If you have a car, do you put good quality oil and gas into it? Or bad quality oil and gas? It is kind of a silly question, because most of us realize that if we are not careful to put only good stuff into a car, it won’t run right. We have to keep the air filter clean, to keep dust and smoke out of the inner workings of the car; and if we don’t treat our car this way, then at some point we will probably have to take it into a shop, and pay a lot of money to have someone to tear the car open, and fix it. This is just common sense. But if this is common sense with a car, then why don’t we get that the same rules apply to our bodies?
Unlike a car, we only get one body our whole life. Why would we not take the best care of it we can, especially when we stop to realize that our bodies are temporarily the temple of the living Elohim (G-d)?
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 6:19-20
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Set-apart Spirit who is in you, whom you have from Elohim, and you are not your own?
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify Elohim in your body and in your spirit, which are Elohim’s.
As we explain elsewhere, there will come a time, after the Ingathering, when Yahweh’s temple will be rebuilt, and the temple sacrifices will resume. And in that day, should we bring anything but our finest food and drink offerings into Yahweh’s temple? Or should we pollute the air with smoke?
You know, it is easy to get caught up in the hurried pace of modern life, to the point that we forget what is important. As we explain elsewhere, it was important for Qayin (Cain) and Hevel (Abel) to offer the first and the finest of their offerings unto Yahweh. Hevel did this, but Qayin did not; and this landed him into disfavor with Elohim.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 4:3-7
3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Qayin brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to Yahweh.
4 Hevel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And Yahweh respected Hevel and his offering,
5 but He did not respect Qayin and his offering. And Qayin was very angry, and his countenance fell.
6 So Yahweh said to Qayin, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
As we explain in other places, the main issue was that Hevel brought Yahweh the first and finest of his flock, truly honoring Yahweh in his heart, while Qayin just brought Yahweh “an” offering. Like any parent, Yahweh looks on the heart. If you can tell when your child did something with a heart that is really trying to please you, versus just doing something because you told him to, then we can understand how Yahweh looks on the concept of sacrifice and offering. The same concept shows up in Malachi, where our forefathers brought sickly offerings unto Yahweh.
6 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. (But) if then I am the Father, where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? says Yahweh of hosts to you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’
7 “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of Yahweh is contemptible.’
8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says Yahweh of hosts.
Scripture tells us that Yahweh is One, and this is a much bigger concept than many of us realize.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 6:4
4 “Hear, O Israel: Yahweh our Elohim, Yahweh is One!”
If we take a step back for a moment, can we see that with Yahweh, everything is all one thing? A man and his wife are one flesh. We are to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. We are His body, and our bodies presently serve as His temple. Even after the physical temple is rebuilt, it will still be important to keep our physical bodies as clean and as healthy as we can, so we can serve Him better. And one way we can do that is to bring only of the first and finest into His temple (and keep the pollutants out), so as to honor Him. If we will do this, it will set us on a right spiritual foundation for physical health and healing.
It helps to realize that the English word “holy” is based on the Hebrew root word “qadash.” It refers to being both ceremonially and morally “clean.”
OT:6942 qadash (kaw-dash’); a primitive root; to be (causatively, make, pronounce or observe as) clean (ceremonially or morally):
Another thing that helps is to realize that Yahweh is ceremonially and morally “clean” to the third power.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 4:8
8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Clean, clean, clean (is) Yahweh Elohim El Shaddai, Who was, and is, and is to come!”
If we take the tabernacle as the model, we can draw some important parallels. First there was the area inside the camp of Israel, but outside of the tabernacle courtyard. This area was clean as compared to the outside world, but still not really “qadash.” Then there was the area inside the courtyard, which was one level of qadash. Then there was the “Holy place,” which was two levels of qadash. Finally there was the “Holy of holies,” where Yahweh dwelt above the Ark of the Covenant. This was three levels of qadash. Everything that came into this “Holy of holies” (the “qodesh qodeshim”) had to be qadash to the third degree.
