Posts Tagged ‘anti-semitism’

Hanukkah Word: Anti-semitism

“I will bless those who bless you, but I will curse anyone who curses you; and by you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3).

Many years ago I was listening to a Messianic Jew and non-Jew discuss the Biblical roots of the Christian faith on a talk radio show. A woman called in and said, “If I had know Jesus was Jewish, I would not have become a Christian.” Anti-semitism.

When our family began celebrating the Feasts of the LORD in Leviticus 23 along with Purim and Hanukkah, we were asked if we were becoming ‘Jewish’. What is wrong with becoming ‘Jewish’ when all of our Scriptures were written by Jews (aka physical descendants of Abraham, Issac and Jacob) and our Savior is Jewish? Anti-semitism.

In the past few years I hear many say that we shouldn’t listen to the rabbis, the sages, the Jews, because they added to the Torah, the created the Talmud, they don’t know Messiah. I often wonder if these same people realize where these Jewish men came up with all of their rules and regulations. It was their heart to obey God even in the smallest ‘jot and tittle’ and so they spent hours and days, months and years, studying the commandments of the LORD and outlining the best ways they could understand for obedience. Their intention was not to add burdens upon the people even though that is what many of their ideas became when others made them equal to commandments. They were just men trying to obey the God of Israel to the best intent of their heart and mind. We can learn a lot from those who went before us and we should. Rather than calling everything that has bound the Jewish people together for millennia ‘manmade traditions’, we should seek to understand their reasonings. With the Spirit of God in our lives, we should be able to discern which traditions nullify God’s Word and which traditions do not (Mark 7). When we as non-Jewish believers put as many years into study and obedience to the best intent of our new hearts and minds, perhaps then we can make judgmental assumptions. Otherwise it’s anti-semitism.

Anti-semitism is a lurking disease in the darkness of this world, but when it appears in the hearts of those who carry the Light of Messiah Yeshua, it needs to be dealt with however subtle it may appear to be. It is anti-semitism to believe that the myriads of Christian denominations, Hebrew Roots groups, Torah Observant groups and the plethora of other religious delineations have more understanding than the Jewish people from whom God chose to bring salvation. The Word says they have a veil over their eyes. It needs to be removed, not judged. It is anti-semitism to read a Hebrew Bible, written by Jewish people over many centuries, and not love those same people who gave their lives to protect it so they could be the light to the nations they were called to be. Anti-semitism in the heart of Antiochus Ephiphanes led to the near destruction of the Jewish people, their Torah and their Temple. But our great God, Yahweh Elohim, by empowering a mighty deliverer, Judah Maccabee, along with a small army of courageous, spiritual men, gave His people victory over anti-semitism and restored them to their Land, their Biblical ways and even their traditions.

Let’s remember that God says curses and blessings come from how we treat the ancestors as well as the brothers and sisters of Yeshua. They were human like each of us desiring to obey the commandments of God through the grace and mercy of salvation.

“Indeed, if someone gives just a cup of cold water to one of these little [Jewish] ones because he is my disciple — yes! — I tell you, he will certainly not lose his reward!” (Matthew 10:42).

Modern Maccabean Revolt

“What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

In the days of Judah Maccabee, there was an attack on the Jewish people by the Greeks.   Not just on the Jewish people themselves, but on everything the God of Israel had given them and promised them in the Scriptures.  Everything … Jewish.

Historically, every king, emperor or leader who has done these things has been considered an enemy to Israel and the Jewish people.   The Pharaoh of Egypt, Haman in Persia, Caligula and Nero of Rome, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martin of the Spanish Inquisitions,  and all the way to Hitler of the modern era set themselves up as gods and tried to snuff out the lives of God’s chosen people.  Yet, there is still one more man of lawlessness to come, the one prophesied about in Daniel, spoken of by Yeshua, and explained by Paul. 

“The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. … And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (Daniel 9:26-27).

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—  then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15-16).

