Leviticus 11: This chapter is one of the high points in Scripture, but it is one of the most ignored chapters by Christianity. In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, Elohim gives us explicit orders as to what is considered food and what is not considered food. Christians for some 1600 years have thought this chapter doesn’t apply anymore and can and should be ignored. This chapter describes what has been called the “Levitical Diet.” But nowhere in this chapter are Levites even mentioned.
Many Christians point to the event where Peter was allegedly told not to call certain animals “unholy.” (Acts 10:10-27). However, this is a misunderstood passage that is an attack on the Pharasaic rules that declare Gentiles unclean. It has nothing whatsoever to do with dietary laws and Torah.
Yeshua states “what goes into the mouth does not defile the person” (Matt 15:1-19). But Yeshua was not referring to eating unclean foods. He was once again attacking the Rabbinic laws that demanded ritual handwashing. The disciples were being criticized for not following this tradition before eating (Matt. 15:20). Yeshua is saying that it is not considered a sin to not wash your hands before you eat, although the traditions of the Jews commanded it. While we all know that handwashing is a good thing, it is not a sin to not follow the traditions of man.
Some people use a phrase or two from Paul’s letters to justify their sinful habits of eating poisonous things. Peter warned us against using Paul’s letters to justify our lawlessness (2 Peter 3:14-17).
Dr. Rex Russell, in his book, “What the Bible Says About Healthy Living,” gives a wonderful defense of the Levitical diet. If we think that modern science has shown how we can safely cook many foods that Elohim has declared unclean, we have been deceived. There are many foods eaten daily that are toxic to our bodies and toxic to our souls.
Most people ignore these dietary laws and think that they can cook the viruses, bacteria, and disease out of unclean meats. This is an absurd proposition. Dr. Russell gives the example of the puffer fish. If you eat just a small amount of it when it is not prepared just exactly right, you will die in a few minutes. But the Japanese consider it a delicacy. They have chefs that are skilled in the preparation of the puffer fish. Does that mean you should eat it? Of course not. Why should we? Even if it weren’t a sin (which it is), it is not worth the gamble.
But that is exactly the gamble we take with our present diets. Many of the unclean animals we eat cause hepatitus, cholera, and other deadly and crippling diseases. But we still try to tell ourselves, “the Levitical Diet doesn’t apply anymore.” To disregard the dietary commands in Scripture will not only shorten your lifespan, but this type of intentional disobedience will prevent you from knowing the Father.
(Lev 11:1 NASB) The LORD spoke again to Moses and to Aaron, saying to them,
(Lev 11:2 NASB) “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘These are the creatures which you may eat from all the animals that are on the earth.
Lev 11:2: Elohim draws a definitive line in His Word between what is right and what is wrong, between what is light and dark, and between what is clean and unclean. Elohim is the One that makes the difference between light and darkness. He wants us to love what is good and hate what is evil.
Mankind, on the other hand, tries to do just the opposite. Man tries to make everything into vague shades of grey. Especially when it comes to issues of following Torah. We try to deceive ourselves with terms like diversity, tolerance, and acceptance, and apply them to the sins of our society.
We need to remember what is right and what is wrong is only what Elohim says is right and wrong. We are not capable of defining “sin” for ourselves. Elohim must do that for us. Mankind’s definition of morality will be no morality. Then society turns into a septic tank of disease and death.
We must heed Elohim’s commands as to what we should and should not eat. This chapter of Leviticus focuses on the negative, what we should not eat. Deuteronomy 14 focuses on the positive, or what we should eat. Both chapters are necessary because they establish two witnesses in determining Truth.
(Lev 11:3 NASB) ‘Whatever divides a hoof, thus making split hoofs, and chews the cud, among the animals, that you may eat.
Lev 11:3: This is the rule to follow to determine what land animals to eat and to not eat. Only those animals that chew the cud and have a split hoof are clean for food. This immediately eliminates carnivorous animals because only plant eating animals chew the cud.
Deuteronomy lists the following animals as clean: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the hart, the roebuck, the fallow deer, and some others whose identity is difficult to determine.
Cows fit into this category. The digestive tract of a cow has bacteria to help digest grasses and grains. These bacteria also crowd out harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The digestive system of a cow produces healthy nutrients to it’s flesh and protects the flesh from harmful toxins.
The fact is, Elohim designed cows to be used as healthy food for man.
(Lev 11:4 NASB) ‘Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these, among those which chew the cud, or among those which divide the hoof: the camel, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you.
