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God’s Dietary Laws: Why Pigs, Crabs And Lobsters Are Bad For You

Editor’s note: This is part 2 in a 3-part series by the author on dietary laws in the Bible. The views are those of the author. Read part 1 here.

crabs lobster carnivorous animals bible

Image source: TheStar.com

God’s dietary laws prohibit eating carnivorous animals. Just as God created clean animals for food and by-products that humans could use, he created unclean animals for other reasons. Carnivores are prey animals that help to control the populations of other animals. Such is the case with mountain lion and wolves who keep deer populations in check. This helps keep the deer population down and weeds out the old and sick members of the herd naturally. This is just one good reason why we should not eat carnivores — sick animals could transmit disease.

Leviticus 11:7-8 and Deuteronomy 14:8 mention specifically that pigs are unclean and not fit for human consumption. Domesticated pigs have been used for a very long time as scavengers and will eat anything from garbage to dead animals and human wastes. Today, pigs in America consume more than 20 percent of the corn harvested in our country. Feeding corn, wheat and barley to pigs puts them in direct competition with our food crops. This is probably one good reason why God declared them unfit to eat. Jesus even allowed a herd of pigs to run off the edge of the cliff after He cast demons into them. This showed how little regard he had for them – or just how invaluable he found them to be.

Pigs, along with other unclean animals, can also transmit trichinosis to humans. This is caused by a small roundworm that finds its way into animal and human muscle. Bear meat, walrus and pig have all been a major player in transmitting infections to humans.

Fish

In Leviticus, the laws concerning aquatic creatures are addressed:

These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers—that you may eat…. Whatever in the water does not have fins or scales—that shall be an abomination to you. Leviticus 11:9, 12

Science reveals what may have been God’s reasons for declaring certain sea creatures unfit for human consumption. Clean fish are those that swim in bodies of water while unclean sea life is comprised mostly of predatory scavengers or bottom dwellers. The fish and sea life that do the ocean cleaning are full of toxins and can be harmful to human health. Poisonous fish are generally covered in bristles, spiny scales, thorns or spines and do not have any true scales.

Encyclopedia filled with traditional country skills!

Even though the Biblical dietary laws would have us eat the safest of fish we must still be very careful. Many of these fish are now polluted with heavy metals, as the health and balance of ocean ecosystems becomes disrupted — mostly due to overfishing, toxic chemical spills and pollution.

What about shellfish, crabs and lobster?

Shellfish such as crab and lobster do not have fins or scales and are therefore prohibited for human consumption under biblical dietary laws. However, shellfish is a multi-billion dollar business and eating such aquatic life considered a delicacy in most parts of the world. We know that everything God created has a purpose; so what is the purpose of shellfish, then?

Lobsters are nocturnal bottom walkers and scavengers that scavenge for dead animals and debris on the ocean floor – they are like the vultures of the oceans. Lobsters have even been seen burying dead fish and digging them up a little at a time to eat. Crabs will eat just about anything and are known as professional garbage hunters.

The Encyclopedia of Aquatic Life tells us that crabs, common shrimp and lobsters all feed off of dead and decaying matter. Therein lies their occupation — they were created to be the cleanup crew for the bottoms of lakes, rivers and oceans. They were not intended to be eaten by human beings. Eating raw or undercooked crabs, crayfish, shrimp or snails puts anyone at risk of a severe parasitic infection.

Filter feeders

Closer observation of oysters, mussels, scallops and clams shows us that God also had a very significant purpose for these creatures. They are found in streams, coastal areas and lakes and are considered filter-feeders. They are stationary — meaning they do not go hunting for their food but rather pump large amounts of water over their gills, trapping small pieces of silt, bacteria, viruses and plant debris for their dinner. The International Wildlife Encyclopedia tells us that mussels and other filter-feeders are the ultimate scavengers of the sea. They are the detail cleaners, so to speak. Their role is to purify the water.

Now, you have to ask yourself, once you really understand the role that these creatures play in their natural habitat, do you still want to eat them? Eating scavengers and filter-feeders is kind of like eating whatever is in your vacuum cleaner bag or septic tank. When scavenger and filter feeders make meals out of dead, decaying material along with pathogenic viruses, heavy metals and nerve toxins and we eat them — we are also eating all that they have eaten!

