Clean and Unclean Meats: Do Mosaic Dietary Laws Apply to Christians Today?


The subject of whether or not Christians must adhere to Mosaic dietary laws can be quite a hot topic. The majority of Christians believe Scripture is clear that these laws do not apply to us. However some groups argue that the majority are misunderstanding the true meaning of Scripture and are in error. There are two separate theological bases for this belief: (A) The Mosaic Covenant was never abrogated and is still in force today, and (B) clean and unclean meat distinctions are a part of the moral law (which preceded the Mosaic Covenant) which is binding on all Christians.

It is perfectly acceptable for an individual to choose to adhere to the Mosaic dietary restrictions against unclean meats if they desire to do so. Scripturally, the issue arises when these individuals proclaim that other Christians must also adhere to these dietary standards as a matter of their salvation or justification. Unfortunately, this divisive heresy is taught by a number of sects. James addresses this very behavior in Acts 15:19 during his speech to the Jerusalem Council. Johnson writes in The Acts of the Apostles, “James characterizes the Pharisees demands as a form of harassment of the Gentiles that he wants stopped.”

The focus of this article is an examination of the arguments against dietary liberty and how some of the pertinent Scriptures are viewed. However, the truth of the matter is, how an individual understands Scripture regarding dietary laws is dependent on the much larger theological position mentioned above- whether or not the Mosaic Covenant was temporary. While an in-depth discussion of that topic is outside the scope of this article, I’ll briefly discuss two points which have bearing on our topic of dietary restrictions.

A. Is Mosaic Law (the Torah) Permanently Binding on All Christians?

The fact is, if the Mosaic Law is still in effect, then the dietary restriction argument is open and shut. Therefore, these two crucial points must be discussed with respect to the Mosaic Covenant (the Law of Moses.)

  1. The Torah is represented in Scripture only as a single unit- not in categories. In both the Old and New Testament the Scriptures view the 613 laws of the Mosaic Covenant as a unit. Though many individuals classify the laws into 3 categories in order to study and better understand them (ceremonial, legal, and moral) it is NEVER divided this way in Scripture. This includes the Ten Commandments- all apart of one law code containing a total of 613 laws. Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum (Messianic Jew and founder of Ariel Ministries– a ministry to Jews around the world) writes in Part 3 of his Israelology for Chafer Theological Seminary, “When the word Torah, ‘law,’ refers to the Law of Moses, it is always singular, although it contains 613 commandments. The same is true of the Greek word nomos in the New Testament.[…] The principle of the law of unity of the Law of Moses underlies James 2:10: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is become guilty of all. The point is clear. The person who breaks even one of the 613 commandments is guilty of breaking the Law of Moses. This can only be true of the Mosaic Law is a unit.”This has very serious implications for those who commonly use Matthew 5:17-19 (“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”) to claim that Mosaic Law is still operative. Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes, “It is obvious that Jesus spoke of the Law of Moses. Yet no Covenant theologian accepts his own thesis, since he must believe in the abolition (in some form) of many commands of the Law of Moses, if not most.”
  1. Mosaic Law was never intended to be permanent. Mosaic Law was part of the Mosaic Covenant, which was a conditional covenant between God and the Israelites only. The Mosaic Law was multi-purpose, but one of the primary functions was to serve as a “wall of partition” to separate Jews from Gentiles. In Part 2 of Israelology Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes, “The Mosaic Covenant contained the Mosaic Law that temporarily served as a wall of partition to keep the Gentiles as Gentiles away from enjoying Jewish spiritual blessings. If the Mosaic Law were still in effect, the wall of partition would still keep the Gentiles away, but the death of Christ broke down the wall of partition. Since the wall of partition was the Mosaic Law, God has done away with the Law of Moses. Gentiles as Gentiles, because of faith, can and do enjoy Jewish spiritual blessings as fellow-partakers of the promise in Jesus Christ.” This is precisely what Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians. Ephesians 2:14-16: For He Himself is our peace,who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in the place of two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. Those who teach that all Christians remain under Mosaic Law are attempting to re-build a wall of partition between the Jew and Gentile that Jesus Himself demolished.

Those interested in further reading on the Covenants of the Bible and the Mosaic Covenant in particular should check out Part 2 and Part 3 of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s article Israelology for Chafter Theological Seminar. His is one of the best explanations of the temporary nature of the Mosaic Covenant that I’ve come across. He is also the author of Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology. Fruchtenbaum’s bible study The Eight Covenants of the Bible is also an excellent resource.

B. Kosher dietary laws are a part of the moral law.

Adherents of this belief rightly understand that the group of laws of the Mosaic Covenant no longer apply to Christians. They understand that moral law isn’t identical to Mosaic Law, but that several components of moral law are included in Mosaic Law because moral law preceded Mosaic Law. When it comes to dietary restrictions, these individuals believe that there is a Scriptural basis to conclude that they are moral and therefore, still binding today. There are two main arguments for this claim which I will address together:

Arguments: God instituted the dietary restrictions for health reasons and the dietary restrictions precede the law of Moses.

While there is no doubt that there can be health benefits to individuals who only eat meats from the “clean” list, there is no Scriptural support for the claim that this was the purpose of the dietary restrictions. Prior to Genesis 9:3, God’s law was that man was to be vegetarian. Genesis 9:3 reads: Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Morrison explains in his article Are Some Meats Unclean that after the flood, Noah was allowed to eat all creatures, “The implication is, and the traditional Jewish interpretation is, that Noah could eat any kind of meat he wanted, just as he could eat any kind of green plant he wanted.”

Some object to this saying that the distinctions “clean” and “unclean” existed in Noah’s day (Genesis 7:1-9). This is true, but there is no indication that these distinctions were relevant to Noah’s diet. Instead, these are referenced in regard to sacrifice. The Jewish Encyclopedia states, “It seems that in the mind of this writer the distinction between clean and unclean animals was intended for sacrifices only; for in the following chapter he makes God say: “Everything that moveth shall be food for you” (Genesis ix 3).”

If the dietary law wasn’t for health reasons, what was its purpose? According to Leviticus 20:24-25, the purpose was to make the Israelites distinct from other nations “…I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples. You shall therefore separate the clean beast from the unclean, and the unclean bird from the clean…” Indeed this is the purpose for many of the laws in the Mosaic Covenant, which served as a dividing wall or partition between the Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:14)

Traditionally, Jews have not considered their dietary laws applicable to Gentile proselytes and only hold Gentile converts to a group of 7 Noachide Laws (laws binding on all men since we are all descended from Noah.) The Jewish Encyclopedia lists these seven as :

(1) don’t worship idols; (2) don’t blaspheme God; (3) establish courts of justice; (4) don’t kill; (5) don’t commit adultery; (6) don’t rob; and a seventh added after the flood, not to eat flesh cut from a living animal.

Dietary restrictions are notably absent.

Further corroboration that Mosaic dietary laws are not moral comes from Deuteronomy 14:21: You shall not eat anything that has died naturally. You may give it to the sojourner who is within your towns, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.

