ISRAEL AND THE FOOD LAWS

There are some who place an unhealthy emphasis the Hebrew Roots and attempt to impose the food laws on others. Yet, the food laws only applied to Israel under the Law. The food laws were not a universal command from God for everyone.

Notice the following from Deuteronomy 14:7:

Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore THEY ARE UNCLEAN UNTO YOU. (see verse 10 also)

Notice that God says to Israel, they are unclean to you. They were unclean to the Israelites, not to God. God gave Israel the food laws for various reasons:

  • to separate them from the other nations
  • to teach them the difference from clean and unclean
  • for the purpose of the sacrifices and offerings.

In scripture there were things which were universally forbidden such as sexual sins, because such things are an abomination to God. On the other hand, there were things that were forbidden for Israel only because they were to be separated from all other nations. However, not everything Israel was commanded to do was a sin in God’s eyes for other nations.

Now notice verse 21 from the same context as the scripture provided above:

Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself: THOU SHALT GIVE IT UNTO THE STRANGER that is in thy gates, THAT HE MAY EAT IT; or thou mayest SELL IT TO AN ALIEN: for thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

That which was unclean for the people of Israel was allowed to be food provision for the stranger within their gates and as food that could be purchased by an outsider.

The food Laws given to Israel under the Law were never imposed on people of other nations. In fact, it would be against the Law of Moses to impose the Jewish food Laws upon non Jews because the Law itself allowed those outside the nation of Israel to eat that which the Jews were not allowed to eat.

The food laws applied only to the Israelites because Israel was to be distinct from all other nations.

In Jesus Christ the separating wall between Israel and all other nations has been taken away (Ephesians 2:14-15). The food laws no longer have any relevance with regards to being separated as the people of God. In Acts 10 God gave the apostle Peter a vision of many animals that were forbidden for Jews under the Law. God told Peter to “arise, kill and eat.”

In Christ, God had removed the separating wall and the same salvation which had come to the Jews is also offered to the Gentiles.

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