The Difference Between
Clean and Unclean
Everyone knows, or at least knows of the Ten Commandments, the ten laws, written by the finger of God, and presented to Moses on Mount Sinai. They are the basis of our rules as Christians, guidelines that show us what is expected of us by our Creator. In addition, we can read the many parables and stories of the Bible to guide us on our way, to show us the difference between good and evil. But have we been missing something? How can we be so naïve to believe that God gave us only ten laws to keep people as hard-headed as you and me, on the straight and narrow path? No, there are many more very important laws, still applicable today. The purpose of this booklet is to provide a common-sense study into one of those laws, detailing, from beginning to end: "...the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten." Leviticus 11:46
Throughout the course of this booklet, it will be explained with much scripture, expounded upon by myself, and riddled with facts that will (hopefully) cause the reading audience to think.
It is written to be used as a reference guide, and should be no substitute to picking up the Bible for yourself and reading the complete chapters pertaining to this subject, in their respective Books.
The majority of the contents will be scripture, (using the King James Version), and for a very good reason, because what better way to learn the subject, than to go straight to the source. Some of the verses I felt needed some input for the sake of explanation, and for that reason, I will be interrupting at various points in our study, to expound upon what is written. As you read through the book, it should be self explanatory what is from the Bible (in Bold), and what is my input. Keep in mind that the source with the most credence and authority is always the Bible.
So what does this have to do with me, as a gentile?
It is important to note that the difference between clean and unclean has been with us since the beginning: "And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. 2Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female." Genesis 7:1-2
From this verse, we see that this practice is clearly not just for the Jews. Noah (centuries before the Jews came into existence) was instructed by God to take careful consideration into whether or not the animals were clean, so that in the future, the clean animals would be more plentiful when they would be needed for food.
So, what does the New Testament have to say about this?
Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:10And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. 17Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean... Acts 10:9-17
Now, you are probably thinking "WHAT? You’ve got to be KIDDING! You write this whole thing, telling us that this is wrong, and you go and put a story like that PROVING that God told Peter in the New Testament that eating these things are perfectly acceptable now!
Or you may say, "I know this story very well.. This is the reason I eat those animals. God said it was fine."
I’ve talked to numerous people who have been mislead to believe that the consumption of unclean foods are perfectly acceptable because it is discussed in this story. However, this is perfectly understandable. All you have to do is miss ONE sentence.
You see, there’s an unusual peculiarity in this story.
The whole point of the vision is in the middle of the chapter. Now, if you have been breaking the law of clean and unclean based on the first part of this story, please don’t be harsh on yourself. As I was researching for this book, I had that sentence right in front of me, and I actually didn’t see it. I missed it! I actually started looking in the next chapter!
Now here it is, the explanation of the vision, right in front of you:
...And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. 28And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for... Acts 10:27-29
And in the future?
In the future, there is grave sentencing to those who would choose to eat unclean animals: "For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.17They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD." Isaiah 66:16-17
We can clearly see from the previous information that observation of the laws of the clean and of the unclean are for you and me both as Christians, regardless of race or culture we were raised in. As we read in Acts, obviously these laws were adhered to by the Disciples in the New Testament, and they are to be strictly followed by our future generations, or punishment is promised.
Yes, this law still applies today, and as such, we, as Christians have to abide by it. What follows is a study of Leviticus 11 which presents a well written account on the subject. You will find most of the chapter here, and after reading it here, I suggest that you sit down and read the chapter through from verse 1 to verse 47 in your Bible. After we are through with Leviticus, we will go on to Deuteronomy 14, where we will again, read part of it here, and the rest, you should read right in your Bible.
So, if we’re ready to start, let’s begin our study with Leviticus 11:1-47
And the LORD spake......saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
This is all you really need to know to discern clean from unclean. Those that have a split hoof, and chew the cud (such as a cow) are clean. The next four verses explain the fact that animals who are not cloven footed and do not chew the cud are not to be eaten.
the animal must chew the cud and divide the hoof before it is clean:
4Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. 5And the coney (rabbit?), because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. 6And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. 7And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
The four most popular meats are cow, swine (or pig), chicken, and turkey. Pig meat is, sadly enough, in this list. If everyone was aware of the characteristics of swine, more than likely they would think twice before touching one ounce of swine’s meat. I will name a few examples of this:
• #1. pigs do not sweat, therefore, they withhold in their body all of the intoxicating, deadly poisons which would otherwise be perspired.
• #2. there are microscopic worms in pigs that, when not cooked properly, may result in a disease called trichinosis. Here is the dictionary reference for the disease: "trich·i·no·sis n. 1. A disease caused by eating undercooked meat, usually pork, that contains trichinae, which develop as adults in the intestines and as larvae in the muscles, causing intestinal disorders, fever, nausea, muscular pain, and edema of the face.’’ These examples are just two of the reasons that would cause discomforting feelings when seeing a chunk of ham resting in the meat section on your local buffet.
8Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.
This verse tells us not to touch any dead thing that is not clovenfooted, or that does not chew the cud.
9These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. 10And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: 11They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. 12Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.
Clean fish have both fins and scales.
