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    Biblical Health Principles

    from NCW 68, May-July 2000

    The Bible rates health right near the top of the list in importance (3 John 1:2). Man's mind, spiritual nature, and body are all interrelated and interdependent. Yahweh gave health rules because He knows what is best for the human body (Deuteronomy 6:24, Exodus 23:25). A Christian should eat and drink all to the glory of Yahweh - using only "that which is good" (Isaiah 55:2, 1Cor.10:31). If Yahweh says a thing is not fit to eat, He must have a good reason. He is not a harsh dictator, but a loving Father. All His counsel is for our good, always. So if Yahweh withholds a thing from us, it is because it is not a good thing for us (Psalm 84:11). The diet Yahweh gave people at the beginning of Creation was fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds (Genesis 1:29, 2:16; 3:18).

    Forbidden Foods

    These items are unclean and forbidden: All land animals which do not have a split hoof and chew the cud (Deuteronomy 14:6); all fish and water creatures that do not have both fins and scales (Deuteronomy 14:9); all birds of prey, carrion eaters, and fish eaters (Leviticus 11:13-20), and most "creeping things" (or invertebrates) are also unclean (Leviticus 11:21-47). Also, if a clean food touches any unclean food, the clean food must not be eaten (Leviticus 7:19).


    The Bible clearly forbids the use of alcoholic beverages to induce drunkenness (Leviticus 10:9, Deuteronomy 21:10; 29:19, 1Samuel 1:14, 1Kings 16:9-10, Psalm 69:2, Proverbs 20:1; 21:17; 23:20-21,29-35; 26:9; 31:4-7, Isaiah 5:11-12,22; 19:14; 24:9,11; 28:1,3,7; 56:12, Jeremiah 25:27, Ezekiel 44:21, Hosea 4:11; 7:5,14, Joel 1:5; 3:3, Amos 2:8,12, Micah 2:11, Nahum 1:10, Habakkuk 2:5,15-16, Matthew 24:49, Luke 12:45; 21:34, Romans 13:13, 1Corinthians 5:11; 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:18, 1 Thes.5:7, 1 Peter 4:7). There is no blessing in that which tends to intoxicate and confuse the thinking. Yah'shua (Jesus) did not sanction the use of a beverage which weakens the moral inhibitions, reducing the power of effective decision making.


    The Bible gives six reasons why the use of tobacco is displeasing to Yahweh:

    1- The use of tobacco injures health and defiles the body (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). 2- Nicotine is a narcotic that enslaves people (Romans 6:16). 3- The tobacco habit is unclean (2 Corinthians 6:17). 4- The use of tobacco wastes money (Isaiah 55:2). 5- The use of tobacco never draws anyone closer to Christ (1 Peter 2:11). 6- The use of tobacco shortens life (Exodus 20:13). Even though it is slow murder, it is still murder. It is really preposterous to think of Christ using tobacco in any form, isn't it?

    Sensible Principles

    Some of the simple, yet very important, health laws found in the Bible are to: Eat your meals at regular intervals (Ecc.10:17). Do not eat animal fat or blood (Gen.9:4, Lev.3:17; 7:23-27; 17:10-14, Deut.12:16). [Note: Recent scientific studies have confirmed the fact that most heart attacks result from a high cholesterol level in the blood -and that the use of "fats" is largely responsible for this high level. Also, the blood can transfer diseases. Science is just catching up with the Bible] Avoid eating animals that were strangled (Acts 15:20,29; 21:25). Don't overeat (Prov.23:2, Luke 21:34). Don't harbor envy or hold grudges (Prov.14:30, Mat.5:23,24). Maintain a cheerful, happy disposition (Prov.17:22; 23:7). Put full trust in the Lord (Prov.4:20-22; 19:23). Balance work and exercise with sleep and rest (Exo.20:9,10, Ecc.2:22,23; 5:12, Psalm 127:2). Keep your body clean (Isa.52:11). Be temperate in all things (1 Cor.9:25, Phil.4:5). Avoid all harmful stimulants [Note: Medical science has confirmed the fact that tea, coffee, and soft drinks that contain the addictive drug caffeine and other harmful ingredients are all positively damaging to the human body] Make mealtime a happy time (Ecc.3:13). Help those who are in need (Isaiah 58:6-8). Bury body waste to avoid disease (Deut.23:12-13). [Note: This is obviously for health reasons, because history and science has shown that if this was not done, diseases would spread and people would die from them]