According to the FDA, raw oysters, mussels and clams are responsible for 85 percent of all illnesses caused by eating seafood. Such conditions as hepatitis A, salmonella, Norwalk virus, cholera and paralytic shellfish poisoning are just a few of the problems that are often linked to shellfish consumption. The more waste we dump into our oceans, lakes and streams, the greater the risk of getting sick from eating shellfish and other aquatic scavengers becomes.

Think about this: Pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are warned against handling uncooked shellfish.  If God’s dietary laws prohibiting the consumption of anything without fins or scales were followed, there would be no reason for such a warning.

Birds and Bugs

God did not leave birds, reptiles and insects uncovered in His laws. Carnivorous birds are obviously very important to controlling the populations of other groups of animals. Because these birds eat the flesh and blood of their prey, they become possible agents for transmitting disease and are unclean. Birds that prey on fish also accumulate a large amount of toxic chemicals in their bodies and are also prohibited.

Leviticus 11: 29-30; 42-43 tells us that reptiles are also unclean. Only insects from the locust and grasshopper family are permissible and have been used as a food source in the Middle East for thousands of years. John the Baptist is recorded to have eaten a diet comprised of honey and locusts.

Next in the series: Are Old Testament dietary laws still applicable today? 

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Food-Shock

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30 comments

  1. If we are to follow the laws of Leviticus for what we eat then we should follow all the laws of Leviticus. Including planting two different crops in the same garden. Prohibiting women from wearing the skin of two different animals at the same time. Not cutting a mans hair from his temples. Selling our daughters into slavery.

    • Despite what the churches say he Yashua (Jesus) was teaching, this is what he say’s he is teaching Mat 4:4 “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, But On Every Word That Comes From The Mouth Of GOD.’” mat 4:17 and preached, to Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. ( he say’s) mat7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets, `They will all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. John 8:47 Whoever belongs to God listens to what God says;

  2. Jesus, also REPEALED the “law of moses ” which condemned the use of unclean animals, and told his disciples that he came to fulfil that law, he also states that what he has cleansed he has cleansed . sorry your Bible thumping does not wash , so to speak . you can fool some of the people some of the time , but those well versed in the bible can’t be fooled ;)

    • Learning by His Will

      @Greywolf – the Messiah told the disciples not to listen or to follow the Takanot of the Pharisee’s. He, Yeshsua, (Jesus), said “they who sit in Moses’ seat do that which he (Moses) told you to do, follow not the teachings of the Pharisees’ for they do not follow his (Moses’) teachings…” So Greywolf you and I were fooled by the Western Christian teachings and you now have been shown a teaching and must now act on that teaching. We have both been preached “another Jesus” and it has infected the whole of the church.
      I pray the Great Spirit be your Teacher as He has been to me and His will be upon you as has been upon me. Shalom

    • Learning by His Will

      @Greywolf – The teaching you report was none other than the vision Peter saw as the men sent by Yehovah came to the house where he was staying. The vision was NOT to tell Peter to eat the unclean animals but to let him know that the men (not Hebrews) He had sent, he (Peter) was to go with. And Peter even told the meaning to the men when they came to him. You must research this and know that this “clean food teaching” is contrary to the teaching of our Heavenly Father. Yeshua (Jesus) would NOT go against the Law (TORAH) and never did. He did NOT repeal any of Elohims instruction. He, Yeshua even stated specifically that He came not to do away with the Law (instruction of God) and that not one jot or tittle would pass from it. Please do your research. There are reasons that our Heavenly Father has given us rules to live by, “That we may have life and have that life more abundantly”. Shalom!

  3. Amen! I’m sure glad I’m Christian so I can enjoy pork and shellfish and anything else that suits my fancy, like fat. Had I been a Jew I would have been in the Levite tribe. So I could have the good stuff. Lol.

    • I’m a Jew by faith. Where does that leave me? I’m not of the levite tribe either. I’m getting used to this kind of hatred and relegating to the back burner for my people. It’s tragic that Folks that call themselves Christian still think like this. I wonder where this kind of thinking leaves Jesus. He, after all, was a Jew and observed the law…not did away with the law[10 Commandments] on death and resurrection. He was asked what laws we should keep in the New Testament. I will leave that up to you to look up and prove me wrong… God bless

      • Yes, The laws of Moses and temple laws were done away with but not the Ten Commandments. They are found in the New Testament…

        • Honest question for you here.

