A friend recently asked a question about Deuteronomy 14:1-21 which has to do with what we can eat. An almost identical list can be found in Leviticus 11:2-20. So I thought I would undertake to give my observation, interpretation, and application of that text as I am learning life through the eyes of Messiah. I am asking that you, dear reader, be a “Berean” as explained in (Acts 17:11).
You are the children of the Lord your God
The text begins by establishing that the people to whom these loving instructions are given are in a special relationship with “the Lord (YHVH) their God.
The importance of this opening text just leaps off the page to me in that because I am a Disciple of Jesus Christ, I am now considered a child of the Lord. Because someone took to heart the Word of Jesus in Matthew 28:18:20
Joseph Benson states it this way: Ye (You) are not only the creatures, and the offspring, but the peculiar people, the worshippers, the servants, and those of you that are truly pious (, the adopted children of Jehovah, the one living and true God, who is )your God in covenant; and therefore you should not dishonour Him, your heavenly Father, nor disparage( yourselves, by unworthy or unbecoming practices, such as here (in Deuteronomy 14:1-21) follow; and whom you must not disobey. Underlines are my insertion.
The lists in Deuteronomy 14:4-20 and Leviticus 11:2b-23 both have three sections. They are classified according to the categories of animals living on land (Deuteronomy 14:4-8; Leviticus 11:2b-8), water animals (Deuteronomy 14:9-10; Leviticus 11:9-12) and animals living in the air (Deuteronomy 14:11-20; Leviticus 11:13-23).
Let’s digress for a moment and consider where we first learn in Scripture about what we should or should not eat.
In the book of Genesis and the creation chapters, we find one of the first, loving instructions, was….you guessed it “what to eat”. Genesis 1:27-31 and in Genesis 2:16-17 right again “what NOT to eat”.
Look! I have given you
Now having seen what God says, He goes further and lists what kinds of food He has lovingly prepared and created and for which creature(s) in (Genesis 1:29-30). The Bible timeline shows that man, woman and all the creatures on the earth ate what God prepared for them. But wait! something changed, something went wrong. The “peculiar people, the worshippers, the servants, and those of you that are truly pious (, the adopted children of Jehovah, the one living and true God, who is )your God in covenant.” was disobeyed the instructions were disregarded man and woman decided to eat the one (1) forbidden thing in all the garden. Our heavenly Father had given them all the fruits and herbs and vegetables in the garden except for one. So as many of us do today we see what God says and make a conscious choice NOT to do His will. Their and our covenant God had given them dominion over everything, blessed them to be fruitful and multiply and made them caretakers over His creation and because they thought they knew better than their creator what they should eat, sin came into the existence.
Along comes the Serpent, who is the Devil, and deceives Eve. Genesis 3:6 records—
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
1 Timothy 2:14 states—
And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
Eve was led astray and frustrated by underhandedness of the Devil. The Scripture says that she became a sinner before Adam. Yet, God did not impute Eve’s sin to the human race but Adam’s. The sin that caused the ruin of the race was willful, determined rebellion on the part of Adam.
Adam was not deceived! He was not tempted or beguiled by the Devil—Adam chose of his own free will to rebel against God! What happened when Adam ate the forbidden fruit? Romans 5:12 tells us that God imputed his sin and its penalty to the entire human race—
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men because all sinned.
Let’s fast forward to the flood (Genesis 6:5-12)
Everyone and every creature is still basically vegetarian eating from the assigned, by God, food groups. Now something happens the world has become so corrupt that it needs a good cleansing and so God looks and finds Noah, a righteous man, as stated by Scripture. How will you be remembered when your time on earth is over? When you are gone, how will others describe your faith in God?
We learn four important things about Noah. First, Noah was a “righteous man.” The word translated “righteous” (tsaddiq) connotes “conformity to the standard.” In the case of Noah, he conformed to the standard set by God.
Second, Noah was “blameless.” The word “blameless” (tamim) involves the idea of completeness. Noah conformed to the standard set by God and his life was “complete,” with no essential quality missing.
Third, Noah “walked with God.” This means he had daily, step-by-step fellowship with God. He had God as his companion as he walked through life. It takes work to be godly. Is your walk with God active on a daily basis?
Fourth and lastly, Noah walked with God before his family. Noah’s godliness was the godliness of a man who was involved in ordinary life. He did not withdraw from society. Noah was out and about in God’s world. He provided for his family. Apparently, Noah instructed his family to believe in God…and they did!
How long has our Heavenly Father Cared about What we eat?
Before the Torah, the Law, the loving Instructions are given on Mount Sinai God made a distinction.
Make note that we cannot blame the texts in Leviticus and Deuteronomy for being the first case of what to eat. It is evident in the flood account that God has determined that certain animals are called clean and unclean. (Genesis 7:1-3). Next, the flood comes, all on the Ark survive and then are released on to the earth again and God gives more dietary commands.
Read (Genesis 8:15-9:4) to see what has changed. Now here is where I use math to determine what animals are approved for eating. If only 1 pair male and female of the unclean animals came into the Ark for preservation and Noah ate one of those animals then 2-1=1 and that means there would be no ability for the unclean animals to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth after their kind. Hence, I believe Noah and his family sacrificed to the Lord and ate only from the clean animals that came into the Ark by seven pairs of male and female.
That’s enough to chew on for today I’ll post a part 2 later.