Nadab and Abihu were sons of Aharon the High Priest. They had even gone up on the mountain with Moshe (Moses); yet when they brought “profane fire” before Yahweh, Yahweh sent fire to devour them.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 10:1-3
1 Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aharon, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before Yahweh, which He had not commanded them.
2 So fire went out from Yahweh and devoured them, and they died before Yahweh.
3 And Moshe said to Aharon, “This is what Yahweh spoke, saying: ‘By those who come near Me I must be regarded as clean (“holy”); And before all the people I must be glorified.'” So Aharon held his peace.
Basically, Nadab and Abihu brought “impure stuff” into the tabernacle, and Yahweh killed them. Can we see the parallels to our own temples? If we bring pure food and drink into our temples, won’t Yahweh bless us? And if we bring “profane sacrifices” into our temples, won’t there be consequences? At the extreme we can think about the consequences of smoking, drinking, and drugging; yet we should also be able to see the consequences of eating foods laced with preservatives, chemicals, and genetically-modified organisms. These are not “pure foods,” according to Yahweh.
Let us remember that with Yahweh, everything is all one thing, and that the spiritual always serves as the foundation for the material manifestation. Later we will talk about how a woman’s womb is placed within her body much like the qodesh qodeshim was situated in the tabernacle. When a man approaches her “holy of holies,” it should be with the same kind of moral and ceremonial purity as the high priest approached Yahweh, so that only “qadash fire” is brought before the Almighty. From this kind of piety and sobriety come a multitude of blessings upon the subsequent fruit of her womb. “From pure beginnings come pure results.”
Now let’s take this to another level. As our forefathers used to say, “You are what you eat,” and this saying is altogether true. Just by eating the right foods (and for the right reasons) we can become healthier, happier, and more productive servants (and better witnesses for Yahweh Elohim Almighty). This might sound trite, but it is true.
At first, Adam and Havvah (Eve) were only allowed to eat plants, and not animals.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 1:29
29 And Elohim said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.”
One of the principles of Scripture analysis is that of the “first application,” or “first use.” The first time Adam and his wife are told what they can eat, they are told they can eat plants. There are arguments to be made in favor of eating these plants both raw and cooked (and the empirical data suggests that a combination of both may be best): but if we want to be healthy, then it seems clear that vegetation should be our primary food source. (We will talk about this more later.)
Originally, Yahweh created mankind to worship Him, and also to do good to other men. However, fallen men (i.e., the nephilim) began to corrupt themselves, taking wives of their own choosing (instead of listening for Yahweh to tell them who to marry). As a result, the earth became filled with violence, and Yahweh decided to destroy mankind on the earth. Yet He commanded His servant Noach (Noah) to preserve seven of the “clean” animals, and two of the “unclean” ones.
2 You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female;
|(2) מִכֹּל הַבְּהֵמָה הַטְּהוֹרָה תִּקַּח לְךָ שִׁבְעָה שִׁבְעָה אִישׁ וְאִשְׁתּוֹ | וּמִן הַבְּהֵמָה אֲשֶׁר לֹא טְהֹרָה הִוא שְׁנַיִם אִישׁ וְאִשְׁתּוֹ|
Scripture uses a different word for “clean” here. The word is not “qadash,” but “tahorah” (“tah-hore-ah”). The root of this word is “taher,” and it refers to something that Yahweh considers to be pure, unadulterated, and uncontaminated.
OT:2891 taher (taw-hare’); a primitive root; properly, to be bright; i.e. (by implication) to be pure (physical sound, clear, unadulterated; Levitically, uncontaminated; morally, innocent or holy):
After Yahweh delivered Noach and his family through the flood, Noach offered up offerings of all the clean animals to Yahweh; so Noach obviously knew the difference between clean and unclean animals.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 8:20
20 Then Noach built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
However, Yahweh then told Noach that he and his children could eat any living thing that moved.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 9:3
3 “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.”
This is the reason many non-Israelite peoples all over the world eat basically anything that moves. They are still operating under the instructions that Yahweh gave Noach and his children with regards to food. “Thou shalt eat anything that moves.”
