• God's Dietary Laws

    One has become very familiar with the antinomianist’s (God’s Law no longer valid) selection of isolated passages in the Gospel accounts to support their contention that the dietary laws incorporated in God’s Law given at Sinai were considered of none effect by the Lord Jesus Christ. They cite the verse in Matthew 15 in which the Lord said:
    • “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man”.
    It should be noted that as with Acts 10 and Peter’s vision of the great sheet, the context reveals that it has nothing whatsoever to do with God’s Dietary Laws. In the first instance, the Lord reacting to the charge leveled at His disciples by the scribes and the Pharisees who asked:
    • “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread” (Matt. 15:2).
    The Lord answered this by indicating that they (the Jews) had perverted the Law of God to accommodate their own ways and in practise, they had made the ‘commandment of God of none effect’. It will be noted that there is no mention of the food laws - merely the so-called transgressions of the method of eating.
    In considering Peter and the vision of the great sheet “Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things and fowls of the air . .” (Acts. 10:12), it should be noted that the overall context reveals that the chapter deals with human relationships and not food. In the first instance, ‘Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band’ was one of the main actors of this drama while Peter’s reluctance to entertain him was the main theme of it. The lesson, for Peter, in the whole exercise is summed up in two verses which positively indicate that the sheet was allegory and that
    • “. . . God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean” (Acts. 10;28).
    In another verse i.e. the 34th, Peter avers:
    • “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons” or more literally : “Of a truth I perceive that God shows no partiality to outward appearance”.
    Cornelius, it will be recalled was outwardly a Roman - indeed a centurion in the service of Rome. As such, Peter resisted any association with him but was shown by the Lord that outward appearances were deceiving and that he should not reject the man on the grounds of his Roman citizenship. In point of fact, if one considers the name Cornelius, it will be found to contain a combination of Greek and Latin words which mean ‘the horn (Cornu) of Levi (lius)’. Dr. James Strong in his Concordance intimates that the word “speira” which has been translated as ‘band’ in Acts 1:1 contains, by analogy, the meaning of ‘a squad of Levitical janitors’. Be that as it may, one thing is very definite and that is that the vision of the sheet in no way abrogates the food laws of the Bible for Peter, it will be noted, despite the command to ‘kill and eat’, did not do so nor was he reprimanded for non-compliance The Law of the Lord - Food.
    • “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” (Lev. 11:46-47).
    To insist that there are foods which can be eaten and food that cannot be eaten invariably invokes the retort that one is not a Jew, therefore not obliged to adhere to the Law or that one should not be a ‘food faddist’ as all foods are hygienically killed and prepared today. To these retorts, one is tempted to question men’s analysis of the situation against the Wisdom of God. In considering the ‘food-faddist’ charge, one finds that those who are most vociferous in leveling this charge at those who keep the food Laws of the Bible, are in the forefront of those campaigning for the replacement of butter by polyunsaturated margarine in an effort to ward off the high incidence of heart disease created by the high level of blood cholesterol. It is no exaggeration to say that the word ‘cholesterol’ has made margarine a best seller today - so much so that those who recoil from so-called food-faddism find themselves among the greatest advocates of margarine as the dietary defence against the early development of coronary heart disease. Vested interests, with its tremendous influence through the media, has it that the amount of cholesterol in the blood is dictated by the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and by way of emphasis, illustrations are drawn from the developing countries of Asia where the diet is mainly whole grain foods which have a high fibre content and where heart disease is a rare occurrence. While no rational person is prepared to argue against proven fact, they are surely permitted to present other evidence which invalidates the interpretation of fact by the advocates of polyunsaturated margarine. In Kenya, for instance where the African tribes live on cow’s milk and meat and where animal fats supply approximately 60 per cent of the total calorie