Most theologians assume that God’s laws regarding clean and unclean meats ended at Christ’s crucifixion. They suppose that the New Covenant removes the need for Christians to keep such laws. But is that what the Bible says?
The administrative change from the Levitical priesthood to the ministry of Jesus Christ did not void God’s expectations that His people obey His law of clean and unclean meats (or any other law) as part of their sanctification, or separation, as people of God (see Leviticus 11:44-47; Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 20:7-26; Leviticus 21:8). Peter and Paul both speak of the continuing need for God’s people to be holy (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:14-16).
Some Bible scholars acknowledge that members of the early Church continued to observe the distinctions between clean and unclean meats. However, because of the common misconception that the New Covenant abolishes much of God’s law, many assume these food requirements were simply Jewish cultural practices that continued until the Church became more gentile in composition and outlook. Such preconceived ideas have influenced interpretations of many New Testament passages. In theological circles this is known as eisegesis, or reading one’s own ideas into Scripture.
Let’s examine the New Testament passages dealing with food. As we do that let’s practice exegesis— drawing meaning out of Scripture by seeking a thorough understanding of the background of a passage as we seek to apply it.
Peter’s vision: Did God cleanse all meats? Read the article here