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An Outreach of the North Queensland Fellowship of God's Covenant People and a Member of the Congregations of Israel


Bible Food Laws


There are so many diseases afflicting God's people today that it seems imperative to remind everyone of God's Divine Food Laws listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. God loves His children and wants them to be healthy, which is why He gave us these dietary laws in the first place. The Jewish people outwardly keep the food laws, even though God through Moses did not give these laws to them. The Christian Israelites eat all manner of unclean foods (bacon, ham, pork chops, shrimp, clams, shellfish, oysters, rabbit, squirrel, catfish) since they have been taught that the food laws have been somehow abolished by the crucifixion of Jesus, even though their ancestors were the only people ever given instructions by God as to what foods to eat and not eat.

The most familiar Biblical health laws define clean and unclean meats (creatures that are acceptable to eat and those that are not) yet most people (even theologians!) have little or no understanding of the medically sound reasons behind these instructions! The scientific wisdom behind the Biblical dietary laws is seldom taught today; instead, these laws are commonly viewed as Old Testament regulations that are no longer applicable. However these lists of clean and unclean creatures have a significance often ignored. Far from being based on fad or fancy, these lists emphasize a fact not discovered until late in the last century - that animals carry diseases dangerous to man. In fact, the same animals labeled unclean in Scripture still carry parasitic diseases that are still dangerous to man today!

"Clean" land animals are ruminants - grazing animals such as cattle, sheep, deer and elk - whose digestive tracts are designed to turn grass that man cannot digest into meat that we can digest. Most unclean animals are carnivores or scavengers that can transmit dangerous diseases to man. Pigs eat roots and grains, rather than grass, and thus are ecological competitors to man. Clean fish have fins and scales. Unclean aquatic organisms like clams and oysters are filter feeders that purify water, and that concentrate poisonous chemicals and pathologic bacteria and viruses in their tissues. Eating an oyster is like eating your vacuum cleaner bag, yet modern connoisseurs do not like to think about this! Crabs and lobsters are scavengers that eat dead things on the bottom of bodies of water. Most unclean birds are carnivores or scavengers. God in His wisdom inspired laws that protect us from contracting dangerous diseases, but also protect "nature’s clean up crew" by making them "off limits" as food for us. These biological principles still operate today.

Pigs are gluttonous, never knowing when to stop eating. Their stomach acids become diluted because of the volume of food, allowing all kinds vermin to pass through this protective barrier. Parasites, bacteria, viruses and toxins can pass into the pig’s flesh because of overeating. These toxins and infectious agents can be passed on to man when we eat pig. In the United States, three of the six most common food-borne parasitic diseases of people are associated with pork consumption. These include toxoplasmosis, taeniasis or cysticercosis (caused by the pork tapeworm) and trichinellosis. It has long been recognized that the meat of shellfish; shrimp, crabs, lobsters, etc. is especially dangerous. Many illnesses, including instant paralysis, devastate some people every day as a result of eating shellfish.

However, the laws of clean and unclean meats are not the only Biblical instructions that concern diet. In Leviticus 3:17, we read, "It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations, throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood." One of the most significant discoveries in the last century was that high fat diets are linked to increased levels of heart disease, stroke, cancer of the colon and breast and a host of other pathologies - including obesity - that bring additional complications. Our challenge is to learn to recognize major sources of fat in our diet (visible fats on meat, fatty cuts of meat, fast food, frozen meals, etc.), and reduce our intake of fats that are high in calories. It has also become painfully obvious in recent decades that contaminated blood and blood products can transmit AIDS and hepatitis. The simple principle of avoiding fat and blood is a powerful principle of prevention (if it is followed) because it still works today!

Can we eat the liver and kidneys of clean animals? Before we move ahead with the issue, let us first understand that this is not a Salvation issue. The food laws are there for our health, not for us to divide and attack each other over. We believe that it is Biblically wrong and unhealthy for us to eat the caul of the liver and kidneys of animals. Remember, according to these verses in Leviticus 1-9, the fat, the caul that is above the liver, and kidneys were to be burned. Are we to assume that the priests burnt the fat, the caul of the liver, and kidneys and then ate them? This simply does not add up, especially when the Bible clearly forbids man to eat “the fat” except when the fat is mingled with the flesh or muscle. All meat has some fat in it, including the choicest of steaks. The priest was to detach all the separable portions of the fat such as the flare, and that in which the intestines, kidney, and liver are embedded. These portions were then burnt with the daily offering. The fat was chiefly found in a detached state, sometimes referred to as the omentum, or caul.

