What They Don't Teach You at Church

Resources for those seeking a closer relationship with the God of the Bible.

Eating Clean

Posted By on February 27, 2012

A scriptural and practical guide – IN PROGRESS – check back periodically for updates!

**Passover / Unleavened Bread thoughts coming soon!!

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to the Most High: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. (Acts 15:19-21)

These instructions were provided by the church in Jerusalem, led by James (Ya’aqob) the brother of Yashayah, to new believers throughout the Roman world. Many churches today seem to teach that this is all that’s required, but that’s not so. We see from verse 21 that these are only the foundation, the essentials and absolutes, from which a deep lifestyle change could begin. For Gentiles, many of whom came out of sun worship, these were the beginnings of walking in truth. The reference to Moses shows that converts were expected to be in the synagogue each sabbath day, hearing and learning the Torah. Over the course of a year, they would hear all of the instructions from what we now call the first five books of the “Old Testament” — the Torah.

Sadly, even these fundamentals are not taught in churches today. While evangelicals routinely preach against fornication, they rarely warn against eating blood. They portray this as a warning only against drinking a cup of blood; but the scriptural foundation clearly prohibits eating meat that still has the blood in it — it isn’t fully cooked. “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” (Genesis 9:4)

A little over five years ago, I decided to eat a “scripturally clean” diet. My motivation was selfish — I have a family history of heart disease, and am approaching the age where I needed to confront that reality. So my motivation was as much health as spiritual. Pork is the best well known prohibition, and what of it that I was eating — bacon, ham, pepperoni — was obviously unhealthy. At the same time, I gave up unclean seafood: catfish, shrimp, crab, oysters, crawfish. Growing up in South Louisiana, these had been favorites. It wasn’t easy at first, but I’m glad I did it. The results were surprising – and now, my tastes have changed.

Since I was a young child, I had always suffered with sinuses. 2009, when I started eating clean, was the first summer I can ever remember when I wasn’t wiped out with allergies, or doped up on antihistamines, or both. While eating unclean, I had been diagnosed with asthma, and needed antibiotics for recurring sinus infections several times a year. After I changed my diet, not only was I able to sleep with the windows open, I threw away the inhaler and sinus pills. Last year I went to see my doctor for a checkup. She asked why she hadn’t seen me in so long — then told me that I had lost twenty pounds, and my blood pressure had dropped from “borderline high” to “solidly normal”. When I think back to how needlessly miserable I had been for so many summers… The improvement has held for five years now. What a blessing!

But I’ve also found that while the principles of a clean diet are simple, our twenty-first century world has made eating clean much more difficult than it should be. Technically, I don’t eat a “Kosher” diet, as that requires extra precaution added by the rabbis, rather than just what’s in scripture. For the most part, anything certified Kosher should also be scripturally clean (with a couple of notable exceptions); but some things are “clean” that do not qualify as Kosher according to the rabbis. For a practical guide to eating clean, let’s look at the scriptural instructions related to diet, and what traps are in our modern food supply.

BLOOD

And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. (Leviticus 17:10-14)

We looked at the prohibition against eating blood in Genesis, and this passage in Leviticus is only one of several places where it is repeated. Drain the blood before cooking, and cook meat thoroughly. And just in case you thought this was “just for the Jews”, consider yourself a stranger sojourning among Yah’s people.

FAT

It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood. (Leviticus 3:17)  Science has finally figured out what scripture told us thousands of years ago. Fat isn’t good for us, so trim as much as you can before cooking.

SICK/DEAD

And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger, he shall both wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even: then shall he be clean. But if he wash them not, nor bathe his flesh; then he shall bear his iniquity. (Leviticus 17:15,16)

The dangers of meat from animals that died of disease are obvious enough that American law also prohibits using “downed” cattle for beef. Similar logic applies with carcasses killed by other animals (or other means), and left to rot, so avoid roadkill.

LAND ANIMALS

And Yah spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, ‘These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare (rabbit), because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the swine (pig), though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you. (Leviticus 11:1-8)

Cows, deer, antelope, buffalo are all fair game.

