Friday, May 30, 2014

Is Samson Goliath's Dad?

Bear in mind...this is all speculation. Scripture does not support this idea, however, it does not debunk it either, which makes it fun to think about.

So how awesome would it be if Samson was actually the father of Goliath?

Samson was a man that was chosen of by the LORD before he was born (Judges 13:2-5). The LORD made a promise concerning Samson by telling his parents that he would begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines (Judges 13:5). The LORD blessed him and the Spirit of God began to stir him (Judges 13:24-25).

He had an attraction towards Philistine women (Judges 14:1-4). He also, by eating honey from the inside of a dead lion's carcass, didn't show really any regard for the Jewish clean and unclean Laws that God had established for His people (Judges 14:5-9).

He went to Gaza and found a harlot and he lay with her (Judges 16:1). He then set his sights upon a Philistine woman named Delilah (Judges 16:4).

After being persuaded by money, Delilah, on a daily basis began insisting that Samson tell her how he may be bound. I am not sure what he was thinking, but after continual annoyance, he told her everything.

His hair was cut, his strength was gone, and the Spirit of God had departed from him. Once bound, he could no longer break free. The Philistines finally had him chained and they forced him into different forms of slavery.

His eyes had been gauged out and one day as he was to entertain the people, he rested himself against two pillars. He prayed to the LORD and the Spirit of God came upon him one last time in order that he may die with the Philistines. He killed more people on this day than he did in his entire life (Judges 16:30).

According to Old Testament history and dating these events appropriately given the timing for other major events in Scripture, Samson was born in 1110 B.C. and he died in 1070 B.C.

We know that Goliath was a Philistine. Other than that, we are not given any information apart from the fact that he was from Gath. He was incredibly strong, bigger than the rest, and referred to as "the Champion of the Philistines" (1 Samuel 17).

David was around seventeen years of age when he defeated Goliath. Goliath's death happened in 1024 B.C. This is only forty-six years after the death of Samson.

We are never told if Samson ever journeyed to Gath (less than thirty miles from Gaza), however, since he had a high attraction for Philistine women and most likely played the harlot with many that are not mentioned in Scripture, what if Samson found a harlot just a few years before his death and she became pregnant with a mighty man who takes after his father?

If we  had a fuller perspective into Samson's life, I am confident that we would find more and more of his lack-of-morale type lifestyle. Especially in these idolatrous nations, prostitutes were easy to find and if there is one area in Samson's life that he is weak in it is his sexual desires.

Wouldn't it be insane if God used the sin of Samson to raise up a giant in order that eventually He may raise up David, the humble king of Israel!?

This certainly would add a twist on things.

Again, this is speculation, however, if this is true, then it would make perfect since to say during the battle of David and Goliath, David was about seventeen and Goliath was around age forty-seven or so.

God said that Samson would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines (Judges 13:5). Imagine if God's plan was to raise up a giant among their race in order to crush him by using David. Thus David would finish the delivering of Israel from the Philistines.

If Joshua can lead the Israelite army into full-fledged battle against the Canaanites when he is almost a hundred years old, then I see no problem with saying that Goliath was a champion and went into war with David at about age forty-seven.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Prayers of the Sleeper

"For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." - Romans 12:4
In the verse above, the apostle Paul makes a connection between the spiritual body of Christ and our natural human body. But let me ask you...what does this mean?

When we think about our human body, what comes to mind? Two arms, two legs, thirty-two teeth, eight fingers and two thumbs, bones and ligaments, muscles and joints, etc. All of these things are true, but what else is true?

The human body is so complex, that if a piece of it becomes damaged, the infected area will send nerve signals to the brain and then at an almost instant reaction, white blood-cells will soar to the rescue.

So I pose the question...if the natural body is even more complex than we could ever imagine, then is it possible that the same is even more true for the spiritual body?

This past Sunday morning I awoke from a dream. In my dream I was told that there was a young man named Mike who was considering attending a Bible school this coming Fall semester. I can still visualize him in my mind.

I do not know him. I have never seen this man before, yet somehow I felt a very strong, deep, and powerful connection between the two of us.

I went up to him and placed my left hand firmly upon his right shoulder. My goal was to encourage him in this decision and to pray for him...and that is exactly what I did.

But can I say something crazy?

I prayed as if I was fully awake and refreshed. I had freedom in what I said. Nothing I did seemed forced upon by a dream, but it all seemed like it was happening in real time.

