Dietary Laws in Scripture

In this article we examine the subjects of Vegetarianism and the dietary laws in Scripture. Let me deal with vegetarianism first.


Millions of people do not eat meat for a variety of reasons:

  • It is against their religion (Hinduism).
  • Man's original diet according to Genesis 1:29 did not include meat.
  • Meat from diseased animals can be a danger to one's health, and it is difficult to be sure that the meat bought in the market place is disease free.
  • Meat is a major source of cholesterol, a fatty substance found in animal tissues, thought to cause hardening of the arteries.
  • Meat is expensive and the money spent on it could more profitably be spent on fruit and vegetables.
  • Meat is difficult to digest etc.

There are other reasons, but these are amongst the main ones. We do not publish literature as to the advantages or disadvantages of eating meat. However, there are certain meats which YaHuWaH the Almighty Elohim of Israel has forbidden His followers to eat. This is discussed later. Our observations concerning vegetarianism are as follows.

  • The Scriptures do not forbid believers from eating clean meats (from animals that chew the cud and have the cloven hoof, or fish that have scales and fins).
  • Most Israelites in Bible times (the prophets, patriarchs, apostles and the Savior) ate meat. The Bible has scores of texts to prove this point. See John 21:13 where the record states that the Messiah even ate fish after His resurrection. YaHuWaH - as stated - has not forbidden His people from eating meat. He even symbolically talks of giving us "a feast of fat things full of marrow" (the choicest parts of a meat dish) at the great spiritual banquet still to be held in the future (Isaiah 25:6-8).
  • Most of the offerings made to the Most High on His Sabbaths were meat offerings, of which the priests partook (Leviticus chapters 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 14 and Numbers chapters 28 and 29). Those animal sacrifices represented YaHuWaH 's Son, YAHUSHUA the Messiah whose "flesh" we believers symbolically partake of at each communion service. (John 6:53-56)
  • Vegetarianism as a spiritual requirement originated in heathen India, where multiplied millions are strict vegetarians. We note that even after thousands of years of vegetarianism there is no evidence that Indians are any healthier than other nations. Their neighbors the meat-eating Moslems of Pakistan, for example, live just as long as the vegetarian Hindus of India: and both countries have the same climate. The Indians are no healthier, stronger or long-lived than their Moslem neighbors. Neither do Indians excel in sport when competing in the Olympic Games.

We make it a point of duty not to go beyond the Scriptures. You will see from the above arguments that a believer in YaHuWaH is allowed to eat clean meats; and no one should judge him/her - least of all a vegetarian.

Unclean Meats

There are, however, certain meats which are strictly forbidden in the Bible. YaHuWaH 's law tells us about clean and unclean meats. I quote a whole chapter:

Leviticus 11: 1: And YaHuWaH spake unto Moshe and to Aaron, saying unto them,
2: Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
3: Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
4: Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
5: And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
6: And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
7: And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.

8: Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
9: These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
10: And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:

11: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
12: Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
13: And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,
14: And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;
15: Every raven after his kind;
16: And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,
17: And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,
18: And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,
19: And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.
20: All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.
21: Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;
22: Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
23: But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.
24: And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.
25: And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
26: The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean.
27: And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even.
28: And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.
29: These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind,
30: And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole.
31: These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even.
32: And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed.
33: And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.
34: Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean.
35: And every thing whereupon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean, and shall be unclean unto you.
36: Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean.
37: And if any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean.
38: But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you.
39: And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even.
40: And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
41: And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten.
42: Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.
43: 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.
44: For I am YaHuWaH your Elohim: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the Earth.
45: For I am YaHuWaH that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your Elohim: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
46: This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the Earth:
47: To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.

Many Christians do not keep these commandments. They believe that the text such as Mark 7:15 give them full permission to eat all kinds of meat: pigs, rabbits, horses, mice, dogs, cats, shell fish, lobsters and prawns. They are mistaken. These Christians have completely missed the point of this text and have also ignored vital prophecies in Isaiah where the Most High categorically states that on the Day of Judgement He is going to destroy eaters of unclean meats - the mouse and the swine. I quote the prophecies:

Isaiah 65: 1: I am sought of them that asked not for Me; I am found of them that sought Me not: I said, Behold Me, behold Me, unto a nation that was not called by My Name.
2: I have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
3: A people that provoketh Me to anger continually to My face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;
4: Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine's flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels.

Isaiah 66: YaHuWaH will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire.
16: For by fire and by His sword will YaHuWaH plead with all flesh: and the slain of YaHuWaH shall be many.
17: They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith YaHuWaH.

The Judgment Day is still future and it is unlikely that YaHuWaH would punish the generation before Calvary for eating swine's flesh and then forgive the generation after Calvary for eating the same things. Such an inconsistent Judgment would create chaos in people's minds for all time. You may therefore be certain that eating unclean meat (swine and mouse etc.) is still a sin and will be punished on the Day of Judgment.

Mark 7:15

What then of these words of YAHUSHUA?

There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

This texts simply points to a higher level of defilement - the human mind. Filth on the clothes and the skin are not as bad as filth in the stomach. Still worse is the filth in the mind. And worst of all is the unclean Spirit of Satan who roams this world and at the least excuse will pollute the unsuspecting human soul. Unclean animals and birds (snakes, dogs, vultures, bats etc.) symbolize Satan and his unbelieving followers; just as clean animals and birds (the ram, the lamb, the kid, the deer and the dove) symbolize YaHuWaH , His Son and the Holy Ghost. Knowingly eating unclean foods is insulting the Most High. It is not only blatant disobedience, but is tantamount to saying: 'I am going to partake of unclean meats even though I know they symbolize Satan and his filthy lifestyle.' This is an extremely dangerous stand to take.

Because of these facts unclean meats should not be eaten;
especially in view of the coming Day of Judgment.

Remember the Divine Warning:

"They that sanctify themselves and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith YaHuWaH."


  • Vegetarianism is not taught in the Scriptures. It may or may not have advantages: most certainly they are not evident in vegetarian nations such as India. Indians are no healthier or long-lived than other nations.
  • According to the Scriptures, believers are allowed to eat the flesh (but not the blood or the fat) of clean animals: animals that chew the cud and are cloven footed. Clean animals include cattle, sheep, goats and deer. Animals such as the pig, the horse, the rabbit, the mouse and the snake are unclean. They do not have those two qualifying points. Fish which have scales and fins are clean. Shell fish are unclean. Birds of prey are unclean. See Leviticus 11 for further details.
  • Unclean animals are still unclean. Dogs, cats, pigs, rabbits, rats and mice have not been cleansed. They are still unclean animals: and eating their flesh will bring down judgment on the eater.

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