          The Qu’ran makes provisions for the eating of those foods deemed unclean or improperly prepared as per the Halal code when it is a matter of survival. Do Judaic dietary rules have a similar caveat or is one “stained” in a religious sense if they violate them?

      • The dietary laws found in the OT in dealing with “unclean animals” was indeed changed by Jehovah himself when he spoke to Peter in Acts 10:9-15. I do not condone others abusive or glib comments as such are not reflective of God’s love which was lived out in flesh by his own son Jesus. I dont know if you are Orthodox or Messianic, but as a brother love you all the same. May He bless you and keep you.

        • I agree with you understanding of the scriptures, I am Messianic by faith. I use the dietary laws to stay away from the unclean things to have a healthy lifestyle and it works well. Unfortunately so many folks think they should do whatever they want to, which is their choice, but their health may suffer accordingly. I don’t keep the old laws just to keep them under the law. God Bless you brother

      • I did’t mean to sound insensitive. I’m just proud I have freedom through Christ, Old Nam Vet.

  4. Dietary ‘laws” weren’t laws until Moses. But even Noah knew that there were animals you ate and animals you didn’t. There’s a big difference between following it out of legality, and just realizing that God only designed some of the animals to be eaten. Its rather funny that many of the people who are so against eating “clean meat” would also never want to eat a fried vulture because it is nasty.

  5. Excellent article. When I discuss ‘unclean meats’ with folks I usually preface it by immediately kicking the religious aspect to the curb. The author explains in detail why humans should not consume ‘unclean meats” and seemed more intent on offering practical reasons, not religious dogma.

    Speaking of religion, I’m a graduate of a fundamentalist Bible college. One thing they taught was that when reading the Bible, one should always be careful of the context. I challenge anyone, reading the New Testament IN CONTEXT, to prove that the dietary laws were abolished for Christians. Yes, I know all the verses that folks point to and yes, I know what most pastors teach (remember where I said I went to school). But taken in proper CONTEXT those passage generally refer to meat offered to idols, not ‘unclean’ meat. Don’t believe me? Go back and read those passages again with an open mind and an eye on the actual context.

    Pork ribs are one of my favorite foods, but once I understood the context of Scripture and, more importantly, the reasons behind the prohibitions of unclean meat, I discontinued eating ribs. I’m not preaching or suggesting anyone else follow my lead. Eat what you want. It’s been my experience, in any event, that most Christians do what they want and then try to justify it by taking Scripture out of context. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

    The one forbidden meat I never understood was the hare (rabbit). Nutritious white meat with good protein. Why is it unclean? Turns out rabbits have underdeveloped digestive systems. When they retire to their burrows at night to avoid predators they eat their body waste to further ‘process’ it. Go figure!

    • Very true. I live in a small city in Wisconsin and see Rabbits doing just what you say, eating their own waste. I found some dogs do similar things just not sure if their systems are the same…

    • Trying to live on rabbit will kill you. They have no fat, and fat is a necessary part of the diet, essential to many processes, including mental functioning. It is also necessary to process several nutrients. In an era where people had no understanding of nutrition, there is some sense in banning rabbit, just as the other bans made sense in an era when processing them for eating would have been difficult to do safely. Despite your very contrived reasonings as to what the various animals eat, etc, safety would most likely have been the main reason for such food laws.
      We kept a pig last summer. On pasture, so she ate plants and grubs, some grain, and most of our leftovers–a very clean diet. And she is very tasty this winter.

  6. There is a major difference between “repealed” and “fulfilled”. No! Yeshua did not repeal any of the covenant terms and conditions. His appearance to Israel fulfilled what was prophesied about his coming in the law and the prophets, as He himself said.

    So you think you are, as you humbly state, “well versed in your bible.” Well, my friend you truly are deceived. Re-read Jeremiah 31:31-33. Read exactly what the New Covenant is; it is the Old Covenant re-established in the hearts of men, rather than tablets of stone. The terms and conditions are the same.

    However, if you wish to twist the Scriptures to consume a pork-laden diet, have at it! It might just be detrimental to your spiritual well-being, as well as your physical health.