So here are the questions:

Is it possible that there is a fellow named Mike who is considering attending a Bible school this coming Fall semester, and would it have been possible that I was blessed with the opportunity to pray for him even as I slept?

Is it possible, that in the same way nerve cells rush through the human body with an SOS message to the brain requesting reinforcements, that this was a type of nerve rush through the spiritual body of Christ?

Is it possible that God somehow flipped a trigger switch in my brain in allowing and prompting me to pray for a fellow brother in the Lord Jesus Christ whom I have never met?

I am not dogmatically saying this is real, I am just wondering if there is a deeper connection in the spiritual body than we have ever before realized? The truth is, this has happened to me before. And whether this was just a dream or in fact a God-ordained divine appointment, to God be the glory!

This is the prayer of the sleeper.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Constant in Prayer

"They all joined together constantly in prayer." - Acts 1:14
The book of Acts begins by informing the reader what amazing gift has been granted to every believer. As you may know from the previous two blogs, this gift and/or empowerment is the Holy Spirit Himself.

We have been covered inside and out by the fullness of God. Notice that as soon as the writer tells you what you have inherited, he then moves on into revealing to us what godliness looks like. In fact, as I have been studying this book, I have found it to be a guide in how I am living my daily life.

Godly Attribute #1: Continually devoting yourself to prayer! - Acts 1:14 The book of Acts contains characteristics of a godly man and I find it exciting that the very first one begins with prayer! This is not a coincidence, but prayer is the centerpiece from which everything else follows. If you want to follow God, then follow Him on your knees and seek Him in prayer and I guarantee He will meet you there!

The truth is, God is already there. He is waiting on you to join Him. His desire for each one of us is that we grow into a mature adult son who is seeking and depending upon Him every moment of every day.

So let me ask you, how constant are you in prayer? Do you pray unceasingly? Would you say that you pray in the Spirit on all occasions? 1 Thess. 5:17; Eph. 6:18

If not, then what is holding you back? What in your life is keeping you from spending time in prayer?

Prayer is the connection with God that our souls need above all other things. It grows us in our fellowship with God. It deepens our love for Him. It strengthens our faith and it causes us to depend and to cling upon the Almighty.

Challenge: Take time to pray today. Refuse to let anything distract you. Remember, no one expects anyone to just jump in the first day and pray for hours. Start out small, but by all means start now. Set your prayer life up now in order to guarantee a much better future.

The Receiving of Power

"It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." - Acts 1:7-8
Just as the disciples, often times I find myself being more focused on the events in Revelation instead of the person of Revelation (i.e. Jesus Christ).

Has this ever happened to you?

When I was in high school I went through a phase of thinking that Jesus was coming very soon. Therefore, I didn't need to worry about key responsibilities such as getting a job, doing my very best on all of my assignments, planning for college, etc.

I know this is a bad way of thinking, but at the time I was so "certain" that Jesus was coming back any day now. The problem with how I was taking this was that I was being unfaithful in the tasks that God had placed under my supervision. I wasn't trusting Him by faithfully setting up for myself a better future. Instead, I was consumed with the present circumstances and had hoped that God would remove me from the trouble I was causing.

We do not know when the Son of man will return and still many of us not only continue to worry about this, but we also seem to even be asking the wrong questions. You see, when the disciples asked if Christ was about to restore the kingdom to Israel, it wasn't knowledge that He sought to give them, but it was power. It was His presence. They, like us, had it backwards.

I find that many times I am coming to the Lord for knowledge instead of His presence. From this verse, however, what is Christ more willing to give? Jesus gives to each one of us exactly what is needed, and that is Himself.

Even if we were to somehow obtain all knowledge, it would be in vanity if we were to never experience His presence. We would be acquiring a fools reward. Sure, we would know something on an intellectual level, but Jesus Christ is not a systematic theology book in which you can study. He is a person that you can know, and in His presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore!

Do you believe that?

Our job is not to worry when the events of Revelation will occur. We simply need to get moving. The Great Commission has not been fulfilled because Christ has not returned. Therefore, I urge you brethren, by the power of God, shine your light so that all may see.

You are plugged into the Most High God and He has given you power from heaven to be His witness wherever He has planted you. It is time to take your stand. The full power of God resides in the God in you. Don't waste it.

