Clean and Unclean - The Mosaic Dietary Laws

What Should a Follower Eat?

One of the common statements made by "feast keepers" of today is that "The clean and unclean did not start with the Law of Moses." What they are referring to of course is Yahuwah's command to Noach to take two of each unclean animal and seven of each clean animal aboard the ark. This command is considered to be solid proof that the dietary laws of clean/unclean were in effect prior to the Law of Mosheh, just like the shabbath, and therefore must be obeyed now.

Yahuwah did make that statement to Noach (B'ereshiyth [Genesis] 7:2) but there are several important things overlooked by the adherents of this dogma in making it a rule for today.

    B'ereshiyth 7:2 Of every clean beast you shall take to you by sevens, the male and the female, and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and the female.

Note that in the very next verse, B'ereshiyth 7:3, Yahuwah tells Noach, "Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female, to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth." In verse two, the CLEAN animals were boarded by sevens, and in verse three ALL birds are boarded by sevens. Significant? Also He makes absolutely no distinction between any fowl being clean or unclean here, yet in the Law of Mosheh's dietary restriction as given in Wayiqra (Leviticus) chapter eleven, certain birds, mostly flesh and fish eaters, rank very high in things that are unclean.

    Wayiqra (Leviticus) 11:13-20 And these are they which you shall have in abomination among the fowls, they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination. The eagle, and the vulture, and the osprey, {14} and the kite, and the hawk after his kind. {15} Every raven after his kind {16} and the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckoo, and the falcon after his kind, {17} and the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, {18} and the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, {19} and the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. {20} All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination to you.

If the clean/unclean restriction was applied to animals at the time of the Deluge, wouldn't you think it would have been applied to the fowl also?

Another major problem with this clean/unclean food dietary restriction being in place prior to the Law of Mosheh is B'ereshiyth 1:29-30. The Law of Mosheh did not become law until after the Yisra'eliy had been in the desert for awhile during the exodus from Mitsrayim, and that was a LONG time after the deluge. You can see in Shemot (Exodus) 24:8 that when Mosheh sprinkled the book and the people with the blood of the bulls and goats, the law bearing his name was put into force. Yet long before that event, during creation, the Elohiym made known the diet of all creatures.

    B'ereshiyth 1:29-30 And Elohiym said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food. {30} And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creeps upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so.

According to this passage, and I certainly believe it, all creatures on the earth immediately following the creation were vegetarians. (This is what some erroneously call the "Edenic Diet.") Since this is the case, how could any animal at that time be considered unclean for food purposes?

Flesh was not included in the diet of mankind until AFTER the deluge. Prior to that, animals did not have the inherent fear of man that they exhibit today either, because man was not a predator who was looking at them as food and counting the number of steaks they could get out of their bodies. After that time, you know the story. Adult animals have the fear of man in them and will normally avoid any meetings or interactions with us, except to kill us if they get a chance.

    B'ereshiyth 9:1-5 And Elohiym blessed Noach and his sons, and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. {2} And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moves upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. {3} Every (emphasis added) moving thing that lives shall be food for you, even as the green herb I have given you all things. {4} But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, you shall not eat. {5} And surely your blood of your lives I will require. At the hand of every beast I will require it and at the hand of man. At the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man."

All mentions of dietary laws after Shemot (Exodus) and before Acts fall under the Law of Mosheh.

The next area these adherents of the dietary laws go to for support is in the Greek scripture, which they erroneously call the New Testament. The New Testament came into force with blood just as did the Law of Mosheh. Only this "new testament" was dedicated with the blood of the Son of Yahuwah. That event occurred at His death.

A passage of Greek scripture used as support is 2 Korinthios (Corinthians) 6:17. It is very plain in that it says to be separate and NOT touch the unclean thing. This is not just good advice, it is a requirement that Yahuwah has put on fellowship with Him. Honest scholarship will show that the unclean thing meant is any idol or system of worship of pagan elohiym. This passage is not talking about food at all. This is evident when verses 14-16 are included in the passage in order to establish correct context.

When Keph (Peter) had the vision in Acts 10:14, he of course made the statement that nothing unclean had ever passed his lips. He WAS speaking of the foods listed as unclean in the Law of Mosheh. He was a Yahudiy and had obeyed that part of the law all of his life as was required of him. He shows here that he was not yet up to speed on all the freedom that had been granted by grace. This same ignorance about the law was demonstrated in other places too, such as in Galates (Galatians) 2:11-14. He did find out though, as he states very plainly in verse twenty-seven.

Note that in Acts when Keph had refused foods that he considered unclean because of the Law of Mosheh, he is also saying that he considered men who were not Yahudiy as unclean also. Now men were never mentioned as being an unclean food, yet Keph calls Gentiles unclean. Yahuwah's statement makes no distinction between food and mankind when He said that He makes things clean and unclean and Keph applied it to men when talking to Kornelios. Yahuwah also said very clearly that Keph was to listen to what He had to say instead of assigning that characteristic to anything, food or people, by himself.

Keph was with Yahushua throughout His ministry and I am also sure that Yahushua never ate anything that was considered unclean in the Law of Mosheh either. There is very good reason for this. The Law of Mosheh was in full force until Yahushua died. He was bound to obey it too, and did, just as were all of His disciples who also did. Yet Yahushua made some very plain statements concerning what enters the body and what the expected results are. (Markos 7:18-19)

Some of these people say that all of the animals on the unclean list are scavengers and it therefore makes good sense to avoid eating them. This is not true. Most of the animals are scavengers, but not ALL. This also true of the birds. Some of them do scavenge, but not all.

Take a look at what a camel eats. Are they scavengers? Conies and hares are vegetarians too, living on grasses and seeds. Do owls and swans scavenge? No way. No scavengers these.

While I agree with these people that eating an animal that is a scavenger would appear to be detrimental to your health, this rule seems to not apply to some of their favorite dishes. These same people have no problem eating chicken any way it is prepared. Chickens are NOT on the list, but a more foul bird you will never find. They eat anything, including each other, dead or alive. When was the last time you ate at KFC or Popeye's?

Some Greek scriptural passages that refute the clean/unclean dietary requirements.

    1 Timotheos 4:1-5 Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; {2} Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; {3} Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods, which Yahuwah has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. {4} For every creature of Yahuwah is good, and nothing to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving, {5} for it is cleansed by the word of Yahuwah and prayer.

(The word every in this verse is from the Greek pas and is an all inclusive word. It leaves out nothing.)

    Rhomaios 14:1-3 He that is weak in the faith you receive, but not to doubtful disputations. {2} For one believes that he may eat all things. Another, who is weak, eats vegetables. {3} Do not let him that eats despise him that does not eat and do not let him which does not eat judge him that eats, for Yahuwah has received him.

    Rhomaios 14:14-15 I know, and am persuaded by the Master Yahushua, that there is nothing unclean of itself, but to him that thinks anything is unclean, to him it is unclean. {15} But if your brother is upset with your food, you are not walking in love. Do not destroy him with your food, for whom the Anointed died. {16} Do not let your good be evil spoken of, {17} for the kingdom of Yahuwah is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Sacred Spirit.

Related Article:
The Dietary Laws of Mosheh and the Christian

C.F. Castleberry