    You might want to check into this condition, it is far more prevalent than the media advertises.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs6qm03g8c0

  7. To those without understanding the whole principles of the Bible refering to this page…

    Acts 10:9-16

    These verses are often touted as “proof” that God’s law concerning clean and unclean animals have been abolished. However, in the final analysis, this passage is not even about clean and unclean meats!

    In Peter’s vision, a huge sheet full of unclean animals is lowered from heaven, and a voice says, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” However, without hesitation Peter replies, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean” (verse 14). The Voice then responds, “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (verse 15).

    First, what is the subject of Acts 10? It is evident from a thorough reading of the chapter that it is entirely devoted to the conversion of Cornelius, a Roman centurion (verse 1), the first Gentile baptized into God’s church. Peter’s vision must be understood against this background to be understood correctly.

    Second, it is apparent that Peter himself does not at first understand what his vision meant (verse 17); he certainly does not jump to the conclusion that all meats are now clean. While he is pondering it, a delegation from Cornelius arrives and requests that he travel with them to Caesarea to speak to the centurion. God tells the apostle directly to go with the men, “for I have sent them” (verse 20). Obviously, God was orchestrating the whole affair.

    Third, if unclean meats had been approved, would Peter have not understood this from what he had learned from Jesus? He lived with his Savior for over three years. If anyone knew that the law of clean and unclean meats had been abolished by Christ’s sacrificial death, it would have been Peter, but at this point, a decade later, he is operating under no such notion.

    Fourth, his reply to the Voice, which Peter identifies as the Lord’s, is quite confident, even vehement: “Not so, Lord!” In our colloquial English, this is equivalent to “No way!” This was a command that the apostle knew went against everything he knew about God’s law. Even though the Voice repeats the command twice more (verse 16), Peter never changes his mind!

    Fifth, within the context, Peter himself reveals what the vision meant. To those assembled in Cornelius’ house, he says, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean” (verse 28). The vision of unclean animals was merely an illustration God used to help Peter understand that salvation was open to those previously held at arm’s length (see Acts 11:18). This is further evidenced by the Holy Spirit being poured out visibly on these Gentiles (Acts 10:44-47). Neither Peter nor Luke, the author of Acts, makes any further commentary regarding clean or unclean foods, as the vision had served a greater purpose.

    Lastly, nowhere in the context is it ever said that God had cleansed unclean meats—this is something assumed by readers with a predisposition against this statute regulating what we should eat. As Paul says, “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). Acts 10:1—11:18 confirms that “what God has cleansed” is the Gentiles, not unclean foods.

    http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Bible.show/sVerseID/27269/eVerseID/27276

  8. This article made me crave bacon, and generally any other “unclean meat” which tastes absolutely delicious. I’m think I’m going to go eat some pig slathered in lobster sauce. Wait, does this mean all of the ham served at the last church potluck was cursed??? Anyways, I love it when people pick and choose scripture to suit their needs, and I also love getting preached at from the interwebs pulpit. Now, where did I put that glass of bacon juice…I’m thirsty. Check that log in your own eye before replying.

    • Go right ahead, have a big glass of bacon juice, or pig slathered in lobster sauce! You reap what you sow, and you are responsible for your own destiny both in this world and the next. Have at it, no one is here to cast pearls before swine. Erm… as it were.

      • So what you are saying is, there is no way possible God fearing Christians can enjoy bacon or any other of the delicious beasts on your “dirty little creature” list and still be welcome into the Kingdom of God? I just want to make sure that’s what I’m reading from all of you perfect Christians who have zero sin in your life (not that eating bacon is a sin btw).

        So many believe their interpretation of the scripture is the only interpretation which is relevant and are quick to site passages which supposedly back up their claims. I for one do not take myself that seriously, and secondly always make sure to thank God for providing my meals (especially ones loaded with BACON).

        You guys are reminiscent of the pharisees if I don’t say so myself. Good luck with all that.

  9. There you have it, it’s in the bible god said it, Jess demands it, if you are Christian and follow the bible you can’t pic and choose,

  10. Dave! good understanding on Acts 10:9.

    Pig meat is absolutely loaded with parasites and toxins. ALL pig meat regardless of source. If in fact The Almighty had permitted the eating of swine flesh, wouldn’t he have removed the parasites? He didn’t remove them, and in fact states that eating it is an abomination. Isaiah 66:17 is referring to “end times.”

