Updated: Jul 7, 2022
What does the Bible (Old and New Testaments) actually teach about food? Did God change His mind about what is considered “food” for mankind from the Old Testament Law of Moses to the Re-Newed Covenant of Yeshua (New Testament)?
In this lesson I hope to address this issue and bring some clarity to those who are diligently searching for the truth. As always, please search the scriptures for yourself and seek God in prayer and fasting.
Let me start with these scriptures:
Hebrews 13:8 “ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, (yea) and for ever.” (ASV)
Malachi 3:6 “For I, Jehovah, change not; therefore ye, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed” (ASV)
These two scriptures should be enough to prove that God and His Son, Yeshua, never change but are eternal in their character and revelation to mankind and all of creation. Yeshua and the Father are one- echad. See John 10:30. So, this means that whatever applies to the Father applies also to the Son! As the scriptures above point out – neither of them change, but they remain the same.
In Genesis we read about the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were commanded not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Does God care about what we eat? Well, going all the way back to the Garden of Eden He cared about what they ate! Why? The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represented the mixing of holy with the un-holy, or the mixing of seeds. The Torah, law of Moses, declares that Yahweh does not like the mixing of seeds, or the mixing of the holy and the unholy. One has to wonder how this tree got into the Garden of Eden. Perhaps Adam and Eve did not do a good job of “guarding” the Garden from the evil one. The point of this lesson is that God did care about what they ate!
In Leviticus 11:44 -45 it is written:
“For I am Jehovah your God: sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that moveth upon the earth. For I am Jehovah that brought you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (ASV)
Here Yahweh instructs us to be holy, as He is holy. This verse is often quoted in the New Testament.
I will list only one in this lesson: I Peter 1:15-17.
Interestingly, if you read the verses surrounding Leviticus 11:44-45, you will see that Yahweh is giving the instructions regarding clean and unclean animals. This is where He instructs them as to which animals were made for food and which animals were not made for food. Unclean animals were never created by God to be eaten as food. Notice how being holy is tied to the dietary commandments. Does God care about what we eat? Well – it certainly appears so, and not only that, but the things we eat are tied to holiness! Those are some pretty powerful words.
The problem with most people is that they cannot differentiate between the holy and the unholy. Human beings cannot make holy what God has called unholy. In Leviticus 11:42 -43 God states that we shall not eat of the unclean animals because they are an abomination to Him and they defile us when we do so.
Leviticus 11: 42-43 “Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, ..., them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination. Ye shall not make yourselves abominable..., neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.” (ASV)
This is repeated over and over in the 11th chapter of Leviticus concerning the unclean animals.
The thing that people need to understand is that it is not a matter of whether or not a person can eat pork, etc., but that swine and all the other unclean animals WERE NEVER considered food. These animals were not created by God to be food for mankind. Can you eat them? Sure – go ahead! You can also get yourself a poisonous plant and eat it along with the unclean animal. NEITHER were made to be food by God, but you certainly have the right to eat whatever you want. Does God care? He certainly went to a lot of trouble to break down all the animal groups in this chapter and give us all of these instructions if He didn't care! Remember that God, nor Yeshua, ever change!
If you were to ask an Orthodox Jew to eat a piece of pork they would think you insane. Why? Because pork is not on the food pyramid for them. IT WAS never ON the FOOD pyramid. It was not created to be food! Again, can you eat it? Sure, but just remember that it is abominable and unclean and God requests that you be holy as He is holy. He does not want you to defile your bodies by eating what is unclean.
Many people believe that the New Testament changes these laws and gives us permission to eat whatever animal we want as food. I will address this issue in this lesson, but first I would like to go back to the beginning; Genesis.
Before Adam and Eve sinned by eating of the forbidden tree, what did God say that He had given to them to eat?
Genesis 1:29-30 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food: and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so.” (ASV)
Notice this not only included man but also the land creatures. So, at this point neither man or creature ate any flesh. In the IDEAL world man and beast were vegetarian. This is understood to happen again in the future with the New Heaven and Earth and probably during the Millennial Reign of Messiah. Eating the flesh of animals only came about after the Fall of man. This should not surprise us because the Fall changed many things, including:
It brought about the spiritual and physical death of humans
It caused the creatures of the earth to face physical death
It cursed the earth
Although scripture does not indicate the precise moment that man began to eat the flesh of animals, most commentators agree that it was after the flood of Noah. Too much discussion of this point would take us off of the main topic, so I will only chase that rabbit trail briefly.
