In “Salvation & the Pork Chop Files – Pt. 1” it was demonstrated per Genesis 9:3 that before “the law of Moses (The Law, Old Covenant)” there was no restriction from eating all things whether clean or unclean.
Let us now explore the assertion that we only have the one witness found in Scriptures that makes such a claim, this witness being Gen. 9:3.
The Second Witness
Our second witness is Matthew 15:11. Some say that this verse does not refer to literal food but speaks only in a spiritual sense. We will now proceed to prove the fallacy of this assertion by taking a look at the verse in context:
It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. (Matt. 15:11)
This statement is then clarified:
Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and THEN IS PASSED ON INTO THE SEWER? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man. (Matt. 15:17-20)
There is only one thing that could be understood as to what enters the mouth, proceeds through the stomach and then passes out of the body as waste. The only logical and reasonable conclusion is that the thing entering the mouth is literal food! That which goes into the mouth clearly is not the same as that which goes out of the mouth from the heart.
Some might say that these verses only refer to the act of eating with unwashed hands. But this personal interpretation has no evidence in the passage itself. Scriptures must interpret Scriptures. But even if such an interpretation was accurate, we are still talking about literal food, and there is no distinction made between clean or unclean.
The messiah’s point is that it is not material substance entering the mouth that defiles a man but it is unclean reasonings, behavior, and thoughts that come out of a man’s innermost self that defiles. Therefore, it is clear that food does not determine our salvation.
A Third Witness
Another witness is found in Romans:
For the kingdom of the deity is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the sacred ruach. For he that serves the messiah in these things is well-pleasing to the deity, and approved by men. So then we should pursue the things of peace, and the things for building up one another. NOT FOR THE SAKE OF MEAT SHOULD THE WORK OF THE DEITY BE DESTROYED. Indeed, ALL THINGS ARE PURE; but it is evil to the man who by means of stumbling eats. It is right not to eat flesh nor drink wine, nor in what your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is weak. Do you have trust? Have it to yourself before the deity. Blessed is he that does not judge himself in what he approves of. But he that doubts, if he eats, has been condemned, because it is not out of trust; and everything which is not out of trust is sin. (Rom. 14:17-23)
We must associate this above passage with the following from Titus, which reads:
All things are pure to the pure: but to those who are defiled and untrusting nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. The deity they profess to know, but in their works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient, and as to every good work found worthless. (Titus 1:15-16)
These statements prove that meat/food is not an issue for salvation, but rather we are concerned with the issues of righteousness, and peace, and joy in the sacred ruach. All meat is pure to the pure.
Regardless if a person is a vegetarian who never eats any meat or is someone who eats every type of animal imaginable, we should not overthrow the work of Yahweh by demanding that their salvation must depend upon eating clean meat. The same can be said regarding the assertion that fleshy circumcision is required for salvation.
Clean meat would seem to be more healthy for you and therefore is preferred by many for this reason, but it certainly is not mandatory for salvation. For this reason, Saul writes:
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect to festival, or new moon, or Sabbaths. (Col. 2:16)
This passage does not say “judge you in clean meat,” which phrasing would be required if clean meat was mandatory, but it indicates meat in general (clean or unclean). Therefore, you should not judge any follower of Yahweh in meat or drink as others should not judge us because we keep Yahweh’s festival days, observe the beginning of months by the new moon, or keep the Sabbaths.
A Fourth Witness
Our fourth witness comes from the book of Timothy. Saul writes:
But the ruach (spirit) expressly speaks, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the trust, giving heed to deceiving ruachim (spirits) and the teachings of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, being cauterized as to their own conscience, forbidding to marry, abstaining from meats, which the deity created for reception with thanksgiving for the trusting and who know the truth. BECAUSE EVERY CREATURE OF THE DEITY IS GOOD, AND NOTHING IS TO BE REJECTED after being received with thanksgiving; for it is made sacred by the deity’s word and conversation with him. (1 Tim. 4:1-5)
Notice that the expression “every creature” is all-inclusive. Saul does not say, “every clean creature.” How can we reject for other men what Yahweh does not reject? Regarding issues of the ruach, as we have said, it is not a material substance (i.e., food) which makes a man unclean, but those things of the ruach which come forth from his innermost being.
A Fifth Witness
Our fifth and most powerful witness comes from the injunctions given in Acts 15. At the Council of Jerusalem (49 C.E.), the question was two-fold. Jewish Christians coming from the sect of the Pharisees were arguing that, “to be saved . . . It is necessary to circumcise them (Christians from the nations), AND charge them to keep the Torah of Moses (the Law, Old Covenant)” (Acts 15:1, 5).
The conclusion by all of the apostles and elders of Jerusalem was that only four of the dogmasin (decrees) found in the Torah of Moses, THOSE NOT ADVERSE TO US, were to continue (cf., Acts 16:4): all were to:
- Abstain from the pollutions of idols.
