Do not think that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law until all is fulfilled. Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Mt 5:17-19.
In the old testament of the Bible God commands His people to obey His law. The most well known part of the law is the 10 commandments, but there is also much more to this law that they had to obey. You can read about all the commandments in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
One part of the law of God was the dietary regulations, that is, what you should and should not eat. Most people know that Jews don’t eat pork. But besides swine flesh, there are lots of other things that the laws says not to eat, like any kind of shell fish, for example. That means crabs, shrimp, lobster, etc.
The big question now is if we as Christians are supposed to be following this law or not. As you probably know, many Christians eat pork and shellfish. Look at what the bible says:
Also the swine is unclean for you…you shall not eat their flesh or touch their dead carcasses. Deut 14:8
So, here God says not to eat or touch a pig. And Jesus also said that he who doesn’t do or teach the law are the least in the kingdom of heaven. So what do you think?
This is a very important issue to discuss. In fact, A LOT of the new testament is devoted to talking about this. Almost the whole book of Galatians is devoted to this subject. I’m going to tell you what I think first, and then I’m going to explain why I think the way I think.
I believe that we should not be looking to the old testament law for direction on how to live our lives. And yes, that includes the ten commandments as well. We should not be trying to keep the ten commandments or any other old testament law.
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Rom 6:14
These passages in the book of Romans (chapter 6 and 7) are clear to me that the law has been fulfilled through Christ and that we are not to live by the law any more. Remember what Jesus said? “…till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law until all is fulfilled.” Mt 5:17
What does ‘fulfilled’ mean? Suppose you have promised to dig a ditch for your grandpa at his house today. Your best friend invites to go fishing, but you tell him, ‘I would love to, but I am obligated to dig a ditch for my grandfather.’ ‘Ah,’ the friend says, ‘I dug that ditch this morning so we could go fishing together, I fulfilled your obligation.’
In the same way, Jesus FULFILLED the law for us! He obeyed the law perfectly and fulfilled the righteous requirement. Now we enter in simply by faith and focus on walking in the spirit, rather than obeying the law (Romans 8:3-4). (Walking in the spirit will cause us to automatically do the things that are pleasing to God.)
But as far as following the written law, the following scriptures should forever settle the issue in our hearts, because I believe the bible is very clear. Look at Acts 15:1-5
And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined certain others should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question…some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.” Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter.
These passages specifically mention the ‘law of Moses’ and circumcision (which is a command in the law and even before the law). The question was simple: should the gentiles obey it or not? Here’s the answer they gave:
Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.” Acts 15:19-20
So what’s the verdict? Don’t get circumcised. Don’t worry about the law of Moses.
Paul talks a lot about this in Galatians. He starts out by telling the story about when he went down among the apostles in Jerusalem.
Yet not even Titus (who was a pastor, by the way) was compelled to be circumcised. Gal 2:2
Don’t you think that if we were to keep the law of Moses, that at least the pastor should get circumcised? So why didn’t Titus get circumcised? And Paul is so convinced that the law is not for us that he even asks this rhetorical question:
What purpose then does the law serve? Gal 3:19
Why would someone who preaches that we should follow the law ask such a question??? He wouldn’t, and he gives the answer:
It (the law) was added because of transgressions, TILL the seed should come to whom the promise was made. Gal 3:20
See the law was added, and since the seed (who is Christ) has come then it no longer applies to those who enter into covenant with God through Christ by faith. “The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ…but after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor” Gal 3:25. How much clearer can he get? We are no longer under the law.
Paul even takes it a step further and warns us of the dangers of trying to keep the law of Moses:
Indeed I, Paul say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by the law; you have fallen from grace. Gal 5:2-4
This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. Gal 5:8
Let’s examine what he says. He says that if you are circumcised that you are a debtor to keep the whole law. So that easily implies that those who don’t get circumcised don’t have to keep the law. Some people say that they trust in Christ for salvation, but they still think that Christians should keep the law. But that doesn’t make sense to me. Why then would Paul be opposed to them being circumcised? Why wouldn’t he just say, “Get circumcised, but remember that Christ is the one who saves you, not the law.”?
So this brings me to the original question: Should we eat swine flesh? You can eat whatever you want. Spiritually speaking, it does not matter. It won’t affect your salvation or your relationship with God.
If you don’t want to eat pork for health reasons, don’t eat it. If you want to enjoy bacon and eggs, do it. Just remember that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
P.S. There is sooooo much more to this subject. Please read the entire book of Romans and Galatians. Also, know that all of this only applies to those who are in Christ and desire to serve Him. Those who seek a way to get to heaven and yet live in the flesh are living in danger of judgment. The scriptures explain the balance between freedom from the law and the holiness of the believer. Maybe I’ll write about that later.
