Gospel of God




You Are What You Eat

by Bill Wong



People do not like to be told what to do – even when it is for their own good. This is probably most apparent when we talk about food – our diets. We see it all the time.


We are generally told to only eat good foods and not bad foods from an early age, but we generally do not listen. Then when we become adults, we become sick, because we did not listen and continue to eat what is not healthy. At some point, we might become very ill with severe health problems, and then we are told we MUST eat that which is good and not bad, because our lives depend on it. Even at this time, people find it difficult to listen and refuse to do it or often cheat, rationalizing it away. They refuse to comply, because they consider it a “burden” – even though their lives are dependent on obeying these food rules.


The case of food and not eating what is good (or very reluctantly) is only an example of man’s fallen nature:


We just want to do what we want to do – our own perceived pleasures, even when it is not really good for us; and we do not want to do what we should do – obey and do what is good for us. This is even more the case when someone else (like God) tells us what we must do for our own good (and what He says is of course the truth) and it conflicts with our wishes and pleasures. We then make a choice: do we listen and obey, or do we proceed to totally ignore it and make excuses to not do it.



In the early days of Christianity, the Roman Empire and its church took advantage of our fallen natures and combined it with anti-Semitism which considered everything in the Old Testament (the ‘Tanakh’) as “Jewish” and for Jews only, and sought to do away with it. People were taught that everything God gave to mankind: God’s Sabbath and holy days, God’s food laws, etc., were Jewish and obsolete, and those who observe it are “Jewish” or “Judaizers”. This is why to this very day many people do not know the law or instruction (‘torah’, Strong’s #8451) God gave to all peoples that were written in the Old Testament.


However, it is not true: God’s instructions in the Old Testament are not obsolete or just for Jews, but they are for all people, everywhere and all the time – even now. It was what the Lord Jesus and the apostles and early disciples lived and taught. This is the faith that was once for all given to the saints:


Jude 1:

3    Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

4   For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.   (NKJV)




Bible says we should eat what is clean


There is absolutely no question that all believers in the Lord Jesus as the son of God and Messiah who atones for our sins with His blood, believe that we must be a holy people.


Many also know that our body is the temple of God’s holy spirit which He gives us to conform us to the image of His son:


1 Corinthians 3:

16   Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

17   If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.   (NASB)


1 Corinthians 6:

19   Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own,

20   for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.   (WEB)


Romans 8:

29   For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30   Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.     (NKJV)




So how do we learn to be holy?



God chose Israel to be a holy nation of priests:


Exodus 19:

5   Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

6   And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.

7   And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him.

8   And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD has spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people to the LORD.   (AKJV)



Israel was to be a model nation for the entire world. It is through Israel that all other nations (Gentile nations) would be blessed. As a holy nation of priests, the Gentiles are supposed to learn from Israel the things of God – what is holy. This will include everything that God has given to Israel through Moses:


Deuteronomy 4:

5   "See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it.

6   "So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'

7   "For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him?

8   "Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?   (NASB)



It makes perfect sense that a holy God requires we must be a holy people. His son, the Lord Jesus, tells us how we are to be holy. He tells us to be perfect and imitate His father, God:


Matthew 5:

48    Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.   (NKJV)



The apostle Paul also tells us to imitate God:


Ephesians 5:

1     Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;   (NASB)



Indeed, God Himself tells us that He expects His people to be holy as He is holy:


Leviticus 11:

45     'For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.'"   (NASB)



Since believers know our body is the temple of God’s holy spirit, doesn’t it make sense that we must treat our bodies well? As a people called to be set apart and holy, how many believers have stopped to think that being holy means we must also be holy in what we eat? As a holy people with a body that is the temple of God’s holy spirit, shouldn’t we only allow what is holy to enter this temple? How many know that we must discern the clean from the unclean?


To be holy means not just being holy spiritually, but it means also being holy physically.


God expects us to know the clean from the unclean and only allow what is clean to enter in. God gives us dietary laws.


Look, we just read Leviticus 11:45 a few lines above. Leviticus 11:45 comes from the very same chapter where God tells us what are the clean foods/animals we can eat and what are the unclean foods/animals we must not eat, and therefore not allow to pollute the temple of our bodies.


God tells us 2 times in this chapter that we must be holy as He is holy – and eating what is clean and avoiding what is unclean is how we are to imitate God and be holy:


Leviticus 11:

44   For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

45   For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

46   'This is the law of the animals and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth,

47   to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten.' "




The apostle Peter refers to this for believers in Jesus:


1 Peter 1:

13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

14   As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,

15   but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

16   because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."   (NASB)



There is no avoiding the truth that eating what is clean is part of being holy and imitating God.


Remember, the Lord Jesus told us to be perfect as His father is perfect. God tells us that being holy like He is holy includes staying away from unclean foods and eating blood – and let us not forget that God does not change. Being holy is to be holy both spiritually and physically. 



The food laws on what are clean and unclean is first found, and most complete in Leviticus 11, and is also in a few other books/chapters like Leviticus 20 and Deuteronomy 14.  God tells us that some clean animals we can eat are sea creatures with scales (scaled fish), certain birds and those with a split hoof and chews the cud (examples are cows, sheep, and deer).  Some unclean animals we should not eat are pigs/swine (has split hoof but does not chew the cud), mammals, reptiles, predatory birds, and sea creatures without scales.   

In Leviticus 11, God calls the eating of unclean animals an abomination a total of 8 times.


