Is there any indication that God's dietary food laws apply to everyone? Aren't they just for the Jewish people?
[Steve Myers] A recent Beyond Today program, “You Are What You Eat ” brought many questions in from our viewers. Of course it dealt with God’s dietary food laws. And God’s dietary food laws, we know that they’re outlined in Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy 14. And in those instructions many come up with an interesting idea. They think that those food laws are for Jews only. Well, are they? Are the food laws given by God for Jews only?
Well, that’s an important question that we need to think about. Now we did address that in the program and showed how the New Testament church–especially through Peter’s vision–certainly kept those dietary food laws. But many discount that and say, “Well, if you’re a Jew you should do it, but if you’re not, you have to ignore it because of Christ’s sacrifice.”
Well, is there a place that we can go to for more information that gives us an indication whether or not those laws were really just for the Jews or it’s something that we better be concerned about as well?
Well you might be surprised to find where you can find information, where you can find that indication that’s not just for Jews, but for everyone. And you know where you can find that? All the way back at the beginning of the Bible in the story that I’m sure you’re familiar with. It’s the story of Noah.
In the story of Noah–it’s all the way back, Genesis chapter 6 where God says Noah found grace in His sight, He’s going to destroy civilization, and He’s going to use Noah. We know the story. He builds an ark and He’s supposed to take animals into that ark. Now, what animals did He take into the ark? Well, we know that he took at least two kinds–the only two kinds there were–clean and unclean. How do we know that? Well in verse 2 of chapter 7, here’s God’s instructions, He says to Noah, “You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and it’s female, two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female” (Genesis 7:2 Genesis 7:2Of every clean beast you shall take to you by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
American King James Version×).
So what did we find? We find seven pairs of clean animals, two pairs of unclean animals. In fact, most have a misconception that he just took the animals two by two and they were all the same. But they’re not. He took more clean animals than unclean animals. We find a little bit later in verse 9, two by two they went into the ark (Genesis 7:9 Genesis 7:9There went in two and two to Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah.
American King James Version×).
Now, how did Noah know the difference between these things? You see, think about the timing of the story of Noah. Were there a Jewish people at this time? There wasn’t. This is long before the Jewish people, long before Israel, long before Abraham. So here we are with the designation of clean and unclean animals long before the Old Covenant, long before the Abrahamic Covenant. And so you cannot discount God’s dietary food laws and say, well, that’s an Old Covenant thing, because obviously this distinction existed long before the Jewish people. This distinction was something that was right there from creation. And so no one knew the difference because God had already instructed him. He was already keeping God’s dietary food laws so he understood.
In fact when you look through Genesis 6, Genesis 7 God doesn’t tell him what the differences are between these different animals. He already knew it. He already knew it. And so that important distinction for Noah was obvious. And it should be obvious for us as well that God’s dietary food laws, they are not for Jews only. They are for all mankind because they help us to realize an important distinction that in our lives we have to make a distinction between what is holy, or clean, and what’s common, or unclean.
I hope that’s been helpful today. Thanks for joining us on BT Daily . We’ll see you next time.