(Lev 11:5 NASB) ‘Likewise, the rock badger, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you;
(Lev 11:6 NASB) the rabbit also, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you;
Lev 11:6: The “coney”, or “rock badger” or “rock hyrax” in other translations, is the Hebrew word “shaphan.” This is an unknown animal that is likely extinct now.
The Hebrew word arnebeth is here mistranslated hare or rabbit. But it is known that rabbits don’t chew the cud. The animal mentioned here is unknown and probably also extinct.
The message here is the only land animals that were created for food are those which chew the cud, plus have a divided hoof.
(Lev 11:7 NASB) and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you.
Lev 11:7: Pigs are unclean animals. They are used to clean up the environment. The City of Philadelphia has used pigs for the last 100 years to eat a lot of the city trash before it goes into the landfill. This is a very good use of pigs. They are garbage disposals that Elohim created to clean up some of the trash and poisons in our world. As a matter of fact, Yeshua used pigs as a dumping ground to throw demons (Matt. 8:28-32).
The digestive tract of a pig is completely different from that of a cow. Pigs are gluttonous and do not stop eating. This causes a dilution of the stomach acid and many of the poisonous bacteria and parasites that enter the stomach of a pig enter into the flesh. These same toxins and infectious poisons can be transmitted to humans by eating the flesh.
In this country, three of the six most common infectious parasitic diseases come from eating pork. In Japan, these same diseases come from eating the flesh of pigs, horses, bears, raccoons, and foxes. These are all animals that Elohim called unclean.
One scientist at the University of Giessen’s Institute for virology in Germany showed that pigs are the one animal that can serve as a mixing vessel for new influenza viruses may threaten world health. A pig will mix DNA viruses from other creatures like birds and humans and create a new DNA virus that can be lethal to humans. Virologists have concluded that if we don’t separate humans from pigs, the whole earth’s population may be at risk.
(Lev 11:8 NASB) ‘You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.
Lev 11:8: Elohim is warning us against the harmful effects of bacteria and microscopic parasites that come from dead animals.
Elohim knew we weren’t to the point of understanding microbiology. He simply expected us to do what He told us. This is comparable to a mother telling a 4-year old not to touch a hot stove. There is no reason for the mother to explain to the child how electricity is converted into heat energy by the stove and that can burn your little fingers. She just needs the child to be obedient.
Elohim often treats us the same way. He did not explain the causes of much the sickness and death brought on by disobedience, He just wants us to obey Him (Ex. 15:26).
(Lev 11:9 NASB) ‘These you may eat, whatever is in the water: all that have fins and scales, those in the water, in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat.
(Lev 11:10 NASB) ‘But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers, that do not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you,
Lev 11:10: This is the rule for creatures in the water. You can eat everything that has fins and scales. Yeshua Himself knew this was a law to follow (Matt. 13:47-48).
(Lev 11:11 NASB) and they shall be abhorrent to you; you may not eat of their flesh, and their carcasses you shall detest.
(Lev 11:12 NASB) ‘Whatever in the water does not have fins and scales is abhorrent to you.
Lev 11:12: This includes shellfish. Living in Virginia Beach, there were numerous raw oyster bars. There always reports of hepatitis in the area due to the raw shellfish..
Shellfish are a notorious carrier of cholera. Shellfish can be placed in a body of water that is contaminated with cholera bacteria and they will purify the water. Elohim created shrimp, oysters, crabs, scallops, and mussels to purify water from chemicals, toxins, harmful bacteria, parasites, and viruses.
The state legislature of California proposed a law warning: “This food may be dangerous to your health.” Why? Because every year as many 50 deaths and many hospitalizations are caused by the ingestion of shellfish.
Catfish also fall into the category of unclean fish. They are scavengers and bottom dwellers that clean the water. For example, one day a peach farmer sprayed his crop and a huge rain immediately followed. The rain runoff drained the insecticide into his pond that was stocked with various fish. The catfish did what they were supposed to do, they cleaned the water of the insecticide. Consequently, all the catfish went belly up, dead. But all the fish in the pond with scales and fins lived. They were not affected by the pesticides because they do not ingest it like the catfish do.
“Toxic blooms are caused by algae that produce potent toxins that can cause massive fish kills, marine mammal deaths, and human illness. In many cases the toxins can be transported through the food web to humans, often through contaminated shellfish. The toxins can impact humans in different ways leading to mild symptoms or even death. The toxins cause many illnesses, including Ciguatera Fish Poisoning, Diuretic, Shellfish Poisoning, Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning, Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, and Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning.”