13And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray (sea eagle), 14And the vulture, and the kite (falcon) after his kind; 15Every raven after his kind; 16And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow (sea gull?), and the hawk after his kind, 17And the little owl, and the cormorant (darter?),and the great owl, 18And the swan,...
This is most probably not the swan we are familiar with, but there is some uncertainty to what bird it actually is.
...and the pelican, and the gier eagle (probably: little vulture),19And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing (hoopoe?), and the bat. 20All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you.
It is beyond the scope of this booklet to get into and list all the fowls that we may eat. Turkey, chicken, quail, and pheasant are the most common clean fowls being eaten today. So, for the sake of time, we won’t discuss all the different fowls.
21Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; 22Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. 23But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.
Though these insects are commonly called pests, they can be eaten.
24And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even.
A man that touches a dead unclean animal, will be unclean until that evening.
......26The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean. 27And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even. 28And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you.
A man that carries a dead unclean animal, will be unclean until that evening.
29These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind, 30And the ferret (hedgehog?), and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole. 31These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even.
Now we get into regular cleanliness matters:
32And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed.
Now I will give you the dictionary definition for "Vessel 1. A hollow utensil, such as a cup, vase, or pitcher, used as a container, especially for liquids." In Bible times, an animal could walk into one’s open faced tent with all of one’s "vessels" right before them, but today, people have houses that these animals cannot enter.
33And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.
We don’t really have to worry about this verse talking about pottery, earthenware plates, and containers because:
•#1. Most people today keep their dishes elevated in shelves or closed up in cabinets.
•#2. Very few people use earthen containers. The reason for this verse is, even though people did not have a full understanding of germs back then, God did, and told Moses to write that verse down. The animal would fall dead into one of their dishes, the germs would embed themselves into the pottery. It would be hard to get the germs out of the clay vessel; therefore, they had to break it.
......35And every thing whereupon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean, and shall be unclean unto you.
The probability of these things happening are extremely rare, but, in previous years, this verse was needed.
36Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean. 37And if any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean. 38But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you. 39And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even. 40And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even.
This last verse tells us that if a man touches, eats, or carries any clean animal that has died, even though the animal is clean, the man is unclean until the evening.
41And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten. 42Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.
43Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. 44For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 45For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. 46This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: 47To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.
Now, not many people (who are not aware of these things) are going to enjoy learning this; I am sure swine’s meat has an agreeable taste for some (not knowing exactly the taste of it), but, eating it is in violation of "...the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth."
Let’s go to Deuteronomy 15:2-21 for more on this matter.
2For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. 3Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing. 4These are the beasts which ye shall eat:
Now it gives us a list of a few clean and unclean meats:
the ox, the sheep, and the goat,5The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg (mtn. goat), and the wild ox (antelope?), and the chamois (mtn. sheep). 6And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.......9These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat: 10And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you.......19And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten. 20But of all clean fowls ye may eat.
This is, in many ways, what may be called a review of what is said in Leviticus 11.
21Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God.
An animal, unclean or clean, that died by itself, is not to be eaten by the Lord’s chosen people. The next verse is from Isaiah 66:17.
17They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine’s flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD.
Here Isaiah is talking about a future time when people are consumed for eating unclean meats. The laws given by God in the Old Testament are still applicable today, for "..I am the LORD, I change not.." Malachi 3:6
Many times kosher is mistaken with clean. After researching the hebrew
Strongs Reference #3787kasher ( kaw-share’ ) right, prosper, direct, to succeed, please, be suitable, be proper, be advantageous, be right and proper to. The three occurrences of kasher (Es 8:5, Ec 10:10, Ec 11:6) has no reference to clean (Lev 11:47 tahowr #2889) and unclean (Lev 11:47 tame’ #2931), or anything associated with eating.
Below are references of every occurrence of kosher (kasher #3787)
And said, If it please the king, and if I have found favour in his sight, and the thing seemright 3787 before the king, and I be pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to reverse the letters devised by Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to destroy the Jews which are in all the king’s provinces:
If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitableto direct 3787. 11Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.
In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whethershall prosper, 3787 either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
•Clean animals chew the cud and have a parted hoof.
•Clean fish have both fins and scales.
•If a man touches, eats, or carries any clean animal that has died
of his own, the man is unclean until the evening.
•If a mantouches or carries any unclean animal that has died, the
man is unclean until the evening.
•If a man eats any unclean animal, the man is unclean.
Clean animals are the only animals suitable for human consumption. Unclean animals were made to control garbage and other wastes. If any difficulties arise in your transition to clean animals, "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. ...Ephesians 6:11". Also, stand strong, ask for help, and conquer the temptation to put any bite of unclean animal into your mouth, for "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. ...Philippians 4:13". Acts 10:14 tells us that Peter had never eaten any unclean animal. Later in the chapter, we find out that God was really showing Peter to call no man unclean. Still, this is a perfect example of how, in The New Testament, God’s followers were perfectly obeying His "law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature..."
It is most natural for you to want to check this out more thoroughly, and I encourage you to do so. There are many good articles about this subject, on the web, via E-mail forums, and postage mail documents; but I suggest you use the Bible for your main reference, in your search of
"The Difference Between Clean and Unclean."