Monday, January 24

Do Old Testament Food Laws Still Apply?

The claim is sometimes made that we cannot eat certain foods like pork or shrimp because of the Old Testament laws, the Ceremonial Law found in Leviticus. Is there any truth to this, and does the New Testament actually give us an answer on the common question, "which foods are we allowed to eat?" The New Testament gives us an answer. (Photo credit to: Saving Dinner, InfoRochester)

Let us examine what the Bible tells us about this subject. The full text can be found in Leviticus 11. In this chapter, God commands the Israelites not to eat creatures such as: camels, hyrax, rabbit, pig, sea creatures that do not have fins and scales, (such as shrimp) eagles, vultures, red kite, ravens, certain owls, hawks, heron, all flying insects that walk on all fours, weasel, rat, monitor lizard, wall lizard, skink, chameleon, and others. (Also found in Deuteronomy 14:1-21)

If this is so, should these creatures not still be outlawed for consumption? Would we, by eating shrimp, pork, and other unclean foods, be sinning against God, breaking his law? Understand this: the purpose of the dietary law was to separate Israel from other nations, these laws did not and do not apply to any other nations. Another point is the reason for these laws, aside from setting them apart.

People often wonder about why there is so much war and so many laws in the Old Testament. Consider this: if Israel did not strike down the surrounding nations, would they not have been stricken down themselves, therefore wiping out the bloodline of the Israelites? If they did not have laws to follow, such as abstaining from unnatural sexual impurities, unclean foods, and many other such things, the bloodline would have been polluted even further, and it also may have led to deaths.

Now consider this: God had a reason for all these laws and wars between Israel and its surrounding nations. What was it all for? What end would it meet? Protection. Not just protection for the nation of Israel, but protection for the future birth of King David. If the Israelites did not destroy surrounding nations and did not follow the laws, they would have been wiped out, and King David never born.

Consequently, King David was the ancestor of Jesus Christ. If King David was never born, Jesus would have never been able to fulfill prophecy, Jesus would have never been born into the royal line, not born in the City of David, and Israel would have been wiped out, therefore, the Romans would not have had Judea under Roman control, there would not have been Pharisees nor Sadducees, and Jesus would never have shed his blood.

In other words, these laws and wars were for the protection of the bloodline so that Jesus could enter into Creation to die for all of humanity's past, present, and future sins. Had Israel not had guidelines, had the nation been wiped out, we would be without a Savior, without hope. That was the purpose for the many wars of the Old Testament, for the many laws.

Now that we understand this, we may also understand that when Jesus died and rose again, he initiated the New Covenant. In fact, God himself declared in the Old Testament that a New Covenant would arise. Jeremiah 31:31-32, "'The days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant though I was a husband to them,' declares the Lord."

Jeremiah 31:33 concludes, "'This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,' declares the Lord. 'I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.'" The New Testament reveals several times (for example, Acts 11:18) that this New Covenant was offered not only to the Jews, but to the Gentiles as well: to all of humanity, if we only accept Jesus as Savior. (See entry: "Covenants: Old and New")

But what about unclean foods? Does the New Testament reveal the New Covenant's law on foods? Indeed it does. Acts 10:9-16 says, "About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.' 'Surely not, Lord!' Peter replied. 'I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.' The voice spoke to him a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.' This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to Heaven."

God has made all foods clean. However, there are those who may not believe that this passage is referring to this. It is not the only reference we find in the New Testament. Mark 7:17 certainly gives us the answer to this question, "Do Old Testament Food Laws Still Apply?" It says, "...In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean." The Bible is very clear: Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant when he initiated the New. (Romans 10:14, Galatians 3:24-26) Under the New Covenant, all foods are clean, including, for example, pork and shrimp.

Romans 14 reveals that not everyone is mature enough in faith to believe that all food is clean. Romans 14:20, "All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble." There are those who argue that "God hates shrimp," in the same manner that some argue, "God hates [homosexuals]." Actually, nowhere in Scripture can this be found. The alleged basis for the argument is found in Leviticus, but the argument by both parties is fallacious.

Since Christ fulfilled the Old Covenant, including the Ceremonial Law, those laws no longer apply. (The Ten Commandments still apply, as seen clearly throughout the New Testament.) However, as evident from Romans 1:26-27 and 1st Corinthians 6:9, God does not hate homosexuals, he declares them immoral and unnatural - let no one claim that I have a problem with homosexuals, I am merely citing this for the sake of answering the above question.

In other words, both the God Hates [Homosexuals] movement and the movement are fallacious and demonstrate a lack of understanding in regard to Scripture and the Old and New Covenants. The God Hates Shrimp movement was formed to mock Christians who use Old Testament Law try prove a point about sexuality, when instead we need to look at the entire context. The overall point? Jesus declared all foods clean, so no, the Old Testament food laws do not still apply.

Thank you for taking the time to read this entry of, "The Truth." Please remain civil in your comments, and feel free to email me at or the Ministry team at, visit the facebook page, or visit the Ministry homepage. Take care, dear reader, and may God bless! Troy Hillman


  1. Very well spoken! thank you !

  2. I am thankful to find this about Pork and shrimp,my husband has been telling me NO shrimp or PORK to come into this house. I explained to him that it was made clean by Jesus & that the Old Testament food laws DO NOT STILL APPLY.

    God Bless us all
    Merry Christmas / Happy Birthday Jesus

    1. Glad to hear it! Shrimp is one of my favorite foods, so I have a keen appreciation for God declaring the foods clean. I recognize the fact that the food laws were put in place to protect the bloodline of Christ, and as He was already born it was then declared clean. Enjoy your shrimp and pork!