“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

Today, the same deceptive battle rages.  It could be called the modern Maccabean revolt because it is a rebellion against modern-day Greek and Roman ideologies that have created a religious system contrary to Biblical commands. This system teaches that the Torah is nullified, the Temple is unnecessary, the Levitical priesthood is obsolete, the dietary laws are cancelled, circumcision is legalism, the Sabbath is changed, and the Jewish people are rejected by God.   Everything … Jewish.

These unBiblical doctrines transform the God of the Holy Scriptures into an institutionally designed god.   Jesus is misrepresented as a Greek-based Roman triune godhead rather than the King of the Jews, the Messiah of Israel. Many who could come to know Yeshua are driven away from a deeper walk of faith with God through these false and misguided teachings.  Those who represent these teachings are not giving the world the good news of salvation; they are twisting the truth and giving the father of lies a platform on which to present his message of lawlessness.  This is nothing more than the work of the Adversary, the antichrist, or man of lawlessness prophesied by Daniel, Yeshua, and Paul.

There is nothing new under the heavens.  There will always be lawless men who want to destroy the Jewish people along with their Biblical heritage.  There will also be men and women, Jews and gentiles,  like Judah Maccabee and his father, who fight against such destruction and assimilation.  They will place a Hanukkah menorah in their window to show the Jewish people they stand with them and the God of Israel.  They will light the eight festive candles each night to proclaim to the world that they, along with the Jewish people, will never assimilate into a Hellenized Roman religious system that advances the coming man of lawlessness. 

The ancient Greeks didn’t win against the small Maccabean army; Antiochus Epiphanes didn’t destroy the Jews or the Torah they guarded for centuries. The modern-day Greeks won’t win against a royal priesthood that has begun to stand against the lies and deceptions established over the centuries by the church and church fathers.    The modern-day Romans in Vatican City can’t stop the Torah from coming from Zion and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  The battle is the LORD’s and when Messiah of Israel returns all things will be restored and re-dedicated hanukkah to the LORD: the Torah’s teachings and instructions, the eternal Levitical priesthood, the seventh-day Sabbath as the covenant sign between God and His people, circumcision for entrance into the Sanctuary, and the Temple as envisioned by Ezekiel with a dedicated altar of sacrifice.  Everything … Jewish. 

©2013 Tent Stake Ministries (Chapter from Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive that has more teachings on the Feasts of the LORD and how to celebrate them in your home or with others.)

Rosh Hashana: A Shofar and a Crown

“Daughters of Zion, come out, and gaze upon King Solomon, wearing the crown with which his mother crowned him on his wedding day, his day of joy!”

(Song of Solomon 3:11).

The Jewish New Year, also known as Rosh Hashanah or the ‘head of the year,’ occurs in the fall on the common Gregorian calendar.  It is also the same day as the Feast of Trumpets.  According to Leviticus 23, the Feast of Trumpets occurs on the first day of the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar,  so how can it be the ‘new year’?

The first of months is given in Exodus 1:2 in the spring month of Nisan around the time of Passover.  Counting ahead brings us to the seventh month of Tishri and Rosh Hashanah.   There is another consideration, however, regarding the new year.   It is found in the command for the Feast of Trumpets.  It was to be celebrated on the new moon.  Since all Biblical months are determined by the new moon, it could be that Tishri 1 begins a new year with a new month.   

Jewish tradition states that the earth was created on Tishri 1.  Ten days later when Adam and Eve sinned, there needed to be atonement.   That idea works for  Nisan 1 as well with the lamb being brought into the home on the tenth day of the first month in preparation for Passover.   In both Nisan and Tishri, a lamb was connected to redemption, Nisan for individuals in Israel, Tishri for corporate Israel.

However and whenever the confusion started,  there are now two ‘new years’.  The first is referred to as the spiritual new year that begins with the events surrounding Passover.  From this new year all Biblical months and festivals are set.  The other new year, referred to as the civil new year,  is used to number days and count the years.  For example, every 50 years on the tenth day of the seventh month, the trumpet was sounded and a Year of Jubilee began.  Property was returned to its original owners and people went back home to their Tribal lands to begin the 50-year cycle again. It was a new year with a new beginning.  A similar command was given for every seven years when slaves would be released, debts would be dissolved, and the land would be given a rest from planting.   This ‘year of release’ was called the shemitah and ended before sunset on Tishri 1, before the new year began on Rosh Hashanah.

