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Peter, Pork, and Abominations

Posted in Common Errors

At the time of creation, our Heavenly Father prescribed the perfect health food diet for us, as given in Genesis 1:29.  “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat (food).” This was the diet that was followed until Noah’s ark came to rest, and there was no vegetation yet grown after the flood for Noah and his family to eat. At that time, God revised the diet, with the first known record of the eating of animals, with stipulations. Genesis 9:4, “But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” The specifics of the differences between clean and unclean animals were given in detail in Leviticus 11 and repeated in Deuteronomy 14. Please note that the term “unclean food” never appears in Scripture. After all, this phrase would be an oxymoron. If it is “unclean”, it is not “food”.

Confusion over these simple dietary laws arises in the modern world based on a misinterpretation of a vision given to Peter in Acts 10, and recounted in Acts 11. When God gives visions, he often uses imagery to convey his point. Peter is clear in Acts 10:14 and Acts 11:8 (which, as you will note, was after the cross and resurrection) that he had never eaten anything unclean. If miraculously, unclean animals had become healthy at the cross, Peter would not have adamantly stated a refusal to the voice of God telling him to eat unclean beasts, by saying, “Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”

What you need to keep reading to discern is, was God telling Peter it was now okay to eat unclean animals, or did this vision have a completely different interpretation? The purpose of this vision was to tell Peter that he should begin ministering to the Gentiles, as God knew that three Gentile men were already on the way to be ministered to by Peter. (Acts 11:11). Peter was specific that he understood that the vision applied to men, and not food, in Acts 10:28, where he states that “God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”  We must guard against the mistake of taking that which is symbolic and making it literal. We must also guard against taking one verse of Scripture, and interpreting it in a manner that contradicts the same idea everywhere else it is given in Scripture.

God promises us that he will not withhold anything good from us (Mathew 7:11), so logically, we must conclude if something is withheld from us, it is not for our good. Probably the most common unclean animal that humans use for food is the pig. How healthy is it to eat pork? In a study at the University of Iowa performed by public health doctors, approximately half of all pigs tested had antibiotic-resistant bacteria in their nasal passages. This same strain of bacteria was found in 7% of the veterinarians who simply treat swine, according to a University of Minnesota research study. (Source: Organic Consumers Organization). Other statistics show that pork is up to 30 times more toxic than beef, and pigs typically have more than a dozen different types of parasites like flukes, worms, and trichinae. You can walk into the cleanest butcher shop on the planet, take a piece of freshly cut pork, and when you view it under a microscope, you will see that it is teeming with bacteria. Even if you might be able to cook it enough to kill these parasites, which is not guaranteed, do dead parasites sound appetizing and healthy? Now granted, you will find studies promoting the “benefits” of eating pork, but look to the source. They generally come from the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board, hardly impartial witnesses, and certainly not on par with God.

Will God consider pork eating to be a positive trait of his people in the end of time? To find the answer to that question, turn to Isaiah 66:15-17. Verses 15-16 establish this passage is referring to the time when God returns to earth to execute judgment on this world. And look what verse 17 adds, “They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the Lord.”  If ever a statement could be followed with the phrase “enough said” I think that might be the one.