Question from a reader:
Hello, I am a Christian “messianic”/ “Hebrew roots” type of guy. I am curious about how you can use Peter’s vision to say that all food is clean and ok to eat even when YHVH told us that certain things are not food — such as pork. Can you biblically explain this to me? Thank you, shalom!
Yes, I believe that Peter’s vision in Acts 10 was even more startling to him than it is to you and me. When God said, “Get up Peter, kill and eat” even the unclean animals, Peter’s Jewish heritage immediately made him kick back against this idea. His trained conscience would have never let him eat what was prohibited by the Levitical law. However, the whole point of this vision was to illustrate the new covenant. Christ had fulfilled the law, even the strict Jewish ceremonial laws, and Peter needed a very graphic illustration in order to re-train his mind (Romans 12:1-2) through a transition from law to grace (Romans 6:14).
While still under the law, Christ had commissioned the disciples not to go to Gentiles, but to go to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 10:5-6). However, now, under grace, he was being told to go to the Gentiles, as Christ commanded in the Great commission (Matthew 28:19-20). On the cross, Christ had broken down the wall (Ephesians 2:14-18) between Jews and Gentiles.
Now, this passage uses symbolism to illustrate the transition from law to grace. However, it does not invalidate the truths buried in the Mosaic Law. Remember that Christ fulfilled the law, but he did not invalidate it. The physical truths of the law are just as alive as they ever were. I believe that we would do ourselves a favor by continuing to adhere, in a physical way, to the dietary laws of the Old Testament. For more information on this, please see my article entitled Pork.