ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

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RND
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ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by RND » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:30 pm

This is a great study by a Messianic Jewish Rabbi on clean and unclean. Enjoy!

ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 God gives us a list of animals that are not to be eaten as food. Included in this list declared "unclean" are some of man's favorites: swine, shrimp, lobster, crab, catfish, as well as squid, rabbit, squirrel, etc. However, there are several places in the New Testament where God seems to indicate that He has changed His mind on these things:

MARK 7:18 And he said to them, "Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) (NASU)

ROMANS 14:14 As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. (NIV)

ACTS 10:10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." 14 "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." 15 The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." (NIV)

On the surface, it looks pretty clear, doesn't it? Go ahead and eat what you want, God has given you the green light. But has God really changed his mind? Are these animals listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 now OK to eat?

In Malachi 3:6, God declares that He does NOT change. This would seem to indicate the opposite of what's stated above. In order to determine if God has really changed His position on the issue of clean and unclean foods (considered important enough to be included in the Torah twice), let's look at the passages above (and a few others) in more detail. You may be surprised at what the Scriptures really say on this topic.

Let's begin in the seventh chapter of Mark. In order to fully understand Yeshua's words, we'll start at the first of the chapter and get the context:

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 [koinais], 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?" (NKJV)

This passage is the background context for what Yeshua states afterward. As the Scripture shows, the problem that arose was related to Messiah's disciples not washing their hands in the traditional way. The reason for this specialized washing was for ceremonial purity, not cleanliness.

The word translated "defiled" in verse 2 is a form of the Greek adjective koinos. Like many words, this word and the related verb koinoo (along with their variations) can be used positively or negatively. In the positive sense, these related words mean "common," such as in Acts 2:44 and 4:32, where the disciples of Messiah were said to have had "all things in common." In a negative context, these words are used to contrast the "holy" with that which is "common," "defiled," or "profane." This is the sense in which koinais is used in Mark 7:2.

Yeshua uses the Pharisees' criticism of his disciples over a non-biblical ritual to launch a scathing attack on their use of human traditions to override the scriptural commandments of God. He then spoke a parable to the crowd to illustrate the true cause of spiritual defilement:

MARK 7:14 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 [koinosai] him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile [koinounta] a man. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"(NKJV)

As with most parables Yeshua used, this one was not readily understood (Matt. 13:10-15). The disciples asked Yeshua for a further explanation of what he meant:

MARK 7:17 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 [koinosai] 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 [koinoi] 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 [koinoi] a man." (NKJV)

Yeshua explained to his disciples that those things which go into a man's body from the outside (such as dirt from unwashed hands) do not keep a man from being holy. Instead, the evil things that come out of a man's heart and lead him to commit sin are the things that prevent him from being holy.

Now let's look more closely at verse 19. The New King James Version renders this verse differently than does the New American Standard Bible 1995 update cited at the beginning of this article. The NASU (and most other modern translations) ends Yeshua's quotation after "eliminated" (ekporeuetai) and sets off the final phrase as an explanatory comment by Mark. According to this interpretation, Yeshua was using the parable to declare all animals to be edible, in contradiction to Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. However, the NKJV considers this entire verse to be the words of Yeshua.

Why is there a difference between the two?

The reason for the differing translations is a ONE letter variation between the Greek manuscript base used by the NKJV translators and the manuscript base used by the translators of other modern versions (such as the NASU). The vast majority of the Greek manuscripts of Mark end verse 19 with the conclusion to Yeshua's statement being ". . . thus cleansing all foods" (Gr. katharizon panta ta bromata). The "o" in katharizon (καθαριζον, "cleansing") is the Greek letter omicron (ο). However, a very few Greek manuscripts instead have katharizon (καθαριζων) spelled with the "o" being the Greek letter omega (ω) instead of omicron. The omega changes the word's gender from neuter to masculine, allowing for the difference in translation.

Without getting into a technical debate regarding Greek grammar or the pros and cons of each manuscript base, the overwhelming textual evidence supports the NKJV rendering of verse 19 over the NASU translation.

Most Greek manuscripts of Mark 7:19 literally read: "Because it does not enter into his heart, but into the stomach, and into the toilet passes, cleansing all foods." It is clear that Yeshua is not declaring all foods "clean" here, because the cleansing process he refers to is digestion, which ultimately leads to defecation. Yeshua' point here appears obvious: Breaking God's law defiles a man, not non-adherence to man-made traditions. This parable has nothing to say about eating unclean animals.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

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mikew
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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by mikew » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:30 am

RND wrote:This is a great study by a Messianic Jewish Rabbi on clean and unclean. Enjoy!

...snip...