The Holy Spirit indwells us so that we may have power to do the impossible. What is this power? Well, in six days God created the universe... I would say that He is pretty powerful. This verse testifies to the fact that we have been empowered by God in order that we may accomplish His work in expanding the reach of the Gospel.

Yes, America is a mission field, but we cannot stay here. There are two-thousand unreached people groups that have never heard the Gospel message. Jerusalem, done. Judea, done. Samaria, done. America, done. Ends of the earth, not done.

Challenge: Prayerfully begin seeking opportunities to reach beyond the seas, whether by going and/or sending. Use the power of God. He gave it to you for a reason, and that is to change the world.

Father in heaven, all glory belongs to You.
We give You praise because we know You, however, there are many that haven't a clue.
We will experience life, while they will experience death.
God, if we don't do something now, then billions of people in our generation will never understand Your glorious grace.
They will never know that they had a Savior all along and they will never be capable of tasting the power that we as Your children have been granted.
Dad, take our lives and use us for Your glory.
Lord, set us on fire and make us to be as burning lamps in this world of darkness.
We know that there is a day coming when every tribe, tongue, and nation will be worshipping around the throne and we pray that we wouldn't miss out on this.
Teach us, O God, to exercise our full potential in Christ every single day and in every single way.
We love You, and our desire is that they would too.
Remove our comfort zones and ignite a fire in our bones.
Push us into action and move us on the forefront.
We are Your vessels.
Do with us as You please.
In the name of Christ we pray, amen.

Spirit Baptism

"For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." - Acts 1:5
Jesus knew that John's baptism was only a sign and a single event in a persons life. A sign is good, but what's the use of a well designed sign in a room with no lights? God knew that a sign alone wouldn't do the He gave us Himself.

Being a billboard for Christ is not enough. God wanted His name in lights. However, in order to light up the sky we needed power to do so. Therefore, God plugged us in to His divinity and set us on fire.

As believers, we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit. This means that the God of the universe has completely and overwhelmingly drowned us in Himself. We have been immersed in God and are swimming deep within the oceans of His infinite being.

But I want to ask you a question. Are you taking this Spirit baptism for granted?

You see, unlike water that will eventually dry off, the Spirit is the constant river of life. In Him there are no seasons of drought. This is not only a one time occurrence, but it is a continual immersion in which you cannot get out of.

It is as if God has placed us in an ocean that has neither shore nor surface. Does this seem impossible? With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible!

A house cannot hold Him, yet the fullness of deity dwells in our hearts and minds? I will not try and act like I have this figured out, but what an amazing truth. God not only has come and made His dwelling among us, but He empowers us each and every day to do His will by walking in humble submission which is faithful obedience.

Seeing now that we have been baptized with His Spirit of Holiness, let us seek earnestly to be led and controlled only by Him.

God, You have poured out Your Spirit upon me.
You have allowed me to partake of Your divine nature.
You have baptized me in Your Holy Spirit and You have given me the very power of heaven.
May I never take this for granted, but may I learn from this.
Lord, help me! O God, teach me!
Keep me and cause me to walk according to Your Spirit.
Make me a man of faithfulness and show me Your glory.
Set me on fire, O God, and burn brightly that all may see Your face.
In Christ's name, amen.

When Missions Becomes Slavery

If you are not sharing the Gospel with people here, then why will that change if you go into overseas missions?" - Unknown
When I first heard this quote I thought it was spot on. When I would here it I would say amen. As a good Bible school student, I would share it with friends as we stayed up all night long talking over theology only to struggle staying awake a few hours later in class.

However, not even a week before leaving for Bible school, I had an opportunity to sit down with my pastor. I expressed to him how involved I was looking to be within the community and how much I wanted to do for the Lord. But do you know what he told me?

"Rest." This was his one word. He went on to elaborate and told me to just take the next two years to soak in the Lord Jesus Christ. He wanted me not to be as Martha was, but as Mary. He asked me to just be willing to take this time in order to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His voice.

I grew up in an atmosphere that was at a constant do, do, do! I felt I always needed to be rushing and working and serving the Lord by repeating the Gospel message to an unsaved individual every second of my life. So as you can imagine, this concept of "rest" was staggering to me.

This was probably the best thing that I could have heard at that moment in time and so I began Bible school with that idea in mind. Well, as you probably guessed, it wasn't too long before I first heard that quote. Like I said earlier, I thought it was great at first. It was convicting and that is what we like in this culture.