And we must not eat any blood, which is also an abomination before God. Why? It is because the blood is life and for atonement; therefore, we must not eat blood which also means the clean animal we eat must be killed by bleeding out (referring to its blood, to "pour it out on the ground").


Genesis 9:

4   "Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.   (NASB)


Leviticus 17:

10   'And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood,

        I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

11   For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls;

        for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.'

12   Therefore I said to the children of Israel, 'No one among you shall eat blood,

        nor shall any stranger who dwells among you eat blood.'

13   "Whatever man of the children of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you,

        who hunts and catches any animal or bird that may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with dust;

14   for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life. Therefore I said to the children of Israel,

        'You shall not eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.'   (NKJV)


Deuteronomy 12:

22   "Just as a gazelle or a deer is eaten, so you will eat it; the unclean and the clean alike may eat of it.

23   "Only be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.

24   "You shall not eat it; you shall pour it out on the ground like water.

25   "You shall not eat it, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you, for you will be doing what is right in the sight of the LORD.   (NASB)



This is repeated in the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15:


Acts 15:

19   "Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles,

20   but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.

21   "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath."   (NASB)



However, most people who hear about the Bible’s dietary/food laws automatically think that it is a “Jewish” thing, which is absolutely incorrect. Just like anything that comes from the Bible – both the Old Testament (the Tanakh) and the New Testament, it is a God thing. It is God who gave us the food laws.


Everything in the Old Testament comes from God and cannot be called “Jewish”. We should remember also that all of God’s Word comes through the Jews, including the New Testament. The Lord Jesus was Jewish as were His apostles and all of His earliest disciples until the gospel was preached later also to Gentiles. So no one can say the Law of God, including the food laws, is a “Jewish” thing. It is not a “Jewish” law, but God’s Law.


We have already seen that God gave mankind His law to Israel – His model holy nation of priests, so that through Israel all nations will learn the ways of God. Let us look at Deuteronomy 4:5-8 again closely:


Deuteronomy 4:

5   "See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it.

6   "So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'

7   "For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him?

8   "Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?   (NASB)


Comment: The above states “statutes and judgments” and “whole law” which would mean the totality of Moses’ instruction (he wrote the first 5 books (Torah) of the Tanakh) and this includes the food laws – everything God taught Moses and Israel is to go to all nations.



The Bible again attests to the fact that God’s Law, including the food laws, is indeed a God thing, because God tells us He made His ways known to Moses:


Psalm 103:

7   He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel.   (AKJV)



We must note that this is in the very same Psalm 103 that many Christians are aware of and cite the following:


Psalm 103:

12   As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.   (AKJV)



So we see that making known His ways to Moses and removing our sins by the atonement of His son are mentioned together. It is not Biblical to separate the ways of God which He made known to Moses (and then intends to go throughout all the nations by Israel), from God’s grace and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As we can clearly see in Psalms 103, God’s ways and God’s mercy go together – this is because God’s ways He taught Moses includes God’s mercy which removes our sins as far as the east is from the west.


Telling us what is clean to eat and what is unclean to stay away from and not eat, including blood, is one of “His ways” that God made known to Moses.



Unfortunately, our fallen natures have gotten the best of us. Israel failed in reaching the whole world with God’s truth. The teachers themselves were not able to discern between the clean and unclean and fell in sin, and therefore they misled the people to follow in their own fallen ways. The Roman Empire and its church taught the deception that God’s law in the Old Testament was “for Jews only” and has misled Christians ever since. Sadly, this is true and continues with Christian teachers today; they have been deceived by centuries-old traditions that teach against God’s law as “Jewish only” and therefore also mislead the people today.  The teachers are again failing the people by not telling them what is holy and profane, what is clean and unclean:


Ezekiel 22:

25   "There is a conspiracy of her prophets in her midst like a roaring lion tearing the prey. They have devoured lives; they have taken treasure and precious things; they have made many widows in the midst of her.

26   "Her priests have done violence to My law and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.   (NASB)



What applies to Israel also applies to all people.  We are to learn from their error so we do not repeat it and can stand and not fall:


1 Corinthians 10:

6    Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.

7    And do not become idolaters as were some of them.  As it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play."

8    Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;

9    nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents;

10  nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

11  Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, 

        upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

12  Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.    (NKJV)


Hebrews 4:

11   Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.



The truth that everything comes through Israel first is seen even in our salvation:


John 4:

22   You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.   (NKJV)


Romans 1:

16   For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God to salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.   (AKJV)



Everyone must understand that everything in the Bible is meant for all peoples – to the Jew first and then to the Gentile. What was given to the Jews as a model nation for their well-being and instruction is to be taught to all peoples.


The food laws are not a “Jewish” thing, but a God thing.



To support the fact that the food laws come from God and given to all His peoples, both Jew and Gentile: at the end of the Book of Isaiah, the Bible speaks of the end-time battle with the enemies of God and describes these enemies as eaters of swine:


Isaiah 65:  

1    "I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said, 'Here am I, here am I,' To a nation which did not call on My name.

2    "I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts,

3    A people who continually provoke Me to My face, Offering sacrifices in gardens and burning incense on bricks;

4    Who sit among graves and spend the night in secret places; Who eat swine's flesh, And the broth of unclean meat is in their pots.

5    "Who say, 'Keep to yourself, do not come near me, For I am holier than you!'

        These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day.