Israel, however, is held to a higher standard. Yahweh expects His children to eat only “clean” foods, because He wants them to be a ritually “clean” people. The basic instructions are found in Leviticus 11. Verse 3 tells us that whatever animal has a divided (cloven) hoof, and chews the cud, that we may eat.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 11:1-3
1 Now Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them,
2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth:
3 Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud — that you may eat.
The cow, the sheep, and the goat are all clean animals. They all have a cloven hoof, and chew the cud. When they eat something, they “chew on it” for a while. Then they bring it back up, and “chew on it” some more. This process is called “rumination,” and it is how the clean animals extract the protein from the plants. They do not simply swallow food straight down, as pigs do. The spiritual implication is that they think about the things they are taught. They don’t just “believe anything.”
Another thing to notice about the clean animals is that they are also extremely picky about what they eat. They sniff everything before they eat it, and if anything smells tainted by manure, they won’t eat it. They will turn away. This is in contrast to pigs which will eat just about anything you put before them, and dogs, who will even eat their own feces. (Pigs and dogs are often used as euphemisms for those outside of Israel.)
The requirement to have a cloven hoof may refer to our walk. We are to completely separate ourselves from the world, and from those “believers” whose walk is unclean. Yahweh is thrice removed from the world, and if we want to be brought were He is, then we need to be uncontaminated. We cannot bring the firstlings of our flock (and of our finest) unto Yahweh when we do not walk in His footsteps. It just simply cannot happen. If we do not walk as He walked, then we will end up on a different path, and we will not end up where He is.
Yahweh then gives us a number of unclean animals we are not to eat. Either they do not ruminate, or they do not have a cloven hoof, or both. We are to avoid eating these animals.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 11:4-8
4 Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you;
5 the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you;
6 the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you;
7 and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you.
8 Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch. They are unclean to you.
Yahweh then tells us which of the fish we may eat, and not eat. Verse 9 tells us that we may eat whatever has fins and scales, and verse 10 tells us we may not eat anything that does not have fins and scales. While scholars disagree about how exactly to define “fins” and “scales,” in general we see that the bottom-feeders and the “garbage collectors” do not qualify as food. In other words, regular fish like salmon, trout and cod are good, while bottom-feeders, “filter fish,” and predators like sharks are not usually considered clean.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 11:9-12
9 ‘These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers — that you may eat.
10 But all in the seas or in the rivers that do not have fins and scales, all that move in the water or any living thing which is in the water, they are an abomination to you.
11 They shall be an abomination to you; you shall not eat their flesh, but you shall regard their carcasses as an abomination.
12 Whatever in the water does not have fins or scales — that shall be an abomination to you.
Similar rules apply for the birds. Fowl such as chicken and turkey (which eat vegetation and bugs) are okay to eat, while raptors and carnivorous predators such as eagles and hawks are not.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 11:13-19
13 ‘And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard,
14 the kite, and the falcon after its kind;
15 every raven after its kind,
16 the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind;
17 the little owl, the fisher owl, and the screech owl;
18 the white owl, the jackdaw, and the carrion vulture;
19 the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.
If we are willing to accept it, there are “spiritual values” to various animal beings. Yahweh does not want us to become “bottom feeders,” “filter fish,” “scum-suckers,” or predators, so we avoid eating them. Carnivores, raptors, and “vacuum cleaner” animals are not His will for us to consume.
Yahweh goes on to tell us some common-sense things, such as not to touch carcasses; and that if we handle a rotting animal carcass (such as something that was killed by beasts an unknown few days ago), they will be ritually unclean until evening.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 11:24-28
24 ‘By these you shall become unclean; whoever touches the carcass of any of them shall be unclean until evening;
25 whoever carries part of the carcass of any of them shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening:
26 The carcass of any animal which divides the foot, but is not cloven-hoofed or does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Everyone who touches it shall be unclean.
27 And whatever goes on its paws, among all kinds of animals that go on all fours, those are unclean to you. Whoever touches any such carcass shall be unclean until evening.