    Those who break Yahweh's rules regarding the care of the body machine will reap broken bodies and burned-out lives (Galatians 6:7), just as one who abuses his automobile will have serious car trouble. And those who continue to break Yahweh's laws of health will ultimately be destroyed by the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Yahweh's health laws are not arbitrary. They are natural, established laws of the universe, like the law of gravity. Ignoring these laws always brings certain disastrous results.

    Pure and Impure

    Nothing defiling or unclean will be permitted in Yahweh's kingdom (Revelation 21:27, Ezekiel 11:21). The use of improper foods defile a person (Daniel 1:8). Choosing their "own ways" and that in which Yahweh "delighted not" may possibly cost people their eternal salvation (Isaiah 66:3-4), especially eating pork and swine's flesh (Isaiah 66:15-17), because it's considered rebellion against Yahweh.

    Sincere Christians will bring their lives into harmony with Yahweh's rules, because they love Him (2 Cor.7:1, 1 John 3:3, John 14:15). Yahweh's counsel and rules are always for our good, just as good parents' rules and counsel are best for their children. Yahweh holds us accountable (James 4:17). The reason for restricting our diet is because we are the holy children of Yahweh (Deut.14:1-3).

    Take all of these habits to Christ and lay them at His feet. He will joyfully give you a new heart and the power you need to break any evil habit and become a child of Yahweh (Eze.11:18,19). How thrilling and heartwarming it is to know that "with Yahweh all things are possible" (Mark 10:27). Yah'shua (Jesus) says, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37). Yah'shua (Jesus) is ready to break the shackles that bind us (John 1:12). He longs to set us free, and will, if only we will permit it. Our worries, evil habits, nervous tensions, and fears will be gone when we do His bidding (Phil.4:13). He says, "These things have I spoken unto you ... that your joy might be full" (John 15:11). The devil says freedom is found in disobedience, but this is a falsehood (John 8:44).

    Your Questions Answered

    1) "Didn't Yah'shua (Jesus) drink wine (alcohol) for the Lord's Supper?"

    Answer: Don't be confused --- the Bible doesn't have a word for grape juice. There is one word 'wine,' which either means the unfermented juice of the grape (non-alcoholic) or it means the fermented juice (alcoholic). The Bible uses the word 'wine' to refer to two distinctly different grape beverages, one fermented and the other unfermented. One Hebrew word for wine, yayin, in the Old Testament, and the Greek word, oinos, in the New Testament, can mean either the fresh unfermented juice of the grape or the fermented intoxicating drink. But the Bible is clear; it says to drink the wine, the unfermented juice of the grape, when it's fresh in the cluster: "As the new wine is found in the cluster, And one says, 'Do not destroy it, For a blessing is in it'" (Isaiah 65:8). And concerning fermented juice: "Look not upon the wine..." (the fermented juice) "...when it is red "(Proverbs 23:31).

    2) "What did Yahweh make the hog for, if not to eat?"

    Answer: He made it for the same purpose that He made the buzzard, shrimp, and crab - as a scavenger, to clean up garbage. They are Yahweh's sewerage disposal system. The clean beasts are "ruminants" or are of some similar species. Their bodies are designed to eat things that are unclean (such as a lizard) without taking on that uncleanness into their own flesh (cows for instance, have four compartments in their stomach in which to digest their food in this way). The unclean beasts are not ruminants, so the unclean foods they eat stay in their flesh. Pigs eat excrement, it merges with their flesh, which then enters us.

    3) "What health problems does pork pose?"

