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Is All Animal Flesh Good Food?
Plain Truth Magazine
October 1948
Volume: Vol XIII, No.4
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Is All Animal Flesh Good Food?
Herbert W Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Ordained: 1931
Office: Apostle

Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.

   MORE than 300 letters have come recently from all parts of the United States asking for the PLAIN TRUTH about "clean" and "unclean" meats."
   After thousands of years of human experience on earth it seems there still is nothing people know less about than food.
   Observe a little baby. It seems to think that anything and everything its little chubby hands can get into its mouth is good to eat and everything baby gets his hands on goes straight to his mouth! How often must young parents take things away, and try to teach the lovely little bundle of humanity that everything one's hands can touch is not necessarily good for the digestion!
   Well, one might wonder if any of us has grown up! Most of us adults still seem to think that anything we can stuff in our mouths is good for food. About the only difference between us and the baby is that baby puts into his mouth whatever looks good, and we employ the sense of taste in deciding what goes into our mouths.
   Your stomach is your fuel tank. Your automobile's fuel tank is its stomach. You wouldn't think of pouring just any old thing that will pour into the stomach of your car. You know that your car was not made to consume and "digest" fuel oil, water, milk, or kerosene.
   Yes, we are very careful what we "feed" our automobile and totally careless and indifferent what we feed ourselves and our children!
   What happens to the food you eat? In the stomach the digestive process takes place. And, once digested if you have eaten fit and digestible food the essential minerals, vitamins, and carbon the life-giving properties in the food filter thru the intestinal lining into the blood stream to replenish and build up decaying cells, to provide energy, body warmth, good health. Your body is WONDERFULLY MADE! It is the most wonderful mechanism in the world.
   But, just as you must use the right kind of gasoline in the gas tank and the right kind of oils and greases in the other parts of your car or impair its performance, so you must put the right kind of food into the most delicate mechanism of all, your body. If you try to oil a fine watch with axle grease you wouldn't expect the watch to keep good time. And when you put into your stomach all kinds of foul things which the Great Architect who designed your human mechanism never intended, you foul up your body and bring on sickness, disease, aches, pains, a dulled and clogged up mind, inefficiency and inability and you commit suicide on the installment plan by actually shortening your life!
   The God who designed, created, and made your body has revealed some essential basic knowledge about what meats will keep that body functioning in tiptop shape. Why will we refuse His instruction?
   You don't eat every plant that grows out of the ground. Some things that grow are POISON, not food. But did you know there are many kinds of poisons? Potassium cyanide will kill you very quickly. Some poisons will result in death within a few hours or a few days, But very few seem to know there are other poisons people mistakenly eat as foods which result in premature death after continuous usage for, say, ten, or thirty, or fifty years. The only difference between these poisons we falsely call foods and potassium cyanide is the relative number of minutes, hours, or years it takes to accomplish its killing mission.
   Just as every vegetation that God caused to grow out of the ground was not designed for food, so it is with animal flesh. Some will say, "Well, if swine's flesh isn't supposed to be eaten as food, what did God create swine for?" You might as well ask, what did God create weeds and poison vines for? Everything may have been created for a purpose, but not everything for the one purpose of eating.
   Now some believe that in the original creation in the Garden of Eden God did not intend any animal flesh to be eaten. God's revelation on that point is vague, and many have argued it both ways. However, God has revealed that certain animal meats are to be eaten as food now, in this age, and Jesus who came to set us an example did eat flesh as well as vegetables and fruits, and so do I.
   When the very first written revelation came from God to man thru Moses, God instructed man as to which kinds of animal flesh man ought or ought not to eat.
   You will find this list in Leviticus 11. This is not a ceremonial, ritualistic, or sacrificial law later done away at the crucifixion of Christ. This is a basic law a revelation from God to instruct man in which kinds of flesh will properly digest and assimilate in the human system, and which will not. It is not a part of God's great SPIRITUAL LAW, summed up in the Ten Commandments.
   It is necessary to understand that God is the author of ALL law, and there are countless laws in motion. There are laws of physics and chemistry. You know of the law of gravity. There is the great immutable SPIRITUAL law to regulate man's relationship to God and to fellowman the law of LOVE the Ten Commandments. God gave His nation Israel civil statutes and judgments NATIONAL laws for the conduct of the national government. Israel was also His church, under the Old Covenant. And for the dispensation then present God gave Israel rituals and ceremonial laws for the conduct of religious services, laws relating to typical and temporary sacrifices, meat and drink offerings temporary SUBSTITUTES for Christ and the Holy Spirit. Those laws, of course, ended when the Reality came.
   And then, we must realize, THERE ARE PHYSICAL LAWS WORKING IN OUR BODIES, REGULATING OUR HEALTH. Now this MEAT question has to do with these laws!
   I have known men who make a hobby of bitterly accusing others of SIN for eating pork, oysters, and clams.