6    "Behold, it is written before Me, I will not keep silent, but I will repay; I will even repay into their bosom,    (NASB)


Isaiah 66:

3    "But he who kills an ox is like one who slays a man; He who sacrifices a lamb is like the one who breaks a dog's neck; He who offers a grain offering is like one who offers swine's blood; He who burns incense is like the one who blesses an idol. As they have chosen their own ways, And their soul delights in their abominations,


14   Then you will see this, and your heart will be glad, And your bones will flourish like the new grass; And the hand of the LORD will be made known to His servants, But He will be indignant toward His enemies.

15   For behold, the LORD will come in fire And His chariots like the whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire.

16   For the LORD will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh, And those slain by the LORD will be many.

17   "Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go to the gardens, Following one in the center, Who eat swine's flesh, detestable things and mice, Will come to an end altogether," declares the LORD.

18   "For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues.

        And they shall come and see My glory.    (NASB)



The Book of Isaiah is the same book that gives us the prophecies of the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14) of the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7) who interceded for us and bore all our iniquities as a lamb led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53).


In Isaiah 65 and 66, why would God mention end-time events and make a very clear point to say these people who hate God and wars against Him eat pig’s flesh and disobey His food law? There can be no doubt that God is telling us something and it is this:


The food laws are God’s food laws and are meant for all His people. His people are believing Jews and Gentiles and they are God’s friends. The food law is not for His enemies. The food laws obviously still exist now and into the future and apply to everyone.



The Bible truth that God’s law, including His food law, is for everyone – Jew and Gentile; everywhere and all the time, is highlighted by the fact that the Temple which will be rebuilt at Christ’s coming will have priests that will teach everyone what is clean and unclean. In other words, at Christ’s return, Israel will not fail; Israel will teach all the nations everything about God’s ways taught to Moses:


Isaiah 2:

2   Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.

3   Many people shall come and say, " Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

4   He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.   (NASB)


Comment: The ‘law’ that goes forth out of Jerusalem in verse 3 is ‘torah’ (all of God’s instructions).



Ezekiel 44:

23   "Moreover, they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean.

24   "In a dispute they shall take their stand to judge; they shall judge it according to My ordinances. They shall also keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed feasts and sanctify My sabbaths.   (NASB)



God is declaring that He expects His people to be able to discern the clean from the unclean, and be holy as He is holy. In light of the fact that God’s food laws clearly still exist into the end times, do we really expect God’s holy spirit to dwell within our temples if our temples of the holy spirit are not holy, and we eat unclean animals and blood which are abominations to God?



So the question to the earnest seeker of God’s truth is this:


Since the food laws do exist for everyone, do we count ourselves as God’s friends or as the enemies of God who receive God’s anger?


The food laws were never a Jewish thing. It is a God thing.



It is all about holiness.




Besides giving us His food laws and declaring in Isaiah that they are still active in end times, the Bible emphasizes in other ways that eating unclean things are an offense to God. We see this in the way the New Testament speaks of swine; the New Testament shows that God and Christ have a very low view about swine.


In Matthew 7, swine is considered a creature upon which we should not waste what is valuable, because they cannot understand and instead will turn against you:


Matthew 7:

6     "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.    (NKJV)



In Mark 5 the legion of unclean spirits that the Lord Jesus drove out of a possessed man were sent into a herd of swine which then perished in the sea. The fact that unclean spirits were allowed to enter into swine and then the swine allowed to perish shows that the swine itself is considered unclean:


Mark 5:

1   Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes.

2   And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

3   who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains,

4   because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him.

5   And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

6   When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.

7   And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me."

8   For He said to him, "Come out of the man, unclean spirit!"

9   Then He asked him, "What is your name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many."

10   Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.

11   Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains.

12   So all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them."

13   And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.   (NKJV)



In Luke 15 and the parable of the prodigal son, the wasteful son’s situation got so bad that he ended up feeding swine and even wanting to eat the food the swine were eating. Context reveals again that God has a very low estimation of swine, because it is clear that the son has been reduced to his lowest point and only then is willing to do the unthinkable and deal with swine:


Luke 15:

11   And He said, "A man had two sons.

12   "The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.' So he divided his wealth between them.

13   "And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.

14   "Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.

15   "So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

16   "And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.

17   "But when he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!

18   'I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;

19   I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men."'




Not only does the Bible tell us that unclean animals/food are detestable to God, history also tells us this and confirms the Bible.


Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164BC) was the Syrian ruler who is considered by many to be a type of the antichrist. He forced those in Jerusalem to turn away from the one true God and instead worship the pagan Greek gods. He desecrated the temple of God by dedicating it to the pagan god Zeus/Jupiter and offered swine sacrifices at the altar.


The fact that Antiochus IV Epiphanes is viewed as a type of antichrist means his actions would be antichrist-like actions. Therefore, his sacrificing swine shows us that eating swine and unclean animals is anti-Christ and anti-God.


It is made clear both Biblically and historically that unclean animals is equated with not being holy, and is detestable and an abomination to God.


An important point to remember is that the Biblical dietary laws are not necessarily the same thing as eating “Kosher”.  While the animals are the same, there are other Kosher practices that come down from tradition.  As with all things, if we want to be obedient to God and know God’s truth only, then our obedience regarding food must be to God’s Word only and nothing else, like traditions of men. Just follow the Bible’s instructions and we cannot go wrong.





Refuted: passages used to say God’s food law is obsolete


The Bible tells us that the dietary laws of food and blood God gave us is meant for all and are still applicable. So why are so many non-Jewish people not observing God’s dietary laws?