In this verse, we see that although an animal that has died naturally is unclean for an Israelite, it can be given to a “sojourner” or a foreigner to eat. While this doesn’t necessarily mean the animal which has died naturally is an unclean species, it has become unclean for the Israelite under the Mosaic Law. The Israelite cannot eat it because they are “set apart,” however someone else may eat it without being unlawful.

What makes this verse even more interesting, is that the word translated “sojourner” or sometimes “stranger” is the Hebrew word ger. There are four Hebrew words which can refer to a “stranger”: ger, toshav, zar, and nocri. According to Mark Haughwout  ger, “…typically refers to a foreigner who has decided to move to Israel and join the nation- essentially an immigrant like Ruth. Such a stranger was given the same rights as the native born and the same obligations. See Numbers 15:29-30, 19:10, Leviticus 24:16, Deuteronomy 31:12.” So we aren’t just talking about a stranger who is passing through. We’re talking about someone who lives among the Israelites and is part of the community.

Morrison writes, “The meat was unclean, but it could be given or sold to a Gentile. But God would not encourage something harmful to be sold. This shows that the distinction between clean and unclean was designed for Israelites, not for health. Israelites had different rules than Gentiles; the rules about cleanliness separated the Israelite nation from the Gentile nations.” Morrison also points out that, while there are certain meats that aren’t healthy, these animals don’t coincide exactly with the animals that are prohibited in the Mosaic Covenant. The New Covenant gives us the freedom to make those decisions on our own.

Now, on to some of the debated Scriptures that discuss dietary restrictions as they relate to Christians.

Mark 7:15-19 (ESV)

15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.”[a] 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?”[b] (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

Seems pretty cut and dry, but this passage is highly debated. The following two common arguments are given against the plain meaning of the text.

Argument 1:

The claim that the phrase in 19b “Thus he declared all foods clean.” is not present in the original Greek manuscripts. As corroboration, many cite the KJV of this verse, which does not include it. One blogger goes so far as to refer to the phrase as a “heretical summation.”


I’m not about to enter into a “KJV only” argument here (for a discussion about Bible translations that clears up some misinformation about the KJV as compared to newer translations you can check out this article From the KJV to the RV (from elegance to accuracy)), but the fact of the matter is the claim that earlier Greek manuscripts do not contain this phrase is simply false. Dr. Jonathon Safarti writes, “The standard New Testament critical apparatus gives the clause katharizōn panta ta brōmata the top ranking of A, found in the main early codices Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrinus, several other uncials, many minuscules, families 1 and 13, and part of the Byzantine family.” Here’s how it reads in Codex Sinaiticus (which I have seen some claim does not include it): because it goes not into his heart, but into his belly, and is cast out into the sink, making all meats clean.

What does that mean in English? Fundamentals of New Testament Criticism explains, “…the system of gradation that is given to the readings regarding the committee’s level of certainty that the reading in the text reflects the original. The grades are based on a four-letter system progressing from an A rating (certain) to a B rating (almost certain) to a C rating (the committee had difficulty determining which variant should be in the text) to a D rating (the committee is uncertain as to which variant should be in the text, progressing from most to least certain” There is no serious debate about whether or not the text belongs.

There is debate, however, as to whether Christ said it or if it is a parenthetical insertion from Mark. Neither matters if you believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Either Jesus said it, or Mark wrote it under divine inspiration. A very technical explanation of the intricacies of the debate can be further researched in David Rudolph’s article appearing in A Journal of Messianic Judaism, “Yeshua and the Dietary Laws: A Reassessment of Mark 7:19B.”

Argument 2:

The context of Mark 7 is not clean and unclean meats, but the un-biblical Rabbinic tradition of ritual hand washing before eating. Jesus never would have instructed his followers to break Mosaic law, that would have made Him a false teacher. In order for Jesus to be sinless He had to follow Mosaic Law perfectly.


The above argument is absolutely correct. The context of Jesus’ statements are the extra-biblical ritual cleansing additions that the Pharisees had imposed. Jesus never broke a Mosaic Law. Neither did Jesus instruct his Jewish followers to break any of the 613 Mosaic Laws before His fulfillment of the Law was complete (His death and resurrection.) Since the legitimate debate is not if the text belongs, but rather who said it, there are two ways to understand the text depending on your particular stance.

  1. The logic for Mark adding a parenthetical statement to Jesus’ words?Mark was speaking to Gentile believers- not Jewish believers. Rudolph lists the following three indicators: (a) “Mark’s editorial insertion in verse 3 is directed to Gentile believers who are unfamiliar with Jewish customs.” (b) “…Yeshua is portrayed as traveling throughout Gentile territory and ministering to the Gentiles. Mark’s ‘Gentile mission motif’ is apparent.” (c) The gospel contains seven Aramaic names/expressions written in Greek that Mark translates for his non-Jewish audience (3:17; 5:41; 7:11, 34; 14:36; 15:22, 34).”

Rudolph then quotes Dunn: “It is also clear that this unit is directed toward a Gentile audience: verses 3-4 explain Jewish customs (‘all the Jews!’); and most commentators agree that verse 19c (‘cleansing all foods’) is designed to point out or serve as a reassurance to Gentile believers that the Jewish food laws were not obligatory for them.”

Scholars believe Mark’s gospel was written somewhere between 64-75 AD. Therefore, Mark is in retrospect explaining that the principle that Jesus is discussing (people are defiled by what comes from their hearts, not by what they physically touch or ingest) can be applied to all foods.

  1. The logic if the statement is not Mark’s and Jesus said it Himself?Jesus alluded to events yet future throughout His earthly ministry and for the most part even His disciples didn’t “get it” until afterwards (as with His resurrection which they even had to have explained by Jesus after it occurred even though they had been told it was coming.)

    Jesus alluded to the going away of the Law, just as Jeremiah had prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34. The writer of Hebrews knew this, as he quoted these very verses in Jeremiah and then concluded in Hebrews 8:13: “In speaking of a new covenant, He makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

    Where does Jesus’ verse 19 statement come in? Dr. Fruchtenbaum explains the significance of Mark 7:19 in light of Matthew 5:19 (Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be great in the kingdom of heaven.), “Verse 19 adds these least commandments, which includes more than merely the moral commandments and the emphasis is on the entire Law, all 613 commandments.[…]Verse 19 must not be ignored. True, Jesus did come to fulfill the Law, but the Law of Moses did not end with the coming of the Messiah or by His life, but by His death. As long as He was alive, He was under the Mosaic Law and had to fulfill every commandment applicable to Him, not in the way that the rabbis had reinterpreted it. The statement of Matthew 5:17-19 was made while He was living. Even while He was living, He already implied the doing away with the Law. One example is Mark 7:19: This He said, making all meats clean. Can it be any clearer than this that at least the dietary commandments have been done away with?”

    Jesus’ statement that foods were clean looked forward to after the Mosaic Covenant had passed away, subsequent to His death. The principle He was describing (that external, ingested things don’t defile a person, what comes out of their heart does) is a New Covenant understanding- a completely foreign concept to the Jews, evidenced by the fact that they had even added extra external cleansing requirements above and beyond what was commanded in Mosaic Law.

Acts 10:9-16 (ESV)

9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour[b] to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.