Does this tradition of having two ‘new years’  nullify the commands of God? Biblical days are still sunset to sunset, months are still rendered new moon to new moon, ‘appointed times’ of the LORD are celebrated in the spring and fall as commanded, and years are counted for the releasing of land and debt and the Jubilee.  Scriptures that could be interpreted with either month as the beginning of the year were studied and midrashed out by elders in Israel who centuries ago established the two ‘new year’ Hebrew calendar.

A King’s Coronation

King's CrownOne of the most familiar types and shadows of Rosh Hashanah involves the coronation of a king.  The day when kings in Israel  were coronated, that day was the new year’s day of that king’s reign.   The counting of the days, weeks, months and years of the monarch’s royal rule began on his Rosh Hashanah.  Prophets, priests, and royal officials along with the people of the kingdom cheered and rejoiced.  Shofars were blown. It was a time of great rejoicing.   First Kings describes the coronation day of King Solomon.

“The king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, Benaiah son of Jehoiada, the Kerethites and the Pelethites, and they have put him on the king’s mule, and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon. From there they have gone up cheering, and the city resounds with it. That’s the noise you hear. Moreover, Solomon has taken his seat on the royal throne.  Also, the royal officials have come to congratulate our lord King David, saying, ‘May your God make Solomon’s name more famous than yours and his throne greater than yours!’ And the king bowed in worship on his bed and said, ‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has allowed my eyes to see a successor on my throne today’” (1 Kings 1:44-48).

According to the Scriptures, Yeshua will return to Jerusalem to begin a one thousand year reign.  With the blast of shofars, he will be coronated as King over all the earth and sit on David’s throne.   At that moment, the dead in Messiah will rise and those who are alive will be transformed into immortality.  They will become his Kingdom of royal priests and rule and reign with him for one thousand years.

The prophetic picture of the Feast of Trumpets is the blowing of a shofar for something that has not yet taken place.  As of this day, Yeshua has not returned to Israel, has not been coronated King over all the nations,  has not taken up his throne in Jerusalem.  There also has not been a resurrection of the dead. 

“I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Yeshua and because of the word of God. … They came to life and reigned with Messiah a thousand years. …Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection… they will be priests of God and of Messiah and will reign with him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).

According to tradition, Kings of Judah were coronated on the new year day in the spring and gentile kings coronated on the new year day in the fall.  Yeshua was ‘crowned’ King of the Jews at Passover when he hung on the cross with the sign “King of the Jews.”  When he returns, he will be more than the King of the Jews, he will be King over Jews as well as gentiles.  His coronation as King of the nations of the world will most likely occur on the combined new year of Rosh Hashanah and Feast of Trumpets.  

“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. For the Lord Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.  …God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted” (Psalm 47).

Books are Opened

According to another Jewish tradition, two books are opened on Rosh Hashanah.  The destiny of the righteous is written in the Book of Life and the destiny of the wicked is written in the Book of Death.   According to Moses, David and Yeshua, these books do exist and names can be blotted out of the Book of Life (Exodus 32:32, Psalm 69:29, Revelation 3:5).  Anyone whose name is not found in the Book of Life will face serious consequences.  According to Revelation 20:12-15, those whose names are not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire where there is eternal torment.

For this reason, Jewish men and women spend the month of Elul (the month before Tishri and new year’s day) preparing themselves through repentance and immersion so that their names are not blotted out of the Book of Life and they face the same judgment as the wicked.  It was during the month of Elul that John was immersing people in the Jordan for repentance of sins so they would be ready for the coming day of atonement.

Feast of Trumpets or Rosh Hashanah

ShofarIn the past few years, a trend has come about where non-Jewish believers in Yeshua condemn the new year celebration of Rosh Hashanah as a ‘tradition of men’ and not God’s ‘appointed time’ of Feast of Trumpets.  This is grievous because both celebrations have prophetic and Biblical significance. 

