Between my Ministry and my Natural Health practice, I am often asked to help decipher what most people consider to be a difficult-to-understand set of rules and regulations regarding what God considers to be "clean" and "unclean" animals. This is a handout that I prepared for a talk that I gave at an herb conference in 2003. I hope that it helps to "de-mystify" the issue and helps you to understand why G-d has provided these restrictions for our protection.
Most of Christianity has, in general, decided that the food restrictions of the Torah (the so-called "Old Testament") do not apply today. This opinion is based on an incorrect interpretation of what the Apostles wrote about "clean" and "unclean" food in the Apostolic Letters (the so-called "New Testament"). If G-d never changes, and the entire Bible is the Word of G-d, then how can what was "unclean" in the Hebrew Bible be considered "clean" in the Apostolic Letters?
We can go a long way to resolving this apparent conflict if we can just remember that the Apostles were
all considered Jewish Rabbis who carefully observed the
entire Torah, that the only "Scripture" they had was
the Torah, that their target audience was overwhelmingly Jewish, and that the Jewish people have never
considered anything on the "unclean" list to be included in the definition of "food." If the Apostle was ever discussing
"food," he was talking only about those animals on the "clean" list, never those animals on the "unclean" list
they simply were not "food."
Adonai said to Aharon the priest: " you will distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean; " (Lev. 10:10) G-d was not nearly as concerned with ritual purity in the dietary instructions as he was with physical cleanliness or uncleanliness.
The chart below tabulates the results of a 1953 study in which "Dr. David Macht of Johns Hopkins University reported the toxic effects of animal flesh on a controlled growth culture. A substance was classified as toxic if it slowed the culture's growth rate below 75 percent. In each case, the blood of all the animals Dr. Macht tested showed up more toxic than the flesh.
"The table is based on Dr. Macht's study. The results show that the lower the growth percentage of the culture, the more toxic the flesh. Note that the animals and fish given to us by G-d for food are all nontoxic, but all forbidden animals lie in the toxic range. (Animals without percentage rankings in the chart were not studied, but are included here to provide a more comprehensive list of clean and unclean meats.)
"Don't get confused! Any number above 75 percent is nontoxic, or clean.
"This chart should make it easy for us to identify which meats we should choose to eat. It also makes it apparent we are eating many toxic substances that were not created for food.
"The differences between clean and unclean animals appear to be related to their primary food source and to their digestive systems. Scavengers that eat anything and everything are unclean, not suitable for food, according to the Bible. Animals described as clean, and therefore good for food, primarily eat grasses and grains.
"This examination of clean and unclean flesh could be a more revealing study considering today's modern toxicological technology. A loving G-d protects His people by showing them just which foods are safe. He summarizes His will in Leviticus 11:43:
"`Do not defile by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them.'
" Note than an animal doesn't have to be a scavenger to be unclean. Horses and rabbits, for example, are unclean because they do not have split hooves. Although they are considered to be good food in some countries, studies have shown that horse meat often contains viruses and parasites. Rabbits, as innocent as they appear, are the cause of tularemia (an infectious disease) in humans.
" One reason for G-d's rule forbidding pork is that the digestive system of a pig is completely different from that of a cow. It is similar to ours, in that the stomach is very acidic. Pigs are gluttonous, never knowing when to stop eating. Their stomach acids become diluted because of the volume of food, allowing all kinds of vermin to pass through this protective barrier. Parasites, bacteria, viruses, and toxins can pass into the pig's flesh because of overeating. These toxins and infectious agents can be passed on to humans when they eat a pig's flesh.
" In the Biblical Archeological Review, Jane Cahill examined the toilets of a Jewish household in Jerusalem, finding no parasites nor infectious agents, but only pollen from the many fruits, vegetables and herbs they had eaten. A similar study about Egyptians revealed eggs from Schistosoma, Trichinella, wire worm and tapeworms, all found in pork. All of these organisms cause significant chronic diseases."
Compiled from Russell, Rex, MD. What the Bible Says About Healthy Living. Grand Rapids: Fleming H. Revell, 1999, pp. 76-78.
Clean and Unclean Meats