Here is the context. An angel comes to a man named Cornelius who is described as a very devout, God-fearing Gentile. The angel tells Cornelius to send men to Joppa to have Peter come to his home and Cornelius sends three men on that mission. While the men are on their way, the Lord sends Peter the vision above three times. Peter is completely confused by the vision the Lord has sent him. The men reach Peter and tell him that an angel told Cornelius to send them to ask Peter to come back to Cornelius’ house. Peter goes back with them to Cornelius’ house and when he arrives he tells Cornelius that he knows that it is unlawful for Jews to associate with people of other nations, but God has told him that he should not consider anyone unclean or common. He then asks Cornelius why he sent for him. Cornelius tells Peter about the angel that told him to summon Peter. Peter says he now understands that God shows no partiality, but that everyone who fears God and does what is right according to Him is accepted. The Holy Spirit then falls on everyone who hears what Peter has said. The Jews are surprised because the Holy Spirit is even poured out on the Gentiles. Peter then calls for them to be baptized.

Argument 1:

Peter’s vision was symbolic, not to be taken literally. The Lord was only telling Peter that Gentiles should no longer be considered “common” or “unclean,” not making a statement about unclean meats no longer being restricted.


In Peter’s vision the unclean animals represent Gentiles. In the vision, God tells Peter to kill and eat the unclean animals. Yes, the vision is obviously symbolic. No one is asserting that a literal sheet with all kinds of animals on it was lowered from the heavens. However, if the animals in the sheet had not been declared clean, then the symbolism makes no sense whatsoever. Dr. Jonathon Safarti demonstrates how useless the symbolism would be if, in fact, God had not meant that unclean animals were now clean with this analogy, “Eat these unclean foods, as a symbol for fellowshiping with Gentiles- but don’t really eat this food but still fellowship with Gentiles.” He continues, “The reality of the symbolic command is important for the reality of the command it symbolized.”

Argument 2:

Peter was completely confused by the vision and did not understand what it could possibly mean proclaiming, “No Lord! I have never eaten anything unclean!”

This is the logic: Peter had no idea that unclean animals were now clean, therefore they had not been declared clean, therefore God was not now declaring them clean, therefore Peter was confused about what the vision actually meant.


Peter was notoriously slow to understand Jesus. It certainty appears that Peter had not realized prior to his vision that unclean animals were considered clean, but Peter’s understanding at that point in his life has nothing to do with anything considering his track record. For example, Peter and the disciples did not understand that Jesus was going to die and be resurrected even though Jesus had been predicting these very events. (Matthew 16:21, 20:17-19, Luke 24:25-27) Even when Jesus’ predictions came to pass (His persecution and His death) Peter and the disciples were confused and scared when He was resurrected.

For example, Matthew 16:21-23, states that when Jesus began to show the disciples what was coming with respect to His persecution, His death, and His resurrection, Peter (not understanding) pulled Jesus aside and said, “This will never happen to You!” Jesus rebukes Peter strongly saying, “Get behind me Satan, you are being a stumbling block to Me.” Basing your understanding of Peter’s vision on his initial, clueless reaction to it would be a big mistake.

Romans 14:2-3, 6, 14, 20 (ESV)

2 One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.

Romans 14 is another instance where the meaning of Scripture according to the most logical, plain reading seems crystal clear. Nevertheless, Paul’s meaning is debated.


The context of Romans 14 has nothing to do with clean or unclean meats. It is merely contrasting vegetarians with those who ate clean meats according to Mosaic Law. Paul uses the word koinos which refers to ceremonial uncleanness rather than akathartos which denotes a species of animal that is unclean. Therefore, Paul is not discussing foods that are restricted by Mosaic Law.


Yes, one of the issues being discussed is vegetarianism. However, the language Paul uses in verse 14 and 20 (14- nothing is clean in itself; 20- everything is clean) makes abundantly clear that he is not restricting the context of his statements to vegetables vs clean meats.

Quibbling over the particular word meaning of koinos vs akathartos is of no consequence in this particular situation because Paul was writing to a mixed congregation in which many of the members would not understand subtle differences in these two words. Morrison notes, “The Louw and Nida lexicon lists koinos as a synonym of akathartos…”

Russell Duke’s article Conflict at Rome: Romans 14 provides the proper perspective regarding Paul’s readers, “In A.D. 57 many members of the church in Rome were Gentile Christians who had come from pagan roots in polytheism without any particular day of worship. Probably some Gentile proselytes (Gentiles who had converted to Judaism) of the Jews had become Christians and would have been observing some, but not all, of the Jewish requirements. Jewish Christians who kept Old Testament traditions formed a third group. A fourth group, probably the smallest, may have been Jewish Christians who had abandoned their traditions as unnecessary and unwanted,”

Paul knew who he was writing to and would’ve been very aware that when he used the phrases, “nothing is unclean” (verse 14) and “everything is clean” (verse 20) that the Gentiles from pagan backgrounds would have considered unclean animals to be food, therefore would have understand Paul to mean that all foods were clean, not just meats that the Jews considered foods. Limiting the context of Romans 14 to vegetarianism and clean meats disregards the mixed religious background of Paul’s readers and oversimplifies the conflict. Duke writes, “Concerns about meat probably ran the gamut from unclean meats of Leviticus 11, to meat offered to idols, to improperly bled animals, to blemished sacrifices. Romans had no qualms about eating various meats. They sacrificed pigs, goats and dogs to their gods in the temples.”

Despite these facts, Paul doesn’t narrowly define his terms. Morrison writes, “Paul did not restrict his statements or their application, even for a church area he had not been to before (Paul was located in Corinth while writing to the Romans), even though it contained both Jews and Gentiles. Paul’s Gentile readers in Rome would have understood that pork was a food, and from Paul’s letter, they would have concluded that it was clean or OK to eat.” Morrison then adds, “But Paul knew that some of his readers would not accept his analysis. He did not demand that they agree. Instead, he encouraged them to remain true to their convictions, and he cautioned others to avoid offending them.”


If the laws of the Mosaic Covenant are an inseparable package (all or none) as they are represented in Scripture, then every single law still applies- sacrificial, death penalties, dietary restrictions, circumcision, the priesthood, etc. There is no Christian sect which believes this Covenant to be active that doesn’t perform “exegetical gymnastics” to abrogate certain laws within the package even though the crowning passage (Matthew 5:17-19) explicitly condemns this. Since Christ’s death and resurrection Christians are under the New Covenant law. Though the Mosaic Law and New Covenant Law share elements, they are not identical. Moral law predates Mosaic Law. Moral law has always applied to all of mankind, not Israelites only. If a law applies to Israelites, yet not Gentiles- the basis of the law is not moral.

The New Covenant affords Christians dietary liberty that we may exercise if we so choose. However, we are not to pass judgment on each other for our individual dietary choices. Paul cautions believers who embrace their dietary liberty not to cause another believer to stumble on those grounds. We are to each be convinced in our own mind. By the same token, believers who choose to restrict their diets are not to harass other believers about their conviction, and certainly not to proclaim that a Jewish diet is required for salvation or even a justification for salvation.

