Did you know that the Bible says we aren’t supposed to eat pork or shellfish?
I didn’t know, as I had never actually bothered to read any of the first three-quarters of the book until recently. And being born and raised in the South, I loved my barbecue and my bacon. Still, it wasn’t a hard thing to give up once I learned that it was commanded by the Creator of heaven and earth. Surely the one who made these animals must have a good reason as to why He doesn’t want us to eat them.
What’s interesting is that science is just now catching up to the fact that these creatures are toxic, and eating their flesh actually breeds more toxicity in us. Shellfish are bottom-feeders. They feed on parasites and dead animals and were not created with the proper filtering systems to purify themselves from these things. Eating shrimp, oysters, crab, clams, and the like is basically like eating a dirty water filter…
Would you take the filter out of your Brita pitcher and consume the contents inside of it?
Yeah, me neither. The thought of doing so is pretty disgusting. And that’s basically what we’re doing when we eat shellfish.
Pigs are like the bottom-feeders of the earth. They’re scavengers who also eat pretty much anything and everything, including the corpses of animals and even humans. Not only were their digestive systems not made to properly filter toxins from their bodies; they also have very few sweat glands, and as a result hardly sweat at all. This makes them even more toxic since sweat is one of the body’s major detoxification mechanisms.
When we eat the dead flesh of pigs, we’re consuming all the toxins they took in after they ate the dead flesh of God-only-knows what other animals. Because of what they eat and how toxic they are, pigs are parasitic disease-ridden animals. When we consume them, we might as well call ourselves pigs, because we’re eating sick meat that was never created to be eaten in the first place.
It definitely makes me stop and think twice when I consider how much of the world consumes these creatures on a regular basis, and we are stricken with so many diseases. Maybe it’s because we’re putting things into our bodies that were never meant for our consumption…
#sorrynotsorry if you’re offended by that. Feel free to go back to eating your bacon. But if you’re as grossed out as I was when I learned all this, then please, keep reading. I promise there’s a happy ending. 🙂
Maybe you don’t want to believe or pay attention to the science that’s out there concerning the toxicity of pork and shellfish. (I can already hear the haters getting their snopes links ready…) But, if you believe that what the Bible says is true and that God doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6), then there are plenty of reasons in Scripture to rethink your consumption of these and other unclean foods.
First, YHWH said they were unclean, an abomination, and that we shouldn’t eat them:
“And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you. … And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
Lev. 11: 7-8, 10-12
Second, pigs are associated with filth all throughout His word. It’s very clear that they are, indeed, considered an abomination. Here are some of the verses that come up when you do a quick search of “swine” on BibleGateway.
“As a jewel of gold in a swine‘s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” Prov. 11:22
“They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine‘s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord.” Isa. 66: 17
“Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.” Luke 8:33
When the prodigal son “came to himself” he was among swine and “perishing with hunger.” Luke 15: 11-17
Third, the first law given to Adam and Eve was related to food:
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
And we all know what happened when they disobeyed…
Now I’ll address some of the common arguments that people use to say that eating unclean foods is okay.
Argument #1: Those laws were done away with.
To which I’ll respond with these words spoken by Yeshua/Jesus himself:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5: 17-20
Moreover, if obedience to God’s law (or instruction) is no longer relevant or necessary, does that mean that it’s now okay to worship other gods, lie, cheat, steal and murder? Because last I checked, most people are still into obeying those commandments…
Argument #2: Jesus said all foods are made clean in the process of digestion:
“Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?” Mark 7: 19
If you read the entire chapter, it’s not actually talking about clean and unclean foods. The issue that Yeshua was calling out here was one of putting man-made traditions above the YHWH’s instructions. The Pharisees were rebuking his disciples for not walking according to the tradition of the elders by eating bread with unwashed hands.
In his response, Yeshua refers to the expelling of foods going into the belly via unwashed hands—washed hands being a man-made tradition that was never commanded by YHWH.
I recently took a closer look at the above verse word for word (using Interlinear Bible on Biblehub.com), and it actually says:
“because not it enters of him into the heart but into the belly and into the draught goes out purifying all THE food”
The word “the” makes a big difference in my opinion, as it implies that he’s referring to the food that was just eaten. If you think about who Yeshua was talking to, it’s unlikely that they would have been eating unclean food. They were Pharisees, people who held the law of God in such high regard that they added to it for purposes of clarification. However, as he stated earlier in verse 6, their “hearts were far from [him].”
“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” Mark 7: 7-9
These verses imply that Yeshua held the commandments of His Father in high regard, and never came to abolish them as stated above. Those commandments include the avoidance of unclean foods.
Argument #3: Peter’s vision in Acts 10 proves that God changed the rules. All foods are clean now!
“On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.” Acts 10: 9-16
Again, context is everything. If you read the entire chapter, you’ll see that this is not referring to food at all but to Gentiles. Verse 28 clears things up:
“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”
Peter’s vision has nothing to do with food. Taking a few verses out of context to justify our bacon-eating habit is just our attempt to go on living the way we want to instead of following YHWH’s perfect instructions.
Argument 4: 1 Timothy 4 proves that you can eat anything as long as it’s received with thanksgiving.
Let’s look at what it says:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Tim. 4: 1-5
Though it may seem like verses 4 and 5 are saying that prayer sanctifies all foods, a closer look at verse 3 reveals the context: “meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
YHWH never created unclean foods to be eaten by man and explicitly condemns them as an abomination. Saying that prayer sanctifies abominable foods is like saying prayer sanctifies a homosexual marriage (also called an abomination by our creator.) Moreover, those who “believe and know the truth” are likely not in the habit of eating swine’s flesh.
What’s interesting for Jereme and I personally is the fact that we felt convicted to stop eating pork even before we knew it was biblically unclean. We had heard it was toxic, and something in our gut (pun somewhat intended) told us we should probably abstain from it. I believe this could be an instance of prophecy being fulfilled:
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jer. 31:33
Argument #5: But … bacon!
Good news: there’s beef bacon. It’s full of that amazing salty flavor that pairs wonderfully with your eggs, and it cooks to a perfect crisp. You won’t even know the difference.
Actually, you will. Because it’s better than pork bacon. And you can buy it at Walmart.
Told ya’ there was a happy ending… 🙂
This is day 12 in my 40 Days of Repentance series. Click here to read day 11.