According to Yeshua, some traditions do nullify the commands of God, but the error of the Christian church over the centuries has been the belief that all Jewish traditions nullify the commands and even faith in Messiah.  They not only cut themselves off from the Biblically Jewish roots of their faith, they cut themselves off from being a witness of the Messiah to the Jewish people, the ‘lost sheep of the House of Israel’ Yeshua came to find. 

Messianic gentiles should not make the blanket statement that Rosh Hashanah is a manmade tradition and therefore should be avoided.   It is not, and even if it were, Paul commends the Corinthians for ‘holding onto the traditions’ he passed onto them (1 Corinthians 11:1).   Gentile believers in Messiah should use every opportunity to make Israel envious for their Messiah.   This is the purpose for being grafted into the Olive Tree of Israel.  The unnatural branches are not to be arrogant over the natural especially when it comes to ‘traditions‘ they don’t understand.  As foreigners gentiles need to learn about some of the traditions Paul may have been passing on as they may be the very traditions that bring the Jewish people to faith in Yeshua.  It is only when the Jews and their brothers cry out for the Messiah that those shofars will sound and there will be life from the dead.  This is a mystery that has many allusions to the first day of Tishri no matter what name you call it.

Rosh Hashanah and Feast of Trumpets are two different names for the same event reasoned from different perspectives of Scripture.  One perspective is from God’s point of view; the other from man’s. Both  cast great light into the reality of a coming King and his Kingdom.   On a future ‘first day of the seventh month’ with the blasts of shofars and a miraculous gathering of his royal priesthood, King Yeshua will be crowned King of the nations in Jerusalem.   His coronation will occur on the ‘appointed time’ of Trumpets and his Millennial Kingdom established on a new year’s day called Rosh Hashanah.

©2014 Tent Stake Ministries (Chapter from Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive that has more teachings on the Feasts of the LORD and how to celebrate them in your home or with others.)

The Flesh of Swine

“I made myself accessible to those who didn’t ask for me, I let myself be found by …a nation not called by my name. I spread out my hands all day long to a rebellious people… who follow their own inclinations; a people who provoke me to my face all the time…they eat pig meat and their pots hold soup made from disgusting things” (Isaiah 65:1-4).

It’s not what goes into a man that makes him unclean, it’s what comes out.  Jesus made all foods clean in Mark 7.  Read Acts chapter 10 if you don’t believe me.  Peter ate with gentiles so he had to have eaten pork.  What about the Council of Jerusalem?  There were only four requirements for gentiles.   The broken record continues to skip, skip, skip.

Mark 7

“The Pharisees and some of the teachers of law Torah who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Yeshua and saw some of his disciples eating food with ‘unclean‘ – that is, ceremonially unwashed- hands” (verse 1).

Notice two things.  First, the disciples were eating food.  The word ‘food’ in verse 1 is the Greek word artos and means ‘bread.’  The disciples were eating bread. Second, they had not washed their hands.

“The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders” (verse 2).

Verse 2 specifically states that hand washing was a prerequisite to eating food, in this case bread.  Handwashing was a tradition and it even involved a certain way to wash the hands.

“When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash.  And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles” (verse 3).

Verse 3 explains the tradition was not just about hand washing, but about everything they used.  The traditions of the elders made cooking and eating a burden because of all the rules.

“So the Pharisees and teachers of the Torah asked Yeshua, ‘Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with ‘unclean‘ hands?” (verse 4).

The question asked in Verse 4 is not about what the disciples were eating, but why they were not following the tradition of the elders in regards to hand washing. The disciples were eating with ‘unclean‘ or unwashed hands.

“Yeshua replied, ‘Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrits; as it is written” ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.‘  …And he said to them, ‘You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions” (verses 6-8).

At this point, there is no further mention of food artos – clean or unclean.  The issue being disputed is the traditions or manmade laws that nullify the commandments of God, specifically hand washing.   

Yeshua continues to give other examples where the Pharisees and teachers of Torah  “nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down” (verse 13).

“Again Yeshua called the crowd to him and said, ‘Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.  Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him.  Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean” (verse 14).

In Verse 14, Yeshua never mentions food (bread).    He says that nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ referring to something greater within the tradition of hand washing.