28 Whoever carries any such carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. It is unclean to you.
Some scholars believe Yahweh’s meaning is that if a priest kills a goat or a lamb in the temple, it does not make him ritually unclean (lest he be unable to serve in the temple). However, if the same priest were to be off duty, and his son hypothetically had a pet dog or cat, and that hypothetical pet dog or cat died, it would make him ritually unclean to take it outside, and bury it. He could not serve in the temple again until he bathed in water, and night fell. And although none of us are Levitical priests so long as we remain in the dispersion, there is a spiritual parallel for us today: we should avoid the carcasses of dead unclean animals. (This topic also begs some interesting questions about the spiritual implications of taking unclean animals into the family, as “virtual family members.”)
If Yahweh were to give the Torah today, He might also tell us not to eat “road kill,” or animals that have died in ways other than being purposefully dispatched, and then drained of blood. Some believe He would also tell us to avoid what the mainstream meat industry calls “downed animals,” which are animals that are so sick that they can no longer walk. These are routinely killed by the mainstream meat industry, and then sold to us for food.
Some also believe that if Yahweh gave us the Torah today, He might tell us only to eat organic, non-GMO, “outside access” foods, as that is what “clean” food looked like back when Yahweh gave us the Torah. In contrast, the mainstream meat industry routinely keeps animals locked three to a cage, such that they cannot even move. They are routinely fed contaminants and fillers, and are kept one step above sickness with daily doses of antibiotics. This is not really “clean, pure, or unadulterated,” and to bring these foods into our bodies is not really what one might call bringing the “first and finest” into Yahweh’s temple. Eating organic is very expensive, but like our earlier analogy with the car, many believe it leads to greater overall health, less sickness, and greatly reduced medical bills later on in life.
Genetically modified foods are now more common than not, and yet genetically modified foods routinely have the genes of unclean animals spliced into them. For one example, you can buy the milk of goats that has been spliced with spider’s genes, and mouse genes are spliced into many vegetables. Yahweh tells us not to eat these things, and that our food is unclean if these animals even touch our food, or our water.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 11:29-38
29 ‘These also shall be unclean to you among the creeping things that creep on the earth: the mole, the mouse, and the large lizard after its kind;
30 the gecko, the monitor lizard, the sand reptile, the sand lizard, and the chameleon.
31 These are unclean to you among all that creep. Whoever touches them when they are dead shall be unclean until evening.
32 Anything on which any of them falls, when they are dead shall be unclean, whether it is any item of wood or clothing or skin or sack, whatever item it is, in which any work is done, it must be put in water. And it shall be unclean until evening; then it shall be clean.
33 Any earthen vessel into which any of them falls you shall break; and whatever is in it shall be unclean:
34 in such a vessel, any edible food upon which water falls becomes unclean, and any drink that may be drunk from it becomes unclean.
35 And everything on which a part of any such carcass falls shall be unclean; whether it is an oven or cooking stove, it shall be broken down; for they are unclean, and shall be unclean to you.
36 Nevertheless a spring or a cistern, in which there is plenty of water, shall be clean, but whatever touches any such carcass becomes unclean.
37 And if a part of any such carcass falls on any planting seed which is to be sown, it remains clean.
38 But if water is put on the seed, and if a part of any such carcass falls on it, it becomes unclean to you.
Native Americans routinely fertilized seeds by planting a fish with them. This was a clean practice. However, we should never fertilize seeds by planting a pig with them, for that would be unclean.
Then in verses 39 and 40, Yahweh speaks again on the need not to eat meat that has been torn by beasts.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 11:39-40
39 ‘And if any animal which you may eat dies, he who touches its carcass shall be unclean until evening.
40 He who eats of its carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. He also who carries its carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening.
Verses 41-43 apply to genetically-modified foods; and finally Yahweh tells us to be clean, as He is clean.
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 11:29-38
41 ‘And every creeping thing that creeps on the earth shall be an abomination. It shall not be eaten.