The answer comes from the rise of Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church in the early 4th century. Having made Christianity the “state religion”, they proceeded to persecute Jews and true believers – both Jewish believers in Jesus and Gentile believers (called “Judaizers”, because they obeyed God’s commandments like Sabbath keeping). They removed these believers and God’s true faith – the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3), and replaced them with believers that did not know the truth, but adhered to a form of Christianity of the Roman Catholic Church’s making, which is thoroughly pagan.


God’s truths as revealed in His people, the Jews, and His Word, the Tanakh (Old Testament), were virtually done away with according to this new Christianity. The effects of this have lasted to this very day. There is not only a wedge and wide chasm between many Jews and Christians today, but God’s truths in the Tanakh have been hidden away from Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why you are reading this article. This is why the faith of many is not complete until they earnestly seek, find, return, and contend for, the faith once for all delivered to the saints.


This erroneous anti-Jewish and anti-Old Testament tradition results in a profound lack in knowing and understanding God’s Word and truths in the Tanakh. Therefore, when we come around to discussing God’s food laws, the interpretation by many Christian leaders and believers are biased toward not obeying God’s food laws. Meaning and context are distorted and words are even added to the text! They are sure signs of something being wrong and a cover-up of truth in action.


So let us go to the Bible in the New Testament and review the passages which are used by those who teach the food laws are not applicable, and see what the Bible says on the matter. After all, we should obey God, not men:


Acts 5:

29     But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.   (NASB)




Mark 7


Mark 7 is a chapter that is greatly misunderstood and used very often by people who believe all foods are now clean to prove that the food laws have been done away with.  But is this truly so? This is Mark 7:


Mark 7:

1    Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem.

2    Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.

3    For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders.

4    When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have 

       received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

5    Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, "Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders,

       but eat bread with unwashed hands?"

6    He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

      '  This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.

7    And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'

8    For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men --- the washing of pitchers and cups,

       and many other such things you do."

9    He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.

10   For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.'

11   But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban" --- '

       (that is, a gift to God),

12   then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother,

13   making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."

14   When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear Me, everyone, and understand:

15   There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him,

        those are the things that defile a man.

16   If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"

17   When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable.

18   So He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also?

        Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him,

19   because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?"

20   And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.

21   For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22   thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.

23   All these evil things come from within and defile a man."





Let us be very clear.  What the Pharisees were complaining about was not what foods Jesus and His disciples were eating.  Their complaint was that Jesus and His disciples did not wash their hands before eating according to the traditions of the elders, so they were deemed unclean by not washing (Mark 7:1-5). 


Jesus responds by making two points:



1) Jesus states that the traditions of men mean absolutely nothing (Mark 7:6-13).  This includes the Pharisees’ tradition of ceremonial washings before eating. The Pharisees are guilty of making God's 5th Commandment of no effect by the traditions of men, so they are hypocrites to the ultimate degree.  They hold their traditions in higher regard than God's Law and so their traditions, ideas of righteousness and what is unclean are incorrect and not deserving of any respect.



2) Jesus says that the washing of hands before eating is not as important as what comes out of your mouth (Mark 7:14-23).  What one puts in his mouth does not affect or go to the heart, but goes to the stomach and is eliminated.  However, it is what comes out of your mouth that is a reflection of what is in your heart.  Jesus is stressing that the spiritual defilement as evidenced by manner and content of speech is the real concern, because it is what is in the heart that is most important of all.  Anything you put in your mouth without ceremonial washing will not defile your heart.  The Pharisees were referring to dirty hands, but our Lord was referring to a dirty heart.  It is about dirty hands (unwashed hands) – not food.



Jesus uses a parable, as He often does, to contrast the differences between the physical aspect of what goes inside of us (eating with unwashed hands) to the spiritual aspect of what is inside of us/our heart that comes out (as revealed in the things we say). Jesus takes the Pharisees’ claim of not washing according to the traditions of the elders, which is physical and vain, and uses it to talk about the completely opposite thing – what is spiritual and true. Jesus uses it to highlight the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and their traditions.


Mark 7 is not talking about food at all, but it is referring to not washing unclean hands according to the traditions of the elders. Yet, it is still used to promote the idea that all foods are now clean and good to eat. One of the major reasons for this is the fact that Mark 7 is one of the greatest examples of translator bias and tampering with the Biblical text. The translators have actually added to the words of God in this chapter to promote the lie that all foods are now clean.


The most popular English Bible translation in use today is the New International Version (NIV). The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is among the most used and the English Standard Version is also very popular.  


This is what the NIV, NASB & ESV say in verse 19:


19   because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.)


Comment: The notation in parentheses and red was added.



However, not all Bibles have this, such as the King James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJV) and Young’s Literal Translation (YLT):


19   Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?



The appended notation is not in all Bibles.  And it is really a notation.  One can tell it is out of place and inserted, like an editor's note.


And just so you do not think the KJV, NKJV and YLT are necessarily better by not adding to the text in Mark 7, they all do still retain the infamous Johannine Comma inserted text in 1 John 5:7 that attempts to promote a Trinity doctrine, although all scholars admit the text is false.


So we see once again the unfortunate and glaring problem with the tampering of the Biblical texts which are an attempt to promote a particular false belief or bias.  What is added to the text is tampering and adding to God’s Word. It is evidence that something bad and contrary to God’s truth is being done to deceive the reader.


This alone should give you reason to reconsider your position if you believe that all foods are now supposedly clean. Why would there be need to add to God’s Word if it is true? Adding to God’s Word contained within Genesis to Revelation is a sign of foul play, and just like a crime scene, tampering of evidence indicates dark ulterior motives.