So I began going out all over Waukesha looking for people I could lead to the Lord. Before too long, though, I became exhausted. I became so busy, that my personal time with God began sinking. I burnt out very quickly, but I still kept hearing that quote.

It started to become very unsettling to me. It only brought me discomfort and a serious case of joylessness. This is how missions became slavery in my life because I felt as if I was never doing enough.

So I prayed. I studied. And thanks be to the God of all comfort and to His Spirit who guides us into all truth concerning the "rest" that His glorious Son brings to mankind.

God led me back to that concept. You know, the one where Jesus says, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30

I began treasuring up that idea in my heart and the Lord continued to confirm to me that my two-year Bible education was not to be one of constant tiresome work, but instead it was to be filled with the joys of seeing and savoring Christ.

Now this may sound fine and dandy to some, but others may be wondering if there is any Scriptural support for this. There is actually an abundance of Biblical examples, but for the sake of time we will only look at two.

What did Jesus do first? Did He Prepare or Perform?

Jesus began His public ministry at about age thirty (Luke 3:23). Before this time, what did He do for thirty years? Was He constantly witnessing and sharing the Gospel to people or was He preparing Himself for the ministry that God would place Him into at just the appropriate time?

There isn't much written about His childhood, but there was an event where He became separated from His parents and sat in the temple listening and asking questions to the religious leaders. In this instance Jesus was being the light of the Gospel and God will bring all of His children into experiences like this every now and then where we can share the truth, but I am curious as to whether or not this was a reflection of His entire life or if this was just a God-ordained moment?

I have reason to believe that this was not a common thing for our Savior before He began His public ministry. I don't believe He was sharing the Gospel a whole bunch while growing up. Why do I say this? I say this because He is the Gospel and as He was going through His three-year ministry teaching and proclaiming Himself to be the very source of life, it seems as if the Jews, even in His hometown, have never heard this before (John 6:41-42; Matthew 13:55).

Jesus Christ spent about thirty years of His life not persuading others, but preparing Himself for when the time would come that the Father would see fit to raise up His Son into the ministry.

Likewise, Paul spent about three years in the desert of Arabia immediately after getting saved. Not a lot of people live in deserts and this guy was drenched in pharisaism and keeping to the letter of the Law that he needed a break. He had been misunderstanding the Old Testament Law for so long and had missed everything about Jesus.

Upon his conversion he needed time to refocus his mind and to turn his heart towards the true God. I feel that often times we forget that no one just gets saved and jumps straight into ministry. Paul actually warned against that (1 Timothy 3:6). It takes time and preparation to become effective in advancing the Kingdom.

Yes, there is an urgency in the world and people are dying...but God's not sweating! He has got it all under control and it is in His hand.

If we say we want to be missionaries, but we don't share the Gospel everyday...well, neither did our Savior nor even Paul. People are different. They share Christ in different ways. If we were all evangelists, then there would be no diversity.

God is working to equip His children for an exciting work. For some, it takes longer than others. For some, it takes them going to a different culture. Caitlin and I are going to Papua New Guinea. There are tribes in this country that have been requesting a missionary for well over twenty years...but there is no one to go.

It is not this way for every culture, but for this culture specifically, they will be asking us (the missionaries) who God is because they know that is why we are there. Otherwise, they will wonder why we have come to live among them in their tribe if we are not there to tell them God's talk.

In conclusion, I don't believe this quote is accurate, but I do believe that preparation is a good thing and that when you fall in love with Jesus, He will just naturally come out in your conversations with people. Please don't make missions a burden...make it a joy and a privilege. I made it into a type of bondage and slavery by performing out of conviction instead of love.

That is the reason for writing this blog in order that we all may know that "rest" is a good thing and that preparation for future ministry is a powerful tool in the hands of God. Sometimes you are just not ready to perform and that is why you need time for preparation.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Who Belongs in the Faith Chapter?

For years I have wrestled with this question. I have spent countless hours and have asked myself hundreds of questions as to why certain ones are mentioned in Hebrews 11 as having great faith and others are left out. And probably the biggest question I have ever posed is "why is Samson mentioned in this chapter?" On the flip side why are men like Solomon and Jeroboam left out of this section?

I believe the answer to these thought provoking questions lies within the pages of Scripture and by the end of this blog I hope to present to you the answer that I suppose to be the truth of God's Word concerning this passage.