I’ll close with a quote from Morrison, “God’s church can peacefully contain people who have different opinions on this subject, just as the Roman church included people of different convictions. The kingdom of God is not based on food or drink, but on ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ (Romans 14:17). ‘Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification’ (verse 19).”

23 Replies to “Clean and Unclean Meats: Do Mosaic Dietary Laws Apply to Christians Today?”

  1. 1.
    “Though many individuals classify the laws into 3 categories in order to study and better understand them (ceremonial, legal, and moral) it is NEVER divided this way in Scripture. This includes the Ten Commandments”

    Not true. The 10 commandments were written on stone by God and placed inside the ark.(Ex 31:18, Ex 32:16, Ex 40:20) The remaining laws were written by Moses in a book and place on the side of the ark (2 Chron 35:12, Deut 31:26)
    “God has done away with the Law of Moses.”

    Since you group the 10 commandments with the Law of Moses this implies that the 10 commandments are done away with. If the 10 commandments could have been done away with then Jesus need not have died. To suggest the 10 commandments are done away with is to nullify the cross of Christ. Sin is the transgression of the law and I doubt you are suggesting there has been no sin since the cross.

    “Noah was allowed to eat all creatures, “The implication is, and the traditional Jewish interpretation is, that Noah could eat any kind of meat he wanted, just as he could eat any kind of green plant he wanted.””

    There is a difference between permission and recommendation. Noah was permitted to eat animals because the flood destroyed everything else. Additionally you can’t safely eat just every green plant, some are dangerous to health. To use that reasoning to justify eating just any meat is inconsistent.
    “If the dietary law wasn’t for health reasons, what was its purpose? According to Leviticus 20:24-25, the purpose was to make the Israelites distinct from other nations”

    Daniel ate a clean diet and he was distinct BECAUSE OF the diet. This distinction arises because of obedience to health laws. (Dan 1:8-16) The surrounding nations would not be impressed by obese sickly heart attack victims marching to Canaan with canes and walkers and insulin shots.

    On Peter. He himself said he never ate unclean food which means that he didn’t eat anything unclean with Jesus or even after the Resurrection. (Acts 10:14) There is also no evidence of the disciples of Jesus ever being accused by the Jews of eating unclean meats or urging converts to eat unclean meats. If the disciples in fact taught this their enemies would have trumpeted this everywhere yet there is nothing on record because the Jews could never accuse them of such practice or teaching.

    “Paul knew … that the Gentiles from pagan backgrounds would have considered unclean animals to be food, therefore would have understand Paul to mean that all foods were clean,”

    According to Romans 15:18 Paul led Gentiles to obedience to a scripture based faith (Romans 15:4, 16:26). There is no evidence anywhere that the disciples or Paul ever taught, implied, or suggested that Christians could now eat pork, shellfish, etc.

    “Moral law predates Mosaic Law. Moral law has always applied to all of mankind”

    What an interesting statement, how do you explain that? You already grouped the 10 commandments with Mosaic writings so where is the basis for moral law? What is the objective standard of morality by which to identify sin if you have no 10 commandments?

    1. Hi Andrew! Thanks for your comment. I’ll answer you point by point.

      1. Yes, the 10 commandments were a part of the 613 unit of law known as the Law of Moses which is no longer binding. 2 Corinthians 3:2-11 actually focuses specifically on the Ten Commandments. Verses 3 and 7 specifically say, the ones that were “graven on stones.” Verse 7 calls them a “ministration of death,” and verse 9 calls them “a ministration of condemnation.” The Greek word “katargeo”, which is translated “passed away” in verses 7 and 11, means “to render inoperative.” Covenant theologians argue that the 10 commandments are the basis for moral law, but this is incorrect. The items listed in 9 of the 10 commandments (every item minus the Sabbath law) were morally wrong long before God issued the 10 commandments to Moses. To assume that doing away with the 10 commandments renders us lawless or nullifies the cross is to ignore the moral law that existed prior to Mt. Sinai. In truth to believe that the Mosaic Law is still in effect, would be to deny Christ’s priesthood. The Levitical priesthood is an integral part of the Mosaic Law. According to Mosaic Law, only a Levite can be a priest. However, Jesus is descended from the tribe of Judah. Hebrews 7 discusses this fully. Jesus is a priest of a new order- the order of Melchizedek. New priesthood requires a new law. I highly recommend Fruchtenbaum’s articles I linked for an in depth discussion on those points.

      2. In your second point, you are arguing that clean meats are more healthful. Some are, but across the board this isn’t the case. Your logic behind why Noah was allowed to eat meat after the flood, however, is faulty. If God were only concerned with the survival of the species, then it would have made more sense for all vertebrates to be off limits and fish declared food. You also point out that the dietary laws were to make the Jews distinct. I completely agree that this was the primary purpose of the dietary laws. Indeed, that is the point that I make in the article. The New Covenant gives us the liberty to decide for ourselves. If you prefer to keep a kosher diet, that’s great. The only problem is if you insist that others should act according to your convictions for their salvation or justification.

      3. It is clear from Peter’s response to his vision that he did not understand that God had made all animals clean. Therefore, it would be no surprise that he had not eaten unclean meat at that point. (Acts 10) In Galatians 2, Paul says that Peter normally “lives like a Gentile,” but then withdrew from Gentile tables when legalistic Jewish Christians came to Antioch. Paul criticizes his hypocrisy. What does “living like a Gentile” mean? It wouldn’t mean that he engaged in idolatry. The insinuation is that he ate like the Gentiles. More than one reference is made to the fact that believers should not judge each other on the basis of food choices: Romans 14:14, 20; 1 Timothy 4:4; Colossians 2:16…

      4. The context of Romans 15:4 has nothing to do with keeping Mosaic Law. In verse 4 Paul is isolating two lessons that we should learn from the Old Testament: endurance and encouragement. We need to endure difficulties and God is faithful to us. Romans 16:26 is also irrelevant to dietary laws or Mosaic Law. When referring to the “revelations of mystery” Paul is talking about the plan of redemption through Jesus Christ. Even though the plan had been prophesied, its final outworking wasn’t evident until revealed by God through Jesus. God is calling all nations to obedience through faith.

      5. Again, Mosaic law, nor the 10 commandments written on tablets that is included in the Mosaic Law have ever been the basis for moral law. To claim this is to claim there was no moral law prior to the Mosaic Law, which we know is not true. The objective standard of morality is the Law of Christ (this is what it is called in Galatians 6:2.) It contains all the individual commandments from Christ and the Apostles which are applicable to a New Testament believer. 9 of the 10 commandments are included (Sabbath is not included). The Law of Christ actually intensifies some of the commands in the law of Moses. For example- Moses said love your neighbor as yourself, but Christ says “love one another as I have loved you.”

      Again, I highly recommend Fruchtenbaum’s articles that I linked. He leaves no stone unturned in his explanations.

      1. hi truth snitch, thanks for the reply.

        >> You wrote “The insinuation is that [Peter] ate like the Gentiles.”

