This chapter gives the food prescriptions for all Israelites, not only for the priests. Priests have to deal with a service in the sanctuary. The Israelite is the ordinary member of God’s people in daily life. In verses 44-4544For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth.45For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” the reason for these food prescriptions are given: the holiness of the LORD. In Deuteronomy 14, where we find the same food regulation, Moses addresses the Israelites as “sons of the LORD” (Deu 14:11“You are the sons of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead.). Our position as sons for God sets the standards for our food.
Eating is taking something to us, making something our own, something we deal with inwardly, making it a part of ourselves. We are told not to eat from animals that represent spiritual evil in actions and thinking. We at the same time are encouraged to use food that represents holiness and spiritual life. Food gives us energy. In the pictures of Scripture, what we spiritually take upon ourselves determines our way of life. What the food represents becomes visible in our behavior. If we feed ourselves with Christ, He will become visible in us.
In Christendom the literal distinction between clean and unclean animals has been removed. God says to Peter to kill and eat of a mixture of clean and unclean animals (Acts 10:9-169On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.10But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;11and he *saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,12and there were in it all [kinds of] four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.13A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!”14But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.”15Again a voice [came] to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no [longer] consider unholy.”16This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.), by which according to the law all animals were unclean. God has cleansed all those animals. For the believer, its application is that he “died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world” (Col 2:2020If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,). Therefore, he should not submit to decrees, such as the food laws, which say “do not handle, do not taste, do not touch” (Col 2:2121“Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”). He can say with the apostle Paul: “I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself” (Rom 14:14a14I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.).