I will be honest, ultimately I cannot dogmatically argue why certain men are not mentioned because that would be an argument from silence, but this is the belief that I have come to accept and I desire to share that with you at this time.

There are sixteen people mentioned by name in this chapter and many who remain unnamed, but what do they have in common? The spiritual answer is that they had faith and believed God, but what does that mean? I encourage you to check out the whole chapter for yourself, but here are a few:
"By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks." - Heb. 11:4
"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God." - Heb. 11:5 
"By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." - Heb. 11:7 
Did you see it?

All of the men and women in this chapter have at least one of two things in common: Each one of them obtained a testimony and a witness among men for their faith in God. Several of them were also involved in a great rescue mission in hopes to either save God's people or to point them towards Jehovah.

Abel obtained a testimony of righteousness that is still speaking to this very day. Enoch obtained a witness of righteousness amongst a sin-cursed world even while there were Nephilim walking the earth. Noah was a preacher of righteousness for 120 years and was used by God to save the human race (2 Pet. 2:5).

James says in 2:17 that "faith, if it has no works, is dead." Is it not true that God wants us to shine like stars in the universe? His desire is that the world would see us as different. His craving is for us to obtain a testimony of righteousness which is according to faith, and if we do, then He will reward us for our faithfulness.

But I pose the question, "Why is Samson in this chapter?" This is the man that was always sleeping around. It is like he had no convictions whatsoever and if he did, then it seems to say that he didn't care. One of my teachers at Bible school called him "a moral retard!" Especially sense Delilah, the last girl he was with, kept asking him how he could be made weak so that she could allow the Philistines to seize him.

It doesn't seem like Samson ever really had a "great faith" moment because it wasn't until the very last day of his life in which he really believed God for the incredible. On the flip side why is Solomon not mentioned here?

I find it interesting that the one who wasted most of his life (Samson) is mentioned as having great faith, yet the other (Solomon) who spent over twenty years of his life serving the Lord is not mentioned.

We all know of Solomon's downfall and how he forsook the one true God for the latter half of his life, but he was walking with the Lord for over twenty years to start. It seems like this would count for something right?

Imagine two men both living fifty years. One serves God for 49 years and then for the last year of his life he completely rejects God and everything to do with Him. The other lives in complete rebellion for 49 years and the last year he feels the conviction upon His heart and begins to walk faithfully for the remainder of the year. They both die and then stand before the Lord.

Who receives a greater reward? In our perception, we would say the first guy because 49 years of faithfulness is a long time compared to the other guy's one year. But is this how God sees it? The apostle Paul believed that even him and the apostles could risk losing everything they had worked for in terms of reward (1 Cor. 9:27).

Even at the end of Solomon's life, after he turned back to the Lord when he realized that everything he was searching for was vanity apart from God, he wrote a most incredible book that has impacted lives in each generation since then.

So why is he forgotten?

I believe that both Solomon and Jeroboam are saved individuals. I hold strong ground in believing that I will see them both one day worshiping the God of heaven, yet I propose this theory. Take it lightly and hold it up to the scrutiny of Scripture. If it does not fit, then don't believe it.

For about the first twenty years of Solomon's reign as King of Israel he faithfully served the Lord. God granted him peace throughout his entire life and made him the wealthiest king alive. He extended his borders and built great temples, monuments, houses, and lands.

Towards the middle of his reign he became bored. He began the slow fade of taking matters into his own hands and slowly his dependence upon God was dieing out. He made and established covenants with Gentile nations by marrying their daughters in order to better secure his peace with these other nations.

These women that he married were from idolatrous people. They led him astray and he had built for them temples in order that they may serve their own gods. Solomon committed acts of idolatry by worshiping these false gods and even sacrificing human babies to the god Molech.

Solomon turned the entire nation around from worshiping God to bowing down to idols. I am asking you that as you look at the story of his life, does him turning away from God an entire nation exhibit faith? No.

Not only did he lead Israel into idolatry, but he became darkness for the Gentile nations so that they would not see the light.

Jeroboam did the same. After Solomon died, his son Rehoboam did not exercise wisdom in the slightest. God gave Jeroboam ten of the twelve tribes of Israel and allowed Rehoboam to keep two, however, it was very clear that these ten tribes would not be Jeroboam's forever, nor would his line remain on the throne.

