Friday, January 19, 2018

My Biblical View of Food

Let’s start with the facts:

1) I believe that the Bible is the Word of GOD, is absolutely infallible, true (jot and tittle) and that it all came from His lips.
2) I believe that Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh. John 1:1-3 (KJV) states, “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing [sic] made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
3) I believe that we were made in the image and likeness of GOD (see Genesis 1:26).
4) I believe that “science” doesn’t know half as much as it says it does and less than half as much as it thinks it does. How often has a food item (eggs, coffee, coconut oil, chocolate, wine, etc.) been bad for you one day and good for you the next, then go back to bad, then good yet again?

Okay, now on to my thoughts on this subject.

In the Bible we see that there are multiple references to things like food, eat, ate, drink, feasts, and specific food items. Breads are mentioned: leavened, unleavened and shewbread (a part of the sacrifice to GOD) and even breads made out of “wheaten flour” so GOD is not gluten intolerant.

Fish, beef, lamb, goat, birds, fruit, olives, wine, water, cheese and many more food items were mentioned; even the fat of the bullock and the ram which were eaten by GOD as an offering (Exodus 29) so we know he ate the fat and didn’t worry about the cholesterol, calories, or whatever else is “bad” about it. In fact, GOD ate the stuff that the doctors nowadays tell us to not eat. Which, not being a fan of eating the fat on a piece of steak, chicken or whatever, I’m okay with not doing. I trim every bit of fat off. I’d say that I’ll leave it for GOD to eat, but there is no need for Him to ask for sacrifices – or sharing – since He gave His Son for us and all need for sacrifice of any kind is done away with once and for all.

We see in the Old Testament that there are specific things to avoid because they were “unclean”, but that in the New Testament those “unclean” things were made clean by Christ’s sacrifice (Acts 10 and 11) Note: Here it references both food items and that the gentiles were made clean by GOD. After all, GOD told Peter to “kill and eat” and GOD does not sanction murder or cannibalism, so it can’t be just man referenced here that was cleansed by GOD!

Let’s get more specific, though. In the Garden of Eden before the fall of man (okay, before Eve ate the apple and convinced her hubby -- weak-willed, disobedient Adam -- to do so, too. After all GOD told Adam in Genesis 2:16-25 to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, not Eve. She wasn’t there yet!), humans were vegans. There was no death on earth yet: no blood-shed death, so plants could be eaten but animals could not, and people and animals ate only plants. Some people say this is the “ideal” diet. Do they take into account the fact that the “ideal” diet includes sugar, since it is plant based, alcoholic beverages, flours of all kinds since they are plant based (yes, white wheat flour, too) and rhubarb and other known carcinogens?

We have Eve and Adam (listed in order of appearance with the fruit) to “thank” for the partaking of steak, salmon, veal, etc. However, we also have them to blame for death, diseases, sins of all kinds, etc. Admittedly, they did us no real favors unless you consider never tasting a cut of beef called Tri-Tip as something that falls into that category of things to be glad for (and it does!). I’m not grateful for the sin; it was inevitable that sooner or later it would happen, but imagine if it had taken two or three generations! I am grateful that GOD had a plan from the time before he created the earth for when it did happen.

Anyways, the fact remains that the Bible tells us that we – mankind – are made in the image and likeness of GOD and that we are told by in Deuteronomy 12:15 to “kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after” as long as it’s not the blood that you want to eat, it’s okay in Deuteronomy 12:15. Then again, in Deuteronomy 12:20 we see “I will eat flesh, because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after.” And in the same chapter, verses 21-22 says “thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the Lord hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. (22) Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them: the unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike.” GOD says not to eat of the blood but everything else? That’s just fine!

So we see that GOD says to eat “whatsoever thy soul lusteth after” as long as it’s not the blood of the animal. That’s the only thing that was out of bounds for GOD’s people at the time. It wasn’t until GOD gave the covenant with the Israelite children that He took things away. Declared unclean in Deuteronomy 14, in verses 7-21, GOD tells us:
“However, of those that chew the cud or that have a divided hoof you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the hyrax. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a divided hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you. The pig is also unclean; although it has a divided hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.

“Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that has fins and scales. But anything that does not have fins and scales you may not eat; for you it is unclean.

“You may eat any clean bird. But these you may not eat: the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, the red kite, the black kite, any kind of falcon, any kind of raven, the horned owl, the screech owl, the gull, any kind of hawk, the little owl, the great owl, the white owl, the desert owl, the osprey, the cormorant, the stork, any kind of heron, the hoopoe and the bat.

“All flying insects are unclean to you; do not eat them. But any winged creature that is clean you may eat.

“Do not eat anything you find already dead. You may give it to the foreigner residing in any of your towns, and they may eat it, or you may sell it to any other foreigner. But you are a people holy to the Lord your God.

“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.”
That’s when the dietary restrictions were set down and what they said. What we must remember is that those restrictions were removed in Acts 10 and 11 and we have been under no restrictions since then.

The Bible tells us what kinds of food GOD uses to associate with certain people. Did you know that the first mention of food in the Bible is in Genesis 1:29, in which GOD says that He has given us “every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed: to you it shall be for food”? So food’s first mention is before the fall of man (that Eve ate it first thing). Although, prior to the fall GOD had already put animals that were to be considered “clean” for man to start using as food later, so it must have been a part of the plan from the beginning. After all, GOD knew that the heart of man is wicked and deceptive so He knew that we would (sooner or later) break fellowship with Him and that we would love a good steak. That’s why after the fall, GOD created animal sacrifices to atone for sins.

In fact, the first mention of food other than herbs and fruit is the serpent’s curse in which GOD says that the serpent “shall eat dust”. The third mention of food besides those already mentioned (herbs, seeds, fruit, dust) is the sacrifice offered to GOD by Abel.

This is an important mention because it tells us what GOD – in whose image we are created – eats. It says in Genesis 4:4-5 that “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering.” We know that GOD eats the offerings given to Him so that’s the third mention of food and we all know that the number three is the number of perfection or completeness. So if GOD is eating the fat of the calf, as seen in Exodus 29, then we know that we can eat the fat of the calf.

For food, the Bible tells us that we can eat whatever we want. We don’t have to stick to the vegan diet because GOD knew ahead of time that man can sin and He provided animals for us to eat and did, in fact, command us to eat (Acts 10 & 11). He did not just “allow” us to eat the animals listed in Deuteronomy 14, He commanded us to eat the things that used to be unclean. If GOD says to do it, it cannot be bad for us, nor can it be sin.

We also see that we are given specific examples of what others ate. For instance, in Isaiah 7:14-15, we see that Jesus was said to be a man who would eat “butter and honey”. John the Baptist was a man who was Christ’s precursor and who ate “locusts and wild honey”. The children of Israel were delivered into a “land flowing with milk and honey”. There are many examples of people who were to eat honey, specifically. GOD provided manna from heaven that tasted like honey and the Israelites lived on that for a very long time. From a bride in the Song of Solomon to the Revelation where John ate the scroll and it tasted like honey (Revelation 10:10), we see that the sweet flavor of honey is throughout GOD’s Word. When Christ was risen from His grave, we see in Luke 24:42, that He ate “broiled fish and some honeycomb.” Even after being risen from the dead Christ had a sweet tooth! We see honey mentioned throughout the Bible but not too much because it will make us vomit. Notice something about the mention of honey? It is associated with special people, times and places of GOD: the Promised Land, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the time of Christ’s return. From this we can gather that to eat sweets is a special gift from GOD.

However, how many of you remember a time when you were a kid and ate too much of your Easter or Halloween candy and got a tummy ache because of it? I admit that I did. I ate too many sweets when I had the chance when I was a kid and a few hours later paid the price. That’s a temporary discomfort to eat too many sweets and throw up because of it. Notice, though, that the Bible does not say that you will have a permanent illness, a continual affliction, or whatever other words you want to put to it, because of eating too much honey. It does not say it will give you diabetes or anything else as far as a disease is concerned. It says you’ll puke: once, not for the rest of your life. That’s not a long term, life altering, drug-treatment inducing illness. It’s a puke or GOD would have said otherwise because GOD “is not a man, that He should lie”. GOD says it will make you puke. It will. But it won’t do anything besides that or GOD would have told you.

Which takes me into the next part of my thought (and belief) process: Where in the Bible – the Word of GOD Almighty – does it say that food will give us diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cavities, obesity or anything else bad?

