Many Americans believe Gentiles have the freedom to eat both kosher and non-kosher meat because of the vision Peter saw of a sheet with all kinds of animals on it — the one from which God told Peter to rise and eat (Acts 10). I believe the laws of kashrut (dietary laws) as written in Leviticus are still valid today.
People often misinterpret visions because they use symbolism. In addition, believers often don’t consider how to properly apply various passages of Scripture today.
For example, are supposed to take our children up a mountain and sacrifice them as God commanded Abraham to do to Isaac too? Of course not!
Shall we take a map of America to the park and take our children’s toy soldiers and army tanks and prepare mock attacks on our land to show everyone how the Mexicans and Islamic terrorists are crossing the Mexican border because God is allowing it and our president isn’t going to do anything about it? God told Ezekiel to do something similar to this in Ezekiel 4, why shouldn’t we?
How about when God told Ezekiel to make a six-grain bread and bake it over human dung as fuel? Ezekiel objected like Peter did: “So I said, “Ah, Lord God! Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth.” (NKJV) God compromised with Ezekiel and let him cook it over cow dung instead.
The point I’m trying to make is that Peter’s vision did not give us permission (freedom) to eat unclean food. When Peter saw this vision, he probably thought of Ezekiel’s response and eventually came to the right conclusion concerning the vision he received from the Lord. In other words, he knew he was expected to go to the Gentiles. Despite Peter’s interpretation, we insist on rejecting Peter’s conclusion because theologians tell us to. Peter wasn’t supposed to give in to the oral traditions created concerning the Gentiles and we shouldn’t give in to improper interpretations of the Scriptures. God assured Peter He had cleansed the Gentiles — not the meat. Peter didn’t need to fear that the Gentiles were going to transmit uncleanness to him as many had come to believe. In fact, God wanted Peter to go interact with the Gentiles and minister to them that they may know Jesus Christ. This is not much different from what happened with Ezekiel. God made it clear to Ezekiel that the children of Israel would be eating their defiled bread with the Gentiles in the near future.
You do not need to fear the dietary laws as they are presented in the Scriptures. God’s yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). These words are not too hard for you so you can obey them (Deut. 30:11-14). It just takes a few changes or substitutions for Gentiles to eat kosher meat and avoid meat that is unclean. Freedom from uncleanness comes as we yield ourselves to the commands of the Lord.
A resounding Amen!!! I’ve been attending a Messianic congregation lately and I always thought those dietary laws were for the Jews but I was shown that the ‘aliens’ among them were to also obey the same rules. (I think it’s in Exodus somewhere) They explained that when a parent adopts a child, the child obeys the family’s rules just like the natural members of the family and so it is with the dietary laws. Also, pork and shellfish are not categorized as food. Just because we’ve found a way to make them delicious does not mean it is food. They are scavengers. We wouldn’t eat a vulture because we know it feeds on rotting flesh. Yet pork and shellfish are no different, except we found a way to make them taste good, and we eat those. It’s really disgusting if you think about it. If you eat those things, you are not eating food.
Exodus 12:49, Leviticus 16:29, 17:12, 15; 18:26; 24:16 and Numbers 9:14; 15:15-16, 29; 35:15 all indicate the Torah is one law for the children of Israel and the stranger who lived among them. It really applied to everything including the dietary laws. I pray more people will come to know the truth of this like you did.
As one who was brought up under THE LAW of Moses, and the Old Testament, look up World WIde Church of God…you’ll see what I mean, I can honestly say, that I understand using the Old Testament and the Old Covenant to live by. The steps are simple….sort of, and the meaning is clear, but what is missing is the Heart. To me it is similar to teaching a child, “Do not talk to strangers.”
Why? Because for a child a stranger can deceive you, mislead you and cause you harm, and you will be too young and too naïve to understand or discern the difference until it is too late.
The same can be said of the Law. When given, God was making a covenant with His people of how to show their separateness which He eventually wanted to be written on their hearts. He gave them laws, laws upon laws, just as we do our own children…a bunch of “do NOTS”. But His overall intent was for them to grow to in LOVE, just as we hope our kids will do the same.
And if you grow in LOVE, different ones will find that they must break some laws in order to live by God’s ultimate two laws;
Matthew 22: 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
How does this happen? Well, if your child wishes to grow to become a Missionary, he/she must talk to strangers at some point, at many points in fact, thereby breaking one of the laws that you gave him/her to keep them safe. But did he really break your law, or was there some other meaning behind your law, or a time period in which it would become obsolete as the Old Covenant would.
Jesus eventually did the same on many different accounts, refusing to condemn those in which the Old Covenant specifically said to condemn. And yet He did NOT break the Law, because the purpose of the Law, just as God is, meant for Love. But a Law cannot bring love only condemnation, hence the need for discernment which can only come by living through the Holy Spirit, which Christ did as in the case of the adulterous woman in John 8:1-11.
Deuteronomy 22:23-24 would have and did demand her blood, by God’s perfect Law, but Jesus rendered the Heart of the Law, and told the woman, who was clearly guilty of that sin, to “Go and sin no more.”
The Law was meant to bring life, but all it accomplished was death (2 Cor. 3:7, 9) through condemnation and shame and guilt. Basically, the Law in and of itself is Holy, is Good, but could only be fulfilled God. It could only be observed fully and wholly by God. The dietary laws were a means to many ends but the Holy version was to separate His people from others. But if the salt looses its flavor then it is worthless. There are so many now who refuse to eat meat of any kind, who refuse to eat grain of any kind, who refuse alcohol and fat, and none are for Holy reasons, none are to afflict their flesh in order to draw them closer to God. Furthermore such practices are many times used to condemn others who do NOT do the same. Vegetarians who look down on meat eaters and condemn them because they eat a thing that once lived, even though God at one point gave all moving creatures for us as food…as a gift, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything” (Gen. 9:3).
SO in conclusion, I can say this, if you are meaning to separate yourself because you have been convicted of God to do so, by all means do so, but remember LOVE when you come upon those who have not been afflicted so by God, and who are fellow believers. God’s Law and Love was never meant to separate us from one another, (from the world, but never from fellow believers), except when we took Naririte vows, and even then we were not to move to the ends of the earth forever, it was to bring another element of God into the Congregation to make us all better for it.
Your Sister in Christ Dolly P