Book: Beliefs and Doctrines of the New Testament Church

As Creator, God has provided not only plants but also animals to be food for mankind. However, God did not create all animal flesh to be eaten by human beings. Because God desires mankind to sustain good health, He has revealed to mankind which animal flesh He has specifically created for food. This knowledge was made known from creation as shown in the account of Noah and the Flood. In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, God clearly specified which meats are fit for human consumption and which are not. The classification of clean or unclean is easily identifiable by the characteristics that God created in the animals. Any warm-blooded mammal that has split hooves and chews the cud is clean to eat. All other warm-blooded animals are unclean. Of the creatures that live in the waters, only fish with fins and scales are clean to eat; all others are unclean. Of the fowl, God forbids eating the flesh of fowl that are scavengers. All reptiles are unclean, as are all insects except locusts, grasshoppers and certain beetles.

Contrary to the belief of many professing Christians, the New Testament does not nullify God’s laws of clean and unclean meats. The dispute between Jesus Christ and the Pharisees in Mark 7 was not about the eating of clean or unclean meats. Rather, it concerned His disciples’ eating food with unwashed hands. The vision that Peter saw which is recorded in Acts 10, was given to reveal that no human is to be called “common or unclean”. It was not a divine authorization to change God’s laws of clean and unclean meats.

The apostle Paul upheld the laws of clean and unclean meats as a requirement for Christians. He described the meats that Christians are permitted to eat as those “meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful, even by those who know the truth [the Word of God is Truth—John 17:17]” (I Tim. 4:3). Paul was clearly showing that some meats were created to be eaten, and others were not created to be eaten. Paul continued, “For every creature of God that He designated for human consumption is good, and nothing to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is sanctified [set apart] by the Word of God [as revealed in the Scriptures] and prayer” (verse 4).


Scriptural References

Lev. 11:1-31 Deut. 14:3-20 Mark 7:1-16
Acts 10:1-28 I Tim. 4:3-5 Isa. 66:17
Gen. 7:2; 8:20