Kepha’s (Peter’s) Vision

Kepha’s (Peter’s) Vision

Clean or Unclean

One of the arguments commonly made for the eating of unclean meats is that Peter was told to eat them in Acts 10. Peter had been staying at the home of Simon the tanner in Joppa. While preparing to eat he had a vision. Cornelius, a Roman centurion also had a vision where he was told that he should send an envoy of men to find Peter. Let’s pick up the story in Acts 10:9-16.

(Acts 10:9-16) The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. {10} Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance {11} and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. {12} In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. {13} And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” {14} But Peter said, “Not so, Master! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” {15} And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What YAHUAH has cleansed you must not call common.” {16} This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.

The first thing to notice is that Peter had never eaten unclean meats, not even after YAHUSHA’s resurrection perhaps ten years before. In fact he went so far as to not eat anything common or ceremonially unclean, i.e. not perfect enough to be sacrificed. The Greek word koinos, koy-nos’ is translated as “common.” See Strongs # 2839.

The sheet was shown to him three times. Peter’s conclusion is shown in verse 28. Notice that he did not interpret it as meaning he could begin eating unclean meats.

(Acts 10:28) Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But YAHUAH has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Jews in the first century were forbidden by traditional law to have social contact with Gentiles for fear of becoming ritually unclean and thereby not being able to participate in Temple worship. Simon Peter said it was unlawful for a Jewish man to keep company with a Gentile or go into his house. But that law was not a part of the Torah. It may have been a part of the Oral tradition established by the rabbis. And in this case, Peter not only went into a Gentile’s house but he even ate with him.

Another scripture that many religious Christians stumble over is found in Mark 7.

(Mark 7:18-19) So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, {19} “because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”

The key to understanding this scripture is found by reading verses 1 and 2 at the beginning of the chapter. Let’s read them.

(Mark 7:1-2) Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to Him, having come from Jerusalem. {2} Now when they saw some of His disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.

The disciples had not gone through the ritual hand washing traditions of the Pharisees before they began to eat. Messiah turned the conversation around to stress what really defiles a man in verses 20-23.

(Mark 7:20-23) And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. {21} “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, {22} “thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. {23} “All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

Paul also addressed the matter of abstaining from foods YAHUAH had created. This is another scripture many religious Christians like to use to justify eating unclean meats.

(1 Tim 4:1-5) Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, {2} speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, {3} forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which YAHUAH created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. {4} For every creature of YAHUAH is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; {5} for it is sanctified by the word of YAHUAH and prayer.

This scripture states that those who command that we abstain from foods which YAHUAH created to be received with thanksgiving are giving heed to doctrines of demons. In as much as the laws concerning clean and unclean meats were given by YAHUAH, to contradict those laws would be close to blasphemy. There are those who believe that if you just pray over food, you can purify whatever you eat. YAHUAH has given us clean meats to be received with thanksgiving. Poisonous fruits and unclean meats were never intended to be received with thanksgiving.

Here is another verse used by people who want to justify eating unclean meats.

(Rom 14:1-2) Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. {2} For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.

These verses are describing people who choose to eat vegetables for religious reasons. They think it is sinful to eat meat, any meat. In the next verses, Paul takes advantage of this situation by admonishing people not to judge such people.

(Rom 14:3-4) Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for YAUAH has received him. {4} Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for YAHUAH is able to make him stand.

At the end of the same chapter Paul describes such judgment as an evil influence which can encourage weak people to sin.

(Rom 14:23) But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Let’s look at one more statement from which some get the idea they can eat whatever is put before them:

(1 Cor 10:25-27) Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; {26} for “the earth is YAHUAH your ELOHIYM’s, and all its fullness.” {27} If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake.

Don’t these verses allow us to eat any kind of meat? It would seem so, but these verses must be understood in the context of the surrounding verses. Let’s read the context:

(1 Cor 10:19-28) What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? {20} Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to YAHUAH, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. {21} You cannot drink the cup of YAHUAH ELOHIYM and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Master’s table and of the table of demons. {22} Or do we provoke ELOHIYM to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? {23} All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. {24} Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. {25} Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; {26} for “the earth is YAHUAH your ELOHIYM’s, and all its fullness.” {27} If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. {28} But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Master’s, and all its fullness.”