Biblical principles also cover the use of plant foods - carbohydrates. Ezekiel was instructed to make a nutritious bread from "wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet and spelt" (Ezekiel 4:9). This was a multigrain bread containing complex carbohydrates for energy, different kinds of fibre and multiple amino acids for proteins and bodybuilding. It was not a highly refined product like today’s common breads that have most of their nutrients removed, then are misleadingly called "enriched" when a few nutrients are added back.

The Bible advises us to use sweets like honey or other simple sugars sparingly (Proverbs 25:16; 27). We are warned against overeating - gluttony (Proverbs 28:7). Modern books on health give the same advice! The Biblical dietary guidelines are not old-fashioned, burdensome regulations - they are divinely inspired guidelines that have taken mankind’s science thousands of years to understand.

God repeatedly promised His people that if they would hearken unto His voice, and “do that which is right in His sight, and will give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes” that He would not put any of these diseases that He had put upon the Egyptians (Exodus 15:26); “And the LORD will take away from thee ALL SICKNESS, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee, but will lay them upon all those who hate thee” (Deuteronomy 7:15).




FROM ONE OF OUR READERS

"Hi, I'd like to comment on your internet page concerning the Biblical Food Laws. I myself am quite familiar with the Biblical Food Laws having being reared up with them, but for those new to the concept, you might want to make a simplified set of instructions on what to eat and what not to eat especially for mammals, fish and the issue of mushrooms. I must add that your reasons for not eating pig is well explained, even for the more simple-minded or those new to clean eating.

In short, the only meats covered by the Food Laws are Mammals, Birds and Fish.

For starters, with the exception of the Locusts and relatives capable of hopping (scientific order Orthoptera), ALL invertebrates are off-limits (e.g. Crab, Oyster, Lobster, Calamari, Octopus, Sea Urchin, Beche-de-mere (Sea Cucumbers), Prawns, Langoustine, Cockles, Snail, etc). Grasshoppers are classified along with mammals; they must have split hooves (Locust feet are hard and divided through the middle like a hoof) and chew the cud (which Locusts and Grasshoppers do, and as mentioned above, they must also have hopping legs).

As for vertebrates (creatures with a backbone or spine), only Fish, Birds and Mammals are edible. Unfortunately for the French who are known for eating Frogs legs, Amphibians (Frogs, Toads, Caecilians, Newts and Salamanders) and Reptiles are strictly off-limits. Contrary to common misconceptions, Skates, Lampreys, Sturgeons, Rays and Sharks ARE NOT FISH despite first appearances. Their backbones are made from cartilage or gristle, which leaves them outside the food laws for fish and therefore inedible (in other words, "Flake" is off the menu).

Fish are very simple to classify as food or not. In short, they must have scales and fins with rays (the linear patterns on the fins of most fish). Some unclean fish include Swordfish and its allies (Marlin and Sailfish), Eels, Sun Fish or Mola Mola, etc. I've heard of some people doubting the Tuna as a clean fish, but although some may be lead to believe that from its initial appearance, Tuna does have scales, and so they are a prime, clean, eating fish. Flatfish such as Flounder and Sole are often described as "bottom feeders" but despite the name, they eat the same diet as most other fish and do not eat rotting or dead tissue in the wild.

The only edible mammals are from the scientific classification Pecora which includes Antelope, Sheep, Goats, Cattle, etc. Though very similar to edible mammals, the Mouse Deer in not in the classification Pecora and has an internal anatomy more similar to a Pig and would therefore be unclean. In short, the edible mammals sit in five families classified under Pecora. These are, Giraffidae (the Giraffe and Okapi), Antilocapridae (the Pronghorn), Moschidae (Musk Deer), Cervidae (Deer, Caribou, Pudu and Moose) and Bovidae (Cattle, Goats, Sheep and Antelope).

Birds are more difficult to classify, but in short, unclean birds include Birds of Prey and Scavengers (Eagles, Vultures, Secretary Birds, Owls, Frogmouths, Hawks, Falcons, Ravens, Crows, etc.) and Water Fowl that eat fish or insects (Herons, Sea Gulls, Egrets, Kingfishers, etc.). Many other birds are potentially clean or unclean but to be on the safe side, try to only eat birds from scientific orders Galliformes and Anseriformes. Galliformes are simply Chickens, Pheasants, Guinea Fowl, Quail and other similar birds, and Anseriformes are simply Ducks, Screamers, Geese and Swans. (Some translations list the Swan as an unclean animal; however this is a mistranslation, Ed.)

That covered, when eating clean animals, they must have been killed by man and not have died in the field from natural causes. Animals killed by predators are also tainted and inedible.

Concerning parts of an animal that can be eaten, fat tissue is to be removed if possible and blood products are also unclean such as blood pudding and blood sausage.

