What Does The Bible Say About Meat Consumption
When God creates the world in seven days in the Old Testaments book of Genesis, we can clearly understand His intentions: God said, See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit you shall have them for sustenance. And I have given every green plant for food to every beast of the earth, every bird of the air, and everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life.
God designed the earth vegan, explains Christian scholar Simon Kittle. And it is this vegan world that God then declares to be very good .
From a biblical perspective, the concept of eating anything other than plants by any animalhuman or otherwise first entered the planet after The Fall, Christian Vegetarians & Vegans UK explains. That should certainly convey something to the reader.
Animals were only allowed to be eaten after the Flood, when God washed away the sinful earth. So, with Gods blessing, are we to eat animals? Genesis 9:3-6, according to Rabbi Marc Gellman: This verse demonstrates the biblical notion that eating meat is a lamentable concession to human weakness, not a virtue, in Gods eyes.
These verses are best viewed in light of the overall theme of peace, which is, of course, personified in the person of Jesus Christ, Kittle says. The Bible makes it plain that Jesus actively, albeit nonviolently, fought oppression and evil at every turn.
The Bible’s Stance On Eating Meat May Surprise You
Q: I have an ongoing problem because I’m living as a hypocrite. I’m an animal lover but I eat meat. I don’t eat veal or lamb because they are from young animals, but I eat meat, fish, fowl and eggs. Is there anything in the Bible that refers to this or to Christ’s personal practice? Did Jesus eat meat? I’m aware that I’m looking for absolution for eating meat, but I can’t get rid of this conflict in my mind. As I say, it is hypocritical. I would never hunt or fish, but I eat what someone else kills to put meat on my table. Is killing and eating animals a sin in the eyes of God or Jesus? What would Jesus have said? — From L
P.S. I contribute to many animal groups, especially to help farm animals and to ban dog racing, etc., but it doesn’t erase the guilt.
A: In Genesis 1:29 God speaks to Adam,
“And God 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.”
In the second chapter of Genesis vegetarianism is re-affirmed as people’s spiritually proper diet. However, one tree in the Garden of Eden bore forbidden fruit,
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
Debate Over Ceremonial Cleansing
Another often-misunderstood passage is And he said to them, Are you so without understanding also? Do you not perceive, that whatever thing from without enters into the man, it cannot defile him Because it enters not into his heart, but into the belly, and goes out into the draught, purging all meats?American King James Version×was unwashed hands, not which meats could be eaten. The purification of food referred to the way the body’s digestive process eliminates minor impurities such as those that might be present from eating with unwashed hands.
The Pharisees, like Jesus and His disciples, ate only meat the Scriptures specified as clean. They objected, however, when Jesus and His disciples did not go through the Pharisees’ customary ritual of meticulously washing their hands before eating.
Jesus, whose hands were sufficiently clean for eating, even if not clean enough to meet the Pharisees’ humanly devised standardsexplained that the human body was designed to handle any small particles of dust or dirt that might enter it due to handling food with hands that hadn’t been ritually washed. He further suggested that, if the Pharisees were serious about wanting to obey God, they needed to revise their priorities. Cleansing one’s thoughts, He said, is eminently more spiritually important than washing one’s hands .
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What Does The New Testament Say About Eating Animals
From the Garden of Edena peaceful place where animals are not eatento the meaning of dominionism, to the biblical controversy over which animals can and cannot be eaten, the Bible includes many passages and teachings about animals. Inevitably, this creates much discussion amongst people of faith today about whator whothey should and shouldnt eat. So, what does the New Testament say about eating animals?
What The Bible Says About Eating Pig
Bible Gateway Leviticus 11 :: NIV. You may eat any animal that has a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud. And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses they are unclean for you.
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Can Christians Eat Shellfish
The prohibition of Leviticus 11 extends beyond swine to other animals from air and land -to even certain seafood including shellfish and other animals regarded as unclean.
