Above all, God wants us to obey these laws to keep us healthy and demonstrate our “faith” by our works. Our works do not save us, they only reveal our trust and commitment to the only one who can save us, Jesus Christ. One area that the world has certainly abolished with God`s law is that of pure and unclean flesh. Those who believe this cite passages from the Bible that seem to say that all food, even unclean food, has somehow been made suitable for us to eat today. A common argument is that pure and impure laws were part of the Old Covenant, and this is “obsolete and. ready to disappear” (Hebrews 8:13). Another objection was that if you apply dietary laws, do you have to apply the entire book of Leviticus? First, the idea of impure/pure is not limited to the book of Leviticus. Yes, the specific commandment is, but the motivation and themes are present throughout the Bible, from Genesis 1 to Revelation. Mark chapter seven is often used as evidence that Christians are no longer required to observe dietary laws in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.
Many believe that when Jesus was confronted with the Pharisees and scribes of Jerusalem, He changed their law, the law given to Moses by God Himself, by now giving all His disciples permission to eat whatever they wanted. Much of this understanding comes from ignorance of Second Temple Judaism and the Greek language. In this teaching, I will show, through historical evidence, that Jesus was not speaking against the dietary laws of the Pentateuch, but against the traditions of the first-century Jewish people, and that most of our modern translations of the Bible have taken it upon themselves to change the interpretation of verse 19 through translation to better match their preconceived anti-Torah theology. Isn`t that interesting? God used the dietary laws of Leviticus 11 to show Peter that what was once considered unclean had now been cleansed. You will not make yourself despicable by blows, or by birds, or by anything that crawls on the ground, for I have asked you to keep it unclean. The call to follow the laws of the land is associated with future blessings. The key is really to look at the New Testament passages to see if God`s commandments about pure/unclean animals have been abolished. First, the passage from Mark 7 is mentioned to argue that God abolished the Old Testament food law. Food laws remind us not only of the created order, but also of the created order, not only of understandable divisions and forms, but also of the mysterious source of form, separation and comprehensibility. The practice of dietary laws reflects and realizes the separation of the people, around the rule of separation, to celebrate through obedience holiness and separation from the source of separation itself – and, for that matter, from the abundance of food. At the end of Leviticus 20, God speaks together of separation and holiness in an exhortation that concludes a long ten-chapter section on personal, ritual, and moral purity. He first calls on the children of Israel to observe and enforce the laws to avoid becoming abominations and a despicable God for the land, like the Canaanites he throws before them.
He concludes: The specifically Jewish dietary laws are anticipated in the story of Jacob`s struggles with the mysterious being whom later traditions call an angel (Genesis 32:25-33). As a result of this pursuit with God, Jacob receives the name that becomes the name of his people, Israel, but he is also marked with a limp in his thigh. The narrator interrupts his struggle story to proclaim the first specifically Jewish dietary law: “Therefore the children of Israel” – this is the first mention of the name of the future people in the Torah – “do not eat the tendon of the thigh, which is on the cavity of the thigh, to this day: because it touched the hollow of Jacob`s thigh, even in the tendon of the thigh. As practiced, laws bind a people in a specific and distinctive way. But also as objects of reflection, they can serve as symbols and warnings – in the highest instance of the divine and our relationship with it. Genesis gives us a nutritional model. The children of Israel, through nutritional practice, remember their father Jacob`s ambiguous and mysterious encounter with the Divine. They are reserved when eating, like Jacob when limping, but in a way that reminds us of God. They remember negatively that Jacob was wounded in the battle against God; that God was close enough to be found and fight with Him. Robbyn, thank you very much for reading my article. I currently attend a Messianic Jewish synagogue. We observe the Sabbath, dietary laws, and also follow Jewish holidays such as Yom Kippur, Passover, Purim, Rosh Hashanah, etc. After this brief overview, we are now ready to ask questions about the special laws of Leviticus that govern the consumption of other living things.
The Levitical purity laws reintroduce these early distinctions: The children of Israel should not include animals that kill and involve other animals. This limitation tacitly recognizes the problem of carnivores. Nor should the children of Israel incorporate or have contact with beings who do not honor the original divisions of the world in their movement. These restrictions on their freedom, which exclude animals that take “illegitimate” – that is, order-destroying – liberties, tacitly recognize the problem of freedom. At first glance, this passage may seem a little confusing or perhaps irrelevant to believers today. After all, this represents a long list of dietary restrictions given to ancient Israel. Why does he forbid them to eat? On a large scale, the Old Covenant`s food bans show that Israel still lives in the old Adam. The garden`s rules of “do not taste, do not touch” still apply. But the laws of unclean flesh also presuppose a certain understanding of food and diet. Eating is not the same as refueling.
Food is incorporation. Eating means becoming a body with what we eat and with our table mates. What we put into our body becomes one with us. Our table mates become members of a society. Jesus fulfills the law, but the Torah is still God`s instruction to us. We can eat anything, but we still have some kind of dietary restriction. The dietary laws of the New Testament have nothing to do with what we eat; They are about where we eat and, most importantly, with whom. Paul commands us to avoid the table of demons. We must not have fellowship with the works of darkness, nor must we share bread (com-pany =-panis = with bread) at the table of the wicked. This is what Israel`s food laws have always intended. They ritualized a perpetual Pauline warning: “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). If the laws of food are to remind us of creation, we must first remember certain things as presented in the first chapter of Genesis.
Here, through a sequential deployment, our world is hierarchically organized in a narrative that, read carefully, can also reveal the rational principles embodied in it.1 What`s next? What do we do with our English translations that distort this understanding? For me, I like the Standard English Version (ESV) of the Bible, but it reflects this clause: “He therefore declared all food pure.” I only make marginal notes indicating that this is a translation error and continue my study/reading.