Are All Foods Now Clean? Does The Bible Really Say That?

Leviticus Chapter 11 is nearly a full chapter dedicated to declaring which foods are clean and which foods are forbidden to be eaten by God’s people. But is this still valid or has it been done away with? Are all foods really clean now or are some foods still forbidden by God?

It has long been a contention that anyone who says to follow “the law” is a legalist. But by that standard, Jesus was a so-called “legalist” because Jesus required people to follow the Law. Jesus cleansed the temple by driving out with a whip the thieving and dishonest merchants who were breaking the laws of God by their dishonesty and exploitation of the people coming to worship God. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for making up too-strict manmade laws that went against the laws of the Bible.

But the two big ones that liberated Christians, much like liberated feminized women, rail against as legalism: honoring the Sabbath (4th Commandment and first command in the Bible), and prohibitions against food (first command besides murder after the Great Flood of Noah was a law against consuming blood).

Modern Christians will say that we are “no longer under the law”, but this is of course ignoring Jesus’ own words in Matthew 5:17 that he has not come to abolish the law; or in the next verse:

“until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18).

Have heaven and earth passed away? If not, then according to Jesus, none of the Law will pass either.

But can we eat whatever we want? Didn’t Paul say in 1 Corinthians 10:23 that “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” But is that what Paul really meant? Did Paul mean that literally everything is lawful? Of course not. Paul wasn’t saying that murder is lawful. So clearly that is not what Paul meant.

Mark 7:19: A false addition

But wait, what about the quote in parenthesis in Mark 7:19, “(In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)”? That seems rather certain! But shockingly, you will find this is not in the Bible. It is added only to the false translations. This is an addition that is not found in the King James Version, nor in the original Greek Bible. It is not actually in the real Bible.

What Jesus really said is this:

“And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?” (Mark 7:18-19, KJV)

When you read the true Bible (only the original Greek is 100% accurate, and the KJV comes very close), you will find that what Jesus was talking about here is a metaphor about how true wickedness comes from the heart. Jesus was not justifying eating anything – keep in mind Jesus was talking to directly to the Israelites, and was certainly not trying to convince them to give up the Law of Moses.

Rather, the context here is seen in the preceding verses.

“For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (Mark 7:8-9, KJV)

Clearly Jesus is upholding God’s commandments, not saying that the laws of the Bible are invalid.

The context here is because Jesus allegedly did not follow the traditions of certain washing of hands in a strict way (that were not part of the Bible, but the Pharisitical Oral Law which was often contrary to the Biblical laws), the Pharisees accused Jesus of being unclean. But Jesus replied that it isn’t what goes into the body that makes one unclean, but rather what comes out of the heart.

This wasn’t even a discussion about the Leviticus 11 laws about unclean animals. This was about ceremonial hand washing.

The problem Jesus faced in his day was that the Pharisees were too strict and asking such demands of the people that went against the commands of the Bible. Things like not carrying pepples in your pocket on the Sabbath, not plucking a grain of wheat on the Sabbath, and other ridiculous rules that are not part of God’s Word. Even many rules that contradict the Bible:

“For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

Does this then mean that it’s now okay to dishonor your father and mother or that no food is unclean? Of course not. Jesus was not contradicting what the Bible says, but rather Jesus was supporting that the laws of God are unchanging, as he said in Matthew 5:18:

“until heaven and earth pass away, not a single jot, not a stroke of a pen, will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished”. (Matthew 5:18)

So none of the Law will pass away until the the end of the world, after heaven and earth pass away. That certainly has not happened yet.

But what about food, it’s all ok now, right? Well, what does Leviticus Chapter 11 say? Does it say that all food is clean? No.

Romans Chapter 14: The Vegetarian Debate

What about Romans 14:20, it says that all food is clean, right? No, only the false translations say that. The real Bible, the original Greek, does not say that. Instead, the exact wording is:

“Do not destroy the work of God because of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil to the man who eats by an occasion of stumbling someone” (Romans 14:20, LXX, original Greek transliteration)

By “all things indeed are pure”, it seems to be that Paul is saying that meat is ok. And not even all meat. As you will see later, it can’t literally mean “all things” are ok to eat, because Acts 15:29 prohibits a couple foods. More on that shortly.

Paul seems to be simply arguing against vegetarianism, and saying that “eating meat is fine”. He is not talking about “all” foods, because the verse in Acts clearly shows that some meat is forbidden.