Heres a partial list of unclean animals:
The camel, rock badger, rabbit, vultures, kites and buzzards, owls, hawks and cormorants, storks, herons and bats.
Also certain insects. The Bible prohibits certain insects. That means it allows certain others. Ive never been too excited about eating insects.
And snakes. Snakes? SNAKES?
To be honest, I dont find many of these animals very appealing for any of my eating plans. Do you?
Food Controversy In The Church
When reading through the New Testament, we do find references to a controversy in the early Church involving food. However, an examination of the Scriptures reveals the issue to be different from what many assume.
In 1 Corinthians 8 the apostle Paul discussed “the eating of things offered to idols” . Why was this an issue?
“Meat was often sacrificed on pagan altars and dedicated to pagan gods in Paul’s day. Later this meat was offered for sale in the public meat markets. Some Christians wondered if it were morally right for Christians to eat such meat that had previously been sacrificed to pagan gods” .
It is interesting, though not conclusive, to note that in Acts 14:13Acts 14:13Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.American King James Version×, the only passage in which the type of animal sacrificed to idols is mentioned, it was oxenclean animalsthat were about to be offered.
This controversy was not over the kinds of meat that should be eaten. Obedient Jews of the day, in accordance with God’s instruction, did not consider unclean meat even to be a possible source of food. Instead, the controversy dealt with the conscience of each believer when it came to eating meatclean meatthat may have been sacrificed to idols.
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How Did Moses Know About Pork And Shellfish
Moses grew up in the house of Pharaoh and was raised as a prince of Pharaoh. He was well-schooled in the ways of the Egyptians and raised as an heir to the Egyptian throne.
Their medical practices included treating an open wound from a splinter by mixing worm blood with donkey dung and applying it to the affected area.
Knowing modern medical knowledge today, how do you think that preparation worked out for the ancient Egyptians?
How then did Moses know to institute washing with waterthen a radical idea- unless he learned it from- shall we say- a higher source?
Moses methods are consistent with modern medical technologyin fact his practices were nearly 4000 years ahead of their time.
Modern man didnt even understand the benefits of these laws until at least the late 19th and 20th centuries.
How many people suffered through the last 4000 years without knowing that help was so near? So near as the pages of the Bible?
Why- if Moses had all this Egyptian knowledge- did he not include it in the Bible Law also known as the Mosaic Law?
Instead, he displayed knowledge of diet and health -4000 years ahead of mans technology.
The book None of These Diseases chronicles these differences and shows how the Jewish people who followed these Biblical dietary laws from the time of Moses, lived longer, healthier and happier lives- in many different locales- than people from the same areas who did not observe the same practices.
The Biblical Dietary Laws Are Mostly Ignored Today But Were There Reasons For God Calling Certain Animals Unclean Did Jesus Eat Pork And Shellfish
Eat This, Not That! is a multimedia company that educates people on making wise eating choices. Though the Bible isnt a book about diet, there is an entire chapter in the Old Testament that could be labeled the Bibles version of Eat This, Not That.
Leviticus 11 devotes 47 verses to help us make a distinction between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten . Additional guidance is also given in Deuteronomy 14. The Bible labels these clean and unclean meats.
Heres an overview of what Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 teach us:
- Clean mammals have a divided hoof and chew their cud. This means animals like cattle, goats and deer were created to be eaten, but mammals like pigs and rodents were not.
- Clean fish have fins and scales. This means fish like cod, salmon, trout and tuna are fine for human consumption, but other water creatures like lobsters, shrimp, crab and catfish are not.
- Clean birds include chicken, turkey, duck and quail. Unclean birds include vultures, seagulls, hawks and eagles.
Unfortunately, most people completely ignore these dietary laws. They are usually seen as ancient Jewish ceremonial laws that are not relevant today.
Why is it that most people who profess the Bible as their guide have no problem eating a pepperoni pizza, pork chops or a shrimp cocktail? Did Jesus eat those meats when He walked the earth 2,000 years ago?