Consumer Reports tested fish bought in multiple markets in the United States. Fish is considered spoiled when bacteria counts exceed 10 million per gram of flesh. Nearly all the catfish tested had 27 million counts per gram, EVEN when properly prepared.
Pigs clean up the land, and shellfish and catfish clean up the water. Do you want to eat what they clean up? The flesh of these creatures retains much of the parasites, toxins, bacteria, and infections that they ingest.
(Lev 11:13 NASB) ‘These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard,
(Lev 11:14 NASB) and the kite and the falcon in its kind,
(Lev 11:15 NASB) every raven in its kind,
(Lev 11:16 NASB) and the ostrich and the owl and the sea gull and the hawk in its kind,
(Lev 11:17 NASB) and the little owl and the cormorant and the great owl,
(Lev 11:18 NASB) and the white owl and the pelican and the carrion vulture,
(Lev 11:19 NASB) and the stork, the heron in its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat.
Lev 11:19: There is no common characteristic to look for in birds like there is with land animals and fish. The birds listed are the “dirty birdies” because of their eating habits.
Remember Elijah in the wilderness was sustained because Elohim sent ravens to feed him. Notice that even though Elijah was to the point of starvation, he did not eat the ravens. He only ate what they brought to him.
(Lev 11:20 NASB) ‘All the winged insects that walk on all fours are detestable to you.
(Lev 11:21 NASB) ‘Yet these you may eat among all the winged insects which walk on all fours: those which have above their feet jointed legs with which to jump on the earth.
Lev 11:21: The implication here is that insects with four “or more” legs will be unclean. Many scoffers have said “no insect has four legs, the Bible is wrong.” That is not true. Grasshoppers and crickets have four legs to scurry upon. The hind legs are solely for jumping and not creeping on the ground.
(Lev 11:22 NASB) ‘These of them you may eat: the locust in its kinds, and the devastating locust in its kinds, and the cricket in its kinds, and the grasshopper in its kinds.
Lev 11:22: You can safely eat these insects. John the Baptist was correct in his diet also (Matt. 3:4).
(Lev 11:23 NASB) ‘But all other winged insects which are four-footed are detestable to you.
Lev 11:23: There are eleven main types of locusts known to exist. But only certain types of locusts that are clean. If anyone is interested in researching which ones are clean and which are not, then they may do the research.
In this one rare instance, I, personally do not care.
(Lev 11:24 NASB) ‘By these, moreover, you will be made unclean: whoever touches their carcasses becomes unclean until evening,
(Lev 11:25 NASB) and whoever picks up any of their carcasses shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening.
Lev 11:25: The carcasses of dead insects are unclean. Touching them makes one unclean until evening.
(Lev 11:26 NASB) ‘Concerning all the animals which divide the hoof, but do not make a split hoof, or which do not chew cud, they are unclean to you: whoever touches them becomes unclean.
(Lev 11:27 NASB) ‘Also whatever walks on its paws, among all the creatures that walk on all fours, are unclean to you; whoever touches their carcasses becomes unclean until evening,
(Lev 11:28 NASB) and the one who picks up their carcasses shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening; they are unclean to you.
Lev 11:28: Dead carcasses of unclean animals are especially dangerous. Dead flesh quickly picks up disease and bacteria. Especially if it is contaminated before it dies, like many unclean creatures are.
Elohim’s provision for someone infected is for them to wash themselves and their clothes. It is now known that is what is necessary to prevent disease.
(Lev 11:29 NASB) ‘Now these are to you the unclean among the swarming things which swarm on the earth: the mole, and the mouse, and the great lizard in its kinds,
(Lev 11:30 NASB) and the gecko, and the crocodile, and the lizard, and the sand reptile, and the chameleon.
(Lev 11:31 NASB) ‘These are to you the unclean among all the swarming things; whoever touches them when they are dead becomes unclean until evening.
Lev 11:31: These little varmints are unclean also. I don’t think there is any question of that.
The important thing here is not the health benefits from following these instructions. The important thing is that Elohim said to do them. Obedience is the key here.
We are told in Isaiah that eating pig’s flesh is as much sin as worshipping the dead (Isaiah 65:1-6). Elohim says that those who eat swines flesh and unclean things in broth will be totally annihilated at judgment (Isaiah 66:16-17).
