Old Testament Food Laws (2)

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Sung Psalm 119:1-8

Referred to Leviticus 11:9-23

The list of marine or freshwater animals that the Jews were allowed to eat excluded all whales and dolphins, shellfish, prawns and shrimps, lobster and crab etc., but no details of species are given, perhaps because there were so few Hebrew words pertaining to beasts that inhabit water (note dubiety of what swallowed Jonah) and fish were never sacrificed. Clearly the commonest and most favoured fish were “kosher”. Fish are mentioned often in the N.T. as at least four of the disciples were fishermen, Christ fed the 5000 with two small fish, provided tax from a fish’s mouth and prepared cooked fish for the disciples after the resurrection. Note the repeated phrase, “unclean to you” (also Deut. 14:2-3) showing that the Jews were separated to God as his holy people and although in themselves there is nothing unclean about these animals (all pronounced “good” in Genesis 1) yet for his purposes of teaching them to differentiate between clean and unclean God gave these ceremonial laws.

Comparing Acts 10:11ff Peter states how he kept these laws but God clearly abrogates them in his declaration to Peter in which he states that no animal is now unclean, because God has cleansed them and the spiritual lesson is that no group in the human race is unclean either.

Matthew 13:47ff describes the judgment day as the enclosure of a great mass of fish which will be separated out into clean (saved elect) and unclean (lost reprobate).

When we come to the birds (fowls) it appears that insects are included with them. Twenty species are mentioned as unclean without any qualification to determine clean and unclean and bats are included that in modern science are not birds! We can assume that chicken and turkey are clean and we know pigeon, dove, quail and sparrow certainly were.

I would add Christ’s clear word here that it is NOT WHAT GOES INTO A PERSON’S MOUTH THAT MAKES THEM UNCLEAN BUT RATHER WHAT COMES OUT!

 

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