God says we must not add to His word or be proved a liar, and this is what the inserted text in parentheses in Mark 7:19 is --- it is a lie:


Proverbs 30:

5    Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. 

6    Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.   (NKJV)

Deuteronomy 4:

2   You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.   (NKJV)



The reason for the differences in Bibles in Mark 7 is that the Greek text of the New Testament has come down from basically two groups of texts.  The Received Text (Textus Receptus) and its close cousin the Majority Text are used by the KJV, NKJV, YLT, etc., and the Westcott-Hort-derived texts or Critical Text is used by the NIV, NASB, ESV, etc.


There is no perfect translation. The way we find God’s truth is to be absolutely objective and let the entire Bible speak for itself regardless of which or how many Bibles you use. However, like the synoptic gospels, you should try to use more than one Bible to get a complete picture of what God says. This will also prevent you from falling victim to groups that try to indoctrinate you using only the Bible they use.


So tampering with the text deceives many into believing that all foods are now clean and then once indoctrinated, the deception becomes so deeply engrained that those who are deceived no longer can or want to change – and worse, they deceive others, forever passing down a lie.  



However, the Bible explains and supports itself in other chapters and books, and it does so here.


Please look at Matthew 15, also from the same NASB text that has the added notation. When the apostle Peter asks the Lord Jesus to explain the parable, this is what Jesus says:


Matthew 15:

15   Peter said to Him, "Explain the parable to us."

16   Jesus said, "Are you still lacking in understanding also?

17   "Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated?

18   "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.

19   "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.

20   "These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man."




The first thing one will notice is that, of course, the notation is missing this time. But look at verse 20.  It summarizes for us the meaning and the context of the entire issue. It tells us what Jesus was really talking about and what He was responding to: eating with unwashed hands will not make a man spiritually unclean as the Pharisees were claiming by their traditions. 


Mark 7 has absolutely nothing to do with foods suddenly becoming clean. Jesus instead uses this verbal attack as an opportunity to dismiss their traditions and holds a mirror to the Pharisees' faces to reveal their hypocrisy of maintaining nice outward appearances, but meanwhile their hearts within are “full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness”:


Matthew 23: 

25   "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.

26 "You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

27   "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.

28   "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.




So in addition to Mark 7 explaining itself, we have evidence from translators adding to God’s Word and from Matthew 15 that Mark 7 is not talking about all foods becoming clean. The Lord Jesus was directly addressing the Pharisees’ question of why His disciples did not wash according to the traditions of the elders, but were eating with defiled, unwashed hands. Jesus said “to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man” (Matthew 15:20). Food is not in view here, unclean or otherwise.


Instead, Jesus uses this episode to boldly declare in a parable the hypocrisy of those who strive to “outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:28).


Therefore, do not be someone who does not hear, see or understand the Lord Jesus’ lesson in this and all His parables, but instead be someone who does understand, and knows that Mark 7 is not talking about clean or unclean foods at all:


Matthew 13:

10   And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?"

11   He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,

        but to them it has not been given.

12   For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance;

        but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.

13   Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

14   And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

        ' Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive;

15   For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed,

        Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,

        So that I should heal them.'

16   But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;

17   for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it,

        and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.   (NKJV)



It is all about holiness and obedience. Are we really being holy and obedient?




Acts 10


For those who believe all foods are clean to eat, Acts 10 is perhaps the most often cited Biblical passage/chapter used as proof to support their belief. It is misunderstood or misinterpreted to mean that all foods, clean and unclean, can be eaten, but this is not what it says.  Acts 10 is talking about people, not food. It refers to how Jews considered Gentiles unclean, but God declares this must no longer be. The chapter opens with a Roman centurion Cornelius of Caesarea who was a God-fearing man, receiving a vision telling him to seek the apostle Peter and bring him to Caesarea.  Then the next day, Peter receives a vision himself:


Acts 10:  

9    The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.

10   Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance

11   and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.

12   In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.

13   And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."

14   But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean."

15   And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common."

16   This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.




Peter was distressed in wondering what this vision could have meant.  At that time, Cornelius' servants arrive to bring him back to Caesarea. When Peter arrives and is met by Cornelius he finally realizes what God was telling him:


Acts 10:  

25   As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him.

26   But Peter lifted him up, saying, "Stand up; I myself am also a man."

27   And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together.

28   Then he said to them, "You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.




In verse 28, we see what everything is all about. It is about how we “should not call any man common or unclean”.


God was telling Peter that the Jews must not consider the Gentiles to be common or unclean anymore. God is not talking about food at all – the food laws remain intact.  Peter's disgusted reaction, Peter’s explanation above and the following below clarify that food was never the intended subject, but that the gift of salvation is now open to all who are righteous. This now includes the Gentiles as well, who have until now been considered common and unclean.  They too are to be baptized in Jesus' name and receive holy spirit:


Acts 10:

34   Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.

35   But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.


44   While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.

45   And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

46   For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,

47   "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"

48   And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.




There should be no misunderstanding about what Acts 10 actually means. How is it possible to change the subject from people must not be considered common and unclean anymore, to being about all foods should not be called common and unclean anymore? This is just simply not what the Bible says.


God interprets the vision and makes a clear declaration for us through the apostle Peter that “God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean” (verse 28) and “in truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (verses 34 & 35). Where is there any mention of all foods now being called clean?