(Lev 11:32 NASB) ‘Also anything on which one of them may fall when they are dead, becomes unclean, including any wooden article, or clothing, or a skin, or a sack– any article of which use is made– it shall be put in the water and be unclean until evening, then it becomes clean.
Lev 11:32: It is commonplace for a rodent to be found in the kitchen. But if it is found dead, then the surface must be cleaned with water and then set out in the sun to dry for a day. This applies to wood, clothing, cloth, or skin. These are all things that will absorb disease and infection. Elohim is telling the Israelites how to kill bacteria 3800 years before man discovered it.
(Lev 11:33 NASB) ‘As for any earthenware vessel into which one of them may fall, whatever is in it becomes unclean and you shall break the vessel.
Lev 11:33: The clay pottery used back then was not glazed and would quickly absorb bacteria and become infected. There was also not a decent way to get sunlight into jars after cleaning them. It was to be broken and thrown away.
(Lev 11:34 NASB) ‘Any of the food which may be eaten, on which water comes, shall become unclean; and any liquid which may be drunk in every vessel shall become unclean.
(Lev 11:35 NASB) ‘Everything, moreover, on which part of their carcass may fall becomes unclean; an oven or a stove shall be smashed; they are unclean and shall continue as unclean to you.
Lev 11:35: The vessels and appliances are to be declared unclean if they find a dead rat on them. This is only good medical standard. Elohim is merely protecting them from disease and death (Deut. 7:15).
(Lev 11:36 NASB) ‘Nevertheless a spring or a cistern collecting water shall be clean, though the one who touches their carcass shall be unclean.
Lev 11:36: If a dead rat is found in a well or cistern, that water is not contaminated. The water in a well or cistern is running water that purifies itself. A dead carcass and the disease and bacteria in them will be filtered out by natural processes.
(Lev 11:37 NASB) ‘And if a part of their carcass falls on any seed for sowing which is to be sown, it is clean.
(Lev 11:38 NASB) ‘Though if water is put on the seed, and a part of their carcass falls on it, it is unclean to you.
Lev 11:38: Dry seed has a hard coating to protect it. However, water conditions seed and makes it susceptible to impurity.
(Lev 11:39 NASB) ‘Also if one of the animals dies which you have for food, the one who touches its carcass becomes unclean until evening.
Lev 11:39: If a clean animal dies for some unknown reason, it is unclean. It probably died because of some disease that can be transmitted through eating it’s flesh.
(Lev 11:40 NASB) ‘He too, who eats some of its carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening; and the one who picks up its carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening.
Lev 11:40: Once again, if you get infected by a dead carcass, you are to wash yourself and your clothes and hang them to dry for a day.
(Lev 11:41 NASB) ‘Now every swarming thing that swarms on the earth is detestable, not to be eaten.
(Lev 11:42 NASB) ‘Whatever crawls on its belly, and whatever walks on all fours, whatever has many feet, in respect to every swarming thing that swarms on the earth, you shall not eat them, for they are detestable.
(Lev 11:43 NASB) ‘Do not render yourselves detestable through any of the swarming things that swarm; and you shall not make yourselves unclean with them so that you become unclean.
Lev 11:43: Scripture says we render ourselves detestable by touching and eating unclean things. We can defile ourselves with the things we eat and make ourselves unfit.
(Lev 11:44 NASB) ‘For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth.
Lev 11:44: These rules given by Elohim, just like the rules of morality and sexual conduct, are there for your own good and they are to be followed. They are there to “give you life and give it more abundantly.” Not to spoil your fun or remove the foods that you enjoy so that you can now only eat locusts and wild honey.
(Lev 11:45 NASB) ‘For I am the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your God; thus you shall be holy for I am holy.'”
Lev 11:45: Don’t do what everyone else does. Be holy. Be set aside for Elohim’s use. Peter quoted this passage in reference to believers (1 Peter 1:14-16).
Paul also told us to avoid that which is unclean (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1).
(Lev 11:46 NASB) This is the law regarding the animal, and the bird, and every living thing that moves in the waters, and everything that swarms on the earth,
(Lev 11:47 NASB) to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the edible creature and the creature which is not to be eaten.
Lev 11:47: This is only good sense. Medical science now knows that Elohim had excellent reasons for every one of these rules. It was for the health and long life of His people. He loves us greatly and we should praise His holy name.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas