Also, we have to remember that the Bible contains symbol and paraboles to express the meaning of a message and to make us understand things better.
“And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.” – Acts 10:10-16
—> Taken into context
If we take the whole chapter in its context, this vision was given to Peter to symbolize that the gospel was to be preached to the gentiles. Indeed these verses have nothing to do with God telling Peter to eat unclean food. The unclean animals in the vision was a metaphor to symbolize the gentiles (commonly means non-Jew), as we can read in the following verses:
“Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.
Arise therefore, and
get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him. And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends. And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Acts 10: 17-35
This text is taken from The Bible Diet Book. Learn more.
“Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
and MARK 7:15: “There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.”
Taken into context —>
The issue came from the Pharisees tradition of “washing hand” before eating. They had a “test of fellowship”: If you eat the food we legislate, in the way we legislate, washing your hands the way we legislate, you will be considered worthy of fellowship. Jesus didn’t conform to that, and did not demand that His men conform to it either. Jesus is not teaching against washing our hands, neither he is teaching that it doesn’t matter what we eat or drink. He says that what defiles, is the sin that comes from our heart, not the food the food we put in our stomach or the way you wash our hands. And Jesus explicitly said that His “metaphor” was about unwashed food, not unclean food. And on the contrary, Jesus repeat here again about the commandments and the law, and that he is against traditions.
“Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift,
by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” Matthew 15:1-20
1 TIMOTHY 4:4
“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving
Taken into context —>
This verse seems to mean that all flesh can now be eaten. But by reading the surrounding verses we can understand what it really means. In the following
verse, I Timothy 4:5, we can read “For it is
sanctified by the word of God and prayer”. Sanctify means “to set apart for a specific purpose.” Some creatures are sanctified by God. The sanctified meats are revealed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Taken into context —>
We should not misunderstand what it means to walk after the flesh or after the spirit. There is no middle. Or we are with God, or we are with Satan (sometimes without not even knowing it). To better understand, let’s read the following verses, and especially verses 6 to 8: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against
God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Those who walk after the flesh are carnal minded, in other words, they have passions and appetites for worldly, temporal and sinful things. Those who walk after the spirit are those who follow Christ and who love Him, and therefore keep His commandments.
1 TIMOTHY 4:1-3
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
Taken into context —>
By studying the Bible and history we can recognize the group that these verses describe, who not only command to abstain from meats but also forbid to marry. But the goal here is not to focus on their identity. The Greek word for meat here is “brōma” which means “foods”. If we put the words of these verses into context this group tells its followers that they should stop eating what is obviously clean foods “which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth”. The following verse also tells us “For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer”. So through these verses, God tells us that anything that passes this 2 tests is good for food: 1) it must be sanctified by the Bible 2) we should pray over it with thanksgiving. These are 2 requirements for the food to be acceptable in a Christian diet. There are certain foods that are sanctified by the word of God, which are the clean meats.
“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things”
Taken into context —>
By reading this verse alone we might think that God tells us that we can eat all the creatures that we would like. But it is the case? Thinking so would mean that God tells us that we can even eat some creatures that are toxic to us and could immediately kill us. God also told us that we can eat “even the green herb”, but everyone knows that they are some varieties we can not eat such as poison ivy. We have to use our common sense and the term “every moving thing” must be taken in the same manner as “even as the green herbs.”
Also when we place this verse into its context we learn that it was told to Noah after the flood. As mentioned on page 15, the clean animals were to go in the ark by 7 and the unclean by 2 (Genesis 7:2). If God allowed Noah and his family to eat even the unclean animals, many of them would have become extinct.
Also, before making our own conclusions, we must take into consideration all the verses in the Bible on the same topic. It is clear when we read the other verses on this topic that God allows his people to eat certain foods and to abstain from others (Learn more from page 15). God also made it clear that at the end, those who consumed abominable things (and who knew it) will be consumed: “They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.” – Isaiah 66:17