It is obviously referring to people now being clean as the chapter further declares by ending with the salvation of the Gentile Cornelius and all his household “because the gift of the holy spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also” (verse 45) and Peter saying these Gentiles “have received the holy spirit just as we have” (verse 47).

It is very important to note the apostle Peter’s reaction to the vision and what he said. Even though he was very hungry, he was completely disgusted at the thought of eating unclean foods and even said “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean” (verse 14). Since we see God is referring to the Gentiles and not food, then what does this mean? It means that the apostle Peter never ate unclean foods – and he continues not to do so. He never will eat unclean foods, but only eat what is clean.


If the apostle Peter never ate unclean food and Acts 10 really refers to Gentile people no longer be called common/unclean, then surely the Lord Jesus Christ also never ate unclean food.


As the Bible tells us through the apostles Paul and John, the true believer must imitate the perfect sinless Lord Jesus and conform to His image, and He is the image of the invisible God:

1 Corinthians 11:

1    Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.   (NKJV)

1 John 2:

6   He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.   (NKJV) 

Colossians 1:

15  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.   (NKJV) 


Romans 14


Many who advocate that it is fine to eat unclean foods also use Romans 14.   However, we must be very careful when reading Paul's writings. We must be objective and take everything in context and from the proper perspective.  Perspective and context is critically important to understanding what Paul is telling the disciples in Romans 14. The problem is that the perspective of most believers comes from un-Biblical traditions that consider God’s food law a “Jewish” thing that has been done away with, but we have clearly seen that it is God’s ways given to us, not Jewish ways.


The perspective in this chapter is all about the Christian's own ideas of what to do with the bounty of clean foods God has blessed us with.  It never refers to God's ideas of food, because it is the same.  What He says is clean, is clean and what He says is unclean, is unclean.  It never changed, because God does not change.


Romans 14 has a very specific context.  It is related to food, but it is not saying that God has now declared all foods clean. The context is laid out in verses 1-6.


Romans 14:

1   Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.

2   For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.

3   Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.

4   Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.

5   One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.

6   He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.   (NKJV)



The entire chapter talks about how Christians should not judge one another in their own ideas (not God’s) of what clean foods they want to or do not want to eat and when they should eat them.  Please note: it is the believer’s own ideas about what and when to eat clean foods, not God’s.  God just tells us what is clean to eat, but aside from the Day of Atonement (a fast day), God does not otherwise tell us when we should eat these clean foods and allows us to decide which ones.        


The Christian is entitled to his own opinion of what clean foods he wants to eat and when he wants to fast. Even at this early time in Christianity, believers were practicing their own forms of asceticism; in this case, self-denial of certain foods and fasting during the week. 


That is why we read here that some want to be vegetarians only.  That is perfectly fine with God as vegetables are clean.  If a vegetarian chooses not to eat clean animals (like a cow, which has both a split hoof and chews the cud; unlike a pig that is unclean for it only has a split hoof, but does not chew the cud),  it is that person’s own right to only eat vegetables.  


We also read that some want to abstain from eating altogether on certain days by fasting in verses 5-6. These two verses are used by many to try and annul the observance of the Sabbath day which is the only day of the week God has sanctified.  However, this chapter does not pertain to a Sabbath or a Holy Feast Day or anything like that.  The context is when the Christian wants to fast to God. He can choose any day of the week of his choosing to fast to God or he does not have to fast during the week at all. 


But when a person does choose a day to fast, it must be in spirit and truth, and he absolutely must not use it to judge his brother or make him stumble. The Lord Jesus speaks out on this regard as well; we must not make “a show” of when we fast and how often we fast, and thereby lord over our brethren:


Matthew 6:

16   "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

17   But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,

18   so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.    (NKJV)


Luke 18:

10   "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

11   The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men --- extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.

12   I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'

13   And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'

14   I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."     (NKJV)



Paul then proceeds to talk about how believers must be careful to not push their opinions on their brethren and cause them to stumble (verses 14-23). Again, this is the opinions of men and women, and not the commandments of God. God’s instruction to be holy as He is holy by refraining from eating that which is unclean is a commandment of God which God did not change. He provides us with the clean foods; it is up to us to decide what we want to do with it.  This is Romans 14:13-23:


Romans 14:

13   Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way.

14   I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

15   Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.

16   Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil;

17   for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

18   For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

19   Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.

20   Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.

21   It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.

22   Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.

23   But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.    (NKJV)



Advocates who believe all foods are clean misinterpret this and distort it to say the opposite. They say all foods are now clean and people must not judge them for eating unclean foods! Does that even sound right? Especially when we know that God does not change and He has told us to be holy like Him which includes not eating unclean foods; and the ways of God that He made known to Moses and Israel were to be given to all peoples?

Verse 14 is cited as evidence to say that food is now all clean:


Romans 14:

14   I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.



It is taken out of context to try and prove that all foods are now clean.  But it does not say that.


Read very carefully for the context in this verse for itself and then also within the whole chapter. It is saying to him who thinks anything to be unclean, it is unclean. It indicates that a person has the right to choose for himself what he considers unclean. However, this cannot possibly be referring to God’s food law itself as being done away, because only God has the right to remove His food law. A man cannot think for himself to override the word of God on the matter of food and do away with God’s food law! Unfortunately, man has tried to do this anyway and hence why we are reading this article. Therefore, the right this person has to choose for himself what is unclean must be referring to something else. What is it?