  3. Although it may be okay by the Book. I don't want to eat meat from an animal that eats its own feces. Pork is generally not a healthy item. As for the crustaceans they are also known as filter fish and bottom feeders. Sounds gross. BTW I had in
    the past enjoyed all of these foods. God has given us freedom of choice. Choose wisely.

  4. My sister is a Messianic Jew and head of her church congregation in Rockford Ill. She states the food laws have not changed and that it is a matter of "obediance". There is much condemnation & legalism and parading around as better than Gentile believers and even my husband who is Jewish by birth. (sister converted to Judasim at 17 than Messianic after I shared Jesus with her). All the new testament scripture saying call not unclean that which He made clean they say speaks of the people and association of Jews with the Gentiles when Peter had the vision on the rooftop, that it had nothing to do with food but entering into a Gentiles house and fellowshipping.

    1. Leticia,
      Thank you very much for sharing! In a way, your sister may be right. However, we also need to keep in mind that according to Scripture itself, "Jesus declared all foods clean" (Mark 7:17). In the vision given to Peter, I simply noted the presence of the animals because of Peter's reaction to the idea of eating them. His reaction was very telling historically and culturally, and although God was teaching Peter a specific lesson, the fact that God chose to use food to demonstrate this lesson and the notion "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean" (Acts 10:15).

      Now, if Mark conveys that Jesus - who is Himself God - declared all foods clean, we should not call it impure or unclean. However, we also should recognize the principle mentioned by Paul: each person should decide on the issue in his own mind. If your sister feels that she should not eat against the food laws in the old covenant, that is her decision. However, Scripture and history bears out the idea that food is now clean.

  5. You are aware the original manuscript did not have "In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean". The Peter vision was talking about gentiles not about food it was a symbolic vision of receiving the three gentile men in the envoy to see Peter. Dietary law adherence is not one of legalism but of a willingful obedience to the Heavenly Father because we love Him. Is pork or shrimp that great for disobedience. Sure we are saved by grace but paul talks about grace and sin in Romans 6:1-2. Jesus says if you love Me you will keep His commadments. I enjoy pork ribs and shrimp(other shell fish) based cuisine but I love God way more. This is something we have to continue to pray and ask God for guidance about. Be blessed brethren

  6. Acts 10 has ZERO to do with food. It has to do with taking the gospel to the gentiles. Yeshua came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel(ten tribes of the divorced northern kingdom of Israel) and stranger/foriegner gentiles who decided to follow the Lord and be grafted in. Acts 10 is one of the few examples where the explanation is right there to see. It is re-explained in Acts 11. If Yeshua made pigs clean at the cross, then why had more than ten years past without Peter eating pork chops?
    Mark 7:19 (In saying this Jesus declared all foods clean) was ADDED by the translators. It is not in the original texts. Apparently they ignore Yahweh's warning of not adding to or taking away from His Law(Deut 12:32)??
    Funny the author mentions the New Covenant as being for the House of Israel or the House of Judah. Which group do you fall under? Because that is who the NC is for-no other groups are mentioned. Please test everything you're taught. Be a Berean. And consider that the only "scriptures" that they had to test if what Paul was saying was true was the Old Testament. If it wasn't in 100% agreement with the OT, they would have rejected Paul. If your pastor is teaching you that you can now eat everything you want or that the Law has been done away with, then please read Ezek 22:26, Isa 66:15-17.

    1. Well said Keith: I grew up in the church and was taught it was ok to eat unclean, then I did a study on why I believe what I believe, wow was I wrong! I have not eaten unclean for two years now, and you are right Keith, I don't miss it.
      Lets all become obedient to "THE GREAT I AM'S" INSTRUCTIONS/TORAH

  7. King James Bible
    The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
    Acts 5:30
    The Greek word rendered “cross” in many modern Bible versions (“torture stake” in NW) is stau·ros′. In classical Greek, this word meant merely an upright stake, or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece. The Imperial Bible-Dictionary acknowledges this, saying: “The Greek word for cross, [stau·ros′], properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling [fencing in] a piece of ground. . . . Even amongst the Romans the crux (from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.”—Edited by P. Fairbairn (London, 1874), Vol. I, p. 376.
    Was that the case in connection with the execution of God’s Son? It is noteworthy that the Bible also uses the word xy′lon to identify the device used. A Greek-English Lexicon, by Liddell and Scott, defines this as meaning: “Wood cut and ready for use, firewood, timber, etc. . . . piece of wood, log, beam, post . . . cudgel, club . . . stake on which criminals were impaled . . . of live wood, tree.” It also says “in NT, of the cross,” and cites Acts 5:30 and Ac 10:39 as examples. (Oxford, 1968, pp. 1191, 1192) However, in those verses KJ, RS, JB, and Dy translate xy′lon as “tree.” (Compare this rendering with Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:22, 23.)
    The Cross of the Templars: The History of the True Cross

    What were the historical origins of Christendom’s cross?
    “Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of the old world. India, Syria, Persia and Egypt have all yielded numberless examples . . . The use of the cross as a religious symbol in pre-Christian times and among non-Christian peoples may probably be regarded as almost universal, and in very many cases it was connected with some form of nature worship.”—Encyclop√¶dia Britannica (1946), Vol. 6, p. 753.
    “The shape of the [two-beamed cross] had its origin in ancient Chaldea, and was used as the symbol of the god Tammuz (being in the shape of the mystic Tau, the initial of his name) in that country and in adjacent lands, including Egypt. By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ.”—An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (London, 1962), W. E. Vine, p. 256.


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