        You are inferring that but there is no evidence that Peter ate unclean meat. If “living like a Gentile” means eating unclean meat then by definition it would include many other ungodly and immoral practices for which the Gentiles were known for. The text does not say “He was eating like a Gentile,” it says that he was “living” like one. You state that this could not mean idolatry but who are you to say that? This is your presupposition and to be fair it’s not based on the text. You presuppose that eating unclean meat is okay but idolatry is not so for you Peter eats pork but does not worship idols. This is inconsistent with the text that he was “living” like a Gentile. Paul acknowledges in 2:8 that God was working mightily through Peter and to read that Paul would later say that Peter was living like a Gentile in an immoral fashion contradicts Paul certainty that God was working through Peter. There is no mention whatsoever though that Peter did anything other than eat WITH Gentiles when he was with them but ate WITHOUT them when the Jews were around. To read into this situation that Peter was eating pork when the Jews weren’t around is unsupported by the text. You yourself admitted that your belief rests upon an “insinuation” of Paul that you personally are applying.

        >> You wrote “In your second point, you are arguing that clean meats are more healthful”

        One always has the trouble of wondering how detailed one’s response should be to a online blog post 🙂 this is a good example. I personally would not make the argument that clean meats are more healthy since (in my view) it’s largely irrelevant to the overall argument on biblical principles for Christian lifestyle. There are much better arguments which I’ll pass for another day. What we do know for a fact is that people who eat a plant based diet have a increased lifespan of approximately 7 years and a significant decrease in incidences of chronic diseases. As we saw pre-flood it was God’s design that mankind should have a plant based diet and as soon as meat was introduced the lifespan decreased substantially.

        >> You wrote “If God were only concerned with the survival of the species, then it would have made more sense for all vertebrates to be off limits and fish declared food.”

        The comment “it would have made more sense” assumes a knowledge greater than God and what was best for that situation. That’s quite a statement.

        >> You wrote “The items listed in 9 of the 10 commandments (every item minus the Sabbath law) were morally wrong long before God issued the 10 commandments to Moses.”

        You are making an argument that the “law of Christ” is synonymous with the “moral law” which preceded the 10 commandments. You argue that the 10 commandments are done away with but that 9 existed pre-Sinai. You also wrote

        >>”To assume that doing away with the 10 commandments renders us lawless or nullifies the cross is to ignore the moral law that existed prior to Mt. Sinai. ”

        So according to you Christians are not lawless, they do have a law, and that law is the law of Christ which is made of 9 of the 10 commandments which existed prior to Sinai? Is that a correct reading of your words?

        1. So do you mean that Christians are obligated to keep those 9 commandments today?
        2. And do you believe Colossians 1:16 that Jesus created all things?
        3. If there were no commandments prior to Sinai then what did Abraham keep when in Gen 26:5 God says “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws”?

        1. On the “insinuation is that Peter ate like the Gentiles” comment:

          I think your statement that I am insinuating that Peter “eating like the Gentiles” definitively proves that he ate unclean meats is a fair one. However, since he doesn’t specifically say what he was eating, the assumption that he didn’t eat unclean meats (which Gentiles did), is also an argument from silence and those are never especially compelling. I disagree that I make a presupposition that unclean meats have been made clean. I list multiple verses in my article that attest to that. To compare Peter’s possible eating of unclean meats to the possibility that Peter could have been engaged in idolatry is not an accurate comparison. There are no verses in the Bible which may in any way be construed that idolatry is permissable, therefore my assumption that Peter “living like a Gentile” does not include being engaged in idolatry is a fair one. I’m sure Paul’s rebuke wouldn’t have been limited to hypocrisy otherwise. Finally, I never in any way stated that my belief in dietary freedom rests on insinuation by Paul. My belief that Christians today have dietary freedom is based on: 1) my belief that the Mosaic Covenant was never binding on Gentiles to begin with (this is the traditional Jewish position as well); 2) my belief that the Mosaic Covenant was temporary and was abrogated when Christ fulfilled it with His death and resurrection; 3) since the Mosaic covenant was abrogated, laws Christians are bound to must be included in the Law of Christ- dietary restrictions cannot be found in the Law of Christ.

          On the “clean meats are more healthful” comment:

          I actually don’t think you and I have much of a disagreement here at all. With the franken-food we have today, eating a completely organic, non-GMO, antibiotic free unclean meat diet would probably have more health benefit. Lol! Personally (since I was raised in a sect that upheld dietary restrictions) I don’t generally like most of the meats on the unclean list: pork (with the exception of extra crispy bacon- ha ha), lobster, shrimp, etc. However, I don’t think it’s wrong for others to eat them. I don’t know that one can tie longer life- spans pre-flood directly to dietary changes since I think there were extreme atmospheric changes that could have greatly contributed. Of course, we can’t rule out some type of Divine limitation though Scripture doesn’t mention that it occurred.

          On the assertion that “it would have made more sense for God to only allow fish post-flood” is “quite a statement” on my part.

          My statement should in no way be taken that I am saying what would “make sense” for God to command. My statement is in response to the logic that people are employing in their own assumptions as to why God would have allowed meat after the flood, but not prior. Your original comment was that God allowed Noah to eat animals after the flood because of the scarcity of vegetarian food sources. This is the logic I am arguing- not God’s.

          On the 10 commandments comment:

          You are correct that I believe moral law preceded Mosaic Law, and that the Law of Christ contains 9 of the 10 Commandments. However, I do want to clarify that I don’t believe the Law of Christ “is made of 9 of the 10 commandments.” Moral law (9 of the 10 commandments are moral) preceded the 10 commandments therefore they don’t come from the 10 commandments. Rather, the opposite could be asserted.

          To your numbered questions:

          1. Christians are obligated to keep the Law of Christ including the 9 moral laws that are included in both the 10 commandments and the Law of Christ. However, we should be aware that many of these are actually expanded under the Law of Christ as I mentioned before. Another example- in the 10 commandments committing adultery is a sin, according to the Law of Christ you are guilty of the sin of adultery if you look at a woman lustfully (Matthew 5:28).
          2. Yes, I absolutely believe the Bible is clear that Jesus created all things.
          3. I’ve never said that there weren’t commands prior to Sinai, however they weren’t specifically recorded for us so we have to learn by the behaviors of individuals prior to Sinai. 9 of the 10 commandments certainly appear to have been morally binding prior to Sinai.

          1. >> you wrote “the assumption that Peter didn’t eat unclean meats (which Gentiles did), is also an argument from silence ”

            Peter explicitly says in Acts 10:14 “I have never eaten anything common or unclean” so no it is not an argument from silence. In the presence of such an explicit statement you have the burden of showing that Peter did change and there is no explicit evidence anywhere contradicting Peter’s statement in Acts 10:14. You admitted this and said that you are insinuating/inferring that Peter ate that way, that’s fine to infer that but to assert the text is silent is just not true.

          2. It is my understanding that Peter’s vision (Acts 10) occurred prior to the incident at Antioch. Peter’s reaction makes it clear that he didn’t understand that all animals had been made clean, this is why he didn’t understand the message God was giving him in the vision when He equated unclean animals with Gentiles and told him not to call something unclean or common that He had made clean. Therefore it makes perfect sense that he would never had eaten unclean meat at that point.