    Answer: First, pork is loaded with saturated fats, the highest meat in fats, and filled with cholesterol. Second, cancer in the pig's skin, kidneys, the lymphatic system and other internal organs is common. The more cancer affects animals, the more (scientists tell us) that there is potential to affect humans. Third, pork products are regularly preserved with nitrates that are known to be cancer-causing compounds. Fourth, pork contributes to numerous digestive and stomach problems. And fifth, Pork contains trichina larvae, and trichinosis can be a major problem, it kills people. You eat the pork, the trichina larvae enter the stomach, and as the eggs hatch in the stomach, they invade muscles and tissues. Sometimes it shows up as rheumatism or arthritis.

    4) "Mark 7:18-19 and Matthew 15:11 says, "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out." How do you explain this?"

    Answer: If Yah'shua (Jesus) had intended to do away with the law of unclean meats, His listeners could not have missed the point. If He had made a statement that all foods are now clean, it would have created one of the biggest controversies of His ministry. Did His listeners understand Yah'shua (Jesus) to he abrogating the Old Testament dietary laws? There were Pharisees present when Yah'shua (Jesus) made the statement. How would we expect them to respond if Yah'shua (Jesus) had plainly said that swine's flesh was good for food? There is not a hint in the account that they understood Yah'shua (Jesus) that way. If they had, they would not have needed to hire false witnesses against Yah'shua (Jesus) at His trial (Matthew 26:59-60, Mark 14:56-57). They could have simply charged Him with speaking against Moses and the Law. But no such charge was ever made!

    The subject in Matthew 15:1-20 is eating without first washing the hands (verse 2). The focus is not eating, but washing. The scribes taught that eating any food without a special ceremonial washing defiled the eater. Yah'shua (Jesus) said the ceremonial washings were meaningless. In verse 19, He listed certain evils - murders, adulteries, thefts, etc. Then He concluded, "These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man" (verse 20). Additionally, the statement was made during the Old Covenant. Some argue Yahweh's laws were abolished at Christ's death, yet this statement was made well before his death.

    5) "What about "Whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake" in 1 Corinthians 10:27?"

    Answer: 1 Corinthians 10:25-29 says that "anything that is sold in the market eat, and ask no questions for conscience sake. If an unbeliever invites you [for dinner] and you consent to go, eat whatever is put before you and ask no questions for conscience sake [but, of course, you can ask questions for health sake, and many already do: low sodium diets, fat-free diets, allergies etc.]. But if anyone tells you, 'This food has been offered in sacrifice', abstain from eating it for the sake of him who warned you, and for conscience sake - I mean his conscience, not your own". The point this passage is making is that it is best to courteously warn your host ahead of time as to your food preferences.

    Remember that the apostle Paul was writing to Christians whose sole "Scripture" was what we term the Old Testament! His teaching to the Corinthian Church was founded on the writings of the Old Testament. They were thoroughly familiar with the division of food into "clean and unclean"! As Paul wrote to Timothy: "Cling to the truths that you have learned and of which you are convinced, knowing who your teachers were, and that from infancy you have known the sacred writings which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Yah'shua (Jesus). All scripture is profitable for instruction in righteousness:" (2 Timothy 3:14-17). With their respect for the Old Testament, it would take some convincing that Paul was telling them to flaunt Yahweh's Laws! Especially in view of Yah'shua's (Jesus') attitude to Yahweh's Law - "I have not come to destroy [abolish] the Law" (Matthew 5:17).

    6) "1 Timothy 4:4 says, "Every creature of Yahweh is good, and nothing is to be refused." Can you explain this?"

    Answer: This Scripture passage refers to meats "which Yahweh hath created to be received with thanksgiving" (verse 3). Therefore, it may be presumed that He created things which were not to be received as food. These meats, as we have already discovered, are the meats listed in Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy chapter 14. Verse 4 makes it clear that all creatures of Yahweh are good and not to be refused, provided that they are among those created to "be received with thanksgiving" (the clean animals).

    Verse 5 tells the reason why these animals are acceptable foods: because they are "sanctified [set apart] by the word of Yahweh." Where in the Bible are foods "set apart" for human consumption? In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. Paul did not say that everything created by Yahweh was good for food without qualification. This verse also says it is sanctified by a "prayer" of blessing, which is offered before the meal. Please note, however, that Yahweh will destroy people who try to "sanctify themselves" while eating unclean foods (Isaiah 66:17).