Most Greek manuscripts of Mark 7:19 literally read: "Because it does not enter into his heart, but into the stomach, and into the toilet passes, cleansing all foods." It is clear that Yeshua is not declaring all foods "clean" here, because the cleansing process he refers to is digestion, which ultimately leads to defecation. Yeshua' point here appears obvious: Breaking God's law defiles a man, not non-adherence to man-made traditions. This parable has nothing to say about eating unclean animals.
OMG r u serious?

Since when is defecation considered to be something clean? This sounds like a desperate attempt, lacking basic reasoning, to reintroduce the Law into Christianity.

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by RND » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:40 am

mikew wrote:OMG r u serious?
Of course I am, why wouldn't I be?
Since when is defecation considered to be something clean?


Um, I'm not certain I follow you here. You aren't suggesting that the Rabbi suggested that was something to eat are you? I think what the Rabbi was explaining is that as food passes through the digestive tract it is "purified" or "made clean."
This sounds like a desperate attempt, lacking basic reasoning, to reintroduce the Law into Christianity.
"Reintroduce?" When was the prohibition against eating common animals lifted? Did Jesus die on the Cross so people could eat hog maws and bats?
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by mikew » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:52 am

RND wrote:
mikew wrote:OMG r u serious?
Of course I am, why wouldn't I be?
Since when is defecation considered to be something clean?


Um, I'm not certain I follow you here. You aren't suggesting that the Rabbi suggested that was something to eat are you? I think what the Rabbi was explaining is that as food passes through the digestive tract it is "purified" or "made clean."
This sounds like a desperate attempt, lacking basic reasoning, to reintroduce the Law into Christianity.
"Reintroduce?" When was the prohibition against eating common animals lifted? Did Jesus die on the Cross so people could eat hog maws and bats?
You may have a point here. Jesus probably didn't die simply so people could eat hog maws (whatever those are) and bats, there were a myriad of other (and more important reasons). It was for liberty that Jesus set us free. (Gal 5:1)

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by RND » Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:04 am

mikew wrote:You may have a point here. Jesus probably didn't die simply so people could eat hog maws (whatever those are) and bats, there were a myriad of other (and more important reasons). It was for liberty that Jesus set us free. (Gal 5:1)
10-4. Amen!

BTW Mike a hog maw is the stomach of a pig. Yummy! :D
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by TK » Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:09 pm

what about peter's vision of the sheet with the unclean animals?

TK

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by RND » Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:52 pm

TK wrote:what about peter's vision of the sheet with the unclean animals?

TK
Do you have a thought on that TK that you could share?

I would simply ask this, was the vision that Peter had giving permission to Peter to eat unclean animals or to interact with gentiles regarding the Gospel? Jews like Peter were not permitted by Talmudic law to interact in any way with gentiles.

I think the vision was simply giving Peter a comparison between what was generally considered unclean by Jews and what the Gospel of Jesus is able to cleanse.
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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by TK » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:22 pm

well, in the vision Peter was told to "kill and eat" and when he refused he was told not to call things unclean that God had declared clean. i know that the ultimate vision applied to gentiles but the language used in the vision itself was rather clear.

if it was okay now to interact with gentiles, why would it also not be all right to eat food that the law declared unclean?

TK

p.s. i dont know about hog maws but a good pulled pork sandwich is awesome.

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by mattrose » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:56 pm

I love it (sarcastically) when Malachi 3:6 is applied to these matters. That "God does not change" refers to God's nature (especially regarding His faithfulness). It has nothing to do with His specific expectations of humanity across the various stages of history. The very next verse in Malachi, for instance, says that if they will return to God, He will return to them. This implies that He, in some sense, had left them. That is certainly a change. In the sense of His actions and expectations, God 'changes' quite routinely. It's His nature that does not change. His actions change all the time.

The article in question also does a poor job in simply dismissing the textual issue. It's not a matter of how many manuscripts are involved. It's a matter of the quality of the manuscripts involved.

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Re: ARE ALL FOODS CLEAN?

Post by RND » Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:17 pm

TK wrote:well, in the vision Peter was told to "kill and eat" and when he refused he was told not to call things unclean that God had declared clean. i know that the ultimate vision applied to gentiles but the language used in the vision itself was rather clear.


TK, I hear what you're saying and agree with what you're saying. How could I not.
if it was okay now to interact with gentiles, why would it also not be all right to eat food that the law declared unclean?

TK
Well TK, I suppose in taking that logic to the next step one could say Peter was actually being disobedient to God because he didn't "kill and eat" the gentile men that came to his door that day! :D

In a situation such as this where God was using a vision to compare gentiles with unclean animals I think it is fairly obvious that there was no declaration in the vision that Peter was now free to eat whatever he felt like.

Christ didn't die on the cross for people to eat whatever they felt like eating.
p.s. i dont know about hog maws but a good pulled pork sandwich is awesome.
I've heard that. I'll stick with chicken and fish however. :D
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher, 1788-1860

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