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Biblically Clean and Unclean Foods

God created certain animals that can be used for food and others that are unfit to eat. "Clean" foods are those which in their natural state do not harm the human body. "Unclean" foods are those which are unhealthy for the body.

Genesis 1:29 "God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every fruit tree containing seeds to be your food."

 Leviticus 3:17 "It will be an everlasting law for your generations in all their dwellings, that you can not eat fat or blood."

 Leviticus 7:23-24 "You cannot eat any kind of fat, of ox, or of sheep, or of goat. But the fat of any animal that dies by itself or is killed by other animals, can be used for other uses but you can not eat it." 

Leviticus 7:26 "Also you cannot eat any type of blood, whether it be from fowl or mammal, in any of your homes." 

Leviticus 11:2-47 "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you. These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you. And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl, And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you. And for these ye shall be unclean: whosoever toucheth the carcase of them shall be unclean until the even. And whosoever beareth ought of the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. The carcases of every beast which divideth the hoof, and is not clovenfooted, nor cheweth the cud, are unclean unto you: every one that toucheth them shall be unclean. And whatsoever goeth upon his paws, among all manner of beasts that go on all four, those are unclean unto you: whoso toucheth their carcase shall be unclean until the even. And he that beareth the carcase of them shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: they are unclean unto you. These also shall be unclean unto you among the creeping things that creep upon the earth; the weasel, and the mouse, and the tortoise after his kind, And the ferret, and the chameleon, and the lizard, and the snail, and the mole. These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even. And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed. And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it. Of all meat which may be eaten, that on which such water cometh shall be unclean: and all drink that may be drunk in every such vessel shall be unclean. And every thing whereupon any part of their carcase falleth shall be unclean; whether it be oven, or ranges for pots, they shall be broken down: for they are unclean, and shall be unclean unto you. Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water, shall be clean: but that which toucheth their carcase shall be unclean. And if any part of their carcase fall upon any sowing seed which is to be sown, it shall be clean. But if any water be put upon the seed, and any part of their carcase fall thereon, it shall be unclean unto you. And if any beast, of which ye may eat, die; he that toucheth the carcase thereof shall be unclean until the even. And he that eateth of the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: he also that beareth the carcase of it shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even. And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten. Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination. Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby. For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten."

Deuteronomy 14:3-21 " Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing. These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, The hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois. And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat. Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you. And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase. These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat: And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you. Of all clean birds ye shall eat. But these are they of which ye shall not eat: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind, And every raven after his kind, And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind, The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan, And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant, And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. And every creeping thing that flieth is unclean unto you: they shall not be eaten. But of all clean fowls ye may eat. Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk."

Below is a list of foods, defined in the Bible, as being Clean and Unclean. 

They can be found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.

Clean Land Animals

Wild Goat Fallow Deer  Goat Ox
Pygarg 
(Species of antelope?)
Wild Ox Hart 
(Species of Deer)
Sheep 
Roebuck
(Antelope, Gazel)
Chamois 
(goat like)
Cattle Reindeer
Antelope Deer  Moose Giraffe
Bison Elk Hart
Caribou Gazelle Ibex

 

Unclean Land Animals

Camel Mouse Snail (Slug) Mole
Weasel Coney Hare (Rabbit) Ferret
Skunk Beaver Squirrel Rat
Raccoon Porcupine Groundhog Muskrat
Gorilla Opossum Badger Rhinoceros
Bear Elephant Hippopotamus Monkey
Armadillo Wolverine Kangaroo Llama (alpaca, vicuņa)
Equines (Ass, Donkey, Mule, Horse, Zebra) Canines (Coyote, Dog, Fox, Hyena, Jackal, Wolf) Felines (Cat, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Panther, Tiger) Swine ( Pig, Boar, Peccary)

 

Clean Fish


The list of Clean Fish would be to long to list, all that have fins and scales are clean.


Unclean Fish, Marine Mammals, and Shell Fish

 

Fish
Dolphin Bullhead Whale Swordfish
Marlin Catfish Porpoise Shark
Paddlefish Eel Sturgeon
(includes most caviar)
Shellfish
Shrimp Scallop Oyster Prawn
Mussel Crayfish Clam
Lobster Crab Abalone
Soft Body
Cuttlefish Squid (calamari) Limpet Jellyfish
Octopus
Sea Mammals
Walrus Seal Otter

Clean Birds

The Bible does not specifically mention what is clean, rather from it's lengthy list of forbidden birds it can be concluded that all the birds of prey and most water-fowl were considered unclean.

 
Chicken Grouse Pigeon Sparrow (and other songbirds)
Dove Guinea fowl Prairie chicken Sagehen
Pheasant Partridge Ptarmigan Teal
Peacock Peafowl Quail Turkey
 

Unclean Birds

Eagle Ossifrage Osprey Vulture after his 
kind
Kite Every raven after his kind Owl Night Hawk
Cuckow or Cuckoo Hawk after his 
kind
Little Owl Cormorant
Great Owl Horned Owl Pelican Gier Eagle
Stork Heron after her 
kind
Lapwing Bat
Albatross Crane Magpie Roadrunner
Bat Flamingo Loon Sandpiper
Bittern Grebe Ostrich Seagull
Buzzard Grosbeak Penguin Woodpecker
Condor Gull Parrot Swallow
Coot Plover Rail
Crow Water Hen Swift

Clean Insects

Locust after his kind Bald locust after his kind Beetle after his 
kind
Grasshopper after his kind
 

Unclean Insects

All insects except some in the beetle and locust family.

Unclean Reptiles

Lizard Great Lizard
Chameleon  Crocodile
Alligator Blindworm
Turtle Frog
Snake Newt
Toad Salamander
Caiman

These laws are known as health laws, and are the means for achieving a healthier life. 

In the beginning man ate fruits and vegetables, but later started eating meat. God made known what meats where unhealthy through the laws of clean and unclean foods long before there was a nation of Israel, even before Noah's time, as seen in Genesis 7:2 and 7:8.

It is a well know fact today, that these same unclean foods are known to be unhealthy.

But you say, what about the following verse from scripture?

Deuteronomy 12:15 "Notwithstanding thou mayest kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee: the unclean and the clean may eat thereof, as of the roebuck, and as of the hart."

This is one of the most misinterpreted verses on this subject, because of the food laws being well know in their nation they did not keep unclean animals around for food, so they would not have found it in their gates. It is speaking of the unclean person eating with the clean person during this time. Normaly an unclean person was not allowed to eat with those that where clean. 

Deuteronomy 15:22 "Thou shalt eat it within thy gates: the unclean [person] and the clean person shall eat it alike, as the roebuck, and as the hart "

How clear it becomes now.

We should take note that these are very clearly laws to be obeyed.

Isaiah 66:17 "Of them that bless themselves, or purify themselves in the gardens hiding behind a tree, eating swine's flesh, and the other abominations, such as the mouse, will be consumed together does say the Lord."

As shown with this verse God does condemn those that eat of what is considered an abomination. Isaiah 65:4 tells us that eating swine and other abominable things provokes the Lord to anger.

For those that would say these laws where only for the people of Israel at that time, take note that animals where regarded as clean or unclean during the time of Noah (Gen 7:2) before Israel existed.

 

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