    7) "Some people claim that to abstain from certain meats is a "doctrine of demons". Is this true?

    Answer: There is one reference to this subject in Paul's letters. It is his warning to Timothy (I Timothy 4:1-5), he said, "Many shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons." One of these "doctrines of demons" is "commanding to abstain from meats, which Yahweh has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."

    What, precisely, does this mean? Well, it is important to note that this is not merely a discussion of eating meat. The term, "meat" does not mean animal flesh, but food in general. The Greek word is broma, which means "food". Upon taking a closer look, this cannot refer to a command not to eat the "unclean meats" of Leviticus 11. If it did, it would be tantamount to calling Leviticus 11 a doctrine of demons! And as we all know, Leviticus 11 is a doctrine of Yahweh.

    8) "Romans 14:3,14,20 says: "Let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth." "There is nothing unclean of itself." "All things indeed are pure." Can you explain this?"

    Answer: Verses 3-6 are a discussion of those who eat certain things versus those who do not. The passage does not say either is right, but rather counsels that neither pass judgment on the other. Instead, let Yahweh be the Judge (verses 4,10-12). Verses 14 and 20 refer to foods that were first offered to idols (and were thus ceremonially unclean) - not to the clean and unclean meats of Leviticus chapter 11. (Read 1 Corinthians 8:1,4,10,13). The point of this discussion is that no food is "unclean" or "impure" just because it has first been offered to idols, because an idol is "nothing in the world." (1 Corinthians 8:4). But if a person's conscience bothers him for eating such food, he should leave it alone. Or even if it merely offends a brother, he should likewise abstain. Compare the similarity of Romans 14:15 with 1 Corinthians 8:11. Also, compare the use of the term "weak" in Romans 14:1-2 with 1 Corinthians 8:7-12. If you read Acts 15:29; 21:25, you will see it confirms all the above.

    9) "Are health laws and eating and drinking really important to me personally? If I love the Lord, isn't that enough?"

    Answer: They are a matter of life verses death, because these laws involve obedience (Hebrews 5:9, Matthew 7:21, John 14:15). When we truly love the Lord, we will gladly obey Him without dodging or making excuses. This is the supreme test.

    10) "Genesis 9:3 says, "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, even as the green herb have I given you all things." So didn't Yahweh say all animals are food for them?"

    Answer: This is when Yahweh first allowed man to eat meats, since all the plants were destroyed from the flood. Yahweh did not tell Noah to eat all animals, because this verse likens meat to green herbs, all of which Yahweh gave man to eat (Genesis 1:29). We all know there are green plants which are deadly if eaten, and we wouldn't consider eating them.

    Yahweh intended for Noah's family to eat only clean animals, which is why Yahweh commanded Noah to gather the clean animals by 7, and the unclean animals by 2 (Genesis 7:2). In fact, if Noah did kill any unclean animal, that species would have ceased to exist, since there were only 2 of each unclean animal. Which is why Noah only used clean animals when making burnt offerings on the altar (Genesis 8:20). Besides, if literally all "moving things", are meat for us, are not humans living things? I'm sure you wouldn't eat your neighbor! We must interpret scripture with scripture (Isaiah 28:9-10).

    Even Abel sacrificed "the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions" (Genesis 4:4) and - as with many of the types of sacrifice - it's likely that he would have eaten a portion of it as part of the "sacrificial fellowship" with Yahweh. These sacrifices were of the 'clean' animals only, or cattle (Genesis 18:7ff).

    11) "But Yahweh did not describe which plants are poisonous in Genesis 9:3. He allowed humans to discern which plants are good. Likewise, some animals are not good for food, and Yahweh allowed Noah and his descendants to discern which were good for food."

    Answer: This is speculation, and contradicts the fact that Yahweh has identified these good foods for us in His dietary laws. There is a difference between plants and animals. Plants do not have blood, or a soul. The life (nephesh which means "soul") of living creatures is in the blood (Leviticus 17:10-14). This is why this command applies to the "stranger" (all people) as well, and not just to the Hebrews, and why it was commanded to Noah (Genesis 9:4), before Israel or Israelites existed in the world. You see, there seems to be a moral issue involved here. It is not morally wrong to eat a plant, because plants have no soul. But "moving creatures" do have a soul, the life of which is in the blood.

