Seventh-Day Adventists/Clean and unclean foods
Is it a sin to eat pork meat? Is there anything like clean and unclean foods in the new testament?
Dear Brother Vincent:
While there were thousands of Gentiles coming into the early Church we do not see one word written telling them that they must change their eating habits which included eating “unclean” animals. This is because the restriction imposed by the Mosaic Covenant (see Deuteronomy 14:3-21; Leviticus 11) were nailed to the cross. “Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14 NASB). The idea of food restrictions, a not small aspect of the Old Covenant, has no place in the New Covenant. “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7:6 ESV).
Our Lord's own statement concerning dietary restrictions is very clear as recorded in the Gospel of Mark 7:14-19 (NASB).
“After He called the crowd to Him again, He began saying to them, ‘Listen to Me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable. And He said to them, ‘Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?’ (Thus He declared all foods clean)”.
Anyone open to accepting whatever the word of God says will be able to understand these plain words of our Lord. Mark's commentary on these words is absolutely crystal clear. “Thus He declared all foods clean”. Only by completely ignoring the text could one fail to understand that our Lord has made all foods clean. While this lesson was lost on Ellen White and is still lost on the current SDA hierarchy, Paul had no problem understanding it. “I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean” (Romans 14:14 NIV). So again we see that in Scripture it is clear that all food is clean. “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble” (Romans 14:20 NIV). Further, Paul gets to the heart of the matter when he states,
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval” (Romans 14:17-18 NIV).
One final example from the writings of Paul, he tells of an incident in which Peter was correctly eating with Gentiles, therefore, eating unclean food, but that he hypocritically left their company when some Judaizers came to Antioch.
“But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision. The rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, ‘If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?’” (Galatians 2:11-14 NASB).
In conclusion all food is “clean” for New Testament believers.
Thanks for the excellent question. If I can be of further help just let me know.
God Bless You,