Scripture records about Noah that he was to take 7 pair of clean animals on the Ark and 2 pair of unclean animals on the Ark. Here we see that even Noah had been taught the difference between clean and unclean animals.
Genesis 7:1-2 “ And Jehovah said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee seven and seven, the male and his female; and of the beasts that are not clean two, the male and his female:” (ASV)
How would Noah know this information? Either God taught it to him at some point in his life or else it had been handed down to him from Adam and his forefathers. I choose to believe the latter. In fact, Scripture records that Abel was a shepherd. Abel brought of his flock (sheep) a sacrifice to Yahweh and it was accepted. See Genesis 4:4. Do you think that God would have accepted a pig as a sacrifice from Abel? Certainly not! It appears that the understanding of acceptable (clean) and unacceptable (unclean) animals was clearly established in the very beginning.
Point is, Noah knew the difference. Actually, I choose to believe, without arguing the point in this lesson, that mankind had already resorted to eating the flesh of ALL animals before the flood; hence corrupting themselves upon the earth in this manner as well as in many other areas. Had Noah resorted to eating the flesh of clean or unclean animals before the flood? I would place before you this consideration: I don't believe that Noah would have eaten flesh of animals before the flood because the Bible states that he was “perfect” before God. (Genesis 6:9) This word “perfect” bares out that he had no spot, blemish or defilement, and denotes the condition of a sacrificial animal presented to Yahweh. Consider that God had commanded, at creation, that mankind was to be vegetarians and if Noah knew this and disobeyed by eating the flesh of animals, then he would not have been considered perfect in the eyes of Yahweh because he would have disobeyed a command. This scripture, Genesis 6:9, also states that he was perfect “in all his generations”. This denotes that those ancestors in his “line” were perfect as well. God had a thread of mankind that obeyed and preserved His teachings, and the rest of mankind had corrupted the ways of God. Noah would have seen the perverted and corrupt ways of man, including the eating of flesh; both clean and unclean.
We deal with the eating of flesh after the flood in Genesis 9:3.
“Every moving thing that liveth shall be food for you; as the green herb have I given you all.” (ASV)
Now, here is the scripture that gets controversial. Did this “one” scripture give Noah the right to literally “eat” everything that moves upon the earth? Let me ask you this question: after the Fall was all green plants able to be eaten? Clearly not, for the landscape of earth had changed and it now brought forth thistles and thorns and with those thistles and thorns would have been some poisonous plants amongst them. However, man would have known which ones could be eaten and which ones could not have been eaten for “food”. We live in a corrupt world and I cannot eat of every “seed bearing herb or green tree” on this earth, for many would kill me or offer no nutritional value for life. Likewise, some “creeping” things on this planet are poisonous if eaten. Also in Yahweh’s command that “all flesh” is given to you as food would that include the flesh of mankind? Was it now also permissible for them to be canibals? Of course not! Clearly they knew the difference between the flesh and herbs that were to be eaten and the flesh and herbs that were not to be eaten.
One scripture alone is not sufficient for making a sound Biblical doctrine.
If Noah knew which animals were clean and unclean, which ones were meant to be offered as sacrifices and which ones were not, then one would have to assume that he also knew which animals God meant could be eaten and which ones could not be eaten for food. The key here is “for food”. Again, a person can eat anything they want to eat, but did God create it for food? The reason that God told Noah to take 7 pair of clean animals on the Ark and only 2 pair of unclean animals on the Ark is because the clean animals were to be used for sacrifice and for food. After the Flood, God instituted the right to eat of the “clean” animals for food. This rule remained unchanged even when the Torah was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai and remains unchanged to this day. However, in the coming Kingdom, mankind and creatures will be vegetarians once again, for then we will live in an ideal realm once again. Noah understood that he could eat of “all living creatures” upon the earth that God had called “clean”.
Now, fast forward to the New Testament. Did Yeshua change the food laws?
Acts Chapter 10 and 11
Here we find the story about the Apostle Peter and Cornelius. Peter sees a net come down and is told to “rise and eat”. Peter's response is: “not so Lord for I have never eaten anything common or unclean” to which Yeshua replies, “what God has cleansed you must not call common.”