    The fastest track to clogged arteries and congestive heart failure is the regular consumption of pork. Parasites in the brain from the trichina worm is far more common than reported. Here is a link to a fox news report from several years ago that shows pork worm in the brain of a young mother. It shows the neurosurgeon removing a pork “maggot” from her brain. Scary!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs6qm03g8c0

    The following is a short excerpt from the book entitled “On Health and Holiness”, by Hezekiah Haas.

    Trichina is just one of 19 worms found in pigs.

    “Trichinosis, a parasitic infestation resulting from eating pig meat, is estimated at 150,000 cases in the USA each year. Many cases are serious. In some cases, trichinae spreads through the body, even into the brain. When this occurs, victims may experience unusual drowsiness, clouded consciousness, convulsive seizures, weakness, and in some cases, paralysis or coma. The Journal of the American Association points out that even smoked pork sausage can contain live trichanae cysts.”

    I certainly am no-one to judge anybody else’ in their consumption of pork, however, The Scripture absolutely does not support their decision to do so.

    • Citing health reasons now are we? I wonder how many anti-porkers can run a 6 minute mile or 5 miles in under 40 minutes. I’m 40 years old and pass my yearly physicals with flying colors, next week I’m going for a personal record of 365 in bench press….this weekend I’ll probably throw on my 75lb backpack and hike for 10 to 15 miles.

      I attribute all of my health to being blessed with awesome genetics, blessed with good health, and a large amount of critters in my diet.

      For those of you who state the scripture does not support the consumption of pork, there are no doubt loads of respected and tenured pastors or even professors of scripture who will call you crazy. I’m no pastor but I’ll call you crazy too, and think your opinion matters just about as much as the next guy who thinks his/her interpretation of the bible is the only one that matters. At the end of the day I answer to ONE Being and He does not reside on this earth.

  11. What category do catfish fall into? They have fins, yet they are a scavenger fish that eat the rotting remains of other fish along with the live prey that they can catch. Tilapia have scales and their primary diet is eating the poop of other fish. That’s why fish farms have been raising tilapia and selling them along with the other fish they are raising. They serve the purpose of cleaning the tank of other fishes waste without having to feed them fish food and then they can be sold for profit as well. I think if most people knew that about tilapia they wouldn’t eat them. I know I stopped eating them after I found that out. So confusing???? Mainly I’m curious about catfish because they are a pretty big part of our diet down here in the south.

  12. Did you know that in the Bible, animals that are considered ‘unclean’ were not to be sacrificed in the sacrificial system to God? Only animals that were classified as clean were to be sacrificed to God.

    The Creator of heaven and earth knows what’s healthy to eat and what’s not. Take these verses in the New Testament that people use as an excuse to eat anything they want. The majority of ‘Christians’ misunderstand 1 Timothy 4:4,5.

    The New Testament says, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” 1Timothy 4:4,5.

    What do these verses mean? Animals to be used as food is sanctified (set apart as holy) by two (2) things: 1. The Word of God (God lets us know in the Bible what’s healthy and what’s not) and 2. prayer.

  13. ……. you may be right,…… I may be crazy,…… but I just might be that lunatic that………….won’t have pork maggots eating away at my brain. I suppose it only becomes a “salvation” issue if you end up having your skull sawed open on the operating table. I just don’t care to roll the dice.

    As for all these “tenured pastors” that may label me crazy, I believe the Scriptures refer to them as “hirelings. :)

    I respect your opinion and your stance on the issue, as far as I’m concerned both the article and the comments are interesting. Certainly not a reason to point fingers in condemnation.

    We all will give an account of ourselves before the Creator, and we will not be able to point our fingers at the hirelings either.

    Be well and blessed.

  14. Consumption of Clean vs Scavengers. Would you rather rinse off then eat a filet that was drug across the floor of a ‘hay wagon’ or a ‘garbage truck’, drug thru a ‘water barrel’ or a septic tank’? Obviously the health risks would depend on how the ‘container’ was used and obvious that greater risk is thru exposure to the ‘clean up container’. IMO, the ‘dietary laws’ are warnings NOT commandments.

  15. I love bacon! Lobster too, but I had crabs once and didn’t enjoy the feeling one bit. God bless.

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