Q: After my husband and I came to the Lord, we continued to abstain from eating the foods forbidden in the Law of Moshe. We found no scriptural reference releasing us, although we found that gentiles do not need to follow the Law of Moshe. While we understand that the Kingdom of our God is not about eating or drinking, we do want to know what to answer those who ask.
A: It was not until after The Flood, when Adonai made the covenant with Noah, that animals were even considered by God to be “food.” This was a universal provision for all humankind, “Every creeping thing that is alive, to you it is for food… only flesh with its life — its blood — you are not [to] eat.” (Genesis 9:3-4, YLT)
But after Adonai delivered Israel from Egypt and gave her the covenant of Torah, he included a special update to the “food laws” for her, as recorded in Leviticus 11, 20:25-26, and Deuteronomy 14:3-21. As per these new instructions, the people of Israel were to distinguish between the kinds of animals that were permitted and forbidden for them as “food.” The reason Israel was given these exceptional food laws is clearly explained in Leviticus 20:26, “And you are [to] be holy to Me; for I, Adonai, am holy; and I separate you from the [other] peoples to become Mine.” (YLT) According to Exodus 33:16, Moshe clearly understood that the people of Israel were “distinguished… from all the people who are on the face of the [earth].” (NAS) The Torah’s food laws — like the Torah itself — was given to sanctify and set Israel apart for its unique role among the nations.
Abstension from eating the forbidden animals according to Torah is therefore an enduring identity marker, a teacher of holiness, and an issue of covenantal faithfulness for the people of Israel — the Jewish people — Messianic, or otherwise.