- Abstain from porneia (sexual misconduct).
- Abstain from eating animals that were strangled.
- Abstain from eating or drinking blood.
The ruling as given in the book of Acts is set forth as follows:
And when there had been much disputing, Keph (Peter) rose up, and said unto them (Pharisaic believers), Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago the deity made choice among us, that the nations by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and trust. And the deity, which knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the sacred ruach, even as he did unto us; AND PUT NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN US AND THEM, purifying their hearts by trust. . . . but we trust that through the grace of the sovereign Yahushua messiah WE SHALL BE SAVED EVEN AS THEY. (Acts 15: 7-11)
Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the nations who turn to the deity, but should write to them to abstain from the pollutions of idols and from porneia and from what is strangled and from blood. (Acts 15: 19-20)
For it has seemed good to the sacred ruach and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from porneia. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. (Acts 15: 28-29)
It is important to note that Keph first emphasizes the fact that Yahweh put no difference between the Judahites and those of the nations and that both attain salvation under the same requirements.
These statements are also in complete harmony with Saul’s report that, with the messiah’s death, he has “nailed to the stake” and blotted out the “handwritten dogmasin (decrees) which were adverse to us” (Col. 2:14). The four dogmasin listed were simply not considered adverse to us and therefore demonstrate that they were a continuation under the earlier Abrahamic Covenants of Promise (Covenant of Trust) .
Nowhere does it state that after the death and resurrection of the messiah we are under an obligation to continue the dogmasin, under the Torah of Moses, of eating clean meat to be saved. You will find no such ruling anywhere in the New Testament, and the Council of Jerusalem clearly sets aside all such regulations.
Scriptures are clear. Both the Jews and people of the nations are under the same requirement for attaining eternal life. To receive the eternal inheritance of salvation, all of mankind qualify under the covenant of grace and not the Torah of Moses (the Law, Old Covenant) (Rom. 6:14-15; Gal. 3:10, 23-25, 5:18).
Some argue that the ruling of the Council of Jerusalem was only for the nations based merely upon the fact that the apostles did not enforce this ruling upon the Jewish Christians. Succinctly put, this argument is totally unenlightened and without merit.
The fact of the matter is that the early apostles did not force this ruling on the Jews because most Jews did not feel they were being compelled, as those of the nations did. Further, many Jews, out of prejudice, were not only offended if asked to abandon their national customs but would on that account resist listening to the message about the messiah (e.g., Acts 21:17-25).
Two points must be made. As with fleshly circumcision (cf., 1 Cor. 7:18-20; Rom. 2:25-27; Gal. 5:6; etc.), what meat you eat, whether clean or unclean, makes no difference in regard to someone’s salvation and, as Saul explains, we should try to be all things to all, a Jew to the Jews and a person of the nations to the nations, in order to gain followers for the messiah (1 Cor. 9:19-23).
One should neither offend the Jews nor those of the nations (1 Cor. 10:31-33). Saul even confronted Keph because he drew back from eating with the nations, chastising him:
If you, being a Judahite, live like the nations and not as a Judahite, why do you compel the nations to Judaize? We, Judahites by nature, and not sinners of the nations, knowing that a man is not justified by works of the Torah (of Moses), but through trust of Yahushua the messiah, also we trust on the messiah Yahushua, that we might be justified by the trust of the messiah, and not out of the works of the Torah (of Moses); because not any flesh shall be justified out of the works of the Torah (of Moses). (Gal. 2:14–16)
In order to avoid controversy, Saul even went to the extent of circumcising Timothy, whose mother was Jewish but whose father was a Greek, so that Timothy would be accepted and heard by the Jews in Asia Minor, knowing full well that it made no difference with regard to Timothy’s salvation (Acts 16:1-5).
The Torah is good and of the ruach (Rom. 7:14). Continuing the practices of the Torah of Moses are legal and permitted as long you do not step outside of Yahweh’s instructions. Therefore, it was perfectly acceptable for the Jews to continue their national customs as long as they did not make it a requirement for salvation.
It was also permissible for the nations to avoid using these types of customs. As Saul said of circumcision:
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping Yahweh’s commandments is (something) (1 Cor. 7:18-20).
For in the messiah Yahushua neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any strength, but trust working through love (Rom. 2:25-27).
What Scriptures reveal is that the same thing is said about fleshly circumcision and the issue of clean and unclean meats as they relate to one’s salvation.
Well, it’s time to wrap up Part 2 of our “Pork Chop Trilogy” so to speak. There is still lots more to discuss along with providing more evidence from Scriptures proving that one’s salvation does not depend on a restricted diet.
We will finish up our study with our next and last installment coming soon titled “Salvation & the Pork Chop Files – Pt. 3.”