Your Bible Questions Answered
Good News Magazine
August 1963
Volume: Vol XII, No. 8
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Your Bible Questions Answered
Good News Staff  

Matthew 15:17 "... whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught," seems to indicate that there is no difference between clean and unclean meats that all meat is clean to eat. Would you explain this?

   Notice the context and the subject. The KEY to this question is revealed in verse two: "Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they WASH NOT THEIR HANDS when they eat bread."
   Here was the problem. The Pharisees were accusing and judging Christ and His disciples because they did not laboriously scrub and wash their hands ceremonially before they ate!
   There is NOT one word in this chapter about unclean meats.
   The Pharisees legalistic as they were had many traditions and minute points of law which they scrupulously observed. Included among these rituals was the constant washing of their hands before eating.
   They had thrown away GOD'S LAW and were observing their OWN traditions. "For laying aside the commandment of God. ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do" (Mark 7:8).
   Notice again the problem. The Pharisees were washing cups, pots, their hands thinking THIS kept them from being spiritually defiled.
   So Christ explained. Whatever small amount of soil or dirt consumed does not harm the body nor defile the person. Ordinarily inorganic dirt is not assimilated by the body. It is rejected through the intestinal tract.
   As Christ told them: " eat with unwashed hands DEFILETH NOT a man" (Matt. 15:20). Again, the problem was EATING with unwashed hands. NOTHING has been said about clean or unclean meats! There is no contradiction to other scriptures which deal with clean or unclean meats because this chapter deals with the ritual of the Pharisees and NOT with the health laws of God. We must go to OTHER scriptures to find what God says concerning clean and unclean meats. These laws are found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 and in no way conflict with Matthew 15.

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Good News MagazineAugust 1963Vol XII, No. 8