Restoring the Bride of Messiah

YHWH’S DIETARY LAWS – KOSHER

To most people outside of Judaism, Kosher is something that is strictly Jewish. The fact is, the word Kosher (rvk) is Hebrew and simply means “to be straight, fit, proper or right; to be acceptable” and is generally used to describe something that is ritually acceptable. The most common usage of the word in modern times concerns food and whether it is fit to be eaten according to the dietary instructions found in Scripture. The dietary instructions given by YHWH are applicable to anyone who desires to follow and obey Him.

The doctrines of Dispensationalism and Replacement Theology, rampant within the Christian churches, are responsible for the belief by most Christians that Kosher is something exclusively applied to the Jews. They believe that the Torah was given only to the Jews at Mt. Sinai and that they hold a unique position in the eyes of YHWH which makes the majority of the Scriptural commandments applicable only to them. The concept that YHWH gave commandments regarding food only to the Jews is preposterous. Jews (Yahudim) are from the House of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. The Torah was given to the entire Commonwealth of Israel, which includes the House of Israel (Ephraim, the Northern Kingdom), AND the House of Judah. The dietary laws given at Mt. Sinai were not the first time that YHWH gave Man commandments regarding food. Right in the Garden of Eden we see that YHWH gave commandments regarding food to mankind and to the animals.

Then Elohim said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. Genesis 1:29-30

In the Garden of Eden, Adam did not eat animals. Animals were subject to man and they lived together in peace. The very first recorded sin by man was the violation of Elohim’s dietary instruction (the man and the woman ate that which was forbidden by YHWH). Since that time, countless billions have taken to eating whatever they want without regard to Elohim’s instructions. In fact, the Fall of Man, and the resultant mess in which we find ourselves today, is because of a failure to obey YHWH’s dietary laws.

There is no record that Adam, Eve (Hawwah) (or any of their children) ever ate animals after their expulsion from the Garden, although they did offer animal sacrifices to YHWH. This is important because one of the significant aspects of YHWH’s dietary instructions, as found in the Torah, is the distinction between clean (tahor) and unclean (tamei) animals. Not all animals were created to be food. Some were created to be “garbage disposals”, both on land and in the sea. For something to be clean, it must be free of foreign elements. Something that is unclean is contaminated or mixed.

Obviously, this distinction was known long before the Torah was given at Horeb (Mt. Sinai). YHWH surely taught these laws to Adam who passed them down to his descendents. Abel presented an offering to YHWH which was a first born from his flock of sheep, a clean animal. Generations later, when YHWH called Noah to build an ark, He said,

Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.
Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah
. Genesis 7:2-9

Noah was considered ‘righteous before YHWH in his generation’. As a result, it is safe to conclude that Noah observed Kosher eating habits. Notice that he took seven of every clean animal but only two of every unclean animal. Most people were taught that Noah took the animals on board two by two without any mention of being clean or unclean.

While Noah was on the ark, he did not eat any animals, but only what the animals ate:

You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them. Genesis 6:21

After the flood receded, Noah sacrificed only some of the clean animals to YHWH:

Then Noah built an altar to YHWH and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. Genesis 8:20

Afterwards, YHWH instructed Noah about other food for him:

Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. Genesis 9:3-4

This is the first time that YHWH gave man permission to eat flesh and there was an implicit understanding that it meant clean flesh and not unclean flesh. Noah already knew the difference between clean and unclean animals. That is why he was instructed to take seven pairs of clean animals aboard. If he had slaughtered and ate any unclean animal, they would be extinct immediately since they would have no way to propagate. The commandment concerning meat is quite profound because it shows great changes on earth due to iniquity – the transgression of YHWH’s commandments. The purpose of creation was to establish a paradise wherein both man and beast could live in harmony and feed from the fruit of the earth. The constant and relentless increase of lawlessness on the earth brought about judgment and the intended paradise slipped further and further away. In fact, the entire ecosystem of the planet changed as a result of the flood. All fruit trees and vegetation would have perished in the flood. This lack of vegetation caused man to kill and eat clean animals in order to survive. Therefore, Elohim gave Noah and his family the right to eat meat, a right not given to Adam and his progeny. The right to eat meat allowed the advent of the nomadic lifestyle, such as Abraham knew.

Therefore, after the Flood, the clean animals were killed and their blood shed to provide sustenance and life for mankind. This was not like the tranquil life in the Garden of Eden and was a result of the disobedience of man.

It is clear that dietary laws were given long before there was a Hebrew or a Jew or the nation of Israel. Just because the dietary laws were codified in the Torah does not mean that they were new at that time or specifically for the “Jews” as is so often taught in the Christian church. It was always YHWH’s plan for those who follow Him to know the difference between clean and unclean and was written down in the Torah for the understanding of the Commonwealth of Israel, a people set apart to YHWH. This includes all tribes and nations that follow YHWH and His Messiah. It is also “in force” today, for YHWH never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The dietary laws are given in Torah in the 11th chapter of the Book of Leviticus. These dietary laws are applicable to anyone who desires to follow and obey YHWH.

Now YHWH spoke to Mosheh and Aharon, saying to them, speak to the children of Yisra’el, saying, ‘These are the living creatures which you may eat among all the beasts that are on the earth: Whatever has a split hoof completely divided, chewing the cud, among the beasts, that you do eat. Only, these you do not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have a split hoof: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have a split hoof, it is unclean to you; and the rabbit, because it chews the cud but does not have a split hoof, it is unclean to you; and the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have a split hoof, it is unclean to you; and the pig, though it has a split hoof, completely divided, yet does not chew the cud, it is unclean to you. Their flesh you do not eat, and their carcasses you do not touch. They are unclean to you.

‘These you do eat of all that are in the waters: any one that has fins and scales in the waters, in the seas or in the rivers, that you do eat. But all that have not fins and scales in the seas and in the rivers, all that move in the waters or any living creature which is in the waters, they are an abomination to you. They are an abomination to you. – of their flesh you do not eat, and their carcasses you abominate. All that have not fins and scales in the waters is an abomination to you.

‘And these you do abominate among the birds, they are not eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the vulture, and the black vulture, and the hawk, and the falcon after its kind, every raven after its kind, and the ostrich and the nighthawk, and the seagull, and the haws after its kind, and the little owl, and the fisher owl, and the great owl, and the white owl, and the pelican, and the carrion vulture, and the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe, and the bat.

‘All flying insects that creep on all fours is an abomination to you. Only these you do eat of every flying insect that creeps on all fours: those which have jointed legs above their feet with which to leap on the earth. These of them you do eat: the locust after its kind, and the destroying locust after its kind, and the cricket after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind. But all other flying insects which have four feet is an abomination to you. And by these you are made unclean, anyone touching the carcass of any of them is unclean until evening, and anyone picking up part of the carcass of any of them has to wash his garments, and shall be unclean until evening.

‘Every beast that has a split hoof not completely divided, or does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Anyone who touches their carcass is unclean. And whatever goes on its paws, among all the creatures that go on all fours, those are unclean to you. Anyone who touches their carcass is unclean until evening, and he who picks up their carcass has to wash his garments, and shall be unclean until evening. They are unclean to you. And these are unclean to you among the creeping creatures that creep on the earth: the mole, and the mouse, and the tortoise after its kind, and the gecko, and the land crocodile, and the sand reptile, and the sand lizard, and the chameleon. These are unclean to you among all that creep. Anyone that touches them when they are dead becomes unclean until evening.’

‘And every creeping creature that creeps on the earth is an abomination, it is not eaten. Whatever crawls on its stomach, and whatever goes on all fours, and whatever has many feet among all creeping creatures that creep on the earth, these you do not eat, for they are an abomination. Do not make yourselves abominable with any creeping creature that creeps, and do not make yourselves unclean with them, lest you be defiled by them.

‘For I am YHWH your Elohim, and you shall set yourselves apart. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart. And do not defile yourselves with any creeping creature that creeps on the earth. For I am YHWH who is bringing you up out of the land of Mitsrayim, to be your Elohim. And you shall be set-apart, for I am set-apart.

‘This is the Torah of the beasts and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth, to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the living creature that is eaten and the living creature that is not eaten.
Leviticus 11:1-32, 41-47

The emphasis here is on being holy (Hebrew: qadosh) which means “Set-apart”, showing that YHWH does not want His people to be doing the things that the pagans of this world do. He wants His people to be set-apart and consecrated unto Him. Observing the dietary commands is more about being like YHWH than it has to do with the covenant made with Yisra’el. We do not keep the dietary commandments because we are mandated to do so under a covenant as much as we do it because we want to be more like Him, that is “Set-apart”.

Just as YHWH defines sexual immorality in Leviticus 18 and calls those acts abominable, so has He declared certain animals unclean or abominable and therefore detestable for eating. Most moral people would agree that the acts listed in Leviticus 18 are still abominable, but somehow manage to filter out Leviticus 11 from their thinking. The fact is that eating abominable things is still abominable today.

In Deuteronomy 14, it says, “for you are a set-apart people to YHWH your Elohim, and YHWH has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a treasured possession above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. Do not eat what is abominable.”

YHWH then goes on to reiterate the commands regarding what is clean and what is unclean among the living creatures of the earth. It is well accepted that whenever something is repeated in Scriptures, we should pay special attention because it is very important. Kashrut is not some subject to be taken lightly, but rather should be diligently studied by anyone who is committed to obeying YHWH and desiring to be conformed to His image. It behooves everyone who calls himself a follower of Yahushua our Messiah to study the Torah to better understand the concepts and commands regarding food, especially animal food and how it is killed. Meat should not be eaten with its blood, for as He has stated, “the life is in the blood.”

This notion is simply regarded as unacceptable in mainstream Christianity due to false doctrine and mistranslations in the Greek and Latin documents. While the House of Judah still regards the Torah as the guide to righteous living, the Christian community is offended by the idea that they should obey the Torah, even though many of them are of the House of Israel (Ephraim). They profess that they are “not under the law” and they are free to eat anything they want. It’s akin to the fleshly saying, “if it feels good, do it.”

Like the rest of YHWH’s commands, they are for our benefit, that we may live righteous and healthy lives on this earth. There are many good books and internet references regarding Kosher foods. Study them. 

 

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