Because of this, Jeroboam became obsessed with his power. He didn't ever want to lose his grasp on these tribes so he concocted a plan that would lead the nation further into idolatry so that they would never return to the line of David.

He made two golden calves, one was set in Bethel, and the other in Dan. He told the nation not to go to Jerusalem to worship God, but to worship these instead. Does this sound like faith to you?

The two men above did not help people. Instead, they ruined millions of lives and caused sin to run through generation after generation. Yes, Solomon eventually turned back to God and wrote a convicting book, but the damage was already done. He led God's people astray.

Solomon and Jeroboam did not receive a testimony of faith among men nor did they seek to progress the faith of others by becoming burden lifters. They lived their lives as dead weight.

Samson is mentioned here because at the last minute he didn't destroy the lives of God's people, instead he saved them. By killing the Philistines he exercised divine judgment from the hand of God in removing the nuisance that this idolatrous nation kept having upon the people of Israel. Samson was finally willing to let God work.

The faith chapter is not about's about God. He is faithful and He is doing a work in our lives, but there is a level of us living righteously among men. These men and women who are said to have had great faith were each involved in people's lives.

They had a desire to show God's glory and His love. Are you looking to the interests of others? Are you living a life of faithfulness and gaining a testimony of righteousness among men? Are you leading men to their Savior? Do you love the least of these?

God is concerned with people. How concerned are you with the salvation of those closest to you?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Are Christians Allowed to Eat Pork?


I have recently been confronted by a man that I greatly respect. He is an excellent teacher and he loves the Lord. He is my brother in Christ and I will be together with him worshiping the Almighty God forever and ever. He is to remain unnamed for the sake of this blog, but in past days he has made me question a crucial issue in the Word of God.

Do we as Christians have the authority to eat animals which were labeled unclean by God in the Old Testament? Why would the dietary laws fizzle away as if they never existed? And why do we so often believe that the cross means we have freedom to devour whatever our appetites are craving?

He now believes that we are still under the dietary laws and must not eat things such as pork. I believe the opposite. The remainder of this blog post will be the reason why I believe we are no longer held under the Law. I ask you to pray, not that we would prove each other wrong, but that we may live as one in Christ. Don't pray that we will change our minds. Pray that we will guard our hearts.

Genesis 9:1-4 Interpretation

"And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood."
Jim Staley, a well known Pastor who believes that the food laws are to still be observed today, said concerning the above verses, "If you don't have proper hermeneutics, then you won't understand this passage." Is it just me or do you sense a little arrogance in that statement?

When discussing unclear things in Scripture, I just get a little shaky when someone claims to be the hero of the church. Jim Staley and I both believe we are right. Both of us bring excellent evidence to the table. However, neither of us are all knowing.

Yes, we have the Word of God to study, but so often we forget that God is not clear on every detail. There are things in Scripture that God has not made black and white. Some things are just grey and God is calling us to trust in Him and make a decision in regards to those things.

Jim will say that Noah had an understanding of what food was (i.e. you would never eat a milk jug). Thus when God said everything alive is food for you, He was basically telling Noah that only clean animals are food for you. We know that Noah knew which animals were clean and unclean because of Genesis 7:2 when God is commanding Noah how many of each animal to bring upon the ark.

The first problem with this theory is that Noah and his family wouldn't have had an understanding of eating any type of meat, whether clean or unclean. They didn't eat meat before this time. Their understanding of food would have been apples and bananas, broccoli and cabbage. Before the flood, they were only allowed to eat fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

The second problem is that there are two things that God said would happen between man and animals.
  1. Fear of man will be on every beast of the earth, bird of the sky, creeping thing, and all of the fish of the sea.
  2. Every moving thing alive is now food for man just as God gave man originally the plants.
Within these two commands of God, why is it that only the second one does not mean what it says? We all agree with God concerning the issue of the fear of man upon all of the animals, yet for some reason we cannot agree with Him concerning what we can eat.

It is kind of like we are telling God, "I believe that animals have a fear of me, but I just cannot bring myself to believe that You would allow me to eat whatever is living. Therefore, God, I will believe Your first point, but it's obvious that You would never actually give me freedom."

The third problem is that God didn't say you can eat whatever you want. He said that you can eat every moving thing that is alive! You cannot eat wood. God did give us common sense not to eat a milk jug. And now, for Noah and His family, God is now telling them that they are free to eat any animal they would desire and all of the plants.

The fourth and final problem with Jim's view is that God gave only one requirement when eating this meat. He did not tell Noah that it had to be a clean animal. God commanded that they never eat meat that still had its blood in it.

Many people will then in defense exclaim, "God doesn't change His mind!" Indeed they are one sense...and indeed they are wrong in another. God in the fullest sense, knows all things. Yet God all throughout Scripture has been known to postpone or change or even desire to change His plans.

God changed His mind by postponing the judgment when Jonah preached and the men of Nineveh repented. God desired to wipe out the entire Israel nation and restart with Moses because of their disobedience, yet Moses pleaded with God and He relented. God commanded Ezekiel to cook his bread over human poop, yet when Ezekiel pleaded with God, God allowed him to cook it over cow's dung.

I admit that I don't fully understand how God who is all-knowing can possibly change His mind, but I don't ever want to limit Him by saying that He cannot. This in no way changes who He is yesterday, today and tomorrow because God is forever faithful. That is who He is and just because He changes His mind about poop doesn't at all effect His faithfulness. We all agree that God cannot lie. Changing His mind about postponing His judgment with Nineveh is not lying because the object of His wrath changed.


The main passage concerning dietary laws is Leviticus 11. Through this chapter we learn what we can and cannot eat...or do we? Do you remember when Cain killed Abel? God placed a mark on him so that if anyone found him and killed him then the Lord would have vengeance upon the killer sevenfold. That is interesting because we don't usually imagine God protecting murderers.

I bring up that story because God was talking specifically to Cain. Certainly God does not protect every murderer! Thus in interpreting the Scriptures we must know who God is talking to. Leviticus 11:2 clarifies that God is only speaking to the sons of Israel. Are you a son of Israel? I'm not. I think we often forget that the Bible is a very Jewish book and that it was written to a specific people.

God chose a nation and named it Israel. They were to be His people. Through this nation He would send His Son and all the peoples of the world would be blessed through them. Often we forget that He still loved Gentiles. Not only that, but God even chose people who were not part of Israel such as Abimelech, Rahab, Ruth, Naaman, Nebuchadnezzar, etc.

Peter's Vision

The most common place for us to go is Peter's vision in Acts 10. As you know, Cornelius and his family were Gentiles who loved the Lord. They feared God, yet they knew nothing of least not of His death, burial, and resurrection.

An angel of God came to Cornelius and told him to send for Peter in Joppa. On the next day, Peter was praying and God revealed to him a vision. He saw the sky opened up and something like a great sheet came down lowered by its four corners.

This sheet was filled with all sorts of animals and God said, "Rise, Peter, kill and eat!" Peter gave the excuse that he has never eaten anything unclean and then God told him, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy." This all happened three times before it was taken back up into the sky.

While Peter was wondering about what the vision meant, the Gentiles had come to the house in search for him. The Spirit of God told Peter to go with them and so he did. Peter went into the Gentile's house and told them everything about this Jesus.

The main argument put forth is in verse 28. Peter explains how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with a Gentile and he says, "God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean."

Wait! Where in Scripture did God ever call Gentiles unclean? He didn't. Instead God commands Israel to love them and show them hospitality. This seems that Peter and the other apostles were acting in a type of Jewish traditionalism of hatred towards outsiders because this definitely was not a Scriptural idea.

Many people who believe that we are held under the dietary restrictions will actually use this chapter in support of their cause. They claim that when Peter explains the vision in verse 28 he doesn't even acknowledge food. Therefore, they say that the vision was about how the Gentiles are no longer unclean.

The problem is that God never said the Gentiles were unclean. He said their food was unclean. Notice I said their food. The Gentiles ate pig. This was something that was associated greatly with Gentiles and now God gives Peter a vision and tells him to kill and eat these animals.

Yes. The vision was to take Peter to the Gentiles, but how does a Jew best associate themselves with a Gentile? He eats their food. He dines with them. He fellowships with them. He meets them where they are at and comes into their life and their way of living, which just so happens to involve some bacon.

James's Judgment

This explanation of the vision would make perfect sense later on in Acts chapter 15. Jews had come in among the saved Gentile believers and were teaching them that they must adhere to the Law of Moses and observe their customs. Paul and Barnabas, however, were furious and had great debate with them.

