last message of mercy

(1 Timothy 4:4, 5) Isn’t “Every Creature” Good To Eat Now?

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4, 5)

It would do us well to get the context of these thoughts. In verse 3 Paul says there will be people among them who would be “commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”

The key phrase is “which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving.” The only meats that God ever instructed mankind to eat were clean meats (see, Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14). So, the meats that these false teachers are saying to abstain from are clean meats. But why abstain from clean meats? Paul is not talking about vegetarians, but false teachers claiming that clean meats had become unclean because they were bought from pagans who had offered the animal to their gods. Paul also dealt with this with the Corinthian believers:

“Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse." (1 Corinthians 8:4-8)

Right off we get the context of what Paul is going to be discussing. He’s not going to be discussing whether or not unclean meat is now somehow fit for food but will be discussing things “concerning the eating of things offered to idols.” In his discussion Paul is saying that it is perfectly fine for you to eat meat that was previously offered to other gods because “for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things.” Again, these are clean meats we are talking about here. No amount of ceremonial ritual will ever make that which the one true God called clean, unclean nor defiled.

Paul continues saying that not everyone has this knowledge of the one true God and His Son, so when they eat of this meat, they wrongly believe they have been defiled because their conscience is weak due to their belief that when they eat it, they “eat it as a thing offered to an idol.”

Paul then counsels us to be careful when we eat this meat in their presence:

“But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?” (1 Corinthians 8:9, 10)

What Paul is saying here is, if those with the weak conscience see you eating meat that has been offered to an idol, their conscious may begin to gain confidence that it is okay to eat meat offered to idols for the wrong reason. They may think that you are fine in believing in other gods and you have no problem eating “it as a thing offered to idols.” Paul then continues:

“And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.” (1 Corinthians 8:11-13)

Paul counsels us not to eat it in their presence because of their weak conscience. This is why Paul said, “But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse” back in verse 8. So, even if it is okay to eat that meat, do not eat it in their presence or you will cause them to stumble. Paul continues this in chapter 10:

“Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions (whether it has been offered to idols or not) for conscience’ sake; for ‘the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.’ If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you (even if it was offered to idols), asking no question for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, ‘This was offered to idols,’ do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.’ ‘Conscience,’ I say, not your own, but that of the other …” (1 Corinthians 10:25-29)

So, for the sake of the unbeliever’s conscience, do not eat meat that was offered to idols if they tell you it has been offered to idols. When Paul says, “eat whatever is set before you” he is not talking about unclean meat, but meat that had been offered to idols because “for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” With this said, let’s go back to 1 Timothy:

“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (1 Timothy 4:4, 5)

Again, Paul is not talking about “every creature” in the sense of swine, lobsters, oysters etc. He’s talking about every clean creature is good because it has been “sanctified by the word.” These are the ones found in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.

But doesn’t Paul say that it can be “sanctified by prayer”? No, Paul is also not saying that if you pray over an unclean creature, it will cleanse it. Praying over a bat, ham, bacon, lobsters, skunks, clams or a dog will never make those things fit for food, no more than praying over a cigarette will make it good for your health. Do you really think praying over a glass of gasoline will suddenly make it good for you to consume? The only foods fit for consumption are the things in harmony with God’s Law of design, no matter how long or sincere your prayer might be:

 “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the Law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)

In the context of what will take place at the end of time, Isaiah warns:

“ ‘Those who [vainly attempt to] sanctify and cleanse themselves to go to the gardens [to sacrifice to idols], following after one in the center, who eat swine’s flesh, detestable things and mice, will come to an end together,’ says the LORD.” (Isaiah 66:17, Amplified Bible, words in brackets in the original)

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