How to Live Longer, Pt. 3

Scripture: Acts 10:9-23
This is a continued study on what the Bible says about what we should eat or not eat. It discusses clean and unclean foods, legalism, and specific Bible verses that appear to indicate what we eat is not important.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our host Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry as they now open the bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

John Bradshaw: Hi friends and welcome again to Bible Talk where we talk about what the bible has to say to us today. I am John Bradshaw and with me Gary Gibbs. Hi Gary.

Gary Gibbs: Hi, John. Boy do we have a hot topic today.

John: This is a subject that we were not able to get through quickly. It's just too big. So, we are going to take another bite of that apple today and look again at the subject of God's health principles from the bible.

Gary: I hope John that our listeners are listening carefully and I also hope that they are calling in on our toll-free number to get our free offer that covers this in more detail.

John: Because we are not just able to deal with every phrase, every text, everything that pertains to this. But this bible study we're offering, that's going to nail everything down.

Gary: Yes because we are talking about what bible says you should or should not eat in order to have good health and to glorify God. And when we start talking about what we eat and don't eat that's a really personal issue.

John: Some people start to say well, man you're getting legalistic now, the bible doesn't make any distinction; you can eat anything you want in the business with clean animals and unclean animals. Well, it all changed when Jesus got on the cross. You see, many people believe that and I can understand why somebody might.

Gary: And John the last time we were here I was really sharing with you some questions that I've heard a lot of people ask. I asked them myself when I first studied this. And we were in Mark chapter 7.

John: Yeah.

Gary: We were talking about clean and unclean foods. Unclean foods being like the pig, the rabbit, and the shellfish and the lobsters. Boy, I grew up eating all that stuff. And now you are saying the bible tells us we shouldn't eat that. That's not fit for human consumption.

John: Now let me say I understand the shock that sometimes accompanies learning this for the first time. I grew up 14 miles from one coast and 16 miles from the other and we were always eating shellfish. Sometimes we just sucked them right out of the shell. I wouldn't do that today because God has taught me better. And when I learned this I was pleading with God, listen you let me keep my oysters and why can't broccoli be unclean, Brussels sprouts? I'm willing to let that be unclean. But we just want to go with what the bible says and that's what Bible Talk is all about.

Gary: That's right John and that's why I took you to some text in our last program in Mark 7. Because didn't Jesus say in Mark 7:15, "There is nothing from without a man that entering into him can defile him, but it's the things that come out of his heart that defile him." It sounds like Jesus is saying it doesn't matter what you eat.

John: Now if you want to take that approach I admit it could sound that way, but you've always got to look at a text within its context. And in the context you will find that some scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus and said, "Your disciples don't follow our tradition of washing their hands a certain way before they eat. And so this isn't right and we are not happy about that and it makes everything unclean." And Jesus was saying "It's not how you wash your hands or whether you wash your hands according to the tradition, it's the shape of the state of your heart."

These guys could've washed their hands until they were blue in the face but their problem was they had corrupt hearts. And all of these things that Jesus said that come out of the heart, adulteries and evil deeds and fornications and murders and so on they were for that. Now, they had clean hands but they were corrupt in the heart. And that's what Christ was dealing with.

Gary: So, he wasn't telling them that... in fact the issue wasn't they weren't sitting down to eat pork chops.

John: No, can you imagine, can you imagine back then these Jews sitting down to chow down on some hog.

Gary: It was just that they had not washed their hands in the ceremonial way. It was just all a tradition and a ceremony.

John: That's absolutely right. But you know I think there are a couple of key verses in order to be very fair to this. There are probably a couple of key verses that you won't let me get away without addressing.

Gary: Not at all because I want to take you to verse 19, because John, it sounds like this verse is telling us that Jesus made all foods, all meats clean. So, let me read it to you. He says "Because it entereth not into his heart" talking about what you eat, it doesn't enter into your heart "but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats." And some translations say "thus making all meats clean."

John: Yeah, now let's talk about translation. And, sometimes I hate to do this. But we get into a sticky area when you start to look at other modern translations. So I am going to have to talk about translations and the Greek language. This was written in Greek and when you look at the original Greek language it's very clear that that last little bit where it says purging all meats or making all foods clean, this was written by Mark and it's the statement of Mark, it's a commentary on what Jesus said.

Gary: Does that make it any less inspired?

John: No, it's absolutely inspired.

Gary: All right.

John: Let's try to understand what he was saying when he wrote this. What he is saying here is that when Jesus said this he said it doesn't matter whether you wash your hands or not as what Jesus was saying, it's the state of your heart, Jesus was making all foods clean in the sense that whether you ate it with unwashen hands or not it was still OK to eat.

Gary: Boy, my little girl is going to love to hear that when I tell her. [laughs] She has to wash her hands before she eats. She can't figure out why. So she doesn't even have to wash her hands, is that what you're telling me?

John: Well, no everybody needs to follow the principles of good hygiene; there is no doubt about that. But what Jesus is saying, is that irrespective of whether or not the person had or hadn't carried out the tradition it didn't matter. And you'll notice it too here when it says purging all meats, that word comes from the Greek word broma, it doesn't meat, it means foods. He is dealing with foods of all kinds. So, when you come to the table even if you pick up a peach, an orange, a rack of lamb, whatever the case might be, if you've washed your hands according to the tradition of the elders or not, it doesn't matter, what matters it's the state of your heart.

Now the issue of whether that's unclean or clean food is completely different. And try to exercise simple common sense here. Jesus a Jew talking to Jews, some people who had a rabid fanatical faith here, is he just going to come off at them and say hey, eat anything you want, eat pork, eat dead animals, it just doesn't matter.

Gary: Oh boy. They would have stoned him on the spot. He would have never made it to Calvary. They would've killed him right then.

