Notes From Previous Post

In our previous section we have covered .

1. God’s definition of Clean Animals
      a. Split or Cloven Hooves
      b. Chew the cud 
      c. Have fin and scales
     d. Had joint legs that could leap into the air

We have also examined the fact that most “Scientific research” only demonstrate what is wrong with unclean animals, they seldom talk about how clean animals is superior to the unclean animals in those aspect.  That is because even science find it hard to justify the superiority of clean animals over unclean animals in terms of food safety.  

While it is good to back our belief with scientific proof,  what will happen if there are scientific experiments  that proves that unclean animals are healthier and better than clean animals? Will we change our belief and start to doubt the word of God because of that?  Will we start to criticise the word of God as arcane and unscientific? We speak as if God determined clean and unclean animals base on those scientific reason when in actual fact he merely distinguish them by their physical anatomy.

That is why it is not a good idea to supplement the word of God with our 1001 scientific experiments. For God had not spoken those words. Men are not suppose to add to the word of God just like men are not allowed to subtract from the word of God.

Introduction

In this section, we will cover what the bible tells us about clean and unclean animals. We will look look at this all the way from creation to the time of Noah, to the establishment of the Mosaic covenant. 

We would cover how the Mosaic covenant requires Israel to remain separated and Holy onto the Lord. Then we would discussed how the sacrifice of Christ fulfilled the requirements of the Law of Moses and how through his blood, cleanses both Israelites and gentiles, removing the separation between them.

We would look at these by dispelling many of the popular misconception about clean and unclean food

Misconception 1 :  The Mosaic Dietary Law By Worshipper of God Since Creation

The fact is that the rule of clean and unclean animals exist at the time of creation. In those days, human beings were not allowed to eat meat. For God had given the following command to Adam and all animals that are on earth

“See, I have given you every herb that
  yields seed which is on the face of all
  the earth, and every tree whose fruit
  yields seed; to you it shall be for food.

  Also, to every beast of the earth, to
  every bird of the air, and to everything
  that creeps on the earth, in which there
  is
life, I have given every green herb for
  food”-YHWH (Gen 1:29-30 )

According to Genesis, the pre-flood world was a vegetarian world.  Men and animals were to eat the herbs as food. The only killing that was allowed is for sacrifice. That is probably the reason why Abel kept sheep in the first place.  The Sheep are not meant as food but rather as sacrifices and the source of clothes.

The mention of clean and unclean animals existed during the time of Noah’s flood. During the flood God sent 7 pairs of clean animals and 1 pair of unclean animals into the ark. (Gen 7:1-2) At that point of time the rule of clean and unclean animals were all defined. Even though men was not allowed to eat any form of meat.

After the flood. God allowed men to eat meat.

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
 
And the fear of you and the dread of you
  shall be on every beast of the earth, on
  every bird of the air, on all that move on
  the earth, and on all the fish of the sea.
  They are given into your hand.  Every
  moving thing that lives shall be food for
  you. I have given you all things, even
  as the green herbs. But you shall not
  eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood”-YHWH (Gen 9:1-4)

That is the dietary rule that was kept by the patriarchs all the way to the time of the Mosaic law.

The Mosaic Covenant Is A Covenant Of Separation

The rule of eating clean and unclean animals was given by God to Israel. When God called Israel out of Egypt. For God called Israel to be holy and consecrated for him.

“I am the Lord your God, who has
  separated you from the peoples.
  You shall therefore distinguish
  between clean animals and unclean,
  between unclean birds and clean,
  and you shall not make yourselves
  abominable by beast or by bird, or
  by any kind of living thing that creeps
  on the ground, which I have separated
  from you as unclean. 
  And you shall be holy to Me, for I the
  Lord am holy, and have separated you
   from the peoples, that you should be
  Mine"-YHWH (Lev 20:24-26)

The Mosaic covenant  required the follows of the covenant must be separated from the people of the world. They are to be different from the people the world. When Balak called  Balaam to curse the children of Israel. God spoke through Balaam. He described his chosen people as

“For from the top of the rocks I see him,
  And from the hills I behold him;
  There! A people dwelling alone,
  Not reckoning itself among the
  nations.”-Balaam (Num 23:9)

God gave Israel the Law to eat clean and unclean animals to remind Israel to separate between clean and uncleanness.  This separation is seen throughout the old testament. Israelites are separated from other Hebrew tribes such as Moabites, Ammonites, Edomite, Ishmaelite . Out of which the tribe of Levi is separated from the 12 tribes of Israel to serve God. And out of Levi the house of Aaron is separated to be able to come into Gods presence.

In the old testament, the Tabernacle  is separated from the camp, with Levites encamping around it. Within the tabernacle there is a separation between the outer courts, Holy place and the Holies of Holies where God dwells. Israel could come to the outer courts to make sacrifices. Only the Levites are permitted in the Holy place, and the High priest is permitted to enter the Holies of Holies once a year.

In the Mosaic Covenant, God is separated from the people. He descended onto Mount Sinai and men were not allowed to draw near to him. Only Moses and the 70 elders manage to enter to the foot of the mountain. Only Moses is permitted to enter into the presence of God.

God Wanted To Draw Near To Men

When God descended onto Mount Sinai he spoke to Israel and told them the ten commandments. But the people were terrified of him. Moses had to tell them to stay away from the mountain. They told Moses.

“You speak with us, and
  we will hear; but let not
  God speak with us, lest
  we die.”- Israel (Ex 20:19)

God knew the weakness of Israel, so he made Moses a promise

“What they have spoken is good.
 