intake, cholesterol levels are about half of those in the United States and heart disease is almost unheard of. A further example could be the farmers in the Swiss Alps who live primarily on dairy products, yet they too have low blood cholesterol and rarely die of heart disease. Make no mistake here. No one is disputing the fact that elevated blood cholesterol is a fact of life for approximately 29 per cent of men over the age of 40, nor the fact that a rigid diet could reduce the level by 10 to 15 per cent. The point to note here is that once the diet has been discontinued, the previous level once again obtains and the afflicted person is in precisely the same situation as at the commencement of the diet. Dr. George Mann of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine has said in this context: “Foundations, scientists and the media, both lay and scientific, have promoted the low-fat, low cholesterol polyunsaturated diets, yet the incidence of heart disease continues unabated, cholesteremia in the population is unchanged, and the clinicians are unconvinced of efficacy.” There can be absolutely no question when it comes to the facts of today when contrasted with the propaganda of vested interests in the food industry. In the United States alone, evidence shows a doubling of polyunsaturated fat intake since 1900 with little or no change in the intake of saturated fat or cholesterol. Despite this trend, coronary heart disease continues to rise - why? Another question which crops up, but which cannot be answered here is, is there any relationship between the increased use of polyunsaturated fats and the hormonal imbalance which is more than a little evident in the younger generation? If these questions are castigated as food-faddism - lets have more food-faddism! The United Nations Organisation, over recent years, has expressed concern over the population explosion and last month, i.e. June 1978, (as at the time of the writing of this article), warned that the two and a half per cent increase in the Black population of Africa was placing a strain on food production. Without commenting in the implications behind this concern - UNO has its own axe to grind when expressing ‘concern’ - it is a fact that the world’s food supply is certainly acute and what there is of it is basically artificial and is, to a large degree, reacting injuriously on the human organism. Dr. Frederick L. Hoffman who was connected with the Prudential Insurance Company of America and with the Biochemical Foundation of the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, in appraising the situation of an increased world population in relation to the available food supply, made the following observation in the context of chemical fertiliser as the means of stimulating crop production. “As the result of the introduction of chemical fertilisers, there has been a marked increase on crop production. The average amount of wheat in bushels per acre has increased from 9.9 in 1886 to 27.3 in 1958. The relative yield per acre varies, of course, widely for different sections of the country, having been as high as 28 bushels in Arizona and as low as 5.3 bushels in North Dakota . . . Everywhere efforts are made to increase the yield per acre, but what the effect this hazard is on the mineral or vitamin content of the food is not revealed.” Having resorted to chemical fertilisers on order to boost crop yields, men have not looked at the cost - not so much to humanity today, but to future generations. In the book ‘The Rape of the Earth’ by Jacks and Whyte, the following extract is a tremendous indictment against the current trends. “The country which has received most attention in this connection is the U.S.A. and deservedly so, for America as usual is out for records. Alarming statistics can be quoted endlessly. On 56.4 per cent of the land surface of the U.S.A. a quarter or more of the soil has been lost. The total loss of fertility has been estimated at 30 to 50 per cent of the total originally available. The amount of soil annually reaching the sea is between 500 and 1,000 million tons, representing 2,000 million dollars worth of plant food, or twenty-one times the amount annually removed in crops . . .” Against this picture, the late Dr. Alexis Carrel in his work ‘Man the Unknown’ observes: “Man is literally made from the dust of the earth. For this reason, his physiological and mental activities are profoundly influenced by the geological constitution of the country where he lives, by the nature of the animals and plants on which he feeds . . ” This is undoubtedly true and presents a sorry picture of the nutritional value of man’s food when one thinks of the rape of the earth in the attempt to feed the earth’s millions through forced crop yields.
    Good Soil the Basis for Good Food.
