Kashrut, by Ya'acov Wolfaardt
In years, months and weeks
gone by I have noticed a complete lack of Kashrut
observance among the Messianic believers. This I observed among both American
and other believers we came across.
What does Kashrut observance entail? It means the observance of kosher according to the Torah. The Torah is complete in the observance or adhering to kosher, but it is also useful to read in the Prophets (Nevi'im) and Writings (Kethuvim) on this most important subject.
We profess to be Israel, and is correct in doing so, for YHWH only have one people, and that is Israel. He does not have two peoples or two sets of commandments or two sets of laws for the Jews and the gentiles. Israel is His people, and what is expected of the Jew is also expected of the gentile. The gentile cannot be saved other than becoming part of Israel. This however is a teaching to be studied in depth on its own. You are encouraged to read other materials available from us on this subject, "Who is Yisra'el?". If we therefore profess to be part of Israel, we should also behave as Israelites to observe the Torah.
The Torah is the foundation of teaching, and in essence means "teaching". Our walk before YHWH should be in strict adherence to the Torah. We cannot pick and choose from the Torah what we wish to and what we wish not to observe or keep. One of the teachings of the Torah is the observance of Kashrut.
Most Messianic believers have come to the point of not eating pork (swine, hog). This is good. Why don't we eat pork? Because the Torah says we should not eat pork (Way. / Lev. 11:7; Devarim / Deut. 14:8). We also read in Yesh. / Isa. 66:16-17 that judgement will come upon those who eat pigs. Those who eat pigs flesh will be destroyed by fire!
Kosher foods consist of much more that not eating pigs however. If you have not read it before, seriously study Wayyiqra / Leviticus 11 and Devarim / Deuteronomy 14. In these two chapters YHWH tells us in detail which of the animals of the land, sky and sea we are allowed to eat, and which not. Even of which insects we may and may not eat. YHWH had very good reason for this. The unclean animals are normally of a type that carry disease and are used by the Almighty as scavengers, cleaners or "dustbins" to prevent disease from spreading. However, if we eat of these unclean animals, we will become like them - unclean and not acceptable to YHWH. The purpose of YHWH giving us the Torah on clean and unclean animals is to set us apart, as He is set-apart. He did not eat any unclean animal, and if we wish to become like Him; set-apart, we should also do likewise.
For the purpose of this study I will assume that you all have come to the point of accepting that the entire Scripture (Bereshith / Genesis to Revelation) " ..is inspired by YHWH and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness." 2 Tim. 3:16. Once we have come to this point of understanding, we should not have any problem in adhering to the entire Word of YHWH.
If you are observant not to eat any unclean animal, you are doing well; you are obeying the Torah of YHWH, and doing as the prophets and apostles did.
There is however more to Kashrut than not eating unclean animals. According to the same Torah that forbids us to eat unclean animals, we are also not allowed to eat animals not slaughtered according to the instructions that YHWH gave us in the Torah. We cannot simply walk into the butchery and buy any beef, sheep or lamb. That beef, sheep or lamb, although being of clean animals, are not kosher for a Messianic believer unless slaughtered according to the Torah.
What does the Torah teach on this? When Israel, our fathers who came out of Mitsrayim, were in the wilderness, YHWH gave them specific instructions as to how they were to slaughter animals for food. Read Wayyiqra / Leviticus 17 intensely. Why did YHWH tell them to bring whatever they slaughtered to the Dwelling Place? It was to teach them how to slaughter it - unto YHWH. Unto no one else is Israel allowed to slaughter an animal. If they did not bring the animals to the Dwelling Place, they had bloodguilt on their hands. What does bloodguilt mean? It means the same as killing an innocent animal without reason. Killing any animal not unto YHWH is an abomination! It is equal to murder. While in the wilderness, if any person killed an animal other than at the Dwelling Place, he was cut off from Israel (v. 4). They were to bring their slaughtering to YHWH, and YHWH was only at one place - the Dwelling Place (Temple).
Why did He institute this practice? We read in verse 7, "And let them no longer slaughter their slaughterings to demons, after whom they whored. THIS IS A LAW FOREVER FOR THEM THROUGHOUT THEIR GENERATIONS." So, even today, we are not allowed to slaughter an animal to a demon. We will come back to this later. YHWH wanted to teach Israel that when they slaughtered an animal, it must always be unto Him. Read verses 8 and 9 again.
(Please do yourself a favour - read the Scriptures that I refer to in this teaching. Without them you will not be able to grasp the fullness of this very important message.)
When Israel came to the Land, YHWH already taught them for 40 years that when they slaughtered an animal, they had to do it unto Him, and the place of doing it, was at the Dwelling Place (the Tabernacle). That is the place where YHWH stayed among them. When they entered the Land, the Land was much bigger than their camp however. The land was divided into the portions of each tribe, and each man had his own piece of land on which he lived. It is then that YHWH brought them to additional teaching of how to slaughter animals for the purpose of eating. The Dwelling Place was very far for them to travel to, and later the Temple, which was in Yerushalayim, was very far for them to travel to for the sake of slaughtering an animal to eat meat. So, what YHWH did, was to tell them that if they desire to eat meat, they were allowed to slaughter an animal where they lived, of both the gazelle and the deer. They just had to make sure not to eat the blood (Dev. / Deut. 12:16). It had to be poured out on the ground. We will discuss this later in more detail.
If they desired to eat meat, they could therefore slaughter an animal there where they lived, as long as they did it according to the "method" YHWH proclaimed to them before. Dev. / Deut. 12:21 reads, "When the place where YHWH your Elohim chooses to put His Name is too far from you, then you shall slaughter from your herd and from your flock which YHWH has given you, AS I HAVE COMMANDED YOU, and you shall eat within your gates as much as your being desires." How did YHWH command them to slaughter? "Any man of the house of Yisra'el, or of the stranger who sojourn among you, who offers a burnt offering or slaughtering, and does not bring it to the door of the tent of Meeting, TO DO IT TO YHWH, that man shall be CUT OFF from among his people." Killing an animal for food MUST BE DONE UNTO YHWH. Why?
For a number of reasons we must make sure that the slaughtering of an animal is unto YHWH.
The first is that we are not allowed to kill an animal for any other reason than for meat to eat. It is an abomination in the eyes of YHWH to kill an animal for our own pleasure.
We may not eat meat offered to idols / demons / nothing.
We are not allowed to eat its blood.
We are not allowed to eat the fat of any animal.
EATING MEAT OFFERED TO IDOLS / DEMONS
When the early gentile believers came to the faith, the apostles had a dilemma with the customs of the gentiles. They Counciled and decided to put a few minimum requirements before these gentiles who came to the faith. Three of these requirements had to do with kosher eating. To abstain from what is offered to idols; blood, and what is strangled.
You may say to yourself that if you eat meat that comes from the butcher around the corner, " . That meat was not offered to an idol." Think again. Sha'ul also teaches and says, "Look at Yisra'el after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the offerings sharers in the altar?" In other words, if you eat of the meat that was slaughtered, you share in that which happened at the place of slaughter the altar. "What then do I say? That an idol is of any value? Or that which is offered to idols is of any value? No, BUT what the gentiles offer (or slaughter) they offer (slaughter) to demons and not to Elohim, and I do not wish you to become sharers with demons. You are not able to drink the cup of the Master and the cup of demons, you are not able to partake of the table of the Master and the table of the demons. Do not provoke the Master to jealousy?" 1 Cor. 10:18-22.
Very clear, an idol is nothing, of any value. If an animal is therefore slaughtered to something of no value, it is still slaughtered to a demon. Why? Because all animals that are slaughtered for the sake of eating must be slaughtered unto YHWH, otherwise, the one who slaughtered it has bloodguilt. He is therefore guilty of murder. Remember verse 18, he that partakes of the meat is also guilty of the altar the place and manner of slaughtering the animal. If you eat of meat not slaughtered unto YHWH, you also partake of the offering to an idol or demon even if you were not present.
The Torah forbids us to eat meat offered to idols or demons. Way. / Lev. 17:7. The Torah forbids us to slaughter to any mighty one other than to Him. Shem. / Exod. 22:20. Sha'ul says that an idol is nothing, and does not exist. He says that we know that there is no other mighty one but YHWH. He also teaches that if we have come to the knowledge of food offered to idols, and yet eat of it, we will cause many weaker brethren to stumble. Rather than letting brethren stumble, he would then abstain from eating meat. Read all about it in 1 Cor. 8. What he teaches here is nothing other than what has already been given in the Torah for our edification. The Torah is very clear on this don't eat meat offered (slaughtered) to idols, even though we know that an idol is nothing.
One of Moshe's confessions in his Song was that Israel slaughtered to demons, and not to YHWH. Dev. 32:17.
NOT ALLOWED TO EAT BLOOD
Why are we not allowed to eat blood? Besides the very clear instructions in the Torah not to eat blood, YHWH had very good reason for it, besides the benefits of health. The blood belongs to YHWH. The life which YHWH gave to an animal belongs to YHWH, and we are not allowed to take that life. The life is in the blood. Eating the blood is robbing YHWH of the life He gave. "Do not eat flesh with its life, its blood." Ber. / Gen. 9:4. When we slaughter an animal. The blood flows on the ground (altar), that blood makes atonement for us killing the animal. This may sound strange to you, but that is how YHWH ordained the life (blood) that is shed. If one man kills (murder) another, the only way to atone for the innocent blood of the killed, is that the killer must also die. Even so with an animal killed for food, the blood (life) of that animal must be made good (atoned for) by flowing into the ground. If not, we rob YHWH of the life he gave, and is guilty of the blood. Also read Dev. / Deut. 12:23-25; Way./ Lev. 7:26-27.