            Then the Jerusalem Council is held (Acts 15) and Peter speaks, telling the others that he saw Gentiles receive the Holy Spirit. It was in this council that it was decided that Gentile converts did not have to keep the Law of Moses.

            Nothing is said specifically about Peter’s dietary choices from the time of his understanding of the vision, to the events in Antioch. This is why I conceded that it was an argument from silence, even though I think it is insinuated in the statement that Peter “lived like a Jew.”

          3. If, as you admitted. that Jesus is the Creator then it is true that Jesus created according to the Genesis account. And it is true that Jesus as Creator “rested on the seventh day from all his work” and he “blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Gen 2:2-3). In fact the fourth commandment in Exodus 20:11 specifically refers to Gen 2:2-3 as the basis for the fourth commandment. However you have argued that the 10 commandments are done away with and that Christians today only need to keep the “law of Christ” which according to you is the “moral law” that preceded Sinai. Since the fourth commandment specifically recalls the sanctifying of the Sabbath day at Creation it is a testimony from God himself that the Sabbath observance was in fact in effect long before Sinai. This is further attested to by Ex 16:29 “See, for the Lord has given you the Sabbath” which happened before Sinai and the 10 commandments.

            You argue that Christians ought to keep the 9 commandments and not the fourth commandment because they exist before Sinai yet the fourth is the very commandment that God himself recognizes as existing before Sinai. The only way that your argument can stand is by completely cutting Genesis 2:2-3 and Exodus 16 and Exodus 20:11 out of the Bible so that there is no reference to the seventh day Sabbath prior to Sinai. I don’t know why you are prejudiced against the Sabbath but by your own arguments you have boxed yourself into the accepting the Sabbath since of all the commandments it is arguably one the most well attested before Sinai, and that by God Himself.

            Furthermore, Paul wrote in Romans 7:12 that the law is holy, just, and good. There is only One that is holy, just , and good and that is God. The 10 commandments are a reflection of the character of God. You argue that the 10 commandments are done away with but Paul specifically cites the 10 commandments (Romans 7:7) and says the law is holy and good. Who are you to now say in 2018 that the 10 commandments are not holy and not good?

            By the way are you also going to argue that Peter didn’t keep Sabbath either? Since he was living like a Gentile? By the same line of reasoning that you get Peter to eat pork he must also not keep Sabbath either.

          4. That’s kind of funny. You say 10 commandments weren’t written down before Sinai so we have to “learn by the behaviors of individuals prior to Sinai.” and then you say “9 of the 10 commandments certainly appear to have been morally binding prior to Sinai” This is funny because you exclude the Sabbath which was written down in Gen 2:2-3 and Ex 16 and the Sabbath is a behavior of God Himself that He later put into stone. So by your own reasoning that we are to follow examples the Sabbath is the most important to follow because it’s God’s example. You admitted that Jesus is the Creator but by your own argument we should not follow the example of Jesus. This is the same Jesus who said he is “Lord of the Sabbath.”

            Of course you sidestepped the commandments, statutues, and laws that Abraham kept because it implies that these things were written down.

          5. This comment serves as my response to your comment below as well as the one above:

            While it is a common Sabbatarian apologetic argument that the Sabbath was created when God rested on the 7th day, this is not accurate. If it were a law from creation, all of the patriarchs would have been keeping it. However, there is absolutely no record of any Patriarch keeping the Sabbath. Tertullian writes about this in his “An Answer to the Jews”:

            “Therefore since God originated Adam uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, consequently his offspring also, Abel, offering Him sacrifices, uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, was by Him commended…Noah also, uncircumcised- yes inobservant of the Sabbath- God freed from the deluge. For Enoch, too, most righteous man, uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, He translated from this world…Melchizedek also, ‘the priest of the most high God,’ uncircumcised and inobservant of the Sabbath, was chosen to the priesthood of God.”

            I never said that the 10 commandments weren’t holy or good. They served their holy and good purpose in the time that they were active. You can’t quote Paul’s statement in Romans 7:7 and 7:12 as an indication that the 10 commandments apply to us today and completely disregard what he said about them in 2 Corinthians 3. Paul explains exactly what he means. He describes them as a “ministry of death” which is “being brought to an end.” He then explains that he’s not saying they weren’t glorious and righteous. He’s saying if these commandments (which he refers to as the ministry of death, which are now passing away) were glorious and righteous, just imagine the holiness and righteousness of the “ministry of righteousness” (referring to the Law of Christ). He’s not saying they were bad and neither am I. They served their purpose. Yet, according to Paul, the holiness and righteousness of the 10 commandments pales in comparison to the Law of Christ which will never pass away.

            I have no prejudice against the Sabbath. I am, however, prejudiced toward the truth. I was raised in a Sabbatarian cult which taught the mandatory Law of Moses and all that comes with it. I’ve seen first hand the harm and divisiveness it causes. We are called to be set apart from the world, not to argue with each other on disputable matters causing division within the body of Christ. The Law was a “wall of partition” between the Jew and Gentile and that is exactly how it functioned. The Jew and Gentile are one man in Christ now- the barrier has been torn down.

          6. you wrote “the Sabbath was created when God rested on the 7th day, this is not accurate.”

            How can you say that? It’s right there in Gen 2:2-3 and God himself cites from it in Exodus 20:11. To say that the Sabbath was not created on the 7th day when God specifically wrote that it is so in stone is to say that what God wrote was “not accurate”. You are saying that God made an error by citing from Gen 2:2-3. The Bible says that God’s way is perfect (Ps 18:30) and his law is perfect (Ps 19:7) but you are arguing that his law had imperfections and errors.

            you wrote “If it were a law from creation, all of the patriarchs would have been keeping it. However, there is absolutely no record of any Patriarch keeping the Sabbath.”

            You yourself wrote ““however they weren’t specifically recorded for us so we have to learn by the behaviors of individuals prior to Sinai.” You yourself argued that 9 of the 10 commandments were not written down so we have to follow example. The Sabbath was written down in Gen 2:2-3 and the example is Jesus the Creator but now you are doing a complete 180 and saying “there is absolutely no record of any Patriarch keeping the Sabbath.” when Jesus himself kept it. For example, to say that the Patriarchs honored the institution of marriage created in Eden but somehow totally missed the institution of Sabbath and example of Jesus resting on the sanctified Sabbath is an insult to the Patriarchs. Unless of course you are going to be consistent and argue that the Patriarchs didn’t keep the marriage institution either? It’s textually inconsistent to argue that the Patriarchs kept marriage but didn’t keep Sabbath when both came from Eden before sin. Both marriage and Sabbath have God’s blessing.

            Furthermore as I’ve already mentioned you completely sidestepped the commandments, statutes, and laws that Abraham kept (Genesis 26:5) because it implies that these things were written down. Or if not written down they were certainly very well known and shared according to oral tradition.