In Proverbs 23 it talks about not eating the delicacies of the rulers if you are prone to gluttony because “that food is deceptive”. But if you read the context of the scriptures, it is not referring to food, but to the beliefs of the rulers. If you read the Word, Jesus says in Matthew 15:11 that it’s not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of the man’s heart via his words and deeds. So what we put into our bodies is not what causes the problem, is it?

Am I saying that we can be gluttons? Nope: not at all. The Bible warns us against that in Proverbs 23:20. It also tells us to be careful about “strong drink”, but did you know that it says in Numbers 28:7 that “strong drink” was given as part of an offering to GOD? So Jesus drank wine and GOD drinks “strong drink”, but warns us to not drink too much of it, or to get drunk. GOD does tell certain people they cannot drink strong drink, or even wine, but for the most part, of wine and strong drink only have a little. Don’t be a drunkard is what GOD says.

Considering all of this, why does science, the “health food” industry and doctor advice tell us to watch what we eat, eat mostly fruit and veg, and to cut back on fats, gluten-laden foods and sweets?

“Science” tells us all the time that something is “bad” for us: eggs, coffee, chocolate, coconut oil, cheese, red meat, all meats, anything containing alcohol, etc., etc., etc. There is almost no food/drink item that “science” has at one time or another said was bad for us. But remember: “science” is not GOD. GOD knows a lot more than any scientist ever will or can. “Science” also changes its “mind” while GOD does not.

So why the “change of mind” from the time the time of the Israelites receiving the dietary restrictions to the time of Paul being shown the sheet with the “unclean” animals and being commanded to kill and eat? There are a few things to take into consideration to get to the truth in that.

First, in Acts 10:9-16, we see that the circumstances have changed from the time of the old dietary restrictions. Jesus Christ had already been crucified and the price for our own cleansing was paid by Christ’s death. Prior to His crucifixion the Israelites were told not to eat “unclean” things because they were told to be obedient to GOD and the eating of those “unclean” things was an act of disobedience. No matter how wonderful that bacon smelled, they could not eat at their neighbor’s house for that meal.

You see, when the Children of Israel were at Mt. Sinai after leaving Egypt led by Moses, they were asked if they could keep the commandments GOD was going to give them. Their reply is in Exodus 19:8, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” They probably meant it at the time, but soon thereafter, they were making a golden calf and worshipping it. So they could not really “do all that the Lord has spoken”, could they? So when GOD saw that they were a hard hearted people He did all he could to rein them in. Part of that “reining in” was to put more rules around them to try to make them control themselves. As time went by more rules were laid down. It’s like having a two-year-old who won’t stop playing with the goldfish until it’s dead. You try to tell him no, then you tell him to not go near it, then you move the fishbowl and finally you have to either get rid of the goldfish altogether or you have to put a tall fence around it. The more rules the better they’d behave, right? Neither the two-year-old nor the Israelites would agree with that (I suspect a lot of us would be the same way!)

When GOD saw them heading in one direction, He’d make another rule, another set of “don’t do that’s”. He saw them being tempted to join in the worshipping of other gods, the gods of their neighbors or even their enemies and GOD would write a rule to prevent Israel from worshipping their neighbors’ idols. Or He’d see that they were considering marrying outside of the children of Israel and GOD would write another rule about not marrying them in order to keep them safe and to prevent them from falling into the worshipping of their spouses’ idols. That didn’t work either, though, did it? So GOD made rules to keep the children of Israel safe: including the dietary restrictions.

Those restrictions kept them from getting trichinosis, a food borne disease, and other diseases. Since people didn’t know at the time how to properly cook pork these restrictions were given to keep Israel safe from a possibly devastating disease. Even in that time, GOD says “I am the Lord that healeth thee” (KJV). So we see that He’s not wanting them to get ill (He is offering healing in the warning), but He knows that eating poorly cooked pork can make them ill, even so ill that they die. The restrictions were for obedience (in which they failed in other areas), and for their own health. In Acts 10 & 11 when the sheet was lowered with the “unclean” animals on it and the command given to “kill and eat”, we see that Jesus Christ had created a path for the people to be made clean via His sinless life, death on the cross, and resurrection. Prior to Christ’s death there was no “direct” pathway to heaven. Christ did that for us so there was no need for any kind of dietary restrictions to test obedience, and it was safe to cook pork because by then we had figured out how to perfect the cooking of pork products and how to prevent them from making us sick.