    12) "Doesn't the law of unclean foods apply to Jewish people only?"

    Answer: There were no Jews in Noah's day when this restriction was laid by Yahweh upon the human race (Genesis 7:2,8; 9:3). Ponder this significant fact carefully: if certain animals were identified as unclean before the flood (Genesis 7:2,8); if they were still counted as unclean when Peter rejected them in his vision 10-20 years after Christ's death (Acts 10:14; 11:8); if they are still called unclean in Revelation 18:2, where it speaks of "unclean" birds; and if Isaiah said that all those who are eating swine (such as pork, ham, bacon, sausages, hot-dogs, baloney, pepperoni) at the coming of the Lord will be consumed (Isaiah 66:15-17), how can we feel that they are now fit to eat? When did they become clean?

    13) "How did Yah'shua (Jesus) feel about Swine (Pork)?"

    Answer: First, let's review a principle which appeared often in the ministry of our Lord. He was never wasteful. In fact, He commanded the gathering of all the scraps of food following the feeding of the multitudes. On two occasions, Christ specifically ordered that nothing be thrown away. The Scriptures even detail the exact number of baskets of food which were salvaged from the two mountain-side miracle feedings - twelve and seven. (Luke 9:17, Mark 8:20).

    With this firm principle in mind concerning our Lord's disposition to conserve every tiny bit of edible food, please consider His experience with the inhabitants of Gadara. Yah'shua (Jesus) had just cast out devils, and transferred them inside a herd of 2000 swine and drowned them (Matthew 8:30-32, Mark 5:11-14, Luke 8:32-33). Keep in mind there was a famine around this time and people were starving (Acts 11:28). Why did Yah'shua (Jesus) precipitate the wholesale destruction of that valuable herd of animals? Because Yah'shua (Jesus) did not consider swine to be suitable for food! It is impossible to believe that our compassionate Saviour would needlessly allow such a waste of resources when the hungry and needy were on every side. We can only conclude that Yah'shua (Jesus) did not view the animals, which His Father had declared an abomination, as acceptable items of diet.

    14) "But didn't Yahweh cleanse all animals in Peter's vision, as recorded in Acts 10?"

    Answer: No! In fact, the subject of this vision is not animals, but people. Yahweh gave Peter this vision to show him that the Gentiles were not unclean, as the Jews believed. Yahweh had instructed Cornelius, a Gentile, to send men to visit Peter. But Peter would have refused to see them if Yahweh had not given him this vision, because Jewish law forbade entertaining Gentiles (verse 28). But when the men finally did arrive, Peter welcomed them, explaining that ordinarily he would not have done so, but "Yahweh hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean" (verse 28). In the next chapter (Acts 11), the church (assembly) members criticized Peter for speaking with these Gentiles. So Peter told them the whole story of his vision and its meaning. And Acts 11:18 says, "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified Yahweh saying, Then hath Yahweh also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." So, Peter interprets this vision as pertaining to Gentiles, not animals.

    15) "But in Acts 10, how could Peter have understood that the unclean beasts referred to the Gentiles if the unclean beasts in his vision were not literally made clean?"

    Answer: Peter understood this vision because the comment from the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) in Acts 10:19-20 allowed Peter to finally interpret what his vision meant. Remember, this is a vision, a dream, and a dream does not have to be literally true in order for it to be understood. For example, look at Genesis 37:5-10. When Joseph dreamed that his "sheaf arose, and stood upright", and his brother's sheaves bowed down to Joseph's' sheaf" (verse 7), did his brothers sheaves literally have to bow down to Joseph's' sheaf before they understood that the sheaves were symbolic of his brothers? No, of course not. When Joseph dreamed that "the sun and the moon and the eleven stars" bowed down to Joseph (verse 9), did the sun, moon, and stars literally have to bow down to Joseph before they understood that his symbols applied to his mother, father, and brothers? No, of course not. So why would the unclean meats have to be made literally clean before Peter understood these beasts were symbolic of the Gentiles?