            Your arguments are an attack on Jesus as Creator and on the institution of Sabbath that he created, he blessed, and he sanctified. The Bible says that Abraham was the Friend of God (2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8; James 2:23) yet you are arguing that somehow God’s Friend Abraham was 1) totally ignorant of the Sabbath despite knowledge of “commandments, statutes, etc.” or 2) knew about the Sabbath but somehow became God’s Friend by completely ignoring God’s example of honoring the Sabbath. Instead you want me to throw out the evidence and inspired text in favor of a Tertullian?

            You wrote “I was raised in a Sabbatarian cult which taught the mandatory Law of Moses”

            Sounds like you had a bad experience, sorry to hear that. You claim you have no prejudice but the inconsistencies of your arguments suggest otherwise. You yourself admitted “I’ve seen first hand the harm and divisiveness it causes.” Again sorry to hear about your bad experience but the perfect example of Jesus giving or keeping the 10 commandments is perfect irregardless of whether people accept it or militate against it causing divisiveness.

            All of this and yet you accuse others “exegetical gymnastics.” okay.

          7. Andrew,

            You cite Genesis 2:2-3 as if I have misrepresented it in some way. Here it is:

            “2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”

            Please note, there is no mention of the word Sabbath or any command to keep it. This passage merely states what God did on this day. There is no command for man to observe it written in this passage. From Adam all the way to Moses (Genesis 16 to be exact) there is no record of anyone keeping the Sabbath. God listed a number of obligations on humanity in covenants prior to the Mosaic Covenant. Keeping the Sabbath is never one of them. Take the book of Job- many obligations man has to God are mentioned. The Sabbath is not mentioned once. Sabbath observance specifically begins with Moses in Exodus 16:23-30 and is codified into the Law of Moses in Exodus 20:8-11.

            Just as circumcision was the token of the Abrahamic Covenant, the Sabbath was the token of the Mosaic Covenant. It was a sign between God and Israel and a sign that Israel had been set apart by God (Ex. 31:12-17). It was also a sign of the Exodus (Deut. 5:12-15 and Ezek 20:10-12). It was a sign that Jehovah was Israel’s God (Ezek 20:20). Every reason given for the observance of the Sabbath only has relevance to Israel- not the Gentiles or the Church.

            I don’t understand your logic that I am doing a 180 when I say that the patriarchs never kept the Sabbath, combined with your use of the fact that Jesus kept the Sabbath as your corroboration. Jesus was not a patriarch. He was born under Mosaic Law and kept every single part of it perfectly. If you go dogmatically by Jesus’ example in his lifetime, then there is not one of the Mosaic commands that are not binding today. We have numerous verses which explicitly state this isn’t so. Your statement about patriarchs and marriage admittedly sounds nonsensical to me. Genesis clearly states the purpose of man and woman and there are numerous examples of patriarchs marrying (multiple women in some cases). This is in no way corroboratory to your point about the Sabbath since there is no command for the Sabbath in Genesis and no example of any patriarchs keeping it. It’s apples and oranges.

            My arguments are in no way an attack on our Creator. My quotation of Tertullian was merely to illustrate what the teaching was in the early church regarding the Sabbath. This is relevant because these men are within 2 generations of the apostles themselves and are certainly a window into the understanding and practices of the earliest church. I could quote multiple other early church fathers that predate Terullian yet echo his understanding of the Sabbath command if you wish.

            I hope you don’t mind if I ask you one question since I have no idea what your denominational background is: Since you believe the Sabbath is a creation command, what day do you observe it on?

          8. you wrote “Sabbath observance specifically begins with Moses in Exodus 16:23-30 ”

            Thanks. You prove the point. Exodus 16 takes place in the “wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai.” In Exodus 17:1 they then travel to Rephidim and in Exodus 19 they then arrive at Sinai.

            You yourself wrote that “9 of the 10 commandments certainly appear to have been morally binding prior to Sinai.” and you admitted that we have to follow example and behaviors since they aren’t written down. Now you admit that Exodus 16 records the observance of Sabbath but this is BEFORE Sinai. Again you yourself wrote “Sabbath observance specifically begins with Moses in Exodus 16:23-30” and that only proves the point that the Sabbath was kept before Sinai but it continues your assumption that it existed before Sinai but that the Patriarchs were somehow ignorant of it.

            you wrote “there is no mention of the word Sabbath” That is not true.
            Sabbath is a English derivative of the Hebrew word shabath (there are different spellings). The same word used to describe Jesus’ shabath as Creator in Gen 2:2-3 is the same word used in Exodus 16:30 “and the people shabath”

            you wrote “there is no mention of the word Sabbath or any command to keep it”
            Now you are moving the goalposts and changing your argument. Initially you argued the presence of commands was discerned from behaviors (ignoring Gen 26:5) but now you argue that there must be explicit words and commands to keep the commandments. If that is true then where are the commands to keep commandment #3? Where is the command not to murder? Where is the command not to steal? Not to lie? Not to covet? You have no commands that’s why you learn from behaviors yet you unfairly exclude the Sabbath even though it was clear recorded in Gen 2:2-3 and by your own admission Exodus 16:30 “so the people shabath” Say that there is no mention of Sabbath is like arguing that the Bible says nothing about abortion, gay marriage, or shooting up heroin.

            you wrote “Jesus was not a patriarch. He was born under Mosaic Law and kept every single part of it perfectly” Huh? I specifically asked you if you believe that Jesus is the Creator and you said yes. Jesus is the Creator and Jesus not only shabath but He blessed and sanctified that day. Again you are moving the goalposts forward to Jesus’ incarnation when His example as Creator is no less of His example at any time of His existence. To say we must follow the example of the Patriarchs but not the Creator Jesus when the Patriarchs themselves clearly derived their objective moral standard from the Creator is nonsensical. It is to argue that the Patriarchs were superior to the very God they worshiped. God himself says that Abraham kept “the way of the Lord’ (Gen 18:19) but you argue that the Friend of God and most notable prophet in the OT through whom God decided to bless the whole world neither knew the way of the Lord nor kept it when the Bible specifically mentions that he does (Gen 26:5).

            At this point you are now changing and modifying your arguments to somehow keep the 9 commandments but throw out the Sabbath when by your own words the Sabbath is the most well attested pre-Sinai institution that was blessed, and sanctified by Jesus Himself as Creator. If Jesus HImself blessed something then who are you to throw out what He blessed?

          9. Andrew,

            With all due respect, I have consistently answered all of your objections. No “goalposts” are being moved. I feel like you are intentionally taking a statement that I made that was clearly meant to be viewed in context of my assertion that the moral law existed prior to the 10 commandments rather than being based on it, and attempting to use it to completely define what was considered moral law. I’ll be crystal clear: for example- there is no “thall shalt not kill in Genesis,” yet we can ascertain from the Genesis account that it was indeed a moral law from the events that are illustrated. By the same token, there ARE specifically recorded commands that do apply today. For example, what Noah was allowed to eat was stated, and it applies to us today still. By the same token, there are things that are definitely described as applying as a law to the patriarchs that the NT makes clear do NOT apply to us today, even though they did to the patriarchs (all or some) and the Israelites. For example, sacrifice was clearly applicable to Abel and Cain forward (and instruction for proper sacrifice had been given though it is not recorded for us- we know this from God’s response to Cain’s improper sacrifice) yet specifically is not required of us in the NT. Circumcision is required from Abraham forward, yet specifically listed as not necessary for us. Now, to our new (I say new because my article isn’t even about the Sabbath, it’s about dietary restrictions) topic at hand- the Sabbath:

            1. Can you name one single instance in the book of Genesis where the Lord specifically commands that the Sabbath is to be observed?

