One of the favorite meals for breakfast when I was a child and when our children were small was bacon and eggs on toast. This normally happened on Saturdays, because there was more time for my mom or Jen to spend the extra time shaping such a breakfast. I skipped my walk today and decided to make fried eggs on toast with hot tomato for breakfast.
Later today, I received a WhatsApp picture of an advertising poster on a mainline supermarket window in Gauteng. It said: “Dear Customer, please note that our bacon products are produced from 100% pure beef or mutton and does not contain any pork meat.” The poster gives the store’s name and suburb. In visiting Dubai in the Middle East, we bought “Macon” (bacon made of mutton). Dubai does not produce pork bacon because it is a Muslim Country and Muslims do not eat pork or pork products. That is their country and they have the right to live out their religious dietary requirements. What most likely happened in our country regarding the poster is that, that store, part of a franchise, is owned by a Muslim. Again, if that’s true, the owner has the right to sell whatever he pleases … especially where it comes to his religions dietary requirements. What is strange though, is when a community forces a store to stop selling what they deem evil in the context of their religion.
Taking this further, many Christians refuse to eat pork because in the Old Covenant pork meat was banned. Ill-informed Christians insist that it is sinful to eat pork. What does the Bible have to say about eating pork? Is there a dietary principle in Scripture as to what we as Christians may or may not eat?
Firstly, no one must force you to eat or not to eat anything. For argument’s sake, should someone choose to be a vegetarian by choice, that is their right. For someone to choose to be vegetarian or vegan for any other reason, their choice is based upon non-Biblical principles. Many claim that Adan and Eve were vegetarian and that is God’s desire for mankind. Naturally, this is an incorrect understanding of Genesis 1 and 2. When they sin and found themselves naked, God clothed them with animal skin. By Genesis 4 we find animal sacrifices and once the Levitical system was installed, meat eating was natural without sinning against God.
Secondly, the New Testament is clear that we are not to eat meat (or food) sacrificed to idols.
Ac 15:29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
Thirdly, as above, blood was banned. We read in Leviticus:
Lev 17:10 “‘Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood—I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from his people. 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. 12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood.”’”
See that? Blood is special in that it makes atonement.
Fourthly, God reversed the dietary laws of the Old Covenant in the New.
Ac 10:9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”
14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
In verse 15, we find God making all meats clean and edible. However, the point was more than just eating meat … the “sheet experience” was evangelistic!
Ac 10:27 Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. 28 He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. 29 So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?”
God’s purpose in declaring all meats clean and edible showed Peter that in the Gospel Age all peoples are to be associated with to share the gospel with (read the whole of the passage).
I do not eat crayfish and prawns. Neither do I eat liver, tongue, kidney, etc. This is by choice and not for religious purposes.
Get three applicatory points here:
- Blood is precious. Sacrificed, it makes atonement, especially when we consider the precious blood of Jesus.
- All food and meat are classed as edible by God.
- As Peter learned that as God pronounces all foods clean to eat, so all ethnic groups of people are to be evangelised because we all come from the same blood line (that of Noah) and we all need salvation!
Dear God, help me to be persuaded by your Word and not by people’s obsessions so that I might not be distracted from evangelism. Amen.