    If one examines the Creation story, it will be found that the earth and all things in and on it were ‘good’. The soil was good; the herb bearing seed was good; every tree was good and every thing that moved on the face of the earth was good - and all this without any endeavour by man. In verse five of the second chapter of the Bible it is stated: “. . . and there was no man to till the ground” which on the surface and in the light of present day developments, appears to suggest a careless disregard for the importance of the soil. Again on the surface the superficial reading of this verse would suggest that man became lazy and merely exploited the resources of the region of his domicile, moving to some other place when these were exhausted. However, when one examines the Hebrew text - particularly in regard to the word ‘till’ - it will be seen that, having been given the earth and all its resources, man ignored the basic principles of stewardship and responsibility. The Hebrew word ‘abad’ which has been translated as ‘till’ indicates service and is used extensively in the Law in the context of bond-service. Significantly the Adam of Genesis 2:7 was put ‘into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it’ - the word ‘dress’ being translated from the same Hebrew word ‘abad’ and the word ‘keep’ from the Hebrew ‘shamar’ which indicates to ‘hedge, guard and protect’ it. The overall emphasis in the early chapters of the Bible in the context of the soil revolves around responsibility although one is not told the formula by which this responsibility should be carried out. The absence of this formula should not be attributed to a lapse on the part of the Lord, but rather to man’s editing of the Word of God - evidence of which is found in many Books of the Bible, particularly in the works of Ezekiel. In the first four verses of this Book it is more than a little obvious that passages are lost - due no doubt to man’s mis-handling of the text and the omission of things which he considered as irrelevant to the overall narrative. It is quite possible that the same situation obtained in connection with the opening verses of the Book of Genesis for without doubt some body of Law existed which was in operation and was acted upon by men. The Law, given at Sinai to the children of Israel was a codified version of that which was in operation at a very much earlier time. In this version, one may read of the Lord’s stipulation concerning the land and the soil which is recorded in the Book of Leviticus.
    • “And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep the sabbath unto the Lord, Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof, But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which growest of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of the vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land”.
    The sabbath of the land in the seventh year appears, on the surface of it, to have nothing going for it at all, but when one looks at it through the eyes of modern scientific technology, one is able to appreciate something of the wisdom behind the Lord’s stipulation. The soil mantle which covers the land mass of the earth consists of three elements and is generally classified as (1) the solid rock: (2) the mineral matter derived from this rock and (3) the organic top soil which results from the decay of plant and animal matter. It has been estimated that the proportion of organic matter in the few inches of the earth’s top soil is a bare 4 per cent when compared with the mineral component, but in this meagre percentage one finds not only the life source of all food, but a whole world of micro-organisms at work renewing the vitality from which man draws his food sustenance. Organisms which are so small that they are only visible under the microscope and others much larger such as the humble earth-worm - all combine to keep a prefect balance in the fertility of the soil. It has been said that the lowly earth-worm with its natural function of, among other features, preserving the moisture content of the soil, has determined the rise and fall of countless civilisations. Every civilisation, the Byzantine; the Phoenician or the Roman which has passed into history with its sad tale of political corruption and decay will, on a close examination, be found to be attributable to the destruction of the earth-worm. This may, at first glance, appear to be ridiculous, but think in terms of what today is the Sahara Desert and which was once ‘the granary of the Roman Empire’! What causes a desert? Surely every schoolboy knows that it is the destruction of the organic constituent of the soil leaving only the minerals which, deprived of moisture, becomes granules as in the sands of the desert. It is the earth-worm, in conjunction with the other micro-organisms, which keeps the moisture content of the soil - a balance in nature which when abused by man, deprives him of his food which in turn creates political situations among the people who revolt against government opening the way for a new and virile people to take over. The Lord’s command to His Israel people was that they should work the land for six years and then allow it to have a complete year’s rest. However, then as now, the soil was cultivated seven years out of seven and in many instances using the same soil, two and even three crops per year were planted. In God’s Law, the seventh year, which began in the Spring and continued through to the Spring of the next year, one finds that both the fruit and the leaves of the trees simply fell back to the earth where the world of micro-organisms took charge of this abundance of organic matter turning it once again into that vital force which ensured that the food grown would be highly nutritious and a benefit to those eating it.
    Today however, the cry is for more and more food and any thought of allowing the land one year’s respite is unthinkable. More and more artificial fertilisers are ploughed into the fields and as has been stated earlier, the rape of the earth is gaining in momentum. Food is being produced, but is it of the character and nature sufficient to provide for healthy bodies adequately defended against the ravages of disease which too are on the increase throughout the world? God’s warning to His people in terms of Law violation is:
    • “And your strength shall spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you, according to your sins . . .” (Lev. 26:20-21).
