Unclean Foods now Clean?
Another misunderstood passage that many Christians use is Mark 7:15-19, where Jesus declares all foods “clean”
15Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.’ “[a]
17After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) (NIV)
But is this really the case?
Ekkehardt Mueller writes a timely piece on this passage, and brings out the true intention of Jesus’ words. Here’s a brief synapses of the point he makes regarding food:
The issue in this passage is not clean versus unclean food. It is eating with unwashed, that is,unclean hands. Jesus is not discussing the kind of food that can be eaten, but only the way it is eaten. Jesus is not addressing a biblical issue but a tradition of the elders. The parallel text in Matt 15:1-20 is even clearer. It starts out with the problem of eating food with unclean hands and refers to it again at the end of the passage (Matt 15:20).
Furthermore, the text does not talk about meat, but about food (bromata). To restrict it to meat only is to ignore the Greek meaning of the word. The context talks about the bread that the disciples ate (verses 2, 5). “Purifying all food” (verse 19) is a comment by Mark which refers to Jesus. It is not the digestive process which purifies the food, but Jesus declares food clean even if consumed without the washing of hands. Jesus did not do away with the distinction between clean and unclean meat.
Therefore, Jesus wasn’t nullifying or abolishing the Levitical dietary laws like most Christians claim. Jesus still adhered to the practice that certain meets were to be avoided, just like Peter who had the dream about all the unclean animals many years after his death. They were still valid while Christ was alive, after his death, and still today. Adventists follow many health rules in the Bible, hence we on average live significantly longer than the average Joe.
I will write more about it in the future.