Admittedly, the topic of the relationship between Gentile believers and biblically clean foods is a difficult subject for me to want to write on. However, while I believe the Spirit of God has much to say on this issue, the Western church has proven its unwillingness time and again to examine what foods it puts in its mouth. Historically, within the framework of the church, this issue has been dealt with carelessly, and in my opinion, without the necessary examination required to thoroughly understand our Heavenly Father’s desire on this matter. I believe there is one main culprit as to why the church refuses to consider if what we consume is actually glorifying to YHWH: idolatry. The reality is no one wants to be told what they can and can’t eat. Just like our father, Adam, we want to eat what is forbidden.

Regardless, I know the Father has something to say here. I am willing to pour out the little insight that I have been granted if you are willing to listen. I write this so that we may no longer be held captive by the empty deceit of the traditions of man that teach us to disobey the commands of God. I write to you who may be struggling through this question, trying to discern the mind of the Father. I pray the words I pen may equip you to live honorable lives that cannot be blasphemed by Jew and Gentile alike when they see your manner of life.

The best way I know how to communicate my thought process is to explain how this article came about and why I am writing it. Predominately, this writing became necessary when I was approached with a multitude of questions from believers.

  • “Does God care what the Gentiles eat?”
  • “Do I need to eat according to the dietary laws?”
  • “Didn’t Jesus make all foods clean?”

Alongside these questions, I noticed that many Christians were afraid to really dive into the issue of biblically clean foods for fear of their pastor, teacher, or mentor labeling them as “going back to the law.” But brothers and sisters, we need not fear any man, only YHWH himself. If the Spirit of God is stirring you to reconsider this matter today, do not harden your hearts!

I want to spend the time in this article to giving you the bird’s eye view. Let’s try and get the perspective of the Father on why He would command His children to eat certain ways in the first place. As we dive into this subject, my hope is that you would walk away with a better understanding of how YHWH speaks to His children about His holiness in the context of His covenant.

Understanding Eating Clean in The Context of Covenant

The truth is that we can hardly understand anything in the Scriptures until we grasp the reality of covenants. YHWH always interacts with His people inside the context of covenant. In its base form, a covenant is an agreement between living parties. Unlike a last will or testament, which only takes place upon the death of a party, covenants define a relationship between two parties as long as they shall live.

Our Heavenly Father has a covenant with Israel and Judah that is based upon the blood of the Messiah Yeshua. Gentiles, upon belief in the Messiah, are grafted into the covenant that already exists between YHWH and Israel (Jeremiah 31:31; Romans 9:4). Gentiles do not have a specific and individual covenant with God that stands alone, apart from His covenant with Israel. We are like orphans who have been adopted. We are joining a family that has already existed, with a defined set of instructions for the household (Ephesians 2:11-13) We have joined a nation that existed from long ago, with set guidelines that govern the actions of the people. The laws of Israel (and the subsequently promised blessings of God) are, in a nutshell, the covenant.

YHWH introduces the topic of food to His people as He is defining the terms of the covenant! He is telling His people what is acceptable in His sight and what is an abomination. Brothers and sisters, we should not desire to eat something that our Father calls abominable in His sight.

Eating Clean in The Context of Sonship

Growing up in American Christianity, I was taught that as a Gentile God didn’t really care what I ate. In fact, most churches didn’t even address the issue at all! I was taught that anything in the law was “for the Jew,” so imagine my shock years later while reading in the Law I see our Heavenly Father address His sons. I thought to myself, I am one of His sons; when did this stop being applicable to me?

Deuteronomy 14:1

“You are the sons of the LORD your God.”

It is an absolute travesty that the heavenly instructions that YHWH has given His sons, the church has historically labeled as “ceremonial” and “done away with.” It is saddening to see men in pulpits dismiss as unnecessary what God, as the Father of His household, teaches His children. I want you to imagine someone coming into your home and undoing everything you have taught your children. How would that make you feel? How much angrier do you think God, as the perfect Father, is with the traditions of the church which have blatantly taught His children that they no longer need to do what their Father told them. Yeshua said in Matthew 5:19 that “whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

The Father says to His sons and daughters, “It is because you are my children that I want you to do these things.” Only sons and daughters of the king are privileged to be set apart in what we eat! Think about sitting down at a meal and knowing that what you partake of is blessed and made holy by the wisdom of your heavenly Father. Furthermore, our loving Father doesn’t want us as His children eating things that are abominations in His sight. (Deut 1:3) His enemies provoke Him with what they eat; His children shouldn’t.

Eating Clean as a Matter of Holiness

Immediately after YHWH addresses His sons in verse 1, He then speaks to them about the importance of being holy to YHWH.

Deuteronomy 14:2

For you are a people holy to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Holiness is a direct product of the character and nature of God as God. Apart from YHWH revealing to us His nature, we would not know holiness. But the good news is that He does reveal His nature to us! Then He looks at His children and says, “The very nature I am telling you about is how I want you to behave as well.” In other words, He says that because you are my children, it is of the utmost importance that you reflect my character in your actions. Be holy as I am holy!

As an additional reference, Leviticus 11 is an entire chapter devoted to what is acceptable for YHWH’s children to eat and what isn’t acceptable. At the conclusion of this matter, He points back to holiness as His motivation for revealing these beautiful commands to His children.

Leviticus 11:44-47

44 For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. 45 For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” 46 This is the law about beast and bird and every living creature that moves through the waters and every creature that swarms on the ground, 47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten.

The Western church, unfortunately, doesn’t have an appetite for this teaching. Nevertheless, food is a matter of holiness. Food has always been a great litmus test for the true heart condition of the sons of God. Lest we forget, eating forbidden food was literally the sin that caused Adam to be removed from the presence of YHWH. I have a feeling that we haven’t taken this subject matter seriously enough. Too many have long been ruled by the gods of their stomachs.

Final Thoughts

As a recap, remember that YHWH interacts with His nation of sons and daughters inside the context of covenant. We have entered into this covenant willfully; none of you are here because you have to be. Inside this covenant, our Heavenly Father has spoken to us as sons and daughters and told us to be holy like He is holy. And directly inside the context of holiness, He has chosen in His infinite wisdom to give us instructions on what we can and cannot eat.

In regards to importance, the Scriptures don’t place anything higher than issues of covenant, sonship, and holiness. Since it is inside this context that YHWH chooses to address us in matters of food, I want to listen and obey! It will take quite the biblical 180 to change the course of the importance we place on eating biblically clean. I know that much of what Paul writes has been distorted to teach us that it is no longer necessary for us to be holy in matters of food. I will address these Scriptures in the next article. But I can assure you that Paul would not teach against the Father’s will in matters of holiness.

Nevertheless, at this point, my hope is that we begin to reexamine what we eat from the perspective of covenant, sonship, and holiness. For now, be blessed as you desire to live a life pleasing to your Heavenly Father and honoring to King Yeshua!

Posted by Jacob Hopson

I am a follower of Yeshua. A husband to Naomi and a father to five beautiful children. My passion is to teach God's Word and to see the body of Messiah grow. I am a co-founder of Path of Obedience and currently live in East Texas.

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