    16) "I'm still a little confused about this chapter. Can you give a breakdown of Acts 10, verse by verse?"

    Acts 10:1-2: Cornelius was a Gentile, but a devout man. He feared Yahweh, prayed to Yahweh, and wished to know more about Yahweh. What this means is that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) called Cornelius to reverence Yahweh, because no man can come to Yahweh unless the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) draws him to Yahweh (John 6:44).

    Verses 3-6: shows that Cornelius' desire to be shown the way to salvation was met. Yahweh sent him a vision of an angel to instruct him as to whom he should seek to be taught these things: Peter! At this time, Peter would not teach, or have anything to do with, a Gentile. Peter looked on Gentiles as unclean because they didn't keep the clean food laws, making themselves unclean, abominable, and defiled (Lev.11:43). Gentiles were considered as dogs or swine, because they ate all manner of unclean beasts.

    But remember, Cornelius was not one who broke Yahweh's Laws. Verse 2 says he was striving to reverence Yahweh. Peter was brought up in the Laws of Yahweh, and he knew and kept the Dietary Laws of the clean and unclean meats. The angel instructed Cornelius to go to Peter for instruction and knowledge.

    Verses 11-14: is the vision. Notice in verse 14 that Peter himself states that he has never eaten anything unclean. This was some 10-20 years after the death and resurrection of Yah'shua (Jesus). If Yah'shua (Jesus) taught Peter to eat unclean meats, why had Peter not eaten it?

    Verse 15: is still part of the vision, and says, "Do not call anything unclean that Yahweh has made clean." But just what does this vision mean? The vision contained all manner of unclean beasts. Did Peter jump up and down and shout for joy that he could now eat all these cleansed animals?

    Verse 17: has Peter still wondering what this vision meant. Peter had no idea what his vision meant at this point. (Some people think they know what this vision means, but let's have Peter tell us, through the inspiration of the Ruach haQodesh/Holy Spirit...)

    Verse 19-20: While Peter wondered about this vision, the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) said to him, "three men seek thee." These three men were the men Cornelius sent to find Peter (verse 8). This comment from the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) allowed Peter to finally interpret what his vision meant. We are told the interpretation of this dream. It is made clear in Acts 10:28.

    Verse 22: Notice Cornelius is a "just man" and had a good report among the Jews. Anyone living contrary to all or any one of Yahweh's Laws, including the Dietary Laws of the clean and unclean beasts, would not have any good report with any Jew.

    Verse 27: Many had come together to hear what Peter had to tell them.

    Verse 28: We are told what Peter's vision actually meant, "...Yahweh hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean." This verifies that it was considered unlawful for a Jew, even one who accepted Yah'shua (Jesus) as the Messiah and Saviour, to keep company with a Gentile, no matter how observant that Gentile was of Yahweh's Laws. The vision was not to show Peter that all beasts are now clean, but to show that any man, no matter what race or color or nationality he might be, when he turns to Yah'shua (Jesus) and becomes clean, he is no longer to be considered common or unclean.

    Verses 34-35: Again, Peter explains what is commanded thee of Yahweh in verse 33. "But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." Again, confirming that no man is unclean who believes in Yahweh.

    Verse 48: Peter then "commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord". Before this time, repentance was considered to have only been given to the Jews. Afterwards, it was accepted that Yahweh had granted repentance to the Gentile nations as well.

    In the next chapter (Acts 11), the church (assembly) members disputed and criticized Peter for speaking with these Gentiles. So Peter told them the whole story of his vision and its meaning. Acts 11:18 repeats the biblical interpretation of this vision. It says, "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified Yahweh saying, Then hath Yahweh also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." This vision made Gentiles clean, it did not make the unclean beasts clean. We must let scripture interpret scripture.