The context provides four points:

1. Verses 19 and 28 shows that the subject is about meat offered to idols, not clean versus unclean meat.

2. One would usually not have to ask if the meat were pork. It’s usually fairly obvious. But it would not be known if it were offered to idols.

3. It would not be physically harmful to a person to eat meat offered to idols, but it might be harmful to the host if he thinks thereby that idol worship is acceptable.

4. The point is that these verses refer to idols, not to clean versus unclean meat.

It is well known that Greeks, to whom this book is written, didn’t eat pork.

Now, a word of caution: Many try to avoid what is unclean by looking on the product label to see what the product contains. If they see that the label is marked with a capital K, usually but not always within a circle, they assume the product to be free of any unclean meat products. The K stands for Kosher.

The Kosher mark indicates that a rabbi has certified the product to be free of unclean meats. In the case of gelatin, some would judge that certification to not be totally reliable. Gelatin is made from the hides and joints of animals such as cattle and pigs. It is claimed that in the process of making gelatin, a chemical and physical change takes place which alters the material so that its original identity as meat is lost. Additionally, there are some more liberal groups of Judaism which do not strictly follow the laws of clean and unclean meats. A rabbi of one of these more liberal groups is less likely to prohibit the consumption of these altered products and is therefore more willing to certify the resulting product as Kosher even though its source may be from pigs. Orthodox rabbis disagree with marking gelatin which may be from pigs as Kosher. Obviously, a food producer who uses gelatin is very willing to have his product marked Kosher.

One final scripture which is commonly used to justify eating unclean meats (and several other “freedoms” regarding keeping the law) is found in Paul’s letter to the Colossians.

(Col 2:13-17) And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh [gentiles], He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, {14} having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. {15} Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. {16} So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, {17} which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Messiah.

The essence of these verses is that we need not worry about how others judge us in these matters. When looking at the early manuscripts of this verse, one will find that verse 17 states “which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance [body] of Messiah.” The word “is” has been added to verse 17. Earlier references to “the body of Messiah” in this book show that the body of Messiah are the fellow believers, the Congregation. Let our judges be those in the church who are Biblically knowledgeable, not unbelievers who look for ways to avoid the law. Those who quote this scripture usually point out that this scripture somehow proves that the law was nailed to the cross. We have already shown that YAHUAH’s law was observed and kept long after Messiah’s crucifixion. What was nailed to the cross were the traditions of men which were being enforced by religious leaders of His day.

One of Paul’s statements to the Corinthians included the following:

(2 Cor 6:16-18) And what agreement has the temple of YAHUAH with idols? For you are the temple of the living YAHUAH. As YAHUAH has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their ELOHIYM And they shall be My people.” {17} Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Master. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” {18} “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says YAHUAH ELOHIYM Almighty.”

Verse 17 is quoted from Isaiah 52:11. Paul did not question Old Testament law and Old Testament promises. Neither should we.

YAHUAH has provided us with meat which is clean and meat which is unclean. Like Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit, it is another opportunity for us to decide whether we will obey YAHUAH or not. It is not so much a matter of whether we will be physically harmed by eating that which is unclean. Even with the advanced technology of today, we still do not know whether the eating of unclean creatures will hurt us physically. But what we do know is that the eating or even touching of that which is declared to be unclean will harm us spiritually. For as we just read in verses 17 and 18: If we will separate ourselves from the ways of the society around us and not touch that which is unclean, YAHUAH will receive us and be a Father to us, and we shall be His sons and daughters. In these end-time days, when the growing schism between good and evil is becoming ever more apparent, when Satan’s fury to destroy mankind is increasing worldwide in the form of hatred, rebellion, violence and degeneracy, isn’t it time to please YAHUAH and be received as sons and daughters of YAHUAH our ELOHIYM. Isn’t that enough incentive to avoid unclean meats?

Edited by GWT



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