   Let us get this straight and clear!
   We usually speak of SIN in its spiritual aspect. That is the aspect in which it usually is considered in the New Testament. The Bible definition of it is this: "Sin is the transgression of the law."
   The penalty, for violation of that spiritual law is DEATH but not the first, or physical death, but the second, or spiritual, and ETERNAL death in the "lake of fire" (Rev. 20:14).
   Now the eating of wrong food is not a transgression of this spiritual law, and is not a sin in this sense. To violate the physical laws of health brings the penalty of disease, disability, pain, sickness, and the first death. It is not necessarily spiritual sin.
   That is what Jesus made plain, as recorded in Mark 7:14-23. Here Jesus was speaking of spiritual defilement, not physical health. Not that which enters into a man's mouth, but the evil that comes OUT OF HIS HEART, defiles the man SPIRITUALLY. What defiles the MAN and he is speaking of defiling the MAN, not injuring the body is transgression of the Ten Commandments evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, blasphemy (verses 21-22), etc. These things have to do with the SPIRITUAL law, and not with the physical laws of health. Specifically he was referring to a possible particle of dirt which might get on food from dirty and unwashed hands He was not here speaking specifically of clean or unclean meats at all. But He was speaking of SPIRITUAL defilement, not physical health.
   The animals whose flesh properly digests and nourishes the human body were SO MADE IN THE ORIGINAL CREATION. No change was ever made in the structure of men's bodies at the time of the flood, or at the time of Jesus' death, or any other time. Neither did God make some sudden change in the structure of animal flesh, so that what once was unfit for food will now digest properly and supply the body's needs.
   The unclean animals were UNCLEAN BEFORE THE FLOOD. Notice, before the Flood, Noah took into the ark of the CLEAN animals, to be eaten for food, by SEVENS; but of the unclean, of which he was not to eat during the Flood, by TWOS only enough to preserve their lives. The inference is inescapable that the additional clean animals were taken aboard to be eaten for food while Noah and his family were in the ark.
   The instruction in the 11th chapter of Leviticus, then, was not some ritualistic regulation for the Mosaic period only. Why do so many people have the idea that God is some great unfair monster who imposes foolish hardships on His people? Whatever God instructs us is for OUR GOOD, not some nonsensical restriction for one period to be changed around some different way for other people of a different period.
   Swine flesh pork, ham, bacon, sausage, etc. is simply NOT FIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION. The same is true with oysters, lobsters, dogs, snakes, rats, and skunks. It's all a matter of what we have become accustomed to doing. It seems strange and horrifying to us to hear that some Chinese eat mice as a delicacy. But the Chinese are horrified to hear that we eat nasty, slimy, filthy oysters! But some human grownups, like little babies, will eat anything they can get their hands on and stuff into their mouths, At so-called "quality" grocery stores in large towns and cities, specializing in rare delicacies, you can purchase "delicious" canned rattlesnake if you care for it. So far as I am concerned, you may have my portion if you wish to try it. I do not care to eat it for the same reason I do not eat slugs, skunks, cats, or eels for the same reason I do not eat poison ivy or weeds. Yes, and for the same reason I do not put fuel oil in the gas tank of my car!
   The day will come when the learned (so-called) doctors will at last learn that eating greasy hog flesh and other unfit "foods" has been a prime cause of cancer and other deadly diseases.
   But what about the sheet of unclean animals shown to the Apostle Peter in a vision? Did this vision change the entire composition of all unclean animals, or of human digestive apparatus, so that these unfit things suddenly became nourishing food? NOT AT ALL! The purpose of this vision was NOT to change God's food and health laws which have been inexorably in motion from the beginning, but its purpose was to show Peter "that I should not call ANY MAN COMMON OR UNCLEAN" (Acts 10:28). Jews had been taught to regard Gentiles like unclean animals to have nothing to do with them.
   Paul teaches us not to judge one another because of what the other eats or does not eat but he does not teach us to eat that which is UNCLEAN and unfit for food. He does, however, put the spiritual welfare of another ahead of the physical welfare of our own bodies. We are not to let our knowledge of God's instruction about meats to become a spiritual stumbling block to another. If we are invited to the home of one not a Christian, or not possessing this knowledge, and we accept the invitation, we are to eat such things as are set before us, asking no questions. Better let a little small portion of unfit meat go down your stomach this once than arouse the prejudice and indignation of another against your religion and turn him forever from the truth.
   Two other points to be briefly mentioned. God condemns also the eating of animal FAT, or BLOOD (Lev. 3:17; 7:23; etc.). Butter, olive oil, and some vegetable oils and shortenings are all right, but animal fat should be cut off before eating meat. Hamburger is not good because mixed with much fat. Lard should never be used. These things will wreck any stomach in time.
   It may not be spiritual sin to eat unclean meats. Yet, if one deliberately does it out of lust of appetite that breaks the tenth command and becomes sin. But in all events wrong food injures the body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It defiles the BODY if not the man, and if we defile our bodies God will destroy us. Read I Cor. 3:17.

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Plain Truth MagazineOctober 1948Vol XIII, No.4
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