John: He'd never got away with that and that's not what he was saying. He was saying the traditions just don't matter.

Gary: And I think John if we were taking this and saying that he was making all foods acceptable to eat, then you'd have to say He's telling, you can eat poisonous mushrooms and other poisonous plants and it's not going to matter.

John: No one's going to throw a handful of cockroaches into the stir-fry and say well, it's OK.

Gary: No, unless you live in certain cultures.

John: Well, yeah, maybe. You can prove too much, right?

Gary: You certainly can.

John: We don't want to do that here.

Gary: But, the obviously John, I think common sense tells us there are some foods that are not fit for consumption.

John: Sure, that's right and we should always keep away from them at whatever price.

Gary: OK. I think you've helped me understand this and hopefully our listeners understand Mark 7. That's also found in Matthew 15. There's another text that you have to explain. It comes out of the book of Acts and Peter, Peter has this vision. In his vision he sees all these unclean animals. He sees the bats, he sees the vultures, the pigs, the rabbits, the shellfish and it drops down from Heaven. God says, "Peter, I've made it all clean. You can go eat it all."

John: Hold on a minute here. Where did God say I've made it all clean, go ahead and eat it all?

Gary: Right there in Acts 10, John.

John: Well, let's be careful that we don't stretch this a little too far.

Gary: OK, let me read it to you then.

John: Well, let me give you some background. Chapter 10 starts off with a fellow named Cornelius receiving a visitation from God, an angel as a matter of fact. The angel said you go right on up there and send for Peter. Peter's going to come and help you understand the gospel. Cornelius was not a Jew but he was a Gentile, right?

Gary: He was a Roman. He was an Italian.

John: He was a Gentile. Let's understand that. Now, proceed please.

Gary: OK, so here we have in verse 12. This isn't me, this is the Bible talking. This is Bible talk. Right?

John: All right sure.

Gary: Peter sees this vision. He sees this sheet let down with all these beasts in it. Verse 12 tells us what's in it. Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, wild beasts and creeping things and fowls of the air. There came a voice to him. So it has to be God's voice. "Rise Peter, kill and what? Eat." But, Peter said, "Not so Lord for I've never eaten anything that's common or unclean." That tells us there were unclean animals in there.

John: OK, but let me make a point right here. This took place long after the cross.

Gary: That's fine.

John: Maybe three or so years.

Gary: Proves our point.

John: Well, let's be careful. Three or so years after the cross, Peter says, "No I can't eat it" because it is what?

Gary: Unclean.

John: So, if Jesus, when he died on the cross made everything clean, why didn't Peter hear about it for another three years?

Gary: Peter was a slow learner, John.

John: He had to be an extraordinarily slow learner.

Gary: He had that problem with the Gentiles and the Jews. But look at the next verse. It says, the voice speaks to Peter again. The second time, because Peter says, "No Lord, I'm not going to do that." God says what, "God has cleansed, that call not thou common." This was done three times verse 16 says. So, maybe God was just trying to get Peter's attention and to change him and give us new light on this topic.

John: God has certainly tried to get Peter's attention. I think he succeeded spectacularly. But, what was it that God was trying to teach Peter? He was trying to teach him something. But I don't think He was trying to teach him that it was OK to put all of these abominable things into his body. Let me say this before I go one. There are a number of things in the Bible that God calls an abomination. Nowhere does God call something an abomination and then later on go and say it's no longer an abomination. Once an abomination, always an abomination. That's simply a Biblical principle.

What was God trying to get through to our friend Peter? Here it is. He's there and he's considering this and while he considers the vision, verse 19. The spirit said to him, three men seek thee arise therefore and get thee down. Go with them, doubting nothing.

Because, some Gentiles came. They knocked on his door; they said, "Is Simon Peter here?" Peter would have said, "Hey I can't go with them, they are...?"

Gary: They're unclean, they're Gentiles. They're common people. They didn't interact, they would not go together.

John: That's it. You see, God wanted that the gospel be taken to these unclean Gentiles. So, he got through to Peter and he said, through this vision, through this thing. He allowed him to see, that what Peter had considered unclean, shouldn't be looked at like that at all. But, clean now, should be considered clean. He's dealing with the people and I'll show you that.

Gary: It sounds like you're reading a lot into that.

John: Well, let me show in verse 28 where Peter spells it out. He goes down to see Cornelius. Verse 25, Cornelius falls at his feet. Peter says in 26, "Stand-up man". Verse 28, you know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company or come unto one of another nation. Are you ready for this?

Gary: Let's hear it.

John: "But, God hath showed me that I should not call any hog common or unclean."

Gary: No, this is Bible Talk. You have to stick with the Bible even if it hurts.

John: OK. God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Verse 34 Peter says, "Of a truth I proceed, God is no respecter of persons." This vision was given by God to help Peter understand that he should not be a bigot or a racist.

Gary: So, visions have symbolic meaning.

John: This one clearly did. Very powerful meaning.

Gary: And, it's interpreted right there in the Bible. He wasn't telling him to eat unclean foods. He was associating that with unclean or what was considered unclean, Gentiles.

John: Sure, go to them now. Take the gospel to them now. Don't be a racist, don't be a bigot, don't be exclusive. Take the gospel to everyone. [music starts]

Gary: Well, that makes it clear to me and I hope it does for our listeners too.

John: If you want further information, get today's offer, You Wouldn't Do This. Call our toll-free number and make sure you get that Bible Study. There's more on this subject, so be sure to join us again next time on Bible Talk. [music]

Man 1: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible Study Guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you'll want to know. To receive this free informative guide, simply call, write, or email and ask for BT113. You Wouldn't Do This. The toll-free number is 866-biblesays. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P O Box 1058, Roseville, California, 95678 or email us at

Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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