The answer lies in the verse itself: it states that a person can regard for himself what food can be unclean; it does not say that what is unclean can now be considered clean. In other words, because it states we can think or make something unclean – this means it must have been clean. It is not talking about doing away with the food laws at all.  Instead, it actually states that God's food law is still in effect, because we are being told we can consider a food to be unclean to us from the clean foods that God has ordained we can eat.  It does not say we are choosing unclean foods to be clean, but it says the opposite --- we can choose a clean food to be unclean!


This verse is telling us that from all the clean foods given to him by God, the Christian is free to, in his own mind, go further and make his own decision as to which of these clean foods can be considered as unclean to him. This is only repeating what we read earlier about the vegetarian. The vegetarian considers all clean meat as unclean to him – but that is what he has determined for himself and is not what God’s food law says. However, God allows us to choose from the clean foods He gives us. This is what verse 14 refers to as the right for a believer to choose what he wants to make for himself what is unclean.


The believer is essentially creating his own food law – going above and beyond God’s food law of the clean and unclean, and refraining from blood as given in the word of God.


All we have to do is look at the following verse and we see this is verified. What do we see? The context reveals it is talking about “your” food, “your” food. God’s food law is not in view, but of the clean foods God gives him, it is referring to what a believer chooses for himself and makes unclean:


Romans 14:

15   Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.



Let us look at a modern example for clarification.  Beef is a clean food, but what do we find today?  Because it is not eaten in moderation, we have high cholesterol, or for whatever reason, we say red meat is bad for us.  We then go on a diet to stay away from red meat. 


So what did we just do?  Exactly what verses 14 & 15 said.  Even though beef is a clean food ordained by God, we have just decided for ourselves that, for our own reasons, to us, beef is considered unclean. We have just created our own food law.


We might go so far as to steer clear of all meat and become that vegetarian.  As a vegetarian, we might believe we “are holier” than the meat eaters and then push for everyone else to be like us and do as we do. Sadly, many believers actually do this.


This is the crux of the entire chapter, and is exactly what God is telling us we must not do, because we will then become a stumbling block for other believers. This chapter is telling us to not use our own, human ideas of what we consider unclean to cause others to fall. However, God’s food law is divine and from heaven, pertaining to holiness and commanded by Him in order for us to be holy as He is holy, and is not a stumbling block.


God is not telling us we are free to throw out His food laws; only God can do that and He did not do that. He is telling us that we can choose from among the bounty of clean foods He has given us, what we do or do not want to eat; but whatever we decide as unclean for ourselves, we must not put upon our brothers and sisters and make them stumble.


This leads to a related and very important topic we must note:  the individual has the right to decide for themselves what clean foods they can eat and when; and no one can dictate this for them or make them eat that which God considers unclean (just as they cannot force others).


Unfortunately, the misunderstanding, ignoring and distortion of God's word regarding what is clean and unclean to eat has led to supposed "Christian" doctrines that dictate to their believers man-made ideas about food which completely contradict God's word.  Absolutely no one can tell you what foods you can eat (what is clean and unclean); only God can do that and He did tell everyone, and He never changed it.


Instead, religious institutions ignore this truth and have created their own food laws to replace God's food laws.  While trying to appear holy with their own food laws, they are actually being undeniably sinful --- trampling on God's word and doing everything opposite of what God tells us to do.  Traditions of men cannot tell us how to be holy only the Bible alone is truth and can show us how to be holy, because it comes from the Holy One.  Some go so far as to tell people which foods they can eat and cannot eat, while also teaching that it is fine to eat what is unclean like swine; also, some even tell people when they can eat them or to not eat at all (fast).  However, these ideas do not come from God and His Bible, but they come from other places:

1 Timothy 4:

1    Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith,

        giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,

2   speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

3   forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who

        believe and know the truth.   (NKJV)



Colossians 2


Colossians 2:13-17 is also used at times to support the idea that God's food laws (and His 10 Commandments, etc.) is now obsolete. There are two articles on this website explaining the Bible truth that Colossians 2 does not do away with God's Law at all, such as the Sabbath day He sanctified and made for man (Mark 2:27). Please see articles: ‘Colossians 2 does not teach that the Law has been done away with’ and ‘Reasons for Sunday are not Biblical – Reason #2’.

Let us briefly add here another reason why Colossians 2 does not throw away God's Law and specifically the food law we are discussing in this article.


Let us read again Colossians 2:13-17 below:

Colossians 2:
13   And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

14   having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

15   Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

16   So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,

17   which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.


We must read and study this passage carefully and objectively. Verses 16-17 is what is used to say that all of God's laws are now obsolete since the Lord Jesus came and died for our sins. However, what is the context? What is the perspective? The context and perspective are given in verse 15 which says that because Jesus made a spectacle of Satan (means adversary/enemy or accuser) who has power over death (Hebrews 2:14-15) and overcame him, we should not let anyone judge us regarding food and drink.

Now we must lay aside our preconceived ideas and think logically.

If the Lord Jesus had to disarm Satan and his demons so that we can now supposedly eat unclean foods, doesn't this mean that before Satan was disarmed, it must have been Satan who told us to eat only clean foods?


According to the logic of those who use this to say we can now eat all foods, the command to eat clean foods was bad and came from Satan, but now that he has been disarmed, what was bad (eating clean foods) is now done away with to allow us to eat all foods including unclean foods. This is the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches!


This is shown in the equation below:



We are given clean & unclean foods ==> Jesus disarms Satan ==> now all foods are clean




In the first part of this equation, who was the person that gave us the law of clean and unclean foods?

Is it God or is it Satan?


