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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Shemini 26-6


Leviticus 11:1-32

And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you.

Lev. 11:7 NIVUK

Can Noach´s descendants eat of everything?

The world is divided in two groups of people: the sons of Israel and the rest of the sons of Noach, also called gentiles. For the sons of Israel there is a more strict diet than for the sons of Noach. Even though Noach knew well which animals were clean and unclean for the Eternal, (Gen. 7:2, 8), in the law that he and his sons received there is no difference between allowed and forbidden animals (Gen. 9:3). Obviously, a son (descendant) of Noach is allowed to eat from all animals without this being a sin for him.

However, the people of Israel were called to be a priestly nation for the Eternal and therefore has the obligation to separate themselves from things and animals that produce ritual uncleanness.

Sacrifices are the Eternal's bread and He can only "eat" clean animals. That's why He will not allow His chosen sons and daughters, who can live close to His dwelling, to eat from something that He can't receive as a sacrifice. Sons and daughters have to emulate their Father's behaviour (cf. Deut. 14:1-3).

Besides, a son or daughter of Israel who eats an unclean animal becomes ritually impure – in Hebrew tameh, טמא – and if he eats abominable animals he becomes abominable for the Eternal, as it is written in Leviticus 11:43-44: “Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.” (KJV)

The Eternal's presence among the sons and daughters of Israel demands a more strict diet so the tabernacle is not defiled by them when entering in it. (7:21).

Noach's sons don't have the same degree of closeness to the Eternal if they don't choose to convert and enter in the covenant of the circumcision. The sons of Israel are near and the sons of Noach are far (Eph. 2:17).

Then, can Noach's sons eat unclean animals? According to my understanding of the Scriptures the answer has to be yes, they can. The rules in this chapter are only for the sons of Israel, as it is written "for you".

Now, since the first coming of the Messiah, there is a group from among the sons of Noach that has come close to the Eternal without entering in the covenant of circumcision in the flesh. When experiencing the regeneration of the Spirit and the Messiah's life of resurrection, these sons and daughters of Noach who were far off, have been made near by the blood of the Messiah, as it is written in Ephesians 2:13: “But now in Messiah Yeshua you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Messiah.” (NIVUK revised)

This means that the sons and daughters of God who are not of the circumcision have a closeness to the Eternal that the rest of the descendants of Noach can't have. They can enter the heavenly tabernacle in their spirit. However, they can't be considered as physical sons of Israel because they are not in the covenant of physical circumcision. In the spirit, they have the same status as born again Jews, but not in their physical purpose. As long as they don't convert to be Jews and circumcise they are not commanded to keep all the 613 commandments (cf. Gal. 5:3). They don't have the same obligation as the sons of the circumcision but because they are closer than the other sons of Noach they have more obligations regarding the Torah. The sons of Noach have the obligation to keep 7 general commandments (with all its ramifications) and the sons of the circumcision have the obligation to keep 613 specific commandments. Then, how many commandments do the sons of Noach who have been adopted as sons of Avraham by Messiah Yeshua have to keep? Do they have the obligation to keep these dietary commandments that we see in this week's portion?

It is clear that Noach's sons who are now adopted as sons of Avraham without the circumcision in the flesh have greater obligation than the rest of Noach's sons, but less than the sons of the circumcision. However, the writings of the Yeshua's emissaries don't give a clear answer to this matter but leave an open door for those who wish to keep more commandments (Acts 15:21).

This is a very difficult topic because the line between Jews and non-Jews isn't well defined in the Messiah. In the Messiah, the Jew may of course not lower his standard from the rules given to him by the Eternal to adapt to the gentile, but the other way around, the gentile will have to learn to respect and also to keep Jewish rules to a certain degree if he wants to live in harmony with them.

I personally believe that a son of Noach regenerated by the power of the Messiah's resurrection is not obliged but does well if he sanctifies himself and lives a more devout life in a practical way following the rules about clean and unclean animals.

Now, if he belongs to a community where there are Jews, he must adapt to their lifestyle regarding food so he can eat with them. A Jew can't eat anything unclean or abominable because it's forbidden to him and if a non-Jew wants to share his table with the Jew he will have to respect these rules to avoid making him sin.

May the Eternal help us find the balance in these matters.


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