“After he had left the crowd and entered the house, the disciples asked him about this parable.  ‘Are you so dull?’ he asked.  ‘Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’?  For it doesn’t go into his heart, but into his stomach, and then out of his body (into the latrine)” (verses 17-19).

Yeshua does not mention food at all when he explains the parable to his disciples.   He says that ‘no thing’ that enters a man from outside can make him ‘unclean’.   Consider for a moment the issue being discussed: the ceremonial hand washing.  Yeshua’s disciples had come from the marketplace or a grain field or even the Sea of Galilee.  Their hands were dirty and they were eating bread (artos).  This offended those leaders who held to the tradition of the elders in regards to hand washing.  According to the tradition, no one is supposed to eat food, in this case bread, with dirty hands.  Yeshua tells his disciples that dirty hands don’t make a man dirty or unclean in his heart.   The dirt that may enter his mouth on the food (bread) will go through his body and out into the toilet.

The next verse is the one that causes all the confusion. “In saying this, Yeshua declared all foods clean” (verse 19).  In some versions of the Bible there is a footnote clarifying this parenthetical statement was added later by translators.  This means that some translator was injecting their opinion rather than taking the Scriptural events at face value.

However, on some level what the translator wrote is true.  Everything created by God for food is clean.  However, the specific food spoken about his this passage,  artos or bread, has always been, and always will be clean.  Some Bible versions of Mark 7 have translated artos as ‘meat’ taking this discourse into a very different direction than what Yeshua meant and his disciples understood.

What God Considers Food

Leviticus 11:1-23 outlines what God considers food for those who put their faith in His Son Yeshua and enter into a new covenant relationship with Him inclusive of obeying the commandments. 

“The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud.  “‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you.  The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.”

“‘Of all the creatures living in the water of the seas and the streams you may eat any that have fins and scales.  But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales—whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water—you are to regard as unclean.  And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat; you must regard their carcasses as unclean.  Anything living in the water that does not have fins and scales is to be regarded as unclean by you.

“‘These are the birds you are to regard as unclean and not eat because they are unclean: the eagle,  the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, any kind of black kite,  any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl,  the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

“‘All flying insects that walk on all fours are to be regarded as unclean by you. There are, however, some flying insects that walk on all fours that you may eat: those that have jointed legs for hopping on the ground. Of these you may eat any kind of locust, katydid, cricket or grasshopper. But all other flying insects that have four legs you are to regard as unclean.”

It is interesting to note that there are more animals mentioned in Leviticus than just the pig.  There is the rabbit, the camel, and the hyrax.  There are creatures in the ocean without both fins and scales that are not considered food.  Birds such as vultures, ravens, hawks and owls are not considered food.  Insects that walk on all fours are also not considered food.  Verse 11 clearly states that ‘unclean’ means ‘not food’: “And since you are to regard them as unclean, you must not eat their meat.”

Noah Ate Everything, Right?

Noah lived before God gave dietary instructions to the Israelites.  During his lifetime and before the flood,  people ate only what they produced from the earth.   According to the book of Enoch, the Nephilim ate everything:  every animal, bird, creature,  and they even drank the blood of men.  They devoured the earth and defiled humanity.  God not only saw the lawlessness of the Nephilim, but also every evil inclination in the heart of mankind.  He decided to wipe the human race from the earth and with them, the animals, the birds and creatures that move along the ground (Genesis 6:5-7).

Noah built an ark.  Noah was told to take with him into the ark ‘seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth” (Genesis 7:2-3).

“Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah” (Genesis 7:8).

Two times it is mentioned that Noah took ‘clean and unclean animals’ with him on the ark.  Because Noah had never eaten the meat of animals, he  probably did not know the difference between clean and unclean so God brought the animals to him. From what he was shown in pairs of two or seven pairs of two, he learned and understood the difference immediately.

After the flood Noah worshipped the Lord by offering a sacrifice.

“Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.  The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done” (Genesis 8:19-21).

“Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.  Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you.  Just as I gave you green plants, I now give you everything” (Genesis 9:3).

It would seem that now Noah could eat of every animal that came with him on the ark because ‘everything that lives and moves about will be food for you.’ However, if he ate one of the pigs or rabbits or hawks, they would have immediately become extinct since there were only one male and one female of every unclean animal.