42 Whatever crawls on its belly, whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet among all creeping things that creep on the earth — these you shall not eat, for they are an abomination.
43 You shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creeps; nor shall you make yourselves unclean with them, lest you be defiled by them.
44 For I am Yahweh your Elohim. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be clean (“holy”); for I am clean. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
45 For I am Yahweh who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your Elohim. You shall therefore be clean, for I am clean.
46 ‘This is the Torah of the animals and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth,
47 to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten.'”
So now that we understand a little more of Yahweh’s heart in the matter of clean and unclean foods, let us turn our attentions to some of the common teachings of our Christian brothers and sisters, who say it is now OK to “eat anything,” because of Yeshua’s sacrifice. Many of their doctrines are based on misunderstandings of the Book of Acts, and of the Apostle Shaul’s (Paul’s) writings. Let’s take a look at these passages in detail.
The Good News was first preached to devout, believing Jews. We know this, because the first non-Jew to be offered the faith was Cornelius, in Acts 10.
Cornelius was a devout man who feared Elohim, and who did good deeds towards the Jews. However, despite his good deeds, Cornelius had not converted to Judaism, and he was therefore reckoned as a “gentile.”
Ma’asei (Acts) 10:1-8
1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment,
2 a devout man and one who feared Elohim with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to Elohim always.
3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision a messenger of Elohim coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius !”
4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, master?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before Elohim.
5 Now send men to Yaffo (Joppa), and send for Shimon whose surname is Kepha (Peter).
6 He is lodging with Shimon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”
7 And when the messenger who spoke to him had departed, Cornelius called two of his household servants and a devout soldier from among those who waited on him continually.
8 So when he had explained all these things to them, he sent them to Yaffo.
Not only does Yahweh want us to avoid unclean foods, He wants us to avoid unclean people. Yet this does not mean we should never talk with non-believers, or that we should not witness to them: we should. Yet Kepha may not have understood this as he needed to, which is why Yahweh had to give him a vision, telling him that it was alright to go minister to non-Jews.
Ma’asei (Acts) 10:9-20
9 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Kepha went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour.
10 Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11 and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.
12 In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air.
13 And a voice came to him, “Arise, Kepha! Slay and eat!”
14 But Kepha said, “Not so, Master; for I have never eaten anything common, or unclean!”
15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What Elohim has cleansed you do not call common.”
16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.
17 Now while Kepha wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, behold, the men who had been sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate.
18 And they called and asked if Shimon, whose surname was Kepha, was lodging there.
19 While Kepha thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you.
20 Arise therefore, go down, and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.”
According to the church, this vision means that the Torah is done away with, and we can now eat all kinds of four-footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and any bird of the air we choose. They say it is as if Yahweh had said, “Thou shalt now eat anything.” Yet if we will just read eight more verses, we can see how Kepha tells us the vision meant that he was not to call any other man common, or “unclean.”
Ma’asei (Acts) 10:28
28 Then he said to them, “You know how it is unlawful for a Jewish man to keep company with, or go to one of another nation. But Elohim has shown me that I should not call any man common, or unclean.”
What is the meaning here?
Orthodox/Pharisaical Judaism holds that Jews must not break bread with non-Jews, because we become like those we walk with.
Mishle (Proverbs) 13:20
20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
Breaking bread and fellowshipping are extremely social activities, and it is hard not to become like those whose company we keep. However, even though we are not to be of the world, we are to be in it, and we need to go witness to others, if the Great Commission is to be carried out.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 28:18-20
18 And Yeshua came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, immersing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Set-apart Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”
So even though Scripture refers to those without Torah as “dogs” or “pigs,” Yahweh told Kepha not to think of them in that way, lest he be an ineffective minister. This is also the key to understanding Mark 7, which our Christian brothers and sisters also misinterpret.
Marqaus (Mark) 7:1-23
1 Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem.
2 Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.
3 For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders.
4 When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”
6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 For laying aside the commandment of Elohim, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of Elohim, that you may keep your tradition.
