«Does God Care What You Eat? Kelly McDonald, Jr. Does God Care What You Eat? Kelly McDonald, Jr. A more comprehensive version of this free booklet can ...»
Does God Care
What You Eat?
Kelly McDonald, Jr.
Does God Care What You Eat?
Kelly McDonald, Jr.
A more comprehensive version of this free booklet can
be found on our website,
www.hungryheartsministry.com. When you go there,
look at the resources section, and then go to store. The In
this full length book, you will learn in-depth spiritual
revelation on the dietary laws, and a detailed explanation
of all the verses people use to say that the dietary laws
are done away with. The title of the book is “Clean and Unclean: A Guide to Living the Holy Life”.
Table of Contents Does God Care What You Eat?
Are the Dietary Laws still Relevant Today?................ 9 Why did God give the dietary Laws?
About the Author
Published by Hungry Hearts Ministries PO Box 10334 Jackson TN 38308 firstname.lastname@example.org All rights reserved.
Printing by Office Max 157 Stonebrook Pl, Jackson, TN 38305 (731) 668-2203 First Edition Published July 2014 Special thanks to Freda Sims for proofreading this book All language references, unless otherwise noted, come from Strong’s Concordance. Strong, James. Published: Nashville: Abingdon, c1980.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Does God Care What You Eat?
In Leviticus 11, the Lord describes two types of animals: those that are clean and those that are unclean. He said that the clean animals are to eat and the unclean animals are not to eat. They are simply unclean. God distinguishes between these two types of animals based upon their biological characteristics. For instance, the animals with both a split hoof and that chew the cud are clean.
This would include goats, lambs, and cows. If an animal only has one of these characteristics, it is unclean. This would include pigs and camels. To give you another example, sea creatures with fins and scales are considered clean. This would include fish such as tilapia. Sea creatures with only fins or scales would be unclean.
This would include all shellfish. God asks us not to eat these animals because they were not made for the human body.
A common misconception about the dietary laws is that God is distinguishing between clean and unclean food. When you read the chapter, you will find out that God is distinguishing between clean and unclean animals. He only declares clean animals to be food. God gives four specific categories of clean animals in Leviticus 11 and six categories of unclean animals. God says the clean animals are for us to eat, but we are asked by God to neither touch nor eat the dead body of an unclean animal. Listed below
are both categories of animals with specific examples and scripture references for each:
Four categories of clean animals that God says are ‘to eat’:
1) Animals with a split hoof that also chew the cud (cows,
goats, lambs) Lev. 11:3
2) Animals with both fins and scales (bass, trout, salmon)
3) Birds that are not prohibited in Leviticus 11:13-19 (chicken and turkey)
4) Insects with four legs for hopping (locusts and grasshoppers) Lev. 11:21-22 Six categories of unclean animals that God says we are not to eat
or touch their carcasses:
1) Animals that do not chew the cud and that do not have a split hoof (pigs and camels) Lev. 11:4-8
2) Sea creatures without fins and scales (catfish, shrimp, lobster, and all other shellfish) Lev. 11:9-12
3) Certain types of birds (eagles, ravens, vultures) Lev.
4) Flying insects that do not have jointed legs for hopping (hornets and bees) Lev. 11:20-23
5) Animals that walk on paws (panthers, dogs, cats) Lev.
6) Certain animals that walk on the ground or crawl on the ground (rats, weasels, lizards, snakes) Lev. 11:29-31 (For a full list of clean and unclean animals, as well as a list of unclean cooking ingredients commonly found in packaged foods, please order the full-length book on this subject titled “Clean and Unclean: A Guide to Living the Holy Life”.) In this chapter, God is not putting an unnecessary restriction on us. He is giving us a dietary guideline for a way of life that will give us physical and spiritual health. I want you to consider the
- If you eat too much (of anything), then you will get sick.
This means you must limit the amount of food you eat.
- Too much time in the sun causes sunburn. This means we must restrict the amount of time we spend in the sun.
- If we stay in the cold weather too long, then we might lose feeling in our hands and feet or get sick. We must limit our time in the cold weather.
I use these examples to help you see that you already have restrictions you follow in your life. They really are not restrictions; you are simply living your life with guidelines that benefit you. They are rules you follow for your personal health.
These rules help you to feel good. In the same way, God gave us these dietary laws as a guideline to help us stay healthy physically. They also have tremendous spiritual benefits. This booklet will help you to understand why God gave these in the first place.
You will greatly improve your physical health and achieve new spiritual growth by following these dietary laws. You will never regret it!
You can learn a lot from reading Leviticus 11. It will actually help you understand other things in the Bible. You are probably familiar with the story of Noah and the Ark. God commanded Noah to build an Ark so that his family would be protected from the flood. This flood was going to come upon the entire world. To save the animal life, God asked Noah to take some of every kind of animal with him onto the Ark. It is commonly taught that Noah took two of every kind of animal onto the Ark. In Genesis 7:1-2, we are taught that Noah was instructed by God to “‘Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate;’” We learn from these two verses that Noah was told to take with Him seven pairs of clean animals and two pairs of unclean animals. This is an important detail!