I am not going to waste time elaborating on this chapter. These two chapters when read in context clearly interpret themselves. The issue here is most definitely not about changing the dietary commandments, it is about the gospel being preached to the Gentiles. For the Jews of the first century, and before, the Gentiles were as dogs and they were unclean. In these chapters God is showing Peter, using the analogy of the dietary commandments of which Peter would have understood in GREAT detail, that he is not to compare Gentiles to “unclean” animals (from Jewish viewpoint). God is letting Peter know that salvation has come to the Gentiles, or nations. No human being is unclean that God has cleansed by the blood of His Son, Yeshua. Please don't make the mistake of making these verses about dietary changes when Peter himself explains it quite well in chapter 11.
Besides, if Yeshua had changed the dietary commandments while He was on earth I think Peter would have been one of the first to know. However, in these verses Peter still acknowledges that particular animals were unclean and he had never eaten them. Clearly, the dietary laws had not been changed up until this point or it wouldn't have been an issue when he saw the net come down out of heaven. God would have had to have used another means by which to teach Peter a lesson.
Now on to the writings of the Apostle Paul
Oh, the wonderful Apostle Sha'ul (Paul). His writings have created more havoc in the Christian arena than the rest of the Bible put together. I have been a personal witness/or read about those who believe that the Apostle Paul:
Started a new religion, one apart from what the other Apostles taught.
Was the true founder of Christianity.
Taught things contrary to what Jesus Christ taught and therefore all of his writings should be discarded.
Proved by his writings that the Law of Moses (Torah of Yahweh) have all been dissolved.
Was a heretic.
How can one man be all of these things? I think the Apostle Peter sums Paul up quite perfectly:
2 Peter 3:14-16; “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, give diligence that ye may be found in peace, without spot and blameless in his sight. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own (ASV)
One thing we know for sure is that even Peter and the others found Paul's letters to be hard to understand. The reason is because Paul was very well educated and was under the tutelage of the most well known and highly regarded Rabbi of his day; Gamaliel. Paul understood the Torah of Yahweh and the Oral Torah of the Pharisee's at all levels of understanding. For this reason it is necessary for us to have a lot of understanding about all of these things ourselves in order to even begin to understand his words. We cannot read his words from the mindset of our modern culture. We must also understand that Paul wrote his epistles in order to answer questions that the congregations had asked of him. We only have one side of the conversations; his answers. We do not know what the questions were so we have to make some assumptions. It is like hearing only one side of a phone conversation.
Here are the problem scriptures that appear to say that Paul has approved the changing of the dietary commandments. As one scripture alone cannot be taken to prove a point, I have included all surrounding scriptures so that the full scope of what is being talked about can be discovered. It is quite lengthy but I am trying to cover all of the controversial scriptures appropriately. Please take the time to thoroughly review each set of scriptures.
I have added bold font and the Greek word used, or the meaning of a word, in parenthesis to the portions of these scriptures where I am trying to draw emphasis.
Romans 14:1 – 13 “But him that is weak in faith receive ye, yet not for decision of scruples (not criticizing his decisions). One man hath faith to eat all things: but he that is weak eateth herbs (vegetables). Let not him that eateth set at nought him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest the servant of another? to his own lord he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand.”
Let us notice thus far that the subject here is whether or not a person should be a vegetarian or eat flesh also. We will notice that this is indeed the topic of discussion as we go along. Paul is arguing that we should not OFFEND others with our liberty in Messiah. Our liberty to eat flesh or to just be a vegetarian.
“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord: and he that eateth, eateth unto the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, unto the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living. But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? or thou again, why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, And every tongue shall confess to God. So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
Here the Apostle Paul is speaking about the custom of the Jews to fast on Mondays and Thursdays of each week. The Gentiles traditionally fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays of each week. As the Gentiles began to pour into the body of believers in Messiah Yeshua, controversy arose over which days of the week a person should fast. Since Torah does not command particular days of the week to fast the Apostle Paul is letting his readers know that it DOESN'T matter. It is an individual's choice as to which day of the week they want to fast. If a person doesn't want to fast particular days of the week, then that is their choice as well for God has no commandent in such matters and we are not to judge each other in such matters. CONTRARY to popular Christian belief these scriptures ARE NOT talking about the Sabbath day being made obsolete. The custom of “weekly fasting” is being talked about.
“Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock in his brother's way, or an occasion of falling. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself: save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of meat (broma Strongs G1033) thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. Destroy not with thy meat (broma Strongs G1033) him for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he that herein serveth Christ is well-pleasing to God, and approved of men. So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another. Overthrow not for meat's (broma Strongs G1033) sake the work of God. All things indeed are clean; howbeit it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. (verse 21) It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth. The faith which thou hast, have thou to thyself before God. Happy is he that judgeth not himself in that which he approveth. But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (ASV)
Notice here that the word for meat is broma in Greek. If a person looks up that word they will find that it says, “food; articles allowed or forbidden by Jewish Law”. Well now that's interesting, or at least it should be! Why? Because the Greek word specifically says that the word meat is not talking specifically about “flesh” but “food” that is permitted in Jewish Law. In verse 21 Paul goes on to say “flesh” meaning that he is talking about “flesh” of animals. However, it would have been “flesh” of animals that were permitted by Jewish Law. Remember, they did not consider unclean animals to ever be “food”. Paul's argument is that a person has the right to choose to eat “flesh” of clean animals, or they have the right to choose to be a vegetarian and not eat any “flesh” of clean animals at all. We are not to judge our brother and sister in such matters. Why would he need to address this problem at all? Why would he need to make the statement that “all things indeed are clean, howbeit it is evil for that man who eateth with offense”? The next set of verses will explain the problem that the early church (congregations) were having.
I Corinthians 10:14 – 33 “Wherefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a communion of the body of Christ? seeing that we, who are many, are one bread, one body: for we are all partake of the one bread. Behold Israel after the flesh: have not they that eat the sacrifices communion with the altar? What say I then? that a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have communion with demons. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons: ye cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? All things are lawful; but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful; but not all things edify. Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbor's good. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles (makellon – butchers stall, meat market), eat, asking no question for conscience' sake; for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. If one of them that believe not biddeth you to a feast, and ye are disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience' sake. But if any man say unto you, This hath been offered in sacrifice, eat not, for his sake that showed it, and for conscience' sake: conscience, I say, not thine own, but the other's; for why is my liberty judged by another conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give no occasion of stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the church of God: even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.” (ASV)
Notice here that the Apostle Paul mentions buying “meat”, as in animal flesh, from a meat market. We need to understand here that the Jews would not go to a public meat market to buy meat that had not been slaughtered according to their standards and that was being sold by a Gentile. That would have been unclean meat according to their custom; even though that meat may have been the flesh of a clean animal. The problem arose with the addition of Gentiles to the faith. The Gentiles would be the ones buying meat from the local meat markets. The local meat markets where known to sell meat that had been slaughtered and offered up to false gods. That is why Paul mentions “fleeing from idolatry”. Many of the Gentile converts had a problem buying meat (of clean animals) from animals that had been offered to false gods. They considered this meat to be idolatrous. The Apostle Paul argues that it is ok to eat this meat if it does not BOTHER your CONSCIENCE, for, he argues, there are not other gods, but ONE. However, he argues that if it bothers your conscience to eat meat (of a clean animal) that was offered to idols, then don't eat it for then it would be sin to that individual. He goes on to make the point that if you buy meat in the market or if an unbeliever invites you to dinner and offers you meat (from a clean animal), then don't ask questions about the origin of the meat. If however, you are told, or you discover, that the meat (from a clean animal) was offered to an idol, then don't eat the meat for the sake of the one offering it to you. This could offend another believer or be a bad witness to an unbeliever and we should make every attempt not to offend anyone in our walk with Messiah. We should not use such things as this to cause our brother or sister to stumble in the faith. Paul argues that if a person is with someone that would be offended by their eating meat offered to idols, then be safe and don't eat the meat in front of them. We should not offend with our liberty. This problem is what drove many of the Gentiles of the early church to become vegetarians. They did not want to eat meat (from clean animals) offered to idols. This had nothing to do with changing the dietary laws of God, it had only to do with the buying and eating of clean meat offered to idols or becoming a vegetarian because of this issue. We are admonished not to judge a brother or sister in the matter of their conscience in these regards of food and drink.
I Corinthians 8:1 – 13 “Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth. If any man thinketh that he knoweth anything, he knoweth not yet as he ought to know; but if any man loveth God, the same is known by him. Concerning therefore the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; as there are gods many, and lords many; yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we unto him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him. Howbeit there is not in all men that knowledge: but some, being used until now to the idol, eat as of a thing sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But food (what God calls food) will not commend us to God: neither, if we eat not, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to the weak. For if a man see thee who hast knowledge sitting at meat (broma) in an idol's temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be emboldened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through thy knowledge he that is weak perisheth, the brother for whose sake Christ died. And thus, sinning against the brethren, and wounding their conscience when it is weak, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat (broma) causeth my brother to stumble, I will eat no flesh for evermore, that I cause not my brother to stumble.” (ASV)
Same thing being explained in all these scriptures. Meat offered to idols in the meat markets. Don't cause your brother to stumble. It is better to be a vegetarian than to cause your brother to stumble. Again, this was a Gentile believer problem and not a Jewish believer problem, except that they could cause their Jewish brother or sister to stumble also, because they definitely would not have eaten such meat.
