Seventh-Day Adventists/Clean and unclean foods

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Frank wrote at 2013-01-31 05:53:07
<<< The expert’s answer: >>>



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.



<<< When the Jews attempted to impose circumcision and their ceremonial law on the Gentiles; the Jerusalem Council did impose some of the Jewish restrictions. “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” (Acts 15:28-29 KJV) All the restrictions are found in the Law of Moses but are valid under the forever and ever Ten Commandment law as well. >>>



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).



<<< “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”

(Colossians 2:13-14 KJV). The “handwriting of ordinances” that was “against us” (the Gentiles) was paid for or “nailed” to the cross. Christ paid the debt for sin, which is death (Romans 6:23), on the cross.

The ceremonial ordinances that afforded the Jew forgiveness for sin (or so they believed) which were hostile to (or against) the Gentiles, was nailed to the cross because Christ is the Savior those ordinances revealed and to continue in them would be a denial of faith in Christ alone for forgiveness of sins. >>>



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).



<<< SDA’s believe that the law against eating the flesh of “unclean” animals is not part of the ceremonial law that ended at the cross, but a health law valid under the 6th Commandment and the statutes and judgments that clarify define and explain it. Leviticus chapter 20 is a good example of statutes that were given to Moses by the Lord (verse 8) and verse 25 is a statute concerning the clean and unclean animals. “Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean.” (Leviticus 20:25 KJV) >>>



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)”.



<<< These words of the Lord had nothing to do with eating the flesh of unclean animals. He was responding to the accusation of the Pharisees that his disciples were in violation of their traditional law that required that the hands be washed before eating. “Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?” (Mark 7:5 KJV) The Lord responds by calling the Pharisees hypocrites and then He says, “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mark 7:7 KJV) This verse alone is enough to reveal that His statement could not be a reference to dietary restrictions found in Moses’ law as those restrictions were not commandments added by men. >>>



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.



<<< The text deserves to be ignored. It is not part of the original text. It was added by “helpful” translators. Even so, Mark would not have considered the unclean animals to be “food”. >>>



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).



<<< SDA’s do not believe that the food Paul is talking about includes the flesh of unclean animals. In the mind of Paul it is not “food”. This chapter begins with, “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.” (Romans 14:1-3 KJV) Why would someone who ate the flesh of unclean animals despise those who did not? What are the benefits of eating unclean animal flesh that would cause those who do to despise those who don’t? Those who ate only vegetables did so to avoid the inadvertent consumption of meat sacrificed to idols, which was often sold in the meat markets, which they believed was sin. It certainly wouldn’t have been to avoid the unclean animal flesh as that would be easy to recognize. Paul was counseling those who were strong in the faith and knew that an idol was nothing to be tolerant of those weak in the faith. "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died." (Romans 14:14-15 KJV) >>>



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).



<<< Since the dispute was not over the flesh of unclean animals, Paul’s statement should not be interpreted as an endorsement for eating it. >>>



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.



<<< Why does the expert assume the Gentiles were eating unclean food? There is nothing in these texts to support such a conclusion. >>>



“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).



<<< It was the Gentiles that the Jews considered unclean, not their food. Peter feared the “party of the circumcision” because of their prejudice against the Gentile believers. If the reason behind his hypocrisy was over food it would have concerned the ceremonial uncleanness of animals that had been sacrificed to pagan idols, not over the Jewish dietary laws.  The Gentiles had already been commanded to abstain from blood and meats offered to idols (Acts 15:29). Before Abraham, even before the flood, there was a distinction between clean and unclean animals. God commanded Noah, “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. (Genesis 7:2 KJV)       



In conclusion all food is “clean” for New Testament believers.



<<< All “food” is clean but the flesh of unclean animals is not for “food”. >>>



Thanks for the excellent question. If I can be of further help just let me know.



God Bless You,

Brother Sal



<<< In Christ’s love,

        Frank >>>




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Sal

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I am privileged to be able to offer an alternative insight into the complicated world of Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) theology. I will rely heavily on the Bible, but will also consider history and use logic in exposing deficiencies in SDA teachings. I would ask anyone who is considering becoming a SDA or if you are already in the SDA church, but are searching for the truth, to please allow me to offer a different explanation for the claims of the SDA. Remember : "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32). I can answer your questions pertaining to the beliefs and history of the SDA. I am not able to answer questions concerning spirituality or church discipline.

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I have extensively studied the theology of the Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) for a number of years. I have many books and tape sets produced by experts in this field of study. I have debated current members of the SDA church. I have a great desire to help these people see the truth.

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M.S. degree in Food, Nutrition, and Dietetics

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