Consider also that though Noah had eaten ‘all green plants,’  he probably didn’t eat poisonous mushrooms or poison ivy or the green leaves of rhubarb.   Just as some plants were not edible or created as food, some animals had purposes other than food.  The camel is a beast of burden as is a horse.  A hawk cleans up dead animals on the earth while shrimp and crabs clean up the dead, decaying creatures on the sea bottom.  God saying that just as Noah had green plants so he has animals is not all inclusive given the information God had revealed to him regarding the number of animals brought onto the Ark and the command to multiply on the earth.

Part of the sacrificial/offering system that was eventually established by God had to do with feeding the Levitical priesthood.  They had no land of their own, no livestock, no farms.  They were fed from the sacrificed animals –  all of which were clean animals or animals that God created for food.   It  is the same for Noah.  He did not sacrifice and eat unclean animals; he sacrificed and ate the clean ones which had been given to him as food.   From the animals that  entered the Ark, he understood what God considered meat as food and what He did not. 

Making all foods clean was not the purpose of Noah’s deliverance from the polluted world of the Nephilim nor was it the message of  the Prophets (Moses), the Gospel preached by Yeshua or the Apostles. It was not the purpose of Peter’s vision nor the conclusion of the Council of Jerusalem.

What ABOUT Peter’s vision?

“About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.  He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners.  It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

“Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there.

While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.”

Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?” (Acts 10:9-21).

This Biblical account is about a vision, a trance, not an actual event.  Just as Joseph’s dreams didn’t literally come true, but had spiritual meaning, so does Peter’s vision.

Peter went to the roof to pray.  He was hungry and had a vision of a sheet filled with all kinds of unclean animals.  (In the KJV, this sheet was bound at the four corners suggesting that it was a talit or prayer shawl which adds another dimension to the ‘sheet’.)

When God tells Peter to ‘get up, kill and eat’, Peter’s first response is, “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

Peter’s first response is refusing to eat  animals that are not considered food. This seems like a strange response from one of Yeshua’s disciples.  Peter would have been with Yeshua when he ‘made all foods clean‘ in Mark 7 if, in fact, that is what Yeshua actually did.  Of course, after reading Mark 7, it is pretty clear that Yeshua was not talking about clean and unclean foods, but the tradition of ceremonial hand washing.   If Yeshua had during his lifetime made all foods (meats, included) clean,  Peter, of all his disciples, would have known and would have had a different reaction to the voice of God.   If Yeshua had, after his resurrection, made all foods clean (and there are no Scriptures to support this idea), Peter, of all the Apostles, surely would have known and had a different first response.

God speaks to Peter a second time because Peter is not understanding the vision.   Even after the second time, he doesn’t understand and God speaks to him a third time.  It is interesting that many well-meaning, but untaught Christians immediately conclude that this vision was about eating everything as food; however Peter, who experienced the vision, was still wondering about its meaning even after being told THREE TIMES!  While Peter is still thinking about the vision, some men come to visit him.

A tradition at this time was that a Jewish person would not step foot in a gentile’s home. This was an  understood tradition and one that Yeshua himself honored. He never went into a gentile’s home. NEVER. The Centurion in Matthew 8 understood this and told Yeshua he did not need to come to his home.  He knew Yeshua was a man of authority and that whatever Yeshua said would be done.  Yeshua commended him for having greater faith than those in Israel.

There was also the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15 who had a demon-possessed daughter.   She asked Yeshua for help and was told it was not right to take food from children and give it to the dogs.  Her response was that even the dogs eat the crumbs from under their owner’s table.  She, too, was commended for her great faith.

It isn’t until the following day at the house of a gentile man, a Roman centurion named Cornelius, that Peter begins to understand the vision.  Cornelius wasn’t just any gentile.  He was God-fearing and righteous. He was respected by all the Jewish people with whom he came in contact.   Peter is finally able to  interpret the vision.   In the presence of Cornelius, he understands the message of Yeshua, the message of salvation was to go to the nations which were represented by the four-footed unclean animals.

“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34).