10 For Moshe said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’
11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Qorban” — ‘ (that is, a gift to Elohim),
12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother,
13 making the word of Elohim of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:
15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.
16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”
17 When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable.
18 So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him,
19 because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”
20 And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man.
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
The church interprets this passage to mean that Yeshua’s sacrifice did away with the Torah, and that we can now eat anything we want. However, that is not what Yeshua said. But in order to understand what He did say, we need to understand Jewish history.
Yahweh’s Torah tells us that the priests are to wash their hands and feet when they serve in the temple.
Shemote (Exodus) 30:18-21
18 “You shall also make a laver of bronze, with its base also of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. And you shall put water in it,
19 for Aharon and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet in water from it.
20 When they go into the tabernacle of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering made by fire to Yahweh, they shall wash with water, lest they die.
21 So they shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die. And it shall be a statute forever to them — to him and his descendants throughout their generations.”
When the Jews went into exile in Babylon, they were no longer able to serve in the temple. Perhaps out of the best of intentions, they tried to keep certain aspects of the temple services alive by adapting everything to their homes. A man’s home was now his temple, his table was his altar, his food was his sacrifice, and he serves as the “priest.” Even though he probably did not get blood on his hands from animal sacrifices in his own home, he still felt the need to ritually wash his hands in his home, in order to “do what of the Torah he could.” And in truth, if there is value in seeing ourselves as the temporary temple, there can also be much value in viewing one’s home as a temple of sorts. If we teach our children to approach each meal as a time to set ourselves apart unto Yahweh, a lot of good can result. (And isn’t this what we do, whenever we pray?)
Where the Pharisees/Orthodox go wrong is that they do not understand the need to leave Yahweh’s Torah alone. Instead, they believe Yahweh gave them the authority to “set Torah” for each generation; and thus they believe their “traditions of the elders” are legally binding upon all good practicing Jews. In fact, their law book, the Shulchan Aruch (“The Well Ordered Table”) is considered to be their highest written legal authority; yet Yahweh tells us very clearly not to add to His laws, lest we keep “our own Torah,” rather than His.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 4:2
2 “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim, which I command you.”
Not only do the Pharisees add to Yahweh’s laws, they even go so far as to replace them with their own man-made laws, which typically contradict what Yahweh’s law says to do. That is why Yahweh says to keep His word, so that we may keep the commandments of Yahweh our Elohim (rather than someone else’s laws).
And if it is ironic that the Jews should try to use their own words to replace the Father’s laws, it is even more ironic that the Christians should use the Son’s words to try to do away with the Father’s laws, when the Son said not to think He had come to change even the tiniest thing about the Father’s words, and that His Father’s Torah would last as long as heaven and earth.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 5:17-20
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
The Pharisees more-or-less kept Yahweh’s laws, but they did not do so for the right reasons, and it was precisely the importance of doing things for the right reasons that Yeshua was trying to get across to the people in Mark 7.
Marqaus (Mark) 7:14-16
14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand:
15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.
16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”
Food comes to us from without. If we end up eating pork by mistake, it is not the end of the world. We don’t need to throw up, or have our stomachs pumped. Yet if we eat ham because we do not care about Yahweh’s Torah, then we do have a problem, because it is not just our stomach that is polluted by unclean meat, but our hearts that are defiled by a lack of love for Yahweh: and that is a real problem.
There are many more passages that we could discuss, mostly in the writings of the Apostle Shaul. As we have already shown in other places, Shaul’s writings are easy to misunderstand, and Kepha tells us that there were those in his day who were twisting Shaul’s words, and the rest of Scripture, to their own destruction.
Kepha Bet (2 Peter) 3:15-17
15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Adon is salvation — as also our beloved brother Shaul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,
16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked….
We will leave Shaul’s writings for another time. For the moment, what we have seen is that there are spiritual values to the foods that we eat, and Yahweh has good spiritual reasons for asking us to eat the foods He calls clean, in order to keep our temples pure, so that we may be clean, as He is.