    Make no mistake here. The Law of the sabbath of the land is a Law the transgression of which is a sin. It matters not that men contend that the Law is no longer valid - God’s people in Anglo-Saxondom are reaping the consequences of sin - a tragic testimony to the fallacy of religious reasoning which presumes to sit in judgment on God’s Holy Word. The Food Itself Comment has already been made on Dr. Carrel’s work ‘Man the Unknown’ in which man insofar as his physiological and mental activities are concerned, are a by-product of the food which he eats. It goes without saying that if his food is poor - he is poor in health and general outlook. However, another dimension is added to the burden of man’s health in that all things are considered as beneficial for his well-being. In today’s menu, the more ‘way out’ a morsel, the more desirable it becomes irrespective of its effect on the human system. Take for instance ‘escargot’ - the snail, which is being consumed more and more in Anglo-Saxon countries in recent years that ever before. Some twenty years ago the eating of this slug was considered not only distasteful, but an aberration of the ‘continental types’. Today however, every menu in Anglo-Saxondom offers this ‘delicacy’ which is consumed because it has become the vogue. It is interesting to note that in the Bible, while the snail is mentioned infrequently, its by-product by way of paints and dyes are often referred to. One finds that the Tent of the Testimony and the High Priest’s garment were dyed with blue and purple and that in Numbers 15:38, the children of Israel were commanded to ‘make them fringes in the borders of their garments . . . and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue’ - in the original text, the colour blue is preceded by the word ‘tekhelet’ which is derived from the snail. These dyes were produced from a gland in the abdomen of the snail and because of the minuteness of the quantity, the dyes were extremely expensive. Another interesting point in the context of snails is that in the Hebrew text of Deuteronomy 33:19 in which is recorded the blessing of the tribes by Moses, that Zebulun whose tribal allotment encroached upon the Sea of Galilee, would ‘suck the abundance of the seas and the treasures hid in the sand’. In the English text the ‘sephunei’ has been omitted which has led to the loss of the meaning of Zebulun’s role. Literally the text according to the Jewish Encyclopaedia was a call to Zebulun because the people were dependent upon the tribe for the ‘sephunei’ (the snail), because of the blue and purple dye derived from it. By way of further interest, the snail is considered ‘unclean’ and therefore not fit for human consumption in Leviticus 11:30 and 42. Drawn from the food laws in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, the following is a general list of both clean and unclean animals. The clean animals which are considered as good for food are those which both chew the cud and part the hoof, among which are numbered the cow, ox, calf, sheep, goat, ibex, hart, gazelle, buffalo and antelope generally. The unclean animals which do not both chew the cud and part the hoof are found among the camels, the monkey, the hare, the porcupine, the weasel, the pig, the dog, the fox, the cat family, the horse in its family and the mouse. Clean birds are the chicken, turkey, pheasant, quail, goose, dove pigeon, guinea fowl, partridge and grouse. Unclean birds are eagles, herons, cranes, hawks, the crow, the vulture, the owl, the swan, the pelican, peacock, cormorant, water hen, stork and ostrich. There are, of course, others that fall within these separate categories and which are determined by establishing whether or not they accord with the principles or clean or unclean food. The general attitude today is that as the environment of all animals has been improved, the prohibition against them has been removed and that all are now fit for human consumption. Let it be said at once that nowhere in the Bible is there any justification for this contention. That which was unfit, because of its peculiar physical structure in the Old Testament, is exactly the same today and the reason behind the prohibition in the context of food, remains identical. God’s people today are indeed a pathetic reminder of the unhealthy consequences of departure from God’s Holy Laws and the blame for this - the indictment against the perpetrators of this sad state - is clearly established by Ezekiel the prophet who wrote:
    • “Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned my holy things; they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shown difference between the unclean and the clean and have hid their eyes from my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (Ezek. 22:26).
    The difference between the clean and the unclean is the difference between life and death, good and evil - a difference which God’s people will come to know in a time not far removed from today.
    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Solomon's Avatar
      Solomon -
      Very easy-to-read and down-to-earth article by Finlay.

      Looking forward to reading more.
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