While Jews and Islams are subject to many food restrictions (e.g., for Pork in Torah – Deuteronomy 14:8 & Leviticus 11:7), So, despite having direct roots from Judaism, should Christians eat pork?
Pig’s meat makes many products, including pork loin, pork ribs, pork chops, sausage, bacon, and ham. So, I’ll examine this question – should Christians eat Pork? and Should Christians follow the Old-Testament dietary laws?
In summary, Yes – Christians eat Pork. In Mark 7:15-19 (New Testament era), Jesus affirmed that all foods (pork included) were made “clean” – and thus the Mosaic dietary laws (Deuteronomy 14 & Leviticus 11) for religious reasons are abolished.
Christians are allowed to eat Pork since they know and believe that Christ Jesus has freed and saved us from the curse caused by the Law (Galatians 3:13) – he became a curse for the Gentiles (when he was hanged on the pole (cross)).
Christians can eat Pork under these conditions: (1) Acts 15:28-29) – It wasn’t offered to idols. (2) 1st Tim. 4: 4-5 – They receive it with thanksgiving. Christians must keep their bodies clean (as the temple of God – (1 Cor 6:19-20).
Details: Should Christians Eat Pork? New vs. Old Testament
First, what did the Old Testament Dietary Laws say about Eating Pork?
Under the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 14 & Leviticus 11), Hebrews were forbidden from eating “unclean” meat. As a people holy to the Lord, God allowed them only to eat;
- Animals with both a divided hoof and that chew the cud (including sheep, cattle, goat, gazelle, etc.)
- Living creatures that live in the waters (seas and streams) provided they had scales and fins.
- Non-scavenging birds and vouchers
- Some flying insects (winged) with jointed legs for hopping (e.g., grasshopper, cicada, cricket, and locusts, etc.)
Below is an outline of why and When Christians can now eat Pork, including its products. An outline of the new testament about eating pork.
1. Mark 7:15-19 and Matthew 15:17-20 – New Testament era – All Food is Clean
For Christians, the change from the Old Testament dietary laws can be seen from the life and ministry of Jesus Christ (Mark 7:15-19) and that of Peter (Acts 10:9-16) & apostles (Romans 14:1-23).
In Mark chapter 7 (titled as “That which Defiles”)
- Jesus rebukes the Pharisees (Jewish religious elders) who were complaining that Jesus’ disciples did not follow the ritual cleaning practice – hypocrites!
- Jesus noted that the Pharisees were following the outward laws while not living according to God’s command.
Jews continue waiting for a messiah and thus follow the mosaic law. For Christians, the Messiah (Jesus Christ) has already revealed himself.
. . . (Jesus declared all foods clean) Mark 7:19
Mark 7:18, Jesus tells them that whatever goes into their body won’t defile them since it doesn’t get into the heart (verse 20), but that which comes out of them can defile – leading to sins like slander, deceit, greed, adultery, and murder.
- The Old Testament laws denoted as clean and unclean concentrated on diet and hygiene – this is okay.
- But, the main point was the rules showed a picture of the most important – the inside.
- Clean hands (as practiced in the ritual cleaning practice), but a clean and pure heart is better.
In verse 19, there is a comment in most translation, such as the NIV saying that “Jesus proclaimed all foods acceptable or clean before God.”
However, despite that, some scholars believe that the comment was just a footnote in the old handwritten scriptures – Mark 7:19 is clearly outlined that Christians can eat other meats, including Pork.
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2. Acts 10 – Peter’s Vision – Sheet with Animals
That Jesus and his ministry declared “all foods” clean (on the question – can Christians eat Pork?) was made more explicit through Apostle Peter – read Acts 10.
In Acts 10:12, Peter is seen on the housetop praying, and he sees a vision of a sheet filled with “all types of clean & unclean four-footed animals, untamed beasts, creeping animals, and fowls of the air.”
God prepared Peter (a Jew) with the vision so that he could minister to Cornelius (the God-fearing Gentile), where he was instructed to kill and eat all the animals presented.
Peter’s response was a “No” – that he’d not kill and eat animals that were considered unclean under Mosaic Law. Thus, in Acts 10:9-16, Gods instructs Peter, he’d declared the animals as clean.
God in Acts 10:9-16 enabled Peter to go monster to Cornelius, live in the Gentile home, and share the Gentile food. God removed the restrictions that would stop disciples from ministering to all people.
So, back to the question, can Christians eat Pork? God answered directly to Peter that he had made what was previously unclean (including Pork) to be clean.
- The book of Acts documents the life and works of followers of Jesus plus the transformation of Christianity from just a Jewish sect into a religion with a broader population.
- In Acts 15, many non-Jews (considered as gentiles) were converting to Christianity – and thus, the challenge was the Jews demanded that they adhere to the Jewish law, including getting circumcised.
The Christian council was required to decide on how to overcome the stumbling block for the spread of the gospel. Before they did this, Peter had the eating “unclean” creature’s vision.
Peter, born and raised a Jew, could not obey the voice telling him to eat what was consider “unclean.” But a voice commanded him not to call what God had cleaned as unclean.
- When gentile believers started coming to Peter, that’s when he began understanding that the vision required that the gentiles (non-jews) must not be considered as unclean.
3. Acts 15: 22 – Council’s’s Letter sent to Gentile Believers
In Acts 15, the council created the guidelines for non-jews (gentiles). The guidelines did not stop them from eating what was, in the Mosaic law, described as “unclean foods” like Pork.
Accordingly, the disciples delivered the good news to all nations, and hence more Gentiles started believing in Christ. The Apostles outlined two key dietary rules to the gentiles:
- Don’t eat or touch meat or food sacrificed to idols and don’t eat blood. This served as a public show that Christians don’t worship gods.
- Don’t eat the meat of all strangled animals and keep off from sexual immorality (Acts 15:28-29)
Thus, the council made laws abolishing the distinction between gentiles and the Jewish Christians – dropping the dietary mosaic requirements.
As Christians, we are saved by the Grace of God – and following the Mosaic Laws is considered as just necessarily other conditions to achieve salvation.
Read Also: What Old Testament Laws Still Apply?
4. Timothy 4:1-5 – Apostle Paul – Pork and all Food is Clean
In 1st Timothy 4:1-5, Paul warns Christians against people who will mislead believers in the later times – the people (Hypocritical Liars) will make Christians follow Mosaic dietary laws.
Paul notes that Liars would forbid Christians from marrying, and they’d also make them avoid taking certain foods – termed them as doctrines or teaching from the demons.
Paul repeats God’s word to Peter that all foods were made for true believers to receive them with thanksgiving.
From 1st Timothy 4:1-5; its clear that anyone who follows or teaches the following of the dietary laws from the Old Testament stpereading the teachings of the demons.
Thus, Mosaic dietary laws were set aside and are no longer followed. Therefore, all the foods are clean, including seafood, crab, shrimp, and pig (Pork) – and Gentiles are clean too.
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Finally, Are Christians Allowed To Eat Pork?
Romans 14:17 outlines that the Kingdom of God won’t be won by adhering to the Old Testament dietary laws (meat or drink).
Only Jesus can save us if we commit our lives by living with joy, peace, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit. Jesus and paul declared all food clean.
Under the new Covenant, every food is declared clean, but we must keep honor God with our bodies. We must, however, not eat food set aside for idols, blood, or practice sexual immorality.
Finally, check this Pat Robertson interview on youtube: