Kosher Food and the Gentiles
“There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.” (Mk.7:15). “And there came a voice to him, rise, Peter; kill and eat. But Peter said, not so Lord: for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, what God hath cleansed, that call not thou common” – (Acts -15).
In (Mk.7) Jesus teaches us about true filth and uncleanness. It is not food from without or unwashed hands that makes a person unclean but sin in the heart that defiles. There were certain foods especially set apart that were forbidden by God in the Old Testament for Jews not to eat both for health reasons and to show spiritual truth. God was showing them outwardly about uncleanness but Jesus now shows us the real deeper meaning and truth concerning the inward uncleanness of sin in the heart.
Most Jews were scrupulous about outward purity but were careless about inward purity. They would wash their hands often, go through ceremonies and abstain from certain foods – but they cared little about cleanliness of the heart and sin. Therefore Jesus directs their attention to inward purity. God’s laws about kosher food in the Old Testament also tended to separate them from the gentiles - (Although no Jew was forbidden to eat wiith gentiles). A Jew could very nicely and politely eat something else when eating with gentiles and still be a good witness for the Lord. Food cannot pollute a soul or affect the spiritual nature of a person. It seems that Jesus declared here all articles of food spiritually clean and acceptable for the people of God.
In (I Tim.4:1-5) scripture tells us that commanding to abstain from certain food is a doctrine of devils that cause many to depart from the faith. (vs.3) says “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.” (Rom.14:1-3) tells us not to stop weak Christians from eating certain foods because if you eat or don’t eat certain foods, it means nothing. The weak brother also has no right to criticize and condemn his stronger brother who exercises his liberty in Christ.
In (Acts 10 and 11) we see the Holy Spirit working both in the heart of the gentile Cornelius and the heart of the Jewish preacher Peter. The Holy Spirit was now bringing the gospel to the world. Peter had to be taught again about the mosaic system of not eating anything that is ceremonially unclean, and that he was free to eat anything. But the main thing God was teaching Peter and us is that the unclean gentiles can now be cleansed through the blood of Christ. (Vs.28) says – “But God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” So Peter preached the saving gospel of Christ to the gentile Roman Cornelius and he and his family and friends were saved. “The blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin.” (I Jn.1:7).
Kosher food was the wall of separation outside the temple that separated Jew from gentile, so to speak. But now the middle wall of partition that separated them in the temple was now broken down in Christ and so bringing peace between them. There are no racial barriers to saved people – all are one in the church through Christ. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” – (Eph.2:13-15). (There goes the kosher food laws that separated Jew and gentile).
These scriptures tell us that the Lord Jesus has freed the saved Christian all over the world from rules about what can be eaten or not eaten. Many Jews yet today are still in bondage by kosher food rules. Religions love to make rules about eating. Hindus can’t eat beef. Muslims and Jews can’t eat pork. Buddhists can’t eat fish. Catholics for centuries were forbidden to eat meat on Fridays. All of these are doctrines of devils because they command to eat or not to eat. They are still looking at the outward and not the inward.
Scripture leaves us free to decide what is good for each of us to eat, whether unhealthy or best avoided. But what we eat is not a matter of sin. Jesus taught us to move from the externals to the heart of the matter. When the Lord Jesus saved me out of Roman Catholic darkness, I started walking in the light of God’s word and I ate meat on Fridays.
Yesterday I read a book entitled – ‘Postville: A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America.’ It was written by a Jew named Stephen Bloom in 1999. A colony of ultra-orthodox Jews called ‘Lubavitchers’ moved out of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, NY a thousand miles west to Postville, Iowa. Postville is a small town of 2000 mostly German Lutherans. The Jews bought a former meat packing plant and converted it into a kosher slaughter house. The Jews became the largest employer there with 350 workers. Iowa is synonymous with one animal – the pig – where pork reigns absolute. Jews view pigs as the devil incarnate. Pork is the one thing that best describes the kosher food. To them it stands for all the unclean and for the gentiles. The Jews and Iowa’s opposite views on pigs seem to be at the heart of the clash between Jews and gentiles in Postville, Iowa.
But this brought a great clash of cultures between the Jewish religion and the Christian religions, and created uneasy tensions between them. The town people said the Jews wouldn’t say hello or shake hands or show any interest in the community life but kept themselves separate and aloof. The Jews said the town people were anti-Semites but they forget how Anti-Christian they are. They even worship a false Christ, a Rabbi Schneersons, as it is written – “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is anti-Christ, that denieth the Father and the Son” – (I Jn.2:23).
The kosher Jews will not mingle with the gentiles or even recognize their presence. The bible says nothing about particular kosher ways of slaughtering animals that we eat. As the Lord Jesus said in (Mt.15:9) “But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandment of men.” And that’s exactly what their kosher rituals for slaughtering animals are – doctrines of men and not God. Food cannot pollute the soul – only sin can. Sin in the heart is the heart of the matter in Heartland, U.S.A. and everywhere else.
And the heart of the matter is in (Ex.12) and the first Passover where it is written in (vs.7) “And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses wherein they shall eat it.” And again in (vs.13) “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will Passover you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” I trust you can see the posts and Postville, Iowa and the orthodox kosher Jews as they are so concerned about their man-made rituals of washing the blood off the animals carcasses in their kosher slaughter house and yet care nothing about the blood of God’s Passover lamb which is Christ. “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (I Cor.5:7). Each day they stand in a river of blood in their slaughter house ‘kill floor,’ slaughtering the sheep and cattle and chickens. But where is their Passover lamb’s blood. (Is.53:7) gives us the answer – “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter.” God’s lamb, his beloved son, who was slaughtered on the cross. There was a river of blood of slaughtered animals for sacrifice all through the Old Testament leading UP TO CHRIST ON THE CROSS.
The Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross on the day of Passover. His body was nailed to the wooden posts and there he became the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He is the better and more perfect sacrifice offering himself as the one sacrifice for sins forever. He is God’s perfect, supreme, sinless sacrifice for sin and the sinless Jew and savior of the world. If you repent of your sins and believe on Christ in your heart and get saved, you will conquer death and have eternal life which God showed us on that first Passover so long ago.
There have been no more Jewish sacrifices and Jewish temple for nearly 2000 years. God has done away with those Old Testament animal sacrifices when he provided us his son on the cross. Sin started on a tree in Eden and so sins are forgiven by God’s sacrifice on the tree-cross. God the Father showed us clearly with Father Abraham commanded by God to offer his beloved son Isaac as the sacrifice on Mt. Moriah. Abraham said in (Gen.22:8) “And Abraham said, my son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” “And God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” – (Jn.3:16).
For both Jew and gentile in Postville, Iowa and around the world, I plead with you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God by getting saved by Jesus Christ. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” – (2 Cor.5:21). I married a German Lutheran woman who was no more saved than a cocker spaniel until she went to a bible-preaching church and got saved when she was 30 years old.
Make sure you’re saved and have your name written down in the Lamb’s book of life as it is written in (Rev.20:14-15). “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Kosher food and joining a synagogue or joining a church and being baptized and eating what you want will not save you. You must be saved by Jesus Christ and be born again by the Holy Spirit. And then the middle wall of partition will be broken down. The blood of Christ breaks down all barriers of prejudice between peoples. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond or free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” – (Gal.3:26-29). Every gentile that is saved is a spiritual Jew through Christ who descended through Abraham according to the flesh. We are all blood brothers by the new birth. That’s the only bloodline we need – the blood of Christ. To the unsaved Jew I say, where is your blood sacrifice? Amen and Amen.