Friday, 7 September 2012

Why can't I eat what I like?

So, if the Torah is about how to relate to God and to other human beings, in a functional, life enhancing way…why does the LORD place restrictions in Leviticus 11 on what we can eat and what we cannot eat?

There are 4 groups in Leviticus 11; animals, birds, fish, and insects. In each group, the prohibited types are either carnivores or consumers of rubbish or decaying matter.

The LORD has a reason for these prohibitions, and His reason is outlined in Leviticus 17.11: The life of the flesh is in the blood.

That the blood actually possesses a living principle, and that the life of the whole body is derived from it, is a proven fact which the experiments of anatomists have confirmed.  The proper circulation of this important fluid through the whole human system was discovered, and demonstrated by Dr. Harvey in 1628.

Living creatures cannot live without blood. Without blood, organs cannot get the oxygen and nutrients they need to survive, keep warm or cool off, fight infections, or get rid of waste products….because life is in the blood.

The LORD prohibits the eating of ALL those creatures that are carnivores, and that eat the blood of other creatures…precisely because carnivores eat, and take into their bodies, the life of other creatures…..with all the possible diseases and damage that the dead, decaying bodies have.

Therefore, the LORD provides a list of qualifying foods that may be eaten in the 4 groups listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14:
1.      Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud; that you may eat....oxen, sheep, goats, deer.... 
2.      Whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in
      the rivers; that you may eat.
3.      Among the birds; the eagle, vulture, buzzard, kite, falcon, raven,
      ostrich, sea gull, owl;….they shall not be eaten…..
4.      You may eat of every flying insect that creeps on all fours, which have
       jointed legs above their feet with which to leap on the earth. These
      you may eat: locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers.
This list excludes some of the most popular ‘foods’ eaten today, including pork…and ham, bacon, proscuitto, salami, and black pudding…because pigs are omnivores; they will eat anything!!

This list includes lobsters, crabs, prawns, shrimps, oysters, and scallops….because they are ‘refuse collectors’, consuming any passing matter, decaying or dead.

Now…these restrictions presented a real problem for the early Gentile believers because they were used to enjoying pork and shellfish, which were popular ‘foods’ in  the Roman Empire.

So, in order to try to legitimize their eating habits, some unnamed and unidentified ‘editors’ mischievously inserted a phrase into Mark 7.19.

Compare the following two translations; NIV and KJV:

Mark 7:18-19 (NIV) ‘Are you so dull?’ he asked. ‘Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'?
For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.’ (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods ‘clean.’)

Mark 7:18-19 (KJV) And he saith unto them, ‘Are ye so without understanding also? 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?’

Those two translations do not say the same thing. The KJV is saying that all food passes through the body and is expelled. Jesus is not removing the prohibition on eating unclean animals.
Modern translations, like the NIV, that say Jesus ‘declared all foods clean’ are intentionally mistranslated in order to justify eating the Biblically unclean animals….

What a tragedy that some identified ‘editor’ condemned so many genuine believers to eating ‘the life’ of decayed, dead creatures ingested by omnivorous pigs!!!

There are other passages that are spuriously used to justify meals of Roast Pork with crackling, Lobster Thermidor, Crab salad, Avocado and prawns, Melon and Parma ham, Gammon, Bacon sandwiches, and Salami pizzas…..

1. Acts 10.10-17:

Then Peter … fell into a trance 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. In it were all kinds of four–footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.’ And a voice spoke to him again the second time, ‘What God has cleansed you must not call common.’ This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant.

Many believers have been taught that this passage confirms and justifies Mark 7.19, and effectively cancels the LORD’s prohibitions in Leviticus 11.
It does NOT. The following passage from Acts 15 explains that Peter’s vision in Acts 10 was about people, NOT about foods:

2. Acts 15.7-11:

Peter rose up and said to them: ‘Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 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. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.’

This passage explains that the LORD had instructed Peter that 'what God has cleansed you must not call common.’  Immediately after Peter’s vision, he received messengers from the Gentile centurion Cornelius in Caesarea, inviting him to visit.  The vision confirmed to Peter that he must accept the invitation…and not call (Gentiles) common whom God has cleansed.

So….as the LORD instructed Noah in Genesis 9.4: you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood….
and as Deuteronomy 12.23 and Leviticus 17.14 instruct:
 Be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat….. for it is the life of all flesh. Its blood sustains its life.

Until next week….

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