Notice what Peter states: God accepts people from every nation who not only FEAR Him, but DO what is right.  What does this mean?  To be a God-fearing gentile meant to ‘obey God’s commandments.’  To be ‘righteous’ means to ‘live rightly before God’. 

Cornelius was a God-fearing and righteous gentile.  From his interactions and relationships with the Jewish people around him, he already understood what was food and what was not food.  Cornelius’s eating habits were probably similar to those of the Jews who respected him and considered him righteous!   No one in Cornelius’ house ever mentioned food and eating pig or shrimp because food was never the purpose of Peter’s vision.  It was about going to the gentiles and entering their homes with the message of Yeshua.    By putting their faith in the Jewish Messiah, Cornelius and his family became filled with the Holy Spirit and were immersed in water.  Soon after this, the word spread throughout Judea that the gentiles were receiving the Word of God not having pork roasts. 

Let’s suppose for a minute that Cornelius did eat unclean foods as many Christians believe.  Would not  is new-found faith in the Messiah of Israel along with the righteous condition of his heart give him the desire to learn the Scriptures and obey God’s commandments?  Would not Peter have taught him God’s ordinances or even more so, the Spirit of God by writing them on Cornelius’ heart?  Being a gentile was never an excuse for disobedience after receiving the Spirit of God and being immersed.

Peter went up to Jerusalem and was criticized for entering the homes of gentiles and eating with them.  Again, it wasn’t about WHAT Peter was eating, but WHO he was eating with.  Table fellowship bound people together and the leaders in Jerusalem were worried that the Scriptures were going to become watered down if Peter fellowshipped with gentile believers.  Peter had to explain that the gentiles were coming to faith in Messiah and living lives of repentance.  Repentance means turning back to the ways of God which would include obeying the dietary commandments in the Scriptures.

“Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story …” (Acts 11:4).  When they heard the conclusion that God had baptized the gentiles with the Holy Spirit, they had no further objections.

“When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life” (Acts 11:18).

It is a serious distortion of Scripture to think that Peter, a faithful Messianic Jew, would suddenly eat animals that were not created to be food in order to win gentiles to faith in Messiah.  In reality, it was the gentiles who were coming to faith in the Jewish Messiah that were challenged to leave behind their pagan, unBiblical practices and live according to the commandments of God.  No one ever mentioned from the first moment of Peter’s vision through its interpretation in Jerusalem that suddenly it was acceptable to eat all animals – clean or unclean.  Instead, they were rejoicing that the gentles were being saved.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

Council of Jerusalem

Some time after Paul began his ministry to gentiles, certain people came from Judea to Antioch and were teaching believers that unless they were circumcised they could not be saved.  This caused dissension within the Body, and between Paul and Barnabas.  They decided to go to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about the matter.

The apostles and elders considered the question and resolved that  gentiles did not have to be circumcised in the flesh in order to be saved.  (This means that gentiles did not have to convert to Judaism through a ritual conversion of circumcision, but could remain as gentiles.)   Because the elders heard that God was purifying the gentiles’ hearts and anointing them with the Holy Spirit, they concluded that justification is by faith in Messiah alone.  They created a ‘judicial statement’ and decided they should not make it difficult for gentiles who are turning to God.   They came up with four beginning requirements.

“Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood” (Acts 15:20).

These four requirements were given to gentiles coming from a  pagan culture who were turning to God through repentance.  Each of these requirements were part of pagan ritual worship and had to be removed from their lives in order not to pollute the growing Body of Messiah with the ways of the nations.    This was to be the beginning of their turning to God NOT the ONLY things they ever had to do in their walk of faith.   In fact, these four requirements encompass nearly all the Torah commands given to Israel: dietary laws, sacrificial laws, sexual morality/immorality laws, and idolatry.

The next verse is rarely quoted with the four requirements, but is just as important, if not crucial, to the growth of every new believer then, as well as now.

“For the Torah of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath” (Acts 15:21).