5 thoughts on “Should we eat swine flesh?”
hi…tank you because i have a friend still follow the low of moises…i teach them that the low of moises is under the curse…but they do not believe me….they ask me where i found in the bible that we cannot eat the pork….tank you because i learn
Ok brother you need to understand history. First the Jewish leaders of the time were teaching to be saved that you must first be circumcised. The jews were not teaching the Law of Moses they were teaching the law of men. The law of Moses teaches that you are saved by the grace of God not by circumcision. Remember Abraham why was Abraham saved?? Hmm he was saved because he bilieved GOD or by the grace of god. And if you study history you will see this. Now I will remind you brother that it is by the rule of law that we are free men. So America has more Laws then any other nation yet we are called the free. hmm how is that well if we didnt have the law we would have total anarchy ext. You see the problem was during Pauls day was that you had a group of religious leaders that were saying that you were justified by law keeping, that was never true not even in the ot . Not only that the religious leaders had added another man made law called the oral law or Tulmid. These were laws on top of gods laws that weré not scripture example gods law has 6 ruls for the shabbat the jewish law added about 1500 to that . What Paul is saying is look if you think you need to be circumcised to be saved then christ is no good. You see it was never about what we did in the flesh but what christ did for us. It was never about keeping the law because b4 the law was given to us we see people like Moses and abraham who are saved by faith. Did you ever notice in the OT when god gives a law it said THIS IS EVERLASTING. Yeah and just a few more things Jesus said fulfill fulfill does not mean end look it up it means fill up full of meaning. And also jesus … till heaven and earth pass away,not one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law until all is fulfilled. so you know if all was fulfilled we would be with the lord. sorry that is wrong theology. The truth is the law is good mans religion is bad. You see the Jews that killed Jesus they had no compassion the law teaches love and compassion first and formost The other laws about eating clean and unclean are for your own good. See for your self study on biblical diets. Oh yeah one more thing the punishment for wilfully breaking the law is death. That being said the fullfilment of the Law was that Christ cam to free us from the law of sin and death to take away the punishment of the law that was death
Acts 15 very clearly shows us that the early church leaders are talking about the “Law of Moses,” not man’s tradition or jewish tradition or Tulmid or oral tradition.
The scriptures that I have listed are very clear. You should take some time with them.
Acts 15 proves what I was saying. In the first part we see It said men came and said if we want to be saved we must be circumcised. This was never the case even b4 Jesus came. Remember Abraham he was saved by faith not circumcision . What we had at the time were a lot of Jews running around saying to be saved you need to be cut. read acts 15. It clearly said that these men said if we want to be saved. That would be like me saying if you want to be saved you need to get baptized. Now you also need to understand the ot because even in the time of moses you were saved by faith circumcision was just a outward sign of your faith. Thats why Jesus told the jews they were not teaching the law of moses but they were teaching the law of satan. Satans law was we can be saved by what we do rather than by gods grace. Then later in acts 15 paul tells them abstain from food polluted by idols sexual immorality blood ext. So these are all parts of the law of Moses so if law is gone why did Paul tell these people not to do this. well the answer is easy because gods law is not gone. And if you understand gods law you will see that the law is for our own good. The Jews were teaching salvation through works and the truth is and always will be salvation through the grace of god. Sure you wont go to hell if you dont follow the law but go ahead and break And see what happens. Try this one kill some one and let me know what happens Thats gods law if your not under the law then you will be ok. Or try this never take a day off work and see how you feel work 365 days a year see how you feel. Bro gods laws are not gone it is the curse of the law that is gone. Study history like the dead sea scrolls you will see that the ancient people were teaching salvation by works not as a gift from god thus giving the glory to man not god.
If you remember, God said that he would begin a new covenant with the house of Israel:
“Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah–not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,* says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
The new is different than the old. There is still law, but a different law. A law that is written on our hearts, but not old testament law.
This is a big theme throughout the new testament:
“But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:6
I” say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Gal 5:16
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Gal 5:18
The “newness of the Spirit’ is walking in the spirit. When you do this, you will automatically do what pleases God without having to follow written laws and many other things that are beneficial for you and others. I’ve lived this way and it works.
There are very obvious scriptures that speak against us trying to hold onto the law. Here are a few:
“What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made.” Gal 3:19
If Paul thought as you do he would have written: “What purpose then does the law serve? It is still God’s law for us to follow now, but we are saved not by the law but by faith.”
“Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.” Gal 5:2
“Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that 2
the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? 2 For the woman who has a
husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the 3
husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while
her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no 4
adulteress, though she has married another man. 4 Therefore, my brethren,
you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another–to Him who was raised from the dead” Romans 7:1-4
“In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Heb 8:13
“But if the ministration of death, written [and] engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which [glory] was to be done away…For if that which is done away [was] glorious, much more that which remaineth [is] glorious. 2 Co 3:3, 11.
Notice that Paul here specifically mentions the 10 commandments.
Scriptures here and the ones in my original post are very convincing to me.
I would be glad to try to keep the old testament law if that is what God wanted me to do. I’ve thought and studied a lot of the subject for the sake of my own christian life, but my own studies have brought me to the conclusion that I have shared. I have also come to the conclusion that it is dangerous to attempt to follow the law, and that God wants us to steer clear of that type of legalism. Look at what Paul says to the Galatians:
“You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have
labored for you in vain.” Gal 4:10-11
Clearly if Paul believed the way that you do he would not have said that.
I challenge you to examine the scriptures for yourself. Do it with a state of mind where you will submit to the word even if it goes against your beliefs. I can assure you that I am ever ready to change if the Word rebukes me (on any subject, even this one).
God bless you