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What Does The New Testament Say About Eating Pork
There is nothing that specifically mentions pork by name, but the closest reference we have is the vision of Peter where he is told to “Rise, kill and eat.”
The New Testament does not impose any restrictions on eating pork.
Let us not forget that Jesus is come not abolish the Old Law but to fulfil them.
Let us not forget that the Old Testament says pork is unclean and not fit for eating: “And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.” Deuteronomy 14:8
Thoughts On Is Eating Pork Unclean
Fabricio,I appreciate your comment, and your question is the reason we posted this article. While in Isaiah, God was referring to those who were unclean , Jesus came to fulfill the law. The New Testament clearly teaches that those who are in Christ are no longer bound to the ceremonial law of Moses. A clear example is in Acts 15 in which the *believing* Pharisees said, It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses. To this, Luke records that the apostles replied: For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell. Pork is not listed. As recorded in Acts 10-11, Peter is even confronted by God and told to kill and eat things that Peter considered unclean, but that God said He had cleansed. The ceremonial law, while a beautiful and meaningful shadow of things to come, is over. We are clean because of Christ, not because of what we eat or do not eat.Thanks for your feedback! Hope to see you at the farm some time!Jerica
But why did God declare pork unclean in Deuteronomy and Leviticus? Im trying to understand the spiritual reason behind it.
Good article! Another verse that Ive always liked that applies here: Colossians 2:13-16.
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What Does The New Testament Say About Animals
The Bible is filled with contradictory messages about animals, and in the New Testament, humans hierarchical dominion over animals continues to be taught:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore you are of more value than many sparrows.
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!
What New Testament Passage Gives Christians Permission To Eat Pork And Other Foods Formerly Forbidden Of Jews
While the Jews were subject to various food laws, forbidding to eat several types of food , the Christian is under no such restriction today.
Note the following texts:
Matthew 15:17-20Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. KJV
1 Timothy 4:1-5Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils Speaking lies in hypocrisy having their conscience seared with a hot iron Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. KJV
You might read some of the other questions on this site that deal with the doing away of the Old Law.
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Some People Believe That Certain New Testament Scriptures Remove All Distinctions Between Clean And Unclean Meats But What Do These Passages Really Say
Most theologians assume that God’s laws regarding clean and unclean meats ended at Christ’s crucifixion. They suppose that the New Covenant removes the need for Christians to keep such laws. But is that what the Bible says?
The administrative change from the Levitical priesthood to the ministry of Jesus Christ did not void God’s expectations that His people obey His law of clean and unclean meats as part of their sanctification, or separation, as people of God . Peter and Paul both speak of the continuing need for God’s people to be holy .
Some Bible scholars acknowledge that members of the early Church continued to observe the distinctions between clean and unclean meats. However, because of the common misconception that the New Covenant abolishes much of God’s law, many assume these food requirements were simply Jewish cultural practices that continued until the Church became more gentile in composition and outlook. Such preconceived ideas have influenced interpretations of many New Testament passages. In theological circles this is known as eisegesis, or reading one’s own ideas into Scripture.
Let’s examine the New Testament passages dealing with food. As we do that let’s practice exegesisdrawing meaning out of Scripture by seeking a thorough understanding of the background of a passage as we seek to apply it.
What Did Jesus Say About Christians Eating Pork
In Acts 10:9-16 Peter a Jewish disciple of Christ- received a vision from God that he was no longer supposed to reject certain animals for food on a religious basis:
9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds.13 Then a voice told him, Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.
14 Surely not, Lord! Peter replied. I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
I knew that when Jesus came and died and rose again, he paid the price for all of our sins and that we were no longer under the law.
This meant our salvation was not by the works of the lawfor by grace you are saved through faith and this is not from yourselves, itis the gift of God it is not from works, so that no one can boast- .
These are more good New Testament verses that support the idea that the Christian is free of the Old Testament Laws:
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