SEAFOOD

These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. (Leviticus 11:9-12)

Clean: Most fish.

Not clean: Catfish, Eel, Dolphin, Frog, Turtle, Alligator, Crocodile, Jellyfish, Shellfish.

BIRDS

And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, and the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. (Leviticus 11:13-20)

Clean: Chicken, Turkey, Duck, Cornish Hens.

Some say duck isn’t allowed, because they consider it to be “after the kind” of the swan. But Leviticus doesn’t prohibit “after its kind” for the swan – only the swan.

BUGS

Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you. (Leviticus 11:21-23)

While most of us don’t eat bugs, this shows that John the Baptist’s locust diet was in line with Yah’s instructions; and the details become important later in the study when we look at food additives (“natural flavors”) allowed by the FDA.

And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten. Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination. Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. For I am Yah your Elohim: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am Yah that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your Elohim: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten. (Leviticus 11:41-47)

Does your church make a distinction between the unclean and the clean? Does it encourage YOU to be set apart (holy), as your Creator is?

MEAT WITH DAIRY

The instructions in Leviticus are repeated in Deuteronomy 14, along with this little gem: “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.” (v21b) This commandment, not to boil a young goat in it’s mother’s milk, has been interpreted by the Rabbis to mean that meat and dairy should not be eaten at the same meal. It’s fine if you want to keep them separate, but I don’t see how the plain meaning of this verse precludes (clean) cheese on your burger.

So that’s the basics, and a great place to start. From here, things get a little more complicated…

CHEESE

Milk needs enzymes to turn into cheese. Those used to come from (beef) calves stomachs, but those are in short supply, so they started using swine (pig) stomachs. Recently, “microbial rennet” has become popular – in part because of people wanting to avoid pork. Is “microbial rennet” clean? That’s not clear to me – I don’t see microbes listed in Leviticus, but they are scavengers. Then again, so is yeast… It isn’t easy to tell whether your favorite cheese is made with pork enzymes – the ingredients list usually just say “enzymes”, unless the cheese is certified Kosher (which is typically much more expensive). Lists like these are a great place to start, but are difficult to keep current: http://www.theisraelofgodrc.com/CUPL.html#Dairy

And don’t forget the cheese in your favorite snack foods – we were disappointed to learn that the “Spicy Doritos” are made with pork enzymes.

GELATIN

Gelatin shows up almost *everywhere*. Read labels carefully – I was shocked when I found it in granola bars. And your frosted shredded wheat? Frosted with sugar and boiled pig bones. Marshmallows, too! Even the capsules for your vitamins and medicine. Have a look at what gelatin is, where it comes from, and how its processed – it was enough to make my kids stop eating it, too!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelatin

FOOD SACRIFICED TO IDOLS

I used to think that we no longer had to worry about food sacrificed to idols, believing that was a thing of the past. Unfortunately, that isn’t so. With the growing influence of Islam, many stores and restaurants now offer food certified Halal. For fruits, grains, and vegetables, this simply means that they are kept pure in much the same way as a Kosher certification. You will even find vegetarian products that are certified both Kosher and Halal. But it’s different with meat (and other animal products, like gelatin):

The food must come from a supplier that uses halal practices. Specifically, the slaughter must be performed by a Muslim, who must precede the slaughter by invoking the name of Allah, most commonly by saying “Bismillah” (“In the name of Allah”) and then three times “Allahu akbar” (Allah is the greatest). Then, the animal must be slaughtered with a sharp knife by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck (while the animal is conscious), causing the animal’s death without cutting the spinal cord. Lastly, the blood from the veins must be drained.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halal as of 26-January-2014

Animal products certified Halal come from animals that were sacrificed to Allah, an idol.

In addition to the instructions to new believers found in Acts 15, we find two additional warnings against these things in Revelation 2, the letters to the churches:

But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.” (Revelation 2:14)

Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” (Revelation 2:20)


Comments

One Response to “Eating Clean”

  1. M Ross says:

    A MASSIVE THANK YOU…. Was so Shocked to read of people calling Crustaceans Kosher. I am sure if a Rabbi saw that, his Kappa would spin OFF his Head!!!!

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