Moreover, the whole verse is not even talking about eating unclean foods, but the chapter is talking about people who try to tell people to be vegetarians, whom Paul says are “weak”:

“The one being weak eats vegetables” (Romans 14:2, LXX)

The context of the passage seems to be a dispute about some who think eating meat is fine, and others who think eating meat is not fine, and push for vegetarianism.

It is not even a discussion about eating things forbidden by Leviticus 11.

But what about Romans 14:14:

“I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself:”

Seems clear here, right? Taken out of context to generalize to literally everything, you would have to say that eating strangled animals and blood is also “not unclean”. But that is false, because in Acts 15:29, it expressly prohibits certain foods:

“That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.” (Acts 15:29)

So when Paul says “everything” he does not literally mean every single food. There are exceptions. So you cannot use this to say that Leviticus 11 is null and void, or else you would have to say that Acts 15:29 is false.

It seems that Paul is only talking about eating meat versus being a vegetarian. And Paul thinks that vegetarians are “weak” but that someone should consider others first, even though Paul thinks it is fine to eat meat (but definitely not all meat, such as meat from strangled animals).

Peter’s Vision: God Made Gentiles Clean

What about Peter’s vision in Acts 10:9-16? Peter’s vision is not about food, it is about the cleanliness of a person. God sent a vision to Peter that people who were Gentiles had been made clean by God, and that Peter should not reject them.

God sent this vision because God had sent the Roman Cornelius to come see Peter. If not for this vision, Peter would have rejected Cornelius and then Cornelius and his whole family would not have been saved.

Peter’s vision is a metaphor, it is not literally about food. It is about people. Because of Jesus, all people can be saved. It has nothing to do with God’s Law about prohibitions on unclean foods.

Are Unclean Foods Still Unclean?

The only plausible thing that I can conclude from the teachings of the Bible, even if I consider all of the statements in the New Testment that talk about food and unclean food, and I have considered this for many years, it only makes sense that the Bible does not expressly declare “all foods clean” like the false translations like the NIV say.

Does that mean there are many foods we should not eat? Yes, that is what it means. Acts 15:29 clearly says that food sacrificed to idols, blood, and meat from strangled animals are still forbidden. So scripture does not support that “all foods are clean”, full stop. Beware of the false translations like the NIV.

But meat was never forbidden. Only some meats. Nowhere does the Bible say to be a vegetarian. Like Paul said, only the “weak” become vegetarians. And this is evident.

God gave all animals for us to eat, but many of these animals God excluded in Leviticus 11 because God said they were unclean. Why God said this is not made clear in the Bible, but it could be that after some time, some foods became unhealthy due to the corruption of the world after sin was brought into the world.

Originally, Adam and Eve’s children married their brothers and sisters. Later, laws were made against incest. Why? Likely because of corruption brought by sin into the world. So, the same reason. Today we know that if you marry a close cousin or sibling, there is a chance of deformities. This is because of corruption of the DNA that happens generation to generation.

It could be a similar thing that is why some foods became “unclean” in Leviticus, when “all animals” were okay for Noah to eat hundreds of years earlier.

And there are good reasons for us not to eat them today. For example, many seafoods have high levels of mercury. Vultures and scavenger animals run the risk of diseases and salmonella poisoning.

Clean and unclean foods

The interesting thing is that the foods which are fine to eat include nearly all foods in Western Civilization. I’m not going to make a comprehensive list here, but you can read Leviticus 11 to see what the Bible says. I also pasted an infographic found online:


But what got me thinking about this again today is that I discovered there is a food served in some countries including in Europe that is called “blood sausage” or in England it is called “black pudding”. This food is a sausage for which real animal blood is poured into it and it is made with animal blood.

This is detestable, wicked, and evil. In fact, if anyone eats this, God will demand their life for it. It is a vile and detestable food. It is very evil to eat anything with blood.

Now, beef that is not cooked all the way does not have blood. That red stuff is not hemoglobin (blood), but rather myoglobin.

The Bible says that “the life of the body is in the blood”. But this red juice in steak is not blood. A cow is drained of all blood, but the myoglobin still turns the bloodless meat red. This is, in my opinion, not blood. Myoglobin is not hemoglobin, and the cow is drained of all blood, so this cannot be blood.