Why would Noah be told to take with him seven pairs of clean animals and only two pairs of the unclean? There must be a simple explanation. First of all, Noah later used clean animals to make sacrifices to God. In Genesis 8:20, the Bible reads, “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” In Verse 21, the Bible tells us that God was pleased at this sacrifice. The clean animals were needed to please God. Secondly, Noah and his family ate meat. This means there needed to be more clean animals than unclean animals.
Noah lived about 1,000 years before God spoke the dietary laws in Leviticus 11. Noah knew about the dietary laws long before they were given! This is amazing! This means that in the beginning, the dietary laws were simply something everyone understood. The knowledge of it had been lost from Noah to the time Leviticus 11 was given. God had to restore the understanding of clean and unclean animals to the world since it had been lost. If it was so important that God had to restore it, then we need to understand it today.
Is it important for us today to understand these dietary laws? In the Western world, we have a pretty advanced culture. If you go back to the three facts earlier, they remain true in every country on the face of the earth. It does not matter if the country is civilized or uncivilized, advanced or primitive. These facts remain. In the same way, these dietary laws still apply. In fact, at the very end of the Bible, they are still mentioned. Revelation 18:2 reads, “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (KJV). The difference between clean and unclean animals is so important that they are mentioned in the very beginning of the Bible all the way until the very end of the Bible.
The Apostle Paul was one of the early preachers of the church. He instructed us to stay away from unclean animals. In 2 Corinthians 6:17, he wrote, “Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean;
then I will welcome you…” They are mentioned in between. This means they are very important to us today. It just takes some study for us to realize why they are still important today.
Are the Dietary Laws still Relevant Today?
There are some people that say Jesus, Peter, or Paul changed the dietary laws. They say that all of God’s laws are not important since Christ died on the cross. Some even go as far as to say that it is wrong for us to not eat unclean animals! With all of these different ideas going around, what is the truth of the matter?
In the last chapter, we reviewed that the dietary laws were known by Noah. Paul instructed us to not touch any kind of unclean thing. In Leviticus 11, we are told not to even touch the dead body of an unclean animal. At the end of the book of Revelation, we see unclean animals being discussed. With all of these references throughout the Bible, it seems unlikely that God did away with the difference between clean and unclean animals.
Where did this idea come from that Jesus or anyone else did away with the dietary laws? Jesus made a very important statement in Matthew 5:17-18 that will help us understand this subject: “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” The first five books of the Bible are sometimes collectively called the Law of God.
Jesus tells us that He did not come to destroy or change the Law.
In fact, He said that even when heaven and earth pass away, the Law will not be changed. Not even one letter will be changed!
The Law includes the dietary Laws! This means Jesus only came to affirm what was spoken in the Old Testament. He came to reveal to us the real meaning.
In Matthew 15:1-20 and Mark 7:1-23, Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees. The Pharisees had a ritual hand washing that they performed before every meal. This was a man-made rule, not something found in the Law of God. Jesus and His disciples bypassed this ritual and just started eating. The Pharisees rebuked Jesus for eating with dirty hands. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they followed this man-made rule very strictly. However, they were very lax in keeping God’s commandments. Some have used these verses to say that Jesus was teaching against the dietary laws of Leviticus 11. Jesus concluded by saying, “These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Matthew 15:20, KJV). The whole point He emphasized was that this man-made ritual did not make a person unclean. By reading the context, we see that Jesus actually upheld keeping God’s commandments. His purpose in these two passages is to refute man-made teachings.
Peter and Paul and two other individuals that people have used to say that the dietary laws are done away with. Let’s see what they had to say about this subject. In Jesus’ time, most Jews believed that all Gentiles were unclean, so they did not fellowship or eat with them. The Bible does not say this, but it was simply a tradition of man. In Acts 10, Peter had a vision where God showed Him that he should not call Gentiles unclean (read verse 26). God has opened the way of salvation up to Jews and Gentiles. There should not be prejudice towards them. We do learn in this passage that Peter never ate anything unclean. In Acts 10:14, Peter said, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” This event happened about 10 years after Jesus died and resurrected from the dead. So Peter never ate anything unclean.
He also wrote two letters for believers. In the first letter, he instructs us to follow the dietary laws.
In I Peter 1:13-16, he wrote, “13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: ‘Be Holy, because I am holy.’ ” In verse 15, Peter says to be holy in everything because our Heavenly Father is holy. That means we should be holy in all aspects of our lives. This means we must be holy in the way we think, speak, work, and even the way we eat. In verses 15-16, he said, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
for it is written: ‘Be Holy, because I am holy.’” The phrase “Be Holy because I am holy” is a direct quote from Leviticus 11:44Leviticus 11 is the chapter on the dietary laws! Peter’s own testimony teaches us that he never ate anything unclean. He also taught other believers to follow the dietary laws.