I will raise up for them a Prophet
  like you from among their brethren,
  and will put My words in His mouth,
  and He shall speak to them all that I
  command Him. And it shall be that
  whoever will not hear My words,
  which He speaks in My name, I will
  require it of him” – YHWH (Deut 18: 17-19)

God promise that he will raise a prophet like Moses among the people. This is one of the earliest prophecy concerning Jesus. Throughout the old testament, God made it very clear that he would want the gentiles to seek him

Amos 9:11-12 : was quoted by the disciples in Acts 15. Here God said that when the tent of David is raised up. The Gentiles will be able to call on to the name of God.

Micah 4:1-2 : Tells us that many nations will be able to enter the mountain of the Lord. They will be able to go up and learn the ways of the Lord.

All these verse tells us that eventually, when the Messiah comes, he will bring salvations over to the gentiles . Ezekiel in his temple vision saw that from the side of the altar comes living water, and it had the ability to heal all nations. It had the power to heal the waters of the dead sea. Many believe that the dead sea became what it is due to the judgement of God on Sodom and Gomorrah.

For Lot describes that area around Sodom and Gomorrah to be like the garden of God.  (Gen 13:10)

IT tells us that the stream from Ezekiel’s temple, flowing from the right side of the altar of sacrifice. Was able to heal the nations.  Prophet Zechariah tells us that when the day of the Lord comes there is living waters that will flow from Jerusalem to the eastern sea and western sea. In those days, all nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship. God will allow every pot in his house to be cleanse. Even the horses will be engraved with the words “holiness to the Lord."  (Zech 13: 8-9, 18-21)

This is a very strong image, as "Holiness to the Lord” is the words engraved on the garments of the high priest. The horse is an unclean animal. But now the unclean animal is given the status of the priest.

Peter Vision, Christ Fulfilment 

Now we know that Christ had died for all men in the gospel. But this message was not that well understood at the initial stage of the history of the Church. At the very beginning in Acts 2 the church is mainly made up of Jews who believe in Jesus.

In Acts 6 there was a mention of Hellenist (Acts 6:1) they are still Jews, except they speak greek.

Later on in Acts 8, Samaria was converted. Then the Samaritans are starting to join the church. Samaritans are half Jews. In the past Jews will not associate themselves with Samaritan as they felt they are pure Jews, therefore they remain separated from them.

Throughout this process. We see the walls of Separation that was the theme of the Mosaic Covenant being broken. But the most significant  break come s in Acts 10. That is when God allowed Cornelius to be saved. 

In that vision, God use the law of Separation from the Mosaic law as the theme to teach Peter. There God allowed Peter to see unclean animals where he was instructed to kill and eat. But Peter refuse as these are unclean. But God told him

“What God has cleansed you
  must not call common.”- Jesus (Acts 10:15)

Peter was wondering what this meant. But later on when he saw that the gentiles received the Holy Spirit just like the Jews. He realised that God had no longer separated the gentiles from the Jews . He said it clearly when he explained his reason to baptise the gentiles.

“Then I remembered the word
  of the Lord, how He said, ‘John
  indeed baptized with water,
  but you shall be baptized with
  the Holy Spirit.’

  If therefore God gave them the
  same gift as He gave us when we
  believed on the Lord Jesus Christ,
  who was I that I could withstand God?” – Peter (Acts 11:16-17)

Peter continue to talk about this in the Jerusalem council

“So God, who knows the heart,
  acknowledged them by giving
  them the Holy Spirit, just as
  He did to us, and made no
  distinction between us and
  them, purifying their hearts
  by faith.”- Peter (Acts 15:8-9)

From here we see how Jesus death fulfilled all the prophecies of the prophet.

The Conflict Of Peter And Paul

Paul wrote about the incident in Antioch between Peter and Paul in Gal 2:11-21.  Peter was initially sitting and eating with the gentiles. He was practicing Christ teaching of the removal of separation. but later on when there were Jewish Christians that came from James, he separated himself from the Gentiles and sat with the Jews

Paul spoke out against Peter, reminding him that he should not compel gentiles to live like Jews. For Peter saw it first hand how God had justified gentiles who do not practice the Mosaic covenant.

Conclusion

All these verse tell us that at the death of Christ there is no longer a separation between Jews and Gentiles. They tell us that faith in Christ justifies, and the spirit of God can now live in a gentile who do not follow the Mosaic Covenant just as he can dwell in a Jew who strictly kept the Mosaic Covenant.

It tell us that through the death of Christ there was indeed a fountain that can clean uncleanness, a the same time. In this new temple of the Messiah which is the church, the horses can indeed receive the tag Holiness to the Lord and there are no Canaanites in the house of the Lord.

Most importantly it tells us that God did not make separation between Jews and Gentiles anymore,  the Gentiles who knew nothing of the Mosaic Covenant could be part of the promises of God through the death of Jesus.

Therefore, there is no need for the dietary rules to be kept, for the separation is no longer necessary. It doesn’t matter if one follows it or not.

Today if one choose to follow the Jewish dietary law as a lifestyle choice. He is at liberty to do so, but he need to understand that what he does had no effect on his salvation. For the death of the Messiah also created a world similar to the post flood world. God allowed all men to eat animals, but blood is forbidden.

While the Jewish dietary law may be good for health,let us all understood its true significance, how it separates the people of God from the gentiles. LEt us understand that in the eyes of God, it doesn’t matter if you eat clean or unclean animals. But in this kingdom of the messiah. Let us focus on true sin and true uncleanness. Let us prevent them from robbing us of salvation.

May God guide all of us to understand his will.

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