Every once in a while, I get into a discussion with someone who wants to convince me that its OK for me to eat pork, now that I am a follower of Yeshua. Personally, I don’t know why people make a big deal out of what I eat or don’t eat. We live in a society where people have such varying diets, that we are accustomed to people being vegetarians or vegans, people who don’t eat fish, those with food sensitivities etc. There are so many different things people eat or abstain from, I would expect not eating pork would be something that would just be accepted as one of the many dietary variations of our culture. Yet that is not the case. People who would be tolerant of any other dietary proclivity make it a crusade to get me to eat pork. I am not opposed to other people eating pork or anything they want. My father is exempt from all Mitzvot, so he is known to enjoy a ham sandwich or certain aspects of Chinese cuisine when not at home. I don’t push my abstention from pork on anyone. If I said I was allergic to it people wouldn’t even argue about it; But because I say I do not eat pork because the Torah forbids it, people feel free to accost me because it’s a theological issue. I try to point out that Paul taught that if you abstain or eat, you do so as to God, and people should respect one another’s choices, but they take it as a rejection of Grace if I don’t eat Pork. Finally, I tell them that Yeshua didn’t die so we could eat pork, but I get no where with them. I walk away feeling like I encountered culinary anti-Semites
The key verse people focus on is Mark 7:19, “…For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Yeshua declared all foods “clean.”)” Here Yeshua is talking about what comes from your heart that is important. The author, in parenthesis reflecting on this says Yeshua declared all food is clean. My first observation is that Yeshua didn’t say this, but someone else reflecting on what Yeshua said. If Yeshua had indeed taught that the instruction of the Torah was now set aside, he could not have been the Messiah, because the Messiah would not contradict the Scripture. Second, if He was indeed advocating setting aside the prohibition against pork, he would have been severely criticized by the religious establishment, but was not. He had just criticized the religious establishment for making the Word of God of no effect. For him to do the same would be the height of hypocrisy. At least to his hearers, this was not what Yeshua was saying. It never says his disciples went out and ate pork. If they had, they would have been criticised. Finally, considering the culture in which Yeshua was speaking, pork was not food. They would have understood food being clean as being ritually clean. Even Paul, when he was among the gentiles, is never reported to have eaten pork. He ate with gentiles, having table fellowship with them. He wrote in Romans 14:2 “For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables.” When religious Jews are not sure about the meat they have available, they eat only vegetables.
Paul goes in I Corinthians 8 about meat that was sacrificed to Idols. In ancient times, this meat was often the highest quality. Paul says if your conscience would bother you for eating it, don’t eat it. If you know it would bother someone else, don’t eat it around them. Being sensitive to your brother’s conscience is more important than what you can or can not eat. I believe this extends to what kind of meat we eat. I believe the Torah is clear that we should not eat forbidden meats. Isaiah 66:17 says, “Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves, To go to the gardens After an idol in the midst, Eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse, Shall be consumed together,” says the LORD.” Isaiah calls it an abomination, and he was the most Messianic of the prophets.
The Besorah, the New Covenant, is about God’s love and his coming to reconcile us to Himself. It is not about changing our menus. The Apostles did not ask non-Jewish Yeshua followers to keep the whole Torah, but neither did they forbid it. While I don’t tell people what to do, I love when they exercise their freedom to not eat pork in my presence. What it all boils down to is this: Yeshua didn’t sanction pork chops. It is wrong for me to eat them, so I won’t. Other people need to do whatever they do out of a clear conscience. I won’t judge them, and I expect them to not judge me.