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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Kedoshim 30-7


Leviticus 20:23-27

'You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those which I have set apart as unclean for you.

Lev. 20:25 NIV

How to solve an apparent contradiction.

Noach already knew the difference between ritually clean and unclean animals. The Eternal then gave the written Torah to the sons of Israel and He explains in detail how to make a distinction between them. The principles of the Torah are permanent and can't change from time to time.

Yeshua couldn't have declared all food clean as several Christian translations mistakenly write in Mark 7:19. Neither the Aramaic or the Greek text include the word “ eclared” - it is an addition made by the translators. In that text, he speaks about the physical purification of food carried out in the intestines. Through its natural functioning, the body cleanses any element in the food that it doesn't need. Had Yeshua declared something ritually unclean as clean, he wouldn't qualify to be the Messiah, because the Messiah cannot contradict the written Torah. If the Torah of Moshe is the measure of proving if someone who claims to be the Messiah is true or false, how could he have changed anything established by the written Torah? It's impossible that Yeshua declared all food clean including impure animals. (cf. Matt 5:17-19).

Peter's vision on the roof, when he saw the sheet three times, doesn't refer to animals but to men. The Eternal showed him through this vision that he couldn't call any man common or unclean (Acts 10:28). This vision can't be the foundation for changing the rules of the written Torah of Moshe.

In 1 Timothy 4:1-5 it's written: “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” (NIV)

Had Paul said that it was allowed for a Jew to eat unclean or impure animals when the Torah has forbidden it, he would have been a false prophet. The Torah is the measuring rod that shows who is a false prophet. Someone who causes the people to wander away from the Torah of Moshe is a false prophet. Therefore, if we believe that Paul was a prophet from the One who dictated the eternal Torah to Moshe, he couldn't have allowed something that the Torah forbids. We should then try to understand his writings with the Torah in mind.

Food that the Eternal has created for those who eat them to be able to praise Him, could not include unclean animals for the ones in the covenant of circumcision; it would be impossible for them to praise the Eternal while disobeying His commandments. It would be like saying: "Blessed are You Eternal because I can murder, steal and commit adultery". It's absurd! A Jew could never say a blessing when eating something unclean or abominable.

An explanation could be that unclean and abominable animals weren't created to be  human food and those who know the truth - the Torah - could only praise the Eternal when eating clean animals. In that case, the general permission given to the descendants of Noach of eating from all animals would be limited to mean only clean animals. (Gen. 9:3).

Another explanation would be that this text doesn't speak to Jews, but to non-Jewish believers in the Messiah. They could eat of everything and would be able to thank the Eternal for all foods, even for animals that the Torah forbids for the sons of the circumcision. The reference of the Word that should be used in such case for the sanctification of unclean animals would be the permission given to Noach and his descendants in Genesis 9, not the one given to the sons of the circumcision in Leviticus 11.

A third explanation would be a synthesis of these two. For both Jews and non Jews there are permitted foods according to the Torah, where the Jews have stricter rules than the non Jews. Paul goes against those who forbid both groups to eat what the Torah permits them.

The most difficult text is in Romans 14 verses 14 and 20 where it is written: “As one who is in the Lord Yeshua, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean... Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.” (NIV revised)

Taking into account the fact that Paul couldn't contradict the Torah; the idea that from the coming of the Messiah all meats are allowed, and that the classification made by the Torah of clean and unclean animals is not valid anymore, it is definitely disqualified.

Sin is to break the Torah of Moshe and neither Moshe, nor Yeshua, nor Peter, nor Paul were servants of sin. So what the Torah teaches is still current until the earth and heavens pass away.

Then, how can Paul teach that nothing is ritually impure in itself and that all things are indeed ritually clean when the Torah states the opposite?

I think I found the answer in the verse we used as a header. The Hebrew text literally says at the end: "that I have set apart for you (to make it) impure" – asher hivdalti lachem letameh -אשר הבדלתי לכם לטמא. Just as the metzorah (“leper”) wasn't impure until the priest declared so, in this case, it is the people of Israel who make certain animals impure for them, according to the Torah. The Torah was given to the sons of Israel to be able to discern between a clean and an unclean animal. That’s why it is written: “is unclean to you.” (Lev. 11:4 etc)

This would explain Paul's words. Everything is clean in itself, but by the Torah, the people of Israel have the authority to declare certain animals impure. Therefore, for them, they become impure, but not for others.

Ritual impurity of certain animals is related to sanctification, not to creation itself. Animals weren't created impure at the beginning, but some of them were afterwards separated to create sanctity.

The same happened with the days of the week. All days were created the same from the beginning, but the Creator pronounced a separation between Shabbat and the others and it was then sanctified. Sanctification of certain periods of time, animals and people is not from the moment of creation but when an announcement of sanctification or separation was made.

Now, when certain animals have been declared unclean for the sons of Israel, they are unclean for them, not necessarily for the others who are not sons of Israel.

This is the way I understand Paul's teachings and this way all texts make sense to me.

Shabbat shalom,


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