1. When God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He said to them:
Genesis 1:29-30 “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be food for you. And to the BEASTS of the earth and all the BIRDS of the air and ALL THE CREATURES that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give EVERY GREEN PLANT for food. And it was so.”
Seed-bearing plants include nuts, grains, legumes, and seeds. Our digestive tract is 12-14 times our shoulder to hip trunk length, the same as fruit eating animals. Herbivores (for example, cattle) have a digestive tract length of 20 times their body length. The shortest intestinal tracts are found in meat eating animals.
When mankind left the Garden of Eden, vegetables were added to their diet. Genesis 3:18 tells us that the “plants of the field” were now to be considered as food. Interestingly, fruit can be eaten with nuts, grains and seeds without any ill effects, but if eaten with vegetables can lead to digestive problems. There is fermentation in the gut when fruit and vegetables are eaten together and this can lead to health problems.
2. The distinction between clean and unclean animals was known about in Noah’s day, long before God gave the health laws to the Jewish people:
Genesis 7:2-3 “Of every CLEAN beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are NOT CLEAN by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female.”
3. After the great Flood of Noah’s day, meat was permitted in the diet, however the blood was not to be eaten:
Genesis 9:3-5 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”
It is clear however that there was a distinction between clean and unclean animals. Unclean animals were not even considered as fit to eat. It is understood that only clean meats were to be used as food, as there were more of them in the ark. (Genesis 8:20 “Noah took of every clean beast and every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings.” If unclean meats were to be eaten and sacrificed, there would not be a pair of them left to propagate, to enable the command in verse 17: “Bring forth with thee every living thing that they may breed abundantly in the earth.”)
4. God clarified the differences between clean and unclean creatures, in Leviticus chapter 11: “Whatever divides a hoof, thus making SPLIT HOOVES AND CHEWS THE CUD, among the animals, that you may eat. …These you may eat, whatever is in the water: all that have FINS AND SCALES, those in the water, in the seas and in the rivers, you may eat…. These moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are not to be eaten: the eagle, vulture, buzzard, kite, falcon, raven, ostrich, owl, seagull, hawk, pelican, vulture, stork, heron, hoopoe and the bat. …These you may eat among all the winged insects: those which have above their feet JOINTED LEGS with which to jump on the earth...”
Professor Walter Veith is a doctor of Zoology with a research field in nutritional physiology. He reveals some very interesting things about unclean animals.
The physiology of some birds, animals and fish is such that their flesh is not fit for consumption. This includes carnivorous birds without a crop, animals which don't chew cud or have a cloven (split) hoof, and fish without fins or scales. All animals which eat other animals are unclean.
Camels have a high level of toxins in their bloodstream, caused by retaining their body fluids rather than sweating. Coneys have a poor thermo-regulator and their enzymes are unstable, resulting in intestinal fermentation. The meat is very acidic, predisposing to disease. Rabbits are coprophagous, meaning that they eat their own faeces, and the levels of toxins in their bodies are much higher than acceptable for human consumption. All rodents and the horse are the same.
Pigs have very high histamine levels and sulphur content, leading to high blood acidity and osteoporosis in those who eat them. Pigs also have a high level of bacterial contamination of salmonella, other harmful bacteria and parasites. These are just a couple of brief points.
Fish without fins and scales are either scavengers or carnivores and have a high level of toxins in their bodies. Urea in sharks and other fish gives these creatures a distinctive flavor but the flesh is not healthful in the diet.
God has known these things from the beginning of time. Although we may not know all the reasons behind His commands, He knows what’s best for us. After all, He made us and He knows what we should put into our bodies. We are very particular as to what kind of fuel we put into our cars. Why aren't we more careful about what we put into our mouths?
5. Colossians 2:16 is often quoted but is often wrongly translated and very misunderstood. Modern Bibles mistranslated this passage as they did not understand Meat and Drink offerings were part of the ordinances, and so translated them as “food and drink.” There are no unclean drinks in the Bible, only unclean foods! These also had no relationship to the ordinances that were nailed to the cross, but the Meat and Drink offerings did.
Thus the ordinances of Colossians 2:16 did have and must have all of the following, “Meat and Drink Offerings”, “Holy Feast days”, “New Moon festivals” and “ceremonial Sabbath days” such as Passover and others. Compare Ezekiel 45:17 and Colossians 2:16.
It is easy to recognize WHICH law Colossians 2:14-16 is referring to. It is not the Ten Commandment Law (law of liberty, written with the finger of God on stone), which had nothing to do with meat and drink offerings, new moons, holy feast days and the ceremonial sacrificial Sabbaths. This passage also has nothing to do with health laws. It is obviously referring to the Mosaic Law, which was handwritten by Moses and could be “blotted out.” This was the only law with ordinances which pointed forward to the sacrifice of Jesus. These ordinances were no longer necessary when the real Passover Lamb was slain.
Dietary laws are laws for health, not “ceremonial” or “ritualistic” laws, although they are mentioned in Leviticus. They are not therefore included when the Lord “nailed the handwriting of ordinances which was against us” to His cross. See Colossians 2:16 for more detail.
6. Regarding Mark 7:1-23 Mark’s statement that Jesus declared all foods “clean,” does not mean that He abolished the distinction between clean and unclean meats. (Unclean meats were not even regarded as “food”!) And the discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees and scribes had nothing to do with the KIND of food but with the MANNER in which the disciples ate. The Pharisees had man-made rules about washing of hands (beyond hygienic levels). The issue was whether or not ritualistic washing of hands before meals was necessary.
Jesus said that what defiles a person is not the food eaten with ritually unwashed hands, but the wicked things from the heart, because the food “does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated”. Thus Jesus declared that all foods eaten with ritually unwashed hands are spiritually “clean” (Mark 7:19). The Greek word for food (bromata) here used, is the general term for food, referring to all types of food for human consumption, not just flesh foods.
7. Peter's vision in Acts 10 of the animals did not teach that unclean animals had become fit for food.
If Jesus had previously authorized unclean animals for food, what was Peter doing refusing them at this late stage? Obviously Jesus had never done this. And the vision could not have been simply an instruction about clean VS unclean meats, for Peter was “greatly perplexed about the meaning of the vision.” He knew there was a deeper meaning to the vision. Peter quickly came to understand that the vision taught that GENTILES were not unclean, and that he could associate with them without becoming contaminated:
Acts 10:28 “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with, or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call ANY MAN common or unclean”
And by continuing to read, we come to a place where Peter tells the whole story, leaving no doubt that this was the real meaning of the vision. (Note, in Acts 11:2-18 that Peter says nothing about unclean foods now being acceptable to eat - because that had nothing to do with the vision).
So here in the very next chapter we see that the vision was to tell Peter that the Gospel was now for the Gentiles as well. This was a very significant point in time. That is why angels and visions were employed to direct the early church. Now the Gospel was to go to the Gentiles and this of course was a very important direction.