    Additional Thoughts

    Obviously somebody has to touch dead bodies, clean up blood after a traffic accident, and treat patients with skin diseases. Breaking the cleanness laws is not automatically a sin, but there are penalties. In ancient times, the usual penalty was that you became "unclean until sunset" (Leviticus 11, Numbers 19). This meant that you were not allowed to enter the Temple that day. This was not a severe penalty, unless you were a priest on duty. This is probably one of the rationalizations that the priest used in the parable of the Good Samaritan when he "passed by on the other side" (Luke 10:31). So uncleanness was a short term inconvenience. However, we can now see that there are also long-term penalties not mentioned in the Bible. For instance touching HIV-infected blood is a major hazard for medical personal.


    In the Middle Ages, Jews were accused of sorcery because they escaped many of the sicknesses that afflicted others. It is now known that this was because they observed the laws of "cleanness". The laws of uncleanness also include other (obvious to us) instructions such as avoiding contact with blood, contaminated water, skin diseases, rats and fleas, and not touching dead bodies. Isn't it logical that a God who created and loves mankind will also have given guidance on the best "fuel" for his body?

    Unclean Meats of the Bible

    Land Creatures

    Swine - Boar, Peccary, Pig (Hog), Bacon, Ham, Lard, Pork.

    Canine - Coyote, Dog, Fox, Hyena, Jackal, Wolf.

    Feline - Cat, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Panther, Tiger.

    Equine - Donkey, Horse, Mule, Onager, Quagga, Zebra.

    Miscine Munimus - Badger, Coney, Hare, Monkey, Opossum, Porcupine, Raccoon, Skunk, Squirrel.

    Miscine Maximus - Bear, Camel, Elephant, Gorilla, Hippo, Kangaroo, Lama, Rhino, Wallaby, Chevrotain.

    Water Creatures

    Fish - Catfish, Eel, Marlin, Shark, Sturgeon.

    Hard Body - Abalone, Clam, Crab, Crayfish, Lobster, Mussel, Prawn, Oyster, Scallop, Shrimp.

    Soft Body - Cuttlefish, Jellyfish, Limpet, Octopus, Squid.

    Sea Mammals - Dolphin, Otter, Seal, Walrus, Whale.

    Others - Crocodile, Turtle, Frog, Newt, Salamander, Toad, Lizard.

    Air Creatures

    Albatross, Bat, Bittern, Condor, Cormorant, Crane, Crow, Cuckoo, Eagle, Flamingo, Grosbeak, Gull, Hawk, Heron, Kite, Lapwing, Loon, Osprey, Ostrich, Owl, Woodpecker, Pelican, Penguin, Plover, Raven, Stork, Swallow, Swan, Swift, Vulture, Water Hen.

    Clean Meats of the Bible

    Land Creatures

    Cattle - Beef, Hamburger, Veal.

    Sheep - Lamb, Mutton.

    Others - Antelope, Buffalo (Bison), Caribou, Deer (Venison), Elk, Gazell, Giraffe, Goat, Hart, Ibex, Moose, Reindeer, Locust.

    Water Creatures

    Anchovy, Bass, Bluefish, Carp, Cod, Croppie, Flounder, Grouper, Grunt, Haddock, Halibut, Herring, Mackerel, Minnow, Perch, Pickerel, Pike, Rockfish, Salmon, Shad, Smelt, Snapper, Sole, Steelhead, Sunfish, Tarpon, Tuna (Albacore, Bonita, Yellowtail).

    Air Creatures

    Chickens, Dove, Duck, Goose, Grouse, Guinea fowl, Partridge, Peacock, Pheasant, Pigeon, Songbird, Sparrow, Quail, Turkey.

    Yahweh's Final Word

    Exodus 15:26, If you listen carefully to the voice of Yahweh-Elohim and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases…for I am Yahweh, who heals you.

    Exodus 23 25-26, Worship Yahweh your Elohim, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you...I will give you a full life span.

    Deuteronomy 7:12,15, If you pay attention to these laws and…follow them, Yahweh will keep you free from every disease.

    Psalm 103:2-4, Praise Yahweh, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases; He redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion.

    Jeremiah 30:17, I will give you back your health again and heal your wounds.

    This page was created on 12 June 2000
    Last updated on 8 February 2003

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