A rare steak is not literally a “bloody” steak. It’s simply a figure of speech because it looks like it. It’s not. Until I learned this, I ate well-done steak, but now I prefer medium-well. It is not bloody. Even rare steak contains no blood, but if your conscience prevents you, cook it at least to medium or medium-well.

Cow is on the list of foods that is perfectly ok to eat. It is a “cloven hoof” animal which “chews the cud”.

On the banned list are all carnivores. This includes dogs, wolves, foxes, coyotes, and bears. But you won’t easily find these animals as food in the West anyway.

Also on the banned list are all scavengers. This includes birds like vultures and crows, and sea creatures like clams and mollusks. But these foods are not healthy anyway – they are even dangerous to eat. Crab is also banned.

Also on the banned list are lizards, and every insect except locusts and some grasshoppers. Again, not a food you will find in the West.

The only real contentions for most people

The only food besides some seafood like crabs, is pork. Some hunters might need to avoid hunting bears and coyotes for food, but that mostly covers it. Most of the foods on the banned list are not eaten by westerners, although many are common in China and some third-world countries where they even eat dogs and cats, a practice that westerners find abhorrent.

For most people, pig may be the only food that you would need to give up in order to follow the Old Testament rules. Pig is on the banned list in Leviticus 11. But when bacon is now like $16+ per pound, you might just have an excuse not to spend the money!

That said, why is pork so tasty? I have news for you: It’s not because pork is tasty. It’s not! No one would like to eat raw bacon. That would be a nasty food. Instead it is completely loaded with salt and flavorings. That’s how they get us to shove this food down our gullets. It’s kind of like how they use artificial means to make fast food garbage tasty. It’s profitable to feed us unhealthy food.

Bacon is also tasty because of the high fat content combined with the salt and flavorings. But it’s the salt which makes bacon addictive. The fat is what makes it so satisfying. But bacon is not the only source of fat, there are many far healthier sources from cleaner animals and cleaner foods (like cononut oil).

I have another surprise for you: If you were to make bacon from beef, do you know what you get? Beef jerky. That’s right, there is already a food that is made from beef that is just as tasty as bacon. But it is often made from tougher (less fat) cuts of beef which is why it’s not as tender as bacon. It’s similarly priced, too.

But you can also find or make beef bacon. You can thinly slice a high-fat cut of beef, smoke and season it just like you do to make bacon, and you can have it be just as crispy. Pork is not unique to being the only meat that can be smoked. It does have a distinct flavor, but is it necessary to enjoy the spice of life? No. In fact, other meats like beef can be just as tasty as pork bacon.

I absolutely love sugar. I could eat cake and cookies every day, every meal. Do I? no. In fact I almost never, if ever have it. Why? Because it’s unhealthy. So there is a precedent for avoiding certain foods even solely for health purposes.

Enough about bacon.

Should we honor Leviticus 11?

Based on what the Bible says, not cherry-picked verses taken out of context, the answer is: we probably are supposed to still honor Leviticus 11, and it would not be hard to do. It would not be oppressive, or cause suffering, or be harmful for us to avoid eating eating dog, cat, rabbit, lizard, scorpion, bear, coyote, shellfish (like crab, oyster, or lobster), or bacon.

And the last 2, shellfish and pork, are probably the only things that most people in the West will ever have to even think about. And they are expensive foods anyway. Moreover, both are unhealthy: shellfish has high mercury content, and pork is loaded with preservatives and often artificial flavorings.

Most of us were raised that it was fine to eat pork, and some people are raised that it is fine to eat blood. But it is categorically evil to eat blood. Avoid blood sausages or black pudding like the literal plague. Just because you were raised a certain way doesn’t mean that it’s ok with God. Blood sausages will result in the death of all that eat it, as the Bible says in Genesis 9:4-5:

“But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.” (Genesis 9:4-5)

Why God said that some foods were unclean in Leviticus 11 is not clearly explained in the Bible. It is only said that they should not eat it because they are a people set apart to be holy, and God is holy. So why shouldn’t we also want to live by the same standards of holiness? Especially when it’s only 1 or 2 expensive foods that we’d have to give up? Our wallets would thank us, and maybe God would too. Win win.

The ultimate question comes down to this: do you want to live to please yourself, or to please God? Do you want to be like the world, or do you want to be set apart for God? Even if it requires some small sacrifices in this life for big rewards in the next?


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