1Timothy 4:1-5 “But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats (broma Strongs G1033), which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer.” (ASV)
Here again, the Apostle Paul is saying that in the last days many people will try and change the commandments of God. Some will say that it is wrong to marry (Catholic church with Nuns and Priests) and some will say that it is wrong to eat “flesh” of clean animals, making a doctrine out of the problem mentioned above with meat sold in the markets and it being offered to idols. They will teach people that they should be a vegetarian. Paul denounces such doctrine. Every creature that God created for “food” can be received by those who know the truth.
Romans 14:13 – 23 “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock in his brother's way, or an occasion of falling. I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself: save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. Destroy not with thy meat (broma) him for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he that herein serveth Christ is well-pleasing to God, and approved of men. So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another. Overthrow not for meat's sake the work of God. All things indeed are clean; howbeit it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth. The faith which thou hast, have thou to thyself before God. Happy is he that judgeth not himself in that which he approveth. But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (ASV)
Same thing addressed again. The issue is “food” from clean animals. Don't make your brother or sister stumble because you can eat, without asking questions, the meat offered in the market place, but don't judge them because they can't and thus choose to be a vegetarian.
Colossians 2:16 – 23 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat (broma), or in drink, or in respect of a feast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow of the things to come; but the body is Christ's. Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he hath seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast the Head, from whom all the body, being supplied and knit together through the joints and bands, increaseth with the increase of God. If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do ye subject yourselves to ordinances, Handle not, nor taste, nor touch (all which things are to perish with the using), after the precepts and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but are not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.” (ASV)
Christians tend to use this verse to prove that dietary commandments, feast days of Yahweh and the Sabbath have been done away with. Everything is about viewpoint. Look at this from a different viewpoint and here is what you have in these scriptures. The Gentiles were coming to faith in Messiah. They were attending synagogue every Sabbath (see book of Acts). They were learning the Torah and what God required of them to be obedient. After conversion and obedience, their family and friends were condemning or judging them because they were keeping Sabbath, the Feasts of Yahweh and the dietary commandments. The Apostle Paul admonishes them not to be made weary of their judgments; they who had come out of the rudiments of the world and its ungodly system. Likewise, the gnostics had such principles of “do not touch, do not taste” and Paul admonishes them against becoming entangled in such things. He wants them to be obedient to the commandments of Yahweh and not the teachings, customs, and doctrines of man. This is what Yeshua also condemned.
One more scripture to consider is from Matthew 15:1-20
“Then there come to Jesus from Jerusalem Pharisees and scribes, saying, why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. And he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God said, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, He that speaketh evil of father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, That wherewith thou mightest have been profited by me is given to God; he shall not honor his father. And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, This people honoreth me with their lips; But their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men. And he called to him the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which entereth into the mouth defileth the man; but that which proceedeth out of the mouth, this defileth the man. Then came the disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, when they heard this saying? But he answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit. And Peter answered and said unto him, Declare unto us the parable. And he said, Are ye also even yet without understanding? Percieve ye not, that whatsoever goeth into the mouth passeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, railings: these are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not the man.” (ASV)
These scriptures have nothing to do about the changing of dietary laws. The issue here is one about
the oral teachings of the Pharisee's. The Pharisee's taught that before a person could eat a meal,
which only included clean animals as meat, they had to go through “ritual” washings. These ritual
washings had nothing to do with removing bacteria from the hands but had to do with ritual
cleansing of the person so that they would not defile their food before they ate. Their food was
already what God had commanded to be clean to eat, but they believed that if they didn't ritually
wash their hands, then when they touched their food it would become unclean and would defile
their bodies. No such “ritual washings” are required in the Torah. This is why Yeshua condemns
this practice. Orthodox Jews still have such practices even to this day.
I pray that I have added some clarity to this issue.
Can a person eat what they choose? Sure, but if you are seeking to please the Father/Son and are striving to be holy, as He is holy, then wouldn't it be best to obey what His Word says?