One of the requirements set to the gentiles in Acts 15 was that they were not allowed to eat meat that was strangled. We also read this in 21:25. An animal that is strangled retains its blood. The blood coagulates within its veins and flesh. Such meat is not suitable for eating. Eating the meat with the blood is a sin. 1 Shem. / Sam. 14:33. The process of killing animals at the abattoirs of today is nothing other than strangling the animals. The animals are either shot in the head or they are shocked to death. In both cases the animal dies. After several minutes or even hours the animals are skinned and the throats being slit. By that time the blood coagulated in the meat and whoever then eats of that meat, eats it with the blood, transgressing YHWH's Torah. The same applies to the killing of chickens and turkeys. They are either shot in the pallet with a sharp needle to paralyze them, or they are shocked to death. By the time the heads are chopped, the blood of those birds coagulated within the meat, making it unfit to eat. It is unkosher.
NOT ALLOWED TO EAT FAT
From a health point of view we all know by now that fat is causing heart decease and failure. Eat enough fat and you will surely end up with some kind of heart decease. This is not the only reason that YHWH forbids us to eat fat. The fat of the offering were burnt unto YHWH as a sweet fragrance (Way. / Lev. 17:6). YHWH forbids us to eat ANY fat. "An everlasting law throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you do not eat any fat or any blood. " Way. / Lev. 3:17. Also read Way. / Lev. 7:23.24.
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE THE MESSIANIC BELIEVER OF TODAY
When Daniel was in exile in Babylon, he saw the food of the king (Nebukadnetstsar) to be unfit for him to eat. The food that the king ate was either unclean or slaughtered unto an idol or the blood was not poured out. If Daniel ate of that meat or drank of the wine, he would have defiled himself. He was a man walking perfect before YHWH. He chose not to transgress the Torah and defile himself.
The prophet Yehezqel walked undefiled before YHWH. What defiles as far as food is concerned? In chapter 4:14 he says, " .I have never defiled myself from my youth till now. I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has unclean meat ever come into my mouth." The apostle Kepha said the same. Acts 10:14.
If we profess to be YHWH's people, we should do YHWH's Word. The Word of YHWH forbids us the following:
Eating unclean animals
Eating meat slaughtered to idols / demons / nothing
Eating animals that were strangled (shot dead / paralyzed / shocked to death)
Eating the meat with its blood or the blood
Eating the fat
What are the idols of today? The only religious people of today who slaughter their meat in a religious fashion are the Jews and the Muslims. The Muslims pray to Allah. Allah is not YHWH, Allah is an idol. For further proof on this, read more about Islam, the Kabbah and Allah worship. Christians don't offer their meat to anyone. They sin and transgress YHWH's Torah, for all animals that are slaughtered, must be slaughtered unto YHWH. Way. / Lev. 17:4, 9 ; Shem. / Exod. 20:24. That leaves us with two options. The animals slaughtered by Jews, and animals slaughtered by ourselves. The Jewish people (Yehudim) are YHWH's people. They are one of the tribes of Yisra'el. They slaughter their animals unto YHWH. The intention of their hearts are to observe the Torah of Kashrut according to all that we have studied. However, be aware that some of the Jewish groups DO NOT observe the abstinence from fat. Make sure that you ask the Shachet (butcher) to remove all fat from your meat.
SET YOURSELVES APART
Can a Messianic believer keep on buying meat from any butcher? The answer is a very clear NO. That meat is defiled - not slaughtered unto YHWH; the blood has not been drained; the animal was strangled; the meat could be defiled by the meat of an unclean animal by touching it.
Can a Messianic believer eat at McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Nando's or wherever? No, their food are the same or worse than that of King Nebukadnetstsar. It is defiled by either of the above, or all of them.
Are you a witness to the non-Messianic observant Jew who would not dare to eat unkosher food, or are you a stumbling block to him? Is your light not suppose to shine bright before the world?
If you profess to be an Israelite, then do what is require of ALL Israel to keep YHWH's Torah OF KASHRUT.
Stay away from the restaurants of the heathen. Stay away from their food. Be set-apart as YHWH is set-apart.
I appeal to all Messianic believers to return to the observance of the Torah. You will reap the blessing as promised in the Torah. If you don't do them, you will also reap the curses promised in the Torah.
May the love for YHWH and His Torah grow in your hearts. How can His Torah be written in our hearts if we exclude it from our minds?