Below is a letter expressing concern regarding our position concerning clean and unclean meats. The writer clearly believes that God’s law on this issue was done away in the New Covenant. The following is his letter and our response.
I agree with you that the vision of Paul in Acts 10 is not (directly) pointing to the consumption of unclean animals. However the first five verses of first Timothy chapter four quite explicitly condemn your position to withold yourselves and others from eating just about anything God created. As an addition to this clear passage, I would like to point out Acts 15:20,29,21:25 which all describe the "food laws" for gentile christians as witholding yourselves from meat used in idolatry and blood, no other that these. The passages around these verses describe just about the same debate as going on between you and critics of your site. As I interpret it (an I believe that also I have received the Holy Spirit) the food laws as described in the books of Moses are not to be imposed on gentiles (Jewish christians may want to take another position). Hopefully I convince you of the truth that is in scripture, instead of your narrowsighted highlight of a small portion of the bible. I do not wish to condemn you, I want to shine a light on the truth there is in the Word as a whole. Please reconsider your position in this matter, that you may stop teaching false doctrines.
Thank you for visiting Blow the Trumpet and for your comments regarding our position concerning clean and unclean meats. Below is our response to each of your points. Please understand that we offer them in the spirit of comity and genuine Christian love and mean no disrespect to you or others who share your view on this issue. For the sake of clarity we have arranged our response into points.
It was not Paul who had the vision at Joppa (Acts 10), but rather Peter.
The vision Peter saw was not directly nor indirectly condoning the consumption of unclean creatures. Peter himself would later confirm this truth (Acts 10:28, 34-35).
"And he said unto them, 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." (Acts 10:28)
At this point it is important to understand that Peter was not being defiant when refusing to eat the creatures that were presented to him in this vision. He clearly understood God’s dietary laws as recorded in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 and knew that the Almighty prohibited him from consuming such things. He rightly understood that to eat unclean creatures was regarded as an abomination by God Almighty. God identified it as such on eight different occasions in Leviticus alone.
Additionally, Peter knew, based on first hand experience, that the Messiah NEVER partook of such things. He had undoubtedly shared hundreds of meals with Jesus and never once saw Him suggest that such a practice was acceptable with His Father in heaven.
Peter was also acutely aware that God ordained certain animals to be consumed long before the law was given at Sinai. He knew that God’s distinction between the clean and unclean existed during the days of Noah and that the allocation of animals on the ark was actually determined by this very thing (Genesis 7:2). The point here is that God’s law concerning food was in force long before there was ever an Israelite, let alone a Jew. Furthermore, there is not a hint in the scriptures that God was going to alter His command to prohibit eating things such as spiders, rats, worms, swine and a host of other animals. These creatures were never designed to be eaten.
When Paul wrote to Timothy (1 Tim. 4:1-5), he was NOT suggesting that all creatures could be eaten. Paul himself never engaged in such a practice nor did he teach others to do so. Verse 5 in this chapter makes it clear that Paul was teaching that creatures that could be eaten were “sanctified by the word of God.” The question we need to ask is: What creatures are “SANCTIFIED” by God’s word? As much as people may want to eat every thing that creeps on the earth, God’s word prohibits it (Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14). That word clearly identifies what is set apart (sanctified) as fit for human consumption and what is NOT “sanctified.”
With respect to the Jerusalem conference recorded in Acts 15, the issue was NOT unclean animals. The point rendered in the decision of the council was that meat that would normally be acceptable as food, because it was sanctified by God’s word, should not be eaten if it was knowingly offered as a sacrifice to a pagan idol. Paul makes that clear in his epistle to the church at Corinth. There, he explains that although an idol is impotent, to knowingly partake of a pagan sacrifice would invite accusations from others.
“But if any man says unto you, this is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that showed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.” (1 Corinthians 10:28).
God's apostle also explained that these sacrifices were actually to devils, and as such, followers of Christ were to have nothing to do with them.
“What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils “(1 Corinthians 10:19-21).
Although we do not know for certain what prompted Paul' to write on this subject, it is reasonable to conclude that various Gentile converts in Corinth were reluctant to purchase meat sold in the open market because they feard it might have been used in a sacrifice to a false god. Since there was no way for them to know which meats may have been used in pagan worship, they were uncertain of what to do as a result of the pronouncement of the Jerusalem conference (Acts 15). Paul addressed their concern.
The point God’s apostle was making in this teaching was that unknowingly eating food that was sacrificed to a pagan god is NOT a sin because the idol is NOTHING. However, he also explained that to knowingly eat it is another issue altogether. He did so by identifying the true object of the sacrifice. He states that when pagans offer their sacrifices, they sacrifice not to a god, BUT TO DEVILS! Therefore, Paul admonished the church to have nothing to do with it.
At this point it is important to understand that nothing in the decision of the Jerusalem council or the teaching of the apostle Paul addresses eating that which is unclean. The scriptures had already spoken with force on this issue (Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14). Simply put, it was NEVER to be done. God’s word clearly declared that He had sanctified certain creatures fit for human consumption and certain creatures that were not to be consumed. This truth is affirmed in both the Old and New Testaments.
Something to Think About
The ancient prophet Ezekiel was inspired by the Almighty to issue a scathing indictment regarding how God’s people defied their Creator. Here is how God saw it.
“Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shown difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.” (Ezekiel 22:26)
Tragically, these words describe the vast majority of those who consider themselves true believers today. As unbelievable as it may seem, they believe that they may partake of the abominable and do so with God’s blessing. However, this has NEVER been the case. God has never changed his opinion of this. He abhorred it during the days of ancient Israel and He continues to abhor it today.
Finally, it is interesting to note that when introducing Israel to His dietary law, God explained that by obeying Him they would actually be sanctifying themselves (Leviticus 11:44-47). In other words, this was a way for them to set themselves apart as holy. Although professing Christians today may think they can ignore God’s law, it will not always be that way. When writing about God’s great Millennial Kingdom yet to come, Ezekiel described it as a time when God’s law would be restored to the earth.
“And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.” (Ezekiel 44:23)
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