            2. Can you name one Scripture in Genesis which specifically describes instructions for Sabbath observance?

            3. Can you cite one Scripture in Genesis where a patriarch is recorded as observing the Sabbath or reprimanded by God for NOT keeping the Sabbath?

            4. If not, what is the basis for believing that such a command existed in Genesis?

            5. Are you saying it’s possible that the patriarchs received the command, ignored it, were never “called out” by God for their disobedience in not keeping the Sabbath, and were still considered righteous by God?

            6. Who, specifically, did Moses command to keep the Sabbath in Exodus 16?

            7. If, in order to be “moral” we are to mimic exactly Jesus’ life prior to his crucifixion, why are we not responsible for keeping all 613 Mosaic commands as Jesus did?

            8. Why, when the NT lists sins (Mark 7:21-22, Romans 1:29-32, Galatians 5:19-21, 2 Timothy 3:-4), is there no mention whatsoever of keeping the Sabbath?

            9. I noticed you did not answer my final question to you in my last post, this may very well have been a mere oversight, so I will respectfully ask again: Since you believe that the Sabbath is a creation ordinance, what day do you observe it?

      2. Hebrews instructs believers to keep the Sabbath. Most English translations deceptively replace the word “Sabbath” with “rest”, even though the original word quite specifically means “Sabbath”.
        And it’s Saturday.

        1. I did discuss the Sabbath at length with the commenter above, but since the topic of the article is the applicability of Mosaic dietary law, it would probably have been best to avoid that rabbit trail.

          We agree that Saturday is the Sabbath, but disagree that the NT instructs us to keep it. I haven’t written an article on that topic, but I’m sure I will in the future.

  2. Acts quite clearly states that Peter’s vision was about gentiles, not food – thus disproving the claim that God was saying that all animals are clean.
    (And incidentally: while the clean animals are healthy to eat, the unclean animals have actually been demonstrated to have health risks.)

    1. Probably going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I feel I adequately addressed all objections in this article.

  3. “The Mosaic Law was multi-purpose, but one of the primary functions was to serve as a ‘wall of partition’ to separate Jews from Gentiles.”

    There was a mixed multitude of non-descendants (presumably “Gentiles”-??) that went up out of Egypt with the descendants of Jacob:

    Exodus 12:38 A mixed multitude went up with them also, and flocks and herds—a great deal of livestock.

    Did the mixed multitude keep the dietary instruction, based on the above teaching? was there a wall of partition separating descendants of Jacob and this mixed multitude of nondescendants, when we read (shortly after learning about the mixed multitude above, in the same chapter):

    Exodus 12:49 One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.”

    1. Hi Grey!

      I appreciate your comment 🙂

      Yes, the “wall of partition” analogy comes from Paul in his writing to discuss this subject with the Ephesians. I’ll cite Ephesians 2:11-22 (ESV) for context:

      11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

      So, yes. Paul specifically states that this “dividing wall of hostility” between Gentiles (the “uncircumcision”) and Jews (the “circumcision”) is broken down by “abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances.”

      The verses that you noted (Ex 12:38, 49) actually support the point I am making here, that there is a difference between what was required in the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Those of the “mixed multitude” (non-Israelites) who left Egypt with Israel, and wanted to remain among them, were required to become proselytes (adhere to the law of Moses). This is the very thing that is being debated by new Christians in the New Testament. Some of the new Christians who were of Jewish heritage were teaching that Gentile converts must become proselytes (follow the law). The Jerusalem Council documented in the book of Acts roundly denounces this. Acts 15:5 (ESV):

      5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

      Now, some claim that these individuals were only trying to require circumcision. This is just not so. The latter part of the quote clearly states “and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

      Peter stands to address the council (Acts 15:7-11 ESV):

      7 And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, 9 and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

      Then James says (Acts 15:19-20 ESV):

      19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.

      The Jerusalem Council decision is clear. Gentiles are not to be expected to keep the law of Moses.

      This does *not* mean that individuals of Jewish descent and those of Gentile descent now have two different laws. Rather, the law of Moses has fulfilled its purpose. We are now *all* under the New Covenant. This is why it is perfectly acceptable for those raised in the Jewish tradition to continue on in their traditions- keeping Saturday Sabbath, abstaining from unclean meats, etc, with the following caveats: they are *not* to understand that they are “earning” anything by doing so; and, they are *not* to require those traditions to be followed by others. The liberty granted to us in the New Covenant applies to both sides equally.

  4. Great article! I have had an ongoing…discussion…with a fellow who believes believers must keep the entire law, that it was not ended at the cross, etc, the very things you have discussed. As I read your article, I find that all your points are the same points I have made, every single one, and still he rejects and maintains his Torah blinders, as I like to call them. In fact, I was kind of hoping to find some new arguments here, but we have been on the same page throughout. Still, reading your back and forth with the first commentor reminds me of my discussions. Amazing the blindness that seems to accompany this belief, and the seeming inability to interpret anything of the New Testament outside of it. In fact, this fellow I speak with rejects that Jesus’s death and his blood sealed and began the New Covenant! I wonder where he places his faith. So, again, thank you, great article,

    1. Glad you enjoyed the article!

      I have a few of those long running dialogues myself. I’ve noticed quite a lot of diversity lately in the beliefs of those who hold to the view that Mosaic Law is applicable today. It’s interesting that so many of them have differing rules or guidelines for accurate keeping of the law. Does the individual you’re speaking with accept that the sacrificial system is no longer applicable?

  5. What are your thoughts on 1 Timothy 4:3-4 in regards to clean and unclean foods. Is there any relevancy? I would conclude yes because “no food is to be rejected” pas ho “all” There is no possibility of any food being unclean if “all” creation is good.

    1. Hi Nathan!

      I do think that 1 Tim 4:3-4 is relevant, particularly when considered in light of the other passages that indicate that the dietary laws are no longer applicable. But, I don’t think it’s a super strong argument as a stand alone passage. For example, I’ll link an article from a group which believes dietary laws are still binding so that you can see how they deal with these verses:

      It is true that Paul could have been primarily directing that comment to those in his day who were advocating extreme asceticism, saying that people should abstain from all meats (vegetarianism), etc. However, I agree with you that it’s really hard to understand verse 4 to mean that the dietary restrictions against unclean meats are still binding when it literally says, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving…” He doesn’t put any qualifiers there as if he’s talking about only meats previously considered clean. The only way to read that understanding into the text (in my opinion) is to go back to verse 3, where it says, “…foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” and presuppose dietary restrictions into that phrase. To me, however, it makes more sense to understand verse 4 to be a clarifying explanation of verse 3 rather than verse 3 being a limitation on verse 4. The opposite just doesn’t seem to align with how a reader would naturally read the passage as a whole.

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