Often overlooked by many is that all the internals of an animal (guts) are unclean, including the liver, kidneys, stomach (tripe), brains, eyes, lungs, Thyroid and Thymus glands (referred to as sweetbreads), Intestines (sometimes used as sausage skins) and anything from within the head, neck or body cavity. This is also to be taken into consideration when eating locust-like creatures. Only the hopping legs (which is why that is a stipulation when eating them) are made up of muscle of good enough mass to be eaten; the head and body are pure guts with the exception of the flight muscles on the inside of some large locusts' thoraxes. (They must be cooked as well; the shell will turn red or purple when done).

Products from unclean animals are also to be avoided; be it dairy, gelatine from pig skin or hooves, fat and grease (such as bacon grease or whale oil), and even leather or other non-food products.

A major issue that also needs to be mentioned is that the food laws only cover animals and plants as food. Mushrooms are not plants! Classifying any Fungi as a plant is as wrong as calling a computer a dairy product. Fungi display none of the characteristic features of a plant; they can't make energy from sunlight (in fact they try to avoid light), they don't flower, and they have none of the parts of a plant, not even roots. Fungi are made up of strings of cells called Mycelium, or Hyphae when in mass, which are capable of surviving on their own and living within the cells of plants or animals undetected.

Fungi, when not producing the sporing bodies we call mushrooms, are able to move from food source to food source. The Hyphae are able to communicate with each other like nerves in an animal, and the Cordycepts can even hack into the brains of insects, such as ants and caterpillars, commanding where they move. Fungal tissue can survive within the human body and is immune to the bodies' defence systems. Fungal tissue can survive cooking and the acids of the human stomach, meaning that eating mushrooms can infect the body with fungal tissue that will live off human flesh until the body tries to "fence the fungus off" within the walls of a cancerous tumour. This is why Fungi are not to be considered food, not even in survival situations.

The mushroom issue is a major concern to address and is probably the worst of the unclean foods, sitting in similar categories to Bacteria and Disease itself.

Well known Unclean Foods that are commonly consumed are:

Pork, Bacon, Ham and other Pig Products.

Mushrooms, Truffles and Fungi.

"Flake" (marketing term for the meat of Sharks and Stingrays).

Oysters, Clams, Mussels and Shellfish.

Prawns and other Crustaceans.

Livers (often in the form of Pâté or Foie Gras) and Kidneys.

Blood Sausages or Blood Pudding.

Beluga Caviar (from a Sturgeon which is unclean and critically endangered).

Horse, Snails and Frog's Legs (from French food).

Eels.

A simplified set of instructions might look a bit like this:

Mammals: Must have split hooves and chew the cud. No Pig, Camel, Rabbit or Horse.

Birds: Must not be predatory or a scavenger.

Fish: Must have true fins and scales. No Shark (flake).

Locusts and Grasshoppers: Must have hopping legs.

In general: No gut or blood products such as Tripe, Blood Pudding, Livers and Kidneys.

Try to remove as much fat as possible from a cut of meat.

Mushrooms are not plants and are to be avoided at all costs.

All Shellfish, Prawns, Snails and Crustaceans are off-limits.

Never eat meat that is alive or uncooked or has not been killed properly.

With all those mentioned above, eating should be a simple affair as long as one knows what not to eat or mistake as being food. Yours Sincerely, RV."




SOME COMMON CLEAN ANIMALS

Antelope

Buffalo

Cattle

Deer

Ox

Caribou

Goat

Moose

Sheep

Elk

Gazelle

Giraffe

Chicken

Dove

Duck

Goose

Guinea

Partridge

Quail

Turkey

Pheasant

Pigeon

Grouse

Sparrow

Bass

Anchovy

Salmon

Sardine

Bream

Grasshopper

Flounder

Snapper

Trout

Tuna

Pike

Locust



SOME COMMON UNCLEAN ANIMALS

Swine

Dog

Cat

Rabbit

Possum

Bear

Camel

Mice

Raccoon

Squirrel

Horse

Armadillo

Beaver

Badger

Bat

Buzzard

Crow

Hawk

Ostrich

Pelican

Kite

Seagull

Crane

Owl

Stork

Flamingo

Parrot

Cormorant

Clam

Crab

Crayfish

Oyster

Shrimp

Catfish

Turtle

Seal

Whale

Marlin

Shark

Sturgeon

Snake

Frog



Leviticus 11

"And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.

Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.

Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.

And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.

Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.

These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.

And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.

Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,

And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;

Every raven after his kind;

And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.

Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;

Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.

But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.

And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.

And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.

The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.

And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even.

And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.

These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,

And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole.

These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even.

And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed.

And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.

Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean.

And every thing whereupon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean and shall be unclean unto you.

Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean.

And if any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean.

But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you.

And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even.

And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.

And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten.

Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.

Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.

For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

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."

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