The church decided that they should each go up to the apostles in Jerusalem concerning this issue. Within this entire chapter, Luke reveals to us that the apostles themselves believed that God is doing something different than He had done previously. For even while some Pharisees were hard-pressed in keeping with the unbearable yoke of the Law, the apostles determined from the Old Testament and the giving of the Holy Spirit that the Church is not to be held in bondage of the Law.

In fact, James gives his judgment, but notice what he doesn't say. He says that they should abstain from sexual immorality, things sacrificed to idols, what is strangled and from blood. He never says that they should abstain from unclean animals. Obviously he knew what Gentiles ate.

In all seriousness, this address is actually only given so that there will be unity among the Jews and Gentiles. Sexual immorality is the only black and white sin issue dealt with in this passage.

Galatians 2:11-21

This idea continues to confirm Scripture when Paul is addressing the Galatian believers. In this passage, Paul tells the story of when Peter basically forsook the Gentile believers in order that he may have a good reputation among the Jews.

Again I ask, what were Gentiles eating? Pigs. Peter not only sat with the Gentile believers during meal times, but he ate what they ate. However, when some Jews came from James, he separated himself from among them and would not associate himself with them. He not only left their table, but he left them eating pork steaks by themselves.

Because of this, Paul opposed him to his face in front of all of them for his hypocrisy.

The book of Galatians tells us that we are no longer under law, but under grace. We no longer need a schoolmaster to get us dressed in the morning and ready for school and then babysit us the rest of the day. God, by the grace He has shown through Christ Jesus, has made us to be adult sons. He wants us to grow up. It is His desire that we grow into a mature man in making decisions based on His Word and relying on His Holy Spirit.

I am reminded of an illustration by one of my teachers at Bible School. Imagine Adam in the garden bringing an apple to God. Imagine Adam asking God, "How would You like me to eat it? Should I cook it or eat it raw? If I cook it, should I do it over fire or bake it? Should I wrap it in caramel?" Then, imagine God's response. God says, "Just eat it! It doesn't matter what you do to it. I made it for your delight. Eat it however you want. It makes Me no difference." Yes, we depend upon God, but there is a level of maturing that He desires of us.

1 Timothy 4:1-5

"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude..."
In the last days men will tell you to forbid marriage and abstain from certain foods. Do you believe we are in the last days? We have seen all throughout church history the idea of forbidding marriage, but what about the other?

If we add to this passage, we can make it say whatever we want. Jim Staley and many others will say that this means vegetarians will tell you to abstain from meat all together. Is this what this passage is referring to?

I believe it isn't. If you compare the amount of vegetarians who are telling you to abstain from meat with the amount of "Law abiding Christians" telling you to abstain from unclean meat, the results are staggering. The amount of "Law abiding Christians" to every vegetarian is 10 to 1. This passage is talking about people in the Church falling away and believing these doctrines of demons.

Therefore, in the church, when was the last time you ever heard a pastor who is vegetarian, tell you that it is wrong to eat meat? Personally speaking, I have never heard this. However, flip that question around. When was the last time you heard a pastor or teacher telling you to abstain from specific types of meat? I have heard the latter many a time...especially in  recent days.

I was told that even Joel Olsteen believes we should abstain from unclean animals and therefore that has got to warrant some credit. If anything, this should even more cause you to question this belief seeing how he is a heretical teacher.

Again, when, besides Chick-fil-A, have you ever heard a pastor or teacher telling you to not eat cows? Never! When was the last time you heard a pastor or teacher telling you to refuse the consumption of pigs? Yesterday! If Paul is not referencing these "Law abiding Christians" denying the Jewish unclean animals for consumption, then we can't be in the last days because it is a rare thing for someone in the Church to actively vocalize the legality of forbidding all types of meat.


In conclusion, whether you agree with my views or not, I am overjoyed that we will be spending eternity together enjoying the Lord. Paul said in Romans and 1 Corinthians that some have consciences that won't allow them to partake in various areas, while others aren't bothered by it in the slightest. If you struggle with this concept, I am not trying to change your views. I am simply opening up the Scriptures and showing from a Biblical standpoint why I believe what I believe.

In Paul's writings we get the idea that if by some chance you somehow encourage a brother to do what his conscience won't allow him to do, then you have sinned against your brother. Eating pork, according to Scripture, is not a sin, but I do feel that causing someone to feel guilty either about eating it or not would be detrimental. Thanks for reading. Walk with God.