-15 -- "And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."
Upon a superficial reading of this text, one would be led to believe that it obviously changes the Old Testament laws of clean and unclean meats. We should, however, read the entire chapter in its context. This chapter gives the interesting account of the gentile Cornelius who prayed for the truth. God appeared to him in verse 3 and told him to send men to Joppa and invite Peter to come and teach him.
As the servants of Cornelius approached Peter's house, he fell into a trance on the housetop, and saw a sheet let down from heaven. In the sheet were all manner of beasts and creeping things and fowls, moles, bats, buzzards etc. A voice invited Peter to eat them, but he said "Not so Lord for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean." verse 14.
Some people contend that Christ cleansed all food when He was here, but, if so, Peter knew nothing about it. He had spent 3 1/2 years with the Master and listened to his instructions. Yet Peter had gathered no intimation that those unclean animals could be eaten. Peter did not know what the vision meant. Verse 17 says, "Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold the men . . . stood before the gate." He was pondering it. Again in verse 19, "While Peter thought on the vision the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee."
Apparently, on the way back to Cornelius' house the Lord answered Peter's pondering and showed him the meaning of his vision. When he entered the house full of gentile friends, Peter 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." verse 28.
The meaning was now clear. It had nothing to do with diet. The gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles from henceforth.
Colossians 2:14-16 -- "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:"
A certain law of ordinances was nailed to the cross. This was the ceremonial law of types and shadows which pointed forward to the death of Jesus, and which had no further meaning beyond the cross. This is why Paul said it was contrary to the Christian. The rent veil in the temple at the death of Christ ( Matthew 27:51) indicated the end of that ordinance animal sacrifice system, and Ephesians 2:15 says Jesus "abolished... the law of commandments contained in ordinances."
This is why Paul wrote in Colossians 2:16 that we are no longer judged by the meat offerings, drink offerings and sabbath days "which are a shadow of things to come." Take note that these are yearly sabbaths and not the weekly Sabbath of the moral law. These shadowy sabbaths are described in Leviticus 23:24-27. They fell on certain set days of the month -- a different day of the week each year -- yet they were called sabbaths. But please observe in verses 37 and 38 how they were distinguished from the weekly Sabbath. "These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day: Beside the sabbaths of the LORD,"
Now the mystery of Colossians 2:16 is completely cleared up. The law of the yearly sabbaths was nailed to the cross with all it's meat and drink offerings, because they foreshadowed the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. But the great ten commandment law with it's weekly Sabbath was not affected by that "blotting out" of ordinances. There is nothing about the weekly Sabbath which was a foreshadowing of the cross. Instead it pointed back to the creation of the world. Neither is there anything about the laws of health, that we have considered here, which foreshadowed the cross of Jesus.
These laws were given by God, to His people, because they are the right way to live. They are meant to give us that abundant life which God wishes for all His children. They were meant for "our good always" that God "might preserve us alive." (Deuteronomy 6:24).