Can anyone tell me where it says in the Bible that food will make you healthy? It says not to eat certain things because (at the time) that stuff would make you sick, but where does it say that it can make you healthy? Not being made ill by something is not the same as being made healthy. A “healthy” diet nowadays has so many variations. There’s vegan, beef-based, low calorie, gluten free, low carbohydrate, and the list goes on. Where in the Bible does it say that eating or not eating certain foods will make you healthy? Does it say so? If not, why do we think that what we eat is the deciding factor of how we feel and what we look like?

A lot of people put all kinds of stock in exercise in order to lose weight. But did you know that the Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:8:
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
Bodily exercise profiteth little? Did you know that the Bible (the Word of GOD) says that?

A lot of folks will point to “science” and try to convince us that “science” knows how our bodies work because they have studied it. “Science” tells us that we have to eat more vegetables, more whole grains, more organic, purer foods. We should not eat red meat (if we eat meat at all) and we should definitely stay away from sugars and sweet food (even honey). We should not eat white bread, cheese, drink milk (after all, they say, what other animal drinks milk from another animal?), or have anything close to foods with chemicals in them anywhere near our mouths or bodies. BTW, what exactly is food made of? Does any food have any naturally occurring chemicals in it? I mean, if mushrooms had no chemicals in them then we couldn’t eat them, could we? Even water has chemicals in it: H2O is a chemical designation.

It’s the manmade chemicals we should not eat as additives to our food, isn’t that what they say? Isn’t that like saying that if you can make something with chemicals that you shouldn’t eat it? Chemicals, though, are in almost everything we eat. Vitamins, for instance, are chemicals. Do you want to do without vitamins?

The federal government has made recommendations on what and how much you should eat and the president’s wife has made a big deal of what she thinks is a good diet for the rest of us (too bad she doesn’t take her own advice). The federal government has been doing this since 1894 and they have changed over time. If they and their scientists are so smart, why was it later admitted that their recommendations were fouled up:
“First, last fall, experts on the committee that develops the country’s dietary guidelines acknowledged that they had ditched the low-fat diet. On Thursday, that committee’s report was released, with an even bigger change: It lifted the longstanding caps on dietary cholesterol, saying there was “no appreciable relationship” between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Americans, it seems, had needlessly been avoiding egg yolks, liver and shellfish for decades.”
So why is “science” so wrong about so much? It’s because “science” does not know our bodies as well as our bodies’ Creator. Our bodies’ Creator knows how our bodies work without having to do any sort of research, without consulting anyone, without doing studies. GOD says “kill and eat” and to eat whatever we want. “Science” tells us to eat only this and that, and to eat those things a certain way, cooking it the “healthiest” way and to not eat the other stuff. “Science” also has to deal with lobbyists who try to do what they can to sell the food products they represent. That’s something that people who listen to the “science” don’t usually take into consideration. So we take “science” at face value and believe what they say because, after all, it is “science” and “science” would know, right?

If they know so much, then why do such things as the Twinkie® diet work? Twinkies are, after all, full of fat and carbs and preservatives and all kinds of things that are “bad” for us. The “science” will tell you that it won’t work. The “science” will tell you that if you try it your cholesterol, fat, weight, blood pressure, and all the “bad” things will increase and your body will be in horrible condition and maybe – if you’ve eaten enough of it – you’ll have a heart attack or whatever. You’ll never be healthy while on the Twinkie diet is what “science” will say. However, looking at the results – lower bad cholesterol, higher good cholesterol, lower triglycerides, weight loss and lower body fat – you’d think that “science” would learn a little from the experience. Has “science” caught the drift of the Twinkie diet (and other surprising successes like it) and realized that the “science” is not supported by the effectiveness and success of these diets?

The Bible says (and let us not forget that this article is about my belief in the Bible as the Word of GOD) that Jesus Christ is our healer and in Him we are healthy. If you believe that the Word of GOD is true, too, then why would you worry about eating anything as long as you bless it, or about exercising as long as you don’t feel a conviction from GOD to do so? Is that not how we should all live: trusting GOD to guide us and trusting in His goodness toward us? He said to eat after we ask GOD to bless our food. If we do not trust Him to do so – bless it so that it cannot hurt us – then how can we trust Him to do anything He has said?


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