This final statement embodies the life of every believer whether Jew (circumcised) or non-Jew (uncircumcised).  Born again non-Jews who were turning to God attended synagogues  every Sabbath, not churches.   They were hearing the teachings and instructions given to Moses and were being convicted, challenged, and transformed through their new circumcised hearts.   It was this joining of ‘circumcised’ and ‘uncircumcised’ believers in the synagogues that testified to the ‘one new man’ in Messiah.

Unlike today, for the first 30 years of the Messianic community, all gentile believers were being instructed in the first five books of the Bible.   They did not  have Acts chapter 10.  They did not have a New Testament from which to learn about God.  They only had the the Torah with which to learn the commandments.  They only had the Prophets and Writings to understand their new covenant Messianic faith.

At the Council of Jerusalem, there was nothing mentioned about foods and dietary changes based on what was happening with the gentiles coming to faith.   No one suggested or argued that eating pork, camel or dog was now acceptable because “Jesus had died on the cross.”   In fact, quite the opposite was true.  Sacrificing and eating unclean animals along with idol worship was not to be among the gentiles who were turning to God through repentance.  New believers from the nations obeyed these requirements because Yeshua’s death and resurrection had brought them into the Kingdom of God and had given them a new life. 

The Real Problem with ‘Porky the Pig’

Did you know that Jewish people who were forced to convert to a new religion called Christianity (via Roman catholicism) were called maranos?   This word in Spanish means ‘damned, accursed, banned   and HOG’.   It was applied to Spanish/Portuguese Jews when they succumbed to eating the flesh of swine in order to save their lives.

Pig in the form of  pork, sausage or bacon has been used throughout Christian history to force Jewish people to convert to Christianity on pain of death.  Jewish people converted to this foreign religion with a trinity of gods to avoid cruel and inhumane persecutions based solely on the fact that they obeyed Yahweh’s commandments: did not eat pig, circumcised their sons, and kept the Sabbath along with the  Feasts of the LORD.  They were forced with threat of death to disobey God’s commands in order to reside within the Christian community as a marano ‘pig’ convert.

The whole issue of eating pork, the flesh of swine,  has been and continues to be used by the enemy to keep Jewish people from truly knowing the love of God through their own Messiah.  It is used (and eaten) most explicitly by people who say they know and love Jesus Christ!  This is unfortunate because Jewish people are looking for a Messiah who will teach the Torah in proper perspective as Yeshua did.  They do not recognize a pork eating, Sabbath breaking Christian Jesus as their deliverer and they never will.

Millennial Kingdom

“Those who consecrate and purify themselves to go into the gardens behind one of their temples and eat the flesh of pigs, rats and other unclean things – they will meet their end together with the one they follow,’ declares YHVH” (Isaiah 66:17).

This Scripture from Isaiah is about the time before the new heavens and earth during the Millennial Kingdom when Yeshua will judge the nations.  One of the judgments is against those who eat the ‘flesh of swine’ behind their temples.

Pig roasts have become more and more prevalent in church celebrations today as Christians fight for and defend  (almost to their own death) the eating of the flesh of swine.  Bacon has become an almost revered food and flavor.  If  eating pig was no longer considered something ‘unclean’ in the eyes of God, then Isaiah would not have prophesied that those who eat this meat behind their ‘temples’ will meet their end with the one they follow.

Choose this Day Who You Serve

Yeshua did not make all bread clean for he did not have to.  It was already a clean food and always will be.  Noah understood the difference between which animals were considered food and which were not based on the number of pairs of animals God brought to the Ark.   God’s dietary outline for Israel had no mention of health or undercooked meats.  The only requirement was their faith expressed through obedience.  Peter’s vision had nothing to do with removing unclean foods from a god-fearer’s diet,  but was revelation that the promise to Abraham was being fulfilled – the good news of  salvation was going to the nations.  The Council of Jerusalem laid the foundation for gentiles who were coming to faith in Yeshua which  included obeying the Torah commands about idolatry, sexual immorality and food.    Finally, Isaiah prophesied what will happen to those in the future who rebel against God and His commands by eating pig meat, the flesh of swine.   They will meet their end with the one they follow who cannot be the Messiah of Israel.    

As Joshua told the Israelites, “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

© August 2010 Tent Stake Ministries (For hard copy and more teachings like this one, read Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.)