If we believe all foods are now clean, than this means it must have been Satan who controlled what is clean and unclean before he had to be disarmed to allow us to eat all foods.


In other words, if we believe Colossians 2 teaches we can now eat all foods, than the only conclusion we can come to is that it must be Satan who gave us the food law, so that the Lord Jesus now has to disarm him to allow us to eat all foods.

Does this make any sense at all? Does it make sense that disarming Satan has made it so that we can now eat unclean foods? Of course it does not. But this is exactly what the logic dictates if people argue that Colossians 2 does away with God's 10 Commandments and food laws.

Only one or the other must be true:

1) For Colossians 2 to mean we can now ignore God's commandments and food laws, then it must have been Satan who gave us the commandments and food laws – because Satan had to be defeated by the Lord Jesus to now allow us to eat unclean foods and no longer abide by God's 10 Commandments.


=== OR ===

2) Colossians 2 does not teach that God's laws have been done away with. The defeat of our accuser Satan by the blood of the Lord Jesus means believers should not be concerned about those who attack God's laws and accuse believers of abiding by them. God's Word, Law and people have always been attacked, but now with the chief accuser defeated, believers should not let lesser accusers judge us and persecute us for being children of God who are obedient to God's laws.


Which is true?



It is #2 that is true.

God gave us the law of clean and unclean foods. After Satan was disarmed, believers must not let non-believers judge us in what we eat, the holy days we observe and the Sabbath. This is exactly the problem we have today, because many are deceived to think that God’s law is obsolete and therefore judge those who lovingly obey God’s food, feast and Sabbath day laws as “Jewish” or “Judaizers”.

The perspective is from the Law-abiding child of God who should not allow accusers and non-believers to judge them; the perspective is NOT from those who feel they can be justified to ignore God's laws by the disarming of Satan.


The alternative (#1) is impossible – that Satan had to be defeated so we can now eat unclean food? Such an idea is absurd and against all Bible sense.  


This, of course, applies to God’s Sabbath and feast days as well – how is it possible that God gives us His commandments, but when Satan is disarmed, it then allows us to break His commandments? This is impossible, because the Bible defines sin as lawlessness, the transgression of God’s law and those who belong to God do not sin and transgress His law:


1 John 3:

4   Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  

5   And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

6   Whoever stays in him sins not: whoever sins has not seen him, neither known him.

7   Little children, let no man deceive you: he that does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

8   He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

9   Whoever is born of God does not commit sin; for his seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.   (AKJV)



The Bible truth is that God’s law, which includes His food law, is not done away with at all, but we have been deceived to believe it is. After all, does it really make sense that the Law God gives to us is revoked/nullified when Satan is defeated? How can that be if sin is the transgression of God’s Law? The truth is that Satan and sin is defeated, which means that the Law (which is holy, good and spiritual, and is not sin) is upheld even more:


Romans 7:

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet."  


12   Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.


14   For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.




This is why the Lord Jesus came to magnify the commandments of His father and not do away with them; this is why Jesus equates hate with murder (6th Commandment) and lust with adultery (7th Commandment) in Mathew 5:


Matthew 5:

17   "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

18   For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

19   Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20   For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

21   "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.'

22   But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.


27   "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.'

28   But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.   (NKJV)



It is God who gave us His food laws. Our holy God gave us His food law so that we may discern the clean from the unclean and be holy as He is holy. God is good and everything He gives us is also good:


James 1:

17   Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.   (NASB)







The dietary laws God gave to instruct us on what is clean to eat and what is unclean to eat, including not eating blood, still exists today and apply to all people – both Jew and Gentile. It is not a useless work, but it is what our holy God tells His people to do so that we may also be holy as He is holy.


When we add the following together, it becomes very, very clear that God expects the believer in Jesus as the Son of God, Messiah, Lord, Savior, & King who shed His blood for us, to discern the clean from the unclean, and only allow what is clean to enter our bodies:



1)   God’s people were to be a holy priesthood and great nation of wise and understanding people with righteous statutes and judgments, and the “whole law” given to Israel was meant to go forth to all peoples



2)   The purpose of God’s food laws is to be holy. God is holy and commands His people must imitate Him and also be holy in context of discerning clean and unclean foods

3)   God’s food laws were not taken away, but like most things in the Tanakh (Old Testament), they were “removed” and false teaching imposed, in direct contradiction to God’s will when the Romans changed Christianity to a state pagan religion


4)   The Bible passages used by some to say the food laws are now obsolete are misinterpretations and misunderstandings which even include textual tampering 


5)   Our bodies are the temple of God’s holy spirit 



6)   The Lord Jesus said we must be perfect as His father is perfect and we must imitate Jesus who is the image of His father


7)   The food laws still exist into the end times where the enemies of God are called eaters of swine and incur God's wrath (and swine is always viewed negatively)




God dwells within His people; our body is the temple of God’s holy spirit. God wants a holy people for Himself; a holy people just like He is holy. He wants us to eat what is clean. How can we put what is unclean and an abomination to God into the same temple where the holy spirit of God dwells? Let us not be like unknowing children or self-deceivers who do not obey and refuse to do what is for our own good.



It is a question of holiness.  


Holiness is both spiritual and physical.



Are you holy? Then God says eat that which is clean.


Indeed, according to God, to discern the clean from the unclean including what we eat, is part of how we are to be holy as God is holy.



Are you one of His people – a servant, a child, a friend?



Are you holy?  



The Bible says you are what you eat.





Also see article ‘We are One Israel’ and other articles in this section, as well as articles in the section ‘Law of God’.

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